China – education
Education in China is a unique blend of classical Chinese tradition, Marxism and modernization. The tradition is ideologically personified in King Fuzi; the Chinese examination system, which was fully developed as early as the 600’s, was thus one of the earliest examples of the acquisition of social position not on the basis of birth, but achievement. Since Mao, the universities have achieved greater opportunities for development through several reforms. The total cost of education in China is high, but seen as a share of GDP, it has fallen from 2.5% in 1980 to 1.9% in 1993. Since 1986, there has been 9 years of compulsory schooling for 7-16 year olds, but compulsory schooling is not fully implemented due to large regional differences.
Illiteracy has been reduced from over 50% of the population in 1949 to approximately 7% (2000). But with a total number of illiterates of just over 85 million. China, after India, is the country in the world with the largest number of illiterates, a fact that the country’s government considers a major blemish to be removed. The regional variations are large, from 4% in Guangxi on the south coast to 32% in Tibet.
The education system includes voluntary kindergartens for 3-6 year olds, the primary school, which usually lasts six years, followed by the secondary schools, divided into a lower and a higher stage, both of three years duration. However, there are also 9-year-old primary schools that offer both primary and lower secondary education in the same school. approximately 90% continue their education in the lower secondary school, and approximately 48% in the various forms of higher secondary school (1995).
Vocational education offered at higher secondary schools, vocational schools and schools for skilled workers is followed as a result of a clear educational policy commitment of 56.8% (1995) of a cohort against approximately 19% in 1980.
Adult education is an important part of Chinese education in the form of literacy programs and special adult schools that offer education at all levels. Higher education is offered at over 1000 universities and colleges (1995). The international academic levels, bachelor, master and doctor, were introduced in 1981. In the institutions there is a significant degree of internal democracy. approximately 2% of the population have a higher education (1995).
ETYMOLOGY: The name China comes via German China and Sanskrit Cīna from Chinese Qin, name of the dynasty that ruled China 221-206 BC.
OFFICIAL NAME: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
CAPITAL CITY: Beijing (Peking)
POPULATION: 1,340,000,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 9,600,000 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Mandarin, other Chinese languages (including wu, yue, hakka), Uyghur, Tibetan, Mongolian, Korean, other
RELIGION: Chinese folk religions 20%, Buddhists 9%, Christians 6%, Muslims 1%, none or unknown 64%
COIN: yuan (yuan)
CURRENCY CODE: CNY (though CNH in Hong Kong)
ENGLISH NAME: China, People’s Republic of China (PRC)
POPULATION COMPOSITION: he 92%, others (zhuang, uygur, hui, yi, miao, tibetans, mongolians, koreans, etc.) 8%
GDP PER residents: 9055 USD (2012)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 72 years, women 76 years (2008)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.699
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 101
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .cn primarily; in addition. 中國 and. 中国
China, the People’s Republic of China, is the Republic of East Asia, the world’s most populous state; the country contains approximately 1/5 of the world’s population. The majority are male (Chinese), but in addition there are over 50 officially recognized ethnic groups. From ancient times, China is divided into provinces that are comparable in size and importance to nations in other parts of the world.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as CH which stands for China.
China is one of the few countries in the world that flourished economically and culturally at an early stage in the history of world civilizations. The country’s historical names, Zhongguo ‘the kingdom in the middle’ and Zhonghua ‘civilization in the middle’, point precisely to the self – understanding of the empire.
Today, China is one of the very few countries that officially professes the communist ideology, and the Communist Party of China continues to rule completely unanimously and without visible competitors. The planned economy system is returning in favor of a market economy and integration into the world economy.
After a very strong growth in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, China is the world’s second largest economy from 2012 according to zhengsourcing.
China (Religion), The oldest Chinese religion
During the Shang Dynasty (c. 1650-c. 1000 BC), the celestial body was represented by Shang Di ‘The Supreme Ruler’, a high god who seems to have arisen in parallel with the idea of the universal kingdom, and who stood at the head for a comprehensive administration of gods for the forces of nature, including rivers and mountains, precipitation and wind, etc. The royal ancestors seem to have resided at a kind of court under Shang Di, and they thus had the opportunity to intercede for their descendants before the god. They apparently also possessed independent power to either harm or bring blessing on their descendants, and much of the many sacrifices in the aristocratic religion were addressed to the ancestors.
An important means of communication with gods and ancestors was oracle taking using turtle shields and shoulder blades from oxen. By drilling certain places on them and heating them with embers, it was achieved that the material cracked, and the crackles that occurred were interpreted as messages from the gods, ie. as a kind of writing. Both the question and the interpretation of the answer were engraved in the oracle legs as plain text with the characters of that time. A large number of them are preserved in royal archives, which have been excavated in the 1900’s. Check youremailverifier for China social condition facts.
The traditional Chinese religion
From the oracle texts as well as from inscriptions on ritual sacrificial vessels one can deduce a part about the religion of the Shangelite. It appears that the gods were consulted in all important decisions, and their help was sought for the healing of diseases, dream interpretation, and other problems. A number of questions concerned the proper timing of sacrifices and the content of the sacrificial acts. During Shang, both animals and grain were sacrificed and also humans, such as prisoners of war or slaves and sometimes shamans.
Shamans or ‘spirit media’, wu, seem to have played an important role during Shang. By going into a trance, they could identify with certain deities and thus convey messages from the gods, but it is unclear how high their status was and to what extent the kingdom as such should be seen as associated with a kind of shaman function. As can be seen from descriptions in texts from the end of the Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000-255 BC), the shamans at that time had a subordinate position in the hierarchy. They seem to have constituted a loosely delimited group formed on the basis of personal talent rather than inherited rank. However, it is clear from the texts that the local religion in southern Chustat was particularly marked by shamanism. This is also confirmed by the anthologyChu Ci ‘The Songs of Chu’, which contains a series of hymns that have been used in ecstatic rituals of a shamanic nature and with a clear erotic touch, eg in the form of sacred intercourse between priestesses and the god. It is a popular layer of religion, which seems closely related to forms that have survived up to the present day in the cults of the folk religion, especially in southern China, where shentong ‘divine youth’, ie. media for local deities, has played an important role as an expression of the presence of the gods among the believers during religious festivals.
A functionally similar role was played in the aristocratic ancestral worship from the beginning of Zhou by a ‘substitute’, shi (egl. ‘Corpse’), i.e. a younger descendant of an ancestor who received sacrifices on his behalf and shared them with the others present in a ritual meal. Like the media, wu, which was not part of the ancestral cult, the deputies were ruled by a type of religious specialist who was called zhu ‘sorcerers’, and who in the hierarchy of officials seems to have stood a step above the media. Unlike the media, however, according to all descriptions, the behavior of the deputy was characterized by measured and formal behavior, and it does not appear to have been associated with any kind of trance or ecstatic identification with the ancestor.
In parallel with ancestral worship, the early Zhou kings placed great emphasis on the cult of heaven. The concept of Heaven, Tian, stands for both the physical firmament and a supreme deity similar to the former Shang Di as well as for an overarching moral principle which in the Zhou people’s ideology sanctioned the correct patterns of human behavior, viz. the right ‘way’ dao, and their own access to power. A central concept in early Zhou texts is thus the mandate of Tianming ‘ Heaven’, i.e. the idea of a legitimation of governmental power based on the moral qualities of the ruler. The concept played an important role in justifying the Zhou people’s takeover of power, which was allegedly necessitated by the negligence and moral depravity of the last Shangkongers. The idea, however, has been governing in Chinese political ideology ever since, and in imperial times, the earthly ruler was often titled Tian Zi ‘Son of Heaven’.
A detailed system of the imperial cult was established after the unification of the kingdom during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and expanded during the subsequent Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). The emperor thus came to stand as the exclusive link to the overarching cosmic powers with a monopoly on performing the sacrifices to Heaven, ie. to the five heavenly rulers, Wudi, who corresponded to the four corners of the world plus the center, as well as the sacrifices to Earth represented by Houtu, in resp. the southern and northern suburbs.
At a more subordinate level, local officials were made responsible for sacrifices to the local territorial gods, primarily sacrifices on the land and millet altars, sheji, in a cult dating back to the earliest times. The cult was associated both with the idea of the fertility of the earth and with the magical influence of central sanctuaries. The altar of a territory, she, was a symbol of the identity of society and was represented by, for example, an elevation of earth or stone in the center of a settlement usually with an old tree, as one finds it next to village temples to this day for the most part of China.
In recent times, a territory is also represented by more clearly personified gods, who are worshiped in local temples. There are, for example, the god of city walls and moats, Chenghuang, who has an entire district, and Tudi gong ‘The Lord of the Rings’, who is assigned to smaller units, such as villages. Both are associated with the administration of the underworld in the eastern holy mountain, Taishan, from which the souls of the deceased emanate from the world according to performances going back to Him, and both have the moral oversight of the residents of their territory. According to traditional Chinese belief, a deceased person can only be transferred to the realm of the dead in his own homeland after the death has been reported to the local Tudi gong, and so much the more important it is for a Chinese to die in his hometown and avoid ending up as a wanderer. ghost.
Chinese notions of the soul calculate both with more spiritual female souls and with more sensuous or bodily po souls in each individual human being, and the hope of an afterlife is especially linked to the first type, while the po soul is believed to follow the body in the grave with risk of demonization, becoming devils, gui, and haunting the bereaved.
The emperor’s special role was made explicit in Orthodox Confucian philosophy, represented especially by Dong Zhongshu (approximately 179-104 BC). In him one encounters an unfolding of Chinese cosmology, according to which the Universe, human society and the individual human body are arranged in parallel structures, which function in close harmony and harmony with each other. The system was associated with forms of astrology and political warning, such as comets or reports of observations of fabulous animals. The warnings were interpreted as positive or negative comments on events in society or in the ruler’s way of life, and in the hands of the officials the system thus had, to a certain extent, the effect of balancing and counterbalancing the emperor’s otherwise totalitarian power. The handed down elements of a common Chinese mythology are usually fitted into or direct reflections of this cosmological system. Two of the earliest mythological rulers, Fu Xi and Nü Gua, who must have created a number of basic elements of human civilization and, for example, instituted marriage, are thus depicted in tomb reliefs from Han as two figures with lower bodies of entangled snakes and with emblems clearly identifies them as symbols of resp.yang and yin. Another original independent deity Huangdi ‘ The Yellow Emperor ‘ is part of the system of ‘five emperors’, Wu Di, as the emperor of the center, whose color is yellow corresponding to the element earth.
According to traditional Chinese historiography, the five emperors were succeeded by Yao and Shun, and the latter left the reign to Da Yu ‘The Great Yu’, the founder of the mythological Xiadynasti. Yu is primarily known for having created order in the world after the great flood or deluge and for having accomplished this feat by wandering through the world in the special trailing gait known as Yubu ‘Yu’s steps’. Yu must have been paralyzed on one side because of the great efforts he made when he divided China into nine provinces according to the nine heavenly regions. Yu’s gait is the mythical model for shamans and Daoist priests,
The flood itself is in a number of myths among China’s southern fringes associated with the union of Fu Xi and Nü Gua, who are here perceived as a sibling couple who as the only ones survived the flood and entered into an incestuous connection to recreate humanity. The Chinese creation myths typically have the character of such an establishment of order out of chaos, also understood as a cosmic entity, a thought which is further reflected in the relatively late written myth of the giant Pangu, according to which the world originated from Pangu’s body. His eyes became the Sun and the Moon, his hair the vegetation, etc. The same myth is found in religious Daoism, here applied to Taishang Laojun, the cosmic version of Lao Zi, and it clearly stands for the mysterious coincidence between the human body and the Universe, a coincidence that can be actualized by ritual and meditative methods.
A further expression of the creative and political unity is the god Taiyi ‘The Great Unity’, introduced into the imperial cult under Emperor Wu Di, who reigned 140-86 BC, and associated with the concept of the ‘original spirit’ yuanqi, a universal life force believed to flow from the god’s residence in the star Kochab and move through the Universe according to the numbers in the magic square Luo Shu or along the stars in the Chariot. In Chinese religion, the Chariot of Carriage has, right up to the present day, been considered a cosmic powerhouse that houses an agency of gods of destiny, which registers and governs the life course of all human beings. The concept of Taiyi’s movement along the mentioned patterns constitutes a central model for a number of divination techniques, based on calculation based on the time of birth, etc. It also forms the model for the construction of the sacred area in Daoist rituals as well as for the movement of the priest in this area, and the god Taiyi stands here both for a kind of ecstatic experience of ritual unity and for the true self of the Daoist.
The so-called religious Daoism arose towards the end of the 100-t. in the form of a series of popular movements. The most important of them was the Zhengyi doctrine ‘The Doctrine of the Correct Unity’, which controlled large parts of western China and laid down the basic elements of the ritual traditions that have been carried on by a Daoist clergy right up to the present day. Typical elements were from the beginning healing by means of confession and exorcism, based on talismans, fu, and the issuance of internal registers of protective deities that were thought to reside in the body of the individual human being and were perceived as gradually more and more extensive structurations of the inner life force, qi, in step with continuous initiations. In addition, a moral system, based on the teachings ofDao De Jing and on a variety of physiological-meditative methods of achieving immortality. Precisely this striving to transform into an immortal, xian, has been, so to speak, the hallmark of Daoism. It was based, for example, on alchemy as well as on breathing and sexual techniques and was further developed within monastic traditions, the most important of which in recent times has been the ‘tradition of perfect realization’, the Quanzhen tradition, which originated in northern China in the 1100’s. The collective liturgy was codified during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), where Daoism gained great influence over imperial power, and Dao De Jingwas made part of the curriculum at the imperial official examination. Since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Daoist ritual tradition has been particularly important in connection with the local cults of the folk religion, where the connection to the basic god of protection in the individual community is established through a comprehensive jiao ‘sacrifice’ ceremony, conducted by Daoist priests. Added to this was the development of a Daoist liturgy for individual burials, partly based on Buddhism, as well as the introduction of the Daoist Jade Emperor, Yu Huang, as the supreme deity in the pantheon of folk religion.
An alternative path to salvation was introduced in China from the middle of the 1st century AD, when Central Asian merchants brought Buddhism to China. A large number of the central Mahayana sutras were translated by missionaries over the following centuries and prevalent especially in southern China. Characteristic of Buddhism in China has been a high degree of adaptation to Chinese mentality and worldview and emphasis on the elements that were consistent with Chinese cosmology. Chinese Buddhism has thus placed great emphasis on the idea of the inherent Buddha nature in all beings as well as the positive notion of the emergence of the world out of a creative emptiness, xu (sunyata), rather than on the original, more epistemological content of this concept.
Furthermore, the most important Chinese innovation, Chan Buddhism, which from the beginning was inspired by Daoism, with its strong emphasis on meditation and sudden enlightenment, can be seen as a Chinese practice-oriented attitude to the question of salvation.
Buddhism was in the first centuries of Tang dominated by scholastic traditions as represented by Tiantai and Huayan, who further developed the doctrines and communicated them in systematizing scriptures. By donations and favoritism by the imperial power, the economic power of the monasteries became so great that it provoked a backlash of both a political and philosophical nature, and during the great persecutions under Emperor Wuzong 843-845 a total of 4,600 monasteries were confiscated, and 260,500 monks and nuns forced back into the calf position.
Buddhism in China never fully recovered after this battle, but is primarily carried on in the more locally based and self-sufficient chan monasteries as well as in the greatly simplified Jingtu ‘Pure Land’ tradition, the hallmark of which is the recitation of Ambitabha Buddha’s name for the purpose of rebirth in his western paradise. Jingtu has survived as an element in the Chan monastery tradition and in forms of lay Buddhism such as the popular White Lotus movements that have played an important role in China’s political history since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), as a starting point for peasant uprisings.
Buddhism has contributed many elements to the common Chinese religion, such as concepts of karma and retaliation and of the structure and function of hell in relation to the rebirth of the dead in the world or transfer to heaven. A number of bodhisattvas are included as figures in the cults of folk religion, such as Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara), who has the status of both a goddess of childbirth and a saving deity who hears the cries of needy souls for help and comes to their rescue.
Neocongfusianism from the Song Dynasty to the present day received some inspiration from both Daoism and Buddhism, as it sought a foundation for the moral and social norms of a coherent metaphysics. The idea of inner cultivation and cultivation of holiness now became important based on the notion of human nature as conforming to the cosmos and the consequent possibility of seeking intuitive knowledge of the right norms and the true being of all things within one’s own interior. In relation to the general population, however, Confucianism has in recent times been particularly important as an educating factor partly as a mediator of the basic moral concepts, partly in connection with the spread of upper-class life forms, including ancestral cult and clan structures, in addition to rituals for weddings and funerals, e.g. inJiali ‘Family Rituals’ by Zhu Xi (1130-1200).
In addition to Buddhism, a number of other foreign religions have been introduced into China over the years. This applies, for example, to Nestorian Christianity (see Nestorian stone) and Manichaeism, both of which are documented in the metropolitan area under Tang. Manichaeism survived in a pocket in the province of Fujian and was helped to make its mark on the rebel movements that led to the formation of the Ming Dynasty. Islam was brought by immigrant populations especially under the Yuan, and it is perpetuated to this day by the descendants of these groups, i.e. the Hui minority in various parts of China, as well as as the dominant religion of the Uyghur people in northwestern China.
Religion in China today
Christianity, like the other religions of today in China, despite rapid obstacles or even persecution by the authorities, is in rapid development. In this context, it plays a role that the current Chinese leadership in order to allow religious activities condition that they contribute positively to the so-called socialist structure, and that the authorities therefore seek extensive influence on the various religious organizations and want to influence the very definition of the content of these religions and their activities. The result for Christianity is that in addition to the traditional division into faiths, there are now both governmental and alternative organizations to represent more of these, and statistics on the number of followers vary. In 2007, the two official churches were assessed, the Protestant and the Catholic, to have approximately 16 mio. members. In addition, there are a number of “unofficial” Christians, many of whom are uncertain.
It is also difficult, for other, more objective reasons, to determine the number of adherents of the forms of Daoism which include the periodic involvement of entire local populations, as these are not individually registered as members. Something similar applies to the ritual Buddhism, which is practiced by monks who, for example, are called to perform funeral rites, without it necessarily implying that the families in question have a permanent affiliation with Buddhism. Judging by the increasing use of such religious specialists in the People’s Republic of China as well as by the very extensive involvement of local and foreign Chinese sponsors in temple construction, the traditional religions constitute a very significant factor in Chinese society.
China – constitution and political system
China’s current constitution is from 1982 with amendments from 1993, 1999 and 2004. The first 56 paragraphs out of a total of 138 present the ideological basic principles of the country’s government and provide moral admonitions in the economic, social and cultural fields. The People’s Republic of China is declared a socialist state under the democratic dictatorship of the people, led by the working class.
The People’s Republic is based on an alliance between workers and peasants and on democratic centralism. The means of production are owned by the public sector, and at the same time it is emphasized that the state practices a socialist market economy. The state must promote the building of a “socialist spiritual civilization.” In 1999, the Constitution was amended with a formal approval of the concept of private property.
The leading role of the Communist Party is mentioned several times in the preamble of the Constitution. The party is not mentioned in the Constitution, but it is with it, represented by the Secretary-General, that the real power lies, and the following must be read in the light of this. At all state levels, the party exists in parallel as a superior body.
Legislative power lies with the National People’s Congress, which is described as the highest body of state power. The members, 2937 in 2007, are elected indirectly for five years by provincial people’s congresses, which in turn are elected by local people’s congresses. Several candidates can be nominated for the elections in the local people’s congresses, and the elections are ordinary and direct. Members of the National People’s Congress may be revoked by their constituencies.
The task of the Congress is to elect the President of the country for a five-year term with the possibility of re-election once. The post is of a purely ceremonial nature and has been vacant for periods. Congress also elects Vice-Presidents, Prime Ministers at the suggestion of the President and Ministers, as well as occupying other high government posts at the suggestion of the Prime Minister.
Congress may also deprive the above of their posts. It elects the leadership of the Central Military Commission, the Supreme Court of the People and the Attorney General. The National People’s Congress may amend the Constitution, examine and approve the plans for economic and social development, and its members may submit bills within the powers of Congress.
The National People’s Congress meets only once a year for one to two weeks, but can then change or cancel decisions made by the Standing Committee, which represents the Congress and performs its tasks for the rest of the year. This committee or a request from the 1/5 of Congressional members can cause the Congress convened extraordinary.
The Committee is elected by Congress by secret ballot on the basis of constituencies; it has (2007) approximately 150 members and is chaired by a chairman, assisted by 15 vice-chairmen and a secretary-general. The Standing Committee has the same right as the Congress to table bills.
The executive power is formally vested in the Prime Minister and the Government, the so-called Council of State, but, as previously mentioned, in the realm of the leadership of the Communist Party. The government includes the Prime Minister, the Heads of State Commission, the Advocate General, the Secretary-General of the Standing Committee and the Governor of the National Bank of China. The Government is accountable to and reports to Congress or to the Standing Committee when Congress is not in session.
China (Constitution and political system – Contradictions)
Although the official political life of China is often referred to and referred to in the Constitution, the country cannot be called a constitutional society. First, the preamble’s mention of “Communist Party leadership” and “People’s Democratic dictatorship” casts a shadow of uncertainty over the formal definition of state organs: How can the People’s Congress be “the supreme state body” when the Communist Party is already defined as “leading “? Secondly, the Constitution lacks institutions and procedures that interpret and protect it; there is no constitutional court, no constitutional division of power and no independent courts. In practice, the Constitution must be described as a mixture of declarations of intent and painting of beauty.
China – economy
From the early 1950’s to the late 1970’s, China was a highly centralized planned economy, but after Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978, a gradual reform of the economic system began towards a so-called socialist market economy.
The reform policy was manifested at the 15th Congress of the Communist Party in 1997, and Deng’s market economy theories and the acceptance of the concept of private property were enshrined in China’s constitution.
Economic policy during Deng’s reign was dominated by measures to promote the growth of society through the opening of the economy abroad, while at the same time the state’s control over economic activity was constantly reduced. The reforms were initiated in agriculture and from 1984 were continued in industry.
In 1995, the government announced that the financial sector would also start operating on market terms. As a precursor to this, the multiple exchange rate system had been abolished in 1993, so that since then only one exchange rate has applied to the currency, the renminbi, which in 2005 was revalued against the dollar and at the same time tied to a currency basket.
The reform of the economy has been very controlled, and still dominates the state-owned enterprises, just as the vast majority of the workforce is employed in the state sector. While new companies are sprouting up in the private sector, China has not started an actual privatization program, which due to the fear of mass unemployment if the unprofitable state-owned enterprises were to compete on market terms.
Although economic growth has been around 10% a year on average in the 1990’s and since, there is a surplus of labor in the big cities due to a massive migration from country to city, which seems like a ticking bomb under the politically autocratic leadership.
The extensive subsidization of state-owned companies has resulted in an almost chronic deficit in public budgets, and this has been a contributing factor to the economy showing signs of overheating at times, e.g. in the early 1990’s, when inflation rose from just over 6% in 1992 to approximately 25% in 1994.
However, a tightening of economic policy in the form of rising interest rates, public spending savings and direct price controls quickly dampened developments. In 1994, the government also implemented a tax reform, which included progressive income taxes of up to 45%, a reduction in corporation tax for state-owned enterprises and efforts to make tax collection more efficient, eg tax evasion can lead to the death penalty.
With the exception of 1993, China has had a balance of payments surplus since 1990. However, any deficits could be financed through foreign investments, which China has successfully acquired for the huge market, e.g. through particularly favorable conditions of establishment and taxation. In 2002, foreign direct investment amounted to DKK 53 billion. dollars.
During the ninth (1996-2000) and tenth five-year plans (2001-05), China’s economy continued to have a high growth rate in a global context: an average annual GDP growth of resp. 8.3% and 9.5%. In 2004, China’s first economic census ended, according to which China’s GDP for 2004 had to be adjusted upwards by 16.8%. In particular, the tertiary sector was undervalued, with its share of GDP upward by 8.8 percentage points, from 31.9% to 40.7%.
Thus, China’s total GDP in 2004 exceeded Italy’s and placed in a global sixth place. In 2005, China also surpassed France and England, becoming the world’s fourth largest economy after the United States, Japan and Germany. According to World Bank calculations, in 2003 China had a GDP per capita. population of 1100 dollars and thus placed in a place as No. 134 among the countries of the world.
The economic structure continues to change towards a declining contribution to GDP from the primary sector (agriculture, fisheries, forestry) and an increasing contribution from the secondary (industry, construction) and tertiary sectors (services). The contribution of the three business groups to GDP in 2004 amounted to resp. 13%, 46% and 41%. The three same occupational groups’ share of the total employment of resp. 47%, 22% and 31% emphasize that agriculture is very unproductive.
China’s growth is very unevenly distributed regionally. Growth is fastest in the east coast provinces, where the majority of foreign investment takes place and exports to the world market are greatest, ie. where integration into the world economy is at the forefront.
In Guangdong, two of the four special economic zones, established in 1979 with the aim of testing the market economic reforms; in 1989, another economic zone was created. The economies of these regions are exempt from state control, and much of the foreign economic activity takes place here. On the other hand, NE China, with its old heavy industrial bases and the generally backward NW and SW China, is lagging behind.
The difference between China’s richest and poorest province, respectively. Shanghai on the east coast and Guizhou in SW China, measured as GDP per capita. per capita was increased by a factor of 13 in 2004. The old state-owned heavy industry companies in the traditional planned economy are in crisis due to backward technology, unused capacity, financial losses, lack of wage and pension payments and redundancies.
The large flagships of the planned economy with their wealth of institutions (nurseries, kindergartens, schools, clinics, cultural centers, shops, service companies and homes) cannot cope on market economy terms, but must cut away all the unprofitable. Therefore, unemployment and workers’ unrest are most prevalent in NE China, for example in Shenyang in Liaoning Province.
For the Chinese government, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was an important event that the United States had delayed for some years, citing the country’s human rights situation.
Membership is a huge challenge for the Chinese economy. The reduced tariffs mean that companies need to greatly improve their competitiveness. The result is redundancies in a number of heavy industrial sectors, such as metal smelting, the machinery industry and the automotive industry.
The new joint venture companies on the east coast are also increasingly facing competition, such as Volkswagen’s large car factory in Shanghai. The textile and clothing industry, on the other hand, has improved its competitive conditions and achieved an explosive export on the world market as the protected markets in the West are made more accessible to Chinese products.
Agriculture, especially in the traditional grain-producing provinces of central and northeastern China, has also come under strong pressure, with cheaper foreign wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and wool, particularly from the United States and Australia, becoming available in China.
The employment problem will be one of the biggest tasks to be solved within the framework of the eleventh five-year plan 2006-10 adopted in March 2006. The influx of new labor, partly from rural areas, partly young and partly made redundant, will be record high.
In advance, the total unemployment is incl. underemployment estimated at 20% (2003), with a large group living as unpaid day laborers or seasonal workers in the cities. According to the planning document in the period 2006-10, DKK 45 million will be created here. jobs, while the same number of farmers must be trained for industrial work and transferred to the cities.
State-owned enterprises must continue to be restructured. Through economies of scale, a few large companies and corporate groups must be able to participate in global competition. For example, the state-owned onshore oil sector has been restructured into two large independent, fully integrated oil companies, CNPC and SINOPEC, both of which have companies at all stages of the production and distribution chain; the two have a basis in oil deposits in resp. northern and southern China and in parallel invest large sums in foreign oil sources and pipelines and acquire and enter into joint ventures with foreign oil companies.
China’s third major oil company, CNOOC, which specializes in offshore oil production, is also participating in the global race. In 2006, the company entered into an agreement with foreign oil companies for the extraction of oil from fields off the northwest coast of Australia.
With the adoption of the tenth and eleventh five-year plans, it was seriously established that China has left the planned economy. Planning goals are replaced by macroeconomic framework management, while the market must play the main role in terms of society’s resource distribution. The state must play the overall adjusting role when it comes to developments between the various economic sectors, between different regions and between city and country.
The eleventh five-year plan includes two overall, very ambitious quantitative targets for the period 2006-10: a doubling of GDP per capita in 2010 compared to 2000 and a reduction in energy intensity (the amount of energy used for some societal production) by 20% in 2010 compared to 2005. An increased growth in farmers’ incomes and the development of the backward West China in the form of the strategy The great development of the Western Region, “Xifu da kaifang”, is made a priority.
In particular, the launch of four major infrastructure projects, all of which have begun. The two of the projects are energy projects. Electricity must be carried from west to east, especially from new giant hydroelectric power plants on the upper Lancang Jiang and Chang Jiang rivers in southwest China to Guangdong province in the east and from coal-fired power plants in Shanxi and Inner Mongolia to Beijing, Tianjin and Shandong in the east. In addition, a 4,200 km long gas pipeline will carry natural gas from the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang in northwestern China to Shanghai in eastern China.
The third project is the construction of the world’s highest railway on the Tibetan plateau from Golmud in Qinghai Province to Lhasa in Tibet, a total length of 1142 km, of which 960 km is at an altitude of over 4000 m; the railway was opened in 2006, and Tibet was the last province to be integrated with the rest of China by rail.
The fourth project reflects the skewed distribution of water resources in China. China’s hydropower resources are very modest, compared to the size of the population and compared to most other countries. The water resources north and south of Chang Jiang are at resp. 747 m 3 and 3480 m 3 per. residents, so that North China suffers from a dangerous water shortage, especially in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province. The solution aims to divert water from Chang Jiang to northern China along three routes. The first stage of the middle route should be completed in 2010.
China must also tackle a wide range of other ecological issues. Desertification in northwestern and northern China and associated dust and sandstorms, which are a nuisance in Beijing, must be stopped through tree planting and the conversion of marginal agricultural land into pastures.
Tree felling on the eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau must be stopped and replaced with conservation forestry to put an end to erosion in the river’s source areas and thus increase the risk of flooding in Chang Jiang’s middle and lower reaches.
China’s reform economy has created major changes in the social structure and growing disparities in the distribution of income and property. In the late 1990’s, the 20% richest families owned 48% of the value of private property, while the 20% poorest families owned only 4%; this inequality is large by both European and Asian standards.
The new high-income groups include executives of private companies, executives of foreign companies, stock market speculators, athletes, actors, economists and university professors. Roads to wealth in the transition from planned to market economy are gone through the acquisition of real estate, the dual price system, interest rate differentials, stock trading and IT acquisition.
Among the new poor groups are, first and foremost, the laid-off workers from loss-making state-owned enterprises. Income disparities in rural areas are also growing. In 2005, China still had DKK 24 million. farmers living below an official absolute poverty line of 683 yuan per population in annual net income. This corresponds to 3% of the rural population.
It is a very long-term task to solve the chronic poverty in the backward mountain areas with harsh natural conditions in western China. The most immediate solution is planned migration to more favorably equipped areas. A new group of poor people has emerged in rural areas with growth, especially among families who, for various reasons, cannot create the necessary market-based income, eg due to a large dependency burden or lack of able-bodied family members.
A new official poverty line of 944 yuan (“low-income population”), which is closer to the World Bank’s poverty line of $ 1 per capita. capita pr. day, means that the size of the poor rural population will be just over 64 million, which corresponds to 7% of the rural population. In cities, poverty is on the rise: 6-8% of the resident urban population is estimated to have an income below a certain minimum, which varies from city to city.
The group of rich capitalists remains small, but growing rapidly. Their growing importance is evident from former Secretary-General Jiang Zemin’s speech on the 80th anniversary of the founding of China’s Communist Party in 2001. Capitalists can be admitted as party members on the grounds that “they also work to build socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
China has a large trade surplus, in 2005 120 billion. dollars. The main trading partners are the United States, Japan, Hong Kong (which in trade statistics acts as an independent country) and South Korea. Foreign companies based in Hong Kong (from 1.7.1997 part of China), Taiwan and the USA account for an increasing share of trade.
Denmark’s exports to China in 2005 amounted to DKK 6.4 billion. DKK, while imports from there were 21.7 billion, which made China Denmark’s fifth largest supplier.
China – social conditions
Since 1979, Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms have brought about major social changes in China. The Iron Rice Bowl – the social contract that meant that the state took care of and ruled over the individual from cradle to grave – has been gradually abolished.
The large state-owned companies function to a lesser extent as a social safety net for the employees, and the possibility has been opened up to dismiss the former lifelong employees, just as people can be employed for shorter periods.
In addition, the government has sought to reduce the financial burdens of state-owned enterprises by, among other things, to allow employees to pay an ever-increasing share of the costs of unemployment insurance, health care and pensions. This type of user payment is expected to increase in the coming years, as China seeks to build a social system that will be able to meet market economy requirements.
Reforms of state-owned enterprises have increased urban unemployment and led to social unrest and widespread protests from dissatisfied workers who continue to be barred from organizing into independent unions.
In the rural areas where the majority of China’s population lives, the dissolution of the people’s municipalities has meant that the individual household, ie. the family, again, is the basic unit that must take care of the individual. In contrast to the cities, there are no forms of social safety net, and health care is therefore user-paid and a heavy financial burden for the poorest part of the population.
Up to 150 million are thought to be unemployed or underemployed in the countryside, which combined with the growing inequality between the regions has gained about 100 million. farmers to leave their homelands and seek refuge in the big cities, where they live completely without social rights.
The flight from country to city will continue, and the biggest challenge for the Chinese government in the coming years will be to even out the major regional inequalities and build a social safety net that can reduce social tensions in society.
China (Health Conditions)
China (Health Conditions), life expectancy was 74.5 years for women and 70.9 years for men in 2007. In 1960, it was estimated at 43 years combined for the two sexes. Infant mortality has dropped from 69 per 1,000 live births in the 1970’s to 31 in the 1990’s. However, it is more than twice as high in poor regions. The annual population growth in the decade 1991-2000 is estimated at 1.3% against 1.8% in the period 1971-80.
Measles, rubella, diphtheria and polio have now almost been eradicated after successful vaccination campaigns. approximately 10% of the population are carriers of hepatitis B, which is combated with vaccination of infants, treatment of blood products and better hygiene in health care. The last two measures will also reduce the frequency of the similarly blood-borne hepatitis C, which is found in a large proportion of blood donors.
Tuberculosis remains a major health problem; in 1990, 360,000 of them died, and the frequency was 134 cases per. 100,000. The World Bank and the WHO have therefore since 1990 supported a project to combat tuberculosis comprising 550 million. Chinese.
STDs were taboo until the first recognized cases of AIDS in 1985. In 1994, gonorrhea was the third most common infectious disease and the incidence of chlamydia infections is increasing. In 2000, the government accepted that AIDS was a serious health problem in China. It was stated that 850,000 had the disease, but international organizations estimate that it is about approximately 1.5 million In poor parts of China, HIV infection has spread, e.g. by paid blood donors having been infected through the use of sterile needles. HIV-infected blood products have then passed on HIV infection.
Fighting infectious diseases as well as increasing prosperity and life expectancy have meant that civilizational diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes (diabetes mellitus) have come to play an increasing role as causes of illness and death. Diseases caused by malnutrition are controlled with the addition of eg iodine and B 1vitamin for food. For example, the proportion of overweight children under the age of 15 has increased from 15% in 1982 to 27% in 2000. For diabetics, this has been a worrying development. In 1980, it was estimated that 10 mill. had the disease, while in 2002 the number is estimated at 30 million. A similar number are estimated to have precursors to diabetes. In 1997, a study in several parts of the country showed that 3.6% of all Chinese aged 20-74 had the disease. The prevalence in Beijing was 6%, while in 2002 it is estimated to be even higher in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Medicine is divided into traditional Chinese and Western medicine, but gradually traditional forms of treatment, both acupuncture and drugs, are widely used in conjunction with Western treatment.
The central government sets out the general guidelines for health care, certain preventive measures and medical education. The operation of hospitals, etc. is due to the lower levels of administration; the military and large state-owned enterprises, such as the railways, have their own healthcare system. Almost everywhere in the healthcare system, patients themselves have to pay a significant share, which is why health insurance companies are shooting up. At the same time, there are more and more private hospitals and clinics. In 1990, China spent 3.5% of GDP on health care; of which 2.1% were public funds. In 1993, China had 9.4 doctors and 6 nurses per 10,000 residents as well as a number of further trained health workers (see barefoot doctors). Around 1990, the capacity of the hospital system was 25 beds per. 10,000 residents
China – legal system
In imperial China, legal rules played a minor role. There was legislation in the field of criminal law and administration, but none to regulate conflicts between citizens. Here the conflicts were resolved by negotiation and conciliation in accordance with the teachings of King Fuzi; the norms of conduct which were important for the maintenance of social order were called li (see the Far Eastern legal family). After China became a republic in 1912, a civil law was introduced following the German and Swiss pattern; however, this legislation was completely repealed when the communists came to power in 1949. At the beginning of Mao’s rule, new legislation was put in place, but the legislative work gradually came to a halt, and duringThe Cultural Revolution was completely quiet, ie. the government did not seek to implement the ideas of the Cultural Revolution by means of laws, and in 1966-76 there was no real justice. Lawyers were considered enemies of the state and persecuted by the regime.
After Mao’s death in 1976, a completely new view of the court was taken under Deng Xiaoping. The judicial machinery resumed, a law school was re-established, and the legislature resumed, the laws being arranged after the incipient privatization of business. Most of the procedural law has gradually been codified, and there is even a bankruptcy law. In 1987 came a new law book containing the basic principles of Civil Law, in power. In 156 articles, it regulates at a general level the relationship between citizens who are equal. More detailed rules can be found in other laws, including the Contracts Act of 1999, which in principle applies to all contracts, including consumer contracts and foreign trade contracts. This and several other laws in the field of private law are strongly influenced by continental European law, especially German law. To replace this and other legislation, there has long been work on a civil law book, which must also contain rules on property rights, including the farmers’ takeover of agricultural land, which has most recently been regulated in a law of 2002. The land remains collectively owned, but it individual peasant families have the right to use the land by renting it from the collective, usually for a period of 30 years. It is probably the plan to maintain this system.
In keeping with ancient tradition, the state still encourages citizens to resolve their conflicts through negotiation and conciliation. A large number of conciliation and arbitration tribunals have thus been set up, and the courts are encouraged to refer citizens to them or to mediate for conciliation themselves.
Corruption in the administration and in the courts is one of China’s biggest problems. On the other hand, the authorities today place great emphasis on the law of society. Older Chinese still refer to the laws with a mild irony, but many law students and younger lawyers are animated by a selfless enthusiasm for law school and fight with great zeal for law and justice. From the beginning of 2000-t. the growing number of trained and highly qualified lawyers has helped to heighten the legal debate; many of the lawyers involved in the legislative work have studied in Europe and good legal literature is published. Far more judgments are also being published than before, and private citizens are using the courts more than before, also to sue authorities, which, however, is still a sailing in strong headwinds.the rule of law in China.
The Constitution states that China is a state governed by the rule of law. If a state governed by the rule of law is understood to be a society based on fixed rules of law, applied consistently and regularly by authorities and courts, and where there are bodies that effectively control the administration, the courts and the major players in business, China is not yet a state governed by the rule of law.
The peacekeeping force of the armed forces is (2006) at 2,255,000. The strategic missile forces are just over 100,000. The People’s Liberation Army is 1,600,000, half of whom are conscripts with two years of service. The fleet is 255,000, of which 40,000 are conscripts. The Air Force is at 400,000, of which 150,000 are conscripts. The reserve is approximately 800,000. It includes approximately 2,500,000 in various types of internal security forces.
The Chinese arms industry can, in principle, supply all the equipment that the Armed Forces will need, but it has not been possible to keep up with the pace of modernization abroad. Therefore, weapons are still being bought and technology is being transferred from the West and Russia. The nuclear weapons force, whose main element remains the land-based missiles, is equipped with Chinese-made equipment.
The main force in the army consists of “group armies” with a force from 30,000 to 65,000 soldiers. Unlike the army corps of most other great powers, these armies contain many lightly equipped divisions. Much material is still of older date. A small part of the divisions, including the airborne and sealand divisions, are prepared to act as a rapid reaction force.
The People’s Liberation Army Fleet is being built and modernized. This must be seen in the context of the country’s economic growth and with the desire for a stronger foreign policy profile of great power. The navy and navy are thus necessary instruments when China wants to mark its interests in the South China Sea. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China bought the half-finished aircraft carrier Varjag from Ukraine in 1998 and towed it to China. Since 2005, the hull has been in dry dock and before long, China can take its first aircraft carrier under the name Shi Lang into use. China has bought 50 Sukhoj Su-33 aircraft from Russia for Shi Langand its successors.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force is now the world’s numerically largest, but it is a traditional air force, ie. that it is not balanced compounded for modern air operations. Like the other defenses, the air force is predominantly equipped with Chinese-built equipment and still lacks the special aircraft units as well as the technical level and command structure needed today for a first-class air force. Most of the resources are used in the air force, including both the fighter aircraft units and the very large air defense.
China – mass media
China has never been an information society. The state in this or that form has almost always sat firmly on the information apparatus. Until the Communists took power in 1949, reading was reserved for a narrowly educated elite. Rumors and stories were conveyed by the storytellers of the tea houses.
But China’s leaders have pretty much always been able to communicate massively in the jungle telegraphic sense. Important announcements about, for example, the emperor’s death were brought out with astonishing haste by couriers and passed on in the local communities, a system that was skilfully whitewashed by the communist rulers of the new China.
Dissemination was (and is) thus, when one disregards the interwar years and five days during the uprising in May 1989, reserved for those in power. As early as 798, students at the Imperial University were punished for “incorrect political criticism” by the authorities, such as critics still being punished in the early 21st century.
Newspapers as we know them emerged in the mid-1800’s, in Shanghai, where Shen Bao (‘Shanghai Newspaper’) was first published in 1872. The interwar years nurtured a prolific press environment, still mostly in Shanghai, with newspapers in several languages, women’s magazines, daring men’s magazines, art magazines and satirical political comics.
With the victory of the Communists in 1949, the picture turned abruptly. The previous decade’s communist underground newspapers and publications were promoted to states such as the Xinhua News Agency (‘New China’), the rest were nationalized or banned. Shen Bao was nationalized and renamed Jie Fang Ri Bao (‘Liberation Daily’), which has a circulation of 1 million.
The Chinese Communist Party’s nationwide newspaper, Folkets Dagblad, has a circulation of 2.15 million. (2001), and the newspaper in China’s most populous province, Sichuan Dagblad, is published in 8 million. copies daily (2001). In 2006, there are 2200 newspapers with a total circulation of approximately 50 mio. and over 7000 journals in China with a total circulation of approximately 138 million, all under the control of the Communist Party. China’s most popular newspaper is Cankao Xiaoxi (Reference News), which is translated excerpts from foreign news services and newspapers: international news and commentary, sometimes also from the West, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
There is also domestic news with a bearing on political power struggles. Originally, only cadres at a certain level were allowed to read Reference News, but since it became publicly available, it has become very popular. The circulation is 7-8 million. (2006).
Wall newspapers (da zi bao ‘big sign newspapers’) were of great importance, especially in the years 1949-80, as illiteracy waned. Actually, they were the invention of the authorities, but in 1978-79, the Democracy Wall in Beijing was a prolific forum for criticism and proposals for political renewal.
People could paste up their calls, which were copied by avid readers who carried the messages far and wide. The wall of democracy ended when system critic Wei Jingsheng condemned Deng Xiaoping as a dictator. The wall newspapers experienced a brief rebirth during the uprising in many major cities in 1989.
The first radio broadcast in China took place in 1926. The Chinese People’s Radio Station first broadcast as underground radio in 1940. Also in 1949 it was promoted to state and reaches more than 75% of the population. In total there are approximately 1000 radio stations. Often the tone is freer on radio than in other media; many listeners who call in are anonymous and therefore dare to be more open in their questions, criticisms and comments.
China’s central television station broadcast for the first time in 1959. Color television came into being in the mid-1980’s; in the mid-1990’s, there were 684 TV stations and over 3000 cable TV stations in China. Nearly 115 million home has cable TV (2004).
There are no underground media in China itself, but some Chinese exiles see it as their task to gather information about, for example, workers’ actions in China or about new, banned Chinese literature and put them on the Internet.
With very few exceptions, such as the magazine Computer World, the media is state-controlled, and all media workplaces have a political commissioner who takes care of the political censorship. Although the Chinese’s freedom of expression, along with a number of other fundamental freedoms, are enshrined in Article 35 of the Constitution, the function of the media under communism is seen as politically and ideologically educational, not enlightening.
Criticism of the authorities is not tolerated. China is No. 155 out of 167 on Journalists Without Borders’ worldwide index of press freedom – that is, among the 10 countries in the world with the least press freedom. The Chinese system has always been highly patronizing, and the authorities want to shape the attitudes of the population and control the knowledge of a number of domestic and foreign policy issues such as politics, abuse of power, workers’ actions, peasant uprisings, etc.
On the other hand, television is used to, for example, show mass executions for fear and warning. 300 million Chinese – or almost 20% of the population – have access to the Internet (2009). Internet access is heavily censored, and international search engines assist those in power in filtering out “sensitive” topics. There are many millions. bloggers in China, and the Internet is now used for calls like the wall newspapers did in the past. Foreign satellite TV is on the rise, but it too is being closely monitored, and the connection will be cut off if a foreign TV station broadcasts material that the censors decide the Chinese are not allowed to watch.
With Hong Kong’s incorporation into China in 1997, the mother country acquired one of Asia’s freest media communities, although Hong Kong’s media in the years before increasingly imposed self-censorship.
China – visual art
China – Fine Art, Painting
The Chinese have always regarded painting as a particularly distinguished art form. Texts from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) tell how the portrait reflects the characteristics of the model and serves as an example. Later, the artist is highlighted, who “writes thoughts” much like in calligraphy.
In the final interpretation, painting becomes an expression of the artist’s character – only a noble human being can create good art. The materials of the painting help to explain this view of art. Paint with brush and ink, plant and mineral colors on paper or silk. All brushstrokes are seen in the finished painting and are as telling to a connoisseur as the manuscript.
Human and animal figures are depicted on Stone Age pottery and Bronze Age ritual vessels, where in late Zhou (475-221 BC) narrative scenes also appear. Texts tell both about wall decorations, an art form that is found in reliefs and murals in the tombs of the Past, and about picture scrolls. Some such paintings on fabric have been found in tombs from late Zhou and early Han.
Mythological and historical figures, rituals and historical events are the themes of the preserved art, which in accordance with Confucian ideology should educate by showing good and erasing examples.
Morality is also the theme of the Palace Instructor’s admonitions to the court ladies, the supposedly oldest painting by a named artist, Gu Kaizhi (approximately 344-406), mentioned in Xie He’s book Records of the Painting of the Past from approximately 500. With this work, Chinese art history was founded, and Xie set the direction for all later art criticism by demanding that painting depict the nature of things.
The figure painting reached a peak during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) with the court and the Buddhist church as the main buyers. From the Dunhuang rock temples of Gansu, an enormous material of murals as well as images on fabric and paper have been preserved.
Wu Daozi painted figures in an expressive style, akin to the “uninhibited style” that the Chan Buddhists took over to express the sudden, intuitive enlightenment in painting.
While the landscape had previously appeared as a frame around character scenes, in Tang it became an important motif. Wang Wei and Li Zhaodao are mentioned as founders of two traditions: Wang expressed his thoughts through brushstrokes in ink, while Li developed the decorative “blue-green style”.
From the Five Dynasties and early northern Song originate the depictions of magnificent landscapes, where man is an insignificant detail. The motifs can be seen as an attraction to Daoism after the fall of the Tang Dynasty, but according to Jing Hao, the painters also sought to portray a reality that transcends the apparent – thoughts that anticipate neo-Confucianism.
The compositions are built on constant repetitions of simple shapes depicted with uniform brush strokes, which became models for later painters: Dong Yuan and Ju Ran are famous for long, uniform hemp fiber strokes, Fan Kuan for raindrop strokes, Li Tang for dramatic, triangular ax strokes.
During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the imperial court again became the center of art life, and under Emperor Huizong, who ruled 1100-25, a painting academy was established, whose members were officials. The emperor himself was a skilled bird painter, and this helped to make colorful and detailed bird and flower motifs popular at the academy; the emptiness behind the main motif symbolizes the great nature.
A similar use of empty surfaces is found in the landscapes of Ma Yuan and Xia Gui from southern Song. Ma is famous for “one-corner compositions”, where a few details in one corner suggest a landscape behind the mists of the image surface.
During the Yuan (1271-1368), many painters sought role models in art from before the humiliating collapse of the Song Dynasty. Style and motifs were taken from the Five Dynasties and early northern Song, and a spiritual standpoint became the theories of literary painting (wenrenhua), which Mi Fei and Su Shi had developed in the 1000’s.
The literary painter is an educated person who paints only for the sake of personal expression and through the motives seeks to portray a philosophical understanding of life. One of the means is to copy old masters who supposedly had deep insight.
Copying was a practical necessity in an art-interested society without public collections, but was put into system by the literary painters from the Yuan to Qing times (1644-1912), who painted “in the style of”, much like when a great conductor interprets the composer’s work.
In this art historical art, the Orthodox school, each generation became the model for the next. The masters of the Yuan: Gao Kegong, Huang Gongwang, Ni Zan, Wang Meng and Wu Zhen became role models for Shen Zhou and Wen Zhengming, the leading figures of the Ming Age Wu School in Jiangsu Province, all of whom were imitated by Qing painters such as Wang. Hui and Wang Yuanqi.
The success of the Orthodox school was so great that in Qing time manuals were published with which anyone could learn the techniques of the famous masters. Thus, the art movement lost some of its spiritual content, while at the same time gaining many practitioners.
Dong Qichang (1555-1636) gained great importance both for later art history and for the choice of role models, as he, inspired by Chan Buddhism, divided the painters into a southern and a northern school comprising artists who, respectively. lived for painting and by painting.
The latter allegedly emphasized the decorative at the expense of the spiritual expression. The division attacked the Zhe school from Zhejiang province, whose painters who, like Dai Jin, used stylistic elements from southern Song, gained influence at Minghoff’s painting academy. But it completely disregarded several local art traditions, and it was strongly subjective in the assessment of the individual artists.
Reactions against orthodoxy were expressed in local traditions from the late Ming and Qing eras: the Anhui and Nanjing schools in the 17th century, the Yangzhou school in the 18th century and the Shanghai school in the 19th century, as well as in works by great individualists such as Kun Can and Zhu Da.
All are distinguished by unforced, expressive brushwork as well as motifs and compositions liberated from the eclecticism of the Orthodox school. The Yangzhou and Shanghai painters found a new audience in the growing middle class of the rich South China and gradually adapted to its taste for beautiful, eye-catching and immediately understandable motifs painted in an expressive style.
20th century art
The “national painting” (guohua) continued the ink painting with roots in the Shanghai school and in older Chinese styles that had survived in Japanese art. Western techniques such as linear perspective and shading were used to some extent.
While plant and animal motifs are often depicted in a calligraphic, simplified style – as in Qi Baishi – landscape painting depicts modern-day China with all its man-made changes. Western-inspired art was introduced by modern-day academy-educated and often traveled artists, but first gained a purpose and a large audience with the politicization of art, which began with the author Lu Xun’s Woodcut Movement and culminated in Mao’s Yan’an speeches in 1942 on the function of art..
Role models for socially engaged art were Western European realism, which had great significance for the Chinese version of social realism.
The political demands for art in the People’s Republic led partly to repeated educational campaigns and, during the Cultural Revolution, harsh persecution of the professional artists, partly to the promotion of a special amateur art, where the reflection of the “class position” was the decisive quality.
The end of the Cultural Revolution opened up a renewal of all art forms, and techniques and forms of expression are experimented very freely. From the beginning of the 1980’s, a socially critical, unauthorized art has gained traction, through exhibitions abroad.
Up to our time, sculptural art was considered a craft and often served a religious purpose. In the religious art, a distinction can be made between grave goods, mingqi, and figures of gods and tomb keepers.
Tomb gifts in the form of wooden figures came in the Zhou Dynasty to replace sacrifices of humans and animals in the princely tombs. Since then, the deceased were accompanied by clay models of humans, livestock, tools and houses. Best known is the army of tall clay soldiers, which was set up at the first emperor of Qin’s tomb near Xi’an in Shaanxi Province.
Up until late Tang, huge amounts of finely crafted and very expressive figures were produced. Gods and famous figures from history and legends were not depicted in the form of stone or bronze sculptures during the early dynasties of Shang and Zhou.
Small sculptural works in jade, parts of weapons and tanks in bronze are the closest, the early dynasties come sculpture. In turn, some of the peoples who lived in southern China created large bronze sculptures. Most notable is a 2 m tall bronze man and many heads and masks from approximately 1200 BC from Sanxingdui in Sichuan.
A pure Chinese sculptural tradition was first expressed in the warriors and wild beasts in stone, who from the Past and up to the present have guarded the entrance to the tombs of noble people. With Buddhism came Indian and Central Asian plastic art, which the Chinese copied but never fully accepted.
The Yungang rock temples in Shanxi Province illustrate the great influence of the Gandhara style during the close contact of Central Asia in the 5th century. It was replaced in the 5th century by a more Chinese style, where the body is hidden behind the suit’s almost calligraphic line play.
In the cosmopolitan Tang era, the Gupta art was copied in, for example, the Longmen rock temples in Henan Province. But as the contact to the west ebbed into the late Tang, a lasting form of expression developed, where elegant depiction of costume and jewelry compensates for a rather rigid and solid depiction of the human body.
Daoist sculpture developed early after the Buddhist model, but depicted the gods as Chinese princes and officials rather than monks.
The 20th century sculpture was marked by Western influence, especially social realism. In addition to political leaders and the fathers of communism, the heroes of working life and war as well as the oppression in past societies were portrayed.
See also calligraphy, which in East Asia is considered an equally refined and expressive art form as painting.
China – handicrafts
The handicrafts in China are distinguished by great diversity in form, material and processing. Objects for everyday use and for ceremonial acts were made in both robust and refined versions, and impulses from foreign cultures, especially West Asia, were relatively quickly incorporated into the Chinese idiom.
The emperor’s headdress with cloisonné enamel, pearls, precious stones and gold. It is from the Ming Dynasty and is located in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
License: Limited use
Notable among the numerous finds of pottery from the Neolithic are the pottery from Yangshao (4800-2200 BC) with wave and net motifs in black and purple on a reddish, polished clay base and the thin, gray or black pottery from Longshan (3000 -1700 BC). The potter’s wheel came into use around 2900 BC, and glazes appear as early as 1300 BC. From Shang (approximately 1650-approx. 1000 BC) is seen white, porcelain-like jars and vessels with carved decorations that mimic the patterns of the ritual bronzes. From Eastern Zhou (after 770 BC) it became common to make pottery especially as grave goods (mingqi).
Early tombs are often painted, but from Han (206 BC-220 AD) it was decorated with a green or yellow lead glaze. In Tang (618-907), when tomb ceramics reached a peak, the tri-colored lead glaze, sancai, was developed, whose combination of white, brown and green/blue was copied during later dynasties. For pottery, Han feldspar glazes were developed, which in the following centuries were used on the gray-green yue product, which is the forerunner of the Song Dynasty’s (960-1279) admired celadon glaze, known in China as longquan. In Tang, the white stoneware developed, which later became known as ding.
During Song, many new types of high-quality ceramics were created, and they were frequently copied during the later dynasties, just as they have inspired artisans all over the world. The country’s elite used guan- and ru- items with elegant forms and refined solid colored glaze while Cizhou, Jizhou and jian (temmoku) was more popular products liveries, incised patterns or special glaze effects. Jun with thick, lavender blue glaze on heavy stoneware represented the rugged, while qingbaiwith a clear, slightly bluish glaze on white porcelain with imprinted patterns appear flimsy and refined. Both the qingbai and ding pieces were pressed into molds in an assembly line-like work process that enabled mass production.
From the Yuan (1271-1368) to the present day, the Chinese have preferred porcelain over stoneware. The exceptions include the finely crafted, brown yixing, especially known for teapots, and the colorful, rustic fahua. The center of porcelain production was Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, but also in other areas there was a large production, of dehua (blanc de chine) in Fujian Province and of the swatow export product in Fujian and Guangdong. The blue-white porcelain, whose patterns are painted with cobalt blue before glazing and firing, was created in the Yuant period and has until today been one of the most popular porcelain types, also outside China’s borders. The Japanese thus imported kosometsuke and shonzuiporcelain for the tea ceremony, and the early imari production mimicked the Chinese role models. Kraak porcelain was admired and copied in Europe, in Delft.
In the Ming period (1368-1644), wucai and doucai were developed with polychrome decoration applied to a biscuit or over a clear glaze, sometimes in combination with underglaze blue. The majority of Qing’s (1644-1912) porcelain is polychrome famille verte and famille rose, treasured in East Asia and in Europe, which were major buyers of both Chinese-style pieces and export porcelain, decorated with Western motifs or family crests. Technically, production peaked in the 1700’s. with famille rose and various monochrome glazes, of which the dark red sang-de-boeuf(ox blood) has inspired Danish potters. But the artistic expression was stagnant, and the quality declined in earnest in the 1800’s, when there was a shortage of good raw materials, and where Jingdezhen in 1853 was destroyed by the Taiping rebels. Since the late 1800’s. porcelain of good quality has again been produced, and in the People’s Republic, porcelain manufacturing has become a significant industry, characterized by high technical quality and virtuoso decoration with traditional and modern motifs.
During Shang and Zhou (1650-221 BC), bronze was used for weapons and for ceremonial vessels, adorned with clan marks, geometric patterns and animal motifs, primarily Taotiethe mask with protruding eyes, strong nasal ridge and large horns. The early bronzes have been painted, the later ones sometimes have inlays of precious metal or semi-precious stones. From Zhou and Han, the bronze was used for luxury items such as lamps, incense burners and mirrors, the back of which is decorated in low relief with geometric patterns, animals and in seaweed leaf patterns and vines. Under Tang, where there was lively contact with Central Asia, silver and gold were preferred in the manufacture of bowls, goblets, and vases, and their shapes and patterns reflect Persian and Indian inspiration. From Ming and Qing are known enamel-decorated metal objects in cloisonné and champlevé technique with blue background color; enamel-painted objects have fine flower, bird and landscape scenes taken from contemporary painting.
The Liangzhu Stone Age culture (3300-2250 BC) is known for jade discs and cylinders, which are supposed to be symbols of resp. Heaven and Earth. Jade was also associated with longevity and immortality and has been used at funerals; from He is thus known jade suits, consisting of a few thousand jade plates connected with gold thread that completely enclose the deceased. Small objects of jade belonged to the study chamber of the learned man, and jade was then as now used for jewelry.
Varnish has been used in China since the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Early types are known for painted decorations with red on a black or brown background. From Song, patterns are engraved in the lacquer. A deposition technique was also developed, in which colored pieces of lacquer were placed in patterns in the lacquer. Mother-of-pearl embedded in lacquer was known from Shang and reached a peak in Yuan and Ming, where many thin pieces of mother-of-pearl created the motifs. Carved varnishes originate from seaweed, but became more common in the Yuan. They require many coats of varnish, sometimes up to 200. In early Ming, the varnish was applied in coats of different colors. By then cutting at varying depths, multicolored patterns appeared.
From Shang, silk was used as a cloth, and both woven and embroidered patterns are known from Shang and Zhou. In He came more complicated weaving techniques in use, where patterns were repeated throughout the length of the fabric. Tapestry woven silk (kesi) was produced from Tang and is known for the use of gold wire; kesi was used for image weaving in Ming and in Qing, for chair covers, bookbinding and paint mounting. The cotton came to China in late Song (around 1200). The dress of the common people was in everyday gray, brown or blue, but at weddings the bride’s dress was (and is) red, which is the color of life and fertility; the garments of the general population were mainly made of linen. The affluent section of the population wore colorful suits in cotton and silk; best known are the kite suits, which were worn on semi-formal occasions. Officials wore a jacket with mandarin emblems on the chest and back indicating their rank.
Bamboo, wood and other materials
Bamboo is used for baskets, boxes and containers of various kinds both in the form of wickerwork and whole pieces of the bamboo trunk. Bamboo roots were carved as landscapes with symbols of longevity and immortality. Wood is used for tools and artefacts or as a core in lacquer objects. From other materials, such as bones, nuts, glass, and rhinoceros horns, small ornaments were carved, and they found their way especially to the study chambers of learned people. Items made in miniature were much loved by the Chinese, as the snuff bottles from Qing show. Among other things, they were made of porcelain, lacquer, bone, glass, rock crystal and jade.
Furniture is mainly made of wood, but lacquer and porcelain furniture is also known. In the period between Han and Tang, a folding chair was introduced from the West in connection with outdoor activities, but up until late Tang, the Chinese usually sat on mats or low platforms. Since Song, furniture with high legs, chairs, benches, tables and beds has been common in all strata of society. The early furniture is characterized by lightness and elegance, while the furniture from the later part of Qing seems heavier and is often heavily adorned with carvings.
Crafts in the 20th century
The Qing Dynasty’s craftsmanship lives on today. Certain new forms, taken from the West, have gained ground, and at times it has been a political demand that the motifs should reflect the socialist reality. But by and large, the Chinese have maintained their national tradition in a technically excellent but expressively somewhat mechanically crafted craft.
China – architecture
In traditional Chinese architecture, wood is predominantly used, but fortresses, tombs and pagodas, stones and bricks have also been used.
The foundation of a building is a rectangular platform of stamped earth covered with stone or brick. Stone-based wooden columns are placed in rows and connected at the top by longitudinal and transverse beams; these are tapped together and reinforced with quite a few wooden nails.
A heavy tile roof holds the building in place. To distribute the weight from here on the columns, a system of brackets is used.
The brackets were first a simple U-shape on top of the pillar, but later more arms and transverse rafters were added. It made it possible to build larger buildings and develop many different types of roofs with large overhangs in elegant curves.
The walls that are not load-bearing can consist of wood, brick or be clay-lined. The significance of a building determined the color choice, thus important buildings had white platforms, red columns and walls and green and blue brackets.
The roofs had glazed tiles, green for public buildings, yellow for the Emperor’s, and blue for the Temple of Heaven in Beijing; sometimes fish- or dragon-like figures were placed at each end of the ridge, as folklore assumed they were protected from fire. Ordinary buildings were brown and gray.
In addition to the decoration, the number of buildings and their size indicated the status of a building. The buildings were incorporated into nature and laid out in a north-south axis. Important buildings faced the facade to the south, as can be seen in the Forbidden City in Beijing. As wood is vulnerable to fire and stone especially to earthquakes, relatively few older buildings have survived to the present day.
The Temple of Heaven and the Altar, Tiantan, is a large facility in the southern part of Beijing. It includes a round altar and a low, round building to the south as well as the large round temple building to the north, which is seen in the picture. The approximately 40 m high building was erected in 1420. Earlier the emperor sacrificed here to get a good harvest.
Mathilde Foto/Søren Lauridsen.
License: Limited use
The main buildings of the Buddhist temple are located on a north-south axis with surrounding, secondary buildings within a delimited square with one to two pagodas in front of the main hall.
The pagoda can be seen partly as a land knowledge, partly as a symbol of Buddhism. The oldest preserved wooden building in China is the Buddha Hall in the Nanchan Temple (782) on Mount Wutai in Shanxi Province. It is a fairly simple building, while the Buddha Hall in the Foguang Temple (857) on the same mountain is more complex with transverse rafters in the kid system.
A distinctive building is the two-story Guanyin Pavilion around a 16-foot-tall Avalokiteshvara figurine in the Dule Temple (984) in Jixian, Hebei Province. In the lower Huayan Temple (1038) in Datong, Shanxi Province, there is a hall with built-in cupboards for the Bhagavad Sutra; the cabinets are constructed as small buildings with a very complex system of kids in elegant friezes over the doors.
The oldest brick pagoda (523) is seen in Songyue Temple on Mount Song, Henan Province; the pagoda is 37 m high and twelve-sided with false, intertwined floors that are reduced in an elegant curve up to the final spire. In the Fogong Temple in Yingxian, Shanxi Province, is the oldest wooden pagoda (1056), 67 meters high and octagonal with five real floors.
Daoist and Confucian temples are built like the Buddhist ones. Among the few preserved Daoist buildings is the Yongle Gong (1244-62) in Shanxi Province.
The most famous Confucian temple is located in King Fuzi’s hometown of Qufu in Shandong Province; the current buildings date from the 800’s-1800’s.
Cities and palaces
The original Chinese city was the center of the emperor’s exercise of power, and both location and design were determined by military and administrative considerations.
The ground plan was a square with a network of straight streets that divided the city into square neighborhoods. Both the city and the neighborhoods were surrounded by walls. Public spaces such as squares and parks did not exist, but one or two neighborhoods were set aside for marketplaces. The government buildings were located on the main axis of the city a little north of the center.
Only in the Song Age did commercial towns emerge at the country’s traffic hubs, which were characterized by a mixture of housing and business and by freer rules for urban planning. The palaces consisted of many buildings around a central axis where the official buildings were located. They were divided into small units with surrounding walls. See also Beijing.
Housing and gardens
The house was also surrounded by walls, and behind the gate a “spirit wall” shielded against evil forces and curious glances. The buildings were arranged symmetrically about an axis leading from the gate to the noblest building with the ancestral altar and the master’s bedroom.
If there was room, small gardens were laid out in the courtyards between the buildings; larger gardens were a miniature representation of nature, where the human element was represented by pavilions and halls.
Modern Chinese architecture
Modern Chinese architecture is represented of the monumental buildings at Tiananmen in Beijing. Most of the new architecture is strongly westernized with steel, glass and concrete as important building materials.
Some architects try to combine tradition and western style with courtyard-style residential complexes and follow the Chinese model. Others build in steel and glass in western style.
A certain predilection for towers can be traced in construction, for example in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
China – literature
Chinese literature has an unbroken history of over 3,000 years. It has had a major impact on literature throughout the Asian region, primarily Japan, Korea and Vietnam, and has been an important factor in maintaining the cultural unity of the great Chinese empire. Most of the recognized Chinese literature until the 1900’s. is written in a literary written language, wenyan, whose model was the ancient philosophical writings.
Literature, especially prose, has been given a significant moral-didactic function as a communicator of the right principles. In the classical tradition, there is no sharp distinction between, on the one hand, fiction and, on the other hand, history writing and philosophy.
The core of traditional culture is thus a series of classical writings associated with China’s central philosopher King Fuzi. Over the centuries, they have been read and re-read, interpreted, quoted and imitated, instilled in generations of officials through the imperial examination system that existed between 606 and 1905.
From approximately 1200 there is in parallel with the classical language a literature written in a language that is close to the spoken, the so-called baihua literature. This literature remained until the cultural upheaval in the early 1900-t. considered inferior, but there are strong mutual influences between the two traditions.
The classical Chinese literature
Chinese culture has its origins in the area around Huang He (Yellow River). The oldest preserved pieces of text date from approximately 1300 BC These are inscriptions on animal bones and turtle shields, probably used in connection with divination. Already here is a highly developed written language, which forms the basis of today’s. The earliest surviving work is Shu Jing (Book of Documents), and parts of it can be traced back to the early Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000-255 BC). It is a collection of historical documents, edicts, and proclamations, some of which have some literary interest.
Several of the works from the Zhou dynasty’s philosophical heyday have stylistic and literary qualities: Mengzi reproduces in clear and pedagogical prose the conversations that the philosopher Mengzi (372-288 BC) must have had with a number of the princes of the time; the seven authentic chapters of the work Zhuangzi, named after the Daoist thinker of the same name, sparkle with witty humor and personal expression.
From a literary point of view, the two major very different anthologies Shi Jing (Book of Poems) and Chu Ci (The Songs of Chu) are the most important works of antiquity. They are based on two traditions that have arisen in their respective places and with as separate courses as the great rivers to which the cultures were connected: Huang He in the north and Chang Jiang in the south. Shi Jing consists of 305 poems or songs, some of which probably go back to approximately 1000 BC
According to tradition, the poems were collected by King Fuzi himself, which is doubtful, but the work took its form in his time and has been since 136 BC. considered one of the classics of the Confucian canon. The largest group of texts in Shi Jing are the 160 folk songs or ballads that are unique in ancient literature for their vivid depictions of ordinary people’s daily lives, work, emotions, and rituals. The rest are court poems and hymns. As the anthology shows, almost all poems are with four characters in each line and with uniform rhyme usage, suggesting some editorial elaboration.
The second and slightly later ancient anthology Chu Ci, whose texts date from around 300 BC. to 100 AD, is the origin of the culture around Chang Jiang in the south. The texts are often long, with irregular metrics and richly imaginative imagery; some seem to be associated with shamanic cult worship. Some of the poems have been attributed to Qu Yuan, poet and statesman, whose tragic fate is allegorically depicted in the main poem Li Sao (Meeting with Sorrow).
The literature during the Handy Dynasty
During the Han Dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD), the elegiac style of Chu Ci was continued in the widespread fu-poetry, a kind of rhyming prose that was now used for highly rhetorical or exquisitely elaborated depictions of the court and aristocracy. life. Gradually, they degenerated into pure form exercises, and posterity has rated them low. Equally significant from a literary point of view were the folk songs, hymns and ballads that the Imperial Music Department, Yue fu, collected around the kingdom.
Within prose, political essays and not least history writing became important categories. The main work, Shi ji (da. Historical Records, 2007) by Sima Qian (145-90 BC), which depicts China’s history dating back to the mythological past and up to the present, is written vividly and clearly and became with its moralizing insert model for later dynasty stories.
After the fall of the Han Dynasty, a period of 400 years followed with divisions in which foreign tribes invaded from the north and China was again divided into warring states. The turbulent times gave rise to Daoism at the expense of Confucianism and to Buddhism, which as early as the 1st century AD. had come from India.
In the literature, an anti-conventionalism and coercive individuality was felt, which was expressed in the anecdote collection Shi shuo xin yu (New talk about the world) and in ghost stories and strange stories, known as zhiguai. However, these genres stood in contrast to the formal prose, the so-called pianwen (parhesteprosa), with strict requirements for parallel constructions and contrapuntal use of the word tones of the language. In the lyrics, Tao Yuanming (365-427), one of China’s most read poets of all time, interpreted his love and humility towards nature in simple and evocative verses.
The time after 600
approximately year 600 managed to reunite China. After the short-lived South Dynasty (581-618) followed the Seaweed Dynasty (618-907), which became a time of greatness for the kingdom and a literary heyday, primarily in poetry. Much has been preserved, thanks to the invention of the art of printing in the 700’s. Old verse forms were refurbished and refined, new ones were created and sparkled. The eight-line lüshi and the four-line jueju, each with five- or seven-syllable lines, were the most popular forms, and towards the end of Tang also ci, which were actually melody patterns with roots in folk music.
The tang lyric took full advantage of the tonal characteristics of the Chinese language, and there were detailed requirements for metrics and rhyme. It was a highly developed art form, created by and for the educated elite, the officials and those who set themselves up for the imperial exams. At its best, the result was wordless, precise and full of association.
The poems were often occasional poems, for example about the moon, the wine and the friendship, with strokes of melancholy awareness about the intangibility of things, but could also be about the war and about social conditions. Among the top poets of the Tang Dynasty were Li Bai (701-62) and Du Fu (712-70), considered by many to be China’s greatest of all time.
In prose, Han Yu (768-824) created with his sharp and sober essays, in which he dealt with Buddhism and superstition, a renaissance of the unadorned classical style of antiquity, the guwen. This style of writing was also used in the so-called chuanqi (narratives of the marvelous), partly a further development of the former zhiguai genre from the time between the Han and Tang dynasties, now in the form of twisted and refined tales of adventurous, romantic or mysterious events.
The pure classical prose style gained new lyrical facets in the hands of Ouyang Xiu and Su Shi, poets, painters and statesmen, both of whom lived in the 1000’s. during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the urban culture of the Song Age, we also find the actual beginning of a literature in the spoken language, the baihua literature. Admittedly, it already existed from the 900’s. the so-called bianwen writings, Buddhist legends adapted for spoken language, but their spread was limited.
The Song Dynasty’s professional storytellers in marketplaces often used written templates for the oral performance, or summaries of action were written down. These huabs (eg. Narrative roots) were printed and scattered and were from the 1100’s. gradually unfolded into coherent narratives. The storytellers scooped up a wide range of material ranging from historical events and criminal intrigues to action patterns drawn from chuanqi and legends. Huaben thus became a stylistic and thematic raw material for the earliest spoken language literature.
Although classical written language in the following centuries remained the only respectable medium for fiction, the heretical spoken language literature grew, culminating in the great novels of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
From the 1300’s. originates San guo zhi yanyi (Narratives of the Three Kingdoms), which, however, is only partially in colloquial language, and Shuihu Zhuan (Tales of the Bogs), a robbery novel with 108 brave heroes, who is said to have lived in the 1100’s. Several of the early colloquial novels picked up material in a mixture of historical facts and folklore, including Xi you ji (The Journey to the West) from the 1500’s, a fairy tale whose main character is the amazing King Abekat, who masters the 72 transformations. With the slightly later and partly pornographic Jin ping mei (The Golden Plum Vase), we have for the first time a richly nuanced depiction of the seat, a meticulously realistic description of daily life in a rich large family.
The last years of the Ming Dynasty were a prolific literary period with publishing activities and a diversity of genres, in which scholars and exam candidates also began to take an interest in spoken language fiction.
This tendency continued to some extent also during the Manchurian Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) despite fierce censorship and orthodoxy on the part of the imperial power. Much of the classical language literature from the period is skilfully epigoneri, but exceptions are, for example, Pu Songling’s (1640-1715) Liaozhai zhi yi (Strange Stories from Liaozhai), which adds psychology and satire to the Chuanqi genre; and Shen Fu’s autobiographical sketches Fu sheng liu ji (da. Chapters of a fleeting life, 1986) from approximately 1809
With Wu Jingzi’s (1701-54) Rulin waishi (The Scholars), a satirical exhibition of corruption and hollowness around the examination system, and Cao Xueqin’s (approximately 1715-63) Hong lou meng (The Dream of the Red Buildings), the traditional spoken language novel. The latter is later considered one of the absolute masterpieces of Chinese literature, where the union of myth, allegory and realism forms an ingenious pattern that can be interpreted on many levels. The study of the book to this day constitutes an independent academic discipline.
The Opium War of 1839-42 broke China’s isolation, and a stream of Western philosophy and literature was translated in the latter half of the 1800’s, initially into Classical Chinese. The mood of upheaval and the decay of ancient Chinese culture are reflected in a series of colloquial novels from around the turn of the century, often written by a new type of writer, the professional writer associated with the foreign concessions.
The most versatile was Wu Woyao (1866-1910), who wrote both satires, detective stories and xie qing xiaoshuo (emotion novels). In Liu E’s (1857-1909) episodic novel Laocan you ji (Laocan’s Travels, 1904-07), a strong subjective and personal tone is felt, which points towards modern literature.
The modern literature
The history of modern Chinese literature is closely intertwined with the political conditions in China in the 1900’s.
In 1905 the examination system was abolished; In 1912, the Qing Dynasty fell and the Republic of China was established. In the years that followed, China experienced a nationalist-colored political and cultural revival, the “New Cultural Movement” or the “May 4 Movement” (after student demonstrations on May 4, 1919 against China’s humiliations by the Treaty of Versailles).
Its main content was a confrontation with the frozen traditional culture, embodied in Confucianism and the classical written language. Shanghai magazine Xin Qingnian (New Youth) with editor Chen Duxiu led the way. Radical intellectuals, such as Hu Shi, who returned from the United States, demanded radical language reforms, and within a few years, spoken language was also officially recognized as a written medium. But the efforts to create a supple modern written language continued for the next decades as an integral part of the literary experiments.
The 1920’s and 1930’s were marked by diverse literary activity in the cities, strongly influenced by Western impulses, with Shanghai in particular as the center of magazines and literary societies. Among the leaders was Wenxue Yanjiuhui (The Society for Literary Studies), who in the journal Xiaoshuo yuebao (The Short Story Magazine) primarily developed the realistic tradition. A leading figure here was Mao Dun (1886-1981), novelist and later Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic, who mastered the broad social panoramas and especially portrayed the new bourgeoisie in the cities. Chuangzaoshe (Creation) with Guo Moruo (1892-1978) and Yu Dafu (1896-1945) cultivated the romantic and were inspired by Goethe and Walt Whitman.
The great figure of the period is Lu Xun (1881-1936), a stubborn individualist whose short story “Kuangren riji” (The Mad Man’s Diary) from 1918 is considered the prelude to modern literature. The madman “thinks” he lives in a man-eating society. In AQ zhengzhuan (Ah Q’s True Story, 1921), he gives an allegorical ironic portrait of China’s “mental” status as a mixture of ugliness and self-overestimation. In addition to his non-voluminous, fictional writing, which also includes prose poetry, he delivered sharp polemical essays on the folly of the time.
Other pioneers of the 1920’s and 1930’s were Ba Jin, whose partly autobiographical trilogy Jiliu (Strømhvivler, 1931-40) about the fate of three brothers in the shadow of the traditional family system became one of the most read works of the century; Shen Congwen (1902-88), one of the few who managed to remain politically independent, gave in novels, short stories and autobiographical sketches lyrical expressionist depictions of SW China and its people; and Lao She (1899-1946) wrote with humor and a linguistic authenticity that is completely free from the tinge of European syntax that otherwise characterized prose.
Also in poetry, the spoken language held its entrance, and as early as 1920, Hu Shi published a collection of baihua verses that did not follow the classical Chinese metrics. In the time since, many poets, in turn, experimented with Western idiom and prosody. The most important poetry was created under the direct influence of Western role models, and the best poets were at the same time translators.
This applies to Xu Zhimo (1895-1931), who translated William Blake and Thomas Hardy and in his poetry laid close to the English romance in theme and verse; the English influence is also traced to Wen Yiduo (1899-1946), whose poem “Si shui” (Dead Water, 1927) became famous as a symbol of China’s tragic situation; in Dai Wangshu (1905-50) there is a strong echo of French symbolism, and in Feng Zhi (1905-95) by Rainer Maria Rilke. But even though “free” poetry prevailed, the classical forms still lived, as is seen in Mao Zedong’s poetry, for example.
The literature under communism
As early as the mid-1920’s, the subjectively experimental literature slipped into the background in favor of a more politically engaged one. The formation of the League of Writers on the Left in 1930 helped to polarize the writers. The majority joined the left, and many joined the Communist Party of China, the CCP. In 1942, in the middle of the war against the Japanese, a forum for literature and art was held in the base area of Yan’an.
Mao’s speeches here became a guideline for literature production in the CCP-controlled areas and later in the People’s Republic of China. Mao emphasized the didactic function of literature and that the political criterion should always take precedence over the artistic. The audience of the art was the broad masses of people, “workers, peasants and soldiers,” whom Western-inspired urban literature had never reached, or who were illiterate. The consequence became a new emphasis on the folkloric forms with roots in the oral narrative art.
After the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, literature became part of the socialist structure and organized according to the Soviet pattern with party-led writers’ unions and publishers. A good part of the literary production was commissioned work with motif from land reform or workplace. In prose, the form was the social realism and adaptations of the popular narrative tradition or combinations of these two; in poetry the simple, regular forms of folk poetry applied.
During the 1950’s, a series of ideological campaigns were carried out, which narrowed the already limited leeway of literature and authors, most extensively in the period after the short thaw period of 1956-57, called the “Campaign of the Hundred Flowers”. During the ensuing anti-right movement, thousands of writers and intellectuals were imprisoned, labor camped, or exiled to poor lands for “re-education.” Under the regiment of the Cultural Revolution, the persecutions intensified and only propaganda emerged. Only after Mao’s death in 1976 did some softening begin.
The literature after Mao
With the ideological slowdown and introduction of economic reforms of 1979, the party’s control over literature was loosened. The artistic breakthrough came first in poetry, from the circle around the unofficial magazine Jintian (Today) with poets such as Bei Dao and Gu Cheng (1953-93). With their modernist compositional technique and original, imaginative expressions, these so-called menglongshi (obscure poems) heralded a new awareness of the individual. This interest in the individual point of view was seen in prose partly in documentary narratives and narratives of socially critical observance, partly in short novels with modernist features.
Liu Binyan, who debuted and was criticized in 1957, came back strongly with a series of revealing reports on corruption and abuse of power; Zhang Xinxin (b. 1953) and Sang Ye invited over 100 ordinary people to speak in the anthology Beijingren (da. Chinese Life, 1990). Many female writers cultivated the exploded point of view in the exploration of the subjective universe. These include Zhang Xinxin, Zhang Jie (b. 1937), Liu Suola (b. 1955) and Can Xue (b. 1953).
From the mid-1980’s, the literary scene was characterized by an extensive cultural self-examination, which expressed in the “root-seeking”, xungen, literature. Writers such as Ah Cheng (b. 1949) and Han Shaogong (b. 1953) sought from widely differing perspectives back in both the Han Chinese and in the myths and life wisdom of minority cultures. At the same time, especially the younger writers of the wave of Western modernist and postmodernist literature that was being translated.
After the shooting of protesters at Tiananmen in 1989, literary development continued with much local variation, despite limitations on the socially critical literature. In addition, an actual exile literature began to take shape. See also Chinese history writing.
The literary scene in the 1990’s and after the turn of the millennium has been characterized by diversity and strong growth under the influence of market forces. Bestselling authors such as Wang Shuo (b. 1958), whose many novels portray a metropolitan youth on the edge of the legal, and Yu Hua (b. 1960), who in the novels Living (1992), The Blood Seller Xu Sanguan (1995) and Brothers (2006) tells of family togetherness and will to live during social upheavals, is among the authors who have managed to break the divide between elite and mass literature.
In general, Chinese writers have been given greater artistic freedom than ever before in the history of the People’s Republic. On the other hand, literature does not have the same significant societal role as in the 1980’s. The Internet has also become a forum for great literary activity.
Chinese theater is a stylized, widely branched theatrical form that expresses itself in the performing arts, dance, song, music, acrobatics and scenography. Theater is the most widespread folk art in China followed by shadow plays and puppet shows. Best known in the West is the national classical theater form, the Peking Opera, which is a relatively late form, originated in Beijing in the mid-1800’s. as a mixture of several different regional forms.
Chinese theater is best known from the Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000-256 BC), where songs and dances were performed at court by performers in large costumes and with masked faces. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), the popular market entertainment baixi (‘hundred games’) emerged, where the art of storytelling was central and has since formed the basic substance of the stylized expression of the theatrical form. The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) describes as the golden age of drama a turning point towards an actual theater convention with zaju (‘different plays’), which was made up of four different dramatic scenes. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), many regional forms of drama emerged, difangxi (‘the game of the place’), which differed primarily in the use of language and music, as well askunqu from southern China, which was written in literary language and where the musical accompaniment consisted primarily of flute and string instruments. Kunqu is rarely played today, and from the mid-1800’s. Beijing Opera became the most popular form. There was a lively touring life between the regions, and the various forms of drama developed with loans from each other.
Under the influence of the West, young intellectuals from the early 1900’s worked. pieces of Chekhov, Strindberg and Ibsen in Chinese style and thus created fertile ground for huaju (‘word theater’). After the Communist takeover in 1949, classical theater was revised, while Stanislavsky, under the influence of Soviet politically engaged theater people, became a guiding principle for modern theater. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), it was only allowed to perform specially selected model works under the name The Modern Revolutionary Peking Opera. From the 1980’s, Stanislavsky, Brecht and Mejerkhold are once again strong sources of inspiration for modern theater, while classical theater fights for a younger audience.
Chinese theater has to some extent served as a source of inspiration for Western theater people, Bertolt Brecht has developed his Verfremdungsteknik on the basis of his encounters with the Beijing Opera actor Mei Lanfang (1894-1961).
China – dance
The dance in China includes ritual-religious dance, stage dance and folk dance. Archaeological finds suggest that chain dances with animal masks existed more than 5,000 years ago, and that shamans communicated with the gods through dance.
Dance was an important part of the court ceremony during the Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000 -255 BC), when choreographed music processions were performed in the state temples as sacrificial offerings to the dynasty’s ancestral gods and guardian spirits.
Magnificent dance tables and folk dances from the vassal states of the kingdom were used as entertainment at the official receptions at the court as a testimony of power and cultural refinement.
From the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), the Chinese tradition was confronted with performing arts from Central Asia, Persia and India, which, like Buddhism, flowed across the country via the Silk Road.
These influences culminated during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in a wealth of expression and a high artistic stature that made dance popular from imperial palace to marketplace.
During the subsequent dynasties, the ritual dance of the court stagnated, while the stage dance increasingly became an integral part of new theatrical expressions. Some of the classical dances were lost, others were preserved in the theatrical tradition of posterity. See also the Peking Opera.
The parallel existing folk tradition, on the other hand, flourished uninterrupted. The dances, whose imagery and movement language were a reflection of daily life at work and party, were inherited from generation to generation and were an important element when events such as weddings, harvests and the turn of the year were to be marked.
The large number of dances that are preserved today, not least among the many minorities, therefore provides a significant insight into China’s cultural history. One of the dances, yangge (rice planting song), was used by the Communists in the 1940’s as part of political propaganda and made the prototype for a new proletarian art.
An offshoot of this art is wuju, dance dramas that often glorify heroes from legends or Chinese history and are based on a mix of folk dance and western ballet technique. A famous example is the Red Division of Women from the Cultural Revolution.
Classical dance forms were revived when the “Dunhuang dance style” was created in 1979, based on millennial dance positions in murals and sculptures found in mountain caves near the town of Dunhuang on the Silk Road. Classical and folk dance is today the main ingredient in the country’s many regional song and dance ensembles’ repertoire.
The connection with the West has had an influence on today’s dance expression. In the 1950’s, the first ballet academy and company was established in Beijing with the help of the Soviet Union, and in 1992, a collaboration with the United States led to the establishment of the first modern company in Guangzhou (Canton).
Since reunification with China in 1997, Hong Kong’s progressive and experimental dance scene has been a driving force in the development of Western-inspired “modern dance”.
The TV medium has opened up further to this influence and the last mothers from the rest of the dance world are being communicated as quickly as they are being created.
China – music
China – Music, History
Chinese music has a long history. From the Stone Age, bone flutes and egg-shaped clay flutes of an ocarinal-like type, xun, are known, which are still in use in a slightly modified form. The earliest descriptions of organized music practice are found on the so-called oracle bones from the Shang dynasty (approximately 1650- approximately 1000 BC) in connection with religious ceremonies.
Bells, whistles, drums and soundstones are mentioned here. Already at this point it appears that music is a means of promoting harmony between the earthly and the heavenly. Over time, this led to tones and scales being subjected to extensive mathematical/cosmological calculations.
The result was to ensure the harmony of the three-part, universal system consisting of the interdependent elements Earth, Sky and Man. In sources from the Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000-255 BC), string instruments come into play. The significance of music, both universal and human, is also mentioned here.
Good music is refining, bad music (the noisy and sensational) is destructive. There was extensive control over music around the country for the sake of the security of the state, both politically and in a larger context, as it was believed that universal disharmony could lead to, for example, natural disasters.
Also Confucius ascribed music social significance and made a sharp distinction between good and bad music. It had far-reaching consequences, as Confucianism was recognized as the philosophical basis of the state in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and was only rejected by the Communists’ takeover in 1949.
But music also thrived at the popular level, and its entertainment value could not be suppressed. Increased cooperation with Central Asia, India and the Middle East added many new musical impulses to China.
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the court had several foreign orchestras, and music and performances were an important part of the street scene and the social life of the citizens. The germ of Chinese opera is seen in the street theater of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and reaches its final form in the short-lived Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
With the Mongols also came new instruments, two that are largely perceived as Chinese today: the two-stringed “violin”, called erhu, and the somewhat shrill wind instrument suona.
In the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1644 and 1644-1912, respectively), cultural life, including music, benefited from the interest of a growing group of intellectuals, and at the national level, instrumental music developed. The tones and their interrelationships were still the subject of scientific, mathematical studies.
From a work from 1584 it appears that the Chinese have calculated up to the temperate scale approximately 100 years before it happened in Europe, but for the Chinese, it had no bearing on their music.
Unlike Western music, the Chinese emphasize the tones and regard harmony and rhythm as less significant. Traditional music is primarily unison; i.e. that the different instruments play the same melody. When the sound image still does not seem so unambiguous, it is due to the diversity of the instruments.
Music can generally not be attributed to individuals, ie composers. The repertoire originates mainly from folk music, which in turn has to some extent received impulses from the official court music. When a dynasty perished, it meant unemployment for court staff, including countless musicians scattered across the country. With their repertoire, they added new dimensions to the folk music scene, where the melodies have constantly been freely arranged and performed on the most diverse instruments either solo or in ensembles.
Some of the musical instruments differ significantly from the Western ones. Most types can be traced very far back in time and are still in use with quite a few changes. Many of them are simple in construction and there has been a tradition that people built them themselves. This has contributed to the widespread use of amateur music in China.
The most widely used scale is five tones, the so-called pentatonic. However, that does not mean it is the only one. A scale of seven tones has been known since Zhou, and in the folk music around the country among China’s many minorities, one also encounters scales that go over eight and nine tones.
Moreover, the instruments in rural areas are largely still built to be played on the natural, not the temperate scale. It first entered Chinese music with the influences of the West in the 20th century.
Chinese music is largely program music. It describes a mood, an event or imitates sounds of nature. The subject is stated in the title, eg “The autumn moon’s light over the lake”, “Ambush from all sides” or “The birds return to the nest”. In the latter example, virtuoso flute playing reproduces the chirping of birds. In other contexts, tremolo on a string instrument can reproduce rippling currents or rushing rivers.
Notation has only been used to a limited extent until the 20th century, but has been known at least since Tang. The old types were most descriptive in support of memory and also gave instructions on the playing technique. The guidelines are not absolute; a musician’s qualification is assessed based on the person’s ability to add a very personal touch to the music with individual interpretations, embellishments and tempi.
With the advent of Western music, notation has become commonplace. The note system, where the symbols are placed on and between lines, is used, but more common is a number system where the number 1 always represents the root tone.
There are large variations, but only the basic types of the most common are mentioned here.
Percussion. Ban are two interconnected flat pieces of wood that are slammed against each other with one hand. Bang is a hollowed out piece of wood that is projected with a stick. Both are used as rhythm instruments in folk music and in Peking opera. Muyu is a finely carved variant of bang. It marks the rhythm of the hymns at Buddhist ceremonies. Ba covers a large number of basins with flat edge and vaulted center. Luo is gongs projected with a tangled drumstick. Gu is the common name for a myriad of drum types.
Wind instruments. The transverse flute dizi and the vertical flute xiao of bamboo are the most popular nowadays with numerous applications. The dizi is provided with a membrane of quite thin paper over a hole. It has a light but somewhat special tone due to the membrane. The Xiao has a soft and warm sound. Sheng is an oral organ with a varying number of pipes. It was known as early as the end of Zhou. The pipes are embedded in a bowl-shaped, closed wind chamber with nozzle. Their construction is based on the principle of free tongue. The Sheng became known in Europe at the end of the 18th century and has provided inspiration for the construction of e.g. the living room organ and the accordion. Suonais the Chinese counterpart to the oboe with double tubular blade and conical bore. It is made of wood with a trumpet-shaped collar of copper opposite the mouthpiece. It is heard in music at funerals and weddings, but has also found his way into the concert halls.
String instruments. Originally the strings were of silk, but nowadays they are of metal, in some cases wrapped with silk. The instruments can be divided into three categories: a) Flipped, b) Estimated and c) String instruments. a) Qin consists of an elongated wooden box covered with lacquer, which may be mixed with gold or other metal dust for the sake of hardness. It is rounded at one end and the strings are stretched lengthwise. It originates from the Zhou Dynasty and has an exalted status. Part of its repertoire is found in notation from Song, but is believed to be based on material from Tang. A zheng is reminiscent of the qin in design, but the box is more angular and the strings run over bridges. Its history goes back as far as the qin’s, but it has a more popular distribution. Onepipa has pear-shaped, flat but slightly rounded sound box and back-broken neck. The prototype came to China via Central Asia in Han, but is technically more advanced in its current design and one of the most popular instruments. For zheng and pipa, the use of plectrums on the fingers is common. Widely used is also sanxian; the neck is very long and the sound box has snakeskin on the upper side. The moon guitar, yueqin, is available today in three sizes. The largest forms the “bottom” of the classical chamber orchestra, but it is designed under the influence of Western music; the deep tones were not common in the past. b) Yangqin is a form of zither. It came to China in Yuan along with c) erhu, the Chinese violin. Erhu’s sound box is very small and it has only two strings. The bow of horsehair is inserted between the strands. Convenient for the Mongols, who sometimes played on the one sitting on horseback.
As for the music itself, fixed categories can only be set up with a very wide margin in a country as large as China and with such large regional differences. In practice, there are very significant differences within the individual genre.
Religious music includes music at Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian rituals as well as music at weddings, funerals and seasonal celebrations such as New Year. Here is a preponderance of percussion and wind instruments.
The entertainment and folk music also presents a variegated and somewhat confusing picture. In rural areas, it is often on an amateur basis, solo or in interplay and can unfold spontaneously, where people gather. It can be song with musical accompaniment, but many songs are also included in the repertoire as pure instrumental music. Instruments that are just as often used solo as in ensembles are zheng, pipa, erhu and sheng. The Qin occupies a special position from ancient times, where it has been the elite’s instrument, while the others have a more popular cut.
In southern China, string instruments and flutes are prevalent in small ensembles, with a flattering, poetic tone, and the playing style is spontaneous and easy-going. In northern China, it is more common for percussion and suona to be included, which gives a very different overall impression.
There are also small orchestras, such as nanguan, which are bearers of very old traditions. They are based on the Confucian principles, where the music is simple, slow and rhythmically very tight. The instruments are pipe, erhu and whistles in a design that can at least be traced to Tang. Chinese opera includes several different genres, which in turn are found in many regional variants.
There are operas that are primarily based on acrobatic scenes and fight scenes that are narrative of a dramatic, poetic or humorous nature, and there are operas where the song plays a prominent role. The accompaniment consists of percussion and an erhu variation, jinghu, and the instruments characterize both persons and situations.
In the 20th century, the West has exerted a marked influence on Chinese music, especially in urban areas. Out in the country, it is not so much felt, but the influence is via radio and television still making its mark, for example in a pop version of a Buddhist hymn or a Western pop melody exposed to traditional Chinese instruments.
Teaching at the country’s music conservatories focuses primarily on Western music. Old instrument types are changed so that they can play according to the temperate, chromatic scale. Oversizes of erhu should make it next to cello and double bass in western-inspired orchestras with traditional instruments.
China has also got composers, and music of a national rather than regional nature is composed. This music has taken its starting point in the Western tradition, but it is becoming increasingly experimental in an attempt to find its own very special tone and identity.
China – film
Chinese film has been marked by paradoxes and political interference. Before the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, there were few real Chinese film productions; the first Chinese feature film not only filmed theater was The Difficult Couple (1912), directed by Zhang Sichuan (1889-1953), who in 1922 established the Mingxing Film Company, China’s largest film company until the Japanese invasion in 1937.
Despite Chiang Kai-shek’s bloody purges in 1930’s Shanghai, a group of left-wing intellectual theater and filmmakers managed to create socially conscious melodramas such as Spring Silkworms (1933) by Cheng Bugao (1894-1966) and The Goddess (1934) by Wu Yonggang (1907-82).
The films imitated Hollywood film and its genres, but at the same time contained stylistic features from the Chinese epic tradition, such as the imaginary use of natural phenomena. 1930-37 565 films were produced, of which approximately 70% were silent films. The transition to speech films was difficult due to China’s technological backwardness and many dialects.
In 1949, Mao nationalized the film industry and established the Beijing Film Studios as well as several regional film studios. At the same time, a network of mobile cinemas was set up for the use of the uninformed rural population.
In 1956, during the Hundred Flowers Campaign, a certain liberalism prevailed, the Beijing State Film Academy was opened . It was closed again when the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966.
Thereafter, all Western influence was kept out in favor of the communist model film, and the classical metaphor of nature was replaced by metaphor of revolution.
Director Xie Jin (1923-2008), best known in the West for Hibiscus City (1988), managed to integrate the official ideology of Two Sisters on Stage (1964), but was still accused of indirect criticism of the regime.
The only permitted genre, which was also Mao’s favorite, then became the Revolutionary Operas. A typical example is The Red Detachment of Women (1971), which is based on a propaganda ballet from 1964, which in turn was based on Xie Jin’s 1961 film about the 1930’s Civil War. 1966-76 has since been called “the ten lost years”.
In 1978, the film academy reopened. The first team of students graduated in 1982, and film production increased from 19 films in 1977 to 125 in 1986. Zhang Yimou (b. 1951) and Chen Kaige (b. 1952) spearheaded a new generation of filmmakers, respectively. The Red Fields (1987) and The Yellow Earth (1984), which, based on humanistic narratives from China’s past, combine modern storytelling techniques and striking natural scenery.
In 1989, another team of students graduated; they launched a new and raw realism, most often in black and white as Mama (1990) by Zhang Yuan (b. 1963), who is also behind the controversial East Palace, West Palace (1997) on homosexuality in China.
Problems with the authorities resulted in a new film law in 1996, according to which it is associated with imprisonment to make films without prior approval of all details.
However, the Hong Kong film metropolis, a major supplier of professional action films to the entire Far East, may make it impossible to enforce the law. Collaborations between China and Hong Kong have in recent years enabled costly giant productions such as Zhang Yimous Hero (2002) and Chen Kaige’s The Promise (2005).
China – sports
The Chinese tradition of physical exercise has its roots in the country’s earliest cultural history. Body culture has either been rooted in a religious upbringing tradition, in warrior training, or in ordinary social entertainment.
Wushu, the oldest and still most widespread Chinese martial arts activity, is a collection of military-inspired but mostly unarmed exercises. The fighting technique has over time been expanded with elements from different philosophical mindsets, such as the Daoist-inspired breathing exercises. There are many forms and stylistic expressions for wushu today; in addition to the daily mass training, which mainly consists of box-like routines and leg movements, many shows are also arranged.
Taijiquan is another form of training that combines physical and mental aspects (so-called shadow boxing). The exercises require a lot of the body, which must both be in the correct position and be relaxed and natural.
Football has been played under the name cuju or taju, and the earliest rudimentary form of today’s football is recorded in China around 2500 BC. Modern sports gained a foothold in China after the Opium War of 1839-42, but in parallel, traditional Chinese sports activities, especially archery, wrestling, and wushu, continued to be highlighted.
With the formation of the People’s Republic, physical culture became an important part of the socialist state. In 1917, Mao published a paper entitled: A Study of Physical Culture. The highest-ranking politicians showed the way for everyone through their own efforts, for example Mao swam in 1966 under enormous media attention across the river Chiang Jiang (Yangtze Kiang) as proof of his own physical form.
Mass sports became one of the state’s means of promoting the health of citizens and influencing their moral development. Many forms of group-organized physical activity were initiated, outdoor freestyle gymnastics exercises according to radio transmitted instructions. For most public employees in offices and factories, time is set aside for participation in these activities. There are no sports clubs like in the Nordic countries. Once the mass sports activities gained a foothold, from 1955 onwards, the Soviet sports school model focused on elite athletes in the Olympic disciplines.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, China withdrew from the Olympics in protest of Taiwan’s participation, but has participated since 1984 in Los Angeles. Great rewards from the state to medalists and their coaches became part of the conscious stimulation of elite sports.
China is internationally dominant in table tennis, volleyball, gymnastics and swimming, from the early 1990’s also in badminton and running – especially for women in the middle and long distances. After Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, most Olympic sports are being intensely and widely pursued.
In China, religion, philosophy and culinary culture intertwine; certain dishes are regular symbolic greetings to the guest of honor. Already around 500 BC. the preparation and serving of food played a central role in the rituals of the court. Under this attention, China has been able to develop a haute cuisine just like France under the dictatorship. The manifestations of art are characterized by great natural differences. The widespread lack of fuel behind the development of lynkogning and -stegning, eg in the wok, the food items carved into pieces, a prerequisite for the use of chopsticks.
The Chinese diet is probably the most varied in the world when all regions are considered together. It has been necessary to utilize everything edible, and the absence of religious or ethical restrictions has opened up the use of raw materials that we would perceive as inedible. The Chinese cook porridge from flying oats, make soup from thistles, shark fins and swallow nests, sea sausages and jellyfish, stew cats, fry dogs and shake snakes. The basic food is in the south rice, which is used boiled, less frequently fried, as noodles and as flour for buns and pasta. The Nordic crops are soy and wheat, which are used for unleavened bread, porridge and steamed buns. Fish is important everywhere, in the interior of the country mostly in dried form. Pigs, chickens and ducks are the sources of meat; Beef is rare, except in the northernmost regions. Milk and cheese are irrelevant.
Vegetables and mushrooms are used far more than in Europe. Bamboo shoots, bok choy (leaf cabbage), bean sprouts, spring onions, Chinese cabbage and radishes, fresh coriander, lotus root, sugar peas and water chestnuts are now used with us, but the Chinese have long ago adopted our vegetables and fruits. The green is included in the dishes as equivalent to meat or fish, which is an expression of the ancient yin-yang rules of harmony achieved by balancing contrasts.
Traditionally, China’s provincial kitchens are described together in four major regional schools. North Kitchen (Beijing), Eastern Kitchen (alternately called Zhejiang-Jiangsu-Fujian or Shanghai), South Kitchen (Guangdong) and Central or Western Kitchen (Sichuan). The proximity to Mongolia characterizes the Northern Kitchen with some mutton and beef, perhaps cooked in the chimney- shaped fire pot (“steamboat”). Famous is Peking duck. The home of Eastern cuisine is coastal provinces, so a wealth of dishes with fish, crustaceans, mussels and snails can be seen. The dishes from this region are often spiced with a mixture of vinegar-sugar, wine-honey and soy in different strengths. Soy and the sour-sweet taste are also popular in Sydkøkkenet. The Cantonese, southern, cuisine is better known in the West than the other schools, which is due to the early emigration from these own. It is varied and uses fruits and nuts along with vegetables in dishes that mix meat with seafood. Spring rolls and the stuffed, steamed or fried rice flour buns, dim sum, used as appetizers, are Cantonese. Sichuan cuisine is characterized by strong seasoning with chili and Sichuan pepper (brown pepper). Fried duck, which is smoked with camphor and tea, is a kind of national dish.
At the Chinese meal, rice is served from the beginning. Three to four dishes are presented at the same time, and the diners supply themselves in random order; then a soup is served. The rice bowl is refilled, but no one supplies themselves, as this would show that one was not full.
China is estimated to have 65,000 hectares of vines (1996). The annual production is a little over 3 million. hl, and the Chinese drink on average only 0.1 l per year; more beer and rice wine are produced and drunk than wine from grapes. 40% of China’s vineyards are located in Xinjiang in Central Asia. It is on the same latitude as the South of France, but the dry climate produces only raisins. The Shandong Peninsula is the only region with a tradition of real viticulture, and here European grape varieties were introduced by Germans in the 1890’s. Chinese viticulture is characterized by a myriad of very small wine growers, lack of modern equipment and Western influence, but since the 1980’s, several international joint ventures have emergedcompanies, for example in 1980 a French-Chinese company under the management of the cognac company Rémy Martin, which produces Dynasty white wines in an international style. The state wineries produce syrupy and oxygenated wines to the taste of the Chinese.