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Suggestions include:

  • Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang or
  • Son of the Revolution by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro

I generally show the movie Nanking in class. It deals with the topic of the Japanese invasion of China and the treatment of Chinese citizens, by the Japanese soldiers. The film contains disturbing footage and information and is told in narrative format by actual survivors, soldiers, and actors reading from diaries and documents.

For classes 9-12, students will look into recent events and current topics related to China.

  • Students will have an opportunity to choose approximately four topics from a list, (or if they have a topic not listed, they can discuss that with the instructor) that they will then research and present the information to the class.
  • One presentation per student/per class.
  • Presentations will be done either through a power point presentation or a prezi presentation. (www.prezi.com)

Each presentation should be between 10-15 minutes long.

Abilities Required:

  • Students should be able to read at a upper high school level.
  • Students must be willing to read assigned materials & do assigned homework. (approx. 1 ½ -2 hours/week)
  • Students must be willing to actively participate in class discussions and presentations.
  • Students must be willing to write an analytical paper or learn how to write an analytical paper.


Tentative Syllabus 

Class 1  Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) 

  • Class/China Basics
  • Empress Dowager Cixi and the Qing Dynasty
  • Misrule/governance
  • Boxer rebellion
  • Foreign Influence 
  • Emperor Puyi

Class 2  Republic of China (1912-1949)

  • Dr. Sun Yat-sen (Nationalist Party/Guomindang)
  • United League
  • Basic doctrine (3 principles)
  • Rebellion
  • Yuan Shikai
  • Warlords
  • May 4 Movement

Class 3 

  • Founding of the Communist Party
  • Northern Expedition
  • Chiang Kai-shek & Nationalists
  • April 12, 1927
  • The Long March 

Class 4

  • Nanking (film) 
  • Discussion sheet 

Class 5 

  • WWII
  • Mao Zedong
  • Civil War 1946-1949
  • Korea 

Class 6  Peoples Republic of China (1949-) 

  • Mao’s Rule
  • Taiwan & Chiang Kai-shek 
  • Land Reform
  • First Five Year Plan
  • Tibet 

Class  7 

  • Hundred Flowers Movement
  • Anti-Rightist Movement
  • Great Leap Forward
  • People’s Communes  

Class 8  Cultural Revolution 1966-1976

  • Background of the Cultural Revolution
  • Book discussion
  • The Red Guard
  • Olds/News
  • Cultural Revolution Outcomes
  • Reform Period 

Class 9 

  • Tiananmen Square and the 1980-90’s 
  • Current Issues, Environment, Western Influence, Capitalism 

Class 10 

  • Current Issues, Environment, Western Influence, Capitalism

Class 11

  • Current Issues, Environment, Western Influence, Capitalism 

Class 12 

  • Current Issues, Environment, Western Influence, Capitalism