There are distinct areas that shape the political culture in China. Geography plays a role in that of the 1.3 billon people who live in the country, most concentrate on the eastern side of the country. Mountain ranges and deserts on the western half isolate China from the West. China’s traditional culture is inherited from centuries of dynastic rule centers around Confucian values, such as order, harmony, and a strong sense of hierarchy – “superior” and “subservient” positions. Nationalism and Maoism are more recent values, whereas nationalism has dominated the intellectual life for more than a century. Maoism draws from both traditional and nationalistic values (although it claims to be new and revolutionary). From traditional, it takes Confucian emphasis on thinking right thoughts and an extreme belief that human will can change the world. From nationalism, Mao took the emphasis on strength and rebuilding China so that it could stand up to its old enemies and become a world power. Over the decades, the Chinese became politically numb. They had to mouth slogans and participate in mass campaigns. One slogan that sums up the handling of government crackdowns is “tranquility outside, repression within.”
Population Concentration in China
The majority of Chinese population lives in urban areas in the east. The mountain ranges and deserts in the west and north make this part of the country difficult for habitat.
|Mandate of heaven (responsibility of ruler to people)||Democratic centralism|
|Vision of an ideal society based on harmony and obedience||Vision of ideal society based on self-reliance and struggle|
|Hierarchical social and political organization; rulers and subjects have unequal positions||Egalitarian social structure; mass line between rulers and subjects|
|Emphasis on loyalty to family||Emphasis on loyalty to the state|