China State TV to Air 50-part Bruce Lee Biography
Lee became a chest-thumping source of nationalistic pride to Chinese around the world with his characters who defended the Chinese against oppressors in a series of movies in the early 1970s. But his influence wasn’t felt immediately in China, which was then a closed communist country.
“Lee had strength, agility, pride, intelligence, not to mention charisma to burn, which coupled with the pro-Chinese rhetoric in his films have made him a potent symbol for the powerful new China that is now rising,” said Michael Berry, a professor in contemporary Chinese cultural studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In an apparent effort to boost racial pride, the series was originally scheduled to be aired before the Beijing Olympics in August, but was pushed back in keeping with the period of mourning for the deadly earthquake in China’s central Sichuan province on May 12, which killed 70,000 people.