Screenshot of New York Times 'Lens' blog
Words do little to convey the kind of destruction unfettered growth has caused in China. Stories of environmental degradation and displacement are common but fail to show the true, human impact of China’s rise.
Contrastingly, spectacular examples of China’s positive ambition are everywhere; in the mushrooming modern mega-cities as well as events such as the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival; a whimsical Disney-like world made entirely of ice, snow and millions upon millions of Christmas lights. A tourist trap perhaps, but also a testament to the innovative and hopeful spirit of the country.
The following photo essays provide insights into the strange world of China’s yin and yang.
Iceberg, Alaska, photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton/flickr
With the Copenhagen conference on climate change only two weeks away, it remains doubtful whether a legally binding agreement on climate change will emerge. Here a run-down of the (mostly vague) pledges made by key greenhouse gas emitters in the wake of the conference:
Screenshot of the Atlantic magazine, map of China
The Atlantic and Patrick Chovanec have published an excellent region-by-region analysis of China with an interesting historical/socio-political angle.
Too often, Chovanec reminds us, China is seen, analyzed and treated as a monolithic entity, while the truth is much more interesting: “China is a mosaic of several distinct regions, each with its own resources, dynamics, and historical character.”
He divides China into Nine Nations and analyzes the historical character, make-up and challenges of each ‘nation’ in turn. They’ve added a snazzy map to the analysis too. I highly recommend reading the whole text though, it gives invaluable insight into the unique challenge China faces as a historically, ethnically and socially complex country with a massive population and a vast geography.
It’s a learning opportunity and one that proves that with China in particular, myths- both accidental and self-generated- have to be questioned in order to “understand the Nine Nations and the role each of them is playing in shaping China’s future.”
Amen to that.
And if you’re still hungry for more, remember to check out our Special Report on US-China relations.
Obama and Mao T-shirts, photo: Shea Hazarian/flickr
Obama’s three day visit to China is expected to breathe new life into the US-China partnership. With deep economic and financial links, as well as responsibility for 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, the US and China are under immense pressure to deliver on the promise of great power cooperation and progress on a daunting set of challenges.
Photo: Tom Godber, flickr
Migrant integration in Europe is one of the hot topics on the continent, especially concerning Muslims. A number of Muslim immigrants in France arrived from Algeria in the second half of the 20th century due to the colonial relationship that lasted until 1962. In France, and the rest of Europe, its the cultural-religious differences between devout Muslims and the secular majority that gives sociologists and right-wing politicians a lot to write about.
As one of the interesting side effects of globalization, Algeria itself now seems to have some problems with non-Muslim immigrants. There are an estimated 35,000 Chinese who live in the country who seem to be unwilling or unable to assimilate to the cultural norms of their hosts.