The upcoming PBS documentary series “The Story of China” is not a purely academic exercise, but rather a “people’s history” of the country, series contributor Lik Hang Tsui told the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.
“What I liked about the selection of material in the series is that it really brings out the voices of the people,” Tsui said. “It’s the people’s history. It’s not just rulers, dynastic histories, but also what the Chinese think about their history, their stories, their families.”
The official synopsis for the series reads as follows:
Travel from the Silk Road to the Yellow Sea with host Michael Wood as he explores the history of the world’s newest superpower. A thrilling and moving epic of the world’s oldest continuous state with the landscapes, peoples, and stories that made today’s China.
According to Wood, examining China’s long and storied history is essential to capturing what it means to be Chinese in the modern age.
“By understanding Chinese history and its culture, you will better understand China today,” Wood said. “I think when you look at China today, it’s really important to understand things such as the way the Chinese see their civilization, as heirs to a great civilization that have gone through these traumas of the 20th century.”
Tsui agreed, adding, “I think understanding China’s past…helps us to understand how China always draws on history for its contemporary political, economic, diplomatic scene. When it builds its version of modernity, it tries to maintain the Chinese identity.”
“The China Story” debuts on June 20 on PBS.