Reuters’ Anatomy of China

Connected China, Reuters’ visualization of China’s power structures, is an impressive achievement.

Connected China explains the social and professional networks of China’s leaders, highlighting the interpersonal relationships that drive business, move markets and shape the political landscape in the world’s most populous nation.

The site also provides a rich interactive platform to showcase the best of Reuters’ coverage on Chinese politics, providing deep insight into China’s new generation of leaders with immersive, seamless integration of data, text, photos and video.

It reminds me of the

Anatomy of Britain

, a 1962 book in which Anthony Sampson delineated the interlocking circles which formed the British ‘Establishment’.

Similar, also, is Miguel Paz‘s Poderpopedia, a web guide to who holds power in Chile.

It sits in the same productive but uneasy territory between journalism and encyclopedia. It’s a difficult balance to strike — selective and cutting enough to make for interesting reading, but sufficiently comprehensive to serve as a reference.

I imagine that’s part of what Reuters want here — to become a reference resource for people reading about China, and a source of profiles and graphs which can be integrated into their other products.

They’ve certainly thrown a lot of work into it, and at first glance they got their money’s worth. It’s visually glorious — it helps that they worked with Ben Fry, who literally wrote the book on data visualization. I can’t say I now understand Who’s Who in China, but I have a slightly better chance than I did an hour ago. Assuming Reuters do a decent job of keeping this updated, I imagine I’ll come back many times in the future, whenever I’m trying to make sense of a Chinese power-broker.

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