Exploring China: learning about this fascinating country using video from BBC Active 

China is a country like no other; a modern superpower built on thousands of years of culture and history. BBC Active Video for Learning offers a host of opportunities to learn about China, with videos exploring all aspects of this diverse and unique nation. Find out about our wide variety of videos about China, suitable for both school and university students.

History of China

What better place to start learning about China than with the fascinating and ancient history of the country?  A clue to how this modern superpower evolved to the present day can be found in the Story of China, a 6-part series that charts the country’s history from the ancestors of the nation, through highlights such as the Ming dynasty to the Age of Revolution between 1850 and 1950. 

For insight into the growth and development of China’s capital city, Beijing is a China city video that explores the surprising history of this sprawling and successful megacity.

China is a place of many contradictions. In China – Triumph & Turmoil, Niall Ferguson explores the history of this staunchly Communist society with a burgeoning capitalist economy, to try to determine what the future holds for China in the 21st century. The series consists of three episodes: Emperors, Maostalgia and Superpower.

Finally, Children of the Revolution examines the effect that China’s Cultural Revolution has had on its citizens.

Economic issues

China is currently the world’s second large economy – and its growth shows no signs of slowing.  Students looking for information about China are often particularly interested in the economic issues that have shaped the country. These educational videos provide some important insights.

Just how has China’s economy grown so rapidly in the past 30 years? How China Fooled the World (This World) explores the country’s astonishing rate of growth, pausing to question whether all is really well in this economic superpower. 

Political influence is always a factor in China. China’s capitalist revolution is a video teaching resource that takes an in-depth look at China’s conversion from Communism to capitalism.

Should we in the West be worried about the scale of China’s ambition?  The Chinese are Coming  analyses how the world will change if this emerging global superpower takes over.

Social issues

China is a culture embroiled in some unique social issues, notably the effects of the single child policy that was introduced in the 1970s. China’s Child is a video exploring the impact this policy has had on the population. Looking for China Girl takes up this theme by focusing on the gender imbalance that has resulted from the policy, with up to 118 men in China for every 100 women.

Secrets of China takes an inside look at society in this vast country, and what it’s like for young people to grow up here.

Can we in the UK learn anything from China’s approach to education? The School that Turned Chinese examines education from a different point of view, bringing in teachers from China to offer a different perspective on teaching and discipline.

A country of extremes, China is still home to many rural and undeveloped communities. The Fastest Changing Place on Earth (This World) uses the case of White Horse Village, a farming community being transformed into a new city, to demonstrate just how quickly this can change.  

Arts and culture

The fascinating cultural history of China deserves in-depth study. Art of China is a 3-part series that explores 3,000 years of cultural history, including paintings, sculptures and other artifacts.

Chinese New Year is arguably the biggest celebration on Earth, marked not just in China but in all corners of the globe. This 3-part documentary video explores this huge event from different perspectives, bringing the celebration to life as we see it experienced by native Chinese people.

Geography and travel

A large and varied country with breathtaking natural phenomena, China is a bucket-list country for every international explorer. For those who prefer to see the world from their armchair, Dan Cruickshank’s journey from Japan to China reveals some of the most spectacular sights the country and surrounding regions have to offer.

In China on Four Wheels, presenters Justin Rowlatt and Anita Rani experience two very different sides to the country as they explore by road. Busy, congested cities and rural, mountain roads come together to paint a picture of a country of contrasts.

China for children

Go Jetters is an entertaining educational series that can be used to help young children to learn about geography. The Go Jetters provide an animated introduction to some of the most famous parts of China, including a wealth of China facts for kids and making the topic accessible and exciting for primary-aged children. Exploring Hong Kong, the Great Wall of China and the country’s paddy fields, this lively series brings China to life for young children.  

Explore our range of geographical video titles from BBC Active

There is a wealth of educational videos available from BBC Active, covering the history, politics, economics and culture of a range of different countries. Search for your chosen country or region and filter the videos by Culture and Travel, Natural World, Current Affairs and Politics or Social issues and education