Monday, 12 March 2012

Niall Ferguson China Triumph and Turmoil


EPISODE 1: Niall Ferguson shows how the vast apparatus of the Chinese state has always been called on to subjugate individual freedom to the higher goal of unity. Ferguson also examines how, on the other hand, centralised control produces tensions that threaten to destroy the country.

EPISODE 2: Niall Ferguson asks how China manages to live under a Communist system of government but with a thriving capitalist economy. 

The succession of revolutions orchestrated by Mao Zedong killed more people than Hitler and Stalin combined. And yet this hard-line communist and murderer of businessmen is revered in China today as the founder of a modern-day capitalist superpower. Why?

To answer this question Niall travels from Beijing to Mao's birthplace at Shaoshan to the new supercity of Chongqing and to the rural backwaters of Anhui to track down survivors of the madness of Chairman Mao, newly minted billionaires and the Mao worshippers who believe tomorrow belongs to them. He finds the way China is governed is eerily similar to the way it was under the First Emperor. All the power lies in the hands of nine men with expressionless faces and what looks like the same hair dye - as unelected and as powerful as Emperor Qin. Autocracy that values unity over choice; secrecy over openness - not democracy. That has always been the Chinese way. It is the price that China is prepared to pay for the spectre that has always haunted its leaders: protest, rebellion and turmoil.

Episode 3: Niall Ferguson asks what China's growing global presence and aggressive nationalism mean to all of us.

Niall Ferguson China: Triumph and Turmoil Channel 4 8pm Monday 12th March
WATCH Episode 1 HERE
Watch Episode 2 HERE 
Watch Episode 3 HERE

42 comments:

  1. Surprise surprise another white guy out to diss China and tell us about how he knows more about China than Chinese do. Anyone seen this yet?

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    1. You could complain here: http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/contact-us, or even better give him a hard time by contacting him directly: http://www.niallferguson.com/site/FERG/Templates/General.aspx?pageid=15&cc=GB

      I certainly will send a complaint to Channel4 - I'm quite tired of such imbalanced programmes myself. His patronising and even bigoted remarks (as you already pointed out) are quite unsettling to me, and I am not Chinese!

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    2. alternatively just send him a 'sweet' message to his Twitter account :)

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    3. good idea, as long as we can teach him hard facts and not turn to insults! But then again, twitter may be the wrong platform for that with its character limits!

      On that note, I actually received a reply from Channel4's complaint people, however, that's their reply:


      "Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding CHINA: Triumph And Turmoil.

      We are sorry to hear that you feel Niall Ferguson has not enough expertise to address the topic of this programme, please be assured your complaint has been logged and noted for the information of those responsible for our programming.

      Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise."

      The worst thing; I made it crystal clear that Ferguson's remarks were insulting and even bordering racism, which they did not mention in their 'apology'! And all they do is log my complaint! Really??? I've been living in this country now for over 4 years, and thought I had come to terms with the fact that Brits love to live in their 'glorious imperial past', how they love to go on about how victorious they were during WW2, and how they always tend to 'orientalise' and 'other' Asians and other non-white people (I'm German-Thai mixed. so double-whammy!!!). I also have studied China's political and economic history in the past. And all these factors (being mixed and having studied the stuff, which makes me more of an expert than FERGI), all these factors have put me in a near state of rage! Fergi was bursting out anti-Chinese and anti-German remarks simultaneously when e.g. comparing a Chinese crowd paying their celebrational respects to Chairman Mao with a group of Nazi Germans "... waving flags with swastikas" What the F????

      In sum, I really would have wished for a balanced programme that would put China's achievements, its "Triumph" more in the foreground. Most of us bloody know about the bad things in past and present. Could the media emphasise the good things going on in this remarkable country for a change? And those who don't know squat about China are - let's face it - not very likely to watch this programme in the first place, so there is no excuse for neither Channel4 nor Fergi to not produce something better!

      Any filmmakers among us? Maybe we ought to make a programme about a China :D

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    4. That you would get no response from C4 is typical,IMO because being anti-Chinese is part of uk programming schedule. Yes would be a good idea to make our own China programme, but you get the usual whinging about budget, etc. And then unless you put it as online video, it wont get seen my those who need to see it.

      Also this is a blog for BBCS, most of whom dont seem to give a shit about China unless its something sensational like some baby being killed in guangzhou that they can gossip about. Good luck though in finding someone.

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    5. The series hasn't finished yet, your concerns will probably be passed onto the production company who will be given time to respond. But I agree, the programme is more along the lines of Turmoil: China's great leap backwards

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    6. Once again im confused - im not Chinese, but I dont understand how you think Britain is living in its 'glorious past'? Do you think you might be talking to the wrong people? Personally I think Britain is a wonderful mix of cultures and races - and I think all should be given equal importance. I know im only a college student - but I think that this view of Britian being completely anti-Chinese, and living in its colonial past is not true. In fact - personally I think the mix of cultures and races in Britain is the best thing about it. I love for example being able to walk into town, and having a chat with the Gurkha who runs the Nepalese grocery - we get on extremely well! My favourite store in the whole of town is the Asian fusion store, and I do lament the lack of a Chinese grocery in town. So maybe some Brits are racist - I agree with you there, its cruel and its not needed - however dont tar everybody with the same brush, just because their Brtish. Im sure their are some Chinese who are very Anti-British, not everybodys the same. I think we need to focus on gathering likeminded people together to tackle racism - no matter what their background.

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    7. All you whites care about is how 'Asian fusion' will benefit your white privilege. Nice try, wont work here.

      That would be a joke - a white person helping BBCs tackle racism. Thats actually something the sellouts would love. Theyd do anything for someone else to do all the hard work for them - even a white person lol.

      The day that happens is the day British Born Chinese identity is dead.If Chinese cant speak out against anti-Chinese racism for themselves, then theres absolutely no hope.

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  2. Watching this programme is the equivalent to reading a Laowai in China blog, - its ignorant, Sinophobic and jingoistic, the only thing that's missing is Niall Ferguson wielding his white c*ck about in Tiananmen Square shouting "hey corrupt Mao murdering Chinamen, look at my white d*ck."

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    1. Yes! And then CCP police imprison him and cut his dick off for inappropriate behavior and feed it back to him as a scottish delicacy. Then he can do a report on the strange things that he was fed whilst in China! Oh How inhumane!

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  3. Well, having actually watched the programme, I can say that Ferguson does not pretend to know more about China than the Chinese (and as a 'white' person I find both of the above comments profoundly stupid). However, the programme is Sinophobic and ignorant. Ferguson mobilises the old stereotype of China as a uniquely autocratic society and argues on the basis what (he imagines) Chinese people 'think', rather than basing his arguments on the actual economy or material facts of Chinese society and history.

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    1. At the beginning he gives a sly reference to the word 'Chinky' in describing Chinese food, even mentioning it as being racist to justify the use of it. Why even mention it in the first place? It just sets the tone for more anti-Chinese diatribe

      9:55 all the power lies in the hands of 9 men with expressionless faces and what looks like the same hair dye

      'autocratic control in exchange for stability'comparing it to Emperor Chin'

      10:38 its also their philosophy the way the Chinese think'

      He presents the facts but then adds an 'unscrupulous twist to it' . Its no different to the BBCS Chinese documentary ' The Chinese are Coming' again doing what the beeb and other media are good at - orientalising everything to make Chinese appear inscrutable. And presenting fear mongering which is what the anglo-american media want. No surprise there, then.

      Not sure why you consider the above comments profundly stupid, when was the last time you saw a 'balanced' programme on TV about China that was hosted by a white person? Never. Because the BEEB wont allow it. Hence all the anti-China racism. Fear of the unknown. This documentary is perpetuating that ignorance. And who laps up his racist viewpoints? Its not us politically aware BBC'ers or Chinese, thats for sure. Its the wonderful british public.

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    2. Haha, maybe he should hook up with auntie 'stinky Chink' Gok Wan for a double act on China. White audiences will love it.

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  4. Any programme with the synopsis that Mao murdered more people than stalin and Hitler put together, one already knows the agenda behind the programme. Indeed, one loves to be patronised by this White devil with phrases such as 'its like looking for a chopstick in a lumber yard,' with mysterious orientalist music playing in the background. As he is a Harvard professor, I think its remarkable there are so many Chinese falling over their bound feet (oh har har har) to get into that university to be taught westcentric history by the likes of Niall Ferguson.

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    1. Mainlander student FOBS are too naive IMO. Wide eyed, deluded by the apparent freedom the west has in comparison to the motherland stay here for a few weeks unless by then theyve hooked up with a white boyfriend,racism if theyre male, unless singularly involved with university studies to socialise, which is obviously what they visit for, its all downhill from then on. Take a short trip to europe and face more anti-Chinese discrimination there. It's a wonderful place, the west.

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  6. I've decided long ago not to get riled up anymore about Western commentators talking shit about China. The bloke who did "the Chinese are coming" went to India for a more recent programme, driving around in an old colonial-era car, stirring up nostalgia about the Empire, blasting the locals for their backwardness and ending up going for an "Indian haircut" at a local barbers. This kind of mentality is in there blood. I can say with all honesty that there isn't a single Englishmen born before the 1980's that can perceive any kind of Asian beyond racist caricatures and Orientalism. To them going to their local chinky for an Egg Foo Yung is all part of the larger Oriental experience as much as travelling to China to make ignorant social, political and racial commentaries.

    It's bigoted pseudo-intellectuals like Ferguson and these Sinophobic documentaries that worry me the most about being a BBC in the UK as they are implying that autocracy, ignorance and obedience are racial traits that can be applied to the entire Chinese race.

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    1. 'it's bigoted pseudo-intellectuals like Ferguson and these Sinophobic documentaries that worry me the most about being a BBC in the UK as they are implying that autocracy, ignorance and obedience are racial traits that can be applied to the entire Chinese race.'

      Exactly. And the ignorant whites just lap it up. Economies fucked - lets blame the chinese. My alarm clock didnt wake me up - lets blame the chinese. etc.

      You have to think that such a mentality that would go to all the lengths to demonise a race consistently in every tiny thing they do have to be pretty f--king insecure. Some may call it smart. I just call it scared.

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    2. I'd say its both fear and racism - that an 'inferior' race could or will overtake the west.

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  7. Ferguson's writings tend to have a neo-imperialist slant, has anyone read 'Empire'? I thought his economic history series 'The Ascent of Money' was quite a lot better, however. Did anyone watch that? I think it's still on 4oD.

    Some commenters have complained that it's another sinophobic documentary by a white man, but what's the alternative? Would a professor from China with broken English suffice (which would perpetuate the idea that Chinese speak broken English), or perhaps a 'whitewashed' Chinese professor from a western university and with good English? What professors of history can most objectively explain modern China? (Genuine question.)

    As for the programme itself...

    I think Ferguson explains the running theme throughout Chinese history of disunity and unification, and the effect of this theme on how the current Chinese government quite well. It is true that China has tended to value unity above many other things (pluralism), and this therefore required some form of authoritarianism (the state bureaucracy) to stop factionalism.

    But after this part (at around 10 minutes), his academic theses begin to turn to shit, unsurprisingly. You can tell when they began showing shots of the Great Wall to explain Qin Shihuang's consolidation of power, even though those sections of the Wall were actually built in the Ming dynasty. (For an English equivalent to this stupidity, imagine if Henry VIII's power was illustrated by marvelling at the Royal Albert Hall (which is Victorian))

    Ferguson does not speak and cannot read Chinese of course, what hope does he have of understanding Chinese history if he cannot read historical documents in the original language? He even admits this himself several times, yet to the unthinking public viewer his admission does not (as it should do) set alarm bells ringing. As a 'historian', he relies on second and third-hand sources, how reliable can that be?

    One is recalls the Gok Wan programme... another Eurocentric attempt at trying to 'understand China', without knowledge of the language of the country in question.

    Can someone truly understand British history without speaking English? Can someone understand Japan without knowing Japanese? It seems rather arrogant to suggest that one ever could.

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    1. For a BBC who wants to have respect for his own culture he speaks of it with affection and want to know more about himself, so its personal.

      The alternative for a white person - at least one that isnt paid by the BEEB to produce a doc with anti-China slurs and racial insinuation is to try and understand the culture and observe from a detached point of view. This would educate the west to understand Chinese better as people with real lives rather than as usual objects of derision.

      They could have filmed him interacting with the people showing respect rather than a 'unscrupulous Chinese' viewpoint as most westerners do. If you respect the people as individuals, and open to learning their culture, if you really want to you can take the time to learn their history as well. Maybe not for the purposes for a documentary, but at least you can show respect for Chinese people that you interact with in the time that you do. Thats probably the best any non-Chinese can do.

      All it takes is an open mind and not looking at everything through the eyes of a white privelege mentality, which unfortunately is what most whites tend to do. Like you for example.

      How many posts have you made on ethnic Chinese boards, and how many of them do you actually 'get' the Chinese mentality?
      Hardly ever. If you did, you wouldnt keep trolling stupid questions.

      For all your white intellectualism you wont get it even if you master all of the Chinese dialects in China, because all if anything speaking those dialects will only enhance your sense of white privelege. This may fool any white-worshipping FOB or a whitewashed BBC but a real Chinese can see right through you, immediately.


      Because privelege is too hardlined into your system, because you are...white ( or jew etc) you wont ever get it.And based on the fact that same privelege comes from years of war and imperialism and stealing from other cultures, its completely unwarranted.

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    2. Its Channel 4, unless you're referring to 'Chinese Are Coming.' These types of programmes are driven by the ego of the historian that's been commissioned to produce it. You basically need to 'be someone,' thus attract a large enough section of the prime time mainstream white audience. Since were living in a western country, what exactly can we ask for? Its unlikely a Chinese person that's very intuned with his roots/heritage would be able to sustain interest from a mainstream white audience.

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    3. Watching Niall Ferguson on China is like listening to a virgin analysing sex and orgasm! Close but not exactly hitting the sweet spot!

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    4. But unlike the virgin who's got something to look forward ,fat scotty has no hope! Unless he accidentally steps into pothole in the final episode dissing chinese miners and breaks his neck haha

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  8. least i can spell privilege LOL, Niall is coming from a right wing perspective still he knows more about china than gokwan, "white" academics/reporters can write and speak about chinese culture. examples the beautiful sky far-east reporter holly what-her-name speaks perfect mandarin, and film critics like rayns who writes very well about chinese film history. of course chinese vice versa as well.

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    1. Let your white reporters keep you white people with speculation and how how understanding of our culture can benefit your 'privilege'

      Makes no difference, as long as your bloodline is not 100% ethnic Chinese, you will never understand how a Chinese thinks, feels and as you probably dont care either, guess what. We dont care about you either.

      Case in point is note that Chinese reporters dont give a shit about the imperialist corruption that is sinking the western world because they have their own lives to get on with. Stare at the goodies through the shopping window all you want, but you will never be able to afford it :)

      Its testimonial to white ( jew etc) imperialist greed and arrogance that they end up drowning in their own shit.

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  9. I cease to see why you guys really care.

    Chinese industry is very quickly learning and it is starting to bridge the gap which took Japan 30 years to cross and the Koreans 15 years to cross.

    And as such will steam roll and destroy the western economies.

    Therefore what the natives of Britain think will be pretty irrelevant. Hell you could say today what a lot of people say here is irrelevant. There are a lot of clingers who still think back to imperial days. But this is over. 97 was the clue, if Britain was still powerful. They would have 'renegotiated' with China the lease with HK. They didn't.

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    1. Good answer. I guess the reason why we care is because overseas Chinese tend to be more patriotic, at least the few of us who regularly post on here.

      'steam roll and destroy western economies'

      About time too. I think most of the world are sick of warmongers. Any whiteys ( jew etc) still posting on this article who are still clinging to their imperialist flag better think about changing their tune soon.

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  10. "Could China’s rise repeat Germany 100 yrs ago? Something to ponder next time you order a Chinese takeaway."

    The triumph and turmoil is largely in Niall Ferguson's head. I wrote a review on the first episode here: http://madammiaow.blogspot.com/2012/03/triumph-and-turmoil-of-niall-fergusons.html

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    1. Perhaps you should take a close look at the rest of this site before posting here, Anna.

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    2. It's an open blog, lots of Eurasians post here. Chinese community is factional, we have factional differences, but that doesn't mean we don't unite when the enemy is the mainstream press. RESPECT Coalition had lesbians, homosexuals and Muslims uniting for populist causes.

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  12. lol@'lots of Eurasians post here'. Only to tell you to fuck off.

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    1. Oh its the DY fan Club, you should know the rules for posting by now. And no, I've not said that to anyone, in fact theres nothing to prevent you from posting an article, only yourself it would seem.

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  13. I wonder if China or any other countries send out journalists to the West to get chummy with the locals, with the express intention to go back home and post absolute slander about the people they were just nice to. Because white people tend to do that. A lot.

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    1. yes theres a whole webseries shot in beijing dedicated to it masquerading as 'comedy'

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3U5u3D2L9Q&feature=related

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    2. Well, it was comedy! And what is wrong with taking the piss, in moderation (or are you really also a Britisher or Briton)?

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    3. That episode was mocking Chinese and their adoption of western names. I can make a bunch of jokes about jews with big noses, and how they can never trace their ancestry because theyve interbreeded with every single race under the sun but this blog has already been reported for 'anti-semitism' so once again it shows its okay for jews to make fun of Chinese, but not vica-versa. I love freedom of speech.

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    4. The Taking of the Piss, or Piss-taking, is a normal behaviour in the West. If you can't take it, honestly, for your own good you should just get on a boat and piss off!

      Who is Jewish?

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    5. The girl in the video is jewish.

      If you think pisstaking is funny maybe you albino apes should drag your arms back to the caves because thats where your western imperialism is taking you.

      And if youre a BBC whitewashed sellout, just ignore what I said, because you lot are beyond hope.

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  14. Anyone whose interested in everyday opinions of regular Chinese folk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFc53S4JRcM&feature=plcp&context=C4805349VDvjVQa1PpcFPJ2LLTXox_Vg4ddf1sWrk-iVJhexoiigo=

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  15. All Chinese Brits should know by now that Niall has a total obsession with China's growth. Whenever you see this man sqeaking his way through his "Killer Apps" of a series, viewers are often treated with slow motion of spitting venom. A classic Imperialist who can't accept China doing it now, and often finds ways to attack China's policies and dream about its pending downfall.

    His basic view that feverish nationalism displayed by the robotic youths will be the beginnings of some kind of uprising and bringing about the collapsing of order and growth. I give him that, it is the best he can do to explain why the younger generation have not formed an independent mind that says "Let's rebel against the regime!" Instead turning it on its head to say they're the product of decades of brainwashing from the Communist party. Like the party has created an even more evil regime, and it's all their fault.

    Niall could just have said, the new generation are highly educated, have lived abroad, even studied abroad, and have independently formed their opinions, no, that wouldn't be a Niall Ferguson documentary. SF

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