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China: Modern World, Modern Emperors

China is one of the oldest civilisations on earth and one of unparalleled continuity. Confucian values still underpin much of society despite the Communist Revolution of the middle of last century which signalled such a dramatic break from it’s past.

Throughout its history China has always revered “The Leader” and remained fiercely proud and protective of culture and country. Chairman Mao compared himself to China’s first Emperor and now its current leader, President Xi, is determined to re-establish China’s role and reputation as a global superpower.

This three part Empire Builders miniseries explores the culture and values that has made China such a resilient civilisation and how these have impacted on modern China today.

Leading Chinese and western contributors argue that China’s strength and difference has often been forged by meritocracy, authoritarian leadership , ingenuity and sheer hard work – qualities that have contributed in the outside world to both enlightened feelings of awe and wonderment and age old fears and prejudices.

While ancient China was often ignored and seen as a benign presence in the wider world, the achievements of a now modern Chinese Communist super state have thrust arguments about its motives, role and power centre stage in what many are calling The Chinese Century.

Episode 3: Modern World, Modern Emperors

This episode explores the period from the birth of the Chinese republic in 1911 to the civil war, bloody Japanese occupation, the coming to power of Mao and the Communist Party, the Cultural Revolution, up to the present day.

We visit Tiananmen Square, the booming skyscraper cities of Shanghai and Beijing and President Xi’s Belt and Road. How has the tumultuous last 100 years impacted Communist China’s ambitions as a superpower today and its relations with Taiwan which also sees itself as the rightful guardian of Chinese history and culture?

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Seafood Noodle Soup, Joe Loong, Flickr Creative Commons

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