Ancient China

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Ancient China. By James Rooney. China population. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Ancient China

  • Ancient China

    By James Rooney

  • China populationWith just over 1.3 billion people (1,330,044,605), China is the world's most populous country. As the world's population is approximately 6.7 billion, China represents a full 20% of the world's population so one in every five people on the planet is a resident of China. China's population growth has been somewhat slowed by the one child policy, in effect since 1979.Recently as 1950, China's population was a mere 563 million. The population grew dramatically through the following decades to one billion in the early 1980s.

    China's total fertility rate is 1.7, which means that, on average, each woman gives birth to 1.7 children throughout her life. The necessary total fertility rate for a stable population is 2.1; nonetheless, China's population is expected to grow over the next few decades. This can be attributed to immigration and a decrease in infant mortality and a decrease in death rate as national health improves.

    By the late 2014, China's population is expected to reach 1.4 billion. Around 2030, China's population is anticipated to peak and then slowly start dropping.

    In the next few decades, India, the world's second most populous country is expected to surpass China in population. By 2040, India's population is expected to be 1.52 billion; that same year, China's will be 1.45 billion and India will become the world's most populous country. As of 2005, India has a total fertility rate of 2.8, well above replacement value, so it is growing much more quickly than China.

  • Ancient China, religionIn the Shang Dynasty (about 2000 BC), the earliest period we know much about, people in China worshipped a lot of different gods - weather gods and sky gods - and also a higher god who ruled over the other gods, called Shang-Ti. People who lived during the Shang Dynasty also believed that their ancestors - their parents and grandparents - became like gods when they died, and that their ancestors wanted to be worshipped too, like gods. Each family worshipped their own ancestors.

    Around 1500 BC, people began to use written oracle bones to try to find out what was going to happen in the future. By the time of the Chou Dynasty (about 1100 BC), the Chinese were also worshipping a natural force called t'ien, which we usually translate as Heaven. Like Shang-Ti, Heaven ruled over all the other gods. Heaven also decided who would be the Emperor or Empress of China. The emperor or empress could only rule as long as he or she had the Mandate of Heaven (as long as Heaven wanted him or her to rule). You knew when the emperor or empress had lost the Mandate of Heaven because he or she would then be overthrown by somebody else who would become the new emperor or empress.

  • Some new ideasAround 600 BC, under the Eastern Chou Dynasty, and for the next two hundred years, there were a lot of new ideas in Chinese religion. First, a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu (he might be mythical) created the philosophy of Taoism, which became very popular. Taoism holds that people should not try to get their way by force, but through compromise and using natural forces in their corner. It is partly a philosophy, and partly a religious faith. Taoists believe that there is a universal force flowing through all living things, and that respecting that force is essential to a happy life.

    Not long after Lao Tzu, another Chinese scholar called Confucius created a different philosophical system we call Confucianism, which disagreed with Taoism but also became very popular. Confucianism holds that people should do their duty and follow their leaders and the gods faithfully. Order is the way to peace. If everyone just does what they are told, and what they are supposed to do, there won't be any fighting and nobody will be upset.

  • The wall The Chinese worked on the Great Wall for over 1700 years. In turn, each emperor who came to power added pieces of the wall to protect their dynasties. But the wall was not a solid wall. It was a line of disconnected barricades. First Emperor Qin wanted a much better barricade to protect his people from the Mongol invaders to the north. He wanted a strong wall 30 feet wide and 50 feet high First Emperor Qin used peasants, captured enemies, criminals, scholars, and anyone else who irritated him, and put them all to work building the Great Wall. Laborers were not paid for their work. It was slave labor. About 3000 people worked on the wall during the Qin Dynasty. Rocks fell on people. Walls caved in. Workers died of exhaustion and disease. Laborers were fed only enough food to keep them alive. There is an old Chinese saying, "Each stone in the wall represents a life lost in the wall's construction. This project continued long after First Emperor Qins death. Building the wall was a project that continued for many hundreds of years until the wall was over 3700 miles long. Most emperors used the same system that Qin used, forced labor. Today, the Great Wall still stands. It can be seen from space, its that big!

  • The first emperor Many dynasties in Ancient China lasted for hundreds of years. But the Qin Dynasty lasted for only 15 years. Yet, First Emperor Qin accomplished an amazing amount of change. Qin was the first man to control all of China. He did not want to be called a king. he called himself First Emperor Qin. He died of natural causes. But in the short time that he ruled China, he readied China to be pulled together as one country. But at what cost? First Emperor Qin was a legalist. Legalists believe that people are basically bad. They believe that it is necessary to control and regulate every minute of people's lives so they have the discipline needed to work hard in the fields and in battle. Qin ran his dynasty with absolute control and swift harsh punishment. It was illegal to whine about Qin's government. If you simply suggested that things might be improved, you could be put to death without a trial. Bureaucracy: To control his people, First Emperor Qin developed a system of bureaucracy. He divided his empire into 36 provinces. Each province was divided into districts. He put two government officials in charge of each province. It was their job to put strong people in charge of each district. Workers were well trained and paid. They reported to supervisors. People at each level supervised those below them.

  • How Qin worked Spy System: To make sure everyone did their job correctly, First Emperor Qin set up a spy system. People had to spy on each other - it was the law. People had to spy on each at work and at home in their neighborhood or village. If people turned in lawbreakers, they were rewarded. If they did not, they were executed. It was a simple system, and it worked very well. This organization system gave Qin great power. That power allowed him to make huge changes. Qin knew that to unify China there had to be big changes. Most of his laws had something to do with protection. Changes: Land: First Emperor Qin took land away from the nobles. He did not want the nobles rising up against him. Anyone who argued with Qin was either buried alive or put to work building the Great Wall.Standardization: He introduced one system of weights, measures, money, written language, and laws. Nobody argued with him. Law Code: He introduced a new law code that applied to everybody. He created a huge law enforcement group, whose job was to enforce the laws. Peasants: Peasants were assigned a job. They were either assigned the job of farmer or of silk maker. It they tried to do anything else besides their assigned job, they were sent to work on the Great Wall. If people were lazy or slow at doing their assigned job, they were sent to work on the wall. Censorship: Qin practiced total censorship. He persecuted scholars and destroyed books. He defined useless books as any book about anything except books about medicine, agriculture, or prophecy. Useless books were burned. Over 400 scholars who refused to turn in books were either buried alive or sent to work on the wall. Qin did not believe in any education for the common man. According to Qin, the more time people spent studying, the less time they had to grow food. He especially disliked the teachings of Confucius. He had all Confucius' books burned.Qin did not think his rule was cruel. He said, "A thousand may die so that a million may live." He built roads, canals, and bridges. His public works projects probably saved millions of lives that would have been lost to floods and famine. Although many people died building the Great Wall, it did provide an advantage in war. No rebellion occurred during his rule. He died in 210 BCE. Once he was dead, his son took over. His son did not rule for long. People revolted again the Qin government all over the countryside. The peasant who led that revolt became the new emperor. His dynasty was called the Han Dynasty. Life vastly improved during the Han Dynasty.

  • Han rulesThis was not the Golden Age of China, but life was very good for many of the people because of the demand for Chinese silk. The creation of the "silk road" - the trade routes across the fierce deserts - allowed trade to flourish more easily with the Roman Empire. People bonded together into one civilization during Han times. They had a common culture. Even in remote sections, district officials copied the manner of the imperial court. Peasants built homes and plowed their fields in the same way all over China. Han writing tells us little about their daily life. Han tombs, however, tell us quite a lot. The Hans buried clay models of their homes and belongings, in their tombs. Models included details like little clay furniture and little bronze oil lamps.

  • Han landThe Arts & Sciences: So much was lost during the book burnings of the Qin Dynasty. The Han people tr