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CHINA: In the Shadow of Mr Kong  5pt DVD box setCHINA: 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%)

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Part 1: The Middle KingdomPart 1: The Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom today - how China is viewed through the eyes of the democratic nations of the world.

Geography - The all important geography of China and how it has affected China’s past.

The Dynasties of China - A brief overview of the Dynasties of China, remarkable for their duration and the peace and stability they engendered.

About Confucius - Confucius and his thinking, and how he came to dominate the Chinese world view.

Writing and control - The establishment of the Chinese character script and how it affected the controls of government.

Modern China - The establishment of modern China and its current undemocratic government.

total duration 49'29"

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Part 2 Matters of the MindPart 2 Matters of the Mind

Superstition - Superstition, like everywhere else in the world, largely dominated the Chinese mind in early times.

Commentators on the works of Confucius - Confucian ideas established themselves but there were many commentators over the following centuries who muddied the waters.

The Han Dynasty - The Han dynasty was principally responsible for making Confucian ideas the norm for government and society.

Taoism - Taoism, growing out of early animism, developed ideas of non-interference in the ways of nature.

Buddhism - Buddhism, imported from India, introduced ideas of rebirth and reward for good conduct.

China and Tibet - Today China rules Tibet as it has always done. A largely Buddhist country, it has problems with the secular Chinese.

Sung Education and the Mandarin Bureaucracy - In the Sung dynasty, education according to Confucian principles was established on a huge and influential scale.

total duration 49'36"
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Part 3: Heart and SoulPart 3: Heart and Soul

Art and the Bronzes - After trying to establish what art is we look at the wonderful bronze work of early times in China.

Ceramics - Fine ceramics from many different ages have come down to us; in particular the Tang Sung and Ming dynasty ware.

The Chinese Character Script - The Chinese character script is difficult to learn but beautiful to see and writing it is regarded as an art form.

Poetry - Poets have always been held in high regard in China. Even in translation their particular beauties shine through.

Literature - Literature in the form of plays and novels developed in later centuries just as they did in other parts of the world.

Epilogue - After their early brilliance, under a deeply conservative leadership, the talents of the Chinese in all fields began to be stifled and consequently to decay.

total duration 49'27"


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Part 4 : From Harmony to DiscordPart 4 : From Harmony to Discord

Music - Music was much enjoyed by Confucius who saw it as a basic element of human harmony.

Houses, Gardens and the Honourable man - With due Confucian regard for order and control over nature, the Chinese gardens are amongst the greatest beauties of the land.

Painting and the Honourable man - For many centuries Chinese painters have wonderfully depicted the people and the landscape.

Science - No society has done so much for science; their great qualities of curiosity and invention have been an immeasurable gift to the world.

Descent into chaos - As the Confucian ethic is dimmed and clouded by blind conservatism, battered by outside forces, Chinese society disintegrates.

Total duration 49'32"
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Part 5 : The Rough Road to FreedomPart 5 : The Rough Road to Freedom

Taiping Rebellion - Driven partly by the injustices suffered by the poor and a muddled view of the religious beliefs imported by western missionaries, the Taiping Rebellion rocked China to the core.

Japan - Japan, looked down on by the Chinese as of little import, displays how it has adapted to the times as the Chinese have not.

The Boxers and the end of the empire - As the empire collapses, a secret society called the Boxers feebly attempts to drive out the foreigners.

Japan and the Communist takeover - Japan invades and after the second world war the Communists take over and impose order.

China and the Communists - The rule of Mao and the Communists.

Overseas Chinese - Effective Overseas Chinese communities.

China: The Great Dilemma - The Great Dilemma which faces the Chinese today is how to bring about the democratic freedoms which society deserves without bringing Chaos yet again.

total duration 49'27"
Price: 7.50 / $11.70 (Excluding VAT at 20%)

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