China from the Inside

Ratings: 8.41/10 from 27 users.


China from the InsideIt isn’t easy, running China, with its 1.3 billion people and 56 officially recognized ethnic nationalities. It’s a vast mix of languages, living standards, beliefs and customs. Run it successfully, and you have a prosperous, innovative, powerful empire to rival any the world has seen. Make mistakes, and the chaos will be vast and terrible.

China is run by the Communist Party, which bases its legitimacy on delivering both stability and the conditions for prosperity. But stability is under threat as economic boom strands millions at the margin. Meanwhile rampant corruption is sapping people’s trust in the Party. Officials are increasingly seen not as public servants but as profiteers.

This episode films patrols along China’s border with Kazakhstan, Party meetings, officials in Tibet trying to impose authority at the grass-roots, a village election, and a corrupt embezzler in prison, reprieved from a death sentence. Chinese people throughout, from farmer to Minister, speak frankly about the problems the country faces and the ways forward.

The Party attracts eager young recruits and is trying to re-invigorate its older members. They visit sites of communist achievement, like the Red Flag Canal, hoping to be inspired by the revolutionary zeal of the past. "If all Communist officials today were like those who built this," one Party member exclaims, "the Communist Party would rule forever."

Episodes included: 1. Power and the People, 2. Women of the Country, 3. Shifting Nature, and 4. Freedom and Justice.

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28 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Larry

    So thats what life in China is like.
    Wonderful and informative series.

  2. Marliena

    Everything is so structured and clean, and they are able to maintain deep traditions regardless of the atheism of the state. This was nice view of China.

  3. fillip Oh

    corrupt officials, greedy businesses, heavy handed police, profit before people, the silencing of justice. could be anywhere.

  4. J B

    fillip Oh - You are exactly right! Boy, it sure doesn't sound like the good ole U.S. of A that's for sure. (insert sarcasm here).

  5. Ambricourt

    Why are the images so dark? Does the sun never shine in China?

    The heavy British authoritative statements left me annoyed. They always suggest something disreputable or suspicious about official Chinese policies.

    The documentary on pollution is both darkly portentious and hypocritical. Which country STARTED the Energy Revolution (which French historians later called The Industrial Revolution)? Britain, of course - and continued polluting for more than two centuries.

    With this time-span UK's pollution is inestimable, but colossal. Even twenty years ago, clouds filled with chemicals were drifting over Swedish forests and warping trees. Some British rivers were so thick with tailings and coal-dust from centuries of mining they would scarcely flow.

    And cancer and lung-diseases have been major causes of death in UK.

    Brits today claim they've done a wonderful job cleaning up.

    So - why can't the Chinese? In fact, they've been doing so for at least a decade. There's no need for the narrator's ponderous negativism, unless it's a form of racism.

  6. allstone168

    So negative all these 4 parts, the main and only theme is anti-communist, but any Chinese with a little sophistication know at current stage, without Chinese communist, the country will be in chaos and divided, the ordinary Chinese will be the one suffered the most. Of course, some people will be happy for sure, CIA for example.

  7. William

    At those who deemed this overly cynical of the communist party, and some of the more distasteful elements of officialdom in the country. As one who has spent a lot of time in China in recent years, as well as 4 years as a child, I can only say it was in fact a fair and relatively balanced account of the plight and difficulties facing many poor Chinese, both urban and rural dwelling. A very good friend of mine is a young man from Beijing, he regularly spoke of the problem of corrupt and selfish local officials. But I also thought the show did a good job of showing the Chinese people for what they are; inventive, industrious, interesting people by and large, with normal concerns relatable to those people feel all over the world. Great series, hope more like this will be done to chart and cover China's future rise!

  8. Mark

    Been to China.

    Gap between rich and poor is vast. Communist county? Yeah right. Id call it a confucian autocracy.

  9. Ambricourt

    Well said, Mark!

    The gap between rich and poor in China is vast - and getting greater. Just like the United States - an anti-democratic oligarchy.

  10. XenoLair

    Im quite sad when i read or see about stuff like this. Dont understand how the government can call themselves communist :/

  11. Ambricourt

    john, we know more about pollution today than we did forty years ago. The word "pollution" was not used even in the 1960s to describe the filthy skies, the fogs, the waterways and the soot, from coal-burning, that had embedded itself on civic statues and old buildings throughout the industrialized world.

    The major causes of pollution today are space launches, surface transportation, military aircraft and wars. But these causes are rarely mentioned...

  12. ReligionIsntAllBad

    Ummmmmmm .... I think you meant to say the major causes of pollution are industry followed by transportation. Space launches aren't even close to the transportation pollution levels, let alone industry. 1 major launch from NASA is the equivalent of 2 minutes of the country driving their cars ... get the facts.

    The developed world would do anything to stop China from taking a giant bite out of their ass. The genuine concern for Chinese pollution therefore is incredibly difficult to distinguish from the concern for US or EU economic dominance.

  13. Ambricourt

    A few days ago the US launched a spy satellite on a device with two million pounds of thrust. If you know that such a launch, together with increasing numbers of Russian, Chinese and European launches, are minimally polluting on the global scene I accept your correction.

    The decades-long attacks on Chinese pollution are intended to discredit Chinese social management (as in the documentary). They are not anguished cries from a genuine conscience-stricken public but a style of presentation adopted by western print and visual media. Hence my dismay...

  14. who_me_yeah_you

    that tibetan party official at 26:40 would drive me to homicide or suicide. petty officialdom taken to bizarre extents.

  15. kongkakingchongcha

    No, this won't open your eyes about China just by going through this documentary. If you think the Chinese government is still the same as 20 years ago then you're wrong and your brain got screwed.

    If you really want to open your eyes about China, visit the country and you'll know China isn't the same as what media projects.

    I believe this goes the same with North Korea and any Arab nations that media wanted you to hate.

  16. Stephan Ortmann

    Well China has changed a lot! That is true. It is not all bad and not all good, as media often likes to make things out to be. However, access to the country and hotspots is curtailed thus raising suspicions. That's how investigative journalism always works. Now, North Korea is even more difficult to get access to. Even as a tourist, you cannot leave the close control of the government. I think North Korea could even be worse than the media says but we can never know!!!

  17. Stephan Ortmann

    While democracy in the US can be questioned, at least you have freedom of speech to voice your concerns. The lack of this freedom makes it much harder to know how serious a crisis such as the gap between rich and poor really is.

  18. Stephan Ortmann

    China practices "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" which is socialist for wealthy people linked to the Communist party and reckless about the rest (the poor masses Communism used to care about).

  19. Rene Levermann

    ... Its same same if you go to the poor Parts of the USA and say that this is USA.

  20. bluetortilla

    China may arguably going through the same growth pains that other post industrial societies have gone through, but it is frightening to imagine, at this juncture in our global economy, what would happen if China erupted into chaos and fragmented.
    Undoubtedly, China faces huge problems, and also enjoys a tremendous potential that in theory could someday lead to a great contribution to global stability. China needs to suppress corruption, clean up the mess its industries spew out and regulate them, and it needs to educate the people and extend to them the fundamental rights we are all entitled to.
    I think China can accomplish this under its current system- it the hearts not the heads that give a nation direction. But if it fails China will explode into chaos and the world economic system will fly into a tailspin the likes we haven't seen in a long, long time. I'm however optimistic. China has a long way to go, but it's slowly getting better.

  21. Rocky Racoon

    The Chinese have invested 2 trillion in renewable industry and were willing to sign onto the latest global treaty on global warming Canada and the USA were not how do you like them apples? China will be off fossil fuels before we are so we are bankrupting ourselves supposedly to secure energy sources from the Middle East and keep China and Russia out....for something neither of them will need and will be prepared when it runs out. As far as the free economic zones.....I think China will use that money to raise the living standards of it's people not set up an empire to rule the world by military force. China enter's into long term win win agreements with other countries we bomb the sheat out of them and instill dictator's and supply them with arms to cause problems for everyone around them and invade them or over throw their governments when they do not cater to our interests and do what we say.. Then we supply these others with arms so we have a big imbroglio going on with people falling into the old my religion is better than yours my race is my nation is...balh blah....big I would rather have China as king pin of the world than the economic ruling class backed up by our state resources and taxes on the working class that we have now.Occupy the owrld. We are the 99% it is not a joke

  22. mr cardholder

    China already gets allot of their oil from the middle east. Russia is an oil exporter, and uses its oil to manipulate countries in its "sphere of influence". There is no ruling world power. Get a life. (and some facts that aren't conjecture)

  23. Michael Danger Gee

    some western bias, but overall an interesting and informative watch

  24. David Ewer

    Nation states are part of the world's problem not it's solution. When a small elite control billions then trouble isn't far away. Eventually there will be rebellion because why should the few govern the many?

  25. Barry Bongbong

    LOL, you need to actually go and live in China for a few years instead of reading fanciful books. This country will collapse far quicker than your USA.

  26. neutraltack

    I really dislike these documentaries where the moviemakers just angle the reality by commenting, cutting intervjues, and such. I would have loved a documentary where the filmteam just follow a chinese persons life, without any conversation, just film when they eat in their houses, go to work, when they come home, having a fight with the wife etc. I really dislike those commentators, the "documentaries" just turn into a propaganda film, because you are not allowed to shape your own oppinions, the movieteam does it for you.

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