Jump to content
  • Sign Up

The Rise of Great Nations 大国崛起


Recommended Posts



This CCTV documentary was recommended to me by several Chinese friends. My own views on CCTV's output are nicely echoed by a youtube commenter on the first episode: "cctv别的不行,纪录片倒是蛮不错的"


It charts the rise and fall of 9 major powers from the 1500s (chosen because this was the period in which the world became one single geo-political entity with the voyages of discovery by the Spanish and Portuguese). The narration is surprisingly conventional to anyone educated in the West and I was disappointed not to discover a more uniquely Chinese perspective on the history of the period. That said, it's still interesting to go over this familiar territory in Chinese.


Some interesting points:


1. The unreserved praise received by democratic systems

The episode on Britain spends a lot of time documenting internal political change (Magna Carta, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution), and points to the stable democratic and law based political system as one of the main advantages that led to the country's rise. I suppose I expected a more critical analysis, or at least less fulsome praise. There is a little interesting part where they describe the differences between Chinese and European feudalism.


2. Lenin's NEP versus Stalin's 5 year plans

I was interested in seeing how they handled this, as it could be seen as a judgement on Mao's big 5 year plans versus Deng Xiaoping's policy of opening up. Although Stalin's rule came into some criticism for the hardship it put on the peasants, there was no outright condemnation.


3. The Japan episode

I was surprised how positive this episode was, focusing primarily on the country's rapid rise following the Meiji Reformation. The whole invasion of China only earned a cursory sentence or two. I can't help but think that if this was made in 2015 rather than in 2006, at least half the episode would have been about the heinous crimes of the 日本鬼子.


The programme rather modestly fails to mention China's own recent rise. It's interesting to speculate how different it would be if it was made in the more confident and self-assertive post-2008 financial crash China of 2015. I suspect that there would be much greater focus on the 百年国耻, as well as a final episode about China's own rise.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...