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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  December 13, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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? welcome to our program i'm bet lou filling in for charlie se. >> hismpreion is an interesting thing altogether. really, the basis of being professional is not so much being on time and all the things that people like to talk about, it's being able to deliver when you really don't feel like it. >> and zhang xin ceo of soho china. >> we're to where we are by privatizing everything not states owning everything that's
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where it is. real estate happens to be the lot of liberated. many other industes a still too much controlled by the government and state-owned >> charlie's conversations when we continue. captioning sponsored by rose communications
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: john hurt is here. 's an actor famous for his diverse and masterful performances on theatre and film
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and tackled everything to the harry potter movie and nominated twice for the elephant man and david lynch once called him the greatest actor in the world. here's a look at some of his grtest performances. >> help me. employee. >> no. >> employ me. >> no. >> i would be faithful. >> best thing to do is to get yourself out of here best way you can. but how? >> catch the midnight express. >> what's that? 's not a train.
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it's a prison word. escape. [ yelling >> i am not an animal. i am a human being. [ groaning ] >> oh, no. not again. i've had a long time to make enemies, doctor.
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government and business interests even religious leaders wod like to see me depart this earth. i'll grant them their wish soon enough. but before i do, i want to make a small contribution, a final gesture of good will to the peoplef this little planet that have given -- from whom i have taken. >> rember everyone i ever sold mr. potter. it's so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather resides in your wangave another feather. just one other. it is curious that you should be destined for this wd when it brother gave you that scar. >> i know that it is one of five
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men. all i want from you is one code name. >> >> charlie: his latest project is krapp's last tape and makes a tape by his 69th birthday by listening to his 39-year-old self. here's a look. >> everything there, everything, all this everything there,
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everything on this and the light and dark erything [ yelling ] >> oh, well, maybe he was right. maybe he was right.
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>> charlie: i'm pleased have john hurt back at this table. welcome. >> delighted to be here. >> you own this role. >> oh, i don't know. that's a wonderful things t say it has had reviews that can be definitive but i do feel very cle to it. >> charlie: what it auto buyographical for beckett. >> i tried rather such >> charlie: you look like him. >> it's a real eagle of a fe. i can try to look like him for that reason because it's there but for the grace ofgod go i, you know >> charlie: what do you like about it? >> it's wonderful writing. it is wonderful writing. >> charlie: art there. >> yes, let's start there.
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it's always my thing anyway. i'm a big writer's man. >> charlie: i know you are. begins with the text. >> it does begin with the text and even when people do improvisations and such i never think actors can do it as well as a writer even if you think you own it. i'd still rather leave it to some beckett. so that to start with. secondly there's a magic with beckett, with an audience. interesting thing about that bit of a film, i never felt the same with the film that i do when it's on stage. there is a connection between thaudience and the performer i find that is almost impossible to put your finger on but it's very pa palpable.
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>> charlie: camerason't like talking to an audience. >> no, and beckett writes so distinctly for the theatre though you can do all the things you think you can do, you can take it down, you can yours common sense, you can make it into something which is just between yo and the lens and so on but there it requires an audience. >> charlie: what is beckett telling us about a man at 69 who on his birthday listens to tapes and then there one on his 39th birthday which reminds him of a romance. >> well, he's talking abo a man who makes a fatal mistake and talking about regret and remorse and to a certain extt anger. so in this production i'm trying to veer away fro too much straight anger becauset's such a boring emotion.
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>> charlie: straight anger is boring in obvious and straight forward. >> you think this is the time when he shouts. let me walk out. i'm more interested in remorse and regret and in this particular case and this is a man who's chosen to live for his art without love. really i think what beckett is saying is it's not a great choice. >> charlie: to choose art over love. >> hm mm-hmm. >> charlie: are iutually exclusive? >> i'm pretty sure separate. >> charlie: it's interesting as
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what happens here cause you've got a tape speaking as well. >> right, you're not on your own. >> charlie: you on stage in one act. >> the first time i did this which was in london and i recorded the tape then and i still use the same tape. it's twelve years old now. it should be 30 years old. so now it is actually twelve years old and it does annoy me. and there's -- it really annoys krapp when he's listening to it and turns on and records and says listening to that i took 40 years ago. >> charlie: when we make choices, i think part of what he's saying ere,ou tell me for god's sake, wn youake choices you don't realize you're making choices, that's part of the point.
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>> no, you realize later. >> charlie: at 69 you realize you made a choice at 39 but you don't know that as 39. you don't think it's going to be that way but on the corner is both. >> that's something orson welles and i had the privilege of talking to him and experience doesn't necessarily make life easi and a said that's very interesting and i said mr. welles, i said i'm sure it's quite true but can you explain that. he yesterday oh, yes, experience means there's so many choice and it makes it more difficult. it's true the older you get the more choices you have. selection becomes re of an issue but as you quite righy sayou instinctly think there's
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no choice inhat at all and that's not the way and don't let anyone tell me different. >> charlie: and uil time tells you you've made a choice. >> you suddenly realize. >> charlie: have you experienced this yourself? i mean, you've always had a great love in your life most of your life. you've had tragedy as well. >> yes. >> charlie: but have you made sacrices for your creative art that you gave up something? >> very good question. i think i thought i did. i don't know. i guess -- >> i gave up art for love? >> my work comes before our relationship. >> charlie: i'm sorry. >> i've said it. >> charlie: you've said it in your inner -- you said to her? >> talking o regret if i have any regret in those areas
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because it's nonsense. it didn't seem like it at the time. >> charlie: how did you approach it and how do you make it fresh? >> that's a tough one. it's always fresh. it has to be fresh. it's just that you have to get your party going and back to the beginning it's never the same. never ever the same. >> charlie: your life once you -- >> once you enter into the play it's -- you're going down something new every time. i mean, it's seemingly so. course it isn't. it'sincredibly, incredibly researched in the sense of rehearsal. from my point of view there's hardly a stone unturned. >> you always begin with a text
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to the and just read it and reread it and reread it. >> if you can. that's the best possible way to learn a part. because this isn't rticularly long verbay rt of it is on tape iever had to learn it to use that over usedword it bemes quite organic. i think it's the preferred way of doing it. >> charlie: has one role you have played been more difficult than all of them in terms of getting your hands around it and your brain around it and your talent around it? >> well, there's an easy answer to that which is the most difficult roles are the worse written. >> charlie: a write can make it easier for y, can't he? >> like asking a jockey to win a race on a donkey.
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yeah. tough. but of course there are great roles that provide difficulties. they usually provide it outside of your actual ability and u have to find a way of bringing it inside your ability. >> charlie: how does beckett make it easy. what is it about his writing that makes it easy? easier? >> hard to answer that but i've only done the one beckett. >> charlie: you've known the others. >> but i of the played them so i don't know what it would be like on the rehearsal floor. that would be a whole different experience from knowing it and seeing it and seeing a friend's playing it and so on you know. the theatre does a wonderful -- it's fantastic. i've seen that a few times. it's wonderful but i don't know
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what it would b like if i were playing one of them but certainly playing this one is -- i treated it like anything else, really. >> charlie: i'm surprised you played -- >> i don't think there's a way to do beckett, put it that way. i just i responded to the play and i was essentially allowed to do it the way i responded tit. >> charlie: it goes with you. >> that goes with me. >> charlie: ah, the directors respect you and want you to -- it's difficult. if you're doing a one-man piece then you're not likely to ask somebody to do it if you want that person to do something they wouldn't have thought of. >> charlie: yeah. >> see what i mean? >> charlie: i do. >> you're not likely to put another concept onto that perforr. charl: did you want to know
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how autobuyographical it was for beckett. >> i know certain things. i know the great experience of the propeller whirling and so on which drives him craze in the play, that did happen to beckett. it was a turning point i believe. but i don't want tonow more than that. know, i don't want know what to know more than that really because it becomes peripheral information and comes less interesting. as i say, the script is a magnificent piece of writing and
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that's the spring board and the vest imaginative. >> charlie: you mentioned turning point. was the naked civil servant a turning point for you? >> yeah, it was. >> charlie: because? >> suddenly it was a piece that changed the audience's perception of me and the business's perception of me at the same time. >> charlie: and gave you options. >> put your peg up. it's what you call a break. >> charlie: and the elephant man? >> the elephant man was another break. >> charlie: how many breaks do you get? >> that's why they say break a leg. how many breaks do you get? i don't know. how many do you need,really
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>> charlie: one. if you find a place to stand and you should be able to move the world. >> well, yes. absolutely. it's like oursel charlie, you have what a brilliant invention to put everything in the black soou can't see the cameras there d start talking like a human being. what a break! >> charlie: so "the elephant man" tell me about that we didn't explore the characters. how long did makeup take? six to seven hours? >> we honed it down to seven hours. have you to remember prosthetic make up was in in infancy and david lynch who had done an
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extraordinary and brilliant piece called eraser head and made aaby in it which squawks and squealed slightly in the backgrnd and therefore they gave him the go ahead to do the makeup for "the elephant man" it was more like a mask and there was no way to use it and it was very late because we were about to start going and went to chris tucker who is a wonderful makeup artist and in six weeks we got that together. it was something that would normally take six nths to do d the only thing i think it was 22, 23, 24, different proseticarts all fading ay to nothing, you know. incredibly difficu to put on and there's nothing as difficult as that now.
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the same makeup would be three hours now. >> charlie: another case the xt was soood e text gave you an opportunity to get inside the soul of this -- >> it ways fabulou was a fabulo really was. oddly enough it was produced by mel, mel, l, mel. mel brooks. >> charlie: i'd forgotten that. >> and he was very insisten that we pt the narrative and had what he called the pinocchio theme which is the reprieve so when the elephan elephant man g to europe or comes back -- it's a very structured film. >> charlie: you have said that when i choose a role i need two things, one, i needo me sure they can dohat it's intended
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to do, you know. that sense than if it's harry potter it's different than elephant man. >> the film needs to stand a chance o the level than was intended. >> charlie: much better than what i said. >> oh, please. and second is it's something i can do individually. >> charlie: you can make it personal. >> yeah. >> charlie: so what did you do there? >> the first one's more important. >> charlie: it is? >> first is more important. >> charlie: if you ask yourself that about "elephant man", what was it intended to do? >> it was very moving. >> charlie: but needed to be different? >> it is a representation of that which is misunderstood in
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all of us and immediately understandable and it's >> charlie: how did you make it personal? i knew there was something i can do with it and intrigued because i thought if you wanted to be reals david would say, nothing is real. nothing is completely real but you can create a reality and you work for the pie. with "elephant man" he would have never had have talked like i talked and i would make him talk like he would like to have talked. >> charlie: that's great. >> so that -- it just took away
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from something which was rather crude and would have been something you wouldn't understand anyway. so it ways terrific attempt to be this >> y said acting at its core is about imagination. so when i saw you say that, read that, i thought imagine what? what the person inside is feeling? imine what? imagine how they see their life in the context of the outside world? >> something else i said in contt. >>harlie: which youorgo about and didn't think some jerk like me would be reading it later. >> there's always about six
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question and all are how do you act. for some reason actors come into that one. nobody asks how you can sing. they assume. >> charlie: i do but -- >> charlie: i'm fcinated by that. >> it's just talking and saying things and people think i can do that. well, it's perfect to try. >> charlie: try it. if youver tried itou know. i know great directors that would tell me how they marvel at what you can do and ask how do they do? not ju e, a journalist but people in the craft. >> that's the great story about lawrence olivier. >> charlie: tell the story. >> it was during theperformance of a fellow and it had ge
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through the roof and the whole company inspired, went through the roof and the audience went crazy. and he stormed off the stage, slammed his dressing room door and wouldn't open it until his wife said lay, larry, he finally said yes, come in and he said it went brilliantly tonight why are you so cross. it was inspirational, wonderful and he said, yes, i know but how did i do it? >> charlie: is that the way he talked? >> well, very clip. hello johnny, what are you doing today? yeah. i'm still taking it all in. lots of that going on. [laughter] >> crlie: that's so good.
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have you had those kinds of performances in which you knew that some how -- the world and the sun and the moon and the earth were all in alignment and it just flowed? but see, there's something to this. it's a bit sometimes like golfers or tennis people -- >> or football >> charlie: and they say what's it like and the golfer will say the hole was this big. >> a footballer. but the interesting thing is the whole team is inspired so it's something obviously something worth catching or is that too cru ofn idea? it's certainly something which affects everybody on the side and you don't get one footballer who's inspired when the others aren't. >> charlie: often that's what great coaching is about too of all kinds to aspire people to
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find whatever it is that's in them to give a performance beyond them. >> yes. >> charlie: there's an x-factor at some point. >> inspiration is an interesting thing altogether but the basis of being professional is not so much of being on time and what people talk about but delivering when you really don't feel like it. >> charlie: so why did you choose harry potter? did it choose you? >> well, yes. >> charlie: it did? >> i think so. itame from my agent at the time. >> charlie: they came to you and said john hurt's the guy. >> i can't say it filled me with huge acres of thrilledness but she felt it was going to be something you should be part of. >> charlie: you have one smart
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agent. >> in that time because he's in the first on and we had no idea whether it would work on film. it had worked brilliantly as novels. >> charlie: and it worked and worked and worked and worked. >> the biggest franchise in film history. yeah. amazing. completely amazing. and provided enough work for british character actors that have never worked so much. >> charlie: and gave you more visibility and more money whatever you want to do with that. >> i suppose so. >> charlie: are you going write your memoir ever. >> i'm miles t young and i'm sick of people writing memoirs when they're 32. >> charlie: how do you decide what the time is?
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>> 90. ninety's a good time. charlie: e you writing things down. >> my dear old friend jeffery bernard. >> charlie: would peter o'toole had methin dwith it. >> he was asked to write his ough autobiogray and said if someone can tell me what happened between 1967 and 1980 i'd be thrilled to do so. >> charlie: you know what they said churchill used to do when writing the history of world war ii. >> make it up? >> charlie: no, he didn't make it up but he would make everybody -- because he won the war, make everybody in the room write what they knew first and then he would look at it all and
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both jog his memory as well as square with the way he thought it was which is an old journalistic trick too which is if you're writing something which is non-fiction you get everybody in the room and get one to tell you and go to the other and say, this is what i've heard and then you get another part of it and ifomebody doesn't wa to talk to you if they know everybody else has talked they want to talk because they want to make sure their version has been heard too. this is what bob woodward has done to extraornary success. >> it's a very good idea. >> charlie: what about -- >> bringing things out of the murk of mory >> charlie: oh, indeed. but people tell me when you start writing a memoir you're surprised what you remember. that in the beginning it's a bit
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like jeffer jeffery bernard and you start you start remembering things so one thing will lead to another thing so let's get started. you're so busy acting. just thing about now, not only are you on stage but did "melancholy." >> yes. >> charlie: it's getting great -- >> the best film at the european awards. >> charlie: a great film. >> he's a wonderful filmmaker. >> charlie: and in the new production of tinker taylor soldiers playing the character who -- >> my first chance to work with gary ohlman. >> charlie: what that mean? >> we're very close. i've always wanted to work with him and think he's terrific. we're very close. >> charlie: i love the opening
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scene where you're in the throbe. how difficult is that for somebody like him because alex had earned the role. >>e had earned the role. gary jt stuck to the principle that you can't be definitive. we've all seen several hamlets and the several wonderful. >> charlie: what was the best you saw? >> t firstone wh richard burton. >> charlie: you know that's on tape. they taped it and you can get it. >> it is fantastic. >> charlie: do you think it's the best one? your pal larry did it as well? >> yes, yes he did and he'sot a natural hamlet but something about richard is a natural hamlet.
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vocally he's brilliantly equipped for it because he doesn't have to project at all and has the greatest english speaking voice you can think of when you talk to him and he will start booming but if you said to him as we did in 1984, i don't want the burton voice he said i just want you to play it and i said oh, thank god. he take his voice down to nothing but with a microphone it's still theost fantastic instrument. >> charlie: yeah. >> and it's a great instrument for hamlet because it so demonstrates his internal feelin. i mean you can look a hamlet different ways. >> charlie: why is that? shakespeare? >> i don't know. for me -- it is said nothing
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will be better than the first one you see. i was pretty lucky. >> charlie: the first one you saw was burton. >> burton and clive burn. it took me a long time to see the best palonius. that was daniel day-lewis's hamlet and michael bryant was sensational and became a dangerous older politician. a real misogynist and, god it was brilliant. and it's all there. it's all absolutely in the text. >> charlie: what's the best macbh you've ev seen? >> for me mccean. >> charlie: whyo you say i have to say? >> take my hat offto her after saying rude things but i d
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think he was wonderfu wonderful dench was staggering. >> charlie: othello. >> i haven't seen really. i found it difficult. i found it a bit -- >> charlie: you're a great mimic. some people have said that actors the best actors have the ability to -- their ear is so good they can hear somebody else's voice that goes right into their own voice. you can do that. >> i never thought of myself as a mimic. >> charlie: you don't? >> no. >> charlie: the clip you did with larry or burton, you went right into burton. >> i suppose, yes. >> you can do that. >> hmm. >> charlie: at was i about
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the language with shakespeare? what is it about the language and capturing it? >> capturing it? >> charlie: yeah, being able to say it. >> i don't think it's difficult. >> charlie: really? >> no. there's a certain way that it is spoken which i don't like. i don't like it when it is, da da d da, da, da, da, da and it can be literal but like any rhythm it has to be balanced. you can't -- you can't just split it up into something otherwise. it doesn't make sense but you can -- in so far as you can say to be or not to be that is the question whether it's nobler in thine to suffer and you can say it like that.
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you can say to be, or not to be. that is the question. that's still in rhythm. you see what i mean? you don't have to -- the iambic is it's a way of writing verse. it's one of the forms of verse and it is a rhythm but i can be played with. >> charlie: do you have a favorite soliloquy? >> not that i know. the only thing -- >> you know what i want to hear. i would prefer you choose one you like. >> the only one is jabba wocky. do you know it? >> charlie: no. >> that's a fun one. that's from alice in wonde wond.
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it's one of the greatest feeds for the imagination ever. it was brilliantly and [ reciting ]
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>> charlie:s i repeat, how do you do that? >> i did that when i w nine. >> charlie: and not since. >> i did it at nine at a school concert when i was awayt school at kent and never forgotten it. >> charlie: are you serious? >> it's part of my dna. believe me i can't. >> charlie: it's just great to have you here i must say. it's extraordinary, john hurt. thank you. >> very kind. thank you, charlie. >> we continue tonight with
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zhang xin the ceo of soho china and it's been one of the biggest contributors to china's growth and concerning china's housi bubble can go bust. home prices nationwid nationwid the third straight month in november and average prices are down about 40% from their peak in mid-2009 and in beijing more than 1,000 real estate agencies have closed this year. charlie spoke with zhang xin last month and here is that interview. >> charlie: tell me what's going on in your particular sector the commercial and real estate market in china. >> this year i think china's real estate market is probly the most challenging in the 16 years i' been in this industry. you read headline news that property prices go down and so onnd that's because the
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government has exercised an austerity measure to control. if you own one apartment you simply cannot buy a second one. for commercial real estate which we do, it doesn't quite apply but what it does matter is when the credit is really tight in the country because chinese government is trying to fight against inftion andtherefore tightening the credit. when credit is typally the buying power dries up and that's what's happening in the commercial real estate. the buyers are investors and when the credit is not plenty investment is not there. >> charlie: is it your impression that inflation is florida control? >> i think so. inflation is in control. >> i think so >> charlie: what happens if europe goes from bad to worse? it has an impact and all of a
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sudden the two big markets for the chinese economy are not there. what does it meanfor the chinese economy. we and europe are such a huge market for your manufacturing? >> i think that's why i feel the tight credit policy is being reviewed now by the chinese government. it was start and implemented at the time when it looks like u.s. was growing and europe was okay. china was heading for high inflation and thing changed quickly. europe seemed to have deteriorated and america seems to be reporting on the flat growth, no growth, the external envinment deteriorated and the inflation seems to be control and they have to review iit
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makes sense if it continues to be tightened where ds the growth come from because the buying power outside china is not that strong. >> charlie: exactly. in terms of policies, has there been any changeat all in terms of appreciation of rrency? >> it's been appreciating. look at the last few years it's been appreciating steadily nearly five percent every year. that's the case though i hear the u.s. government is putting prsure on the chinese government >> charlie: i think they remind them every time they meet and the conventional wisdom is that's the last thing saying we're going do it but don't remind us at every turn. >> it's getting into a habit of doing iit. there's a pressure of the hot
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money coming in and chasing after the ever rising remedy. but if you take that restriction away and if it was to be fully convertible tomorrow where would it go up, down or flat? it's not so certain. >> charlie: is there possible social unrest there because of these conflicting issues of housing and wages. >> housing is an interesting story. last year or the voice of discontent from people with the low-income group complaining housing goes up too hh and the government came out with the austerity measure to control the industry and build low-income hoing. right now it's the other group. the ones that already own
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apartments and properties because of the austerity measure price goes down. they already saved and bough something and see the value go down and go to voice their discontent. the government now needs to respond to this. >> charlie: are arthe glo days over for a company like yours. >> i don't think so. if you look at our buildings building office building and they're all leased to small to medium-sized company the dand for them to be in the big cities to provide service is so strong and the demand for office space seems to be so strong. >> charlie: most of the business is outside china for imarily businesses from china.
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all thenternet companieand ading companies and private equity companies are the typic smaller tenants. >> charlie: as it looks as the economic circumstance it's facing. >> it's making very quk decision because the tide seems to change so frequently and at different directions. like early in the year it was the low income group that is voicing their discontent. now it's the other way. do you tighten or simulate both ways that are -- they seem to be cing the challenge either way and i don't think it's unique to china. you look around in america it's the same. maybe this is just the time of information where people have been empowered to voice
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ourselves in different groups and seemingly seeing so much discontent. >>harl: wh youe done is remarkable but some might ask the following question. you've been living in an environment in which there was huge demand to go to beijing or shanghai and know this huge building is taking pce. if you had capital it was reasonable easy to make a lot of money? >> if you were to buy office today in ijing or shanghai you'd be making seven to eight percent rental return. i think that's a fair return coared tmanhattan. you'd be making maybe four percent return but the ierest rate environment isifferent in china wi higher interest rate. that's if you were just to buy buildings today as investment. but of course they are as a
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developer we bld buildings from ground so the profit is higher than that. >> one charge out of china is this is fqutly aointade by both people who do biness in china and people who -- in the government is that the government favors state-owned enterprises. >> no doubt. >> charlie: the consequences of that are? >> i think this is the thing. if you look at china wt drove china to where it is the cost of china' ascents pretty much the open doors, the reforms, the embracing of the market economy but at some point and mostly recently that we seem to be going a little backward.
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it's two step forward, one step ckward and where we are now and the government is in favor of state-owned companies. we get to where we arey privatizing everything not by state-owning everything. that's where it is. real estate is the most liberate. there's very few state-owned and many other industries are still too much controlled by the government and state-owned. >> charlie: take people like you that have been enormously successful and worked hard, you and your husband worked very hard and part of the new establishment from the private sector. measure the level of confidence about the future. >> i thi if we look at wt is the greatest moment of the human
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-- of the history of humanity which is right nowwe're seeing these before countries with very little power like india and china and these poor coutries and now suddenly bein empowered so much and growing so muc i think is a trendy think nothing can stop. now that we see china aending and talking about the being the second largest economy or will be the largest economy soon, i think that's the just the trend. nobody can really turn it backwards. i think for us the best we can do is to embrace this knowing this is going to be the future and what can we do the best to be part of it. now, in the short term there wi be challenges no doubt. it's not always going to be easy or sunny and the government is facing a lot of challenge
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beuse the complexity of the issues are so much mor today than before and yet it requires the skills that our systems -- thehallenges outpace our system and that's where we are now and i think that's why you're seeing polies coming from yesterday to today always changing the volatility seems to be everywhere. >> charlie: doou lookto take good perience from china and make happen or is china so rich in posbilities -- >> i think our focus is still china. our focus is -- despite of what you hear about the social stability and so on but i think -- i fill fe very much so that the next ten, 20 yea the focus is still very much china. >> charlie: what's the most
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significant culturalhange you've seen in the last five years or three years. >>n economic? >> charlie: the one policy. that kind of thing. are there other changes that are are meaningful? >> a few things have not change. education hasn't changed. health care hasn't changed. if you go to the hospital it's exactly the same as when i grew up. there are some things really changed. people dress differently and there are so many luxury groups around and parties everywhere and it seems to have drastically change. i see that so many more chinese around the world and not just to wealthy coutries like america but if you go to africa there are plenty of chinese. >> charlie: indeed. great to see you. >> thank you. >> charlie: come anytime.
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