20      The Challenges Ahead


Primary Resources


Document 20.1


“A Troubled River Mirrors China’s Path to Modernity” by Jim Yardley in the New York Times, November 19, 2006


Document 20.2


“Pollution from China’s Coal Casts a Global Shadow” by Keith Bradsher and David Barboza in the New York Times, June 11, 2006

Document 20.4

“Over One-Third of Chinese People Using Internet” at Xinhuanet.com, January 2011


Document 20.5


Excerpt from Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler, describing a nonviolent demonstration by Falun Gong followers in Tiananmen Square, Beijing


Document 20.6


“What has the Qinghai–Tibet Railway Brought to China?” by Zhang Xueying in China Today, October 2006

Document 20.7

Slide show with photographs of Tibet, 2005

Document 20.8

“Profile: Rebiya Kadeer,” BBC News report on a Uyghur activist, March 17, 2005

Document 20.9

Excerpt from “China-Taiwan Trade Ties Increase,” BBC News, January 17, 2007

Document 20.10

Excerpt from “China Takes on the World” by Michael Elliott, Time, January 22, 2007

Document 20.11

“The Chinese in Africa” The Economist April 20, 2011

Document 20.12

“Playing its Due Role” by Chen Xulong in Beijing Review, October 19, 2006



Supplementary Resources


Item 20.A

Questions for Activity 1, related to Document 20.1

Item 20.B

List of characters for Activity 1

Item 20.C

Questions for Activity 2, related to Document 20.2

Item 20.D

Additional activity examining the Three Gorges Dam

Item 20.E

Questions related to Activity 4, Documents 20.3–20.5

Item 20.F

Additional activities examining protests in China

Item 20.G

“A Brief History of Tibet”

Item 20.H

“A Brief History of Xinjiang”

Item 20.I

“A Brief History of Taiwan”



A Closer Look


Street in Xi’an



Activity Websites


Activity 1 Water diversion in China

China Water Resettlement: "Honest Folk Have Lost Out", Guardian, 2011

China's South-North Water Diversion Resettlement--In Pictures, Guardian, 2011

South-North Water Transfer Project, International Rivers

(Also includes links at the bottom under More Information that might also be helpful.)


Activity 4

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations

The China Story

Research and news on contemporary China from the Australian Centre on  China in the World.


Activity 4 Item 20.E

On-line censorship


Activity 4 Item 20.F

Protests in China- Nicholas Kristof- "Great Leap Backward"

Protests in China- Nicholas Kristof- "Where China Outpaces America"

China covers up detention of AIDS Doctor

Wukan protests of 2011-12


Suggested Resources




Bergsten, C. Fred, et al. China: The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know Now about the Emerging Superpower. New York: Public Affairs, 2006.

A look at China’s extraordinary economic growth and its many implications.


Chetham, Deirdre. Before the Deluge: The Vanishing World of the Yangtze’s Three Gorges. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

An exploration of the impact of the rising water level upriver from the Three Gorges Dam.


Economy, Elizabeth. The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.


Fishman, Ted C. China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World. New York: Scribner, 2005.


Gifford, Rob. China Road: Journey into the Future of a Rising Power. New York: Random House, 2007.

Journalist Rob Gifford travels Chinese Route 312 from Shanghai to the border of Kazakhstan where the social and economic changes in the country are apparent all along the 3,000-mile route.


Gladney, Dru. Dislocating China: Reflections on Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.


Harrer, Heinrich. Seven Years in Tibet. New York: Dutton, 1954.

A true story about two Austrian mountaineers who traveled to India during World War II and instead wound up in the service of the Dalai Lama.


Shakya, Tsering. The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.


Steinfeld, Edward S. Playing Our Game: Why China’s Economic Rise Doesn’t Threaten the West. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.


Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.


Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. China’s Brave New World: And Other Tales for Global Times. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.

An examination of modernization in China in the twenty-first century.


Watts, Jonathan. When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind—Or Destroy It. New York: Scribner, 2010.

An exploration of China’s struggles with environmental issues and sustainability amid economic growth.




Central Tibetan Administration

The official website of the Government of Tibet in Exile.


China at the Crossroads, The Guardian

This series from The Guardian examines life, politics, the economy, and the environment in modern China.


The China Beat

A blog written from 2008–2012 about contemporary China. Based at the University of California, Irvine, blog contributors from the United States, China, Australia, Japan, Canada, and other countries provided context and criticism on events in China.


China Daily

An English language daily newspaper published in China.


Choke Point: China, Circle of Blue Water News

Research and articles about China’s water challenges.


Constitution of the People’s Republic of China

The Chinese Constitution adopted December 4, 1982, and amendments since 1982.


Republic of China (Taiwan)

Government website for Taiwan.


Taiwan Flashpoint, BBC

This site provides an in-depth understanding of the China-Taiwan conflict over time.


“The World According to China,” The New York Times

An article by James Traub published in September 2006 that provides a view of how China approaches international diplomacy.


Xinjiang Territory Profile, BBC

Overview, facts, and government information about the Xinjiang province of China.


Yellow River Slideshow, The New York Times

Photographs of the Yellow River from 2006.




Beijing Taxi (78 mins; 2010)

The rapid transformation and modernization of Beijing is seen through the perspectives of three taxi drivers.


China Blue (88 mins; 2005)

A powerful documentary that captures the lives of teen girls working in a Chinese factory that produces denim jeans. The film provides another perspective on what China’s involvement in the global economy means to one segment of the population and the role Western corporations and consumers play.


China from the Inside (3-hour, 4-part series; 2007)

This PBS documentary includes the episodes “Power and the People,” “Women of the Country,” “Shifting Nature,” and “Freedom and Justice.”


China Rises (208 mins; 2006)

This Discovery Times documentary looks at the monumental changes unfolding in the People’s Republic of China. Video excerpts and interviews are available on the companion website at http://www.nytimes.com/specials/chinarises/intro/index.html.


Last Train Home (87 mins; 2009)

This documentary examines the consequences of migrant work in China as it follows a migrant couple trying to get back home for the Chinese New Year. Family strife caused by their absence leads their daughter to drop out of school and also become a migrant worker.


Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion (100 mins; 2003)

This documentary chronicles the dark secrets of Tibet’s recent past through interviews, personal stories, and archival images.


To Have and Have Not: Wealth and Poverty in the New China (56 mins; 2002)

The dichotomy between rich and poor is explored in this documentary from PBS’s Wide Angle. Living conditions of migrant workers are juxtaposed against the new wealth in China’s cities, displaying economic disparities in China’s economic boom.


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.


Perspectives on China’s Challenges and Opportunities in the Years Ahead


Asia Society

Blog posts, articles, videos, and op-eds about challenges facing China in the twenty-first century.


BBC News: China

Up-to-date reports and news about events and issues in China.


Beijing Review

The Beijing Review website provides up-to-date news and analysis on both national and international news. It is helpful for anyone interested in the increasing role that China is playing in global affairs.


The Bulletin, Newsletter of the China-United States Exchange Foundation

Articles about China’s economy, environment, and foreign relations.


China Focus

Commentary on China-United States relations and articles about China’s foreign policy, economy, environment, and culture.


The China Story

Research and news on contemporary China from the Australian Centre on China in the World.



A website that tracks and analyzes Chinese state, commercial, and social media.


The New York Times: China

The China country news page of The New York Times with articles, videos, multimedia, and links to additional blogs and media about China.



To access the site's resources, use your copy of China Since 1644 to answer the question below.
Fill in the blank.