History 330

Modern China

Mon-Wed-Fri, 9:05, Hardin 233

Spring term, 2010

Prof. Edwin E. Moise
Office: Hardin 102
Office phones: 656-5369, 656-3153
Home phone: 654-7087

Messages can be left in my mailbox in Hardin 124, or in the box on my office door.

Office Hours

    Monday     10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Tuesday    11:00-12:00
    Wednesday  10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Thursday   11:00-12:00
    Friday     10:10-11:00 

Course Objectives

To give students an overview of the transformations that China has undergone from the Qing Dynasty (the last imperial dynasty) up to the present day.

What goes into your grade

Your grade in the course will be based mainly on the written work I have assigned. You cannot do extra papers for extra credit. You can improve your grade by participating in class discussion. The best way to pick up extra points is to argue against me in class; If you can point out to me that I have made a mistake you get two points in the gradebook. If you present a good clear argument that I am wrong about something, with evidence, then your grade may be boosted even if you do not succeed in convincing me.

I am not going to waste your time memorizing a lot of names and dates. If you find Chinese names very confusing, don't despair; you really don't need to know a lot of them. We are concerned with what happened to China in the past century or so, not with the exact names of the people who did things or the exact dates of the events.

The written work will be:
    --Four short papers, on assigned topics, worth 40 points each, three of which will be newspaper research exercises.
    --The midterm test (70 points) and the final exam (120 points), which will be mostly essay questions.
    --One minor essay quiz, which will be announced in advance. 20 points.

This adds up to 370 points. I use a 90%, 80%, 70% scale, sometimes modified in favor of students but never against them. In other words, 333 points is guaranteed to be an A, 296 points is guaranteed to be a B, 259 points is guaranteed to be a C. But 330 or even 325 points might perhaps become an A, depending on how the class as a whole is doing.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity requires that we not try to pass other people's work off as our own.

As far as I can recall, I have not caught any students committing plagiarism in this course, in past years. But experience with plagiarism in other courses at Clemson suggests that if there were to be a plagiarism case in this course, it would probably take the form of one student copying another student's 40-point short paper, maybe changing a few words and substituting synonyms, but leaving the two papers still so similar that it is obvious the resemblance could not be coincidence. I would be likely to bring charges both against the student who copied and the student who allowed his or her paper to be copied.

There are some ways in which it is perfectly all right for student to help each other. If two students want to study together getting ready for a test, great. Only if help were still being given after I had handed out the questions would the help become improper. But if two people work together on a newspaper research exercise, and turn in papers that are very similar because each has been getting a lot of help from the other in writing it, both will be in deep trouble. If one of your fellow students asks to look at your paper, to get a better idea of how the assignment was to be done, please say no. They should come to me to ask for further explanations of the assignment, rather than looking at a completed paper to give them their clues. If too papers are so similar it is obvious the author of one must have seen the other, I will file charges.

Policy on late work

Under normal circumstances, my policy is: If you do not do written work on time, then with any reasonable excuse you will be able to make it up. However, you will be marked off for lateness. You will be marked off even if your excuse is very, very good. You can avoid a penalty only if I have told you before the work was due that you would be able to do it late without penalty. 40-point short papers will not usually be accepted at all (you just get an F) if they are more than seven days late.

This policy will change if we are having an epidemic of flu, and especially if we are having an epidemic of H1N1 flu, on campus this semester. If you have the flu, it is really better to stay home, rather than come to class in order to turn in work on time. I will allow students to turn in late work without the normal penalty if they can document treatment for flu (Redfern Health Center will probably issue documents to students who have been treated there for flu).

Attendance policy

You are allowed up to six cuts INCLUDING EXCUSED ABSENCES. You lose two points for every unexcused absense after that. I would advise you not to take even five. I am going to be saying quite a few things in lectures that are not in the reading. Even if you are very careful about doing all the assigned reading, you will have trouble answering the questions on my tests if you have not been at the lectures.

If I am Late

If I have not gotten to class by five minutes after it was supposed to begin, I would be grateful if a student would go bang on my office door and see whether I am there. If I still have not arrived by ten minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin, you can give up on me and leave.

Assigned reading

There are four books you should buy:
    China's Path to Modernization, third edition, by Vohra.
    Throwing the Emperor from his Horse, by Seybolt
    Almost a Revolution, by Shen Tong
    The Death of Woman Wang, by Spence.

There may also be reading students do online.

Course Outline

The following course outline is tentative. It may be modified slightly by class request, or as a result of unexpected events.

January 6: Introduction to the course.

January 8: The background to Chinese civilization. Read Vohra, pp. 1-21.

January 11: read Spence, The Death of Woman Wang, both the Preface (pp. ix-xv) and pp. 1-44 of the main body of the book, to get a picture of local society in late traditional China. Be prepared to discuss this material in class.

January 13: read Spence, The Death of Woman Wang, pp. 44-98. Be prepared to discuss this material in class.

January 15: read Spence, The Death of Woman Wang, pp. 99-139.

January 18: NO CLASS: Martin Luther King's Birthday

January 20: Vohra chapter 2: China was trying to stay isolated, but the Westerners (especially the British) kicked in the door, beginning with the Opium War.

January 22: Vohra, chapter 3: China tried to react to internal and external crises.

January 25: Vohra, pp. 79-100. The imperial government failed to handle its crises.

January 27: Vohra, pp. 100-112. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in the Revolution of 1911. Central government had collapsed completely by 1916. QUIZ

January 29: Vohra 112-132. The Guomindang (Nationalist Party) allied with the Communist Party, and they set out to re-unify China.

February 1, 3: Vohra, pp. 133-152, and Seybolt, pp. xi-xxiv and 1-23. The Guomindang from 1927 to 1937.

February 5: Vohra, pp. 152-165: The Chinese Communist Party from 1927 to 1937; the growth of Japanese power in China.

February 8: Vohra, pp. 165-177; Seybolt, pp. 23-30: World War II in China.

February 10: Hand in newspaper research exercise. Check to see what one or two newspapers or newsmagazines were saying about the civil war in China between July and December 1945. Use at least four articles. Write an essay of about two pages, typed double spaced, or more, about what you found. Say what there was in the articles that you found interesting or surprising. Evaluate them for bias: is there anything that leads you to distrust them, or to think that the facts may be being distorted to fit the author's viewpoint? Do they use loaded language? Notice the source; did the reporter say that something was true, or only that somebody else had said it was true? If you say there is bias, please make it clear exactly what was said, that you consider biased. I want to see one essay based on several articles, not a string of essentially separate mini-essays, each based on a single article. Try to select articles that will allow you to have some unifying themes in your essay.

Notice what it is you are reading. A news article is supposed to present an objective account of events; it is not supposed to push a particular viewpoint. An editorial (which represents the opinions of the newspaper) or an opinion column by an individual, or a letter to the editor, can legitimately push a particular viewpoint, but they still should be fair in the way they present evidence for that viewpoint.

Please give source notes. I want to be able to tell in each section of your paper which article or articles you are discussing in that section. It is not enough to have a list at the end, if I canít tell as I read the paper which article you are discussing where. Source notes must give page numbers. I donít care about the format of source notes as long as they tell me what I need to know. Any format that allows me easily to discern the title of the article, the author's name if that was given (a lot of articles are published without the author's name being given), the title of the publication, and the date and page, is OK. If you found an article on the Internet, say so, and say where, but also give me all the information I requested about the original publication of the article.

There is no requirement that you use The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, or The Times of London, but those papers have the advantage that you can access them online through the Clemson Library's Articles Access Page. If you want to use newspapers other than those, your best bet is to go to the Microfilm Reading Room on level 2 of the Library, which has quite a few newspapers on microfilm. If you want to use weekly newsmagazines, the easiest way is to use the ones that have been bound into volumes, on the shelves on level 1 of the library.

February 12: The Communists won the Civil War of the late 1940s: Vohra, pp. 177-181; Seybolt, pp. 30-39.

February 15: TEST

February 17, 19: Read Vohra, pp. 182-197, and Seybolt, 41-49, on the early years of Communist rule in China.

February 22: Read Vohra, pp. 197-215, Seybolt, 51-58. Communist policy began to turn weird: The Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward.

February 24: The split between China and the Soviet Union; the events of the early 1960s.
>>> Vohra, pp. 215-225
>>> Seybolt, pp. 59-64.

February 26:

March 1, 3: The Cultural Revolution
>>> Vohra, pp. 226-239
>>> Seybolt, chapter 6

March 5, 8: After the Cultural Revolution
>>> Vohra, pp. 239-252
>>> Shen Tong, chapter 1

March 10: The Death of Mao
>>> Vohra, pp. 254-265

Mar 12: After Mao
>>> Shen Tong, chapter 2


March 22: China under Deng Xiaoping
>>> Vohra, pp. 265-270
>>> Shen Tong, chapters 3, 4

March 24: Deng Xiaoping's reforms, continued
>>> Seybolt, chapters 7-8

March 26: Film

March 29, 31: The Background to Tiananmen
>>> Vohra, pp. 270-74
>>> Shen Tong, chapters 5 and 6

April 2: The beginning of Tiananmen
>>> Vohra, 274-280
>>> Shen Tong, pp. 165-206

April 5: Tiananmen continued
>>> Shen Tong, pp. 206-254

April 7: Tiananmen continued
>>> Shen Tong, pp. 255-302
Zhao Ziyang photo

April 9: The massacre. Summary discussion
>>> Shen Tong, pp. 302-334

April 12: International Relations
>>> Vohra, 280-286

April 14, 16: China after Tiananmen.
>>> Vohra, chapter 12
>>> Shen Tong, pp. vii-xviii and Epilogue
>>> Seybolt, chapter 9

Apr 19, 21, 23: China today, and review.
>>> Evan Osnos, "Green Giant: Beijing's Crash Program for Clean Energy," New Yorker, December 21, 2009 (read on LexisNexis).
>>> "Chinaís Censors Tackle and Trip Over the Internet" New York Times, April 8, 2010.
>>> Other reading to be added later, from the Internet

Final exam: Friday, April 30, 8:00 a.m.


Other Links

Photos Taken in China, 2002 and 2005

Web site of the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas

Clemson University Academic Support Center, which provides help and tutoring for students encountering academic problems. It does not, however, have tutors specifically for History courses.

Edwin Moïse's homepage

Writing Chinese names

This course will emphasize general policies more than the individuals who made those policies. This is fortunate for readers not already familiar with China, since variations in the way Chinese names are spelled in English, and cases in which none of the spellings seem to the English speaker to match the way the name is actually pronounced, can cause considerable confusion. A few years ago the English-speaking world used what was called the "Wade-Giles" system to write most Chinese names. In the Wade-Giles system the pronunciation of consonants often shifted drastically depending on the presence or absence of an apostrophe. Thus the word pronounced like "bye" was written pai, while the word pronounced like "pie" was written p'ai. The names of provinces and major cities, however, were written in a different system. Sometimes the same sound was written in two different ways depending on whether it appeared in the name of a person or a place, and neither spelling corresponded to the way it was actually pronounced.

Recently we have shifted to a new system called pinyin, for the names of both people and places. The pinyin system is a bit more rational, but there are still some cases in which the sound indicated by the letters is not what the average English speaker would guess (see Vohra, page xi).

* * * The following table relates the spelling and the pronunciation for the sounds most likely to cause confusion:




ts', tz'
i, ih, u
ts, tz


a as in papa
b as in boy
ts as in shots
d as in dog
g as in good
ee as in feet after b, d, j, l, m, n, p, q, t, x
i as in shirt after c, ch, r, s, sh, z, zh
ye as in yes
yo as in yoke
j as in jeep
ch as in cheap
approximately like the English letter r
sh as in she
ye as in yes
ds as in beds
j as in joke

The names that will appear most often in pinyin in this course include:
    --Beijing, pronounced "bay-jeeng", the capital of China. In Wade-Giles it would have been Pei-ching, but it was traditionally written Peking.
    --Deng Xiaoping, pronounced "Dung Shyao-peeng". A leading member of the "moderate" wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), he was twice purged by leftist radicals, but returned to become the most powerful figure in the Party after Mao Zedong died in 1976. Formerly written Teng Hsiao-p'ing.
    --Guangdong, pronounced "Guahng-dong", the south coast province that was headquarters for the Guomindang and the CCP in the mid 1920's, and is today the province where capitalism is strongest. Formerly spelled Kwangtung.
    --Guangzhou, pronounced "Guahng-joe", an important seaport, capital of the south coast province of Guangdong. It is often called Canton.
    --Guomindang, pronounced "Guo-meen-dahng", the name of the Nationalist Party which ruled China from 1927 to 1949. Formerly written Kuomintang.
    --Hu Jintao, pronounced "Who Jean-tao," the head of the Chinese Communist Party today.
    --Jiangxi, pronounced "Jyahng-shee", a province in south-central China where the Communist Party established a base area in the early 1930's. Formerly written Kiangsi.
    --Mao Zedong, pronounced "Mao (a single short syllable) Dzuh-dong", head of the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 to 1976. Formerly written Mao Tse-tung.
    --Qing, pronounced "Cheeng", the Manchu dynasty which ruled the Chinese Empire from 1644 to 1911. Formerly written Ch'ing.
    --Shanghai, pronounced "Shahng-hai", the largest city in China, on the coast near the mouth of the Yangzi River. Former spelling the same.
    --Yanan, a city in Shaanxi province (Northwest China) that served as headquarters for the CCP from 1937 to 1947. Formerly written Yenan, which matches the actual pronunciation.
    --Yangzi, pronounced "Yahng-dzih", the great river that flows from west to east through the middle of China. Formerly written Yangtse. Also called the Chang Jiang (formerly spelled Ch'ang Chiang).
    --Zhao Ziyang, pronounced "Jao Dzih-yang", became Premier of the People's Republic of China in 1980, then General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1987; lost his job in 1989 because he supported the Democracy Movement. Formerly written Chao Tzu-yang.
    --Zhou Enlai, pronounced "Joe En-lie", Chinese Premier until his death in 1976. A moderate leader who managed to stay on good terms with Mao Zedong all through the Cultural Revolution. Formerly written Chou En-lai.

There are a few people and places that have long been known in the west not simply by a different spelling, but by a significantly different name from that given them in modern standard Chinese. To avoid excessive confusion, I will use the familiar English names for Hong Kong, Tibet, and Manchuria, for the Guomindang Party leaders Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and for the philosophers Confucius and Mencius, rather than giving the names currently used in China (Xianggang, Xizang, Dongbei, Sun Zhongshan, Jiang Jieshi, Kongzi, and Mengzi). Chinese names almost always consist of a one-syllable surname, which comes first, and is followed by a two-syllable personal name. Thus Mao Anying was the son of Mao Zedong, and both of them would be found, in an alphabetical index, listed under "Mao".

Regional geography

China proper, the area that has for centuries had a dense population of ethnic Chinese, can be divided into three major regions:

I. North China. The most conspicuous feature of this region is the Yellow River, or Huang He (formerly spelled Huang Ho). It follows a wide, looping path through the arid hills of the Northwest, and finally crosses the densely populated North China Plain (largely created by the silt it has laid down) to reach the sea. It is not navigable, and it is very difficult to control; it lays down so much silt that the bed of the river tends to rise with the passage of time, and the water must be kept in its course by high dikes on either side. Eventually, the bed of the river may rise until it is considerably higher than the surrounding countryside. When the dikes break and the river flows down onto the lands around it, the task of putting it back in its elevated channel is difficult, sometimes impossible. Thousands die in the resulting floods. Three times in the past 200 years the river has changed its course very drastically, with the point at which it flows into the sea being altered by hundreds of miles.
    The area along the Yellow river is the original home of Chinese civilization. The soil is relatively rich, but harsh winters and sparse rainfall limit agricultural production.

II. Central China. The dominant feature is the Yangzi River, which is navigable far into the interior. The provinces along the Yangzi and its tributaries form the most populous region of China.

III. South China has no single unifying feature; it is cut up by a number of small mountain ranges. However, despite the uneven terrain, its generous rainfall and mild climate have made possible a productive agriculture that supports a large population.

In addition, there are peripheral areas which have not been inhabited by many ethnic Chinese for most of history, but which have been controlled by the Chinese government when that government was strong. The main ones are:

IV. Manchuria, to the northeast of North China. This was a fringe area for the Chinese Empire for most of its history, but a flood of Chinese settlers in modern times has made it essentially Chinese today. The principal unifying feature in during the 20th century was not natural but manmade: the South Manchurian Railway, running north from the port of Dalian (Dairen) through the major cities of Manchuria. This region was long one of the main centers of Chinese industry, though its importance has declined recently.

V. Mongolia to the north of China has always been too arid to support a dense population. It was under the control of the Chinese government for a considerable time, but early in the twentieth century Outer Mongolia became a separate country, the Mongolian People's Republic, under strong Russian influence. Inner Mongolia has remained part of China.

VI. Xinjiang (Sinkiang), the northern part of what appears on the map as far-western China, is mostly mountain or desert, with a few areas of fertile oases. The indigenous population, quite sparse, is largely Muslim.

VII. Tibet, the southern part of what appears on the map as far-western China, is mountainous and inaccessible; the population is very sparse. Of all the regions listed, this is the one where Chinese influence has traditionally been the weakest.

Revised April 8, 2010.