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China's Challenges

"China's Challenges" won a 2016 Los Angeles area Emmy Award in the category of Best Crime/Social Issues Programming.

Check your local station's schedule for dates/times in your area.

In the second season of China's Challenges, we follow renowned China expert Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, author of How China’s Leaders Think, as he examines China’s complex problems and vast transformations.

China’s Challenges explores with unique access and in cinematic detail how China is tackling critical issues, including disparities in wealth and education, social clashes, severe pollution, competing priorities, and tensions between China’s rich traditional culture and its rapidly modernizing society. 

“China's Challenges” is co-produced by PBS SoCaL and The Kuhn Foundation in association with Shanghai Media Group (ICS). Created, written and hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Executive Produced by Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Wang Jianjun, Adam Zhu, Brenda Brkusic, Mel Rogers. Co-Executive Produced by Sun Wei, Wang Lijun, Peter Getzels. Series Director and Producer Peter Getzels. Coordinating Producer Zhu Xiaoqian. Associate Produced by Kelli Serena and Chen Bing. 

For PBS SoCaL, Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions, Brenda Brkusic; Station Manager, Ed Miskevich; General Manager and COO, Andy Russell; President and CEO, Mel Rogers; Program Development Coordinator, Michelle Merker.

Series Highlights

  • Episode 201 - Can China be Harmonious? 

    Migrant workers have poured into cities, creating dangerous social gaps. Severe imbalances threaten stability. How can all citizens have equal benefits and rights? Why do ‘left-behind children’ suffer? Why do cities need ‘urban order’ enforcers?

  • Episode 202 - Can China be Beautiful?  

    The Chinese economy has developed extremely rapidly, but at a very high cost to its environment, which is suffering extreme degradation. We travel down China’s mother river, the Yangtze, investigating dreadful water, soil, and air pollution.

  • Episode 203 - Does China's Civilization Matter? 

    Do China’s traditional values clash with China’s reform, development and modernization? We consider Confucian thought and practice, Western classical music in China, and Chinese modern art and architecture. 

  • Episode 204 - How Strong is China?  

    We explore symbols of China’s growing and diverse strengths: deep-ocean submersible, domestic auto brand, modern ‘silk road’, and hybrid rice. Even as its economic power continues to grow, China’s power still faces high hurdles.

  • Episode 205 - How Modern is China?  

    We examine examples of China’s modernization challenges: farmers transformed through land transactions and entrepreneurship, the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone, and reforms in Chinese education, including science and technology. 


PBS SoCaL Contact

  • Brenda Brkusic, Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions for PBS SoCaL 

Press Materials 

Station Relations

Publicity and PR


Program History

Visit the China's Challenges Season One webpage


Providing Support for PBS SoCaL