China's emperors built the Great Wall to keep their kingdom safe from the hostile lands to the North. Warrior nomads, bizarre wildlife and extreme weather conditions are found beyond the ... See full summary »

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China's emperors built the Great Wall to keep their kingdom safe from the hostile lands to the North. Warrior nomads, bizarre wildlife and extreme weather conditions are found beyond the Wall. How does life survive the harsh deserts and frozen wastes? But northern China is also a place of great beauty, rich with history. The legendary Silk Road drew traders across the deserts in search of fabulous wealth. Nomadic tribes hunt with golden eagles and race horses. Adapt or die is the way to survive these extreme lands, which have shaped some of China's most colourful people and wildlife. Written by Anonymous

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8 June 2008 (UK)  »

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Land of the Panda
23 October 2015 | by (India) – See all my reviews

The fifth installment features central China, home to the Han Chinese. They are the largest ethnic group on Earth, and their language Mandarin the most widely spoken. The programme looks at how the relationship between people and wildlife has changed over time. Ancient Chinese beliefs placed great importance in the harmonious co-existence of man and nature. At the beginning of China's period of rapid economic growth, this ideal was largely forgotten. A number of political references contrast the more enlightened environmental policies of the current government with those under Chairman Mao Zedong, which led to widespread degradation. The Chinese alligator and crested ibis are two species saved from extinction by direct intervention. Other animals have benefited from ancient spiritual beliefs and customs which live on, promoting respect and reverence for wildlife: the yellow weasels and Mandarin ducks of Beijing are two such creatures. However, wildlife is still threatened by illegal poaching for food and traditional medicine. West of Beijing lie the fertile lands of the North China Plain and the Loess plateau, source of the Yellow River. Increased demand for water has changed the river's flow, and soil erosion causes dust storms which reach the capital. Further west, the Qinling Mountains are a refuge for some of China's rarest species including the takin, golden snub-nosed monkey and giant panda. Giant panda courtship and mating is shown, filmed for the first time in the wild. In the colourful lakes of Jiuzhaigou, unique fish swim amongst forests preserved underwater.


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