Today marks the 25th anniversary of a turning point in modern Chinese history. In the run-up, around 20 key intellectuals and campaigners have been been detained, and security around Beijing heightened. And who knows how many warnings and threats have been issued to the family and friends of conscience-driven citizens across the country.
Junkyard Planet, the first book by Bloomberg Shanghai correspondent Adam Minter, offers a look at the often unheard and unseen $500 billion global scrap and recycling industry, which has formed in the shadow of burgeoning Western -- and increasingly Chinese -- consumerism. Minter is himself “a proud junkyard kid” from a Minneapolis scrap trading family that established themselves through hard graft in the post-Depression period. This background provided him the connections to offer an invaluable insider perspective on this unknown trade -- and also informs his somewhat Romanticized, American Dream-inspired perspective.
Last Thursday saw the publication of the China Story Yearbook 2013, the second in an annual series published by the China experts at Australia National University's Center on China in the World. It was co-edited by the estimable Geremie Barmé and Beijing's very own Jeremy Goldkorn. Disclosure: I'm partial. I occasionally write for the China Story blog, but don't let that deter you. The yearbook is packed with insight and perspectives you won't find in commercial media, with gems that will prove invaluable to any China watcher.