China Rises is a website that supports a television documentary series about the current life situation of different citizens in China. The website is hosted by New York Times as part of their ’specials’ and the television broadcast - to watch it, you will need the Discovery Times Channel - starts on the 23rd of October. They also offer a DVD with the complete series.
The series and website is devided up into four themes: Politics - Party Games (which is about the Communist Party’s role in the Olympics), Economy - Getting Rich, Environment - Food is Heaven, Society - City of Dreams.
What I like about the concept and the website is that it provides glimpses of different ordinary people’s everyday life in China. On the website you can read short introductions and see small documentary videos portraying persons and the possibilities and difficulties they face daily.
If you enter the Economy - Getting Rich section, you can for instance meet Liu Yong who is a young woman who works at a textile factory. As most of the other 4000 workers there, she is a migrant worker. Liu Yong is 20 years old and has worked at the factory since she was 17. She tells us that she has gotten use to the 12 hours of standing every day and that she manages to send half of her salary home to her parents in Anhui Province every month. Liu Yong earns what is equivalent to 60 cents an hour.
Entering the section Society - City of Dreams you are offered to meet Ma Liang, a successful art director who has his own company producing advertisements for big international brands. He lives in downtown Shanghai in an expensive apartment and he expresses a strong belief in his own future, a lot of dreams will come true he says.
Another cool feature I find at this website is that it has an Interactive Atlas - enter one of the four themes and the atlas option will appear in the menu. You can for instance click at China’s Economy and you will get a list of different options - one is to see a map of the density of Internet users in the different provinces respectively.
If you move the cursor over Beijing, it will tell you that there are 4 million users of the Internet in Beijing.