A series of four documentaries that survey China through Chinese eyes to see how history has shaped them, and where the present is taking them. Episodes include Power and the People, deals with the governance of China, The Women, talks about the past and future for Chinese women, Shifting Nature, looks at China's environmental challenges, and Freedom, explores China's conflict between personal freedom and governance.
Runtime: 60 minutes
China from the Inside - China - Netflix
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary one-party sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area, depending on the source consulted. Governed by the Communist Party of China, it exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin unified core China and established the first Chinese dynasty. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and printing in the Tang dynasty (618 - 907) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new maritime Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Somalia. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, as a republic replaced the Qing dynasty. The Chinese Civil War led to the break up of the country in 1949, with the victorious Communist Party of China founding the People’s Republic of China on the mainland while the losing Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, a dispute which is still unresolved. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates consistently above 6 percent. As of 2016, it is the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a member of the United Nations, as it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the UN Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the ASEAN Plus mechanism, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BCIM and the G20. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.
China from the Inside - Sociopolitical issues, human rights and reform - Netflix
The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the Communist Party of China have all identified the need for social and political reform. While economic and social controls have been significantly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the “fundamental rights” of citizens include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage, and property rights. However, in practice, these provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal prosecution by the state. Although some criticisms of government policies and the ruling Communist Party are tolerated, censorship of political speech and information, most notably on the Internet, are routinely used to prevent collective action. In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked China 159th out of 167 states in its Annual World Press Freedom Index, indicating a very low level of press freedom. In 2014, China ranked 175th out of 180 countries. Rural migrants to China's cities often find themselves treated as second-class citizens by the hukou household registration system, which controls access to state benefits. Property rights are often poorly protected, and taxation disproportionately affects poorer citizens. However, a number of rural taxes have been reduced or abolished since the early 2000s, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers. According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 3,388,400 people are enslaved in modern-day China, or 0.25% of the population. State-sponsored slavery is part of the Chinese penal system, and there are over a thousand slave labour prisons and camps known collectively as the Laogai. Prisoners are not paid at all, and need their families to send money to them. Prisoners who refuse to work are beaten, and some are beaten to death. Many of the prisoners are political or religious dissidents, and some are recognized internationally as prisoners of conscience. Laogai in Chinese means forced labour and reform. A Chinese president said that they want to see two products coming out of the prisons: the man who has been reformed, and the product made by the man. Harry Wu, himself a former prisoner of the Laogai, filmed undercover footage of the Laogai, and was charged with stealing state secrets. For this, Harry Wu was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but only served 66 days before being deported to the United States.
A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies and NGOs also routinely criticize China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions, forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights, and excessive use of the death penalty. The government has suppressed popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to “social stability”, as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Falun Gong was first taught publicly in 1992. In 1999, when there were 70 million practitioners, the persecution of Falun Gong began, resulting in mass arrests, extralegal detention, and reports of torture and deaths in custody. The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, including violent police crackdowns and religious suppression. The state has even sought to control offshore reporting of tensions in Xinjiang, intimidating foreign-based reporters by detaining their family members. The Chinese government has responded to foreign criticism by arguing that the right to subsistence and economic development is a prerequisite to other types of human rights, and that the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present level of economic development. It emphasizes the rise in the Chinese standard of living, literacy rate and average life expectancy since the 1970s, as well as improvements in workplace safety and efforts to combat natural disasters such as the perennial Yangtze River floods. Furthermore, some Chinese politicians have spoken out in support of democratization, although others remain more conservative. Some major reform efforts have been conducted; for an instance in November 2013, the government announced plans to relax the one-child policy and abolish the much-criticized re-education through labour program, though human rights groups note that reforms to the latter have been largely cosmetic. During the 2000s and early 2010s, the Chinese government was increasingly tolerant of NGOs that offer practical, efficient solutions to social problems, but such “third sector” activity remained heavily regulated.
China from the Inside - References - Netflix