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50 Lectures to Learn About the Past, Present, and Future of China

Over the past few decades, China has emerged as a world power both in the political and economic spheres. College students like yourself need to be prepared to enter the job market with the skills and knowledge needed to understand and work with this growing nation. These lectures will help you to gain an understanding of China’s past, the events of the past few years, and what can be expected from it in the coming years.


From the Cultural Revolution to the Imperial Palace, these lectures examine the rich history of China.

  1. Mao’s Use of Propaganda: Learn about the use of propaganda during the Cultural Revolution to control the population in this lecture.
  2. Marco Polo: Silk Road to China: In this lecture, historian Larry Bergreen traces Marco Polo’s expedition into China.
  3. Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present: This lecture blends history, archeology, language and culture to tell the story of China.
  4. How the War of Resistance to Japan Made and Unmade China: Rana Mitter, professor of Chinese Studies at Oxford University, lays out the events of the Sino-Japanese War in this lecture.
  5. A History of Sport in China: Listen to this lecture to hear about how athletics, including organized sports, developed in China.
  6. Sino-Japanese Exchanges in the Eighteenth Century: This lecture will explain some of the intricacies of trade between the Japanese and Chinese in the 1700s.
  7. Great Wall of China History: Check out this video to explore the history of this world-renowned monument.
  8. CCTV Chinese History: This series will help you get an incredible foundation of knowledge in Chinese history.
  9. The Political Machine of Wang Shouxin: Wang Shouxin was a woman who gained administrative control of the Bin County Coal State Enterprise during the Cultural Revolution and you can hear her story here.


Learn more about China’s role in the world economy now and in the future through these lectures.

  1. China’s Business Outlook: Here you’ll see a panel of experts talk about China’s role in the global economy and the impact the economic crisis will have on it.
  2. Jonathan Chu: Tea and the Origins of the China Trade: Learn about the origins of profitable China Trade in this lecture from historian Jonathan Chu.
  3. The US and China: Economic Allies or Adversaries?: In this lecture, author Zachary Karabell discusses the material in his book called Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends On It.
  4. Adam Smith and Beijing: Years before it ever came to be, Adam Smith predicted the economic rise of China, and you can learn more about this, and his other theories, in this lecture.
  5. Slave Labor in China: Find out more about how slave labor may still be a reality in some parts of China from this lecture.
  6. Made in China: A Changing China: This lecture addresses the growing capitalism and manufacturing power of China.
  7. China’s Economy in the Global Context: Take a look at China from a global perspective in this economic lecture.
  8. Economic Impact of Population Growth: Learn what impact things like fertility drops have on the economy in this engaging series of lectures from Yale.
  9. Development and Entrepreneurship in China and India: This collection of lectures from Stanford will help you learn and compare these two rising Asian economic powers.
  10. Enter the Dragon: Understanding the History and Future of Chinese Development: Dr. Christopher Lingle explains of the amazing growth of China and the myriad of problems it has yet to overcome.
  11. Understanding China’s Economy: Don’t quite have a grasp on China’s economic place in the world? This lecture may be able to clear things up.
  12. The Road to China: Fresh Insights to the World’s Fastest Growing Economy: Learn more about the Chinese economy through this lecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
  13. China and the West: Divergence and Convergence: This lecture will examine the impact of China’s strong economy on the rest of the world.


Gain a more thorough understanding of some of the cultural aspects of China through these lectures on literature, art, food and more.

  1. Postcards from China: James Fallows has been living in China for years and shares his experiences and thoughts on life there in this lecture.
  2. Conservation of China’s Cultural and Historical Heritage: A panel of experts discusses the best way to preserve China’s cultural landmarks in this lecture.
  3. Cultural Aspects of Doing Business in China: If you plan on working in the business world, this lecture is a must for learning the basics of cultural interaction.
  4. Snow Falling in Spring: Writer Moying Li tells the compelling story of her struggle to maintain her identity and learn during the Cultural Revolution in China.
  5. Confucius and Confucianism: Learn more about this important philosophy that impacts Chinese society to this day.
  6. The Spirit Force in Traditional Chinese Medicine: In this lecture, Dr. Li Hua explains some of the basic principles of Chinese medicine.
  7. Chinese Cultural Identity and the Beijing Games: Even if you didn’t watch the 2008 Olympic games, you can learn about their impact through this lecture.
  8. Tea and Chinese Cultural Aesthetics: This lecture will teach you about the important role tea plays in Chinese society.


Chinese politics are complicated, but you can help start unraveling their complexities through these informative lectures.

  1. Human Rights in China After the Olympics: China faced a lot of international criticism about human rights during the Olympic Games, but this lecture addresses whether or not anything actually changed for the better.
  2. Tibet: Lens on Human Rights in China: Learn more about Tibet and the shortcomings and strengths of international human rights laws in this lecture from Lobsang Sanjay.
  3. Assessing the Prospects for Political Reform in China: Is political reform even a possibility in China? This lecture addresses the issues head on.
  4. China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-imperial World: This lecture will let you gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between these two powerful but controversial nations.
  5. Internet Censorship and the Great Firewall of China: Did you know that much of the web is censored in China? This lecture discusses that censorship and the relationship with new technology.
  6. The Idea of Communism: Tariq Ali explores the difference between the ideal notion of communism and the type of government that passes as such in modern day China.
  7. China: Future of a Global Environment: Learn why China has an incredibly important role to play in worldwide economic policy and conservation from this lecture.

Changing China

Get a perspective on where China is headed in the future and how it has already changed from the past in these lectures.

  1. Lessons from Japanese and Chinese Education: Get some ideas on why these countries excel in the math and sciences and what we can do to learn from them in this lecture.
  2. The Last Days of Old Beijing: Learn how Beijing has changed since its early days and where it’s headed in the future from this lecture.
  3. China’s Newly Rich: Take a listen to this lecture on the rising upper and middle classes in China.
  4. The "Me" Generation of China: Here you can gain an understanding of some of the social and cultural phenomena affecting the youth of China today.
  5. China and India: Future of Past Traditions: This lecture takes a look at a number of Chinese and Indian artists and examines their work in the context of the modern world and traditional practices.
  6. Population in Modern China: Learn about some of the major population issues in China and how they are having a big impact on the country today.
  7. Gaming in China: China is a huge market for gaming, and this lecture discusses how EA is developing games for local markets.
  8. Global Space Agenda: China: This lecture will explain some of China’s present and future plans for space exploration.