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A textured look at modern China

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There’s lots of news each day from and about China, but it’s rare that any of the broad brushstrokes we read and hear in the news introduce us to real people grappling with real issues.

This is why I happily and hungrily devoured a great new book, Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land.  What is it like for low-wage immigrants trying to survive in China?  What is the state of religious practice there?  How about a look inside a factory that makes….art?

I spoke to co-editor Angilee Shah about the book, and focused on two themes in particular: The quest for money, which Chinese say is the mantra of life there.  And an issue everyone in Los Angeles can relate to: Traffic.

Here’s a chapter preview, and here’s our conversation: