Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Chinese way of life dates back more than 5,000 years, and traditions from the past continue to influence life in China in the twenty-first century. In 1949, China became a Communist nation with the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and the current political and economic Structures and processes are to a significant degree the product of dramatic social changes since then. Most important, China has since 1978 undergone economic reforms that have started to transform the national economy from one based on state control to one based on market capitalism. These transformations have increased personal freedom and wealth for many Chinese. They have also produced more wealth inequality and more crime. Confucianism has been the longest lasting influence and among the most important influences on Chinese values and social order. In Confucius's view, society is hierarchical, with the concept of li being the behavioral norm li ...