Five of the best nature documentaries on China you should not miss
By Li Yunqi

The new BBC series “Dynasties” is delighting lovers of nature documentaries with audiences recognizing their value in reminding viewers how diverse and unique Mother Earth is.

CGTN is producing its own brand new series CGTN Nature (check for details at the end of this article.)

In recent years, Chinese nature documentaries have made great progress. Here is a peek at five of the best.

Wild China

Official poster of Wild China. /Image via douban.com

Official poster of Wild China. /Image via douban.com

Starting with this stunning documentary made by China's national television broadcaster CCTV, in cooperation with the BBC, and aired in 2012, the industry of nature documentary began to bloom. This six-episode series documented breathtaking landscapes and wildlife in China and showed them to the world for the first time. At the 30th News & Documentary Emmy Awards, it won three awards in the Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft category for cinematography, editing, and music and sound.

Roof of the World

Official poster of Roof of the World. /Image via douban.com

Official poster of Roof of the World. /Image via douban.com

First aired in 2015, Roof of the World was the first in many ways. It was the first documentary made about the distinctive lives in northwest China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau – both human and wildlife. It was also China's first documentary that incorporated the filming technique for 4K, or ultra-high definition, video. Known as the “third pole”, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau's extreme environment never stopped the evolution of a unique civilization as well as the spectacular wildlife that inhabits this region. Roof of the World shows the world the harmonious relationship between humans on the plateau and nature.

Born in China

Official poster of Born in China. /VCG Photo

Official poster of Born in China. /VCG Photo

This beautifully-made documentary was directed by Lu Chuan, who also directed Kekexili: Mountain Patrol – one of the best films ever made about Tibet. It was first screened in 2016 and was narrated in Chinese by Zhou Xun, one of China's leading actresses. The English version was narrated by American actor John Krasinski. The stories of three wildlife families that are unique to China: giant panda, snow leopard, and snub-nosed monkey interlaced in the film and created a vivid picture of China's nature.

Forces of Nature

Official poster of Forces of Nature. /Image via douban.com

Official poster of Forces of Nature. /Image via douban.com

Forces of Nature is a six-episode documentary produced by China's CCTV in 2016.  The crew of this documentary recorded the abundant diversities in the way different minorities in China maintain their bonds with nature and share the home with wildlife. Tales about Tibetan antelopes, snow leopards, Asian elephants, wild yaks, gibbons, and numerous other animals intertwined with stories of people.

Aerial China

Official poster of Aerial China. /Image via douban.com

Official poster of Aerial China. /Image via douban.com

This one-of-a-kind aerial documentary provides a fresh perspective to take a look at the vast land of China. The first season of Aerial China brings the audience from Hainan Province in the south to Heilongjiang Province in the northeast, presenting the magnificent landscape of China and the vibrant cultural and natural diversity across the country. Released in 2017, Aerial China has received acclaim nationally and internationally.

CGTN Nature

Screenshot from CGTN Nature's Shennongjia series.

Screenshot from CGTN Nature's Shennongjia series.

This year, CCTV's CGTN (China Global Television Network) presents a brand new nature documentary in multi-languages titled “CGTN Nature”. Incorporating 4K technique, this 200-episode documentary aims to present as much diversity as possible of the amazing natural and cultural landscape of China. Our filming crews spread across every corner of the country, filming mesmerizing views in every season, elevation, and landforms. 

The first series of CGTN Nature is the Shennongjia series. It is a brilliantly-produced eight-episode series filmed at the Shennongjia nature reserve in central Hubei Province. Shennongjia is one of China's  biodiversity centers and a cradle for numerous unique lives. The eight episodes will each provide a  separate story about a species, and together they create a panorama of the unique ecosystem at Shennongjia.

This is your first chance in 2019 to take a closer look at China's nature, so do not miss it.

Here's the link to the first episode, CGTN Nature: Shennongjia Series|Episode 1: The Natural Wonder

(Top image designed by CGTN's Li Yueyun.)