PBS SoCal Premieres Season Two of China’s Challenges, Award Winning Documentary Series to Public Television Audiences




COSTA MESA, Calif. (April 28, 2015) – The second season of the award-winning documentary series China’s Challenges premieres Saturday, May 9 at 1:00 p.m. on PBS SoCaL. The series will also be distributed to public television stations nationally in June and will air nationally on Public Television’s WORLD Channel in July.

This series follows renowned China expert Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, the author of How China’s Leaders Think, as he examines China’s complex problems and vast transformations—and their complex implications domestically and internationally.

As China advances to the forefront of global economics and participates actively in every major issue of world affairs, China’s Challenges explores with unique access and in cinematic detail how China is tackling critical issues, many of which have arisen as costs of growth. These include disparities in wealth and education, social clashes, severe pollution, competing priorities, and tensions between China’s rich traditional culture and its rapidly modernizing society. In the following five episodes, the documentary series covers the obstacles and opportunities involved with actualizing ‘The Chinese Dream.’:

  • Episode 1: “Can China be Harmonious?” – Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.

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 2: “Can China be Beautiful?”Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.

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 3: “Does China’s Civilization Matter?” – Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

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 4: “How Strong is China?” – Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.

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 5: “How Modern is China?” – Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

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.

“This series explores the new thinking and hard choices needed to make the Chinese dream a reality,” said Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, host of China’s Challenges. “The stories we tell portray some of China’s deepest problems.  There are no easy solutions – but exposing the problems is a good start.”

PBS SoCaL is the national presenting station for the series and premiered season one in Los Angeles in April 2013 during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Season one of China’s Challenges won First Prize in China’s prestigious “China News Award” competition in 2013. The “China News Award” is the country’s top-ranked journalism award for all news organizations and professionals in China, and is of similar caliber to that of the Pulitzer Prize in the U.S. For more information about China’s Challenges, please visit https://www.pbssocal.org/tv/nationalproductions/chinas-challenges/.

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.

As the flagship PBS station in Southern California, PBS SoCaL works with filmmakers to develop and broadcast high-quality programs and series that educate, entertain and enlighten our viewers. PBS SoCaL National Productions is proud to distribute a number of these completed programs and series to PBS stations nationally each year. For more information about PBS SoCaL National Productions visit https://www.pbssocal.org/tv/nationalproductions/.

About PBS SoCaL

PBS SoCaL is the only station in the Greater Los Angeles area providing the full PBS schedule to Southern California and is home to all PBS program premieres as they are released nationally. As Southern California’s flagship PBS station, PBS SoCaL provides early education, access to a broad array of arts and culture, and programs for, about and by the people of Southern California.

PBS SoCaL is the parent to three unique broadcast channels, PBS SoCaL/KOCE-HD, PBS SoCaL Plus, and PBS SoCaL World, which are dedicated to educating, entertaining and enlightening viewers throughout Southern California. PBS SoCaL offices are located in Downtown LA, Century City and Costa Mesa.  PBS SoCaL is proudly, our communities’ largest classroom, largest stage for the arts and trusted source of information. Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at www.pbssocal.org.

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, 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 President Xi Jinping. His TV show on Chinese politics, economics and society—Closer To China—is broadcast weekly on CCTV News.

About The 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 www.worldchannel.org.  

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