For Teachers: Teachers' Guide

China Achieves a Modern State

* This section of the website corresponds to the 1914 to present unit of Advanced Placement World History


After 1949, the Chinese leaders began to modernize the country. Although they introduced many policies and institutions based on Communism, a political philosophy that originated in Europe, these policies and institutions also have many similarities to those of the Qing emperors. China’s economic dynamism in the 1980s and 1990s can also be traced back to imperial precedents. Imperial China continues to have many important effects on the development of modern China.

Key Terms/Vocabulary

rural industry

Study Questions

  1. How did the Communist rulers’ understanding of the connection between politics and culture reflect the understanding of that relationship in late imperial China? How does this affect our understanding of the legacy of imperial China in the twentieth century?
  2. How does the use of the campaign by China’s Communist leaders compare to the development of democratic institutions in parts of Europe?
  3. What was the main source of economic dynamism in China in the 1980s and 1990s? Explain.
  4. How do China’s recent economic growth and its sources complicate our understanding of what it means to be modern?

Discussion Questions

Does the collapse of the Nationalist government and the rise of Communism in China in the late 1940s mark a complete break with long imperial history of China?