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    If you are an educator teaching about China, these featured resources are designed for you. The websites linked below offer informative primary sources, organized curriculums, and other classroom materials aimed at bringing Chinese history, art, and culture into the classroom. In addition to the resources featured here, our Resource Center includes more generalized resources on East Asia as well as resource pages designated to specific East Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan). You can also find many other online materials listed on The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia website. Be sure to also visit NCTA's Partner Sites, who provide excellent content on East Asia for K-12 educators.

    joseph chan NC7Wr 26vGY unsplash 1Contextualizing Chinese Protest

    Beginning in late November 2022, protests erupted all over China in response to restrictive Zero-Covid policies enacted by Xi Jinping and the CCP that inhibited businesses, halted economic growth, and made it difficult for citizens to work or get the food and supplies they needed while under lockdown. Many of the international news headlines covering these protests employ terms such as "unprecedented" and "uncharacteristic" to describe Chinese protest, implying that dissent in China is rare. However, the current demonstrations are part of a long tradition of Chinese protest that is often headed by students and other young adults. Here are a few links to sources on what is happening in China right now, and the broader history of protest in China: The BBC article "What is China's zero Covid policy and what are its rules?" in response to the current demonstrations, provides a snapshot of what life in China is like under the Zero-Covid policy, detailing the strict lockdown measures. The CNN article "The comic ingenuity of Chinese protesters" is an opinion piece by historian of modern China, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, that highlights the humorous creativity of current and ongoing Chinese protests as they have utilized subtle demonstrations and dissent to comically critique a government that has historically cracked down severely on organized public protests. The Washington Post article "Large, peaceful protests shows Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement is still strong" covered the 2019 protests in Hong Kong at the height of their game, when millions of Hong Kongers took to the streets to protest the Chinese government's tightening control over the city that has a unique, non-Chinese identity. In the 2020s, the government has increasingly cracked down on any dissent in Hong Kong and there is now very little protest activity left, however, Hong Kong's resistance is incredibly relevant to the current demonstrations all across China. Lun Zhang's non-fiction, young adult book Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes follows the story of the infamous June Fourth incident—otherwise known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre—from the firsthand account of a young sociology teacher who witnessed it all. During the Tiananmen Square Massacre, non-violent, student-led demonstrations calling for communication between protesters and the government, a stop to governmental corruption, and overall increased democracy, were the victim of a violent government-authorized crackdown by the People's Liberation Army that resulted in thousands of deaths and serious injuries, of which the vast majority were students. Tiananmen 1989 is a great book for introducing the history of student protest in China to high schoolers and an important read for anyone.

    For more updates on protest in China and other contemporary news on East Asia, follow NCTA on Facebook.

    General Resources

    china in world history

     China in World History | Asia for Educators

    Here you can access three free and informative videos from expert Sara Schneewind. These videos, titled "Ming Voyages in China’s History: The Truth about the Maritime Expeditions Led by Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty," "Easternization (not “Westernization”): Modernity is a Global Formation," and "Footbinding: Confronting the Very Strange" are each designed to increase your understanding of Chinese history. Each video presentation also comes with 2 Professional Development Hours. To participate, sign in or register an account on the program site.


     asia for educatorsElementary Level Resources: China | Asia for Educators

    Asia for Educators, at Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asia Institute, has compiled a collection of resources for K-5 teachers. This collection is centered around China and offers resources for a wide variety of subjects: geography, language, culture, history, science, math, literature, arts & crafts, and drama & music.




    Arts and Culture

    kennedy center

    Chinese Calligraphy & Ink Painting | The Kennedy Center 

    Are you an art teacher looking for resources on China for elementary students? Then look no further! Developed by The Kennedy Center, this lesson plan provides K-4 students with a fun art activity in the style of Chinese calligraphy. Students will learn the basics of watercolor and brush strokes, and apply this knowledge to create their own landscape painting. Students will engage in multicultural learning, as this lesson plan also provides traditional Chinese music and related vocabulary words.

     sun wukongNOVEL ADVENTURES: Using The Journey to the West to Teach Tang China History and Culture | AAS

    The Journey to the West is an iconic adventure novel written by Wu Cheng'en in 1592, and though the story was produced during Ming China, the events of the story take place in the Tang dynasty and showcase many elements of early Chinese culture. The novel follows the journey of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang as he travels to India in search of Buddhist sutras to take back to China and translate. The novel features many characters including Xuanzang's lively disciples, the Buddha himself, Bodhisattva Guanyin, Laozi, and the Tang Emperor. These characters, specifically the aforementioned who have a prominent place in history or religion, come together to both take part in an exciting story, and engage with topics such as Daoism, Buddhism, and The Silk Road, that heavily influenced the Tang Dynasty and the world at large today. This article explains the value of utilizing this iconic story as a classroom resource and provides strategies for doing so.


    Philosophy and Religion


    Confucianism | Asia Society

    Confucianism was established between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. by its founder known as Kongzi (Confucius, 551-479 BCE.) whose intention was to reinterpret the undefined Zhou religion. The basis of this social and ethical philosophy was tradition, defined roles within relationships, and mutual obligations. Confucianism is one of the philosophies that has shaped China for thousands of years and represents an integral part of Chinese history. For primary source information on Confucianism, check out this translation of The Great Learning provided by the Indiana University.

     daoismDaoism | Asia Society

    This article from the Asia Society provides helpful context and key text references on the subject of Daoism/Taoism. Daoism originated in the 5th century B.C.E. from the teachings of Laozi and his classic text, the Dao De Jing. The basis of this philosophy was connection with nature, a life of simplicity, and a spiritual approach to the universe. Daoism, along with Confucianism and Legalism, is one of the philosophies that has shaped China for thousands of years and represents an integral part of Chinese history. For a primary source, check out the Dao De Jing provided by the University of Florida.

    shang yang

    Legalism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Legalism became popular in the latter half of the Warring States period as a representation of the teachings and beliefs of the scholars Han Fei, Shen Buhai, and Shang Yang. The goal of these legalists was to attain "a rich state and a powerful army" and to focus on the stability of the government and the people in such a turbulent time as the Warring States period. The basis of legalism was the belief that humans are inherently selfish, and shouldn't be expected to act morally and abstain from coveting wealth and power. Instead, legalists believed that commoners and elites alike should be allowed to strive for wealth and fame in ways that benefitted the state, such as agricultural pursuits and warfare. Legalism, along with Daoism and Confucianism, is one of China's foundational philosophies.


    Donggang Wangye Worshipping Ceremony

    Religion | Taiwan the Heart of Asia

    This guide by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau discusses the many beliefs present within the country, a brief history of religion in Taiwan, and complementary images that display the beauty and originality of religious practices in Taiwanese culture.  


    taiwan chinaA One-China Policy Primer | Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings

    The "One-China Policy Primer" is a thorough resource that outlines the positions of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and the United States on the subject of the One-China concept and Taiwan's political status. 


    Queer History

    queer activism in chinaUnfinished Revolution: An Overview of Three Decades of LGBT Activism in China

    Within the context of queer activism, perhaps one of the most inspiring movements is that of the Chinese LGBTQ community. In pre-modern times, China had a long history of societally accepted homosexuality, a stark contrast to pre-modern Europe that largely viewed any homosexuality as an abomination. However, in the present period, the Chinese Party-State has suppressed and censored the LGBTQ community, prompting activists to fight back. This article discusses the ups and downs queer activism in China has experienced in the last few decades, the role of nongovernmental organizations as opportunities for change, and the political sensitivity surrounding human rights activism.   

    passion of the cut sleeveBisexuality in Chinese History

    The inclusion of queer history in curriculums is integral to teaching about world civilizations. With this featured article, high school students can be introduced to prevalent representations of bisexuality in Han Dynasty China. In the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) it was common for emperors to have both wives and male companions. Both men and women at the time used intimate relationships to gain favor with the upper court, and this openness to nonheterosexual intimacy led to legendary love stories that are still prevalent as symbols of queer love. 


    Who We Are

    Housed within the Asian Studies Program at the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas NCTA aims to empower elementary and secondary school teachers to center East Asian art, literature, history, and culture in their classrooms.

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