All Eyes on China
T minus two weeks to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in China. Amid the media throng, several Crimson correspondents offer insightful reports.
Like many of his peers, Tang couldn't figure out why foreigners were so agitated about Tibet—an impoverished backwater, as he saw it, that China had tried for decades to civilize. Boycotting the Beijing Games in the name of Tibet seemed as logical to him as shunning the Salt Lake City Olympics to protest America's treatment of the Cherokee.See also this piece on Zou Shiming, the captain of China's national boxing team and the first boxer in Chinese history to be considered a contender for an Olympic gold medal; and this one on the "national scramble" to learn English in time for the Olympics. For further reading on contemporary China, the New York Times recommends Out of Mao's Shadow, a new book by Philip Pan ’93, former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post (also mentioned in the Off the Shelf column in the current issue of Harvard Magazine). And coming out October 7 is Factory Girls by Leslie Chang ’91, who spent 10 years in China with the Wall Street Journal. The book explores the lives of migrant workers, taking readers "inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monklike devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place." The China Beat blog has an essay by Chang about the experience of writing the book. And in this feature from the May 2008 issue of National Geographic, Chang zooms in on China's middle class and the pressures that accompany economic growth.
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