December 7, 2007
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

NPR NEWS TRAVELS CHINA’S YELLOW RIVER

SERIES VISITS COMMUNITIES ALONG THE “MOTHER RIVER” TO EXPLORE THE ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES ON ITS BANKS ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, DECEMBER 10-14



December 7, 2007; Washington, D.C. – NPR News correspondent Rob Gifford travels China’s Yellow River to explore the environmental, social and political issues impacting communities along its banks for “Yellow River: A Journey through China,” a five-part series airing the week of December 10 on the afternoon newsmagazine All Things Considered.

Gifford, who has reported from Asia extensively for NPR, spent a month traveling the 3,500-mile river from its source in Qinghai Province, to the Bohai Sea at its mouth. He previously took a 3,000-mile, 14-day trip across China in 2004 for the seven-part series “On the Road in China.”

In “Yellow River: A Journey through China,” Gifford reports that the Yellow River, whose floods have claimed millions of lives over the centuries, is now itself threatened by pollution and overuse. Water shortages plague much of northern China; many villages not so far from the Yellow River rely entirely on rain water to fuel crops. At the source of the Yellow River, high on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Gifford finds severe soil erosion and the drying up of thousands of lakes – which scientists and officials believe is due to both climate change and over-grazing by Tibetan nomads. The government is taking dramatic steps to protect the Yellow River’s source by protecting the land around it. They’re in the process of halting herding, as a result, displacing the Tibetan nomads who have lived off the grasslands there for centuries.

Further downstream, Gifford witnesses serious pollution in and around the river, caused by the rapid industrial growth that’s powering China’s economy. He talks with a local environmentalist, who has started a non-government organization to educate people about the environment and the dangers it faces.

The series also examines the Chinese Communist Party’s past efforts to harness the Yellow River, and current efforts to bring water to the north by diverting water from China’s other great river, the Yangtze. The government is also working to celebrate Chinese nationalism and drive tourism to the Yellow River region, which thousands of years ago saw the rise of Chinese civilization.

“Yellow River: A Journey through China” series editor is Ted Clark. The producer is Andrea Hsu.

Information about the series will be available at www.NPR.org The site will also feature two narrated slideshows, one with a visual overview of Gifford’s trip, and the other comparing and contrasting two Tibetan families. All Things Considered, NPR's signature afternoon news magazine, reaches 11 million listeners weekly, and is hosted by Melissa Block, Michele Norris and Robert Siegel. To find local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations