Changing China

Giant on the move

Snapshots of a China in flux

February 12, 2009

Not so many weeks ago, selecting a name for this newly rechristened blog would have been a snap.

The ideas came pouring in, with variations centered on the rising might of China’s economic powerhouse, fresh from memories of Beijing’s triumphant hosting of the Olympic Games and following years of double-digit economic growth that have made China the world’s third-largest economy after the United States and Japan.

How quickly the picture can change. Now, business confidence is plunging and even government forecasters are warning about the risks of social unrest from rising unemployment as the export sector wilts. The government has rushed out a $585 billion stimulus program in hopes of keeping GDP from slipping below 8 percent, but private economists think even that may be overly optimistic.

The image of an ascendant China has not entirely lost its currency, of course, but the sudden, sharp slowdown in economic growth from its breathtaking pace of 13 percent — albeit still the fastest of any major economy — favoured a more neutral moniker for our China blog. And So we selected “Changing China,” which more accurately encompasses the rapid swings of fortune in this mighty nation of 1.3 billion people.

We invite readers to engage with us on the many issues touching today’s China, with snapshots that will be addressed in blog entries by dozens of Reuters reporters and editors in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and elsewhere. These issues will include, but won’t be limited to, the income gap between urban and rural workers, the policy tug of war over efforts to maintain sufficient economic
growth while also making progress on cleaning up an environment ravaged by single-minded pursuit of profits. It will also touch on prospects for continued opening and reforms, on intellectual property rights as well as real estate and other market stimulus plans. There will be light-hearted anecdotes that focus on quirky observations of lifestyles, sports, entertainment. The list is nearly endless, because practically every aspect of life in China is in flux.

We hope this blog will introduce perspectives and viewpoints that may not make it into our regular Reuters news stories but which nonetheless will maintain the sense of balance, fairness and objectivity you can expect from Reuters. We invite you to engage in this dialogue, with comments, opinions, suggestions and other feedback.

So join us in capturing the events that have put this vast nation in transition.


When it comes to reporting on China by main stream western media, “balance, fairness and objectivity” is definitely hard to come by, especially on the issues like Tibet and human rights. Western media, even with their expats living in China, some for years and years, seem to be severely handicapped in their understanding of the issues. However, the comments sections for the blog, assuming you really allow different points of view, can provide some needed balance.

Posted by Zhaoeu | Report as abusive

The process of a foreigner describing a big country like China (or India or Russia) is like the legendary blind men describing the elephant. China is a country with 56 different minorities – each with different culture, history, language and point of view. The people in the North, South, East & Western part of China are very different from one another in terms of the culture, language and standard of living. China has only been a modern nation since the time of Deng Xiao Ping in the 1970s when he expounded the tenets of modernisation for China and opened up the country to the West.

Even for foreigners who lived for a while in China and speak Mandarin – they too are confounded by Chinese history, culture and diversity – just like the legendary Blind Men. If you ask any foreigner to describe China – each will have a different story or perspective depending on who, where, what, when and how.

It will be good to get different perspective from readers who has lived and worked in China and is fluent with Mandarin and Returning Chinese from overseas – who is fluent in English and can provide a different perspective to Westerner about their homeland.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

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