Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam
Chapter 11: China
Huijiong Wang A short political history China covers an area of 9 561 000 square kilometres, slightly larger than that of the United States. China shares borders with 14 countries, namely, North Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam. The Han Chinese form nearly 92 per cent of the population, and there are 55 minorities besides the Han. Most of the population inhabit in the eastern coastal side of the country. Nearly 520 million people in China live in cities or towns, but the other 60 per cent live in rural areas. China has a very rich civilization, dating back thousands of years (to at least 1500 BC). During its long history, various schools of philosophy – Confucian, Daoist, Maoist and Legalist – ﬂourished in China. However, since Confucius’ death in 479 BC, China became the centre of conﬂicts between contending kingdoms (Fitzerald, 1995). China was uniﬁed in 221 BC by the Qin dynasty, which imposed a harsh Legalist code of laws and administration. The Qin law gloriﬁed war and despised art and literature. The Qin promoted agriculture as the foundation of military strength. The Qin were replaced in 206 BC by the Han who ruled until AD 221. The Han promoted art and culture, and during the Han rule the use of paper and ink began. The Han also improved the feudal system, ﬁlled the civil service with educated people, and accepted Confucianism as the state philosophy. The Tang...
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