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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 Mug Shot
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. 
 
Contact Nathan at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937

Marco polo bridgeIf the result were not often so tragic, history would be the best comedy ever written. China’s long history is littered with such events, incidents of absurdity weighed down by their tragic consequences. One such event occurred in July of 1937 and helped to precipitate one of the most deadly conflicts of the twentieth century: the Second Sino-Japanese War or what we in the West might know as the Pacific Theatre of World War 2.

The Marco Polo Bridge or Lugouqiao (卢沟桥) is the site of one of the most disastrous misunderstandings in modern history. Named after the second most important thing to happen there, Marco Polo Bridge is in fact the site of the beginning of the Second World War in Asia.
 
Known by various names here in China, this war fought against the Empire of Japan began in 1937, two years before the war against Nazi Germany started, and lasted until Japan’s surrender in 1945.

Read more: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937

China and the Sweet Potato

potatoToday China is the world’s biggest producer of sweet potatoes but this staple of the Chinese diet was a relatively modern import to this ancient civilization. For millennia the staple crops for China were wheat in the north and rice in the south but both are complex to cultivate and are quite labor and land intensive. The sweet potato would come along and change the course of Chinese history with its simplicity in cultivation and availability to China’s poorest. 

The Colombian exchange

The sweet potato, a native of the west coast of South America, arrived in China via the Spanish Philippines. In fact almost all potatoes we have in the world today can be traced back to a single mountain range in present day Chile. Regardless, after the European colonization of the Americas after 1492, the whole world became involved in what is referred to as the ‘Colombian exchange’. This term describes the exchange of people, plants, animals, diseases, ideas, and culture that occurred as Europeans and Asians moved into the Americas and interacted with the ecosystem and civilizations already living there.

Read more: China and the Sweet Potato

The Sex Ratio Imbalance in China

sex ratioIf you think it’s hard to find a girlfriend, spare a thought for the millennial generation of Chinese males. One of the consequences of the One-child policy has been a widening of the population sex ratio in China, meaning the gap between the number of males and the number of females. Many have wondered what the consequences of this sex ratio imbalance could be and how a society like China would respond to them.

Read more: The Sex Ratio Imbalance in China

  • Beijing

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    3610 Capital Mansions,
    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
  • London

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
    London EC2M 4LN
    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
  • Hong Kong

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    Rm 604-7 Dominion Centre
    43-59 Queen’s Road East
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 

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