China Time of Xi

New 3 Part Special
Starts Saturday 14 October at 10am AEDT/NZ 

In October 2017, the eyes of the world turn to Beijing as the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party gather to elect President Xi Jinping for a second term. Airing over 3 consecutive days, China: Time of Xi gets under the skin of Xi Jinping's China to discover what's changing in the country, what China's unique experience could offer the world, and what drives the man himself. 

Over the three fast-moving episodes, beautifully-shot, character-led case studies from four continents and unique archives are pulled into sharp focus by the arresting contributions of a panel of the world's leading "China watchers", revealing what makes China and its President tick at this key moment in the country's story.  

China: Time of XI is hosted by Danny Forster, Australian engineer Dr Jordan Nguyen, and British Indian anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota. 

Episode 1: People’s Republic

Premiering Saturday 14 October at 10am AEDT/NZ

From the ambitious kiwi-growing farmers of a tiny village, lost in the beautiful mountains of central China, to a violin-playing taxi driver in Beijing; from the young girls who believe their passion for football can be a springboard to achieving their dreams, to a village shop-keeper whose life, and those of her customers, has been transformed by innovative tech a dozen colourful case studies from across China reveal what the "people's" republic really means in the 21st century. Given Xi Jinping's very public commitment to ending poverty, how is China trying to help those 50 million Chinese who still, in a country of eye-catching wealth, live below the UN poverty line? As leading development economist Dambisa Moyo comments wryly: "I can assure you I would not want to wake up as president of China, when 1.4 billion people are expecting their lives to be improved." And in the remote village where Xi spent his adolescence, and began his political career, we investigate how his tough early experiences may have shaped his political ideas and his signature vision for a "Chinese dream." 

Episode 2: Running China Now

Premiering Sunday 15 October at 10:30am AEDT / 10:25am NZ

China in 2017 faces enormous challenges in its economy, with its environment, and with corruption. Through case studies from the steamy south to the western desert, from the Yangtze river to Beijing and beyond - we plunge into Xi Jinping's push for a "system upgrade" across every sector of China. We discover how hi-tech ideas and innovative thinking are helping China remake its economy. AI-powered autonomous drones, a ground-breaking electric sky train, a phone screen you can fold and put in your pocket smart ideas like these are changing the face of China's industries. On the river and in the mountains, we eavesdrop on the people spear-heading the new focus on cleaning up the environment and on bringing about a new respect for the rule of law. We see how Xi Jinping's experiences in highly commercial Fujian province as a young government official shaped his attitude to China's economy, and to the issue of corruption. And we discover the effects of his controversial, high profile drive to clean up the Communist Party: what former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calls "The mother of all campaigns".

Episode 3: All Aboard

Premiering Monday 16 October at 10:30am AEDT / 10:25am NZ

As best-selling author Prof Martin Jacques comments: "China is exercising global power, political power, cultural power, economic power, intellectual power, moral power. China is coming of age." Touching down on four continents, we discover how the influence of this new China is changing communities and lives - from Africa to Asia to Europe. As a young Kenyan woman takes the controls of a Chinese-funded express train in Nairobi, and a former Mayor of Venice dreams of the renaissance of his home city, thanks to Chinese investment in a ground-breaking deep-water mega port, we explore the mega construction projects of the Belt and Road Initiative. With stories from Cambodia, Indonesia and the U.S., as China takes its place as a leading player on the world stage, we interrogate Xi Jinping's vision for a global "community of common destiny" an inspiring vision for a new world order, or a cloak for China's global ambitions? And as Xi Jinping starts his next five years in power, the world is waiting to see where China goes next.