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December 19, 2011

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Airing portraits of China's dreamers

CHINA'S modern-day heroes in science, medicine, culture and sports are profiled in a series of five documentaries produced by the Discovery Channel and starting to air from Thursday.

"Portraits of China," to be aired on the Shanghai Documentary Channel at 11pm every Thursday, aims to capture the dreams of a nation through the achievements of modern-day heroes.

The portraits include Yang Liping, a world-famous dancer who is using dance to preserve China's tribal culture; Dr Shi Zhengrong, a global leader in solar clean-tech; world-renowned kung fu star and philanthropist Jackie Chan; Zhong Nanshan, a leading virologist trying to bring modern medicine to the masses and build a healthier China; and Team China, which refers to five individuals whose efforts contributed to China's success in the 2008 Olympics.

Dancer and choreographer Yang created an award-winning trilogy of musicals showcasing folk traditions of various ethnic groups in Yunnan Province.

Dr Shi, scientist, entrepreneur and environmentalist, has developed cost-efficient solar panels and built an empire that aims to rival oil conglomerates. Behind China's Olympic success is a massive, state-sponsored sports program that includes special schools for gifted youth and an ultra high-tech sports science program.

The Team China episode features five individuals - a young athlete, a local official, coach, sports scientist and superstar athlete - who epitomize the formidable gold-medal system.

The Jackie Chan episode shows how the charismatic movie star is turning himself into a philanthropist.

Dr Zhong, a leading specialist in respiratory disease, dreams of making modern medicine accessible to China's vast rural population.

"We are bringing to our viewers China's amazing stories of development and progress through these outstanding individuals who are contributing to their country's unprecedented growth in their own unique way," says Tom Keaveny, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.

In 2010, Discovery launched a nationwide search for candidates for "Portraits China" and viewers cast votes online for five heroes who personify the dreams of modern China.

In addition to the series, 30 of the most remarkable stories submitted by viewers about their own dreams will also be broadcast, five or six following each episode of "Portraits of China."


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