Wednesday, August 10, 2011

China squared

Winston Churchill once referred to the former Soviet Union as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. He was looking for some key to understand that nation. Today, as China rises, we seem to looking for a similar key. A kind of unified filed theory of China that will enable us to better and more simply understand the nation and it’s people. The problem is, it is a nation and a people who thrive on contradiction. A yin and yang that for almost every analysis there seems to be an opposite.  Like the story of the blind man and the elephant, where each part that you touch gives you a different picture of the whole, so to with China, its mammoth scale makes it hard to see the whole.

The China we mostly see and talk about is the urban China; Beijing, Shanghai and dozens of other huge cities. These are critical in showing China to the world, as the Olympics did. But still there is also rural china. A place untouched by China’s progress, Almost another country of a billion people.

Two recent conversations portray both sides of China. First Tom Scocca  gives us the urban view in Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future, and Mike Levy takes us deep insight into rural China in Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion

My conversation with Tom Scocca:

My conversation with Mike Levy:

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