March 2022 marked 50 years of high-level diplomatic relations between the UK and China. This period has seen the relationship between the cultures flourish while the countries embraced globalization with the UK at the forefront and China transforming itself into an economic superpower.
But in this series we turn our attention away from the economics and politics to the people, with Bridge Builders – our homage to the heroes who pioneered greater understanding between the countries, and the new generation of people who live and work in both places, transcending national boundaries by bridging the cultures. That's why we call them the Bridge Builders.
Throughout 2022, we will introduce you to inspirational people from the worlds of culture, music, sport, business and academia that we believe have excelled at Bridge Building. We will bring you four seasons, each featuring five of these pioneers.
For those who want to learn more about Chinese-British history and culture, here in Season 1 we introduce some of the greatest influences from the West in China. You'll meet the business icebreakers who defied global sanctions to reach out to China and transform global trade; learn about the Cambridge professor who realized the huge pool of historical Chinese technological and scientific knowledge; you'll understand why history and poetry play a unique role in Chinese society with ancient poets still revered, relevant and regularly quoted in China today.
Alongside this we will introduce you to the seemingly ordinary people that made the other country their home, find out how they navigated the barriers of language and culture and what they discovered by living there. You'll also meet a younger generation of influencers who are using their talent to educate and entertain their audiences, fusing the cultures and highlighting all the similarities between the people, rather than the differences.
Later in the year we'll be bringing you sportsmen, celebrity chefs, artists and academics revealing the things you never knew about UK-China relations. And it all starts with the Cold War icebreakers….