tv Tavis Smiley PBS August 16, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
♪ tavis: good evening. tonight and all this week we move throughout the country of china trying to listen and learn about the chinese people. talk about china must always be the economy but this week we will talk about the people and the social issues, environment and education. all these issues the people of china are wrestling with. we spend this week on location. that is coming up right now. >> every community has martin luther king blvd. it is the cornerstone we know. it is not just a street but a
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tavis: i first came to china one year ago and wanted to return as soon as possible. now i have come back with doctor cornell west and more than 30 members of my staff. some of the footage you'll see struck this week was shot by my young staffers. china's front-page news back in the state so we know little about the people in this country. we came to china with questions about the economic boom, who is benefiting. about human rights and government crackdowns. the people we talk with told us -- surprise does with their candor. no topic was off-limits. we knew that we could only scratch the surface. we were eager to find out as
much as we could about the people behind the second largest economy in the world as a morris from communism and consumerism. >> i think china has accepted the market economy, starting some 32 years ago when the tschida was opened. he said it was good to get some people care rich furs. starting at moment, china is now lagering communist economy. tavis: uc proof of that in big cities like shanghai and beijing. people are making money. chinese officials have moved 300 million people live there -- out of poverty into the middle class. despite recent concerns about inflation, the economy is thriving. china has more billionaires than any country other than the united states.
feeding this economic boom is china's educational system. it has been criticized for not fostering independent thinking butted is also graduating hundreds of thousands of top students in science and math. that is why multinational companies like microsoft have established beachheads in china. why do you think the largest r&d campus outside of redman for microsoft is in china? >> talent. the amount of talent to lookout in china. every year, we graduate 6 million people. 1 million are in computer science and electrical engineering. things to do with information technology. it is different from the u.s. the best and brightest students work in engineering tavis:
statistics like that -- like that make us uneasy. those footsteps are making for some restless nights in america. a country of 1.3 billion people, summing it up as a daunting task. we turned to a consulting group for dover new -- overview of what the chinese are thinking about. when victor yuan started the company, it was off-limits. that has changed. >> based upon what the chinese people are telling you, on a scale of 1 to 10, tending great, one being horrible, overall, how do the chinese people feel about the direction in your country is moving in? >> 7-8. the general direction is all right.
the problem is about specific policies. that means people are complaining. it is such a big challenge. there are so many people. about the bigng government. tavis: every time i come to china, this gets in trouble back in the united states when i say this, there was a recent poll in our country that discovered that just over half of the american people think that our best days as a country are behind us. i see the opposite when i come to china. the chinese people are excited and enthusiastic. you're hopeful about the future. there are many issues but you are hopeful about your future. you have done some polling about
happiness. how happy are the chinese people? >> 70% of the people say that they are happy. but we see the difference. the differences about the other generation, the middle-aged generation. the older generation is happier. historicalia comparison. morality is about corruption. i think this is -- the authority has changed. like equals.ing us it is a soft authority.
if you look at the internet discussion of some of the compliance. -- so many complaints. they prefer to criticize the policies. the young people are not very much satisfied. tavis: how has social media change the people's republic of china? >> it is a good question. it provides a space that people can release, disclose their feeling. anything and any policy, anybody that would criticize. tavis: since you probably know the chinese people better than anybody, given the work you do, what are the biggest misconception is that we have
about the chinese people? >> when you're talking about the legal system, we still regard china like 15 years ago. not too many progress. as someone living in china, the united states, based on the criteria for human rights, it is abysmal. but even in china moved in this way, from this angle, it is like a new chance. but if somebody living under this roof, now it is like that. in that sense, if you saw the other angle to understand. it is hard. i am a columnist. i write an article. i had when 10 years ago. and now. what kind of topics i can right?
you find the scope is bigger. of course there are more lists. some sentences will be cancelled. but it is progress a lot. if you push too much, then it will be smaller. if they are relaxed, the space gets bigger. tavis: do you think the central government feels some nervousness? do they sense the unrest is starting to bubbling people are getting restless? do they a understand that? >> it is about a social unrest
and a social disorder. we are talking about this. in that sense, i think it is about more dialogue would be better than. like the one we are having. tavis: to find out more about the new generation who is pushing the limitations of china, i sought out kai fu lee. he helped establish microsoft and google in asia. he is something of a legend the way bill gates and steve jobs are in the ad states. he has his own company called innovation were said incubates ideas from the men and women and the shepherds the best of those ideas to market. how have you been? >> very good. tavis: so these eggs, tell me the story behind this. >> we incubate projects.
we want to help companies grow. these nests represent the company's we help maximize their chance of success. tavis: i like that. what does this have to do with innovation works and starting companies? >> we have young people. young people like to have fun. they're good at foosball. this is our second table. they wore out our first table. the little guys, broken down into toothpicks. we had to get a new one. tavis: do you play? >> yes. not bad for my age. tavis: this is a saturday. i did not expect anybody to be here. is this typical? or are they here to impress me? >> everybody works six or seven days a week.
they want to. we do not demand it. this is their own company. they own most of the shares. we are here to provide support to help them be successful. you asked about cultural elements, openness and egalitarian. i think aspiration is another one. these paper airplanes are folded by each one of the founding members and engineers. on it is written that person's dream. we want people to look up and see that this is not just about creating wealth. this is not just a job. this is about the making the world different and better. toward the end of that side, there is a big world with everybody's hand print. that symbolizes that people here want to change the world. tavis: gives new meaning to i believe i confide. i can hear r kelley singing.
you mentioned you have a michael blog -- micro blog. tell me how works. >> it works the same way in the u.s. people are more careful in what they say but 99% of what you want to say you can say. it is a lot more similar to twitter and people might imagine. tavis: our young people as hope to hear as they are in united states? >> probably even more so. alternatives are little more limited. there is not as much freedom in publishing on tv or newspapers or magazines. and this is so easy. and the mobile is very common and everywhere. micro blog is exponentially growing.
tavis: when you talk about freedom, it leads to more active participation. how do people know where the line is? is there a class? do you learned the hard way? have you learned as a citizen where the line is with regard to what you can in cannot say? tavis: in every country it is understood. in the u.s., child pornography is illegal. it is illegal everywhere. they know that certain -- teaching people how to blow up buildings is not acceptable. those kinds of things are known. there is a similar understanding in china. tavis: kai fu lee, we're sitting in mr. mccall of these young people. what does innovation look like these days? what does innovation look like? i want to ask a follow-up which i will tell you now, whether we
should be scared of the innovation that china is bringing forth? what does innovation look like now? >> the true paradigm shifts tend to come from the u.s. almost all of the world. the american culture and the type of education you have and the fact that silicon valley is the combination of the best of academia and a venture capital, that puts the u.s. well ahead of the rest of the world. in terms of gramm baking paradigm shift innovation. tavi why do you think that the fear, the concern, about china is so palpable tax why is it so significant if you believe that the greatest paradigm shifts are coming out of the u.s.?
wiry so scared? >> i think the raw numbers are humbling. and also i think when americans first meet a chinese, they tend to be impressed by how hard- working and dedicated the chinese people and students are. that is part of the chinese education-centric heritage. those are perhaps the factors. then there is a lot of misleading that goes on in the media and perhaps some politicians who want to demonstrate a point or get their articles read or win an election. i think the chinese people feel great about america. there are lots of opportunities to work together. i think american innovativeness and chinese execution may be a great combination. tavis: talk to me about that
juxtaposition of viewing china as a communist country and capitalism taking over. >> as far as what keeps the chinese economy moving forward, what motivates the chinese people, these are similar to america. it is capitalist. i do not think that word is commonly used in china. people like to say a market in china. -- market economy. tavis: is that good for the people of china? >> is good for people who make the money. one of the future challenges as how to deal with the haves and have-nots. as you go through china, you will see some wealthy people and some very poor. it is not quiet like the china that most of america currently proceeds. how to deal with that have and
have-nots and make sure that issues like the digital divide did not become a problem. so that the poor people still have an opportunity. that is something the chinese leadership is aware of them working hard on. tavis: to my mind, what to breakneurs do sis the rules. china is an old civilization but young in terms of what you're doing now. how do they go about breaking the rules, regrading the rules, it is a whole new chapter for china, this kind of market capitalism. >> in the internet company building process, the rules are more what is in people pose some lines. they are not legal rules are business rules. i think our entrepreneurs are willing to try new things and do
things that have not been done before. i think that spirit is alive and well. having said that, all of china tends to be more rule following. what perhaps we represent is a small group of people who are willing to take chances, take risks, and try something that has a higher risk of failure but also a high return. because in china has that many people, even 1% of the population can lead to a large pool of great people for us to draw from. tavis: we spend more time talking to three young men who hope to create the next apple or facebook. >> he was a former editor.
he was my technical assistance from google. richard was a private manager. >> we are doing a social website. our main goal is we believe we can get the most out of everybody's brain . we can connect people with valuable of budget information. >> it is a mobile social game company. i think doing a startup is like chasing jade. i was in google so google had changed their logo. that is where the name comes from. >> my family fights against me. i argue with them. i do not sit and talk about how
good the school is. because everyone knows -- parents and my wife. they know he is a good guy. i have a good teacher. >> that is a lot of pressure. tavis: from looking at the future to honoring the past, my traveling companions and i spent time walking through the forbidden city where the emperor is used to call home. it is decadent. you keep going and going. we also climbed was seemed like endless stone steps to the great wall, one of the most inspiring man made sites in the world.
the hillas up and down like this. up and down. look at the craftsmanship. there is the wall, bro. it was a pleasure to share this with doctor west and my colleagues. an exhausted but also exhilarating, we boarded our bus for the drive back to the heart of beijing. i gather my thoughts about what i experienced so far on the trip. getting out of the bus, we just saw the great wall. it was quite an experience. it is always a spiritual experience. my friend doctor west made an observation as he and i were walking up the hill to the great
wall. he pointed to something. what man is capable of, just by using his hands. we respect, love, and except each other. i thought about that. i did not have that thought. experiences become more meaningful to think about. finally, i've felt this with the first time in china. i recall saying, this sense of hopefulness as opposed to hopelessness. it is palpable. i love america. but we are going through a time
of transition or the hopelessness is moving beyond. we need hopefulness about the future. we will talk about a few issues in a couple of days. human rights and freedom. a sobering thought. great to be back in china. >> for more information on the encounters with you. we will see you then. >> every community has martin luther king blvd. it is the cornerstone we know. it is not just a street but a place where walmart stands with your community to make everyday matter. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer,we're proud to join him in improving financial literacy.