Saturday, May 31, 2008

Great Wall Of China - Mongol Invaders (National Geographic 2007)

Great Wall Of China - Protecting The Dragon (National Geographic 2007)

It was the most ambitious building project ever attempted in the history of mankind. And its story has been almost impossible to tell - until now. Based on astonishing new archaeological finds and extraordinary first-person accounts, Great Wall of China tells the story of one of the greatest wonders the world has ever known.It's more than 3,000 miles in length and was built in just 20 years by a workforce of nearly two million using technology and construction techniques that continue to inspire awe even today. The story of its building, one of human drama, labour and loss, is told in this film through three individuals, each one central to the tale. Thirteen-year-old Emperor Muzong, whose Kingdom is pushed to the brink of destruction by invading Mongolian warriors, demands that a wall be built that can never be breached again. General Qi Jiguang, a military hero and engineering genius, is tasked with overseeing the largest workforce ever assembled on earth. And Zhou Li, an ordinary soldier, is forced to work in conditions of unimaginable hardship but ultimately finds sanctuary and peace in the shadow of this great wall.

Mega Structures - Beijing Water Cube (National Geographic)

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Year in Tibet 5/5 - A Tale of Three Monks (BBC)

Documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around the Tibetan town of Gyantse. Deputy head lama Tsultrim has to juggle running the monastery whilst complying with a myriad of government restrictions. Young monk Tsephun lives and works with his master Dondrup, a curmudgeonly old lama. Tsephun helps his master with the day-to-day jobs of cleaning and tidying; in return, Dondrup teaches Tsephun the sutras and scriptures, an essential part of becoming a monk.

A Year in Tibet 4/5 - Monks Behaving Badly (BBC)

Documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around the Tibetan town of Gyantse. In the Pel Kor monastery, the director Choephel discovers that some irreplaceable statues have been stolen and the theft gives the local Communist Party an excuse to put in a government 'work team' to weed out monks they think are behaving badly. Lhakpa heads north in search of a lucrative job on a building site, and Butri gets an unpleasant surprise as she approaches her retirement.

A Year in Tibet 3/5 - Faith, Hope and Charity (BBC)

Documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around the Tibetan town of Gyantse. The monks begin preparations for New Year, one of Tibet's biggest festivals. Lhakpa, a local rickshaw driver, struggles to earn money as winter approaches. He embarks on a scheme to buy and sell puppies, with disastrous consequences. Hotel owner Jianzang gets involved in a court case which has a surprising outcome. In Tangmai, the doctor cannot cure Lhamo's crippling stomach pains.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria (History International)

uring World War II, Japanese scientists, led by Shiro Ishii, built a medical facility in Manchuria. It is in this place, Unit 731, that Ishii and his scientists conducted some of the most horrific war crimes of the 20th century. The goal of Unit 731 was to experiment with germ warfare, with the ultimate aim of using these weapons on the United States during the war. Experiments were conducted on Chinese civilians, soldiers and American prisoners of war. They ranged from live dissections to the deliberate infection of surrounding villages with diseases such as the bubonic plague. Now, over fifty years later, activists, journalists and historians are uncovering the story of Unit 731, and the American complicity that let these war crimes go unpunished.
Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria would be useful for classes on World History, Asian History, American History, Military History, History of Medicine and Ethics. It is appropriate for middle school, high school and college students.
Students will explore the ethics of war and war crimes. They will analyze the political expediency that permitted the United States to cover-up these crimes. They will also examine how activists, journalists, and historians are uncovering these atrocities and the role of human rights in war and politics.
Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria fulfills the following National Standards for History for grades 5-12: chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretations, and historical research capabilities for World History eras 8 and 9.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wild China - Tibet (BBC)

The Tibetan plateau covers a quarter of China – an area the size of Western Europe. This vast, windswept wilderness is one of the world's most remote places, defined by the glacier-strewn Himalayas. It's also home to some incredible wildlife such as the rare chiru, brown bears, wild yaks and the highest-living predators on Earth. There are more large creatures here than anywhere else in China.
Defined by over a thousand years of Buddhism, Tibet has a unique culture that has nurtured remarkable beliefs. The programme discovers why this landscape and ancient culture is the life support system for much of the planet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Inside the Forbidden City (Natonal Geographic)

The Forbidden City, for 500 years the capital of the Chinese empire, lies in the heart of Beijing. It was the home of 24 Chinese emperors from 1420 to 1912. More than a residential palace, it is a city within a city, the seat of a vast bureaucratic government that ruled the most populous empire on earth. Rumoured to have 9,999 rooms, the Forbidden City is the largest palace on earth. The palace buildings, constructed almost entirely of wood, are the largest wooden buildings ever built. It was a truly "forbidden" city. For centuries access was denied to all but the emperor's family and his most senior officials and servants. A swift and painful execution faced anyone who trespassed on its sacred precincts. With unprecedented access our cameras enter into the heart of the palace, into its most secret corners, to provide the most stunning images of the magnificent buildings and reveal the secrets of those who lived there.

Mysteries Of Asia - Secrets of the Great Wall (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)

The Great Wall of China covers 40,000 miles and remains the largest man-made structure in the world. During this segment of the three-part Mysteries of Asia series, the filmmakers travel to different parts of the wall, including some that tourists cannot visit. They interview local authorities and historians who reveal that the Great Wall is not just one large wall but actually more than 20 walls that were built over 2,000 years. Though the wall was partially built to help keep out enemies, Chinese rulers also used it to keep their people from trying to leave. This Learning Channel production also profiles the emperors who oversaw the construction of different parts of the Great Wall. ~ Elizabeth Smith, All Movie Guide

Beijing's Olympic Marvels

The Olympic Stadium
The Beijing National Swimming Centre

Secrets of the First Emperor (National Geographic)

First Emperor - The Man Who Made China (Discovery)

Emperor Chin or Shi Huangdi [246-210 BC], is known as the Tiger of Qin, and the unifier of all China who ruled between 221 and 210 BC. Emperor Qin built much of the Great Wall of China, but is best known in archaeological circles for his legendary tomb. In 1974, workmen discovered the tomb of Shi Huangdi near the city of Xi'an in the modern Shensi province. Among the treasures found there is a marvelous army of terracotta soldiers and horses, consisting of nearly 8,000 life sized individual statues that were sculpted from clay and fired.

China's Economy 2008 (AlJazeera)

The US economy is facing the prospect of a recession, with the sub-prime credit crunch adding to its problems. But many analysts are looking to China to pick up the global economic slack. China's phenomenal expansion in the last 25 years, with current growth roaring ahead at more than ten per cent annually, has raised hopes that its strength could insulate Asia from the weakening American economy. That has not been an entirely painless process; inflation on the mainland has been climbing, with many ordinary Chinese suffering as the cost of staple foods and goods soar. So while for some there is optimism that Asia maybe able to weather the economic storm ahead, others warn that even here the economic picture is cloudy, forecasting lower growth rates and dangerous times ahead not just for China but for the rest of Asia as well.

Conversations With History - The Rise of Asia (Berkeley)

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Kishore Mahbubani for a discussion of the changing relationship between the West and Asia. In the interview, he describes the major transformations occurring because of the march of modernity made possible by the ideas and global institutions created by the West. He goes on to criticize the West for failing to adapt to the changing balance of power which follows from Asia's rise.

The History of Kung Fu (History Channle)

Hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff journey to China, home to one of the oldest and most famous martial arts of all; Kung Fu. From Beijing to the Great Wall, our hosts will travel this vast country learning techniques from some of the greatest living masters. After practicing flying kicks fifteen feet in the air at a kung fu film studio and learning the brutal moves of the Chinese police, our hosts will arrive at one of the most sacred sites in all martial arts to witness the awesome feats of the Shaolin fighting monks. And finally one of the hosts will step into the ring to take on a true kung fu champion.

Human Weapon (History Channel)

"Two Years on the Yangtze" - Peter Hessler speaks at Google

Forbidden City Mystery

A Year in Tibet 2/5 - Three Husbands and a Wedding (BBC)

Documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around the Tibetan town of Gyantse. It's autumn and everyone is pulling together to get in the harvest, as Dundan worries about hailstones flattening his crops. The local government has installed guns to disperse the clouds and this has put the shaman Tseden, who used to protect the fields with spells, out of a job. Tseden is also helping a local family to arrange their daughter's wedding.

A Year in Tibet 1/5 - The Visit (BBC)

'A Year in Tibet' follows a calendar year inside the secret confines of a Tibetan monastery and charts the lives of those living in Gyanste the small town which surrounds it and surrounding villages. Seven Stones Media has gained unparalleled access to one of the most isolated and spiritual parts of the world and their cameras will be the first ever allowed to follow members of the community, offering the Western audience a rare insight into their lives, religion, servitude and family.The 5 x 1hr series examines the reality of life today for Tibetans living under Chinese rule. Here are just the first two episodes. Hopefully the other parts are available soon on the internet.
Intimate documentary series following a year in the life of the society living in and around Gyantse, Tibet's third largest town. The Panchen Lama, the highest ranking Buddhist living in Tibet today, pays an unexpected visit to the local monastery and throws the monks into turmoil. A local hotel owner is worried about the lack business. In the nearby village of Tangmai, a young farmers wife is rushed into hospital with complications with her pregnancy.

Wild China - Shangri-La (BBC)

Hidden beneath billowing clouds, in China's remote south west, are perhaps the richest natural treasures in all China. Immense rivers carve their way south below towering peaks. The wind-swept slopes are home to the highest-living primates in the world and hidden in the valleys below are jungles with a diversity of wildlife comparable to those around the Amazon.
Jewel-coloured birds and ancient tribes share forests where wild elephants still roam. The mystery is that Yunnan's remote forests stretch into northern territories where deserts would normally be found. How can these northern forests exist? The rugged landscape holds the key.

Wild China - Heart of the Dragon (BBC)

The improbable egg-carton hills of Southern China seem to float in a sea of glistening rice paddies. This is a landscape full of surprises. Next to peasants ploughing with buffaloes are rivers concealing dwarf alligators and giant salamanders, trained cormorants that catch fish for their masters, bats with unusual tastes and monkeys that hide in caves.
But this isn't a nature park. Almost 300 million people live here, with a tradition of eating wildlife. So what forces have shaped this remarkable landscape and how do farmers and wild creatures manage to coexist among the rocks and the rice fields?