Chinese History Exam Questions

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ChineseHistory Exam Questions

ChineseHistory Exam Questions


Question1, List the signs/indicators of the increasing autocracy in the Mingand Qing dynasty.

  1. Imperial control of the dynasty.

  2. Bureaucracy in administrative system.

  3. Abolishment of prime minister’s post.

  4. Racial policy in Qing dynasty.

  5. Monopoly power over essential household items like salt.

  6. Neo-Confucius philosophy.

  7. State exams requirements in appointments.

  8. Song dynasty’s policy adoption.

Question2: Briefly describe the second Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945),including its background, timeline, and consequences

Thesecond Sino-Japanese war broke out in July 7th, 1927 and ended onSeptember 9th1945. The full brown wall was triggered by a series of smaller warsor incidents as they were called with the last one the Marco PoloBridge Incident of 1937 triggering the ultimate war. The otherpre-1937 incidents were 1931 Japanese Manchuria invasion which waslater followed by the Mukden Incident. Basically, these incidentswere all related to the Japanese imperialistic policy whose objectivewas to expand their political and military prowess and influence inthe Asia and secure economic resources like raw materials and labor.

Thisoccurred during Hideki Tojo’s cabinet of ruling Imperial RuleAssistance Associations under authority from Emperor Showa. TheJapanese with their superior army secured major victories such asShanghai battle and captured Nanking Capital. This was partly due tothe weak Chinese government, low level of industrialization and weakmilitary. The Chinese moved their capital to Chongqing which was ininterior China. The Chinese also secured victories in Guangxi andChangsha. The Chinese continued to employ guerrilla warfare on theJapanese, especially at Shaanxi. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in1941, the US started war on Japan.

USAbegan helping china, especially airlifting war equipment over theHimalayan Mountains following defeat of the allied forces in Burma,which led to closure of Burma Road. China also received support fromGermany and the Soviet Union. Japan however retaliated and declaredattacks and defeated Changsha and Henan in 1944.

In1945 China through its Chinese Expeditionary Force resumed attacks onBurma and finished the India-China’s Ledo road and alsore-conquered Guangxi and Hunan. On September 1945 Japan finallysurrendered to the Allied Forces after the US dropped atomic bombs onNagasaki and Hiroshima. The Soviets took control of Manchuria fromthe Japanese too. The results were loss of lives and destruction ofthe economy and the rise of the communists in China. Demilitarizationof Japan and democratization in Japan promoted peace and prosperity.


Question1, Describe and analyze the factors that led to the fall of the Qingdynasty

TheQing dynasty began to fall after the death of Emperor Qianlong in1799. The major causes of the fall of Qing dynasty included internaland external rebellions, wars, economic problems, natural disasterslike famine, weak and inexperienced emperors, increasing populationand foreign invasions.

Theinvasion of Europeans defeated the Qing military easily because theywere well equipped and used more sophisticated military equipment.These invasions were in part contributed by the isolationist policyadopted by Qianlong toward Europeans who were invading the Asiaterritories. The Qing army was ill-equipped and was easily defeatedas seen in the first and second opium wars. The Sino-Japanese waralso weakened the dynasty.

NumerousInternal rebellions weakened the dynasty including the White LotusRebellion, Taiping Rebellion, Dungan Revolt and Panthay Rebellion.This led to death of many people. Ethnic wars were also presentespecially Punti and Hakka tribes. The young inexperienced emperorslike Puyi also led to the dynasty’s downfall. Natural disastersexperienced showed that the emperor had lost his mandate to heavenand thus people revolted and allowed rebels to take over power likethe Boxer rebellion. Some of these disasters are yellow river floodsand Yangtze River floods, Gansu earthquake, Northern Chinese famine,bubonic plague.

Economicproblems ensued after all the natural disasters and rebellions whichleft many citizens in dire poverty and starvation point. Traditionalworks became obsolete with people working on railway roads andfactories. Local products were discarded for imported products likecotton and clothes. This caused immense unemployment. This wascompounded by poor education system that concentrated on imperialexaminations.

TheWuchang uprising of 1911 organized by American educated Sun Yatsentoppled the young Puyi administration and he became the leader. Itwas a political uprising in that it started when the young emperorcame into power and so the rebels had opportunity to seize power. Itwas social in that the government failed to honor its deal tocompensate the Sichuan’s company which culminated into a revolt.

Question2, Compare and contrast the May Fourth Movement in 1919 and thestudent demonstrations in 1989 that led up to the June FourthIncident. In what ways are these two movements similar and in whatways are they different

MayFourth Movement was demonstrations put up by around 3000 universitystudents at Tiananmen Square on 4thMay 1919. These were demonstrations against the Versailles Treat of1919 where china was supposed to concede some territory to Japan.These protests continued around the city and in a few weeks hadinvolved the whole country. The students continued to draft flyersand manifestos and demonstrated in the street with regular arrestsand convictions. The students gained the support of the other workersand merchants and with this newly achieved socio-political awarenessand nationalistic culture threatened the status quo in the politicalarena as well as protests on the treaty-port system of the westernworld.

Theydisplayed the need for internal unification, common culture andChina’s international position. The movement promoted vernacularliterature, women`s participation in politics and end ofimperialistic government. It later split into twowith thepro-Marxist group and other wanted gradual cultural reform.

The1989 demonstrations university students through banners and postersdemonstrated in Beijing and at the Tiananmen Square to protest on theslow economic liberalization reforms to open china to trade with theoutside world. They protested on the strictly state-controlledeconomy and wanted fast reforms on the communist imperialisticgovernment. The government reacted harshly to the protesters withkillings of students and imprisoning all those who supported themovement which was later called the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Fromthe two demonstrations we see that there was a political and economicawakening of the educated young elites who were against the oldcommunist regime which was strict and imperialistic. In the mayfourth we see that the students had a sense of patriotism andnational belonging as they demonstrated for the promotion of Chineseculture from the trending adoption westernized culture. Similarly the1989 demonstrations the young elites pushed for economic reforms tocurb the mega corruption and inflation ranging the country then.

Theresults of both protests was more power concentrated and continuedeconomic reforms by the government and the rise of new blood ofleaders like Fang Lihzi, Li Peng, Hu Yaobang and others. Since thenChina has become an industrial and economic powerhouse experiencingexponential economic growth with major economic agreements around theworld, especially Africa. In contrast, the May Fourth protests weremore of the nationalistic movement deemed to preserve the nation’sheritage and culture rather than embracing the western culture whilethe 1989 demonstrations offered to open out china to the world withmore economic ties with other nations.

Question3,Describe the Communist Party’s efforts of modernizing China afterthe establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949

TheChinese Communist Party came up with different strategies to recoverfrom the war and advance its economic and political stability in theregion when it rose to power in 1949.Their major objectives were astrong and powerful socialist state with improved standard of livingfor citizens, achieving narrow income differences, modernization ofmilitary and promotion of science and technology. These objectivesshifted as time elapsed due to economic changes, conflicting opinionsof its leaders, changing international policies in politics and theeconomy.

Someleaders advocated for socialistic income equalization and politicalconsciousness like Mao Zedong, Gang of Four and Lin Biao while othersadvocated practical modernization of economy and industrializationwere Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi. Major objective ofgovernment from 1949-52 was to restore the economy through economicrevival and reconstruction of damaged transportation andcommunication sectors. The state nationalized the banking systemunder the Peoples’ Bank of China, unified monetary system andminimized state spending to curb inflation and stimulated the economywith state’s commercial companies to compete with the privatesector. Agricultural reforms on land ownership were introduced withland taken from large land owners to smaller farmers.

The5-year plan of 1953-1957 introduced by Mao Zedong involved intensiveindustrialization and socialism where the state adopted an economicmodel used by the Soviets with centralized economic planning andownership of state in various sectors and collective agriculturalownership. Major emphasis was laid on industrialization. Thisultimately resulted in major economic growth as well as agriculturalgrowth. Mao introduced the Great Leap Forward from 1958-1960 tochange from the Soviet plan which saw imbalances in agricultural andindustrial growth and inflexible decision making.

TheGreat Leap was aimed at spontaneous dramatic multi-industryproduction by all people at the same time. The major setback wasadequate capital to finance both agriculture and industry at the sametime. To achieve this in agriculture the government adopted thepeople`s communes who were rural labor force needed to move from onefarm to the other and offer their services. This was also employed inthe industrial sector. However, the excessive straining of workersand machines and decreased government coordination led to collapseand the state came up with readjustment and recovery measures.

CulturalRevolution of promoting radical leftism was adopted by Mao in1966.Rampant xenophobia was also experienced, which reduced the importedlabor force. After Mao reign Xiaoping introduced the fourmodernizations aimed at industry, science and technology, agricultureand military.

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