Documentaries have recently become a favourite format in Chinese media and come with an aura of objectivity and study. By taking up the issue of ‘global rise’ in a historical perspective, they step back from a narrow ‘presentist’ policy focus to provide a larger context and allow for more general discussion of the ‘historical laws’ behind such a ‘rise’, its opportunities and dangers, and therewith can legitimate also present-day political options. From the perspective of the state, TV (television) history is a useful tool for presenting and disseminating offi cially sanctioned views of history to the public. The media and academia, on their part, refl ect the timeliness of the topic by their activities, be they directly connected to the state (as explicitly elicited or fi nanced as ‘academic key projects’, etc.) or not, because they perceive also the public’s growing interest – and the possibility of meeting with market success in generating societal infl uence.