Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation
Updated 11:43, 21-Apr-2023
Han Bin
Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation

CGTN's "Generation Blue Water" is a groundbreaking documentary that explores China's rising naval strength and the dedication of its pilots, sailors and officers. In three parts, "The Flying Sharks," "The Blue Water Dream," and "Strength for Peace," this 50-minute program provides a rare inside look at today's PLA Navy.

Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation

Telling stories

Our crew boarded China's two serving aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, as well as its most advanced destroyer, the Type 055 Nanchang. We had the opportunity to interact with pilots, officers, and ordinary sailors and cadets who shared their experiences and thoughts on being part of Generation Blue Water. They include first-generation pilots, Wang Yong and Cao Xianjian. Cao tells cadets of his near-fatal accident to remind them of the seriousness of their mission.

Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation

Our goal is to give a better understanding of the PLA Navy's transformation through its men and women. We wanted to create a documentary with a unique style of authenticity, powerful visual effects, and artistic expression to appeal to today's young people.

See the changes

Our exclusive access and extended time let us see first hand the PLA Navy's transformation under the Blue Water strategy. For me, the assignment was a natural progression, as I've been covering the Chinese military for some twenty years.

Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation

The planning took several years. Some of the individuals were in our 2019 series "Red Star, Blue Water." Modernization is only part of the transformation; the people operating the hardware are the true strength of the Navy.

Different perspectives

There is a Western perception that the PLA Navy wants to dominate the Pacific. China has never stated that it wants to keep others away from the oceans or be Number One at sea. The PLA Navy has never fought a war with other countries for dominance. Through interviews with nearly 20 individuals, from senior officers to junior cadets, we see growing confidence and transparency within the PLA Navy. Like their counterparts in other countries, they speak of having a strong navy, taking on more responsibilities at sea, and protecting the country and their families.

Generation Blue Water: China's Naval Transformation

We are grateful to the Navy for giving us access. As the director of the film, I would like to thank all my crew members who helped bring it to reality, especially my long-term collaborators, Director of Photography Huang Xiaodong, and English language consultant Laurie Lew.

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