THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN CHINA

Chinese civilization was born around 3000 B.C. Feeding China’s large population has required large amounts of rice and other crops. By 1900, some European countries and the United States had divided China into spheres of influence. Countries had political and economic control in these areas but did not govern them directly. In 1911, Chinese Nationalists forced the emperor to abdicate, or give up his throne. China was declared a republic. In the 1920s, the Nationalists attacked sup- porters of Communist ideas. In 1934, the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, began the Long March. Japan invaded China in the 1930s. Nationalists and Communists cooperated to fight Japan. By 1949, the Communists gained power and Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China. Mao started the Great Leap Forward. Chinese peasants were forced to work on huge collective farms. Communist offi- cials made all economic decisions. When production fell, Mao called for a Cultural Revolution to destroy the old order. These actions ruined the economy and destroyed many people’s lives. The next leader, Deng Xiaoping, started the Four Modernizations—improving agriculture, industry, science and technol- ogy, and defense. Farmers could rent land and sell extra crops for profit. Farm production increased. Chinese industry has increased production by more than 11 percent annually. Economic improvement led people to want freedom and democracy. In 1989, thousands demonstrated in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Troops killed over 1,000 people.

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REVIEW QUESTIONS
What were the results of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution?
Time Line Skills When did Nationalists and Communists cooperate?


REGIONS OF CHINA

For centuries, China’s core was in the Northeast region. It contains Beijing, the country’s capital, and the greatest con- centrations of China’s population.Considered one of China’s major indus- trial areas, the Northeast is also a farm region, made fertile by loess, a yellow soil carried by the Huang He. This river is a transportation route. It was called “China’s Sorrow” because of destructive floods. Now people use so much of its water that it dries up for months.The Southeast is warmer, wetter, and more mountainous than the Northeast. The Southeast, once China’s main agricul- tural region, has become its economic center. The Yangzi River is a major east- west route. Shanghai, at its mouth, is China’s major port and largest city. Four Special Economic Zones, set up to attract foreign money and technology, have made this region economically strong. China’s Northwest region is rugged and barren, with a small population. The Gobi Desert forms China’s northern boundary. Herding is the main economic activity. The Silk Road, an ancient trade route, crossed this region. Stopping places at oases became towns. The Plateau of Tibet dominates the Southwest and is the world’s highest region. Tibet’s farmers and herders are Buddhists led by a theocrat—a person who claims to rule by religious or divine authority—called the Dalai Lama. China invaded Tibet in 1950, destroying Buddhist monasteries and driving the Dalai Lama into exile. It tried to destroy Tibet’s culture and designated the area as an autonomous region, a political unit with limited self-government. However, most Tibetans maintained their traditions and beliefs.

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REVIEW QUESTIONS
Which region was considered China’s core for centuries?
Map Skills Name the regions of China.

CHINA’S PEOPLE AND CULTURE

With 1.3 billion people, China has the world’s largest population. Most Chinese share a common culture and written lan- guage.Mao Zedong thought that China need- ed a large population. He urged people to have more children. By the mid- 1960s, China had more people than it could feed or house. When Deng Xiaoping took over, he said China had to reduce its population growth. He want- ed each couple to have just one child. China rewarded families who had only one child with better housing, jobs, and pay. Couples who had more children faced fines, pay cuts, and loss of jobs. City dwellers usually followed this policy, but rural dwellers, who needed larger families to help in the fields, did not. China has about 56 ethnic minorities, who live mostly in the west. But more than 1 billion people—92 percent—belong to the Han ethnic group. The Chinese speak different dialects, but all use the same writ- ten language. Chinese writing is not based on a phonetic alphabet. It is based on ideograms, pictures or characters that represent a thing or idea. To make the spo- ken language the same, most children are now taught the Mandarin dialect in school. Chinese people follow several religions, especially Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Communist China discour- ages religion and encourages atheism, a denial that God exists.

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REVIEW QUESTIONS

How did Deng’s Communist gov- ernment control population growth?
Graph Skills Around what year did China’s population reach 1 billion?


CHINA’S NEIGHBORS

Taiwan is an island off China’s southeast coast. When the Chinese Nationalists were defeated in 1949, they fled to Taiwan, setting up a temporary provisional gov- ernment there. The Nationalists claimed to represent all of China. So did the mainland Communists. For many years, Western countries supported Taiwan. But in 1971, the United Nations recognized mainland China and removed Taiwan. Most countries do not officially recog- nize Taiwan, but they trade with it. It has become one of Asia’s leading economic powers. The Nationalists improved Taiwan’s farming and industry. The standard of liv- ing is high, and the people have maintained their culture. Until 1987, people in Taiwan had no official contact with China. Now they are investing money in China’s Special Economic Zones. Hong Kong is located on China’s southern coast. Begin- ning in 1898, the British had a 99-year lease on Hong Kong. During that time Hong Kong became a leader in world trade. In 1997, Britain returned it to China. China agreed to allow economic and political freedom. Mongolia is a vast, dry land. The Gobi Desert occupies the south. The rest has mostly steppe vegetation. In the 1200s, Genghiz Khan ruled a huge Mongol empire. Later Mongolia came under Chinese rule. In 1911, Mongolia declared its indepen- dence. Ten years later, Mongolia became a communist country. Mongolia held democratic elections after Russia ended its communist system in the early 1990s.
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REVIEW QUESTIONS

Which country represented China in the United Nations in the 1950s?
Chart Skills Which country has the longest life expectancy?