Week 13: China opening up?

Well done! Almost there! (Sean the Sheep’s friends)

We’re almost there! A lot of the topics this week are already foreshadowing what’s coming in the last week, so you can really see the finish line is near! Please note, I have placed due dates before or after the Thanksgiving break. It is completely up to you to reschedule due dates (e.g. the Show and Tell) to be due during the Break, but I’ll leave it up to you to make that choice, so it’s not my fault your break is ruined!

Table of contents

Background

One of the major headaches of the post-Mao regime was the make sure that the new economy could provide for all the people in China – and there were a lot of people: after the census in 1982, it was clear that there were more than 1 billion people in China, and that further population growth would strain the system. A “one-child policy” was advocated, and then enforced. It was only revoked in 2015, although there were always legal exceptions, so don’t be surprised if you hear of people born in that period who have siblings. Why does this matter? While the legal limit is now two children, many couples prefer to have only one child, or none, leading to a rapidly aging population, and many concomitant social and economic problems. Women are pushed hard to marry and have children, and have still no real control over their own bodies.

The economic pressures and social dissatisfaction combined into intellectuals (mainly students) questioning in the late 1980s if the government and the party really were on the right track to provide for its people. This eventually came to a head in 1989, with the protests that centered on Tiananmen square right in the heart of Beijing. The carnage on the square is what is best known in the West, but across many access routes to Beijing many civilians lost their lives as they tried to stop troops from entering the city. They had been successful with their charm offensive in mid-May, after all; this time, they met harsh resistance. Why does it matter? The government has been very hard at work at erasing every memory of this event, to the point that younger censors for newspapers and internet websites occasionally inadvertently let a reference slip by, because the date or the images simply do not trigger any response to them anymore. The iconic “tank man” image is unknown to most people of your age in China. In this case, the victors do write history in one part of the world, but to their own detriment.

Great Britain had scheduled in 1985 to hand over Hong Kong and the New Territories in 1997 to the PRC, under a “one country-two systems” deal: Hong Kong could for fifty years maintain the institutions it had built up under British colonial rule, including an elected legislative council, without interference from Bejing. As you can imagine, the Tiananmen massacre raised a lot of questions. Why does it matter? Since 2014, with the Umbrella Movement‘s suppression, things have decidedly taken a turn for the worse: the 2019 protests (podcast link) ended in a pitched battle between students and the Hong Kong police at HK Polytech University; the National Security Law that went into effect on July 1, 2020, has dangerous consequences for anyone with an outspoken point of view on the politics of the PRC or Hong Kong, because it is so vague that pretty much anything can land you in jail.

Readings

Basic set

  • Chapter 25 summary
  • Chapter 26 summary
  • Visualizing big data: “The Pudding” – See also the story “Population mountains” on the same website.
    • Visualizing big numbers is really difficult, but with this site you can begin to fathom what 1billion people (and more) looks like. Click on the first link and scroll out west (left) to China to see how the population is not distributed equally.
  • Radio broadcast (and transcript) from Radio Beijing early on June 4 (The shortwave Radio Audio Archive)
    • This brief message in English was broadcast in the early hours of June 4, 1989. It is unclear who the announcer was, or what happened to them, or who authorized the message to be broadcast (if at all).
  • Slides (Gdrive link)

Textbook alternatives:

  • Moïse Edwin E. Modern China: A History Third ed. Harlow, England: Pearson/Longman, 2008. (ebook Trexler):Chapters 10-11
  • Dillon, Michael. China: A Modern History. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010. (ebook Trexler): Chapter 17

Exploration Pack 1: Textbook

Good old textbook completeness in two chapters: Note to readers in earlier editions: The chapter numbers are off at this point, so check for content rather than chapter number! Stop when you get to the repression of the Tiananmen protests of 1989.

  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. Third ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
    • Chapters 25 (Levels of Power) and 26 (Testing the Limits)
  • “Deng Xiaoping’s Explanation fo the crackdown, June 9, 1989” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • This was how Deng Xiaoping began the long campaign (ongoing) of the Chinese state to erase the movement towards a more democratic China. (PDF) #dissent #protest #authoritarianism

Exploration Pack 2: One Child Policy

  • “The One Child Policy” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • The first document is the official letter ringing the alarm bell that something very drastic needs to be done; the second document is from the grassroots organizations pointing out that it’s really hard to get buy-in from the population for a one-child policy. What are the obstacles, and how do they intend to overcome them? When you read this, how does this compare with earlier state- and party directives to the population, in terms of bodily autonomy and obedience to the state/party? (PDF) #demography #womens-rights #birthcontrol
  • “China: One Child Policy”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Anonymous Filmakers Library, 2006. https://video-alexanderstreet-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/watch/china-one-child-policy.
    • Video available through Trexler library; follows the story of various Chinese couples and children as they deal with the consequences of the One Child policy. (23 mins) #one-child-policy #family #birthcontrol
  • OPTIONAL EXTRA: Hershatter, Gail. Women and China’s Revolutions. Critical Issues in World and International History. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.
    • Women of course bear the brunt of the consequences of the One China policy, and since 2015 its reversal (i.e. the pressure to give birth to more children). This chapter looks at what the changes after 1978 have meant for women in China, in rural areas and in urban settings. (PDF) #women #economy #society #family #birthcontrol

Exploration Pack 3: Tiananmen massacre

  • Lim, Louisa. The People’s Republic of Amnesia : The Tiananmen Revisited. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, USA, 2014.
    • While any of the chapters can be read as a stand-alone chapter, I recommend the chapter “Student”: it is about a young man who is a college student in the early 2010s, and his experience comes probably closest to yours, in that he has no living memory of the events of June 4, 1989, and is a college student. Some of the other chapters contain descriptions of violence and torture. Sorry, the CCP is not nice to its opponents and dissidents. (ebook Trexler) #tiananmen #dissidents #humanrights
  • “Testing the Limits” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • Collection of documents from different sources, including official newspapers, student declaration of hunger strike, declaration of martial law, and Deng’s speech to the military leaders. Pick and mix as your interests guide you. (PDF)

Exploration Pack 4: Hong Kong and the handover

Pick one of the following two options text or film:

  • Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang. “Chapter 17: The Final Chapter”. In A Modern History of Hong Kong. History Reference Center. London: I.B. Tauris, 2003.
    • This chapter brings you up speed with the main political and legal issues concerning the handover, and the preparations, and the important role the final governor (Chris Patten) played in trying to set up Hong Kong for the best possible start under the new “One Country, Two Systems” deal. At least, that’s what the British would like you to think; the Chinese point of view is quite different. And what do Hong Kong people make of it? (PDF) #hongkong #politics
  • “Citizen Hong Kong”. Directed by Yang, Ruby. Center for Asian American Media, 1999. https://video-alexanderstreet-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/watch/citizen-hong-kong.
    • What changed in daily life immediately after the handover? This documentary, filmed in the year after 1997 explores that very question. Things have definitely changed a lot in the past five or six years… Available through Trexler library #hongkong #dailylife #youth
  • OPTIONAL EXTRA: “The Joint Agreement by Britain and China Defining the Future of Hong Kong, September 26, 1985” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • If you are curious about the official language that was used to set in motion the handover process, this is the document to read! (PDF) #hongkong #treaty #politics #colonialism
  • OPTIONAL EXTRA: In case you were wondering, Hong Kong has a history of protesting vociferously, if not violently – simply because throughout its history it often had no legal avenues to make its voice heard. In 1967 while still firmly under British rule, riots erupted in an attempt to end British rule. BBC Radio 4 “Witness: The Hong Kong Riots of 1967” #hongkong #british #riots #protests

Assignments

Reminder: Peer feedback on post Week 12

3 points, due Mon. Nov. 16 by 11.59pm

Ok, you know the drill, and why reading other’s posts is good for you… Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 12, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Blog post week 13

Note: some creative options available

5 points, due by Thursday, Nov. 19. 11.59pm.

Write a blog post exploring themes or ideas based on your reading. You do not need to have all the answers. In fact, learning to ask good analytical or research questions is a skill you can develop during the semester.

Creative variation on the weekly post: Take the time traveling machine, and fly back to the year 1982, shortly after the report on the China’ census has come out. Pick one of the five task forces/think tank focus points (PDF, one on each page) and use it to role-play how you might write a (brief) report. This works really well for Chapter 25 and the One Child Policy.

For all posts:

  • Length: approx. 400 words. excl. list of materials consulted.
  • Add the list of materials consulted at the end of the post, in Chicago notes and bibliography style.
    • TOP TIP: Just copy the bibliography information from the Reading list here.
    • Don’t include the (PDF) or the #hashtags – those are just there to help you
  • Add the words “Week 13” in the title (please use this exact phrase, or it trips up the filter I created to have your posts show up in the blog stream)
  • Include an image, and make sure to add a caption with the source/credit.
  • Post on your website, and add to the category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I wrote a post of approximately 400 words in response to the readings.
– I included the bibliographic references for the materials I used for my post.
– I indicated which materials I used
– I included an image, and I provided a caption and credit (source) for the image.
– I use the words Week 13 in the title, and added the post to category hst271

Show and Tell Module 4

Due Nov. 20, 11.59pm

Check out the details on the dedicated webpage. You can create your own “adventure” but among the suggestions for response materials there now are also a number of movies available through the Canvas Media Gallery. Brief description for all those items on the aforementioned webpage.

Feedback on Show and Tell project 3

Not graded, but part of the “Participation in the Learning commons/Professionalism”

Below you’ll find links to two Show and Tell projects from fellow students. Please share your feedback with them, for instance:

  • what do you like about the format?
  • what did or did not quite work?
  • what helped you understand this particular period of Chinese history better?
  • what suggestions do you have for a make-over/redo?
    • you can re-submit your Show and Tell project anytime before the close of the semester for a better grade; think of the kind of advice you’d like to get to help you achieve that!
  • do you think the project can help future students, and should I use it next time I run the course?

Leave your comments on the blog-post either as a page note in the Hypothes.is group HST271 or if you can annotate the text itself, highlight and mark up with Hypothes.is.

If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Project 1
  • Project 1

Peer feedback on post Week 13

3 points, due Mon. Nov. 30 by 11.59pm

Ok, you know the drill, and why reading other’s posts is good for you… Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 13, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Extra credit

EC 13-1: Follow that footnote!

3 points, due by Sunday, Nov. 22, 11.59pm.

All the instructions are on this separate webpage, incl. the link to the declaration quiz.

EC 13-2: Extra commenting

2 points, due by Sunday Nov. 22, 11.59pm.

Do you like reading your colleagues’ work? Do you like helping them out by identifying ways to make their posts better? Now you can earn extra credit by doing extra commenting! This assignment will be available regularly throughout the semester.

  • Go to the Blog Stream of the Class under Student Posts on the website
  • Pick a post that piques your curiosity and that you have not yet commented on
  • Use Hypothes.is group HST271, and leave feedback as we practiced with the Architects’s model
  • Pick 2 additional posts (a total of 3 for this task): they can come from other students in the blog stream, or if you like the writer, you can stay with them and comment more.
  • The only conditions are:
    • that you do not comment on blog posts you already commented on before, as part of your regular weekly “Exploration” tasks.
    • that the post is actually written for HST271, and not some other class. Check the category, and the content :upside down smiley:
  • Add the tag extra to the comment (this helps me to keep track of how many people use this option.)

When you’re done, please read this declaration carefully and collect your points with the Canvas Declaration Quiz.

Declaration
I selected three blogs I have not yet commented on before, from our class’ blog stream, and I used the Hypothes.is group HST271 to comment.
I made sure to leave substantial comments that help the writer to improve the post, or to identify their strengths.
I added the tag extra to my Hypothes.is comments.
I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Where to ask questions

Remember that it is highly likely that you are not the only one with that question. Save me time, and help your fellow students by asking questions where others can see them. If you know the answer to a question, jump in! I can’t be everywhere all the time.

Missing link? Wrong information? Email me!