China: As History is My Witness

China: As History is My Witness

From emperors to poets to generals, the BBC’s former Beijing correspondent Carrie Gracie explores the lives of key figures from China’s rich past to examine how Chinese society has evolved over the past 3,000 years.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Old Hundred Names: China's Citizens 19 OCT 2012

    Fri, 19 Oct 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    At best they have been taken for granted and sometimes they have endured far worse at the hands of China's governments and invaders alike. What voice for the Chinese public now?

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  • Hong Xiuquan: The Rebel 18 OCT 2012

    Thu, 18 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    A 19th-century Christian king on the Yangtze. The Europeans joined forces against him, and nearly a 100 years later, it was another rebel who claimed to put China's people in power.

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  • Wang Anshi: The Mandarin 17 OCT 2012

    Wed, 17 Oct 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Running China has always required a civil service machine. One man's tale of triumph and disaster among the yes men and flatterers of the 11th century.

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  • Liu Bei: The Warlord 16 OCT 2012

    Tue, 16 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    The swashbuckling adventurer from ancient China, when cunning and courage ruled, whose exploits still grip China today.

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  • Qin Shi Huangdi: The Emperor 15 OCT 2012

    Mon, 15 Oct 12

    Duration:
    14 mins

    The Emperor who built a unified China, but enslaved nations and buried scholars in the process. Hero or villain? History's verdict on the man who left the terracotta warriors and a mighty empire.

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  • The Soong Sisters: The Consorts 12 OCT 2012

    Fri, 12 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Three sisters end up on different sides of China's bloody political divide after marrying some of the most important men of the 20th Century.

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  • Du Fu & Li Bai: The Poets 11 OCT 2012

    Thu, 11 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    The two men whose poetry remains as vivid in the Chinese imagination as that of William Shakespeare in the West.

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  • The Duke of Zhou: The Ancestor 10 OCT 2012

    Wed, 10 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Many Chinese look to Confucius for guidance. But Confucius looked to the Duke of Zhou. He handed over power to his nephew 3,000 years ago - but his ideas still motivate leaders today.

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  • Kublai Khan: The Barbarian 09 OCT 2012

    Tue, 9 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    The Chinese emperor who inspired Coleridge and Columbus was not Chinese. Carrie Gracie finds a pattern in the way China digests foreigners and their ideas.

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  • Sima Qian: China's Great Historian 08 OCT 2012

    Tue, 9 Oct 12

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Free speech has long had a high price in China. Here Sima Qian ponders his privates - and posterity - in a tale that still resonates after more than 2000 years.

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