CHINA From Above … the Future is Now!

CHINA FROM ABOVE … the future is now

Get an incredible bird’s-eye view of how China’s billion-plus population lives, travels and builds its cities. Plus, find out how its industrialization is impacting the planet.

NOTE …  SHANGHAI with its 24 million residents travel on one of the World’s most extensive FREEWAY systems …

Unlike Sydney where PUBLIC MONIES were spent to develop WestConnex and NorthConnex as our communities, urban bushlands and Heritage were demolished to make way for TRANSURBAN to privately own the extensive motorway system!

SHANGHAI with its rapid rise of skyscrapers also preserves its history!  Photographer,  Zheng Xianzhan said:

‘It may be growing, but it is also preserving its heritage very well.’

Unlike SYDNEY where the Berejiklian Government has allowed local and Chinese developers to demolish Australian Heritage!

(CAAN has highlighted text; had to guess the spelling of Chinese names)



CHINA a nation that has experienced unprecedented development this Century

This aerial journey will show us a Nation in transition as MILLIONS migrate to mega cities which are springing up at a record pace … engineering marvels are being built across China ‘s epic landscape, and cutting-edge transport systems rolled out to meet the demands of millions of people on the move.  China’s reach even extends into space!

 it’s a country in rapid transition.  This is modern China as you have never seen it before.


CHINA, a 5,000 year old civilization in a hurry!

During the last three decades it’s modernised faster than any other country.

At the heart of this transformation is one city … SHANGHAI … it’s now China’s most populated city, its financial hub and the World’s busiest port!

*SHANGHAI’s 24 Million residents speak their own dialect, and travel on one of the World’s most extensive FREEWAY systems!

But it is the rapid rise of its skyscrapers that has really caught the World’s imagination.

One man has made it his life’s work to record this transformation.

ZHENG XIANZHANG has spent 20 years photographing the rapidly evolving skyline of Shanghai. 

(He said photographing the city captures his affinity for the city.)

This photo from 1993 captured a Shanghai with almost no skyscrapers, but by 2014 it had as many as Tokyo.

(Zheng Xianzhan said: (translation)

‘Standing here you can see the city’s development, its culture and history.

On this side are the new buildings, over there are century old buildings.  From here what you are seeing are the contrasts within a city. It may be growing, but it is also preserving its heritage very well.  All the pictures I take one day will be a history.’)

This urban transformation is repeating itself across China.  500 Million people now live in 656 cities.  Every year the Chinese build a city the size of Chicago.

The people driving this urban explosion come mainly from the rural areas of this vast nation.

It is expected that by 2030 350 MILLION PEOPLE will have moved from the countryside to the cities … that’s equivalent to the population of the United States.

It’s an exodus that dwarfs the mass migrations of the industrial revolution in Europe and America.

The old and new often collide in China’s chaotic cities.

People here still observe ancient traditions.

(The Qing Ling Festival – as explained by the commentator is where Chinese people pay respects to their deceased elders.  Families travel by bus to the Fu Shou Garden.)

This family is among the 3 million Shanghai residents on their way to pay respects to the dead.  It’s ‘Tomb Sweeping Day’.

When people lived in rural towns and villages it was easy to visit their relatives graves.  Now millions pour out of the city along congested highways creating traffic chaos.

(The documentary reveals the helicopter pilots despatched to the various cemeteries to monitor and relate information to the ground traffic police.)

During this festival families clean and restore graves and pay respects to deceased elders.  It has been a part of Confucius Society since ancient times.

New arrivals are buying up thousands of cemetery plots on the outskirts of the city where land is cheaper, but demand is so great that they are likely to run out in 15 years.

Tomb Sweeping Day is still celebrated in modern cities, but there’s another festival that’s even more important.  It draws people back to their home villages and towns no matter how far away they may be. 

It’s Chinese New Year!

200 Million Chinese leave the cities, the biggest annual movement of people on the Planet, but how do all these people travel to the homes of their parents and grandparents?

Many take advantage of China’s extensive high speed rail network.

It started in 2007;  it has 29,000 kilometres of track making it the longest bullet train network in the World.

Travelling the 1200 kilometres from Shanghai to Beijing used to take 14 hours now you can get there in less than 5 hours at speeds of up to 250 Kms an hour.

For families like the Wongs, the high speed rail is an essential part of their New Year exodus from their home town Chi chiwa?   in the far northwest, 1500 Kms away.  This journey would have once taken 36 hours.  But that is a thing of the past.

New electrified track has been laid across China to achieve these immense speeds, and aerodynamic trains are being built from light-weight composite materials.

The trip that used to take the Wongs a day and a half now only takes 15 hours.

Chinese New Year takes place at the beginning of Spring.  For the growing urban middle class there’s another more Western style holiday in their calendar – ‘The Summer Beach Break’. But for many Chinese living in land-locked areas travelling far away seaside resorts is not an option, the answer the World’s largest artificial beach.’’’

1200 Kilometres from the coast, middle class can spend time by the water without having to travel long distances to the beach.

This artificial beach can hold up to 10,000 visitors.  It’s been a huge success.  It even attracts visitors from Beijing, 1400 Kms away.

The artificial beach isn’t the only attraction.  The complex also contains one of the World’s largest indoor swimming pools.

The pool has a giant wave machine.  The Chinese compare the packed pool to dumpling soup.

When the Chinese aren’t having fun at the beach, they turn to tv and movies for entertainment.  The Chinese movie industry is now the World’s second largest, and the number of cinema screens has increased 20-fold since 2007.

South of Shanghai  in Jarjay (?) province a massive complex has been built to feed this hunger for entertainment.

Hengxain nicknamed Chinawood is China’s answer to Hollywood.  This studio is now the World’s largest.

The many outdoor film sets cover an area of 1000 hectares.

Here Chinese history is being retold for Chinese audiences.  Giant backlots reproduce key historical periods.

With its 13 shooting bases Hengxian(?)  is bigger than Paramount and Universal combined.

Chinawood specialises in dynastic dramas and high octane Confu movies.

Wang Ying is directing a new marshall arts movie.  As a graduate of the Sholin Temple, Wang Ying brings an authenticity to his action movies. 

He gives a modern twist to an ancient marshall arts tradition.

With annual box office takings of over $5B, and new cinemas opening each day China’s demand for films will continue to grow like the rest of the nation.

In 10 years China will have over 200 cities with more than a million residents and 8 mega cities with over 10 million.

To deliver enough power to run these cities they are building the World’s only ultra high voltage transmission network.

China’s rampant growth has outstripped its infrastructure.  Huge engineering projects are needed to house its 1.4 billion people.

Jerjang (?(\)Province is in China’s southeast.  Workers here are installing an ultra high voltage cable network that will run for thousands of kilometres across China’s rugged interior.

(a worker commented it can be dangerous due to the height we have to scale; high winds can also blow us off!)

The towers are being built on steep mountain ridges.

Shu works 65 metres above this rugged terrain.

The ultra high voltage cable network is part of the solution to China’s power problems.  The distances between power plants and cities are sometimes vast.  Electricity is lost as it travels along normal power lines.

This new system has five times the capacity of the old grid. This integrated electricity highway already stretches for more than 20,000 Kms – half of the Earth’s circumference.  To provide energy needed to power China’s growth, the nation uses vast quantities of fossil fuels – another innovative engineering project gives China the capacity to do this.

This container ship as long as three football fields will not be carrying shoes or smart phones to the West.  It’s been built to transport liquid natural gas.

Liquid natural gas has to be stored at minus 160 degrees Celsius three times colder than an Antarctic Winter.

Capturing this gas at high pressure is a complex and dangerous engineering task.

*China’s unrelenting growth has a negative aspect that damages the health of many


It has the worst pollution levels on the planet.

The country urgently needs replacement for fossil fuels so China’s engineers are racing against the clock building giant windfarms.

*China’s rapidly growing cities are generating unprecedented levels of pollution. Emissions from coal and cars often create an eery haze in cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

Then the sunlight is unable to pierce the gloom, and plants struggle to photosynthesize.

In Shingjung ? Province in the northwest they are using a device invented 2000 years ago.  To harness the unusual climatic conditions on these vast plains … wind power.

This modern windfarm alone has 300 turbines spread across 130 square kilometres.

More and more windfarms are coming onto the grid.

China can now power 110 million homes with electricity generated by wind turbines, and in just five years it plans to double that.

But the space age composite materials have to withstand extreme conditions.  

The turbine blades which are 60 metres long have to cope with temperature variations of up to 55 degrees as well as hurricane force winds.

Once the blades have passed a barrage of tests they are ready for installation – an epic feat in itself.

The same winds that the turbines will convert to electricity also make it hazardous to raise the three 6 ton blades into position!             

For the engineers it’s a massive yet delicate operation.  With the 32 ton turbine dangerously exposed to sudden gusts of wind, they have to get the angle and positioning just right before slotting the tower and the turbine together.  Incredibly two men stand in the tower 70 metres above the ground to help guide the turbine in.

High tech projects are not all that’s needed to meet China’s growing demands.  The South China Sea is one natural resource being used to help feed China’s population – this calm inlet holds an answer to one of China’s biggest supply problems – the demand for seafood.

Around the island of Sundu they use an ancient practice that produces fish without using a single fishing boat or line – they farm fish that are normally caught at sea.

This is the floating village of Sundu Au. (?)

There are hundreds of fish farms here. The village is home to more than 8000 people.

Over the generations they have built a self-sustaining village made of bamboo and wood.  It has its own convenience stores, restaurants, post office, police station and medical centre

Sundu floats on a deep natural harbour.  This combined with the tropical climate make it an ideal place to breed fish.

One fish farmer is Sange from the Tunka(?) ethnic group.

(He related that fishing out at sea was tough.)

China’s immense interior means that engineering projects can be rolled out on a grand scale.  The Tibetan plateau is five times the size of Spain.  It’s sometimes called the roof of the world.  The air is thinner at these altitudes so the plateau receives high levels of solar radiation. It’s an ideal place for one of the World’s largest solar power plants.

This sea of photo voltaic panels generates enough energy to power 200,000 households.  Solar energy will be a vital source of power for China since demand is constantly increasing.

*This is the coastal city of Shenzhen in south eastern China.  40 years ago it was a small city with a population of 300,000, but in 1980 it became China’s first special economic zone … now 12 million people live here.  

*Nearly 700 Million Chinese now live in cities.  Shenzhen is also battling air pollution.  The main problem here isn’t coal fired power stations or factories, but the 3 million vehicles on the roads.

Shenzhen – the city’s solution has been to build a huge fleet of electric buses.  Fully charged these zero emission free vehicles can travel 240 kilometres.

Electric vehicles are nothing new, but the scale of implementation is.  16,000 buses operate throughout the city.  All are monitored from a central control room run by Yan Guangzian.

New technology is vital not only to transporting people around China’s cities, but also to sending China’s astronauts into space.

Technological advances have seen them enter the space race alongside the U.S. and Russia.  China has entered the space race.  In 2008 the first Chinese astronaut walked in space!

Now the Chinese are building their own space station.

Back on Earth, in Xinglong County near Beijing the Chinese are mapping the heavens with high tech telescopes.

Afterall they were among the first astronomers!

This observatory is home to the LAMOST, or large sky area multi object fibre spectroscopic telescope – when fully operational it will be the World’s most powerful telescope of its kind.

It will map 10 million stars in our galaxy, and a million other galaxies beyond.

But even LAMOST will soon be dwarfed by another one of China’s engineering marvels – 1800 kilometres to the south west in the mountains of Guizhou province, China is building a telescope that will take another leap into the future with a diameter of 500 metres it will be the largest of its kind in the World.

This gargantuan eye will scan the night sky, and be able to see extra terrestial transmissions 1000 light years away!

To allow the telescope to operate with maximum efficiency, it is being built in a remote area with the minimum of electronic interference.  

But the engineers are working at the very edge of what is possible.

China is now well and truly part of a new space race, and of efforts to understand the origins of our universe.

This nation which once closed itself off from the World has transformed itself in remarkable ways. From a rural society, it’s become the World’s factory, cities have been built on a size and scale not matched in any other period of World History!

Across this vast land, high tech transport systems and highways are being built.  

Engineering Solutions are helping to supply the huge amounts of energy needed while reducing the pollution that affects half of the Chinese population.

In the midst of this change millions of Chinese still observe ancient traditions and rights as well as discovering new forms of leisure.

CHINA a vast melting pot of past and present, now revealing itself to the World.

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