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Amitav Ghosh: Oil, Opium and the Religion of Free Trade

Jonathan Spence (L) and Amitav Ghosh (R) at Asia Society New York on Nov. 3, 2011. (Suzanna Finlay)
Arts

UPDATE: Jay Corcoran filmed some behind the scenes interviews with Amitav Ghosh, Jonathan Spence and members of the audience. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch.)

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The relevance of past to present took center stage at Asia Society last night, when historical novelist Amitav Ghosh drew a provocative parallel between the Opium Wars of the 1830s and the present day.

Photo of the Day: Bathing for the Guinness Record in China

Multimedia

14,345 people attempted to set a new Guinness World Record as they gathered for a bath at a hot spring in southwest China's Chongqing municipality on October 30, 2011. The former world record was 10,121 people having a hot spring bath at the same time in China's Hubei province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Does it Matter if Jon Huntsman is 'Fluent' in Mandarin Chinese?

Jon Huntsman (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Policy

Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China — and current Republican candidate for president — is at the center of a discussion that reveals our assumptions about language perhaps better than any other: the idea of “fluency.”

Google Reader Redesign Unpopular in China

(Mike Licht/Flickr)
Lifestyle

Earlier this week Google unveiled the newest version of Google Reader, its long-neglected RSS service. Though most of the changes are cosmetic — Google has embraced a gray, minimalist aesthetic of late — the removal of Reader's social functions has led to a fair amount of grumbling among the service's users.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Yu Hua's 'China in Ten Words'

Yu Hua (Courtesy of Fabrica)
Arts

Asia Society Associate Fellow Jeffrey Wasserstrom reviews the latest work by Chinese author Yu Hua, who participates in Asia Society New York's Chindia Dialogues this week.

In Concert: Gingger Shankar, Dave Liang to Redefine Musical Mashup at Asia Society

Gingger Shankar (L) and Dave Liang (R), appearing at Asia Society New York on Nov. 4, 2011. (Courtesy artists' websites)
Arts

If you thought blending Chinese classical instrumental music with hip-hop and electronica was a rare treat, imagine combining that fusion with a blend of Indian classical and contemporary Western music.

That's exactly the idea behind Dave Liang and The Shanghai Restoration Project's appearance with Gingger Shankar this Friday, November 4 at Asia Society in New York.

Evan Osnos on 'Coal + Ice' (Plus More Stunning Photos)

YU HAIBO, Pingdingshan, Henan Province, China, 2007
Multimedia

Earlier today, Evan Osnos, the Beijing-based staff writer for The New Yorker (and the 2007 winner of the Asia Society's Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia), wrote a blog post about the exhibit (and his fears for the health of anyone breathing Beijing's perpetually "hazardous" air).

Top Tweets about Ai Weiwei's Tax Bill

Arts

China has ordered dissident artist Ai Weiwei to pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines within 15 days, Ai announced today. In typical fashion, the outspoken artist — who was detained for nearly three months earlier ths year — took to Twitter to express his discontent. So did several others:

'Chindia Dialogues' Speaker Amitav Ghosh Featured on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show

'River of Smoke' author Amitav Ghosh, appearing at Asia Society New York on Nov. 3, 2011. (Frederick Noronha/Flickr)
Arts

Discussing the background for his new book, the acclaimed historical novelist comments, "In general, the reality of the opium trade, the part it played in forming modern capitalism and the modern world, is just obscure and occluded."

What can China and India learn from one another?

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) during the opening of the BRICS summit meeting in Sanya, Hainan province, on April 14, 2011. (Nelson Ching/AFP/Getty Images)
Arts

That's the question we posed to participants in Asia Society's upcoming Asian Arts and Ideas Forum — called The Chindia Dialogues — which kicks off this Thursday and runs through Sunday at Asia Society New York. Click the headline to see their answers.