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China in the Modern Age



­Chinese Civil War 1945 - 1949 - Nationalists (Guomingdang) vs. communists.

·         After years of fighting (going back to the “Long March”), the communists defeated the Nationalists in 1949.


Chiang Kai-Shek - Leader of the Nationalists. The Nationalist government was allegedly very corrupt.  After his defeat, Chiang fled to the island of Taiwan.


Mao Zedong  - Communist leader of China -1949 - 1976.  Mao’s forces defeated the Nationalists in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China with the capital at Beijing.  Mao transformed China into a totalitarian state.  Women became equal under the law and entered the workplace, but still carried out their traditional roles.


­Economic changes under communism

    • A major goal was to modernize Chinese industry and agriculture

    • Landlords were driven from their lands.

    • Millions died during this transition.

    • Living conditions improved for the people living in the countryside as schools and  health clinics were set up.

    • ­Soviet Style 5 year plans - ­As a way to modernize the economy, the first 5 year plan was set up in 1953.Industrial output did increase during the first 5 year plan.  ­It focused on heavy industry and agriculture.

o    ­Large cooperative farms were created.

o    ­Private industry was bought under government control.

o    ­The Great Leap Forward - 1958

o    ­Human labor was stressed over complex technology.

o    ­This plan failed after 2 years.

o    ­This caused a rift within the communist party.

o    ­Communes - Cooperatives were merged in larger government controlled communes. ­20,000,000 died of starvation.


­The Cultural Revolution  1966 - 1968

·         ­Communist ideology was the priority of the time.

·         ­It was a period of disorder, schools closed, production decreased and violence broke out.

·         ­Thousands had died during this period

·         ­It was a way for Mao to purge any opponents..

·         ­Mao explained that the new generation needed to experience a revolution.

·         ­The “Little Red Book”  - volumes of Mao's works were printed;                 This book held the teachings of Mao. ­“It is better to be Red than expert” reflects that idea that Mao wanted loyalty over competency.

·         ­The Red Guard - During the Cultural Revolution, bands of young people, attacking enemies of Mao including critical politicians &  teachers.

·         ­It was a way for Mao to purge any opponents.

­China’s Foreign Policy under the Mao years. - Anti U.S.

·         ­Supported the North Koreans in the Korean War.

·         ­Relations with the Soviet declined in the late 1950’s, each competing to be the leading communist power in the world. In 1960, their alliance ended.

·         ­1964 - China becomes nuclear power

·         ­The Chinese - Soviet split was an opportunity for improved relations with the U.S.

·         ­1972 Improvements in U.S. Chinese relations.

·         ­U.S. President Richard Nixon visits Communist China.

·         ­Later in the decade the U.S. establishes diplomatic ties.


Deng Xiaoping (leader of china 1978 - 1997)

·         ­After Mao’s death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping emerged as the leader.

·         ­Deng allows some forms of private enterprise.

·         ­The Four Modernization's  (major reforms by Deng)

1.      Agriculture

2.      Industry

3.      Science & Technology

4.      National defense

·         ­He moved China forward, forging closer relations with the west until the Tiananmen Square Massacre..


Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989 - Students demonstrated in support of more civil liberties & improved conditions at the universities   ­The government sent in the troops to disperse the crowd.  ­Thousands were killed, wounded or imprisoned.


­Jiang Zemin was the leader of China After Deng. Human Rights are still an issue

·         ­The Economy - Zemin has continued with limited privatization of businesses

·         ­It is still of mixed of traditional, command and market economies.

·         ­Human Rights Violations  - This is a source of tension between China and the U.S.

·         ­Chinese activists jailed for using Internet to support democracy


Hong Kong  - On July 1,1997, over a 150 years of British rule  ­ended in Hong Kong as it returned to China. ­Hong Kong has grown from a nearly uninhabited island to a thriving, living city with over 6 million residents.


Taiwan - Very much a threat to world peace. China wants Taiwan to be reunited as one country.  It could use force for this end, that could mean war.


­Tibet - Until 1950, Tibet was a sovereign state of three provinces, inhabited by six million people with a distinct language, culture and history dating back thousands of years.   Buddhism is a way of life in Tibet

·         ­Tibet - In 1950, Tibet was invaded by the army of her neighbor, The People's Republic of China


·         ­Dalai Lama  - 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Citation -­The Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect.


Look at what has happened to TIBET since:


­Human Rights Violations

·         ­In 1959 the International Commission of Jurists found that genocide had been committed in Tibet.

·         ­1.2 million Tibetans died as a direct result of Chinese occupation of Tibet.

·         ­Forced abortions, many in late pregnancy, and sterilization of Tibetan women is common.
Some 4,000 Tibetan political prisoners are being held.

·         Destruction of a region - Over six thousand monasteries, temples and historical structures looted and destroyed.

·         ­Tibet's ecosystem has been severely damaged: wildlife species decimated.

·         ­Tibet's substantial mineral resources have been plundered.

·         ­Nuclear weapons & waste -One quarter of China's nuclear missiles are stationed in Tibet.  China is using Tibet as a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

·         ­The Chinese as an occupying force Some three hundred thousand Chinese troops are based in Tibet.  7.5 million Chinese colonialists have been shifted into Tibet in a move dominate the Tibetans.  In 1992 plans were revealed that the Chinese intended to swamp the Tibetan population with even more Chinese.

·         ­Today - 175,000 Tibetans are in exile (and increasing yearly with refugees still escaping Tibet after nearly 40 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet)