ATF: China-Made Documentaries Stretch From Pandemic Response to African Business Heroes

Vivienne Chow
·2 min read

From gifting tea to the world, conquering COVID-19 and voyaging to Mars, the latest slate of elaborate documentaries from China unveiled at Singapore’s Asia Television Forum tell stories about the Middle Kingdom that are very different from those with a western media perspective.

Presented at the virtual China Pavilion, “COVID-19: Battling the Devil” and “China’s Battle Against COVID-19” take two different approaches to the same narrative, i.e. that China has had great success in containing the highly contagious coronavirus that caused a global pandemic.

“Battling the Devil,” produced by China Intercontinental Communication Center, focuses on the unprecedented lockdown of Wuhan, where the virus began to spread. Chinese Studio’s “China’s Battle Against COVID-19” depicts the different fights against the virus in other cities across the country.

“The Survival Guide on Mars” from Fab World is billed as a documentary series on China’s space mission and ambition to conquer Mars. The show invites three families from different parts of the world to explore Mars Space 1 province, which simulates the environment on the red planet.

Chinese filmmakers dived to the deepest parts of the ocean in China Media Group’s “The Blue World,” a 4K nature documentary about the sea and its inhabitants.

“One Cup, A Thousand Stories,” which describes tea as China’s gift to the world, iterates the Chinese historical and cultural heritage of the beverage that is now loved by many around the world. Sales are handled by Migu.

Not every Chinese-made title is about China. “Africa’s Business Heroes” follows three African entrepreneurs who took part in the first Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), an entrepreneurial program backed by the founder of Alibaba. NewTV’s “Footprints in the Snow” depicts the variety of winter sports around the world.

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