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Discussing topics in Chinese history is such a broad topic. There is so much to talk about and so much to cite. Starting from the Chinese Dynasty to the present time could take forever to get through. So in my term paper, I will do my best to cover what all I can. I’ll start way back to 10,000-2,000 BCE (Neolithic Cultures), 2100-1600 BCE (Xia Dynasty), 1600-1050 BCE (Shang Dynasty), 1046-256 BCE (Zhou Dynasty), 221-206 BCE (Qin Dynasty), 206 BCE-220 CE (Han Dynasty), 220-589 CE (Period of Disunity), 581-618 CE (Sui Dynasty), 618-906 (Tang Dynasty), 960-1279 (Song Dynasty), 1279-1368 (Yuan Dynasty), 1368-1644 (Ming Dynasty), 1644-1912 (Qing Dynasty), 1912-1949 (Republic Period), and last but not least, 1949-Present (Peoples Republic of China). There is so much to cover and I know I won’t be able to talk about it all which is why I stated each era and their names.
China is quickly becoming the business hub for the world. The country has huge potential for economic growth, which will allow other countries to have access to a large market and cheap labor costs. Although these benefits are desirable, caution must be used because of the differences in culture and politics. These differences may cause uncertainty for foreign investors. After more than a quarter-century of reform and opening to the outside world, by 2005 China’s economy had become the second largest in the world after the United States when measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis (World Bank, 2008). The Chinese government has a goal of quadrupling the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 and more than double the per capita GDP. A widespread market economy mechanisms and some reduction of government role have been evident since 1978. The government fosters a dual economic structure that has evolved from a socialist, centrally planned economy to a socialist market economic system, or a “market economy with socialist characteristics”, (Fogel, G., 2010). China has revamped their political system over the years in order to become more attractive to other countries. Shrewd business people know they can increase their profits by outsourcing jobs to people who live in other parts of the world, like India and China. While the practice of outsourcing causes high unemployment rates in America, it allows business owners to increase their profits. China has experienced such an industrial incline due to the fact that China has made great technological advances. The newest, best, and brightest technology is produced in Asian countries.
Reviewing my notes and short summaries over some of the aspects of contemporary China there weren’t too many that I found interesting enough to write ten pages on until I read about Chinas most indigenous religions with its core beliefs based on Chinese culture, which is called Daoism. China is rich with religious culture and structure. They inundate their children with positive religious beliefs and make sure they aren’t affected by any negative outside influences. That is key to the Chinese educational system. Without the negative, outside influences, the kids grow up learning only positive information.
Daoism is prevalent throughout Chinese history and has seen countless changes in the past few decades. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in China, Daoism is back and is more popular than ever. The religion has changed with the times and in contemporary China, Daoism has had many fascinating new sects emerge. The complexities of the religion should not be understated but it is clear that contemporary Daoism is effected by the Chinese government and the Chinese government is affected by contemporary Daoism. Daoism also was known as Taoism, and it is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, or humility and religious piety. I’m not too sure as to why this topic interested me over the others, it might have a lot to do with the excitement that comes along with it. There are so many specific practices within each sect of Daoism that I only focused on a couple of them. In my paper, I present a general scope of contemporary Daoism and the ways it continues to influence and be influenced by both China and the rest of the world. While reading about Daoism I began to get the feeling that Daoist attitude toward life can be seen in the accepting and yielding, the joyful and carefree sides of the Chinese character, this is something I personally believe everyone should look into. Our society is so wrapped up in material things, the biggest house, best cars, and most expensive jewelry. That’s not how the Daoist feel you should live. Being fun loving and carefree is the way to go. Living with burdens, worry, and stress won’t do anything but lead you to an early grave. Maybe that’s why the Chinese have a large elderly population.
I wanted to see someone else’s opinion regarding Contemporary Daoism, so I looked up several peer-reviewed articles and the one I enjoyed reading was written by, Aidan Grennen December 7, 2014. Grennen states “Daoism is one of the five recognized religions in China, however, during Mao Zedong’s rule over China Kung Fu was persecuted because of its ties to Daoism. Just as Daoism has evolved into an aspect of national pride in China so has Kung Fu for the same reasons. There was a time when Kung Fu became allowed again butDaoism embedded within it was taken out. Eventually, the Chinese people realized that both Daoism and Kung Fu are part of what makes them unique and in more modern times have embraced both. As more people around the world embrace Kung Fu and Daoism it became easier for China to accept.” (4)
The political economy in China differs each year. As the world’s second-largest economy, China is at an important turning point. Some of my expectations for Chinas GDP is to grow in the range of three or maybe even four or five percent. While I know China faces serious challenges, I think they can avoid a tough break. The economy is going through a tough period. There are large chunks of overcapacity in the heavy industry, mostly in steel, shipbuilding, and chemicals.
Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phase-out of collectivized agriculture and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state-support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. Measured on a purchasing power parity basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2016 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world’s largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China’s per capita income is below the world average. With all of the new business practices China has implemented, it’s no wonder why they are becoming the business hub of the world. Everybody wants to either house their business or outsource his or her business to China. Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, is a good example of how much China is growing into a world leader in business. Bellaire offers foreign language as a big part of their curriculum. The students who attend Bellaire High School must take four years of one language and one year of another language. Those students who are lucky enough to get Chinese have an awesome opportunity to go to China over the summer time. I know living in Texas makes everyone jam up in the Spanish classes, but if you’re going into business, Chinese is the language to take. There’s such a huge arena for international business that not learning Chinese would be a hindrance.
Before taking this course I originally thought that China’s history is sometimes marked to have begun as early as the 16th century BC, but in terms of evidence from the chapters given to us to read, I began to think a little differently. I really enjoyed reading about the historical background a lot more than having to read about the economy, in their historical background I gained a lot a valuable information but I think I’m only going to focus on one particular one, Buddhism. “Buddhism arrived in China from India in the 6th c. AD (this fact, in particular, took me by surprise). Buddhism offered an inner path to spiritual peace through meditation and study. The Buddhism of India was modified in China by contact with Confucianism and Taoism; a monastic tradition, borrowed from Confucianism, was combined with the Taoist interest in the contemplation of nature. Although Buddhism arose in India and shared some of the Hindu frames of reference, it also differed from Hinduism in that it accepted the reality of suffering in this world rather than suggesting that this world is an illusion. Instead, Buddhism offered an individual path to salvation that came to be known as the “Middle Way.” The Middle Way avoided both the physical self-indulgence of the worldly and also the extremes of the disciplines, spiritual or physical, practiced by Hindu mystics. Instead, it offered an eight-fold path, a series of steps to be followed to achieve Nirvana or liberation of the soul from the wheel of life.”(2)
I use to be ignorant about their spiritual beliefs thinking that their Buddha was their “God” when all actuality Buddhism is China’s oldest foreign religion. It merged with native Taoism and folk religion. Ancient Hindu Buddhism taught by Buddha involved reaching Enlightenment through meditation. How to go about this and what it means is open to interpretation. When early Buddhist scriptures were translated into Chinese, Taoist terminology based on native religion was often used. People interpreted the scripture in their own ways.
Buddhism has had a long history in China, and native Buddhist religions developed that are accepted by Chinese Buddhists. Buddhism transcends many religions and many cultures. It is possible to be a Christian but still believe some of the Buddhist teachings.
“China has an economic system that blends elements of socialism and capitalism. While its leaders strive to create a communist economic system, much of its growth occurred after it adopted some capitalist practices.”(1). Reading Brown-Contemporary China, and Ebrey nine and ten it explained in full detail how and why Chinas economic system was the reason why in this weakened giant of a country their population was nearly 500 million people and a territory of 9.6 million sq. km the highest annual outputs of major industrial and agricultural products were as follows: yarn 445,000 tons, cotton cloth 2.79 billion m, raw coal 61.88 million tons, generated energy 6 billion kWh, grain 150 million tons, and cotton 849,000 tons. This was the starting point of the economic development of the new China.
In my opinion, doing this research on the seriousness of Chinas economic system was informative, I established an understanding of their country and the differences between here and there. We (and by we I mean US citizens) don’t really think about how big China impact is on the entire world. It amazed me to read an article written by, Kenneth Rapoza and he states “China is growing over 6%, that it is not enough for the country to reform its economic system and keep full employment. Employment is an important part of the policy picture in China. It’s still a poor country. And a poor country with a few hundred million struggling to survive can lead to the sort of political unrest the Communist Party fears.” (1). “Even though China is a poor country, they provide incentives for business owners to do their business in China. So many people live in China there was a limit on the number of babies you could have.” (4)“One baby per family was the most you could have. According to CNN, in October 2015, China decided to overturn its decades-old one-child policy and allow couples across the country to have two children, (Senthilingam, 2016).” I have always thought that it was a violation of one’s human rights to be relegated by your government to only have one child. I understand why it was implemented but I just don’t think it’s fair. “ The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 when the government feared a rapid increase in population size after the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s. The country’s fertility rate fell dramatically, from a peak of almost six births per female between 1960 and 1965 to 1.5 per woman between 1995 and 2014. In the years in between, amendments and caveats were added, allowing rural couples to have a second child if their first was a girl and then allowing couples who are only children to have a second child, (Senthilingam, 2016).”
“China bashing is popular, but China’s importance to the U.S. economy and the worlds cannot be understated. Chinese economic policy became an important driver to growth in 2009 when the U.S. and Europe were crashing. Without the trillions it spent on stimulating the economy, many countries would have found no buyer for their goods, including the U.S.”
Now, “China is no longer willing to stimulate consumption and much of its physical economy is left to its own devices. Some welcome this more capitalist approach, on the one hand. But on the other, fear it means a greater slowdown is coming. Some say China’s real GDP is closer to 2%” (Rapoza). This quote stated in his article I felt was important to add to my paper only because I didn’t see anything in the books assigned to this course that talked about the importance of China or lack of to the US.”
“The ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has undergone dramatic changes throughout the years. While foreign commentators have accused the CPC of lacking a coherent ideology, the CPC still call themselves and portray themselves as communists. The ideology of the CCP, and of Maoism later, gave voice to changes that were reshaping Chinese society. It was better than any other ideology or political program at the time at articulating an underlying reality that was already changing. For the hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants and workers who either hadn’t heard the news of the Allied betrayal or wouldn’t have cared, the CCP had a potent message.”(6)
Reading the chapters that examined modern Chinese political ideologies beginning in the late nineteenth century, “as intellectuals began to articulate China’s place in a global order centered outside its own borders. It abandoned a teleological view of China’s ideological development, in which the present communist regime is assumed to be the inevitable culmination of the past, in favor of detailing ongoing contestations about Chinese history, identity, and modernization.”
When I was taking notes on the passage called Ideology and Chinese Politics wrote by, William A. Joseph, I began to become a little confused about what was going on. The part where he discussed the political ideology and what all it consisted of was where the confusion started, when he began to talk about it, it seemed to me that he had two different views on the topic. When I read a passage I’m looking for an understanding of the topic, and although he did a great job of that I still didn’t feel too secure with the knowledge I was gaining from the passage.
“China began moving away from Communist ideology under Deng Xiaoping, whose economic reforms disassembled communes and created space for private businesses. He justified these reforms to his Communist colleagues with the saying, “It doesn’t matter if the cat is white or black as long as it catches the mice,” implying that even “capitalist” policies were justified if they succeeded in bringing economic growth. And they certainly did. Since that time, China’s economic development has been tremendous, so now Chinese people overwhelmingly approve of the reforms.”(4) When I read that quote the first time I immediately wrote it down in my notes, I agree with his saying. It doesn’t what your color if you want it you’ll get it.
This is the hardest paper I think I’ve ever had to write. Reading the required texts for this course was one thing but having to put together a ten-page paper on topics that I read about without writing word for word is a challenge for me. I can write about idealism and the reason why it’s important or I could even write about the topics about the political economy in China, including the historical background, political system, and economic system. But because there is just so much information that I both agree and disagree with its hard for me to choose just a handful and write about it.
I even used The CIA World Factbook that could help me out some with pulling my term paper together and I found some information on the historical background, political system, and economic system. The CIA World Factbook answered every question I needed to know in full detail, I got some valuable information about China environmental issues, economy, and their population. I enjoyed using The CIA World Factbook because they kept their information short and sweet and allowed me to be able to find the information I needed in a decent amount of time.
It took me weeks to be able to get through all of the chapters I had to read for this class but when I did I found myself more interested in Zweig-Chinas Political Economy. This passage mainly focused on Deng Xiaoping (Chinas top leader) and how he had to encounter a whole lot and how he learned his own lessons after they discussed his trials it went into the political economy of rural reform.
This part of the passage simply discussed the understanding of the dramatic changes in the rural political economy in the reform era. “Rural reform occurred in two stages. Between 1977 and 1983, agricultural production was decollectivized. The people’s communes were dismantled and replaced with a household-based farming system. A second phase began in 1984, which promoted industrialization, commercialization, specialization, and marketization of the rural economy.”(1)
I had issues with being able to follow along with the readings about the troubles in Chinas political system. Not because I couldn’t understand what it was that I was reading but because understanding Chinas political economy was hard to understand to my period. I ended up pulling up another peer review concerning Chinas political economy to help me better understand all of the problems of the inequality in China.
I chose to talk about this specific reason because this section had me in shock while I was reading the entire time. Reading a peer review written by, Susan V. Lawrence, called “Understanding China’s Political System” helped me out a lot. Lawrence broke down each of Chinas issues and explained them thoroughly for me to get a better understanding.
I read chapters nine and ten where they argued the Qing Dynasty. “The economic developments of the late Ming, leading to prosperity but also complacency and a dramatic increase in population” (Ebrey). “This happened in 1644-1912 and their cultural challenges tend to change every year. The public period was started by Lawrence” as a “weak central government in 1928 to bring the entire country under its control was thwarted by both domestic revolts and the Japanese occupation (1937-45). The Nationalist fled to Taiwan after defeat by the communist.”
In the text called Chinas Political Economy written by David Zweig, Zweig talked about the trading aspects in China and what if they’re known for. David states “China as a “Trading State.” “Before the global economic crisis of 2008-09, China had become the quintessential “trading state,” whose international commerce dramatically increased its national power. China’s trade grew at an annual rate of 15 to 17 percent for almost thirty years, well above the 7 percent growth rate for world trade over.”
Following its entry into the WTO, “China’s trade became an even more important source of growth for its overall economy, supplying one-third of the annual increase GDP between 2004 and 2007. The share of machinery and equipment (capital goods) in China’s exports rose from 27.3 percent to 46.2 percent between 1998 and 2005, while the share of light industrial (consumption) goods declined from 38 percent to 25.5 percent. Chinese cars.” Thus, “while the initial Chinese-produce Santana car, manufactured jointly by Volkswagen and the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Works. (SAIW), cost 180,000 RMB (US$26,000) and was of poor quality, its quality has much approved and the cost is under 100,000 RMB (US$ 14,000), making it much more affordable to Chinas growing middle-class consumers. Japanese carmakers are the leaders in China-Honda as a huge plant outside Guangzhou. As a result, in 2003, less than two years after joining the WTO, China ranked fourth m the world in terms of automobile production, and Chinese cars are moving onto the world stage as inexpensive exports.”
I read something that talked about how cheap it is out there to make cars, clothes, shoes, and even kids toys, and it is shipped out here to the US and being sold ten times the labor work, sometimes even more. I think everyone in the US should take the time out to actually think about what all China actually does for us. Could we survive without China? I don’t think that we could. We benefit from them a lot more than we give them credit for I’m sure. Can China economically survive without the US? I don’t think that they could live without us just as much as we couldn’t live without them.
“If the US were to fall into a black hole tomorrow, it would not only be China that would be in trouble. All the world’s economies will reconfigure for a new reality, one with less consumerism and more about sustainability. But that would definitely end its high growth rate because there is no other society in the world that consumes as much as the US. The domestic (PRC) consumer market is not as mature as the US at this moment” (Gabriel Chan).
“China’s political and economic systems have changed over time, just like everything else. Its growing market is infused with rapid industrial development and economic growth. As the world’s third-largest trading nation after the United States and Germany, China will continue to be an important business partner of the United States. US business people and organizations must understand the differences in the economic, political, and cultural environment of the country as these can be difficult to manage and may hinder business development. It is imperative to learn about cultural and political differences and their impact on business practices and business conduct.”(3)
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