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See also: Chinese Dynasties (table)Chinese Dynasties
Dynasty Characteristics and History
Hsia  c.1994–c.1523 B.C. Semilegendary Emperor Yu built irrigation channels, reclaimed land. Bronze weapons, chariots, domestic animals used. Wheat, millet cultivated. First use of written symbols.
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Mandarin Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo [central glorious people's united country; i.e., people's republic], officially People's Republic of China, country (2010 pop. 1,339,724,852), 3,691,502 sq mi (9,561,000 sq km), E Asia. The most populous country in the world, China has a 4,000-mi (6,400-km) coast that fronts on the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. It is elsewhere bounded on the east by Russia and North Korea, on the north by Russia and Mongolia, on the west by Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and on the south by India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. China's capital is BeijingBeijing
or Peking
, city and independent municipality (2010 pop. 19,612,368), capital of the People's Republic of China. It is in central Hebei prov., but constitutes an independent unit (6,564 sq mi/17,000 sq km) administered directly by the national government.
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; ShanghaiShanghai
, city and municipality (2010 pop. 23,019,148), in, but independent of, Jiangsu prov., E China, on the Huangpu (Whangpoo) River where it flows into the Chang (Yangtze) estuary.
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 is its largest city.

See also the entries on Chinese architectureChinese architecture,
the buildings and other structures created in China from prehistoric times to the present day. Early Architecture

As a result of wars and invasions, there are few existing buildings in China predating the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
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, Chinese artChinese art,
works of art produced in the vast geographical region of China. It the oldest art in the world and has its origins in remote antiquity. (For the history of Chinese civilization, see China.
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, Chinese literatureChinese literature,
the literature of ancient and modern China. Early Writing and Literature

It is not known when the current system of writing Chinese first developed. The oldest written records date from about 1400 B.C.
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, and Chinese musicChinese music,
the classical music forms of China. Origins and Characteristics

Chinese music can be traced back as far as the third millennium B.C. Manuscripts and instruments from the early periods of its history are not extant, however, because in 212 B.C.
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 for aspects of Chinese culture that are not treated in this article.


China may be divided into the following geographic regions: the 12,000-ft-high (3,660-m) Tibetan plateau, bounded in the N by the Kunlun mountain system; the Tarim and Dzungarian basins of Xinjiang, separated by the Tian Shan; the vast Inner Mongolian tableland; the eastern highlands and central plain of Manchuria; and what has been traditionally called China proper. This last region, which contains some four fifths of the country's population, falls into three divisions. North China, which coincides with the Huang He (Yellow River) basin and is bounded in the S by the Qingling Mts., includes the loess plateau of the northwest, the N China plain, and the mountains of the Shandong peninsula. Central China, watered by the Chang (Yangtze) River, includes the basin of Sichuan, the central Chang lowlands, and the Chang delta. South China includes the plateau of Yunnan and Guizhou and the valleys of the Xi and Pearl rivers.

To the extent that a general statement about the climate of such a large country can be made, China may be described as wet in the summer and dry in the winter. Regional differences are found in the highlands of Tibet, the desert and steppes of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, and in China proper. There the Qingling Mts. are the major dividing range not only between semiarid N China and the more humid central and S China but also between the grain-growing economy of the north and the rice economy of the south.

China comprises 22 provinces (AnhuiAnhui
or Anhwei
, province (2010 pop. 59,500,510), c.55,000 sq mi (142,450 sq km), E central China. Hefei is the capital. Anhui may be divided into two climatic areas.
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, FujianFujian
or Fukien
, province (2010 pop. 36,894,216), c.48,000 sq mi (124,352 sq km), SE China, on Taiwan Strait. The capital is Fuzhou. The climate is warm and very moist, the terrain mostly hilly or mountainous.
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, GuangdongGuangdong
or Kwangtung
, province (2010 pop. 104,303,132), c.76,000 sq mi (196,891 sq km), S China. The capital is Guangzhou. On coastal islands and adjacent mainland territories are Hong Kong and Macao.
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, GuizhouGuizhou
or Kweichow
, province (2010 pop. 34,746,468), c.66,000 sq mi (170,940 sq km), SW China. Guiyang is the capital and chief city; Zunyi and Duyun are important towns.
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, HainanHainan
, island and province (2010 pop. 8,671,518), c.13,100 sq mi (33,940 sq km), China, in the South China Sea. The province, created in 1988, is coextensive with Hainan Island; Haikou is its capital, largest city, and major port.
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, HebeiHebei
or Hopei
, province (2010 pop. 71,854.202), 78,900 sq mi (204,404 sq km), NE China, on the Bohai, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The capital is Shijiazhuang. The province contains two autonomous municipalities administered directly by the central government: Beijing,
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, HenanHenan
or Honan
, province (2010 pop. 94,023,567), c.65,000 sq mi (168,350 sq km), NE China. The capital is Zhengzhou. It is sparsely settled in the mountainous western region but densely populated and cultivated in the east.
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, HubeiHubei
or Hupeh
, province (2010 pop. 57,237,740), c.72,000 sq mi (186,480 sq km), central China. The capital is Wuhan (formerly it was Wuchang, which is now part of Wuhan).
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, HunanHunan
[south of the lake], province (2010 pop. 65,683,722), c.80,000 sq mi (207,254 sq km), S central China, S of Dongting lake. Changsha is the capital. Largely hilly in the south and west, Hunan becomes an alluvial lowland in the Dongting basin in the northeast; the Xiang
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, GansuGansu
or Kansu
, province (2010 pop. 25,575,254), 141,000 sq mi (365,284 sq km), NW China. The capital is Lanzhou. Gansu is bordered by the Republic of Mongolia on the north. Its mountains include part of the Nanshan range and an extension of the Kunlun.
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, JiangxiJiangxi
or Kiangsi
, province (2010 pop. 44,567,475), c.66,000 sq mi (170,940 sq km), SE China. Nanchang is the capital. The largely hilly and mountainous surface is drained by many rivers; the longest is the navigable Gan, which flows NE to Poyang lake.
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, JiangsuJiangsu
or Kiangsu
, province (2010 pop. 78,659,903), c.41,000 sq mi (106,190 sq km), E China, on the Yellow Sea. Nanjing is the capital. Land and Economy
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, QinghaiQinghai
or Tsinghai
, province (2010 pop. 5,626,722), c.279,000 sq mi (722,797 sq km), W China. Xining is the capital. Qinghai lies in the Tibetan highlands at an average elevation of 9,800 ft (3,000 m) and is mainly a high, desolate plateau.
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, ShaanxiShaanxi
or Shensi
[west of the mountain passes], province (2010 pop. 37,327,378), c.76,000 sq mi (196,840 sq km), N central China. Xi'an is the capital. From north to south Shaanxi has four main regions—the loess plateau, fertile but dry; the Wei River valley,
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, ShandongShandong
or Shantung
[east of the (Taishan) mountains], province (2010 pop. 95,793,065), c.59,000 sq mi (152,850 sq km), NE China. Jinan is the capital. The eastern half of the province is a peninsula, situated between the Bohai on the north and the Yellow Sea on the
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, ShanxiShanxi
or Shansi
, province (2010 pop. 35,712,111), c.60,000 sq mi (155,400 sq km), NE China. The capital is Taiyuan. It is bounded on the west and the south by the Huang He (Yellow River) and on the north by Inner Mongolia. Much of Shanxi is a high plateau region.
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, SichuanSichuan
or Szechwan
[four rivers], province (2010 pop. 80,418,200), c.220,000 sq mi (569,800 sq km), SW China. The capital is Chengdu. A naturally isolated region surrounded by mountains, Sichuan is accessible to the rest of China by the Chang River, which flows
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, YunnanYunnan
or Yun-nan
[south of the clouds], province (2010 pop. 45,966,239), c.162,000 sq mi (419,600 sq km), SW China. It borders Myanmar on the west and Laos and Vietnam on the south. Kunming is the capital. The average altitude is c.6,500 ft (1,980 m).
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, ZhejiangZhejiang
or Chekiang
, province (2010 pop. 54,426,891), c.40,000 sq mi (103,600 sq km), SE China, on the East China Sea. The capital is Hangzhou. The province includes many islands, notably the Zhoushan Archipelago.
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, and, in the northeast (Manchuria), HeilongjiangHeilongjiang
or Heilungkiang
[Chin.,=black dragon river (the Amur)], province (2010 pop. 38,312,224), c.179,000 sq mi (463,730 sq km), NE China. The capital is Harbin.
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, JilinJilin
or Kirin
, province (2010 pop. 27,462,297), 72,000 sq mi (186,528 sq km), NE China; one of the original Manchurian provinces. The capital is Changchun. It is bordered by Heilongjiang prov.
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, and LiaoningLiaoning
, province (2010 pop. 43,746,323), c.58,400 sq mi (151,295 sq km), NE China, on the Bohai and Korea Bay. The capital is Shenyang (Mukden). A part of Manchuria, it encompasses the Liaodong peninsula and the plain of the Liao River.
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), five autonomous regions (TibetTibet
, Tibetan Bodyul, Mandarin Xizang, autonomous region (2010 pop. 3,002,166), c.471,700 sq mi (1,221,700 sq km), SW China. A Chinese autonomous region since 1951, Tibet is bordered on the south by Myanmar, India, Bhutan, and Nepal, on the west by India
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, the Inner Mongolian Autonomous RegionInner Mongolian Autonomous Region,
Mandarin Nei Monggol zizhiqu, autonomous region (2010 pop. 24,706,321), c.455,000 sq mi (1,178,755 sq km), NE China. It is bounded on the north by the Republic of Mongolia and on the northeast by Russia. The capital is Hohhot (Huhehot).
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, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous RegionNingxia Hui Autonomous Region
, autonomous region (2010 pop. 6,301,350), c.25,600 sq mi (66,321 sq km), N China. The capital is Yinchuan. Ningxia is part of the Inner Mongolian plateau, and desert and grazing land make up most of the area.
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, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
, province (2010 pop. 46,026,629), c.85,000 sq mi (220,150 sq km), S China, bordering on Vietnam. The capital is Nanning. Guangxi is drained by the navigable Xi River and its many tributaries.
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, and the XinjiangXinjiang
or Sinkiang
[Chinese,=new frontier], officially Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Mandarin Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu), autonomous region (2010 pop. 21,813,334), c.637,000 sq mi (1,650,257 sq km), NW China.
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 Uygur Autonomous Region), and four government-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin). The country officially divides itself into 23 provinces, numbering TaiwanTaiwan
, Portuguese Formosa, officially Republic of China, island nation (2005 est. pop. 22,894,000), 13,885 sq mi (35,961 sq km), in the Pacific Ocean, separated from the mainland of S China by the 100-mi-wide (161-km) Taiwan Strait.
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 as its 23d. Hong Kong became a special administrative region of China in 1997, and Macao achieved this status in 1999.


The Han Chinese (so called for the Han dynasty) make up approximately 92% of the total population. They are linguistically homogeneous in the north, where they speak Mandarin (the basis of the national language, known as putonghua, of China), while in the south Cantonese, Wu, Hakka, and many other dialects are spoken (some 108 dialects are spoken in Fujian prov. alone). Putonghua is spoken as a first or second language by roughly half of the population. The written language is universal; Chinese ideographs are common to all the dialects.

Non-Chinese groups represent only about 8% of the population, but the interior regions in which they live constitute more than half of the total area of the country. Among the main non-Chinese minorities are the Zhuang, a Thai-speaking group, found principally in Guangxi; the Hui (Muslims), found chiefly in Ningxia; the Uigurs, who live mainly in Xinjiang; the Yi (Lolo), who live on the borders of Sichuan and Yunnan; the Tibetans, concentrated in Tibet and Qinghai; the Miao, widely distributed throughout the mountainous areas of S China; the Mongols, found chiefly in the Mongolian steppes; and the Koreans, who are concentrated in Manchuria.

The constitution of the People's Republic of China provides for religious freedom, but religious practice is not encouraged. Traditionally, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and ancestor worship were practiced in an eclectic mixture with varying appeals, and these religions have experienced a revival. Islam, the largest monotheistic sect, is found chiefly in the northwest. There is also a small but growing Christian minority. In recent years there have been some well-publicized confrontations between the Chinese government and religious groups. Places of worship for unregistered Christian churches and traditional sects have at times been destroyed, leaders of such groups have been sentenced to death on apparently trumped-up charges, and orthodox Islamic practices have been discouraged or suppressed out of fear that they would be a focus for Muslim-minority separatists. In 1999 the government banned the Falun Gong (Buddhist Law), a spiritual group with broad appeal that has organized public protests, and began an ongoing campaign to eradicate the religion. There also have been a number of attempts to assert government control over Tibetan BuddhismTibetan Buddhism,
form of Buddhism prevailing in the Tibet region of China, Bhutan, the state of Sikkim in India, Mongolia, and parts of Siberia and SW China. It has sometimes been called Lamaism, from the name of the Tibetan monks, the lamas [superior ones].
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After the 1950s there was a steady migration of Chinese to growing industrial areas in outlying regions such as Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Qinghai, which at times has resulted in ethnic tensions and violence. In addition, there has been increased movement to urban areas since the late 1970s; urban dwellers outnumbered rural ones for the first time in 2011. Millions of workers who migrated from rural areas since the late 1990s were unable to obtain permanent jobs or government services in the cities because of the restrictions of the residency registration system, often called hukou. In 2001, under pressure from businesses, the government announced a gradual reform of the hukou system, but most aspects of it remain in place.


China has experienced tremendous economic growth since the late 1970s. In large part as a result of economic liberalization policies, the gross domestic product (GDP) increased tenfold between 1978 and 2006, and foreign investment soared during the 1990s. In 2007 China passed Germany to become the world's third-largest economy, and in 2010 it passed Japan to become the second-largest. These gains obscure, however, the fact that per capita wealth is still significantly less than that of many smaller economies. China's challenge in the early 21st cent. will be to balance its largely centralized political system with an increasingly decentralized economic system and increase domestic consumption to diminish its economy's great dependence on exports for growth.

Agriculture is no longer the leading source of employment, but it remains important, although extensive rough, high terrain and large arid areas—especially in the west and north—limit cultivation to only about 15% of the land surface. Since the late 1970s, China has decollectivized agriculture, yielding tremendous gains in production. Even with these improvements, agriculture accounts for only 12% of the nation's GDP. Despite initial gains in farmers' incomes in the early 1980s, taxes and fees have increasingly made farming an unprofitable occupation, and because the state owns all land, farmers have at times been easily evicted when croplands are sought by developers. Additional land reforms adopted in 2008 allow farmers to transfer land use rights.

Except for the oasis farming in Xinjiang and Qinghai, some irrigated areas in Inner Mongolia and Gansu, and sheltered valleys in Tibet, agricultural production is restricted to the east. China is the world's largest producer of rice and wheat and a major producer of potatoes, corn, peanuts, millet, barley, apples, sweet potatoes, sorghum, and soybeans. In terms of cash crops, China ranks first in cotton and tobacco and is an important producer of tea, oilseeds, silk, ramie, jute, hemp, sugarcane, and sugar beets.

Livestock raising on a large scale is confined to the border regions and provinces in the north and west; it is mainly of the nomadic pastoral type. China ranks first in world production of red meat (including beef, veal, mutton, lamb, and pork). Sheep, cattle, and goats are the most common types of livestock. Horses, donkeys, and mules are work animals in the north, while oxen and water buffalo are used for plowing chiefly in the south. Hogs and poultry are widely raised in China, furnishing important export staples, such as leather and egg products. Fish, chicken, and pork supply most of the animal protein in the Chinese diet. Due to improved technology, the fishing industry has grown considerably since the late 1970s.

China is one of the world's major mineral-producing countries. Coal is the most abundant mineral (China ranks first in coal production). High-quality, easily mined coal is found throughout the country, but especially in the north and northeast; China nonetheless also imports a significant amount of coal to satisfy its energy needs. There are also extensive iron-ore deposits; the largest mines are at AnshanAnshan
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,251,700), central Liaoning prov., China, on a branch of the South Liaoning RR. Its huge integrated iron and steel complex is the largest in China. It comprises iron and coal mines and numerous blast furnaces, open hearths, and finishing facilities.
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 and BenxiBenxi
or Pen-hsi
, city (1994 est. pop. 805,400), S Liaoning prov., China. It is an important heavy industrial center with rich iron and coal mines. Founded as a metallurgical center in 1915, it lies on the railroad from Shenyang (Mukden) to North Korea.
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, in Liaoning province. Oil fields discovered in the 1960s and after made China a net exporter, and by the early 1990s, China was the world's fifth-ranked oil producer. Growing domestic demand beginning in the mid-1990s, however, has forced the nation to import increasing quantities of petroleum. Offshore exploration has become important to meeting domestic needs; massive deposits off the coasts are believed to exceed all the world's known oil reserves.

China's leading export minerals are tungsten, antimony, tin, magnesium, molybdenum, mercury, manganese, barite, and salt. China is among the world's four top producers of antimony, magnesium, tin, tungsten, and zinc, and ranks second (after the United States) in the production of salt, sixth in gold, and eighth in lead ore. There are large deposits of uranium in the northwest, especially in Xinjiang; there are also mines in Jiangxi and Guangdong provs. Alumina is found in many parts of the country; China is one of world's largest producers of aluminum. There are also deposits of vanadium, magnetite, copper, fluorite, nickel, asbestos, phosphate rock, pyrite, and sulfur.

Coal is the single most important energy source; coal-fired thermal electric generators provide over 70% of the country's electric power. China also has extensive hydroelectric energy potential, notably in Yunnan, W Sichuan, and E Tibet; the Three Gorges DamThree Gorges Dam,
607 ft (185 m) high and 7,575 ft (2,309 m) long, on the Chang (Yangtze) River, central Hubei prov., China, 30 mi (48 km) W of Yichang. The largest concrete structure in the world, the dam itself was constructed from 1994 to 2006.
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, the world's largest concrete structure and largest hydroelectric station, is on the lower Chang (Yangtze) River.

Beginning in the late 1970s, changes in economic policy, including decentralization of control and the creation of "special economic zones" to attract foreign investment, led to considerable industrial growth, especially in light industries that produce consumer goods. In the 1990s a program of shareholding and greater market orientation went into effect. State enterprises continue to dominate many key or strategic industries in China's "socialist market economy," such as banking, oil, and telecommunications. In addition, implementation of some reforms was stalled by fears of social dislocation and by political opposition, but by 2007 economic changes had become so great that the Communist party added legal protection for private property rights (while preserving state ownership of all land) and passed a labor law designed to improve the protection of workers' rights (the law was passed amid a series of police raids that freed workers engaged in forced labor). The continuance of one-party rule, however, has made corruption a significant economic problem, both within the government and within state-owned corporations. China's exploitation of its high-sulfur coal resources has resulted in significant air pollution, and sewage, fertilizer runoff, and chemical releases and spills have led to significant water pollution. Major industrial products are textiles, chemicals, fertilizers, machinery (especially for agriculture), armaments, processed foods, iron and steel, building materials, plastics, toys, electronics, telecommunications equipment, automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, aircraft, commercial space launch vehicles, and satellites.

Before 1945, heavy industry was concentrated in the northeast (Manchuria), but important centers were subsequently established in other parts of the country, notably in ShanghaiShanghai
, city and municipality (2010 pop. 23,019,148), in, but independent of, Jiangsu prov., E China, on the Huangpu (Whangpoo) River where it flows into the Chang (Yangtze) estuary.
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 and WuhanWuhan
, city (1994 est. pop. 3,519,600), capital of Hubei prov., central China, at the junction of the Han and Chang rivers. The great industrial, commercial, and transportation center of central China, Wuhan comprises (since 1950) the former cities of Hankou, Hanyang, and
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. After the 1960s, the emphasis was on regional self-sufficiency, and many factories sprang up in rural areas. The iron and steel industry is organized around several major centers (including Anshan, one of the world's largest), but many smaller iron and steel plants also have been established throughout the country. Brick, tile, cement, and food-processing plants are found in almost every province. Shanghai and GuangzhouGuangzhou
or Canton
, city (1994 est. pop. 3,113,800), capital of Guangdong prov., S China, a major deepwater port on the Pearl River delta. Economy
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 are the traditionally great textile centers, but many new mills have been built, concentrated mostly in the cotton-growing provinces of N China and along the Chang (Yangtze) River.

Coastal cities, especially in the southeast, have benefited greatly from China's increasingly open trade policies. Most of China's large cities, e.g. Shanghai, TianjinTianjin
or Tientsin
, city and independent municipality (2010 pop. 12,938,224), NE China. In E central Hebei prov., it is a politically independent unit (4,400 sq mi/11,399 sq km) administered directly by the central government.
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, and Guangzhou, are also the country's main ports. Other leading ports are rail termini, such as LüshunLüshun
, formerly Port Arthur,
Jap. Ryojun, former city, SW Liaoning prov., China, at the tip of the Liaodong peninsula. It was formerly combined with Dailian (Dairen) into the joint municipality of Lüda; it now is an adminstrative unit of Dalian.
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 (formerly Port Arthur, the port of DalianDalian
or Talien
, Rus. Dalny, Jap. Dairen, city (1994 est. pop. 1,855,200), S Liaoning prov., China, on the Liaodong peninsula in the Bay of Korea.
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), on the South Manchuria RR; and QingdaoQingdao
or Tsingtao
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,584,100), SE Shandong prov., E China, on the Yellow Sea. With an excellent ice-free harbor, it is a major fishing and trade port of China, connected by rail with Yantai and Jinan. It is a special economic development port.
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, on the line from JinanJinan
or Tsinan
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,659,900), capital of Shandong prov., E China. It lies 3 mi (4.8 km) S of the Huang He (Yellow River) and is a railroad junction on the network linking Shanghai and Nanjing with Tianjin; it has connections to Qingdao and Yantai.
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. In the northeast (Manchuria) are large cities and rail centers, notably ShenyangShenyang
, formerly Mukden
, city (1994 est. pop. 3,762,000), capital of Liaoning prov., NE China, on the Hun River. It is China's fourth largest city and the leading manufacturing hub in a highly industrialized area.
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 (Mukden), Harbin, and ChangchunChangchun
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,810,400), capital of Jilin prov., China, on the railroad between Harbin and Dalian. An industrial city, it is one of the country's major center of transportation equipment production, including motor vehicle parts.
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. Great inland cities include Beijing and the river ports of NanjingNanjing
or Nanking
[southern capital], city (1994 est. pop. 2,224,200), capital of Jiangsu prov., E central China, in a bend of the Chang (Yangtze) River. It has served at times in the past as capital of China.
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, ChongqingChongqing
or Chungking
, city and independent municipality (2010 pop. 28,846,170), 592 sq mi (1,534 sq km), in SE Sichuan prov., China, at the junction of the Chang and Jialing rivers. It is administered directly by the national government.
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, and Wuhan. TaiyuanTaiyuan
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,642,300), capital of Shanxi prov., N China, on the Fen River, in one of the world's richest coal and iron areas. It is a mining and smelting center with a large iron and steel complex and plants making heavy machinery, chemicals, plastics,
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 and Xi'anXi'an
or Sian
, city (1994 est. pop. 2,114,900), capital of Shaanxi prov., China, in the Wei River valley. Situated on the Longhai RR, China's principal east-west line, it is an important commercial and tourism center in a wheat- and cotton-growing area.
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 are important centers in the less populated interior, and LanzhouLanzhou
or Lanchow
, city (1994 est. pop. 1,295,600), capital of Gansu prov., W China, on the Huang He (Yellow River) at its confluence with the Wei. It is a rail, highway, and air hub and the junction point to remote Xinjiang in extreme NW China.
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 is the key communications junction of the vast northwest. Although a British crown colony until its return to Chinese control in 1997, Hong KongHong Kong
, Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Shenzhen, Guangdong prov.
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 has long been a major maritime outlet of S China.

Rivers and canals (notably the Grand CanalGrand Canal,
Chinese Da Yunhe [large transit river], longest in the world, extending c.1,000 mi (1,600 km) from Beijing to Hangzhou, E China, and forming an important north-south waterway on the North China Plain. The canal was started in the 6th cent. B.C.
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, which connects the Huang He [Yellow] and Chang [Yangtze] rivers) remain important transportation arteries. Since the 1980s China has undertaken a major highway and paved road construction program, and more recently it has invested significantly in constructing high-speed rail lines; it now has the most extensive high-speed rail system in the world. The much of the nation, but especially the east, is now well served by railroads and highways, and there are major rail and road links with the interior. There are railroads to North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, and Vietnam, and road connections to Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Myanmar. In addition, pipelines connect China with the oil- and natural-gas-producing nations of Central Asia, where China has displaced Russia as the major foreign economic power. As part of its continuing effort to become competitive in the global marketplace, China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. The nation became the world's largest exporter of manufactured goods in 2009; its major trade partners are the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. China's economy, strengthened by more liberal economic policies since the 1980s, has in the 21st cent. greatly reduced many of its former inadequacies in transportation, communication, and energy resources.


China is a one-party state, with real power lying with the Chinese Communist party. The country is governed under the constitution of 1982 as amended, the fifth constitution since the accession of the Communists in 1949. The unicameral legislature is the National People's Congress (NPC), consisting of deputies who are indirectly elected to terms of five years. The NPC decides on national economic strategy, elects or removes high officeholders, and can change China's constitution; it normally follows the directives of the Communist party's politburo. The executive branch consists of the president, who is head of state, and the premier, who is head of government. The president is elected by the NPC for a five-year term and and is eligible for reelection. The premier is nominated by the president and approved by the NPC. Administratively, the country is divided into 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities. Despite the concentration of power in the Communist party, the central government's control over the provinces and local governments is limited, and they are often able to act with relative impunity in many areas.

China began to build a modern legal system in the late 1970s, after opening itself economically to the rest of the world. Since then it has developed legal codes in the areas of criminal, civil, administrative, and commercial law. The legal system is not independent of the government, however, a problem that is especially acute on the local level, where corrupt officials manipulate the process to protect themselves and limit citizens' rights.


Origins and Early History

The stone tools and fossils of Homo erectusHomo erectus
, extinct hominid living between 1.6 million and 250,000 years ago. Homo erectus is thought to have evolved in Africa from H. habilis, the first member of the genus Homo. African forms of H.
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 found in N and central China are the earliest discovered protohuman remains in NE Asia; some of the tools date to more than 1.3 million years ago. About 20,000 years ago, after the last glacial period, modern humans appeared in the Ordos desert region. The subsequent culture shows marked similarity to that of the higher civilizations of Mesopotamia, and some scholars argue a Western origin for Chinese civilization. However, since the 2d millennium B.C. a unique and fairly uniform culture has spread over almost all of China. The substantial linguistic and ethnological diversity of the south and the far west result from their having been infrequently under the control of central government.

China's history is traditionally viewed as a continuous development with certain repetitive tendencies, as described in the following general pattern: The area under political control tends to expand from the eastern Huang He and Chang (Yangtze) basins, the heart of Chinese culture, and then, under outside military pressure, to shrink back. Conquering barbarians from the north and the west supplant native dynasties, take over Chinese culture, lose their vigor, and are expelled in a surge of national feeling. Following a disordered and anarchic period a new dynasty may arise. Its predecessor, by engaging in excessive warfare, tolerating corruption, and failing to keep up public works, has forfeited the right to rule—in the traditional view, the dynasty has lost "the mandate of Heaven." The administrators change, central authority is reestablished, public works constructed, taxation modified and equalized, and land redistributed. After a prosperous period disintegration reappears, inviting barbarian intervention or native revolt.

Although traditionally supposed to have been preceded by the semilegendary HsiaHsia
, semilegendary first dynasty of China, which ruled, according to traditional dates, from c.2205 B.C. to c.1766 B.C. or, according to some modern scholars, from c.1994 B.C. to c.1523 B.C.
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 dynasty, the ShangShang
or Yin,
dynasty of China, which ruled, according to traditional dates, from c.1766 B.C. to c.1122 B.C. or, according to some modern scholars, from c.1523 B.C. to c.1027 B.C.
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 dynasty (c.1523–1027 B.C.) is the first in documented Chinese history (see the table entitled Chinese DynastiesChinese Dynasties
Dynasty Characteristics and History
Hsia  c.1994–c.1523 B.C. Semilegendary Emperor Yu built irrigation channels, reclaimed land. Bronze weapons, chariots, domestic animals used. Wheat, millet cultivated. First use of written symbols.
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). During the succeeding, often turbulent, ChouChou
, dynasty of China, which ruled from c.1027 B.C. to 256 B.C. The pastoral Chou people migrated from the Wei valley NW of the Huang He c.1027 B.C. and overthrew the Shang dynasty. The Chou built their capital near modern Xi'an in 1027 B.C. and moved it to Luoyang in 770 B.C.
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 dynasty (c.1027–256 B.C.), ConfuciusConfucius
, Chinese K'ung Ch'iu or K'ung Fu-tzu, Pinyin Kong Fuzi, c.551–479? B.C., Chinese sage. Positive evidence concerning the life of Confucius is scanty; modern scholars base their accounts largely on the Analects,
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, Lao TzuLao Tzu
, fl. 6th cent. B.C., Chinese philosopher, reputedly the founder of Taoism. It is uncertain that Lao Tzu [Ch.,=old person or old philosopher] is historical. His biography in Ssu-ma Ch'ien's Records of the Historian (1st cent. B.C.
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, and MenciusMencius
, Mandarin Meng-tzu, 371?–288? B.C., Chinese Confucian philosopher. The principal source for Mencius' life is his own writings. He was born in the ancient state of Ch'ao, in modern Shandong prov.
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 lived, and the literature that until recently formed the basis of Chinese education was written. The use of iron was the main material advance. The semibarbarous Ch'inCh'in
, dynasty of China, which ruled from 221 B.C. to 206 B.C. The word China is derived from Ch'in, the first dynasty to unify the country by conquering the warring feudal states of the late Chou period.
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 dynasty (221–206 B.C.) first established the centralized imperial system that was to govern China during stable periods. The Great WallGreat Wall of China,
series of fortifications, c.3,890 mi (6,260 km) long (not including trenches and natural defensive barriers), winding across N China from Gansu prov. to Liaoning prov.
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 was begun in this period. The native HanHan
, dynasty of China that ruled from 202 B.C. to A.D. 220. Liu Pang, the first Han emperor, had been a farmer, minor village official, and guerrilla fighter under the Ch'in dynasty.
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 dynasty period (202 B.C.–A.D. 220), traditionally deemed China's imperial age, is notable for long peaceable rule, expansionist policies, and great artistic achievement.

The Three KingdomsThree Kingdoms,
period of Chinese history from 220 to 265, after the collapse of the Han dynasty. The period takes its name from the three states into which China was divided. Wei occupied the north. South of Wei were Shu in the west and Wu in the east.
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 period (A.D. 220–65) opened four centuries of warfare among petty states and of invasions of the north by the barbarian Hsiung-nu. In this inauspicious time China experienced rapid cultural development. Buddhism, which had earlier entered from India, and Taoism, a native cult, grew and seriously endangered Confucianism. Indian advances in medicine, mathematics, astronomy, and architecture were adopted. Art, particularly figure painting and decoration of Buddhist grottoes, flourished. Feudalism partly revived under the TsinTsin
or Chin
, dynasty of China that ruled from 265 to 420, after the period of the Three Kingdoms. It was divided into two phases: the Western Tsin (265–317) and the Eastern Tsin (317–420).
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 dynasty (265–420) with the decay of central authority.

Under the SuiSui
, dynasty of China that ruled from 581 to 618. This short-lived dynasty reunified China in 589 after 400 years of division and laid the foundation for further consolidation under the T'ang dynasty.
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 (581–618) and the T'angT'ang
, dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907. It was founded by Li Yuan and his son Li Shih-min, with the aid of Turkish allies. The early strength of the T'ang was built directly upon the excellent system of communications and administration established by the Sui.
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 (618–907) a vast domain, much of which had first been assimilated to Chinese culture in the preceding period, was unified. The civil service examination system based on the Chinese classics and a renaissance of Confucianism were important developments of this brilliant era. Its fresh and vigorous poetry is especially noted. The end of the T'ang was marked by a withdrawal from conquered border regions to the center of Chinese culture.

The period of the Five Dynasties and the Ten Kingdoms (907–60), which was a time of chaotic social change, was followed by the SungSung
, dynasty of China that ruled 960–1279. It was divided into two periods: Northern Sung (907–1126) with its capital at Kaifeng and Southern Sung (1127–1279) with its capital at Hangzhou.
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 dynasty (960–1279), a time of scholarly studies and artistic progress, marked by authentication of the Confucian literary canon and the improvement of printing techniques through the invention of movable type. The poetry of the Sung period was derivative, but a new popular literary form, the novel, appeared at that time. Neo-Confucianism developed systematically. Gunpowder was first used for military purposes in this period.

While the Sung ruled central China, barbarians—the Khitai, the Jurchen, and the Tangut—created northern empires that were swept away by the MongolsMongols
, Asian people, numbering about 6 million and distributed mainly in the Republic of Mongolia, the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, and Kalmykia and the Buryat Republic of Russia.
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 under Jenghiz KhanJenghiz Khan
or Genghis Khan
, Mongolian Chinggis Khaan, 1167?–1227, Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy.
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. His grandson Kublai KhanKublai Khan
, 1215–94, Mongol emperor, founder of the Yüan dynasty of China. From 1251 to 1259 he led military campaigns in S China. He succeeded (1260) his brother Mongke (Mangu) as khan of the empire that their grandfather Jenghiz Khan had founded.
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, founder of the YüanYüan
, Mongol dynasty of China that ruled from 1271 to 1368. It was a division of the great empire conquered by the Mongols. Kublai Khan, who adopted the Chinese dynastic name Yüan in 1271, swept down from N China, which the Mongols had ruled since the 1230s, and
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 dynasty (1271–1368), retained Chinese institutions. The great realm of Kublai was described in all its richness by one of the most celebrated of all travelers, Marco PoloPolo, Marco
, 1254?–1324?, Venetian traveler in China. His father, Niccolò Polo, and his uncle, Maffeo Polo, had made (1253–60) a trading expedition to Constantinople.
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. Improved roads and canals were the dynasty's main contributions to China.

The MingMing
, dynasty of China that ruled from 1368 to 1644. The first Ming emperor, Chu Yüan-chang (ruled 1368–98), a former Buddhist monk, joined a rebellion in progress, gained control of it, overthrew the Mongol Yüan dynasty, and unified all of China proper.
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 dynasty (1368–1644) set out to restore Chinese culture by a study of Sung life. Its initial territorial expansion was largely lost by the early 15th cent. European trade and European infiltration began with Portuguese settlement of MacaoMacao
, Port. Macau, Mandarin Aomen, special administrative region of China, formerly administered by Portugal (2005 est. pop. 449,000), 10.8 sq mi (28.2 sq km), adjoining Guangdong prov.
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 in 1557 but immediately ran into official Chinese antiforeign policy. Meanwhile the ManchuManchu
, people who lived in Manchuria for many centuries and who ruled China from 1644 until 1912. These people, related to the Tungus, were descended from the Jurchen, a tribe known in Asia since the 7th cent. They were first called Manchu in the early 17th cent.
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 peoples advanced steadily south in the 16th and the 17th cent. and ended with complete conquest of China by 1644 and with establishment of the Ch'ingCh'ing
or Manchu
, the last of the Imperial dynasties of China. Background

The Ch'ing dynasty was established by the Manchus, who invaded China and captured Beijing in 1644, and lasted until 1911.
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 (Manchu) dynasty (1644–1912). Under emperors K'ang-hsi (reigned 1662–1722) and Ch'ien-lungCh'ien-lung
, 1711–99, reign title of the fourth emperor (1735–96) of the Ch'ing dynasty, whose given name was Hung-li. Under his vigorous military policy, China attained its maximum territorial expanse; Xinjiang in the west was conquered, and Myanmar and Annam in
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 (reigned 1735–96), China was perhaps at its greatest territorial extent.

Foreign Intervention in China

The Ch'ing opposition to foreign trade, at first even more severe than that of the Ming, relaxed ultimately, and in 1834, Guangzhou was opened to limited overseas trade. Great Britain, dissatisfied with trade arrangements, provoked the Opium WarOpium Wars,
1839–42 and 1856–60, two wars between China and Western countries. The first was between Great Britain and China. Early in the 19th cent., British merchants began smuggling opium into China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain.
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 (1839–42), obtained commercial concessions, and established extraterritorialityextraterritoriality
or exterritoriality,
privilege of immunity from local law enforcement enjoyed by certain aliens. Although physically present upon the territory of a foreign nation, those aliens possessing extraterritoriality are considered by customary
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. Soon France, Germany, and Russia successfully put forward similar demands. The Ch'ing regime, already weakened by internal problems, was further enfeebled by European intervention, the devastating Taiping RebellionTaiping Rebellion,
1850–64, revolt against the Ch'ing (Manchu) dynasty of China. It was led by Hung Hsiu-ch'üan, a visionary from Guangdong who evolved a political creed and messianic religious ideology influenced by elements of Protestant Christianity.
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 (1848–65), and Japan's military success in 1894–95 (see Sino-Japanese War, FirstSino-Japanese War, First,
1894–95, conflict between China and Japan for control of Korea in the late 19th cent. The Li-Ito Convention of 1885 provided for mutual troop withdrawals and advance notification of any new troop movements into Korea.
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). Great Britain and the United States promoted the Open Door Policy—that all nations enjoy equal access to China's trade; this was generally ignored by the foreign powers, and China was divided into separate zones of influence. Chinese resentment of foreigners grew, and the Boxer UprisingBoxer Uprising,
1898–1900, antiforeign movement in China, culminating in a desperate uprising against Westerners and Western influence.

By the end of the 19th cent. the Western powers and Japan had established wide interests in China.
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 (1900), encouraged by Empress Tz'u HsiTz'u Hsi,
 Tsu Hsi,
 Tse Hsi,
or Cixi
, 1834–1908, dowager empress of China (1861–1908) and regent (1861–73, 1874–89, 1898–1908).
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, was a last desperate effort to suppress foreign influence.

Belated domestic reforms failed to stem a revolution long-plotted, chiefly by Sun Yat-senSun Yat-sen
, Mandarin Sun Wen, 1866–1925, Chinese revolutionary. He was born near Guangzhou into a farm-owning family. He attended (1879–82) an Anglican boys school in Honolulu, where he came under Western influence, particularly that of Christianity.
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, and set off in 1911 after the explosion of a bomb at Wuchang. With relatively few casualties, the Ch'ing dynasty was overthrown and a republic was established. Sun, the first president, resigned early in 1912 in favor of Yüan Shih-kaiYüan Shih-kai
, 1859–1916, president of China (1912–16). From 1885 to 1894 he was the Chinese resident in Korea, then under Chinese suzerainty. He supported the dowager empress, Tz'u Hsi, against the reform movement (1898) of Emperor Kuang Hsü, and she
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, who commanded the military power. Yüan established a repressive rule, which led Sun's followers to revolt sporadically.

Early in World War I, Japan seized the German leasehold in Shandong prov. and presented China with Twenty-one DemandsTwenty-one Demands
(1915), instrument by which Japan secured temporary hegemony over China. Japan used its declaration of war against Germany (Aug., 1914) as grounds for invading Kiaochow, the German leasehold in Shandong prov., China.
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, designed to make all of China a virtual Japanese protectorate. China was forced to accept a modified version of the Demands, although the treaties were never ratified by the Chinese legislature. China entered World War I on the Allied side in 1917, but at the Versailles peace conference was unable to prevent Japan from being awarded the Shandong territory. Reaction to this provision in the Versailles treaty led to Nationalist flare-ups and the May Fourth Movement of 1919. At the Washington Conference (1921–22), Japan finally agreed to withdraw its troops from Shandong and restore full sovereignty to China. The Nine-Power Treaty, signed at the Conference, guaranteed China's territorial integrity and the Open Door Policy.

Yüan had died in 1916 and China was disintegrating into rival warlord states. Civil war raged between Sun's new revolutionary party, the KuomintangKuomintang
[Chin.,=national people's party] (KMT), Chinese and Taiwanese political party. Sung Chiao-jen organized the party in 1912, under the nominal leadership of Sun Yat-sen, to succeed the Revolutionary Alliance.
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, which established a government in Guangzhou and received the support of the southern provinces, and the national government in Beijing, supported by warlords (semi-independent military commanders) in the north. As cultural ferment seethed throughout China, intellectuals sought inspiration in Western ideals; Hu ShihHu Shih
, 1891–1962, Chinese philosopher and essayist, leading liberal intellectual in the May Fourth Movement (1917–23). He studied under John Dewey at Columbia Univ., becoming a lifelong advocate of pragmatic evolutionary change.
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, prominent in the burgeoning literary renaissance, began a movement to simplify the Chinese written language. Labor agitation, especially against foreign-owned companies, became more common, and resentment against Western religious ideas grew.

In 1921, the Chinese Communist party (see Communist partyCommunist party,
in China, ruling party of the world's most populous nation since 1949 and most important Communist party in the world since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. Origins

Founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, professors at Beijing Univ.
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, in China) was founded. Failing to get assistance from the Western countries, Sun made an alliance with the Communists and sought aid from the USSR. In 1926, Chiang Kai-shekChiang Kai-shek
, 1887–1975, Chinese Nationalist leader. He was also called Chiang Chung-cheng.

After completing military training with the Japanese Army, he returned to China in 1911 and took part in the revolution against the Manchus (see Ch'ing).
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 led the army of the Kuomintang northward to victory. Chiang reversed Sun's policy of cooperation with the Communists and executed many of their leaders. Thus began the long civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Chiang established (1928) a government in Nanjing and obtained foreign recognition.

A Communist government was set up in the early 1930s in Jiangxi, but Chiang's continued military campaigns forced (1934) them on the long marchlong march,
Chin., Changzheng, the journey of c.6,000 mi (9,660 km) undertaken by the Red Army of China in 1934–35. When their Jiangxi prov. Soviet base was encircled by the Nationalist army of Chiang Kai-shek, some 90,000 men and women broke through the siege (Oct.
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 to the northwest, where they settled in Shaanxi. Japan, taking advantage of China's dissension, occupied Manchuria in 1931 and established (1932) the puppet state of ManchukuoManchukuo
, former country, comprising the three provinces of NE China, traditionally called Manchuria. The Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931 and founded Manchukuo in 1932. Changchun, the capital, was renamed Xinjing [Chinese,=new capital].
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 (see Sino-Japanese War, SecondSino-Japanese War, Second,
1937–45, conflict between Japanese and Chinese forces for control of the Chinese mainland. The war sapped the Nationalist government's strength while allowing the Communists to gain control over large areas through organization of guerrilla units.
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). While Japan moved southward from Manchuria, Chiang chose to campaign against the Communists. In the "Xi'an Incident" (Dec., 1936), Chiang was kidnapped by Nationalist troops from Manchuria and held until he agreed to accept Communist cooperation in the fight against Japan.

In July, 1937, the Japanese attacked and invaded China proper. By 1940, N China, the coastal areas, and the Chang (Yangtze) valley were all under Japanese occupation, administered by the puppet regime of Wang Ching-weiWang Ching-wei
, 1883–1944, Chinese revolutionary and political leader. A supporter of Sun Yat-sen, Wang was sentenced (1910) to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate the regent of China.
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. The capital was moved inland to Chongqing. After 1938, Chiang resumed his military harassment of the Communists, who were an effective fighting force against the Japanese. With Japan's attack (1941) on U.S. and British bases and the onset of World War II in Asia, China received U.S. and British aid. The country was much weakened at the war's close.

The end of the Japanese threat and the abolition of extraterritoriality did not bring peace to the country. The hostility between the Chinese Nationalists and the Communists flared into full-scale war as both raced to occupy the territories evacuated by the Japanese. The United States, alarmed at the prospect of a Communist success in China, arranged through ambassadors Patrick J. Hurley and George C. Marshall for conferences between Chiang and the Communist leader Mao ZedongMao Zedong
or Mao Tse-tung
, 1893–1976, founder of the People's Republic of China. Mao was one of the most prominent Communist theoreticians and his ideas on revolutionary struggle and guerrilla warfare have been extremely influential, especially among Third
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, but these proved unsuccessful.

When the Russians withdrew from Manchuria, which they had occupied in accordance with agreements reached at the Yalta ConferenceYalta Conference,
meeting (Feb. 4–11, 1945), at Yalta, Crimea, USSR, of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.
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, they turned the Japanese military equipment in that area over to the Chinese Communists, giving them a strong foothold in what was then the industrial core of China. Complete Communist control of Manchuria was realized with the capture of Shenyang (Mukden) in Nov., 1948. Elsewhere in the country, Chiang's Nationalists, supplied by U.S. arms, were generally successful until 1947, when the Communists gained the upper hand.

Sweeping inflation, increased police repression, and continual famine weakened public confidence in the Nationalist government, and much of the population came to at least passively support the Communists. Beijing fell to the Communists without a fight in Jan., 1949, followed (Apr.–Nov., 1949) by the major cities of Nanjing, Hankou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. In Aug., 1949, when little Nationalist resistance remained, the U.S. Dept. of State announced that no further aid would be given to Chiang's government. The Communists, from their capital at Beijing, proclaimed a central people's government on Oct. 1, 1949. The seat of the Nationalist government was moved to Taiwan in Dec., 1949.

The new Communist government was immediately recognized by the USSR and shortly thereafter by Great Britain, India, and other nations. Recognition was, however, refused by the United States, which maintained close ties with Taiwan. By Apr., 1950, the last pockets of Nationalist resistance were cleaned out, and all of mainland China was secure for the Communists.

China under Mao

Mao Zedong and the Communists brought the soaring inflation under control and effected a more equitable distribution of food. A land-reform program was launched, and police control was tightened. During the first five-year plan (1953–57), agriculture was collectivized and industry was nationalized. With assistance from the USSR, construction of many modern large-scale plants was begun, and railroads were built to link the new industrial complexes of the north and northwest. On the international scene, Chinese Communist troops took possession of Tibet in Oct., 1950. That same month Chinese forces intervened in the Korean WarKorean War,
conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation.
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 to meet a drive by United Nations forces toward the Manchurian border. Large-scale Chinese participation in the war persisted until the armistice of July, 1953, after which China emerged as a diplomatic power in Asia. Zhou EnlaiZhou Enlai
or Chou En-lai
, 1898–1976, Chinese Communist leader. A member of a noted Mandarin family, he was educated at an American-supported school in China and a university in Japan. His involvement in radical movements led to several months imprisonment.
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 became internationally known through his role at the Geneva Conference of 1954 and at the Bandung Conference of 1955.

The Great Leap ForwardGreat Leap Forward,
1957–60, Chinese economic plan aimed at revitalizing all sectors of the economy. Initiated by Mao Zedong, the plan emphasized decentralized, labor-intensive industrialization, typified by the construction of thousands of backyard steel furnaces in place
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, an economic program aimed at making China a major industrial power overnight, was underway by 1958. It featured the expansion of cooperatives into communes, which disrupted family life but offered a maximum use of the labor force. The industrialization program was pushed too fast, resulting in the overproduction of inferior goods and the deterioration of the industrial plant. At the same time, agriculture was neglected. Many scholars have said that this neglect, rather than poor weather conditions as asserted by the government, caused the three successive crop failures of 1959–61; the widespread famine that resulted was responsible for from 15 million to as many as 55 million deaths.

A severe blow to the economy and political system was the termination of Soviet aid in 1960 and the withdrawal of Soviet technicians and advisers—events that revealed a growing ideological rift between China and the USSR. The rift, which began with the institution of a destalinization policy by the Soviets in 1956, widened considerably after the USSR adopted a more conciliatory approach toward the West in the cold warcold war,
term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and
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. There were massive military buildups along the USSR-Chinese border, and border clashes erupted in Manchuria and Xinjiang.

Hostility had continued meanwhile between Communist China and the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, who pledged himself to the reconquest of the mainland. The Communist government insisted upon its right to Taiwan, but the United States made clear its intention to defend that island against direct attack, having even given (1955) a qualified promise to defend the Nationalist-held offshore islands of QuemoyQuemoy
, Chin. Chinmen, Kinmen, or Jinmen, Taiwanese island group (1990 pop. 81,479), Taiwan Strait, just off Fujian prov., China, and c.150 mi (240 km) W of Taiwan.
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 and MatsuMatsu
or Ma-tsu
, Taiwanese island, in the East China Sea, off Fujian prov., China, E of Fuzhou, and c.100 mi (160 km) from Taiwan. Along with Quemoy, it remained a Chinese Nationalist outpost after the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949.
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 as well. China's relations with other Asian nations, at first cordial, were affected by China's encouragement of Communist activity within their borders, the suppression of a revolt in Tibet (1959–60), and undeclared border wars with India in the 1960s over disputed territory. In the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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, China provided supplies, armaments, and technical assistance as well as militant verbal support to North Vietnam.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the emphasis of China's foreign policy changed from revolutionary to diplomatic; new contacts were established, and efforts were made to improve relations with many governments. China continued to strengthen its influence with other underdeveloped nations, extending considerable economic aid to countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. Important steps in Chinese progression toward recognition as a world power were the successful explosions of China's first atomic bomb (1964) and of its first hydrogen bomb (1967), and the launching of its first satellite (1970).

Internal dissension and power struggles were revealed in such domestic crises as the momentous Cultural RevolutionCultural Revolution,
1966–76, mass mobilization of urban Chinese youth inaugurated by Mao Zedong in an attempt to prevent the development of a bureaucratized Soviet style of Communism.
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 (1966–76); the death (1971) in an airplane crash of defense minister Lin BiaoLin Biao
or Lin Piao
, 1908–71, Chinese Communist general and political leader. Lin was trained at Whampoa Academy, and during the Northern Expedition he rose to company commander in the Kuomintang army.
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 while he was allegedly fleeing to the Soviet Union after an abortive attempt to assassinate Mao and establish a military dictatorship; and a major propaganda campaign launched in 1973, which mobilized the masses against such widely ranging objects of attack as Lin Biao, the teachings of Confucius, and cultural exchanges with the West.

Economically, the emphasis in the 1960s and early 1970s was on agriculture. After the Cultural Revolution, economic programs were initiated featuring the establishment of many small factories in the countryside and stressing local self-sufficiency. Both industrial and agricultural production records were set in 1970, and, despite serious droughts in some areas in 1972, output continued to increase steadily.

China in Transition

In 1971 long-standing objections to the admission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations were set aside by the United States; that October, Communist delegates were seated as the representatives of all China and, despite the opposition of the United States, which favored a "two-China" membership, the Nationalist delegation was expelled. A breakthrough in the hostile relations between the United States and Communist China came with the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to Beijing in Feb., 1972. Although U.S. support of Taiwan remained a sensitive issue, the visit resulted in a joint agreement to work toward peace in Asia and to develop closer economic, cultural, and diplomatic ties.

Although Mao had resigned his position as chairman of the People's Republic during the failures of the Great Leap Forward, as chairman of the central committee of the Communist party he remained the most powerful political figure in China. (Liu ShaoqiLiu Shaoqi
or Liu Shao-ch'i
, 1898?–1969, Chinese Communist political leader. Liu joined (1920) a Comintern organization in Shanghai, where he studied Russian. While in Moscow in 1921, he joined the Chinese Communist party.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who succeeded Mao as chairman of the Republic in 1959, was deposed during the Cultural Revolution.) By the mid-1970s, political power was balanced between the moderates, led by Deng XiaopingDeng Xiaoping
or Teng Hsiao-p'ing
, 1904–97, Chinese revolutionary and government leader, b. Sichuan prov. Deng became a member of the Chinese Communist party while studying in France (1920–25) and later (1926) attended Sun Yatsen Univ., Moscow.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Premier Zhou Enlai, and the more radical heirs to the Cultural Revolution, led by the Gang of Four, which included Jiang QingJiang Qing
or Chiang Ch'ing
, 1914–91, Chinese Communist political leader, wife of Mao Zedong. Born Li Yun-ho, she changed her name to Lan Ping in 1938 when beginning an acting career, joining the Communist party the same year.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Mao's wife), Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan, and Zhang Chunqiao. Mao mediated between the two factions.

With the death of Zhou in Jan., 1976, the Gang of Four convinced Mao that Deng's economic plan, the Four Modernizations, would overturn the legacy of Mao's Cultural Revolution. Deng was purged in April, along with many of his supporters, as the Gang of Four consolidated their power. After Mao's death in Sept., 1976, however, a coalition of political and military leaders purged the Gang of Four, and Hua GuofengHua Guofeng
or Hua Kuo-feng
, 1920–2008, Chinese Communist leader. He was relatively unknown until he became minister of public security and deputy premier in 1975. As Mao Zedong's designated heir, he became premier following Zhou Enlai's death (Jan.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who had succeeded Zhou as premier, became party chairman. Deng was rehabilitated in 1977 and soon was recognized as the most powerful party member, although he was nominally deputy chairman to Hua. In 1980, Hua stepped down from the premiership in favor of Zhao ZiyangZhao Ziyang
or Chao Tzu-yang
, 1919–2005, Chinese Communist leader. He joined the party in 1938, was active as a local party leader during World War II, and by the 1960s was party secretary of Guangdong prov.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who was Deng's choice.

From 1977, Deng worked toward his two main objectives, to modernize and strengthen the economy and to forge closer political ties with Western nations. To this end, four coastal cities were named (1979) special economic zones in order to draw foreign investment, trade, and technology. Fourteen more cities were similarly designated in 1984. China also decollectivized its cooperative farms, which led to a dramatic increase in agricultural production. In order to control population growth, the government instituted a law limiting families to one child. Protests and widespread infanticide forced the government to moderate its policy somewhat, but the policy became the standard for roughly two thirds of the population; there was some additional easing of the restrictions in 2014.

The People's Republic of China reached a political milestone when formal diplomatic relations were established with the United States on Jan. 1, 1979. In 1980, the People's Republic took Taiwan's place in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. China had a brief border war with Vietnam in 1979 over Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, but China has generally been able to maintain peaceful foreign relations in order to advance its domestic agenda.

In the early 1980s, China reorganized the structure of the government and the CCP, rehabilitating many people purged in the Cultural Revolution and emphasizing the maintenance of discipline, loyalty, and spiritual purity in the face of increasing international contact. Declaring a policy of "One Country, Two Systems," China reached agreements with both Great Britain (1984) and Portugal (1987) to return to Chinese sovereignty the territories of Hong Kong (in 1997) and Macao (in 1999). In 1987, following a series of student demonstrations, Hu YaobangHu Yaobang
, 1915–89, Chinese Communist political leader, b. Hunan prov. A protegé of Deng Xiaoping, Hu became general secretary of the Communist party in 1980 and party chairman in 1981, effectively replacing Hua Guofeng as leader of the Communist party.
..... Click the link for more information.
, a reformist who had been named general secretary in 1980, was replaced by Zhao Ziyang, who was in turn replaced as premier by Li PengLi Peng
, 1928–, Chinese Communist leader, premier of China (1988–98), b. Chengdu, Sichuan prov., China. Orphaned at age three when his father was executed by the Kuomintang, Li became the adopted son of Zhou Enlai.
..... Click the link for more information.

The death of Hu in Apr., 1989, led to the series of protests that culminated in the violent military suppression at Tiananmen SquareTiananmen Square,
large public square in Beijing, China, on the southern edge of the Inner or Tatar City. The square, named for its Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen), contains the monument to the heroes of the revolution, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of
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. The government arrested thousands of suspected dissidents and replaced Zhao, who favored negotiating with the protesters, as Communist party secretary with Jiang ZeminJiang Zemin
, 1926–, Chinese government official, general secretary of the Chinese Communist party (1989–2002) and president of China (1993–2003), b. Jiangsu prov.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who became China's president in 1993. The incident brought on international economic sanctions, which sent China's economy into decline. International trade gradually resumed during the course of the next year, and in June, 1990, after China released several hundred dissidents, the United States renewed China's most-favored-nation trade status.

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre, China sought to avoid sharp political conflict with the West, as by supporting the United Nations coalition in the Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.


First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
..... Click the link for more information.
, but tensions continued over such issues as Taiwan. In 1995, in reaction to a U.S. visit by Taiwan's president, Lee Teng-hui, Beijing conducted missile tests in the Taiwan Strait, and in early 1996 China conducted military exercises and missile tests close to the shores of Taiwan, in an attempt to inhibit those voting in the Taiwanese presidential election. Although it released some dissidents, the regime continued to clamp down on dissent; examples of its hard line were the long sentences given out to human-rights activist Wei Jingsheng in 1995 and political activists Xu Wenli and Qin Yongmin in 1998. In July, 1999, the Chinese government outlawed the Falun Gong (Buddhist Law) spiritual movement after a group of several thousand rallied to urge the sect's official recognition. Official corruption, economic, social, and ethnic inequality, and oppressive rural taxes sparked an increasing number of public protests beginning in the late 1990s.

Economic change continued, with the encouragement of Deng Xiaoping, and in 1993 a revision of China's constitution called for the development of a "socialist market economy" in which the Communist party would retain political power while encouraging a free market economy. Deng died in 1997, and Zhu Rongji replaced Li Peng as prime minister in 1998. Floods inundated the Chang (Yangtze) River valley in Aug., 1998, killing over 2,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

In May, 1999, during the Kosovo crisis, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was mistakenly bombed by NATO, unleashing large anti-American demonstrations in Beijing. In the same month, China was accused by the United States of stealing nuclear design secrets that enabled it to substantially accelerate its weapons program. Nonetheless, a trade agreement was signed in November with the United States that led to Chinese membership (2001) in the World Trade Organization. Also in November, China advanced its space program with the test launching of an unmanned space capsule.

Relations with the United States again became tense in Apr., 2001, after a Chinese fighter and U.S. surveillance plane collided in mid-air, killing the Chinese pilot. Three months later Russia and China signed a friendship and cooperation treaty that seemed in part a response to the G. W. BushBush, George Walker,
1946–, 43d President of the United States (2001–9), b. New Haven, Conn. The eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, he was was raised in Texas and, like his father, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and Yale, graduating in 1968.
..... Click the link for more information.
 administration's arms sales to Taiwan and push to develop a ballistic missile defense system.

Beginning in 2001 the Chinese Commmunist party began yet another transition, both in its membership and leadership. That year, Jiang Zemin urged the party to recruit business people as members, declaring in the doctrine of the "three represents" that the party must represent capitalists in addition to workers and peasants. The following year, Jiang resigned as party leader and was replaced by Hu JintaoHu Jintao
, 1942–, Chinese political leader, b. Jixi, Anhui prov. A hydroelectric engineering graduate (1965) of Qinghua Univ., he joined the Chinese Communist party in 1964 and worked for the ministry of water conservancy until 1974, when he transferred to the Gansu
..... Click the link for more information.
. Hu replaced Jiang as president in 2003, and Wen JiabaoWen Jiabao
, 1942–, Chinese political leader, b. Tianjin. Originally a geologist, he worked for the Gansu provincial geological bureau (1968–82), where he was the head of its political section, and rose to deputy director general.
..... Click the link for more information.
 became prime minister. Jiang remained extremely influential, however, in both the party and the government, and retained his chairmanship of the powerful national and party military commissions until Sept., 2004.

The government's handling in 2003 of an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that began in S China harmed the nation's international image when the outbreak went unreported (and then underreported), enabling it to spread more readily. Severe measures instituted subsequently to curb the illness hurt the service sector of the economy, but by the end 2003 China had experienced a robust growth rate of more than 9% and a major urban building boom, resulting in part from the migration of rural inhabitants to the cities (22 cities had more than 2 million residents). In 2003, China and India signed a border pact that represented an incremental improvement in their relations, and two years later a new agreement called for the settlement of border issues between the two nations. Also in 2003 a trade pact giving Hong Kong businesses greater access to China's markets also was signed. In Oct., 2003, China became the third nation to put an astronaut into orbit when Shenzhou 5, carrying Yang Liwei, was launched; ten years later (Dec., 2013), it landed a rover on the moon.

Continuing vigorous economic growth in 2004 led the government to put in place a series of measures designed to slow growth to control inflation and reduce overinvestment. Also in 2004, relations with Taiwan become more strained with the reelection of Chen Shui-bianChen Shui-bian
, 1951–, Taiwanese political leader, president of Taiwan (2000–2008). Born into poverty, he obtained his law degree from National Taiwan Univ. in 1975 and practiced as a maritime lawyer.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who had previously called for Taiwan to declare formal independence from China, as the island's president. In Mar., 2005, China passed an antisecession law that called for the use of force if peaceful means failed to bring about reunification with Taiwan; the law sparked protests in Taiwan. At the same time, China welcomed visits from Taiwanese opposition leaders, who pledged to follow less confrontational approaches to relations with the mainland.

Early 2005 also saw increased tensions with Japan over how Japanese actions during World War II were treated in Japanese textbooks, over the possible appointment of Japan to a permanent UN Security Council seat, and over a disputed exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea. The issues sparked sometimes destructive demonstrations in China. Meanwhile, in Nov., 2004, China signed a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); under the accord, tariffs on many goods will be eliminated with the richer ASEAN members by 2010 and with the rest by 2015. Trade was also an issue with the United States, which called in early 2005 (and subsequently) for China to revalue its currency because of its large trade imbalances with China, whose economy continued its booming growth during into the following year. The tensions with Taiwan and Japan also continued into 2006, and the government became increasingly concerned with the disparity between richer urban and poorer rural China, which had become even more marked since the turn of the century and sparked a growing number of sometimes violent demonstrations. Shanghai's local Communist party leader, who was also a member of the politburo, was dismissed in Sept., 2006, for corruption, but the move was largely seen as a consolidation of power by President Hu rather than a concerted attempt to weed out corrupt officials.

North Korea's test of a nuclear weapon in Oct., 2006, highlighted China's complex relations with its northeastern neighbor. Although China is widely regarded as having more influence than any other nation with North Korea and objected to the test, it was unable to prevent it. Concerned about instability on the Korean peninsula and a potential influx of Korean refugees into NE China, China supported a resolution condemning North Korea and imposing sanctions but expressed reservations about searching North Korean ships and other trade traffic. China did, however, pressure the North to back down on conducting a second nuclear test.

Trade relations with the United States again became problematic in 2007. Following extremely strong economic growth in 2006, which contributed to China huge trade surplus and foreign currency reserves, the United States, under growing domestic pressure, instituted tariffs on some Chinese goods, asserting that the goods were illegally subsidized. China denounced the move, which appeared in part to have been made because of China's reluctance to revalue its currency more quickly. In May, 2007, China announced it would ease restrictions a little on the daily fluctuation of its currency, a largely symbolic move. Relations with the United States were also complicated by a successful Chinese antisatellite weapon test (Jan., 2007), which suggested that China might cripple U.S. navigation and communication satellites if the Americans aided Taiwan in the event of a Chinese-Taiwanese war. Inflation became an increasing problem during 2007 in the fast-growing Chinese economy, despite Chinese measures to control it, and China's trade surplus continued to grow (by almost 50% in 2007).

In Jan.–Feb., 2008, some of the harshest winter weather in a century caused hardships in central and E China, and severely stressed China's transportation and energy systems, leading to some industry slowdowns and stranding millions of Chinese New Year travelers. More than 300,000 troops and 1.1 million auxiliary forces were mobilized to clear roads, deliver supplies, and the like. In Mar., 2008, there were anti-Chinese protests and riots in Tibet, and Tibetans elsewhere in China, especially in neighboring provinces, also demonstrated against Chinese rule. The Tibetan protests also led international supporters of Tibetan autonomy or independence to use world events associated with the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics to demonstrate against Chinese rule in Tibet. In April, President Hu met briefly with Taiwan's vice president–elect; the highest ranking meeting with the Taiwanese since the Communist revolution, it signaled the likelihood of much less confrontational relations with the newly elected Kuomintang government of Taiwan. Regular commercial air service between China and Taiwan began three months later.

A devastating earthquake struck SW China in May. Centered on N central Sichuan prov., it killed at least 69,000 persons, many of whom died when substandard new buildings, including a number of schools, collapsed. Some 18,000 people were listed as missing, and more than 374,000 were injured. The disaster was notable for the largely uncensored media coverage it initially received in China, but after several weeks coverage was limited and public displays of mourning were suppressed by the police. In July, 2008, China and Russia signed an agreement that finalized the demarcation of their shared borders; the pact was the last in a series of border agreements (1991, 1994, and 2004).

In Sept., 2008, in response to signs that economic growth in China was slowing during the global financial downturn, the government reversed a five-year monetary-tightening policy intended to fight inflation and abruptly cut interest rates while also easing lending restrictions on Chinese banks. That same month a series of product contamination scandals (2007–8) involving pet-food ingredients, toys, and other products produced by Chinese companies culminated in a powdered-milk adulteration case that sickened more than 50,000 Chinese infants and affected both domestic and exported products and led many nations to ban or restrict imports of Chinese food products containing milk.

In a marked improvement in relations, China and Taiwan in November signed agreements that would increase direct trade and transportation between them; additional agreements have since been signed, leading to a landmark trade accord in June, 2010. Also in Nov., 2008, the Chinese government announced a major economic stimulus package, including infrastructure investments, in response to the global financial crisis and economic downturn that began in 2008 and slowed the growth rate of the export-driven Chinese economy. That helped reverse the slowdown significantly as 2009 progressed, and the economy grew by 8.7%, with growth surging higher (10.3%) in 2010. At the same tine, however, such spending also led (as had instances of lavish government spending earlier in the decade) to expenditures on new residential and business districts that were significantly underutilized.

Continuing export growth revived international concerns about the undervaluation of China's currency. China also used its enormous foreign reserves (more than $2 trillion) to provide international economic aid and increase its international influence. By mid-2010 robust growth led the government to impose restrictions on property sales in an attempt to prevent a speculative bubble, and interest rates and bank-reserves requirements were increased during the year. Meanwhile, in July, 2009, a Uigur protest in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, led to deadly anti-Chinese rioting and then anti-Uigur rioting by Chinese; hundreds were arrested, and the government sent troops into the city to reestablish control there. Xinjiang continued to be the site of recurring ethnic unrest in subsequent years.

China's extensive offshore territorial claims have become an increasing source of conflict in the region since 2010. In Sept., 2010, after a Chinese trawler collided with Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku IslandsSenkaku Islands
, small, uninhabited island group, 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), Okinawa prefecture, extreme SW Japan, in the East China Sea. Located 90 mi (45 km) NNW of Ishigaki in the Ryukyu Islands, the group comprises five generally low-lying coral islands and scattered islets.
..... Click the link for more information.
, an island group controlled by Japan but claimed by China, Japan accused the captain of intentionally crashing into the Japanese vessels. After he was not released when his ship and crew was, China demanded his release, canceled high-level intergovernmental meetings with Japan, and was reported to have halted the export of industrially important rare earths to Japan (and later to other Western nations). The captain subsequently was released, but the events strained relations between the two nations. China's increasingly influential and assertive foreign policy, to a large degree a natural outgrowth of its economic power, also complicated relations with other Asian neighbors, especially when disputed islands (and the potential surrounding resources) were involved. Chinese claims to the entire South China Sea led to tensions with Vietnam and the Philippines in 2011 and 2012, and its claim to the Senkakus led to renewed tensions with Japan in 2012, including sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in China and a significant reduction in purchases in Japanese products.

In Oct., 2010, Vice President Xi JinpingXi Jinping
, 1953–, Chinese political leader, b. Beijing. He is the son of Xi Zhongxun (1913–2002), a founder of China's communist guerrilla movement who served as minister of propaganda and education and then deputy premier before falling out of favor with Mao
..... Click the link for more information.
 was appointed vice chairman of the powerful party and government military commissions, a move regarded as signaling his likely appointment as Hu Jintao's successor. A 2011 World Trade Organization decision that China had violated trade rules in a 2009 case by restricting sales of magnesium and other raw materials led to renewed criticism of China's export limits on rare earths, and in 2014 the WTO concluded that those limits were also a violation. The Chinese government continued its efforts to battle inflation during 2011, but slower growth in the latter half of the year led to the easing of some of those efforts at the end of 2011; growth slowed further in subsequent years.

China's most significant political conflict and scandal in many years erupted in early 2012. Bo XilaiBo Xilai,
1949–, Chinese political leader. The son of Bo Yibo, a Communist revolutionary leader, he joined the Communist party in 1980. Bo studied history at Peking Univ. and earned (1982) a master's degree in journalism from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the ambitious and charismatic Chongqing party boss who was known as anticorruption crusader as well as a neo-leftist populist not of the more businesslike mold characteristic of Chinese leaders, was removed as the municipality's party leader after his deputy fled to the U.S. consulate in February. The incident was followed by accusations of corruption and abuse of power involving Bo and his family. By April Bo had also lost his party politburo and central committee posts; Bo, his wife, and his deputy were subsequently convicted (2012–3) of various charges.

Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as Communist party leader in Nov., 2012. Xi became Chinese president in Mar., 2013, and Li KeqiangLi Keqiang,
1955–, Chinese political leader. He became a member of the Communist party while performing manual labor in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information.
 succeeded Wen Jiabao as premier. Xi subsequently mounted a far-reaching anticorruption campaign that ensnared a number of high-ranking officials by 2014, but at the same time a number of anticorruption activists were also tried by the government on charges of disturbing the public order. Terror attacks by Uigur militants, which had been increasing and more deadly since 2011, notably began to target Chinese in areas outside Xinjiang in late 2013.

Chinese assertion (Nov., 2013) of an air defense zone that encompassed the Senkakus and an area claimed by South Korea was criticized by the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In Jan., 2014, Hainan province announced new fishing rules for the 60% of the South China Sea claimed by China (a claim not recognized by China's neighbors and other countries); the United States criticized the move as provocative, and other nations also denounced it. In Jan., 2014, Taiwan and China held their highest level talks since the Communists came to power, and in Nov., 2015, the presidents of the two countries met. There were ongoing tensions in the South China Sea with the Philippines and Vietnam in 2014, and confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels over Chinese oil drilling the sea led to anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam. China also use dredging to convert reefs in the sea into islets capable of supporting military forces, a process that continued into 2015. The work led to criticism from, and further tensions with, a number of SE Asian nations. Slowed economic growth in China had more pronounced effects in China and on the world in 2015; by late 2015 China's service industries had become the most important sector of the economy, replacing manufacturing. Suppliers of commodities to Chinese industries found their economies affected, and the Chinese stock market dropped sharply in the second half of the year and again in early 2016 despite several government measures intended to support, leading to spillover effects in world stock prices.


See A. D. Barnett, China on the Eve of the Communist Takeover (1963, repr. 1985) and Communist China: The Early Years, 1949–1955 (1963); F. H. Schurmann and O. Schell, The China Reader (3 vol., 1967); E. H. Schafer et al., Ancient China (1968); W. Franke, A Century of Chinese Revolution, 1851–1949 (tr. 1970); L. Bianco, Origins of the Chinese Revolution, 1915–1949 (1971); E. Snow, The Long Revolution (1972); C. P. Fitzgerald, The Southern Expansion of the Chinese People (1972) and China: A Short Cultural History (1985); J. K. Fairbank and D. Twitchett, ed., The Cambridge History of China (15 vol., 1978–); P. C. Huang, The Peasant Economy and Social Change in North China (1985); D. N. Keightley, ed., Early China (1985); J. Needham, Science and Civilization in China (6 vol., 1954–86); T. P. Lyons, Economic Integration and Planning in Maoist China (1987); S. A. Adshead, China in World History (1988); J. Y. S. Cheng, ed., China: Modernization in the 1980s (1989); I. C. Y. Hsü, The Rise of Modern China (1990); C. Smith, China (1990); K. Lieberthal, Governing China: From Revolution through Reform (1995); J. Becker, Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine (1997); R. MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution (3 vol., 1974–97); J. D. Spence, The Chan's Great Continent (1998); M. Loewe and E. L. Shaughnessy, ed., The Cambridge History of Ancient China (1999); A. J. Nathan, China's New Rulers (2002); T. J. Campanella, The Concrete Dragon: China's Urban Revolution and What It Means for the World (2008); J. Fenby, Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present (2008); Y. Huang, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (2008); P. P. Pan, Out of Mao's Shadow (2008); J. Keay, China: A History (2009); W. T. Rowe, China's Last Empire (2009); S. D. Sharma, China and India in the Age of Globalization (2009); F. Dikötter, Mao's Great Famine (2010) and The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945–1957 (2013); C. A. Ford, The Mind of Empire (2010); C. Hung, Mao's New World: Political Culture in the Early People's Republic (2010); R. McGregor, The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers (2010); J. and D. Naisbitt, China's Megatrends (2010); V. Goossaert and D. A. Palmer, The Religious Question in Modern China (2011); J. Y. Lin, Demystifying the Chinese Economy (2011); C. E. Walter and F. J. T. Howie, Red Capitalism (2011); X. Yan, Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (2011); F. Yang, Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule (2011); J. Zha, Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China (2011); J. Fallows, China Airborne (2012); R. Hart, Imagined Civilizations: China, the West, and Their First Encounter (2012); O. A. Westad, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750 (2012); J. Yang, Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962 (2012); X. Zhou, ed., The Great Famine in China, 1958–1962 (2012); R. Mitter, Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937–1945 (2013); D. Shambaugh, China Goes Global (2013); O. Schell and J. Delury, Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-First Century (2013).


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

China has a long history of spiritism. J. M. Peebles said, “English officials, American missionaries, mandarins and many of the Chinese literati (Confucians, Taoists and Buddhist believers alike) declare that spiritism in some form, and under some name, is the almost universal belief of China. It is generally denominated ‘ancestral worship’.” Dr. John Nevius said, “Tu Sein signifies a spirit in the body, and there are a class of familiar spirits supposed to dwell in the bodies of certain Chinese who became the mediums of communication with the unseen world. Individuals said to be possessed by these spirits are visited by multitudes, particularly those who have lost recently relatives by death, and wish to converse with them.”

A large part of the communication is focused on casting out demons, since there is a widespread belief that demons surround the living at all times. There is an equally widespread belief that the living are surrounded by the spirits of the dead.

Meditation plays an important role, with the ancient Chinese method best exemplified in the Taoist teachings. Divination is also considered important and is very popular; the I-Ching being the most popular method.


Nevius, John L.: The Chinese. Chicago: Revell, 1893
Peebles, J. M.: The General Principles and the Standard Teachings of Spiritualism. Mokelumne: Health Research, 1969
Spence, Lewis: An Encyclopedia of Occultism. London: Routledge, 1920



People’s Republic of China, the PRC (in Chinese, Chung-hua Jen-min Kung-ho-kuo).

China has the largest population in the world and is one of the largest countries in terms of area. Located in Central and East Asia, China has coasts on the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea of the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous coastal islands, the largest of which are Taiwan and Hainan. In the north, China borders on the USSR and the Mongolian People’s Republic; on the south and west, with Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, Laos, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam; and in the northeast, with the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. Area, 9.6 million sq km; population, 787 million, according to UN data for mid-1971. (According to the first census, that of June 30, 1953, the population was 590,195,000, excluding overseas Chinese; according to official Chinese data for 1957 the population was 656.6 million; since 1957 no official population statistics have been published in China.) The capital of China is Peking.

The PRC is divided administratively into 22 provinces (including Taiwan, which is under the control of the Kuomintang), five autonomous regions, and three municipalities under direct central control (see Table 1).

According to the constitution in force, adopted in January 1975, the supreme body of state power is the National People’s Congress (NPC). Deputies from the municipalities under direct central control, provinces, autonomous regions, and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are appointed to a five-year term through “democratic consultations.” The NPC’s permanently acting body is the Standing Committee, consisting of six members. The new constitution significantly extends the power of the armed forces (headed by the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China); they have been given a role in economic affairs. The constitution eliminated the post of the head of state (the chairman of the PRC), diminished the legal competence of the supreme bodies of state power and administration, and disbanded the procuratorial bodies.

China lies chiefly within the temperate and subtropical zones; a small part of South China lies in the tropics. With respect to natural features, China is divided into the eastern part, which lies in East Asia, and the western part, which is in Central Asia. A

Table 1. Administrative divisions of China
 Area (sq km)PopulationAdministrative center
Source: World Atlas, Peking, February 1972
 Anhwei . . . . . . . . . .130,00031,240,000Hofei
 Chekiang . . . . . . . . . .100,00028,320,000Hangchou
 Fukien . . . . . . . . . .120,00016,760,000Fuchou
 Heilungkiang . . . . . . . . . .710,00021,390,000Harbin
 Honan . . . . . . . . . .160,00050,320,000Chengchou
 Hopeh . . . . . . . . . .190,00041,410,000Shihchiachuang
 Hunan . . . . . . . . . .210,00037,180,000Ch’angsha
 Hupeh . . . . . . . . . .180,00033,710,000Wuhan
 Kansu . . . . . . . . . .530,00012,650,000Lanchou
 Kiangsi . . . . . . . . . .160,00021,070,000Nanch’ang
 Kiangsu . . . . . . . . . .100,00044,550,000Nanking
 Kirin . . . . . . . . . .290,00017,890,000Ch’angch’un
 Kwangtung . . . . . . . . . .220,00042,800,000Canton
 Kweichow . . . . . . . . . .170,00017,400,000Kueiyang
 Liaoning . . . . . . . . . .230,00029,500,000Mukden (Shenyang)
 Shansi . . . . . . . . . .150,00012,350,000T’aiyüan
 Shantung . . . . . . . . . .150,00055,520,000Tsinan (Ch’inan)
 Shensi . . . . . . . . . .190,00020,770,000Sian
 Szechwan . . . . . . . . . .560,00067,960,000Ch’engtu
 Tsinghai . . . . . . . . . .720,0002,140,000Hsining
 Yünan . . . . . . . . . .380,00020,510,000K’unming
 Taiwan . . . . . . . . . .36,00012,040,000Taipei
Autonomous regions   
 Inner Mongolia . . . . . . . . . .450,0006,240,000Huhehot
 Kwangsi Chuang . . . . . . . . . .230,00020,840,000Nanning
 Ningsia Hui . . . . . . . . . .170,0002,160,000Yinch’uan
 Sinkiang Uighur . . . . . . . . . .1,600,0007,270,000Urumchi
 Tibet . . . . . . . . . .1,200,0001,250,000Lhasa
Municipalities under direct central control   
 Peking . . . . . . . . . .17,8007,570,000 
 Shanghai . . . . . . . . . .5,80010,820,000 
 Tientsin . . . . . . . . . .4,280,000 

monsoon climate, ranging from moderate to tropical, and plots of lush vegetation amid cultivated land are characteristic of the eastern part of the country, which is marked by coastal lowlands, low-mountain relief, and medium-altitude mountains. The western part of China has highlands and large ranges, vast plateaus and intermontane depressions, and a dry continental climate with prevailing semidesert and desert landscapes. There is a marked contrast between the deserts of Sinkiang, which are hot from spring to fall, and the cold high plains of the Tibetan Highlands, which lie to the south. The zonal differentiation of the natural conditions and the intricate map of zonal boundaries are related to the varied structure of the surface and to the conditions of atmospheric circulation.

Coasts. In the east and south the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea of the Pacific Ocean wash the coasts of China. The coastline of the continental part of the country is about 15,000 km long. The shores of the East China and South China seas have many small coves and bays that are convenient natural harbors. The coast of the Yellow Sea is primarily lowlands, with few bays. The coasts of the Shantung and Liaotung peninsulas, which are elevated and quite rugged in places and have a number of harbors, are an exception.

Terrain. China is for the most part an elevated country characterized by high altitudes and complex orography. Three main regions are clearly distinguished: the Tibetan Highlands in the southwest; to the north of them, the Central Asian plains and plateaus, which stretch from west to east in a broad belt; and the lowland plains of East China with its border ranges.

The Tibetan Highlands are the highest part of China. The average altitude of the base of the plateaus is more than 4,000 m; some peaks rise to 6,000–7000 m. The highlands include the Chang Tang complex of vast plains, the drainless plateaus of Central Tibet, and a number of interior ranges (such as the Trans-Himalayas and the Tanglha Mountains), as well as massive outlying mountain structures, such as the Kunlun Mountains to the north, the Tahsiieh Shan to the east, the Himalayas to the south, and the Karakoram Range to the west. The last two mountain systems extend beyond China. The Kunlun Mountains (like other outlying mountains) have an asymmetrical structure—with steep exterior slopes and gentle interior slopes facing the Tibetan Highland; it consists of a number of high echelon-like ranges that extend from west to east. The Kunlun Mountains are paralleled to the north by the high Altyn Tagh, which in the east passes into the intricately structured Nan Shan mountain system, which also is characterized by high altitudes. An extensive tectonic basin, the Tsaidam Basin, with a floor about 2,700 m high, lies amid the Kunlun, Altyn Tagh, and Nan Shan.

The belt of the Central Asian plains and plateaus, with predominant altitudes of about 1,200 m, includes, in the west, the Kashgar and the Dzungarian plains, which are separated by the ranges of eastern Tien Shan. The low Turfan depression, whose floor lies below sea level (—154 m), borders on this belt in the southeast. To the east are located the plains and plateaus of the Gashun Gobi and the Ala Shan and Ordos deserts, which are separated by the Pei Shanmo, Ala Shan, and Yinshan Shanmo. The plains of the eastern Gobi and Barga lie to the east and northeast.

The lowland plains region of East China extends from north to south, for the most part along the coast of the Yellow Sea. The Sanchiang and North Khanka lowlands occupy the northernmost position, followed by the Sung-Liao Plain, which lies in a vast intermontane depression. To the south lies the North China Plain, which in the south includes the plains of the basin of the lower and middle courses of the Yangtze River. There also are numerous small lowlands with flat relief that run along river valleys and the seacoast. The plains are bounded by border ranges (the Jehol Highlands, Hsien Shan [Yen Shan], T’aihang Shan, Nan Ling, Yünnan Plateau, and partly the Greater Khingan and the Manchurian-Korean mountains).

Geological structure and mineral resources. Much of China is occupied by ancient platforms (the South China Platform and part of the Sino-Korean Platform) and by the Tarim and Tibetan massifs, which in the Proterozoic were joined to the platforms. The crystalline pre-Riphean foundation (gneiss, granite, metamorphic schist, and quartzite) reaches the surface chiefly in the regions of the Sino-Korean Platform (the Hsi-ni Shield). The sedimentary mantle of the platforms forms gentle folds and is faulted and thrust-faulted. It consists of marine deposits from the Upper Proterozoic and the Lower, Middle, and part of the Upper Paleozoic (lime and sandy-argillaceous rock) and of continental deposits from the Upper Paleozoic (coal-bearing in some places), Mesozoic (red, sandy-argillaceous deposits), and Cenozoic. In the Ordos and Szechwan basins the thickness of the sedimentary mantle reaches 7–10 km.

The Kunlun, Tsinling Shan, and Nan Shan mountain systems are a folded structure that was formed within the Paleozoic geosynclinal region during the Caledonian and Hercynian foldings. The Tien-Shan, Inner Mongolian, and other folded systems that cover the territory of China to the north of 42° N lat. are also mostly of Upper Paleozoic age. The Trans-Himalaya Range, the Himalayas, and the mountainous regions of the upper courses of the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salween rivers and of the islands of Hainan and Taiwan belong to zones of earlier—Mesozoic and Cenozoic—folding. The most recent movements of the earth’s crust, accompanied by seismicity, are manifested actively both in these zones and in the Tien-Shan and Kunlun.

China is rich in minerals. Deposits of coal and combustible shale in Liaoning Province (Fushun) are associated with Paleo-gene and Neocene deposits; in other regions, such as Penhsi (Pench’i) in Liaoning Province, Tat’ung in Shansi Province, and Huainan in Anhwei Province such deposits are associated with Permian and Jurassic deposits. Petroleum associated with Mesozoic and Meso-Cenozoic deposits is found in the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Karamai), Northeast China, Taiwan, and the provinces of Kansu (Yümen), Szechwan, Shansi, Tsinghai (Tsaidam Basin), and Heilungkiang. Iron ore deposits are concentrated in Liaoning Province (Precambrian ferruginous quartzite near the city of Anshan), the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Hopeh, Kiangsu, and Hupeh provinces. Bauxite is found in Shantung Province; manganese ore, tin, tungsten, mercury, copper, and polymetallic ores, primarily in the southeast; gold, in the Amur Basin and the west; and rock salt, in Szechwan Province.

Climate. The eastern regions of China are under the influence of monsoonal atmospheric circulation. In winter large flows of cold air from the interior regions of Asia (the winter monsoon) bring dry, clear weather to the east. In the summer East China is affected by oceanic air masses (the summer monsoon). The monsoon circulation affects above all thermal conditions and atmospheric humidity. Comparatively low air temperatures with large seasonal fluctuations are characteristic of the climate of East China. The average temperatures in January are — 20.4°C in Harbin and —4.6°C in Peking; in July they are 23°C and 26°C, respectively. The annual precipitation in East China ranges from 500 to 2,000 mm (more in places), declining to the north and northwest. Most of this precipitation falls in the summer.

The continental nature of the climate increases noticeably to the west and northwest (especially to the west of the Greater Khingan and T’aihang Shan ranges). The hot summer (the average temperature in July in the Turfan depression is 34°C) is followed by a cold winter, often with severe freezing temperatures. The average temperature in January is — 28°C in Hailar, in North China, and — 14.9°C in Urumchi, in the west. Little precipitation falls (less than 250 mm nearly everywhere on the plains, and about 50 mm on the Kashgar Plain and the Tsaidam Basin). Precipitation is irregular, falling primarily in the summer. In the Tibetan Highlands the climate is severe, with low winter and summer temperatures. At Gartok (in the upper course of the Indus River) the average temperature is — 11.8°C in January and 11.8°C in July, with significant daily fluctuations. Strong winds are common. In the eastern part of the highlands the annual amount of precipitation ranges from 250 to 750 mm, the western part being drier.

Glaciation is developed in the high-mountain regions of China. In the eastern Tien-Shan glaciers descend to 3,200–5,000 m, and in the Tibetan Highlands to 5,500–6,000 m. There is heavy glaciation in the Karakoram Range, Trans-Himalayas, Kunlun, and eastern Himalayas. However, because of the dryness of the climate the area of the glaciers is comparatively small (about 100,000 sq km).

Rivers and lakes. The eastern part of China has substantial surface runoff and a diversified river network. Among the rivers are such large ones as the Yangtze, Hsi Chiang, Min Chiang, and Huang Ho, each of which has an annual runoff of more than 50 cu km. An extremely uneven annual distribution of the runoff is characteristic of the hydrological conditions of the rivers in this part of the country: the maximum flow occurs during the wet season, but it is altogether negligible during the dry season. In the summer rainy season there are severe flash floods that often cause inundations on the Yangtze, Huang Ho, Huai Ho, and other rivers. The channels of many rivers have been diked to prevent floods and inundations. A number of large hydraulic structures and reservoirs (primarily in the basin of the Huai Ho) have been built to regulate the runoff. The basin of the lower course of the Yangtze River has numerous lakes, the largest of which are the Tungt’ing Hu, P’oyang Hu, and T’ai Hu. The lakes are natural regulators of the runoff; they receive flood waters and return them to the rivers during the low-water period. The rivers and lakes of East China are used extensively for navigation, irrigation, and fishing.

In northwestern China rivers are few, and there is no surface runoff over large areas. These rivers usually are small and flow into internal drainage basins, feeding lakes or being lost in the sand. In the dry period most rivers dry up. Large rivers such as the Yarkand and Aksu (tributaries of the Tarim) are fed in the mountains and summer high waters are characteristic of their hydrological regime. The rivers of Central Asia and of the plains of Northeast China are ice-bound for several months. In the west river water is used extensively for irrigation. The hydrographic network of the western and central part of the Tibetan Highlands has no external discharge, feeding the numerous, principally saline, lakes. The rivers here have little water and for a long period are frozen to the bottom. The sources of many of the largest rivers in Asia (the Huang Ho, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Brahmaputra, and Indus) are located in the eastern and southern parts of the highlands. In northwestern China and the Tibetan Highlands there are many lakes, the largest of which are the Koko Nor, Lop Nor, Baghrash Kol, Nam Tso, and Selling Tso. The lakes without outlets often have salt water.

Soil. Forest soils that have been greatly altered by agricultural use for thousands of years are characteristic of eastern China: there is a succession, from north to south, of turfy-podzolic, brown-forest, yellow-brown, and yellow soils, and various types of terra rossa. In addition to zonal types of soils in river valleys, and especially in river deltas, alluvial soils that are used extensively in agriculture are encountered. Loess soil, which is wide-spread primarily in the Huang Ho basin, is also of great agricultural value. Areas of saline soil that are used in crop cultivation after improvement are found on the seacoasts. Desert-steppe types of soil—chestnut soil, brown soil, desert-crust, and the gray-brown soils of the deserts—are characteristic of western China. In many regions they are heavily salinized and can be productive only when irrigated. Gray, mountain-chestnut, and mountain-meadow soils are developed here on the piedmont plains and in the mountains. Cold-mountain-desert soils are widespread in the Tibetan Highlands.

Flora. Eastern China is characterized by the richness and diversity of the flora (more than 25,000 species of plants). Relics of ancient flora, such as the ginkgo and metasequoia, are numerous. Because of the ancient dense colonization, forests have remained in small areas, primarily in the mountains. The lowlands are almost entirely cultivated. This part of the country has several clearly distinguishable regions (from north to south): the coniferous taiga in the Amur Basin, where Dahurian larch, Korean pine, and small-leaved varieties are characteristic; mixed and broad-leaved forests from the Amur to the Yangtze, which include broad-leaved coniferous and broad-leaved forests with oak, linden, maple, Korean pine, and Manchurian walnut (Juglans manshurica); subtropical evergreen forests located to the south of the lower course of the Yangtze (represented by trees of the Lauraceae, Camellia, and Magnoliaceae families); and tropical forests in the extreme south, consisting of mesophyllic (deciduous) and hygrophilous plant associations. Diverse lianas are abundant in the moist tropical forests. Mangrove vegetation is found on the southern coast.

The vegetative cover of the western, arid part of China is much poorer, with no more than 5,000 species of higher plants. The vegetation of Northeast China, which is relatively moister, is somewhat richer. Mixed grass steppes are developed in the area near the Khingan ranges. To the west, with the drop in total atmospheric precipitation, the tall-grass steppes are replaced by dry steppes that are of poorer composition, and still farther to the west by onion-feathergrass desert steppes and true deserts (with vast tracts of shifting sands and rocky regions which in places altogether lack vegetation). The steppes and semidesert regions of this part of China are used chiefly as pastureland. In the western part of the Tibetan Highlands cold mountain deserts with subshrubs and sparse grassy vegetation predominate. Hard-cushion perennial plants are typical. In the eastern part of the highlands the vegetation is richer and more varied. The slopes of the mountain valleys have subalpine meadows, coniferous and deciduous forests, and forest-steppes.

Fauna. The animal life of China is rich and diverse. The vertebrate fauna numbers about 3,500 species, including around 400 species of mammals and more than 1,000 species of birds. The greatest species diversity is observed in South and Southwest China, where species indigenous to the mountain regions of the Himalayas and contiguous parts of China are encountered in addition to representatives of tropical fauna (various species of apes, lemurs, loris, rhinoceroses, tapirs, and tigers). A Chinese type of fauna, represented by many endemic and autochthonous species (such as the Manchurian hare and the raccoon-dog), is characteristic of East China. Tropical species (apes, flying squirrels, the mongoose, and the clouded leopard) also are found here. In Northeast China representatives of Siberian taiga fauna (such as the red deer, musk deer, squirrel, lynx, and sable) are interspersed with southern species. In northwestern China the number of species of animals is relatively small, but the number of individuals of certain species is considerable. Within the desert fauna complex Przhevalski’s horse, the Asiatic wild ass, the Central Asian goitered gazelle, the Bactrian camel and jerboas are encountered; the Mongolian gazelle, Brandt’s vole, and the Mongolian sand rat are characteristic of the steppe and mountain-steppe complexes. The Tibetan antelope, addax, yak, and argali are specific to the Tibetan Highlands; rodents, predators (such as the wolf and Tibetan fox), and reptiles are numerous.

Preserves. The well-known natural preserves of China are the Wuying on the northeast slopes of the Lesser Khingan (Korean pine forests are protected) and the Sohsing P’ang in the Yünnan Highlands (where tropical forests and rare plants and animals, including the Indian elephant, are protected).

Natural regions. Northeast China (Tungbei), which occupies the northernmost position in China, includes the Greater Khingan Range, with chiefly steppe and forest-steppe features (with coniferous taiga in the north); part of the Lesser Khingans, where the low-mountain regions are covered with mixed larch-birch forests and forest-steppe; and the northwestern part of the Manchurian-Korean mountains, in which larch and mixed forests predominate. The Sung-Liao, Sanchiang, and North Khanka lowlands, which are densely populated and for the most part cultivated, lie among these ranges and mountain systems. East China includes the North China Plain with Shantung Peninsula and the Shansi Mountains and Jehol highlands, which surround it to the west and northwest. The plain is densely populated and is almost completely under cultivation. Wide-spread loess deposits exert a major effect toward activating erosion processes, increasing the solid runoff, and silting rivers. The surviving plots of natural vegetation are represented by steppes and forest-steppes.

Southeast China, which includes the Yangtze River Valley, Szechwan Basin, Nan Ling, Wu Shan, and Kweichow Plateau, lies primarily in the subtropics, which have a marked monsoon character, with cold winters and high humidity in the summer. The valleys are cultivated, and subtropical deciduous forests are found on the slopes. South China, which comprises the southern part of Yünnan Province, the southern coast, and Hainan and Taiwan islands, with its tropical natural features is characterized by a subequatorial moist monsoon climate with more even temperatures and lower minimum temperatures in winter that do not destroy the thermophilic vegetation. Monsoon tropical ever-green and deciduous forests are typical. Southwest China lies in the subtropical zone, in the mountainous part of Yünnan Province, and occupies a transitional position from the hot and moist subtropics of Southeast China to the harsher climate of the Tibetan Highlands. The region has heavily dissected terrain and landscapes of a markedly high-altitude zonal character.

Northwest China covers the vast territories to the north of Kunlun (the plains of Inner Mongolia, the Gashun Gobi, the Kashgar and Dzungarian plains, the Ala Shan and Peishan Shanmo plateaus and highlands, the mountain regions of the eastern Tien-Shan, and parts of the Mongolian Altai, Dzungarian Alatau and Tarbagatai). The aridity shows in the entire natural aspect of the region. Dry steppes and desert predominate, and rivers that dry up and salt marshes are typical. The Tibetan Highlands are the highest region in China. The climate is harsh, with low air temperatures; low precipitation, extremely thin air, and strong insolation are characteristic. Dry steppes and cold deserts predominate.


Fizicheskaia geografiia Kitaia. Moscow, 1964.
Fiziko-geograficheskoe raionirovanie Kitaia: Sb. st., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Chinese.)
Kovda, V. A. Ocherki prirody i pochv Kitaia. Moscow, 1959.
Petrov, M. P. Pustyni Tsentral’noi Azii, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966–67.
Li Ssŭ-kuang. Geologiia Kitaia. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Osnovy tektoniki Kitaia. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Chinese.)
Lesa i pochvy Kitaia. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from Chinese.)
Vostochnyi Kitai. Moscow, 1955.
Sinitsyn, V. M. Tsentral’naia Aziia. Moscow, 1959.
Severnyi Kitai. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from Chinese.)

V. T. ZAICHIKOV (physical geography) and P. N. KROPOTKIN (geological structure and minerals)

China is a multiethnic state. Apart from the Chinese, who call themselves the Han and who constitute 95 percent of the total population, more than 50 other peoples, who belong to various linguistic groups and families, live in the country. The Chinese live throughout the country but for the most part have settled in the eastern half. The Chinese language is divided into seven main dialects, and the differences among them are very great. The Hui, who live in the Ningsia Hui Autonomous Region, in Kansu, Shensi, Honan, Hopeh, and Tsinghai provinces, and in all large cities, also speak Chinese; they number 3,559,000 (here and hereafter the population is given according to the official figures of the 1953 census; later figures have not been published).

Other peoples inhabit the entire western part of China and a number of regions in the south and north. Peoples of the Turkic language group, including the Uighur (3,640,000), Kazakh (509,000), Kirgiz (71,000), and Salar (31,000), live in the north-west. The steppes and semidesert regions in the north and northeast are inhabited by peoples of the Mongolian group: the Mongols (1,463,000), the Tung (156,000), and the T’u (53,000). Peoples of the Tungusic-Manchurian group, including the Manchu (2,419,000; heavily assimilated by the Chinese) and Sibo (19,000), live in the northeast (Tungpei).

Peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group, including the Yi (3,254,000), Tibetans (2,776,000), Pai (567,000), T’uchia (549,-000), Hani (481,000), Lisu (317,000), Nasi (143,000), Lahu (139,000), and Chingp’o (102,000), have settled in the west (in Tibet) and southwest. Peoples speaking languages of the Tai group occupy a vast area in the south (in the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region and Kweichow, Yünnan, Honan, and Kwangtung provinces): the Chuang (7,030,000), Puyi (1,248,-000), Tung (713,000), Thai (479,000), and Li (361,000). Peoples of the Miao-Yao group, including the Miao (2,511,000), Yao (666,000), and She (219,000), have settled in small groups in the mountain regions of south China; peoples of the Mon-Khmer language family (the Kawa, 286,000) live in southwest China. Koreans (1,120,000) live in the regions of northeast China (Tungpei) that border on Korea; the Kaoshan (200,000) live in the central and eastern parts of Taiwan. The Kaoshan are the aboriginal population of the island and are related to the Malaysians. The Pamir Tajiks (14,000) live in southwest Sinkiang.

Religious Chinese follow Taoism, Confucianism, and the northern branch of Buddhism. All these religions are strongly intermingled, and it is difficult to delimit the number of their followers. The religion of the Tibetans and Mongols is Lamaism; among some peoples of the Tungusic-Manchurian group and partly among the Koreans and Daur shamanism is widespread, in addition to Buddhism and Taoism. The Hui and most of the peoples of the Turkic group are members of the Sunni sect of Islam (the Pamir Tajiks are Ismailis), and a number of peoples in south and southwest China are Buddhists of the southern branch, some of whom retain ancient animistic beliefs. Chinese is the official language. The Gregorian calendar is official, but a lunar-solar calendar is also used, especially in daily life.

In the first decade of the PRC (1949–59) the natural population growth exceeded 2 percent a year. Since the early 1960’s a policy aimed at planning (actually at limiting) the birth rate by increasing marital age and reducing subsidies to families with many children led to some reduction of the natural population growth in the period 1963–70—to 1.8 percent according to UN data. According to the 1953 census the number of males exceeded the number of females by 3.6 percent, and population below the age of 18 (children and adolescents) accounted for 41.1 percent of the total of 590.2 million.

Prior to 1949 there was significant emigration of the population from the southern regions of China, primarily to the countries of Southeast Asia, where about 15–20 million Chinese were living as of 1970. Since 1949 part of the Chinese population of these countries has returned to China.

The territorial distribution of the population is extremely uneven. The concentration of the population is greatest in the eastern regions—in the plains along the middle and lower course of the Yangtze, on the North China Plain, in the Chu Chiang Delta, on the lowlands along the southeastern coast, and in the Szechwan Basin—where the population density reaches 500 per sq km, at times exceeding 1,000 per sq km. Over a vast part of China—Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang, Tibet, and Tsinghai—the population density is less than 1 per sq km. The population is moving from Shantung, Honan, Hopeh, Hunan, Kiangsu, Anhwei and other densely inhabited provinces to less settled regions. The population is growing mainly through an influx of settlers from the interior regions of China in the northeastern provinces, chiefly Heilungkiang and Kirin, and also in Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang, Yünnan, Kiangsi, and Chekiang.

Among the economically active population (393.8 million, according to UN data for 1970) 67 percent are employed in agriculture. About 25 percent of the population live in cities. In 1957 there were 124 cities with a population of more than 100,000. The largest cities are Shanghai, Peking, Tientsin, and Mukden (Shenyang), with more than 3 million inhabitants each, and Dairen, Wuhan, Chungking, Canton, Harbin, Nanking, T’aiyüan, Sian, Lanchou, Ch’engtu, Tsingtao, Fushun and Ch’angch’un, each with more than 1 million inhabitants.

IA. M. BERGER and S. I. BRUK (ethnic composition)

Primitive social order (to the 14th century B.C.). In north China, where Chinese civilization was born, archaeological excavations have discovered the remains of primitive early cultures. Early Paleolithic sites with pertrified remains of Sinanthropus have been found in the Chouk’outien caves near Peking. The cultural remains of the Middle Paleolithic that are best known in China are called the Hot’ao, or Ordos, remains, after their location in the northern bend of the Huang Ho, near the Ordos (or Hot’ao). Paleolithic sites have also been found in south and southwest China. Remains of early Neolithic culture have been found primarily in north China. Numerous sites of the late Neolithic have been found in various parts of China. The late Neolithic Yangshao and Lungshan cultures, which succeeded each other, are primarily represented in north China (in Honan, Shensi, Shansi, and Shantung provinces). They date to the period of primitive social order. The people of the Yangshao culture (from approximately the middle of the third millennium to the middle of the second millennium B.C.) already possessed agriculture and animal husbandry but also engaged in hunting and fishing.

The Lungshan culture was succeeded by the Bronze Age Shang (or Yin) culture (16th-l 1th centuries B.C.). These cultures have many features in common. According to the traditions cited by later literary sources, the development of a primitive social order and its decay, which began in the Neolithic period and culminated in the Bronze Age with the rise of a class society, may be traced in general features.

Slaveholding society (14th century B.C. to the first centuries A.D.). The character of the early class society in the Shang (or Yin) era may be assessed on the basis of certain archaeological materials, in particular the Yin inscriptions on tortoise shells and animal bones, the earliest of which date to the late 14th or early 13th century B.C. However, the brevity of these inscriptions does not allow us to draw, with sufficient completeness or certainty, a final conclusion with respect to the social order of the era. Therefore it is interpreted differently: as a decaying primitive social order, as an early slaveholding system, as a developed slaveholding system, and as a feudal order. At the present stage of investigation it is possible to characterize this society as a society with features of a slaveholding system.

Analysis of the Yin inscriptions warrants the conclusion that by the late 14th century B.C. a state known as Yin had taken shape in ancient China. It held territory in the middle course of the Huang Ho. A hereditary monarch—the wang—was the head of state; the state represented the interests of the landowning aristocracy The oppressed classes consisted of communal farmers, tradesmen, and slaves, who for the most part were prisoners of war. Slave labor was used primarily in animal husbandry. Yin society retained significant vestiges of primitive social relations. The Yin state waged protracted wars of aggression against neigh-boring tribes, as a result of which its territory expanded and, by the 11th century, encompassed the modern provinces of Honan and Shansi and parts of Shensi and Hopeh. The culture that gave rise to the Chinese civilization of known historical times developed in the Yin era. The beginnings of a lunar calendar appeared, and writing came into existence—the prototype of the modern Chinese writing system. The Yin were conquered by the Chou tribe, who apparently were ethnically close to the Yin.

The Chou period lasted from the 11th to the third century B.C.; it is divided into the Western Chou (11th-eighth centuries) and the Eastern Chou (eighth-third centuries). During this period slavery was further developed. Between the ninth and sixth centuries slave recruitment was expanded through debtor slavery. As before, however, the communal farmers (nung-fu) remained the primary direct producers in agriculture. The wang was considered the nominal supreme landowner, and land ownership by the aristocracy and communal land ownership were practiced. The first Chou wangs placed the vast territory won by the Chou tribe under the control of their relatives, retainers, and military commanders, and after a time numerous kingdoms that fought among themselves arose. In the course of the fighting, large kingdoms, whose rulers began to ignore the authority of the Chou wang, gradually became established. In 770 B.C., because of the threat of an attack by nomads, the eastern capital was transferred to Loyang (in what is now Honan Province), and the Eastern Chou period (770–256 B.C.) began; it was characterized by the gradual conversion of the Chou wangs into nominal rulers. As early as the seventh or sixth century the Chou monarchy actually had lost control to its once subordinate kingdoms. From this time on a number of large kingdoms took shape—the Ch’i, Ch’u, Ch’in, Chin, Sung, Wu, Yüeh, and Lu.

Beginning in the sixth century B.C., and especially in the Chan Kuo period (the “warring states” of the fifth to third centuries), a significant upswing in productive forces took place. The spread of iron and the use of iron implements led to the expansion of agricultural production and to improved agricultural techniques. The trades began to specialize, commerce developed, and cities were built. Private ownership of the land arose; arable communal land became the hereditary property of the farmers and later the private property of the commune members. As a result of the land tax reforms carried out between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C., a land tax was introduced in a number of states to replace the tilling of “public fields” (kung t’ien) by the communal members; the income went to the aristocracy. Reforms in the Ch’in state, which contributed to the extensive spreading of the unrestricted purchase and sale of land, were carried out between 359 and 348 in quite radical forms, but this was later than in other states.

The class contradictions and heightened political struggle among the various states were reflected in ideology. Between the sixth and third centuries the principal philosophical schools took shape: Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism (the teachings of the philosopher Mo-tzu), and Fa-chia (the Legalist school). An acute struggle was waged among them. The Confucians called for the retention of existing customs and the strengthening of rule by the old hereditary aristocracy on the basis of Confucian ethics (filial reverence for parents, loyalty of the inferior to the superior, and so forth). The Mohists advocated expansion of the political participation of urban tradesmen and free farmers in national affairs and opposed the privileges of the hereditary land-owning aristocracy. In the fifth and fourth centuries the struggle was waged primarily between Confucianism and Mohism. Later, in the third century, members of the Fa-chia continued and intensified the ideological campaign against Confucianism. The Legalist school advocated unification of the country under a single ruler—a despot—and called for national government based on strict laws.

The wars among the states in the Chan Kuo period culminated in the victory of the Ch’in state and the formation of the first centralized empire in China, the Ch’in Empire (221–207 B.C.). Its founder and first emperor, Ch’in Shih Huang-ti, carried out a number of reforms that united and strengthened the country. Under him the walls of the northern states were joined, creating the Great Wall of China. Ch’in Shih Huang-ti patronized representatives of the Legalist School, appointing them to high posts, and at the same time persecuted the Confucians, having them executed and burning their works. As a result of the popular uprisings (209–206) under the leadership of Ch’en Sheng, Wu Kuang, and later Liu Pang, which arose because of the cruel oppression, higher taxes, and labor and military obligations, the Ch’in Empire ceased to exist.

Liu Pang (Kao Tsu) founded a new dynasty and empire—the Former (Western) Han (206 B.C. to A.D. 25). The “strong homes,” a form of landowning with unique estate-fortresses with their own armed guard, were a new development in the agrarian relationships of this time. During the Han Empire large trade centers (Loyang, Ch’engtu, Hantan, and Lintzu) appeared, and commodity-money relationships and domestic and foreign trade developed. During the reign of Wu-ti (140–87 B.C.), Confucianism, restored and reformed, was recognized as the predominate official ideology and became the bulwark of monarchical authority. The Western Han Empire waged protracted wars of aggression against neighboring peoples (such as the Hsiung-nu and Ch’iang). The trade route passing through Dzungaria and East Turkestan (Kashgaria) westward to Middle Asia and the Near East—the “silk route”—was established, and the territory of Nam Viet-Au Lak, a Viet state in what is now Kwangtung Province, Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region, and the northern part of the Indochina Peninsula was conquered. The southern parts of the modern provinces of Chekiang and Fukien were taken, the southwestern tribes were subdued, and the territory of the Korean state Choson (Ch’ao-hsien) was seized.

In the Western Han Empire slavery, combined with the feudal order, attained its highest development, causing a heightening of social contradictions. Wang Mang, who seized the throne and ruled from A.D. 9 to A.D. 23, tried to abolish private ownership of the land and prohibited the purchase and sale of slaves. He also carried out other reforms, but they did not lead to a stabilization of the political situation in China. Large-scale uprisings of peasants, soldiers, and slaves broke out. The participants in the uprisings are known historically as the Red Eyebrows and Dwellers in the Green Forests (17–27). After the insurgents captured the capital, Ch’angan, in 25, the Western Han Empire was destroyed. During the struggle against the insurgents the landowning aristocracy founded a new dynasty—the Later, or Eastern, Han (25–220), headed by Liu Hsiu. In late 27 the uprising of the Red Eyebrows was suppressed, but only in 37 did Liu Hsiu succeed in uniting the country, relying on the “strong homes.” Feudal-type relations developed still further in the Eastern Han Empire. The first rulers of the Eastern Han Dynasty made some concessions to the peasantry, alleviating the tax burden. The empire conducted economic and cultural exchange with Western countries over both the silk route and southern seaway.

Beginning in the mid-first century A.D., after the stabilization and consolidation of the situation in the country, the Eastern Han Dynasty began to carry out a policy of foreign expansion. Military operations were accompanied by the energetic diplomatic actions of the general Pan Ch’ao, who subordinated a number of holdings in Dzungaria and East Turkestan to vassal dependence on the Eastern Han Dynasty. However, after Pan Ch’ao’s death many of the vassals of the Han Empire revolted. As a result of the massive peasant revolts between 184 and 204, the government of the Eastern Han Dynasty fell into decline. During the struggle against the insurgent peasants the main military commanders who led feudal military groups became independent de facto of the central government. By 220 they had destroyed the Eastern Han Empire and created in its ruins three states, the period of whose existence was called the San-Kuo (the Three Kingdoms, 220–280).

Many modern Chinese and Soviet historians consider the fall of the Han Empire to be the turning point in the development of the social order, when the transition from the slaveholding formation to the feudal system was finally completed. However, there are other opinions concerning the transition. Many Chinese authors date the start of feudalism in China to the 11th century B.C. (Fan Wen-Ian, Lü Chen-yü, Chien Po-tsan); others date it to the fifth century B.C. (Kuo Mo-jo and his school); and a small number place it between the third and fifth centuries A.D. (Shang Yu-o, Wang Chung-lo). In Soviet historiography the replacement of the slaveholding formation in China by the feudal system has been assigned to the fifth to third centuries B.C. (V. M. Shtein and others), the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. (L. I. Duman), and the third to fifth centuries A.D. (N. I. Konrad, L. V. Simonovskaia, L. S. Perelomov).

Feudal China (first centuries A.D. to the 1840’s). By the first centuries A.D. feudal relations had definitely been established and were becoming predominant. Large-scale feudal land owner-ship with the right of free purchase and sale was strengthened, the large-scale landowning of the “strong homes” was consolidated, and a system of allotment landowning on state land was developed.

The period of the Three Kingdoms, which was marked by fighting among the Wei (220–265), Shu (221–263), and Wu (222–280) states, came to an end in 280 with the unification of the country, for a short time, under the Western Chin Dynasty (265–316). The Western Chin Empire, weakened by a 15-year-long internecine struggle among feudal groups (291–306) and by peasant revolts, was unable to repulse the invasion of the nomadic peoples, who destroyed it in late 316, capturing all of north China, where 16 non-Chinese kingdoms were established at various times. In the south, where a large part of the Chinese aristocracy had moved from the north, the dynasty was reestablished; it was called the Eastern Chin (317–420).

The fighting in north China among the non-Chinese states continued for more than 100 years. In the course of the struggle the strongest of these states, the T’o-pa, or Northern, Wei (386–535), which was founded by the Hsien-pi tribe of the T’o-pa destroyed its competitors and united all of north China under its authority. The period to the end of the sixth century is known historically as the Nan Pei Ch’ao (the Southern and Northern Dynasties; 386–589, or 420–589) and was characterized by wars between the northern and southern states and by internecine fighting among feudal lords within states. In the Nan Pei Ch’ao period the system of allotment landowning, which at that time was called the equal-field system (Chün-t’ien chih), was developed. Between the fourth and sixth centuries landowning by religious groups (Buddhist) developed, primarily in North China, where by the early sixth century there were about 30,000 Buddhist monasteries with 2 million monks (Buddhism had penetrated into China from India in the first century A.D.).

After protracted and fierce fighting among the feudal military groups, Yang Chien, a military commander of the Northern Chou state (557–581), defeated his rivals and founded the Sui Dynasty (581–618), which in 589 united all of China. The Sui Dynasty waged wars of aggression on the Korean Peninsula against the Koguryo state in 611–614 and in the south against the Vietnamese Van Xuan state, which was captured by the Sui emperor in 603. Protracted and costly wars, construction of the Grand Canal, which connected the Pai Ho and Huang Ho with the Yangtze, and construction of palaces produced an extraordinary increase in state expenditures, leading to an increase in the taxes collected from the peasantry and in feudal obligations. The Sui Dynasty fell under attack from peasant insurgents and feudal military groups that exploited the uprising. The new T’ang Dynasty (618–907) was founded by Li Yüan (the Emperor Kao Tsu, who ruled from 618 to 626), a deputy from T’aiyüan. The nests of resistance of the peasant insurgents and of local separatist forces were suppressed. To alleviate social contradictions, the quitrent was temporarily reduced and labor conscription was curtailed.

The system of state examination (k’o-chü) played a major role in the T’ang Empire. Successful passing of these examinations and the acquisition of a scholarly degree gave access to state service. In introducing this system the T’ang emperors tried to undermine the influence of the aristocracy and to create a class of civil servants entirely dependent on the imperial court. By the late seventh century the military might of the T’ang Empire had grown and its territory had expanded through wars of aggression against its neighbors. In 630 the Eastern Turkish Khanate was destroyed. After the defeat inflicted by the T’ang army on troops of the Western Turkish Khanate (657), the states in Dzungaria and East Turkestan became vassals of China for a time, although only nominally. In the northeast, on the Korean Peninsula, one of the Korean states, Koguryo, was destroyed (in 688), and the Antung administrative protectorate was created in its stead.

A new stage of the feudal formation resulting from the further growth of productive forces began in the eighth century. China entered into the stage of developed feudalism. Sown land increased through the plowing of new land, and agricultural specialization appeared; new crops, tea in particular (between the eighth and tenth centuries), were introduced, and cotton growing was begun. The agricultural relations of the period were marked by enslavement of the peasantry, by an increase in large-scale land ownership, and by further development of local land-owning, and, beginning in the eighth century, of large-scale landowning by military governors (the chieh-tu-shih). The growth of private land ownership and the concentration of the land in the hands of large-scale landowners weakened state ownership of the land, thus undermining the system of allotment landowning, whose final elimination was affirmed by the Yang Yen reforms of 780.

State-controlled and private crafts developed, and the cities— the centers of commerce and crafts—grew. Merchant guilds (hang) began to play an important role in commerce and crafts. Maritime trade, which in the eighth century was conducted chiefly with India and Iran through Canton, developed; trade relations also existed with the Arab Caliphate, Korea, and Japan. The country experienced a significant cultural upswing. The T’ang period is considered to be the golden age of poetry. At the same time the novella, essays on social and political questions, and the fine arts developed.

From the mid-eighth century the struggle between the central government and military governors on the periphery of the empire who often were appointed from among military commanders of non-Chinese origin, intensified. The An Lu-Shan revolt and other uprisings between 755 and 763 were a clear manifestation of this struggle. The weakening and decay of the centralized government of the T’ang Empire and a waning of its military strength were the result of the revolt. Subsequently, heightened class contradictions led to a peasant war under the leadership of Huang Ch’ao and Wang Hsien-chi, which finally undermined the government of the T’ang Dynasty. It was replaced by a period of national decentralization and struggle among various feudal cliques, which is known historically as the Wu Tai (Five Dynasties, 907–960). In 960 the military commander Chao K’uang-yin, after leading a revolt that overthrew the Later Chou Dynasty (951–960), founded the Sung Empire (960–1279).

Under the Sung Dynasty, China lost control of its vassals in the west (in Dzungaria and East Turkestan), northeast (on the Korean Peninsula), and south (in northern Vietnam). The Sung Empire lost a large part of the territory of China proper in the north and northwest, which went to the Khitan state of Liao (part of what are now Hopeh and Shansi provinces) and to the Tangut kingdom of Hsi Hsia (part of what is now Shensi Province and all of what are now Kansu Province and the Ningsia Hui Autonomous Region). The Sung Empire also paid tribute to these states in silver and silk. Still more territory had to be surrendered in the 12th century to the Juchen, who invaded China and formed (on the basis of the Liao Empire that they had destroyed in 1125) the Chin state, whose borders ran along the Huai Ho. After the conquest by the Juchen of K’aifeng, the Sung capital, in 1127, the court fled to the south, beyond the Yangtze, after which the dynasty was called the Southern Sung (1127–1279). Despite the resistance offered the Juchen by some troops commanded by the general Yüeh Fei, the imperial court followed a policy of capitulation to the Juchen. In 1141 a peace treaty was signed, according to which the Sung Empire acknowledged itself a vassal of the Chin state, pledging to pay it substantial tribute.

During the invasion of foreign peoples, class contradictions, which merged into a number of large-scale peasant revolts, were heightened. The attempt of the prime minister Wang An-shih to carry out reforms between 1069 and 1085 met with resistance from the feudal leaders.

The attack by the Mongol feudal lords on China, which began in the first decade of the 13th century, culminated in the conquest of all of China in 1279 and in the destruction of the Sung Empire. Earlier the Mongols had destroyed the Hsi Hsia (1227) and Chin (1234) states. The peoples of China and Tibet fell under the rule of the Mongol Yüan Dynasty (1271–1368; in China from 1280). The Mongol feudal lords established in China severe economic, political, and ethnic oppression that temporarily halted the country’s social development. The prolonged struggle of the Chinese people against Mongol rule had, by the mid-14th century, emerged as popular uprisings that swept the entire country. The largest of these were the revolts of the Red Turbans, which were organized by the Pai Lien Chiao secret sect. After 20 years of struggle the insurgents prevailed, driving out the Mongol conquerors. A leader of the uprising, Chu Yüan-chang, came to power and founded the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). At first the ruling dynasty attenuated the exploitation of the peasants. The intensification of feudal exploitation and the dispossession and the impoverishment of the peasantry led, by the end of the first decade of the 16th century, to peasant revolts in various parts of the country. The Ming Empire conducted an active foreign policy. The Ming established control over some of the Juchen tribes in the northeast. In the southwest the territory of the Nan-chao state (in what are now Yünnan and Kweichow provinces), which had previously been captured by the Mongol conquerors, and a small part of Tsinghai and Szechwan provinces fell under the control of the Ming Empire. The Mings tried to extend their influence to the southern seas and the Indian Ocean, where seven naval expeditions led by Cheng Ho were sent between 1405 and 1433.

The penetration of Europeans into China dates to the 16th century. In 1516 the first Portuguese ships appeared, and in 1557 Portugal took over the “rental” rights for the Chinese territory of Ao-men (Macao). In the late 16th century the Spanish tried to penetrate into China, and in the late 16th and early 17th century Dutch ships appeared off the coasts of the Ming Empire. In the late 16th century the first European missionaries penetrated into China—the Jesuits, who not only spread Christianity but also studied the country.

Beginning in the early 17th century the process of the concentration of land in the hands of large landowners was intensified, resulting in the large-scale dispossession of the peasants, who for the most part became métayers. In state trades and manufacturing, hired labor appeared to some extent, along with labor conscription (in effect, serf labor). From the early 17th century the workers in state workshops (the chao-mu—the “mobilized”) ceased to be considered corvée workers, but they remained feudally dependent and could be forced to work involuntarily. Private workshops in the silk-weaving industry (chiefly in Suchou), the cotton industry (centered in Sungchiang), the porcelain industry (Chingtechen), the dye industry (in Wuhu), and the iron-working industry (in Tsunhua) became widespread in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in the eastern and central provinces.

In the early 17th century the Ming Empire underwent a deep-seated crisis caused by the heightening of class contradictions, the internal struggle of the ruling groups, and the attacks of the Juchen tribes after 1618. (Between 1585 and 1619 the Juchen were united around the Manchu possessions and adopted the name “Manchu.”) These tribes lived in South Manchuria and were consolidated under Nurhachu. The struggle against feudal exploitation in the villages and the cities became acute. The first large-scale disturbances by city dwellers, which in a number of places (such as Suchou) became armed uprisings, date to the early 17th century. The struggle within the ruling class was intensified. The Tung-lin group, which represented the interests of the prosperous urban opposition elements, joined the struggle. In the 1620’s and 1630’s widespread peasant revolts grew into a peasant war led by Li Tzu-ch’eng and Chang Hsien-chung. As a result of the war the Ming Dynasty was overthrown. During the struggle against the insurgents, however, some of the Chinese feudal lords entered into a compact with the Manchu feudal lords, opening up the borders to their troops; this led to the suppression of the revolt but also facilitated the capture of China by the Manchu conquerors and the rise to power of the Manchu Ch’ing Dynasty (1644–1911). The armed struggle of the Chinese people against the Manchu invaders continued until 1683. The calamities associated with the devastating Manchu conquests temporarily restrained the progressive development of China.

The Ch’ing Dynasty, although retaining old customs and feudal exploitation, redistributed the land: the land of the Ming aristocracy and of some untitled Chinese landowners became the property of the Manchu imperial household and the Manchu aristocracy. The Manchu feudal lords established, in alliance with major Chinese feudal lords, a despotic monarchy that rested on the army, which was comparatively strong for the China of that time, and on the bureaucratic governmental apparatus. The higher governmental agencies and the leadership of the army, of which the Eight-Banner troops were the backbone, were controlled by the Manchus. The Ch’ing followed an isolationist policy.

In the Ch’ing Empire feudal exploitation was combined with ethnic oppression of both the Chinese and other peoples. Revolts against the Ch’ing monarchy took place repeatedly in various parts of the country, including territories inhabited by ethnic minorities. Secret societies, such as the Triad, the Ko-lao Hui, and the Pai Lien Chiao, participated in the struggle against the Ch’ing.

In the late 17th century the upsurge of productive forces in China was renewed, and in the late 18th century the development of commodity-money relationships, the crafts, and, in many regions, small workshops surpassed the level that had been achieved before the Manchu conquest.

As early as the Ming Dynasty, contacts between China and Russia, which wanted to initiate diplomatic relations and organize trade with China, had been established (as witness the sending of I. Petlin, a cossack, by the Tobol’sk military leader to Peking in 1618 and the trip to China by the cossack E. Vershinin in 1641–42). After the accession of the Ch’ing Dynasty, Russia continued these attempts (the embassy of F. I. Baikov in 1654— 57, I. S. Perfil’ev and S. Ablin in 1658–62, and Spafarii in 1675–78), but they produced no positive results. Pursuing an aggressive foreign policy, the Ch’ing Dynasty in the 1650’s tried to take by force Russian territory in the Amur basin, where in the 1640’s and 1650’s Russian pioneers had opened up a vast area, previously under no one’s control, on both banks of the river. These and subsequent attempts in the 1670’s and 1680’s were unsuccessful. In 1689, however, the Ch’ing government constrained the Russian government by direct military threat to sign the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689. Russia conceded to the Ch’ing Empire its possessions on the right bank of the Argun River and on part of the left and right banks of the Amur. The Treaty of Kyakhta (1727) established a border between the Ch’ing Empire and Russia in the region of Mongolia, which had been captured by the Manchu, and affirmed the undefined status of the territory in the region of the lower course of the Amur and the Okhotsk coast. (The border between Russia and China in the Far East finally was defined by the treaties of Aigun [1858] and Peking [1860]; it ran along the Amur and Ussuri rivers through Lake Khanka and the mountain ranges to the Turnen River. Sino-Russian territorial demarcation in Central Asia was completed by the mid-1890’s.)

In pursuing an expansionist policy the Ch’ing Empire greatly expanded its territory during the reigns of K’ang-hsi (1662–1722) and Ch’ienlung (1736–95). In the late 17th century Khalka, or North Mongolia, was captured (South, or Inner, Mongolia had been captured in 1636). In 1757 the Dzungarian Khanate was destroyed and its territory, together with East Turkestan, which had been subjugated by 1760, was incorporated in the Ch’ing Empire under the name “Sinkiang” (“new border”). In the 1770’s and 1780’s the revolts of local nationalities in Szechwan, Kansu, and other provinces were suppressed. The Ch’ing Empire waged wars of aggression against Burma (1765–69) and Vietnam (1788–89), which ended with the defeat of the Ch’ing forces. After a number of campaigns by the Sino-Manchurian army against Tibet, the region was annexed in the late 18th century.

Western European countries (Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and Great L’tain) unsuccessfully tried to establish official relations with the Ch’ing Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries. However, they were allowed to trade in Canton. Beginning in the late 18th century the capitalist states of the West, and above all Great Britain, increased pressure on China, trying to “open” it at any price. British merchants began to import opium into China, bringing huge profits to the British bourgeoisie and causing great harm to the Chinese.

After the 18th century the Ch’ing Empire began to drift toward a decline. Class and ethnic contradictions were sharply heightened. The bureaucratic governmental apparatus was greatly weakened by corruption and bribery; the army, outfitted with obsolete weapons and poorly trained, was unable to defend effectively the expanded empire, especially in the face of the threat of an invasion by Great Britain and other Western European powers. The crisis of the Ch’ing Empire was manifested clearly in the new upsurge of antifeudal, anti-Manchu revolts at the turn of the 19th century, among which the largest were the armed uprising of 1796–1805, which was led by the Pai-lien Chiao sect and which swept through several provinces (Szechwan, Hopeh, Shensi, Honan, and Kansu), and the uprising of 1813–14, led by Li Wen-ch’eng in Chihli, Shantung, and Honan provinces. In the 1820’s and 1830’s peasant revolts broke out in the southern and southwestern provinces (the uprisings in Kwangtung in 1830–32, in Honan in 1836–44, in Kweichow in 1839); anti-Manchu outbreaks of the non-Chinese nationalities in Sinkiang also took place in 1826–27 and 1830.

Transformation of China into a semicolonial territory; formation of a capitalist social order with retention of feudal relations (1840’s to the early 20th century). In 1839, Anglo-Chinese relations became particularly strained. Lin Tse-hsü, the official of the Ch’ing government in charge of combating the opium trade, forced British merchants to surrender their opium, which was destroyed in June 1839. This action served as the pretext for the British government to unleash in 1840 the first Opium War. The military and economic underdevelopment of China predetermined its defeat. The Treaty of Nanking was signed on Aug. 29, 1842. China pledged to open five ports to British trade, to hand over the island of Hsiangkang (Hong Kong), to pay tribute, and to establish favorable customs tariffs. According to a supplementary protocol (1843) the British government received a number of privileges—(extraterritoriality, the right to concessions, and most-favored nation treatment. In 1844, China was forced to sign treaties with the USA and France granting them similar privileges. China’s defeat in the war with Great Britain and the imposed treaties heralded the start of China’s transformation into a semicolonial country. The flow of European and American commodities grew rapidly, and the number of open ports increased.

The Opium War of 1840–42 and its consequences had a grave effect on the position of working people. The tax burden increased, all sorts of arbitrary requisitions were introduced, silver prices rose, and foreign commodities undermined artisan production. In response, the popular masses intensified their resistance to the oppressors: between 1841 and 1849, 110 revolts and riots were recorded. In 1850 the Taiping religious sect, led by Hung Hsiu-ch’üan, started a revolt in Kwangsi Province against the Manchu regime. Taiping detachments fought a series of battles from Kwangsi to the Yangtze and in 1853 captured Nan-king, which became the capital of the Taiping state. In 1853 the Taipings promulgated the “land system of the heavenly dynasty,” which proclaimed general redistribution of the land on the basis of equal land use. The impracticability and utopian character of certain provisions of the land system precluded its implementation. Nonetheless, in the course of the uprising land-owner exploitation was substantially undermined or limited in the large territory controlled by the Taipings. In 1856 a split took place among the leaders, and as a result the de facto head of the government, Yang Hsiu-ch’ing, his opponent Wei Ch’ang-hui, and thousands of their supporters were murdered. The split greatly weakened the Taiping state.

In 1856, Great Britain and later France unleashed a new war against China (the second Opium War) to expand their privileges, open new ports, and penetrate into the hinterlands. The capture of the Taku forts in the north by the interventionists in May 1858 created a threat to Tientsin and Peking. The Ch’ing government capitulated. The treaties of Tientsin were signed (1858) with Great Britain and France: new ports were opened to foreign commerce, navigation was allowed along the Yangtze, and diplomatic missions were established in Peking. In 1860, Great Britain and France renewed military operations. An Anglo-French expedition took Peking and forced China to sign the treaties of Peking (1860) with Great Britain and France. China pledged to pay tribute to the two countries, to concede part of the Chiulung (Kowloon) Peninsula to Great Britain, and to open Tientsin to foreign trade. Beginning in the early 1860’s, aid from Great Britain, France, and the USA to the Ch’ing government to fight the Taipings was increased. The Taiping uprising was suppressed through the joint efforts of domestic and foreign reactionary forces. During and after the Taiping uprising there occurred other anti-Manchu popular outbreaks and revolts of ethnic minorities in the western provinces, the largest of which was the revolt of the Dungans (Hui) and Uighurs in Shensi, Kansu, and Sinkiang between 1862 and 1877. The revolts of ethnic minorities were persistent and resulted in temporary independent governmental structures, but the Manchu-Chinese authorities crushed them by employing harsh measures.

As a result of the Opium Wars and the suppression of the Taiping uprising, Great Britain, France, and the USA consolidated and expanded their position in China. Under the Sino-Russian Treaty of Tientsin (1858) and other treaties, the tsarist government secured the extension to Russia of the same trade privileges and rights for its subjects as had been granted to Great Britain and other powers. Similar treaties with China were concluded by Prussia, Denmark, and other Western European states.

From the 1860’s to the early 1880’s, Chinese ruling cliques pursued a “self-strengthening” policy, whose main function reduced to strengthening the existing regime in its struggle against the popular movement. The supporters of self-strengthening, led by Tseng Kuo-fan, Li Hung-chang, and other representatives of the major Chinese regional feudal cliques, advocated closer cooperation with the capitalist world, the borrowing of foreign know-how in modernizing the armed forces, and the creation of a Chinese defense industry. The provincial authorities constructed enterprises after the foreign model at state expense and with funds acquired by force from local merchants and landowners. However, the products of these enterprises were of poor quality and insignificant quantity, and consequently the new military enterprises contributed little to an increased national defense capability. In addition to public enterprises, private enterprise also began to develop, especially from the 1880’s. Despite exceptionally difficult conditions—the prevalence of feudal relations in agriculture, the tyranny and restrictions of the authorities, and the competition from foreign capital—domestically controlled capital managed to find room to grow, and by the late 19th century a capitalist structure had taken shape. The bourgeois and proletariat classes were forming, and a national bourgeois intelligentsia appeared.

In the 1870’s and 1880’s China repeatedly met with new demands from the Western powers. The greatest conflict of this period led to the Sino-French War of 1884–85. It ended in China’s defeat and showed the futility of the policy of self-strengthening, spurring the activity of opposition forces. Sino-Japanese relations worsened drastically during the 1870’s and 1880’s. After taking up the path of capitalist development, Japan carried out several expansionist actions against Korea and China (the attempt to capture Taiwan in 1874, the capture of the Ryukyu Islands in 1879).

In 1894, Japan started a war against China, in which the latter suffered a number of defeats. In April 1895, Li Hung-chang signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki on behalf of China. China recognized the independence of Korea, which prior to that time had been nominally under its suzerainty, turned over Taiwan and the Pescadores to Japan, and was forced to pay substantial tribute. China’s defeat led to a new assault on China by the imperialist powers. The Ch’ing government was forced to extend onerous loans and to grant railroad concessions to the imperialist powers. Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan, and tsarist Russia received on a “rental” basis several territories in China and created spheres of influence. The “open-door” doctrine advanced in a note by U.S. secretary of state Hay in 1899 asserted a claim to the unlimited right of American expansion in China and the exclusion of other competitors.

The usurpations of the imperialists and the capitulatory policy of the Ch’ings evoked enormous resentment in China. In addition to mass popular movements, new forms of the struggle against the feudal-monarchial regime appeared. The birth of the revolutionary democratic movement in China, led by Sun Yatsen, dates to 1894. The first small revolutionary organization, the Hsing-chung Hui, was formed in 1894 under his leadership.

Between 1895 and 1898 the liberal reform movement of the Chinese bourgeoisie and landowners, led by K’ang Yu-wei, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, and T’an Ssu-t’ung, exerted great influence. In June 1898 the reformers were brought into the government by Emperor Kuang-hsii, but the attempt to carry out reforms failed. On Sept. 21, 1898, the clique of the Empress Ts’u-hsi organized a coup d’etat and executed some reformers and suppressed the others. The struggle of the popular masses, which had been brought about by the increase in taxation caused by the payment of tribute to Japan, by the tyranny of the foreigners, by the economic consequences of the construction of the railroads and the telegraph, and by the intervention of missionaries in internal affairs, took shape in 1899 as a major anti-imperialist uprising, the Boxer (I-ho T’uan) Rebellion. The imperialist powers (Great Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Japan, the USA, Russia, and Italy) intervened and in August 1900 occupied Peking. The imperialist intervention of 1900–01 concluded with the signing, on Sept. 7, 1901, of the Boxer Protocol between the foreign powers and China, which ensured the semicolonial status of the Ch’ing Empire.

By the early 20th century China was a classical example of a semicolonial country. Using diplomatic channels and exerting financial pressure, the imperialists, through their advisers, controlled the policy of the Ch’ing court. Their troops and naval ships were located in China’s vital centers, and they had a vast network of settlements and concessions and controlled the Chinese customs offices. The total amount of foreign capital investments increased from $800 million to $1.5 billion during the first decade of the 20th century; the invested capital consisted largely of profits obtained by foreign monopolies and banks in China itself through the exploitation of the Chinese people. Even before 1895 the imperialists had begun to set up their own enterprises in China, and in 1895 the right to build enterprises was granted by the Treaty of Shimonoseki (art. 6). This made possible the subordination of entire sectors of Chinese industry to foreign capital. In 1912, 52.4 percent of all coal mined in China was produced at mines owned fully or in part by foreign monopolies, and 91.9 percent of the mechanized coal mining was controlled by foreigners. Imports of foreign fabrics exceeded exports by a factor of nearly 10, undermining the domestic textile industry. The import of American cigarettes ruined domestic tobacco production.

Foreign capital and the restrictions imposed by the authorities and their arbitrary rule inhibited the development of domestic industry. Nonetheless domestic industry continued to grow: 161 new enterprises were recorded in the 30–year period from 1872 to 1901, and 335 were opened in the ten-year period from 1902 to 1911. The interests of domestic industry and the national bourgeoisie entered into an acute contradiction with foreign coercion and with the feudal government of the Manchu elite and Chinese landowners. The development of domestic and foreign-controlled industry was accompanied by the growth of the proletariat. By 1894, China had about 100,000 factory workers, and by 1911 the total had reached 500,000 to 600,000.

The changes in the economic and class structure of society on the one hand and the country’s semicolonial status on the other led to intensification of the political struggle in China. New revolutionary organizations arose. The Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, which, as V. I. Lenin said, opened the “era of awakening in Asia,” had a great influence on the development of the revolutionary struggle in China. In 1905, Sun Yat-sen founded in Japan the T’ung-meng Hui revolutionary party, whose press organ, the journal Min pao, devoted much attention to the first Russian revolution and to its lessons for China. The T’ung-meng Hui program called for realization of Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People: the overthrow of the Manchu government, the establishment of a republic, and the “equalization of land rights” (the actual intention was a gradual nationalization of the land by turning over the differential rent to the state). Between 1906 and 1908 there occurred a series of revolutionary outbreaks that the T’ung-meng Hui and other revolutionary organizations either organized or took part in. Between 1905 and 1908 the Manchu government promised to introduce constitutional rule. Part of the liberal bourgeoisie and some landowners welcomed this promise, while revolutionary circles rejected it as a deception.

A new upswing in urban and rural popular outbreak (the “rice riots”) began in 1910. New revolutionary organizations, in particular the Kung-chin Hui (Alliance for Mutual Progress) and the Wen-hsüeh She (Literary Association), were formed, and the influence of the revolutionaries was increased in units of the New Army.

The number of peasant uprisings in 1910 exceeded the number of uprisings in the previous years, reflecting the steadily deteriorating position of the peasants. The development of commodity-money relationships in the Chinese village, the further decay of the economy in kind, and the growth of the commodity economy strengthened the class of prosperous peasants on one hand and worsened rural poverty on the other. Hired labor became widespread, and the indigent rural elements were forced to hire out on a daily or seasonal basis to the village wealthy. Poor peasants became farm laborers, and the number of peasant landowners declined. A survey of the distribution of land ownership in 22 provinces in 1912 determined that 28 percent of peasant farmers did not own the land, working on rented land; 23 percent were semirenters; and 49 percent worked their own land. Numerous riots took place in the cities. The revolt in Canton, organized by the T’ung-meng Hui in April 1911, was suppressed. A movement for “protection of the railroads” unfolded soon afterward in Szechwan: it was the response to a deal on May 20, 1911, between the Ch’ing authorities and a consortium of British, French, German, and American banks, according to which the construction of railroads in China was placed in the hands of foreign capital. In September 1911 the protest movement against the transfer of railroad construction to the foreigners became an antigovernmental uprising.

The events in Szechwan served as an impetus for a revolutionary uprising on Oct. 10, 1911, in Wuch’ang, the administrative center of Hupeh Province, which gave rise to the Hsin-hai Revolution. The revolution rapidly swept from Hupeh through one province after another. The government in most provinces was in the hands of provincial military leaders and liberal bourgeois landowning circles, who were united in provincial deliberative committees. With the support of the imperialist powers the Ch’ing government invested complete authority in Yüan Shih-k’ai, the leader of reactionary Chinese landowning and military circles in the north, who instituted military operations against the revolutionary South. In December 1911, Sun Yat-sen, who had been elected provisional president of the Chinese Republic (officially promulgated on Jan. 1, 1912) at a meeting of representatives of the revolutionary provinces in Nanking, returned to China after 16 years in exile. At the same time the southern liberals informed Yüan Shih-k’ai that they were prepared to elect him head of state if the Ch’ings were dethroned. Under pressure from the right (liberal) wing of the T’ung-meng Hui and faced with the threat of imperialist intervention, Sun Yat-sen made an agreement with Yüan Shih-k’ai. On Feb. 12, 1912, the Ch’ing Dynasty renounced the throne and the monarchy was abolished. On February 13, Sun Yat-sen announced his resignation of the provisional presidency in favor of Yüan Shih-k’ai, who formed a government in Peking.

In 1912–13 peasant and urban riots took place in many provinces, but the masses, lacking political leadership, could not achieve success in the struggle. The Kuomintang, founded by supporters of Sun Yat-sen on Aug. 25, 1912, concentrated on winning a majority in the coming parliament. At the same time Yüan Shih-k’ai, relying on landowners in the north, on the reactionary bourgeoisie, and on the Peiyang militarist clique, ignored the parliament that had been called in April 1913 and obtained a large loan from the foreign powers, disbanded the revolutionary army, and prepared to establish a military dictatorship. In response to Yüan Shih-k’ai’s treasonous policy, Sun Yat-sen called for a “second revolution,” but this was suppressed in the summer of 1913. The Kuomintang was banned in November 1913, and later parliament was suspended. The Hsinhai Revolution had overthrown the government of the Ch’ing monarchy and established a republican system but had not achieved its antifeudal and anti-imperialist goals.

During World War I, Japan abruptly stepped up its expansion in China. On Jan. 18, 1915, China was presented with Japan’s Twenty-one Demands—an expanded program for making China dependent on Japan. Most of these demands were accepted on May 9, 1915, by Yüan Shih-k’ai’s government. In late 1915 Yüan Shih-k’ai attempted to become emperor, giving rise to a strong antimonarchical movement, especially in the southern provinces. Yüan Shih-k’ai died at the height of these events, in the summer of 1916. Real power remained in the hands of the Peiyang militarist clique, of which Tuan Ch’i-jui became the leader. In August 1917 the militarist government in Peking, which was allied with the Entente powers, declared war on Germany. China’s war effort consisted of sending 130,000 workers to Europe to work behind the lines. The government of South China was headed by Sun Yat-sen from September 1917 until 1919.

During the war the central Chinese government was weakened, and militarist cliques (the Anhwei, Fengt’ien, and Chili cliques), which controlled vast regions and were fighting among themselves for power, played an increasingly important role. The militarists also served as tools in the struggle for influence of the imperialist powers (Japan, Great Britain, and the USA).

During the war progressive changes took place in China: the number of industrial enterprises increased and the size of the national bourgeoisie and proletariat grew (by 1919 the number of workers employed in industry and transport in China had reached 2.5 million), but the semicolonial character of the economy was retained. The contradictions between the requirements of domestic economic development and imperialist policies were intensified, and the contradictions between Chinese workers and the national bourgeoisie on the one hand and the reactionary government of the landowners, compradors, and militarists on the other became increasingly acute.

The modern era (until the victory of the People’s Revolution).THE RISE OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT, 1917–25. The victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the formation in Russia of the world’s first socialist state had an enormous effect on the entire course of modern Chinese history. Despite obstacles posed by the Peking government, the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, embodied in the October Revolution, and reports of the policies of the Soviet government reached China and were a source of revolutionary inspiration to the Chinese people. The policy of friendship and equality announced by the Soviet state with regard to China, which was in direct contrast to the imperialist policy of enslaving the Chinese people, found an enthusiastic reception. In 1918, Sun Yat-sen sent V. I. Lenin and the Soviet government a telegram from Shanghai in which he wished Soviet Russia success and expressed the hope that the “revolutionary parties of China and Russia will unite for the joint struggle.” After declaring null and void all secret agreements concluded by the tsarist government and the bourgeois Provisional Government with Japan, China, and Russia’s former allies, the Soviet government proposed in its Address to the Chinese People and the Governments of South and North China of July 25, 1919, that China enter into negotiations over abrogation of the Sino-Russian Treaty of 1896, the Peking Protocol of 1901, and all agreements between Russia and Japan pertaining to China and concluded between 1907 and 1916.

An anti-imperialist outbreak of the Chinese people in May and June 1919 (known as the May Fourth Movement), which arose under the influence of the ideas of the October Revolution, was an important stage in the development of the revolutionary movement in China. As a symbol of protest against the decision of the Paris Peace Conference to transfer to Japan the former German rights and possessions in Shantung Province and against the antinationalist policy of the Peking government, demonstrations and political strikes occurred in Peking, Shanghai, and many other cities. In addition to patriotic segments of the intelligentsia and the urban bourgeoisie, the working class participated in the protests. The Peking government was forced to come out for nonrecognition of the Versailles Peace Treaty and to remove from their posts those Japanophilic officials most hated by the people.

The May Fourth Movement accelerated the diffusion of Marxism in China. Li Ta-chao, Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Ch’ü Ch’iu-pai, Teng Chung-hsia, Ts’ai Ho-sen, Chang T’ai-lei, P’eng Pai, and others who participated in the movement played a prominent role in this process. Communist groups were formed in many regions of China. In July 1921 the First Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held illegally in Shanghai. It laid the organizational foundations for the party and defined its ultimate goals. The Comintern provided great assistance in organizing the CPC and in its subsequent activity. In 1922, V. I. Lenin received part of the Chinese delegation participating in the work of the Congress of Peoples of the Far East in Moscow. Workers’ trade unions and youth and other organizations grew in China under the leadership of the CPC.

Under the influence of the October Revolution and the upsurge in the revolutionary movement in China, significant changes took place in the political outlook of Sun Yat-sen and many of his supporters, who adopted a policy of rapprochement with the CPC and the worker-peasant movement. In February 1923, Sun Yat-sen once again headed the government of South China in Canton, which was becoming a base for the growing national revolution in China. The establishment of friendly relations with the government of South China by the Soviet government greatly contributed to bolstering the revolution. At the request of Sun Yat-sen the Soviet Union sent to Canton weapons and political and military advisers (such as M. M. Borodin and V. K. Bliukher) and provided other assistance in forming the National Revolutionary Army (NRA).

The agreement between the CPC and Sun Yat-sen to form a united national revolutionary front on the basis of cooperation between the CPC and the Kuomintang played a major role in consolidating and activating all anti-imperialist and antifeudal forces in China. In January 1924 the First Kuomintang Congress, attended by CPC representatives, was held in Canton. The congress adopted a manifesto that set forth a revolutionary democratic program for the struggle against imperialism and feudalism and that offered a new, more consistently anti-imperialist and antifeudal interpretation of Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People. In this period Sun Yat-sen also advanced three fundamental political propositions: alliance with Soviet Russia, alliance with the CPC, and the support of the workers and peasants. Communists joined the Kuomintang, which became a mass revolutionary party for the bloc of workers, peasants, the urban petite bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie. In the fall of 1924, British imperialists, in alliance with Chinese reactionaries, tried to overthrow Sun Yat-sen’s government, but the NRA and workers’ detachments suppressed the counterrevolutionary rebellion. The successful struggle of the masses in the south also contributed to the development of the revolutionary movement elsewhere.

Influenced by the demands of the progressive community, the pro-imperialist Peking government, which previously had rejected all proposals of the Soviet government to establish friendly relations as equal partners, was forced on May 31, 1924, to sign an agreement on general principles for settling the problems between the USSR and China. Diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. The USSR affirmed its rejection of all privileges that the tsarist regime had enjoyed together with other imperialist powers. Sun Yat-sen died on Mar. 12, 1925. He left the Kuomintang a will that called on the party to continue the struggle for the liberation of China and to strengthen its friendship with the Soviet Union. He also left an address, written shortly before his death, to the USSR Central Executive Committee, in which he expressed confidence that the Soviet Union and China would advance side by side in the revolutionary struggle.

THE NATIONAL REVOLUTION, 1925–27. In response to the firing by British and American police on participants in the patriotic demonstration of May 30, 1925, in Shanghai, demonstrations and political strikes were held in many Chinese cities. These events gave rise to the national revolution of 1925–27. In character it was anti-imperialist and bourgeois-democratic, and the national bourgeoisie, the urban petite bourgeoisie, the working class, and the peasantry were its principal motive forces. On July 1, 1925, the Canton government declared itself the national government of China. In 1925 and early 1926 the NRA established a revolutionary government in Kwangsi and Kweichow provinces and the southern part of Hunan. In July 1926 the NRA started its northern campaign to secure the victory of the revolution throughout China. By late 1926 it had liberated Hunan, Hupeh, Kiangsi, and Fukien provinces. In March 1927, Shanghai workers, who revolted under the leadership of the CPC, liberated Shanghai, which was later entered by units of the NRA. Nanking soon was liberated. The popular masses joined in the active revolutionary struggle in the territory liberated by the NRA.

Frightened by the scale of the revolutionary movement of workers and peasants and by pressure exerted by the imperialist powers (the shelling of Nanking by American and British naval ships on Mar. 24, 1927, and other acts of aggression), the national bourgeoisie began to retreat from the revolution. Having reached agreement with the imperialists and relying on their support, the right wing of the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kaishek, commander in chief of the NRA, organized counterrevolutionary coups in Shanghai and Nanking on Apr. 12, 1927. Immediately thereafter the right-wing Kuomintang members carried out a coup in Canton. On Apr. 18, 1927, Chiang Kaishek formed a counterrevolutionary “National Government” in Nanking.

After Chiang Kai-shek’s coup, Wuhan, to which the revolutionary national government and the central executive committee of the Kuomintang had moved from Canton in December 1926, remained the center of the revolution. Hupeh, Hunan, and Kiangsi provinces and part of Honan were under the control of the National Government. However, the counterrevolutionary activity of feudal-comprador elements was intensifying throughout the territory controlled by the Wuhan government. In this situation the so-called left-wing Kuomintang members, Wang Ching-wei and his supporters, who had a majority in the government and in the central executive committee of the Kuomintang, pursued a policy of capitulating to the imperialists and the reactionary generals. In July 1927 they organized a counterrevolutionary coup in Wuhan. The Wuhan group of the Kuomintang joined with Chiang Kai-shek’s group. The CPC was declared illegal, and trade unions and peasant unions were disbanded. A campaign of terror against the Communists and revolutionary activists who were workers and peasants was unleashed. While the counterrevolution was raging, the CPC headed a number of revolts to continue the revolution, in which workers and certain units of the NRA faithful to the cause of the revolution took part. However, these uprisings were suppressed by numerically superior reactionary forces. The revolutionary detachments that avoided defeat withdrew to rural areas, where they engaged in partisan warfare.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REACTIONARY KUOMINTANG GOVERNMENT; THE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE FOR SOVIETS; THE START OF JAPANESE AGGRESSION AND THE NEW UPSURGE IN THE NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT, 1928–37. After the defeat of the Chinese national revolution the reactionary dictatorship of the Kuomintang—a government of landowners and the big bourgeoisie—was established in China. In July 1928 the US government and later the governments of other imperialist states officially recognized the Kuomintang government. A “period of guardianship” of the Kuomintang party, under which the people were deprived of all political rights and liberties, was declared as of Jan. 1, 1929. The Kuomintang acquired the exclusive right to form a government and central and local governmental bodies. The Kuomintang authorities launched a campaign of repression against the workers. Some 337,000 revolutionaries were killed between April 1927 and July 1928. The economic and foreign policy of the Kuomintang government contributed to the further strengthening of the position and influence of the imperialist powers, especially the USA.

The Nanking government conducted an openly hostile policy toward the USSR. Chinese forces, together with detachments of White émigrés, began to carry out attacks in Soviet territory. On July 10 and 11, 1929, Chinese forces seized the Chinese Eastern Railway, which, according to the Sino-Soviet agreement of 1924, was controlled jointly by the USSR and China, and imprisoned thousands of Soviet citizens. On July 17, 1929, the USSR broke off diplomatic relations. The Soviet Army had to rebuff military provocations on the Sino-Soviet border. Later, on Dec. 22, 1929, the Sino-Soviet protocol on the restoration of the status of the railway and the Sino-Soviet border called for the Sino-Soviet agreement of 1924 was signed in Khabarovsk.

Despite the rule of reactionary forces in most of China, detachments of the Chinese Red Army and local centers of the revolutionary democratic power, which at that time were called soviets, were formed in some rural regions under the leadership of the CPC. Between 1928 and 1930, 15 soviet regions were formed in 11 provinces, chiefly in south and central China. The land of landowners and the rich peasants was confiscated, and other democratic changes were made. The First All-China Congress of Representatives of the Soviet Regions of China, which elected the central executive committee and provisional central government of the Chinese Soviet Republic (CSR) and which adopted the draft constitution of the CSR, was held in the city of Juichin (in Kiangsi Province) in November 1931. Between 1930 and 1933 the Chinese Red Army repulsed four major campaigns by Kuomintang troops.

At the end of 1931, Japanese forces occupied northeast China and in 1932 created the Manchukuo puppet state, led by P’u-yi, the last emperor of the Ch’ing Dynasty, who had abdicated in 1912. The ruling circles of the USA, Great Britain, and France, which wanted to ensure that Japan would enter into conflict with the USSR, were indulgent toward the Japanese aggression in northern China. The Soviet Union resolutely condemned the actions of the Japanese imperialists. On Dec. 12, 1932, diplomatic relations between the USSR and China were restored, greatly strengthening China’s international position. On Jan. 28, 1932, Japanese forces commenced military operations with the goal of capturing Shanghai but were repulsed by the patriotic Kuomintang Nineteenth Army, supported by volunteer detachments of workers and students and by the city’s entire population. In 1933, Japanese troops, encountering no resistance from the Kuomintang forces, occupied Jehol Province and invaded Hopeh.

In 1933–34, Chiang Kai-shek organized his fifth major campaign against the soviet regions of China, with the aid of the imperialist powers. The situation of units of the Chinese Red Army and revolutionary strongpoints proved to be extremely difficult, and the army was forced to abandon central China in October 1934 and to begin to reposition itself (together with the CPC Central Committee) in the northwest. After traversing a long distance, with many battles, from October 1934 to November 1936 and having suffered heavy losses during the march, the forces of the Chinese Red Army reached the border of Shensi and Kansu provinces, where a new soviet region was established. During the northwest campaign changes in the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, which led to a strengthening of the position of Mao Tse-tung and his supporters, were made at a meeting of part of the Politburo and the Central Committee in the city of Tsuni in January 1935.

In 1935 the Japanese government, having advanced a program for subordinating China to Japan within the framework of so-called Sino-Japanese political and economic “cooperation” (Hirota’s Three Principles), stepped up its aggression in China. As a result of the Nanking government’s policy of “placating the aggressor with concessions,” Japan took de facto control of new regions in north China. The Japanese aggression and the Nanking government’s position of nonresistance and its reactionary domestic policy evoked indignation among the Chinese people. Protest demonstrations and political strikes by workers and students were held, and patriotic unions to save the homeland were formed. As the nationwide anti-Japanese movement was growing, the CPC, guided by the decisions of the Seventh Comintern Congress, began to take steps to form a united anti-Japanese national front: it announced its readiness to halt the campaign to overthrow Chiang Kai-shek’s government and asked the Kuomintang to form a united anti-Japanese national front and to repulse resolutely the Japanese aggressors. Under pressure from the people and part of the army, the Kuomintang leadership was forced at the end of 1936 to halt military operations against the Chinese Red Army.

THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR AGAINST THE JAPANESE INVADERS, 1937–45. In July 1937, Japan undertook the implementation of an aggressive plan aimed at capturing all of China. In response the Chinese people’s national liberation war against the Japanese invaders (1937–45) commenced. In the early months the Japanese imperialists captured vast regions, including such large cities as Peiping (Peking), Tientsin, and Shanghai. On Sept. 23, 1937, the Kuomintang leadership, under public pressure, announced the establishment of cooperation between the Kuomintang and the CPC. By agreement the revolutionary base of Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia was reorganized into the Special Region of the Chinese Republic, retaining a democratic system of government; the units of the Chinese Red Army located there were reorganized into the Chinese Eighth Army.

Hoping for an early confrontation between Japan and the USSR, the governments of the USA and Great Britain did not go beyond a mild condemnation of the Japanese aggression. Deliveries of strategic and raw materials from these countries to Japan were not even halted. The Soviet Union was the only power that assisted China. On Aug. 21, 1937, the USSR concluded a nonaggression pact with China and granted two large loans. From 1937 to 1941 the USSR delivered modern weapons, and Soviet volunteer pilots, with Chinese pilots, heroically defended Chinese cities. Throughout the war the Soviet government concentrated large forces of the Soviet Army in the Far East, shackling the Japanese armed forces and thus greatly facilitating the struggle of the Chinese people.

The Kuomintang leadership decided not to mobilize vast segments of the public to repulse the enemy. Between July 1937 and October 1938, Japanese forces captured all of north China, a large part of central China, including Nanking and Wuhan, and important coastal regions in South China, including Canton. The CPC sent a large part of the forces of the Eighth Army into north China to conduct guerrilla warfare in the Japanese rear. In October 1937 the New Fourth Army was formed from partisan units of the Red Army operating under the leadership of the CPC in central China. Relying on support from the popular masses, the troops of the Eighth and New Fourth armies formed guerrilla strong points—liberated regions—in the Japanese rear.

After the start of World War II the capitulatory tendencies in the Kuomintang leadership grew with the temporary advances of fascist Germany, and Chiang Kai-shek’s supporters increased the repression against the patriotic forces of the Chinese people. The antinational policy of the Kuomintang leadership generated dissatisfaction among the Chinese people, including patriotic segments of the national bourgeoisie. A left wing was formed within the Kuomintang. In 1941 the small bourgeois political parties united, forming the League of Democratic Political Organizations (which in 1944 became the Democratic League).

With fascist Germany’s attack on the USSR the Soviet-German front became the main front of World War II, where the future of the peoples of the world, including the Chinese people, was decided. The international situation, which had changed abruptly with the Soviet Union’s entry into World War II, opened up favorable prospects for the growth of the Chinese people’s national liberation struggle and for the strengthening of the CPC forces and the spreading of its influence among the masses.

The USA and Great Britain, which from the end of 1941 were at war with Japan, began to provide military aid to the Kuomintang government and to exert pressure on it to intensify China’s efforts against Japan. However, Chiang Kai-shek’s government continued to pursue a policy of passive resistance to the Japanese aggressors. After the start of the war in the Pacific the offensive operations of the Japanese forces against the liberated regions of China assumed an especially large scale. In 1941–42 the liberated regions experienced major difficulties, and their area was reduced. The fundamental shift in World War II after the Soviet Army’s victories over fascist Germany in 1943 had a great impact on the situation in China. After surmounting temporary difficulties, beginning in August 1943 the Eighth and New Fourth armies intensified their combat activity. By April 1945 there were 19 liberated regions with a population of more than 95 million.

The Seventh Congress of the CPC was held from April to June 1945. The congress adopted the resolutions “On Coalition Government” and “On the CPC Rules.” A provision calling for the establishment of “Mao Tse-tung’s ideas” as the guiding ideology of the party was set forth in the rules adopted at the congress.

In February 1945, at the Yalta Conference of the heads of state of the USSR, USA, and Great Britain, the Soviet Union, striving to shorten the war and thus to relieve humanity of unnecessary casualties and suffering, pledged to enter the war against Japan. On June 30 negotiations between the governments of the USSR and China started in Moscow; they concluded with the signing on Aug. 14, 1945, of the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, according to which both parties assumed mutual obligations to provide military and other assistance to each other in the war against Japan.

After Germany was defeated and signed the statement of unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, the Soviet Union, fulfilling its duty as an ally, declared war on Japan on Aug. 8, 1945. On Aug. 9, 1945, Soviet troops, with forces of the Mongolian People’s Republic, entered northeast China and Inner Mongolia, where they shortly defeated the strongest part of the Japanese armed forces, the Kwantung Army. The government of imperialist Japan was forced to sign a statement of unconditional surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.

THE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION WAR, 1945–49. The defeat of German fascism and Japanese militarism in World War II, with the Soviet Union playing the decisive role, and the start of the socialist path in a number of European and Asian countries fundamentally altered the balance of forces in the world in favor of democracy and socialism. This change created favorable conditions for the victory of the people’s democratic revolution in China.

After Japan’s surrender the Kuomintang leadership, with US aid, hastily began to shift its military units to occupy large cities that previously had been occupied by Japanese troops. Under the pretext of ensuring the surrender of the Japanese command, US naval forces were brought into the most important Chinese ports, and American army airborne and naval forces were landed at a number of important points.

Desiring a peaceful settlement of the problems of the postwar organization of China, the CPC advanced proposals for a democratic coalition government in China and for the implementation of democratic transformations. Negotiations between the CPC and the Kuomintang, which culminated in a compromise agreement, were held in Chungking between Aug. 28 and Oct. 10, 1945. It was decided to call the Political Consultative Conference consisting of representatives of the CPC, the Kuomintang, and other parties and of public figures who were not members of a party to resolve the question of the democratic reorganization of China. As early as Oct. 13, 1945, however, Chiang Kaishek’s government attacked liberated regions. This attack generated indignation among broad segments of the Chinese people. At the insistence of the government of the USSR, the conference of the ministers of foreign affairs of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain, held in Moscow from Dec. 16 to Dec. 26, 1945, recognized the need for the peaceful unification of China and for cessation of the civil war. An agreement “with respect to the desirability of the withdrawal of Soviet and American armed forces from China as quickly as possible” was reached. This diplomatic action on the part of the Soviet Union was of great importance to the Chinese revolution: the direct armed intervention of the United States in China was stopped.

On Jan. 10, 1946, representatives of the Kuomintang and the CPC signed an agreement calling for termination of military operations. On the same day the Political Consultative Conference opened in Chungking and adopted resolutions calling for reorganization of the Kuomintang’s one-party government into a coalition government, convocation of a national assembly, and review of the Chinese constitution. In March 1946, however, a plenary session of the central executive committee of the Kuomintang announced its rejection of the conference’s resolutions, and in July 1946 Chiang Kai-shek’s clique started a general attack against the liberated regions and unleashed a new civil war on a national scale.

On Nov. 4, 1946, the Kuomintang government signed the Sino-American Treaty of 1946, and between 1945 and 1948 more than 15 other American-Chinese agreements were signed. On the basis of the treaty and agreements the US government established de facto control over the political, economic, and financial affairs of China. In exchange, the United States extended its aid to Chiang Kai-shek’s government, which had amounted to US$6 billion during the war. Relying on the support of the people and pursuing the tactics of active defense, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) put out of action more than 1 million members of the Kuomintang Army during the first year of the war and forced it to take the defensive. Agrarian reform was begun in regions that remained under the leadership of the CPC. In July 1947 the PLA launched a counteroffensive. From 1948 through January 1949 troops of the PLA liberated from the Kuomintang government all of northeast China, almost all of north China, much of northwest China, and central China to the Yangtze River.

The heroic struggle of the Chinese people against Chiang Kai-shek’s clique and its protectors—the American imperialists —evoked the sympathy and support of the Soviet people. The government of the Soviet Union, relying on resolutions of the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs held in Moscow in 1945, persistently worked against US intervention in Chinese internal affairs and demanded the withdrawal of American forces from China. The position of the USSR prevented the USA from expanding its intervention in China. In 1945 and 1946 units of the PLA in northeast China gained the opportunity to reform and augment their armament with Japanese weapons and equipment captured by Soviet forces. From 1947 to 1949, Soviet specialists helped to restore quickly the railways and waterways and a number of industrial enterprises in northeast China. All this played a large role in strengthening the people’s democratic government in northeast China, which became the most important base for the struggle of the Chinese people to overthrow the government of the reactionary Kuomintang throughout China.

Because of the severe defeats of the Kuomintang Army, Chiang Kai-shek offered on Jan. 1, 1949, to begin negotiations with the CPC. From Apr. 1 to Apr. 15, 1949, negotiations between delegations of the Kuomintang and the CPC were held in Peking, and a draft domestic peace treaty was drawn up. The Kuomintang government however, refused to sign the agreement. On Apr. 21, 1949, PLA forces resumed their offensive and by the fall of 1949 had liberated all of northwest and central China and a large part of south and southwest China. Chiang Kai-shek’s clique fled to Taiwan.

The First Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)—the highest body of the United People’s Democratic Front (which was organized in June 1949)— was held in Peking between Sept. 21 and Sept. 30, 1949; it formed central governmental agencies and approved the Common Program of the CPPCC. On Oct. 1, 1949, the establishment of the Chinese People’s Republic (the PRC) was formally announced in Peking. The many years of revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people against foreign and Chinese oppressors had culminated in victory. This was a substantial contribution by the Chinese people to the struggle of communist and other progressive forces throughout the world to speed up historical progress and move forward toward the victory of socialism.

After the victory of the People’s Revolution and the formation of the Chinese People’s Republic. The CPC, assuming leadership of the country after the formation of the PRC, declared the building of socialism in the PRC to be its general line. The Soviet Union was the first state to recognize the PRC (on Oct. 2, 1949). The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance was signed on Feb. 14, 1950. At the same time agreements were signed calling for the transfer by the Soviet Union to the PRC of all rights of joint control of the Chinese Ch’angch’un Railway, the withdrawal of Soviet forces from the jointly used Lüshun (Port Arthur) naval base, and the granting of long-term credit in the amount of US$300 million on favorable terms.

The US government took a hostile position toward the PRC. In January 1950, under US pressure, a majority of UN members rejected a resolution introduced by the Soviet Union calling for nonrecognition of the Kuomintang delegation in the UN and the granting to the PRC of its legitimate rights. The US government continued to extend comprehensive support to Chiang Kaishek’s clique, which had escaped to Taiwan; at the end of 1949 it prohibited all trade transactions with people’s China and confiscated PRC property in the USA. After unleashing the war in Korea in June 1950, the USA in effect occupied Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands. During the Korean War (1950–53), the PRC, with the USSR and other socialist countries, extended substantial aid to the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK). Detachments of people’s volunteers were formed in the PRC. On Oct. 25, 1950, these volunteers, at the request of the government of the PDRK, entered Korean territory and fought against the American invaders until the signing of the treaty between the supreme commander of the PDRK and the commander of the Chinese people’s volunteers, on the one hand, and the commander in chief of US forces, which were operating under the guise of “UN forces,” on the other (Panmunjom; July 27, 1953).

The liberation of China from the Kuomintang government (except for Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands) was completed in 1951. By 1952 the PRC government had done much toward constructing people’s governmental bodies on a local level and toward eliminating landowner and Kuomintang bands. The people’s power introduced state control of foreign trade, confiscated the property of big (bureaucratic) capital, and gradually sequestrated most of the property of foreign capitalists. As a result the state socialist sector was formed; it assumed a leading position in finance and banking, in heavy industry, in maritime and rail transport, and in foreign trade. In February 1953 agrarian reform was completed (with the exception of some national regions). About 300 million landless peasants and peasants with little land and their families received more than 47 million hectares of arable land that previously belonged to landowners.

By the end of 1952 the war-ravaged national economy was restored. With the assistance of the USSR more than 50 large industrial enterprises and many railroad and other facilities were restored or constructed in China. General elections to local and central governmental bodies were held in 1953 and 1954. The First Session of the National People’s Congress, which adopted the constitution of the PRC, was held in September 1954. In 1954, the PRC, with the USSR, the PDRK, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), took part in the Geneva Convention of 1954 toward peaceful settlement of the situation in Korea and restoration of peace in Indochina.

Between 1953 and 1957 much was done to bring about the socialist transformation of the small-scale commodity and private-capital sectors in the PRC. At the end of 1956, 96.3 percent of peasant farms were part of agricultural production cooperatives. Most private-capital industrial and commercial enterprises had been converted into state-capital or mixed state-private enterprises controlled by the state by the end of 1956. It was stipulated that the former owners of private enterprises would receive 5 percent of their capital annually for a number of years. Small private commercial and handicraft enterprises were combined into cooperatives. By combining educational measures with repression, the people’s government suppressed the resistance of bourgeois-landowner elements to the socialist transformations.

During the first five-year plan (1953–57) industrial production increased by 130 percent. The construction of 428 large industrial enterprises was fully completed (and 109 were partially constructed), not counting a large number of medium-sized and small industrial enterprises. A number of important new branches of industry were built: the aviation, automobile, and machine-tool branches, as well as branches of the chemical, machine-building, and defense industries. The gross harvest of food crops increased by 22 percent, the cotton harvest by 26 percent, and the number of pigs by 63 percent. The material status of the workers was noticeably improved, and the cultural level of the popular masses was raised. The network of educational institutions was greatly expanded.

Between 1953 and 1957 a number of Sino-Soviet agreements were signed, under which the Soviet government assumed the obligation of extending assistance to the PRC in the construction and renovation of another 161 large industrial enterprises. The Soviet Union pledged to supply equipment worth about 3 billion rubles for enterprises being built with its aid; the Chinese government was to pay for it through the delivery of commodities to the USSR. Enterprises built with the assistance of the USSR created the basis for modern industry in China and ensured the possibility for implementing the entire program of industrialization of the PRC. They enabled the PRC to create new branches of industry and to increase production capacities for the most important types of manufactured goods. To facilitate the task of industrializing the PRC, thousands of Soviet specialists were sent to China and extensive scientific and technical documents were provided. Many Chinese specialists and workers received training in higher educational institutions and enterprises in the USSR. Trade developed successfully and cultural relations were steadily expanded. The German Democratic Republic, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and other socialist countries extended considerable assistance toward the cultural and economic development of the PRC. The Soviet Union and other socialist countries gave a decisive rebuff to US policy, which was aimed at the international political and economic isolation of the PRC.

The consistent course of the USSR toward the development and strengthening of Sino-Soviet friendship and toward extending comprehensive assistance to the PRC, as well as the tremendous progress that was achieved with this aid in the building of socialist China, contributed to strengthening the influence of internationalist forces in the CPC and among the Chinese people. The Eighth CPC Congress, held in September 1956, was marked by the strengthening and growth of healthy Marxist-Leninist forces in the ranks of the CPC. The congress confirmed the party’s general line toward building socialism in China and emphasized that the CPC must be guided by Marxism-Leninism. Thus the congress reevaluated the resolution of the Seventh Congress (1945) to the effect that the CPC must be guided by the “ideas of Mao Tse-tung.” As the main direction of foreign policy the congress decided “to continue to strengthen and enhance the perpetual and indestructible fraternal friendship with the great Soviet Union and all people’s democracies.” In the positions adopted on the second five-year plan (1958–62), the congress called for a 50–percent increase in the national income, a doubling of gross industrial output, and an increase in food crops from 176 million tons to 240 million tons. To provide assistance to the PRC in fulfilling the second five-year plan, a number of new agreements that called for technical assistance to people’s China for the construction and expansion of 125 large new industrial enterprises were concluded between the USSR and the PRC in 1958–59.

In the second half of the 1950’s the nationalists, who during the people’s wars against the Kuomintang and Japanese imperialists and during the first years of the PRC had cooperated, although not always consistently, with the Chinese communistinternationalists, the CPSU, and the world communist movement, became more active in the CPC and its leadership. Mao Tse-tung was the nationalists’ leader and ideologist.

In 1958 the second five-year plan for the national economic development of China was in reality terminated under the pressure and influence of the Maoists. Disregarding the objective economic laws of socialism, the leadership of the PRC advanced voluntaristic positions calling for a “great leap forward”—for increasing industrial production by 550 percent and agricultural production by 150 percent in a five-year period. It was decided to transfer all agricultural cooperatives to the status of “people’s communes,” with termination of the wages-according-to-labor principle, socialization of all private plots and private property, and the introduction of military organization of daily life and work. The decision to transfer a large part of accumulation funds into accelerated development of national missile and nuclear potential was an important part of the course toward the great leap forward. Many prominent party and state figures who were active supporters of the line taken by the Eighth CPC Congress (such as P’eng Te-huai) opposed these Maoist positions and consequently were removed from the leadership.

In August and September 1958 the leadership of the PRC, without consulting the USSR, with which China had concluded a treaty of friendship, alliance, and mutual assistance, began the shelling of the coastal islands in the Formosa Strait. In the fall of 1958 this action gravely aggravated the situation in the Far East. The USA began to transfer troops to the Formosa Strait area. A military threat on the part of the USA hung over the PRC. The USSR moved decisively in defense of China.

As a result of the great-leap-forward policy, the national economy was disorganized; much production capacity was lost, and the volume of industrial and agricultural production dropped sharply. Major difficulties arose in supplying the public with manufactured and agricultural products. Because of the bankruptcy of the voluntaristic economic program, the leadership of the PRC in 1961 had to take steps toward economic “regulation,” that is, in effect to rescind most of the positions of the great leap forward and people’s communes. These steps led to a slight national economic upturn. However, insofar as the principles of socialist economic management were not fully restored, economic development moved slowly.

At the start of the 1960’s the CPC leadership began openly to revise, step by step, the fundamental line of the world communist movement and the policy of socialist countries at the current stage, which were drawn up on the basis of Marxism-Leninism at the international conferences of communist and workers’ parties in 1957 and 1960 (the documents of the conferences had been signed by CPC delegations). Rejecting the repeated advice of the CPSU and other fraternal parties, the CPC leadership subsequently resisted the coordinated line of the communist movement with its own anti-Leninist course on all fundamental contemporary problems.

In foreign policy the PRC leadership opposed the Leninist course toward the peaceful coexistence of states and advocated the maintenance and deepening of international tension and artificial “acceleration” of the revolutionary process in developing Asian, African, and Latin American countries through intervention in their internal affairs and imposition of the adventuristic concept of “the Chinese-type people’s war.” Declaring China to be the “center of the world revolution,” the Maoists openly lay claim to the role of leader of the international communist and national liberation movement.

A turn away from the policy of friendship and cooperation with the USSR toward open struggle against the USSR and in fact against the entire socialist community was the main feature of the unusual new foreign policy of the Chinese leaders. Waging a campaign against the USSR and other socialist countries that condemned the Maoist course, the Chinese leadership rejected all cooperation on international matters, including the implementation of specific coordinated measures to defend socialist countries against imperialist aggression (as in Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam). At the same time the PRC leadership pursued a line of curtailing economic relations with socialist countries and reorienting these relations toward capitalist states, chiefly by expanding them with Japan and Western Europe. As a result, for example, Soviet shipments of equipment in full sets to China were reduced by a factor of more than 100 between 1959 and 1965, and the USSR’s share in the foreign trade of the PRC for this period was cut from 50 percent to 7 percent. Scientific, technical, cultural, and social contacts between the PRC and socialist countries were almost totally terminated.

After 1960 violations of the Sino-Soviet border by the Chinese became much more frequent. In 1963 alone there occurred more than 4,000 such violations, in which more than 100,000 persons took part. To prevent border conflicts and violations, Sino-Soviet consultations on the definition of the Sino-Soviet border in certain sectors were opened in 1964 in Peking at the suggestion of the Soviet government. However, they were in fact broken off by the Chinese.

Although the question of the Sino-Soviet border was resolved long ago by interstate documents—Sino-Russian treaties—the Maoists lay claim to a large part of the USSR in the Far East and Central Asia.

From 1958 the CPSU Central Committee and the Soviet government persistently took steps to prevent a deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations. In 1965 the Soviet Union once again made a number of constructive proposals to conduct discussions with the Chinese leadership on the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations and on an agreement to rebuff jointly American aggression in Vietnam. All, however, were rejected by the Chinese leadership.

When the attempts made by the Maoists between 1959 and 1965 to impose their program on communist and national democratic parties and on international democratic organizations were resolutely rebuffed by most, the PRC leadership declared them “revisionist” and began to engage in subversive and divisive activity among them.

In 1962 the Chinese leadership began to resort to crude intervention in the internal affairs of the developing Asian and African countries. They fanned conflicts both within these countries (as in Iraq, Nigeria, and Indonesia) and between them (India and Pakistan) and organized invasions by Chinese forces (India and Burma). This policy of the PRC leadership led to significant aggravation of the relations between the PRC and many Afro-Asian countries, and many of them broke off or in effect terminated diplomatic relations with the PRC in the mid-1960’s (Tunisia, Indonesia, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Dahomey, and Ghana).

The adventuristic policy of the Maoists generated great dissatisfaction in the PRC. To suppress this, party and state democracy was curtailed in 1959, and systematic repression was begun of those who criticized Mao Tse-tung’s positions. Between 1959 and 1961 a number of members of the Central Committee and its Politburo and many leaders of the provincial party committees, ministries, and departments were removed from executive positions. Between 1964 and 1966 a large part of the Chinese intelligentsia was declared “politically unreliable,” and a large-scale resettlement of its members into rural regions for “labor reeducation” was carried out. Particular attention was paid to purging the army, from which many officers and junior commanders were discharged between 1959 and 1965.

To maintain their dominant position in the country, in the second half of the 1960’s the Maoists organized the Cultural Revolution. The personality cult of Mao Tse-tung was blown up to unprecedented dimensions, and the anti-Soviet and chauvinist campaigns were intensified. With the aid of public security agencies, the army, and numerous detachments of hong-wei-ping (Red Guards) and tsao-fan (“rebels”), consisting of politically immature high school and college students and other urban youths who were specially organized to give the appearance of a mass movement, Mao Tse-tung’s closest associates, acting in accordance with his “open fire on headquarters” directive, removed from their positions, insulted, and later sent to rural areas for “labor reeducation” or placed under house arrest hundreds of thousands of responsible party workers, government employees, and members of the intelligentsia. Among them were PRC chairman Liu Shao-ch’i, more than two-thirds of the members of the CPC Central Committee, and most of the leaders of central departments, local party committees, and governmental bodies. The provincial and district party committees and popularly elected governmental bodies were in effect disbanded and replaced by “revolutionary committees” that were appointed from above and on which army representatives played the leading role. In addition, the trade unions, the Young Communist League, and all public organizations ceased operation, and hundreds of national and local newspapers and magazines were shut down. Schools and higher educational institutions could no longer function, and all libraries, museums, and theaters were closed. The Cultural Revolution was accompanied by economic disorganization and the slowing of the rate of national economic development.

From the second half of 1966 the foreign policy of the PRC was characterized by sharp intensification of propaganda and actions aimed against the Soviet Union. The Maoists organized a large number of crude provocations against Soviet delegations in the PRC and against Soviet ships, trains, and airplanes within China. The scale of violations of the Sino-Soviet border expanded greatly, reaching the point of armed invasions of border regions of the USSR in 1969. In unmasking the anti-Leninist chauvinist policy of the Maoists, the Soviet government, displaying self-restraint, gave a firm rebuff to the border provocations of the Maoists. In the same period the PRC leadership intensified its intervention in the internal affairs of many countries, resulting in a sharp aggravation of relations between the PRC and a number of countries and leading to its almost total international isolation.

The Ninth CPC Congress, whose delegates were specially selected by the Maoists, was held in April 1969. It was devoted to praising Mao Tse-tung and his “ideas,” justifying the Cultural Revolution, and supporting the foreign policy of the PRC. The congress in effect rejected all decisions of the Eighth CPC Congress, including those pertaining to the general line of building socialism in China and the course of the PRC and the CPC toward unity with socialist countries and the international communist movement. “Mao Tse-tung’s ideas” were established as the ideological base of the CPC. The struggle against the Soviet Union was in effect declared one of the fundamental tasks of the Chinese state. The congress showed that Maoism had broken with the ideas of scientific communism.

At the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties in June 1969, in which the CPC leadership refused to participate, the decisions of the Ninth CPC Congress were denounced. The participants in the conference indicated that, while proclaiming in word the necessity of struggling against imperialism and for socialism, the CPC leadership was objectively acting, in context of the main tendencies of international politics, as a force promoting the strengthening of imperialist positions in the struggle between the two systems, and, within China itself, as a force shattering the socialist order; they also pointed out that the Ninth CPC Congress had created a new situation that was having a negative effect on conditions throughout the world and on the struggle of anti-imperialist forces.

After the Ninth Congress the CPC leadership took a number of steps aimed at surmounting the deep-seated domestic political and economic crisis that had taken shape by 1969 and toward overcoming its almost total international isolation. The internal situation in China, however, continued to be unstable and was characterized by dissatisfaction of certain segments of the people with the policy of the Chinese leadership; the struggle among various groups for power and on the basic questions of domestic and foreign policy did not come to a halt. In September 1971, as a result of the next acute outbreak of the internal struggle, the minister of defense Lin Piao, approved by the Ninth CPC Congress as Mao Tse-tung’s deputy and “successor,” and a number of prominent military commanders and members of the Central Committee and its Politburo were removed from power.

The Chinese leadership maintained unchanged its foreign-policy goals, replacing the class line with nationalism, but in order to emerge from international isolation and strengthen the PRC’s international position, it announced in 1969 that henceforth its foreign policy would be guided by the principles of peaceful coexistence, the UN Charter, and other generally recognized international norms. This enabled the government of the PRC to normalize, between 1969 and 1972, diplomatic relations with a number of countries that had been broken off during the Cultural Revolution and to establish relations with some other states. (At the end of 1972 the PRC maintained diplomatic relations with 81 states.)

As before, however, anti-Sovietism remained the basis of the Chinese leadership’s foreign policy. This was reflected above all in China’s policy toward the Soviet Union. At the suggestion of the Soviet government a meeting of the heads of government of the USSR and the PRC was held on Sept. 11, 1969. Immediately thereafter negotiations on border questions were started in Peking and trade relations developed somewhat. The constructive proposals introduced by the Soviet government for a border settlement, for the conclusion of a special treaty calling for the nonapplication of force, and for other matters that might have contributed to an amelioration of relations between the two states on a mutually beneficial basis, to the restoration of friendly relations between the USSR and the PRC, and to joint measures aimed at rebuffing imperialist aggressors elicited no response from the Chinese government. Moreover, the anti-Soviet campaign conducted by the Chinese leadership in China and abroad expanded. They intensified their attacks on the social and state structure of the USSR and on its peace-loving foreign policy.

In maintaining their hostile line toward the socialist community, the Chinese leaders tried to make use of the so-called “differentiated approach” and other means to weaken relations between socialist countries and the Soviet Union, to set them at odds, and to undermine the socialist community. They undertook activity directed against the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and against measures aimed at socialist integration. The Chinese leadership carried out divisive and subversive activity in the world communist movement.

At the same time the Chinese government wanted to develop diplomatic and economic relations with capitalist countries. Between 1970 and 1972 the PRC established diplomatic relations with most capitalist countries of Western Europe and with Canada and Japan. In 1971–72, Peking and Washington took steps to normalize relations. The visit of the US president to Peking at the invitation of the Chinese leadership (1972) was the start of official high-level Chinese-American contact. In 1973 the USA and the PRC exchanged groups of representatives that in reality had the powers of embassies. Capitalist countries, especially Japan, have become the PRC’s main partners in its foreign economic relations. In connection with this course, Chinese criticism of the policies of imperialist powers has been greatly weakened.

Striving to assume the position of leader of the Third World countries and to use them for its own mercenary great-power interests, the Chinese government declared that the PRC was to be included among the “developing countries.” Using the catchwords of the struggle against the hegemony of the “two superpowers” and the struggle of the “poor” countries against the “rich,” the Chinese leaders strove to set the developing countries against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries and to undermine the worldwide anti-imperialist cooperation between socialist and developing countries.

In October 1971 the 26th session of the UN General Assembly restored the rights of the PRC in the UN and the Security Council. After the PRC’s entry into the UN the negative approach of the Chinese government toward the relaxation of international tension and the settlement of the most acute international problems (such as the Indian-Pakistani conflict, recognition of Bangladesh, and the Arab-Israeli conflict) was distinctly manifested. The PRC voted against the proposal introduced by the USSR that the states pledge not to use force in international relations and to prohibit forever the use of nuclear weapons. It opposed the creation of collective security systems in Europe and Asia. While intensively increasing the country’s missile-borne nuclear potential at the expense of the vital interests of the Chinese people and expending about one-third of the state budget for military needs, the Chinese government opposed all constructive proposals for partial and general disarmament. It refused to participate in the conference of the five nuclear powers, whose convocation was proposed by the Soviet Union in 1971, tried to block the Soviet proposal for convocation of a world disarmament conference, refused to take part in any international treaties having the goal of limiting the nuclear arms race (such as the treaties calling for prohibition of nuclear tests in the atmosphere, under water, and in space and the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons), and took a negative position toward Soviet-American negotiations and the strategic arms reduction agreement of 1972.

The Tenth Congress of the CPC (August 1973) did not substantially change the line of the Ninth Congress. Amendments to the Party Rules adopted by the Tenth Congress consolidated the Maoist organizational principles of the CPC. In 1974, China was convulsed by a new mass political campaign—“criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius”—which resembled the Cultural Revolution in its methods and reflected a new upswing in the struggle for power among the Chinese leadership. In January 1975 a session was held of the National People’s Congress, which had not convened since 1964. The delegates to the session were chosen through “democratic consultations” and not by universal secret ballot. This session adopted the new Constitution of the PRC, which proclaimed Maoism the theoretical basis of the PRC’s state ideology and gave the force of law to the anti-Soviet line and to a course toward preparation for a new war.

The policy pursued by the Chinese leadership is unnatural for relations between socialist countries and is directed against the interests of not only the Soviet but also the Chinese people. It is also against the interests of world socialism and the liberation and anti-imperialist struggle and the peace and security of the peoples of the world.

The Soviet Union consistently implements toward China the course drawn up by the CPSU. It includes counteraction of the divisive policy of the Chinese leadership, a policy hostile to the cause of socialism, consistent rebuffing of any encroachments of the interests of the USSR, and at the same time a readiness to normalize relations with the PRC and establish good-neighbor relations. This course meets both the general interests of the socialist community and the world revolutionary movement and the fundamental interests of the peoples of the Soviet Union and China.

L. I. DUMAN (to the end of the 18th century), G. V. EFIMOV (from the end of the 18th century to 1917), and A. A. MARTYNOV (from 1917)


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Blagodatov, A. V. Zapiski o kitaiskoi revoliutsii 1925–1927 gg. Moscow, 1970.
Kialagin, A. Ia. Po neznakomym dorogam: Vospominaniia voennogo sovetnika. Moscow, 1969.
Astaf’ev. G. V. Interventsiia SShA v Kitae i ee porazhenie (1945–1949 gg.). Moscow, 1958.
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The Communist Party of China (the CPC, or Chung-kuo kung-ch’an tang) was founded on July 1, 1921. In 1973 it had more than 28 million members.

There are also eight democratic parties and groups in the PRC, all of which acknowledge the leading role of the CPC. The Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee (Chung-kuo kuo-min-tang ko-ming wei-yiian-hui) was founded in 1948 by former members of the Kuomintang who were dissatisfied with Chiang Kai-shek’s reactionary policy. The China Democratic League (Chung-kuo min-chu t’ung-meng) was founded in 1941 by members of the national and urban petite bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeois intelligentsia (prior to 1944 it was called the League of Democratic Political Organizations). The Chinese Democratic National Construction Association (Chung-kuo min-chu chien-kuo hui) was established in 1945 by representatives of trade and industrial circles of the national bourgeoisie. The China Association for Promoting Democracy (Chung-kuo minchu ts’u-chin hui) was formed in 1945 by press, cultural, and educational workers. The Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party (Chung-kuo nung-kung min-chu tang) was founded in 1927 and unites primarily medical and health workers (prior to 1947 it was called the Chinese Revolutionary Party and later the Third Party). The Chinese Party Striving for Justice (Chung-kuo chih-kung tang), founded in 1925, unites primarily representatives of patriotic overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese who have returned to their homeland. The September Third Society (Chiu-san hsüeh-she) was formed in 1944 by the scientific intelligentsia and cultural and educational workers. It was originally called the Democratic Scientific Society; it became a political organization in 1945 after Japan’s surrender and was named in honor of this event. The Taiwan Democratic Self-government League (T’ai-wan min-chu tzu-chih t’ungmeng), founded in 1947, represents part of the native Taiwanese who live in continental China.

Since 1967 no information concerning the activity of any of these parties (other than the CPC) has been reported.

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC; Chung-kuo jen-min cheng-chih hsieh-shang hui-i)— the representative body of the United People’s Democratic Front (formed in 1949)—unites under the leadership of the CPC democratic parties, public organizations, representatives of various nationalities in China, and some overseas Chinese.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, founded in 1925, has about 21 million members (1965). The Young Communist League of China, founded in 1949, had 32 million members in 1966. (The Chinese Socialist Youth Corps existed from 1920 to 1925, the Chinese Communist Youth League from 1925 to 1935, the Avant-garde for Liberation of the Chinese Nation and other youth societies in liberated regions and elsewhere from 1936 to 1949, and the New Democratic Youth League of China from 1949 to 1957.) The All-China Youth Federation, formed in 1949 (prior to 1958 called the All-China Federation of Democratic Youth), includes the Young Communist League, the All-China Student Federation, and other youth organizations. The PRC Federation of Women was formed in 1949 (prior to September 1957, the All-China Federation of Democratic Women). The Chinese People’s Committee for World Peace was formed in 1949. The Sino-Soviet Friendship Association was formed on Oct. 5, 1949.

During the Cultural Revolution (in the second half of the 1960’s) the CPPCC, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the Young Communist League, and other social organizations in China in effect ceased functioning. Their gradual reestablishment was reported in the early 1970’s.


After the victory of the people’s revolution in 1949, the PRC undertook, with the fraternal aid of the USSR and other socialist countries, to restore the economy and to prepare the conditions necessary for beginning socialist construction. The first five-year plan (1953–57) was fulfilled successfully.

The fulfillment of the second five-year plan (1958–62) was broken off by a change in economic course. After 1957 the fulfillment of the most important socioeconomic goals, such as the socialist industrialization of the country, the creation of a modern material and technical base for agriculture, employment of the growing population, and elevation of the material and cultural standards of the workers, was slowed. An increase in military expenditures had a negative effect on the fulfillment of these goals.

Industry. The foundation for modern industry was laid in the first five-year plan. While the overall increase in industrial production from 1953 to 1957 was 130 percent, the output of the chemical industry increased by 350 percent and of machine building by 300 percent. The share of the metalworking and machine-building industries rose from 10.6 percent in 1952 to 16.2 percent in 1957 (it was 6.8 percent before 1949); the increase was from 5.1 to 8 percent in ferrous metallurgy and from 3.2 to 6.6 percent in the chemical industry. The share of the traditional sectors declined: the textile industry dropped from 29.7 to 19.1 percent and the food industry from 22.6 to 20.4 percent, although they retained their leading places in industry. The high share of branches consuming agricultural raw materials and dependent on agricultural conditions produced fluctuations in the rate of industrial development as a whole.

Serious interbranch disproportions, such as the lag of the mining, fuel, and electric-power industries behind the manufacturing industry as a whole and especially the lag of metallurgy behind machine-building and of building-materials production behind the requirements of capital construction, worsened between 1958 and 1960.

In 1961 gross industrial output dropped by one-third from the level of 1959–60. The drop was especially high in iron-ore extraction (by two-thirds), the production of metal-cutting machine tools (by 40–67 percent), steel (40–45 percent), cement (40 percent), and coal mining (40 percent). In 1965–66 gross industrial output increased as a result of measures aimed at “regulating” the national economic system. However, the share of the metal-working and machine-building industry in total industrial production declined somewhat, although this branch retained first place in both production volume and the number of employees; the share of the textile and food industries, which were second and third, respectively, in the value of production, rose somewhat. The chemical industry’s share also rose. In 1967–68 the drop in the rates of production caused by the Cultural Revolution affected both old branches, such as coal mining and ferrous metallurgy, and developing branches, such as petroleum extraction and electric power production.

Industry as a whole is lagging behind the requirements of the country’s economic development and is unable to carry out the technical reequipment of the national economy, especially of agriculture. The level of the mechanization and automation of production processes in most branches of industry remains low.

By 1970, China’s share in world output was (according to UN data) about 10 percent (third in the world) in coal mining, 2–3 percent in the production of electric power, steel, and cement, and less than 1 percent in petroleum extraction.

With respect to the per capita output of the basic types of manufactured goods, China in 1969 was 20th in coal mining, 28th in petroleum extraction, 37th in steel production, 41st in electric power production, and 45th in cement production.

EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY AND POWER ENGINEERING. Coal is the basis of the fuel and power balance: it accounts for nearly 90 percent of all fuel extracted in the country (based on conventional equivalents), while the share of petroleum, natural gas, and fuel shale is 10 percent. In terms of proven coal reserves of all types, China is third in the world after the USSR and the USA. Most coal extraction occurs in North and Northeast China. The most important coal-mining centers (with an annual output of more than 10 million tons) are Fushun, Fuhsin, and Hokang (in Northeast China), K’ailuan and Tat’ung (in North China), and Huainan (in East China).

Known oil fields are concentrated in Northwest and Northeast China and the Szechwan Basin. The main oil fields are located in Tach’ing (in Northeast China), Karamai (Sinkiang), and Yiimen (Kansu). Some petroleum is refined in the regions of extraction, but most is shipped by rail to the petroleum refineries in Lanchou, Peking, Dairen, Nanking, and Shanghai. The longest petroleum pipelines are in Kansu and Sinkiang. Part of the requirements for liquid fuel are satisfied by the refining of fuel shale; shale extraction and the production of shale resin are concentrated in Northeast China (Fushun and other centers) and Kwangtung (Maoming). The total production of liquid fuel made from shale and coal is about 2 million tons per year. Gas fields are worked in the Szechwan and Tsaidam basins; the gas is used locally. Ore extraction is concentrated chiefly in Northeast China (Anshan) and North China, in the Paot’ou (Inner Mongolia) and Wuhan regions, and on Hainan Island. Most of the deposits of ores of tungsten (the center is Tayü), antimony (Hsinhua), tin (Kochiu), lead (Shui-k’oushan), and mercury (T’ungjen) are concentrated in Central, South, and Southwest China.

The total installed capacity of the electric power industry is in excess of 15 million kilowatts. More than three-fourths of the electric power is generated at steam power plants in the principal coal basins and large cities. The most important hydroelectric power plants (with capacities of 600,000 kilowatts each) are at Fengman (in Northeast China) and Hsinanchiang (in Chekiang Province). Most of the electric power plants are small or of medium size (with capacities of up to 200,000 kilowatts). Some local power systems are not interconnected.

MANUFACTURING. In ferrous metallurgy cast-iron production, which exceeds steel production, is most developed: the production of rolled metal and special steels is underdeveloped. The extraction and concentration of iron ore also do not satisfy national requirements. China’s main metallurgical base is the Northeast, which has the largest enterprise in the branch—the An-shan Combine—as well as facilities in Penhsi (Pench’i), Talien, Fushun, Fulaerhchi, and T’unghua. The second most important region for ferrous metallurgy is North China, with the Shihchingshan and T’aiyüan metallurgical combines and facilities in Tientsin and T’angshan. Paot’ou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Maanshan, and Chungking are also important centers for ferrous metallurgy.

China is one of the world’s leaders in the production of tungsten concentrate and antimony and in tin smelting. The production of mercury, molybdenum, and other metals is also substantial; the smelting of copper, aluminum, and a number of other metals is relatively low-volume. The aluminum industry is located in Northeast China and Shantung Province. Mukden (Shenyang) and Shanghai are the largest centers for nonferrous metallurgy. Lead and zinc are smelted in Shuik’oushan (Hunan), tin in Kochiu (Yünnan), and antimony in Hsinhua (Hunan).

In machine building and metalworking the share of power and heavy machine-building is significant. Automobile manufacturing, agricultural machine-building, railroad machine-building, machine-tool building, shipbuilding, and instrument-making are less developed. The most important centers for heavy machine-building are Mukden, Fulaerhchi, T’aiyüan, Loyang, Wuhan,

Table 2. Production of the most important types of manufactured goods
1 Official data; estimates for other years
Electric power (billion kilowatt-hours)4.319.341.530–3350–6075–80
Coal (million tons)32.4130.0348.0200–220230290–300
Petroleum (million tons)0.121.463.74–51024–251
Steel (million tons)0.165.3513.38–911211
Metal-cutting machine tools (thousand)1.628.070.025–3035–4055–60
Cement (million tons)0.76.912.277.012–1318–20
Mineral fertilizer (million tons)0.030.631.32.0816–17
Cotton fabrics (billion m)–46–6.58–9

and Canton; for power machine-building—Mukden, Harbin, Peking, Tientsin, T’aiyüan, and Shanghai. Automobile production is estimated (as of 1971) at 70,000, and tractor production at 35,000 to 40,000 per year. The largest automobile plant is located in Ch’angch’un and the largest tractor plant in Loyang. There also are small automobile plants in Nanking, Shanghai, Peking, and Tsinan; tractors also are produced in Tientsin, Shanghai, and Mukden.

The production of metal-cutting machine tools is located in Shanghai, Mukden, Tsitsihar, Dairen, Peking, Tientsin, Tsinan, Wuhan, Wuhsi, Nanking, and K’unming. Railroad machine-building is represented by enterprises in Dairen, Harbin, Ch’angch’un, and Tsingtao; shipbuilding by shipyards in Shanghai, Dairen, Wuhan, Wuhu, and Canton; and instrument-making by plants in Harbin, Sian, and Ch’engtu. The radio engineering industry is located primarily in Peking, Nanking, and Ch’engtu. The electronics and nuclear industries are being developed as part of the efforts to acquire missiles with nuclear warheads.

The production of mineral fertilizers holds the predominant position in the chemical industry. Chiefly nitrogen fertilizers, and in lesser quantity phosphate and potash fertilizers, are produced. Large mineral-fertilizer plants are located in Dairen, Nanking, Kirin, T’aiyüan, Chuchou, and Canton; the production of ammonium compounds is centered in Tsinan and Paoting. A significant amount of fertilizer is produced by medium-sized and small enterprises; caustic soda is produced chiefly at small enterprises. There is a large plant for the production of soda and potassium chloride from seawater (in Dairen). The coke and coke-oven by-products industry is associated with metallurgical enterprises in Northeast, North, and Central China. The production of plastics is located chiefly in Shanghai, synthetic rubber in Lanchou, and synthetic and artificial fiber (about 100,000 tons in the early 1970’s) primarily in Peking, Paoting, Shanghai, and Nanking. The largest cement plants are in Penhsi (Pench’i), Dairen, T’angshang, Tat’ung, Nanking, Shanghai, and Canton.

The textile industry is one of the oldest in China. The production of cotton cloth, in which China holds one of the leading positions in the world, is most highly developed. The primary centers are Shanghai, Tientsin, Tsingtao, Peking, Canton, Shihchiachuang, Hantan, Sian, and Tsinan. The silk industry (in Shanghai and Hangchou) and the wool industry (in Shanghai, Lanchou, Paot’ou, and Hsining) are developed. The food industry is associated primarily with the processing of local agricultural raw materials. Small enterprises predominate, although there are some large factories and plants. Rice-polishing and the milling, vegetable-oil, tea-processing, tobacco, sugar, and fruit-and fish-canning industries are especially well developed. The food industry has gravitated toward large transportation centers and ports.

Handicrafts and cottage industry are of great importance in industrial production. The oldest branches are sewing and weaving, ceramics (porcelain and earthenware), paper, and vegetable oil and the production of agricultural implements and tools, other tools, and household items. The products of Chinese fine arts are well known, including ceramics, lacquer products, embroidery, braiding, glazed products, and stone, bone, and wood carvings. For the production of some types of manufactured goods, see Table 2.

Agriculture. The main branch of agriculture is farming. Agricultural areas, according to UN data for 1967, amounted to 287.3 million hectares (ha), of which 110.3 million were under cultivation (11.5 percent of the country’s area) and 177 million were used as meadows and pastures (18.6 percent of Chinese territory). Large land reserves (nearly equal to the cultivated land) suitable for cultivation if necessary improvements are made can be found in Northeast, Northwest, and South China. From 1949 to 1957 the cultivated land increased from 97.9 million to 111.8 million ha, but in 1958 the opening of virgin land was brought almost to a halt; part of the cultivated land fell into disuse (because of the flooding and salinification of some fields). Favorable soil and climatic conditions make it possible throughout most of the country to bring in two, and in the extreme south even three, harvests a year; therefore, the sown area is nearly 50 percent greater than the cultivated area.

China has long occupied one of the leading positions in the world in percentage of irrigated area. Sixteen percent of the cultivated land was irrigated in 1949 and 31 percent in 1957, with the southern rice-growing regions accounting for an overwhelming majority of the irrigated fields (up to one-half of the cultivated land), while in the North China Plain, which often suffers from droughts, the proportion of irrigated land was much lower; in the first five-year plan large hydraulic engineering

Table 3. Sown area and harvest of main agricultural crops1
   Sown area (hectares)  Harvest (tons) 
1 According to UN (FAO) data
2 Annual average
3 1970
 Total grain crop99,700,000118,500,000115,600,000113,500,000145,000,000210,500,000
Sweet potatoes5,700,0007,300,00036,400,00054,500,000
Sugar beets30,000110,000230,000400,0001,200,0005,200,000
Jute and hemp103,000112,000220,000168,000219,000500,000
Cotton (fiber)4,000,0005,700,0005,000,000800,0001,300,0001,500,000
Castor-oil plant130,000121,000180,0004,00040,00090,000

projects that included the comprehensive transformation of the river systems in northern China (such as the Huang Ho and Huai Ho) were started; however, since 1957 the completion of these projects has been deferred, and a course has been set toward priority construction of small irrigation structures built by the population with the funds of collective farms; up to 90 percent of all fields requiring irrigation were irrigated by small structures. In 1964 about 100,000 tractors were in use in agriculture. Farming is based primarily on manual labor, and machines till no more than one-tenth of all cultivated land.

The leading branch of farming is grain growing. More than three-fourths of all sown land is occupied by grain crops or sweet potatoes. Grains account for four-fifths of the population’s diet. The most important grain crop is rice, which accounts for one-fifth of all sown land and up to half of the grain harvest. The main rice-growing regions are in the Yangtze basin, where two-thirds of the rice crop is concentrated. Wheat, chiefly winter wheat, is the second most important grain crop, occupying about one-sixth of the sown area and accounting for about one-seventh of the grain harvest. It is found primarily on the North China Plain (two-thirds of all areas sown to this crop). Other grain crops—corn, kaoliang, millet, barley, and buckwheat—account for about one-third of the sown area and one-fourth of the grain harvest. The corn belt extends from the Liaotung Peninsula through the northern part of the North China Plain to the southwestern borders of China. Kaoliang and millet are grown primarily in the northeast lowlands and the North China Plain.

China is a major producer of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, tobacco, and tea. The main cotton-growing regions are in the Huang Ho and Yangtze basins. The soybean crops are located in the northeast lowlands and the North China Plain. The most important producer of peanuts is Shantung Province. Rape is grown in the Yangtze basin; tobacco is grown chiefly in three small regions within Honan, Shantung, and Anhwei provinces. Sugarcane is cultivated in the southern coastal regions and the Szechwan Basin. Tea crops (China is the original source of tea) are developed in East and Central China; tea plantations are found on the terraced slopes of mountains and hills. Numerous varieties of green tea are consumed chiefly within the country, while black tea is exported. The tung tree and lacquer tree are cultivated.

Diversified cultivation of orchards in the tropical, subtropical, and moderate belts (such as citrus fruit, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, apples, and pears) is widespread; viticulture is practiced in a number of regions. For the sown areas and the harvest of agricultural crops, see Table 3.

Animal husbandry has a different role in each of the large regions of China. In East China it is secondary; the principal branches are the raising of swine, draft animals, and poultry. China is first in the world in the total number of swine. Pasture animal husbandry, including sheep farming, the breeding of meat and dairy cattle, and horse breeding, predominates in Inner Mongolia, the northern part of Sinkiang, and Tibet. (For the livestock population, see Table 4.)

Table 4. Livestock population1
1 According to UN (FAO) data
Water buffelo21,800,00029,400,000

There are 1.17 billion poultry birds. The production of animal husbandry and poultry farmingfor 1971 was 13.9 million tons of meat, 3.3 million tons of milk, 36,000 tons of washed wool, and 73.6 billion eggs.

The principal sericultural regions are the Yangtze and Chu Chiang basins, where the mulberry silkworm is raised; the oak silkworm is raised in Northeast China and Shantung. In 1970, 125,000 tons of cocoons were harvested, and 10,200 tons of raw silk were produced (according to UN data).

Ocean fishing is of great importance. China holds one of the leading positions in the world in total catch. Fishing is carried out in coastal and inland waters. The Yellow and East China seas produce up to two-thirds of the catch. Drums and cutlass fish and, among the invertebrates, cuttlefish, shrimp, and mollusks predominate in commercial ocean fishing. Artificial fish breeding in freshwater bodies and rice fields is widespread. The catch in 1960 was 5.8 million tons.

Less than 10 percent of China is forested, and two-thirds of the forest tracts are concentrated in the northeast and southwest, where commercial lumber is procured. Nearly all local lumber is used to produce railroad ties and brace timber for mines.

Transportation. Rail transport accounts for up to four-fifths of all freight turnover. The total length of railroads was about 40,000 km in 1970. On the average there were only 4 km of railroads per 1,000 sq km. A large number of railroads are concentrated in eastern China and in Northeast and North China. The most important railroads running north-south are the Peking-Canton and Tientsin-Shanghai. Of the railroads running east-west, the Lunghai Railroad, running from the port of Lienyünkang on the coast of the Yellow Sea to Lanchou and its extension to Urumchi are of greatest importance. North China is linked to Northeast China by the Peking-Mukden and Chinese Ch’angch’un Railway and to Inner Mongolia by the Peking-Paot’ou Railway. These trunk lines account for most interregional freight and passenger traffic. The length of highways in 1970 was more than 550,000 km, of which more than half were paved. The largest highways are the Hsik’ang-Tibet (from Yaan to Lhasa) and Sinkiang-Tibet (from Kashgar to Gartok). The length of navigable inland waterways is 160,000 km; about one-fourth is accessible to motor vessels, and the rest is suitable for junks. River transport is concentrated primarily in the Yangtze basin. The largest river ports are Nanking, Wuhan, and Chungking. The largest seaports are Shanghai, Dairen, Hsinkang [a new harbor in Tientsin], and Canton. Air transport, chiefly local, has developed.

Foreign trade. In 1971 the volume of foreign trade turnover was estimated at $4.4–4.6 billion. Prior to 1959 trade with socialist countries, which accounted for 70 percent of total turnover, was of the greatest importance to China. Subsequently, China redirected its trade toward capitalist markets. In 1971 the share of socialist countries in China’s foreign trade was about 20 percent, while that of capitalist and developing countries was about 80 percent. China’s main foreign trade partners in 1971 were Japan (with 20 percent of the total foreign trade turnover), Hsiangkang (Hong Kong), the Federal Republic of Germany, and Great Britain.

The main exports are agricultural goods (food, soybeans, bristle, tea, and tobacco), products of the mining industry (such as tungsten concentrate, tin, molybdenum, and antimony), and textiles. The main imports are rolled metal, special steels, ferrous metals, machinery, trucks, mineral fertilizer, and grain. The monetary unit is the yuan.

Economic-geographic regions. Northeast China (Liaoning, Kirin, and Heilungkiang provinces) has the most developed industry. The share of machine building and metallurgy in the structure of industrial production is higher than the national average. The region is the leader in the country’s coal industry; most of the coal is extracted in Liaoning Province, where the Fushun and Fuhsin mines are located; coal is also mined in Penhsi (Pench’i), Peip’iao, and Liaoyiian. In the northern part of the region the main centers of the coal industry are Hokang, Shuangyashan, Chihsi, and Chiaoho (the annual output from each of these mines is several million tons). The Tach’ing oil fields, where commercial extraction began in the 1960’s, has become one of the leading fields in China. Northeast China accounts for a large part of Chinese electric power production, with a steam power plant in Fushun and hydroelectric power plants in Fengman and Shuifeng (in cooperation with the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea). Ferrous metallurgy plays the leading role in the manufacturing industry both of the region itself and of all China (with about half of the output of this branch in China in the 1960’s). The Anshan Metallurgical Combine is the largest in the region and in China. The second leading metallurgical center of the region is Penhsi. Plants in Dairen, Fushun, and Fulaerhchi produce special steels, and plants in Kirin put out ferroalloys. Copper, lead, and zinc are smelted in Mukden, most important center of nonferrous metallurgy. The largest aluminum plant in China is located in Fushun. Other industries of national importance are machine building and the production of metallurgical equipment (in Fulaerhchi and Mukden), mining equipment (in Shenyang), power equipment (in Mukden and Harbin), motor vehicles (in Ch’ang-ch’un), locomotives (in Dairen), railroad cars (in Tsitsihar, Harbin, and Ch’angch’un), machine tools (in Mukden, Harbin, Dairen, and Fulaerhchi) and industrial instruments (in Harbin). The centers of the chemical industry are Dairen, Kirin, Mukden, Fushun, and Penhsi. Agriculture as a whole is oriented toward grains, and the most important industrial crops are soybeans and sugar beets.

North China (Hopeh and Shansi provinces and the province-level municipalities of Peking and Tientsin) is third in the country in its share of gross industrial output. North China is an important base of the power industry; it accounts for about one-third of the coal extraction (the Tat’ung and K’ailuan mines); the largest steam power plants are in Peking and Tientsin. The largest workings of iron ore are located near Hsiianhua. North China is one of China’s metallurgical bases. The region has two large metallurgical combines (the Shihchingshan combine near Peking and the T’aiyüan combine), metallurgical plants in Hantan and Hsüanhua, and foundries and rolling mills in Peking, Tientsin, and T’angshan. Machine building specializes in metallurgical and mining equipment (T’aiyüan and Chang-chiak’ou), chemical equipment (Tientsin), electric power equipment (Peking, Tientsin, and Paoting), machine tools and equipment (Peking, Tientsin, and T’aiyüan), locomotives and railroad cars (Tat’ung, T’aiyüan, Tientsin, Peking, and T’angshan), ships (Tientsin), textile machinery (Yütz’u), and radio and electronic equipment (Peking, Tientsin, and Shihchiachuang). The branch chemical industry produces soda (T’angku), chemical fibers (Peking and Paoting), and plastics (Peking). North China is second in the country, after East China, in the production of textiles, chiefly cotton products (Tientsin, Peking, Shihchiachuang, and Hantan). The food and condiment industry is developed. Agriculture is oriented toward grains; the most important industrial crops are cotton, tobacco, and peanuts and other oil-producing crops.

East China (Shantung, Anhwei, Kiangsu, Chekiang, Kiangsi, and Fukien provinces and the province-level municipality of Shanghai) is second in China’s gross industrial output. Machine building, the chemical industry, and light industry, especially the textile branch, are well developed. East China is poorer in energy resources than are Northeast and North China. The largest coalmining enterprise is the Huainan mines. A large part of the region’s industrial output comes from Shanghai (machine building and China’s largest chemical and textile industries), Tsingtao (transport and textile machine building), Tsinan and Hangchou (machine-tool building), and Wuhsi (power machine building and machine-tool building). Nanking is also a major industrial center. Textile production plays a major role in all centers of the region. Agriculture specializes in grains, and cotton is the most important industrial crop. Sericulture (near Hangchou) and orchards are developed.

The most important economic center of Central China (Honan, Hopeh, and Hunan provinces) is Wuhan, where a metallurgical combine and machine-building and chemical plants have been built during the years of the people’s power. The complex of the Tayeh iron-ore deposits and the Hunan deposits of nonferrous metals form the raw-materials base. Fuel is supplied by the P’ingtingshan mines (in Honan Province) and the P’inghsiang mines (in the eastern part of Kiangsi Province). The industrial city of Loyang, where the production of tractors, bearings, and mining equipment and the cement and food industries are developing, and the city of Chengchou, with enterprises producing agricultural machinery, chemical products, and textiles, stand out in Honan Province, in the northern part of the region. In Hunan Province, in the southern part of the region, the Ch’angsha-Chuchou-Hsiangt’an triangle, with nonferrous metallurgy, machine-building, and chemical enterprises, is of the greatest importance. Honan Province is first in the country in wheat; the primary industrial crops are cotton and tobacco. In the southern part of the region rice (Hunan Province is the most important rice-farming region in China), cotton, rape, and tea predominate.

In South China (Kwangtung Province and the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region), most industry is concentrated in Canton, where ferrous metallurgy, nonferrous metallurgy, the production of cement, synthetic liquid fuel, chemical fertilizer, paper, machine tools, and ships, and the processing of agricultural and maritime products are developed. South China is an important rice-farming region; tropical and subtropical crops are cultivated. Sugarcane is of particularly great importance. Sericulture is also developed in the Chu Chiang Delta.

The main industrial center in Southwest China (Szechwan, Yünnan, and Kweichow provinces)—Chungking—stands out markedly. In Chungking ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, machine-tool building, transport machine-building, and the petrochemical, cement, cotton, and food industries are of greatest importance.

The second most important industrial center is Ch’engtu, where instrument-making and the radio industry are developed. A number of small industrial cities that process local mineral and agricultural raw material are centered on Chungking and Ch’eng-tu: the chemical branch (in Luchou and Wutungch’iao), the sugar branch (Neichiang), the paper branch (Ipin), and the cotton branch (almost everywhere) are represented. K’unming and Kueiyang are major industrial centers. In the southern part of the region there are rich deposits of copper, tin, and mercury, in reserves of which Southwest China is first in the country. Agriculture is marked by great diversity: rice, wheat, corn, cotton, sugarcane, ramie, tea, tobacco, and various tropical and subtropical crops are cultivated. Szechwan Province is the leader in the number of swine.

The leading industrial centers of Northwest China (Shensi, Kansu, and Tsinghai provinces) are Sian and Lanchou. In Sian electrical-engineering machine building and the cotton industry are developed; Lanchou is the site of petroleum refining, the petrochemical industry, and the production of petroleum equipment. Lanchou receives petroleum by pipeline from the Yümen fields. Petroleum is also extracted in Tsinghai, to which a railroad has been laid, and in Yench’ang (in northern Shensi). Of the other branches of industry, coal, cement, and nonferrous metallurgy are of some consequence. Farming is developed chiefly in the Wei Ho valley, where there is cotton farming and grain farming. Throughout the rest of the region there are some centers of field-crop cultivation; pasture animal husbandry is widespread.

The Inner Mongolian, Ningsia Hui, Sinkiang-Uighur, and Tibetan autonomous regions are less developed economically. Modern industry is represented by a metallurgical combine and some other enterprises in Paot’ou. Nonferrous metallurgy and the petroleum extraction industry are found in the Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region (near Karamai). Pasture animal husbandry, combined with oasis farming, predominates in these regions.


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The armed forces of the PRC (the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA) consist of ground forces, an air force, a navy, border forces, and public security forces; they are headed by the chairman of the PRC, who is the chairman of the National Defense Council. The minister of defense is in direct command of the armed forces.

The rise and development of the Chinese armed forces were linked with the Chinese people’s long revolutionary struggle. The building and strengthening of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA), formed by Sun Yat-sen’s government in southern China, began in 1924, with the participation of the Communist Party of China. A military school for the training of new officers was set up in Canton on Huangp’u (Whampoa) Island. The assistance granted by the Soviet Union in the form of weapons and personnel training was of great importance. The Soviet Union accorded many Chinese Communists and members of the Kuomintang, which was then a revolutionary party, the opportunity to study in Soviet military educational institutions. The NRA had a team of Soviet military advisers. In 1927, after the counterrevolutionary coups carried out by the Kuomintang groups of Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei and after the revolutionary uprisings (such as the Nanch’ang Uprising of 1927), revolutionary military detachments and units that came to be called the Chinese Red Army were formed. (Aug. 1, 1927, the start of the Nanch’ang Uprising, is observed in the PRC as Chinese People’s Liberation Army Day.) Between 1930 and 1933 the Red Army crushed four major campaigns conducted by the Kuomintang forces.

From 1934 to 1936 the Chinese Red Army shifted its base of operations to the northwest. During the Chinese people’s national liberation war against the Japanese invaders (1937–45), the main units of the Red Army were reorganized into the Eighth Army, and the partisan units of the Red Army in central China became the New Fourth Army. The armies were part of the national Chinese army, but the CPC retained control of them. For eight years the main forces of the Eighth and New Fourth armies waged a struggle for the liberation of Japanese-occupied territory. By 1945 the regular forces of the people’s revolutionary army had increased to 1.28 million, and the size of the people’s militia and partisan detachments was about 2.7 million. The armed forces of the Soviet Union, which in 1945 crushed the Japanese Kwantung Army in northeast China and Inner Mongolia, extended large-scale and comprehensive assistance to the Chinese people in their struggle against the Japanese invaders.

After World War II the people’s revolutionary forces, led by the CPC and based on northeastern China, which had been liberated by the Soviet Army, waged a struggle against the Kuomintang forces attempting to invade the liberated regions. From 1947 the people’s revolutionary forces were officially named the Chinese People’s Liberation Army; by 1948 it had a strength of 2.8 million. In 1948–49 the PLA carried out a number of major offensive operations (such as the Liaoshen, Peking-Tientsin, and Huaihai operations), as a result of which the main forces of the Kuomintang army were defeated and a large part of the country was fully liberated. After the formation of the PRC in 1949, the Soviet Union granted it large-scale assistance in reorganizing the PLA into a regular army and in equipping it with modern weapons. The army and navy were formed as branches of the PLA. During the Cultural Revolution the PLA was assigned the inappropriate functions of exercising military control over industrial and agricultural enterprises and governmental and educational institutions and over the military-political training of students.

The PLA is recruited on the basis of a military service law (1955). In China the number of persons eligible for the draft is much larger than necessary to staff the armed forces, and therefore selective induction is carried out by specially formed committees on the basis of authorizations from the Ministry of Defense. Persons from 18 to 25 are inducted into military service; the term of active military duty is two years in the ground forces, three years in the air force and coastal defense forces, and four years in the navy. Command personnel are trained in military academies, military institutes, higher and secondary military schools, and various advanced-training courses. In terms of military administration, the PRC is divided into 12 military districts: Mukden, Peking, Tsinan, Nanking, Fuchou, Wuhan, Canton, Lanchou, Sinkiang, Ch’engtu, Kunming, and Tibet. The large military districts comprise from one to several provincial military districts. The army has various types of modern weapons. Nuclear weapons are under intensive development, and tests of nuclear and thermonuclear devices have been conducted since October 1964.

Medicine and public health. Official statistics on the birth and mortality rates, average life expectancy, and morbidity in the PRC have not been published since 1959. Infectious pathology predominates. Prior to the formation of the PRC bubonic plague, smallpox, cholera, filariases (Brug’s filariasis and wuchereriasis), venereal diseases, trachoma, and leprosy were widespread. The entire territory south of 32° N lat. was malaria-endemic. As many as 100 million persons lived in regions infested with schistosomiasis japonica. Bacillary dysentery was one of the most widespread infectious diseases. The widespread character of Kashin-Beck disease, ka-shan disease, and endemic goiter is linked to a natural deficiency of trace elements. In the first years after the formation of the PRC, efforts to diagnose, treat, and eliminate the most widespread diseases were initiated. Official information has been published on the elimination of smallpox by 1954 and of cholera by 1959 and on a sharp decline in the morbidity of plague, malaria, filariases, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, and certain children’s diseases.

Many diseases are found in one or more regions of China. Hemorrhagic nephrosonephritis is endemic to Northeast China, in Heilungkiang and Kirin provinces. North China is characterized by kala azar and wuchereriasis, and endemic goiter is observed in Honan and Shensi provinces. Schistosomiasis japonica and ankylostomiasis are characteristic of Central and South China; malaria is hyperendemic on the plains and in the medium-altitude mountains and hilly highlands. Leprosy is also found in South China. The morbidity rate for dermatites is high in Szechwan, and endemic goiter is recorded there. The regional pathology in the Sinkiang and Tsinghai-Tibet regions and Inner Mongolia has been inadequately studied. According to a report of a radio station in Kwangtung Province, at the start of 1972, 19 million people (out of 42.8 million) were suffering from malaria; 8.3 million were infected with schistosomiasis (in 1960, 7 million cases of the disease were recorded in all of China).

Public health stations were first established in the PRC in 1950, and by 1958 they numbered 1,400. In 1959 there were 570,000 hospital beds and 760,000 “light beds” (not in hospitals). In 1957 there were 38 consolidated medical and pharmaceutical institutes, 32 medical and two pharmaceutical institutes, and four institutes for folk medicine. Such data have not been published since 1959.

In 1966 the medical institutes and schools in effect ceased to graduate specialists. Many physicians with degrees were removed from their jobs, and most were sent for “reeducation” to “May 7 schools,” disrupting the operation of therapeutic institutions. There was a reduction of expenditures for public health. The morbidity rate for various diseases increased. According to a report from a radio station in Hunan Province in 1969, the peasants prefer to go to local traditional doctors for help, rather than visit the “barefoot doctors” who studied their profession for just a few weeks. Military personnel have taken over medicine and public health in the province (as throughout China).

Veterinary medicine. Particularly dangerous infectious diseases of farm animals continue to be recorded throughout China: peripneumonia of cattle (47 new outbreaks in 1969), swine fever (37 outbreaks in 1969), glanders (71 outbreaks in 1969), and Newcastle disease (45 outbreaks in 1969). The diversity of the natural and farm conditions responsible for animal pathology (the presence of carriers, overcrowding, and poor veterinary monitoring) lead to the extensive spreading of infectious and noninfectious diseases. Lowering of the morbidity level is slowed by the small number of skilled specialists, the lack of reliable prophylactic and control measures, and poor monitoring of the measures implemented. The state veterinary service in China is under the Ministry of Agriculture and provincial, city, regional, and district agricultural agencies. As a result of the small size and weakness of the state veterinary network, “popular” veterinarians also treat animals. Highly skilled specialists are trained at the veterinary faculties of agricultural higher educational institutions in Peking, Nanking, Harbin, and elsewhere. Veterinary scientific research is directed by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, under which veterinary and agricultural scientific research institutes fall (such as the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, the Lanchou Veterinary Research Institute, and the Wuhan Research Institute for Agriculture).

A traditional educational system based on the study of ancient classical Confucian texts existed in China until the 20th century. In 1902–03 the first educational reforms were carried out, resulting in a school system modeled after the European system. Before 1949 more than 90 percent of the population was illiterate. After the formation of the PRC in 1949 a fundamental reorganization of the educational system was started. A new reform in 1951 established a system with several levels. The first was kindergarten, for children from three to seven (in 1957, 1,088,000 children were being educated in these institutions). At age seven the children entered a six-grade elementary school (in the 1959–60 school year 90 million students, or 87 percent of the children in the age bracket, were in school). A six-grade secondary school was divided into junior and senior high school, with three years of study each (in the 1959–60 school year there were 8.52 million secondary students). First-level vocational, technical, and teacher-training schools requiring completion of elementary school were set up, and second-level vocational, technical, and teacher-training schools requiring completion of junior high school were established (in the 1958–59 school year there were 850,000 students in vocational schools and 620,000 in teacher-training schools). In 1957 there were 227 higher educational institutions, including 15 universities, 48 higher technical educational institutions, and 53 teachers colleges. The largest and oldest higher educational institutions are Peking, Nank’ai, Tsinghua, Wuhan, Futan, and Nanking universities. In the 1959–60 school year about 900,000 students attended higher educational institutions.

From 1949 to 1957 the Chinese people, with the assistance of the USSR and other socialist countries, achieved major progress in education. By 1956 the illiteracy rate had dropped to 78 percent, and a system of educational institutions for adults had been formed.

The Soviet Union’s aid was of decisive importance in setting up an extensive vocational and technical training network, which trained more than 1 million skilled workers during the first five-year plan. Between 1949 and 1959 more than 760 Soviet specialists gave lectures in educational institutions of the PRC and helped establish 337 academic departments and about 560 laboratories. In this period Soviet specialists trained more than 4,000 graduate students and taught more than 7,000 Chinese instructors. More than 10,000 highly skilled Chinese specialists were trained in higher educational institutions of the USSR (before the Cultural Revolution); the Soviet Union assumed 50 percent of the expenses for training and stipends. After promulgation of the policy of the great leap forward in 1958, public education entered a period of protracted crisis. The number of students began to decline, and the quality of education deteriorated. The publication of statistics on public education was discontinued. The crisis in public education reached particular acuteness during the Cultural Revolution (in the second half of the 1960’s). The educational reform announced on June 13, 1966, was not carried out for more than two years. With the start of the Cultural Revolution studies in all educational institutions were halted entirely for the 1966–67 and 1967–68 school years.

At the end of the 1960’s more than 66 percent of the population of the PRC was illiterate. Schools were reopened in the fall of 1968, and higher educational institutions in 1970.

A new system of public education was introduced at the start of the 1970’s. Preschool institutions were set up under industrial enterprises in cities and under people’s communes in rural areas. Instead of the former 12–year general educational school, a nine-year school for children from seven to 15 (five years in elementary school, two years in junior high school and two years in senior high school) is the basis of the educational system. Vocational and technical training (for two years) and the training of elementary school teachers (for two years) require the completion of junior high school. The elementary school and junior high school in rural areas operate according to the system “half of the time for work, half for study.” After completion of the nine-year school it is possible to enter a higher educational institution only after working (for at least three years) in industry or agriculture or serving in the army. The length of study in higher educational institutions has been reduced to two or three years.

According to estimates in the American press (see the journal Phi Delta Kappan, April 1972, pp. 491 and 495), in the 1971–72 school year about 120 million students were studying in elementary schools in China, about 30 million in secondary educational institutions, and about 2 million in higher educational institutions. About 95 percent of all eligible children were in elementary schools in urban areas and about 60 percent in rural areas; about 3.5 million teachers were working in elementary and secondary schools. The educational reform being implemented stipulates that the “ideas of Mao Tse-tung” be made the basis of training and education, that much attention be paid to the military training of students, and that on-the-job training facilities be set up under educational institutions so that they can be maintained without aid from the state.

The largest libraries are the National Library of Peking (4.4 million volumes), the Central Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Peking (2.5 million), and the Nanking Library (2.3 million). Among the main museums are the former Imperial Palace (Ku-kung) and the Museum of Chinese History in Peking and the Shanghai Museum.


Natural sciences and technology.SCIENTIFIC STUDIES FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE FORMATION OF THE PRC. During their more than 3,000–year history the Chinese people have made a substantial contribution to the development of the natural sciences and technology. Many important discoveries and inventions were made several centuries earlier in China than in other countries, including European countries (such as the invention of the compass, seismoscope, odometer, paper, gunpowder, and printing).

Mathematics was well developed in China as early as the Han Dynasty. In the first half of the second century B.C., Chang Ts’ang discovered and described a method for solving first-degree equations with two and three unknowns. Subsequently mathematical investigations were continued by Ching Ch’ou-ch’ang; he was the first to introduce the concept of negative quantities and pointed out the rules governing operations with them; he also described a method of extracting square and cube roots. Between the second and sixth centuries Chinese scholars devised an original method of finding an integral solution to systems of indeterminate first-degree equations—the method was set forth by Sun-tzu; in Europe the method was rediscovered by K. Gauss only in 1801. By calculating the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, Tsu Ch’ung-chih obtained an approximation for π accurate to seven significant digits, an approximation rediscovered in Europe only in the 16th century. In the mid-11th century Chia Hsien proposed a method of extracting roots higher than the second degree. The works of Chia Hsien, Yang Hui, Chu Shih-chieh, and other outstanding mathematicians attest that even in the 11th to 14th centuries Chinese scientists knew the properties of binomial coefficients and were familiar with Pascal’s triangle.

Astronomy in China is among the most ancient sciences, as attested by the references to comets and planets in historical writings of the first millennium B.C. At this time the Chinese already knew of the periodic nature of eclipses; the first record of a solar eclipse dates to 720 B.C. The oldest known catalog of stars (listing 807) was compiled by Shih Shen in the fourth century B.C. The first record of an observation of sunspots was made in China in 28 B.C. In the early eighth century A.D. the Buddhist monk I Hsing, together with Liang Ling-tsan, expressed the opinion that the distances between the “fixed” stars were variable.

Geographic knowledge was accumulated in China from remote antiquity. Several centuries before the New Era the Chinese had reached the seas of the Pacific Ocean adjacent to East and South Asia, sailed in this region, and made a number of geographic discoveries. Chang Ch’ien’s journey to Central Asia in 138–126 B.C. gave rise to the study of the countries and peoples west of China and to the commencement of caravan trade with Middle Asia along the Great Silk Route. In 629 the traveler and philosopher Hsüan Tsang journeyed to the mouth of the Ganges and southern India. In the Sung era (960–1279), when in contrast to the T’ang period (618–907) China’s foreign trade and political relations overland grew weaker and maritime trade, especially with the Arab countries, Korea, Japan, Indochina, and the southern islands, grew stronger, navigation and shipbuilding developed considerably. In the Ming period (1368–1644), Chinese geographic science was greatly enriched by the seven ocean voyages to the west coast of India, to Central and Southeast Asia, and to the coasts of Africa that were made in the first third of the 15th century by the traveler and naval commander Cheng Ho.

Chinese travelers and navigators were greatly indebted for their success to the compass, which was invented in China. A copper compass plate with inscribed time divisions used in the Former Han Dynasty (from 206 B.C. to A.D. 25) has survived. In the early third century Ma Chün developed a different type of compass designed to be mounted on a carriage. The invention (in the third century) of a device for measuring the distance traveled, a sort of odometer in the form of a small carriage, was another important achievement. The measurement of the length of the meridional degree, made in 725 by Nan-kung Shuo, was important for geography. Chang Heng invented the world’s first seismoscope—a device that indicated the epicenter of an earthquake. (A description of this seismoscope has survived in entries in Chang Heng’s biography.)

The history of medicine in China dates back about 3,000 years. Observations by doctors played an important role in the development of Chinese medicine: the oldest medical book in the world, the Nei ching (sixth century B.C.), by the physician Pien Ts’ao (his authorship is conjectural), presents general conclusions based on these observations. Medicine achieved major progress during the Later Han Dynasty (25–220). At the end of this period the physician Jung Fen wrote the first pharmacopoeia in the world, the Pen-ts’ao. Surgical achievements were significant: as early as the Han period operations were being carried out with somnifacients (general anesthesia). Instructions on the methods of acupuncture and moxibustion (chen-chiu treatment—the burning of wormwood on the patient’s skin) appeared in medical books of the Sung period. Chinese pharmacology differed from European in the breadth of medicinal use: the total number of medicinal prescriptions in the 16th to 18th centuries was about 62,000 (approximately half were later lost).

In the last third of the 19th century public health institutions of the European type, in which foreign physicians worked, appeared in China. The first European-type Chinese therapeutic institutions opened in 1904. Scientific research in medicine, however, was chiefly in the hands of foreigners and was limited to a narrow range of problems. A scientific research institute of medicine in Nanking (founded in 1928) and a scientific research institute of pharmacology in Peking (founded in 1929) worked only on problems of European medicine. As a result of persecution by the Kuomintang authorities (in 1929 physicians of traditional Chinese medicine were prohibited from practicing), Chinese medicine underwent a period of decline.

The fact that the Chinese were the first in the world to use saltpeter to produce gunpowder attests to the development of practical chemistry in China. As early as the tenth century gunpowder was used in China to manufacture rockets for fireworks, and from the early 11th century it was used as a propellant in weapons.

Technology has a rich history in China. In the Yin period (from the 16th to 11th century B.C.) the smelting of bronze and the production of white ceramics and pottery were developed. In the third to fifth centuries A.D. porcelain was invented. Major progress in the production of porcelain was achieved during the Sung Dynasty. Beginning in the Ming period blue underglaze was used extensively to decorate porcelain. At the end of the 19th century a decline in porcelain production began that continued through the first half of the 20th century until the formation of the PRC.

The large-scale construction projects that have been carried out since remote antiquity have played an important role in the life of the Chinese people and have contributed to the development of civil engineering. The construction of the Grand Canal, the largest in the world, began as early as the sixth century B.C. Its construction took more than 2,000 years, and by the 13th century it linked Peking in the north with Canton in the south. The canal was fitted with numerous hydraulic structures. The Great Wall of China was another outstanding structure.

In China much attention was paid to irrigation and road construction. In particular, canal digging and the construction of mail roads assumed far-reaching dimensions under Ch’in Shih Huang-ti.

The invention of paper in the second century A.D. was a major contribution of the Chinese people to world civilization. In the fourth century paper entirely supplanted the bamboo sheets and silk previously used for writing. Paper from China was shipped to Japan (through Korea) and to Middle Asia and Persia. As a result of the Crusades the art of paper manufacture, which had been kept secret, became known in Western Europe. The history of book-printing in China dates to the fifth and sixth centuries. The text of the book originally was etched in stone and then transferred to paper. This process led to the development of lithography. Later, there was a gradual transition to printing from engraved boards (woodcuts), which became widespread in the ninth century. Movable type was invented between 1041 and 1048 by the blacksmith Pi Sheng, who made the first clay type. Metal type was used from the 15th century. The invention of multicolored printing was an important achievement. A book published in 1340 was the first to be printed in two colors.

The Chamber of Scholars, whose duties included the carrying out of scientific projects and the compilation of encyclopedic dictionaries, was established in the T’ang period (in the seventh century). After the Mongol yoke, which greatly restrained the development of science in China, was cast off in the 14th century, the Chamber of Scholars was transformed during the Ming Dynasty into the Hanlin Academy, which existed until 1911.

The establishment in the 17th century of the Manchu Ch’ing Dynasty led to the preservation of feudal relations in China, sharply inhibiting cultural and scientific development. From the 1840’s China gradually was converted into a semicolony of the capitalist powers, whose policies led to a profound decline of science.

The first modern scientific research institutions were founded in China only in the late 1920’s: the Academia Sinica (originally consisting of nine, and later 13, research institutes) was organized in Nanking in 1928; the Peking Research Academy (consisting of seven scientific research institutes and a chair of crystallography) and the Manchurian Academy (with its center in Ch’angchun) were founded in 1929. During the rule of the reactionary Kuomintang forces, however, China lagged far behind the advanced countries of the world in scientific development. Under these conditions scientific research developed only in the few fields in which prominent Chinese scientists (such as the geologist Li Ssu-kuang) worked.


THE GROWTH OF THE NATURAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE PRC. Favorable conditions for the planned development of Chinese science and technology first appeared with the formation of the PRC in 1949. From 1949 to 1957 party and government leaders encouraged the development of science and technology on a broad front, making use of scientific and technical achievements to develop the socialist economy. In this period important steps were taken toward reorganizing the system of scientific institutions and establishing new scientific research organizations. State allocations for research grew constantly, from 4 million yuan in 1950 to 38 million in 1955 and 239 million in 1957.

The close cooperation between the USSR and the PRC, which was greatly expanded and strengthened during the first five-year plan, contributed to the successful development of Chinese science and technology after the victory of the people’s revolution. In the 1950’s joint scientific research was of great importance to China. The higher educational institutions of the USSR and the PRC alone carried out joint work on 124 scientific topics. With the aid of the Soviet Union research on the most important new scientific directions was organized in China, and a number of leading scientific institutes and centers were founded and equipped. A long-range plan for the development of science that called for China to reach the level of developed countries by 1967 and for the solution of the problem of training Chinese scientific personnel was drawn up in 1956 with the help of Soviet scientists. Between 1951 and 1960 more than 900 scientific personnel from the PRC were trained at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR alone, and about 2,000 Chinese specialists and 1,000 scientists went to the USSR to take part in joint scientific and technical projects. About 1,500 Soviet specialists in science, higher education, public health, and culture were sent to China. Between 1949 and 1955 about 3,000 Soviet scientific and technical titles were published in the PRC. Scientific and technical information and literature was supplied on a regular basis by the USSR.

At the end of the 1950’s the development of science in China was slowed by a series of political and ideological campaigns, during which part of the scientific intelligentsia suffered. During the great leap forward science found itself in complex and most often unfavorable conditions. Biology and the agricultural sciences found themselves in a particularly difficult position. Some fundamental research was terminated, and theoretical work not connected with production and not producing a direct economic impact was curtailed. The Chinese leaders consciously limited the development of science and even rejected it when scientific recommendations contradicted their theoretical outlook or practical policies. As a result, the major creative role of science in the development of productive forces was unrealistically belittled in the late 1950’s. The curtailment of scientific and technical cooperation with the Soviet Union started in 1960.

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s about 4,500 scientists and engineers returned to China from abroad. Expenditures for scientific research increased from 384 million yuan in 1958 to 1,081,-000,000 yuan in 1960, but these funds were allocated largely for the development of nuclear and missile technology.

After the failure of the great leap forward the publication of official data on the state of science and technology was abruptly reduced in China.

During the implementation of the “adjustment” policy (1961–65), the political pressure of the Chinese leadership on scientific personnel was reduced and wages were increased substantially. Scientific research, however, was limited in this period to a comparatively few areas (the development of missile-borne nuclear weapons and of associated branches of industry; the production of chemical fertilizer, plastics, and man-made fibers; increasing the variety of steels and rolled metals; and the production of some new types of machinery and equipment). The PRC continually reduced scientific and technical contacts with the USSR and other socialist countries and at the same time expanded contacts with France, Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, and several other capitalist countries. In view of the shortage of highly trained scientific personnel, especially teachers for higher educational institutions, in 1961 the Chinese leaders began to invite foreign scientists to work in the PRC. In 1963 the government began to send students and scientists to capitalist countries in Western Europe. A ten-year plan for scientific and technical development, whose main goal was the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, was adopted in 1963 (according to data carried by the foreign press).

According to the estimates of foreign experts, between 1962 and 1964 annual expenditures for scientific research amounted to more than US$2 billion (more than 4 billion yuan), of which three-fourths were allocated to missile and nuclear development.

The Cultural Revolution and the national economic disorganization that it caused had a negative effect on the development of Chinese science and technology. Many scientists were repressed, and scientific work in Chinese higher educational institutions virtually came to a halt.

In 1971–72 the situation in the natural and technical sciences began to improve, and their development quickened. A number of scientific research institutions, which had been closed by the Cultural Revolution, were reopened, and many rehabilitated scientists resumed work. Scientific and technical contacts with capitalist countries became noticeably more active. Most scientific institutions dealt with applied research, chiefly in the defense industry, agriculture, and certain other branches. At the start of the 1970’s fundamental research was inadequately developed.

In China great importance is attached to scientific projects connected with locating and using natural resources. Because of the considerable development of geological investigations, which Soviet scientists helped organize in the 1950’s, tremendous reserves of coal, iron ore, nonferrous and rare metals, and nonmetallic minerals have been found. A reliable ore and raw-materials base for some metals (nickel, chrome, and the platenoids) and for diamonds still has not been developed. In the 1950’s and 1960’s major petroleum fields were discovered. Major hydraulic-engineering surveys were also carried out. In the 1950’s plans for building hydraulic-engineering structures on the Huang Ho and Yangtze were drawn up; the construction of most of them was postponed because of economic difficulties. The work done by Chinese geographers is of great importance for choosing many new railroad and highway routes (especially in the outlying parts of the country), for the laying of pipelines, and for planning projects for capital construction. Efforts aimed at uncovering natural resources, determining the prospects for the development of productive forces, and drawing up a plan for comprehensive use of the Amur Basin water resources were started on the basis of an agreement between the USSR and the PRC signed in Peking in 1956. Through the fault of the Chinese these efforts were not completed.

Since 1953 research in nuclear physics and power engineering has become one of the most important directions in scientific research. The Committee on Atomic Energy was founded under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the research program was directed by the nuclear physicist Ch’ien San-ch’iang. Between 1955 and 1957 the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was expanded, and in 1958 it was converted into the Institute of Atomic Energy. The first experimental nuclear reactor, with a capacity of 10,000 kilowatts, and a cyclotron, with a capacity of 25 million electron volts (MeV), were built in suburban Peking with Soviet aid and commissioned in 1958 (the agreement between the USSR and the PRC concerning the construction of these projects was concluded as early as 1955). A 2.5–MeV proton accelerator was also commissioned. In 1971 there were about ten reactors in China. Wu You-hsün, Wang Kan-ch’ang, Chao Chung-yao, P’eng Huan-wu, Chang Chianghua, Wang Chiang-k’an, Hu Ning, Wang Shu-fen, and other scientists were brought in to do research on nuclear problems; many of them had studied in the United States. In October 1964 the first (surface) test of a nuclear device was conducted, and in June 1967 the first thermonuclear device was detonated.

Much attention has been paid to applied scientific research in missile technology and, since the late 1960’s, to space technology. This work was directed by Ch’ien Hsüeh-shen (Hsue Shen Tsien), who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and held the rank of colonel in the US Air Force. In 1955, Ch’ien returned to China and became director of the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (In 1956 he was awarded the first prize of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for his Engineering Cybernetics.) Shen Yüan, Ch’ien Wei-ch’ang, and Kuo Yung-huai also work in missile technology. In 1966 a guided missile with a range of several hundred kilometers was used in the Chinese nuclear test program. In 1970 China launched its first satellite, and in 1971 its second.

In high-energy physics, cosmic rays are studied on a regular basis at an observatory in the mountains of South China. Geophysical research was carried out in many parts of China and in particular in Tibet in connection with the International Year of the Quiet Sun. The Institute of Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has carried out geomagnetic investigations and measurements of solar radiation on Mount Everest at an altitude 6,300 m above sea level. The first radio telescope in China was put in operation in 1967 at the Peking Astronomical Observatory; the design for the telescope was prepared with the aid of Australian specialists.

Mathematics in modern China is developing in several directions—in number theory, computer mathematics, topology, and some other fields. Hua Lo-keng, who was brought in to develop missile and nuclear weapons and who was repressed during the Cultural Revolution, is one of the most prominent mathematicians. The works of Wu Wen-chün are well known.

The development of chemistry accelerated after 1949. From 1949 to 1960 the number of chemical researchers increased tenfold, and from 1949 to 1963 the number of chemical engineers grew 14–fold. Within the Academy of Sciences alone ten research institutes work on the problems of polymers and biochemistry. Chinese chemists concentrate on the production of mineral fertilizer, toxic chemicals, man-made fibers, synthetic rubber, medicines, petrochemical products, missile fuel, and materials for the nuclear industry. Research is being carried out on the chemistry of fluorine and chlorine.

The most important scientific achievements in chemistry and biochemistry during the 1960’s were the complete synthesis of insulin, the development and organization of the industrial production of synthetic benzene, and the bacteriological deparaffinization of petroleum fractions. According to the estimates of foreign specialists, China has reached the world level in biochemistry and the production of medicines. Important research has been conducted by Chuang Chang-kung (in organic chemistry), Wu Hsüeh-chou (in physical chemistry), and Hou Te-pang (in processes for producing nitrogen fertilizer).

Scientific and technical research in metallurgy is expanding. Efforts toward improving steel-smelting technology (in particular, the introduction and improvement of the oxygen-converter process and vacuum-smelting) and toward improving the blastfurnace process have long been conducted in ferrous metallurgy. In nonferrous metallurgy research aimed at raising the efficiency of metal extraction from ores and at producing high-purity metals is being carried out. The industrial production of crystalline silicon, which is essential for the development of the electronics industry, has started. Much attention is paid to developing hard synthetic substitutes for diamonds. The technical level of Chinese metallurgy, however, lags noticeably behind the level in technologically advanced countries.

Scientific research on machine building and in metalworking processes is being carried out on a large scale. Its main goal is to achieve self-sufficiency in the products of this branch. Most attention is being paid to the development of machine-tool building. The experimental production of numerically controlled machine tools had been established in China by the end of the 1960’s.

Chinese machine building produces 125,000–kilowatt water-cooled steam turbogenerators, 100,000–kilowatt hydrogenerators, 6,000–kilowatt gas turbines, seagoing ships displacing 18,000 to 19,000 tons, and 32–ton dump trucks for work at mining enterprises. However, the production of automatic machine tools, machine-tool lines, heavy and large machine tools, and powerful hammers and hydraulic presses is insufficient. Japanese specialists, for example, believe that on the whole Chinese machine-tool building is five to ten years behind the current level.

The development of electronics is dictated above all by military requirements, especially in connection with implementation of the missile and nuclear program. In 1956 germanium crystals were manufactured in China, and work on developing transistor circuits was started. US scientists believe that China has approached the world level in electronics and microminiaturization technology. Much importance is ascribed to designing and mastering the production of computers. An institute for developing computers was set up under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1956. In 1958 the first magnetic-core memory unit and a computer of Soviet design were constructed. In 1964 two medium-sized computers, one analog and one digital, were constructed; in 1967 a modern transistorized digital computer was built; somewhat later a computer with integrated circuits was constructed. In the opinion of foreign experts, however, China lags in the production of needed peripherals.

There have been some achievements in the biological and agricultural sciences, which make use of the experience of modern genetics and molecular biology. Work is being carried out to improve the varieties of different agricultural crops, livestock, and poultry, to study soils and plant resources, and to develop protective forestation. Entomologists are studying methods of controlling agricultural pests. Hydrobiologists have found means of protecting against several diseases of freshwater fish. In the 1950’s paleontologists achieved appreciable successes.

Medical science, in particular clinical and theoretical medicine, the physiology of the central nervous system, and cytology, received considerable development in the 1950’s. Chinese surgeons have made major progress; for example, the work of Huang Chia-ssu (a foreign member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR since 1961) is widely known. By the late 1960’s about 100 types of new medicines had been placed in production. Effective antitoxins for snake bites and pharmaceuticals for treating cases of poisoning with agricultural chemicals and metallic compounds have been developed. Chinese physicians have drawn up, on the basis of experimental and clinical tests, recommendations for the treatment of acute inflammatory diseases of the abdominal cavity that preclude surgical intervention; the method calls for the use of acupuncture and other techniques of Chinese folk medicine in combination with modern pharmacological preparations and blood transfusion. Much attention is paid to the problems of sanitary protection of urban areas from pollution by industrial waste and sewage. Research in this field is being conducted by the Institute of Labor Protection and the Administration for Scientific Research on Labor Hygiene and Occupational Diseases of the Academy of Sciences. At the same time the curtailment of state budgetary allocations for public health in the 1960’s has slowed the development of medical science.


Social sciences.PHILOSOPHY. Philosophy in China originated between the sixth and third centuries B.C., when the main schools that had a decisive influence on the subsequent development of philosophical thought in China (such as Confucianism, Mohism, and Legalism) were formed. Emphasis on the problems of managing society and the state was characteristic of these schools. Therefore, ancient Chinese philosophy was markedly ethicopolitical in character, and epistemology and ontology occupied an extremely modest place. The early politicization of philosophy was due to the fundamental reorganization of the social and state structure of China and to the heightened interest of the ruling cliques in improving the system of government. Even during the rise of the philosophical schools a trend toward the subordination of philosophy to the state could be perceived: philosophers were enlisted in administrative service, and an academy of philosophy in Chi-hsia (the Ch’i Kingdom) was founded. Chinese philosophy arose amid the animated discussions among various schools on the principles of governing the nation and on the interrelations among the ruler, officials, and the people.

Confucius (from the sixth to fifth century B.C.), whose views were set forth by his students in the treatise Lun yü (Analects), was one of the first to advance his principles. In Confucius the concepts of li (the system of moral and ethical principles) and chün-tzu (the “superior man”) hold a central position. Confucius developed these moral and ethical principles on the basis of the norms that existed in large families and communes. The concept of respect for fu-lao (“fathers-elders”) that existed in the commune was transposed by Confucius to society as a whole, where the ruler of the state (chün-tzu)—the model of human wisdom who had perfect mastery of the principles of li—was supposed to assume the role of father. Confucius’ theory of the “rectification of names” was intended to consolidate the privileged status of the heirs of the aristocracy. Confucius substantiated his theory with the traditional belief of the Chinese in the divine power of heaven: in his doctrine heaven acts as the supreme goal-directing force, on which the fate of all inhabitants of the earth depends and which can be comprehended only by educated mandarins. Confucius’ theories, developed by his successors (such as Meng-tzu), subsequently served as the theoretical basis for the special rights of the bureaucracy that had arisen to govern the country. This played an important role in Confucianism’s establishment as the official ideology.

Mo-tzu (fifth century B.C.), who believed that all misfortunes and disorder in the world stemmed from the absence of mutual love, sharply criticized the fundamental principles of Confucianism and above all the immutability of social gradations. Developing the principle of “universal love,” which restores equality among people, Mo-tzu opposed wars of aggression. He was skeptical of the traditional belief in the “will of heaven” and believed that in making appointments to administrative posts personal qualities and wisdom, not high birth, should be the main criteria. Mo-tzu in effect ascribed equal rights to the aristocracy and to the common man; according to his theory, the state power and the people must be concerned with common interests, adhering to a “unity of views.” This principle of “respect for unity” had a dual influence on the development of Chinese sociopolitical thought; the idea of the “unity of views,” borrowed by the Legalists, was interpreted by them as a demand for the achievement of conformity in people’s thinking by force. At the same time the Mohist concept of human equality gave birth to the doctrine of ta t’ung (the society of “great unity” with equal distribution of all goods), which became popular among the peasants. The principle also led the Mohists to the idea of the contractual origin of state power. The Mohists paid comparatively great attention to the theoretical substantiation of their doctrine of universal love, and therefore they contributed to the development of the theory of knowledge and advanced a theory specifying the criteria of truth.

A naïve materialism is inherent in Taoism, whose concepts are set forth in the canonical Tao te ching and the treatise Chuangtzu. The Tao te ching presents a philosophical foundation for the existence of an objective universal law of nature— tao (the “way”). Like other philosophical schools, the Taoists paid much attention to the problem of the social order; Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, the founders of Taoism, opposed any laws or rules that would limit human activity (and in particular opposed Confucian ethical standards). Advocating rejection of the achievements of civilization, Taoists glorified the world of nature and called on man to return to a primitive naturalness. The sociopolitical views of the early Taoists had a great influence on the formation of peasant utopias.

The birth of the Legalist school (fa-chia, “adherents of law”) is associated with the names Shang Yang (fourth century B.C.) and Han Fei-tzu (third century B.C.), who were officials in the Ch’in Kingdom. The doctrine of the Legalists, who declared the equality of all before the law, was markedly anti-Confucian in character. Acting as defenders of new social forces and phenomena, and especially of private ownership of the land, the Legalists created a perfect model of a despotic state; their model played a decisive role in the formation of the imperial and bureaucratic system of government.


Hsün-tzu (third century B.C.) was the first Confucian to attempt to borrow from the Legalists a number of ideas (such as the concept of law, the doctrine of reward and punishment, and the concept of equal opportunity in government service); he thus established the prerequisites for a qualitatively new Confucianism. The formation of orthodox Confucianism reached its culmination in Tung Chung-shu (second century B.C.)—the “Han Confucius.” Continuing the work of Hsün-tzu, he emphasized Legalist motifs, supplemented them with a number of Taoist ideas, and thus created a new Confucianism, which in 136 B.C. was declared the official ideology (it was in force until 1911).

In addition to these four schools, the yin-yang school of natural philosophy, which derives from ancient concepts of the interaction of the passive female force, or yin, and the active male force, or yang, had considerable influence on the development of philosophical thought in ancient China. These ideas later merged with the doctrine of the interconvertibility of the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth) and were supplemented by the idea of a primal element or ch’i (“vapor,” “ether”); they were adopted by almost all philosophical schools. The late Mohists (third century B.C.) developed a materialist theory of knowledge; like Aristotle, they devised a system of categories founded on the fundamental categories of cause (ku), kind (lei), necessity (pi), duration and length, identity and difference, and existence.

Wang Ch’ung (first century B.C.) was the most prominent materialist and progressive thinker in China. According to Wang Ch’ung, the world is grounded in an eternally existing material substance called yüan-ch’i; light particles (yang-ch’i) form the sky and space, and dense particles (yin-ch’i) form the earth and heavenly bodies. The interaction of these particles gives rise to all that exists.

Buddhist philosophy developed in China, assimilating elements of Chinese philosophical ideas. These new elements were a cause of the appearance of the different currents and sects in Buddhism. The T’ien-t’ai school combined the traditional positions of Buddhism with Confucian ideas of love of mankind and harmony between man and the universe. The combination of Buddhism with Taoist principles, especially with Chuang-tzu’s ideas of “the equalization of things” and self-contemplation, led to the rise of the Ch’an sect, which later extended its influence to Japan (its Japanese name is “Zen”). This current of Buddhist thought has been maintained to the present day, becoming an extremely fashionable form of meditation among the bourgeois intelligentsia in the West.

Confucianism and Taoism in turn, while remaining distinct from Buddhism, assimilated certain of its elements. Taoism adopted chiefly the ritual aspects of Buddhism, becoming in consequence a type of magic and ceasing to exist as a philosophical current (in the third century). In contrast, Confucianism underwent a complex evolution, during which the rationalistic element ultimately won out. Chou Tun-i and Chang Tsai (11th century), developing the ideas of Han Yü (from the late eighth to the early ninth century), presented the cosmogonic idea of the material substance ch’i, which assumes various forms and combinations; it forms first the five elements and later all that exists. Under the influence of the Buddhist ideas of nirvana, however, Chang Tsai set forth the doctrine of reconciling the opposing forces of yin and yang in a higher harmony. Subsequently, Confucianism adopted the idealistically rationalistic aspects of Buddhist philosophy, leading to the appearance of neo-Confucianism (in the 12th century; Chu Hsi). Chu Hsi’s views are dualistic in character, since he tried to combine the doctrine of Chou Tun-i and Chang Tsai of the ch’i as a material substance with the concept of a reason-law, li, which is unchanging and absolute and precedes and transcends all but which can exist only in ch’i. Neo-Confucianism gave new impetus to the philosophical disputes between materialists and idealists over the unity of spirit and matter.

Wang Yang-ming (from the late 15th to the early 16th century), who revived Confucius’ thesis of innate knowledge and ascribed to it a universality and absoluteness, was the most significant subjective idealist in medieval China. Wang Yang-ming overcame the dualism of Chu Hsi, declaring li to be the source and root of all that exists.

Wang Ch’uan-shan (17th century), who asserted the interrelation between li and ch’i and who proclaimed that the material substance ch’i was the fundamental principle, gave a materialist interpretation of these problems. Wang Ch’uan-shan revived Mo-tzu’s idea of the development of mankind from a bestial condition to the justice embodied in the state.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Chinese philosophy engaged primarily in commentary on the “sacred books” of Confucius and Meng-tzu, developing the ideas of Chu Hsi, Chang Tsai, or Wang Ch’uan-shan within the framework of their interpretation of the classics.

The political ideology of the Enlightenment and of social reform arose in the 19th century. After the Taiping Rebellion, which advocated a utopia of egalitarian peasant communism, Chinese reformers demanded the replacement of the absolutist monarchic order with a constitutional monarchy (K’ang Yu-wei, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, T’an Ssu-t’ung). The reformers’ concepts of government were based on idealistic views inspired by the theory of the “social contract” and appealed for the revival of harmony in relations between the ruler and the people. The reformers, with the exception of T’an Ssu-t’ung, rejected revolutionary courses of action and held that the primary means of transforming society were the activity of enlightened members of the ruling aristocracy and the education of the people in the spirit of the original ethical standards of Confucianism.

Bourgeois political, philosophical, and sociological theories (such as the positivist and evolutionist ideas of the English philosopher H. Spencer and the social-Darwinist ideas propounded by Yen Fu) became widespread in China in the early 20th century. Because of the general crisis of Chinese society and the intensification of the revolutionary situation, the ideological struggle in China intensified. The reformers K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao veered sharply to the right. The reformers’ progressive ideas were given a revolutionary democratic direction by the outstanding Chinese thinker Sun Yat-sen, whose political doctrine was founded on three principles: nationalism, democracy, and “people’s livelihood.”

The ideas of Marxism-Leninism became widespread in China under the influence of the Great October Revolution in Russia, especially after the formation of the CPC. The journals Hsin ch’ing-nien (New Youth) and later Kung-ch’ang-tang (Communist) played a major role in this area. The first Chinese Marxists, Li Ta-chao, Ch’ü Ch’iu-pai, and Teng Chung-hsia, waged an acute ideological struggle against bourgeois and feudal ideology.

After the formation of the PRC in 1949, Marxism-Leninism, including dialectical and historical materialism, became the leading theoretical foundation in the struggle for socialism and gained wide dissemination in China. Philosophical institutions were established; their coordinating center was the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences. Chinese Marxist philosophers wrote a number of critiques of contemporary bourgeois philosophy and works on dialectical and historical materialism. Much attention was paid to the study of the history of philosophy (Hou Wai-lu [et al.], History of Chinese Thought, vols. 1–5, 1957–60). The most important works of Soviet philosophers were translated and published, an edition of the complete collected works of V. 1. Lenin was issued, and the publication of the collected works of K. Marx and F. Engels was started.

Research in philosophy has in fact come to a halt since the late 1950’s and especially since the Cultural Revolution (the second half of the 1960’s), when the “ideas of Mao Tse-tung,” or Maoism—an eclectic mix of traditional views with militant nationalism, elements of Utopian socialism, and tendentiously oversimplified interpretations of Marxism—were proclaimed the highest achievement of philosophic thought. In early 1966 the journal Che-hsüeh yen-chiu (Philosophical Studies) was closed and the publication of works on philosophy was halted. In 1971 the publication of certain books on the history of Chinese philosophy was resumed.


HISTORICAL SCIENCE. In the first millennium B.C. historical knowledge was gathered and the first chronicles and several historical works were compiled. In the fourth and third centuries B.C. books were written on legendary antiquity, the Yin era (16th to 11th centuries B.C.), and the Chou period (11th to third centuries B.C.). Among them were Ch’un ch’iu (a chronicle of the Lu Kingdom), Tso chuan (a chronicle of the Chou era), Shang Shu (Classic of Documents), and Kuo Yü (Conversations of the States). In these works the predominant ideas are those of a simplified ancient Confucianism, reduced to faith in the omnipotence of heaven and glorification of Yao and Shun, rulers in the legendary golden age.

Between the second and sixth centuries A.D. the foundations of historical science were laid and the concept of historical process was introduced. Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s work Shih chi (Historical Records), written in the early first century B.C., was the first general history of China in which the author applied the comprehensive descriptive-biographical and chronological methods of presentation. Later, the official histories of the dynasties (the cheng shih) were written, including the Han Shu (History of the Han), compiled in the first century A.D. by Pan Ku, and San kuo chih (History of the Three Kingdoms), compiled by Ch’en Shou; these works were modeled on the Shih chi. Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s view of history was based on the theory of the Confucian philosopher Tung Chung-shu of the second century B.C. concerning the “three principles” (heaven, earth, and man) and his doctrine of the struggle between light and dark and among the five elements, which Ssu-ma Ch’ien applied to history. Pan Ku’s views put less emphasis on faith in heaven and more on the omnipotence of the state and the monarch, thus reflecting the goals of Han Confucianism.

The T’ang and Sung periods (from the seventh to 13th centuries), which coincided with the rise of the feudal state, occupy a significant place in historiography. Official historiography developed, although it increasingly came under the control of state officials, and histories of previous dynasties were compiled on a regular basis. The first historical compilation, the T’ung tien(Comprehensive Compendium), was assembled in the eighth century by Tu Yu. In Liu Chih-chi’s Shih t’ung (On History), written in the eighth century, the historiographic heritage was critically assessed for the first time, and the mistakes and bias of certain historical writings were condemned. In the 11th and 12th centuries general histories appeared: Ssu-ma Kuang’s Tzu chih t’ung-chien (The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government), with an analysis of events from 403 B.C. to A.D. 959, and Chu Hsi’s T’ung-chien kang-mu, which was permeated with the spirit of legitimism and the ideas of Confucian orthodoxy. At the same time Taoist ideas had an influence on historical thought (Shao Yung). The spread of printing played a considerable role in the dissemination of historical knowledge and in the preservation of historiographic traditions. The study of sources was further expanded, and official historiography was improved.

In the Sung era (960–1279) the chi shih pen-mo genre—the description of events “from beginning to end”—appeared, collections of laws were published, and inscriptions on stone and bronze were collected for the first time. New collections were compiled: the T’ung chih (Historical Collection) by Cheng Ch’iao; the Wen-hsien t’ung-k’ao (Study of Ancient Texts and Their Traditions)—a compilation of material on literary history by Ma Tuan-lin; and the encyclopedias T’ai-p’ing Yü-lan (Imperial Survey) and Ch’ieh fu yüan kuei (Depository of Libraries).

The last stage of feudal historiography occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Manchu conquerors fought against patriotic ideas and carried out a “literary inquisition.” Tai Mingshih and other writers were executed for giving an accurate re-creation of the history of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Among Chinese scholars the movement for a critical approach to the historiographic heritage and to traditional official literature grew stronger in these centuries. The Eastern Chekiang group (Huang Tsung-hsi, Wan Ssu-t’ung, and Ch’üan Tsu-wang) and the school of critical studies (Ku Yen-wu and Chien Ta-hsin) are known for their works in this direction. The problems of the historian’s consciousness and morality, of the correlation between the subjective and the objective, and of the accuracy of descriptions were posed in Chang Hsüeh-ch’eng’s Wen shih t’ung-i (The General Meaning of Literature and History).

A contemptuous attitude toward popular uprisings against feudal oppression and toward the liberation struggle of the non-Han (non-Chinese) peoples who had been forcibly incorporated in the Chinese empire was characteristic of official Chinese historiography at large. In the 19th century the patriotic theme in historiography and interest in the outside world became noticeably more pronounced (Lin Tse-hsü, Wei Yüan, Hsieh Fuch’eng). Chinese intellectuals became acquainted with the bourgeois science of the West. In the works of K’ang Yu-wei (1858–1927) the traditional theories of the ancient schools were developed according to a theory of three historical eras. K’ang Yu-wei, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, and other historians systematically criticized ancient texts and studied the methodology of historical research.

In the 20th century bourgeois idealistic theories exerted an influence on Chinese historiography, on the one hand, and Marxism gradually became known, on the other. Li Ta-chao, the outstanding Chinese Marxist, became the exponent of historical materialist ideas in Chinese historiography. The development of historiography followed an intricate path. Traditional views and methods retained their force, and histories of the Yüan and Ch’ing dynasties and dozens of works in the old genre were published. At the same time the discovery of new finds and materials (inscriptions on bones, Han texts from Chüyang, imperial archives) expanded the base of study. Lo Chen-yü, Tung Tso-pin, and Wang Kuo-wei made major contributions to historical science. The scholars associated with the publication of the Ku-shih pien (Discussions on Ancient History) displayed a critical approach to antiquity.

During Kuomintang rule (1927–49) an acute ideological struggle between progressive and reactionary views unfolded in historical study. Confucian ideas, reactionary bourgeois theories, and outright nationalism (Tai Chi-t’ao, Chiang T’ing-fu, and T’ao Hsi-sheng) were propounded in official historiography. At the same time progressive literature grew, and the works of Fan Wen-Ian, Hou Wai-lu, Chien Po-tsan, and Kuo Mo-jo were published. In 1941 the collective work A Short History of China was published, in which the desire to present the history of Chinese society in light of the Marxist theory of socioeconomic formations was noticeable.

The establishment of the PRC and the promulgation of Marxist-Leninist ideology as the basis of scientific creativity opened up great new opportunities for the development of historiography. Historical science made noticeable progress between 1949 and 1958. Three institutes of history and the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences were opened. Li-shih yen-chiu (Historical Research; from 1954), K’ao-ku (Archaeology), and other journals were published. Archaeological investigations that produced fruitful results in the study of the Yangshao and Lungshan cultures were initiated, and the study of the Yin, Chou, and Han societies made advances. Discussions began on the central problems of the Middle Ages—the nature of feudal society, the forms of land ownership, peasant uprisings, and the rise of early capitalist relations. A large number of documents and materials on modern history were published, including documents relating to the Taiping, Nien, and Boxer rebellions and histories of the Hsin-hai Revolution and the May Fourth Movement. The study of recent history has not yet been widely developed, although useful work in reprinting party journals and materials on the workers’ movement and the civil wars has been done.

The period from 1959 to 1965 was much less productive for historians. This was directly related to the political situation in the country. In the second half of the 1960’s, during the Cultural Revolution, books and journals on history were no longer published, such prominent historians as Wu Han, Chien Po-tsan, and Hou Wai-lu were attacked and persecuted, and scientific institutes ceased operation. All this seriously retarded the development of Chinese historiography.


ECONOMICS. The rise of economic thought in China dates to the first millennium B.C. An acute controversy over the interrelations between slavery and the commune, the economic possibilities and shortcomings of society, the degree of government intervention in economic affairs, and problems of state monopoly, trade, and finance was waged for centuries among representatives of the leading philosophic schools in ancient China: Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism (the followers of Motzu), and Legalism.

The Confucians ascribed great importance to increasing the wealth of the people and the state and to strengthening the state; they considered labor to be the source of wealth. The Mohists, maintaining the natural equality of man, opposed the existence of estates and the privileges of the nobility, who were oppressing the peasants and the artisans. Advocating private ownership, they set as their goal the development of the free initiative of small-scale producers and universal participation in manual labor in order to create general welfare through common efforts. The Legalist school and its most prominent representative, Han Fei-tzu, maintained the necessity of strengthening the state’s economic and military might. They considered agriculture to be the foundation of the economy and therefore demanded the encouragement of farmers.

The idea of founding a just social order based on the equality of all members of society in production and distribution was advanced in feudal China during the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64). In the late 19th century, when the movement of the “reformers” arose among the progressive Chinese intelligentsia, its leaders, K’ang You-wei, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, and T’an Ssu-t’ung, believed that it would be possible to surmount China’s economic and political underdevelopment only by following the path of the West and mastering its political, scientific, and technical experience; they proposed the implementation of reforms from above. The reform movement gave way to the movement of the revolutionary bourgeois democracy as represented by its most consistent ideology—Sun Yat-senism.

After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, Li Ta-chao became the first proponent of Marxism, including the economic theories of Marx. Li emphasized that scientific communism could resolve all of China’s fundamental problems. The Marxist movement in China grew stronger during an acute struggle against the ideology of feudal comprador reactionary forces, bourgeois reformism, and petit bourgeois reliance on spontaneous action.

A Marxist approach to the problems of the building of socialism in China and the study and use of the experience of economic construction in the USSR were characteristic from the formation of the PRC in 1949 to 1958. Scientific and educational institutions engaging in research and in the training of personnel in economics were established (before 1966): the Institute of Economics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Peking and a branch of the institute in Shanghai; the People’s University in Ch’angch’un; Nank’ai University in Tientsin; the Institute of Finance and Economics in Shanghai; and institutes of agriculture in Wuhan, Nanking, Canton, and Ch’eng-tu.

A number of periodicals devoted to the country’s economic problems were founded: Ching-chi yen-chiu (Economic Research), a monthly and the publication of the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences (Peking, 1955–66); Ching-chi chou-pao (Economic Quarterly Herald; Shanghai, 1948–54); Chi-hua ching-chi (Planned Economy; Peking, 1956–58), which in 1959 was combined with T’ung-tzu kung-tso (Statistical Work; Peking, 1957–58) under the name Chi-hua yü t’ung-tzu (Plans and Statistics; Peking, through 1960); Chi-hsieh-hua nung-yeh (Mechanized Farming; Peking, 1954–57); Ts’ai-cheng (Finance; Peking, 1958–63); Chung-kuo nung-pao (Chinese Agricultural Journal; Peking, 1950–65); and Chung-kuo Chin-jung (Chinese Finance; Peking, 1950–59).

The problems of the nature of the operation of objective economic laws under Chinese conditions, of the use of commodity-money relations, and of the forms and methods of planning were widely discussed in the PRC. During these discussions a struggle took place between two directions in economic thought—the scientific Marxist-Leninist direction and the voluntaristic petit bourgeois direction. The latter direction held sway during the great leap forward and the Cultural Revolution. The theoretical principles of socialist construction were rejected, and various types of “new” economic theories were disseminated, such as the concept of “wavelike national economic development,” which asserts that a socialist economy is characterized not by planned development but by development in leaps, in which upswings are periodically replaced by declines in all branches of the economy. Advocacy of the general policy that “agriculture is the foundation of the economy and industry is the leading force” was actually a retreat from the policy of socialist industrialization. This policy inhibited the growth of socialist industrialization and had a pernicious effect on the entire national economy.

The objective principles of the economic rapprochement of socialist countries were rejected in foreign economic policy, and the general policy of “self-reliance” was proposed, which disregards the international socialist division of labor.

The distortion of the Leninist principle of the correlation between politics and economics and the establishment of politics as the “command force,” which may fail to take into account objective economic laws, and a general retreat from the materialist basis of economic policy aggravated the difficulties experienced by the PRC’s national economy. Maoist views, based on voluntaristic principles, did not withstand the test of socialist construction or the course of international affairs. These principles have no scientific or constructive content.


LAW. For more than 2,000 years (until the start of the 20th century) the development of legal thought was closely connected with ethical and political schools—the Legalist (fa-chid) and the Confucian schools.

The Legalists’ concepts were set forth most fully in the treatise Shang Chün shu (Book of the Lord Shang; Russian translation, Kniga provitelia oblasti Shan, 1968), which was compiled in the third century B.C. by the followers of the famous reformer Shang Yang. Developing the principle of the universality of law advanced by Kuan Chung (seventh century B.C.), who was a forerunner of Legalism, Shang Yang created a model of a despotic state that was advanced for his time and in which the law was given the role of regulating the life of society and the state. In the opinion of the Legalists, good government is possible only where the head of state relies on unified laws that are binding for all. It is by means of law that major economic and political plans can be implemented. Considering the law to be the supreme force, the Legalists endowed the ruler with unlimited power, since in their opinion only he was the maker of laws.

The era in which the Legalist school flourished (from the fifth to third centuries B.C.) saw the rise and spread of private ownership of the land, the development of trade and commerce, and the growth of the cities. New social strata—rich peasants in communes, artisans, and merchants—began to play a significant role not only in the economic but also in the political life of society. The theory and practice of the Legalists, who tried to break patronymic ties by means of the law, reflected these social processes. In state law the Legalists established a number of legal norms and institutions that became the basis for the new governmental structure—the imperial system of state power.

Since the Legalists advocated a system of laws, the Confucians opposed them on principle. Confucius condemned any legislation, believing that it undermined the position of the hereditary aristocracy. The Confucians objected to the idea of the equality of all before the law, which had been advanced by the Legalists, asserting that the hereditary aristocracy and administration should stand above the law. The struggle between the Legalists and the Confucians culminated in a brief victory for the Legalists: in the Ch’in Empire (221–207 B.C.) their ideas were made the basis of government.

The expanded bureaucracy, however, was vitally interested in acquiring privileges before the law; as early as the Han era (206 B.C. to A.D. 220), when Confucianism became the official ideology of the ruling class, the Confucians gradually won from the rulers various concessions to the bureaucracy. During the Wei Dynasty (220–265), the law on the “eight conditions for the favorable disposition of cases” (pa i) was adopted; it granted the mandarins special status and officially placed the bureaucracy in a privileged position with respect to the law and thus elevated it above other classes and estates. Even during the Han era laws reflected some elements of Confucianism, especially with regard to family relations (for example, increased punitive measures for offenses committed against parents and older siblings). At the same time the delimitation of spheres of influence between Legalism and Confucianism, which was maintained until the early 20th century, took place: the Legalists’ ideas were applied in administrative and criminal law, while civil, family, and other branches of private law were based on the dogmas of Confucian morality. Some Legalist views also incorporated elements of Confucianism.

The relatively stable governmental system also affected the character of law-making. The continuity of fundamental legal provisions is characteristic of all dynastic legal codes. This can be seen most clearly by using as an example the law codes of the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644–1911): the Fundamental Codes and Statutes of the Great Ch’ing and the Collected Statutes of the Great Ch’ing. The main articles of the criminal code known as the Fundamental Codes and Statutes of the Great Ch’ing were borrowed without any changes whatever from the code of the preceding Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), which in turn had been based on the legal system of the T’ang Dynasty (618–907). The Collected Statutes of the Great Ch’ing is similar to the Laws of the Great Ming, which presented norms for regulating various problems of government and the economy.

Traditional legal norms could not satisfy the requirements of China’s economic and political development in modern times. When the reform movement arose in the late 19th century, its leading representatives (such as K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao) favored a change in traditional laws, advocating a program of bourgeois transformations to ensure accelerated development of capitalist relations within the framework of the constitutional monarchy. As a result of the Hsin-hai Revolution both the imperial system of government and many traditional laws (including the pa i law) were abolished. On Mar. 10, 1912, the National Assembly adopted a provisional constitution for the Chinese Republic, which Sun Yat-sen helped draft. This constitution set forth such democratic principles as the equality before the law of all citizens; the inviolability of the individual, home, and property; and the freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly. It also introduced the right to vote.

However, the establishment of the rule of the Peiyang militarists and, from 1927, of Chiang Kai-shek’s dictatorship impeded the implementation of the democratic rights and freedoms that had been proclaimed. Between 1927 and 1949 only the CPC carried out the building of democracy, at first in the soviet regions, where the new principles of the social and governmental order in the form of the soviets were affirmed. These principles were secured in the draft Constitution of the Chinese Soviet Republic, adopted in 1931, and later they were applied in liberated regions.

The rise of new legal science in China dates to the period immediately after the formation of the PRC in 1949. Works published in the first years of the people’s power were popular-scientific in character or drew general conclusions from the experience of political and legal bodies. The Chinese Association of Political and Legal Sciences was established in 1953 and in 1954 began to publish the legal journal Cheng-fa yen-chiu (Studies in Politics and Law). The Institute of Legal and Political Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was established in 1958.

At the start of the 1960’s Chinese legal science entered a period of severe crisis: legal publications were reduced to exalting the “ideas of Mao Tse-tung” and to criticizing the work of jurists in the USSR and other socialist countries.


LINGUISTICS. Before the 20th century the study of the Chinese language in China was conducted within the framework of traditional philology, on the basis of commentary on and interpretation of the classical texts. Dialects, the composition and structure of the syllable, and characters were studied, and the rudiments of grammatical analysis were developed, such as the concepts of shih tzü and hsü tzu (“full” and “empty” words) and huo tzu and ssu tzu (“living” and “dead” words), corresponding to verbs and nouns.

The first works containing information on the Chinese language and writing date to around the first century A.D. The oldest comprehensive dictionary is Erh ya (its final version appeared in the third century B.C.). In the first century B.C., Yang Hsiung compiled the dictionary Fang-yen (Dialects), which reflected the vocabulary of dialects of the Han period. Hsü Shen compiled the Shuo wen chieh tzu (Explanation of Writing and Interpretation of Words), in which each character is placed in one of six categories (the classification has been retained to the present day). The traditional concepts of Chinese phonetics were connected with division of the syllable into two components— the sheng (the initial consonant) and the yün (the end of the syllable, or the rhyme, which includes the tonal syllabic vowel). Rhyming dictionaries, such as the Chieh yün (601) and the T’ang yün (751), began to appear in the seventh century; these have been important in the latest reconstructions of the phonetics of ancient Chinese. The characters in these dictionaries were positioned in accordance with tones and rhymes.

Commentaries on ancient classical texts, such as Chu Hsi’s commentary (12th century), contain philological information on ancient Chinese (interpretation of the meanings of autosemantic and syntactic words). In the early 17th century the most complete dictionaries—the K’ang-hsi tzu-tien, a character dictionary, and the P’ei-wen Yün-fu, a dictionary of rhymes—were compiled. Later, numerous lexicographic and phonetic (in the traditional sense of the word) works were written. Inscriptions on divining bones of the 14th to 12th centuries B.C. were deciphered in the early 20th century by Wang Kuo-wei and other linguists.

In a strictly linguistic regard, the study of the Chinese language began in 1898 with Ma Chien-chung’s grammar Ma-shih wen t’ung, which, like subsequent grammars, showed the influence of European learning. In the 1930’s original investigations in history, grammar, lexicology, and phonetics, including historical dialectology, were written by Li Chin-hsi, Tung T’ungho, Wang Li, Lo Ch’ang-p’ei, Lü Shu-hsiang, Lu Chih-wei, Kao Ming-k’ai, Ts’ao Po-han, and Yüan Chia-hua. Plans for a writing system based on the Latin alphabet were worked out in the 1930’s. Intensive linguistic work unfolded in the PRC in the 1950’s: the Institute of Linguistics was founded, and linguistic journals, including Chung-kuo Yü-wen (Chinese Language), Yüwen hsüeh-hsi (The Study of Language), and Wen-tzu kai-ko (Chinese Character Reform) were published. Chinese scholars did a great deal of work on drawing up a plan for a phonetic alphabet and on preparing the writing reform. During the Cultural Revolution (in the second half of the 1960’s) linguistic work was brought to a halt.


Scientific institutions. The Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded in late 1949. In 1949 there were 40 research organizations; in 1952 about 10,000 researchers and engineers were working in scientific institutions. The Academy of Medical Sciences was founded in Peking in 1956; it combined 12 departments in which more than 4,000 persons worked as of 1958, including more than 600 scientific personnel (of whom 102 had academic degrees). In 1957 the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, comprising 31 research institutes and more than 100 scientific agricultural stations, was founded in Peking. Higher educational institutions carried out a large volume of scientific research.

In 1958 there were 848 research organizations, including 170 for fundamental research, 415 for applied research in industry and transport, 134 for agriculture, 101 for medicine, and 28 for other sciences. In 1958, 118,600 persons, including 32,500 scientific personnel (of whom about 1,500 were doctors of science), were working in research institutions.

During the great leap forward the network of research organizations expanded somewhat, but many of them were set up without consideration for existing possibilities and were poorly equipped and inadequately staffed. At this time the State Scientific and Technological Commission began to play a decisive role in the conduct of national scientific and technical policy. In 1958 the Academy of Military Sciences in Peking and the Academy of Geological Sciences, comprising six research institutes, were established.

The transition to the policy of “adjustment” had a positive effect on the number of scientific personnel. In 1965, 425,000 persons were working in the country’s research organizations, including 53,000 scientists and engineers, of whom 3,500 were within the system of the Academy of Sciences; 45,000 worked in research institutes of branch ministries of industry, including the defense industry; 4,500 were in other institutes and organizations. Higher educational institutions had about 100,000 teachers, some of whom engaged in research. Most scientists worked in the natural sciences and technology. Research on problems in the humanities was conducted by institutes of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Academy of Sciences and departments in some universities, such as Peking, Futan, Nank’ai and Wuhan universities.

During the Cultural Revolution scientific personnel suffered much harm, particularly those engaged in research on the social sciences. At this time the militarization of Chinese science was intensified. In December 1967 the army established control over the Academy of Sciences. Chinese leaders tried to shield scientific institutions working in military production from the excesses of the Cultural Revolution.

Before the Cultural Revolution many scientific societies and associations existed in China, including ones for pharmacology (from 1912), medicine (1914), geology (1922), psychology (1955), meteorology (1924), physiology (1926), physics (1932), chemistry (1932), botany (1933), geography (1909), zoology (1934), entomology (1951), soil sciences (1945), anatomy (1947), forestry (1951), mechanical and civil engineering (1951), hydraulic engineering (1951) and mathematics (1936). The All-China Federation of Scientific Societies was in charge of these societies for an extended period. Until the mid-1960’s scientific societies published their own journals. Publication of many of these was terminated during the Cultural Revolution.

After the Cultural Revolution normal operation of the Academy of Sciences and other scientific institutions began to be restored. This process, however, largely applies to institutes working in the natural sciences and technology. The working conditions of scientific institutions in the humanities remain complex and contradictory.

At the highest level, the State Council is in charge of all scientific research in China; it exercises general supervision and control over the development of science through the State Scientific and Technological Commission, the State Planning Commission, and other bodies. Branch ministries and the Academy of Sciences direct scientific research, the coordination of which is assigned to the academy. The research itself is conducted by the research institutes of branch academies, which are subordinate to the corresponding ministries, the research institutes of departments of the academy, and the research institutes of branch ministries and higher educational institutions.



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Hou Wai-lu [et al.]. Chung-kuo ssu-hsiang t’ung-shih (History of Chinese Thought), vols. 1–5. Peking, 1957–60.
Kniga pravitelia oblasti Shan. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from Chinese, with an introduction and commentary by L. S. Perelomov.)
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Fung Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy, vols. 1–2. Princeton, 1952–53.
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Efimov, G. Istoriko-bibliograficheskii obzor istochnikov i literatury po novoi istorii Kitaia, parts 1–3. Leningrad, 1965–72.
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Chin Yü-fu. Chung-kuo shih-hsüeh shih (History of Historical Science in China). Peking, 1962.
Naito, Torajiro. Shina shigaku shi (History of Historical Science in China). Tokyo, 1953.
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Needham, J. Science and Civilisation in China, vols. 1–5. Cambridge, 1954–71.

In 1958, 1,884 newspapers and 818 magazines (including more than 30 newspapers and magazines in languages of the ethnic minorities of China) were published in the PRC, with a total annual circulation of about 4.5 billion newspapers and 537 million magazines. During the Cultural Revolution in the second half of the 1960’s, many national and provincial newspapers and magazines and nearly all publications of public organizations and sectorial and local publications were shut down. In 1966 only 55 newspapers and magazines, including just four in the languages of ethnic minorities, were included in a subscription catalogue for the Chinese press, and many publications could be distributed only within China. Only 11 national newspapers and magazines were included in the 1972 subscription catalogue for foreigners. The newspapers Jen-min jih-pao (the newspaper of the CPC Central Committee, published since 1948) and Kuangming jih-pao (the publication of the democratic parties of China, published since 1949) and the magazine Hung-ch’i (the official magazine of the CPC Central Committee, published since 1958), all published in Peking, are the main press organs of the PRC. The national and local newspapers of the PRC receive basic information from the New China News Agency (Hsin-hua).

The first radio station in China was set up in Shanghai in 1927. In 1947 there were 42 state and 90 private and foreign radio stations in Kuomintang China. In Yenan, the capital of the liberated regions, the Hsin-hua radio station began to broadcast on Sept. 5,1945. After the formation of the PRC in 1949 all radio stations were nationalized and the Central Chinese Broadcasting Station in Peking was formed. Its broadcasts are relayed by five large radio stations: in the Northeast, Sinkiang, Shanghai, Canton, and K’unming. The Peking radio station controls 117 local stations. It broadcasts in five Chinese dialects and in the main languages of ethnic minorities. Foreign broadcasts are presented in more than 30 foreign languages.

The first television stations in the PRC were built in 1958 in Peking and Shanghai. In 1974, 29 television stations were in operation.


Chinese literature is one of the oldest in the world, having a 3,000–year tradition. Later records and literary treatments attest to the existence among the Chinese of a comparatively well-developed system of mythology, but there are no significant epics from antiquity or the early Middle Ages. The first major poetic work of ancient Chinese literature, the Shih ching (Book of Songs; 11th to sixth century B.C.), is a collection of popular songs and ritual hymns that reflect the feelings and experiences of the common man, condemn unworthy rulers, and tell of China’s sufferings. The exalted world of a poet who teaches love of mankind and boldly unmasks tyranny unfolds in the writings, filled with vivid mythological images, of the first Chinese poet to be known by name, Ch’ü Yüan (c. 340 to c. 278 B.C.). His lyrics and long poems and those of his students, such as Sung Yü (third century B.C.), are represented in the anthology Ch’u tz’u (Elegies of Ch’u; second century B.C.).

Literary prose of the first millennium B.C. is inseparable from philosophical, historical, geographic and other nonfictional works, many parts of which are narrative, with strong emotional overtones: the Shang shu (Classic of Documents; also known as the Shu ching), the Tso chuan (a chronicle of the Chou era), and the Chan kuo ts’e (Intrigues of the Warring States). Of particular importance for subsequent literary development were the Confucian Lun Yü (Analects; fifth century B.C.) and Meng-tzu (fourth or third century B.C.) and the Taoist Tao te ching (The Way and Its Power; fifth century B.C.) and Chuang-tzu (third century B.C.). The parables and folk legends included in the Chuang-tzu and other philosophical works of the fourth and third centuries B.C.(Hsün-tzu and Huai-nan-tzu) and the Tradition of Mu, Son of Heaven (fifth century B.C.), the tale of an imaginary journey, are of great interest.

The major prose work of the Han era (206 B.C. to A.D. 220) is the Shih chi (Historical Records) by Ssu-ma Ch’ien (early first century B.C.), a huge work presenting vivid portrayals of figures of the past and their views. Among the later dynastic chronicles, the Han shu (History of the Han) by Pan Ku (32–92) is distinguished for its literary merit. The high poetry of the Han period was dominated by the poetic-prose genre known as the fu, which is characterized by a high-flown style. Lively emotion can be felt only in some fu of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (179–118 B.C.) and in lyric “short fu.” The yüeh-fu, lyric and satiric folk songs in which the life of the people is recorded, are the most vivid contribution to the poetic heritage. The long poem “Southeast the Peacock Flies,” one of the few narrative works in Chinese classical literature, tells of the tragedy of a couple in love and of the arbitrariness of their parents.

The yüeh-fu songs had a noticeable influence on the first representatives of early feudal literature—the poets Ts’ao Ts’ao (155–220), Ts’ao Chih (192–232), and Wang Ts’an (177–217), who wrote of the hardships of military life and the sufferings of the people who perished in wars and epidemics. Antidespotic sentiments were reflected in the works of K’ung Yung (153–208), Juan Chi (210–263), and Chi K’ang (223–262). In the “Poem of Grief and Anger,” Ts’ai Yen (177–?) told of his long life as a prisoner of the nomads. The five-word rhymed verse line predominated in poetry, but its initial naturalness gradually gave way to the aspiration toward artificiality of poetic speech.

By the end of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (fourth-sixth centuries or fifth-sixth centuries) there appeared the poetry of “new forms,” which were organized in a phonetically strict way. T’ao Yiian-ming (365–427; also known as T’ao Ch’ien), the most prominent poet of the late fourth and early fifth century, rejected a career as an official to be closer to the people and nature. Profound reflections on the meaning of life and on man’s place in the world are characteristic of his innovative (for all its outward traditionalism) poetry. The refined nature and philosophical lyrics of Hsieh Ling-yün (385–433) and Hsieh Yao (464–499), which were suffused with Buddhist sentiments, date to the fifth century. A contrast to these poems are the “imitations of yüeh-fu” by Pao Chao (c. 414–c. 466), who came from among the people. In his works the poet complains of the injustice prevailing around him. The literature of the Southern and Northern Dynasties is represented most fully in the Literary Selections (c. 530) compiled by Hsiao T’ung.

The “northern songs” of the heroic narrative style (such as the “Ballad of Mu-lan”) and the “southern songs,” in which love themes predominate, stand out clearly in the folk yüeh-fu of the fourth to sixth centuries. Under the influence of the southern yüeh-fu the theme of love also penetrated into high poetry (the anthology New Melodies of the Nephrite Tower, sixth century, Hsü Ling). The first collections of short novellas and anecdotes on fantasy and, less often, adventure subjects, often folkloric (such as Kan Pao, fourth century), were compiled in the fourth and fifth centuries. However, the subtle “parallel style,” which presumed a knowledge of literary and historical allusions, prevailed in nonnarrative literary prose until the early seventh century.

The unification of the country by the T’ang Dynasty (618–907) created favorable conditions for the flourishing of literature. The rise of populous cities, the expansion of relations with neighboring countries, and the invention of printing contributed to the general cultural upsurge. It was then that the wen-yen, the Chinese literary language, assumed final form. Ch’en Tzu-ang (661–702), rejecting decorative poetry, advocated vitality of content and high ideals in literature. Literature began to flourish in the eighth century. First of all there were Meng Hao-jan (689–740), who sang of nature and friendship, and Wang Wei (699 or 701 to 759 or 761), a lyric poet, artist, and musician. Poets of the “border school,” such as Kao Shih (700?–765), Ts’en Shen (715–770) and, to a certain extent, Wang Ch’ang-ling (698–765), told the truth about the hard lot of soldiers who were sent to guard conquered territories. The humanistic verse of Li Po (701–762) is imbued with a desire to find the meaning of existence. His images are often hyperbolic and the poetic atmosphere is joyous. The works of Tu Fu (712–770), another great Chinese poet, are filled with grief for the suffering people; in his restrained and sparely colored poetry civic motifs alternate with purely personal experiences. The social theme received further development in the works of Po Chü-i (772–846), who was renowned for his nature and philosophical quatrains and for the long poems “The Lute” and “Song of Endless Sorrow.” Yüan Chen (779–831), Li Shang-yin (813–858), and Tu Mu (803–853), whose works were characterized by a greater subjectivity and complexity of images, were among the most prominent lyric poets of the eighth and ninth centuries.

At the start of the ninth century Han Yü (768–824) and Liu Tsung-yüan (773–819) led the fundamentally Confucian movement for the “revival of antiquity.” In contrast to the decorative parallel style that prevailed in prose, they used the clear pithy prose of the “ancient style” (ku-wen). The didacticism typical of Chinese literature and the desire to influence the reader directly were manifested clearly in the various ku-wen genres that became established during this period—the essay, epistle, parable, and preface. In wen-yen, the literary language, there appeared collections of love, adventure, and fantasy novellas by Po Hsing-chien (770–c. 816), Yüan Chen, and Li Kung-tso. At the same time the colloquial language was used in the poetic-prose pien-wen genre, generically related to Buddhist sermons; the urban tale hua-pen; and the chu-kung-tiao, a lengthy poetic-prose form that paved the way for the novel and drama.

During the Sung Dynasty (960–1279), in addition to the strict classical verse shih (the philosophical and historical poetry of Ou-yang Hsiu, 1007–72; Huang T’ing-chien, 1045–1105; Wang An-shih, 1021–86; Su Shih, 1036–1101), the lyric poetry tz’u, modeled on popular songs, became widespread; in it the emotional aspect and interest in man’s inner world are characteristic. Among the tz’u authors the most popular were Liu Yung (987–1053), Chou Pang-yen (1056–1121), the woman poet Li Ch’ing-chao (1084–1151?), and the poet-patriot Hsin Ch’i-chi (1140–1207). Social themes, such as the life of the peasants and defense of the country, occupied a major place in the works of Lu Yu (1125–1210) and Fan Ch’eng-ta (1126–193). Ou-yang Hsiu and Su Shih also created beautiful examples of ku-wen prose. By the end of this period, however, indications of stagnation were already noticeable in the high genres of poetry and prose. The last major Sung poet was the author of the “Song to the Spirit of Directness,” Wen T’ien-hsiang (1236–82), who died in the struggle against the Mongol invaders.

The rule of the Mongol Yüan Dynasty (1280–1368) was marked by further growth of the cities and by deterioration of the status of the educated official and military class, resulting in a temporary increase in the influence of the Buddhist and Taoist ideologies and the spread of democratic genres, especially the drama, early records of which date to the 13th century (the southern drama). In northern China in the 13th century new forms were adopted: the strictly regulated four-act musical drama known as ts chü on heroic and everyday subjects, which was closely linked with music, and the tales of the dwellers of the heavens by Kuan Han-ch’ing, Pai P’u (c. 1222–c. 1312), Ma Chih-yüan (1250?–1324?), Wang Shih-fu (died c. 1330), and other authors. Two new genres appeared: a new type of lyric poetry based on songs, the san-ch’ü (Chang K’o-chiu, c. 1280–1330; Ch’iao Chi, 1280–1345), and collections of prose notes on daily events and thoughts on reading and other topics.

The grouping of folk tales into cycles and the creation of novels based on them, which combined a large number of fully plotted but not always interconnected chapter-episodes, was an important phenomenon in 14th-century literature. The first of these were the Three Kingdoms by Lo Kuan-chung (c. 1330–c. 1400), fictionalized chronicles of third-century events, and the Water Margin by Shih Nai-an (14th and early 15th centuries), about the deeds of 12th-century insurgents. Under the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) the high genres emerged once again. In addition to the northern dramas, which had lost a large part of their democratic character, the larger and freer southern dramas (Li K’ai-hsien, 1501–68; Wang Shih-chen, 1526–90) developed. The Peony Pavilion by T’ang Hsien-tsu (1550–1616), a romantic history of a love that conquered death, the historical tragedy The Palace of Eternal Life by Hung Sheng (16457–1704), and Peach Blossom Fan by K’ung Shang-jen (1648–1718) are the best examples of the drama of this period.

In the late 16th century Li Chih (1527–1602) and Yüan Hungtao (1568–1610) opposed the trend toward a “return to antiquity,” which had become official. A new upsurge of narrative prose in the colloquial language took place: the fantasy novel Monkey by Wu Ch’eng-en (c. 1500–82), the historical fantasy novel Adventure to Western Ocean (1597) by Lo Mao-teng, and the social novel Chin P’ing Mei (late 16th century) by an anonymous author, which vividly reproduces the era’s urban manners and morals. Feng Meng-lung (1574–1646), Ling Meng-ch’u (1580–1644), and other writers published numerous treatments of folk tales, as well as original novellas.

The Manchu invasion in 1644 gave rise to an opposition group of poets and thinkers whose works were characterized by progressive trends: Huang Tsung-hsi (1610–96), Ku Yen-wu (1613–82), and Wang Fu-chih (1619–92). Novels glorifying heroes of the past appeared, such as the Tale of Yüeh Fei (late 17th century) by Ch’ien Ts’ai. Society’s flaws were condemned in the novellas of P’u Sung-ling (1640–1715), which were filled with fantasy and irony. In the satirical novel An Unofficial History of the Literati, Wu Ching-tzu (1701–54) attacked the baseness, careerism, and conservatism of the intelligentsia in government service from the standpoint of “true Confucianism.” The pinnacle of the classical novel was Dream of the Red Chamber by Ts’ao Hsüeh-ch’in (c. 1715–62)—a psychologically intense tale of the moral and economic decline of the feudal aristocracy. Subsequently, in view of the growing censorship by Manchu authorities, the high genres of the orthodox Confucian T’ung-ch’eng school once again assumed the leading position in literature. In contrast to these genres were the works of the progressive thinkers Tai Chen (1723–77) and Kung Tzu-chen (1792–1841), the satirical-fantastic novel with Utopian elements Flowers in the Mirror by Li Ju-chen (c. 1763–1830), and folk plays, tales, songs, and other works of the low genres of the late Middle Ages that were ignored by official philological scholarship.

Modern literature (from the mid-19th century to 1917) reflected the liberation movement against the Manchu-Chinese feudal lords and the expansion of the capitalist states of the West, the decline of feudal society, and the first acquaintance with Western culture. The patriotic lyric poetry of Lin Tse-hsii (1785–1850), Wei Yüan (1794–1857), and especially Huang Tsun-hsien (1848–1905), who advocated revival of classical poetic forms, stands out against the background of imitative works. A distinctive literature emerged from the Taiping Rebellion (Hung Jenkan, 1822–64) and from the reform movement in the 1890’s (T’an Ssu-t’ung, 1866–98; Liang Ch’i-ch’ao, 1873–1929). Prose was represented by ideologically contradictory novels: the adventure novel The Cases of Lord Shih (anonymous, 1838), the heroic novel Three Heroes and Five Gallants (1879) by the storyteller Shih Yü-k’un, and the novel of manners and morals Flowers on the Sea (1892) by Han Pang-ch’ing (1856–94).

From 1900 to 1920 prose works filled numerous literary journals. The progressive “accusatory novels,” which disclosed society’s ills and tried to indicate ways of treating them, are of greatest interest: Our Officialdom and A Short History of Civilization by Li Pao-Chia (1867–1906), Weird Things My Eyes Have Seen These Past Twenty Years by Wu Wo-yao (1866–1910), Travel Records of Lao Ts’an by Liu O (1857–1909), and Flowers in a Sea of Evil by Tseng P’u (1871–1934), in which Chinese and Russian revolutionaries are depicted sympathetically. The revolutionary upsurge of the early 1900’s was reflected in the progressive essays on contemporary social problems of Chang T’ai-yen (1868–1936) and Tsou Jung (1885–1905) and in the poetry of Ch’iu Chin (1875–1907) and Su Man-shu (1884–1918). The poets of the South China Society (Liu Ya-tzu, 1887–1958, and others) also supported the struggle against the Manchu monarchy. During the revolution of 1911–13 politically oriented prose and dramaturgy flourished briefly, but under Yüan Shih-k’ai (1912–16) they were replaced by superficial literature for entertainment.

Recent literature was born at the crest of the May Fourth liberation movement (1919), which unfolded under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The principal features of this literature—rejection of the old world, democratic ideals, revitalization of the language, and contact with advanced foreign culture, especially Russian—were embodied in the works of Lu Hsün (1881–1936), who was the first to make the common man the main hero of a literary work. Chinese critical realism reached maturity in Lu Hsün’s collections of stories Battle Cries and Wandering and his novella The True Story of Ah Q. A realistic orientation was also dominant in works written by Yeh Sheng-t’ao (born in 1892), Wang T’ung-chao (1898–1957), and Hsü Ti-shan (1893–1941), who were members of the Society of Literary Studies, formed in 1921. Romantic tendencies were typical of the Creation group, founded in 1922: Yü Ta-fu (1896–1945), Ch’eng Fang-wu (born in 1893), and Kuo Mo-jo (born in 1892). By the early 1920’s new forms of poetry in the colloquial language had displaced classical forms almost entirely, as in the works of Liu Ta-pai (1880–1932), Wen I-to (1899–1946), and Chu Tzu-ch’ing (1899–1948). Hung Shen (1894–1955) and T’ien Han (born 1898) began to write dramas for the “colloquial” theater.

As the political struggle developed, stratification was evident among the advocates of a new culture: there emerged a bourgeois-liberal wing (Hu Shih, 1891–1962; the Crescent Society) and a revolutionary current, which grew stronger during the Revolution of 1925–27 (Chiang Kuang-tz’u, 1901–31; Jou Shih, 1901–31; Yin Fu, 1909–31; Hu Yeh-p’in, 1903–31). In the late 1920’s Marxist aesthetics spread, and Lu Hsün adopted its theoretical position. Together with Ch’ü Ch’iu-po (1899–1935), a prominent figure in the CPC, he became the intellectual leader of the proletarian Chinese League of Left-wing Writers (1930–36), which boldly conducted a struggle against bourgeois-nationalist and “supraclass” trends in literature and popularized the works of Soviet writers. Among the league’s members were Mao Tun (born 1896; the novels Eclipse and Before Dawn), who was drawn toward social novels with parallel plots; Ting Ling (born 1907; the novella Flood); Ai Wu (born 1904), Yeh Tzu (1912–39), and Sha T’ing (born 1906), authors of realistic stories; the poet P’u Feng (1911–43); and the playwright Hsia Yen (born 1901).

The realistic orientation in prose was also represented by Pa Chin (born 1904), who depicted the attraction of youth to radical change (as in the novels The Family and Love); the satirist and portrayer of morals and manners Lao She (1899–1966; the novel The City of Cats, 1933, and Rickshaw Boy); and Chang T’ien-i (born 1906). Ts’ao Yü (born 1910) wrote The Thunderstorm and Sunrise, sociopsychological plays of great emotional impact.

Antirealistic modernist trends have not occupied a major place in Chinese literature. Symbolism, aestheticism, and some other decadent orientations, represented by the works of the poets Tai Wang-Shu (1904–50), Li Chin-fa (born 1901; year of death unknown), and in part by Hsü Chih-mo (1896–1931), did not become widespread. Young poets boldly mastered the new forms of naturalistic representation of reality: Tsang Ko-chia (born 1905), K’o Chung-p’ing (1903–64), Hsiao Chün (born 1908), and Hsiao Hung (1911–42).

The start of the national liberation struggle of the Chinese people against the Japanese invaders (1937) gave rise to a rapid growth of patriotic literature in short forms—essays, poems for recitation, and agitational plays—that were popular with the democratic audience: the patriotic poetry of Ai Ch’ing (born 1910; author of the narrative poem “He Died a Second Time”) and T’ien Chien (born 1917; author of the narrative poem “To Those Who Fight”), the stories and essays of Ch’iu Tung-p’ing (1915–41) and Liu Pai-yü (born 1915), and the plays of Sung Chih-ti (1914–56) and Ma Yen-hsiang (born 1907). The Kuomintang government’s policy of suppressing progressive literature forced writers to turn either to history (as in the plays of Yang Han-sheng, Ou-yang Yü-ch’ien, and Lao She) or to problems of everyday life. Only a few works (the novel Putrefaction by Mao Tun and the story “Mr. Hua Wei” by Chang T’ien-i) contained criticism of negative aspects of life in the Kuomintang rear.

After the defeat of imperialist Japan in 1945, progressive literature struggled for the democratic development of China. The satirical poetry of Yüan Shui-p’o (born 1916), the play The Careerby Ch’en Pai-ch’en (born 1909), the trilogy Four Generations Under One Roof by Lao She, and The Besieged City by Ch’ien Chung-shu were written between 1945 and 1947. By 1948, however, Chiang Kai-shek’s reign of terror once again had forced most writers to hold their tongues or to leave the territory controlled by the Kuomintang.

Under the leadership of the CPC, revolutionary literature, which was inseparably linked to the struggle of the masses and was nourished by folklore traditions, developed in the liberated regions. Its main theme was the new relations between people: the story “Rhymes of Li Yu-ts’ai” and the novel Changes in Lichiachuan by Chao Shu-li (born 1906) and the novels Hurricane by Chou Li-po (born 1908) and The Sun Shines Over the Sangkan River by Ting Ling. The first works on the working class appeared, including the story “Motive Power” by Ts’ao Ming (born 1913). Extremely popular were the play The White-Haired Girl by a group of authors (1945), the heroic lyric poem “Wang Kuei and Li Hsiang-hsiang” by Li Chi (born 1921), and the first part of the narrative poem “The Driver” by T’ien Chien.

The victory of the people’s revolution in 1949 and the formation of the PRC gave new impetus to literary creativity. Works on socialist construction and the education of the new man appeared. The life and work of workers and peasants and the heroism of the people, led by Communists, were common themes in the novels Sanliwan Village by Chao Shu-li and The Molten Iron Flows by Chou Li-po (born 1908), the collection of essays Dearly Beloved by Wei Wei (born 1920), and other works that were written in the 1950’s. Historical revolutionary subjects were treated in the novels Song of Youth by Yang Mo (born 1915), In Defense of Yenan by Tu P’eng-ch’eng (born 1921), and Sonchus Flowers by Feng Te-ying (born 1936).

The subjects of the struggle for peace and friendship with the peoples of other countries were widespread in the poetry of the 1950’s, as in the lyrics and narrative poems of T’ien Chien, Sha Ou, Wen Chieh, and Shao Yen-hsiang. The work of writers representing China’s ethnic literatures—Mongolian, Uighur, and Kazakh—became well known. Close contacts were maintained with writers of socialist countries and progressive literary figures throughout the world, and the literature of the USSR and other socialist countries was translated extensively. However, by the end of the 1950’s sectarian and dogmatic trends in cultural life had emerged, and the criticism of vestiges of bourgeois and feudal ideology was primitively distorted and oversimplified. Administrative steps were taken against dissidents, and various “campaigns of criticism” that affected such writers as Ting Ling, Ai Ch’ing, and Feng Hsüeh-feng were organized.

In 1958 the “combination of revolutionary romanticism with revolutionary realism” was declared the sole creative method for Chinese literature. In essence, an apologistic attitude toward Chinese reality was demanded of writers. The main emphasis was placed on amateur creativity. True, in the early 1960’s works by professional authors continued to appear, including the historical revolutionary novels The Best People of the Day by Ouyang Shan and The Red Cliff by Lo Kuang-pin and Yang I-yen; The Beginning, Liu Ch’ing’s novel of the organization of cooperatives in rural areas; the stories of Li Chun, Wang Wen-shih, and Ju Chih-chüan; and the historical plays of Wu Han and Ts’ao Yü. From the mid-1960’s, with the start of the Cultural Revolution, the publication of new literary works and of translations was virtually halted, and the few works on contemporary social issues had the function of illustrating the “ideas of Mao Tsetung.” Activities of the Chinese Writers Union (formed in 1953) were also halted. In 1966 such literary journals as Jen-min wenhsüeh, Wen-i pao, Chü pen, Shih k’an, and Shih-chieh wen-hsüeh ceased publication.

Somewhat of a revival has been noticed in literature since early 1972. In that year more than 100 book titles, including novels, narratives, and collections of stories, poetry, and plays, were published or republished. Among the republished works were the classical novels The Dream of the Red Chamber, Monkey, The Water Margin, and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Most of the newly published books were written by “collectives of authors,” and their subject matter was very limited. Some books tell of the hard life of the people under the Kuomintang regime and of the organization of cooperatives in the countryside and are devoted to the army and to propagandizing its special role in national affairs. Most professional Chinese writers were not involved in creative work. Modern foreign literature was represented by a very few stories and poems, and Soviet literature by picture books based on the plots of M. Gorky’s Childhood, In the World, and Mother and N. A. Ostrovskii’s How the Steel Was Tempered.

In 1972 the magazine Chinese Literature, intended for foreign readers, came out in English. Local literary magazines such as Ho-pei wen-i and Kuang-tung wen-i and the army literary magazine Chün-tui wen-i resumed publication.


Literary criticism. Traditional Chinese literary criticism, with its cult of the refined word (wen), took shape on the basis of the Confucian-Taoist-Buddhist cultural complex. Its philosophical foundations were laid in the sixth to third centuries B.C. by the views of Confucius, Lao-tzu, and especially Chuang-tzu.

The first theory of poetry—the Great Preface to the Book of Songs, written in the second century B.C.—summarized the views of the Confucian school. In the late fifth century Shen Yüeh, in his Treatise on the Four Tones, presented the principles of a theory of poetry, and in the early sixth century Chung Jung wrote the first work of literary criticism, the Categorization of Poetry. Liu Hsieh (fifth-sixth centuries) shaped Chinese literary thought into a complete system in his The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. Ssu-k’ung T’u’s theory of poetic inspiration (ninth-tenth centuries) subsequently had a great impact on Chinese literary criticism. The theory of genres moved to the fore beginning in the sixth century. In the Sung era (10th–13th centuries) and later a large number of treatises on poetry (shih-hua) appeared; treatises on drama were first written during the Yüan era (13th–14th centuries). Narrative literary prose was considered vulgar and was little studied.

In literature as in nature the theoreticians of traditional Chinese literary criticism found the embodiment of the absolute (Tao), which the writer himself attained and conveyed to the reader. The inner, the essential, and the hidden were considered to be the crux of literature. This view led to an obsession with allegory and with the search for hidden meaning. The didactic function of literature was highly esteemed. Literary terms were more figurative than logical. Worship of antiquity accounted for outward conservatism of these terms, although at different stages they were given different content, leading to syncretism and ambiguity.

At the turn of the 20th century modern scientific methods of studying literature supplanted the former empirical methods. Wang Kuo-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao made a major contribution to the study of the classical heritage. From the early 1920’s the historical development of literature and especially of narrative literary prose increasingly attracted the attention of investigators, as in A Brief History of Chinese Fiction (1923) by Lu Hsün and the History of Chinese Folk Literature (1938) by Cheng Chen-to. The development of literary thought was analyzed, as in History of Chinese Literary Criticism (1934) by Lo Kent-se. The translations of Lu Hsün, Ch’ü Ch’iu-pai, and other writers acquainted the reader with Marxist aesthetics. Chinese folklore (the journal Ko-yao) and foreign literature (Mao Tun, Cheng Chen-to, Chao Ching-shen) were studied. A major role in the development of literary theory was played by such organizations as the Society for Literary Studies (and its journal Hsiao-shuo yüeh-pao), which adopted a position favoring realism; the romantic Creation Society (with its journal Ch’uang-tsao); and the proletarian League of Left-wing Writers.

After the formation of the PRC in 1949, Marxist works on the literary heritage and on modern literature were written, and a number of discussions were conducted (for example, on the role of conflicts in a literary work). Despite the desire of many literary critics to master Marxist methodology, however, vulgar sociology and utilitarian notions spread and gained sway by the mid-1960’s. Literature was viewed as a means of instilling in the people the spirit of nationalism, anti-Sovietism, and the personality cult of Mao Tse-tung; its aesthetic and cognitive functions were rejected. During the Cultural Revolution (the second half of the 1960’s) and in the subsequent period the development of literary criticism was interrupted. The study of the classical heritage, which was construed as “reactionary and feudal-bourgeois,” was halted.

After the indiscriminate glorification of “revolutionary plays” that was characteristic of the Cultural Revolution, in 1972 critics began to call for a campaign against “unprincipled, vulgar exaltation,” for the initiation of benevolent criticism, and for assistance to authors in improving their works. Chinese criticism discussed once again, although cautiously, the need for writers to master knowledge and gain professional skill and opposed the “simplified approach to literature and art.” At the same time the chief object of criticism remains the so-called theory of the average man, according to which man is depicted as he is, with his positive and negative features. To counterbalance such views the critics have called for the creation of literary “heroes” who totally lack shortcomings and are distinguished by their devotion to Mao Tse-tung and his “ideas.” Propagandization of the slogans “Cast out the old, take in the new” and “Make room for the new culture” has been intensified.



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The oldest relics of Chinese art date to the third millennium B.C. The remains of ditch-enclosed Neolithic settlements with clay-and-straw pole-framed pit dwellings have been preserved in the valleys of large rivers. In many parts of China there have been discovered thin clay vessels of different shapes and sizes (cups, vases, pitchers, and goblets), made on a potter’s wheel. The vessels are monochromatic or finely decorated on the surface in a polychromatic geometric design (diamonds, spirals, triangles, circles, and zigzags) whose magical meaning was associated with natural forces holding sway over man. (The painted ceramics are called Yangshao after the site, and the smooth black vessels without figures are called Lungshan—both from the third to second millennium B.C.) Many of the forms of Neolithic ceramics (the tripod, or li, vessels, pitchers, and goblets) were used in several succeding periods.

During the Yin period (or Shang; second millennium B.C.) walled cities appeared with the rectangular plan characteristic of China and with temples and palaces for hereditary rulers—the wangs—on the central avenue. The ruins of the palace of the capital Anyang indicate that the frame method appeared in Chinese architecture during this period (columns overlapped by horizontal beams beneath the roof were erected on a clay-and-straw platform).

The bronze domestic and ritual vessels of the second millennium B.C. that have survived in large quantity attest to the formation of an original artistic style. They are distinguished by their diversity of form, which is plastically enriched by whimsical high-relief images of animals, birds, and monsters and by the refined fantasy of the designs. In comparison with the Neolithic period, the range of ornamental motifs expanded and changed. Abstract symbols of nature became more concrete. Tigers, snakes, dragons, designs signifying thunder and clouds, and the mask of the imaginary predator called the t’ao t’ieh were associated with the cardinal points, the planets, and early concepts of the universe. They were supposed to protect man from natural disasters and to bring good fortune. Therefore, the pattern filled the entire surface of the vessel, leaving virtually no blank space. Despite the fantastic nature and apparent spontaneity of the design, the vessels are distinguished by their strict proportions and rhythm, by their precise distribution of ornamentation, and by their symmetry. These characteristics determined the stylistic principles of Chinese art in subsequent periods.

In addition to bronze vessels, vessels made of mat white clay, carved nephrite items, and bronze weapons inlaid with gold, malachite, and turquoise have been found at burial sites of the second millennium B.C. The underground tombs of the aristocracy were large in size (up to 340 sq m). They consisted of two walled rooms, one on top of the other, decorated with inlays and wall paintings. Stone statues of imaginary animals—the guardians of the graves—were placed at the entrances.

The middle of the first millennium B.C.—the Chou period (11th to third century B.C.) and the Chan Kuo period (fifth to third century B.C., part of the Chou period)—was an important stage in the development of Chinese culture. During this period general conclusions were drawn on the basis of centuries of direct observation of nature. The extremely important religious and philosophical doctrines that arose in the first millennium B.C.—Confucianism and Taoism—presented a general view of the structure of the universe and society and had a significant impact on all subsequent Chinese culture.

In the middle of the first millennium B.C. the principles of architecture and city-building that became the basis for medieval Chinese architecture were formulated on the basis of past experience. They were recorded in written treatises (the Chou li, third century B.C.), with specific directions for the siting of buildings, the length of walls, the width of streets, and so on. By the middle of the first millennium the character of bronze vessels had also changed: the forms became gentler, simpler, and more refined, and the patterns more graphic and flatter. Relief motifs were replaced by inlays. The ornamentation included genre scenes associated with ritual ceremonies (hunting, the harvest). The ink painting on scrolls characteristic of China also developed. The earliest surviving silk painting (from a tomb in the city of Ch’angsha, now in the Ku-kung Museum in Peking) dates to the Chan Kuo period. The depiction of the battle between a dragon and a phoenix above a young standing woman is linked to ideas of human life in the kingdom of the dead and of the natural forces holding sway over man. Despite its schematic nature, the work attests to the birth of very important traditions in painting: the tiered construction of the composition and the precision of the line drawing. The painted lacquerware of this period also has considerable decorative and ornamental merits.

The period of unification into the centralized Ch’in state (221–207 B.C.) was marked by the construction of most of the Great Wall of China.

Clay models of buildings from the tombs of the aristocracy (two- and three-story buildings that are elongated vertically and are covered with tiled roofs crowned with a ridge), multitiered lou watchtowers, and estates with structures located deep within rectangular enclosed yards attest to the diversity of the building methods employed in the Ch’in and Han dynasties (206 B.C. to A.D. 220). The structural and decorative methods that took shape during this period were developed during the Middle Ages: a system of tou-kung brackets supporting a heavy roof at the joints of supporting columns and beams, the breaks in the roof’s edges, and ornamentation of the tile roofing.

In the representational art of the Han period features of the cultures of many neighboring Asian peoples are interwoven with local stylistic characteristics. Reliefs cut in brick and stone, of an edifying and legendary historical character (related to Confucian ideology), from the tombs of the aristocracy (the Wu family in Wuchia Ling, 147 B.C.; the grave in Yingnang—both in Shantung Province), reflect the diversity of ancient Chinese views of the structure of the universe, the cardinal points, the heavenly worlds, the deities of thunder and of the constellations, and feasts in the palaces of the gods. Real, lifelike observations alternate with vivid fantasy. Painting, which also has been preserved on the walls of tombs (wall paintings from the grave of an aristocratic official in the district of Wantu, 126–144), corresponds in style to the reliefs. Han large-scale plastic art, as yet undeveloped and constrained, also was associated with tombs: figures of winged lions borrowed from the Middle East and statues of officials formed a surface-level “alley of the spirits,” which became an obligatory feature. Clay figures (officials, servants, musicians, dancers) from the tombs are much more lifelike and natural.

In early medieval art (fourth-sixth centuries) a number of new themes and images appeared. Buddhism, which reached China from India in the first centuries A.D. with its iconographic system and subjects, brought with it a tendency toward more monumental forms in architecture, sculpture, and painting and gave rise to the desire to create huge integrated complexes, as well as giving birth to new images of the Buddhist deities.

The spread of Buddhism led to the rise of new cult structures —memorial pagodas, above-ground wooden temples with sculptural altar composition, and rock monasteries, whose construction often took centuries (Yünkang, Maichishan, Ch’ienfotung near Tunhuang, and Lungmen). Cave monasteries and temples were cut into the rock in imitation of Indian monasteries and ran several kilometers along cliff faces. Square, rectangular, or semicircular caves contained repeatedly reproduced sculptural images of Buddha in various positions and of his disciples and Buddhist saints. The ceilings and walls were covered with engraved reliefs and paintings. Sculpture and wall painting revealed an interest in man’s spiritual world and a search for new ideals. The pagodas of this period combined local and foreign architectural techniques. The pagoda of Sun-yiieh Ssu (in Honan Province) combines the precision of tiers and extended proportions of ancient Chinese watchtowers with the flexibility, gentle curvature of outline, and plasticity of Indian tower-shaped temples.

In easel painting on silk and paper the domestic genre became widespread, many poems were illustrated, and the first landscape backgrounds appeared. Two types of scrolls evolved: the horizontal scroll viewed by unrolling a section on a table and the vertical scroll for wall decoration. (The earliest scrolls were devised by Ku K’ai-chih, in the fourth and early fifth century; they have survived in old copies.) The first theoretical works appeared, summarizing the experience of many generations. The “six laws of painting” of Hsieh Ho (fifth century) attest to interest in the problems of conveying the inner spiritual essence of phenomena and the correlation in art between vital truth and verisimilitude. Calligraphy, which developed in stylistic unity with painting, flourished between the fourth and sixth centuries.

The seventh through 13th centuries, when the powerful T’ang (618–907) and Sung (960–1279) states ruled, was the time of the greatest development of all fields of Chinese culture. These periods were marked by extensive trade and cultural contacts with many Eastern countries. The mature Middle Ages creatively reinterpreted the foreign images and forms that were introduced between the fourth and sixth centuries and organically combined them with the most valuable aspects of ancient Chinese culture.

During the T’ang period, as before, a major role was played by large-scale sculpture and architecture, which were distinguished by their clear harmony and quiet majesty of form. The cities (Loyang, Ch’angan), which reached tremendous size (the area of Ch’angan was 8,410 hectares; its perimeter, 36 km), retained their former regularity of plan, being divided into walled squares (in Ch’angan there were 108 squares, or fang) that were symmetrically placed along the sides of a central avenue cutting through the entire city. In Ch’angan the squares of the imperial city were located along the northern part of the avenue, markets along the central part, and residential areas along the southern part. Residences were strictly regulated in size (a house could have no more than three bays between columns) and were grouped around inner courtyards.

Wooden architecture played a major role. Monumental palace and temple buildings were divided into several types and were constructed according to a single simple principle (the treatise Ying tsao fa shih on the forms and methods of construction, 1103; Li Ming-chung). A very simple frame cell, formed by four columns and a system of roof beams, underlay every structure —whether a tien (one-story rectangular pavilion), lou, or ko (multistoried buildings with surrounding galleries), t’ai (a small pavilion on a high stone base), t’ing (a pavilion in a park), or liang (gallery). The combination of these cells created the structural and spatial basis for the most varied buildings. The walls are not supporting elements; curved at the edges and supported by columns, beams, and a system of tou-kung that are covered with red lacquer, the tile roofs seemingly soar in the air (the Fokuang Temple in the Wut’ai Shan, 857). Majestic clarity and rationality are typical of T’ang brick pagodas, which lack decoration almost entirely and were constructed with a rhythm of simple straight lines and repeating spaces (Tayen T’a, 652, rebuilt in 704; and Hsiaoyen T’a, 707–709—both near Sian).

The city-building measures of the Sung period were associated with the expansion of trade and the growth of the population. The fang of the Northern Sung capital Pienliang (now K’aifeng) had no walls; the court portion was moved to the center; and rows of shops lined the main avenue. The architecture of this period tended toward greater refinement of forms and to lightness and trimness of proportions. Colored tiles and wall paintings were used in the decoration of the buildings.

More extended proportions and more complex plans were characteristic of the pagodas of the Sung period (Pao-ch’u, 968, and Liu-ho T’a, 970–1156, in Hangchou; T’ieh T’a, or the Iron Pagoda, in K’aifeng, 1041–1048; Pei-ssu T’a in Suchou, 1031–1062). Complexes of small gardens, simulating nature, were cultivated in the new capital Hangchou (from 1127) and other sites south of the Yangtze River. Artificial landscapes with unadorned pavilions and overgrown bodies of water met the requirements of simplicity and naturalness.

The same harmony and strength found in architecture were typical of T’ang monumental sculpture and burial plastic arts. The statues of the Tunhuang and Lungmen cave temples are distinguished by their plastic beauty, life-affirming spirit, and unconstrained movement. The faces of the Buddhist deities reflect the Chinese ethnic type (while the artists observe general iconographic laws). The bodies and clothing acquire softness and sense of volume (the Buddha Vairocana in Lungmen, seventh century). Reliefs and small items of plastic art from tombs are distinguished by their great variety of subjects, narrative suggestiveness, and the precision of the features. During the Sung period the harmony of the physical and the spiritual was gradually lost. The proportions of the bodies lengthened, and gestures became more mannered (as in the statues of women from the T’aiyüan cave temple). Lacquer, sandalwood, and gilded bronze were used instead of stone.

The greatest achievement of medieval Chinese art is painting, in which humanist ideas are embodied most completely. The cult wall paintings in temples (in mineral watercolor on dry whitewashed earth applied to a layer of clay mixed with hemp), modeled after the pictures of the well-known painters of the period (Wu Tao-tzu, Yen Li-pen), are distinguished by their secular orientation (everyday scenes, portraits of sacrificers and officials, landscapes). In easel painting certain genres were firmly established: the portrait (Yen Li-pen, Han Huang, Chou Fang, Wu Tao-tzu), the painting of flowers and birds (Pien Luan), and the animal genre (Hang Kan). The landscape, or shan-shui (“mountains-waters”), acquired independent importance and became closely interwoven with the lofty poetry and ancient ideas of the forces of the universe. Unique artistic techniques made it possible to achieve great universality and created the impression of the wholeness of nature as part of a boundless world (extended forms of scrolls, the compositional structure with a greatly elevated horizon, the contrast of objects on different scales, and the suggestion of an air mass through the use of fog, water, and clouds between distant and close objects). The planar landscapes of Li Ssu-hsün and Li Chao-tao are multicolored, vivid, and elegant. The monochrome landscapes of Wang Wei are more spacious and epic.

During the Five Dynasties (907–960) and the Sung period, the philosophical orientation of landscape painting also influenced other painting genres, including the birds-and-flowers genre (Hsü Hsi, Huang Ch’üan), which conveyed through a tiny fragment of nature great philosophical ideas (Ching Hao, Chü Jan, Ts’ui Po). A significant place in the art of this period is occupied by the “painting of the literati” (Su Shih, Wen T’ung, Mi Fei), poets and writers who considered themselves independent of the academic orientation and who painted in a free, flowing manner. They, like the painters associated with the ideals of the Ch’an Buddhist sect (Mu Ch’i, Liang K’ai, and Ying Yü-chien), tried to depict the tao —the hidden meaning of a phenomenon, the motion of the universe and its spirit. The landscapes of the Northern Sung period (960–1127) depict the world in its vastness as severe and majestic, as remote from man (Kuo Hsi, Fan K’uan, Mi Fei, Li Ch’eng, and Kao K’o-kung). The creative achievements of the painters are summarized in treatises whose poetic form is consonant with the painting itself (the treatises of Chang Yen-yüan, ninth century; Ching Hao, tenth century; and Kuo Hsi, 11th century).

In the Southern Sung period (1127–1279) majestic landscapes gave way to landscapes that were closer to people, that exalted simple, gentle nature. The sentiments conveyed through the landscape were endowed with great lyricism and often were melancholy or restless, as in the paintings of Li T’ang, Li Ti, Ma Yüan, and Hsia Kuei.

Decorative applied art reached similar heights during the T’ang and Sung periods. Diverse porcelain products appeared, such as snow-white porcelain from the city of Hsingchou, in which, despite the influence of refined Iranian ornamental motifs, the monumental nature of the shape of ancient wares was retained. Grayish blue and gray-green ceramic vessels that are gracefully simple in shape and that imitate valuable nephrite were produced in the workshops of the villages Lungch’üan Yao, Kuan Yao, and Ko Yao. White vessels with relief ornaments from Tingchou Yao and black and white vessels with refined pictures from Tz’uchou Yao are known. The k’o-ssu fabrics, whose patterns were based on motifs borrowed from painting, were widespread.

During the Mongol Yüan Dynasty (13th–14th centuries) the traditions of T’ang and Sung art were retained and developed. The ensembles of the Yüan capital Tatu (later Peking) were reorganized and its territory expanded. Palace complexes were built; their main buildings were joined in the middle by a gallery, forming broad square courtyards. The roofs of the palaces were covered with colored glazed tile, the methods of whose manufacture came from Central Asia. Some stabilization of genres can be observed in painting. The landscapes of Ni Tsan, Huang Kung-wang, Wang Meng, and Wu Chen are even more lyrical and intimate than the Sung landscapes. A favorite allegorical motif was bamboo bending in a storm. The masters of the “painting of the literati” orientation made use of porous paper, and their palette was monochromatic or subdued.

During the Ming (1368–1644) and Ch’ing (1644–1911) periods architecture and applied decorative art reached their highest level. The principles of regular, strictly symmetrical city planning with vast complexes of palace and temple buildings (as in Peking and Nanking) were firmly established. Vast scale and spatial sweep are also typical of burial structures (the Shih-san Ling complex near Peking, 15th–17th centuries, with a sculptured “alley of the spirits” about 1 km long). The types of structures with perfected post-and-lintel frames remained virtually unchanged until the late 19th century, although in addition to wood, stone and brick were used more extensively (a new type —the wu-liang-tien, or beamless brick temple, in Nanking, 1398). Structures acquired greater dynamism and decorativeness; the tou-kung systems became more divided, occupying the entire area under the roof and, like the ceilings of the interiors, were decorated with bright colors and gilding and with genre and landscape motifs. The palace and temple structures of the 18th and 19th centuries acquired particular magnificence; the role of decorative exteriors increased (as in the suburban I-hoyüan Park near Peking with its light, unique pavilions and abundant ornamental sculpture); and the harmony of volume was lost (as at the Yung-ho-kung temple in Peking). By the late 19th and early 20th centuries the growing pretentiousness and capriciousness of the designs led to the loss of the organic combination of ornamentation and form.

The painting of the Ming and Ch’ing periods is distinguished from previous painting by its significantly greater conservatism and its standardization of artistic techniques. The achievements of the past became mere schemata, and artists became imitators of the styles of past eras. The works of masters who lived far from the capitals and formed numerous artistic schools were freer: the Chekiang school (Tai Chin) and the Suchou school (Shen Chou, Wen Cheng-ming). Hsü Wei, the vivid master of the birds-and-flowers genre of this era, painted in the hsieh-i (“painting of ideas”) freehand style with a broad, heavy brush. Ch’ou Ying, T’ang Yin, Ch’en Hung-shou, and other masters of the everyday genre created pictures that illustrated ancient legends and poems in the fine and detailed kung-pi graphic style. During the Ming and Ch’ing periods cheap popular prints, woodcuts, and book illustrations became widespread. In the Ch’ing period, which was distinguished by its eclectic nature, the landscape artists Wang Hui, Wang Shih-min, Wang Chien, and Wang Yün-ch’i (the group known as the Four Wangs) worked in various styles and manners; Yüan Shou-p’ing painted in the traditional “birds-and-flowers” genre; and the painters Shih T’ao and Chu Ta imitated Hsü Wei.

From the 14th to the 19th century there was increased production of multicolored porcelain with landscape, genre, and plant motifs executed in subglaze painting done in cobalt blue, lead enamels, and vivid overlaid colors (tou-ts’ai —the struggle of the colors). White porcelain was manufactured (in Tehua), and enamel with figures outlined in gilt appeared. Red carved lacquer ware (vessels, furniture, garden benches), embroidery, k’o-ssu fabrics, and carvings in stone, bamboo, and bone were executed in the traditions of the past.

In the second half of the 19th century the social and cultural contradictions were acutely aggravated in China, which had been converted into a semicolony. Stagnation was observed in all fields of cultural life. The general decline was also reflected in architecture and in applied decorative arts, whose works were often pretentious and tasteless. Large cities (Shanghai, Tientsin, Nanking, and Canton) were lined with eclectic European-style buildings—stone buildings with intricate arches stylized in national traditions. The outlying areas, which were filthy slums with twisting alleys, were lined with clay-walled houses and bamboo huts. The so-called Chinese renaissance (the Ch’ingyen-fang palace pavilion in the shape of a ship, in I-ho-yüan Park; the library in Peking), which artificially combined features of Chinese and European architecture, was no less eclectic.

Engraving and cheap popular prints, the carriers of democratic trends, proved to be the closest to the life of the people.

Jen Po-nien, Wu Ch’ang-shih, Ch’en Shih-tseng, and Kao Chien-fu, who strove to reaffirm the beauty of the world of nature, were the first masters to succeed in bringing traditional art closer to real life. Oil painting of the European type appeared.

The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia generated an upsurge of democratic forces in China. In the 1920’s posters and a new type of engraving appeared, and revolutionary caricatures developed. Chinese engraving touched most closely on the life of the people in the 1940’s, after the Lu Shün Art Academy was established (1938) and a circle of modern masters had formed. A series of engravings by Ku Yüan and prints by Li Hua and Ma Ta combined the acuity and brevity of the traditional style with a new world view.

The formation of the PRC in 1949 created new opportunities for the development of democratic culture. City-building was undertaken. The imperial palaces and gardens were converted into museums and parks. Many residential and public structures were built, and streets and squares were widened. The principle of building in microregions (neighborhood units) has been used since the end of the 1950’s. Specialists from the USSR and other socialist countries extended considerable aid in design and construction. In the 1950’s, Chinese architects combined the decorative elements of traditional architecture with modern building structures (the building of the National People’s Congress, the Peking Hotel, the Friendship Hotel, and the Central Terminal —all in Peking).

The works of Ch’i Pai-shih, P’an T’ien-shou, Huang Pin-hung, and Hsü Pei-hung played a significant role in painting in the PRC in the 1950’s. Without going beyond the range of the traditional motifs of the landscape and the birds-and-flowers genre, Ch’i Pai-shih revealed the beauty of nature and Hsü Pei-hung created images of contemporaries—portraits of workers and cultural figures—striving to combine the techniques of the kuo-hua painting with those of modern European painting. Li K’o-jan and Chiang Chao-ho used the same method in the historical, everyday, and landscape genres. Many branches of the applied decorative arts were developed. Extremely varied artistic carving (the “window flowers”) appeared. The preparation of artistic fabrics and embroidery held a significant place.

The years of the Cultural Revolution were a period of decline of the Chinese fine arts. The political poster, which was devoted entirely to disseminating the Cultural Revolution and the “ideas of Mao,” was essentially the only art allowed.

Some revival has been observed since early 1972, as attested in particular by the holding of the All-China Exhibition of the Arts and the All-China Exhibition of Handicrafts.

The diversity of the climatic conditions has been reflected in the popular architecture of China. In the south light wooden buildings with raised corners on the roofs can be found; in the north large structures with mud walls are common; in the central regions rectangular frame huts are found; and in mountain regions cave-type dwellings are used. The architecture of the autonomous regions of China—Tibet and Sinkiang—is distinctive.


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Sirén, O. Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles, vols. 1–7. London-New York, 1956–58.


The musical culture of China is one of the oldest in the world. Its sources date to early songs and dances, which were quite highly developed as early as the second millennium B.C.

In the texts of the 11th–sixth centuries B.C. the word yüeh (music) expressed a broad concept that included poetry, dance, and art. Thus, since antiquity music has been associated with varied aspects of man’s life and activities.

The more than 300 folk songs and ritual hymns (11th–sixth centuries B.C.) in the Shih ching (Book of Songs) are an outstanding collection of the folk art of the song; the book is considered to have laid the foundations for the later development of Chinese music. In the sixth century B.C. songs were separated from dance, becoming an independent type of art. According to ancient Chinese philosophers, music was supposed to play a practical role. Confucius asserted that beautiful music contributes to rational state organization and therefore has a strictly defined structure. The (structure, measure) musical system, whose invention is ascribed to the mythical ruler Huang-ti, has existed in China since antiquity. Underlying the was the 12–step scale, which was formed by 12 bamboo pipes of different size placed in such a relationship that a chain of ascending fourth progressions was created. The contained possibilities for strict tempering (equal temperament was achieved in the 16th century A.D.). In the seventh century B.C, in accordance with the development of the intonational nature of the Chinese language, the five most important sounds were singled out, forming a penta-tonic scale, whose origin was explained as an imitation of nature.

The traditional Chinese orchestra includes about 100 instruments. The largest group (about 30 types) is the strings; the se, ch’in, and p’i-p’a (plucked instruments) and the hu, including the erh-hu, ssu-hu, and pan-hu (bowed instruments). Also used are percussion instruments—drums and bells—and wind instruments: flutes—the hsiao (vertical) and p’ai-hsiao (reed; a type of panpipe)—and the sheng (a reed instrument producing chordal sonority).

Monophony, heterophony, and repeating rhythm are characteristic of Chinese folk music; the manner of performance is distinguished by its falsetto, guttural sounds.

From the fifth century B.C., with the development of Confucianism, music in China acquired particularly great social importance. The main categories of Confucius’ doctrine—jen (humanism) and li (ritual, the system of moral and ethical principles)—were inseparably linked to music. In the Han period (206 B.C. to A.D. 220) the general cultural revival resulted in the rapid development of musical art. The Yüeh-fu (a special office of music), which had been established somewhat earlier, collected and studied musical folklore; instrumentalists, singers, and dancers were under its charge, and the most prominent musicians were associated with it.

Between the third and sixth centuries the Taoist-Buddhist world view, which had been widely disseminated in China, exerted an influence on the character of music. In Chi K’ang’s work on the zither (third century) the idea of music as the highest expression of tao —the essence of existence—is contrasted with Confucius’ doctrine; music became individual and mystical and not just a social category. Between the fifth and tenth centuries the influence of the musical cultures of other peoples joined that of Buddhism, resulting in the expansion of the orchestra through the addition of new instruments and in changes in the modal structure of music. The earliest professional work preserved in musical notation is a piece for the ch’in, “Yu-lan-p’u” (The Lonely Orchid), ascribed to Ch’ü Ming (sixth century).

With the general cultural revival of the T’ang period (seventh-tenth centuries), the level of music education rose (five special music schools were opened in 714), and the first professional court performing groups were formed, including the Pear Orchard (Li-yüan), a performing school that brought together many musicians. The most significant work on music theory— the treatise Remarks on Music by Tuan An-chieh—dates to the tenth century.

In the Sung period (tenth–13th centuries) the Confucian theory of music was revived in altered form: the direct ethical efficacy of the music is primary and its aesthetic principles, the philosophy and theory of music, are secondary. The 13th century was marked by the extensive development of democratic musical genres, including folk songs, which were closely connected with the contemporary theater: the four-act tsa-chü drama was based on the folk songs of North China (Kuan Hanch’ing wrote more than 60 plays using North Chinese musical folklore); the ch’uan-ch’i drama, which had many scenes, was based on the folk music of South China. In the 15th and 16th centuries theatrical music, which was associated with the works of the actor and composer Wei Liang-fu, reached a high level of development.

The final stage of Chinese classical music dates to the Ming Dynasty (14th to 17th century), when Chu Tsai-yü (in the 16th century) developed the principle of the equal-tempered 12–step scale, thus perfecting the system.

From the 17th century until the modern era Chinese music remained traditional. A trend toward democratization was observed, however. European influences were characteristic of the 18th and 19th centuries and grew stronger at the turn of the 20th century.

After the May Fourth Movement (1919) some of the youth inclined to revolution received a music education in Europe and tried to incorporate in Chinese music the musical achievements of other countries (among them was Hsien Hsing-hai). In 1932 the composers Lü Chian and Nieh Erh (composer of the song “March of the Volunteers,” which became the state anthem of the PRC) organized a revolutionary group of musicians who wrote popular patriotic songs for the masses during the national liberation struggle against the Japanese invaders.

In the first years after the formation of the PRC in 1949 organizational measures taken by the government contributed to the development of music. In 1949 the All-China Federation of Literature and Art was established, and in 1953 the Union of Chinese Composers was organized under it.

A transition toward the composition of tendentiously oversimplified pieces began in the late 1950’s. In the first half of the 1960’s and especially during the Cultural Revolution (the second half of the 1960’s) music had the primary function of illustrating the political slogans of the Chinese leadership.

During the Cultural Revolution the performance of foreign music and Chinese music written before 1966 was halted. Only a few “model” plays of the Peking musical drama and a few ballets were allowed (“model” meant recognized as “truly revolutionary,” “corresponding to the ideas of Mao Tse-tung,” and serving as a model for creativity and for imitation in life). “Orchestral music” (the term “symphony” is European and therefore not used) for a symphony orchestra composed of Chinese national instruments was developed on the basis of the “model” play Shachiapang. Arias from the Peking musical drama Red Lantern, with piano accompaniment, were included in concert programs. Whereas in the second half of the 1960’s piano music was prohibited and pianos were destroyed, in the 1970’s the piano was allowed once again on the concert stage. The use of piano music was allowed in accordance with Mao Tse-tung’s idea: “Place the foreign at the service of the Chinese.”

In 1970 the piano concerto Huang Ho was written—a collective revision of a cantata of the same title by the composer Hsien Hsing-hai, which had been performed only by orchestra, since the text was prohibited as not corresponding to the “ideas of Mao Tse-tung.” Cuts were made in it to erase the influence of Russian and Soviet music, which is perceptible in some parts of the cantata and generally characteristic of the works of Hsien Hsing-hai. Ten songs with new texts written in the spirit of the personality cult of Mao Tse-tung are often performed. During the Cultural Revolution the performance of folk music by amateur and professional collectives was prohibited, and singers and instrumentalists were employed in manual labor. In the 1970’s musicians were permitted to include in their repertoire officially approved folk works. Songs From the Battlefield, a collection of songs from the Cultural Revolution, was published in 1972. These songs are performed throughout China.

By the early 1970’s there were three conservatories, in Peking, Tientsin, and Shanghai, and four music institutes, in Wuhan (Hupeh), Mukden (Liaoning), Sian (Shensi), and Ch’engtu (Szechwan). These conservatories and institutes were not closed, but it is not known whether there is systematic study or whether students are being graduated.


Shneerson, G. M. Muzykal’naia kul’tura Kitaia. Moscow, 1952.
Muzykal’nye instrumenty Kitaia. Moscow, 1958. (Authorized translation from Chinese, under the editorship of and with a supplement by I. Z. Alender.)
Muzykal’naia estetika stran Vostoka. Moscow, 1967. Pages 140–245.
Lisevich, I. S. Drevniaia Kitaiskaia poeziia i narodnaia pesnia. Moscow, 1969.
Sorokin, V. F. Traktat “Rassuzhdenie o penii”. In Istoriko-filologicheskie issledovaniia. Moscow, 1967. Pages 487–92.
Valitskii, V. “ ‘Kul’turnaia revoliutsiia’ v muzyke.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1970, no. 8, pp. 129–38.


Chinese theatrical art had its origins primarily in folk songs and dances, in songs and dances of secular and religious rituals, and in the pai hsi (“hundred entertainments”), which included many elements of the circus. In the written records of the second and first millennia B.C. the terms ch’ang-yu (“singing actor”) and p’ai-yu (“jester,” “comedian”) are mentioned. The growth of the cities and trade during the Han period (third century B.C. to the third century A.D.) influenced the development of the theatrical arts. Domestic scenes were introduced in the pai hsi.

In the T’ang period (seventh-tenth centuries), characterized by great cultural development, Buddhism became widespread, influencing Chinese literature and art and in particular the dance. A new song and dance form, the ta-ch’ü, appeared. It became one of the foundations of Chinese theater, combining music, songs, dance, and pantomime. Satirical dialogue-plays called “the game of ts’an-chun,” which mocked the authorities and venal officials, became popular. The first conventional roles appeared: the resourceful wit, or ts’an-chun, and the naïve fool, or ts’an-ku. Performances were improvised. In the mid-eighth century the Pear Orchard (Li-yüan) theatrical school, where musicians, dancers, and singers were trained for court performances, was founded at the court of the T’ang emperor Hsüantsung. The court drama company also was given this name.

Between the tenth and 12th centuries theater developed further and professional drama companies appeared. One of the first dramatic forms was the tsa-ch’ü (mixed performance) play— comic improvised scenes. In the 13th and 14th centuries Chinese theater reached maturity. During the rule of the Mongol conquerors it played an important social function, expressing a protest against the foreigners’ rule and social injustices. The flourishing of the tsa-ch’ü drama, with its division of the play into four acts, its precision and simplicity of composition, and its intensity of conflict, dates to the 13th century. Each act was built on a single melody, and there was one singing role in every act.

Chinese drama developed in two directions. The tsa-ch’ü plays belonged to the northern branch of the theater (pei-ch’ü). The playwrights Kuan Han-ch’ing (The Sufferings of Tou O), Wang Shih-fu (The Western Chamber), and Pai p’u (Rain in the Plane Trees) wrote in this genre. At the same time the southern branch (nan-hsi) developed, represented by the ch’uan-ch’i dramatic form. It was characterized by its lack of economy in composition and the arbitrariness of the length of the play and the number of melodies (there were several singing roles in every act). The conventional means of stage expression that became the main aesthetic form of traditional Chinese theater were developed further.

From the 14th to the 17th century strict censorship imposed limitations on dramaturgy, since it was the most democratic literary form. Many plays were prohibited. Further development of the theater took place primarily in outlying areas, where the first local theatrical genres took shape: the i-yang theater (in Kiangsi Province) and k’un-ch’ü (in Kunshan District in the same province). In subject matter and means of expression the i-yang theater was the more democratic. The plays were written on domestic themes; later, stage versions of popular novels were produced (Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Lo Kuan-chung, The Water Margin by Shih Nai-an, and Monkey by Wu Ch’engen). The depiction of historical events (battles, duels) gave rise to the development of acrobatic and fencing techniques. The k’un-ch’ü was the theater of the aristocratic segments of society and of the intelligentsia. Lyrical domestic subject matter is characteristic of these plays, and the performer’s virtuoso vocal and dancing techniques were a distinguishing feature. By the late 18th century the genre had lost its popularity because of the theater’s orientation solely toward selected segments of society.

Numerous local theatrical genres, such as the pang-tzu, ch’in-ch’iang, and yüeh-chü, appeared in the 17th–19th centuries. A new form, the Peking opera (ching-hsi), took shape in the mid-19th century on the basis of many local theatrical forms, including the k’un-ch’ü. In time it became the Chinese national classical musical drama, in which the main features of the Chinese theater found expression.

Unique features of the acting in Chinese theater are the handling of imaginary objects, conventional techniques of expression, and stylized movements and gestures. Extensive use is made of the symbolic nature of color and ornament in makeup and costumes. The role system is firmly established: the role of the hero, or sheng, is divided into the subroles of civilian (wensheng) and military (wu-sheng) characters. Depending on the character’s age the wen-sheng is subdivided into old and young heroes (lao-sheng and hsiao-sheng). The role of the heroine, or tan, is also divided into subroles: the elderly heroine, or lao-tan; the woman in modest (blue) clothes, or ch’ing-i; the female character role (a young girl in bright apparel), or hua-tan; the military heroine, or wu-tan and tao-ma-tan; and the adolescent girl, or hsiao-tan. The male character roles, or ching, are divided into military and civilian characters— wu-ching and wen-ching, respectively.

Associated with the history of Peking opera in the 20th century is the work of many actors who were the founders of various directions in Chinese theatrical art, such as T’an Hsin-p’ei, Wang Yao-ch’ing, Mei Lan-fang, Chou Hsin-fang, Ch’eng Yench’iu, and Ou-yang Yü-ch’ien. They gave original and profound interpretations of traditional theatrical forms. In the early 20th century modern theater took shape under the influence of increasing democratic and revolutionary sentiments. It was formed under the influence of European dramatic art. The first dramatic company, the Spring Willow Society (Ch’un-liu She), was organized in 1907 by Chinese students who had studied in Japan, where the plays of European writers were performed. In the same year the first professional dramatic theater in China, the Spring Sun Society (Ch’un-yang She), was established. Under the regime of Yüan Shih-k’ai (1912–16) progressive theatrical figures were repressed, and as a result the theater abandoned timely subjects.

Some attempts to modernize the traditional theater were made under the influence of the revolutionary May Fourth Movement (1919). In 1927 progressive theatrical figures, playwrights, and actors of the modern dramatic and traditional theaters formed the South China Society (Nan-kuo She) in Shanghai. In 1930 the League of Leftist Theatrical Figures was formed. In the 1930’s modern theaters performed Russian and Western European plays: The Inspector-General by Gogol, The Thunderstorm by Ostrovskii, The Lower Depths by Gorky, A Doll’s House by Ibsen, and works by national playwrights.

During the war against the Japanese invaders (1937–45) theatrical works on current subjects, in which traditional forms were used, and new versions of plays from the traditional repertoire appeared in the liberated regions. In the second half of the 1940’s new works in the genre of the Peking opera (such as The White-haired Girl) appeared in addition to classical works.

After the formation of the PRC in 1949 a committee for theatrical reform was set up. In 1951 the Instructions of the State Administration of the Council of the Central People’s Government on the Reform of Classical Drama were published. They set forth the goals of systematizing the repertoire and of reorganizing the training system for actors and playwrights. In 1952 the results of the reform were summed up at the First All-China Review of Theater and Drama. More than 150 plays were presented in 23 different types of classical Chinese theater. In addition to revised plays, new plays on contemporary subjects using the melodies of local folk theaters were shown. The well-known Chinese actors Mei Lan-fang, Chou Hsin-fang, Ch’eng Yenchiu, Yuan Hsüeh-fen, Ch’ang Hsiang-yu, Wang Yao-ch’ing, and Kai Chiao-t’ien were awarded prizes.

Administrative measures were applied to the theater from the early 1960’s. The classical repertoire came under sharp criticism. Works in the ching-hsi genre devoted to “pressing problems” of the country’s political and economic affairs (such as Let Us Never Forget) appeared. In 1963–64 the questions of the “revolution” in the theater and of banning classical plays and of replacing them with “contemporary revolutionary plays” were raised. The main direction in the cultural and theatrical policy of the 1960’s was expressed by the idea that “without destroying the old you will not be able to build the new.” As a result, the Chinese theater found itself in a grave creative crisis. A sharp reduction in professional companies took place: in 1964 there were more than 20, but in 1970 only nine, including the First Troupe of the Peking Opera, the Ching-chü Theater of Peking, and the “The East Is Red” Company of the ching-hsi theater. Theaters put on performances only during holiday seasons. The older generation of actors and directors was dismissed. The repertoire consisted of a few “model” plays: Red Lantern, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, and Shachiapang in the ching-hsi theater and Port in the dramatic theater.

The Peking School of Ballet, which offered courses for choreographers, was founded in the 1950’s. The Soviet teachers V. I. Tsaplin and P. A. Gusev directed the courses. Beginning in 1959 an experimental company was part of the school; its repertoire included Swan Lake by P. I. Tchaikovsky, The Corsair (1959) and Giselle (1960) by A. Adam, and The Fountain of Bakhchisaray by B. V. Asaf’ev (1962). A school of choreography was established in Shanghai in 1963. The plays The White Snake and Magic Lotus Lantern were in the repertoire of the ballet company of the Central Theater of Opera and Ballet, which opened in 1953. In the 1960’s a ballet on a contemporary subject, Red Detachment of Women, was composed.

The Union of Choreographers existed prior to the Cultural Revolution. The Workers’ and Peasants’ Soldiers’ Ballet Troupe was formed in the late 1960’s. Chinese ballet combines the techniques of European ballets with elements of the Chinese national dance.


Vasil’ev, V. A. “Kitaiskii teatr.” In Vostochnyi teatr. Leningrad, 1929.
Men’shikov, L. N. Reforma kitaiskoi klassicheskoi dramy. Moscow, 1959.
Mei Lan-fang. Sorok let na stsene. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Chinese.)
Serova, S. Pekinskaia muzykal’naia drama. Moscow, 1970.
Gaida, I. V. Kitaiskii traditsionnyi teatr sitsiui. Moscow, 1971.
Arlington, L. A. The Chinese Drama From the Earliest Times Until Today. Shanghai, 1930.
Zung, C. Secrets of the Chinese Drama. New York, 1964.
Chou I-pai. Chung-kuo hsi-chü-shih ch’ang-pien (Comprehensive History of the Chinese Theater). Peking, 1960.
Circus. Works of art depicting various circus acts attest to the age-old history of the Chinese circus. Parterre genres (that is, acrobatics, gymnastics, balancing, juggling, and magic) predominate in the Chinese circus, and the diversity of stunts and the virtuosity of the performers are characteristic. Of particular interest are the special combinations of stunts and acts: Chinese games, Chinese belts, the Chinese table, pole-balancing, and jumping through hoops lined with sharp knives. A relation to the national theater (whose actors mastered various arts, including circus arts) is characteristic of the Chinese circus.
Permanent circuses first appeared in China in the mid-20th century (the Chungking Circus). There are also a number of traveling circus groups, the largest of which is the Chungking Circus Ensemble, and a permanent circus in Shanghai.


Shirai, A. “Kitaiskii tsirk.” Sovetskii tsirk, 1959, no. 10.
Levin, Al. “Tsirk v drevnem Kitae.” Ibid.


The production of feature films began in 1913, but Chinese cinematography was in the hands of foreigners. It was not until 1917 that a film was produced by a Chinese company. The progressive intelligentsia began working in film studios in the 1920’s. The films of this period touched on significant social problems, aroused patriotic sentiments, and called for a struggle against Japanese aggression. Such talented actors as Yüan Lingyü, Chin Yen, and Yüan Mu-chih appeared. The film Song of the Fisherman (1935, directed by Ts’ai Ch’u-sheng) won international recognition. During the war against Japan (1937–45) movie production was curtailed sharply. Manei, the pro-Japanese movie company whose films propagandized Japan’s militaristic policy, operated in occupied territory.

After 1945 primarily films from Hollywood (USA, 90 percent of those rented) were shown on the screens of Kuomintang China. Some Chinese films of progressive content also were produced: Spring River Flows East (1947, directed by Ts’ai Ch’usheng and Cheng Chün-li), Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon (1947, directed by Shih Tung-shan), Hope Among Mankind (1949, directed by Shen Fu). In 1949 the first feature film concerning the heroic labor of Chinese workers, Bridge (directed by Wang Pin), appeared in the liberated territory. Cinematographers tried to combine the traditions of the progressive democratic cinema of the 1930’s with the experience of the revolutionary cinema in Yenan, where a group of documentary film-makers, led by the director Yüan Mu-chih, had been at work since 1938. They made films of the battles and life in the liberated regions.

After the formation of the PRC in 1949 the nationalization of film-making enterprises began. Among the movies of the 1950’s were Daughters of China (directed by Ling Tzu-feng and Chai Ch’iang), Steeled Fighter (directed by Ch’en Yin), The White-haired Girl (directed by Wang Pin and Chang Shui-hua), Prayer for Luck (directed by Sang Hu, based on Lu Hsün’s novella), Daughters of the Party (directed by Lin Nung), New Story of an Old Soldier (directed by Shen Fu), Chao I-man (directed by Sha Meng), For Peace (directed by Huang Tso-lin), The Lin Family’s Shop (directed by Chang Shui-hua, based on Mao Tun’s story), and Liang Shan-po and Chu Ying-t’ai (directed by Sang Hu). Films were produced jointly with the USSR. In 1950 an institute of cinematography training directors, actors, and technical specialists was established in Peking. In 1956 and 1957, 78 movies were produced. In 1959 there were 33 film studios, of which 11 were equipped to produce feature films. Peking, Shanghai, and Ch’angch’un were the main cinematic centers of China.

After the great leap forward, which started in 1958, pompous documentary films on the “successes” were made, but films on contemporary topics were no longer released because of the abrupt deterioration of China’s economic position. In 1960 a prominent place in movie production was occupied by historical revolutionary films and film versions of such national literary and theatrical classics as Early Spring in February (directed by Hsieh Tieh-li), Sisters of the Stage (directed by Hsieh Chin), Waves on the Southern Shore (directed by Ts’ai Ch’u-sheng), The Sorrows of Tou O (directed by Chang Hsin-shih, based on Kuan Han-ch’ing’s play), and The Dream of the Red Chamber (directed by Ch’eng Fan). The showing of Soviet films was sharply curtailed in 1961 and was gradually brought to a halt.

With the start of the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960’s feature films were not produced; only documentary films and the newsreel News (on an irregular basis), which were devoted primarily to official holidays, receptions, and so on, were filmed and shown.

After 1969 some movies (five in 1971) and television films based on “model” ballets and operas appeared. A movie based on the ballet Red Detachment of Women (1970) was shown in 1971 at the International Film Festival in Venice, during the film-festival week in Vienna, and on television in the USA. In 1971 the production of documentary films had increased over the mid-1960’s. In 1971–72 the musical films Shachiapang (with orchestral music), Huang Ho (a piano concerto), and Red Lantern (arias from the musical drama of the same name, with piano accompaniment) were produced. Of the films of the first half of the 1960’s, Tunnel Warfare (1965), illustrating Mao Tse-tung’s ideas on “people’s war,” is still shown. Feature films from Albania, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam are circulated on an irregular basis.

A. N. ZHELOKHOVTSEV [12–598–1; updated by Soviet editors]

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In acupuncture, the energy in one’s body can be manipulated by using needles in key parts of the body. This same energy is an important part of dreaming, according to this Chinese philosophy.



The mention of dreams in Chinese history dates back over 4,000 years. The ancient Chinese almanac, the Tung Shu, has been in circulation nearly that long. It contains a section on dreams called “Chou Kung’s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams.” This specific section has been dated to around 1020 B.C.E. Chou Kung, who is still associated with dreaming to this day, was the author.

The T’ungShu divides dreams into seven different categories; it discusses the symbolism of these categories independently of one another. In the section regarding the human body, it states, for example, that to dream of one’s teeth falling out indicates that one’s parents are in danger. If one dreams about the rising of the sun or moon, his or her family will be prosperous in the future. These and other dreams of a similar nature are discussed in the section on the heavens and weather. Animal dreams are particularly relevant in ancient Chinese culture; dreams in which a parrot is calling to you is prophetic of an upcoming quarrel that has the potential to be quite serious, while dreams of a swallow flying to you indicate the visit of a dear friend from far away.

The Lie-tseu employs the Taoist approach to dream interpretation. In order to comprehend this principle fully, it is important to understand Taoist doctrine, which concerns the unity of the universe and the relativity of the material world. Concepts are empty without their contrasting opposite. The Lie-tseu divides dreams into several different classifications, such as: ordinary dreams, which are merely random byproducts of the mind without any previous emotion or influence; dreams of terror; dreams of what the dreamer thought of the previous day; dreams of waking, which are the residue of the dreamer’s actions throughout the day; and dreams of joy.

The Lie-tseu discusses the need for harmony in one’s life, and how our dreaming mind compensates for the imbalances in our waking lives. The Taoist concept of yin and yang exemplifies this principle. For instance, if one is hungry in the waking world, he or she may dream of taking or of having abundant food. In the same way, a person who is wealthy in the physical aspects of life may dream of giving to the less fortunate. A dream of crossing water may indicate that the yin is particularly strong in that individual’s life, while walking through a great fire of some sort may indicate the yang is of greater strength. The Taoist approach also includes the use of astrological factors for explaining the meaning of specific dream symbols.

Like other traditional societies, many Chinese have believed that many dreams originated from the realm of the dead. They separated the soul into two distinct forms: the p’o and the hun. The p’o is considered to be the “material soul.” It is the physical essence that gives life to the body and then ceases to exist after death. Co-existing with the p’o is the hun; this spiritual soul could depart from the body while the person is asleep yet retain the appearance of the physical body. During its nocturnal journeys the hun often visited the land of the dead, where it communed with the ancestors of the dreamer, but it could also communicate with the souls of others who were asleep. These interludes make themselves known to the dreamer in the form of dreams.

The Chinese developed the practice of acupuncture, which gave them a more complete understanding of the energy fields in and around the human body. Because of this knowledge, they considered it dangerous to awaken a sleeping person. When the hun is traveling out of the body, the person must wake up according to the soul’s timing. If one was awakened abruptly from sleep, the consequences could be dire; should the hun be unable to return to the body, the sleeper would be susceptible to chronic health problems or even madness. Alarm clocks and other abrupt means of awakening the body are violent to the soul and thought to result in a variety of negative side effects.

Dream incubation was also a widely observed practice in various temples throughout China; up until around the sixteenth century, Chinese society expected prominent political figures to seek dream guidance periodically to maintain their balance and objectivity. The sequence of preparatory rituals that one went through before receiving a dream usually began with the supplicant burning incense as an offering before an image of a specific god. Prayer or some ceremonial chanting often followed, all of which would invoke the favor of the temple deity. One must note, however, that not all dreams were sought in a temple setting. In the province of Fu-Kien, people called upon their ancestors for dream revelations by sleeping on a grave.

Upon the reception of the requested dream—if indeed the supplicant received one—he or she would seek to establish if a god did, in fact, send the dream. Once the dreamer was able to establish that the dream was divinely inspired, she or he was then free to spend time in careful consideration as to the symbolic meaning or, as often was the case, seek out a professional dream interpreter. Once the true meaning of the dream was deciphered, the dreamer was able to decide on a course of action and apply the message to his or her waking life.


Official name: People’s Republic of China Capital city: Beijing

Internet country code: .cn

Flag description: Red with a large 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

National anthem: March of the Volunteers, lyrics by Tian Han, music by Nie Er

Geographical description: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam

Total area: 3.7 million sq. mi. (9,596,960 sq. km.)

Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Nationality: noun: Chinese (singular and plural); adjective: Chinese

Population: 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%

Languages spoken: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Can­tonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkein-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, and other minority languages

Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3-4%, Mus­lim 1-2%; officially atheist

Legal Holidays:

New Year's DayJan 1


1. ceramic ware of a type originally from China
2. any porcelain or similar ware
3. cups, saucers, etc., collectively
4. made of china


1. People's Republic of. Also called: Communist China, Red China. a republic in E Asia: the third largest and the most populous country in the world; the oldest continuing civilization (beginning over 2000 years bc); republic established in 1911 after the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty by Sun Yat-sen; People's Republic formed in 1949; the 1980s and 1990s saw economic liberalization but a rejection of political reform; contains vast deserts, steppes, great mountain ranges (Himalayas, Kunlun, Tian Shan, and Nan Shan), a central rugged plateau, and intensively cultivated E plains. Language: Chinese in various dialects, the chief of which is Mandarin. Religion: nonreligious majority; Buddhist and Taoist minorities. Currency: yuan. Capital: Beijing. Pop.: 1 300 000 000 (2005 est.). Area: 9 560 990 sq. km (3 691 502 sq. miles)
2. Republic of. Also called: Nationalist China, Taiwan. a republic (recognized as independent by only 26 nations) in E Asia occupying the island of Taiwan, 13 nearby islands, and 64 islands of the Penghu (Pescadores) group: established in 1949 by the Nationalist government of China under Chiang Kai-shek after its expulsion by the Communists from the mainland; its territory claimed by the People's Republic of China since the political separation from the mainland; under US protection 1954--79; lost its seat at the UN to the People's Republic of China in 1971; state of war with the People's Republic of China formally ended in 1991, though tensions continue owing to the unresolved territorial claim. Language: Mandarin Chinese. Religion: nonreligious majority, Buddhist and Taoist minorities. Currency: New Taiwan dollar. Capital: Taipei. Pop.: 22 610 000 (2003 est.). Area: 35 981 sq. km (13 892 sq. miles)
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