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OU on the BBC: China on Four Wheels - Episode one

Updated Monday, 1st October 2012

Justin and Anita set out on their two very different routes through one extraordinary nation.

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Anita Rani at the start of her journey across China On Four Wheels Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC Anita Rani at the start of her journey Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt embark on two epic car journeys across China, navigating congested cities and winding mountain roads to explore how the country's economic growth, symbolised by its booming car industry, is affecting people's lives.

In the first programme, Anita takes the high road through the rich industrialised cities of the east, driving a Great Wall Haval - the best-selling 4X4 in China.

This is the China of billionaires with fleets of super cars; of imitation French chateaux and high-tech solar hotels. She cruises Beijing with the moneyed young members of the China Supercar club and joins a convoy of 'self-drive' holiday makers on a trip to sacred Mount Tai.

Meanwhile Justin drives a "bread van" the loaf-shaped workhorse of the countryside, through China's poor rural hinterland, and discovers that here donkeys are often more common than cars.

He visits the "ghost city" of Ordos and puts his bread van through its paces on China's second biggest racing track. He joins the Red Tourism trail in Yan'an, the cradle of Mao's Communist Revolution, and finds himself in the firing line during a dramatic civil war battle reenactment.

On the first leg of their journey, Anita and Justin discover a country that has developed rapidly, raising millions out of poverty, but which faces important challenges that may affect us all: a potential property bubble, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and growing inequality.

China On Four Wheels is first shown on BBC Two and BBC HD on Sunday, 9th September 2012 at 8.00pm. For further broadcast details, and to watch online where available, please visit

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