Superpower China - and the future of investigative journalism
A sleeping giant
This weekend Over To You enlists two listeners with a particular interest in China to review a major new four-part series on that nation's incredible growth and its subsequent impact on the rest of the world. China: Shaking the World, presented by the irrepressible business expert Michael Robinson, certainly didn't leave our listeners short of things to discuss.
Like EXTRAORDINARY FACT NO.1: five years ago China had no high-speed railways; today it has more than all of Europe, and by the end of next year it will have more than the rest of the world put together.
Or EXTRAORDNARY FACT NO.2 : 150 million Chinese people are believed to have moved to work in coastal factories - the biggest migration in human history.
Or EXTRAORDINARY FACT NO. 3: From a standing start last year, China will be making a third of all the world's laptops by next year.
The list goes on but the series attempts to look beyond these great economic leaps forward to analyse how the Chinese leadership has achieved this, the effect on ordinary citizens of these dramatic changes and the reaction of global competitors like Japan and the United States to China's single-minded approach to growth.
Listen to Over To You to see if our special reviewers think China: Shaking the World offers new insights into an already well-documented phenomenon.
Dangers in the dust
Also: investigative journalism is dead - long live investigative journalism! A ground-breaking partnership between the BBC and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists produced a major new series of reports on the sale and use of asbestos around the world - in spite of the ban on asbestos in many countries because of concerns about its carcinogenic properties.
We talk to Anne Koch, Deputy Director of the World Service, and the Director of the ICIJ, David Kaplan about how this painstaking, expensive and legally hazardous investigation came about. And at a time of cost cutting in the media world, it is heartening to hear David being so optimistic about the future of this endangered journalistic genre.
Plus apologies from a top World Service executive to complaints from irate listeners in Dubai who recently had the FM broadcast of their beloved station abruptly removed ...all because of money apparently.
Maybe the BBC should ask the Chinese to build some new improved super-fast transmitters to replace the current leased equipment and wavelengths in the UAE... you can bet your bottom dollar (or yen) they would get it done, and in double quick time!
Rajan Datar is the Presenter, Over To You
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