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Koppel Discovers China’s New Economy

Jun 18, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With the Beijing Olympics less than two months away, the world’s eyes are turning to China.
Among the many aspects of the world’s changing relationship with the communist giant is China’s embrace of doing business with the West, particularly the United States.
Former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel, who has been doing work for Discovery Channel since leaving ABC News, takes a look at a changing China in a series of reports entitled “Koppel on Discovery: The People’s Republic of Capitalism.” The project was a year in the making and filmed in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
The first part, called “Joined at the Hip,” airs July 9 at 10 p.m. It takes a look at how the American and Chinese economies are irreversibly intertwined. While people complain that trade with China costs American jobs, Mr. Koppel talks to economists who say the U.S. is $70 billion richer each year thanks to business conducted with China.
The second part, “MAOism to MEism,” airing July 10, looks at Chongqing, a booming industrial city of 13.5 million people that most Americans have never heard of. It’s populated with people who have moved in from rural areas, which is causing big changes in Chinese culture.
Part Three, “The Fast Lane” on July 11, looks at the ramp-up in auto use and road building in China. American companies have been selling lots of cars in China, but may soon be facing competition from low-cost Chinese automakers who hope their models also will be in American showrooms next year.
The final installment airs July 12. “It’s the Economy, Stupid” looks at how the booming economy has lifted 300 million Chinese people out of poverty. But there is a downside led by pollution, corruption and a lack of human rights, because while the economy is becoming more capitalistic, the country is still ruled by the Communist Party.
“Koppel on Discovery: The People’s Republic of Capitalism” is produced by Mr. Koppel with executive producer Tom Bettag, who helmed “Nightline” when Mr. Koppel was anchor. The series is dedicated to associate producer John Alexander, who died suddenly at age 26 in Chongqing while working on the series.

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