Clean air: This is what Indian cities can learn from China. But will they?

I lived in Beijing for seven years between 2002 and 2009. During that time, visits to India invariably included conversations with aunties who while not usually environmental in their outlook, delightedly commiserated about China’s toxic air. “Oh ho! Such terrible pollution. Tch! Tch!” Having spent years being dumbfounded by our northern neighbour’s miraculous economic growth…
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The Smoke Signals From China

For China watchers, the popular TV series, ‘Game of Thrones’, is but an anaemic trifle when compared to the backroom intrigue and power play expected at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The Congress will begin on October 18, accompanied by platoons of analysts in paroxysms of tea leaf-reading, attempting…
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Shinkansen: India and Japan’s Silver Bullet for a Rising China

The inauguration this week of India’s first high-speed rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmadabad, using Japanese technology and financing, has a geostrategic significance that transcends its economic worth. It amplifies the growing closeness between India and Japan at a time when both nations are struggling to find their footing in an Asia being re-fashioned by…
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An alliance on track: on the bullet train project

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad this week, the bilateral agenda will range from issues of maritime security to nuclear energy and trade. But at the centrepiece of their summitry will be the inauguration of India’s first high-speed rail corridor from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, to be developed using…
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Despite government, public complacency, appalling pollution leading to “airwakening”

Globally, China and air pollution remain synonymous. I lived in Beijing between 2002 and 2009, when visits to India invariably included conversations with aunties delightedly commiserating about China's toxic air. "Oh ho! Such terrible pollution. Tch! Tch!" This tone of schadenfreude stemmed from the fact that after years of marveling at China's economic ascent, Indians…
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Delhi, where even China’s pollution fades into insignificance.

Having grown up in perennially polluted New Delhi, smoggy skies were so unremarkable to me that I didn’t even notice anything was awry in Beijing for years after moving there. Till a spring morning in 2006. It was an ordinary start to the day in most respects. I ate a quick breakfast of jian bing,…
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Moving between Beijing and Brussels, “Choked” draws parallels for Delhi

A month after the Olympic Games, our baby boy was born in a Beijing hospital. First-time parenthood engendered a siege mentality in us. We moved out of the charming but less-than-hygienic hutong neighbourhoods we had lived in for six years, and bunkered down in the double-glazed safety of the Diplomatic Compound. We began to navigate…
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The Foreign Correspondent

My first foreign posting was in Beijing, for the Hindu. This was from 2002 to 2009, when the city was remorseless in its embrace of a glass and chrome version of modernity. A steady stream of friends from India used to visit. I’d pick them up at the airport and take them by cab down…
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Leftover Women by Leta Hong Fincher

I lived in China for seven years between 2002 and 2009. My first impressions of the capital city, Beijing, were a mosaic of images and scents: dazzling sheaths of glass and chrome that reared up into the sky; the whiff of jasmine rising from steaming cups of tea; old men in Mao jackets taking caged…
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Strange Stones by Peter Hessler

THE CHINESE LANGUAGE has a way of transforming the familiar into the off-kilter. A location like Wyoming, for example, mutates into Wai Er Ming. The line between the uncommon and the mundane is easily breached when languages, cultures, and peoples collide. And it is these transgressions that tie together the wide-ranging chapters of Strange Stones:…
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