Documentaries

The page provides links to a number of relevant documentaries.

The Reform and Opening Up

This is a recent five-part documentary series on the Reform and Opening-Up, presented by Michael Wood in a tone that is accessible to ‘Westerners’. Needless to say, it is also extremely popular in China.

  1. The Will of the Chinese People

2. China Goes Global

3. Designed in China

4. Green Chinese Dream

5. The Road Ahead

DPRK (North Korea)

This is a unique and rather interesting documentary on the DPRK. Entitled ‘North Korea World [朝鲜世界]’, It was made by students from Nankai University, in Tianjin, China. It offers a youthful, Chinese perspective on a winter visit to the DPRK (which I have also visited on two occasions). The subtitles are in Chinese and English, although the English translations are at times a little curious.

Chinese History

A long series due to a long history of China and its spirit. The first documentary offers an overview of a history very different from anywhere else.

There are 100 episodes in the series – too long to list all of them here. If you want to know more and practice your Chinese (they have subtitles), please go to this link (here).

Targetted Poverty Alleviation

For those interested in a useful overview of China’s extraordinary poverty alleviation project the following documentary series is worth viewing.

Ecological Civilisation

Shengtai wenming (生态文明) is the Chinese term, which is rather inadequately translated as ‘ecological civilisation’. Shengtai means an organism’s habits, modes of life and interconnection with its environment, a much more comprehesive and integrated sense than ‘ecological’. And while the English term ‘civilisation’ is derived from Latin and means ‘citification’ – since cities are in the Western tradition seen as the source of more advanced human life – in Chinese wenming has a much wider sense. The character wen (文) is full of meaning, all the way from a written character to culture itself, ming (明) has the senses of bright, understanding and wisdom.

As you can see, shengtai wenming is almost impossible to translate except as a longish phrase. Perhaps I can suggest it means a culture’s wisdom in developing its modes of life in a fully integrated way with its environment. This is now a key development goal of China, and is an inescapable part of achieving a xiaokang society, or a moderately well-off, healthy and peaceful society.

The following videos begin with a longer documentary that explains the overall approach. It is followed by more specific and shorter documentaries that explain some aspects, from re-afforestion (in which China leads the world), to the connection with poverty alleviation.

Terrorism in Xinjiang

A number of recently released videos on terrorism in Xinjiang, with much material not seen until now. The first concerns the ‘East Turkistan Islamic Movement’ (ETIM), with close connections to the Washington-funded ‘World Uyghur Congress’ (WUC).

The second concerns the complex and long-term counter-terrorism work in Xinjiang, which is made even more complex by some ‘Western’ countries supporting such terrorism.

The third, called ‘Tianshan: Still Standing’, tells of memories of fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.

Two points worth noting:

First, the Chinese analysis of the root cause of terrorism concludes that is not primarily due to religion or ethnicity, but to foundational socio-economic matters. Thus, poverty, connected with lack of education and  employment, all come first – as aspects of the economic base – and they provide fertile ground for extremist religious views. Obviously, a distinctly Marxist analysis of terrorism, and it also shapes short and long-term policies in Xinjiang.

Second, when the security bodies of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and East Asia meet, one of the common items on the agenda is dealing with the way some ‘Western’ countries complicate the problems by fostering terrorism in some parts of the world.