China’s Challenges” A Five-Part Series Revealing Transformations of A Rising Superpower Premieres N

Hosted by China Expert Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Public Television’s WORLD Channel airs a five-part series titled “China’s Challenges” beginning Sunday, May 11 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. Co-produced, written and hosted by China expert Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, “China’s Challenges” chronicles China’s tremendous changes, and how the problems caused by these changes are shaping the lives and futures of more than one billion citizens.

China is an economic superpower: the largest population on earth is undergoing the greatest transformation in history and competing in every arena of human endeavor. China’s growing strengths have global import. But, China is beset with severe problems: economic dislocations, dangerous disparities between rich and poor, inadequate and imbalanced social services, epidemic pollution, endemic corruption, tensions over political reform and civil society, uncertainties of beliefs and values, and more.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, who knows China’s leaders personally and wrote the book “How China’s Leaders Think,” hosts the series and takes viewers inside China through the following five episodes that reveal the critical issues that China’s new leaders face.

  • Episode 1: “Are the Chinese People Happy?” – Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

Features the vision of China’s new president, Xi Jinping, who talks about “The Chinese Dream.” But what really lies beneath this “dream?” The Chinese talk candidly about acute social problems: inadequate, unequal healthcare; separate social classes that makes education inaccessible to everyone; the struggle to find affordable housing; and the fate of the elderly whose numbers are growing while society is changing.

  • Episode 2: “Where is China’s Economy Going?” – Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

China might be an economic juggernaut but what will it take to continue its development? China’s old economic model of low-cost, cheap-labor manufacturing is ending. What transformations are now needed? What are the downsides of China’s frenetic growth? Kuhn reveals how the country’s air and water are now terribly polluted and how society is fracturing, between rich and poor, urban and rural.

  • Episode 3: “Are the Chinese People ‘Real’ Citizens?” – Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

Chinese people today enjoy much higher standards of living but what about their political and human rights? The emergence of new media and the internet, which galvanizes China’s opinion in dramatic new ways, is a game-changer. With micro-blogs, citizens are aware of their rights and are vocal about situations they face on a daily basis. The government, though authoritarian, must now pay attention to the people.

  • Episode 4: “China Can Produce. Can China Create?” – Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

How can China become a “moderately well-off society” in a world of turbulent markets and social disparities? What new technologies is China developing? China’s creativity started off with copying brands but when the financial crisis hit, many factories faced bankruptcy and some shifted to the domestic market. A handful of businesses successfully reinvented themselves, but with innovation comes intellectual property rights, an area where China is notoriously lacking.

  • Episode 5: “What do the Chinese People Believe?” – Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

What values are shaping today’s China? From Confucian ethics to selfless communism, and with today’s burgeoning economy rewarding individual initiative, the Chinese have been hit by waves of ideology. In a country where premarital sex was illegal until 1995 and homosexuality was a crime and labeled a disease up until 1997, and where religion was expected to “wither away,” China has confronted many taboos in a short amount of time. But uncertainties of values and beliefs remain.

On August 30, 2013, “China’s Challenges” won First Prize in China’s prestigious “China News Award” competition – the country’s top-ranked journalism award for all news organizations and professionals in China from the past year. The “China News Award” is of similar caliber to that of the Pulitzer Prize in the U.S.

PBS SoCaL is the national presenting station for the series and premiered the series locally in Los Angeles in April of 2013 during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As the flagship PBS station in Southern California, PBS SoCaL works with independent filmmakers to develop and broadcast high-quality programs and series that educate, entertain and enlighten our viewers. “PBS SoCaL Presents” is proud to distribute a number of these completed programs and series to PBS stations nationally each year. For more information about “PBS SoCaL Presents” please go to

About Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a long-time adviser to China’s leaders and the Chinese government, and a frequent commentator on China (he appears on the BBC, CNN, CCTV, Bloomberg, and is a columnist for the South China Morning Post and China Daily). Dr. Kuhn is the creator, writer, and host of the public television series Closer to Truth. He is the author of The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, China’s best-selling book of 2005, and of How China’s Leaders Think, which features China’s new leaders, including President Xi Jinping.

“China’s Challenges” is co-produced by Shanghai Media Group (ICS) and The Kuhn Foundation. Created, written and hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Producer is Adam Zhu. Series Director is Peter Getzels of Getzels Gordon Productions. “China’s Challenges” is produced in association with presenting station, PBS SoCaL: President and CEO Mel Rogers, Station Manager Ed Miskevich and Executive Producer Brenda Brkusic. Shanghai Media Group (ICS): Executive Producers Wang Jianjun, Sun Wei and Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Producer Wang Lijun, Zhu Xiaoqian and Associate Producer Chen Bing.

About World Channel

WORLD℠ is a 24/7, full service multicast channel featuring public television’s signature nonfiction documentary, science and news programming complemented by original content from emerging producers. Launched in August 2007, WORLD is produced and distributed by WGBH/Boston, American Public Television(APT) and WNET/New York in association with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). WORLD is distributed by APT and is now carried by 68 licensees/158 stations representing more than 60% of U.S. TV households. For more information and channel listings please visit

About PBS SoCaL

PBS SoCaL is PBS for Greater Los Angeles and dedicated to educating, entertaining and enlightening viewers throughout Southern California. With its three unique broadcast channels, PBS SoCaL HD, PBS SoCaL Plus and PBS SoCaL World, PBS SoCaL provides award-winning programs like Frontline, NewsHour, NOVA, Nature and Masterpiece, as well as local productions including SoCaL Insider with Rick Reiff and LAaRT. Through community outreach initiatives including PBS SoCaL Education, PBS SoCaL provides local schools access to new media materials that engage students in 21st century learning. Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at

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Stacy Shaffer