Born Under the Red Flag

“It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.”
—Deng Xiaoping

Born Under the Red Flag completes Ambrica’s China: A Century of Revolution and tells the story of China’s remarkable transformation after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. The filmmakers combine never-before-seen archival footage from China with location shooting and interviews with a wide range of China’s people: peasants, political prisoners, intellectuals, students, and government officials. Their personal stories are compelling and often tragic, and reveal how the Chinese have struggled to cope with failed ideals, a brutal, outmoded communism, and a harsh new capitalism.

Born Under the Red Flag ends China’s epic journey to the dawn of the 21st century. Reinvigorated by the dynamic spirit of its people, the largest nation on earth has finally become a world economic and military power.

Press Reviews

“You don’t need expertise in Chinese history to appreciate the craft of ‘Born Under the Red Flag.’ With its unwavering journalistic depth and narrative drive, the documentary should wow anyone with an interest in contemporary cultures — or fine television.”
San Francisco Examiner

China: Born Under the Red Flag concludes the ambitious three-part PBS history that began with China in Revolution and continued with The Mao Years. . . This vivid history of 20 tumultuous years is at once an appreciation of the society’s strides toward a better life for many of its people and a condemnation of the unyielding grip of the Communist Party bosses.”
—The New York Times

“This film’s depiction of the events leading to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre is painstaking and ever-thoughtful . . . As the ferment grows throughout late ’80s demonstrations, Born marches assertively toward its tragic denouement without a pious note.”
Philadelphia Inquirer


A film by Ambrica Productions, Inc. in association with WGBH Boston and Channel 4 Television, U.K.

Written, Produced and Directed by: Sue Williams
Coordinating Producer: Kathryn Dietz
Editor: John Martin
Narrator: Will Lyman
Composer: Jason Hwang
Executive Producer for Ambrica Productions: Judith Vecchione

Major funding provided by the Freeman Foundation.
Additional grants from The Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.