China (Modern World Nations) by Gary T. Whiteford

By Gary T. Whiteford

Describes the heritage, geography, govt, economic climate, humans and tradition of China.

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It lasted almost 300 years. The early Ming emperors were forward-looking and worked hard to rule and hold their power. They rebuilt the Great Wall, rerouted the Grand Canal to end near Beijing, and built a new southern capital at Nanjing. Early on, they established a powerful navy and sent out maritime expeditions of diplomacy and exploration. From 1405 to 1433, Chinese explorers went to the South China Sea, to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and India, to the Persian Gulf and to coastal East Africa, including Kenya and the offshore island of Zanzibar.

Tang dynasty The seventh century marked the start of the medieval period in Chinese history. Chinese culture reached a refined and cosmopolitan level—literature, art, music, and agriculture flourished. Under the Tang Dynasty (618–907), China expanded. The Turkish empires were defeated, and the Tibetans became reliable allies. Mercantile cities, such as Guangzhou in the Pearl River delta near Hong Kong, were influenced by Islam. During the Tang period, the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people, created their own empire in central Asia, northern Xinjiang, and parts of Mongolia.

Buddhism, a foreign religion from India, stresses the idea of becoming an enlightened being, or bodhisattva, by breaking the cycle of desire, suffering, and rebirth. Buddhist ideas have had a strong influence on Chinese culture, including art, archi- People and Culture tecture, poetry, and fiction. Followers of Buddhism in China have faced hardships. During the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution period of 1966–1976, thousands of Buddhist monasteries were closed. In Tibet alone, 6,000 monasteries were shut down or destroyed, and only 25 remained after the destructive decade of the Cultural Revolution.

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