What It's All About:
China is the university from which you will never graduate. It is impossible to learn everything there is to know about this place with its 1.4 billion people, 2,500 years of recorded history, its multiple languages, cultures, religions, and cuisines. But it sure is worth a try. As one-fifth of all the people on this planet are Chinese, whether you like it or not you need to know something about what is ‘China’, perhaps the word in the English language with the broadest possible meaning.
This series explores a different aspect of China each week, everything
from history and culture to attempts at explaining the often times puzzling behavior seen every day on the streets of the Middle Kingdom. These articles will try to at least be interesting if nothing else and feedback, comments and suggestions are always welcome.
| About the Author:
Nathan Attrill is a researcher and writer on modern China currently living in Beijing. He graduated with a Master in Public Policy from Peking University and a Master of International Relations from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. His main China research interests include its modern history, communist political system, and recent economic reforms.
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Walk down any street, get on any subway, read any newspaper, and in China today all there seems to be is 梦, 中国梦, 中国梦. You would think it was the Chinese characters for iPhone 6 the way it seems to penetrate the public space so comprehensively. But no, 中国梦 (zhōngguómèng) or ‘Chinese Dream’ is actually just the latest version of socialism with Chinese characteristics; the new iPhone Xi, totally different from the previous version that existed last year, we promise.
During the 2014 APEC Summit in Beijing, US President Barack Obama and Chinese State Chairman Xi Jinping announced important changes to visa policies and climate change policies and hailed it as the zenith of Sino-American relations. Unlike the United States and European nations or China and its Asian neighbours, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have only been officially friends since 1972.
The media today often describes the relationship between the United States and China as the most important bilateral relationship of this coming century. It is a relationship they say that will shape everything from global economics to cultural tastes for decades to come. This series will look at the relationship between these two great nations at opposite ends of the Pacific, how it began, and what it might mean for the future.
China is sports crazy. You only had to read stories in the newspaper every day during the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil to see what lengths Chinese sports fans would go to enjoy a tournament that their country was not even participating in. Gambling away life savings, sleep deprivation, death from exhaustion (the games were all between midnight and dawn), and Chinese men ignoring their wife AND their mistress; it was a pretty tough few weeks for some.
But despite all that silliness, the premiere sporting tournament for China still remains the Summer Olympics. The Chinese Olympic spirit seems to be everywhere and has a very powerful effect on nationalism, education, and identity for contemporary China.
Governing China: The State, the Party, and the Military
For political scientists, China today represents a unique study in the way government and power can function outside of the familiar models we are used to seeing in the Western world. Chinese officials often speak about how we have much to learn about the way you can govern a country with a “Chinese style” of constitutional government, rule of law, and civil rights.
But these terms in the Chinese context are simply disingenuous. China has none of these things despite what it says but what it does have is no less interesting or unworthy of study, for China is a country governed like no other in the world right now. This article looks at the three centers of political power that have helped govern the world’s most populous nation for the past 65 years and why this is so different from the way power operates in other countries.