Thursday, October 22, 2020

Double Ninth Festival (Chongyang Festival)

Hung on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, Double Ninth Festival is additionally called Chongyang Festival. In Chinese, nine is viewed as the quantity of Yang (which implies manly rather than Yin which is ladylike). The ninth day of the ninth month is the day that has two Yang numbers, and 'chong' in Chinese methods twofold which is the way the name Chongyang was made. It is a day for individuals to eat Chongyang cake, drink chrysanthemum wine, climb mountains, and give proper respect to chrysanthemums. 

Chongyang Festival


Celebration Legend 

Similarly, as other Chinese celebrations have their own extraordinary story, so does the Double Ninth Festival. It is said that, during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220), a demon occupied the Nu River which caused illness in the neighboring individuals. The parent of a youngster, named Hengjing, kicked the bucket due to the demon's enchantment. So as to free the individuals of the villain, Hengjing experienced phenomenal lengths to locate an undying to show him swordsmanship so as to remove the fallen angel. 

On the eighth day of the ninth lunar month, the eternal revealed to Hengjing that the following day the villain would show up and he was to return to dispose of the demon and the infection. Taking a sack of dogwood and some chrysanthemum wine, Hengjing got back to his old neighborhood. In the first part of the day of the ninth lunar month, Hengjing drove all the locals who were each holding a bit of dogwood leaf and a cup of Chrysanthemum to the closest mountain. Around early afternoon, when the demon came out from the Nu River, the villain out of nowhere halted in light of the scent produced from the dogwood and the chrysanthemum wine. At that point Hengjing utilized the blade to fight the fiend for a couple of rounds and won. 

From that point forward the custom of ascending mountains, drinking chrysanthemum wine, and clutching dogwood on the ninth day of the ninth month have gotten famous. 


Double Ninth Festival Activities 

Ascending mountains and respecting lovely chrysanthemums are intriguing exercises that add to the Chongyang Festival making a glad air. 

It is said that by rising to a high mountain, maladies could be forestalled. Some generally realized sonnets were made by artists in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) depicting the scene and sentiment of hiking. Presently, family members or old buddies accumulate to ascend mountains to appreciate the delightful view and offer bliss of the occasion with one another. 

As chrysanthemums bloom during the celebration, it is a delight to appreciate the different chrysanthemums in parks. Excellent chrysanthemum presentations are held in huge parks that pull in various guests. 

The custom as wear dogwood - a sort of plant that can disperse the debacle in individuals' qualities – was famous in the days of yore. Ladies and youngsters like to wear a fragrant pocket with dogwood sewed in. In any case, this custom is right now not well known by any means. During the celebration, Chongyang cake and chrysanthemum wine is conventional cooking. 


Double Ninth Festival Food

Chongyang Cake is a sort of steamed cake having two layers with nuts and jujube sandwiched between them. Since cake in Chinese is articulated 'gao' which means high, individuals believe ascending a high mountain to be equivalent to eating cake. Likewise close to home advancement is believed to be made in the next days in the wake of eating the cake, for 'high' implies that one makes enhancements moving to a more elevated level. 

Drinking Chrysanthemum wine is an irreplaceable aspect of the celebration. Chrysanthemums are viewed as a sort of blossom having the capacity of an antibody and can drive the detestable away. Individuals frequently imagine that by drinking chrysanthemum wine, a wide range of infections and calamities can be relieved and forestalled. 


New Meaning of Double Ninth Festival

As nine is articulated 'jiu' which means long in Chinese, so individuals invest the word jiu with the significance of life span with an individual's life. In the time of 1989, Double Ninth Festival was assigned as Senior's Day - a day to regard the old and to let them live it up. Numerous organizations sort out gatherings where resigned individuals can go out to ascend mountains or on different trips. Individuals from a family additionally go with their older folks to have a loosening up day in a characteristic setting while at the same time wanting wellbeing and satisfaction for them.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Four Treasures of the Study

Traditionally, a man of letters has brushes, paper, ink sticks, and ink slabs in his study. These "four treasures of the study" are essential for the development of calligraphic art.

The Brush

The Chinese writing brush is made of goat's hair, rabbit hair, or the tail hairs of weasel. Such a brush is soft and has good elasticity. Soaked in ink, it has what is known as "capillarity", which combined with the strong ink permeability of a special Chinese paper, making the strokes in a calligraphic work more vivid, varied, and pretty.

The use of the Chinese writing brush can be traced back 6,000 years. In the early years, the brush was very simple. It seems that the pictures, symbols, and characters on ancient pottery, painted in red and black, were done with brush strokes.

The earliest brush intact today was found in a fifth-century B.C. tomb of the State of Chu in 1958. A large number of inscriptions on bamboo strips were unearthed at the same time.

In the fourth century, the skill of brush making saw great progress. The Chinese writing brush became more suitable for calligraphers to bring their skill into full play. It had four features, summed up as follows: First, the tip of the brush could display the delicate changes of strokes. Second, its smooth end hair could make writing vigorous while it spread across the paper. Third, its cone shape made it easy to move in all directions. Fourth, it was durable and kept its elasticity and softness longer. With such a brush, the calligrapher could write characters in different shapes, displaying different intensities and rhythms. Using different thicknesses of ink, the characters become three-dimensional.

The brushes from Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Henan provinces are the most famous in the country. The biggest one was made by a factory in Tianjin in 1979. It is 157 cm long including the 20-cm-long hair end, and it weighs five kg. It can soak up one kg of ink. On the morning of September 14, 1979, calligrapher Yang Xuanting from Beijing wrote four characters meaning "Long Live the Motherland" on a piece of Xuan paper 100 cm long and 150 cm wide with this brush to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

In ancient times, the brush was made of the hair of a newborn baby. More than 1,400 years ago, an old woman from southern China invented a brush with a newborn's hair inside and rabbit hair outside. It is said that it was a favorite brush of Xiao Ziyun, a famous calligrapher of the time. Even today, some people ask writing brush manufacturers to make a brush with the hair of a newborn baby. But they do not use it, and keep it as a souvenir, wishing their child will be inspired after he or she sees it after growing up and become determined to be a man or woman of letters in the future.

Paper

Paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing are the four great inventions of China. It is said that paper was invented by Cai Lun (?-121) of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The History of the Eastern Han Dynasty explains clearly the old paper-making

technique. In the second half of the 20th century, the ancient paper discovered in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces showed that paper made of plant fiber was used during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 25), earlier than the Eastern Han Dynasty.

After Cai Lun died, his disciple Kong Dan tried to make durable paper to draw a picture of him to cherish his memory. He failed time and time again until he tried using the fibers of the bark of a dead tree. This turned out to be an endurable quality paper.

The paper mostly used by calligraphers and painters is Xuan paper from Xuancheng and Jingxian in Anhui Province. This type of paper is made of the bark of the wingceltis tree and rice straw. After being treated with lime and bleached in the sun, the fibers are made into pulp. Xuan paper is white, delicate, soft, vigorous, and resistant to insects. It keeps colors for a long time. Owing to the paper's strong absorption quality, the ink on the paper demonstrates a variety of appearances. If a brush soaked in watery ink moves quickly, the stroke will be dark in the center, and the ink around it will show lighter layers. If a brush soaked in thick ink moves quickly, there will be some white streaks in the stroke, reminiscent of a waterfall. Such a stroke will add vigor and interest to the whole calligraphic work.

Ink and ink slabs

The traditional ink used for producing calligraphic works and paintings is special too. It is made by rubbing a rectangular or round ink stick on an ink slab with a little water. The ink stick is made of the soot of Tung oil, coal or pine wood, animal glue, and perfume. It is viscous but does not coagulate in lumps. Excellent calligraphic works executed hundreds of years ago are still bright today. The strokes are done with thick, thin, or dried ink are different. Some are black and some are light black. In the eyes of the viewer, they express different weights.

The use of ink can be traced back to the New Stone Age, some 5,000-7,000 years ago. Pottery found in the New Stone Age Banpo Village, in Xi'an, shows traces of charcoal ink.

Even today, many calligraphers still use traditional ink sticks, finding that the process of grinding the ink gives them inspiration.

After the Jin Dynasty, calligraphic works always carried the names and seals of their executors. In the Song Dynasty, calligraphers started to add other tokens indicating their aesthetic mood, aspiration, and interest. The collectors of a work

by a famous calligrapher would put their seals on the work too. Sometimes a famous calligraphic work has passed through the hands of dozens of collectors. I once saw one work with more than 60 collectors' seals and signatures. The black characters and the red seals really bejeweled the work.

Ink slabs appeared in the third or fourth century, after the use of ink balls and ink sticks. A similar device had emerged earlier for rubbing dyestuffs or foodstuffs. The earliest rubbing device intact today is some 6,000 years old. There are many ink slabs that date back to the third century, some demonstrating excellent workmanship. There are old ink slabs shaped like a turtle or stringed instrument. Today, many people collect and study ancient ink slabs.

Most ink slabs are made of stone, but there are also porcelain, pottery, bronze, and iron ink slabs. Among ancient stone ink slabs, there is a jade-like one which is transparent, and ingeniously and delicately made. The ink rubbed in it cannot freeze

even in the coldest weather. Famous stone ink slabs include the Lu ink slab from Shandong Province, Duan ink slab from Guangdong Province, She ink slab from Anhui Province, and Tao ink slab from Gansu Province.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Hanfu

Hanfu
In recent years, traveling to China has become more and more popular around the world. Many people come to enjoy the unique life of China, taste delicious food, visit beautiful scenery, and experience Chinese traditional culture. But you may find out it is rare to see people wearing traditional Chinese costumes in their daily lives. It seems like traditional clothing has been forgotten by them. So, you might have a question, what is Chinese traditional dress, Cheongsam, Qipao, or Kimono?

Hanfu – The Traditional Costume of China

Each country's traditional costumes are one of the symbols that reflect countries’ ancient cultures and how native citizens were influenced by the regional environment. China has a long history of more than 5,000 years. Undoubtedly, Hanfu, as the most typical traditional costume of China, is a very important part of Chinese national culture. But compared with other traditional cultures, such as Chinese painting and calligraphy, Hanfu is not getting proper status and glory in Chinese Culture Circle.

Though with its disappearance in some ears, Hanfu still remains its typical features today due to its strong vitality. The clothing of Buddhism, Taoism, and many minority nationalities in China still maintain the characteristics of Hanfu. Besides, Hanfu‘s elements can also be seen in some traditional essential festivals, such as commemorative events, folk festivals, and Kung Fu TV programs.

The journey of China is also a journey exploring traditional Chinese culture. Now, let’s walk into the world of Hanfu, learn about its past and present, and unveil its beauty and mystery.

1. 56 Ethnic Groups, 56 Traditional Costumes


China is a united multi-ethnic country; 56 ethnic groups are like a big family. Each ethnic group has its traditional costumes, so if you want to ask what is traditional Chinese clothing, then the traditional dress of any ethnic group can be taken as a traditional Chinese costume.

And among them, Hanfu as the traditional costume of Han nationality is like the eldest son of this big family. As we know, China now has more than 1.4 billion people, and Han’s population is close to 1.3 billion. Consequently, Hanfu is widely regarded as the most representative one compared to other traditional costumes in China.

Deriving from the etiquette and culture of the HuaXia period (5000 years ago), Hanfu is also called “Hua Costume.” With the alternation of dynasties in China, Hanfu has been continuously absorbing peculiarities of a different dynasty. By the time of the Han Dynasty (2000 years ago), it finally formed a complete costume system and was popularized nationwide. Hanfu also influenced the history of ancient Asian clothing through Confucianism, which makes Hanfu one of the oldest costumes in the world.

Unity between humans and Nature is the core of ancient Chinese traditional philosophy. Its concept and life pursuits are embodied in the design of Hanfu, which symbolizes the deep meaning of Hanfu and the aesthetic feeling of external forms. Many details in Hanfu, for example, “the long-wide sleeve” and “crossed-collar with Right Pattern,” reflect the modesty and inclusiveness of the eastern civilization.

2. The History of Hanfu


About 5,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period, the primitive agriculture and textile industry emerged in this land. The ancients tried to use woven linen to make clothes and began to wear clothes instead of animal fur. Then they invented mulberry silkworms and silk spinning, and those inventions contributed to the gradual formation of traditional Chinese clothing.

Shang Dynasty about 1600 B.C. – The Prototype of Hanfu

The Shang Dynasty was the first dynasty in China with written records. According to a large number of archaeological discoveries, the basic style of Hanfu has appeared in this period. It is also the earliest time to verify the existence of Hanfu.

Zhou Dynasty 1046 B.C. – Hanfu Officially Formed

At this period, the clothing system was initially established. And Hanfu began to develop into diverse styles. For instance, a significant difference could be seen between formal and informal Hanfu. The politics, economy, ideology, and culture of this period were undergoing tremendous changes. At the same time, the way of dressing has been included in the criteria of etiquette and has become a manifestation of etiquette. Since then, Chinese traditional costume has been more detailed.

Han Dynasty 202 B.C. – Hanfu Established a System

The Han Dynasty was one of the most important dynasties in ancient history. From this point on, Hua Xia people got their new ethnic name and called themselves “Han People.” Hanfu’s status as a traditional Chinese costume was officially identified in the meantime. Moreover, Hanfu began to attach more emphasis on clothing design, deriving hundreds of diverse costume styles to suit different occasions.

The style of Hanfu in this period gradually increased. In order to standardize Hanfu, people established a system of Hanfu, according to the occasion of wearing and the identity of people. And Hanfu became a complete clothing system.

Tang Dynasty A.D. 618 – The Peak of Hanfu

The Tang Dynasty was the most open dynasty in ancient China when the Silk Road brought the collision of thoughts between Eastern and Western civilizations. The frequency of trade and cultural exchanges between China and other countries reached an unprecedented height. Poetry and painting were especially popular in this era. Based on that, Hanfu applied various embroidery and color-matching methods of that time into its designs. Through the Silk Road, Hanfu came to other countries and was deeply loved and spread in oversea regions.

Qing Dynasty A.D. 1616 – Sudden Disappearance of Hanfu

The Qing Dynasty was the regime of the Manchu, which was another nationality of China. At this time, the government promoted Manchu costumes, and completely banned and abolished Hanfu.

It’s like a big bolt from the blue, and this traditional costume suddenly disappeared in China.

3. The Characteristics and Style of Hanfu

Hanfu is very easy to distinguish; it has pronounced characteristics.

The 3 basic features of Hanfu

  •     Crossed-collar with Right Pattern
  •     Restrain the waist by ropes
  •     Loose clothes with long-wide sleeves


Crossed-collar means the left and the right lapels of Hanfu crossed together. With the tie strings at left and right garment fronts, people could easily tie the clothes. And the Right Pattern stands for a certain pattern with the left lapel covering in front of the right one.

This style of clothing exits in many countries in East Asia, but other ethnic groups have both Left Pattern and Right Pattern, while Hanfu only officially accepts the Right Pattern.

Hanfu refers to the tie with string and hidden buckle. Unlike modern clothing, Hanfu has almost no buttons. Some people think that Hanfu uses the tie because the button hasn’t been invented at that time, but it is not valid. Hanfu does have “buttons,” which are what we call “Hidden Buckles.”  Hidden Buckle, which cannot be seen from the surface, is actually a cloth knot button, which we could usually find inside men’s shirt’s collar.

In fact, Hanfu also has small and short sleeves that are convenient for daily work and study. The long-wide sleeves are generally the characteristics of Hanfu formal dresses. For this kind of dress, the sleeves of Hanfu are longer than the arms. For example, the “Shenyi” style is required to be extended to the elbows, and the sleeves are four feet wide and nearly dragged to the ground.

Of course, such clothes are inconvenient to wear in daily life, but wearing a Hanfu can help a person become elegant and behave in a dignified way.

The 3 basic styles of Hanfu

Though Hanfu has a great number of different styles, generally, according to when and how certain types of Hanfu should be worn, it could be classified into 2 main categories, formal and informal. In terms of forms, Hanfu has 3 basic styles.

  •     Two-piece shirt and dress
  •     One-piece dress
  •     Two-piece shirt and pants


Two-piece shirts and dresses Hanfu has a very popular style which is called “Ruqun,” the top shirt is called “Ru,” and the bottom skirt is called “Qun.” Generally, the shirt is short to the waist, and the dress is very long, which dragged to the ground. Like the basic style of women’s clothes, Ruqun was always the most popular style in different periods.

The representative of the one-piece dress Hanfu is the “Shenyi” style, whose feature is covering the entire body of a human, which makes people look elegant. Many modern humanist scholars suggest promoting Shenyi, as the typical Hanfu in Chinese regions, to be the representative of Han culture.

Two-piece shirts and pants Hanfu means that the top shirt and bottom pants are made and worn separately. This type of Hanfu is very similar to the current modern clothing. Even nowadays, in the remote rural areas of China, there are still a large number of farmers wearing such clothes.

In addition to the pattern of clothes, Hanfu also differs in hairstyles, dressing method, and jewelry accessories. The diversity of women’s Hanfu dressing style attributes to a variety of their hairstyles and hair accessories, while man's could attribute to the swords and folding fans they bring with them that makes them arty.

4. Hanfu vs. Cheongsam vs. Kimono

Cheongsam is the formal dress of modern China.

Cheongsam is also called as “Qipao” in mandarin, was formed in the 1920s. It was decided by the government to be one of the national dresses and became the most popular women’s clothing at that time.

Cheongsam is a one-piece dress, it must have the following typical appearance: made of a single piece of clothing, tight-fitting, a stand-up collar with Right Pattern, split on both bottom side.

We can see that the Cheongsam retains some elements of Hanfu, but it is quite different from Hanfu. Cheongsam is a kind of costume that belongs to the transition period in Chinese history, so in a strict sense, Cheongsam is not Hanfu.

Kimono is a Japanese traditional costume.

Since the Tang Dynasty, the economic and cultural communication between China and the neighbor countries has been very close. The influence of Hanfu is very far-reaching. Many countries such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other East Asian countries, came to China to learn the advanced approaches of textile technology and the advantages of Hanfu, and then combined with their national costumes to gradually develop their traditional costumes, such as Kimono, Hanbok. So now, you can still see the elements of Hanfu in these traditional costumes.

5. Hanfu Movement


The Hanfu Movement is the abbreviation of the Chinese Hanfu Culture Renaissance Movement.

Hanfu had disappeared for more than 300 years and is still in a tough time of resurgence, far from being widely known. Even with respect for objective history and the purpose of presenting Hanfu’s status, it’s inappropriate for us to deliberately ignore the fact that Hanfu is being forgotten by the majority.

The Hanfu Movement has been more than 10 years. Today, there are more than 1 million Hanfu fans in China. Compared with the population of 1.4 billion, the number is negligible. However, people’s growing attention and like for Chinese traditional costumes will have a profound impact on modern clothes fashion.

There are 2 main reasons why Hanfu is challenging to promote on a large scale.

First, the cost is too expensive. Hanfu stands for an overall garment system, including clothes, hairstyle, face decoration, shoes, and accessories. Compared with modern clothes, Hanfu is more like a luxury.

Second, the Hanfu is not practical. How to wear Hanfu is a problem for many people. Its long-wide sleeve clothing style also brings many inconveniences to people’s life, which is not compatible with fast-paced modern life.

In this case, it is obviously too early to initiate a nationwide campaign for Hanfu’s Renaissance. If we must give Hanfu some special meaning, it may be in the name of “Hanfu Interest” instead of the so-called “Hanfu Movement” or “Hanfu Revival” to attract attention.

At present, Hanfu can only be popular with a few groups of people who like ancient Chinese culture, and if it wants to boost its visibility among the public, there is still a long way to go.

Finally, we also found a very shocking fact. For most young Hanfu costume advocates, they feel that there is no relationship between Hanfu and nationalism. In a sense, the love of Hanfu is a kind of pure love, a fantasy and nihilism, just like many people like Cosplay or role-playing video games.

Since the 21st century, Hanfu has been continually drawing on modern fashion clothing design. Based on traditional Hanfu clothes, it retains the advantages without suffering the disadvantages of Hanfu and designs more fashionable new Modern Hanfu. As worldwide Hanfu enthusiasts are constantly appearing, such traditional clothing is becoming more and more popular around the world. In particular, when you walk in the streets of Chinese cities, like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, or Shenzhen, you will often see a lot of girls wearing Hanfu.

Among the Hanfu fans interviewed, the idea of​​wearing Hanfu clothes generally began with the fascination with the martial arts and the pop costume drama TV show. Hanfu Fever does have a patriotic background, but most Hanfu fans are pursuing the beauty of costume and vintage elements. In fact, young people are under pressure from life and work, so a subculture that is simple and romantic, like Hanfu, is very attractive.

Hanfu is a traditional Chinese costume and a symbol of Chinese traditional culture. Although it was once lost, it's just like the splendid long history of China; it continues to shine today and show its charm.

It is delightful to have friends coming from afar. Today's China, open and inclusive, welcome everyone who travels to China. And hopes that Chinese traditional Hanfu costumes can bring you a new experience with Chinese characteristics.

Have a nice trip!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Chinese Language

Written Language
The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world with at least six thousand years of history. Chinese character inscriptions have been found in turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty1 (1766-1123 BC) proving the written language has existed for more than 3,000 years. The Chinese written language uses single distinctive symbols, or characters, to represent each word of the vocabulary. The vast majority of characters are written versions of spoken sounds that have meaning. A large dictionary usually contains 40,000 characters.2 One must be able to recognize 2,000 to 3,000 characters to read a newspaper. Although the written system has been altered over time due to revolutions and political changes, the principles of the language along with the symbols and characters have remained basically the same.
Although many Chinese dialects exist, the written language is a common form of communication. Even though people are not able to verbally communicate in different provinces, they are able to understand each other in writing. However, the written language can be further subdivided into three forms: simplified, traditional, and informal slang or phonetic. There is also a form called "pin-yin" which is the Chinese language transcribed using a roman spelling.
Chinese Fig 1

Simplified Characters
Primarily Chinese in China uses simplified characters. It is taught in Mandarin-Chinese classes internationally as well. These characters are simpler, i.e., have less pen-strokes, than traditional Chinese characters. Simplified characters have existed for hundreds of years, but only became officially acceptable in formal writing after the founding of the People's Republic of China in an attempt to improve literacy among Chinese in China, during the 1950's. 3 The Chinese newspaper "Ren Min Ri Bao" or "People's Daily" uses simplified characters as do subtitles of news reports or videos that come from China. Because there are not as many readers of this paper in the United States, the paper is not commonly carried in local Chinese stores. People who are literate in simplified Chinese characters may not be literate in traditional Chinese.
Traditional or Classical Chinese Characters
Traditional or classical Chinese
Traditional or classical Chinese characters is taught and used by Chinese in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and elsewhere. Many textbooks, newspapers, and subtitles for movies are written in traditional Chinese. Examples of Chinese newspapers distributed in the United States that use traditional Chinese characters is "Ming Pao" or "Sing Tao" newspapers. Cantonese speaking Chinese from Hong Kong generally reads these papers. On the other hand, Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese reads the Chinese "World Journal" newspaper in the States. Both papers are commonly sold in local Chinese stores and restaurants.

Informal slang or phonetic characters
Chinese language figure 3
Cantonese speakers have also developed an informal slang or phonetic characters. These characters are used in addition to traditional Chinese characters in an informal setting, such as in comics or entertainment sections of newspapers or magazines. The informal characters are used to sound out the Cantonese dialect. Often, you cannot find these characters in the dictionary. People from China, Taiwan or other countries have to learn to recognize these characters before they can read all sections of Hong Kong-based news papers.





Pin-yin, the English form of Chinese
In an attempt to make the Chinese language more understandable to the western world, China developed the "pinyin" (pin-yin) system.4 The pinyin system uses the western alphabet and spelling to pronounce Chinese words. Chinese languages have been transliterated into the pinyin system since 1892 5 (except personal and location names). In 1977, Chinese officials made a formal request to the United Nations (UN) 6 to use the pinyin system for naming geographical locations in China. People who use pinyin are those who are more familiar with the western alphabet and are learning to speak Mandarin Chinese.
 Chinese lang fig 4
Verb tense
Grammatically speaking English and Chinese are very different languages. There is no rule that verbs, nouns, and adjectives must agree with one another in Chinese writing. There is no such thing as singular or plural in the Chinese language. Often a number or word will be added to the sentence to account for plurality. There are no verb tenses in the Chinese writing. Additional words are used to clarify the past and future tenses. These words are usually placed at the beginning of the phase to help indicate time. In a medical setting, it is important to pay particular attention to time indicators. For example: if a provider asks, " Have you been vomiting?" the Chinese patient may answer " No". Actually the patient may mean "not now, but two days ago I did." In this case, the provider is not getting the correct information. It would be clearer to ask the patient a question with a time indicator such as "Have you vomited in the last week?"
Spoken Language
China covers a very broad area of land. There are more than 70 million people belonging to 55 different national minorities living in China.7 Each minority has their own spoken language. Many of the minority groups do not have a distinguishable written form for their languages.
The spoken Chinese language is comprised of many regional variants called dialects. Modern Chinese dialects evolved between the 8th and 3rd centuries BC.8 The differences in dialect are due to the different pronunciation and vocabulary. The official dialect of China is Mandarin, also call "Putonghua". More than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin, but there are also several other major dialects in use in China: Yue (Cantonese), Xiang (Hunanese), Min dialect, Gan dialect, Wu dialect, and Kejia or Hakka dialect.9

Major Chinese dialects spoken in the United States
The 3 most commonly used dialects in the Northwest
Mandarin or Putonghua is the most common dialect used in China and has been adopted as a second language by those who speak other Chinese dialects. The official language of China, Mandarin is the dialect taught in Chinese schools. It is the universal language used throughout the northern, central, and southwestern provinces of China. Mandarin is also spoken in Taiwan, where it is referred to as Chinese rather than "Putonghua." Often, Mandarin is used in local TV and radio media. Next to Cantonese, it is the most common Chinese language spoken in the Northwest. The Chinese newspaper, "World Journal" is distributed in the States and is published for Mandarin speaking Chinese.
Immigrants from China or Taiwan who speak Mandarin come from diverse backgrounds. Some have fled China for political freedom after incidents such as the Tiananmen Square10 events where students who spoke up for democracy were rapidly crushed by Chinese government. Others are well-educated professionals seeking business and educational opportunities in the United States. Still others have little education and have come to the States in search of better life for themselves and their families.
Cantonese, also known as Yue or Guangdonghua, is spoken in Hong Kong, most of Guangdong, and the southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. There are large groups of Cantonese-speaking immigrants located in the Northwest area. Many of these immigrants are from Southeast Asia, Mainland China, and Hong Kong. More recently, a number of ethnic Chinese has fled Southeast Asia as refugees.11Hong Kong's return to Chinese control in 1997 also stimulated a great deal of movement from both Hong Kong and China. Although Cantonese is a common dialect spoken on a daily basis in Hong Kong, government officials and schools are required to use Mandarin dialect. Cantonese is arguably the most commonly spoken dialect in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and the East Coast. Local Chinese TV and radio media also commonly broadcast in Cantonese. A couple of Chinese newspapers distributed in the States for Cantonese speakers are "Ming Pao" and "Sing Tao."
Toisanese another dialect commonly used by Chinese in the Northwest is call Toisanese. This dialect came from the rural area of Guangdong. In the mid 1900s, many Toisanese emigrated from Toisan area to the States as railroad workers. More recently, Toisan people continue to immigrate to the States for improved economic opportunity. Many of the immigrants have adopted to learn the Cantonese dialect but some speak only Toisanese. There is no separate written language or broadcasting media in Toisanese.

Other dialects spoken by Chinese living in the Northwest
Xiangdialect12 is also known as Hunanese and is spoken primarily in the Hunan Province, located in southern China.
Min dialect13 is spoken mostly in Fujian, Taiwan and Hainan, and parts of eastern Guangdong and the Leizhou Bandao Peninsula, and in areas of Southeast Asia. During World War I, a large number of Chinese emigrated from Fujian to Taiwan.
Gan dialect14 is used mostly by the people living in Jiangxi and the southeastern corner of Hubei. They are located at the north side of China.
Wu dialect15 is spoken by a majority of the people living in Zhijiang and the southern areas of Jiangsu and Anhui.
Kejia or Hakka dialect16 is spoken in the northeastern Guangdong area, southwestern Fujian, southern Jiangxi, and in areas throughout southeastern China and Southeast Asia.
Interpretation & Translation Issues
Over the last several decades, the Northwest has seen large immigrant influxes from China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. The primary language of these multiple ethnic groups is a Chinese dialect. Therefore, interpretation and translation services are necessary in every field ranging from government officiating, law enforcement, and court activities, to medical encounters, insurance affairs, and industrial business and so forth.
These non-English speaking immigrants have various levels of educational and professional backgrounds, such as doctors, professors, teachers, business owners, engineers, labor workers, housewives, and scholars. No matter what kind of background they have, they all must face the most challenging task of learning how to speak and write English. Learning the English language is very difficult for many individual reasons including finances and time restraints, limited education, and age. Often due to the difficulties in communication, non- English speaking immigrants will try to get help and resources in their own community or postpone their problem until it is unavoidable.
Inappropriate but common interpretation methods
An English speaking person cannot understand or even imagine how frustrating and frightening it can be for a non-English speaker to answer the phone or door. Quite often they must rely on their children and relatives who speak better English. The children have taken over many of the parents' traditional duties because of their English skills like reading the mail, relaying school news and information, answering the phone, assisting in shopping, making appointments, and interpreting. However, even though the children can speak English fluently they often have a difficult time conveying information completely back to the parents because of their lack of sophistication with the Chinese language or because the subject is inappropriate for a child to interpret. Also, English speaking children or relatives are often busy with their own daily lives to be constantly translating for their non- English speaking family members. The whole issue of language knowledge has created a lot of tension and frustration in Chinese households and has led to power struggles between the parents and the child or family member.
Interpretation- Legal Guidelines
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal regulation that applies to all health care providers receiving federal financial support from the US department of Health & Human services. The regulation requires that providers use effective methods of communication with people who, because of their national origins have limited proficiency in English. The 1998 Guidance Memorandum explains what types of interpreter services are necessary to meet the Title VI responsibility.
All interpreter and translation services have contracted interpreters and translators in multiple languages who are ready to be sent out to the field for different functions. Most of the interpreters and translators are certified through the State of Washington. The State provides a written and oral certification exam for all medical, administrative, and court interpreters. Interpreters for many languages are certified by the State. The languages with certified state interpreters are Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Cambodia, Mien, Japanese, Korean, Romanian, and Somalia. Certifications for additional languages are being developed as needed.
Interpretation Styles
There are three different styles of interpreting: consecutive, paraphrase and simultaneous. Hospital and clinical settings usually use one of the first two styles. The simultaneous style often is used in court and other legal settings. The role of the interpreter is to act as a voice bridge between two parties. Some pointers to keep in mind when speaking through an interpreter are as follows:
  1. Maintain eye contact with the client or the patient at all times and talk to them directly (not to the interpreter).
  2. Be open-minded and aware of cultural differences.
  3. Use simple, clear and direct terms or phases
  4. Pause periodically.
  5. Make sure the client or patient fully understands what is translated.
  6. Encourage questions.
  7. Schedule extra time for the interpreting process.

Interpretation Resources
Many multi-cultural services and agencies provide seminars and classes to the public. Locally, the Cross Cultural Health Care Program (www.xculture.org/training) offers such seminars. Currently, Washington State provides one of the best translation and interpretation services in the nation. A majority of the non-English speaking immigrants have been pleased with the interpreter services and feel very fortunate to live in the Great Northwest!
References:

  1. A concise history of China by Roberts, J.A.G., Harvard Univ. Press, 1999
  2. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  3. John DeFrancis, The Chinese Language, University of Hawaii Press, 1984, pg. 214, 258-260.
  4. Modern Chinese History and Socioliquistic by Ping Chen.
  5. A concise history of China by Roberts, J.A.G., Harvard Univ. Press, 1999
  6. A concise history of China by Roberts, J.A.G., Harvard Univ. Press, 1999
  7. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  8. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  9. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  10. Taylor, VM, et al. Cervical cancer screening Among Chinese American Women, submitted manuscript
  11. Taylor, VM, et al. Cervical cancer screening Among Chinese American Women, submitted manuscript
  12. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  13. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  14. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  15. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.
  16. Microsoft Encarta 98 encyclopedia: China section.

Monday, August 26, 2019

2019 Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival


In 2019, the Mid-Autumn Festival will be held on September 13th (Friday). China's public holiday will be from September 13th to 15th.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival. It traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in many East Asian communities. In China, it's a reunion time for families, just like Thanksgiving, while in Vietnam, it's more like a children's day.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners and lighting paper lanterns.

Festival Facts

Name in Chinese: 中秋节 Zhōngqiūjié /jong-chyoh-jyeah/ 'middle autumn festival'
2019 date: Friday, September 13th. See the Mid-Autumn Festival Dates.

  • How it began: moon worship, over 3,000 years
  • Must-eat food: moon cakes
  • Popular activities: admiring the full moon, eating moon cakes, traveling
  • Greetings: The simplest is "Happy Mid-Autumn Festival" (中秋快乐 'Mid-Autumn happy')

How the Chinese Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

The common customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival include family members eating dinner together, just like a Thanksgiving dinner, sharing moon cakes, worshiping the moon with gifts, displaying lanterns, and regional activities.

In Hong Kong, a unique annual fire dragon show is held in the Tai Hang neighborhood during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The special Mid-Autumn Festival customs of China's ethnic minorities are also very interesting.

How the Mid-Autumn Festival Is Celebrated in Asian Countries

In many East Asian communities, the Mid-Autumn Festival is widely celebrated. Many interesting activities with unique local features are held.

In Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines – three countries with many ethnic Chinese citizens– the celebrations are more Chinese, such as lighting lanterns and dragon dances.

In other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, which have also been influenced deeply by Chinese culture, new celebrations have been derived from their unique cultures.

Why the Moon Festival Is Celebrated

In the past, the Moon Festival was celebrated at harvest time. Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in autumn to thank it for the harvest. The ordinary people took the Mid-Autumn Festival to be a celebration of their hard work and harvest. Nowadays, people mainly celebrate the Moon Festival is a time for family reunions. Read about the Mid-Autumn Festival Origins.

When the Moon Festival Become a Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival has a history of over 3,000 years. It was derived from the custom of moon worshiping during the Shang Dynasty (c.1600–1046 BC). After that, it was first celebrated as a national festival during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127).

People have long believed that worshiping the moon and eating together around a round table will bring them good luck and happiness.

What the Chinese Eat for Mid-Autumn Festival

Moon cakes are the must-eat Mid-Autumn food in China. They are a traditional Chinese pastry. Chinese people see in the roundness of moon cakes a symbol of reunion and happiness.

Other foods eaten during the festival are harvest foods, such as crabs, pumpkins, pomelos, and grapes. People enjoy them at their freshest, most nutritious, and auspicious meanings are particularly associated with round foods.

Festival food traditions are also changing. The younger generation has its own ideas about what should be eaten. Most of them don't like mooncakes and prefer to eat what they like.

Traveling During Mid-Autumn Festival

The festival has long been a statutory day for a public holiday in mainland China. The Mid-Autumn Festival holiday schedule is always combined with two adjacent days (if these are not weekend days then the closest weekend days are worked to compensate).

In 2019, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls conveniently on Friday, September 13th so the weekend directly after it makes up the 3-day holiday. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a national holiday for the Chinese.

Chinese people increasingly love to travel during their holidays, so expect crowds at China’s tourist attractions if you travel in this period. Book in advance and let somebody in the know, like China Highlights, help you to arrange your trip so that you avoid the crowds.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The state and empire of Ch'in - Political and social background

Here it need only be said that the most important single source is Ssu-Ma Ch'ien's monumental Sbih-chi or Historical records, covering all of Chinese history from legendary times to around roo B.C. Its fifth and sixth chapters provide a chronicle of events in the Ch'in state and empire from beginning to end and are the normal sources for what is narrated here unless otherwise specified. In addition, the Shib-chi contains other chapters of chronicle, monograph, and biography that are likewise important for Ch'in. Many, but not all of these, are included in the partial French translation of the Shih-chi by Edouard Chavannes, Les Memoires historiques de Se-ma Ts'ien.

The limitations of the Sbih-chi and other literary sources for the study of Ch'in history are touched upon, which also refers to the increasing importance of archeology for the historian of ancient China. Preeminent among the several archeological discoveries which the appendix enumerates is the group of Ch'in legal texts recovered from a single tomb in 1975. These will be referred to frequently.

POLITICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND

As a preliminary to any meaningful survey of Ch'in history before 221, it is necessary to understand in broad terms the political and social conditions that obtained during the Chou dynasty (trad. 1122-256 B.C.). Particularly important are the many varieties of changes that convulsed the Chinese world during the last two or three centuries of that epoch.

When the house of Chou overthrew the Shang dynasty (probably somewhere near the year 1025 rather than at the traditional date of 1122), the new rulers allocated the conquered lands as fiefs to members or close allies of their own family, descendants of the former Shang rulers, and certain local potentates who were allowed to keep their previous holdings. In this way the Chinese world became divided into a multitude of political entities; some 170 are believed to have existed during the Chou subperiod known as the Spring and Autumn period (722—481). Most of these, of course, was extremely small, and they, in turn, were internally fragmented by subdivision into estates given to relatives or officials of each ruling house. In the course of time many principalities were destroyed or greatly reduced in size by constant warfare, so that by the advent of the next Chou
subperiod, appropriately known as that of the Warring States (403-2 21), only seven major states remained.4 This number included Ch'in in the far western extremity of the Chinese oikoumene, but not the house of Chou itself. The latter had lost most of the political power it once exercised when in 770 it was forced by a barbarian attack to abandon its western capital near modern Sian (in Shensi) and to reestablish itself, much shrunken in size and significance, at its secondary eastern capital near the modern Loyang (Honan).

Both non-Marxist and Marxist historians have been exercised over the appropriate use of the term feudalism. Non-Marxists have debated whether it is the appropriate word to characterize the sociopolitical conditions of Chou China and if so whether it applies to all or only some of its approximately eight centuries. In the opinion of this writer, parallels with European feudalism are sufficiently close to justify the use of the term during the first four or five centuries of the Chou period. Thereafter, however, it must be applied in an increasingly restricted sense to describe only the vestiges of feudal conditions persisting in varying degrees within the major principalities. These, by the beginning of the Warring States period, had become completely independent nation-states.

For Marxist historians, the major problem is that of periodization. The transition from slavery to feudalism (in the Marxist sense) is taken for granted, the only question is when. To this, the answer has been less than unanimous. Chinese Marxists, after earlier fluctuations, seemed to reach general agreement in the 1970s that the transition took place during or just prior to the final two and a half centuries of the Chou. Following Mao Tse-tung's death in 1976, however, there were discreet indications of renewed interest
in the question of periodization, suggesting the possibility that this topic might again be opened to scholarly debate. Meanwhile, Soviet historians remained less ready to commit themselves, and when they did, tended to place the transition considerably later than did Chinese scholars-perhaps as late as the third century A.D. (the end of the Han empire).

What is important at this point is to gain a bird's-eye view of the major changes of the last two or three centuries of the Chou period. The nine suggested categories that follow are overlapping to some extent and are not necessarily presented in order of importance.

Technological changes

Current archeological opinion dates the beginnings of the use of iron in China not later than the seventh or, at the most, the sixth century B.C. On the literary side, the earliest reference is that in the Tso Chuan history,7 which under the year 513 records that penal laws were inscribed on a set of iron tripod vessels in the state of Chin. Weapons, agricultural implements, and vessels, all made of iron, have been recovered from tombs of Warring States times, and it is quite possible that a developing iron technology was one factor in the increase in agricultural production believed by many scholars to have taken place during these centuries. Other factors would have been the growing use of irrigation and draining techniques and of fertilizer, and especially the bringing of large new land areas under cultivation.

Yet the effects of these and other technological improvements should not be overrated. Iron still remained relatively rare throughout the Warring States period, and what there was of it was frequently cast, not forged, and hence relatively soft and brittle. Many implements continued to be made of bronze, stone, wood, or shell. Furthermore, some vital aspects of the improved agricultural technology are extraordinarily difficult to measure and date. Thus there is great controversy as to when animal-drawn ploughs began to replace a much more primitive but apparently long-persisting hoe cultivation. On the basis of exceedingly slender evidence, the beginnings of the traction plough in China are variously ascribed by Chinese scholars to around 400, to an age one or two centuries earlier, or even to pre-Chou
times. The earliest unequivocal reference in literature-one, however, which points to a considerable period of earlier development-is datable only to the Han dynasty (around 90 or 85 B.C.)

Demographic changes

The improvement in agriculture was probably accompanied by a growth of population, despite the simultaneous intensification of warfare. During the Warring States period cities seem to have increased significantly in number, size, and complexity of the plan. One of several indications is the considerable length of several of their walls, as revealed by archeology. Yet here again the evidence is scattered and quite inadequate to provide anything approaching specific population figures. The one exception, a literary statement
which suggests a population of 350,000 for one of the state capitals, is rhetorical and cannot be seriously considered, despite the use that has been made of it by some scholars.

Military changes

The overwhelming impression given by the Warring States sources is that of intensifying warfare. At first sight, therefore, the statistical information prepared by Cho-yun Hsu appear surprising: According to this, the 259-year span of 722-464 witnessed only 38 years without war, whereas the 242-year span of 463-222 had no less than 89 such years.9 In this case, however, the subjective impression is more meaningful than the statistical
measurement, for the latter obscures the fact that the wars of the Spring and Autumn period, while more frequent and involving more states simultaneously than those of the Warring States, were also much smaller, shorter, and less intense.

Warfare during the earlier period was dominated by chariot-riding aristocrats who fought one another according to rules of chivalry and for whom prestige and "face" meant more than practical gain. The later wars were dominated by professional generals who fought grimly to acquire territory and resources for whatever state employed them. The role of war chariots (always hard to maneuver in irregular terrain) diminished greatly, while that of massed infantry correspondingly increased. From the horseback-riding pastoral peoples of Inner Asia, the Chinese learned, at the end of the fourth century (specifically in the state of Chao in 307), how to use mounted archers as an important supplement to infantry. Probably around the same period the Chinese also invented the crossbow, which remained a major weapon throughout much of Chinese history. Other advances in military technology included those connected with the defending and attacking of walled cities.

On the quantitative side, a problem of credibility arises in connection with the sizes of armies reported for the latter years of the Warring States. A similar problem occurs in connection with the large battle casualty figures. 

Political changes

The nobles who had been allocated territories by the house of Chou at the beginning of that dynasty became the founders of hereditary ruling houses which in the course of time increasingly separated themselves from the Chou rulers. Especially after the forced shift of Chou from west to east in 770, its rulers came to be disregarded and even virtually forgotten by their one-time vassals. Hence the final destruction of Chou by Ch'in in 256 no longer carried much political significance. Well before that time, the principalities previously subject to Chou leadership had evolved into separate nation-states sharing, in varying degrees, a common language and culture, but maintaining military and customs barriers between one another, and ever ready to intrigue orally, to make war or peace.

Meanwhile, within several of the individual states themselves, increasing centralization of political power was taking place at the expense of subordinate hereditary landholders and officials. The major procedure for doing so was the organizing of land into new administrative units known as commanderies (chiiri) and counties (hsien). Such units were administered, respectively, by governors and magistrates who were usually appointed and paid by the central state government, to which they were responsible; their positions were also usually not hereditary. Initially, this system was probably instituted to govern land either newly colonized or newly captured from another state. Gradually, however, it probably came to be applied to the lands of the internal fiefholders, whose power and wealth was thereby circumscribed.

The county, which is the earlier of the two units, is first mentioned in Ch'in in 688. However, there are reasons for questioning this date and believing that such administrative entities may really have originated in the southern state of Ch'u, where the county is definitely mentioned in 598 and may conceivably have existed considerably earlier. The commandery came a good deal later, its earliest mention being in the state of Wei around 400. The military origin of the commandery-its uses for bringing newly acquired borderland under central state control is much more evident than that of the county, which is a fair number of cases appears to have been left in the hands of hereditary local administrators. At first, the commandery may have been regarded as less important than the county because of its location on the frontiers; but if so, this condition was soon reversed. The county came to form a level of administration subordinate to the commandery. By the final Chou century, a single commandery might be subdivided into anywhere from one to two dozen counties. The significance of the commandery/county system for the Ch'in empire and later history will be discussed below.

Administrative changes

In Ch'in and several contemporary principalities, the political changes just noted were accompanied by an evolution toward more sophisticated institutions and organs of central government. There were a growing professionalization and specialization in the holding of office-in short, a trend toward that bureaucratic form of administration which was to become the most distinctive aspect of the imperial Chinese state.

One significant development was the adoption of various quantitative procedures, such as the maintenance of population and taxation registers, statistics on crop returns, and the like. The use of these techniques in Ch'in will be referred to repeatedly below.

Another important institutional innovation was the introduction of written, codified law. Such law increasingly came to replace the traditional and largely unwritten, but tacitly accepted, rules of customary behavior known as li (a word varyingly rendered as "traditional mores," "rules of polite behavior," "ceremonial practices," etc.). The first really clear-cut instance was the inscribing of books of punishments (Hsing Shu) on a set of bronze tripod vessels in the state of Cheng in 536. Similar steps were taken in this and other states in 513, 301, and later; in Ch'in, the major steps in legal codification took place under Duke Hsiao and his adviser Shang Yang, in the middle of the fourth century.

As the term Hsing Shu suggests, the laws were primarily penal in nature. They were not promulgated in all states, nor were they always applied equally to all sectors of the population. Together with other administrative changes, however, their advent was important in the gradually quickening movement toward the creation of the imperial bureaucratic state. The statesmen and thinkers who advocated changes in this direction became known in later times as the School of Legalists, and the wholehearted adoption of such ideas and techniques by Ch'in was undoubtedly a major the reason why it was able to move from state to empire."

Changes in agrarian relationships

During the early Chou centuries, the peasants who constituted the overwhelming the bulk of the population was apparently attached as dependents to the land cultivated by them, in family units, for their overlord. Such a system of land tenure, an idealized form of which was described as the good field (cbing fieri) system, almost surely existed, though modern scholars have questioned almost every aspect of its operation. In reality, it could hardly have confirmed with the rigidly geometrical pattern ascribed to it by Mencius (ca. 372-ca. 289) and other writers of late Chou and Han. According to the idealized accounts of these men, each large square of land, known as a well (cbing), was subdivided in checkerboard fashion into nine lesser land plots, of which eight were individually cultivated by eight occupying families for their own needs. The ninth and central plot was cultivated communally by all eight families to provide the usufruct for the overlord.

The good field system has been the subject of a good deal of sentimentalizing by much later writers looking back nostalgically at the imagined virtues of communal living in an earlier and simpler age. As the system actually functioned, however, it probably provided little incentive to the cultivators to increase their output above required minimum needs, aside from pressures exerted by the bailiff of the overlord. On the other hand, the overlord had certain obligations to feed, clothe, and otherwise protect his dependents, as well as their families.

Beginning in 594 in the state of Lu, however, new systems of taxation are recorded as having been instituted in several states. Though the entries are brief and enigmatic, it would seem, generally speaking, that the new taxes consisted essentially of payments made in kind by the peasants in place of the former personal labor service. In some instances, these payments may have gone directly to the central state government instead of to the immediate overlord, thus resulting in a gradual dissolution of the traditional relationship between overlord and dependent. Probably the dissolution was hastened by the growing amounts of former wasteland brought under cultivation in each state, which lay outside the traditional system of enfeoffed domains.

It has been argued that the new freedom of the peasants as semi-independent cultivators may have encouraged them to work harder, thus contributing to the increase in agricultural output postulated for the late Chou period. But the new freedom also forced the peasants to become wholly responsible for their own needs, without the protection formerly provided

by the overlords. By the last century of Chou, the buying and selling of land had become widespread; the result was the acquisition of large amounts of land by the wealthy, while the peasants were often reduced once more to tenancy or to hiring themselves out as farm laborers. If anything, the disparity between rich and poor may have increased rather than diminished from late Chou times through Ch'in and so into Han. However, the paucity and obscurity of the sources often make such generalizations little more than guesswork.
Changes in power relationships.

It should not be supposed that those who in late Chou times exercised political power or bought land for themselves were necessarily descendants of the aristocratic families that had ruled principalities or held estates in the early Chou period. On the contrary, the dynamics of change led to an increasing degree of social mobility among the top political strata. Many of the old noble families declined or disappeared and were replaced by persons of obscure origin who were not directly connected by birth to the top families.

Most of the upstarts probably came from that lower fringe of the aristocracy known as gentlemen (shih) — men of good birth but without titles of nobility, who served as warriors, officials, and supervisors in the state governments and noble households, or who lived on the land, which in some cases they may even have cultivated themselves. Cho-yun Hsu, on the basis of a statistical study of 516 persons politically active during the Spring and Autumn period and 713 persons likewise active during the Warring States period, finds that the percentage of persons of obscure origin more than doubled from the one period to the other: from 26 percent for the Spring and Autumn period to 5 5 percent for the age of the Warring States.

During the final century or so, the ranks of the social unknowns were further swollen by men of plebeian birth, such as merchants, whose wealth enabled them to acquire land and power. In these various ways, by the late Warring States period a new class of landlords and officeholders had already come into being - the direct ancestors of that class of scholar-gentry which was to continue as the dominant elite throughout Chinese imperial history.

Commercial and industrial changes

The late Chou period undoubtedly witnessed a considerable development of commerce and industry even though, as, in the case of so much else, there is no way of measuring what happened with any exactness. A significant indication is the appearance of various kinds of metal currency of fixed value in different states, especially during the fifth and fourth centuries. (The currency of Ch'in is said to have been first issued in the year 336.)

Such coinage obviously facilitated commercial transactions, even though certain commodities, such as grain and cloth, continued to be used as exchange media, especially for large transactions. Commercial development, of course, helped the growth of cities, and there was also a tendency toward specialization of industry according to locale. The names of some prominent merchants are recorded in the Shih chi and elsewhere, beginning with Tzu-Kung, a disciple of Confucius, and culminating with Lii Pu-Wei, chancellor of Ch'in shortly before the Ch'in unification. The great merchants did not deal with staples, which were bulky and perishable, and profitable only in times of shortage; rather, they concentrated on luxury goods or the products of hills and lakes. The government was not immediately concerned with these, as it was with the collection and distribution of staples.

Intellectual changes

Beginning with Confucius (551-479), the last three centuries of Chou saw the rise of systematic speculative thinking, mainly embodied in some half-dozen schools of thought, but also expressed by individual thinkers not readily classifiable under any school. These schools and thinkers probably originated chiefly from the emerging Shih class, and their discussions and writings inevitably focused on the political and social problems the dynamic changes of the age had made so urgent. In this chapter it will be convenient to use the names Confucian, Legalist, Taoist, etc., to designate these intellectual configurations, even though the Chou thinkers to whom such labels are commonly applied were probably much less aware of belonging to distinctly separate "schools" than the Han scholars by whom they were thus initially classified.

Among the many new intellectual trends (frequently found expressed in more than one "school"), only a very few can be listed here:
  1. A tendency to discard the old supernatural and mythological explanations of how the universe operates, and to interpret it instead in terms of nonanthropomorphic natural forces and tendencies (i.e., the Too or Way, the negative and positive principles known as yin and yang, the so-called Five Elements). 
  2. An emphasis upon the need, at least in theory, for the ruler's basic prerequisite of noble birth to be positively complemented by intellectual and moral qualifications making him worthy of the all-important task of rulership. 
  3. But, inasmuch as rulership is normally hereditary, a parallel emphasis on the training of an educated class of nonhereditary officials to serve as advisers to the ruler. This emphasis marks a sharp departure from the traditional view of officeholding as based solely on good birth, and at the same time points toward the civil service system of imperial China, with its recruitment of personnel based on competitive examinations. 
  4. Emphasis on the ideal of social harmony, albeit a harmony based on inequality. In other words, the emphasis is on the readiness of each individual to accept his particular place in a structured hierarchy and to perform to the best of his ability the social duties that pertain to that place. 
  5. Emphasis on a universalism consisting not only of political but also of ideological and cultural unity, and providing the indispensable basis for peace, good government, and social well-being. 
Hints of this last theme can be traced back to early Chou times, as expressed politically in the idea that under Heaven there can be only a single ruler. (It has, in fact, been a dominant motif throughout Chinese history.) During the late Chou period it constituted the intellectual counterpart of the political movement toward centralized power discussed under "Political Changes" above. Thus to the rulers, statesmen, and generals of the age, it supplied potent ideological justification for conducting the intensifying military struggles that finally led to the empire.

from the book of The.Cambridge.History.of.China

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

China Contemporary Period

Introduction
On October 1st, 1949, from the magnificent Tiananmen Rostrum, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared to the world: “The People’s Republic of China is founded! The Chinese people have stood up!” That day, which became the National Day, marked the beginning of contemporary Chinese history. After the founding of New China, under the direction of the CPC and the People’s Republic’s first-generation of leadership under Mao Zedong, the war-torn national economy was recovered, a socialist system established and people’s living standard improved. Meanwhile, with the unity of all ethnic groups being strengthened within the country, China developed relations with foreign countries and resumed her legal status in the United Nations and that of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. China took on an entirely new look, both politically and economically.
In 1978, under the direction of the CPC and New China’s second-generation leadership under Deng Xiaoping, with the influence and boosting of the third wave of technological revolution worldwide, China entered a new period of reform, opening-up and socialist modernization, with her economy developing rapidly, her undertakings in the fields of scientific, educational, cultural, sports and health making constant progress and her international status increasing by leaps and bounds. Using the policy of “one country, two systems”, China successfully settled the issues of Hong Kong and Macao.
The third-generation leadership of the Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core stuck to the policy of reforms and opening-up to the outside world. China entered the WTO in 2001, which has exerted a positive influence on China’s socialist construction.
At the present time, under the direction of the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Hu Jintao, China is continuing to advance steadily to build a harmonious socialist society with the well-off living standard.

Mao Zedong and the Founding of New China
In September 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese Peopled Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was held in Beiping. The Session decided to found the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and elected Mao Zedong chairman of the Central Peopled Government of the PRC, and Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi and others vice-chairmen. The Session also decided to change the name of Beiping to Beijing and make it the capital of the PRC and decided to adopt March of the Volunteers as the national anthem, and the five-starred red flag as the national flag.
At 2 pm on October 1 st, the state leaders were sworn into office, and Zhou Enlai was appointed Premier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People’s Government.
At 3 pm, the founding ceremony of the PRC was held. In Beijing, 300 000 people gathered in Tiananmen Square. Standing on
the Tiananmen Rostrum, Mao Zedong solemnly declared to the world, “The Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China is founded!” He raised in person the first five-starred red flag to the accompaniment of an artillery salute. This was followed by a grand military review, and fireworks display in the evening.
The founding of the PRC marked the end of a 100-year-old history of semi-colonial, semi-feudal society in the old China, and opened a new chapter in Chinese history. Since then, China, with nearly a quarter of the world’s population within her territory, has been an independent country, and her people have become their own masters.

Data
The Heroic Death of Mao Anying
When the Korean War broke out, Mao Anying, the eldest son of Mao Zedong volunteered to join the Chinese People’s Volunteers to fight in Korea. He became an interpreter of Russian and secretary in the headquarters. On November 25th, 1950, US bombers raided the headquarters of the Chinese People’s Volunteers and dropped napalm. Mao Anying died a heroic death at his working post in the campaign room. He sleeps eternally on the Korean soil.

The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea
On June 25, 1950, a civil war broke out on the Korean Peninsula. The US immediately sent troops to interfere in the internal affairs of Korea. At the same time, it sent warships into the Taiwan Straits. On July 7th, the US manipulated the UN Security Council to pass a resolution to organize a UN Command, consisting mainly of US troops in order to enlarge the aggression against Korea. US President H. S. Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur Commander-in-Chief of the UN Command.
China insisted on a peaceful solution to the Korean issue and strongly protested against the US armed interference in Korea’s internal affairs as well as intrusion into China’s territory.
On September 15, US troops landed on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and began attacking the Korean People’s Army. In early October 1950, US troops crossed the 38 degrees of north latitude (the 38th Parallel), attempting to seize the whole of Korea. At the same time, the US air force bombed Chinese villages and towns near the Chinese-Korean border, and the US navy bombarded Chinese ships. Chinese national security was thus endangered.
In early October, upon the request of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Chinese government made the decision to resist the US and aid Korea, and protect our motherland. On October 19th, 1950, under Commander-in-Chief Peng Dehuai, the Chinese People’s Volunteers crossed the Yalu River and marched to the Korean battlefield to fight side by side with the Korean People’s Army against the US invaders. From October 1950 to June 1951, they launched five strategic campaigns in succession, which forced the UN forces back beyond the 38th Parallel, turning the tide of the Korean War. In July 1951, the two belligerent parties began armistice talks. On July 27th, 195S, they signed the armistice agreement, and the Korean War ended.
The war to resist US aggression and aid Korea crushed the imperialists’ aggressive ambitions, helped to safeguard Asian and global peace, enhanced China’s international prestige and won a peaceful environment of relative stability for the construction of New China.

Zhou Enlai and New China’s Diplomacy
Zhou Enlai was an important leader of the CPC. He was an outstanding statesman and diplomat who played an important role in a series of major historical events, such as the Northern Expedition, the Nanchang Uprising, the Zunyi Conference, the Long March, the Xi’an Incident, the Chongqing Negotiations and the founding of the PRC. As the first premier and concurrently minister of foreign affairs of New China, he possessed superb diplomatic skills and personal charm. Every time he appeared on diplomatic occasions, he would bring hope to those who loved peace. He was a symbol of success and victory.
From April to July 1954, the US, the Soviet Union, China, France and other belligerent parties in the Korean War and the Indochina War held a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the armistice issue. This was the first important international conference in which New China participated as a great nation. The Chinese delegation, led by Zhou Enlai, accomplished their task at the conference with flying colors and made a great contribution to the restoration of peace.
Zhou Enlai also made exceptional contributions to the improvement of Sino-US relations. Relations between China and the US were suspended for over 20 years after the founding of New China. But in the late 1960s, the Chinese and US governments decided to improve their relations. On October 1st, 1970, during the National Day celebrations held in Tiananmen Square, at Zhou Enlai’s invitation, the US reporter Edgar Snow and his wife appeared on the Tiananmen Rostrum, sending a signal of friendship to the US.
On February 21st, 1972, US President Richard Nixon visited China, a country with no formal diplomatic relations at that time. Zhou Enlai went to the airport to welcome him, and said, as they shook hands, “You stretched out your hand across the broadest ocean in the world to shake hands with me.” From that moment on, relations between the two countries began to be orbited on to the road of normalization. Zhou Enlai played an indispensable role in this process, displaying great creativity, flexibility, and extraordinary diplomatic skills in working out and implementing China’s policy concerning the US.

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The Ping-Pong Diplomacy
From April 10th to 17th, 1971, a US table tennis (Ping-Pong) delegation toured China and played matches with their Chinese counterparts. This was the first US delegation to be invited to visit China since the founding of the PRC. The visit brought about “China Craze” in the US and drew great attention internationally. From April 12th to 29th, 1972, a Chinese table tennis delegation toured the US, opening doors for the friendly communication between the two peoples. Using small balls to move the globe, this “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” named by the international media gave momentum to the process of normalizing relations between the PRC and the US.

Deng Xiaoping and the Reform and Opening-up Policies
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, held in late 1978, saw the introduction of China’s reform and opening-up policies. The process of the new policies was from rural reform to urban reform, from reform of the economic structure to structures in all aspects, and from internal vitalization to external opening-up. Deng Xiaoping was the major leader and chief architect of China’s reform and opening-up policies.
Deng Xiaoping initiated the theory of “building socialism with Chinese characteristics”, i.e. carrying out construction to realize modernization with economic construction as the central task, implementing the household contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to output in rural areas, practicing various economic systems of responsibility to prevent people from “eating from the same big pot” (getting the same reward or pay as everyone else regardless of one’s work performance) in urban areas, and establishing a socialist market economy based on public ownership of the means of production. At the same time, the political systems were also reformed, such as separating the functions of the Party and the Government, transferring power to lower levels, simplifying the administrative structure and developing a democratic style of work.
Deng Xiaoping advocated combining reform and opening-up and set up special economic zones (SEZs). In July 1979, the State Council decided to set up the first group of SEZs in Guangdong and Fujian provinces on a trial basis. In 1980, the four SEZs of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, and Xiamen were formally set up. Over a dozen coastal cities were opened, and open economic regions were established in the Yangtze Delta, the Pearl River Delta, southeast Fujian area and the area around the Bohai Sea. Hainan Island was made a full-fledged province and an SEZ. In January 1984, Deng Xiaoping and other leaders went on an inspection tour of the
Shenzhen and Zhuhai SEZs. In 1992, Deng inspected Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shanghai, and issued instructions, emphasizing boldness in the reform and opening-up tasks, telling people to grasp opportunities, taking economic development as the key to progress.
Deng emphasized that “science and technology are the first productive forces”, and urged more respect for knowledge and talented people. He also noted the need to develop education and strengthen the construction of socialist spiritual civilization.
As for the Hong Kong and Macao issues, Deng initiated the principle of “one country, two systems” to realize the reunification of the country. This principle underlays the successful reunion of Hong Kong and Macao with the motherland.
After more than 20 years of reform and opening-up, China has made enormous achievements in the economic, political, cultural and social construction. As a result, China’s comprehensive national power and people’s living standards have increased greatly.

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Hong Kong-Pearl of the Orient
Situated south of the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong is a trade, finance, transportation and tourism center both for the Asian-Pacific region and the world. Its economy is based mainly on trade. It's manufacturing, financial, real estate and tourism sectors are highly developed. Victoria Habor is one of the world’s busiest ports, and the Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau Island is one of the world’s most advanced airports.

Hong Kong’s Return to China
In June 1840, the Opium War between China and Britain broke out. On January 26th, 1841, Britain seized Hong Kong. On August 29th, 1842, the government of the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking with Britain, formally ceding Hong Kong.
In September 1982, Deng Xiaoping proposed the principle of “one country, two systems” to solve the Hong Kong issue when he met with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Under this principle, Hong Kong would be administered by Hong Kong people as a highly autonomous region, and Hong Kong’s capitalist system and lifestyle would not be changed for 50 years. After many rounds of consultation, on December 19th, 1984, China and Britain reached an agreement, and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Issue of Hong Kong, which declared that “the Chinese government will resume exercise of its sovereignty over Hong Kong from July 1st, 1997, and at the same time Britain will return Hong Kong to China.”
On the midnight of June 30th, 1997, the handover ceremony was held solemnly at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. At zero hour on July 1st, the national flag of the PRC and the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) were raised. Jiang Zemin, president of the PRC, solemnly declared the resumption of the exercise of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong according to the Simo-British Joint Declaration on the Issue of Hong Kong, and the founding of the HKSAR. Then Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive of the HKSAR, took the oath of office.
The one and a half centuries of British colonial rule of Hong Kong came to an end, and Hong Kong finally returned to the motherland.

Macao’s Return to China
Macao was the first Chinese territory to fall into the hands of Western colonialists, as, starting in 1553, the Portuguese gradually asserted their power over it.
At the end of the 1970s, China and Portugal reached agreement in principle on the issue of Macao. From 1986 to 1987, after peaceful and friendly negotiations, China and Portugal signed the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Issue of Macao on April 13th, 1987, affirming that Macao is a part of China, and the Chinese government would resume the exercise of its sovereignty over the territory on December 20th, 1999.
At 23:42 on December 19th, 1999, the hand-over ceremony formally opened, in the presence of PRC President Jiang Zemin, Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, and other leading governmental officials. At zero hour on December 20th, Jiang Zemin declared the resumption of the exercise of China’s sovereignty over Macao by the Chinese government. Then, Ho Hau-wah, the first Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) took the oath of office.

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Macao
Situated on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta, Macao covers an area of 23.5 square kilometers, with a population of about 440 000. It is a place where Eastern and Western cultures converge. Macao has a free economic system. In recent years, tourism, gambling and various services and trades have gradually replaced manufacturing industry in becoming the economic mainstay.

Great Achievement in Manned Spaceflight
It is a common dream of humanity to explore the vast outer space and to utilize the common space resources of mankind. China initiated a manned spaceflight program in 1992. The program, with its peaceful nature, aims to contribute to the development of sciences and world peace by scientific and technological research and experiment in the outer space.
After launching four un-manned spaceships, on October 15th, 2003, Shenzhou-5 sent Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut to the outer space, who orbited the Earth for 14 rounds and returned safely. The success of dies manned spaceship Shenzhou-5 marked a breakthrough for China to grasp the basic technology of manned spaceflight, as well as the completion of the first stage of the country’s manned space program.
Shenzhou-5 is a realization of a thousand-year-old dream of the Chinese people, putting China on the list of countries with independent development of manned spaceflight, following the former Soviet Union and the US.
On October 12th, 2005, Shenzhou-6, another spaceship developed by China independently, made its trip a success by sending two astronauts, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng to the outer space to carry out various experiments. They came back safely on October 17th.
Shenzhou-6 became another milestone in China’s development of manned spaceflight and manned outer space experiment.
The success of manned spaceflight has a tremendous impact on boosting the international standing of China and increasing the country’s economic, scientific and technological, and national defense capacity, helping to raise the national morale and the solidarity of all ethnic groups around the CPC Central Committee in the great course of socialist development with Chinese characteristics.

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Yang Liwei, Hero of Spaceflight
With the launch of the spaceship Shenzhou-5, a Chinese named Yang Liwei became world famous. Yang is among the first-generation astronauts in China. After training for a few years, he finished training tasks in dozens of subjects in eight categories, i.e. fundamental theory, adaptation in the outer space environment, specialized technologies, etc. He passed the comprehensive assessment of specialized space-flight technology with flying colors and was chosen to be a member of the first team of the first manned spaceflight of China. After becoming “the first Chinese in outer space”, he was awarded as the “Hero of Spaceflight” in the assembly celebrating the first manned spaceflight of China.

2008 Beijing Olympics
Beijing won the bid for hosting the 29th Olympic Games. This is another milestone to enhance China’s international standing and another great event in the renaissance of Chinese people.
Under the request of the International Olympic Committee, the Organization Committee of the 29th Olympic Games was established in Beijing. Chinese people began to prepare for the game with great enthusiasm.
In August 2003, the logo for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, “Chinese seal-dancing Beijing” was publicized.
In June 2005, the theme slogan of 2008 Beijing Olympics, “One World, One Dream” was announced.
In November 2005, mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics were unveiled. Five of them in total, they are called Fuwa, namely Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying arid Nini. When the rhyming two-syllable names are put together, they say in Chinese, “Welcome to Beijing.” The mascots embody good wishes of Chinese people for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the warm welcome to people all over the world.

China as a World Power in Sports
In 1924, the All-China Sports Association was founded, with the efforts of Zhang Boling, Wang Zhengting and others. In 1931, the International Olympic Committee formally recognized the Association as the Chinese Olympic Committee. China was represented for the first time, by runner Liu Changchun, at the Olympic Games when the 10th Olympics were held in Los Angeles in 1932.
China won its first Olympic medal when Yang Chuanguang from Taiwan won the silver medal for the decathlon at the 17th Olympics in 1960. In the 19th Olympics in 1968, Taiwan athlete Ji Zheng won the bronze medal in the women’s 80-meter hurdle, which was the first Olympic medal won by a Chinese female athlete.
In 1979, the International Olympic Committee restored the PRC’s legal seat on the committee.
In July 1984, Chinese marksman Xu Haifeng won China’s first gold medal at the 23rd Olympics held in Los Angeles. At this Olympics, China ranked fourth in the gold medal standings. The Chinese women’s volleyball team also won a gold medal, attaining three successive Championships for the sport (the other two being the World Cup and the World Championships).
China attended the Seoul (24th), Barcelona (25th) and Atlanta (26th) Olympics.
At the 27th Olympics held in Sydney in September 2000, Chinese athletes won 59 medals, ranking China third in the medal standings.
At the 28th Athens Olympics in August 2004, Chinese athletes won a record of 63 medals, among which 32 were gold. By then, China had been represented at 14 sessions of the Olympic Games.
On July 13th, 2001, China’s bid for the 2008 Olympics was successful; in September that year, China hosted the 21st Universiade, which vigorously promoted the development of China’s sports, demonstrated the increase of China’s overall national strength and enhanced China’s international status.

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The Oriental Roses
The Chinese women’s national football team has achieved very good results in international matches since its founding in the 1980s. Its achievements include seven Asian Cup championships in succession-from 1986 to 1999; three Asian Games championships in succession; runner-up in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; and runner-up in the third Women’s Football World Cup in 1999. The women players are popularly known as the “Oriental Roses”.



Appendix

A Brief Chronology of Chinese History
Ancient Period
c. 1 700 000 years ago-1840 AD
Paleolithic Period
c. l 700 000 years ago-c.10 000 years ago
Neolithic Period
c. 10 000 years ago-4 000 years ago
Xia Dynasty
c. 2070 BC-1600 BC
Shang Dynasty
c. 1600 BC-1046 BC
Western Zhou Dynasty
c. 1046 BC-771 BC
Spring and Autumn Period
770 BC-476 BC
Warring States Period
475 BC-221 BC
Qin Dynasty
221 BC-206 BC
Han Dynasty (Western Han and Eastern Han)
206 BC-220 AD
Three Kingdoms (Wei, Shu, Wu)
220-280 AD
Jin Dynasty (Western Jin and Eastern Jin)
265-420 AD
Southern and Northern Dynasties
420-589 AD
Sui Dynasty
581-618 AD
Tang Dynasty
618-907 AD
Five Dynasties
907-960 AD
Liao Dynasty
907-1125 AD
Song Dynasty (Northern Song and Southern Song)
960-1279 AD
Western Xia Dynasty
1038-1227 AD
Jin Dynasty
1115-1234 AD
Yuan Dynasty
1206-1368 AD
Ming Dynasty
1368-1644 AD
Qing Dynasty (before the Opium War of 1840)
1616-1840 AD
Modem Period
1840-1949 AD
Qing Dynasty (after the Opium War of 1840)
1840-1911 AD
Republic of China
1912-1949 AD
Contemporary Period
1949 AD-
People’s Republic of China
1949 AD-