EAST 317 WINTER 2010 MID-TERM EXAM -- MARCH 05 – ANSWER KEY
I. ANSWER THE FOLLOWING 6 QUESTIONS (8 marks each)
1. What is the function of the four tones in Mandarin?
Their function is to create distinction of meaning and to increasing the number of
meanings that can be expressed by the same sound. For example, the sound "an"
will have different meaning depending on the tone that is used in its pronunciation:
"an" in an even tone means "peace" and in a falling tone means "dark.”
2. Describe the high expense of being able to enter and study in university in China.
China has national university entrance exams. The goal of most students is to
score high enough to enter a university with a good reputation. For this reason,
students often leave their homeplace to reside at the university that they have been
selected for. It is important for students wanting to go to university to study in
academically good schools prior to taking part in the national exams for university
entrance. Allocation to junior high school is by computer; however, it is possible to
circumvent the allocation and go to the junior high of one's choice by paying 50-80
thousand RMB. To enter high school it is also necessary to score highly on
entrance exams. If one is short of the grade to be accepted to high school, one can
add points by paying 10,000 per point. Finally, if one is successful in passing the
university entrance exams, one can expect to pay 10,000 RMB per year for tuition,
residence, and other expenses (report by Dr. Laura Wu, Huron College, Western
University). Keep in mind China per capital income in 2008 was under 20,000 RMB.
3. How are present-day sex ratios in China indicative of women’s continuing inferior
Government policy has dictated that many families can only have one child (one-
child-family population policy). This policy in combination with the traditional desire
to have a son to carry on the family name has made female babies unwanted
leading to abortions of female fetuses and abandoning of female children. Zhang
Weiqing, Minister of the National Population and Family PLanning Commission,
reported the ratio as 118 boys born for every 100 girls in 2005. The norm is 105 or
106 male births for every 100 female births.
4. What is the main reason for the success of the Communist revolution in 1949?
The Japanese invasion allowed the Chinese Communist Party to assume the role
of nationalists (defenders of the motherland) in the defense of China. The
population supported them in this role leading to the success of the Communist
Revolution in 1949.
5. What is the main source of China’s air pollution?
China’s main source of air pollution is the burning of coal. It is burned for industrial
use, mainly power production, and for indoor heating. It is burned inefficiently.
6. According to James Fallows, "The $1.4 Trillion Question,” why does the Chinese
government not use the U.S. dollars earned to address China’s needs directly?
Fallows does not explain it, but the argument seems that if the dollars are not used
to buy US assets, then the Chinese government will lose the ability to control the
RMB's value relative to other currencies. The result would be that its value would
be set by forces of supply and demand, as are the values of the dollar, euro,
pound, etc. The obvious reason for doing this is to keep Chinese-made products
cheap, so Chinese factories will stay busy. (p. 5 of 11) The Chinese government
also does not want to deal with the complexity of a changing exchange rate. Also,
the “government doesn't want to increase domestic spending dramatically, because
it fears that improving average living conditions could paradoxically intensify the
rich-poor tensions that are China’s major social problem.” The increased spending
would lead to inflation, thereby reducing the buying power of most workers. (p. 6 of
II. ANSWER THE FOLLOWING 4 QUESTIONS (13 marks each)
1. How have cultural traits contributed to East Asian economic strength?
Herman Kahn (World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond. [Boulder,
Colorado: Westview Press, 1979], p. 117-125) states that Confucian societies
“promote in the individual and the family sobriety, a high value on education, a
desire for accomplishment in various skills (particularly academic and cultural), and
seriousness about tasks, job, family, and obligations. A properly trained member of
a Confucian culture will be hardworking, responsible, skilful, and . . . ambitious and
creative in helping the group . . .” (121)
Confucian societies also promote harmonious human relations (121); “the
modern Confucian ethic is superbly designed to create and foster loyalty,
dedication, responsibility, and commitment and to intensify identification with the
organization and one’s role in the organization.” (122) “[B]oth aspects of the
Confucian ethic–the creation of dedicated, motivated, responsible, and educated
individuals and the enhanced sense of commitment, organizational identity, and
loyalty to various institutions–will result in all the neo-Confucian societies having at
least potentially higher growth rates than other cultures.” (122) The emphasis on
education offered opportunities for social mobility and personal cultivation, as well
as practical skills.
Respect for hierarchial structure means that administration of economic
structures is more efficient. The importance placed on the family has led to
providing much of the social safety net, which is done less expensively than by the
2. How do you explain Confucius' teaching, "The humane man, desiring to be
established himself, seeks to establish others; desiring himself to succeed, he helps
others to succeed"?
Personal self-fulfilment and success is defined in terms of helping others. In other
words, the successful person is one who attempts to ensure the success of others.
It is part of human nature to want to help others; those who realize this and attempt
to satisfy this need are more likely to be fulfilled.
3. Describe, with examples, the importance of ceremony in Chinese culture.
In what may be described as the banality of life, it is difficult to demonstrate the
importance of our relationships with other people. This importance can be shown in
the common etiquette in our lives, not just things like graduation ceremonies, but
courtesies like holding the door for someone. These gestures are ways of
expressing our seriousness toward a certain situation and, because they allow us
to distinguish ourselves from other animals, they give a special value, which
Herbert Fingarette (Confucius: The Secular as Sacred) calls sacredness, to human
An example is the fact that most of us want to dress attractively. We will comb
our hair and put on accessories. These things seem to have no obvious practical
purpose; however, we do them because they make our appearance special. We
are not just providing for the need to be warm and dry; we are also trying to present
ourselves to others in a favourable way. Our attempts to demonstrate the
importance of our relationships with others provides a feeling of self-worth or
dignity. It also contributes to social order, for example, when we allow less able
members of society access to seats on public transportation and provides a means
to express emotion in a civilized way.
4. Why have China’s actions in Africa improved its reputation abroad and what evidence
is there that its reputation has improved?
Africa, a region that may reveal how Chinese foreign involvement will develop, is
receiving much attention as an example of Chinese foreign relations. Two-way
trade between China and Africa was $US107 billion (corresponding US figure was
$US141 billion) an increase of 45 percent year on year. China has also built huge
amounts of infrastructure in Africa (something apparently overlooked by Western
investors) in recent years and is increasingly investing in manufacturing, not solely
resources. (“China Wants to Set Up Factories in Africa,” The Guardian, 2009.12.04)
Although there is much debate surrounding the benefits of Chinese investment in
Africa, Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank, has recently
praised it as benefitting the continent. (“'What Is Bad About It' Top African Banker
Defends Investment from China” [Speigel Online International 01/29/2010]) The
China Quarterly recently (Sept. 2009) produced a theme issue on Chinese
involvement in Africa. While emphasizing the uneven results of Chinese
involvement in Africa, the “Introduction” points out the importance of having
alternative partnerships and models of development and stated that “multi-country
surveys on African perceptions of China among university students complements
extant survey work on this topic and finds that when Africans are directly asked,
with only a few exceptions they are mostly strongly positive in their perceptions of
China’s development and its impact on Africa; indeed in surveys Africans are
significantly more positive about China than they are about the United States.”
(Julia Strauss and Martha Saavedra, 558)