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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!Read more ›
The presenter is historian/economist Prof Niall Ferguson, who takes an extended trip around modern day China to demonstrate his themes and meet `typical' key players in the new Chinese economy. Ferguson is an engaging presenter with a neat turn of phrase; perhaps a touch inclined towards the over-dramatic, and with a slightly uncomfortable tendency to play-act to extremes for the camera. However he presents an interesting history and raises some genuine concerns. I wish he wouldn't ask/answer quite so many repetitive questions, however!
In the `historical' episodes, Ferguson dwells on the development of the communist state, and is shocked (or acts as if he's shocked) to discover that Mao is a popular hero among the people today. Yet Mao was responsible for the death and suffering of millions during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution -- more than Stalin and Hitler put together, if we believe Ferguson's addition! There are some older folk from rural areas who recall how half the village population died during the famines, and we meet one entrepreneur who now owns a successful motorcycle factory, but spent a decade in prison earlier in his life. It's not explained how he made the transition from `criminal' to `businessman' and that would have been fascinating. Instead his rehabilitation is used to demonstrate how the Chinese state has incorporated previously outlawed activities into its evolving economic model.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good documentary, provides a fresh and illuminating perspective.
Ignore those one star reviews written by political fanatics.
I have had the great pleasure of living there for 5 years.
This dvd is packed with so much information. Read more
.so have no way of watching it in NZ. Therefore I was not impressed, I feel as if I was duped and am very reluctant to purchase other DVDs from this source
Generally speaking, I hate to criticize others. But as a Chinese I have to say something about this DVD. Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2012 by Charles
The author drew the conclusion that because of bloody protests in Chinese history, that "justified" the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of other dissidents, like... Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 2012 by Dr. G.F
It is a shame to spread CCP's evil idea in persecuting people no matter in any excuse
I am sorry to say that this DVD contents fundamental misunderstanding about Chinese... Read more