Saturday, 27 February 2010

A Talent to Inspire

Our latest video short for a local non profit - A Talent to Inspire has now been posted to our website

It can also be viewed (with the transcript) here on the CRIenglish website.

"CAI is a Chinese character, is three simple strokes. And it means talent, human talent. And for us, it's really something that represents how we can turn something as simple as children into something great."

"We really represent values. We want to build up children from the inside out. So human talent is really something great, and the symbol of CAI is what we want to use because it's so simple."

Judy Shen is the founder of CAI, a non-profit that works with the children of migrant workers. From humble beginnings, it has now touched the lives of an estimated 100,000 children.

"CAI actually started as a stand alone project. It started out as a summer camp, it was something that I felt compelled to do, but it was also a format where I felt by myself I could put it together. And so, it started out as a need I saw in the community. There were just so many migrant children here when I first started. I didn't really have a long-term vision in terms of making it into an organization. But as a result of our first summer camp, and the really positive input we received from volunteers and from teachers, as well as the children. We just felt compelled to continue."

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Friday, 26 February 2010

'Today' February 26, 2010 - China's Middle Class

Are you middle class?
The definition of middle class in China is very vague. According to a survey by China Newsweek, 70 percent of the interviewed so-called "middle class" based on their occupations, incomes and educational backgrounds do not admit that they are in this category. Why? Well as we learned, they are suffering from something of an identity crisis and feelings of insecurity!

Steven W. Lewis, Ph.D. Professor in the Practice, Asian Studies, Rice University
David Moser, Academic Director, CET Beijing Chinese Studies
Zhang Jun, 张军COO,Horizon Research Consultancy Group
Dr. Beibei Tang, Australian National University

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'Today' February 25, 2010 - Australia's New Immigration Rules

Justifying new immigration rules, Chris Evans, Australia's immigration minister, recently remarked that the country had been attracting too many hairdressers and cooks and too few doctors and engineers. Who are going to the losers and winners of a new immigration policy?

Interestingly enough, the former firebrand anti-immigration politician Pauline Hansen is quitting Australia - to emigrate to Britain! A few choice remarks about her in the following panel discussion that featured:

Shu Leung Samson Wong, Wong Sam & Chin
Laurie Berg, Lecturer in Law, University of Technology, Sydney

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

'Today' February 24, 2010 - Stimulus Package Comparison

The global financial crisis left governments around the world scrambling to find ways to revive their flagging economies, remain competitive, and stimulate growth. In today's program we took a look at the different ways governments spent their stimulus money - and which approaches worked the best, and which didn't really achieve their goals.

Some fascinating points were raised, and finally the Chinese currency issue was put into some perspective that even a layman with no understanding of economics (read Chris) could understand!

John Attanasio, Dean, Dedman School of Law – SMU
Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody's
Pro. He Ping, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

'Today' February 23, 2010 - Ukraine Election Crisis

Defeated election candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has refused to recognise Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine's new president and she has promised to consolidate a parliamentary majority against him. According to Tymoshenko, Yanukovych "came to power on the back of lies and will not stay in power long". Her remarks come, amid fears that the country is heading into a prolonged political crisis.

If you have an interest in Ukraine or in how this crisis might play out, then you should listen to this discussion.

Zhu Honggen, researcher at Ukrainian Section of Institute of Russian, East European & Central Studies(IREECS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences(CASS)
Ambassador William Taylor, former US ambassador to Ukraine from 2006-2009, currently, Vice President of US Institute of Peace, Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations
Anders Aslund, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

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Monday, 22 February 2010

'Today' February 22, 2010 - Mother Language Day

The culture sector of UNESCO recently published a chilling report asserting that more than half of the world’s 6,000 languages are endangered. It pointed out that 96 per cent of the world’s languages are spoken by just four per cent of the world’s population, that 90 per cent of the world’s languages are not represented on the internet, that one language disappears on average every two weeks, and that 80 per cent of African languages have no universally recognised written form.

How and why does this happen, and what’s the impact of this loss of languages on the social and economic structure of a country?

To share their insights we were joined by:
David Cotter, M.Phil, Ph.D.,Academic Director, Aihua Foreign Languages Academy
Min Bista, Program Specialist for Education, UNESCO Beijing Office
Carolyn Temple Adger, Director, Language in Society Division, Center for Applied Linguistics

MP3 Audio: Mother Language Day

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

'Today' February 19, 2010 - UK Election Teaser

Britons will go to the polls on or before June 3rd this year to elect a new government. Are they going to return the Labour Party for a fourth consequtive term, will we see a return of the Conservatives, or are we heading for a period of political stalemate with no clear winner?

Informative, humorous and often irreverent panel discussion with special guests:

Terence McManus, Editor: China Hospitality News
Mark Hughes,Executive business editor, China Daily
Dominic Bradbury, Owner and CEO FatBoy IT Consulting and operator of the website
Denis Campbell, Publisher/Editor at

MP3: UK Election Teaser

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'Today' February 18, 2010 - You are what you eat!

You are what you eat. But there is a lot of diversity out there - and to coin another expression - one man's meat is another man's poison - pretty much illustrates the fact that what might be acceptable, or even prized in one culture, might be shunned in another.

Take a listen to this fun and frequently funny panel discussion with special guests:

Jay Weinstein, Author of "The Ethical Gourmet"
David Moser, Academic Director, CET Beijing Chinese Studies
Lillian Chou, Food Editor, TimeOut Magazine, Beijing

MP3: You are what you eat!

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Friday, 12 February 2010

'Today' February 12, 2010 - Is America for sale?

The United States Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that - at least according to critics - has effectively opened the door to foreign money entering US politics through corporate campaign contributions. It has also allegedly made it possible - in theory - for a corporation to become a candidate in an election. Have the critics got it wrong?

Listen to this fascinating and robust debate and decide for yourself if America is for sale to the highest bidder!

Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University

Qian Liwei, researcher at Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Dr. Liu Youfa, Vice President of China Institute of International Studies

Denis Campbell, Editor and CEO of

MP3 Audio file Is America for sale?

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Fear of failure stifles Chinese innovation, for now

Posing the question "is today's China an innovative society" generated a flood of convincing and well-supported arguments. The responses ranged from "Yes, absolutely" to "Absolutely not."

The "naysayers" will admit that historically China was once the center of the scientific and innovative world.

For thousands of years, Chinese scholars were at the cutting edge of ingenuity. By the 16th century, however, China seemed to have run out of new ideas. The Middle Kingdom locked the doors, shuttered the windows and went into hibernation.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and the fruits of 30 years of reform and opening-up to the West, China is now the world's largest auto market, the world's No. 1 exporter, and is quickly overtaking Japan as the world's second largest economy. Surely this took innovation?

No, say the critics. China achieved its phenomenal success by essentially becoming the world's factory. Importing, licensing or copying technology, the critics say, does not make an innovative society. Entrepreneurial? Yes. Enterprising? Yes. Innovative? No.

Read more in The Global Times

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

'Today' February 11, 2010 - China's Energy Security

China's dramatic growth over the past 30-odd years has been accompanied by an equally dramatic rise in the need for energy. So where is China placed in terms of energy security, and these days with so much focus on the environment and climate change, where does China rank in terms of energy efficiency?

Zhou Dadi, former Director, Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission

Zha Daojiong, Prof. from Peking University, member of the state energy expert commission

Dr. Xavier Chen, Chair of Energy Working Group, European Chamber of Commerce in China

Steven W. Lewis, Ph.D. Fellow in Asian Studies, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Associate Director, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Studies, Professor in the Practice, Asian Studies, Rice University

MP3 Audio File: China's Energy Security

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'Today' February 10, 2010 - Going Home

It is Spring Festival. The main festival in China's Lunar Calendar. Marked by fireworks and happy family reunions. Yes, true. It is also the time of overcrowded railway cars, horrendous queues to buy tickets, essential gifts you can't afford to buy, stress, anxiety. So why do countless millions of Chinese put themselves through it every year?

I guarantee you'll be intrigued and sometimes amused by the anecdotes of our special panel of guests.

Prof. Andrew Kipnis, Co-editor “The China Journal”, Anthropology Of Contemporary China Centre, Australian National University

Prof. Zang Yingnian, social activist

Prof. Wang Jiaxiang, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Prof. Teng Jimeng, Beijing Foreign Studies University

MP3 Audio File: Going Home

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'Today' February 09, 2010 - Sino-Japan History

It has been said that China and Japan have more things in common than things that separate them. It has also been said that the 50 odd years from the end of the 19th century until 1945 should be viewed in the perspective of the thousands of years the two countries enjoyed cooperative relations.

We invited Yang Daqing, Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University to talk to us through the events of the First Sino-Japanese war through to 1945.

For history buffs, this is absolutely fascinating.

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'Today' February 08, 2010 - Sino-US Relations

Last year we were celebrating 30-years of diplomatic ties between the United States and China. We had scores of stories about how well the relationship was progressing – it really was something of a “love fest” or mutual admiration society. Over the space of a couple of weeks, all that seems to have changed.

How much of the rhetoric is just a show for respective domestic audiences? And what external factors are having an impact on the relationship? We asked the experts?

Prof. Xu Hui, National Defense University

Liu Youfa, vice Director of American Studies Center, China Institute of International Studies

Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow and Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation

Dr. David Finkelstein, Vice President, CNA & Director, CNA China Studies

Listen to the MP3 - Sino-US Relations

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Friday, 5 February 2010

'Today' February 05, 2010 - Square Pegs, Round Holes?

Some college grads are reluctant to join local Chinese companies because they are wary of the established hierarchy - and think it will stifle their creativity and ambition. On the other hand, many of them don't do so well in more open Western MNCs. Why?

Take a listen to this fascinating panel discussion where our experts share our opinions on the recruitment, employment and office culture here in China. If you are doing business here in China, then this panel discussion is for you!

Jerel Bonner - Principal Owner Sharpening Axes Corporate Training Consulting

Tim Farey - Director, Asia Business Development, Apprise Software

Sam Goodman - Serial Entrepreneur and author of "Where East Eats West."

Audio MP3 file: Square pegs, round holes?

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Iran may be next target - Global Times, Beijing

After Iraq and the continuing struggle in Afghanistan, the Western public is tired of war. Despite the unwavering support for Israel among Washington's neo-conservative power elite, even they would be unable to sell the idea of another protracted and expensive conflict based only on Israel's inability to deal with Hamas militants in Gaza and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. That simply won't happen.

Read the full article here in The Global Times

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Washington 'provoked' by worms in space

Iran’s claim that it launched a research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms into space generated a predictably swift and sharp response from Washington. The White House described it as a “provocative” act.

President Obama apparently remarked that it is not too late for Iran to do the right thing, “Come to the table with the international community and live up to its international obligations.”

All this brouhaha over a mouse, two turtles, and a couple of worms? There has long been speculation that Washington’s position on Iran has been shaped by pro-Israel lobbyists, but now are we supposed to believe that the White House has fallen under the influence of PETA? (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

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'Today' February 04, 2010 - START Strategic Nuclear Weapons Treaty

A somewhat delayed deal has been struck between the United States and Russia to set new targets for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START. There were fears that the two sides might not be able to reach an accord, and while agreement in principle has been reached – it still needs to be ratified, and there are plenty of opportunities for partisan politics to get in the way and delay ratification. For example, the Republicans may be unwilling to give Obama a foreign policy success ahead of crucial mid-term elections.

Much of the talk from Moscow and Washington before, during and now, post-talks sounded more like Cold War rhetoric and not the kind of language you would expect between two countries trying to improve relations. Russian political affairs analyst Alexander Pikayev put it bluntly - "We are not friends."

He and Zhai Dequan (翟德泉) Deputy Secretary-general, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association agree the missile defence shield proposed by the Americans (and the issue that threatened to derail the talks) probably has less to do with providing a defence against rogue missiles from Iran or North Korea - and more about a long term strategy to maintain an American military presence in Eastern Europe to contain Russia.

MP3 Audio File: Disappointing START

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

'Today' February 03, 2010 - African Union Summit

The African Union was established in 2002 and replaced the Organization of African Unity. Its charter says it would work for closer political integration – and through united efforts, attempt to change the image of Africa as a country at war, run by dictators, and plagued by coups. Well, eight years on, what progress has it made?

Ayo Johnson, Specialist on African Affairs based in London

Edith Ofwana Adera, Senior Programme Specialist, International Development Research Centre, Co-Author of "Gender and the Information Revolution in Africa"

Antoine Lokongo, an African journalist based here in Beijing

Fascinating and robust panel discussion.. listen to the MP3 file here: African Union Summit

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'Today' February 02, 2010 - Disappointment in Davos

Common sense would suggest there is inestimable value in having the best and the brightest from the business and political world get together in a relatively informal setting to discuss the major issues. Two and half thousand delegates were in Davos – and the broad consensus is: The global economy is still not completely out of the woods. That’s the best they could come up with?

Prof. Huang Yiping, Peking University

Dr Zhao Changhui, Chief country risk analyst at the Export and Import Bank, China

Prof. He Ping, Tsinghua University

Prof. David Feldman, professor of economics at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virgina

MP3 Audio file: Disappointment in Davos?

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'Today' February 01, 2010 - Afghanistan's Future

A conference last week in London brought together about 70 countries involved in post-war reconstruction and aid to the government of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Today will be taking a look at what was – and what wasn’t – achieved at the conference, and what lies ahead for the war battered country.

Fascinating take on recent developments by:

Philip Smucker, Independent journalist and filmmaker and author of "Al Qaeda's Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Trail"

Prof. Wu Bingbing, Peking University

Gao Zugui, Director of Institute of World Political Studies, CICIR

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'Today' January 28, 2010 - Is Iran Next?

The threat of military action against Iran over its nuclear program has hung over the Middle East for a number of years. Does Iran pose a “clear and present danger” to US or global interests? What would be the basis for a military strike and what would be the consequences? Today threw the question out to:

Ambassador Hua Liming, fmr Chinese Ambassador to Iran

Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University

Soraya Ulrich - Independent researcher on US foreign policy and writer

Stephen Sniegoski - Author of 'The Transparent Cabal - The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel."

MP3 Audio File: Is Iran Next?

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'Today' January 25, 2010 - Google China

The threat by internet search giant Google to close its China operations has attracted widespread attention to say the very least. Is this very public spat between Google and Beijing about morals and human rights, or is it about business – and what some might describe as Google’s failure to garner the market share it was aiming for?

Well, we asked:

Victor Gao, Director of China National Association of International Studies
Wei Luo - Founder and CEO, China-US Entrepreneurship Academy LLC
Siva Vaidhyanathan, associate professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia
Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University

And to hear what they had to say: Google China

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'Today' January 21, 2010 - Obama's First Year

It has been a year since Barack Obama moved into the White House. ‘Today’ has brought together a panel of experts to share their report card on the president’s first twelve months. Abject failure, or as good or even better than anyone could have expected under the circumstances?

Denis Campbell, Editor&CEO,

Christopher Exline, Chairman of Republicans Abroad Hong Kong, and President of Home Essentials

Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University

Prof. Li Qikeng, Beijing Foreign Studies University

MP3 Audio File: Obama's First Year

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'Today' January 20, 2010 - Is China Innovative?

What is innovation? What is the innovative society that the government keeps urging companies here to create? According to one expert, all breakthroughs in business come from innovation – creating something better, cheaper, faster, or more efficient. The question is, does China have a talent for that?

To help us answer that question, we invited:

Denis Fred Simon, PhD,School of International Affairs, Penn State University,Co-author of "China's Emerging Technological Edge"

Douglas Fuller, Lecturer of International Business and Comparative Management, King's College London

MP3 Audio File: Is China Innovative?

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'Today' January 19, 2010 - China's Auto Sector

China has now overtaken the United States as the world's number one car market. The market grew by a staggering 46 percent in 2008 - and according to some industry analysts, China is set to explode into the United States with some innovative models. We have the experts here to answer the question, what is the future for China's auto industry?

Bill Russo, President of Synergistics Limited

Klaus Paur, Regional Director Automotive North Asia of TNS Research International China

Zhang Jianping, Director for International Cooperation, Institute for International Economy, National Development and Reform Commission

MP3 Audio file: China's Auto Sector

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'Today' January 18, 2010 - War Reporters

A British journalist wrote on reporting war: quote, "then, I had to wonder was it worth the risk: sitting in the back of a Warrior, taking the chance of not coming home, rolling a dice with the IEDs and their fondness for ripping off people's legs." I think it's a question many people asked: is it worth it?

'Today' asked:

Yousef al-Helou - Television journalist, Gaza

Hong Man, Senior Reporter, Xinhua News Agency, former correspondent in Ramallah

Mark Nicholls,News editor on the Eastern Daily Press. Embedded with RAF during Gulf War, other embeds with troops in Afghanistan, Journalist of the Year for his reporting from the Gulf.

MP3 Audio file: War Reporters

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'today' January 13, 2010 - Future Society

It is not uncommon these days to read stories about sportsmen and women using steroids to enhance their performance, or of students and scholars using caffeine pills or ADD medications to give them that extra edge. But science and technology is rapidly moving beyond these essentially primitive stimulants - but how far beyond are we already, and how far should we go?

To give us the insight, we invited:

Natasha Vita-More,Theorist and new media artist, has a masters of science (MSc) , masters of philosophy (MPhil), a certified sports trainer and nutritionist, and is currently writing her PhD dissertation on radical human enhancement.

Cyrille Jegu, Accelerator of Change toward Sustainability

Max More,Strategic Philosopher,The Proactionary Project, Extropy Institute

MP3 Audio file: Future Society

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'Today' January 11, 2010 - Free Trade

Conventional wisdom would suggest that free and open trade - trade without artificial or protectionist barriers - would be good for business. So why are announcements of Free Trade Agreement negotiations often met with protests? Why is anti-globalization becoming the "cause celebre" at economic and trade meetings around the world?

We asked the experts:

Prof. Bryan Christopher Mercurio, Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr. Tu Xinquan, Associate Director and Associate Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of University of International Business and Economics

Mark Hughes,Executive business editor, China Daily

MP3 Audio File: FTAs

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'Today' January 8, 2010 - Space Tourism

British entrepreneur Richard Branson is now offering people the chance to go into space – at the incredible, knock-down price of just 200-thousand dollars – which is quite a reduction from the approximately 20-million dollars that recent space tourists have been paying. But how long will it be before “normal” people will be able to enjoy a view of the world in zero gravity?

'Today' brought together a panel of experts to answer the question:

Douglas Mallette - Systems engineer working for a Houston, TX company providing technical services to NASA for the Space Shuttle, and author of "Turning Point"

Dr Ian O'Neill, Space Producer, Discovery News

Download and listen to the MP3 Audio file: Space Tourism

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'Today' January 7, 2010 - The Causes of Terrorism

Speaking as a UK citizen – I can remember the days when checking in for an international flight was only marginally more troublesome than getting on the Cross Channel Ferry from Dover to Dunkirk. And as for being a target of terrorism – well apart from the IRA, and maybe a few Cypriot EOKA holdouts – the Brits had no natural enemies if you like. All that has changed. Why?

'Today' invited a panel of experts to help us answer that question

Denis Campbell, Editor&CEO,

Dr. Xu Feibiao, Researcher, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Prof. Xie Tao, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Hassan Abbas, PhD, Senior Advisor, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, author of Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror

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'Today' January 6, 2010 - Iran Political Violence

Since last year's controversial presidential elections, Iran has been wracked with politcal unrest - with hundreds of street protests - both anti and pro government. Many of these protests turned violent with several deaths and widespread property damage. Tehran has accused Western interests of interference. So what is driving the turmoil - and is the end in sight?

'Today' invited a panel of experts to discuss the developments.

Prof. Mohammad Marandi, Tehran University

Prof. Wang Suolao, International Studies, Peking University

Shahab Mossavat, British/Iranian journalist based in London

Patrick Chovanec, associate professor at Tsinghua University

Download and listen to the MP3 Audio File: Iran Political Developments

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