The series illustrates how dramatically China has changed in ways obvious and not-so-obvious, from the jumble of new skyscrapers in a city that barely existed two decades ago, to the drag bars that operate despite official disapproval.
The opening images drive home the point that the U.S. and China’s economic interests are intertwined. A woman laid off at a Briggs & Stratton plant in Missouri, wondering if she has the skills to find new work, contrasts with the company’s thriving plant in China. Discovery traces an Ethan Allen sofa from its assemblage in China, the upholstery done in the U.S. to its purchase by a rich couple in China.
“You may not think you care much about what is happening in China,” Koppel told The Associated Press. “Let me tell you, what happens over there is going to make quite a difference with what is going to happen over here.”