Economic System


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economic system The Death of woman Wang

The Death of Woman Wang, by Jonathan Spence is an educational historical novel of northeastern China during the seventeenth century. The author's focus was to enlighten a reader on the Chinese people, culture, and traditions. Spence's use of the provoking stories of the Chinese county T'an-ch'eng, in the province of Shantung, brings the reader directly into the course of Chinese history. The use of the sources available to Spence, such as the Local History of T'an-ch'eng, the scholar-official Huang Liu-hung's handbook and stories of the writer P'u Sung-Ling convey the reader directly into the lives of poor farmers, their workers and wives. The intriguing structure of The Death of Woman Wang consists on observing these people working on the land, their family structure, and their local conflicts.
Chapter one, The Observers, in the Death of Woman Wang demonstrates the accuracy of the local historian; Feng K'o-ts'an, who compiled The Local History of T'an-ch'eng in 1673. The descriptive context of the Local History helps the reader to understand and literally penetrate into people's lives. The use of records of the earthquake of 1668, the White Lotus rising of 1622 and rebels rising vividly described by Feng the extent of suffering the people of T'an-ch'eng went through. Jonathan Spence stresses on how miserable the two-quarter of the seventeen-century were to the diminishing population of the county.  The earthquake claimed the lives of nine thousand people, many others died in the White lotus rising, hunger, sickness and banditry. P'u Sung-ling's stories convey that after the loss of the wheat crops there were cases of cannibalism. On top of all of this came the slaughtering of the entire family lines by the bandits. The incredible records of women like Yao and Sun in the Local History present the reader the magnitude of savagery the bandits possessed.  All of these factors led to the rise of suicides. The clarity of events Spence given to the reader is overwhelming.
On the other hand, Spence losses his reader as he introduces the spread of Confucius and other superstitious believes through out the county.  He states that the Local History states that people became unusually superstitious in parts of T'an-ch'eng. Later on he presents the Confucianism and it influence. Confusion especially occurs then he quotes from many different sources and chapters. For instance during the exams of 1669, students were presented with quotes from different chapters, which were supposed to be placed in correct context. An entire paragraph mentions chapters, books and names without any logical order. Of course this may have occurred because of the limited knowledge I have about these chapters.    
Spence gives a reader a clear insight in T'an-ch'eng's economy and it's economic policies in chapter two, The Land. T'an-ch'eng government had a rather simple philosophy, the more you made the more you paid. The taxes were paid based on percentage of what you made or volunteer to work for the government. The government did take interest in its taxpayers only then people were unable to pay at all.  Local History showed that there was a schedule of nine tax payments.  People paid more during the harvest seasons and less during the hottest midsummer months.  Structured Chinese government devised a responsible and supervisory system, which insured that the taxes were collected at full without any spillovers. Theft and cheating was a common occurrence at city's market, thus government officials created collecting points for the farmers to avoid direct contact with middlemen. All of the factors presented by Spence give the reader a closer look on the financial struggle of an ordinary seventeenth century farmer.
Furthermore, in part tree, The Widow, Spence urges the reader of woman's values and her characteristics in T'an-ch'eng county. Through the Local History Spence defines the meaning of property in the seventeen century China. Women like any other piece of property belonged to their alive husbands. Unfortunately, because of the levels of disasters in the county, population of males dropped from 40,002 to 9881 males, leaving a lot of helpless widows. Because of the Legal Code in the county, widows alone had a little chance to inherit deceased husband's property. Spence's vivid use of P'eng's story opens the readers eyes ... more

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Great Wall

The Great Wall of China
To the northwest and north of Beijing, a huge, serrated wall zigzags it's way to the east and west along the undulating mountains. This is the Great Wall, which is said to be visible from the moon. This massive wall has not only been one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World, but it has also been inspiration for many artists, and writers. The building of the Great Wall is one of the biggest tragedy?s, but through this tragedy arose triumph with the wall, being so much to so many people. The Great Wall of China is much more than a wall, and was built for many reasons that are hidden to most.
Construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. The wall states that under the Zhou Dynasty in the northern parts of the country each built their own walls for defense purposes. After the state of Qin unified China in 221 B.C., it joined the walls to hold off the invaders from the Xiongnu tribes in the north and extended them to more than 10,000 li or 5,000 kilometers. This is the origin of the name of the "10,000-li Great Wall". (Karls, Robert 10,000-li Great Wall)
To understand everything about the Great Wall it is necessary to know the many components of the wall, and their purposes. The Great Wall was renovated

Pearson 2
from time to time after the Qin Dynasty. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and took 200 years to complete. The wall
we see today is almost exactly the result of this effort. With a total length of over 6,000 kilometers, it extends to the jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the west and to the mouth of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east. What lies north of Beijing is but a small section of it. (Karls)
The Badaling section of the Great Wall snaking along the mountains northwest of Beijing was built at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Being 7.8 meters high and 5.8 meters wide at the top on the average, it has battle forts at important points, including the corners. (Karls)
Located 10 kilometers south of the Badaling section of the Great Wall and built in an 18.5-kilometre-long valley, the pass has always been an important gateway northwest of Beijing. The name is believed to have its origin in the workers and slaves conscripted to build the Great Wall in ancient times. Cloud Terrace, built in 1345, was originally the base of a pagoda over looking the main road of the town of the pass. The arched gate of the terrace and the walls inside the arch are decorated with carvings. Of elephants, lions, birds, flower and heavenly kings as well as charms in six languages-Sanskrit, Tibetan, Phats pa (Mongolian), Uygur, West Xia and Han. (Karls)
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing, is linked to the Gubeikou section on the east and the Badaling section on the

Pearson 3
west. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is crenellated for watching and shooting at the invading enemy. Some of the battle forts on the wall are as close
as 50 meters apart. It is one of the best sections of the Great Wall. (Karls)
Located in Miyun County northeast of Beijing, the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall, like the Simatai division, belongs to the Gubeikou section of the colossal defence barrier. The battlements in the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall are built along the ridge of a mountain, where the soldiers can resist the invading enemy by taking advantage of the high terrain. (Karls)
Located to the east of Jinshanling, the Simatai division of the Great Wall is 3,000 meters long and has 35 battle forts. The wall rises and falls with the precipitous mountain ridge, while the battle forts are located high up the hills.
From the Beakon Tower alarm was raised by means of smoke signals, at night by fire. Smoke was produced by burning a mixture of wolf dung, sulfur and saltpeter. Shots were fired at the same time. Thus an alarm could be relayed ... more

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