Monday, November 28, 2005

Career Development delegate notes, part 2: Career development in China’s Universities

(See entry for November 18, 2005 for earlier report.)

(photo of Prof. Zhijin Hou, PhD Pschology and teaching courses in Career Development Counseling at Beijing Normal University)

Throughout our travels with our national interpreter and our visits with four career development examples in China today, delegation members began to understand the importance of family as the essential unit of Chinese society. Yet, with these visits and briefings from our national interpreter, we were also reminded that the relationship among family members is changing from control to equality, from obedience to democracy. Transitions are happening on the state level as well: a move from a centralized authority to a gradual move towards reform and a new open-door policy. The national focus is switching from class struggle to economic construction. China is moving towards a willingness to be a friend of other countries in spite of political differences. As I wrote earlier, with our meeting with a representative from the Chinese Ministry of Labor, we were to understand that there is a definite transition from a planned economy to a market economy - distribution of profits is no longer even.
Dramatic changes such as these are happening in people’s daily life, and we could sense this change through our introduction to career development initiatives in Beijing and Shanghai.

PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM: Career Development in China’s Universities

Peking University’s Guiding and Serving Center for Student’s Employment,
and Beijing Normal University.

The activities offered through the Career Centers of these two major universities share many similarities.

Peking University is a comprehensive and national university. The University consists of 30 colleges and 12 departments. Peking University has become a center for teaching and research and a university of the new type, consisting of diverse branches of learning such as pure and applied sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and sciences of management and education.

Beijing Normal University is one of China’s major teacher training institutions.

The Career Centers at Peking University and Beijing Normal University provide two main services:
Information on the types of jobs in the job market today by connecting students to employers through job fairs. Internships and cooperative experiences are encouraged as well in order to assist students in getting experience outside the curriculum, and to network students to potential employers.

At Peking University, a career information network consists of:
- self-study
- career exploration
- continuing your education (perhaps even overseas)
- assessments on the internet (but cannot play an important role because they have not been shown how to evaluate these assessments)
- a web site which introduces students to private enterprises looking to hire

The other major service focuses on how to fill out the Employment Contract. Apparently, this is a major responsibility of the Career Centers due to the length and complexities of this document - a document that all students must fill out in order to finalize the hiring process and to establish legal residency at their new work location after graduation.

Each year universities are responsible for providing detailed information to the Ministry of Education on every student that graduates, which includes their career goals. The University Career Center is engaged with this type of reporting.

We learned that each department in the University has a person who is in charge of knowing what careers exist for that major, and knowing about each student in that major. This person makes the contacts with employers to encourage visits to the school to share information about career options in the major.

Even though it seems, therefore, that the Career Centers primary focus is job placement, and providing instruction on how to fill out contracts, the Career Centers are beginning to offer career development assistance as well.

At Beijing Normal University, for instance, our delegation met with Professor Zhijin Hou who was specifically trained in western style career counseling and development. She received her Master of Psychology from Beijing Normal University, and a Doctor of Psychology Consultation from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She currently serves as Associate Professor at Beijing Normal University, teaching courses in Career Development and Consultation. She is also a Certified Trainer through the National Career Development Association.
She trained with James P. Sampson, Jr., Ph.D.(a well known research career theorist and trainer in career development) at the Center for the Study of Technology in Counseling and Career Development, Florida State University. The training also focused on facilitator in Global Career Development.
Super’s Career Development Theory and Krumboltz's Social Learning Theory are two career development theories that she learned about while at the Career Center, and works within these theories today at Beijing Normal University.

Professor Zhijin Hou mentioned that since 1999, students are required more and more to find their own job.
She stated that with the State pulling out of job placement, students are facing a great deal of job uncertainty as a result. Today, the career centers in both Peking University and Beijing Normal University are attempting to provide students with more information and knowledge about career options.

Ms. Hou said that the government is very supportive of career development and encourages Universities to provide career counseling and planning courses. In fact, she said that it is now written into the Government’s Education Plan. People are more aware that there is a need to help students learn about what they want to do. There is research going on in many of China’s universities today, concerning career choice and self-efficacy and social learning theory. But, China does not have enough teachers/counselors trained as yet, to address the growing need for career counseling in the universities.

When a student manages to pass the national exam to enter into University, they are required to know ahead of time what major they want to study. Career counseling is not available at the high school level, so students are primarily picking majors based on current trends, perceived status of the occupation and families stressing high prestige occupations. Students get one chance to change their major at university, but they must have a strong academic record to do so.

The majors in China today that are considered competitive are; English; Math and Finance, MBA, Law; Security; Electronics Research; University Professor.

Yet, Ms. Hou stated that many students do not care what their major will be, because it is still more important to get accepted by top universities in the country first.

She said that the Career Center at Beijing Normal University however, does seek to provide students much more than just placement services. Because of Professor Zhijin Hou’s particular training in western Career Development theory, assessments like the Holland and the MBTI are now available for students to take. Other career assessments in use in the U.S. are not available in China as yet because they have not been ‘normed’ to the Chinese work and life values. Aptitude and skills assessments are available, as are co-op education and internship opportunities, which also assist students in getting short and long term experience with career exploration.

Both Career Centers also try to help students with job search strategies. Ms. Hou said that students tend to write one resume and ‘broadcast’ it everywhere – something delegates were not surprised to hear, given similar approaches taken by students in America. She said that, instead, her staff works with students to write several types of resumes for each job they are applying for. Employers are looking for similar traits in future employees that employers here in America look for: academic competency of the student, yes, but more importantly, how the student performs in the interview – social skills are ranked high - that is – employers want to know how well will the student ‘fit’ the culture of the company and get along with co-workers.

Just recently, the career center has added a course in career planning for first and second year students. For seniors, the mock interview is now part of job search strategies.

In China today, students will leave positions they are unhappy with. When they do, they tend to return to the counseling centers, rather than the career center for assistance and support.

Both Beijing and Beijing Normal University support a Student Association for Career Development. The idea of students helping students with career exploration, job search strategies and overall support, was quite intriguing for most delegates. And, it was noted that the career center staff is promoting the idea of offering what Ms. Huo explained to us, the idea of providing a large space in which to decide – to give a wide breath and depth to explore career options. Students are encouraged to take courses in career planning when they first come to University so they can begin to explorer career options. She was delighted to hear that counselors in America stress the same idea.

The students working in the Career Center we met at Beijing Normal University stated that they feel they have more freedom to choose careers closer to their own interests irrespective of societal/parental values. With the growth of private enterprise, there will be more career choices to explore than ever before.

The students working with the Student Association receive support from professional staff at Beijing Normal University to get involved in career research; to invite employers to give lectures; to help with providing practice interviews and writing the resume and cover letter; provide a bulletin board on the internet for students to post questions, create dialogue between and among students. Students offer basic strategies assistance in career exploration to fellow students as well. They have even created a career library for fellow students to use. They did this by going to organizations to speak about career development and raise the necessary funds. The association was founded in 2003. Today, the student Association has 400 members. The students in this meeting told us that students nowadays like to depend on themselves to make their own career decisions. In a sense they have to, since the primary purpose of the career center is still job placement.

It was also noted that the Career Center at Beijing Normal University won the creativity challenge award in all of China for their efforts to promote career counseling to fellow students!

A period for questions and answers followed the presentation

Our Chinese counterparts wanted to know if faculty get involved in career counseling. It was referred to as offering centralized services or decentralized. That is, career services provided through a centralized office, like a career center, or, also provided by professors, other professional staff and even graduate students.
I was interested to learn that the answer was yes, by many of the delegates representing a variety of Colleges and Universities in the U.S. Our China counterparts told us this was certainly the case at their university, since the idea of Career Development Center is still new.

Likewise, we asked our counterparts and the students who work in the Center, why they got involved in career development. It was assuring to find out that the reason was not too dissimilar from many of the delegates. Students and professors both stated that their reason to get involved with career development is because they want to help others, especially those struggling with career choice and even career satisfaction, because they too have had the same issues to face in choosing a major and career, and want to help support others in this process as well.

But what about the millions of laid off workers, the moving people (farmers leaving their farms) and others not engaged in university? If the government is moving towards developing fewer state enterprises and providing private enterprise support instead, how will all the millions of Chinese not engaged in university training find jobs on their own?

The next report will focus on two more professional visits: a private career development consulting firm and a State-run community service center of employment in Shanghai.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Back in the USA and some final thoughts.

Photo taken from a restaurant patio on the Bund, the Shanghai commercial street, up the Huang Po river. This area looks everything like Fifth Avenue in NYC.

We arrived in Oakland at 1 pm on Tuesday, having departed Hong Kong at 4 pm that same day. Weird. We were exhausted when we got to our hotel room so we ordered in and went to sleep to be rested for the 6 hour flight home the next day.

I know it's going to take some time to process all that we saw and did in this fabulous country. I have only uploaded a fraction of the photos I shot, and Kathy will be adding more notes from her meetings in the coming days. I have just finished the book I brought with me on the trip, China's new rulers : the secret files / Andrew J. Nathan and Bruce Gilley.
(This was the book that I thought might be confiscated at customs since it might have violated the Customs declaration, "articles prohibited from importation in accordance with the laws of the PRC: Printed material , films, photographs, etc. ....which are detrimental to the political, economic, cultural, and moral interests of China." I thought better not to declare it. )

I have a better understanding of what the authors' call the "Fourth Generation" of current leadership, and the relatively smooth succession of power that happened between Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, and the stresses and strains among the leadership who are the seven Politburo members and the Peoples Congress, to liberalize or tighten the amount of political freedom. One of the members was even calling for direct elections of officials right up through the provincial level. Now that we are getting the first news reports of the environmental disaster in Harbin and of the Chinese government's delayed response in warning the residents of the toxic spill, I am again reminded of the challenges the 1.4 billion inhabitants face in the near future. As we all know democracies have a difficult time handling these types of episodes let alone an authoritarian regimes not given to reporting poorly on itself, but I was heartened to hear that the Communist Youth newspaper stated immediately that there had been a government coverup.

This in itself is reason for hope: the youth of China who were born in the 1980's are the children first to be born under the one-child policy. Or as Gerard our guide put it, "the one-healthy-child policy." They are intelligent, highly competitive, knowlegeable about all things western, rebellious, and will not accept all that is told to them by the authorities. This force will be difficult one for the system to control and to channel.

Photo: Boys playing hoops at a Shanghai High School

Monday, November 21, 2005

Final Day

Our final day before departure was spent at the Jade Buddha Temple. Although relatively recent at this site (1918) the main attraction are two huge white jade Buddhas. The site is full of tourists and believers dressed all in black who in fact were being welcomed to the faith in a ceremony while we were there.

Our next stop was a five story bookstore that was completely crowded with everyone especially the children's and young adult departments where there was not even a place to walk in the aisles with young readers buried in a book.

The evening was taken up with our final night banquet at a very nice restaurant that overlooked bright lights/big city Shanghai. The evening was capped off with a magnificent chocolate cake and round of Happy Birthday sung in English and Mandarin to Kathy who turned 55 exactly 15 hours before her twin sister who lives in Denver. See photos here.

Shanghai Day 6

The final two days in Shanghai were spent in cultural and shopping tours in the city. Since the career development delegation meetings were done they joined the guests in the touring. On Saturday we made for the Shanghai Library, a truly world-class city museum of over 120,000 pieces of ancient Chinese art and artifacts from ceramics, calligraphy, to coins, sculpture, seals, and jade. The museum is state-of-the-art with exhibit lights that brightened and dimmed automatically as viewers approached and receded from the exhibit. A profusion of staff of every stripe was always visible and doing something througout our China tour: from bathroom attendants to custodians polishing the rich, dark wood in the exhibit rooms, I felt at times that there is 0% unemployment in China--the official figure is more like 3%. (At our hotel I counted 9 clerks behind the service desk--and this was at 10:00 PM one evening!)

After the museum we were taken to a silk carpet factory and show room. After a tour of the factory with weavers working on various carpets we were ushered into the showroom. The weavers were all young women who worked for 15-20 years but usually had to retire sooner due to failing eye sight. Depending on the size and pattern intricacies the carpets would take 6 months with the large ones taking a year or longer. Kathy purchased a small silk wall hanging while most delegates bought something, and one of the delegates purchased a rather large 5 X 8 carpet for his house in San Francisco.

Next we headed to Shanghai's old city and the classic Yu Yuan Garden, meaning garden of peace and harmony, of over 40 buildings of ponds, bridges, and sculpture, including an over 400 year old tree. After the tour and shopping at tea and silk shops we went on to the foot massage for everyone. Photos are here

Day 4-5: On to Shanghai

Well, we are sitting in the Hong Kong airport getting ready to board. This post was done several days ago but Iwas unable to upload it. The connection at the hotel was very slow. I have also discovered that the Chinese filters have been blocking access to all blogspot blogs from mainland China. Interesting.
We arrived in Shanghai Thursday afternoon and made our way to our hotel through the enormous traffic. On Friday I made my way over to the Shanghai Library for a tour. The library is one of the 10 largest in the world boastings a 42+ million item collection and over 8,000 visits per day. It was indeed busy with people all over the library. One thing I did not see many of were young children and really did not see a children's department. This may be due to the fact that China's children are in school from a very early age and are not making library visits. I was able to obtain a library card which gave me entry to the reading rooms of the various library departments such as, science/technology; business; foreign books and periodicals. The librarians' code of ethics was posted at the entrance. It does somewhat resemble the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. After my tour I was met by Yiping Shen, Kimi Hasegawa's friend, and we took a cab to Shanghai Normal University's library. I was fortunate to be given aa tour by the library's director. Yiping was there to translate. After seeing this very nice academic library of approximately 100,000 volumes we walked over to Yiping's secondary school where she teaches, Shanghai High School. The library was well stocked with books and magazines and the librarian seemed to be very proud of his collection. There was a small space and collection dedicated to teacher education. My cab ride back to the hotel was interesting. The driver seemed to be listening to Peking Opera on the radio. Here are photos of the day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Career Development delegate notes, part 1.

People to People Ambassador Program has offered the Career Development Professional Delegation to the People’s Republic of China one incredible program!! I can’t say enough about how well planned this trip has been. People to People set up numerous visits with our counterparts in China, from official state offices, college campuses, to private enterprise initiatives in career development, and state-run community centers.

It has to be noted too, that because of this trip, we have had the pleasure to be introduced to the elegance of the Chinese people. We have had many opportunities to interact with such gracious hosts in every leg of our journey: in the San Francisco Airport where we were so elegantly greeted and respectfully escorted by Cathay Pacific staff through the ticketing process; the gentle and attentive service from the flight attendants on a very long flight to Hong Kong; the bus drivers who took us everywhere in unbelievably congested cities with polite mastery of their skill; hotel personnel, retail personnel, all so refined, gracious and attentive to one’s every move. This is an experience we all agreed we won’t forget.

I have also had the marvelous opportunity to meet with experienced career counselors from all over the U. S. as well. Directors of career services and career counselors from Cornell University; Georgia State University; George Mason University; College of DuPage; Bryn Mawr; Aquinas College, Community College –Hawaii – and - private career consultants as well. I found each one of these professionals wonderfully experienced, and willing to share great techniques and innovative career development strategies.

Before this visit, I had no understanding of any real need for career planning services in China.
I now know why career development is growing and becoming popular in this country. Professional visits were incredibly insightful and inspiring. I hope to relate a few of the highlights of these visits, so you too can discover as I have, how students and workers in this economy-driven society are voicing their need more and more for assistance in the job search and even for attaining career satisfaction.

Our first session was with the Chinese Minister of Labor who provided information concerning the status of the labor market and economy in China today.
(photo by Catherine McCormick)
China faces an ever-growing market economy which is no longer government driven. There are over 500 million laborers in the country: 76% are still in farming; 12% are working in the industrial area; 11 % in service businesses - (hotels, department stores, restaurants…)

The trend is for more and more farmers to go to the industry and service sectors. In the last 2 to 3 years, 150 million farmers have been looking for work, mostly male and young: 64% under 35! Dislocation of this population is due to construction and, a desire to seek hire wages in the cities.

Main points covered in this meeting:
- Government encourages private investment and growth through loan initiatives
- 82% of China’s industry is now in the hands of private enterprise
- Since 1990s, state-owned enterprises have been letting go of workers due to poor profits.
private and entrepreneurial enterprises are now the main resources for the unemployed.
- There are over 30 million private enterprises – only 1% of private enterprise is considered big,
hiring over 1,000 workers
- Since the 1990s, 6 million new working opportunities exits within private enterprise.
- ¾ of the total urban population now works in private enterprise
- Since 1990s, 60% of the workers laid off by the State, found employment with private
- Private enterprises take in over 50% of the China’s total GDP
- Private enterprise is responsible for over 62% of the exports of total GDP

So, in the past, before you reached age of retirement, government had to assign you a job – now – not responsible – everyone must find their own job. Only those laid off from a state-owned job will receive assistance in finding new employment by the government.

For those workers laid off by state-owned enterprises, the government offers 3 years unemployment insurance while the worker tries to relocate. During this period, workers must register with ‘second job station’ in which government tries to help workers find new employment and re-training. Re-training is based upon past learning and training experience. Unskilled workers must depend on the government for finding new job opportunities.

Today, skilled and educated workers tend to look for their own working opportunities. Government is not responsible for assisting this population. Many university graduates could find work in western China, away from the urban centers of the east coast, but many graduates do not want to travel to the west to look for work. The pay is lower and living conditions are ‘stressed’.

Middle age and older workers will find it next to impossible to find good jobs because new training and education opportunities for this age group do not exist.

By 2011, it is projected that there will be no laid off workers because of the changing demographics of the population…most of the older workers will have reached retirement age, which is 60 years for men and 50 years for women. State workers will receive a pension.

For those workers who have worked 2 years or more and laid off by private business, workers will receive 2 years unemployment compensation.

If the government finds you a new job and you don’t want it, your unemployment insurance will be cancelled.

The government is still responsible for 50% of job location and training. Eventually, however, the government wants to pull out entirely. Many more private training programs must be developed to meet the need of the growing market.

Largest government owned enterprises today are:
- oil
- gas
- steel
- telecommunications
- transportation (airlines, rails, cargo shipping)

A new phenomena has developed in China’s employment scene: the temporary worker – or what’s called - the moving population - going from job to job.
There are over 40 million farmers coming to the city to find work, and find themselves in this unfortunate work-status.

3 million workers have been laid off from the collectives and state-owned enterprises as well, since the 1990s. So, today, the government encourages people to start their own businesses by offering government loans. Also, the government encourages workers to find part or seasonal jobs.

The government recognizes that there is a need for more and more training initiatives to help laid off workers from industry lay offs and for the dislocated farmers. This year alone, the central government plans to invest over 400 million yuan towards training programs.

Impact on Career Development:
There does not exist career counseling for most of China’s workers, however. They are expected to register in Second Work Station where the government will try to re-assign the worker.

Government requires private enterprises to provide for free career counseling for laid off workers.

Because jobs are hard to find, and there are so many graduates from the universities, many graduates go back to technical school in order to find employment. Or, many go on to get master and doctorate degrees and go into research. It was noted that two Universities that delegates traveled to, Beijing University and Beijing Normal University, have more graduate students than undergraduates. This is true for many of China’s higher education institutions. Many graduates do not use their professional degree but instead, find themselves in jobs totally unrelated to their education and training because there are far more graduates than professional job opportunities.

So…with the next entry, I will talk more about career initiatives that are just starting to develop for University students in China.

Future entries will also highlight how private career initiatives are starting to provide career development to individuals already in the work force.

Delegation leader Amy Augustine-Benedict and representative from Chinese Ministry of Labor. (photo by Catherine McCormick)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Beijing Day 3--Great Wall

The career development delegation had no meetings today so they joined the "guests" for some touring. The Great Wall of China was the highlight of the day. A bus picked the delegation up at the hotel and about one hour later we were hiking the Wall. Kathy and I took the left side with two career delegates, Cathy McCormick and Dottie Evans, and found this trail steeper but with better views. We hiked for about an hour huffing and puffing our way up the steep walk-ways. There were not that many people on the Wall today and the weather was nearly perfect: the sun was out all day and it wasn't too cold. Here are some photos of the hike. The only blemish to the outing was the fact that we were usually accosted along the way by vendors selling Rolexes; postcards; silk hankerchiefs; etc. After the hike our tour guide, Gerard, took us to lunch at a restaurant in a Friendship Store, which, according to Gerard, were outlets where foreigners and locals alike could purchase consumer goods in China. Now they are almost an anachronism but some do carry local crafts and other specialities. The delegates shopped after lunch and we went back to the hotel. Lucy, our city tour guide, then took me to the National Library of China, of which I will discuss more later.

Beijing Day 2

As the career planning delegates made their way to Beijing Univeristy and Beijing Normal University, the guests toured the historical and cultural sites with our guide, Lucy Li. Our first stop today was the Temple of Heaven. This most notable of religious historical sites in the world starts out with a public park filled with Beijingers enjoying activities such as Tai Chi; Dancing; Singing; Maj jong; and other activities. An enjoyment of life not seen so much in the USA. After a tour of this area we headed for lunch to meet the career development delegates who were getting back from Beijing University. We had lunch together at this wonderful restaurant with an open court yard filled with song birds in cages. After lunch we toured the Forbidden City, a busy area where we saw Arnold’s delegation—but not Ahhnold—touring as well.
After leaving the FC we walked several blocks to our bus. During this time we were swarmed by beggars of every age and malady one could imagine. It was quite a sobering and disturbing experience that one would be hard pressed to find in the West. Our guide said that the police had left the area and this is why it was so intense. One of the group members attempted to give one of the beggars some money and she became so covered with people to the point of near suffocation. The next stop in our journey was the 150 year-old Quanjude Restaurant, which is most famous for its preparation of Peking Duck. Click here for photos.
Another thing: I think the Great Firewall of China is blocking access to Wikipedia. Every time I try to get there a "page cannot be displayed" error comes up.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Summer Palace tour

Summer Palace, Beijing Posted by Picasa
Our tour guide today was Lucy Lui from People to People in Beijing. A 26 year-old English and Chinese Folklore Studies graduate from a local university, Lucy lives on the outskirts of Beijing and knows the ancient history of the city. She filled our day with history and stories of Beijing's Summer Palace. We spent the morning walking a small portion of the 100+ acre expanse. None of the buildings were open to the public, however there was an interesting photo exhibit of the 19th century Summer Palace documenting the destruction during by the British and French during the 1860 Opium War. At noon we had lunch at a nearby restaurant, then the afternoon was spent visiting the historic Hutong neighborhood of old Beijing.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Beijing arrival

We arrived yesterday (Sunday) a bit worse for wear. 14 hours en route in a packed flight. Kathy said she thought we were sitting in a tube. Not the entire group made it: one of the guests passed through a body temperature scan at Beijing customs and registered a fever. Although it is part of condition that he has Beijing authorities said he could not enter the country or even stay in Hong Kong. He is now heading back to USA on a flight. Another participant's VISA had the incorrect date and she was sent back to Hong Kong. Hopefully she will be back today after getting the matter straightened out with the embassy.

Gerard Shiu is the in-country guide and very friendly and knowlegeable man. Buffet last night was to die for. The hotel is brand new and very luxurious. See photos of first day on Flckr.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Day 1: San Francisco

We made it to San Francisco. It was a miracle that we made our flight in Hartford since it left 30 minutes earlier than was on our tickets. Spent the day with an old friend at the newly refurbished Ferry Building. Photo of the Bay Bridge from the Ferry Building. Next stop Hong Kong.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Packed and ready to go

Spent my last day at work bringing to completion the tasks and projects for the hiatus. Learned yesterday that some type of budget will be due probably before I return so I am calling this a real working vacation.

We are all packed, suitcases near the door, ready for our escape down I-91 to Hartford at 4:30 a.m. Purchased a portable CD player to listen to our Bach, Mozart, Credence, Eric Burden, Sinatra, and finish From Yao to Mao CD lecture series on 5,000 years of Chinese history.

I have also selected reading material : Weather Permitting: Poems by Stephen Sandy (read at the 2005 Brattleboro Literary Festival), and China's new rulers : the secret files by Andrew J. Nathan and Bruce Gilley. Hmmm, this should be interesting.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

China pollution

Sunday, October 30, New York Times article on pollution in China. A high level Chinese environmental spokesperson said the pollution will quadruple in next 15 years. The statistics cited are pretty grim: China is the second largest greenhouse gas producer; more than 400,000 people die each year from diseases linked to pollution; nearly 25% of the particulate matter in the air over L.A. can be linked to Chinese pollution. But there is hope. Unlike the leadership in this country, President Hu Jintao has made sustainable development the centerpiece of his economic reforms moving China to a more efficient economy. And there is a recent law that states China by next year must get 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Seems that we are growing closer together in our problems as well as our successes.