Physical Features- Ring of Fire
The “Ring of Fire” is an arch of islands located east of China in the Pacific Ocean. It marks the meeting place of the Pacific, Philippine, and Eurasian tectonic plates, and is a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Ring of Fire contains 75% of the world’s dormant and active volcanoes.The dangerous volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that result from the tectonic plates shifting have been a burden and worry to nearby inhabitants. This feature is important because its volcanic activity formed most of the region’s mountainous islands, such as Japan and Taiwan.
Cultural Locations- Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is stone fortification located along the northern borders of China. It’s first section was built under Qin Shi Huang Di in the 200s BC. The little left of this wall is located north of the current wall, which was built during the Ming dynasty. Stretching over 4,000 miles, this feature is the world’s longest human-made structure. Somewhere between two and three million Chinese died in the building of this wall. This feature helped to shape the land because it provided a barrier to outside invaders, and prevented semi-nomadic people from crossing into the land with their horses or easily escaping with stolen property. It has also been ranked one of the 7 Wonders of the World and is one of China’s most recognizable features.
Historical Influence- China’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution
China’s “Great Leap Forward” campaign of the 1950s created large, government-owned farms that replaced cooperatives. Unfortunately, the farms could not produce enough food, and many Chinese starved, tearing the economy apart. Trying to fix this problem, Deng Xiaping and others allowed private ownership of businesses and farms in the 1970s, and welcomed foreign business and technology. The People’s Republic of China held strict Communist political rule, but pressures to modernize opened China’s economy to many free market influences. During that time, the cultural revolution was taking place. This period is market by upheaval in the late 1960s that was caused by Mao’s attempt to put a tighter grip on the country in order to gain more power.. Schools and factories closed, causing literacy to suffer. Although most of this was negative, after the fall of this time period the Chinese started to recognize that economic reforms meant fewer promised public services than before. Traditions were wiped out during the revolution, but are slowly starting to return to the Chinese culture. This time period was very influential because the economy faced many different situations in a short period of time, and some aspects of Chinese culture that were destroyed during this time period are still suffering.
Contemporary Issues- 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
On May 12, 2008, the mountainous Sichuan Province in Western China was hit with a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. This disaster killed 70,000 people, and over 18,000 went missing. China has been putting in efforts to withstand dangerous earthquakes since the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. Unfortunately, this earthquake was too powerful to be prevented or even weakened. Many schools, hospitals, work buildings, and factories collapsed during this natural disaster, and the whole region was devastated. This earthquake was important to the region because the whole area had to start from scratch to rebuild their region after relief.
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