Chinese New Year and Culture of Celestial Empire

This was a result of climate differences in the two regions, making it easy to classify the soils into groups. China is the producer of over 95% of the world’s rare earth minerals. China also ranks first in the abundance of minerals like tin and titanium. Coal is in abundance there as well, naturally seating China as a country with very wealthy reserves. China owns more than 15 billion tons of exportable oil reserves, as well. The economy in fishing is very alive, more active in the Yangtze River Valley and along the Yangtze River. China shares a border to its north with Mongolia and Kazakhstan, and in the northeast, North Korea and Russia. Vietnam, Laos, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar makes its south border. Pakistan shares China’s border in the southwest. Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan is to the west. China’s eastern border is open to the East China Sea, making easier for the flow of goods from the coast.

The growth of coastal cities in China, such as Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing are creating one megacity. More and more people are moving to the coastal cities, which drives the need for economic growth, the pursuit of higher education, and efficient natural resource use. However, this creates other problems, such as social isolation, pressure on natural resources, and the loss of land used for agriculture. The Yangzi Valley is a hotspot for fishing and boat commerce. There are two major rivers of China, the Yangtze and Yellow. The Yangtze River is the longest river in China, and the Yangtze Basin is good for the Chinese agricultural economy, and the river itself is the basis for fishing trade. The Yellow River is being used as a hydroelectric power source. China is surrounded by mountains and ocean from almost all sides, which makes it hard to get out of the country easily. Also, the exploitation of its own natural resources has resulted in serious pollution and has had detrimental results on the environment. Agriculture The land that can be used for agricultural use is a small percent in China; only 10%, due to climate and topography. The land on the east coast is very fertile. Many people moved to the east coast to live and farm rice there for that reason. Though rice is the main agricultural good that China produces, other things like wheat, tobacco, potatoes, fish, and soybeans are other agricultural goods grown in mass. Some bizarre foods in China include tuna eyeballs, snake soup, and thousand-year-old eggs. The eyeballs are boiled, seasoned, and served. Snake soup is usually eaten in Hong Kong, and served during the winter. The snake is shredded and put inside the broth, and is considered to be a gourmet dish. Lastly, the thousand-year-old eggs are soaked in brine for 100 days, coated in lime, ashes, and mud.

The yolk turns green and the white becomes brown and gelatin-like. They have a strong smell and have a creamy cheese flavor. The national dish of China is the peking duck. The dish was first recognized in 1330 in the manual of the imperial kitchen, but was around since the Northern and Southern dynasties. Baijiu is the national drink of China. It is a potent, clear spirit, and the alcohol percentage is up to 40-70%. Foreigners that drink baijiu compare it to drinking cleaning product or perfume. Culture The official language of China is standard Mandarin. Hokkien and Cantonese is also spoken as one of the main dialects of China. Hokkien is used in southern China. Cantonese is mainly used in Guangzhou and its surrounding areas in southeastern China. China’s main cultural exports are the ideals of China. One of China’s core values is harmony. The unification of millions of people under one republic is something that China prides itself in. In the business world, China’s value of trust affects their transactions and how the government is run. Chinese people are seen to be weary around strangers, and trust those in their circle (friends and family). Chinese traditions like the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival is gaining popularity in the west, not only advertising China as a country, but putting the best of Chinese culture forth to a completely different western culture. The increasing interest in oriental cultures (east Asia in particular) in the west helps China input their core values, traditions, and culture in a way that is free of assimilation.

The spreading of Chinese culture also promotes the idea that through a communist government and socialist way of life, a country could be as rich and powerful as China, which directly goes against the basic ideals of the west. While the west values ideas like freedom, the Republic of China relies more on the trust of the people to make up for their ultimate lack of free speech. These clashing of ideas could become more evident as China rises as a global power. China existed as a unified culture long before the communist revolution of 1949. The last dynasty of China–the Qing Dynasty–ended in 1911 with the overthrowing of the Manchu rulers, who were ruling at the time, due to their humiliating defeats in the First Opium War. China kept most of its land from the Qing Dynasty, but lost its land in the northeast to Russia in 1858. The land, outer Manchuria, was given to Russia in agreement with the Treaty of Aigun. Thus, China also lost access to the Sea of Japan. China also lost Mongolia when the country seceded in 1912. Even though most of the borders remain unchanged from the Qing Dynasty, there are still disputes with the delineation of borders when it comes to other countries.

For example, India and China went to war over a stretch of land along the Himalaya border called the Asaki Region, in which China had the victory. Internal conflicts like the separatist movement in Tibet might decide a new delineation of borders if things escalate. There are some cultural boundaries in the south, and more physical boundaries in the west. China is undoubtedly known for the Great Wall of China, the rare animals restricted to the country, and the dense population there. The Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world, and was originally built to protect the east to west line from foreign invaders. The wall is 8,851.8 kms. The red panda, giant panda, and Chinese alligator are the most famous animals restricted to the country of China. They are endangered and protected, so they can only be seen there. China has a dense population of over 1 billion people, who are confined to just one country. Some customs are strange to foreigners. An example of these customs would be the repercussions of upright chopsticks, refusing a gift a certain amount of times, and tipping being considered offensive.

Upright chopsticks are reminiscent of a ritual for the dead. It is seen as polite to refuse a gift 2-3 times before ultimately accepting. Lastly, tipping is considered offensive at restaurants because tips are only given during tours and other tour-related activities. The two most popular public holidays in China are the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival. The Chinese New Year is celebrated on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month. During this time, people have family reunions and set off fireworks to celebrate the new year. The Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. People watch lanterns, have meals with family and friends, and look at the moon. China was never a colony. However, one of its major cities, Hong Kong, was a colony under Great Britain. It became a part of China on July 1, 1997, and theoretically will still have a separate system of government until July 1, 2047. The official religion of China is atheist, because of the governmental influences over citizens. However, many Chinese people practice Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism.

The Chinese government actively discourages the practicing of religion, though the citizens are technically free to worship freely. The Bön are an example of a group of people who felt oppressed by the government and fled to the safety of Nepal. They live in the Himalayas, where the mountains serve as a barrier between freedom and the government in China. Another example of conflict is the relationship between China and Tibet. Tibet is a “region in China”, and whether it is a part of China is extremely controversial. China has been accused as to being oppressors of the ethnic minorities in Tibet, as many of them practice Buddhism. Chinese authorities kidnapped a six year old boy from Tibet that was announced as the 11th Panchen Lama three days prior in 1995. They installed another boy named Gyaincain Norbu as his replacement instead. Gedhun Nyima, the original 11th Panchen Lama, was never seen again, and is assumed dead. The Chinese authorities are accused of actively infringing on the Tibetans’ right to worship freely, and taking control of customs which China promised prior to stay out of. Political The modern People’s Republic of China was a result of a communist revolution in the early 20th century was brought about by the Chinese Civil War. It lasted from 1945 to 1949 between the Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communists, led by Mao Zedong. During World War II, Japan had been occupying territory in China, but the Nationalists and Communists fought against them in a temporary treaty between the two groups.

When Japan finally surrendered and left, the two groups resumed their fighting. The Nationalists had an upper hand when it came to resources, but were ultimately defeated by the Communists due to poor morale and bad command. Mao became the leader of the new People’s Republic of China, and in 1953 to 1957, enacted socialist reform throughout China (agricultural, industrial, and commerce). This included the Chinese government putting extreme pressure on private merchants and capitalists to give up their enterprises and make the government its major “partner” in business. The Great Leap Forward is an example of a major socialist campaign that Mao started, which had to be terminated because of its chaos. Though China runs a socialist country, China’s government is communist and is a one-party system. It can be comparable to a pyramid, where the leader is at the top, and his laws and policies are final. It has dealt with opposition to the government with brutal force, which shows the utmost control and sends a message to those that try to oppose its regime. The leaders in China’s government need more personal connections to higher-ups than a high rank itself. China has had an issue with corruption. Xi Jinping has enacted an anti-corruption campaign as of 2012. However, it is alleged that it is partly politically motivated because they are inconsistently and very selectively enforced. The anti-corruption campaign targets things like money laundering, active and passive bribery. The judicial system is guilty of corruption. Many officials accept bribes for giving favorable judiciary decisions. Public services is another risk for corruption when it comes to businesses. Over one-third of businesses reported having to bribe the public service sector.

Public services are also guilty of discriminatory practices and the selective enforcement of law. China’s government is stable because of the one-party system. Because China beats down any rising up against the regime, there is little to no instability in how the Chinese government functions. However, there is much tension with officials and the Chinese citizens because of the lack of power common citizens have. China has a central government. This is due to the communist, one-party system. The power is not distributed like a federal government. Instead, the government controls every aspect of a Chinese citizen’s life, and the laws are enforced based on government law, not federal or state. Furthermore, government officials must pledge to be a part of the communist party, even though there is technically freedom of religion in China. China has both physical and geometric boundaries. In the north, it shares a geometric boundary with Mongolia. However, in the west, there is a physical boundary marked by the mountains of Altai. In the southwest, the border is made by the Himalayan Mountains, though Nepal and China share more of a cultural boundary. The Yalu River divides China and North Korea. Vietnam, India, and Pakistan are made of geometric borders with China. The People’s Republic China is a fragmented country from China’s point of view, with Taiwan being a “part” of China and the islands in the South China Sea being disputed. However, both of the separate land masses are extremely controversial when it comes to being an integral part of China. China faces some problems when it comes to integrity and economy. The economic imbalances that have been happening in China due to its rapid trend of increasing revenue is worrisome to analysts, who predict that once expansion decreases, the Asia Pacific region will be the most vulnerable to the outcomes. Additionally, there is financial instability in China.

The debt to GDP ratio will be at more than 320 percent by 2022, which is a big danger to the already steadying economy. The regulations placed on finance and the environment has had an impact on construction, as it is slowing down. This is dangerous because emerging sectors do not have the stability to maintain a slowdown of infrastructure and housing construction. Lastly, the tariff wars with the U.S. might have an effect on their economy. China is somewhat dependent on the United States’ demand for cheap goods. If private markets in the U.S. cannot afford to buy the products from China because of the astronomical tariffs, the country will suffer moderately because of the supply and demand ratio being disproportional. Lastly, the spread of western ideals (more specifically democracy) is a threat to the Chinese way of life. Through one party and one republic, China achieved its basis for government and society. There would be serious repercussions if people in China start to believe in a different system divulging from the Chinese way. Development China has undertaken many major projects over the years, but the most recent and grand undertakings has been the Belt and Road Project, started by Xi Jinping. This is a $900 billion plan, and links China to other countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania financially and physically.

One part will be the “Belt”, which will use the old Silk Road route, used long ago for trade across Asia and Europe. The “Road” will be a connection of routes through various oceans. It has already bettered transportation, infrastructure, and energy for countries like Pakistan, Hungary, and Thailand. Trains carry every kind of good, from clothing, machinery, and food. Gas pipelines have been installed, and have already carried 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Central Asia to countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Even countries that are not participating directly with the Belt and Road Project can benefit. Companies can use their goods to trade and profit. The Belt and Road Project has been accused by the former president of the EU Chamber of Commerce to be a multilateral project. He has accused it to be a way to smuggle money out of China and disguise it as goods being transported out of the country.

China has public railway systems, bus networks, and taxis/car hires. In mainland China, there is a metro system that is new and efficient. Over 20 cities in China cover 3,000 kilometers in total with their transit networks. Monorails and light rail transportation is present in some cities, as well, making the railway systems one of the most convenient and efficient modes of transportation in China. Local bus networks are very popular in China, with inexpensive fares and extensive networks. However, they are very crowded due to population density, and the traffic on public bus routes is consistently heavy. Cabs are relatively cheap in China, and are about as convenient as buses. However, the traffic is still heavy on public roads, and it is more likely to get scammed if one chooses to hire a private taxi service. China is a semi-periphery country. This is because it is extremely influential in the world, and also exhibit traits of industrialization and contributes greatly to the manufacturing and exporting of goods. Industry/Energy and Economics The major import of China is mainly machinery and apparatus (semiconductors, computers, office machines, etc.), chemicals, and fuels. These imports come from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, countries of the European Union, and the United States. Most of China’s exports are manufactured goods, of which electronic items, machinery, and clothing are the most important. Agricultural products, chemicals, and fuels are also very important exports for China. The United States alone imports about 20% of China’s goods. The basis for China’s economy is manufacturing, services, and agriculture. As explained before, China exports more manufactured goods than any other country in the world. Chinese goods like steel, aircrafts, textiles, and cement are exported from China.

Services accounts for 43% of China’s total production. Private markets and shopping malls did not exist as of 1978 during the economic reform. However, in 2015, there is a healthy services market. This increased tourism in China, which also led to the increase of internet usage and phone products. Lastly, agriculture is booming in China, with over 300 million farmers working. The main source of China’s agricultural revenue is rice. Other things like soybeans, wheat, tobacco, and potatoes are grown in mass, as well. However, there are problems with the agricultural market. Statistics have proven that China’s farms are one of the least productive in the world, and many point to the overwhelming state control over the farms. “Farmers are not allowed to own and mortgage farmland and cannot get credit to purchase better capital equipment, two functions which promote innovation and development” (Sean Ross, 2017).

The Chinese currency is the renminbi, or, more commonly known as the yuan. One yuan is equivalent to about $0.15 in U.S. dollars. In 1889, the yuan was first introduced as a silver coin, fashioned after the peso, which was widely circulated throughout southeast Asia at the time. T old yuan was replaced with the new yuan in 1955 when the economy was struck with high inflation after the victory of the communists in 1949. China is a developing country because its per capita income is very little compared to already developed countries. Additionally, its market reforms are not complete yet. China’s main source of economic revenue in the country is its manufactured goods. Products are frequently made and put onto ships or aircrafts to be shipped, or put into governmental use. The manufacturing economy is very efficient in China. However, China’s own citizens cannot buy most of the manufactured goods made, because of the devaluing of the yuan, which also lowers real citizens’ wages. 

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