China Rising (Episode 1 - The dramatic rise)

A four-part series that gives a rare insight into the country on the move, with history in tow.

After centuries of western dominance, the world’s centre of economic and political weight is shifting eastward.

In just 30 years, China has risen from long-standing poverty to being the second largest economy in the world – faster than any other country in history.

From angry farmers to weary migrant workers, powerful politicians and everyone in between, what China says and does, has become of undeniable importance to the entire world.

Although no other country in history has risen so quickly from poverty to prosperity as China has, for many in the world's most populous nation, those advances have come at a price.

The economic reforms that made the People's Republic's rise possible have also led to a harshly divided China. Divisions whose impacts could easily spread from disenfranchised indviduals to threaten the economic growth contemporary Chinese society has come to be based upon.

In the opening episode of this four-part series, we tell the stories behind these divisions, from the rising urban middle class to impoverished rural areas and the precarious existence of hundreds of millions of migrant workers on the fringes of some of the world's fastest growing cities.

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