'House of Cards' creator calls for showing more Chinese drama in West
British writer Michael Dobbs, who penned the House of Cards, one of the most thrilling political dramas ever turned into a global television sensation, has called for more Chinese films to be shown in the Western world.
Fans across the world from America to China have eagerly awaited the November release of the final series of the drama series featuring the first ever female U.S. President.
Bridge the gap
In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Dobbs said he looked forward to the day when Chinese films, Chinese actors and Chinese dramas are being watched in the West in the same way Western dramas are viewed in China. It would, he said, help bridge the two cultures.
"They will be opening up each other's eyes and understanding and I regard that as being really positive in what is a difficult world, said Dobbs. "The more difficult the world becomes, the more important that is."
It was House of Cards that propelled Dobbs onto the world stage.
"It really was in some ways the first truly global television drama. It's now coming to an end as everything in dramatic terms must come to an end," said Dobbs.
He describes House of Cards as a story about power and people that is timeless, admitting much of its inspiration came from reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, adding "that's about events of some 2,000 years ago."
Telling Xinhua why he believes House of Cards has been well received in China, Dobbs said: "I'm glad China has got a sense of humor. But also what is happening in the world right now is very important with new technology."
"Messages, creative messages and dramas are now being made available around the world almost at the touch of a button in a way which was inconceivable even 10 years ago," he said.
Dobbs welcomed the fact people are sharing because there's now a huge interest in everybody else's culture.
"The world is actually getting smaller. There's a very important part of that, because if people in China are watching House of Cards and enjoying it, that means we are sharing more culturally than ever we were before."
Dobbs acknowledged that there are bound to be times when political leaders don't always see eye to eye, when things can get rough and tough.
"But I think there is the idea that the world is able to understand each other, and just ordinary people understanding each other better," added the famous author
Aside from his productive pen, Xinhua has taken a close look at the other life of writer Michael Dobbs, executive producer for the American version of his book.
Lord Dobbs is also an active member of Britain's unelected House of Lords, a card-carrying member of the ruling Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Theresa May.
His journey to the famous Palace of Westminster has taken him from being Chief of Staff to Britain's only other female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Dobbs said it was in that role that he was once told his job "was to go out and find the bodies that needed to be buried" for the benefit of his political leaders.
"If I couldn't find the bodies, I would be the body," he said.
Britain's Guardian newspaper once described Dobbs, considered a masterful political operator, as "Westminster's baby-faced hitman".
It made Dobbs realize the necessity to keep a sense of humor in politics "in order to keep your sanity."
Dobbs is an executive board member of the Conservative Friends of the Chinese, and says his great regret only ever visiting China once. That was a 36-hour trip taking in Beijing, though he has vowed to pay more visits.
He spent years studying China and its nuclear policies, with his research featured prominently in his academic studies in the U.S.
As a strong supporter of Britain leaving the European Union, Dobbs said for him, the sooner the two part company, the better. Dobbs said he fears EU leaders have set their sights on creating a United States of Europe.
Regarding different political systems, Dobbs said there is never a time in any political system when it suddenly stops having achieved a state of perfect balance.
He explained: "One of the great benefits of the system we've had in this country over several hundred years is its flexibility. Because we've made terrible mistakes, but that flexibility has enabled us to get over those mistakes."
Each country, he says, has its own political systems and its own cultures, each with a different value put on the relationship between the individual and the state."
Dobbs, who turns 70 in mid-November, added: "What I find difficult is people in the West who go around the world proclaiming that there is only one system, and it's 'our' system."
People only have to look back over the history of the West, he says, to realize that many times "when we've gone around the world saying this is our system and you must follow it, we have made terrible mistakes".
Dobbs, looking back at British history, added: "We've been imperialists with pretty unnecessary and unpleasant things. I think a degree of humility and tolerance is required in these areas, and conversations about differences are often better conducted quietly and privately, rather than in front of television cameras."
Describing himself as an optimist looking for the positive science of things, Dobbs said: "There's so much of the positive side. Think of how many people have been lifted out of abject poverty over the last 20 years."
There are lot of things, he added, we've got right in the world, commenting: "I think we need to take a pause at times and say we've done some really good things.
"Maybe we should be concentrating more on the good things rather than simply obsessing about everything that is going wrong," he said.
Looking ahead Dobbs describes the past year as the busiest of his life.
"I'm hoping things will calm down a little bit which will enable me to go to China more, to understand and to see more of it. I'm thinking of those extraordinary dishes, the food I had in China that was sublime. I thought it was wonderful."
Dobbs said he believes that as people travel more across the world to visit or study, it will make the world a better place.
He added: "It will be different and China will be different as a result of that, and I think that's a fairly good thing."
The fact he spends a great deal of his time abroad doesn't make him less British. Dobbs said he would hope that would happen to young Chinese who go abroad. They would come back to China and become more appreciative of their homeland.
It will, he believes, be like a part of a grain of sand on a beautiful beach that will grow into a beach of understanding, benefiting his children and grandchildren.
"That's why I'm an optimist. I hope that during dinner in 50 years' time people will be able to look back and say that was a good job done on all sides. But they will add, there is still more to do."