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Rob Gifford  

China Editor for The Economist

When acclaimed NPR correspondent Rob Gifford set out on a 3,000 mile journey along the "Mother Road of China," from Shanghai into the heart of Asia, he had one big question: "Which is it going to be for China, greatness or implosion?" He found the answer in the ordinary people, caught up in an extraordinary moment in time, who he discovered along the way.

Gifford shares his compelling adventure along the Chinese Route 66 in China Road, the best-selling book that defines the great nation through the generation of people building the new China - revealing the rich mosaic of modern Chinese life in all its contradiction.

Gifford first went to China in 1987 as a twenty-year old language student. He has spent much of the last two decades studying China while travelling all over the continent, reporting for NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." Currently, he is the China Editor for The Economist.

Bearing witness to the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down, Gifford recreates the voices of the people, and breathes life into the region, drawing audiences into the story with him. With eloquence and a dash of humor, he opens eyes and minds, revealing how the future of the West is inexorably linked to the fate of 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Speech Topics

A View of the Rest of the World from Europe

China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power

China Road records a two month journey along Route 312, the Chinese equivalent of Route 66. The road flows three-thousand miles from east to west, passing through the factory towns of the coastal areas, through the rural heart of China, then up into the Gobi Desert, where it merges with the old Silk Road. The highway witnesses every part of the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down.

Gifford tells the story of his journey through the lives of the colorful Chinese characters he meets along the way: garrulous talk show hosts and ambitious yuppies, impoverished peasants and tragic prostitutes, cell phone salesmen, AIDS patients and Tibetan monks. Using the road trip as a prism to view modern China, he asks bigger questions about where China is going, who the Chinese people are, and whether we in the West should be concerned about China’s rise.

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