View Full Version : Recommendation for Chinese.......
11-13-2001, 06:00 AM
I know there are A LOT of s-m-r-t people out here so I would like to ask you all a favor.
I was wondering if you would be kind enough to suggest a topic for my paper for Contemporary Chinese History class. I am thinking about the Cultural Revolution but if one of you people know something better and more interesting, then PLEASE fill me in...thanx....desperate here...
11-13-2001, 06:24 AM
The cultural revolution ended before you were born (I bet) :)
So, it's not contemporary.
Here's an idea...
China up to 1980s: the communist party's power base was peasants, industrial workers and the military. Merchants, entrepreneurs and intellectuals (eg academics and scientists) were persecuted or distrusted.
China today (increasingly): the CP's power base is merchants, entrepreneurs and intellectuals - and the military. The peasants and industrial workers are a worry.
Marxism is out, nationalism is in. The communist party is so desperate to stay in power it's becoming something else.
Go for it.
11-13-2001, 06:48 AM
If you want to get really topical, you can write about the current peasant migration. There are between 100-200 million peasants from the countryside who are now part of a floating migrant population. This population movement is unprecedented in the history of China and the history of China. It has been little reported in the Western press, and even in the Chinese press. IMHO, this may be the biggest force for change in China today as it affects the entire countryside.
These people are the ones fueling the cheap factory labor, construction work force in the big cities, and general labor in the big cities. Now what is really interesting about this, is for the first time money is trickling back down to the grass roots level in rural China. The peasants are no longer tied to the land like they were up until a decade or so ago. The peasants in the countryside now have a wealth of options they never had before. They can build houses, small shops, set up township factories, ship produce to big cities. Much more importantly have the money to stand up (at least more than before) for their rights, hire lawyers, take on the entrenched cadres and win (some of the time).
What Hemlock said. I would add that the cultural revolution was a long time ago and these days becomming a footnote to history. If you really feel the urge, read all of Simon Leys books as he was here during much of the time. FWIW, the cultural revolution "officially" ended in 1972, but then got "revived" to run through all of the madness that culminated in the arrest of the gang of four. Away to blame all of the decade long problems on one "event." IIRC in July, Jiang Zemin welcomed capitalists into the Party.
Hemlocks topic is pretty broad though. How long is your paper and how in depth are you supposed to get.
You could look at the 1989 democracy movement. Watch Hinton's Gate of Heavenly Peace. However, to really add to it, you need a lot of information that probably isn't readily available. Just a hint, it was a lot more widespread than just Beijing. However, the economic and personal gains in the past 12 years make it largely irrelevant for the vast majority of the Chinese population.
You could draw parallels between the Taiping Rebellion and the Falungong. Do a history of the Chinese stock market, up to where it was the best performing market in the world during 2000 and the first six months of 2001. One child policy and how the imbalance of male to females is going to create a powerful change in Chinese society.
check out the archives at http://www.feer.com for information on this and other China topics. Good archives. . The only news weekly I've ever read that consistently had a good handle on what is going on in China, Taiwan, HK and the region, and have done a good job for decades.
http://www.chinaonline.com has some good stuff but now charge for their archives
If you narrow down a bit what you want to cover, I'm sure plenty of posters can give you references or help flesh it out a bit.
11-13-2001, 05:09 PM
Well, I'm in this People's Rep. of China Class...so what I meant by comtemporary is something during that time (sorry I mentioned the word comtemporary). It's gotta be somewhere btw 10-12 pages. I know it's almost the end of the semester but hey, I'm still hard at work with my other 2 papers which are ALSO 10-12 pages. I have to be in depth to fill 10-12 pages :P
Anyways, I thank you all for the many topics you suggested and I did look into to all of them but it is really hard to find sources (particulary interested in the one child policy idea)....China Guy did suggest some links to chinese topics and they are pretty good but I was wondering if there are any other sites available becasue the library in my university is well,........crap.
Hemlock, I did look into that but it's too broad of a topic for me to research....but I did like that topic. I will look into it more and try to find more info on it. Thanx
11-13-2001, 06:36 PM
Google searches on China's One Child Policy should come up with a lot of stuff. Steven Mosher was a Stanford PhD candidate who first really sensationalized this topic. http://www.pop.org/director.html
I can give you a few ancedotal incidents on the one child policy today.
Be interesting to see what happens in 10-20 years when the one child generation becomes of age and there just aren't enough women around. Could really change the countryside and make it to where there is an economic basis for preferrring female babies...
11-13-2001, 07:45 PM
Like you name states, you seem to know A LOT about Chinese topics. I would much appreciate if you could give me a few ancedotal incidents on the one child policy today...thanks so much for this help. :)
11-14-2001, 07:59 AM
A nanny/housekeeper I knew was from the mountains of impoverished Shanxi Province. She's got two sons, early teenage years. She simply left the mountain village and hung out somewhere else until after the second child was born. No fine, no punishment.
Biz trip to Qingdao (tsingtao where the beer is from) recently. Discussed this with the taxi driver. He said in Shandong Province, you can legally have a second child if the first is a girl. Can't have a third one though.
Distant cousin in-law's mother is pressuring him to divorce his wife because they have a daughter in Hubei Province. After divorcing and remarriage, then he could legally have another child.
Had many a Shanghai taxi driver tell me they had two kids circa early 1990's. Paid big fines by local wage standards (say a years salary).
Minority nationalities are exempt from the one child policy.
I spent a lot of time in the deep countryside of southwest China from 1985-90. There were an awful lot of families with more than one child.
Gut feel is that most city people have now come to see one child as a pretty good thing. Many would like a second but the economic cost of raising a kid is going up, especially in the cities. Countryside is much more of a free for all. It depends on where, who you know, whether you can afford to pay fines or not.
Also, now the 1-200 million in migrant labor force is completely outside of the population control authorities.
In Shanghai, speaking from a recent personal experience, before a doctor/hospital will see a pregnant woman, first you have to be registered at the local family planning bureau. Then you have a first checkup at a special family planning bureau clinic. Then and only then can you see a doctor.
When an ultrasound is done, they will not tell you the probable sex. I haven't heard of black market ultrasounds but I'm sure if you really wanted to find out the sex you could figure out a way.
Jan Wong from Red China Blues, has a piece on her personal experience from the 80's, and she thinks it is more or less policy to make the birth experience not as comfortable as possible. That's awkward phrasing, but to make it a relatively unpleasant experience because only do it once and don't want people to have a second one. Dunno myself. Surprised they haven't come up with birthing classes to make money. My wife learned breathing techniques about 2 hours into labor.
There are no childbirth classes for expectant moms on the local level. Big emphasis on having a quality baby. Special pills, smart pills, playing music in the womb, etc. Classes for the preborn. I kid you not. We didn't do any of those, but I guess they play classical music and subliminally try to make a smart kid. Maybe they cover breathing exercises and some of the birth nitty gritty, but I don't think so. Not nearly as extreme as I've seen in Singapore though. Also the Little Emporer syndrome, where the one kid is really spoiled.
To qualify, there were some pre-natal care classes that were required for the mom. (I was the only male in the first class, which prompted a few husbands to be corralled into the second class.:))
My daughter was less than a day old before grandma was asking when we were going to have a boy. Almost bitch slapped her. It took close to a year to break her of the habit and now she just pesters us when number two is on the way. BTW, I'm a white guy from california, so not subject to the one child policy.
That ought to flesh out a page or two of your paper. Add in some conjecture about how this will change chinese society. One spoiled child versus many siblings, will girls become economically more important in the countryside and will that break tradition, etc.
Run a search on http://www.feer.com to see what comes out.
11-14-2001, 08:37 AM
but I was wondering if there are any other sites available becasue the library in my university is well,........crap.
The Inter-Library Loan is your friend. Of course, this being the end of the semester, it may be hard to get the sources you need in time... or at all, if other people have checked them. But for future reference, if you start your papers sooner, you can have books from other college libraries delivered to your library so you can use them.
11-14-2001, 09:11 AM
Plenty out there on the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze, and the economic and ecological implications thereof.
11-14-2001, 03:42 PM
The one-child policy fluctuates from time to time and place to place; check out the New York Times and the Washington Post in addition to FEER. You may have to actually check your library's print indices. Note that academics tend to prefer "academic" sources. Mostly journals & books.
About 10 years ago, one of my wife's 2nd cousins from rural Shandong had already had a girl, so the authorities forced her to have a late term abortion...very late. The baby boy survived and was severely retarded.
Yes, most people want boys. But another Shandong relative had a boy, and insisted on a second child, because one just wasn't enough. The fact that it was a girl was just fine.
Although there may other social/religious reasons the country people want boys one of the biggest is that they don't have social security. So much for socialism. And I'll second China Guy's notion that urbanites think the policy is just fine. But note that most of them have some prospect of old-age support.
BTW, as knowledgeable about China as China Guy and Hemlock are, they're a little off-base in rejecting the Cultural Revolution as not "contemporary". The Chinese themselves & Western academics periodize Chinese history into "ancient" (up to mid 1800's), "modern" (mid 1800's through 1919) and "contemporary" (1919 to now).
11-14-2001, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by phartizan
BTW, as knowledgeable about China as China Guy and Hemlock are, they're a little off-base in rejecting the Cultural Revolution as not "contemporary". The Chinese themselves & Western academics periodize Chinese history into "ancient" (up to mid 1800's), "modern" (mid 1800's through 1919) and "contemporary" (1919 to now). Just to clarify. Of course it is contemporary, so is the Viet Nam war to the US. Both are of course relevant, but how relevant would be the question.
Phartizan, just curious, how can one have a late term abortion and survive?
11-14-2001, 07:18 PM
The one-child policy is a neat subject (problem is, half reoch's classmates will probably think the same way:)).
Lots of horror stories about the spoilt and selfish (and overweight) nature of this generation of single kids. EG: A guy in his late teens is drafted into the army. After a few weeks during kit inspection his trainer looks under the bed and finds 20 pairs of unwashed socks. The guy had never washed his own socks. Can't remember where I heard this, but it stuck in my mind.
On a more serious note, I recall being told that a shortage of women will raise women's economic and political status. For example, frontier communities in the western US and Australia/NZ had a severe imbalance, and were among the first places to give women the vote. Not sure how true this is, or whether it's any consolation to the women getting kidnaped these days.
phartizan Obviously the Cultural Revolution is alive. There's an embittered generation of people who went into adulthood with virtually no education because of it. At some universities in England, "Modern History" starts with the fall of the Roman Empire!
11-15-2001, 11:18 AM
how can one have a late term abortion and survive?
I dunno. That's the story I heard. As for the Cultural Revolution, I agree it's rapidly losing its relevance as the generation of intellectuals that underwent it are now well into middle age. But of course there's oodles of writing about it.
I don't mean to totally dismiss non-academic writing, by the way. It's just the profs don't always like it.
<rant>The trouble with academic writing is that even if a few years of research can establish a point more reliably, by the time it gets widely accepted, it seems it's all too often irrelevant. I agree totally with you, China Guy, that the peasant migration is far more significant. In fact, that's one of my pet peeves about 1) all the Western pissing & moaning about democracy, with nary a mention of how the majority of the Chinese (the rural people) are second-class citizens in their own country and 2) the focus on the Cultural Revolution. That was when the intellectuals suffered. But although far more died during the Great Leap Forward, their surviving relatives are mostly inarticulate peasants, and the Chinese government also finds it useful to keep quiet about its huge mistake.<rant>
11-15-2001, 12:43 PM
Beijing faces serious challenges, WTO membership could lead to rural upheaval (http://www.msnbc.com/news/655663.asp)
11-16-2001, 05:36 AM
Thanx china guy and all you others for your help. If any of you have more personal stories that you can share with me, I'd much appreciate it...I do think this is a really good topic and I decided to focus on the topic with the question, "One child policy; a good idea?"....so your help would me a great help...thank you again!
11-16-2001, 08:26 AM
good idea my ass. Simply China has no choice. They have to do something to limit population growth or face horrendous consequences.
Mao said in the 50's, every mouth is born with two hands. The quote means that one hand feeds an individual, and one hand produces excess for the betterment of society as a whole.
Also as an ancedote, even old Maoist PLA army of the liberation veterns will say in public that Mao's dictates on increasing population was a heinous crime that will negatively affect China for the next 100 years.
Mao feared a serious war with Russia, and wanted enough Chinese to survive a nuclear war and still be able to over run Russia like lemmings. Parents would be labeled unpatriotic and pressured for only having three children in the early 1960's.
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