Monday, May 31, 2010

Tom Rippe joins the Today team!

The Today team would like to extend a warm welcome to Tom Rippe who is joining the Today crew on a full time basis from next week.

Tom Rippe at his first 'Today' editorial meeting

Tom, who is currently the host of CRI's People in the Know program, will be taking over from Chris Gelken who will be leaving China Radio International at the end of this week to take up an editor/anchor position with the news team at TVB in Hong Kong.

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?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Farewell to Katie

This week we bid farewell to a friend and colleague, Katie Fischer.

US native Katie joined the Today team after a stint with CRI English as a reporter, who was, in the words of Today host Xu Qinduo; "An excellent researcher, active team player, capable organizer, who also brought so much fun and liveliness to the rest of the team.... we'll miss you."

Katie Fischer in the Today studio

What is it that we'll miss the most? Well, for our team reporter Sabrina Zeng; "I gonna miss you and your fearless laughter. All the best!"

Our intern, Rachel, put together this thoughtful little going away card that we posted in the office - and now on the Today blog for everyone to enjoy!

Katie's going away card from Rachel

For her part, Katie handed out a bagful of little gifts of her own. Inscribed in the flyleaf of a nifty little reporters notebook Katie gave to Chris were the words; "We've had a lot of interesting conversations over the past year. Looking forward to many more!"


Best of luck Katie,

from Chris and the Today team.

Media Ethics (Or, Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story)

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!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today button!

At no small expense, the Today team have procured a limited edition supply of 'Today' buttons... tastefully modeled here for us by regular guest, Victor Gao.

Victor Gao and the 'Today' button!

So how would you get your hands on one of these magnificent and exclusive fashion accessories? All you have to do is join us in the studio for one of our panel discussions. It is that simple!

'Today' button detail

So check out the list of upcoming topics in the sidebar, and if there is something you can contribute to, drop us a line!

Keeping China's schools safe

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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?

Monday, May 24, 2010

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!

Friday, May 21, 2010

China's Nouveau Riche!

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!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today in the international media!

It is always nice when someone links to our shows. We were particularly happy to see regular contributor Ian O'Neill spreading the word in the following two articles. Enjoy!

Are we alone in the universe? (Discovery News)

Did aliens hijack the Voyager 2 space probe? (Christian Science Monitor)

Shanghai Expo-sed - North Korean Pavilion

Another newcomer to the Expo circuit is the DPRK, otherwise known as North Korea. The two Korean characters (조 선) on the front of the pavilion are pronounced 'Chosun' - which how the locals describe themselves.

DPRK Pavilion - Photo: Mary King

Our roaming reporter, Mary King visited the pavilion and got some valuable insights into Korean politics and culture.

Tower of Juche (Self Reliance) - Photo: Mary King

For starters, Mary learned all about 'Juche' or self reliance - the essential political philosophy in the North.

DPRK stamp in this visitor's Expo passport - Photo: Mary King

In a wide ranging report on the pavilion, Mary shared with us her impressions of some of the displays.

Copy of cave painting - Photo: Mary King

Ancient funerary ceramic artifact in the North Korean Pavilion - Photo: Mary King

Mary told us that by pure coincidence the North Korean Pavilion was next door to the Iranian Pavilion. Obviously we should not imply anything from this, other than perhaps the organizers thought that they might be happy to be on the same axis?

For the full report, tune in to Mary King at the North Korean Pavilion!

Homegrown terrorism in the United States

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!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shanghai Expo-sed! The Happy Blogger

The Organizing Committee of the Dutch at the Shanghai Expo recently ran a competition with the theme, 'The Happy Blogger'

Today's on the scene reporter, Wang Ling met with the organizers to find out what it was all about.

Wang Ling and The Happy Blogger

Happy Birthday, Xiaohong!

Our hard working producer, Lv Xiaohong celebrated her 21st birthday (again) today. Now we all know that ladies can be a little coy about their age, so the single candle on the cake signified 'beginning'! And since this is the beginning of the second year for Today, we all thought it rather appropriate!

Lv Xiaohong, Producer of Today

Many happy returns on your birthday!

(BTW, the cake was delicious!)

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

Photographs from the Palestine Pavilion - Shanghai Expo

Further to yesterday's post Shanghai Expo-sed, Palestine Pavilion - our reporter on the spot, Mary King, sent us some terrific photos.

Typical Palestinian living room. Photo: Mary King

Photo mosaic of Yasser Arafat Photo: Mary King

Interestingly, in the above photo you can see some plain white spaces. These are where photos that the Israeli delegation to the expo found objectionable. The Palestinians were requested to remove them. For the full story, listen to Mary's interview with Chris (link above).

Volunteer at the Palestinian Pavilion Photo: Mary King

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shanghai Expo-sed! Palestine Pavilion

For the first time in the Expo's history, Palestine has its own pavilion. This was quite an achievement in and of itself, but as CRI's Mary King reports from Shanghai, its appearance wasn't without some minor controversy.

Mary describes what the pavilion has to offer, and as a former resident of the Middle East, offers some interesting insights into what visitors to the pavilion will see and experience.

Mary King, The Palestine Pavilion

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.

Breathless in Badaling or Gasping on the Great Wall!

Our plucky colleague and good mate, Dominic Swire, went above and beyond the call the of duty this past weekend when he participated in the annual Great Wall Marathon.

Dominic Swire

Well, we can hear you say... very admirable for sure since the run raises all sorts of funds for good causes and so on. But what makes his effort so worthy of note that he gets a post of his own on the esteemed Today blog?

Let us tell you.

Dominic lugged his recorder along with him and produced what we all thought was a splendid report - on the hoof as it were. As he jogged along China's historic masterpiece he painted a picture of the event, and even managed an interview with another runner!

All in all a lot of fun, and well worth a listen. So click here for Dominic and Breathless in Badaling, or Gasping on the Great Wall!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sino-US Ties - Mending fences.. or tearing fences down?

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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Aliens in our midst...

After a fascinating and fun panel discussion where we asked the question: Aliens - Are we alone in the universe.. the crew of Today enthusiastically held their own investigation into what these aliens might actually look like.

Our team reporter, Sabrina, thought that aliens would probably wander around the universe with two pens stuck behind their ears.

Chris obviously wasn't convinced.

And let's face it; he should know.

More Shanghai Expo-sed!

The Japan Pavilion is one of the most popular pavilions at the Shanghai World Expo, with crowds
of up to 20,000 people per day queuing outside the site. Our intrepid reporter Mary King has been inside and spoke to us about the experience... (spoiler alert.. quite a bit of really fun robot stuff!)
CRI's Mary King and the crew of Today!

The Shanghai World Expo may be a stepping stone for closer economic ties between the host city and its sister city of Montreal. Both cities have agreed to prolong the familial relationship beyond its 25th anniversary. Our reporter Wang Ling spoke earlier with Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Alien Life - 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?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tricycle Taxis

While we were talking about alternative energy vehicles today, Chris got to thinking about 'alternative' vehicles. He was reminded of some video he shot on his old N95 camera-phone about a year ago outside the subway station at Babaoshan.


These three-wheelers (gas and electric) ferry commuters from their apartments to the the local subway - scattering pedestrians as they go. A familiar sight to all of us who work at the factory!

Alternative Energy Vehicles - Glorified Golf Carts?

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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shanghai Expo-sed! Chile and EU

The European Union Pavilion has an ambitious goal to illustrate the 27 member states as a whole, as well as to depict the changing environment of Europe. Adhering to the Expo's core theme - Better City, Better Life - the EU pavilion also conveys the message of 'quality life' that it has achieved in cities throughout the union.

Today correspondent Wang Ling caught up with Marie-Paule Benassi, the Deputy Commissioner General of the EU Pavilion to learn more. Listen here!

Meanwhile, Today co-host Jen Steffensen tracked down Gloria Cid, the First Secretary of the Embassy of Chile to find out what not to miss at Chile's pavilion. Listen here!

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Commentary by Rev. 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.

We welcome contributions and comments from our guests - and indeed our wider audience. It is important to point out, however, that the views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the team on Today.

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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome to Rachel - Today's new intern!

The Today team has a new intern! We'd all like to extend a warm welcome to Rachel Zhou Jingnan.

In her own words: "Hello, I'm Rachel. I'm a graduate from the Beijing Foreign Studies University and I'm an intern for now. I appretiate the opportunity of joining the big family of CRI because I've been dreaming of becoming a broadcast host. Despite of working for only a day or two at CRI, I've already found people extremely friendly and nice here. I think I'm going to fall in love with it really quickly".

Well good luck, and we hope your dream comes true!

Beating Beijing's 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.

Well, a couple of weeks ago we asked the experts, Dr. Yulin Jiang,Director of the China Urban Sustainable Transport Research Center at the Chinese Ministry of Transport, and Mr. Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, senior transport specialist with the World Bank.

You can take a listen to Beijing Traffic on this MP3 link (Hour 1)

One of the issues raised was how user friendly Beijing's subway stations were to those who wished to 'park and ride' - in Chris' case, park the bike and ride the subway.

So this morning he rode his clunky old fold-a-bike the almost 3-kilometers to the station only to find - aghast - parking spaces for a dozen or so cars and no facilities for bikes! Not what you'd expect in a city once famous for its bicycles!

Chained to the fence in Yonganli.

Outside Babaoshan

At the end of the subway commute in Babaoshan, the situation wasn't much better. A row of bikes chained up to the fence outside the station. Now technically this is actually illegal. Not very encouraging is it, especially not with Chris' known predilection to hug every tree in sight and somewhat ambitious plans to save the planet?

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)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First Year Anniversary (1)

Today is celebrating its first year on the air. On Friday 7th, we invited some special guests into the studio to discuss the general state of media here in China, and how it can be perceived overseas.

(Left to right) Chris Gelken, Xu Qinduo, Mark Hughes, Patrick Chovanec, Xie Tao

We were joined on the phone by regular contributors Denis Campbell and Joy Chen.

Patrick Chovanec & Xie Tao

Chris Gelken

Xu Qinduo

Mark Hughes

Patrick Chovanec & Xie Tao

For a downloadable MP3 of the discussion, click here!

Friday, May 7, 2010

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.

Our panel:

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)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

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 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.

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:

Derek Humphry, President of the Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO)

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

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shanghai Expo-sed! - USA Pavilion

The six-month long Shanghai Expo is approaching the end of its first week. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be going behind the scenes to speak to the people who made it happen, who're running the show, and who've enjoyed (or otherwise) the experience!

In the first of our series on Shanghai Expo-sed we caught up with Frank Lavin, the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the US Pavilion.

Listen to what Frank had to say during this interview about the opening ceremony, and how the US managed to 'Rise to the challenge' when at one point it appeared they would be a significant absentee from the event!

To learn more about the mammoth steel structure (than many thought would only be a tent) visit the official USA Pavilion Expo 2010 Shanghai website.

Meet the crew

We thought you might be interested to meet the team that bring's you Today - the first of what will probably end up to be scores - if not hundreds - of photographs!

(Front) Xu Qinduo, Peng Jingting, Katie Fischer, Jen Steffensen
(Back) Wang Ling, Chris Gelken, Sabrina Zeng, Lv Xiaohong

We'd like to meet you too. Send us some of your pics to todayonbeyondbeijing (at) gmail dot com - and we'll throw some of them up here, or perhaps even create a Today listeners blog!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Welcome to the Today on Beyond Beijing Blog!

To celebrate our first year anniversary, the team at Today are becoming more interactive!

To mark the event, we've produced a brand new promo featuring some of our top guests from the past year - listen here!

In the coming days we'll uploading audio links to many of the wonderful things people have been saying about Today - here's regular Today guest David Moser, academic director CET Beijing.

From this week we'll also be posting upcoming program themes, photos, interesting and amusing soundbites from our crew and guests, useful links, trivia, and our individual thoughts on life in general!

We also invite you to participate in the program by joining us on air via GTalk on Gmail - we'll be logged in via todayonbeyondbeijing (at) every day from 10am to midday Beijing time!

Listen live on the internet at and chat to us during the show!

You can also keep up to date with what we're doing by joining our Twitter feed - - sign up Today!