• Short Summary

    WHILE MUCH WESTERN EUROPE WAS STILL IMMERSED IN THE DARK AGES, A FLOURISHING CIVILISATION EXISTED IN FAR-AWAY CHINA.

  • Description

    WHILE MUCH WESTERN EUROPE WAS STILL IMMERSED IN THE DARK AGES, A FLOURISHING CIVILISATION EXISTED IN FAR-AWAY CHINA. AT ITS HEART LAY THE CITY OF PEKING. THE CHINESE BELIEVED THAT IT STOOD AT THE VERY CENTRE OF THE EARTH. THEY BUILT BEAUTIFUL MONUMENTS AND MAGNIFICENT TEMPLES THERE - AND EMPERORS AND EMPRESSES LIVED IN ISOLATION IN EXTRAVAGANT PALACES. THE SPREAD OF WESTERN INFLUENCES INTO ASIA BROUGHT WITH IT THE REALISATION BY THE CHINESE THAT THEIR NATION WAS NOT THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. PEKING DECLINED IN IMPORTANCE. WHEN THE KUOMINTANG CAME TO POWER IT EVEN CEASED TO BE THE CAPITAL - FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1421. THE KUOMINTANG CALLED IT PEIPING. WHEN THE REVOLUTION OF 1949 DROVE CHIANG KAI-SHEK'S REGIME TO TAIWAN, MAO TSE-TUNG AND HIS COLLEAGUES BROUGHT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BACK TO THE CITY - AND REMAINED IT PEKING. SINCE 1949 IT HAS UNDERGONE MANY CHANGES.

    THE CHINESE IN THE PEKING OF TODAY LOVE PROCESSIONS. ALMOST ALL FOREIGN DIGNITARIES ARE TREATED TO A CEREMONIAL WELCOME BESIDE WHICH THE SPLENDOUR OF ANCIENT CHINA PALLS INTO INSIGNIFICANCE. MEN AND WOMEN TAKE PART IN MARCHING DISPLAYS THROUGH THE STREETS - AND NEITHER PARTICIPANTS NOR SPECTATORS EVER SEEM TO TIRE OF THEM.

    A FOREIGN VISITOR TO PEKING IS STRUCK BY THE COMPARATIVE ABSENCE OF MOTORISED TRAFFIC IN CITY STREETS. THE TRADITIONAL PEDICABS - A THREE-WHEELED CONTRAPTION RIDDEN LIKE A BICYCLE - STILL OUTNUMBER ANY OTHER FORM OF TRANSPORT. THE POLICEMEN DO NOT HAVE MANY TRAFFIC JAMS TO COPE WITH.

    MANY OF PEKING'S OLD, DILAPIDATED HOUSING AREAS STILL EXIST. THEY ARE CROWDED - OFTEN INSANITARY, BUT THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING HARD TO PROVIDE NEW ACCOMMODATION FOR WORKERS LIVING IN THESE AREAS. SINCE 1949 THE POPULATION OF THE CITY HAS RISEN FROM ONE-AND-A-HALF-MILLION TO MORE THAN FOUR MILLION.

    WITH THIS RAPID RISE IN THE POPULATION, THE SKYLINE OF PEKING HAS BEEN RADICALLY CHANGED BY THE ERECTION OF MULTI-STOREY BLOCKS OF FLATS. IN THE AGE OF THE EMPERORS, ANY BUILDING OF MORE THAN ONE-STOREY WAS FORBIDDEN: IT MIGHT DISTURB THE IMPERIAL GAZE. BUT THE PRESENT RULERS HAVE ADOPTED THE MOST MODERN METHODS OF PRE-FABRICATION IN THE ERECTION OF THE FLATS. THE BUILDING PROGRAMMES ARE CAREFULLY PLANNED TO MAKE THE BEST USE OF RESOURCES. THE TENANTS IN THE NEW FLATS PAY RENTS THAT ARE ONLY SIX PER CENT OF THEIR INCOMES.

    TELEVISION CAME TO PEKING FOUR YEARS AGO. THE CITY IS NOW ESTIMATED TO HAVE 200,000 VIEWERS. THEY WATCH THE PERFORMANCES IN PUBLIC HALLS - NOT AT HOME. ONE OF CHINA'S TRADITIONAL ARTS HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM THE STAGE TO THE TELEVISION SCREEN - OPERA. IN THE DAYS OF THE EMPIRE, MEN PLAYED ALL PARTS, BUT IN MODERN DAY OPERA THE WOMEN ARE PLAYING MAJOR FEMALE ROLES. ON OUR FILM WE SHOW ONE OF CHINA'S MOST POPULAR ACTRESSES REHEARSING FOR A RECENT OPERA CALLED "THE RED LANTERN". IN IT SHE PLAYS THE PART OF AN OLD WOMAN - THE MOTHER OF A RAILWAY WORKER. BOTH SHE AND HER SON ARE KILLED BY THE OCCUPYING JAPANESE ARMY OF THE 1940'S.

    THE CHINESE ARE STILL VERY MUCH OUTDOOR PEOPLE. ON SUNDAYS - THE ONLY DAY OF REST IN THE WEEK - THE CITY'S LARGE PARKS AND GARDENS ARE CROWDED WITH FAMILIES ENJOYING THE OPEN AIR. BOATING ON THE LAKES IS ONE OF THE POPULAR PASTIMES, WHILE FISHING FOR CARP - WHICH ABOUND IN THE LAKES - IS ANOTHER. THE PRESERVATION OF OPEN SPACE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S MAIN CONCERNS IN PEKING. THEY HAVE TRIED TO MAKE THE STREETS AND PARKS MORE ATTRACTIVE BY PLANTING TREES - NINE MILLION OF THEM SINCE THEY CAME TO POWER IN 1949.

    THE MARKET PLACE IN PEKING REFLECTS A GROWING PROSPERITY AROUND CHINA'S CAPITAL. IN A GARDEN BELT, SEVEN-AND-A-HALF MILES WIDE AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY, FARMERS ARE MEETING ALL THE CITY'S NEED IN VEGETABLES, POULTRY AND MILK. IN 1964 THEIR PRODUCTION OF EGGS,PORK AND FRUIT MORE THAN DOUBLED OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR. IN WINTER IT'S CLAIMED PRODUCTION IS KEPT AT A PEAK IN NINE HUNDRED GREENHOUSES AROUND THE BELT.

    IN THE CENTRE OF THE CITY, NEON LIGHTS AND LARGE STORES ARE MAKING THEIR APPEARANCE - AND OVERALL THERE IS AN AIR OF PROSPERITY.

    PEKING MOVES INTO 1965 AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MAJOR CITIES. AS CENTRE OF MAO TSE-TUNG'S GOVERNMENT, THE CITY WILL INCREASINGLY BECOME A FOCAL POINT OF WORLD ATTENTION. IT REMAINS THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD'S MOST POPULOUS NATION.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2E9OVH2BHGMSS8RT5K3SLV3MI
    Media URN:
    VLVA2E9OVH2BHGMSS8RT5K3SLV3MI
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    07/01/1965
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:05:49:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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