Tavis Smiley Visits Beijing’s Famed 101 Middle School

This week, there may be no better way to get a sense of why China is taking it to the U.S. than Thursday’s edition of Tavis Smiley‘s PBS talk show. As part of a special “China Week” of programs that begins tonight, Smiley sits down on July 14 with students from Beijing’s Middle School 101, consistently ranked as one of the top two high schools in China.

Smiley spent two weeks in Beijing and Shanghai to put together his special string of programs. The Thursday show is actually something that was synced up as well with his NPR radio show “Smiley & West.”

Beijing’s Middle School 101 is the kind of place where a student makes a biology discovery that leads an asteroid to be named after her in 2006 (“21725 Zhongyuechen”). Courses are taught in more than five different foreign languages to the country’s best and brightest.

Among the other guests for Smiley’s “China Week” are leading Chinese pollster Victor Yuan, Princeton professor Cornel West and, for the back-home Chinese-American panel on Friday, July 15, Steven Spielberg‘s one-time Chinese cultural liaison Janet Yang.