The Story of China
Historian and host Michael Wood suggests that to truly understand China today, we must look back at its 4,000-year history. Wood focuses on some of the earliest rulers of China, who established the idea of the Mandate of Heaven in 1046 B.C, and takes us through to the last Chinese empire, the Qing, which fell in 1911.
In 1949, the People’s Republic began with optimism and held power for decades. After Chairman Mao’s death, steps toward political reform were put on hold after the Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989. Today, China flexes its muscles as a global economic powerhouse.
The series’ companion website—www.pbs.org/storyofchina—features additional elements to help further understand China’s history. The interactive features include a sneak peek at each of the six episodes, behind-the-scenes content, a timeline of China’s dynasties and a game to learn the Shang language.
Tuesday, June 20, at 8 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, June 21, at 2 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, June 23, at 9 p.m.
Search for the roots of today’s China at a family reunion on Tomb Sweeping Day; see the first Chinese writing and the first city; meet the bloodthirsty First Emperor; and travel with a million pilgrims to a country festival.
Silk Roads and China Ships
Tuesday, June 20, at 9 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, June 21, at 3 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, June 23, at 10 p.m.
Explore China’s first international age under the Tang Dynasty as Michael Wood travels Silk Road deserts, sails the Grand Canal and goes back to school.
Tuesday, June 27, at 8 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, June 28, at 2 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, June 30, at 10 p.m.
Learn about China’s Renaissance under the Song Dynasty. In Kaifeng, Michael Wood hears the story of the boys who became emperors, tries a 1,000-year-old recipe and works a giant clock.
Tuesday, June 27, at 9 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, June 27, at 3 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, June 30, at 11 p.m.
Hear the story of China’s most famous dynasty. Michael Wood visits the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, sails the South China Sea on a junk and visits a fabulous Chinese garden.
The Last Empire
Tuesday, July 11, at 8 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, July 12, at 2 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, July 14, at 10 p.m.
Discover the splendors of China’s last empire, the Qing. From China’s favorite novel to storytelling houses and all-female mosques, it is an age full of surprises.
The Age of Revolution
Tuesday, July 11, at 9 p.m.
Repeats Wednesday, July 12, at 3 a.m.
Also airs on Fusion on Friday, July 14, at 11 p.m.
Survey the three great revolutions that gave birth to today’s China. Wood visits wild mountain villages, describes the fall of the empire and stays in the last communist commune, all before a celebration on Chinese New Year.