Archive | History RSS feed for this section

The Dragon and the Elephant: Comparing the rise of two emerging superpowers based on their modern histories, and their political systems

14 Mar


India, following years of British colonial rule, gained independence in 1947 and in turn ‘became the world’s largest democracy’ (Calvocoressi, 1982, p. 274). However, India did not open its economy fully until after the macro-economic crisis in 1991. Although India always had a large private sector, this wasn’t fully taken advantage of until after these reforms. Since the 1991 economic reforms, although successful in part, India has had ‘relatively modest growth, and is falling behind on many fronts relative to the Chinese performance indicators’ (Basu, 2009, p. 58). World Bank data shows that India’s annual average GDP growth between 2004-2012 was 7.63%, whereas China’s was 10.51%, further supporting this point.

China’s, on the other hand, is the exact reverse. Following the victory of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949, China is a ‘large but stable, centrally run state, and has been through its history’ (Desai, 2003, p. 3). China, to this day, continues to be ruled under this system, and the economy has flourished under it. China was a closed, centrally planned, non-market economy until 1978 when, under the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, it opened its economy and its economic rise began. ‘China reformed earlier and much more aggressively’ than India (Bloom et al., 2006, p. 5) and its economic performance has been extraordinary. China’s growth miracle has been achieved by the relaxation of some of the party’s controls, and statistics support this. ‘In 2010, its economy was 47 times larger than it was in 1980’ (Ford, 2011, p. 2).

Linking in with the two countries’ emergence is the comparison between their political systems. As noted previously, governance in India is undertaken democratically. However, China is still ruled under a single-party system, of which Communism is at the helm. Although democracy has been widely promoted in the West in the 20th century, it is evident that this is a contributing factor to India’s slower growth rate compared to China because decision-making is so difficult whereas in China, leadership diktat sets a direction brooking no opposition. Many scholars agree with this notion. Bardhan (2006, p. 14) is one who has said that often reforms can put India ‘two steps forward and one step backward’ simply because of the struggle it is to get reforms passed. Smith (2007, p. 172) is another who describes India’s system of rule as ‘a bustling, messy, sometimes near-anarchic democracy’. The advantages given to China are that ‘they are a fast-acting government implementing new policies’ where bureaucratic constraints are not an issue, therefore speeding up the capability to grow (Soil, 2011, p. 3).

This consequently means that ‘when the leadership … wants something done it gets done, from grandiose infrastructure projects downwards’ (Smith, 2007, p. 172). Contrastingly, India struggles to implement policy reforms, and the ability to speedily build up infrastructure is a real constraint. A number of scholars have been critical of India’s processes. Comments include that ‘India’s political system appears sluggish’ (Soil, 2011, p. 3). Other suggestions include ‘when India’s political leaders want something done they hope and pray it will happen’ (Smith, 2007, p. 172). Supporting this idea, the benefit of having an authoritarian, single-party government like China, means that plans can be made long in to the future without the worry of getting voted out of power. This is key in India, given it faces a regular electoral cycle, the next elections being May 2014 Hence there is a potentially a new direction for the country after each poll, whereas China is better aware of what its future aspirations are, and working to achieve them with a greater sense of purpose. Desai (2003, p. 17) states that ‘for India, any hope of growing faster depends on less government rather than more’. So the contrast shows that sometimes democracy is less effective than authoritarianism, because achieving an agreed strategy and general consensus can be problematic, which is not to say that China’ approach is intellectually better. However, it is economically more effective, at present anyway.


Bardhan, P., (2006) ‘Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: A Comparative Assessment of the Rise of China and India’, Journal of South Asian Development, 1(1), pp. 1-17.

Basu, S., (2009) ‘Comparing China and India: Is the dividend of economic reforms polarised?’, The European Journal of Comparative Economics, 6(1), pp. 57-99.

Bloom D., Canning D., Hu L., Liu Y., Mahal A., Yip W., (2006) ‘Why Has China’s Economy Taken Off Faster than India’s?’, Harvard School of Public Health, (), pp. 1-39.

Calvocoressi P., (1982) World politics since 1945, 4th edn., London and New York: Longman.

Desai M., (2003) India and China: An Essay In Comparative Political Economy, Delhi: IMF.

Ford B., (2011) China vs. India: Differences, similarities and prospects, Singapore: Australian Government.

School of Inspired Leadership (2011) India and China: An Economy Comparison, : School of Inspired Leadership.

Smith D., (2007) The Dragon and the Elephant: China, India and the New World Order, London: Profile Books Ltd.

Have You Heard the Good News?: The Evolution of Religious Freedom in China

28 Feb


China’s stance on religious freedom is notoriously regarded as unjust. However, the Regulations on Religious Affairs (RRA) implemented in 2005 has seen the rise of a remarkably open and empowering attitude in regard to religious activities. Though once regarded as a threat to the Communist regime in China, religion has slowly become an acceptable form of civil society and state control over religious autonomy has been weakened (Tong, 2010).

During Mao’s era religious freedom was curtailed. In a time of reform and modernisation for China, religion was seen as both ‘foreign cultural imperialism’ in the case of Christianity. A line was drawn between religious ‘organisations’ and ‘religion’ itself wherein the CCP sought to increase control over the ‘organisational’ aspect of religious activity. Native religions were also placed under scrutiny; the Mao regime accused Buddhism and Taoism of ‘feudalism’ which contradicted China’s goal of modernisation (Leung, 2005). During the 50’s ‘religious freedom’ was given a party-wide definition. In 1958 Li Weihan interpreted ‘religious freedom’ as a right to belief or not to believe in religion and to be a part of any sect of your choosing. However, he explained that this definition of religious freedom was implemented to encourage people to cast aside religion (Li, 1958l, cited in Leung, 2005). This definition was not revised until 1982, under Deng’s era.

During the Cultural Revolution religious communities suffered heavily. Religious property rights were essentially nullified as churches, temples and other religious sites were occupied and in many cases destroyed. An estimated 8000 Buddhist temples were lost during these years and many religious practitioners and leaders were persecuted (Leung, 2005).

Before the reform period, the state’s policies regarding religion were constrictive and emphasised state control and state-given legitimacy. Religious communities were required to have state permission to practice and were required to perform religious activities in specially assigned areas, thus outlawing home-based activities. This also outlawed wearing religious garments in public, such as that worn by the clergy. Religious communities were also required to be supportive of the CCP. Often the CCP assigned religious leaders who were party cadres in order to quell any anti-party sentiment (Leung, 2005).

In 1982 ‘Document 19’ was issued under Deng’s reform period. It was born of the recognition that by increasing religious rights China could improve its international image and attract more foreign trade. Deng also wanted to break with the legacy of the Cultural Revolution and gain more co-operation for modernisation from non-communist intellectuals and religious leaders. However, the Document was not without its failings. It was not widely obeyed and, although it stated that religious property would be returned to the religious communities to which it belonged, this was not always followed through. The Document also stated that religious communities would be self-sufficient and yet government ministries encouraged Christian churches to seek foreign aid thus undermining this requirement. Religious communities also lacked the ability to communicate well with branches of government as the Document did not rectify the appointment of party cadres as religious leaders. The cadres were patriotic to the CCP (which was within the government’s interests) but they often lacked the skills and training required for good leadership and communication (Leung, 2005). In short, Document 19 was a step in the direction of religious freedom but it was still far from a mirror of how liberal society would define ‘freedom’.

The 90’s saw a reduction of trust in religious communities. Concern arose that the ‘underground’ movement of ‘illegal’ (that is, not state-approved) religious communities threatened state stability. This notion is not a new one; religious uprisings are significant in China’s ancient history (the yellow and red turban rebellions) and more recent history (White Lotus and Taiping rebellions) (Chung et all, 2006). The Party was also concerned with foreign support for these ‘illegal’ movements, particularly Catholicism and the Dalai Lama in Tibet. Document 19 was acknowledged as insufficient in managing religious activity – yet despite feelings of hostility, Jiang knew that if the CCP cracked down on religious freedom it would be detrimental to international support and finance. The terms ‘Rule by Law’ and ‘Accommodation’ entered the fight for religious freedom. ‘Rule by Law’ required religious activities to be regulated and to ‘accommodate’ socialist ideology, not oppose it. This decision was justified by defining religious activity within the realm of ‘public affairs’ and therefore subject to state regulation (Leung, 2005).

However, in 2001 the Politburo and State Council met together for the National Religious Work Meeting and came to the conclusion that religion could be a ‘stabilising force’ in Chinese society. Waning socialist ideology and disillusionment are partially responsible for this decision; by approving of specific religions and granting more autonomy, the CCP hoped to curtail the attraction of ‘new religions’ and cults which could harbour anti-party sentiment. China was also trying to address its international image regarding human rights violations. Another influence is the Sino-centric religious scholarship which had been emerging since the beginning of the reform period (Leung, 2005).

As aforementioned, native religion also suffered under Mao’s regime and had to be resurrected during the reform period. One such success story is Nanputuo temple in Fujian province. Though now a thriving religious hub and tourist site, the temple had to be rebuilt almost from scratch after the Cultural Revolution. New clergy had to be trained to replace those who were persecuted and the temple, abiding by state rules, had to become entirely self-sufficient. More than three decades on it has been completely rebuilt, is entirely self-sufficient and has around 600 clergymen. It is one of many success stories that show how religious communities have recovered and grown despite tough state regulations (Ashiwa and Wank, 2006).

In 2005 the RRA was implemented to grant more autonomy to religious communities and reduce state control of religious activities. This is part of a wider goal to increase CCP transparency, improve communication between government and society, promote civil society and improve China’s image in the international community. The RRA grants better legal and administrative rights to religious communities and grants permission to practice religious activities outside of the designated areas. It also encourages religious philanthropy and has helped to establish the role of religious communities in civil society. The RRA also readdresses the accusation of religion as a ‘threat’ by allowing the print and circulation of religious literature, including recruitment pamphlets. It has been greeted with mixed feelings in the wider international community as rather than religious ‘freedom’ it awards ‘management’, but compared to China’s history of restrictive religious regulation there is no denying that it will help China on the road to modernisation and cohesion within the international community (Tong, 2010).


Ashiwa, Y., Wank, D., 2006. The Politics of a Reviving Buddhist Temple: State, Association, and Religion in Southeast China. The Journal of Asian Studies, [e-journal], 65 (2), pp. 337-359. Available through: J-Stor website <> [Accessed 27th February 2014].

Chung, J., Lai, H., Xia, M., 2006. Mounting Challenges to Governance in China: Surveying Collective Protesters, Religious Sects and Criminal Organisations. The China Journal, [e-journal], 56, pp. 1-31. Available through: J-Stor website <> [Accessed 27th February 2014].

Leung, B., 2005. China’s Religious Freedom Policy: The Art of Managing Religious Activity. The China Quarterly, [e-journal], 184, pp.894-913. Available through: J-Stor website <> [Accessed 27th February 2014].

Tong, J., 2010. The New Religious Policy in China: Catching Up With Systemic Reforms. Asian Survey, [e-journal], 50 (5), pp. 859-887. Available through: J-Stor website <> [Accessed 27th February 2014].

The Chinese Concept of Empire: All-Under-Heaven

14 Feb

Tianxia (天下): the Chinese concept of ‘all under heaven’. In the West our perception of empire is based on our own historical experience and is generally synonymous with imperialism. Historically speaking China possessed an empire for three thousand years – yet the Chinese concept of empire and governance is distinctly different from our own.

All-under-heaven represents an ideal of a perfect empire that is legitimate in the eyes of the people and wholly harmonious. More accurately it should be considered as a ‘world institution’. It is an all-inclusive concept; in Western political theory the nation-state is the biggest unit. In all-under-heaven the greatest unit is the world as a whole.

Political legitimacy and harmony walk hand in hand. The Chinese concept of ‘harmony’ is associated with that of the ‘family’. The family represents the virtue of love, harmony and obligation – which are considered vital to successful human relationships. The family provides the universal framework for these values and, therefore, provides the framework for these virtues within the concept of all-under-heaven. The ideal world society, therefore, should function in a way not dissimilar to that of the family. It should be noted that the family places an emphasis on the whole unit as opposed to the individual. In the West the individual is championed above all – that, after all, is the essence of liberalism. To understand the importance of ‘family’ (and all it entails) we can liken it to the Western importance of the ‘individual’ and how we use this as the basis for our politics.

In all-under-heaven the world institution has legitimacy. In some ways we can consider it the utopia of a harmonious society and therefore legitimate in and of itself, for all-under-heaven represents a world that is ‘home for the people’; it represents what belongs to (and is best for) the people (or ‘society’). Those that govern the world institution, on the other hand, are not automatically granted legitimacy. Following the Confucian argument of ‘p is p if p does what p is conceptually meant to do’, the governing power is only legitimately the governing power if they conform to what we conceive of a harmonious governing power to be. Under this definition the governance of the world institution is open to any and all who know best how to realise the utopia of all-under-heaven. Interestingly enough, revolution is justified in the concept of all-under-heaven if it aims to replace one governing body with a more suitable candidate.

Although China has had many dynasties, none have achieved a perfect incarnation of all-under-heaven. As with any ideology or theory it is faced with practical implications that obstruct the acquisition of utopian society. However, it does provide an insight into the philosophical foundations of an empire which lasted (albeit with different dynasties of rule) for a staggering period of time. I finish this article with a closing thought: is it possible that all-under-heaven can contribute to the debate concerning the emergence of a global society?

Reference: Tingyang, Z. (2011) ‘Rethinking Empire from the Chinese Concept “All-under-Heaven” (Tianxia, 天下)’, in Callahan, W. and Barabantseva, E. (ed.) China Orders the World, Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.

The Great Wall of China: A changing role?

12 Feb

With five time zones, 56 nationalities, over 200 living languages and the world’s largest population at 1.351 billion (The World Bank, 2012) it is easy to see how the vast country of China has internal divides. This blog questions the role of one of the world’s most recognised landmarks, The Great Wall of China. Does it still create a divide within Chinese society today?

Initially built in The Warring States Period (476–221 BC), the last period of ancient China, the Great Wall was used as a defensive fortification to protect the Chinese empire states from nomadic groups and military forces. It symbolised ‘a line of demarcation separating the steppe from the sown field, nomadism from agriculture, and barbarism from civilization’ (Fairbank, 1992). However, it is also argued that the wall was not created to keep out the nomads or “barbarians”, as contrasts between archaeological sites north and south of the Great Wall suggest that beyond the wall existed farmers and ‘settled agricultural villages’ (Nelson, 1995). Yet either way the wall is shown to reflect a historic divide between contrasting cultures. This develops due to changing climates and environmental factors; ‘the cultures beyond the Great Wall in the northeast were different from those of the Ordos region as well as the Mongolian grasslands’ (Nelson, 1995).

Emperor Qin Shi Huang oversaw the building of the Great Wall under his rule in the following Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), the first unified dynasty and the first period of Imperial China. Today the Great Wall still follows the northern border of land under rule within the Qin Dynasty. It therefore continues to represent a divide between what now constitutes the core of the Han Chinese and other minority groups. Yet, little of the existing wall remains today. The building of the wall continued until the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368- 1644), when the last construction took place to protect China from foreign invasions by the northern states. Initially made with natural materials such as tamped earth, wood and glutinous rice flour (China Highlights, 2014) the Great Wall is thought to have been 13,170 miles long. Today modern estimates show that it is approximately 5,500 miles long, from Shanghai in the East to Lop Lake in the West. However, less than 4,000 miles is actually a structured wall, with figures also including natural barriers such as lakes, rivers and mountains. The mountainous and diverse landmass of China suggests that a cultural divide is likely to exist within China even without the Great Wall, both today and historically.

The literature suggests that today the Great Wall of China is no longer viewed as a separation of culture yet instead a memento of Chinese history. The Great Wall is considered a status symbol ‘of historical continuity, of territorial integrity, and of the nation itself’ (Rojas, 2010). It can therefore promote the Ten Principles of Bandung (Xinhua, 2005) by encouraging peace and cooperation between nationalities. Nonetheless it is still believed that although not always ‘militarily effective’ (Veeck et al., 2011) the Great Wall’s symbolic significance has never changed, suggesting that many Han Chinese still feel separated from non-Han groups. The wall is therefore arguably for some a constant reminder and representation of the separation between Han Chinese and other nationalities.

Finally it should be noted that although some Chinese still feel isolated by the Great Wall it is clear that currently the primary role of this significant landmark is to promote economic prosperity. As such, historic information about the wall is mostly conveyed for an informative purpose hence lacking a critical viewpoint. Through tourism the import value of visitors to China each year contributes approximately CNY 1.2 trillion towards GDP which is ‘substantially bigger than automotive manufacturing and supports almost as many jobs as the mining sector’ (Nicol, 2012). As a UNESCO World Heritage site The Great Wall of China attracts around 10 million visitors per year (Discovery Communications, 2013) and is a key location for many fundraising events. It also provides income and jobs for many local citizens. In consequence the primary role of the Great Wall today is conveyed as just another part supporting economic growth. It therefore contributes towards the unified view that economic growth will enable China to become a superpower of the future (Dreyer, 2007).


Amy Warwick



China Highlights, 2014. Great Wall of China Facts. Available at: [Accessed 11.02.14].

Discovery Communications, 2013. China’s Great Wall Crumbles as Tourism Soars. Available at: [Accessed 12.02.14].

Dreyer, J.T. 2007. Chinese Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy Research Institute Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 5. Available at: Accessed [08.02.14].

Fairbank, John K. 1992. China: A New History. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap.

Nelson, S.M. 1995. Archaeology of Northeast China: Beyond the Great Wall. London: Routledge.

Nicol, T. and Eckervogt, A. 2012. Tourism in China contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing. World Travel & Tourism Council. Available at: [Accessed 12.02.14].

Rojas, C. 2010. The Great Wall: A Cultural History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
The World Bank, 2014. Population (Total). Available at: [Accessed 11.02.14].

Veeck, G., Pannell, C.W., Smith, C.J. and Huang, Y. 2011. China’s Geography: Globalization and the Dynamics of Political, Economic and Social Change. 2nd ed. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Xinhua. 2005. The Ten Principles of Bandung. China Daily. Available at: [Accessed 08.02.14].

The Iron Lady vs. China

2 May

Following the recent death of the much beloved Margaret Thatcher, we will look at Mrs Thatcher’s government and China. Under her government, Hong Kong, a colony for 100 years was returned to China under a Treaty. Pivotal to the handover of Hong Kong to China, she did not negotiate any deal to bring about any democratic values for Hong Kong with the Communist China.

Many people in Hong Kong felt that Mrs Thatcher had ‘betrayed’ them by returning them to China and not fighting to keep Hong Kong, unlike the Falkland islands. Since 1998, it has been more than 15 years, what is happening now?

Ironically, Britain, a country built on fundamental rights and democracy, and with Mrs Thatcher, arguably a champion of democracy and freedom,  after almost 16 years since the handover, there is still no full democracy in Hong Kong. However it is noted that colonialism in itself remains in a rather paradoxical state since the home country like Britain might be fully democratic, it might not necessarily be so for the colonies. Mrs Thatcher originally had hoped that the British could continue to administer the city after it returned to Chinese sovereignty. However, the truth was that under the terms of the declaration, the Chinese agreed that the city shall  have a high degree of autonomy, including its own political and economical system for a 50 years period. Global Times said in regards to handing Hong Kong back to China, Mrs Thatcher made ‘her biggest compromise as Prime Minister.’

Certainly the Chinese media will not portray her as the ‘Iron Lady.’ The state-run media said she had met her match, namely Deng Xiao Ping. Newspapers across Hong Kong splashed numerous full-page eulogies commemorating Mrs Thatcher across their front page, adorning them with images of flowers – signifying mourning.

In reflecting on Mrs Thatcher’s passing, several Hong Kong democratic activists were critical of her legacy in Hong Kong. A former reporter and current legislation suggested that Mrs Thatcher ‘didn’t look after the well-being of Hong Kong people.’

Almost 16 years have passed and with the dismiss of Mrs Thatcher, with or without Britain’s rule, Hong Kong is still doing pretty well for now and in fact, the Financial Secretary John Tsang expects the economy to grow by 1.5% to 3.5% in 2013.–only-to-meet-her-match-in-deng-xiaoping-two-years-later-she-signed-the-agreement-handing-the-territory-to-china-1543375.html

The Future of China (II)

26 Apr

The potentially greatest power of the world – China, has many opportunities within itself, to expand or to collapse. The new leader, Mr Xi Jingping calls himself a man with a dream, a China dream, to be precise. He has indicated in several speeches that he wants to reinstate the former glory of China in its rightful and deserving place on the world platform. It is an ambitious plan for China, but one that deserves an applaud. His current position entitles his decision to change the lives of hundreds of millions. He can shape history, easily, in this authoritarian state.

Xi seems to be walking in the footsteps of Deng, of being a reformer and positively encouraging the prospering of the economy as evident by his first trip to Shenzhen, termed to be the ‘Special Economic Zone. On a closer look, he wants to be the ‘man of the people,’ visiting poor villages and people. Next, he visited numerous high-profile military units. Perhaps his message is simple, to gather the allegiance of the armed forces so as to reign in peace as the next leader. If we were to analyse deeper, it is not hard to see from these political visits, that he has certain concerns (dreams) for the future of China.

At the top of the priority list,  China would obviously want to be the next global power. But to do that, one has to know the problems China is currently facing and coming up with solutions to tackle such problems. It is stated, First there’s the fact that, ‘China must reform the way its economy is developing to make growth more sustainable, more equitable, less damaging to the environment.’ China’s new generation of leaders are aware of its problems and defects it is facing. Writer Gao Yu stated Xi Jinping ‘knows exactly where the party’s critical mistakes are.’ Perhaps so.

She furthers,’there is the “wealth gap” that has opened up in China. The benefits of reform have basically been taken by government officials. Money has flowed to them and to the rich, not into protecting our environment, or into social security, medical insurance or education.’

Moreover, “The whole world sees how corrupt our government officials are and how angry our people are. In their hearts people no longer believe in the legality of the party’s rule. That is the most important thing that Xi has to solve.” Gao adds.

With these problems identified and acknowledged by this new generation of leadership, the next question will be whether any actions will be done to solve them. This is a crucial question to discuss even before we can embark to discuss on China’s future. The future is not ours to behold, but is ours to make. May this reformer brings to China more prosperity, growth and benefits to the people. It might be not an easy task dealing with the corruption, inequalities, widening wealth gaps, unemployment, democracy deficit, human rights problems, environment pollution, etc and the list goes on and on. For now, it is better to stop dreaming and let us witness a change, a revolution.


D. Grammaticas, ‘China’s new President Xi Jinping: A Man with a Dream’

Wang Lixiong, ‘On China’s Future,’17th April 2013,

Cultural Revolution and its aftermath

26 Feb

It might seem quite awhile ago, approximately 46 years, China’s Communist Party’s leader, Mao Zedong launched the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” which lead to the ultimate destruction of millions of lives, perhaps more apt to describe it as ‘Holocaust of the Chinese.’  This slate of history can never be whipped clean. It was a immense tragedy and catastrophic suffering for the people who went through this ordeal. Countless priceless historical artefacts, monuments and arts were destroyed. Children were encouraged to denounce even their parents if they did not follow Communist ideas.

In this article we would not strive to discuss the atrocities but concentrate on its economical impacts on China. During the ten years (1966- 1976) of Cultural Revolution, almost all economic activities were halted. Education also came to a virtual halt leading to a generation of inadequately educated individuals, causing a lag in technology and skills.  Agricultural production also stagnated and even non-argricultural productions were disrupted by the political activities of the Red Guards and even students. Naturally output at factories were affected due to shortages of raw materials, supplies and even labour. Factories were put under the direction of revolutionary committees, who often had no knowledge of management or how to run an enterprise. Almost all professionals, including doctors, teachers, professors, scientists and technicians, religious leaders,  virtually anyone with expertise or knowledge were denounced and prosecuted. Industry production decreases rapidly. The railway was largely disrupted for they were used by the revolutionists to transport the people around. Furthermore, the import of foreign equipments and machineries were largely curtailed. The economy of China already hit by the Great Leap Forward, is faltering badly.

The resulting damage was so massive and the goals that Mao Zedong sought to achieve remains elusive. Mao’s experiment yielded no benefit but almost bankrupt the whole country. It was a dagger in the heart of China’s economy.

Today, capitalism has of course infiltrate China’s economy and people have become more materialistic than in the past. Since Mao’s death, many  reforms were implemented. Notably since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted centrally planned to a market based economy and have since then experienced rapid development in its economy. GDP growth averaging about 10 percent a year has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty. With a population of approximately 1.35 billion, China has recently became the second largest economy and is increasingly having an influential role in affecting the global economy.

Although the Communist Party affirmed that the Cultural revolution “brought serious disaster and turmoil to the Communist Party and the Chinese people” they have put the blame largely on the gang of four and described Mao’s merit to have outweigh his faults. There is still much scrutiny on this topic by the Chinese government in China and notably at the National Museum of China in Beijing, the cultural revolution is barely mentioned in the historical exhibits. No compensation were awarded or apologies given to the victims of this Chinese Holocaust.


Xing Lu, ‘Rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,‘ University of South Carolina, 2004,

Dongping Han, ‘Impact of the Cultural Revolution on Rural Education and Economic Development,‘ Modern China, Vol. 27, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 59-90.

‘China, Consequences of the Cultural Revolution,’

<; accessed 25th Feb 2013

‘Deceiving a Nation – the Cultural Revolution,’ <>accessed 26th Feb 2013

The World Bank

The Patriotic Education Campaign in China

13 Feb

Relating to the lecture last Thursday is an interesting article about how the Chinese Communist Party have used a “Patriotic Education Campaign” since 1991 to reinforce a modern historical consciousness among Chinese citizens which mainly focuses on the “One hundred years of humiliation” from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s. In this period China was engulfed due to imperialist motives of trade and colonial expansion. This article also investigates the effect this educational campaign had on political transition, foreign relations and the formation on national identity. Overall the conclusion of the article is that whilst theories and literature studying China reveal aspects to understand the country’s political transition and foreign affairs behaviour, a full enlightenment of changes and development within these tends can only be understood through study of national historical identity and memory.

Link: by Zheng Wang

BBC News: China Profile

4 Feb

China Profile

I thought it would be useful to post up this profile BBC news has created about China. It takes you through a succinct yet detailed explanation of China’s past and present. The overview section is particularly useful for background context of how China has progressed to this point in time with clear subsections for economic, social and political developments. The facts and timeline sections help to further support this background understanding as well as providing some useful quick facts. The leaders and media sections are more focused but are as equally succinct and detailed and interlock well with the economic, social and political developments explained in the overview section.

I hope the link above works, if not here is the web address: