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China: Triumph and Turmoil [DVD]
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Niall Ferguson travels through this vast country to ask how a fifth of humanity can live under a Communist system of government with what looks like a capitalist economy. He tracks down the people who can really explain the new China, from newly minted billionaires in China's megacities to survivors of the madness of Chairman Mao.
Travelling the length and breadth of the Middle Kingdom, he reveals the enduring importance of Confucian philosophy and imperial bureaucracy in the way that China works. But he is startled by the persistence of the Mao cult, despite all the millions of lives lost in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
Finally, after a visit to China's African empire, he answers the questions that should concern all of us: Will this turn out to be the Chinese century? Should we be scared? Or will the Red Dragon crash and burn?
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Top customer reviews
Recommended for anyone who loves China or is concerned about the economy of the world in general. I'd also recommend it to motorcycle enthusiasts as there's a giant Ducati factory involved. Or to collectors of Niall Ferguson material (if there are any). Forget feature films - sometimes it's more exciting to get stuck into some real-life adventure!
The questions that require answers or at least some insights whether China will survive in its current form as an authoritarian state or whether the Chinese people will rebel in their quest for something more akin to Western values.
The first episode deals with the Communist Party's belief that to prevent the inevitable turmoil that is a consequence of change or reform, all such activities need to be severely repressed. Their treatment of the innocuous Falun Gong is a case in point. All forms of protest are treated as dissent & savagely repressed. In spite of a Capitalist economy, the political reins are tightly held by the Communist government. Niall Ferguson makes the analogue with ancient Chinese dynasties & emperors in that all held the same belief in rigid central control.
I found the second episode entitled Maostaliga eye opening. Despite Mao being the architect of two of the greatest disasters in world history let alone Chinese history, in the eyes of the Chinese public, no culpability resides with Mao himself. Collective amnesia about the turbulent past pervades the Chinese. Even though unspoken in the DVD, I wondered whether pervasive censorship & omnipresent propaganda has prevented the Chinese from obtaining a true sense of the tragedy that befell them.
The final episode deals with the economic issues & how it will affect all of us in the future. In order to get a sense of that future, Niall Ferguson interviews both Chinese factory owners in Zambia & their black Zambian workers. The contrast could not be starker! The Chinese work 9 hour days 7 days a week, 360 days a year whereas their Black employees amble along at a sedate pace with ne'er a care in the world. In spite of wages being on a par with the Chinese, the locals feel victimised & exploited. This situation does not bode well for all the incipient Chinese businesses outside their homeland. A cultural clash is sure to arise in the medium term.
This DVD cannot & does not do justice to such as vast topic. Instead three eclectic topics have been selected & some sense of the issues involved & their nuances dealt with. One can argue that there are more intractable or pressing issues, but Niall Ferguson has pitched a stake in the ground to get the debate & understanding going for this is an issue that affects us all in the rest of the world.
Niall's eloquence & ability to turn a phrase is yet again evident. What was disappointing & detracting was the repetition of a number of clips which would never occur in a BBC production.
Most recent customer reviews
Ignore those one star reviews written by political fanatics.
This dvd is packed with so much information.Read more