How the Other Billion Lives

Illustration for TIME by Pierre Mornet /

There are more Chinese and Indians than anyone else on earth, but they know astonishingly little of each other. Though diasporas from both nations have swept the world, it wasn't until the past 20 years that Indians and Chinese began visiting each other in significant numbers. Among those crossing the Himalayas was New Delhi native Pallavi Aiyar, who became the Beijing correspondent of the Hindu in 2002.

Some parts of her debut book, Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China , are disappointingly familiar (denunciations of the destruction of...

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