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Economic Upheavals in Communist China

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Katrina Oh
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Economic Upheavals in Communist China

Economic Upheavals in Communist China

Rationale: This unit fits into a study of the international developments after the Second World War in the tenth-grade world history curriculum. Prior to this unit, students will be expected to be familiar with Communism and Industrialization.

CA World History Standards 10.9.4 Analyze the Chinese Civil War, the rise of Mao Tse-tung, and the subsequent political and economic upheavals in China (e.g. Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square uprising)

Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to analyze propaganda developed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and be able to explain the historical context for the propaganda.

Day 1: Instruct students to analyze the two propaganda posters (see below) developed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) using the propaganda analysis graphic organizer ( After analyzing the two posters, students will complete a think-pair-share activity that asks them to compare the two. They should consider the messages of both posters and the techniques used by the artists to convey the message.

Day 2: Students watch the film “Blue Kite” and take notes. Teacher will pause the film at certain points to provide students with additional background knowledge on historical events in the film (e.g. Cultural Revolution). For homework, they will answer the “Social Studies Discussion Questions for the Blue Kite” in preparation for the Socratic Seminar held on the next meeting day.

Day 3: Conduct a Socratic Seminar on the film “Blue Kite.” Provide students with questions for the Socratic Seminar and ask students to develop three high-level questions about the film.


Lesson Resources

Propaganda A

‘The industry of the fatherland develops by leaps and bounds and frightens England so that it trembles with fear. Steel production has to double or triple in just a few years, so that China can surpass England in fifteen years.’

Landsberger, SR and the International Institute of Social History

Propaganda B

‘Criticise the old world and build a new world with Mao Zedong Thought as a weapon.’

Landsberger, SR and the International Institute of Social History


Social Studies Discussion Questions for the “Blue Kite”

1. How is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) depicted in the film? Are they represented positively, negatively, or both?

2. Consider the role of propaganda in the film. What tools did the Chinese Communist Party use to influence the actions of the people?

3. How did fear influence the way characters made decisions in their private lives as well as public lives?

4. Why do you think the stepfather was targeted during the Cultural Revolution?

5. The CCP is part of most aspects of the lives of the Chinese featured in this film. Identify three to five ways the Party is a part of their everyday lives.

[Adapted from]