Monday, 31 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 31st - Iran: Is it really about the alleged nukes?

A recently signed accord commits Iran to transfer 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to Turkey within one month. In exchange, 120 kilograms of more-highly enriched uranium will be supplied within a year to Iran, where officials claim it is needed to produce medical isotopes. On the surface this should have gone a long way to resolving the nuclear issue but quite the opposite is true.

Xu Qinduo, Li Hong, Hua Liming, Chris Gelken

To share their knowledge and insights we had the pleasure to host:

Li Hong, Secretary-General, the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association
Hua Liming, former Ambassador to Iran
Prof. William O. Beeman, Department of Anthropology, Minnesota University
Soraya Ulrich, Independent Analyst on US Foreign Policy

There is far more to this story than what you are seeing on CNN, Fox or the BBC - for the complete background, listen to Iran; Is it really about the alleged nukes?

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Friday, 28 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 28th - Media Ethics

Virtually all professions or occupations that have a direct interaction with the general public are held accountable by a set of rules - and are often held legally accountable. But what about journalists - the traditional and now the new 'internet' journalist - what set of rules hold them accountable for their actions?

Xu Qinduo, Liu Chen, Chris Gelken

On Today's panel:

Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, Rogers Communications Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism, Adjunct Professor, School of Graduate Studies School of Journalism, Ryerson University, Canada, Former NPR Ombudsman (2000), Currently the Executive Director of Organization of News Ombudsmen. On the board of the International News Safety Institute. Co-authored the Ethics Guide for Public Radio for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa

Dr. Liu Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Director, Centre for Intercultural Studies, School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University

For valuable insights into media ethics from different parts of the world, listen to the lively debate here; Media Ethics (Or, Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!)

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 27th - China's Consumer Culture

Some analyses say that with a decline in exports because of the global financial crisis, China needs to put more focus on its domestic consumption - and that means developing or refining its domestic consumer culture. So what is China's domestic consumer culture like? What are the major influences? Where is it today, and where is it heading?

Xu Qinduo, Mike Bastin, Chris Gelken

On today's panel:

Mike Bastin, Marketing and Research Methods Lecturer, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Ben Cavender, Associate Principal, China Market Research Group, in Shanghai

Xu Qinduo & Mike Bastin in the studio during the panel discussion

Some of the fascinating insights made during the show:
  • Younger generation focused on spending and lifestyle, savings rates are on the decline in China.
  • Foreign goods still perceived as better quality, safer, but Chinese goods are improving their image among Chinese buyers.
  • The perception remains that foreign goods are better quality, safer, but Chinese goods are improving their image among Chinese consumers.
  • In China marketing, over-reliance on TV commercials and under-reliance on digital marketing.
  • Need more market research on consumer personalities in Chinese.
  • How to look rich China-style: Buy a Starbucks coffee, save the cup, and keep refilling it with tea.
Download or listen to the entire program here: China's Consumer Culture

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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 26th - School Campus Attacks

A recent spate of attacks on school children captured headlines in a country where such acts of random and mass violence were relatively unknown. Today we'll be asking what could be the possible motives, could they have been avoided, and what can be done to prevent future attacks.

Xu Qinduo, Victor Gao, Chris Gelken

On our panel:

Victor Gao, Director of China National Association of International Studies

Joshua Miller, Ph.D. Professor, Chair of Policy Sequence, Smith College School for Social Work

Prof. Huang Jing, Visiting Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Listen to this lively and robust debate here: Keeping China's schools safe

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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 25th - Is sovereign debt the new sub-prime?

Are we heading into another financial crisis triggered by government debt? Some economists think the time to act to prevent a crisis is now, others think that we've pretty much already passed that point and we should be into damage control already with governments tightening belts and introducing unpopular austerity measures. Today we ask the experts!

Xu Qinduo, Huang Ying, Chris Gelken

On Today's panel:

Huang Ying, researcher with Economic Security Research Center in China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Uri Dadush, senior associate and director of Carnegie’s International Economics Program

Lex Rieffel, Professor in George Washington University; Former U.S. Treasury official and author of Restructuring Sovereign Debt

For the full, frank, and fascinating panel download the MP3 file: Is sovereign debt the new sub-prime?

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Monday, 24 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 24th - Prosecuting Somali Pirates

Since the beginning of this century, piracy off the coast of Somalia has presented an increasing threat to shipping. There is now an international fleet in the area offering some measure of protection - but hijackings still occur. But the question of what happens to pirates after they are captured by international forces still remains to be adequately answered. Today we ask the experts.

Xu Qinduo, He Wenping, Chris Gelken

On our panel were:

Prof. He Wenping, Director of African Studies Section, Institute of West Asian & African Studies (IWAAS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

Peter Eichstaedt, a veteran journalist on African affairs. The author of an upcoming book titled "Pirate State: Inside Somalia's Terrorism at Sea"

Douglas Burnett, an international maritime legal expert, Partner of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey

Among the points raised:

- A strong deterrent against attack would be merchant ships with strong defenses, armed guards and barbed wire strung around the hull.

- Piracy problem can't be left up to Kenya alone - international community must share the burden of prosecuting pirates.

- Peter Eichstaedt says there is a growing number of indirect links between pirates and terrorist groups in Somalia

- Douglas Burnett says creating an international tribunal to handle piracy cases is too impractical, would take years.

Listen to the full panel discussion here on Prosecuting the Pirates!

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Friday, 21 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 21st - China's Rich!

According to the annual Hurun Report, by the end of this year about 875,000 people in China will each possess at least 10 million yuan – that’s about 1.7 million US dollars – in assets. That is an increase of 6 percent from last year. So what has made this lucky group immune from the global recession?

Xu Qinduo, Patrick Chovanec, Johnson Chng, Chris Gelken

On Today's panel were:

Paul Maidment, Editor of, and Executive Editor, Forbes

Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University

Johnson Chng, Partner of Bain & Company, Head of the firm's Financial Services

To hear what they had to say about the nouveau riche in one of the world's fastest growing economies - how they made their money, how they are spending it, and how they are investing it, take a listen to China's Nouveau Riche!

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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 20th - Homegrown Terrorism

Security officials in the United States appear to be in general agreement that any major terrorist attack on the US could just as easily be the work of an American citizen, as opposed to foreign nationals, as was the case in 9/11. Today looked at homegrown terrorism in the United States, and asked the experts why some Americans are becoming radicalized?

Xu Qinduo, Da Wei, Chris Gelken

Da Wei, Deputy Director of American Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, Senior Fellow and Director Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Program, CSIS | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Prof. David Schanzer, Associate Professor of the Practice for Public Policy. Director, Triangle Center of Terrorism and Homeland Security in Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University

Download and listen to Homegrown Terrorism in the United States on Today!

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 19th - Living with HIV

China has lifted an entry ban on people living with HIV. This follows similar moves earlier this year by the United States and South Korea. So what is it like these days for an individual living with HIV - and how far has China come in respect to the way it regards people living with HIV over the past decade?

Xu Qinduo, Wu Zunyou, Mark Stirling, Chin-Yih Ou, Chris Gelken

Contributing to this fascinating debate were:

Mark Stirling, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in China

Wu Zunyou Director, China National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, China CDC

Chin-Yih Ou, PhD. Deputy Director for Laboratory Sciences, Global AIDS Program in China, US CDC

Ron MacInnis, senior advisor, International AIDS Society

Among the many interesting facts raised during the discussion:
  • In the mid-90's most new HIV infections in China were from drug use. Now 44% are from heterosexual sex and 33% from homosexual sex.
  • Educating the population of men having sex with men about HIV will be the next biggest challenge in China.
Listen to the complete debate: Living with HIV

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 18th - Thailand on the brink

Thailand is known globally as 'The land of smiles' - but few people are smiling these days as the death toll in street clashes edges higher day by day.

Almost eighteen years to the day since the events of Black May in 1992 - Thai politics have once again erupted into violence in the capital Bangkok. The events this month are eerily reminiscent of those almost two decades ago. We'll be taking a look at the comparisons - and asking the experts what lies ahead for troubled Thailand.

Kan Yuenyong, Director Siam Intelligence Unit Co., Ltd

Col.Teeranan Nandhakwang, Ph.D. Deputy Director of Strategic Studies and Research Division, Strategic Research Centre, National Defence Studies Institute

In our panel discussion, Thailand - The Crisis Continues, our guests pointed out some significant differences between the unrest of 1992 and today's violence. They also expressed concerns that unless a resolution is found quickly, the situation could spin out of control and may even trigger a civil war.

From the archives, here is a commentary I wrote on Black May back in 1992 - and dug out for another airing in 1998. Black May on American Politics Journal.

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Monday, 17 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 17th - Sino-US Ties

As two of the world's largest economies with huge amounts of trade and investment between the two sides, it's not really surprising that the United States and China sometimes butt heads over certain issues. With cooperation and not direct competition as the key to successful ties, we'll ask the experts just how well equipped the two sides are for this relationship.

Xu Qinduo, Victor Gao, Chris Gelken

Join our guests for a robust and lively debate Mending fences - Sino-US Ties!

Victor Gao, Director of China National Association of International Studies

Albert Keidel, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council of the United States. Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Public Policy Institute

Michael Zhang, Political commentator and Los Angeles based attorney.

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Friday, 14 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 14th - Aliens - Are we alone in the universe!

It is a question that has fascinated man for thousands of years; Are we alone in the universe? And if there is other intelligent life out there, what do they look like, how advanced are they, and will they like us - as comparable intelligent beings, or as a potential food source! Today asks the experts, is there anyone out there?

Xu Qinduo, Prof. Douglas C. Lin, Chris Gelken

On our panel:

Ian O'Neill, Space Producer, Discovery News

Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Prof. Douglas C. Lin, director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University

Among the predictions made during the program were assertions that we could expect an announcement regarding the existence of another blue planet like Earth "within the next few months."

The show was great fun, and packed with amazing facts and some quite astonishing data. Listen to the MP3 - Alien Life - Are we alone in the universe?

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 13th - Alternative Energy Vehicles

The Chinese government is set to release a set of measures to stimulate the research, development and production of alternative energy vehicles. China hopes to become a global leader in electric vehicle technology and production. Today asks what is the future for alternative energy vehicles - and are they really as environmentally friendly as their supporters claim?

Xu Qinduo, Klaus Paur, Chris Gelken in the Today studio

Or, are they just glorified golf carts?

We put the questions to the experts:

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

Dr. C. C. Chan, Co-Founder and President of the World Electric Vehicle Association; Fellow of Royal
Academy of Engineering, U.K; Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering

Download and listen to the MP3 Alternative Energy Vehicles (hour 1) for an informative and often fun analysis of the future of alternative energy cars.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 12th - US Immigration Debate

As the Obama administration struggles to get support for immigration reform, the US state of Arizona has passed tough new legislation targeting illegal immigrants. The Arizona laws have been met with widespread criticism from Liberal groups, but are apparently popular with much of the general public.

We enjoyed a lively debate with expert and enlightening comments from:

Jan C. Ting, Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Grant Sovern, Immigration attorney at Quarles and Brady and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School

Gary Chodorow, Attorney; Chief Representative at Frederick W. Hong Law Offices- US immigration law, Publishes:, a Beijing blog about U.S. visas and immigration law.

Download and listen to this fascinating debate on a pressing problem: US Immigration Row

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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Nightmare ZOA - Commentary by Stephen Sizer

The Rev. Stephen Sizer joined Today on Beyond Beijing for Monday's panel discussion on the unique relationship between the United States and Israel.

Based in the United Kingdom, Stephen got up at 3am to join the show. After a few hours sleep, he penned the commentary Nightmare ZOA - in which he shared his thoughts on the show.

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 11th - Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon - Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

On April 20 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and set off a gusher of oil that threatens an ecological disaster. How did the accident happen, who is responsible, and what are the consequences?

Our panel of expert guests painted a grim picture of what might lie ahead for the coastal residents of Louisiana - and say contingencies for this sort of disaster were pretty much non-existent.

Prof. Ed Overton, Professor Emeritus - Louisiana State U. School of Coast and Environment, Chairman of the Board and Founder of Analytical Specialist Inc. (ASI)

Dr. Frank Alcock, Director of the Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory and one of the chief authors of the Collins Center's oil drilling report-began researching the implications of offshore drilling in early 2010, Associate Professor, Political Science at New College of Florida

Ms. Qian Jingjing, Country Director, Natural Resources Defense Council

Click on this MP3 link to listen to the full story on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster.

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 10th - A very unique relationship

There are few people - if any - who would dispute the fact that the United States and Israel share a unique relationship. In today's edition of the show we asked our guests; how did this relationship come about and how has it prevailed over the years? The pertinent question for many observers is, however, is the relationship not only in the best interests of the United States and Israel, but also in the best interests of other countries in the Middle East?

It was a very robust debate with some strong points raised by all sides... highly recommended.

We'd like to extend our thanks to our guests for their valuable contribution:

David Israel Rosen, CEO China Transition Institute

Rev. Stephen Sizer, Author: Christian Zionism

Steven Goldberg, Chairman, Zionist Organization of America

Listen to A unique relationship on this MP3 link (Hour 1)

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Just for fun - Anti-Social Media for Dogs

Brian gets some Twitter action....


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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 7th - UK Election Wrap

UK election serves up a 'hung' parliament.

It was always going to be a tight race - and everyone has an opinion why. Britain went to the polls on May 6th and a surprisingly high turnout of voters returned an inconclusive result. No clear winner means Britain now faces a period of political trading to form a coalition. In today's show we dissected the campaign and put the main players under the microscope.

Denis Campbell, Editor&CEO,

Mark Hughes, Executive business editor, China Daily

Iestyn T. Davies,
Political Commentator

Linda Kennedy, Freelance Video Journalist

Listen to the audio:
UK Election (Hour 1)

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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - May 6th - Euthanasia, the right to choose.

We have the right to live in dignity, shouldn't we also have the right to die with dignity? The question over euthanasia has many political, ethical, social, and religious implications. On Thursday, May 6th, Today asked the experts, should we have the right to decide for ourselves when we die, and under what circumstances?

On the panel were:

Prof. Zhai Xiaomei, Director of Center for Bioethics, Peking Union Medical College

Prof. Qiu Renzong, Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Prof. Jocelyn Downie, Faculty Associate in the Health Law Institute, Chair in Health Law and Policy, Dalhousie University

You can listen to the entire debate on this MP3 Audio: Euthanasia - The right to choose Hour 1

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This story has legs... Or these legs have a story!

Without a doubt, Beijing is one of the most fascinating places to live. The sights, the sounds, the smells!

But coming across these brightly decorated mannequin legs outside the subway station next to the office was certainly one of those "Now you don't see that every day" moments.

But the question begged: Where did they come from? Who was the creative installation artist who decided that the Babaoshan Subway station needed a little colour?

Apart from becoming something of a hit on Facebook, by the next day the legs had migrated to the roof, providing a very welcome splash of vivid - almost psychodelic - colour to the daily commute to CRI (China Radio International), our place of employment that I like to refer to as 'the fool factory'.

But alas, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the avant-garde. On Thursday morning a local council worker was spotted making off with the now famous legs, only to park them unceremoniously behind the station.

Stay tuned for more updates on the hottest pair of legs in Babaoshan.

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Shanghai Expo-sed! - USA Pavilion

The Today team are putting together a series of interviews with the movers and shakers of the Shanghai Expo 2010 - with the theme, Shanghai Expo-sed (catchy little title eh?)

The first in the series has been posted to the Today blog:

Frank Lavin, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the USA Pavilion explains the trials and the triumphs of bringing the USA to the 2010 Expo!

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 5th - The World Bank; A wolf in sheep's clothing?

A critic of recent voting reform at the World Bank says the institution will continue to be overwhelmingly dominated by rich countries. Yet developing countries represent over 80 per cent of the world's population and Bank's membership. So the question begs, what was the point of the so-called reform?

Our expert panelists had some very strong opinions on the issue!

Hugo Restall, a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Xu Yiping, School of International Trade and Economics, University of International Business and Economics

Prof. Cao Heping, School of Economics, Peking University

Audio: World Bank; A wolf in sheep's clothing? Hour 1

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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Shirley Han Ying's Online Photo Archive

A preview of many of Shirley's fine photographs from around the world can be found here, hosted by Apple's

The files are relatively small to allow for a fast load.

Photos from Ghana, Crete, South Korea, Egypt among many other places, it is well worth a visit!

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 4th - Korea Crisis

The sinking of a South Korean warship with a heavy loss of life has escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The North denies any involvement, but authorities in Seoul are not convinced. Is there a way out of this crisis?

Terrific input from our panel of experts:

Da Wei, Deputy Director of American Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

Prof. Ho Yeol-yoo, Korea University

Prof. Shen Dingli, Fudan University

Audio: Korea Crisis (Hour 1)

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Monday, 3 May 2010

Vulgar Rich Scorned By Aspiring Middle Class in China

A commentary by Chris Gelken

What does it mean to be middle-class here in China?

Well, like most things, it depends on whom you ask and how you frame the question. But one thing seems quite apparent: It is one of those things you might aspire to, but are unsure how much of a blessing it is once you get there.

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Today on Beyond Beijing - May 3rd - Sino-French Relations

Sino-French relations have been in the cold room for the past couple of years, but there's been increasing evidence of a warming - marked by the visit to China of French President Nicholas Sarkozy. We'll ask the experts where the relationship is now, and where it is heading.

Reuben Wong, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor of Political Science, Hong Kong Baptist University

Xing Hua, Research Fellow, Director of Centre for European Union Studies, China Institute of International Studies

Audio: Sino-French Relations (Hour 1)

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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Today on Beyond Beijing - First Year Anniversary

"Today" is CRI's first live-to-air news magazine show. With in-depth panel discussions on domestic and global news and current affairs, Today gives you the story behind the headlines. Our expert guests share their views and debate the issues - a locally produced program with a distinctly international flavour.

This week we're celebrating our first year anniversary!

The Today team have consistently broken new ground, setting the standard for all other news and current affairs programs. Join us on Friday 7th May for our One Year Anniversary show.

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Today on Beyond Beijing - April 29 - Twitter is not a toy!

What can you say in 140 characters? Social media platforms like Twitter are increasingly becoming a reality of our daily lives, but are they really effective business and marketing tools? We ask the experts.

Denis Campbell, Editor & CEO,

Dan Brody, CEO of Koolanoo Group

Benjamin Joffe, Managing Director, Plus Eight Star Ltd

Audio: Twitter is not a toy (Hour 1)

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Today on Beyond Beijing - April 28 - International Adoption

In recent years there has been a marked increase in the number of comlplaints made against international adoption agencies alleging they misled prospective parents - either deliberately or accidently. There are laws in place to protect both sides - and of course the child. But how effective are they?

Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) at Harvard Law School, author of "Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting."

Tom Difilipo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Joint Council of International Children's Services

Audio: International Adoption (Hour 1)

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Today on Beyond Beijing - April 26 - Beijing Traffic

It is a problem every major city has to deal with, it is just that some deal with it better - or more ruthlessly - than others. We're talking about traffic congestion and what needs to be done to strike a working balance between public and private transportation.

Dr. Yulin Jiang,Director of the China Urban Sustainable Transport Research Center at the Chinese Ministry of Transport

Mr. Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, senior transport specialist with the World Bank

Audio: Beijing Traffic (Hour 1)

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