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Gandhi said something about being the change you want to see, and we agree. Because while you may have purchased that bottle of orangeade, and even handed over good money for it, it was a transaction made under false pretenses. So go stand up for yourself. Head back to that newspaper stand and tell the owner what you think of his business. You can insist this is not good enough and demand satisfaction.

"So what you're saying is... you can't give awards for good journalism to bad journalism?"

After a few upbeat weeks on political intrigue in Chongqing, Sinica is back this week with another depressing show about the various ways China is killing us all. This week our conversation turns to cadmium-laced rice, endangered species and the pollution of the food supply in a conversation with writer and broadcaster Isabel Hilton, founder of China Dialogue, and Jonathan Watts, Guardian correspondent and author of the book When A Billion Chinese Jump.

We're pretty lucky not to have had to deal with any major medical crises while in China. Which is probably a good thing judging by the contents of this Advanced podcast, which features a native-native Chinese conversation between Echo and Tiansen about the medical system and how it often puts doctors and patients at odds. So if you've already got pretty decent Chinese and are looking for listening practice that will help you pick up new words and phrases, give this podcast and shot and see how you do.

Suffering the mockery of his high school peers, Stephen had retreated into scholastics to escape from pain and loneliness. Eventually, this would lead him to graduate with top honors and be accepted by one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. And yet as he accepted his diploma, he wondered if one day he might return to this small town and show them all that with courage and determination, a man could still succeed.

In one of the juicier quotes making the rounds on social networks this week a private equity investor in Shanghai savaged the Chinese media for its unblinking corruption, quipping to the New York Times that "if one of my companies came up with a cure for cancer, I still couldn’t get any journalists to come to the press conference without promising them a huge envelope filled with cash.”

In the spirit of sharing a helpful tip for dealing with friends who procreate, one thing we've learned something of the hard way is the astonishing degree to which parents end up being more patient with their new offspring than they are with their non-childbearing but emotionally supportive friends, especially should one happen to make a stray remark about asking the little guy to hurry up because other people might need to go too.

I know you were doing email long before I signed up for the yahoo, but could anyone really have imagined what the Internet would have become when AOL invented it in 1993? I mean... just look at this beautiful scarf I bought to celebrate our Easter gift-giving tradition. It might seem like an ordinary piece of clothing at first, but if you look carefully you'll see it's hand-made. And I had to get it shipped in overnight from a store that specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces, so don't get it wet.

Heard the bad news? Word on the street is that Fat Package passed away in a Suzhou bar last month. We never really moved in the same circles as the guy, but if true we'll miss his presence in town. Even while we were hustling to make ends meet downtown, it was somehow comforting to know Fat was enjoying the Shunyi lifestyle. And with his place just a quick heiche from the Lido hotel who could be faulted for wondering what it might take for them to get a taste of the expat lifestyle too?

By now we assume you've heard of pinyin: the dominant method of writing the sound of Chinese characters using the roman alphabet. We use pinyin everywhere on Popup Chinese and while we obviously can't teach you all of the sounds in a single podcast, we did want to put something together for those of you having trouble making sense of the system, and in particular to clear up three common misconceptions people have about the romanization system: the mistaken idea that pronunciation follows English norms, the belief that the sounds in pinyin are internally consistent, and the confusion that strikes when it comes time to use pinyin to enter characters on a computer.

Today we are pleased but mystified to present another edition of Popup Total Request Live, this time with an advanced show directed at the astonishingly large number of you (N > 1) who have written in to request a Chinese-only discussion on dental hygiene. Facing the incredulity of the rest of the office, Echo tried to explain your enthusiasm to us as follows. "It's because everyone loves the dentist," she said. "It's like a holiday when you take a day off work to go to get your teeth cleaned or have oral surgery."

Long-time listeners may be hard-pressed to forget our first foray into the exciting world of home plumbing, and if you're new to Popup Chinese you may want to listen to that show before exposing yourself to today's sequel, which picks where the last one left off. Our two protagonists now return home after a hearty lunch and turn their attention to the question we have left hanging all these three years: where did the plunger go anyway?

With fears inflated by a few carefully placed rumors, the local populace was wise enough to stay away from the dig site, rightly fearing what might surface in a place which had lain buried for so long in the sands outside Cairo. And yet this same caution did not apply to the members of the excavation team, of whom no-one could predict which way their loyalties would bend once the tomb was opened and its treasures revealed once more to a waiting world.

The world's cultural heritage had been incinerated along with its servers when the first bombs fell, and what little film stock survived had decayed in the years that followed as human society struggled to rebuild itself after the apocalypse. And yet here (here!) in this musty storehouse in Tibet, Xiao Wang had somehow stumbled across an astonishingly large collection of twentieth century cultural artifacts. Would it be enough to piece the past back into existence, and rediscover the fabled Thunderdome of yore?

Stephen looked at his cab driver with newfound respect. Although traffic on the second ring road was otherwise touch-and-go, here at last was a man attempting to change it. Hunched over the steering wheel with his eyes on the road, the driver pushed forward at a slow but steady pace, sometimes lagging behind and sometimes nearly hitting the vehicle in front but never actually stopping. It was traffic smoothing applied as expertly as Stephen had ever seen done, as if this one man were trying to wrest Beijing congestion into shape through force of will alone.

If you smell anything burning, it's likely your Internet cable melting from the heat of all these rumors. Which is why at Sinica we turn our unforgiving gaze this week at unsubstantiated press foreign and domestic, focusing first on reports of heightened police security in Beijing, midnight tank appearances, gunshots near the square, luxury car crashes, and even whispers of a coup d'etat. And more internationally, we can't help but discuss This American Life's recent retraction of a China-related story that was heavily fabricated: L'affaire Daisey.

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