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How China Got Rich | ENDEVR Documentary

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Published on 14 Jun 2021 / In News and Politics

How China Got Rich | Business Documentary from 2019

Over 40 years China has been transformed out of all recognition, the scale of its growth and the sheer speed of change has been astonishing. The country has seen the largest lifting of people out of poverty that has ever taken place in human history, and today China is a global force, predicted to become the world’s biggest economy in a couple of decades.

So how did an impoverished and backward communist country become an engine of global capitalism? What actually happened 40 years ago to set China on the road to prosperity?

Michael Wood talks to the people who were there; the men and women who had been sent to be ‘re-educated ‘on farms and in factories; the farmers who defied the government and broke with communism; the woman has given the very first private business certificate; and the US technical advisor sent to China by the UN to kickstart the change. He travels across the country to meet China’s highest-ranking female diplomat and the people who worked with Premier Deng Xiaoping. The film mixes these testimonies with a fascinating archive of the Chinese leader meeting President Carter in Washington and on fact-finding missions in Japan and Singapore. Interviews too with Deng’s biographer, Professor Ezra Vogel from Harvard University and Ambassador James Stapleton-Roy who lifts the lid on the intensive work behind the scenes which led to the US recognizing the People’s Republic of China in 1979.

The second part of the film looks at the results of those initiatives in today’s China, visiting high-tech global giants Tencent and Alibaba and China’s top universities Tsinghua and SUStech. We visit a high-speed rail workshop and the world’s fastest-growing container port; we interview the American lawyer who set up the first Chinese deals for multinationals including Exon Mobile and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Finally, we ask Robert Daly the Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and Ambassador Roy where they think China is heading, and if political reform will be on the agenda any time soon.

China’s decision to open up to the world 40 years ago has been called ‘the most important event of modern world history’, and it is one in which America played a crucial role. Today China is a major player, flexing its muscles on the global stage. In this film, Michael Wood tracks the beginning of their meteoric rise, looks at the extraordinary scale of present-day developments and asks both Chinese and US experts for clues to the future.

With extraordinary access to key witnesses, this timely and important film tells the story of How China Got Rich.
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