It’s become an almost tiring cliché to say that China is changing. In the last century alone, the changes have been staggering.
Politically, China has gone from an imperial dynasty, to a republic, to near dissolution, to a “People’s Republic” under the leadership of the Communist Party.
Even in the Communist era, China has undergone staggering changes, from the early and hopeful days of consolidation after the Civil War to the horrific political campaigns of the 50s, 60s and 70s, to the Opening and Reform era that has made China what it is today.
There have been social changes as well. In imperial times, the gulf between the ruler and the ruled was vast, and feudalism kept the peasantry in grinding poverty. Only a tiny minority had access to education, and none of them were women. In the early days of the People’s Republic, the state took over all aspects of the daily life of people. In recent years, however, the state has backed out, allowing levels of personal freedoms not imaginable in the 70s.
One change we often don’t think about however, is the geographical changes that have taken place over China’s more distant history. Chinese people love to talk about China’s “glorious 5000 years of history.” And it is something to be proud of.
But what we often forget is that when we refer to “China,” we are not necessarily talking about a static geographical area. In other words, the map of China has changed. I recently found this great gif that illustrates exactly how the map has changed.
So there you have it, China has always been changing!
Image credit: Wikimedia.
Graphic credit:Pojanji from wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio