Should we be afraid of China?

March 7th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

How China fooled the world
BBC World, Sat 20:10 or Sun 15:10

Do you remember the first time you realised the enormity of China: one billion-plus people, a one-child limit, overtaking the US etc.

And then it went into overdrive. To paraphrase the BBC’s Robert Preston, whose documentary seeks to explore the true economic state of the country, over the last five years, China has built a new skyscraper every five days, an airport every two months, five metros every year, the three longest bridges in the world, 10,000 km of high-speed rail lines and 40,000 km of motorway.

This rate, says Preston, “would have daunted Egypt’s pharaohs and the Romans”, and even outstrips that of Japan before it went bust in the early 1990s.
Given how the demand from China’s main customers dwindled a long time ago, its still rapidly growing economy is living on borrowed time, says Preston, and is only moments away from a crash of its own.

“In 2008, the Chinese banking sector was roughly $10 trillion in size. Right now it’s in the order of $24-25 trillion,” warns Preston. So a $15 trillion crash then – that’s the same size as the US commercial banking sector.”


You can try telling us that the idea of Gordon Ramsay laying into precocious American kids on Junior Masterchef (TV3 Puls, Thu 20:00) doesn’t appeal to you, but we won’t believe you. Our hands are tied, but Gordon’s going to dish it out to the brats on behalf all of us.

You might be forgiven for disliking the protagonist of Golden Boy, a US cop series about how the youngest ever police commissioner landed the job, for the same reasons, but with a reasonable 63 on Metacritic there’s enough here to forget how he has out-achieved you. The Wall Street Journal applauded its “fine performances, intelligently twisty plots and nuanced dialogue”.

Elsewhere, there’s a documentary on Chocolate (BBC World, Sun 17:20) to tie in with the festival (see page 21); we can all relate to Stress: Portrait of a Killer (DR2, Sat 21:10), but will watching it save your life or stress you out further; and Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (DRK, Fri 23:10) is an acclaimed doc series about the filmmakers who fled the Nazis.


Those Who Kill

The US remake of Danish serial killer series Den som dræber, which enjoyed its stateside premiere on Monday, might have a good cast (Chloë Sevigny and James D’Arcy), but it has divided the critics and earned a mediocre 55 score on Metacritic.

While Newsday praised it as being “disturbing and magnetic”, urging its readers to “Hold your breath. Watch”, others felt it was made in poor taste (“torture porn”, said one), while Variety felt it had “a decided lack of imagination”.


Poor old FA Cup. It’s quarter-final weekend and nobody cares. Arsenal vs Everton (K6, Sat 13:00) has potential, but how can it compete with the most exciting ever Premier League? Given a choice, it’s Chelsea vs Tottenham every time. Elsewhere, we’ve got the World Indoor Athletics and more NBA action.


Enjoy two epitomes of utter Englishness, Essex girls and Laurence Olivier, in two very different British films this week. In Made in Dagenham, set in 1968, they’re mostly sticking up for women’s rights, and in My Week with Marilyn, in 1957, ripping down women’s tights – in Miss Monroe’s boudoir.



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