Young And Restless In China

Readings and Links

China's Social Transformation China News and Blogs The Environment Politics and Corruption The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

China's Social Transformation

Win in China!
The Atlantic's James Fallows reports on a popular Chinese game show in which entrepreneurs compete for seed money to fund their projects. "Reduced to a moral, Win in China instructs Chinese people that they have chances never open to their compatriots before" -- but also, as one told Fallows -- "The only one I can rely on is myself." The Atlantic has collected Fallows' articles about China and other topics here. Fallows also maintains a blog from Beijing, where he has been monitoring the air pollution in the city in advance of this summer's Olympics.

Redefining China's Families
This spring 2007 Washington Post special report -- four video reports and accompanying print articles -- details the changes China's economic boom has wrought on the traditional Chinese family, women, the elderly and migrant workers. The articles were written by Post Beijing correspondent Maureen Fan, who has also written on Chinese punk rock, the resurgence of Confucianism and the May 2008 earthquake that struck Sichuan province.

Gilded Age, Gilded Cage
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Leslie Chang profiles a middle-class family in Shanghai through the trials of their overscheduled daughter competing for entrance to one of the city's top middle schools. "Freedom is not always liberating for people who grew up in a stable socialist society; sometimes it feels more like a never-ending struggle not to fall behind."

OnPoint Live from Shanghai
The NPR program OnPoint broadcast live from Shanghai April 14-18, 2008. Listen to all 10 hours of programming here, including a segment on "Young China," a segment on the environment with Zhang Jingjing, the lawyer featured in Young & Restless in China, and some lively blog posts by OnPoint host/interviewer Tom Ashbrook.

China News and Blogs

China Digital Times
A lively news portal that collects a range of reports, analysis, profile pieces, photos and video on the nation's social and political transformations. It's run by the China Internet Project out of the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley. The site is sometimes blocked by China's automated Internet blocking system.

The Economist on China
The venerable business newsweekly collects its recent articles about China alongside political and economic data from its Intelligence Unit. Recent articles and data overview are available for free, while archives and full briefings require a subscription.

The English-language Web site of China's state-run news agency.

Business-centered investigative journalism -- at least within the strictures of government oversight -- Caijing has reported on corruption in state-run banks and businesses.
Danwei -- the name refers to work units in state-owned companies -- covers "media advertising and urban life in China." The site also runs Web video about Chinese pop culture under the rubric Danwei TV.

The China Beat
This blog "examines media coverage of China, providing context and criticism from China scholars and writers," including UC Irvine professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom and husband-and-wife China journalists Leslie Chang and Peter Hessler.

This blog is geared more toward those already knowledgable about China, but the site's founder, Roland Soong, is known for translating and publishing Chinese news items in English.

The Environment

Choking on Growth
This 10-part 2007 series by The New York Times tracks the environmental toll of China's rapid development in print, video and interactive features. The first article provides an overview, and subsequent installments address specific issues like water pollution, the Three Gorges Dam and the Beijing Olympics.

China Contributing Two Thirds to Increase in CO2 Emissions
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency's 2008 report on CO2 emissions finds that China's total emissions are now 14 percent higher than those of the United States, although the U.S. is still the largest national emitter on a per capita basis.

Politics and Corruption

China's Leadership, Fifth Generation
Like its burgeoning private sector, China's political leadership is going through generational change, argues Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution in this December 2007 analysis of the 17th Communist Party Congress. One interesting development: the doubling of the number of entrepreneurs serving on the Central Committee. "The rapid increase of relatively young entrepreneurs on the Central Committee suggests that these leaders will likely play an increasingly prominent role in Chinese elite politics in the years to come."

Teaching Political Theory in Beijing
Philosophy professor Daniel Bell writes about his experience teaching at Tsinghua University in Beijing, training ground for China's political elites, in the Spring 2006 issue of Dissent. Bell sheds light on academic censorship and the political views of young Chinese. He later turned his essay into a book, and he revisited the topic in a New York Times editorial in the wake of the May 2008 earthquake.

Corruption Threatens China's Future
"Failure to contain endemic corruption among Chinese officials poses one of the most serious threats to the nation's future economic stability," argues Minxei Pei, director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endownment, in this 2007 briefing paper. Pei estimates that graft and bribery cost China at least 3 percent of its GDP, and he urges the United States to help China stamp out the problem. (PDF, 8 pages)

Corruption and Indignation: Windows into Popular Chinese Views of Right and Wrong
"How is it possible to know what Chinese people think and feel about their government?" asks Princeton professor Perry Link in this April 2008 essay from the American Enterprise Institute's series "Tocqueville on China." Link takes an indirect approach, examining novels, blogs and popular sayings to divine how ordinary Chinese feel about government corruption.

The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

Beijing 2008 Official Site
The official Web site of the Beijing games tracks the progress of the Olympic torch, offers information on the various sports venues and provides updates on Olympic sports in advance of the games.

Out of the Blocks
The New Yorker's Paul Goldberger has high praise for two of the architectural centerpieces of the Beijing games: the National Stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest"; and the National Aquatics Center, or "Water Cube." But he is critical of the toll of the monumental project on the city: "This is an Olympics driven by image, not by sensitive urban planning. It's true that there has been a much-needed and well-executed expansion of Beijing's subway system, but most of the impact of the Olympics has been cosmetic."

Battle of the Beijing Boycotts
Writing in The Nation, UC Irvine professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom compares Western efforts to boycott the Beijing Olympics over Tibet and Darfur with China's counter-boycotts of the French supermarket chain Carrefour and of CNN. "There are connections between all of the boycott debates currently in play. But it is a mistake to treat the boycott of Carrefour and the criticism of CNN as simply a tit-for-tat phenomenon, a case of angry Chinese taking a purely reactive 'if you take aim at our games, we'll take aim at your profits' attitude."

FRONTLINE's On Our Watch Update: China, Sudan and the "Genocide Olympics"
This June 3, 2008, update to FRONTLINE's award-winning program about the genocide in Darfur covers the latest efforts by activists to use the Beijing Olympics to pressure China on its support of the Sudanese government.

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posted june 17, 2008

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