Location:  East Asia

Size: 3rd Largest country: 1st in population

Population Density: 96% in East

2/3 of China is desert

Deserts and Mountains help to isolate China.

 Early Civilizations

River Valleys: Chang(Yangtze) & Huang (Yellow)

Dynasties – Ruling Families

Mandate of Heaven:  Divine right rulers; power comes from gods.

Ethnocentrism: foreigners are “Barbarians”; Great Wall to keep them out.

Technological Advances: Language, gunpowder

Belief Systems

Confucius (551-479)

Orderly Society:  Based on relationships/duties; inferior/superior

Family: most important, teaches correct behavior and loyalty.  Patriarchal.

Respect: In all relationships will bring harmony to society.


(See India Notes for detailed description) Achieve happiness through prayerful contemplation.

Taoism (Daoism):

Honor nature, follow instincts to live a simple life (balance)


Strong strict government.

19th Century European Imperialism

Spheres of Influence - Imperialist countries took control of parts of China

Opium War: Britain took more control; Drugs devastated China

Boxer Rebellion: anti-European revolt: Crushed.

Open Door Policy:  US Trade

Nationalist Movements

Overthrow of Emperor: 1911 Q’ing (Manchu) dynasty overthrown by nationalists


Nationalist Party.
Wanted reform
Sun Yat-Sen was the Nationalist leader
3 Principles of the People: Nationalism, Democracy, Livelihood.

Communist Party:

Based on Ideas of Karl Marx.
Mao Zedong:  Communist Leader
Civil War: Communist vs. Nationalists
Mao promised peasants land reform
Drove Nationalists to Taiwan

People’s Republic of China (1949 – Present)

Rule of Mao Zedong (1949 –1976)

Little Red Book

Collectivization:  gov’t owned collective farms; peasants work for government.

5 year Plans: forced industrialization

Great Leap Forward:  Commune system; loyalty to state not family

Cultural Revolution: “Thought reform” – Red Guard enforced Maoism, attacks on professionals, writers. Etc.

Rule of Deng Xaioping (1978-1997)

Population control: “1 Child” policy – sanctions for more – led to murder of girls.

Economic Development: 4 Modernizations: Agriculture, Industry, Science, Military

Some Capitalism – limited private ownership and Foreign investment

Tiananmen Square – Student protestors demanding democratic reform are fired upon by gov’t troops.  100s killed.

China Today

July 1 1997 – Hong Kong turned over to China.  China agreed not to change Hong Kong social or economic system for 50 years and to allow a degree of self rule.

Overpopulation is a problem Population: 1,246,871,951 (July 1999 est.)

Trade issues with the US

Human Rights issues.

Status of Taiwan