1     China’s Geography and Political Divisions            


Primary Resources 


Document 1.1

Slide show “The Rural Landscape of China,” 2002-2007

Document 1.2 

Excerpts from Peasant Life in China by Fei Xiaotong, 1938

Document 1.3

Excerpts from The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, 1931


Document 1.4

Excerpts from memoir by Li Xiuwen (1890–1992), describing life in the village where she grew up, early 20th century

Document 1.5

Excerpts from “The Village With No Name,” in Daughter of Heaven by Leslie Li, 2005

Document 1.6

Slide show “Among the Peoples of China,” 2006


Document 1.7


Excerpts related to minority peoples from “The Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference,” September 29, 1949



Supplementary Resources 


Item 1.A

Outline map of the world

Item 1.B 

Outline map of China

Item 1.C Map of China’s provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities
Item 1.D “Han Diversity and Unity,” an essay
Item 1.E China’s National Minorities and Major Areas of Distribution




Suggested Resources 




Atlas of China: An Expansive Portrait of China Today with More Than 400 Maps and Illustrations. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2008.  

Maps ranging from contemporary ones related to trade or tourism to historic ones. Includes maps of key cities.


Bailey, Alison et al., eds. China: People, Place, Culture, History. New York: DK Publishing, 2007.  

Stunning photographs and succinct information.


Benewick, Robert and Stephanie McDonald. The State of China Atlas: Mapping the World’s Fastest-Growing Economy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.


Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. New York: Washington Square Press, 2004.  

A novel about a farmer and his family confronted by new practices that threaten to wash away old traditions. It includes themes of women’s rights, family, class conflict, spiritual and moral trials, and hardships of the modern world. Buck won the Pulitzer Prize for this work, and in 1938, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Lipman, Jonathan Neaman. Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.


Ma Yan. The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.


Mullaney, Thomas S. Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.


Primary Source. The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China: Primary Source Lessons for Teachers and Students. Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2006.


See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2005.  

Set in Hunan county in the nineteenth century, young Lily is matched with a laotong, “old same.” The two women exchange messages using nu shu, a unique, secretive language.


Starr, S. Frederick. Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004 




China Country Profile, Asia Society

Map and statistics about China.


China from the Inside, PBS

Includes an interactive soundscape map of China.


East Asia in Geographic Perspective, Asia for Educators

Includes maps and activities on places and regions, physical systems, and environment and society.


Google Earth

Free download allows for “flying” from place to place on Earth and exploring geographic details of a country or city.


Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin

City, country, thematic, and historical maps. Includes ethnolinguistic maps.


A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization: Geography

A site by Patricia Buckley Ebrey that includes information about China’s geography, autonomous regions, and minority populations.


World Panoramic Photography: 360Cities

View dozens of panoramic tours of cities and sites in China by selecting locations on the 360Cities world map. 




All Under Heaven (58 mins; 1986)

Part of the One Village in China series, this documentary directed and produced by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon captures the various ways in which the Communist Party of China has tackled the challenge of land reform and gives insight into rural traditions. 


Not One Less (106 mins; 1999)

In Mandarin with subtitles. The film tells the true story of Wei Minzhi, a fourteen-year-old girl who is ordered to a remote impoverished village in Hebei province to work as the substitute teacher for a month. Clueless when it comes to teaching, she is, however, extraordinarily determined to keep the class intact.


One Day in Ping Wei (30 mins, 2004)

New Year in Ping Wei (30 mins; 2005)

Return to Ping Wei (30 mins; 2007)

Filmed entirely on location in Ping Wei, a small village on the banks of the Huai He River within the city limits of Huainan. Follow Liu Yen Twin from age ten to fourteen as she goes to school, celebrates Chinese New Year with her family, and participates in the village’s spring harvest.


The Road Home (89 mins; 2000)

In Mandarin with subtitles. This film gives insight into life in rural China.


Small Happiness (58 mins; 1984)

Produced and directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. Another film in the three-part documentary series One Village in China, examining life in Long Bow, a rural community 400 miles southwest of Beijing. This segment looks at the lives of women in the village.


To Taste a Hundred Herbs (58 mins; 1986)

Produced and directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. The third of the three-part documentary series One Village in China, this segment looks at the role of traditions and traditional Chinese medicine, and the lives of Chinese Catholics in the village.


Up the Yangtze (93 mins; 2008)

As the Three Gorges Dam is completed, families living along the Yangtze River are affected in various ways. This film documents the struggles of one family as their daughter takes a job on one of the Yangtze River “Farewell Cruises” and the family is forced to leave their home for higher ground.


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