The BBC recently caught our attention with its documentary, controversially titled How China Fooled The World. The 58 minute documentary about Chinese economics by Robert Peston looks at the second largest economy in the world, the impact of the infamous 2008 Wall Street collapse, and what is often dubbed China’s “economic miracle”.
The documentary was a huge hit in the Western media, but thus far has not made any huge waves in China. Robert Peston has great command of his subject, but the title is unnecessarily misleading. It shouts scandal and foul play, and that’s not really what this film is about. Instead the program focuses on China’s debt problem, its massive urbanization and, in the expectation of some economists, its coming economic collapse.
This is not to say the documentary doesn’t touch on some very worrying issues: apartments are impossible to buy for regular Zhous, the rich are getting vastly richer at the expense of the poor, but the movie’s tone feels like it is digging the knife into China, often unnecessarily so. How China Fooled the World is more the story of how China escaped economic crisis, while the US and UK almost drowned. Nevertheless, the documentary is still an insightful watch, regardless if you are a panda-hugger or dragon-slayer; as Robert Peston points out: ” Without China the world’s economy would be flat as a pancake.”