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China History Podcast. It Is That Good.

Posted in Recommended Reading

A few days ago, I received an email congratulations from a friend for China Law Blog having made the 2013 edition of Danwei Model Workers.  Danwei’s Model Workers lists out “the best China-related blogs” and among those who deal with China daily, its list is really the sine qua non of the China blogosphere.  The email was from my China lawyer friend, Frederic Rocafort, and it congratulated me for having made the list along with the China History Podcast.  Not being familiar with that podcast (I am not really a podcast person), I asked Fred why of all the great blogs on the list, he had mentioned CHP.  He then told me of how much he liked it and of how great it was.  I then listened to a couple podcasts, agreed, and asked Fred to tell the world (or at least CLB readers) of this heretofore undiscovered (at least by me) gem.  The following is Fred’s post:

 

As a resident of Shenzhen and frequent visitor to Guangzhou and Hong Kong, I constantly ride the rails of South China. By now, I am so familiar with the CRH trains that ply the region that I could critique them for SeatGuru. Unfortunately the surly ticket vendors will not entertain seat-assignment requests.

The industrial landscape of the Pearl River Delta is fascinating, but it does get old after a few hundred trips. Luckily I never travel alone: As I flit back and forth across the world’s factory, I enjoy the company of Laszlo Montgomery, whom I met in Guangzhou last year.  Well, not exactly Laszlo, but his always fascinating China History Podcast. One listen and I was hooked. Since then I have heard most of his 122 (and counting) podcasts and eagerly await new episodes. I never fail to learn something new about China by giving it a listen.

Laszlo’s eight-part series on the Cultural Revolution gave me a much clearer understanding of just how madness of such magnitude took over the entire country. Laszlo also did a great job of summarizing Ezra Vogel’s book on Deng Xiaoping, Deng Xiaoping and The Transformation of China. I still want to read Dr Vogel’s book, but by listening to Laszlo’s eight podcasts on it I got a reasonably complete picture of Deng’s life over the course of a couple of trips to Guangzhou. Now I have a greater appreciation of the man whose grandfatherly visage watches over the roller-skating kids and dancing adults in the square in front of Lychee Park, near my apartment in Shenzhen. Had it not been for Deng, the square, the park and my apartment would probably not exist. Our modern corner of Shenzhen would resemble the swathes of fish ponds and ramshackle villages that line the tracks that link the city to Guangzhou.

Inspired by Laszlo, I decided to start my own, Spanish-language podcast: Coleta China. With just a dozen podcasts so far, I still have a long way to go before even coming close to Laszlo. Yet I hope that soon I will be helping make train rides more bearable for fellow travelers.