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China in the Red
teachers guide

Answer Sheet: China in the Red

A Brief Overview of China

Teachers: Please note that the answers to these questions are derived from the CIA's World Factbook website. If you were to choose a different site, the answers might differ.

I. Introduction
List a few ways in which life has changed for the people of China since World War II.

  • In 1949 Mao Zedong was a Communist leader who had complete control of all aspects of the Chinese people.

  • In 1978 Deng Xiaoping started market reforms to allow for decentralized economic planning.

  • Between 1978 and 2000 economic output quadrupled.

  • Economic controls were relaxed but political control still remains very strong.

II. Geography

A. Compare China to the United States in the following areas:

1. Land size: China is slightly smaller than the United States.
2. Climate: China is like the United States in its great diversity of climate. It is tropical in the south and subarctic in the north.
3. Population (July 2002 est.)
China's population is 4.5 times larger than the population of the United States.
U.S.: 280,562,489
China: 1,284,303,705

B. List some environmental concerns in China.

  • Air pollution from reliance on coal.
  • This produces acid rain.
  • Water shortages, particularly in the north.
  • Water pollution from untreated wastes.
  • Deforestation.
  • An estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development.
  • Desertification.
  • Endangered species are still being sold.

III. Government

A. Beijing is the capital.

B. The government type is communist.

C. Executive branch

Who is the president? President Jiang Zemin (since March 27, 1993)
Who is the premier? Zhu Rongji (since March 18, 1998)

IV. Economy

A. What changes have been made in agriculture?
The national cooperatives have been replaced with a system of village and household decision-makers.

B. What changes have been made in industry?

  • Local officials and managers now have more responsibility in making business decisions.
  • There is private ownership of small manufacturing and service industries.
  • Foreign trade and investment is now encouraged.

C. How has the economy improved?
China has become the second largest economy in the world. The United States is number one.
(Note to Teachers: This is measured in purchasing power parity basis.)

D. What do they say is the bad side of socialism?
There is too much bureaucracy and not enough energy in the work groups.

E. What do they say is the bad side of capitalism?
There are often great profits but these are poorly distributed.

F. What problems exist for the state owned corporations?
These businesses are not making money and they are unable to pay full wages or retirement pensions.

G. Where is unemployment the highest in 2001?
In the rural areas there were between 80 and 120 million unemployed (surplus) workers out of a total population of 1.27 billion.

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