Despite a growing body of literature on the study of the Western media's portrayal of China, little attention has been paid to the structures underlying the representation of China. This essay aims to address this issue through an in-depth analysis of a British television documentary series, Roads to Xanadu (1990). It focuses on dominant perspectives constructed in the series by analysing documentary narrative as a mode of realising discourse. The essay argues that underlying the representation is a technological view of society. Shifting between realpolitik industrialism and liberal democratic humanism, the series attempts to arrive at a unified and unifying version of 'progress' through a modernist discourse.