China is one of the largest and oldest nations in the world. If you’re planning to adopt a child from China, be sure to read up on things like Chinese history, culture, holidays, and festivals.
China Informational Slideshow
What you need to know when you're adopting from China.
China, or The People’s Republic of China, is the most populous country on earth with an estimated population of 1.3 Billion, and has the fastest growing economy in the world. Though this has lead to great leaps in the tech and automotive industries, it has caused growing pains of great inequality, poverty, and most recently pollution.
The government has been under communist rule since 1949, since then the politics have lightened up from the radical rule of the 1950s and 1960s, to allowing private enterprise and entertaining human rights. However, the government still holds a tight grip on state and local governments, and suppresses religion, press, and media freedoms throughout the country, all while using a need for stability as a justification.
The country is made up of various regions rich in culture and diversity. The major language spoken is overwhelmingly Mandarin Chinese or a dialect of it. Major, and officially approved, religions consist of Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, and Christianity, each of which contributes to the complex culture and local governments.
As one of the largest countries in the world, China is incredibly diverse in in geology and biodiversity, with over 2,300 nature reserves. China has made recent strides in protecting wildlife and forests from extinction. The country is made up of high mountain ranges, large rivers, rich agricultural regions, and dry deserts. The climate throughout china is complex and changes according to region and season. Though pollution is causing a major health concern for the country, China is undergoing changes in laws and practices in major cities and is, in fact, leading the world in renewable energy and manufacturing renewable energy technologies.
Chinese history is among the most extensive in the world, dating back as far as 2100 BCE, starting with the Xia dynasty. “Dynasties” were made up of a set of rulers from the same family in a monarchical system, through the dozens of dynasties over the years; China underwent revolutions, rise and fall of empires, industrial evolutions, and economically destructive wars and civil wars.
Around 206 BCE, shortly after King Ying Zheng united much of the Chinese heartland, the Han Dynasty became the first state to govern the entire Chinese territory, ushering in economic growth, philosophy, Confucianism and Buddhism.
Between 618-1279 marked the Tang and Song dynasties, both making advances in civilization, pushing the influence of imperial China toward Central Asia. This time period also marked the highlight of Chinese classical culture, science, literature, and official state ideology.
In 1368, a century after the Mongols conquered China, the Ming dynasty overthrew their reign and established an economy centered on agriculture and bureaucracy. Some centuries later, the Qing Dynasty came to power, and Tibet, Mongolia, and Turkestan (present-day province Xinjiang) were added to the imperial empire.
Around the early 1800s the Qing Dynasty began to lose power as parts of China created treaties with foreign nations. As conflicts arose between those at the ports and those inland up North, there was one last push for a re-established traditional rule. The rule was defeated by foreign intervention and Western influence from Europe and the U.S., allowing Russia and Japan to further weaken the Qing government to the point of where military revolts lead to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor, ending the age of dynasties and forming the Republic of China.
Shortly after the death of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek broke from the Communist Party and began the Nationalist Party, this created a divide in the country, one the Japanese took advantage of by invading and occupying more and more of China.
Shortly after Japan’s defeat in World War ll, the Kuomintang and Communists united against the Japanese to take back China.
As the Communists resumed their civil war against the Nationalists, they drove them to the island of Taiwan where they built a government and remain presently. The communist victory brought to power a sort of peasant party who had adopted a Marxist ideology.
About ten years later, the Chinese government, implemented a five-year economic plan, the “Great Leap Forward,” collectivizing farming, labor and industry. This new system, modeled after the Russian Soviet Union, failed due to crop failure and other unforeseen economic growth challenges.
After the Liberation Army (the armed forces of the Chinese government) suppressed a revolt in Tibet, the Communist Party made multiple attempts in reviving the Chinese economy, failing to reach their goals each time.
Not long after the infamous one-child policy was imposed in the 1980s, China opened its doors to foreign and private investors, hoping to improve the economy. However, Chinese government fell again in reputation after international outrage over troops opening fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.
It wasn’t unto the 1990s stock markets opened in China and friendly ties were created with Russia; however, relationships with Taiwan and Japan remained unstable, and even threatening at times. Even today, Tibet relations have begun to see some deterioration. Despite their challenges, the country economy began to see a boom in manufacturing and exports to the rest of the world.
Today, the Chinese government deals less with challenges in international relationship, and more with population growth concerns, pollution, drought, and human rights. However, improvements are starting to surface as the Communist Party ended the one-child policy in 2015 due to slow in population growth, the country became number one in renewable energy, the space program strengthened, and the country moves toward a world superpower status.
The Chinese flag representations derive from symbolism held within its history. The color represents the communist revolution and the color of the people. The number 5 is significant in Chinese history, culture, and in historical events, and is represented by five stars. Having one star larger than the rest is said to represent the communist party as the leading and guiding star to the other smaller stars that represent the four social classes.
China is divided up into 34 administrative divisions classified into autonomous regions, municipalities, special administrative regions, and 23 provinces (including Taiwan, a territory claimed, but not operated by China).
China celebrates many international holidays with the rest of the world, such as New Year's Day, Women’s Day, Arbor Day, Children’s Day, and others. Aside from these, the Chinese national holidays are very special to the citizens and are enjoyed throughout the county. Some of their holidays are specific to a region, while others are celebrated nationally.
Held on the first day of the lunar month, the Chinese New Year is the most widely known and most celebrated holiday in the country. Lasting for two weeks, the event is celebrated much like Christmas in predominantly Christian countries, involving activities such as: reunions with family and friends, sports and games, diverse traditions and customs, festive foods and music, and firework displays.
Translated to Tomb Sweeping Day, the Qingming Festival is an ancient tradition that has become a sort of day of remembrance, where people commonly visit gravesites and tombs of ancestors and clean them. It isn’t just a day for commemorating the dead, but commonly used as a day off to visit with family, fly kites, and enjoy the warm spring weather.
Also known as the Duanwu Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival day used to be a national hygiene day where people worked together to heal sicknesses. But the more popular origin comes from commemorating the poet Qu Yuan and other great people who died on that day.
The main event of the holiday is the boat races where large canoes are decorated like dragons and are raced. Naturally, the event is more celebrated in the Southern Provinces of China where large bodies of water are more prevalent.
National Day - To commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China, National Day, on Oct. 1st, is the second most important holiday in China. The day starts with observing the ceremonial raising of the national flag in the Tiananmen Square, and the rest of the day is filled with festivals, parades, and extravagant firework displays.
Though China is one of the oldest countries in the world, the People’s Republic of China has actually been around for less than a century, making most residents 2nd and 3rd generation citizens; this youthfulness naturally contributes to the patriotism and celebration for this holiday.
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