Unit 6 Overview: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges

6 min readjanuary 3, 2023



AP Chinese  🇨🇳

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Introduction to Unit 6

Welcome to the AP Chinese Unit 6 Overview! In this unit, we will explore the various environmental, political, and societal challenges facing China today. From pollution and natural disasters to government policies and social inequality, we will delve into the complex issues facing the country and its citizens. By the end of this unit, you should have a better understanding of the challenges that China is currently facing and how they are being addressed. So let's dive in and take a closer look at these important topics!

Unit 6 Essential Questions

STUDY TIP: Use the following essential questions to guide your review of this entire unit. Keep in mind, these are not meant to be practice essay questions. Each question was written to help you summarize the key concept.
As you work through this unit, think about these questions:
  1. How do we address environmental issues during the process of urbanization in China? (如何应对中国的城市化过程中的环境问题?)
  2. How do policies impact economic and social development in China? (政策如何影响中国的经济和社会发展?)
  3. How do we address the aging population problem in China? (如何解决中国的人口老龄化问题?)

Past Free-Response Questions from Unit 6 Overview: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges

Note: Many free-response questions draw from information and vocabulary from multiple units and don’t fit neatly into one unit only. You will likely see them in other unit overviews as well.

Presentational Writing: Story Narration

Interpersonal Writing: Email Response

Presentational Speaking: Cultural Presentation

6.1 Global Tensions and Human Rights in China

  • Global tensions with China have been caused by trade disputes, companies reducing investments in China, territorial disputes, and cyber espionage and security concerns
  • The United States and China have had ongoing trade disputes, with the United States accusing China of unfair trade practices and China accusing the United States of protectionism
  • Some U.S. companies have reduced investments in China due to trade tensions, rising labor costs, intellectual property concerns, and political and social unrest
  • China has territorial disputes with neighbors over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, which have led to increased military activity and strained relations
  • There have been concerns about cyber espionage and cyber attacks originating from China, leading to strained relations with other countries and calls for greater cybersecurity measures
  • China's Belt and Road Initiative and its relations with countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe have also been sources of global tension, due to concerns about debt, national security, and human rights
  • The U.S.-China relationship is complex and multifaceted, with cooperation in some areas and tension in others, and it has significant implications for the global political and economic landscape.
  • China has a history of human rights concerns, including the treatment of ethnic minorities and the suppression of political dissent
  • The Uighur minority in Xinjiang province has faced widespread allegations of human rights abuses, including detention in "re-education camps"
  • The Chinese government has justified its use of the camps as a way to combat terrorism and provide education and vocational training, but they have been described by some as a form of mass detention and political repression
  • The live-action version of the Disney movie "Mulan" faced controversy due to filming in Xinjiang and the depiction of Chinese culture and history in the film
  • Chinese human rights activists, including Liu Xiaobo, Chen Guangcheng, and Ai Weiwei, have spoken out against the Chinese government and its policies
  • International organizations and governments have called on China to improve its human rights record and respect the rights of its citizens

6.2 Education and Work Culture in China

  • China's education system is characterized by a strong emphasis on academic achievement and a competitive entrance examination system for tertiary education
  • Education in China is divided into three main levels: primary, secondary, and higher education
  • Primary education is compulsory for all children and is free of charge, while secondary education is compulsory for the first three years and higher education is not compulsory
  • The Chinese education system places a strong emphasis on rote learning and memorization, and students are expected to perform well on exams
  • The gaokao, or National Higher Education Entrance Examination, is a highly competitive and stressful event that determines which university a student can attend
  • China also has a growing private education sector, including private schools and tutoring centers
  • The Chinese education system is highly centralized and controlled by the government, with a focus on academic achievement and preparing students for the workforce
  • The gaokao has been criticized for placing a heavy emphasis on rote learning and memorization and for the high level of stress it places on students
  • There are other options available for students who do not do well on the gaokao, including vocational schools and alternative higher education institutions
  • Education reform in China has aimed to address some of the criticisms of the education system, including a shift towards more practical and vocational education and a greater emphasis on critical thinking and creativity
  • There are also significant disparities in education access and quality in China, with rural and minority students often facing challenges in receiving a good education
  • International education is also an important part of the education system in China, with many Chinese students studying abroad and foreign students studying in China.
  • China's work culture is characterized by an emphasis on hierarchy, a strong work ethic, collectivism, respect for tradition, and the importance of relationships
  • Work-life balance can be challenging in China, due to the demands of the work culture and the controversial 996 working hour system

6.3 Environmental Issues in China

  • China is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gasses, with about 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020
  • Pollution has been a significant problem in China, with a number of factors contributing to high levels of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, including rapid economic growth, dependence on coal, weak environmental regulations, rapid urbanization, and high levels of energy consumption
  • The Chinese government has taken steps to address these issues and improve the country's environmental performance, including increasing renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, promoting electric vehicles, planting trees, promoting clean technologies, and implementing a carbon trading system
  • China has also participated in or initiated several initiatives to address climate change, including the "One Belt, One Road" Initiative, the Paris Agreement, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • There are also significant environmental issues in China beyond pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, including deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, and biodiversity loss
  • The Chinese government has taken steps to address these issues, including implementing environmental protection laws and regulations, establishing protected areas, and promoting sustainable development
  • However, there are still significant challenges to addressing these issues in China, including a lack of enforcement of environmental regulations and the need for more effective policies to address the root causes of environmental problems.

6.4 Economic and Housing Challenges Facing China

  • China has experienced rapid economic growth in recent decades, driven by industrialization, urbanization, economic reforms, increased trade, and foreign investment
  • China is facing economic challenges including a slowdown in growth, an aging population, rising debt levels, environmental challenges, trade tensions, and income inequality
  • The real estate sector has played a significant role in China's economic development and has faced challenges such as a slowing market, increasing regulatory scrutiny, and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • China has a high demand for housing, but there is a significant imbalance between supply and demand, leading to rising prices and affordability issues
  • The government has implemented various policies and measures to address housing affordability and market issues, including increasing supply, regulating prices, and improving the rental market
  • The housing market in China is diverse, with a range of housing options available, including public housing, affordable housing, and private housing
  • China's economic growth has contributed to the country's rising global economic power, but it has also led to significant social and environmental issues
  • The Chinese government has implemented various policies and measures to address economic challenges and housing affordability and market issues
  • The housing market in China is diverse and has faced a number of challenges, including a slowing market and affordability issues
  • The government has implemented various measures to increase housing supply and regulate prices, as well as improve the rental market to address these issues
  • The real estate sector has played a significant role in China's economic development, but it has also faced challenges such as regulatory scrutiny and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

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