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Chinese Culture: Interaction

  • Job DurationedX
  • Job Duration4 weeks long, 2-4 hours a week
  • Job DurationFree Online Course (Audit)

Project detail



Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has been in the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China’s economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing a full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of Chinese cultural exchange and interaction with other countries in history.

Key questions of the course

  • How did the Silk Road emerge in history? Who was Matteo Ricci? What happened in history regarding the Chinese cultural exchange of religions, arts and sports with the West?
  • Where is Central Asia? What was Pax Mongolica? What role did silver play in the Saga of the Silk Road?
  • What cultural exchanges occurred between Vietnam and China? How did Vietnam contribute to the introduction of Buddhism to China through the maritime Silk Road? Which of the Vietnamese princes served as a high-ranking official in the Chinese court of the Ming dynasty?
  • How did China confront Western colonialism as a global trend in the early 20th century? Who was Sun Yat-sen? How did he connect China with the rest of the world? How did Pan-Asianism arise and go bankrupt?
  • What is the relationship between rituals, ghosts and alcohol in China? What are the stories behind Chinese medicinal food, correlative cosmology and tea? How many major types of Chinese cuisine are there? What sorts of food were exchanged between China and other countries in history?

Course Design

  • A team of 5 experts in Chinese culture has designed the course. They are, in alphabetical order, Prof Han, Dr Ng, Dr Pan, Dr Schoenberger and Dr Tsui.
  • The compact design of the mini-lectures suits the busy schedule of edX learners.
  • Introductions by animation hosts highlight the key questions of each unit.
  • Illustrations and maps are designed to liven up the mini-lectures.
  • Self-learning is supported by review questions and forums.
  • Cross-referencing enhances a fruitful learning experience across the units of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture.


China and the West

  • Introduction
  • Commerce and trade: The Silk Road
  • Religion: Matteo Ricci and Xi Xue Dong Jian
  • Art: Export paintings
  • Colonial experience and Hong Kong
  • Sports: China in the Olympics and the Ping-Pong Politics

China and Central Asia

  • Introduction
  • Geographical setting of Central Asia
  • Central Asia in Han-Tang China
  • Subsequent Islamization and Pax Mongolica
  • Central Asia of contemporary significance
  • An interview with Kazakhstan students

China and Vietnam

  • Introduction
  • Cultural interactions between China and other regions
  • Cultural interactions between China and Vietnam
  • Conditions for Sino-Vietnamese cultural interactions
  • Consequences of Sino-Vietnamese cultural interactions
  • Agents of Sino-Vietnamese cultural interactions

Chinese Revolutionary Connections with Other Countries

  • Introduction
  • The crumbling empire of the Qing dynasty
  • Anti-Colonialism in China
  • Sun Yat-sen
  • From Lenin to Chiang Kai-shek
  • Pan-Asianism
  • Modern China and One Belt One Road

Chinese Food and Cuisine

  • Introduction
  • Hunting, farming and stir-frying
  • Rituals, ghosts and foods
  • Alcohol
  • Correlative cosmology and medicinal foods
  • Tea
  • Sichuan and Lu cuisine
  • Chinese immigrants and American-style Chinese foods

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