China On Four Wheels

8:00pm Sunday 9 September on BBC TWO

Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt embark on two epic car journeys through China, navigating congested cities and winding mountain roads to explore whether the country’s economic growth, exemplified by its booming car industry, can be sustained. If so, what impact would that have on the world and on the day-to-day lives of the Chinese people?

In the first of the two-part series, the pair set off from Beijing and take two very different routes towards Shanghai – journeys which will take three weeks to complete.

Anita takes the high road, through the rich industrialised cities of eastern China. She meets with young self-made billionaires at Beijing’s Super Car club, before visiting Great Wall Motors, China’s largest SUV manufacturer, whose revenue, like that of many Chinese manufacturers, has soared in the past few years.

She also visits a solar-powered hotel, which aims to set a green model for the future, and joins young wealthy families as they embark on one of the increasingly popular self-drive holiday tours.

Meanwhile, Justin’s route heads inland to a more rural China. He visits villages where migrant workers have left behind their homes and families in the countryside for low-paid work in the cities, before heading north for the new city of Kangbashi, nicknamed the ‘ghost city’ because of the lack of residents. Is this a symbol that the Chinese property bubble is about to burst?

His journey takes him to the cave house where Mao plotted the Communist Revolution – now a major tourist attraction. But just up the road he discovers that for the several million people who still live in caves, not a lot has changed since the Revolution. For these people, the donkey is often a more common means of transport than a car.

Ep 1/2

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