"Rise of the Great Nation" 大国崛起 is a new TV documentary aired by China's CCTV this month. It runs in parallel to Paul Kennedy's Rise and Fall of Great Power, and a similar documentary series 18 years ago, The River Elegy (河殇).
- (Paul Kennedy interview conversations were actually shown in many episodes)
- it broke a lot of taboos in China;
- it tried hard to look at more fundamental drivers of changes (even though they may be obvious to some of us) and spelled them out quite unambiguously to Chinese audiences; e.g. the honest discussion about the pros and cons of bottom-up vs top-down approach in th development of a nation, and even a favor to the bottom-up approach; the unreserved praise of Freedom and Equality as the definition of a Great Nation in the "France" episode
- I have a feeling that it will be more influential than River Elegy, and possibly show us what lessons China's historians and scholars (and perhaps the CCP leaders as well) have learned about these stories. (note: some alleged that this is based on a seminar for the CCP Politburo in 2003, and hence the documentary is probably an idea of the Politburo and a prelude to the next wave of reform in China)
- If you have watched the 200th anniversary Bastille day parade in Paris (screenshot above) in that fateful year, you would probably understand why I would compare the Great Nations with River Elegy
P.S. More in next post.