How 21st-century China is changing the world

China: Here and Now is a major, multi-part documentary series that examines the cultural, economic, and political implications of China's growing global influence
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Sep 26, 2018
China: Here and Now is a series of documentaries that explore modern China's remarkable growth and influence in the 21st century.



Diana Fu, assistant professor of Asian politics at the University of Toronto, introduces the first two documentaries in TVO's China: Here and Now series.





China: The Great Dragon — Ep. 1: China's E-Commerce Revolution


Chinese leaders are trying to transform their export-dependent economy and prepare it for the future. They hope the e-commerce boom will spark consumption across the country, in metropolises and tiny country villages alike.


How China turned 1.4 billion people into 1.4 billion consumers 

two men banging a gong

The country has become the world’s largest e-commerce hub. Find out how in the first episode of China: The Great Dragon.


The Agenda with Steve Paikin:  China's Political Ambitions

Since the turn of the 21st century, China's economic growth has soared, and now vying with the U.S. for top spot in the world's economic order. It's a dynamic, entrepreneur-driven economy, with a burgeoning consumer class. And with a population approaching a billion and a half - that means ripples and realignment across the globe. The Agenda discusses the rise of China in the 21st century.

A man filming in The Agenda studio

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The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Scrutinizing the Tea Leaves


China is poised to become world's biggest economy, yet everything else about China's future is full of question marks. To help understand what kind of world-wide influence China has, and will have, The Agenda welcomes David Shambaugh, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.


China: The Great Dragon — Ep. 2: Feeding Personal Wealth to Growth Industries

In China , 12,000 start-ups are created every day. Fuelling this investment boom are newly minted private-sector investment companies, magnets for money from wealthy people looking to capitalize their funds.

Excerpt: Kai-Fu Lee's 'AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order'

a virtual game of GO

How a game of Go between a teenager and a Western computer ignited China's artificial-intelligence startup industry.


Diana Fu introduces China's Westward March and Exodus of 100 Million Farmers


The Great Dragon Part 3: China's Westward March

China's monumental project, the Belt and Road Initiative, aims to create a vast economic zone across Eurasia. The Chinese government is building infrastructure and encouraging trade and investment along two routes on land and sea. This episode focuses on three key locations along a rail line being built between China and Europe: Kazakhstan, a vital source of energy and food for China; Poland, a new market for Chinese goods; and Germany, the EU leader China is courting with vigour.


The Great Dragon Part. 4: Exodus of 100 Million Farmers

China's economy is supported by a cheap workforce of farmer labourers who have flowed into big cities from rural villages. As the economy slows, a national project is underway to attract farmers to smaller cities and turn millions of farmers into urban consumers. Big-city residential districts that house farmer labourers are being razed, forcing the workers to leave. Once again, farmers' lives are tossed about by China's transformation.

How China is building a 21st-century Silk Road

a globe showing China's trade paths

Foreign governments may welcome the country’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, but some of their citizens see it as a form of Chinese economic imperialism.


Diana Fu introduces Complicit and The Other Half of the Sky: Stories of Chinese Business Women



China produces 90 per cent of the world's consumer electronics, but the toxic chemicals used in this supply chain take a heavy toll on the young workforce. Filmed over three years in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, this documentary visits the electronics factory floors to reveal the risks young workers are taking in search of a better life.


The Other Half of the Sky: Stories of Chinese Business Women

From the perspectives of four of the country's most powerful businesswomen, this documentary explores the huge transformation taking place in China. It features media mogul Yang Lan, the queen of Chinese talk-shows for women; Dong Mingzhu, head of the world's largest manufacturer of air-conditioning systems; luxury restaurant tycoon Zhang Lan; and Zhou Yi, a top manager at IMB, one of the first foreign multinational companies to enter the Chinese market.

How China is positioning itself at the centre of global trade

two flagsThe Belt and Road Initiative is opening up markets worldwide — but not everyone welcomes growing Chinese engagement.


Diana Fu introduces The New Silk Road: China: The Arab Connection and The New Silk Road: China's Pakistan Revolution




The New Silk Road Part 1: China: The Arab Connection

China's revitalization of its ancient trade routes to the Middle East is energizing Chinese-Arab trade connections that date back more than 2,000 years. This episode explores the enduring historical relationship and the motivations behind Beijing's astonishing new trade initiatives.


The New Silk Road Part 2: China's Pakistani Revolution

The Iron Brother relationship between Pakistan and China is revealed. Can Beijing and Islamabad overcome political and security challenges to make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a reality?


Why China is strengthening its trade ties with the Middle East

two flagsThrough infrastructure projects and diplomacy, China is making inroads into Iran, Egypt, and other nations.


Diana Fu introduces The New Silk Road: The Iran Deal and The New Silk Road: Egypt, China's Gateway to Africa



The New Silk Road: Part 3: The Iran Deal

U.S. President George W. Bush damned Iran as being part of an Axis of Evil. To China, Iran is a strategic partner and they've signed US$600 billion worth of deals. In this episode, enter unseen worlds in Iran to see how the New Silk Road megaproject is transforming the country.


The New Silk Road Part 4: Egypt: China's Gateway to Africa

China's growing investments in Egypt aim to push it towards political and social stability, with the goal of using Cairo as China's gateway to North African markets.



The Agenda: China's footprint in Africa


Last month, China's President Xi Jinping announced that his country would invest another $60 billion across the African continent. Africa is now the third-largest destination for Chinese investment, trailing Asia and Europe. As TVO continues its "China: Here and Now" documentary series, The Agenda examines the reasons for the investment and what it looks like on the ground.


Diana Fu introduces Beijing Billionaires



Beijing Billionaires

This documentary takes a revealing look at members of China's super-rich elite who have made their home in Britain or spend a lot of time there. Enthusiastic Anglophiles, many are looking to put down roots and are spending huge sums of money buying into British high society, investing in established traditions, and adopting the latest fashions.


Up close and personal with China’s super-rich

a woman looking at camera

The children of Chinese billionaires flaunt their wealth on social media and fetishize British aristocratic culture — but will the mega-wealthy use their clout to help those less fortunate?


Diana Fu introduces Only Me Generation and China's 3 Dreams



Only Me Generation

Did China's one-child policy create a generation of spoiled, privileged, selfish young adults? This documentary explores what everyday life is like for the people born between 1979 and 2015, when the policy was in effect. These young Chinese speak candidly about the huge pressure and high expectations from their parents, and reveal the dreams, worries, hopes, and fears of a generation.


China's 3 Dreams

In the 1970s, ordinary Chinese citizens were said to have three dreams: to own a watch, a bicycle, and a radio. Today, they strive for wealth and a better life, often to the detriment of family and tradition. Filmed over an 11-year period, Nick Torrens’ documentary about China in the modern world is an exploration of the missing years of the Cultural Revolution.


China’s one-child policy produced a generation of only children. What happens when they grow up?

a couple and a child

Starting in 1979, families were allowed to have just one child — now these single children are pampered, lonely, and burdened adults.

headshot of Diana Fu




China: Here and Now is hosted by Diana Fu, an assistant professor of Asian politics at the University of Toronto and an affiliate of the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Her research examines the relationship between state power and civil society in contemporary China. Fu's book, Mobilizing Without the Masses: Control and Contention in Chinawon the American Political Science Association’s Gregory Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics.

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