Part of ABC-CLIO's Asia in Focus series, this authoritative resource is designed to help a wide variety of readers understand the complexities of the world's most populous country—a nation of ancient glory and rising importance, yet one that remains elusive and not generally well known.

Packed with recent scholarship and fascinating details, this concise, multifaceted volume offers an updated look at China's geography and history, from the political and technological dominance ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $26.46   
  • New (3) from $86.21   
  • Used (2) from $26.46   
Sending request ...


Part of ABC-CLIO's Asia in Focus series, this authoritative resource is designed to help a wide variety of readers understand the complexities of the world's most populous country—a nation of ancient glory and rising importance, yet one that remains elusive and not generally well known.

Packed with recent scholarship and fascinating details, this concise, multifaceted volume offers an updated look at China's geography and history, from the political and technological dominance of the imperial period to the communist revolution and the present state. The work also vividly captures the "living" China of today—its economy, politics, and culture—with extensive coverage of topics ranging from education, languages, arts, and cuisine to industrialization, gender issues, population control efforts, and human rights controversies that have impacted the country's relationship to the global community.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For general readers and high school students, LaFleur (history and anthropology and Asian studies, Beloit College) introduces China's history and culture, from the political and technological dominance of the imperial period to the present day. A group of American specialists in Chinese history, economics, cultural anthropology, political science, languages and literatures, and music cover the country's economy, society, geography, religion, politics and government, social classes, culture, education, literature, arts, etiquette, leisure activities, popular culture, languages, cuisine, industrialization, gender issues, population control efforts, human rights controversies, contemporary issues like pollution and the adoption industry, and key people, places, and events."


Reference & Research Book News

"Highly recommended for all high school, public, business, and academic libraries. . . also appropriate for circulating collections."


Library Journal

"From its political dominance to its economy, this offers detailed coverage of the country and its controversies and impacts on the world, and is a 'must' for any seeking an in-depth survey of the nation, from its resources to its peoples."


Midwest Book Review

Library Journal
Part of ABC-CLIO's "Asia in Focus" series (other volumes in the series focus on Japan and Korea), this volume has been put together in a manner to facilitate comprehensive research involving all things China. It is broken down into seven main chapters covering geography, history, politics and government, the modern Chinese economy, society, culture, and contemporary issues. Each chapter is then divided into a series of articles related to the chapter title (e.g., the chapter on culture includes articles about Chinese art, music, food, leisure, and sports). Articles are written by a handful of scholars as well as editor LaFleur (chair of Asian studies, Beloit Coll.) and reflect historical and present-day perspectives. The volume is well organized, appropriate for advanced high school students and up, and thoughtfully crafted, with helpful black-and-white images (maps, art, statistical tables) sprinkled throughout. Special-end features include a glossary, lists of Chinese holidays and China-related organizations, and an annotated bibliography that includes two titles devoted to the Beijing Olympics. The traditional index is preceded by a thematic index; a nice touch for those that discover it. BOTTOM LINE Those libraries owning ABC-CLIO's China: A Global Studies Handbook (2003), also by LaFleur, may not need to own this volume. For those libraries with zero dollars, the Country Study on China by the Library of Congress includes a profile updated in 2006. Highly recommended for all high school, public, business, and academic libraries that can afford it; also appropriate for circulating collections.—Lura Sanborn, St. Paul's Sch., NH
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598841664
  • Publisher: ABC-Clio, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Series: Asia in Focus
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

About the Editor and the Contributors xi

Introduction xv

1 Geography Robert André LaFleur Warren Bruce Palmer 1

The Physical Setting and China's Population 1

Geographical Regions 4

Land, Agriculture, and the Laojia 8

Coming to China: Invasion and Tribute 10

Themes in Chinese Geography 12

Imaginative Geography 17

2 History Robert André LaFleur 21

Archaeology 21

Foundation Myths and Early History (to c. 1100 B.C.E.) 22

Charting the Rise and Fall of China's Dynastic Tradition-Sima Guang's Perspective 26

The Zhou Dynasty (c. 1100-221 B.C.E.) 28

The Qin Centralization (221-206 B.C.E.) 30

The Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) 33

The Period of Division (220-589) 36

The Sui Dynasty (581-617) 37

The Tang Dynasty (618-906) 38

The Five Dynasties (907-959) and the Kingdoms of Liao, Xi Xia, and Jin (c. 900-1234) 41

The Northern and Southern Song (960-1279) 42

The Mongols and the Yuan (1234-1368) 44

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 47

The Qing Dynasty to 1800 49

The Early 19th Century-Stasis, War, and Diplomacy (1800-1850) 52

Rebellion and Beyond (1850-1870) 54

Attempts at Restoration and the Fall of Qing (1870-1911) 55

Republican China and the War Years (1913-1949) 58

The People's Republic of China (1949-Present) 61

Notes 64

3 Politics and Government John A. Rapp 67

From Traditional to Modern: The 20th-century Chinese State 67

Themes from Communist Systems 70

Combining Traditional and Communist System Models 71

Ideology 72

Party-State Structure 83

Domestic Policy: Human Rights and Dissent 90

Foreign Policy: China and Global Politics 92

Greater China Issues 98

4 The Modern Chinese Economy WarrenBruce Palmer 103

China's Traditional Agricultural Economy 105

The Chinese Economy, 1900-1949 114

China's Economy: The Mao Era, 1949-1978 117

Economic Reform, 1979-1989 129

The Chinese Economy Today 134

Resources 134

China's Economic System 141

Intellectual Property Rights 144

China's Financial System 148

China's Trading Partners and China's Trade Balance 153

5 Society Robert André LaFleur Tamara Hamlish 163

Religion and Thought 163

The Hundred Schools of Thought (c. 700-200 B.C.E.) 167

Buddhism and Religious Daoism During the Period of Division (c. 200-600 C.E.) 172

Neo-Confucian Thought 175

Religion, Thought, and the Power of Gathering 178

Social Classes and Ethnicity 182

People 182

Wealth, Class, and Status in Chinese History 185

Wealth and Status in Contemporary China 189

Ethnicity and Outlying Peoples in Early Chinese Thought 190

Ethnic Minorities in Modern China 192

Women and Marriage 194

Women in Chinese Society 194

Marriage and Family in Traditional China 196

Traditional Marriage and Family Life 199

Women in Contemporary China 203

Education 206

Language and Locality 206

Education and Acculturation 208

Traditional Education 209

Contemporary Education 213

Educational Curricula 214

Education in Taiwan and Hong Kong 215

Educational Challenges 218

6 Culture 221

Chinese Language Shin Yong Robson 221

The History of Written Chinese 221

Formation of the Characters 224

Simplified Characters 226

Problems of Simplification 228

Pronunciation 233

Phonetic Writing (Romanizational) Systems: Peking or Beijing? 234

Mandarin versus Dialects 235

Useful Chinese Expressions 236

Social Relationships and Etiquette Tamara Hamlish Warren Bruce Palmer Robert André LaFleur 238

Nested Boxes 238

Social Relationships-Guanxi 239

Social Relationships-Family 240

Social Relationships-Beyond Home 242

Social Relationships-Practical Etiquette in Chinese Social Situations 244

Literature Daniel Youd 250

Introduction: Continuity, Discontinuity, and Diversity 250

The Classic of Poetry 250

The Songs of Chu 251

Early Prose 253

Han Dynasty Poetry 255

One Poet from the Period of Division: Tao Qian 257

Two Poets from the Tang: Li Bo and Du Fu 258

Ci Poetry of the Song Dynasty 261

Fiction: Tales and Short Stories 263

Drama 265

Ming and Qing Novels 266

The Modern and Contemporary Periods 267

Chinese Art Kenneth S. Ganza 270

Chinese Art and the Supernatural World 271

Nature in Chinese Pictorial Art 275

Chinese Decorative Art 280

Music in China Ann L. Silverberg 284

Introduction 284

Differences between Chinese and Western Music 285

Characteristic Types of Traditional Chinese Music 293

Food Robert André LaFleur Tamara Hamlish 298

Food in Chinese Culture 298

Food in Chinese History 301

Chinese Regional Cuisines 303

Tea Culture and Chinese Festival Foods 308

Leisure and Sports Robert André LaFleur Tamara Hamlish Kevin Latham 311

A Walk in Shanghai 311

Daily Life in Chinese Societies 313

Pilgrimage and Everyday Activities 317

Spectator Sports and the Olympic Games 323

Popular Culture and Traditional Beliefs Robert André LaFleur Kevin Latham Tamara Hamlish 328

The Internet, Gaming, and Communication 328

Film and Cinema 331

Popular Religion 333

Calendars and Almanacs 334

Numbers and Directions 337

Yin-Yang, the Five Phases, and Color Symbolism 339

Language and Popular Culture 342

7 Contemporary Issues Anita M. Andrew 347

Contemporary China: Echoes of the Past 347

China's Traditional Worldview 349

European Maritime Powers and the Qing Dynasty 350

The Opium War, 1839-1842 353

The Century of Humiliation 355

Environmental Problems 357

Pollution 357

Coal Dependence and Mining Dangers 359

Three Georges Dam Controversies 360

Poaching of Endangered Species 361

Tainted Products from China 363

Lead Paint Products from China 364

Political Events in China: China's Government Crackdown against Political Protests by Tibetans and Uighurs 365

The Chinese Adoption Industry 366

The Beijing Summer Olympics 368

Conclusions 370

Glossary 373

Facts and Figures 383

Chinese Festivals and National Holidays 425

China-Related Organizations 431

Annotated Bibliography 443

Thematic Index 453

Index 481

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)