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The Story of China

  • 2016
  • Season 1
  • 6 episodes
  • Documentary

Summary

Michael Wood explores the distinctive history of the world's newest superpower.

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Episode 5: The Last Empire

Summary

Michael Wood tells the story of the Qing, China's last empire, which lasted from 1644 till 1911, doubled the size of the country by including Xinjiang, Mongolia and Tibet, and tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. Michael explores the Qing's heritage with visits to a women's mosque, storytelling houses and a traditional printing house to see how all 48,000 Tang Poems were reproduced using hand-carved wood blocks. He also joins audiences to watch open-air opera in the snow and hears about the first Opium War, when a British expedition destroyed the Qing navy and extracted territory and trading rights.
Recommended

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The truism of Chinese history is that it involves stable periods of glorious civilisation interspersed with violent convulsions. The "mandate of heaven" is forever balanced on a knife-edge, something that Michael Wood’s open-minded history lesson keeps getting across well.

In this episode we’re learning about how under the Qing dynasty – originally Manchu invaders from the North - China almost doubled in size and tripled in population. It was all going well until they bumped up against the emissaries of a small island on the other side of the world. China didn’t need the island’s manufactured goods. So it sold them opium instead.

How to watch

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Streaming

Details

Formats
Colour | SUB

Credits

Cast

rolename
PresenterMichael Wood

Crew

rolename
ProducerRebecca Dobbs
WriterMichael Wood

All episodes

  • Episode 5

    The Last Empire

    - , PBS America

    Summary

    Michael Wood tells the story of the Qing, China's last empire, which lasted from 1644 till 1911, doubled the size of the country by including Xinjiang, Mongolia and Tibet, and tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. Michael explores the Qing's heritage with visits to a women's mosque, storytelling houses and a traditional printing house to see how all 48,000 Tang Poems were reproduced using hand-carved wood blocks. He also joins audiences to watch open-air opera in the snow and hears about the first Opium War, when a British expedition destroyed the Qing navy and extracted territory and trading rights.
    Recommended

    Review

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    The truism of Chinese history is that it involves stable periods of glorious civilisation interspersed with violent convulsions. The "mandate of heaven" is forever balanced on a knife-edge, something that Michael Wood’s open-minded history lesson keeps getting across well.

    In this episode we’re learning about how under the Qing dynasty – originally Manchu invaders from the North - China almost doubled in size and tripled in population. It was all going well until they bumped up against the emissaries of a small island on the other side of the world. China didn’t need the island’s manufactured goods. So it sold them opium instead.

    How to watch

    Loading

    Streaming

    Details

    Formats
    Colour | SUB

    Credits

    Cast

    rolename
    PresenterMichael Wood

    Crew

    rolename
    ProducerRebecca Dobbs
    WriterMichael Wood
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