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CHINA: HISTORY-ARCHAEOLOGY
For all topics in this section, please also see the Literature section below for autobiographies, novels, and films about life in China during and after the 1949 revolution.
People's Republic of China (1949-present)

Interactive MapModern Period, 1912-present [Princeton University Art Museum]
An overview of political and artistic developments in China from 1912 to the present. With four related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions, and an interactive map with an excellent COMPARE feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

A Chronology of the PRC under Mao Zedong (1949-1976) [Asia for Educators]

Video Unit Communist Liberation [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 31 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 31: Communist Liberation and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

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"Hundred Flowers" Period

Primary Source w/DBQsIntellectual Opinions from the Hundred Flowers Period (1957) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Land Reform, Socialized Agriculture, The Great Leap Forward

Primary Source w/DBQsFrom the People's Daily: "How China Proceeds with the Task of Industrialization" (1953) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Mao Zedong, 1893-1976
Primary Source w/DBQs
"The Question of Agricultural Cooperation" (Speech, July 31, 1955) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

The Commune System [Asia for Educators]
This unit offers a discussion of the commune system in China. While the commune system is no longer used in China, knowledge of it is important background for grasping some of the problems China faces and the solutions the Communist government has proposed. Included in this unit is a reading on the commune system; a chart of commune organization; and an outline of the stages of rural collectivization.

Video Unit China's Leap Forward to Communism [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 32 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 32: China's Leap Forward to Communism and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

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Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)

Introduction to the Cultural Revolution [PDF] [SPICE Digest, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University]
"The 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,' usually known simply as the Cultural Revolution (or the Great Cultural Revolution), was a 'complex social upheaval that began as a struggle between Mao Zedong and other top party leaders for dominance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and went on to affect all of China with its call for 'continuing revolution.' This social upheaval lasted from 1966 to 1976 and left deep scars upon Chinese society."

Primary Source w/DBQsThe Sixteen Points: Guidelines for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Morning Sun: A Film and Website about the Cultural Revolution [Long Bow Group]
"A range of techniques and perspectives are used in the Morning Sun website to reflect on the origins and history of the Cultural Revolution (c.1964-1976). We approach the period not from a simplistic linear perspective, but from a panoptic one, encompassing a broad overview while allowing the user to focus in on individual histories, narratives and events that reveal the complex contradictory forces that led to an era of unrivalled revolutionary fervor and political turmoil."

Video Unit Morning Sun [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 33 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 33: Morning Sun and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

China's Cultural Revolution [ExEAS, Columbia University]
This unit uses memoirs of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) to broaden students’ understanding of political activism and the motivations behind political campaigns. By studying the Cultural Revolution in the context of the sociology of mass mobilization, students will gain an awareness of the power behind politics and ideology.

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Socialism and Democracy in China after Mao Zedong

Video Unit China's Rebirth in the 1970s [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 34 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 34: China's Rebirth in the 1970s and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Wei Jingsheng, b. 1950
Primary Source w/DBQs
“The Fifth Modernization: Democracy" (1978) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Deng Xiaoping, 1904-1997
Primary Source w/DBQs
"Uphold the Four Basic Principles" (Speech, March 30, 1979) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQs"The Present Situation and the Tasks Before Us" (Speech, January 16, 1980) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsFrom the Office of the CCP Dehong Dai Nationality and Qingbo Autonomous Zhou Committee: “Several Questions in Strengthening and Perfecting the Job Responsibility Systems of Agricultural Production” (1980) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsHow Should the Criteria for Admission to the Communist Youth League Be Administered After Installation of the Production Responsibility System? (1981) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Fang Lizhi, b. 1936
Primary Source w/DBQs
"The Social Responsibility of Today’s Intellectuals" (Speech, November 4, 1985) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsFrom the People's Daily: "Bourgeois and Socialist Democracies Compared" (March 1990) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Tiananmen Square Demonstrations (1989)

A Brief Chronology of Events at Tiananmen Square (1989) [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source w/DBQsThe May 13 Hunger Strike Declaration (1989) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Primary Source Interview at Tiananmen Square with Chai Ling [Asia for Educators]

The Political Education of a Chinese Dissident: Conversation with Wei Jingsheng, Human Rights Activist [Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley]

Tiananmen Square in the Newspapers [Asia for Educators]
With three articles from The New York Times, all written in 1989.

Epilogue, from Children of the Dragon: The Story of Tiananmen Square [Asia for Educators]

The Gate of Heavenly Peace [Long Bow Group]
"Witnessed on television by millions around the world, the Tiananmen protests were one of the most watched, yet least understood, stories of our time. This website explores the origins and history of the protests, the intense international media coverage, and underlying themes such as democracy, human rights, reform and revolution, and nationalism. The site contains articles, essays, and book excerpts, a tour of Tiananmen Square, and a Media Library with posters, photographs, music, and videos. This site also includes extensive information about the feature-length documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace."

20 Years On: Tiananmen Remembered [CNN.com]
A list of related articles and video clips.

Lesson PlansThe Tank Man [Frontline, PBS]
"On a fateful day in June 1989, the world became fixed on the bold image of a lone man staring down a procession of tanks in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. While trying to unearth the story behind this courageous man, the producers of The Tank Man uncover additional stories about the clash between the communist government of the People's Republic of China and those who advocate for a more open, democratic society. In this film FRONTLINE explores a society in transition 17 years after the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. China has become open for global business, but it remains closed to a free media and available information." This teacher's guide to the PBS documentary includes four lesson plans.

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RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, THOUGHT
Religion in China Today

Living in the Chinese Cosmos >> Religion in China Today: Reemergence of Traditional Practices and the Question of National Identity [Asia for Educators]
The practice of religion has reemerged in China since the 1970s. Part of a teaching module on Chinese religious practice during the late-imperial period, this section on contemporary China provides background on religions in China and discusses current issues of practice, identity, and state efforts to control religious expression.

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GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
China's Political System since 1949

Background Notes on China: History, Government, Political Conditions [Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, United States Department of State]
An overview of China's recent history and the structure of the the PRC's political system, including the organs of power in the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

Primary Source The Chinese Political System and the Communist Party [Asia for Educators]
This unit provides an overview of the Chinese political system and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with excerpts from the constitutions of the Communist Party of China and of the People's Republic of China. These primary documents can highlight for students how the Communist Party is the real political power in China. A chart of the political structure of China is also included, to help students better understand the relationship between the party and the state in a communist system. Discussion questions also included.

Three Chinese Leaders: Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping [Asia for Educators]

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ECONOMY, WORK, TRADE, FOREIGN RELATIONS
China's Foreign Policy

China's Foreign Policy: The Historical Legacy and the Current Challenge [Asia for Educators]
This unit offers a historical overview of Chinese foreign relations and examines three major challenges that face China today as a result of this historical legacy: economic development, the search for territorial integrity, and the establishment of national identity. Discussion questions are included.

Mao Zedong, 1893-1976
Primary Source w/DBQs
From "The Dictatorship of the People's Democracy": On Leaning to One Side (Speech, 1949) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

China's Geography and Security Goals [Asia for Educators]
This unit explores how history and geography set the agenda for Chinese foreign policy. China's internal geography, regional geography, and the broader global context are discussed. Discussion questions are included.

Principles of China's Foreign Policy [Asia for Educators]
This unit examines how China's foreign policy decisions derive from the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, originally enumerated in 1954. Includes a classroom exercise for students.

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U.S.-China Relations

U.S.-China Relations Since 1949 [Asia for Educators]
This unit explores three periods in the development of U.S.-China relations since 1949: Containment: 1949-1969; Rapprochement: 1970-1979; and Full Diplomatic Relations: 1979 to present. An overview of the human rights issue is also provided. Discussion questions are included.

Primary SourcesChina and the United States: From Hostility to Engagement [National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 18, George Washington University]
Fifteen documents, with synopses, reflecting U.S. interaction with and policy toward China from 1963-1996. Document 5 contains the transcript of a 1972 conversation among Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai.

Primary Source w/DBQsTaiwan and U.S.-China Relations Since 1949 [Asia for Educators]
This unit offers an historical overview of Taiwan and U.S.-China relations. An introductory reading is followed by two important primary-source documents ["Shanghai Communiqué" (1972) and Taiwan Relations Act (1979)] and discussion questions.

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SOCIETY

Video Unit Culture and Revolution [Open Learning Initiative, Harvard Extension School]
Lecture 28 of 37 from the Harvard Open Learning Initiative course, China: Traditions and Transformations. This 50-minute lecture presentation, with an accompanying slide presentation that can be controlled separately, is part of an introductory course on China for undergraduates at Harvard. Taught by two of the leading scholars of the China field — professors Peter Bol and William Kirby — the presentations provide background for teachers and students alike. Suitable for secondary school classrooms, especially AP-World History courses. (The link above leads to the main course page listing all 37 lectures. Scroll to Lecture 28: Culture and Revolution and select a connection type to view or listen to this lecture.)

Population

Issues and Trends in China's Demographic History [Asia for Educators]
This unit offers a collection of maps and readings for teachers and students to explore major issues and trends in China's demographic history. Includes discussion questions.

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Women

Women's Roles in China: Changes over Time [Primary Source]
"Women's roles, responsibilities, and expectations have changed in dramatic ways as Chinese society has transformed throughout different political eras. From family structure, marriage, and childbirth to education, workforce participation, and political activity, women have seen and taken part in historical transformations that have accelerated over the last century." Images of a 19th-century house, propaganda posters, and oral history of a young woman growing up in the PRC are provided with background for teacher and students.

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LITERATURE AND FILM
Autobiographies, Novels, and Films about Life in China during and after the 1949 Revolution

This section is designed to introduce students to contemporary China since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by exploring what it has been like to live in China under communist rule. In recent years a number of autobiographies have emerged that recount the excitement, exhilaration, chaos, excesses, and human triumphs and tragedies of the socialist revolution and China’s economic modernization efforts. Told by young Chinese, many of whom are now émigrés, they offer a vivid picture of what it was like to be young and involved in the remaking of a nation.

Building Chinese Socialism, 1909-1960s
Reading Jung Chang's Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China [Asia for Educators]
Wild Swans (1991) is a memoir that traces the transformations of twentieth-century Chinese history through the lives of three generations of Chinese women. This short teaching guide includes a brief synopsis of the plot and discussion questions for students.

Establishing the New Regime: Land Reform, 1949-1953
Reading Yuan-tsung Chen's The Dragon's Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China [Asia for Educators]
The Dragon's Village (1980) is an autobiography of a young city girl who took part in land reform in a remote mountain village as a teenager. This book will engage students personally while giving them a firsthand account of how the revolution developed. This short teaching guide includes a brief synopsis of the plot and discussion questions for students.

Life in China, 1940s to 1970s
Book Review: To Live, by Yu Hua [PDF] [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]
Interview with Yu Hua, author of To Live (Huo Zhe) [PDF] [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]
Teacher's Guide to To Live (Film Based on Yu Hua's Novel) [PDF] [Asian Educational Media Service]

To Live, a film directed by Zhang Yimou, provides an overview of key events in twentieth-century China, moving from the 1940s to the 1970s. American high school students will enjoy contemplating the effect of historical events on the intimate life of a single family.

The Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976
Reading Gao Yuan's Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution [Asia for Educators]
"Born Red is an artistically wrought personal account, written very much from inside the experience, of the years 1966-69, when the author was a young teenager at middle school." This short teaching guide includes a brief overview of the Cultural Revolution, a short synopsis of the plot of Born Red, and discussion questions for students.
Reading Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro's Son of the Revolution [Asia for Educators]
Liang Heng’s portrait of life during the Cultural Revolution highlights the effect of its turbulent political campaigns on China’s social fabric. This short teaching guide includes a brief overview of the Cultural Revolution, a short synopsis of the plot of Son of a Revolution, and discussion questions for students.

Hao Ran, 1932-2008
Primary Source w/DBQs
"Date Orchard" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Hao Ran: Writer of the Revolution [Asia for Educators]
An introduction to the life and work of Hao Ran, an author of great popularity in China during the Cultural Revolution period. With discussion questions for students.

The Democracy Movement and Tiananmen Square, 1978-1989
Reading Shen Tong's Almost a Revolution [Asia for Educators]
"Almost a Revolution is a memoir of China's democracy movement and the June 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident as seen through the eyes of student leader, Shen Tong." This short teaching guide includes a brief introduction to the political situation surrounding the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989 and discussion questions for students.

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ART AND MUSIC
Graphic Arts

Graphic Arts (of 20th-Century China) [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses China's visual culture, which "changed dramatically in the twentieth century with the great growth in advertising, posters, and other mass-produced means of using images to attract the attention of the populace."

The Chairman Smiles [International Institute of Social History]
"The former Soviet Union, Cuba, and China: three countries where posters played an important political role and received a large amount of artistic attention. This is a selection of 145 political posters, famous masterpieces as well as equally beautiful but unknown examples drawn from the collection of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. ... The Chinese posters include not only a number from the period of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), with the glorification of Mao Zedong, idyllic scenes in agricultural communes and sharp attacks on political opponents, but also extremely rare posters from circa 1949 to the early 1960s, with the establishment of the People's Republic and the campaign for the Great Leap Forward. There are also posters from the 1980s and early 1990s, the period of Deng Xiaoping and the economic modernization."

Picturing Power: Posters of the Cultural Revolution [The Huntington Archive, The Ohio State University]

Find more art-related resources for China, 20th Century
at OMuRAA (Online Museum Resources on Asian Art)

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University