Reading Round-Up: October 31, 2010

Today’s reading round-up is in a somewhat different format from the one we generally use: instead of just listing links, we’ve first grouped our reading recommendations around two broad topics that have been in the news lately, then included some stand-alone stories at the end.

Haibao Packs His Bags
The 2010 Shanghai World Expo is now over, after six months, 73 million visitors, and heaps of press attention. Adam Minter at Shanghai Scrap, who has been covering the Expo since long before the entrance gates opened, has devoted the past week to event wrap-ups at his blog. See his interviews with Zachary Franklin, Malcolm Moore (who calls the Expo “a distinctly unimaginative, uncreative, uninteresting event”), and Juan Pablo Cavelier, Director of Colombia’s pavilion; Minter’s thoughts on the Urbanian Pavilion; and his latest post, “Why Expo 2010 Mattered.” Marta Cooper, an initial Expo cynic, ruminates on the same question at her blog, . . . in Shanghai. And China Digital Times has links to several news reports about the Expo’s end.

This is a topic of particular interest here at China Beat these days, as editor Maura Cunningham went to India in September (and wrote about her trip here) and consulting editor Jeff Wasserstrom traveled to Delhi in late October (his thoughts on China-India comparisons are here). But many other people are looking at the relationship between the two countries as well. At the Middle Order blog hosted by the Hindustan Times, Reshma Patil asks “Indians or Chinese: Who Gives More?” and also considers how India is “The Distant Neighbour” in the minds of many Chinese. At The Hindu, Ananth Krishnan discusses a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report on “national competitiveness” that places China in the 17th spot and India at #42, but which also observes that China should learn from India’s strengths in categories such as rule of law and cultural preservation.

During the Commonwealth Games in Delhi earlier this month, China-India stories abounded as reporters tried to decide how the CWG compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Chris Devonshire-Ellis looks such stories and has this to say:

At the end of the day, despite all the criticism and the inevitable comparisons with China, India’s Commonwealth Games have proven a success for a country still adapting and emerging from decades of neglect and disarray. They weren’t perfect, but India will learn from this and will move on. India’s Commonwealth Games worked. They represent a platform for a newly resurgent nation, and as such, showed off India’s capabilities rather well.

For more on that topic, at the Business Standard, Pallavi Aiyar writes “A Tale of Two Games,” while at the Hindustan Times, Pranab Bardhan considers how the CWG and Olympics both shed light on the national political cultures of their host countries.

Bits and Pieces
An update to the calendar of events we posted last week: a fourth “Capital Conversation” has been added to the schedule at Capital M in Beijing. The talk is scheduled for November 28 and will feature Kaiser Kuo and David Wolf discussing “Brand China.”

Southern Weekly recently published “You Set a Good Example,” discussing a former Red Guard’s apology, last week, and an English translation can be found here.

At Cinema Scope, Tony Rayns discusses Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew (for which he did the English subtitles) and the challenge that Chinese directors face in finding foreign audiences for their films.

Christina Larson looks at China’s “Inscrutable Shoppers” as she reviews Karl Gerth’s new book, As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything, at Washington Monthly.

The Economist Intelligence Unit got in touch with us to help spread the word to China Beat readers that they can now receive one free country briefing from the EIU, detailing the economic, environmental, and political climate of one’s country of choice. See here for more information.

Finally, if you’re at home with the kids one rainy afternoon and looking for an arts-and-crafts activity, why not build some paper buses? Paper Bus Connection has templates for buses from a variety of Chinese cities, which can be printed, cut out, and glued together. Add a few hundred Matchbox cars to recreate a Beijing traffic jam in your own home.

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