History 830

Communism in China

Wednesday, 4:00 to 6:45, Hardin 233

Fall term, 2006

Prof. Edwin E. Moise
Office: Hardin 102
Office phones: 656-5369, 656-3153
Home phone: 654-7087

Messages can be left in my mailbox in Hardin 124, or in the box on my office door.

Office Hours

    Monday     10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Tuesday    11:00-12:00
    Wednesday  10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Thursday   11:00-12:00
    Friday     10:10-11:00 

Course Objectives

To allow students to examine the nature of Communist rule in China. The main focus will be on the period when Communist doctrine was taken seriously, as the foundation for the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), roughly 1949 to 1978. There will be a brief analysis of the background of Communism in China before the CCP came to power, and significant discussion of what happened from 1978 onward, when Communist doctrine was essentially abandoned, but the CCP retained power.

What goes into your grade

The most important single part of your grade will be the research paper. You can write it on whatever topic you please, within the limit of the subject matter of this course.

As you do your research, you should be thinking actively about whether you believe the things your sources are saying. I will not flunk you for guessing wrong, but you should make an effort to judge who is telling the truth and who is not; don't just take things on faith. Don't dodge the problem by sticking to questions on which you believe everything you read, either. Explaining why you think a particular source was wrong about a particular fact will tend to have a good influence on your grade.

For more detailed guidelines on the term paper, see the relevant sections of Writing a Term Paper in Military History.

The paper is due Friday, December 8.

You can have a pretty free choice of topics for this paper, within the limits of the subject matter of this course. You must come in and talk to me about your paper, and discuss the sources you will be using. It is not enough to say to me as we are walking out of the classroom one morning "Professor Moise, is it OK if I write about the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone?" You will need to talk things over with me for fifteen minutes or maybe half an hour, not just a few seconds. After we have talked, you must give me a written statement of your topic, with a list of the main sources you plan to use. I would like to have this by September 13. You will not be totally locked in to what you put on this written statement; minor alterations are normal and major ones are possible.

Every student will give a presentation in class on the topic of his/her paper. This will provide an opportunity for feedback and suggestions. You also must submit a written preliminary draft of your paper for me to look over, either before Thanksgiving, or by e-mail during the Thanksgiving holiday.

In alphabetical rotation, two students will be asked, before each class, to do two things:
    Think of two questions for discussion, dealing with the readings assigned for that class, and write them on the board before the class begins.
    Ask themselves, on Tuesday the day (or night) before the class, whether there is any question that seems inadequately dealt with in the readings, and send an e-mail to me, no later than 10:00 Wednesday morning, saying that such-and-such has been inadeqately dealt with, and asking me to give some further discussion of it in class, if possible.

The paper is worth 150 points. The other written work will be:
    --Four short papers on assigned topics, worth 40 points each.
    --The final exam, which is take-home (questions given out December 6, due December 13), 120 points.

There will be 150 points possible for class participation (not counting the five extra points that you can get for catching me in a mistake). Of your 150 points for class participation, 50 will be for your in-class presentation on your research paper topic.
This adds up to 580 points. The basic grade scale is that 90% (522 points) is the bottom of the A range, 80% (464 points) is the bottom of the B range, and so on. Sometimes I alter the scale in the students' favor, never against them. Thus 522 points (90% of 580) is a guaranteed A; 520 or 515 points might be an A, depending on how the rest of the class does.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity requires that we not try to pass other people's work off as our own.

I have never caught a student committing plagiarism in a graduate seminar. But experience with plagiarism in upper-level undergraduate courses at Clemson suggests that if there were to be a plagiarism case in this course, it would probably involve a student copying large portions of the research paper from published and/or online sources. Typically this involves both large amounts of material quoted word-for-word, without quotation marks, and also a serious shortage of source notes pointing to the book, web site, or whatever from which the material came. Often there are misleading source notes claiming the material came from some source other than the one from which it was actually copied word-for-word. These false source notes are especially strong evidence of deliberate dishonesty.

Policy on late work

If you do not do written work on time, then with any reasonable excuse you will be able to make it up. However, you will be marked off for lateness. You will be marked off even if your excuse is very, very good. You can avoid a penalty only if I have told you before the work was due that you would be able to do it late without penalty.

If I am Late

If I have not gotten to class by five minutes after it was supposed to begin, I would be grateful if a student would go bang on my office door and see whether I am there. If I still have not arrived by ten minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin, you can give up on me and leave.

Assigned reading

There are four books you should buy:
    Mao's China and After, third edition, by Maurice Meisner.
    Throwing the Emperor from his Horse, by Peter Seybolt (the life story of an illiterate peasant who was for many years head of the Communist Party for his village in North China).
    To the Storm: The Odyssey of a Revolutionary Chinese Woman, by Yue Daiyun and Carolyn Wakeman (the story of what happened to intellectuals in Beijing, who were targeted first in the Anti-Rightist Campaign and then in the Cultural Revolution).
    Chen Village under Mao and Deng, expanded and updated edition, by Anita Chan, Richard Madsen, and Jonathan Unger (the story of a village in Guangdong Province, South China, from the 1960s onward).

I encourage you also to check the New York Times pretty often, to see what is happening in China.

Course Outline

The following course outline is tentative. It may be modified slightly by class request or as a result of shifts in what I find practical to place online, or as a result of unforseen events.

August 23: Introduction to the course.

August 30: The background of Chinese Communism up to 1949
>>> Meisner, Part I (pp. 3-51)
>>> Seybolt, pp. xi-xxiv, 1-39

September 6: The early years of the People's Republic of China
>>> Meisner, pp. 55-102
>>> Yue, pp. 64-67
>>> Chen Village, pp. 1-22

September 13: Early consolidation of the People's Republic of China (continued); the Hundred Flowers; the Anti-Rightist Campaign.
>>> Meisner, pp. 103-190
>>> Seybolt, pp. 41-49
>>> Yue, pp. 1-53
>>> Chen Village, pp. 22-24

September 20: The Great Leap Forward
>>> Meisner, pp. 191-241
>>> Seybolt, pp. 51-58
>>> Yue, pp. 54-100
>>> Chen Village, pp. 24-26

September 27: The early 1960s: Domestic and foreign policies
>>> Meisner, pp. 245-288
>>> On Khrushchev's Phoney Communism and Its Historical Lessons for the World (July 14, 1964)

October 4: The early 1960s, continued
>>> Seybolt, pp. 59-64
>>> Yue, pp. 101-150
>>> Chen Village, pp. 26-102

October 11: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revoulution
>>> Meisner, pp. 291-351
>>> Seybolt, pp. 65-75
>>> Yue, pp. 151-222
>>> Chen Village, pp. 103-140

October 18: Restraining the Chaos
>>> Meisner, pp. 352-375
>>> Yue, pp. 223-273
>>> Chen Village, pp. 141-185

October 25: The last years of Mao
>>> Meisner, pp. 376-410
>>> Yue, pp. 273-348
>>> Chen Village, pp. 186-235

November 1: After Mao
>>> Meisner, pp. 413-448
>>> Yue, pp. 349-386
>>> Chen Village, pp. 236-266.
>>> Wei Jingsheng, "The Fifth Modernization"

November 8: Deng Xiaoping starts the move back toward capitalism
>>> Meisner, pp. 449-482
>>> Seybolt, pp. 77-115
>>> Chen Village, pp. 266-308

Optional on Tuesday, November 14: You are invited, but not required, to attend a talk on Economic Reform, Democratization, and China's Rising Middle Class, by Dr. Xiaobo Hu, in the Globalization Seminars series. This is scheduled to be in Sirrine Hall Room 364.

November 15: The Democracy Movement
>>> Meisner, pp. 483-513
>>> Chen Village, pp. 266-308

Thanksgiving: No Class November 22

November 29: Spectacular economic success
>>> Meisner, pp. 514-548
>>> Seybolt, pp. 117-130
>>> Chen Village, pp. 309-333

December 6: Today's China. Summing up. I also plan to show a video.
>>> Read the articles published in the New York Times dealing with China, during the week November 30 to December 6.

Research Paper Due December 8

Take-Home Final Exam Due December 15


Other Links

Photos Taken in China, 2002 and 2005

Web site of the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas

Edwin Moïse's homepage

Writing Chinese names

This course will emphasize general policies more than the individuals who made those policies. This is fortunate for readers not already familiar with China, since variations in the way Chinese names are spelled in English, and cases in which none of the spellings seem to the English speaker to match the way the name is actually pronounced, can cause considerable confusion. A few years ago the English-speaking world used what was called the "Wade-Giles" system to write most Chinese names. In the Wade-Giles system the pronunciation of consonants often shifted drastically depending on the presence or absence of an apostrophe. Thus the word pronounced like "bye" was written pai, while the word pronounced like "pie" was written p'ai. The names of provinces and major cities, however, were written in a different system. Sometimes the same sound was written in two different ways depending on whether it appeared in the name of a person or a place, and neither spelling corresponded to the way it was actually pronounced.

Recently we have shifted to a new system called pinyin, for the names of both people and places. The pinyin system is a bit more rational, but there are still some cases in which the sound indicated by the letters is not what the average English speaker would guess (see Vohra, page xi).

* * * The following table relates the spelling and the pronunciation for the sounds most likely to cause confusion:




ts', tz'
i, ih, u
ts, tz


a as in papa
b as in boy
ts as in shots
d as in dog
g as in good
ee as in feet after b, d, j, l, m, n, p, q, t, x
i as in shirt after c, ch, r, s, sh, z, zh
ye as in yes
yo as in yoke
j as in jeep
ch as in cheap
approximately like the English letter r
sh as in she
ye as in yes
ds as in beds
j as in joke

The names that will appear most often in pinyin in this course include:
    --Beijing, pronounced "bay-jeeng", the capital of China. In Wade-Giles it would have been Pei-ching, but it was traditionally written Peking.
    --Deng Xiaoping, pronounced "Dung Shyao-peeng". A leading member of the "moderate" wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), he was twice purged by leftist radicals, but returned to become the most powerful figure in the Party after Mao Zedong died in 1976. Formerly written Teng Hsiao-p'ing.
    --Guangdong, pronounced "Guahng-dong", the south coast province that was headquarters for the Guomindang and the CCP in the mid 1920's, and is today the province where capitalism is strongest. Formerly spelled Kwangtung.
    --Guangzhou, pronounced "Guahng-joe", an important seaport, capital of the south coast province of Guangdong. It is often called Canton.
    --Guomindang, pronounced "Guo-meen-dahng", the name of the Nationalist Party which ruled China from 1927 to 1949. Formerly written Kuomintang.
    --Hu Jintao, pronounced "Who Jean-tao," the head of the Chinese Communist Party today.
    --Jiangxi, pronounced "Jyahng-shee", a province in south-central China where the Communist Party established a base area in the early 1930's. Formerly written Kiangsi.
    --Mao Zedong, pronounced "Mao (a single short syllable) Dzuh-dong", head of the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 to 1976. Formerly written Mao Tse-tung.
    --Qing, pronounced "Cheeng", the Manchu dynasty which ruled the Chinese Empire from 1644 to 1911. Formerly written Ch'ing.
    --Shanghai, pronounced "Shahng-hai", the largest city in China, on the coast near the mouth of the Yangzi River. Former spelling the same.
    --Yanan, a city in Shaanxi province (Northwest China) that served as headquarters for the CCP from 1937 to 1947. Formerly written Yenan, which matches the actual pronunciation.
    --Yangzi, pronounced "Yahng-dzih", the great river that flows from west to east through the middle of China. Formerly written Yangtse. Also called the Chang Jiang (formerly spelled Ch'ang Chiang).
    --Zhao Ziyang, pronounced "Jao Dzih-yang", became Premier of the People's Republic of China in 1980, then General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1987; lost his job in 1989 because he supported the Democracy Movement. Formerly written Chao Tzu-yang.
    --Zhou Enlai, pronounced "Joe En-lie", Chinese Premier until his death in 1976. A moderate leader who managed to stay on good terms with Mao Zedong all through the Cultural Revolution. Formerly written Chou En-lai.

There are a few people and places that have long been known in the west not simply by a different spelling, but by a significantly different name from that given them in modern standard Chinese. To avoid excessive confusion, I will use the familiar English names for Hong Kong, Tibet, and Manchuria, and for the Guomindang Party leader Chiang Kai-shek, rather than giving the names currently used in China (Xianggang, Xizang, Dongbei, and Jiang Jieshi).

Chinese names almost always consist of a one-syllable surname, which comes first, and is followed by a two-syllable personal name. Thus Mao Anying was the son of Mao Zedong, and both of them would be found, in an alphabetical index, listed under "Mao".

Regional geography

China proper, the area that has for centuries had a dense population of ethnic Chinese, can be divided into three major regions:

I. North China. The most conspicuous feature of this region is the Yellow River, or Huang He (formerly spelled Huang Ho). It follows a wide, looping path through the arid hills of the Northwest, and finally crosses the densely populated North China Plain (largely created by the silt it has laid down) to reach the sea. It is not navigable, and it is very difficult to control; it lays down so much silt that the bed of the river tends to rise with the passage of time, and the water must be kept in its course by high dikes on either side. Eventually, the bed of the river may rise until it is considerably higher than the surrounding countryside. When the dikes break and the river flows down onto the lands around it, the task of putting it back in its elevated channel is difficult, sometimes impossible. Thousands die in the resulting floods. Three times in the past 200 years the river has changed its course very drastically, with the point at which it flows into the sea being altered by hundreds of miles.
    The area along the Yellow river is the original home of Chinese civilization. The soil is relatively rich, but harsh winters and sparse rainfall limit agricultural production.

II. Central China. The dominant feature is the Yangzi River, which is navigable far into the interior. The provinces along the Yangzi and its tributaries form the most populous region of China.

III. South China has no single unifying feature; it is cut up by a number of small mountain ranges. However, despite the uneven terrain, its generous rainfall and mild climate have made possible a productive agriculture that supports a large population.

In addition, there are peripheral areas which have not been inhabited by many ethnic Chinese for most of history, but which have been controlled by the Chinese government when that government was strong. The main ones are:

IV. Manchuria, to the northeast of North China. This was a fringe area for the Chinese Empire for most of its history, but a flood of Chinese settlers during the past hundred years has made it essentially Chinese today. The principal unifying feature in modern times has been not natural but manmade: the South Manchurian Railway, running north from the port of Dalian (Dairen) through the major cities of Manchuria. This region has been one of the main centers of Chinese industry.

V. Mongolia to the north of China has always been too arid to support a dense population. It was under the control of the Chinese government for a considerable time, but early in the twentieth century Outer Mongolia became a separate country, the Mongolian People's Republic, under strong Russian influence. Inner Mongolia has remained part of China.

VI. Xinjiang (Sinkiang), the northern part of what appears on the map as far-western China, is mostly mountain or desert, with a few areas of fertile oases. The indigenous population, quite sparse, is largely Muslim.

VII. Tibet, the southern part of what appears on the map as far-western China, is mountainous and inaccessible; the population is very sparse. Of all the regions listed, this is the one where Chinese influence has traditionally been the weakest.

Revised August 8, 2006.