A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China
Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a vivid and insightful portrait of China today, as featured on NPR’s This American Life, from the acclaimed author of "The Last Days of Old Beijing."
For three years, Michael Meyer rented a home in the rice-farming community of Wasteland, hometown to his wife’s family. Their personal saga mirrors the tremendous change most of rural China is undergoing, in the form of a privately held rice company that has built new roads, introduced organic farming, and constructed high-rise apartments into which farmers can move in exchange for their land rights. Once a commune, Wasteland is becoming a company town.
Amplifying the story of family and Wasteland, Meyer -- via photographs -- will take us on a journey across Manchuria’s past, a history that explains much about contemporary China—from the fall of the last emperor to Japanese occupation and Communist victory. Through vivid local characters, Meyer illuminates the remnants of the imperial Willow Palisade, Russian and Japanese colonial cities and railways, and the POW camp into which a young American sergeant parachuted to free survivors of the Bataan Death March. In Manchuria is a rich and original chronicle of contemporary China and its people.
About the Speaker
Michael Meyer first went to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps. His first book, The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed resulted in a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. Meyer has also received a Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in travel writing. His stories have appeared in the New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and on This American Life. Meyer is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches nonfiction writing.
The book will be available for purchase at the event.
Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.