11 episodes

Two of The Economist's China correspondents, Alice Su and David Rennie, analyse the stories at the heart of this vast country and examine its influence beyond its borders. 
They’ll be joined by our global network of correspondents and expert guests to examine how everything from party politics to business, technology and culture are reshaping China and the world.  
For almost seven centuries the beats of China’s most famous drum tower, or gulou, kept people in Beijing to time. The Economist’s latest podcast keeps you up to date every Monday.
Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.


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Drum Tower The Economist

    • News
    • 4.8 • 118 Ratings

Two of The Economist's China correspondents, Alice Su and David Rennie, analyse the stories at the heart of this vast country and examine its influence beyond its borders. 
They’ll be joined by our global network of correspondents and expert guests to examine how everything from party politics to business, technology and culture are reshaping China and the world.  
For almost seven centuries the beats of China’s most famous drum tower, or gulou, kept people in Beijing to time. The Economist’s latest podcast keeps you up to date every Monday.
Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Drum Tower: Autocrats' pact

    Drum Tower: Autocrats' pact

    It’s been a year since Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced the “no-limits” friendship between China and Russia. What drives the relationship and which side benefits from it more?
    In the first episode of a two-part series, The Economist’s Beijing bureau chief, David Rennie, and senior China correspondent, Alice Su, assess how the relationship between Mr Xi and Mr Putin has evolved over the past year and ask whether the friendship has any boundaries.
    They also speak to Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, about how China sees Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether that view has changed over the course of this year.
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.


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    • 35 min
    Drum Tower: Slow train home

    Drum Tower: Slow train home

    China is celebrating the lunar new year. The Ministry of Transport predicts that by February 15th over 2bn journeys will be made by Chinese heading to their home towns–and for some migrant workers, it'll be the first time they've returned since the start of the covid-19 pandemic three years ago. The Economist's Beijing bureau chief, David Rennie, has a standing ticket for a train ride that’s part of the biggest annual human migration on the planet. He asks passengers on a two-day train from Guangzhou to Urumqi about the economic and emotional challenges involved in going home. He and Alice Su, our senior China correspondent, also hear from Han Dongfang, founder of the China Labour Bulletin, about a pay problem that's gripping the country's most vulnerable workers.
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.


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    • 41 min
    Drum Tower: A tale of two Chinas

    Drum Tower: A tale of two Chinas

    The recent surge in covid-19 cases has exposed the gulf between China's urban and rural healthcare system. How vast is the gap and what is being done to bridge it? 
    The Economist’s Beijing bureau chief, David Rennie, and senior China correspondent, Alice Su, hear how doctors in cities and villages are coping with the rise in covid infections. Winnie Yip, professor of the practice of global health policy and economics at Harvard School of Public Health, assesses the Chinese government’s plans to revitalise healthcare. 
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.


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    • 37 min
    Drum Tower: The new wave

    Drum Tower: The new wave

    Since the zero-covid policy was scrapped, the virus has spread across China at a blistering pace. The medical system and crematoria are overwhelmed, but official data on infections and deaths is hazy. With so little transparency, is it possible to discover the true scale of the crisis? And, could this latest wave have been prevented?
    The Economist’s Beijing bureau, David Rennie, and senior China correspondent, Alice Su, speak to our China correspondent, Gabriel Crossley, who’s visited a hospital struggling to cope with the influx of patients. Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses why Chinese authorities continue to put politics above science.
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here.
    For full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.

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    • 34 min
    Drum Tower: Startle the heart

    Drum Tower: Startle the heart

    “Spring Landscape”, a poem written over 1,000 years ago, remains one of China’s most celebrated literary works. Composed by the 8th Century Tang dynasty poet Du Fu, it is still memorised by every schoolchild in the country. Why is the poem still so resonant today? 
    The Economist’s Beijing bureau chief, David Rennie, and senior China correspondent, Alice Su, consider whether the ambiguity of classical Chinese makes it ideal for poetry. Our deputy editor Edward Carr explores how close he can get to the poem in translation. Nicolas Chapuis, a former ambassador to China who is translating Du Fu’s complete works into French, examines the meaning of one particular couplet of the poem. And Eileen Chengyin Chow of Duke University takes us outside China’s poetry canon. 
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here.
    For full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.

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    • 38 min
    Drum Tower: The red and the green

    Drum Tower: The red and the green

    China’s energy security concerns are undermining its ambitious climate pledges. We try to understand the contradiction from the perspective of China’s leaders. And, in a country where activism can be dangerous, we find out how environmentalists are working within the system. Is China serious about climate change? 
    The Economist’s Beijing bureau chief, David Rennie, and senior China correspondent, Alice Su, talk to Ma Jun from the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, an NGO. Our environment editor Catherine Brahic talks to Li Shuo of Greenpeace East Asia.
    Sign up to our weekly newsletter here and for full access to print, digital and audio editions, as well as exclusive live events, subscribe to The Economist at economist.com/drumoffer.
    We hope you enjoy listening to this podcast as much as we enjoy making it. We're always thinking of ways to improve and to do that we would like to know more about our listeners. Please help us by filling out this short questionnaire. 


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    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
118 Ratings

118 Ratings

Scottish Rain ,

Excellent

Drum Tower, engagingly presented, puts current events in China in historical context and does not neglect viewing them from the perspective of individual lives. It humanizes a subject so often viewed in the west purely in a geopolitical framework.

Wen Zh ,

Bring me to tears

Listening to the “slow train home” episode at work brought me to tears… it’s been 12 years since last time I spent lunar new year in China. Regardless of the regime and social issues, 过年回家 is coded in me I guess.

啊赞 ,

Bring me tears every time

As someone who works and lives abroad, Drum Tower helps me to see my hometown in a different perspective, also help adapt my past 22 year of experience in China and integrate it into my current life, if that makes any sense.(感觉我的中文人生和英文人生终于相交了!感觉被理解、被看到、被感动了)

Unlike other news media, you can feel their love and care for the country (different from the government) in each episode, the level of respect they have to Chinese culture, while examine the problems. I really really appreciate that aspect.

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