WESA/Matt Nemeth

A wide pot made of red, earthy clay is decorated with geometric details. Maybe it's an ancient artifact, a tool from the past in a glass case. But then you spot the silver cursive letters.

This piece is clearly contemporary.

A chaotic and tense scene unfolded just after Air Force One touched down in Hangzhou, China, where U.S. and global leaders are gathered to discuss the world economy, promote growth and curb carbon emissions.

Obama's customary exit from the plane came not from the usual door high on the fuselage, but instead from a lower portal. It seems there were no higher stairs available to roll up to the usual door.

Three student leaders avoided jail time for their part in weeks-long demonstrations that brought Hong Kong to a standstill nearly two years ago.

Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were sentenced on Monday to community service for their part in the Umbrella Movement demonstrations. A third activist, Alex Chow, received a suspended prison sentence so he could embark on graduate studies, The Associated Press reports.

The president of a regional bank in China has been suspended after a video was circulated in which an official at a special training session went down a row of eight employees to deliver a hard spanking as punishment for poor performance. A second executive has also reportedly been suspended.

Say you are one of the roughly 15,000 American steel workers who have been laid off — or received notice of coming layoffs — in the past year.

You and your boss would cheer any reduction in China's massive steelmaking capacity. Chinese steel has been flooding global markets and hurting profits for U.S. companies.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Acrobatic lion dance teams and traditional Chinese melodies entertained attendees at this past Saturday’s celebration of the beginning of the Chinese New Year in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. In the 12-year Chinese zodiac rotation, 2016 is the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. Essential Pittsburgh assistant producer Katie Blackley spoke with Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition executive director Marian Lien about what to expect during the two weeks of festivities.


AppalAsia is one of those artistic ventures which, seemingly, could only happen in Pittsburgh. The musical blend of Appalachian and ancient Chinese folk music stems from three artists with very different musical backgrounds. 

Mimi Jong plays the erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument that has been a part of Chinese folk music for a millennium.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Civil rights activist and self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng made headlines in 2012 when he escaped house arrest in China and fled to the United States Embassy in Beijing.  He is in Pittsburgh for the second time to read from his memoir, “The Barefoot Lawyer.” Guancheng and his translator, Danica Mills, joined Essential Pittsburgh to reflect on his life and his thoughts on human rights throughout the world.  

Fishhawk / Flickr

Competition from foreign markets and struggles in the global economy are causing a drop in milk prices in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

The price for milk in 2014 was the highest in Pennsylvania history, but this year farmers are facing a 28 percent price drop. In Allegheny County, a gallon of milk currently costs a minimum of $3.70, compared to last November’s price of $4.36, as established by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board.

A report released by the Economic Policy Institute found 122,600 jobs don’t exist in Pennsylvania because of unbalanced trade with China.

Nationally, the trade deficit cost 3.2 million jobs between the same period of 2001 and 2013.

Most U.S. trade comes from manufactured goods rather than agricultural and war materials such as oil or services such as health care, therefore most job creation or loss dependent on trade is manufacturing.

lizzardo / Flickr


An indictment out of Western Pennsylvania charges five military officers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with directing a conspiracy to steal information from Pittsburgh based organizations.

According to the indictment, the six organizations victimized include U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Alcoa, Solar World and the United Steelworkers International Union. The charges were announced Monday in Washington by US Attorney General Eric Holder and David Hickton, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

Through her new novel The Valley of Amazement author Amy Tan explores the struggles of mother-daughter relationships.

She says the staging of the book's characters in a Chinese courtesan house, was partly inspired by what she learned from an old photo of Chinese women, which reminded her of her grandmother.

Lim CK / Flickr

China has one of the world's fastest growing economies. But, how do changes in China affect people in Pittsburgh?

PNC Vice President and Senior International Economist Bill Adams is co-author of the new book, In Line Behind A Billion People: How Scarcity Will Define China’s Ascent in the Next Decade.

Looking at the state of its current economy, and projections for the future, Adams is concerned about what happens if China runs out of the things it needs to keep growing.