Screenshoot of the Russian documentary. Photo: Courtesy of guancha.com

Chinese netizens hailed a six-episode Russian documentary on the founding of New China seven decades ago as a “precious gift” to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the the People’s Republic of China (PRC)   and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

The documentary, which features rare color footage of the founding of the PRC, was aired on Sunday on the eve of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Russia, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. 

Documentary director Alexey Denisov said many shots in the documentary were “absolutely unique and of perfect quality,” and were released for the first time, which was “a big hit,” Denisov said.

The work is a “present to Russian viewers and Chinese people,” Denisov noted.

Excerpts from the documentary circulated online have generated enthusiasm among netizens, with many expressing gratitude for the “precious gift.”

“It is a colored record of the PRC standing at the starting line 70 years ago, ready to run forward to catch up with the world. I cannot think of another more meaningful gift,” said a net user on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Hashtag “Russia broadcasts color documentary of the founding of PRC” was viewed more than 8 million times as of press time. 

Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, who watched portions of the documentary on Chinese social media, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the colored footage was “impressive and amazing.”

The documentary reflects the deep and time-honored friendship between the two countries, Shi noted.

“Old friends, thank you for bringing Chinese people excitement in a new epoch,” Shi said. 

Another netizen was impressed by scenes of late leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, talking and smiling on the Tiananmen gate tower  on October 1, 1949, the PRC’s founding day. 

Russian media said a group of cameramen was dispatched from the Soviet Union in 1949 and recorded China in preparation for a new epoch. The crew also filmed big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 

The newsreels also covered daily life, showing what people wore and ate, how street vendors and farmers lived, and what homes were like 70 years ago.