Legacy Of China


This is a story about China told with a global perspective. It is a journey through time, across continents and deep into the human mind. For all the science and diversity of ideas and locations, what really makes this story so fascinating is human inventiveness.

Unlike other the great ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece thousands of years ago, Chinese culture has survived and evolved. This series asks and answers the question ‘Why?’ What has made China’s culture so enduring?

For more than the past two millennia China has been at the forefront of discoveries in science and technology. Many people will be staggered to learn of the gap in history between China’s discoveries when compared to the rest of the world. When asked to select three things that had done more to aid the development of the modern world and cut it off from antiquity, the great English philosopher Francis Bacon chose the inventions of paper and printing, gunpowder and the compass.

He died without knowing that the Chinese invented them all.

In this series we explore what influence these inventions have. Paper and printing are all about the dissemination of knowledge, information and communication for example. The compass developed the ability for travel and discovery and that quickly had impact of trade and wealth, while guns and gunpowder had a massive impact on the balance of power.

The series works around the answering of fundamental questions about why things are the way they are.

- What was it about China and the way Chinese think that made them centuries ahead of the rest of the world?

- How and why did Europe catch up? What happens to science and technology when ethics are thrown out of the window?

- Has China finally caught up again, and if so what does it mean for the rest of us?

We address these questions by illustrating with examples of Chinese ingenuity and show how these inventions shape history and what the relevance is today.

In asking and answering these key questions this series puts a modern face on ancient ideas. It also puts a human face on the relevance of such discoveries.