China 19th to 20th Century

China has represented on the earliest civilizations of the world. China has recorded history of about 3,600 years. China has passed through prehistoric society, slave society and feudal society. China's civilization developed independently of others because the country was separated from other countries and had a great distance from other countries. It is said that after 10,000 B. C the Chinese lived by hunting and gathering plants. Then in 5,000 B. C the Chinese began farming. Rice was cultivated in southern China and millet was grown in northern China. Farmers also learned to make pottery. The Chinese cultural was is very rich in tradition and is famous to the people who are found through the world. The development of such a different and impressive civilization has made China the role model for other countries around the world. Around 1750 B. C the first Chinese dynasty, Shang, began to develop. This era witnessed the birth of modern architecture such as walled towns and productive agricultural systems. However each region of China had its own language and culture. Due to the misgoverning of the dynasty, the Shang lost its mandate of Heaven to the Zhou kingdom. The Zhou dynasty continued much of the technological and the agricultural developments of the first rule. The improved living conditions showed a direct relation between the population and the growth of the cities, as one grew larger the other also grew. In this period roads were being built, land cultivated and irrigation spread. As the development of the lands expanded the surroundings regions became separate states, each culturally different with its own language resulting in constant warfare. Warfare had become more common because the earlier societies were becoming richer. During the 19th century capitalist forces of foreign countries invaded China.

China was slowly transformed into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. In the 20th century the many people decided that it was time to do away with the old order. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925) put forward 3 principles, nationalism, democracy and socialism. The Chinese Republic occurred in 1911 to 1949, this is when the revolution was being planned, but a bomb was set off and the government would now be alerted they decided to start the revolution.

China location is Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam. The area of China is compared to the United States, but slightly smaller. Its area extends over 50 latitudes from north to south, taking up the equatorial belt, the tropics, the moderate temperature zone and the cold temperature zone. And from east to west it covers over 62 longitudes, and has longitudinal regular divisions of forests, grasslands, deserts, plains, hilly lands and high lands. The natural resources of China are coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest). The irrigated land is 498,720 sq km and the coastline is 14,500 km. The natural hazards are frequent typhoons (5 per year along the southern & eastern coasts), damaging floods, tsunamis and earthquakes. The current issues of the environment in China are air pollution from dependence on coal, produces acid rain; water shortages mostly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation estimated loss of one fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development.

The most famous and outstanding of philosophers of Taoism is Laoi more commonly known as Chuang Tzu. Taoism is said to be hard to understand, but is tells many truths and shows wisdom. Tao means the path or the way, it is known as the natural way the universe, the driving power in nature, the order behind all life and the driving force behind all living things. Taoist belief is if created by nature is thereby to be worshiped by nature. During the Tang Dynasty, small groups of Jews settled in China. The most prominent early community was at Kaifeng, in Henan province. In the 20th century, many Jews arrived in Hong Kong and Shanghai during those cities' periods of economic expansion in the first decades of the century, as well as for the purpose of seeking refuge from the Holocaust in Western Europe. Shanghai was particularly notable for its volume of Jewish refugees, most of whom left after the war, the rest relocating prior to or immediately after the establishment of the People's Republic. Today, the Kaifeng Jewish community is functionally extinct. Many descendants of the Kaifeng community still live among the Chinese population, mostly unaware of their Jewish ancestry. Meanwhile, remnants of the later arrivals maintain communities in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In recent years a community has also developed in Beijing.

More recently, since the late 20th century, along with the study of religion in general, the study of Judaism and Jews in China as an academic subject has begun to develop.

There are seven major dialects and many sub-dialects in China. The most common dialect spoken is known as Mandarin or Putonghua, this dialect is widely used by over 70 percent of the population. Putonghua is referred to as the Han language (hanyu) or Chinese.

The governmental structure of China is a communist state. The capital of China is Beijing. The government structure in 1987 was based on the State Constitution adopted on 12/4/1982, by the National People's Congress, China's largest legislative body. The NPC meets annually for about 2 weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and major personnel changes. When the NPC is not in session, its permanent organ, the Standing Committee, exercises state power. The 1987 government structure superseded the 3 previous state constitutions of 1954, 1975 and 1978. The1982 state constitution reflects Deng Xiapong's determination to lay an institutional foundation of domestic stability and modernization for China. The 1982 State Constitution is a lengthy, mixture document of 138 articles. The new constitution is deemphasizing the class struggle and place top priority on development and on incorporating the contributions and interests of nonparty groups that can playa role in modernization. The flag description of China is red with a yellow five pointed star and four smaller yellow five pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag, in the upper hoist side corner. The economy of China has changed vastly by the Chinese leadership from sluggish Soviet style centrally planned economy to a more market oriented economy but still within a severe political framework of Communist Party control. To end this the authorities have switched to a system of household responsibility in agriculture in place of the old closed society, increased the authority of local officials and plant mangers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. China has become the second largest economy in the world after the US Agricultural output doubled in the 1980's and industry also posted major gains. China's leadership approved additional long term reforms aimed at giving still more play to market oriented institutions and at strengthening the center control over the financial system.

Chinese art has varied throughout its ancient history, divided into periods by the ruling dynasties of China and changing technology, as well as influenced by great philosophers, teachers and religion. Early forms of art in China were made from pottery and jade in the Neolithic period, to which was added bronze in the Shang Dynasty. The Shang are most remembered for their bronze casting, noted for its clarity of detail. Early Chinese music and poetry was influenced by the Book of Songs, Confucius and the Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan. Early Chinese music was based on percussion instruments, which later gave away to string and reed instruments.

In early imperial China, porcelain was introduced and was refined to the point that in English the word China has become synonymous with high-quality porcelain. Around the 1st century AD, Buddhism arrived in China, though it did not become popular until the 4th century. At this point, Chinese Buddhist art began to flourish, a process which continued through the 8th century. Around this period, several well-known Chinese poets influenced Chinese poetry, which included Cao Cao and his sons and Tao Qian. It was during the period of Imperial China that calligraphy and painting became highly appreciated arts in court circles, with a great deal of work done on silk until well after the invention of paper.

Buddhist architecture and sculpture thrived in the Sui and Tang dynasties, and the Tang dynasty was particularly open to foreign influence. Buddhist sculpture returned to a classical form, inspired by Indian art of the Gupta period. Toward the end of the Tang dynasty, all foreign religions were outlawed to support Taoism. Also during this period, Chinese poetry thrived and the Tang is considered the "Golden age" of Chinese poetry. In this period, the greatest Chinese poets, Li Po and Du Fu composed their poems. Late Tang poetry was marked by the influence of two poets, Li Shangyin and Li Yu, the latter of whom introduced the stanza form. Painting from the Tang dynasty period mainly consisted of landscape that was to grasp emotion or atmosphere to catch the "rhythm of nature." Also in the Tang dynasty, Chinese opera was introduced.

In the Song dynasty, poetry was marked by a lyric poetry known as Ci which expressed feelings of desire, often in an adopted persona. Also in the Song dynasty, paintings of more subtle expression of landscapes appeared, with blurred outlines and mountain contours which conveyed distance through an impressionistic treatment of natural phenomena. It was during this period that in painting, emphasis was placed on spiritual rather than emotional elements, as in the previous period. Kunqu, the oldest extant form of Chinese opera developed during the Song Dynasty in Kunshan, near present-day Shanghai. In the Yuan dynasty, painting by the Chinese painter Zhao Mengfu greatly influenced later Chinese landscape painting, and the Yuan dynasty opera became a variant of Chinese opera which continues today as Cantonese opera.

Late imperial China was marked by two specific dynasties: Ming and Qing. Of Ming Dynasty poetry, Gao Qi was acknowledged as the greatest poet of the era. Artwork in the Ming dynasty perfected color painting and color printing, with a wider color range and busier compositions than Song paintings. In the Qing dynasty, Beijing opera was introduced; it is considered the one of the best-known forms of Chinese opera. Qing poetry was marked by a poet named Yuan Mei whose poetry has been described as having "unusually clear and elegant language" and who stressed the importance of personal feeling and technical perfection. Under efforts of masters from the Shanghai School during the late Qing Dynasty, traditional Chinese art reached another climax and continued to the present in forms of the "Chinese painting" (guohua). The Shanghai School challenged and broke the literati tradition of Chinese art, while also paying technical homage to the ancient masters and improving on existing traditional techniques.

Twentieth-century Chinese art was heavily influenced by the New Culture Movement, which adopted Western techniques, introduced oil painting and employed socialist realism. Twentieth-century Chinese poetry was also influenced by the Cultural Revolution but several poets attempted to resist the Cultural Revolution by incorporating pro-democratic themes. Contemporary Chinese artists continue to produce a wide range of experimental works, multimedia installations, and performance happenings which have become very popular in the international art market.

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12 July 2014. Author: Criticism