Wednesday, August 01, 2007

**** China Road by Rob Gifford

An enthralling and illuminating tale as you ride shotgun with NPR correspondent Rob Gifford along his nearly 3000 mile journey across the heart of China. The people, the geography, the food, politics and history all come alive - with a bit of humor . This is a must read for 2007.

Most westerners need to pay more attention to China’s problems because there could be crunch coming. The less the Communist Party deals with its pressing social problem and political problems now, the bigger that crunch will be if it comes. pXVII

Are the skills of Chinese software engineers really as good as those of their American counterparts?... Can you really become a player in the knowledge economy if you restrict your teaching and flow of knowledge? P70

The word democracy leads us to attribute certain advantages to India that don’t necessarily exist. Similarly the word dictatorship leads us to attribute terrible things to China that don’t necessarily exist there. P72

You’re twice as likely to lose a child in India before age 5 than in China… There is only a 60% chance that you can read, while in China the chance is 93%. If you are an adult woman, that goes down to 45% in India, and 87% in China. Per capita income is double in China than India’s. And life expectancy is 9 years lower in India (63 vs. 72). P73.

China has the highest rate of female suicide in the world, and it is the number 1 cause of death for women aged 18 to 34. p74

I find it scary that 2000 years of history might have done nothing to change the political system of a country. Imagine a Europe where the Roman Empire had never fallen, that still covered an area from England to North Africa and the Middle East, and was run by 1 man in Rome backed by a strong army. There you have roughly, ancient and modern China. P102

One reason why there is still so much attention paid to education in China and in all Confucian based societies is because there is no aristocracy, just as there is in the similarily meritocratic society of the US. Europe, where the university was historically a preparation for the church or finishing school for the hereditary upper classes. When I told people in Europe that I was going to attend graduate school in the US, the response was generally ‘Why? Haven’t you been in school long enough?’ No Chinese or American would ever ask such a question. P106

China produces 35% of the world’s coal, but reports 80% of the world’s mining deaths (over 5000 annually). And those just the ones reported. This is over 100 times the rate in America. P134

There is a dept of the Police that enforces the family planning laws in China. They go to the woman’s house and if she will not come, she is taken to the clinic by force. They make no exceptions, even if a woman is 8 months pregnant when discovered to have violated the rule. She is forced into giving birth to a still born (murdered) baby from her womb. P180

Some Chinese characters are made of interesting combinations of radicals (picture symbols). A pig under a roof is the character for home. A woman with a son is the character for good. P236

1 comment:

hcg said...

The post is very nicely written and it contains many useful facts. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us.