The Fall and Rise of China

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Quality and Detail Consistently fascinating with excellent coverage throughout.
Date published: 2020-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sinology at its Finest Though released a decade ago, this course on how modern day China withstands the test of time and is as fascinating to watch today as it would have been when released. Though 48 lectures seem a laborious undertaking at first, the lecturer, the late Richard Baum of UCLA, fully utilizes his skills as a veteran Sinologist to their full potential, mixing in his knowledge of Chinese culture, history and politics with over four decades of personal experience to enhance the learning. He inserts his own anecdotes in proper proportion to add to the enjoyment of this course. The course left me with a better understanding of the leading builders of modern China including Sun Yat-Sen, Mao Zedong and Deny Xioping and of how the past experiences of the Chinese people have shaped their present psyche. Without giving away any spoilers, Dr. Baum ends the lectures with a bold prediction for 2020, leaving the student to ponder its accuracy and trajectory. A passionate and knowledgeable lecturer with an easy-going style, coupled with a well thought out curriculum of lecture subject make this an exceptionally good course.
Date published: 2020-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Audio lectures disappeared I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture series, listening to the audio lectures as I drove home. Professor Baum is a fantastic speaker - then suddenly the audio lectures are no longer available. I am very disappointed
Date published: 2020-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course on Chinese Political History I finished this last month and found the part during and after the 1960's especially interesting - I guess because I recognized some of the names and events. The professor was extremely proficient on the topic and since he visited China over 30 times he added some fascinating personal stories to the course.
Date published: 2020-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Past as prologue As we walk headlong into maximizing China’s negative view of foreigners, we (meaning our Orangina President) might consider history as an enabler of prescience. This is a superb review of China’s past that includes turmoil in spades. Very very well done.
Date published: 2020-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! This is one of the best assessment of the Chinese history that I have ever seen! Very equilibrated approach and sensible conclusions! Worth watching it!
Date published: 2020-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Done! Superbly organized and presented. One of the few honest evaluations of Mao, the true effects of Communism and how it brought about the greatest disaster in Chinese history. The machinations of the CCP to bring about a national recovery are fascinating, while their plans for Chinese industrial domination of the world are chilling. One only has to look about to see exactly how far they've progressed and that this may indeed be the Chinese century.
Date published: 2020-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE best course I've purchased thus far First, let me state that I am in no way, shape or form anything that would remotely resemble a China expert. I therefore am looking at this course as a complete neophyte. This course was for me literally the book that you cannot put down. I had to exercise considerable self-restraint to keep myself from staying up until 5 a.m. every night listening to more and more lectures. Dr. Baum’s 40-plus-year background as a China watcher, along with his visits to the PRC (“boots on the ground,” if you will), his interactions and conversations with both Chinese officials and typical Chinese citizens all give him an absolutely solid background and foundation for the course information he presents. His calm, deliberate and measured delivery tremendously helps the listener absorb large amounts of information without feeling overwhelmed by what might seem to be a veritable mountain of material being thrown at him/her. I greatly appreciated and commend Dr. Baum for the complete lack in his lectures of “fillers” (ah, er, um, you know, etc.), which I find in other courses tend to distract attention from the topic at hand. I also appreciated his presenting the course material in what I considered to be a very even-handed manner, without trying to steer the listener toward a particular viewpoint or set of beliefs. The course lectures focus mainly on China’s evolution, development and growth after the fall of the last emperor. The background information given regarding China’s earlier emperors and conflicts with other foreign powers is basic in nature, but Dr. Baum does go more in-depth into some historic episodes to better set the stage for the course’s main topic, the evolution of today’s PRC. His inclusion and descriptions of personal experiences and anecdotes aid greatly in clarifying and amplifying points he is trying to make in a given lecture. They also add a touch of entertainment to the lectures as well as help to put a “human face” on what can be at times very inhuman events. Personally, I very much liked and appreciated the regular use in his lectures of Chinese terms. Although I am not a Chinese linguist, regularly hearing these Chinese words and terms helped to keep the focus on the Chinese perspective of the lecture topic. Is this course all-inclusive? Tell me which course is. Will I be able to write a thesis based on this set of lectures? I doubt it, but, as far as I can determine, that is not the main purpose of this course. Any number of people will certainly find fault with this course - as will happen with any course - but from my neophyte perspective, on a scale of one to five stars, I give this course a rating of six stars. I just loved it. I would love to see a course from Dr. Baum on the history of China’s emperors.
Date published: 2020-05-07
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The Fall and Rise of China
Course Trailer
The Splendor That Was China, 600-1700
1: The Splendor That Was China, 600-1700

This lecture sets the stage for the saga of modern China. Uncover the underpinnings of the empire's extraordinary longevity, including its ingenious civil service system, its Confucian moral code, and its sophisticated military base....

30 min
Malthus and Manchu Hubris, 1730-1800
2: Malthus and Manchu Hubris, 1730-1800

Complex social and economic forces ended China's millennium of supremacy as an empire. Learn about the empire's era of global exploration, followed by long, complacent isolationism. Then chart the economic strain of the 18th-century population explosion and the effects of European economic expansion and the opium trade....

29 min
Barbarians at the Gate, 1800-1860
3: Barbarians at the Gate, 1800-1860

The escalating British trade in opium sparked conflicts that crippled the Manchu dynasty. Track the Court's efforts to suppress widespread addiction, leading to the First Opium War and the humiliating Treaty of Nanking. Also, follow increasing foreign encroachments and violent reprisals, forcing a Second Opium War and the opening of multiple ports to Western commerce....

31 min
Rural Misery and Rebellion, 1842-1860
4: Rural Misery and Rebellion, 1842-1860

Nineteenth-century China also saw a prolonged agrarian crisis that spurred major peasant revolts, weakening the empire from within. Examine the explosive Taiping Rebellion, a decade-long, religiously themed struggle that threatened to unseat the empire....

28 min
The Self-Strengthening Movement, 1860-1890
5: The Self-Strengthening Movement, 1860-1890

Facing external and internal pressures, China's faltering empire attempted fundamental reforms. Investigate the Manchus' multifaceted effort to absorb Western science and technology while preserving Confucian institutions. Learn also about the internal sabotage of reform and the other factors in its ultimate failure, as Japan effectively wins the race to modernize....

28 min
Hundred Days of Reform and the Boxer Uprising
6: Hundred Days of Reform and the Boxer Uprising

The 19th century closed with further measures of reform within the empire and violent conflict with foreigners on Chinese soil. Study the progressive thinkers who influenced the young emperor Guangxu in his 100 Days of Reform. Then follow the siege of foreign legations by the fanatical Boxers and its bloody aftermath....

27 min
The End of Empire, 1900-1911
7: The End of Empire, 1900-1911

Witness the death spasms of the Manchu...

32 min
The Failed Republic, 1912-1919
8: The Failed Republic, 1912-1919

China's short-lived republic fell to corrupt power plays and maneuvering to restore the dynasty. Trace the country's descent into political chaos and rule by warlords, and ensuing encroachments by Japan. In addition, follow events leading to the birth of modern Chinese Nationalism....

31 min
The Birth of Chinese Communism, 1917-1925
9: The Birth of Chinese Communism, 1917-1925

Probe the emerging ideologies that fueled two revolutionary movements-Nationalism and Communism. Also, consider the importation of Lenin's theory of imperialism into China and the covert efforts of Soviet agents to forge a "united front" between Sun Yat-sen's Nationalists and the newborn Chinese Communist Party....

30 min
Chiang, Mao, and Civil War, 1926-1934
10: Chiang, Mao, and Civil War, 1926-1934

Explore the state of China after the death of Sun Yat-sen. Follow Chiang K'ai-shek's unified national revolutionary army as it wages a brutal campaign against the Communists. From the ashes of defeat, the Communists are reborn in the countryside under the leadership of Mao Zedong....

29 min
The Republican Experiment, 1927-1937
11: The Republican Experiment, 1927-1937

Over the following decade, escalating Japanese encroachments on China coincide with mounting violence between China's revolutionary factions. Examine the rise of Japanese militarism and the 1931 invasion of Manchuria. Later, follow Chiang K'ai-shek's attempts to liquidate the Maoist Communists and his dramatic kidnapping....

31 min
Resist Japan! 1937-1945
12: Resist Japan! 1937-1945

In the fireball of World War II, witness the brutal Japanese offensives in China and their grim consequences for the Nationalists, while paradoxically sparing the Communists from annihilation. Learn also about growing U.S. ambivalence toward Chiang K'ai-shek and how Japanese brutality actually aided the Communists' seizure of power....

29 min
Chiang's Last Stand, 1945-1949
13: Chiang's Last Stand, 1945-1949

Study the final confrontations between Nationalist and Communist forces. Track the Nationalists' effort to dominate urban centers and the Communists' guerrilla methodology, their success in mobilizing the rural Chinese, and their strategic moves to victory....

28 min
The Chinese People Have Stood Up!
14: The Chinese People Have Stood Up!

Explore features of Mao's new regime and its program to rebuild China's shattered economy. Also, learn about the Communist Party's delineation of "enemies of the people," its policies of ideological "thought reform," and its national campaigns of land reform....

29 min
Korea, Taiwan, and the Cold War, 1950-1954
15: Korea, Taiwan, and the Cold War, 1950-1954

Investigate critical strategic and military actions of the Maoist regime in the early 1950s. Uncover the factors behind Mao's alignment with the Soviets and his uneasy relationship with Stalin. Then, probe the events of the Korean War, the repercussions of China's military intervention, and the tactical conflict over Taiwan....

29 min
Socialist Transformation, 1953-1957
16: Socialist Transformation, 1953-1957

In 1953 the Maoist government undertook the full transition to Socialism. Examine key features of Mao's economic program, focusing on the process of agricultural collectivization-the hurried implementation of which violated core party policies and created widespread resentment in rural China....

30 min
Cracks in the Monolith, 1957-1958
17: Cracks in the Monolith, 1957-1958

By 1957, domestic and international conflicts disrupted Mao's Socialist vision. Trace his deepening differences with Moscow as Khrushchev rejects Stalinism. Examine Mao's proposed liberalization toward intellectuals, followed by a harsh crackdown on dissenters and party members, as Mao steers a leftist course, finally rejecting the Soviet model of Socialism....

29 min
The Great Leap Forward, 1958-1960
18: The Great Leap Forward, 1958-1960

Mao's "Great Leap Forward" aimed to galvanize China's economic development. Review the major components of this initiative, including mass mobilization of rural workers in water works projects, backyard steel production, impersonal people's communes, and their final catastrophic failure through faulty engineering and massive bureaucratic errors....

29 min
Demise of the Great Leap Forward, 1959-1962
19: Demise of the Great Leap Forward, 1959-1962

Systemic mismanagement of the Great Leap created horrific consequences. Uncover the circumstances of a deepening agricultural crisis and Mao's confrontations with the dissenting defense minister, Peng Dehuai, as the party's denial of reality leads to starvation for tens of millions....

28 min
Never Forget Class Struggle! 1962-1965
20: Never Forget Class Struggle! 1962-1965

Core Great Leap policies were reversed under Mao's lieutenants Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. Follow growing hostility between Mao and Khrushchev, and bitter conflict between Liu and Deng's anticorruption campaign and Mao's offensive against class struggle and capitalist thinking, embodied in a new program of mass ideological indoctrination....

27 min
Long Live Chairman Mao! 1964-1965
21: Long Live Chairman Mao! 1964-1965

Conflicting ideological currents set the stage for Mao's infamous Cultural Revolution. Examine efforts to enforce Mao's "cult of personality" through his "Little Red Book" of sayings and Maoist attacks on literary trends and the educational system....

28 min
Mao's Last Revolution Begins, 1965-1966
22: Mao's Last Revolution Begins, 1965-1966

Chart Mao's unleashing of the Cultural Revolution. First, trace his orchestration of the downfall of Beijing's mayor and party propaganda chief in a strike against "counterrevolutionary revisionists." In the second stage, Mao foments radicalization and agitation among students, enlisting youth in retaliation against "bourgeois power holders."...

31 min
The Children's Crusade, 1966-1967
23: The Children's Crusade, 1966-1967

As the Cultural Revolution escalates, witness Mao's shakeup of high-level politicians and the formation of student "Red Guard" units, which subject educators and party leaders across China to humiliation and extreme brutality. As Maoist "revolutionary rebels" attack commercial and industrial interests, China veers toward anarchy....

31 min
The Storm Subsides, 1968-1969
24: The Storm Subsides, 1968-1969

In the final stages of the Cultural Revolution, spiraling chaos leads to ritualized violence and deadly wars between rival rebel factions. Study Mao's measures to restore order, including the relocation of millions of youths to rural areas and the rebuilding of the party....

30 min
The Sino-Soviet War of Nerves, 1964-1969
25: The Sino-Soviet War of Nerves, 1964-1969

Smoldering hostility between Beijing and Moscow foreshadowed a critical turning point in the cold war. Investigate Sino-Soviet competition for dominance within the Communist bloc, highlighting conflicts over Czechoslovakia and Vietnam, the resulting tense military standoff, and the emerging strategic role of the United States....

31 min
Nixon, Kissinger, and China, 1969-1972
26: Nixon, Kissinger, and China, 1969-1972

Professor Baum portrays the momentous shift in Sino-American relations under the Nixon presidency. Track the factors influencing the mutual moves toward détente, the internal resistance on both sides, and the complex maneuvering that led to Nixon's historic visit to China....

30 min
Mao's Deterioration and Death, 1971-1976
27: Mao's Deterioration and Death, 1971-1976

In the 1970s, the Maoist era came to a close with the declining health of the Chairman. Focus on the dramatic surrounding events, including the demise of Lin Baio, Mao's designated successor; Mao's political "rehabilitation" of Deng Xiaoping; and the power mongering of radical leftists led by Jiang Qing, who wage political war against Deng and Premier Zhou Enlai....

31 min
The Legacy of Mao Zedong-An Appraisal
28: The Legacy of Mao Zedong-An Appraisal

Professor Baum pauses to assess the complex and contradictory figure of Mao. First, he reflects on key events in Mao's early life and factors in his psychological makeup and youthful sensitivity. Then, he traces Mao's revolutionary embrace of violence and his legendary ruthlessness as they inform the strategic brilliance that drove his actions....

29 min
The Post-Mao Interregnum, 1976-1977
29: The Post-Mao Interregnum, 1976-1977

Following Mao's passing, a high drama of succession ensued. The lecture details the rise of Hua Guofeng, Mao's successor, and his clashes with Jiang Qing and the supporters of Deng. Professor Baum reflects on his own meeting with Hua and his experience as a "China watcher" in this tumultuous era....

30 min
Hua Guofeng and the Four Modernizations
30: Hua Guofeng and the Four Modernizations

Hua Goufeng's guiding mandate was the remaking of China's economy. Probe Hua's educational and cultural reforms, followed by massive industrial projects ending in grand-scale failure through flaws in design and planning....

31 min
Deng Takes Command, 1978-1979
31: Deng Takes Command, 1978-1979

Simmering political conflicts mandated a showdown between Hua and Deng. Follow Deng's strategic power moves and economic initiatives and their effects in marginalizing Hua. Then witness a historic shift as Deng's faction assails the Cultural Revolution and Mao's iconic status begins to crumble....

30 min
The Historic Third Plenum, 1978
32: The Historic Third Plenum, 1978

Deng's assumption of power brought major new policies and unprecedented openness to debate. Study the poignant events of the Democracy Wall Movement, as Beijingers write wall posters voicing passionate political commentary. Tensions rise as posters indicting the system lead to activism for democratic reforms and human rights....

30 min
The "Normalization" of U.S.-China Relations
33: The "Normalization" of U.S.-China Relations

The 1970s saw dramatic progress in diplomatic engagement between Beijing and Washington. Analyze the converging factors that led to Deng's triumphal visit to the United States in 1979, including China's need to speed modernization and the U.S. choice to "play the China card" against the Soviet Union....

31 min
Deng Consolidates His Power, 1979-1980
34: Deng Consolidates His Power, 1979-1980

Political setbacks and economic breakthroughs marked Deng's early regime. Investigate China's ill-fated military action against the Vietnamese Communists and groundbreaking domestic policy shifts, including the decollectivization of farming and the creation of Special Economic Zones for export trade....

31 min
Socialist Democracy and the Rule of Law
35: Socialist Democracy and the Rule of Law

Trace a storm of conflicts concerning Cultural Revolution grievances and Deng's proposed legal and political reforms. Assess the regime's new criminal codes and responses to social discontent, as a period of liberalization and increasing popular activism ends in a crackdown on challenges to party authority....

31 min
Burying Mao, 1981-1983
36: Burying Mao, 1981-1983

Ideological rifts within Deng's ruling coalition flared in the early '80s over the official assessment of Mao's legacy. Learn about the expression of suffering under Mao in a new literary outpouring, and conservative opposition to liberalization in art and the "spiritual pollution" of consumerism and foreign influences in Chinese culture....

30 min
To Get Rich Is Glorious, 1982-1986
37: To Get Rich Is Glorious, 1982-1986

Far-reaching market reforms gathered momentum in the early '80s. Chart China's changing economic landscape as self-employment and new management policies challenge the ingrained patterns of Socialist "command" economics. Also, see how the growth of foreign investment, imports, and tourism mark China's opening to the outside world....

32 min
The Fault Lines of Reform, 1984-1987
38: The Fault Lines of Reform, 1984-1987

New societal stresses appeared in the wake of economic competition. Consider the effects of globalization, individual enrichment, and the widening income gap across China. Then observe the conservative backlash against reform and widespread student unrest....

31 min
The Road to Tiananmen, 1987-1989
39: The Road to Tiananmen, 1987-1989

Escalating social and political tensions led toward tragedy. Trace the split between moderates and hard-liners within the Communist Party and the political marginalization of progressive party Secretary-General Zhao Ziyang. Then see how enterprise failures, corruption, inflation, and unemployment fueled renewed student protests, ending in a defiant hunger strike in Tiananmen Square....

30 min
The Empire Strikes Back, 1989
40: The Empire Strikes Back, 1989

Study the converging events of the deadly clash at Tiananmen Square as the regime imposes martial law, igniting massive demonstrations ending in the massacre of hundreds of civilian protesters. In the aftermath, witness the trauma to the Chinese national psyche, as reprisals against protesters and repressive surveillance deal a death blow to political idealism....

31 min
After the Deluge, 1989-1992
41: After the Deluge, 1989-1992

Following the events of Tiananmen Square, Deng's economic reforms came under concerted attack by party hard-liners. As you study Communist regimes toppling across Europe and party conservatives imposing an economic "austerity program," you trace Deng's strategic campaign to quell an ideological firestorm and save his hard-won "pro-market" policies for China....

31 min
The "Roaring Nineties," 1992-1999
42: The "Roaring Nineties," 1992-1999

In the 1990s, China's economic transformation surged forward. Explore the surrounding factors, including new enterprise autonomy, thriving stock markets and foreign investment, and concurrent corruption. Also note Premier Zhu Rongji's important achievements in restructuring state enterprises and leading China into the World Trade Organization....

32 min
The Rise of Chinese Nationalism, 1993-2001
43: The Rise of Chinese Nationalism, 1993-2001

China's burgeoning power reawakened both Chinese national pride and its converse: long-standing resentment of foreigners. Uncover these currents in the 1990s, fueled by American diplomatic errors, Sino-American conflict over Taiwan, and Western unease at China's global presence....

30 min
China's Lost Territories-Taiwan, Hong Kong
44: China's Lost Territories-Taiwan, Hong Kong

Examine the reunification of Hong Kong with China in 1997 and the new system granting domestic autonomy to Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty. Then track Taiwan's transition to democracy, the turbulent movements for and against independence from China, and Beijing's ongoing strategic efforts to reclaim the island....

31 min
China in the New Millennium, 2000-2008
45: China in the New Millennium, 2000-2008

Analyze key elements in China's economic ascent, from sharp market growth and a new urban middle class to rampant official corruption and a vast "floating population" of migrant workers. Observe moves by the party to court the new business elite and focus resources on "have-nots," while retaining iron-handed political control....

33 min
China's Information Revolution
46: China's Information Revolution

Assess the explosion of print media, the Internet, and cell phone use as they affect the regime's efforts to control the spread of information. Also, consider the role of nongovernmental organizations, "cybercops," and burgeoning grassroots "mass disturbances" in an escalating war between the forces of free communication and media censorship....

32 min
One World, One Dream-The 2008 Olympics
47: One World, One Dream-The 2008 Olympics

This lecture investigates international movements to boycott the Beijing games and the ways in which the games saw tightening governmental censorship and repression. Explore the mixture of stunning spectacle and behind-the-scenes maneuvering as the regime manages its image and tightens its political grip during China's national celebration....

30 min
China's Rise-The Sleeping Giant Stirs
48: China's Rise-The Sleeping Giant Stirs

Contemplate China's current and future presence in the global arena. Probe sensitive questions, including the future of Taiwan, trade controversies, and China's growing military power. Evaluate China's claim of a "peaceful rise" and possible indicators of future Sino-American cooperation and conflict....

33 min
Richard Baum

Modern China has been a source of endless fascination, sometimes evoking feelings of profound admiration, while at other times leaving me feeling bitterly frustrated and outraged. One thing that China has never been, is boring.


University of California, Berkeley


University of California, Los Angeles

About Richard Baum

Dr. Richard Baum was Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specialized in the study of modern Chinese politics and foreign relations. He earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Baum lived and lectured extensively throughout China and Asia. He served as Visiting Professor or Visiting Scholar at institutions including Peking University, Meiji Gakuin University (Japan), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, and Arizona State University, where he was honored as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for 2008. He was the author/editor of nine books, including Prelude to Revolution: Mao, the Party, and the Peasant Question, 1962-1966; and a personal memoir, China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom. Professor Baum served on the boards of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and the Joint Committee on Contemporary China of the Social Science Research Council. He was a consultant to numerous public and private agencies, including the White House, the United Nations, and the RAND Corporation. He was also a frequent commentator on Chinese and East Asian affairs for the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Professor Baum passed away in December 2012.

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