The China History Podcast
As the Sui peters out, Li Yuan, the Duke of Tang, seizes power and establishes the Tang Dynasty in 618.  Along with the Song, the Tang Dynasty is considered the pinnacle of China’s long history.  In culture, art, poetry, painting, ceramics, science, navigation, diplomacy this was a golden age.  Buddhism made even greater inroads into continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_025-The_Tang_Dynasty_Part_1.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

The demise of the Southern & Northern Dynasties brought us a China unified under the Sui emperors Wen and Yang.  This ephemeral dynasty laid the groundwork for the splendor of the Tang dynasty.  Lasting only 37 years, the Sui Dynasty doesn’t get the limelight enjoyed by the great dynasties of Han, Tang, Song, Ming and continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_024-The_Sui_Dynasty.mp3
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The Southern & Northern Dynasties were a collection of dynasties that lasted 170 years and preceded the time of unification under the Sui Dynasty.  North of the Yangzi River you had the Northern Wei, the Northern Qi and the Northern Zhou.  South of the great river reigned the Liu Song, Southern Qi, the Liang and continue reading >>

Direct download: CHP-023-The_Southern_and_Northern_Kingdoms.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

This week we are back with more Chinese history.  We will look at a very confusing but exciting time when there was mostly a period of disunity and China was broken up into contending kingdoms.  However this period of chaos brought us some of the richest tales of ancient China filled with amazing battles, events continue reading >>

Direct download: The_Three_Kingdoms_and_the_Jin-R.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

In this final installment of the Han Dynasty overview we look at the reign of Wang Mang during the short lived Xin Dynasty and the Eastern (or Later) Han Dynasty that followed.  The Eastern Han was a period of endless skullduggery at the imperial court where the palace eunuchs rose to power and meddled endlessly continue reading >>

Direct download: CHP-020-The_Han_Dynasty_Part_3.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

Today we present the second part of the Western Han Dynasty overview where we will look at the great Han emperors Wendi, Jingdi and perhaps the greatest of them all, Han Wudi.  It was a golden age in Chinese history and saw the first indirect contact between the Roman Empire in the west and Han continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_019-The_Han_Dynasty_Part_220.mp3
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In this week’s episode we look at only the first few decades of the Western Han Dynasty.  The Western Han lasted from 202BC to 8AD.  We’ll focus in on the fall of the Qin and the rise of Liu Bang who went on to found the Han Dynasty.  Liu Bang would reign as Emperor Gaozu.  continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_018-The_Han_Dynasty_Part_1A.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

In this episode we look at the second phase of the Zhou Dynasty.  This period was known as the Eastern Zhou.  The Eastern Zhou was broken down between the Spring & Autumn Period and the Warring States Period.  It lasted from 770 to 221BC.  From this chaotic period sprang the great works that defined Chinese continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_017-The_Eastern_Zhou_Dynasty.mp3
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Today we take a 走马看花 look at the 790 year Zhou Dynasty, the longest dynasty in Chinese history. In this episode we will particularly focus on the Western Zhou Period which lasted for 275 years.  Next week we will finish the Zhou Dynasty by examining the Eastern Zhou Period.
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_016-The_Western_Zhou.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

This week in part two of our dynasty overview, we examine the Shang Dynasty 1600 BC to 1046 BC.  Chinese characters make their appearance for the first time.  Artisans cast the most beautiful bronzes. Because of the discovery of archaeological evidence, many consider this China’s first real dynasty.
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_015-The_Shang_Dynasty.mp3
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In this episode we commence our Chinese imperial dynasty overview.  It begins today with the Xia Dynasty 夏朝代. According to historiographer Sima Qian, this was the first dynasty of China.  It’s origins and its demise and everything in between have all come from sources written many centuries later.  For this reason and for reasons of continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_014-The_Xia_Dynasty.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

Li Ka-shing is a Hong Kong billionaire tycoon who has played a great role in not only Hong Kong’s prosperity but in China’s as well.  He is respected not only for his achievements in business and industry but also for his rise from humble beginnings in Chaozhou, China.
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_013-Li_Ka_shing.mp3
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Kang Sheng 康生 was a sinister character from modern Chinese history who was both Chairman Mao’s close confidant and creator of China’s Secret Police.
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_011-Kang_Sheng.mp3
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This week we look at the Tang dynasty Empress Wu Zetian, the only woman from Chinese history to rule China as an emperor in her own name. Chinese names used in this episode: Wu Zetian  武则天  The only empress in China to rule in her own name Wu Zhao 武曌  Wu Zetian’s personal name Taiyuan continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_007-Wu_Zetian.mp3
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In this week’s episode we give an overview of the First Opium War, one of the most humiliating events in Modern Chinese history.  From this event that culminated in the first of many unequal treaties in 1842, China began a steady downhill slide and suffered a multitude of setbacks and insults from foreign powers eager continue reading >>
Direct download: China_History_Podcast_006-The_Opium_War.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

The Great Leap Forward ( 大跃进) from 1958-1960 caused death and suffering to dozens of millions of people. It sounded like a workable idea but it didn’t turn out like Chairman Mao hoped. When looking back on the life of Mao Zedong, the Great Leap Forward is always viewed as a black mark against his legacy. I welcome you to listen to the podcast and learn all about what happens when central planning goes awry.


Dàyùejìn   大跃进 The Great Leap Forward

Rénmín Gōngshè   人民公社 People's Communes

Nánníng   南宁 Capital city of Guangxi Province

Guǎngxī province 广西    Southern province in China

Chéngdū 成都 Capital of Sichuan province

Xiàn 县 county

Liú Shàoqí 刘少奇    High-ranking government/Party leader, Mao's chief target during Cultural Revolution

Tián Jiāyīng 田家英 Secretary to Chairman Mao

Dèng Xiǎopíng 邓小平  Great Chinese leader

Zhōu Ēnlái 周恩来 Premier of China 1949-1976

Chén Yūn   陈云 Chinese leader mainly in charge of the economy

Chén Yì 陈毅 Chinese military leader and former Shanghai mayor and foreign minister

Duō liànhǎo gāng, jiāsù Shèhuìzhûyì jiànshè! 多临钢加速社会主义建设 Make more steel, increase the speed of building Socialism!

Shēngchǎn duì 生产队 Production Team

Shēngchǎn dàduì   生产大队 Production Brigade

nóngmín   农民 peasantry

Sānnián dà jīhuǎng   三年大饥荒   Three Year Big Famine

Sānnián zìrán zāi hài   三年自然灾害 Three Years of Natural Disasters.

Yáng Jìshéng 楊繼繩 Chinese author of the book on the Great Leap "Tombstone"

Lúshān Conference 庐山会议 Conference held in July 1959 to discuss the Great Leap

Péng Déhuái   彭德怀    Civil War hero and first defense minister

Sháoshān   韶山 Birthplace of Mao Zedong

Jiāngxī province 江西  Province in the southeast

Xiāngtán   湘潭   Large city in Hunan

Jǐnggāngshān 井冈山   Mountainous area in Jiangxi where Mao set up his first base of operations in the 1930's

Tā gǎn shuō huà   他敢说话 he dared to speak up

Lín Biāo   林彪 Defense minister after Peng Dehuai


Direct download: CHP-004-The_Great_Leap_Forward-R2017.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

Today we look at the Four Great Inventions, the 四大发明, that Lord Francis Bacon hailed as having done more than anything else to transform completely the modern world and mark it off from antiquity and the Middle Ages.  The four great inventions were the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing. Terms used in continue reading >>

Direct download: CHP-003-The_Four_Great_InventionsR2019.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT

A warm welcome to everyone across the world and thank you for listening to the introductory episode of the China History Podcast.  Each week we will bring you a different topic taken from the annals of 5,000 years of Chinese history. We’ll look at the dynasties, historical persons, ancient history, modern history and everything in continue reading >>

Direct download: CHP-001-An_Introduction_to_the_China_History_Podcast.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm PDT