Every year in March in China’s capital city of Beijing, two key political meetings take place: the National People’s Congress and the China People’s Political Consultative Conference. What are the roles of these two organizations in China’s governance? Why are foreign leaders and China observers watching the Two Sessions?
This just might be the biggest global project that you’ve never heard of. China’s Belt & Road Initiative is transforming logistics and connectivity… and gathering critics and advocates of China’s leadership.
Here’s a crash course in what’s shaping development in Asia, Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia in the next 30 years.
My “interview” started with a four-hour tour at the Panda Base in Chengdu, Sichuan, to location of China’s largest panda breeding program. My tour guide, Sherry*, picked me up at my hotel and surprised me with her nearly perfect American accent. I could not help but ask where she had studied. Sherry reveals that, in fact, she is self-taught and learned English by watching and re-watching Gossip Girl and The Big Bang Theory episodes. I was incredibly lucky that tourists were rare this week in Chengdu – normally we would have been accompanied by at least four other tourists. On this tour Sherry and I are alone, free to punctuate talk about the panda breeding program with tactful personal questions. I am incredibly lucky to have been paired with my Chinese counterpart: mid-thirties, five years youthful, and university educated. As we spoke for hours, the conversation progresses into a heart-to-heart on the car ride home, as we are accompanied only by a non-English speaking driver. Sherry opened up about her private troubles: her mother’s nagging …