The Rise of the Great Powers

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The Rise of the Great Powers
Also known as Da Guo Jue Qi
Genre Documentary
Written by Chen Jin
Directed by Ren Xue'an
Presented by Zhao Huayong
Narrated by Sun Zhanshan
Composer(s) Ye Xiaogang
China Philharmonic Orchestra
Country of origin China
Original language(s) Mandarin
No. of episodes 12
Executive producer(s) Guo Zhenxi
Han Zhengqun
Gao Xiaoping
Producer(s) Luo Ming
Yuan Zhengming
Production location(s) China
Running time 50 minutes per episode
Production company(s) CCTV
China Television Media, Ltd
Original network CCTV-2
First shown in 13–24 November 2006
The Rise of the Great Powers
Traditional Chinese 大國崛起
Simplified Chinese 大国崛起

The Rise of the Great Powers is a 12-part Chinese documentary television series produced by CCTV. It was first broadcast on CCTV-2 from 13 to 24 November 2006.[1] It discusses the rise of nine great powers: Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Russia (Soviet Union), and the United States.

The documentary "endorses the idea that China should study the experiences of nations and empires it once condemned as aggressors bent on exploitation"[1] and analyses the reasons why the nine nations rose to become great powers, from the Portuguese Empire to American hegemony.[1] The series was produced by an "elite team of Chinese historians" who also briefed the Politburo on the subject."[1] In the West the airing of Rise of the Great Powers has been seen as a sign that China is becoming increasingly open to discussing its growing international power and influence—referred to by the Chinese government as "China's peaceful rise."[1]

The state-run People's Daily reported that each of the 12 episodes of The Rise of the Great Powers ran at the prime time 9:30 p.m. slot, and each show lasted 50 minutes, totaling 600 minutes.[2] The program included interviews with noted historians and academics, including Paul Kennedy, who wrote the influential book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, and Joseph Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics.[2] Political leaders, such as former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, were also interviewed."[2]

It has been dubbed in English and shown on History Channel under the title Rising of Great Powers.

List of episodes[edit]

The original titles of the 12 episodes (in Chinese) are listed as follows, each with an accompanying rough translation in English.

  1. 海洋时代:开篇与葡萄牙、西班牙 (Age of Seafaring: The Opening, Portugal and Spain)
  2. 小国大业:荷兰 (A Small Nation with a Great Cause: the Netherlands)
  3. 走向现代:英国 (Advancement Towards a Modern Age: Britain)
  4. 工业先声:英国 (The Pioneer of Industrialisation: Britain)
  5. 激情岁月:法国 (Years of Enthusiasm: France)
  6. 帝国春秋:德国 (History of an Empire: Germany)
  7. 百年维新:日本 (A Century of Reform: Japan)
  8. 寻道图强:沙俄 (Seeking the Way to Strengthen the Nation: Tsarist Russia)
  9. 风云新途:苏联 (An Unstable Situation and a New Path: Soviet Union)
  10. 新国新梦:美国 (A New Nation and a New Dream: United States)
  11. 危局新政:美国 (Crisis and the New Deal: United States)
  12. 大道行思:结篇 (Thoughts on the Great Path: Conclusion)


In an interview, former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew made references to the series:

I don't know if you've been seeing this or heard of this series that [the Chinese] produced called The Rise of the Great Nations. It's now on the History Channel. I got our station here to dub it in English and show it. It was quite I would say a bold decision to tell the Chinese people this is the way the European nations, the Russians and Japanese became great. Absolutely no ideology and they had a team of historians, their own historians. To get the program going, they went to each country, interviewed the leaders and historians of those countries.

You should watch the one on Britain, because I think that gives you an idea of how far they have gone in telling their people this is what made Britain great. I was quite surprised. The theme was [doing away with] the Divine Right of Kings, a Britain that was challenged by the barons who brought the king down to Runnymede and then they had the Magna Charta, and suddenly your "Divine Right" is based on Parliament and [the barons] are in Parliament. That gave the space for the barons to grow and the middle class eventually emerged. When the King got too uppity, Charles I got beheaded.

Now this series was produced in a communist state, you know. In other words, if you want to be a great nation, so, if the leader goes against the people's interests, you may have to behead him! They also said that because there was growing confidence between the people and the leaders, the country grew.

It is in fact a lesson to support their gradual opening up and their idea of how they can do it without conflict -- the "peaceful rise". They have worked out this scheme, this theory, this doctrine to assure America and the world that they're going to play by the rules.[3]

Broadcast, the BBC and other international media carried a report and analysis. The New York Times commented that the broadcast of the film means that China is no longer" hypocritical humility ", but encouraging people to discuss the prospects of China's rise.

Hong Kong version The Hong Kong version, aired on TVB and chaired by Dina each episode, added Dina's comments before and after the advertisements, though the main content was not subject to much change.

Characteristics Dina's comments to an international perspective view of a foreign model of development were not only from the economy-development point of view, but also from a political one. They commented on the situation in China.

In the Guangdong region, commercials covered sensitive topics.

Summary of articles The episodes invited John Sham and Liu Ruishao together to discuss China's development path, with reference to the social environment in China, the international situation, and China's rise direction.


External links[edit]