Learn about China Today and how it got that way with Len Lazarick

Learn about China Today and how it got that way with Len Lazarick

Xichang in Sichuan Province, October 20, 2019. Len Lazarick photo

Register for the course here


Course Title: China Today 2023: How the U.S. and P.R.C. got here
Course Number:
Term: Fall 2023
Meeting Information: Hickory Ridge Bldg, Room 158

Every other Thursday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

September 7, 21; October 5, 19; November 2, 16

12 Hours

Instructor(s): The discussions will be led by Len Lazarick who teaches East Asian history at HCC. Len’s contact with China began 30 years ago when he co-managed some of the first exchange programs with Chinese journalists. He has been to China five times, most recently in October 2019, right before the pandemic hit. His 2005 master’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park emphasized mid-20th Century Chinese history.
Contact Information: Len Lazarick, llazarick@howardcc.edu, cell 410-499-5893


This is a discussion group designed to examine in some depth how America and China got to the current state of relations and where both countries are headed in the future. It will be based on some selected readings, film, and video that will drive conversations mostly about the last 120 years of China-U.S. relations with a focus on China’s society, culture, economy, and politics. This class requires reading and participation.


  1. Outline Chinese history and its long view of history,
  2. Recognize America’s ups and downs in relations with China.
  3. Review how the Chinese people view America.
  4. Determine key goals of the Chinese Communist Party
  5. Examine what U.S.-China relations might look like in future, including possibility of war over Taiwan.

MATERIALS/TEXT : Video, film and readings all available on the Internet



Week Description of topics and activities covered during each class meeting.


Zhongguo and Meiguo; Central Country and Beautiful Country; China’s long view of its place in the world: geography, climate, resources, language, influence, food, philosophy, religion, and indigenous peoples.

·       PowerPoint presentation, discuss participants background and goals

·       Video on Chinese geography, comparison with U.S.; discussion

·       Video on Chinese language, impact on culture, literature, politics; discussion



The Century of Humiliation; 1840’s to 1920s, Chiang, Mao, Deng, and Zhou

·       PowerPoint presentation

·       Videos on Chinese history, Western imperialism, discussion of assigned readings

·       Videos on Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai, discussion



1930s to 1976: World War II, Civil War and “Liberation”; Korean War, Land Reform, Hundred Flowers, Great Leap, Cultural Revolution, death of Zhou and Mao, and

·       PowerPoint presentation, many photos

·       Videos and discussion of assigned readings

·       Role play based on class status



1976 to 1997 Deng Xiaoping and the transformation of China, opening, Democracy, and Tiananmen

·       PowerPoint presentation, discuss and react to one-child policy

·       More video on Deng, discussion of assigned readings

·       Discuss alternatives to U.S. policy in this period



2000-2019: Growth, migration to the cities; People’s Congress; and Columbia’s sister city

·       Long video on Chinese economy, discussion

·       Discuss assigned readings

·       Interview Chinese author Annie Wang



The pandemic, lockdown and control, Hong Kong, Uyghurs, Christians, Muslims; and the path forward, 20th Party Congress 2022, Xi Jinping

·       Discuss videos and assigned readings

·       Various views of possibility of conflict; video on “Thucydides trap”


Register for the course here


About The Author

Len Lazarick


Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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