Jan Wong (pinyin: Huáng Míngzhēn) 黃明珍(born 1953 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian journalist of Chinese ancestry. Wong worked for The Globe and Mail, serving as Beijing correspondent from 1988 to 1994, when she returned to write from Canada. She is the daughter of Montreal businessman Bill Wong, founder of Bill Wong buffets/restaurants.
Wong became tired of Party ideology and returned to Canada from Beijing. She later studied journalism at Columbia, and returned to China for several years as a foreign correspondent for the The Globe and Mail newspaper, where among other things she covered the Tiananmen Massacre. She later chronicled her Chinese experience in a book, Red China Blues, which was promptly banned in China. After a return trip in the late nineties, she produced a second book entitled Jan Wong's China, a somewhat less personal account of social life, the economy, and politics in modern-day China.
From 1996 to 2002, Wong was best known for her Lunch with... column in The Globe and Mail, in which she had lunch with a celebrity, who was usually but not always Canadian. Her Lunch columns were often noted for publishing her take on the private, titillating side of her lunch companions — Margaret Atwood was depicted as a prickly diva who refused to eat her lunch because she was unhappy with the table, and Gene Simmons revealed the size of his penis . In one of her most famous Lunch columns, Wong took a homeless woman to lunch. In another, she portrayed Edward de Bono as a bullshitter. However, in pushing the envelope on denunciation, Wong had earned a reputation for gratuitous and opportunistic nastiness in pursuit of copy.
After Lunch with Jan Wong was retired in 2002, Wong moved on to other journalistic roles with The Globe and Mail. In 2006, Wong attracted attention by imitating the work of Barbara Ehrenreich and going undercover as a cleaning lady in wealthy Toronto homes .
Wong and Norman Shulman, whom she married in 1976, have two sons: Ben (b. 1991) and Sam (b. 1994). Shulman, an American draft dodger of the Vietnam Era, had joined his father Jack Shulman in China rather than fleeing to Canada. Norman had then been left behind when Jack and his wife Ruth left China during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
Jan Wong published the article "Get under the desk" in The Globe and Mail on September 16, 2006. In it, the author drew a link between the actions of Marc Lépine, Valery Fabrikant and Kimveer Gill, assassins of the shootings of the École Polytechnique, Concordia University and Dawson College respectively, and the existence in Quebec of restrictive language laws, the "decades-long linguistic struggle". She implied a relation between the fact that the three were not old-stock Québécois and the murders they committed, since they were, according to Wong, alienated in a Quebec society concerned with "racial purity". The relation was unclear to people, and this argument was denounced in Quebec as theatrical and defamatory "Quebec bashing".
Public outcry and political condemnation, and publicity soon followed. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society lodged a complaint to the Press Council of Quebec and Liberal Premier of Quebec Jean Charest called the article a "disgrace" and, in an open letter to the Globe, wrote that it was a testimony of her ignorance of Canadian values demonstrating a profound incomprehension of the Quebec society. Charest demanded an apology from Wong to all Québécois. Prime Minister Stephen Harper denounced Wong's article in a letter to the newspaper published on September 21, 2006 saying that her "argument is patently absurd and without foundation On September 20 the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion requesting an apology for the column.