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This background essay introduces the diversity of China"s organic and synthetic functions, and the relative populace of its various areas. Used as background information, learners can discover the many type of various offers of maps (check out associated lesson plans). Road maps to uncover our way to other locations. Physical maps display various landdevelops and also elevations and also bodies of water. Historical maps help us understand political limits and the motion of people, items, and also ideas. Military leaders require maps as they arrangement their campaigns, and also tourists need maps in order to number out amazing areas to visit. Many kind of maps present both herbal and fabricated functions. They regularly reflect values of the human being that develop them and also define their area in the civilization. Maps were offered for military and also political functions and also display how China regarded itself in relation to the rest of the human being. In China ownership of a map indicated sovereignty over the land also it shown.
Understanding the interaction between a natural environment and assorted human and also social fads is a critical aspect of location. To completely appreciate China"s wide geographical and also social diversity, one demands to determine general attributes that act as guidelines. The technological term offered to define distinctive locations is "homogeneous areas." Today "fingerprint" carries the same idea, namely some thing or area that is distinctive. Just as fingers share general qualities, each has a unique "print" or pattern. This same principle can be supplied to facilitate expertise complicated societies and cultures, such as those in China.
A unique geographical print can include the following variables: physical and also eco-friendly attributes, such as climates, soils, topography, and also location; historic fads and their connection to the natural environment; the economic activities and also sources that define the location this particular day.
An assist to creating an expertise of the nature of such fingerprints would be tables showing each region"s prevalent (yet distinctive) qualities. An important characteristic is vernacular real estate (residences built without architects and that reflect local products and conditions), but this particular day many kind of human being live in apartment buildings, specifically in urban areas. Social company, transportation, and also food are various other essential aspects of a fingerprint.
The North China Plain
Physical characteristics: As its name shows, this is a room of gently rolling topography. It is subject to flooding, and water frequently stands in large pools and "lakes," as there is no area for drainage. This creates marshes and shenable, reed-filled lakes, which are excellent for thatching and weaving as well as migratory birds, fish, and also snails. Winter and also summer temperatures deserve to be excessive, and also dust storms are prevalent. Highly variable weather suggests great harvests for only three out of every five years.
History: The North China Plain was one of the cradles of Chinese human being. China"s earliest farming cultures and empires developed tright here. People traditionally resided in spread communities rather than nucleated settlements because food and also water were obtainable almost everywhere. The major have to nucleate was as a defense versus intruders and also raiders. The earliest historical sites of "cities" are at the foot of the Taihang Mountains, where tbelow are minerals and also controllable water sources for all periods.
Economic tasks and also resources today: Even this day the North China Plain is a land also of dispersed agricultural settlements. Tbelow is little or no industry various other than distinctive aboriginal handicrafts. Fresh water must come from wells that regularly are salty because of negative drainage. The lack of topographic relief indicates seasonal winds are solid and often terrible. The result is that many areas have planted windbreaks to protect the soil of the areas from erosion. Life on the North China Plain is among self-sufficiency and also subsistence. Wwarmth, cotton, tobacco, peanuts, persimmons, and various other seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown tbelow.
Housing: mud-based, single-story structures through flat roofs
Social organization: villeras and clans
Transportation: walking, wheelbarrows, bicycles, cars
Food staples: wheat-based foods
The Loess Plateau
Physical characteristics: The overwhelming distinctive characteristic of the Loess Plateau is the wind-blown alluvium (dust) that has actually gathered to depths of over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) in some areas and also is known as loess. While loess is wealthy in calcium and hence productive, the all at once aridity of the area coupled via the truth that loess does not organize water provides conventional techniques of irrigation and farming useless. Environpsychological conditions, including very variable rainfall (as soon as it does occur), means that farmers hardly ever expect to harvest even more than 2 crops eexceptionally 3 years.
History: Two social patterns resulted from the physical environment and area of the Loess Plateau. One was huguy poverty and isolated communities; the various other a dependency upon profession via nomadic individuals and the empires past the Great Wall surface. Economically the Loess Plateau has been dominated by trade and commercial cities that have actually flourimelted and died as paths and the direction of profession have actually shifted. It has never before been a solid food-developing area.
Economic activities and resources today: As in the previous, vital cities in the Loess Plateau are those that facilitate profession and also deliver to and also from eastern China and the North China Plain. Cities such as Xi"an and also Lanzhou are profession hubs stemming from a reinvigorated economic situation in Xinjiang and the former Soviet countries of central Asia. Today, yet, oil has actually reput silk as the major financial commodity. Oil is a major reresource in Gansu, Xinjiang, and the contiguous country of Kazakhstan.
Housing: caves carved into the loess cliffs and mud-brick houses in rural locations, apartments in urban areas
Social organization: nuclear families
Transportation: walking, mule, and equine in rural areas; cars, bprovides, and bicycles in urban areas
Food staples: wheat-noodles and also sour cabbage
The Southeastern Coast and also Shanghai
Physical characteristics: This area shares the entire Yangzi Valley"s dominant features of water, wetlands, and also warm and also humid summers. However before, the influence of the Pacific Ocean as well as access thereto make the location distinctive. The ocean"s warmth current creates milder winter temperatures than in the inner. In enhancement the nearby mountains (Huangshan and also Wuyi) are favorable for crops various other than aquasociety (rice, shrimp, ducks, and so on), which is influential in the lowlands. Mild climates and numerous rainloss expect farmers in this area mainly suppose to attain three or more crops annually. Some develop of food, whether from land also or sea, is constantly numerous and also in excess.
History: This was the first region to feel the affect of the West with the Opium War and also "Treaty Ports" of the eighteenth century. It has had the biggest variety of Christian missionaries, Chinese Christians, and also Christian churches in China. Like so many kind of of China"s unique physical environments, it is overcame by ethnic peoples not fully identifiable as "Han," who soptimal distinct languperiods and frequently have closer ties to Chinese overseas.
Economic tasks and sources today: Shanghai is the significant city of this region. Located at the mouth of the Yangzi, it is a flourishing port and a center for steel, teleinteractions, automobiles, power production tools, petrochemicals and electric appliances. Having a strong service sector, the city is also focused on finance and insurance, commerce, real estate, tourism, and information. On the coast fishing and shipping are essential markets. Other cities alengthy the shore additionally have actually been designated "one-of-a-kind economic zones." In the interior regions rice is a vital cash crop, other than in the mountainous locations, wbelow fishing and also foresattempt take location. Other specialty plants, such as tea and citrus fruits, are grvery own, but the coastline is subject to typhoons.
Housing: plaster or brick to balance out rain in rural areas, apartment buildings in city areas
Social organization: course, family, or company compounds
Transportation: watercrafts and also ships on rivers and also canals, cars, boffers, and bicycles
Food staples: rice, seafood, and also tropical fruits
The Yangzi Valley
Physical characteristics: Separated from other areas by hills and also considerable wetlands is the Yangzi (Yangtze or Changjiang-"long river"); its tributaries and lakes are the focus of life and economics in the valley. Summers tfinish to be warm, humid, and rainy along the river, while winters are brief but cold.
History: The Yangzi Valley has actually traditionally been an important food producer. The river has actually been the facility of financial life, bringing trade and impacts from remote places. During the twentieth century, initiatives to dam the Yangzi have actually brought around drastic alters in the landscape, economic climate, and lives of the world living in the Yangzi Valley, forcing many kind of to relocate.
Economic activities and also sources today: Fishing and also watercraft commerce conquer life and society. Cities, such as Chongqing (in Sichuan province), Wuhan, and also Nanjiang, are propelled by economic situations tied to water-borne transportation and also commerce-not agriculture or also food processing. Major manufacturing centers exist along the river bereason it is a cheap indicates of move. Tright here are large numbers of civilization that spfinish their whole lives on little or tool boats, making a living moving products and civilization using the many lakes, canals, and rivers of the whole Yangzi valley.
Housing: white-plastered, multistoried homes through babsence tiled roofs, housewatercrafts, apartments in cities
Social organization: commercial/profession "families"
Transportation: river and also canal watercrafts, trucks, cars, bicycles in cities
Food staples: rice and also fish
The Sichuan Basin
Physical characteristics: The specifying physical function of this area is the large Sichuan Basin, which is separated into two components, Chengdu and Chongqing. High and also tough mountains surround the basin. Key access to eastern China is through the Yangzi River, which traverses the famed Three Gorges. This geographic setting creates a mild climate. Extremely productive soils are mostly derived from old lake sediments. Farmers not just deserve to count on numerous crops annually, they can depend on a diversity of food plants and also specialties.
History: It is frequently shelp that "Sichuan in the initially province to declare freedom and also the last to be rejoined after there is tranquility." Located in a extremely defended, productive setting and nearby to basically every major area of historic China, Sichuan is qualified of being wholly independent from the remainder of China. Yet, regulate of Sichuan and also its agricultural riches offered access to every various other significant political and also financial realm, making it the targain of many type of external warlords and kings.
Economic activities and also sources today: Sichuan has constantly been known for its tea, silk, flowers, medicinal herbs, and varied wildlife, consisting of pandas, deer, and also tigers. These sources reprimary a significant staple of its contemporary economy as do the increasing of lamb, pork, and also grain. Tourism is also vital to Sichuan"s economic situation. Popular tourist sites include the Thousand-Buddha Cliff, Qingcheng Mountain, the Bamboo Forest, the Corridor of Cypresses, Woolengthy Nature Reserve (for panda conservation), and also Xiling National Forest Park. The Yangzi River is a thoroughfare of profession, definition that Sichuan is quickly transforming through the influx of foreign investors and also developers.
Housing: hardwood, stone, or straw dwellings in rural areas; big apartment buildings in the cities
Social organization: village clusters in rural areas
Transportation: walking, mule, horses, in the mountains; bicycles and cars on the levels, watercrafts on rivers
Food staples: varied
Physical characteristics: Nothing so dominates and also specifies southwest China as its rugged, very eroded topography. Due to the fact that it is cshed to the tropical cyclones of the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea it has abundant rainfall (regularly causing erosion or denuded slopes). This location and terrain produce countless distinctive local "niches" that frequently are self-enough, which in turn assistance an abundance of unique ethnic teams, many kind of of which also live in the neighboring nations of Laos, Vietnam, Burma, and also also Thailand also.
History: This area first came right into the Chinese spbelow during the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). Its history shows both its rugged topography as well as its proximity to the modern nations and also peoples of southeastern Asia, such as Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma). Trade between these countries and the Southwest Uplands often has been illegal and mainly had small items of good value, such as jade or opium.
Economic tasks and sources today: Land also for grazing and also the cultivation of rice, winter wwarmth, tea, and also beans is obtainable in the region. The tropical plateau alengthy the border of Vietnam and Laos is appropriate for cultivating rubber and also bananas. The mining of tin, one more significant market of this area, is the just distinctive economic situation that is both traditional and modern-day. More helpful, however, has been the cultivation and also export of opium, an task occurred as an outcome of Britain"s Opium War via China.
Housing: caves sculpted right into the loess cliffs and mud-brick homes in rural areas; apartments in metropolitan areas
Social organization: nuclear families
Transportation: walking, mule, and also equine in rural areas
Food staples: vegetables, rice, ducks and geese
Physical characteristics: China"s largest province is a landscape of deserts, mountains, and oases. Most of the region is conquered by the Tarim Basin, which is filled mainly by the formidable Taklamakan desert and also rimmed by high mountains-the Kunlun Shan to the south, the Karakorum to the west, and the Tian Shan to the north. The alpine beauty of the Tian Shan sepaprices the Tarim Container from the smaller sized Junggar Basin, which is characterized by even more moisture and grass.
History: The occupants of the Junggar Container have a long association through miscellaneous Mongol individuals, yet they are even more pastdental than nomadic. Located between the cultural realms of China in the east and central Asia in the west, Xinjiang was an essential historic attach alengthy the Silk Roads. The peoples living along sanctuaries about the rim of the Tarim Container had closer ties to Persia and also the Islamic influences of the Center East. The Uighurs, Xinjiang"s biggest minority, are mainly Muslim and Turkic in ethnicity and also language. Their financial history is even more closely connected to the mercantile cities and trade of the primitive Silk Road than to the irrigation methods of eastern China. The trade and traffic alengthy this famed course integrated world and cultures and also introduced distinctive formats of music and musical tools, especially the suona and also pipa, or Chinese-style lute. The beginning of the twentieth century found the British, Germans, American, Japanese, and also Russians vying for control of this strategically crucial place.
Economic activities and also sources today: Xinjiang is well-off in oil. The Taklamakan is too barren for farming yet is regularly offered as a nuclear test site. In spite of the fact that the railroad does not extend extremely far west right into the province, tourism is obtaining in this remote region of spectacular scenery with a wide range of archaeological treasures, consisting of Buddhist cave temples, destroyed cities and fortresses, petrogylphs, and also 4,000-year-old mummies.
Housing: earth/adobe homes, two-storied through level roofs. Nomads live in tents, while apartments are common in city locations. Mosques and some residential style have actually Central Oriental or Persian-style influences.
Social organization: nuclear family members in city areas; teams of households for nomads
Transportation: long-distance trucks and bprovides in rural areas; bicycles within cities. Mules are used in cities, and also equines and camels in rural locations.
Food staples: wheat noodles, flat wwarm breview (nan), and mutton
Physical characteristics: The leading physical function of this region is its winter cold and ice. Equally distinctive and also essential are its two comprehensive wetlands-the northernmost associated through the Songari River and the southern via the Liao River. Nevertheless, its fundamental herbal sources of iron ore and coal have actually made it financially important to the rest of China.
History: The Manchus got into China in the seventeenth century, creating the Qing dynasty in 1644. The lands of Manchuria, but, were not open up to Han settlement until the dynasty"s finish in 1911. Many Chinese migrants functioned in existing industry and on large commercial farms developing greatly soybeans and corn.
Economic tasks and also resources today: Manchuria is China"s a lot of crucial area for hefty industry. Coal and also iron mining are likewise main to the region"s economy, and ginseng, soybeans, and also wood are major commodities.
Housing: caves sculpted into the loess cliffs and mud-brick houses in rural areas; apartments in city locations. Some Russian influence in the design.
Social organization: nuclear families
Transportation: walking, mule, and also steed in rural areas
Food staples: meat and soybean curds
Qinghai and also the Tibetan Plateau
Physical characteristics: Altitude, which have the right to average 3962.4 meters (13,000 feet), ideal defines the physical setting of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Except in the bbest sunlight, it always is incredibly cold. Located mostly in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, the area is arid to semi-arid. This means that despite a latitude close to the Tropic of Cancer, Qinghai and Tibet are nontropical for the the majority of part. Still, there are locations along its southerly and western limits, wright here rhododendron and banana trees thrive in the shadow of energetic glaciers. This is attributable to the hefty rainloss and temperatures associated with the Indian monshortly.
History: Since of the region"s adjacence to India and central Asia, the world, economic climates, and even faith of Qinghai and also Tibet have hardly ever been impacted by those of China in the east. Even Mongolia had closer cultural web links to this area than did China appropriate. Animal husbandry and also nomadism are traditional ways of life. Until the 1950s, one out of eincredibly five Tibetans was a Buddhist nun or monk. Monasteries have been at the center of society since at least the eighth century.
Economic tasks and also sources today: Qinghai and Tibet reprimary remote and also mostly uninhabited. Wbelow problems permit, the Chinese have actually motivated the westward migration of farmers from overpopulated areas to the east. Animals proceed to be increased, and also wool weavings are another important product. Goods are additionally developed from native gold and turquoise.
Housing: wanderers live in yak-felt tents. Homes are two stories with inward-slanting mud, earthen, brick, or rock wall surfaces and earthen floors.
Social organization: monasteries play a duty in Buddhist neighborhoods, mosques in Islamic ones. Nomads gather in family members clusters.
Transportation: walking, caravans, trucks and bprovides, equines in rural areas; bicycles and cars in metropolitan areas
Food staples: yak butter, tea, barley, vegetables, yak, or lamb
Tying It All Together: From Empire to State
Clat an early stage, to develop political "China," it is still crucial to tie these different regions together. Transportation stays the many essential variable. As the means of tying the nation and also its areas together proceeded, a prevalent created language and also mutual cultural values evolved. The composed language and also the bureaucratic class that provided it were pivotal in creating a net of a common suffer and cultural worths that bonded the dispaprice geographies and spoken langueras of China and also attached the previous to the present.
Since the beginnings of China"s empire lay in its interior, royal highmeans were initially the the majority of vital attributes of the transport mechanism. The netjob-related of imperial highmethods was initially establiburned by Qin Shihuangdi (258-210 B.C.E.), that unified the kingdoms of China in 221 B.C.E. He likewise initiated the building and construction of a canal mechanism. By the Tune dynasty (960-1279 C.E.), canals linked the lower Yangzi Valley and also areas southern of it to the North China Plain. Natural lakes and also rivers also assisted unify the Chinese Empire, via the Yangzi and its tributaries tying together seaside and also internal areas. Except in Qinghai and the Tibetan Plateau and also Xinjiang, an extensive rail device web links China and also is the the majority of widespread form of long-distance travel.
One cannot underestimate the prestige of television and telephones as well as the airlines in fostering the Chinese watch of themselves as one civilization and also culture. Their value in political regulate was demonstrated in 1989 as soon as televised "wanted" posters were broadcast instantaneously throughout China, and in June 1997 as soon as the remarriage of Hong Kong ended up being an ethnic rallying suggest. The imeras and worries were concurrently shared through Han Chinese throughout the People"s Republic and in various other components of the civilization. The Internet is obtaining popularity, though chiefly in metropolitan areas. However, the main federal government is fearful of its incapacity to actually monitor and also manage such communication.
Political company has been as important in developing a widespread society. No empire or state can exist without both cooperation and means of enforcing order among dispaprice geographical areas and also peoples. This was the main success of Qin Shihuangdi. This initially emperor identified the empire"s boundaries within main Asia and establiburned prevalent regulations for everyone within eextremely geographical sector of the nation. In modern-day times the reunification of China"s geographic regions (often historically independent kingdoms or "states") under a prevalent Communist belief was a significant success of the Chinese Communists and also the People"s Liberation Army.
Political organization in China has actually succeeded in component because it recognizes the distinctiveness of various geographical areas. Large cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, and also Hong Kong, have actually one-of-a-kind political condition. Likewise, essential economic cities have actually been produced and also accorded such condition to provide managed accessibility to minor business economics and human being trade. Finally geographical locations dominated by non-Han cultures and individuals, such as Xinjiang, Ningxia, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and also Guangxi, have been asserted (at least on paper) "Autonomous Regions." Even at the local level, one-of-a-kind status is typically given to cities or also geographic areas that require it to keep political tranquility and also order-a kind of geopolitical "gerrymandering.""
Given that the Chinese have lengthy recognized their geographic distinctions, it seems just reasonable that we should teach around China via the very same awareness and also sensitivity to diversity.
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Selected sources and also argued better readings
Buxton, Leonard H. China: The Land also and the People. New York: Gallery Books, W.H. Smith, Pub., 1988. (Note: A great arsenal of photographs and short descriptions of human being and also areas.)Hsieh Chiao-min and Jean Kan Hsieh. China: A Provincial Atlas. New York: Macmillan Publishing, U.S.A., 1995.Knapp, Ronald G. China"s Vernacular Architecture: House Form and also Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.---. The Chinese Houses. Hong Kong: Oxford College Press, 1990.---, ed. "Chinese Landscapes." The Village as Place. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.McColl, Robert W. "Housage and also Field in the Karakorams." FOCUS, 37, no. 4 (1989).---. "By Their Dwellings Shall We Kcurrently Them-An Analysis of Housing Form and Function Amongst Inner Asians." FOCUS, 39, no. 4 (1989).---. "China"s Modern Silk Road." FOCUS, 44, no. 2 (1991).Sivin, Nathan, ed. The Contemporary Atlas of China. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988. (Note: Contains wonderful local maps showing topography and also cities; numerous photographs define each region and administer a feeling of area.)Whitehome, Patrick, and Maggy Whiteresidence. China by Rail. New York: Vendome Press, 1989.Zhao, Songqiao. Geography of China: Environment, Resources, Population, and Development. New York: John Wiley and also Sons, 1994.