8.5/10
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1 user 1 critic

China: Born Under the Red Flag (1997)

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Deng Xiaoping ...
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9 July 1997 (USA)  »

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Far better than the previous installment.
10 September 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the third of three films about 20th century China. The first was about the new Chinese Republic, the second about the rule of Mao and this one is about the post-Mao years from 1976 to 1997. Episode one was quite good, two extremely poor (it never really talked about the mass genocide under Mao--how could it do this?!) and episode three a vast improvement over the previous one.

The show picks up with the death of Mao and brief power held by the so-called 'gang of four'. It then picks up with the career of Deng Xioping. Deng's leadership was a blend of reforms and repression. While he opened his country up to the west and initially allowed protests with the 'freedom wall', he was also reactionary and allowed protest only within very confined limits. At the same time, students pinned their hopes on Hu Ya Bang--a reformer within the Central Committee. Unfortunately, he was later purged and with his death came more serious protests--protests that led to the Tienanmen Square protests. Deng and Li Peng eventually responded to these with armed confrontation, prison terms and executions. Unlike part two, which seemed like it didn't want to offend the Chinese government, this film was much more honest about the uprising and aftermath and included many interviews with dissidents--those associated with Tienanmen and those in the post-Tienanmen era. Overall, an exceptional film. It, along with part one, are extremely well made and well worth your time. If you see part two, just do some reading on your own about Mao!! You won't learn what you need to learn in that episode.


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