PBS NewsHour Series “China: Power and Prosperity” Explores Today’s China and its Relationship with the United States

ARLINGTON, VA (September 20, 2019) — PBS NewsHour, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, will present a special ten-part series “China: Power and Prosperity,” exploring China and its relationship with the U.S. Starting Wednesday, September 25 and airing through the next week, the series will report on China’s powerful leader Xi Jinping, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the U.S.-China trade and technology wars, Chinese art, China’s young elite, China’s electric car revolution, and the widespread crackdown on Muslim Uyghurs, among other topics. 

PBS NewsHour Foreign Affairs and Defense Correspondent Nick Schifrin, Special Correspondent Katrina Yu, and PBS NewsHour teams around the world conducted more than 70 on-camera interviews in 8 Chinese cities and 7 countries, including Ecuador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Turkey. “China: Power and Prosperity” features interviews with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir, Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, current and former senior Chinese officials, and human rights advocates across three continents. 

Nick Schifrin, Katrina Yu, Senior Producer for Foreign Affairs and Defense Morgan Till, Senior Producer for Foreign Affairs and Defense Daniel Sagalyn, and producer Eric O’Connor contributed to coverage for “China: Power and Prosperity.”

“China: Power and Prosperity” will report on the following: 


Schifrin sits down with Anchor and Managing Editor Judy Woodruff to preview the series.

Xi Jinping 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is the strongest Chinese leader in more than 50 years. Xi has pursued a muscular foreign policy, promised to decrease poverty, and created a cult of personality that has not existed in China since Mao Zedong. Xi’s critics accuse him of launching a campaign of oppression and control.

Belt and Road Initiative 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most expensive infrastructure project in world history. But it’s not only about building railroads, pipelines, and roads in more than 70 countries that need investment. China is also building influence around the world, and the Belt and Road Initiative is the engine that powers that expansion. 

The Trade War

For three decades the U.S. and Chinese economies have been integrated. But the Trump Administration is trying to decouple the world’s two largest economies, and that effort is already affecting consumers and businesses in both countries. Schifrin and Yu report together and speak to Americans and Chinese on both sides of the Trade War.

The New Chinese Rich

Chinese President Xi Jinping calls China the largest “developing nation on Earth,” but China is producing more billionaires than any country. The new Chinese rich are displaying their wealth and throwing around their global economic clout, despite a government campaign to play down one of the largest wealth gaps in the world.

Chinese Technology Part 1

Chinese technology has dramatically modernized China and helped spark the country’s rapid economic rise. Chinese companies and the government are taking advantage of the vast amount of data created by a highly connected citizenry to create social credit scores and the world’s most advanced surveillance. But critics fear that Chinese Big Data is becoming Big Brother.

Chinese Technology Part 2

China is leading the world in 5G, fifth-generation phone technology, allowing Chinese telecommunications companies to export 5G and “smart city” packages of surveillance and data analytics all over the world. Advocates say that it will help revolutionize policing, but the U.S. says “safe cities” are China’s attempt to make the world safe for authoritarianism.

The Art Boom

China has historically produced more than 75% of the world’s art knockoffs. But today China is the second-largest art market in the world, and Chinese artists are selling traditional art to middle- and upper-class buyers who are recreating China’s “cultural aristocracy.”

The EV Revolution

China has historically been known more for the pollution it produces than the gas it saves. But China is now also the world’s largest market for electric cars, and thanks to a government campaign, China’s electric market is forcing both Chinese and international auto manufacturers to go green.


The Chinese government has thrown more than one million Uyghur Muslims into camps that the Chinese describe as re-education centers for people who are terrorists or separatists. Survivors of those camps and international researchers describe the camps as prisons for brainwashing and say China has launched the largest state-sponsored internment based on religion and ethnicity since Nazi Germany.

Hong Kong

For months, Hong Kong residents have protested against their government, demanding the withdrawal of legislation that would have allowed for the extradition of criminals to mainland China. Although the bill was suspended, protestors say they are fighting for fundamental reforms that China promised but failed to deliver. China says it is trying to maintain stability.

The series’ coverage will also extend online and on social platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

About PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, DC, in association with WNET in New York. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF, Consumer Cellular, and Raymond James, with additional support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, Skoll Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit PBS NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.

Media contact: Sydney Cameron, Publicist, scameron@newshour.org