Covering China is not the easiest of journalistic assignments.
First there's the language issue. Do you send a great journalist who needs a translator, or do you send a so-so journalist who already speaks Chinese -- or do you look for the rare combination of the two?
Then, once you've found a journalist willing to take on this assignment, and have smoke blown up his...well, you know... on a weekly basis by the foreign ministry, how does one person cover everything happening in Beijing, much less the rest of this continent-sized country?
For those of us who are out of China at least as often as we are in, fortunately there are multiple media organizations attempting to tackle the task of providing some understanding to the rest of the world. And we all benefit from the diversity of views.
Then there are those rare few organizations that get the fact that their readers come to them for a full understanding, not just a tiny piece of the picture. Forbes is one such media organization.
Not only does Forbes have several brilliant reporters in the field in Greater China, but now they are adding a new blog called "The China Tracker". Forbes has pulled together a fantastic group of volunteer bloggers who will be contributing their (uncensored) views alongside those of some regular Forbes reporters.
The list of bloggers who will be contributing contains a virtual who's who among contemporary China thinkers. And me. I'll be contributing the occasional post on my little corner of the China-verse as well. While I am honored to have been asked to contribute, I am especially excited to see such a concentration of diverse views on China, and I hope it will help to improve the understanding of China among non-China specialists.
Hana Alberts, Forbes' HK-based reporter, explains here what the new blog is all about. Check it out. There are already a few new articles up. And while you're there, go ahead and add this one to your RSS reader.