From very early times China’s encounters with the world beyond its borders involved the commercial exchange of goods. The Chinese attitude has consistently been that trade was desirable but could have unfortunate and unforeseeable consequences unless carefully structured and regulated. This seminar will explore China’s attitudes towards cross-cultural trade and suggest reasons that China felt it so important to gain greater control over its place in the international systems of trade from the nineteenth century up to the present. Before 1949 and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a socialist state, China’s trade developed within a global capitalist system dominated by Great Britain and other Western powers with Japan assuming an increasingly important role. China’s trade and its economic growth in general were hindered, however, by treaty restrictions that limited its ability to compete. For a generation after 1949, while socialist China continued trade with some Western and other non-socialist states, excluding the United States, the focus of its trade relations were members of the socialist bloc of nations. Growing hostility between the PRC and the Soviet Union in the 1960s contributed to a rapprochement with the United States in 1972. This set the stage for China’s reopening to the world beginning around 1980, the resumption of economic and trade relations globally including with the U.S., and China’s rapid development into a global economic power. Our discussions will explore the factors, including China’s historical experience since 1800, that have motivated and structured the on-going process that has transformed the East Asian giant into a global trading dynamo.
For registration information, please contact Charlotte Wolfe Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
*There will be a follow-up lesson planning workshop as well as an end of the year wrap-up session in addition to the two-day seminar.