Higher Modern Studies China Essay Questions

Officially titled the People's Republic of China, China has the highest population of any country on Earth. It has the second largest economy, is a nuclear power and has a permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council. It is also a communist country.

What is communism?

Mao Zedong

In 1949 under Leader Mao Zedong, China became a communist country. The state took control of the factories, businesses, the land etc, on behalf of the people. There was no private ownership. The Communist Party of China (CPC) took control and the people worked on behalf of the common good. According to Mao, the idea of individual progress at the expense of others was not acceptable.

After his death, China moved away from Mao's version of communism. However, the influence of the CPC within China remains to this day.

Democracy in China

The idea of democracy is largely a foreign concept to the Chinese. China has a long tradition of being ruled by powerful leaders, firstly in the case of emperors and today the Communist Party of China (CPC). In China, there is no mass concern for human rights, free elections or multi-party politics.

The people of China

China’s 1.35 billion people make up one-fifth of the world’s population. In 2014, according to the World Bank, 54 per cent of Chinese live in urban areas and around 46 per cent in rural areas.

The majority of people in China are Han Chinese (92 per cent). There are also 55 other ethnic groups. In two parts of China – Tibet and Xinjiang – there is serious ethnic conflict.


China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is the second largest in terms of GDP, behind the USA. The Chinese economy is expected to be bigger than the US economy by 2020.


In China, the number of poor people has fallen rapidly in the last 50 years. 500 million people have been lifted out of poverty. This is a reduction from over 50 per cent to around 10 per cent of people in poverty or around 100 million depending on which definition of poverty is used. The number of wealthy Chinese has also risen rapidly. There are currently over 2.3 million dollar millionaires in China (Global Wealth Report, 2014).

Social Change

Chinese society has undergone massive social change in the last forty years. Millions of people have moved from rural to urban areas abandoning their traditional lifestyles. In many cities, skyscrapers dominate the skyline and Western brands fill the new shopping centres.

Millions of Chinese people today own consumer goods, such as cars, mobile phones and computers. This was unimaginable 40 - 50 years ago. Wealth in China has soared.

However, at the same time, the Chinese Government estimates around 100 million Chinese people live below the UN’s poverty line of $1.25 per day. The World Bank estimates that the true figure for Chinese poverty could be as high as 300 million people.

  1. Does anyone have any ideas what will come up in the 2014 Higher modern paper 1, I'm stressing out about studying for it

  2. “Critically examine the view that there is little opposition to the Communist Party in China”

    So basically this is the question for the higher modern studies essay. I'm really confused, I don't know what I should talk about. Can someone be nice enough and give me some advice and help?
    I did the introduction:
    China is ruled and organised by one political party – the Communist Party of China (CPC). This party came to power in 1949 and claims to have 78 million members in which the majority of these members are males over the age of 35. Females and younger adults are under-represented in the CPC. Unlike political parties in the UK, the CCP id deeply involved in the lives of ordinary people, watching over and influencing what they learn at school, watch on TV and access on the Internet, their jobs and housing, even the number of children they have. Over the years the CPC has been good at removing all elements of opposition and it maintains a strong grip on politics. The little opposition to the Communist Party is shown by the lack of widespread protests in China despite not having freedom that we have in the UK. Also, Chinese people do not have tradition of democracy as we do. However, some groups do show opposition (but tend to be crushed if they don’t co-operate with the governments) and these are often the dissidents.

    Please, I'm really stuck and I need to hand in this essay on Monday
    Thank you!

  3. I'm too late - but I had this essay question the other week.
    I spoke about an activist firstly, then went on to speak about opposition through religious movements (falun gong). And finally I spoke about how there are eight other officially recognised political parties in China.

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