Thursday, August 07, 2008

ABC: Bob Woodruff: "China Inside Out"

On Aug. 6, ABC Primetime presented a one hour report by Bob Woodruff, “China Inside Out.” The show emphasized China’s own need for imports from third world countries.

For example, the show started with a discussion of Chinese investment in Angola, particularly the off-shore oil industry. The report mentioned that American companies like Exxon have been able to operate there (at one time a Portuguese colony) despite political instability. The report showed Chinese men living in cramped hot dormitory-like quarters for oil and other jobs.

The report went on to discuss China’s imports from Brazil, especially of soy material. Because Chinese cities have been expanding (especially Chongqing, as in Ted Koppel’s earlier report) there is less arable land in China than there used to be. China may one day have to import close to half its food. The program featured spectacular footage of the Sao Paulo harbor areas.

Next, the report covered China’s past links to Cambodia. Back in the late 70s, the Khmer Rouge forced a policy of ethnic cleansing, trying to remove the Vietnamese, as documented in the 1984 film “The Killing Fields.” The film showed some of the remains of the fields. China was complicit with these efforts. There is an interesting Yale blog entry that deals with this history, here.

The report concluded with a discussion of the reasons why China’s population is so hardworking and willing to work for low wages to make exports.

Bob Woodruff, Gabrielle Tenenbaum, Susan Schaefer, and Meena Hartenstein have a report on ABC’s site, Why Every American Should Care About China: The Emerging Superpower Is Forging Relationships Where the U.S. Isn’t,” link here. The headline page at ABC reads "Is a Powerful China Good for the U.S.?"

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