|CHINA: In the Shadow of Mr Kong 5pt DVD box set|
Mr Kong, known as Kong Fu to the Chinese and as Confucius to the outside world, was a sort of philosophical government advisor around 500 bc - 200 years or so before the Chinese Empire was founded.
He tried to persuade the rulers of the time that for a harmonious and orderly society the rulers had to behave honourably. "Treat others as you would have them treat you." If the rulers are honourable and trustworthy, he argued, then there is a better chance that the people will be too.
Astonishingly, this simple idea was taken up and put into effect by a long succession of capable rulers and administrators. It had a profound effect on Chinese life over many centuries and still does today.
From a failed communist state in 1979, China has risen to be the world's second largest economy today, a situation of which few of us can be unaware. Who doesn't own a gadget "Made in China"? It's little short of a miracle.
But what would Mr Kong make of the current government? Is it honourable? Can it produce a harmonious society? Will it all end in grief? Given all the problems, what will happen next?
We can't say. However, the more we appreciate the astonishing Chinese story revealed in these 5 programmes and the contributions it has already made to human society under the benign influence of Mr Kong, the more sympathetic we will be towards its current rise and hopefully the more confident that the Chinese will somehow find a peaceful way forward.
5 part box set
DVD (all regions)
total running time: 250minutes
1. The Middle Kingdom: The Democratic Viewpoint, Geography, The Dynasties, Confucius, China Today.
2. Matters of the Mind: Superstition, Confucian Commentators, Taoism, Buddhism, Tibet, Sung Education.
3. Heart and Soul: Bronzes, Ceramics, the Character Script, Poetry, Literature.
4. From Harmony to Discord: Music, Gardens, Painting, Science, The Descent into Chaos.
5. The Rough Road to Freedom: Japan, The End of the Empire, Communism, Overseas Chinese, the current Dilemma.
Price: £26.00 / $40.56 (Excluding VAT at 20%)