Catherine Vuylsteke

Catherine Vuylsteke (°1964) is a writer, journalist and documentary maker living in Brussels

Contact details:

address: Chaussée de Waterloo 363b, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Educational Background:

  • 1982-1986: University of Ghent, sinology, graduated with distinction yearly.
  • 1986-1987: Shanghai Fudan University, department of Foreign Students, Chinese language and literature
  • 1987-’88: University of Ghent: Teacher Training, degree with distinction
  • July 2010: Chinese language course, Tainan, Taiwan

Professional Background:

  • 1987-1989: free lance journalist for Belgian media such as Knack, De Morgen. Publication in Hong Kong’s english language daily South China Morning Post
  • 1988-1990: Chinese teacher in evening courses, Antwerp School of Languages
  • 1996-1999: RITCS, school for film and journalism in Brussels, Teaching the Foreign News course
  • 1989-2014: Full time foreign news editor with the dutch language newspaper De Morgen, in Brussels. Grand reportages on a large number of political, social, economical and cultural subjects in: China, India, Vietnam, South-Korea (1997), Japan, Turkey, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania Concept, research, coordination and partial execution (this being group projects) of a number of series: -womens rights (five part series of double pages in all the major cultures, personally went to China and India) -blood on their hands, series on youngsters who participated in often politically motivated violence, in a post-conflict situation. (Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Colombia – personally did the Sri Lanka-story) -Hiroshima, fifty years on -Aids in Africa (five countries, five themes (such as religion and hiv, youngsters and counseling, .. in Tanzania, South-Africa, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Botswana – personally went to Uganda (the so called success story, and Ivory Coast (religion and HIV)) -25 years of Iranian Islamic Revolution (five part series, full page) -Morocco, womens rights -Bollywood -hip hop in Senegal -numerous grand reportages in China
  • 2019: The big question, series of interviews on Belgian Dutch language tv. Is China a threat? Do we need borders?

Actual positions held:

  • 2014- : free lance journalist, writing for Knack Magazine, De Standaard newspaper and Klara radio. Grand reportage on plastic surgery in South-Korea, unmarried professional women in Japan,  protests in Hong Kong.
  • 2010- : Catholic University of Leuven, Campus Brussels: special master in journalism. Teaching Foreign News reporting


  • the People’s Republic of Desire, March 2007, Meulenhoff/Manteau, now in second edition
  • Among Men, the hidden lives of Moroccan gays, March 2008, Meulenhoff/Manteau
  • The weight of Heavenly Peace, freedom and resistance since the massacre of Tiananmen, May 2009, Meulenhoff/Manteau
  • Facing Brussels, Bai Publishers, 2010
  • Silent Stories, documentary, 2011
  • The Past is a Foreign Country, November 2011, De Bezige Bij Antwerpen
  • The art of becoming, documentary, 2013
  • Poste Restante, short story for Citybooks Ieper, De Buren, 2016
  • Viet Bleu, monologue on the Vietnam war written for the Word Front Festival, 2015, published by Azul Press, 2016

Nominations and Prizes:

  • 1997, Citibank Prize for Economic Journalism, for grand reportage on the social fall-out of the privatization of Capital Steel in Beijing
  • 1996: Nominated for KBC-Press Prize for grand reportage on Chinese migrant who settled in Belgium and who travels home for the first time in seven years.
  • 2012: Silent Stories was awarded ‘Best Documentary’ -award in both Quito and Montreal
  •  2013: the art of becoming is awarded the ‘Best Documentary’-award at the Festival des Libertés in Brussels and the Prize of the RTBF.


  • December 1999- February 2000: Aids in Africa, International House Brussels, later shown in other venues in Belgium. Text provided for the work of colleague photographers (with whom we did the series in the paper)
  • March -September 2007: People’s Republic of Desire, Chinese Pavilion in Laken, near Brussels, texts for series which led to the book, text accompanied the work of the photographers
  • August-October 2008: Koen Wessing, pictures from China, Utrecht, Holland, Central Museum, text and conference, in August 2009 Wessing’s book was published with my texts, at Voetnoot Antwerp/Amsterdam. Exposition in the Amsterdam Photo Museum.
  • June 10th to September 12th 2010: Facing Brussels, a photographic and literary exploration of the many worlds that constitute the extraordinary diversity of Brussels, from tourists and commuters to eurocrats, homeless people, migrants and Brussels natives. BELvue Museum, Brussels
  •  November 23rd 2011-January 29th 2012: The past is a foreign country, the story of eight unaccompanied minors in Belgium. A phographic and literary exploration in BELvue Museum, Brussels
  • September 2013: Nadine Stijns, Floating Population, a set of columns to accompany the pictures of Chinese rural migrants in Stijns publication/show in Antwerp.


  • 24/4/2014: Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce, Marriott Hotel, Ghent, opening speech
  • 24/2/2015: Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce, China Event at Sheraton Airport Hotel, opening speech
  • 8/03/2020: Carte Blanche tour at the House of European History, Brussels