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February 22, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright February 22, 2009. Used by permission.


In case you are interested in reading more from writers we’ve referenced recently or on topics we’ve been tracking lately, here are a few recommendations from this week.

The New York Times ran a set of commentaries yesterday on “what the Chinese want from Obama,” including commentaries by Michael Meyer and Daniel Bell(links to their previous pieces at China Beat).

Meyer writes about Clinton’s visit to China, and the power she has to shift discussions in China (and the U.S.) about China’s desire for an “American lifestyle”:

Yet as modernizing Chinese cities emulate America’s car-friendly designs — and often employ American architects, but not clean-energy firms to realize it — she could tie China’s urbanization into her broader agenda of engaging Beijing in a partnership to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency, measures that would affect global health and the economy.

“If Chinese want to live the American way of life, then we need seven earths to support them,” the founder of China’s first environmental nongovernmental organization once told me. That impact is of less concern to a government funding large-scale urbanization in the service of economic growth. Planners and officials here often insist, with rightful indignation, that “we have every right to make the same development mistakes that America did.”

Mrs. Clinton could correct that perception with a visit to the hutong the way her husband galvanized AIDS awareness when he hugged an H.I.V.-positive girl at a Beijing speech in 2003.