Assignment Asia

Festivals

From the mountains of northern Pakistan to rodeo arenas in the central Philippines, this edition features festivals in Asia that are gaining popularity. With a history of terrorism and instability, Pakistan's northern region used to be an unlikely place for festivities. Today, however, an equestrian festival is attracting thousands of tourists ever year and exposing the region's natural beauty. Reporter Danial Khan traveled to Shandur, the so-called "roof of the world", to witness how polo is not only boosting tourism but also helping the region shed its troubled past. Rodeos have their roots in the West and Latin America, a competitive sport no would expect to see in Asia. But for more than two decades now, a province in the central Philippines with a growing cattle industry has been holding a yearly rodeo festival and made the tradition its own. Barnaby Lo visits Masbate and met the province's homegrown cowboys and cowgirls.

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Heroin's Hold On Myanmar

For more than forty years the place where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar come together has been known as the "Golden Triangle," one of the key areas for opium production. Reporter Dusuta Saokaew travels to Myanmar to investigate the opium industry and stranglehold it has on the Burmese, the Kachins, and other ethnic groups in Myanmar.

China's Vanishing Villages

China has undergone rapid urbanization in the last 30 years. During that time an estimated 440 million people have left villages for work in the big cities. Reporters Ryan Chua and Yang Zhao take us to two different parts of China to see what has happened to the people who have stayed behind in rural villages.

Gold Town

In the effort to gain economic well-being, everyone is looking for a place where the streets are paved with gold. But those who find gold may be among the most deprived people on earth. Reporter Barnaby Lo goes to the Philippine mountain community of Paracale to profile the 15 year old boys who risk their lives to "dive" for gold.

Courage

The first episode of this series of "Assignment Asia" profiles people who if nothing else display courage in their everyday life/tells stories about courage, from the gleaming skyscrapers of Shanghai to the farmlands of the Lao countryside. First we go to the gleaming skyscrapers of Shanghai to discover a people whose lives are less than "gleaming." For Shanghai depends for its growth on the cheap labor of migrant workers. Reporter Han Bin takes high above the city to meet the workers who endure lives away from their loved ones to earn a living away from the poverty in their hometowns.