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Rob Gifford

Rob Gifford

Rob Gifford is the NPR foreign correspondent based in Shanghai.

For five years prior to his assignment in Shanghai in 2010, Gifford reported from NPR's London Bureau. From 1999 to 2005, he was NPR's Beijing correspondent.

Gifford has reported from around the world for NPR, especially in Asia and Europe. Two days after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, Gifford flew to Pakistan for the first of many reporting trips to the Muslim world.

Born and raised in the UK, Gifford worked for three years at the BBC World Service, before moving to the US in 1994 to attend graduate school. He also spent two years at NPR member station WGBH in Boston.

His first book, CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power was published in 2007 by Random House. CHINA ROAD tells of his 3,000 mile odyssey across China, following the country's equivalent of the US Route 66--called Route 312--all the way from Shanghai to the Kazakh border. The book is based upon a seven-part radio series that Gifford filed for Morning Edition.

Gifford holds a BA in Chinese Studies from Durham University, UK, and an MA in Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University.

  • From inside China, it can often seem that modern Chinese power is more aimed at erasing a painful past than at writing a dominant future. The problem is that with a growing military and with increasingly assertive foreign and commercial policies, China doesn't always look that way from outside.
  • After 30 years of mind-bending economic growth, everyone knows about brand China — but very few people can name a Chinese brand. And the reasons for that are not just economic. To move to the next level, the country needs to adopt social and legal reforms, observers say.
  • As it reemerges as a world power, the question is: Is China's awakening to be welcomed — or feared? Some point to peaceful 15th century explorer Zheng He to show that China is not an expansionist culture. But others say China's motivations have changed — and a peaceful rise will be difficult.
  • China has rejected allegations of involvement in a cyberspying campaign targeting the Google email accounts of top U.S. officials, military personnel and journalists. In an op-ed in a party-run newspaper, two strategists from the Chinese military, without mentioning Google's recent claims, wrote that China must make mastering cyberwarfare a military priority as the Internet becomes the crucial battleground for opinion and intelligence.
  • Access to running water in Cambodia's capital is at 92 percent, up from 25 percent in 1993. The success is largely due to Ek Sonn Chan, head of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. But he says he won't rest until all Cambodians have clean running water, and there's still a long way to go in rural areas.
  • Hybrid and electric vehicles have been rolled out by many of the large Western and Chinese automakers. But analysts expect low consumer interest and a yet-undeveloped infrastructure to be major roadblocks to environmentally friendly vehicles in China.
  • Thousands of truck drivers in the Chinese city of Shanghai staged a third day of protest Friday over rising fuel prices they say are crippling their businesses. The protests come amid a government crackdown on intellectual and political dissent of any sort.
  • With the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear crisis, much has been made of Japanese resilience. But some say that it can go too far, and that keeping emotions bottled up doesn't help. One counselor says very few people have wanted to talk about what they're going through.
  • Tsunami-shattered fishing businesses could take years to rebuild. And for some, that may never happen. "I think it might end with me," one man says about his family's century-old fish processing company.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. already had a track record of falsifying and covering up maintenance and repair data. Now, as the company struggles to bring its Fukushima nuclear plant under control, calls for more monitoring and accountability of TEPCO and other large companies are growing.