Background Note | HBS Case Collection | November 2007 (Revised February 2009)

Myths and Lessons of Modern Chinese History

by William C. Kirby and Brittany Crow


China is an ancient civilization, but it is really a very young country. How we understand modern China is rooted in our understanding of history. Thus, the authors examine several myths surrounding important historical themes, including unity, economic and political isolation, the growth and development of capitalism, internationalization, and governance. Following the dispelling of these myths, the authors then examine several lessons of more recent Chinese history, exploring where this young country has been in its first century.

Keywords: Economic Systems; Globalization; Government and Politics; History; China;


Kirby, William C., and Brittany Crow. "Myths and Lessons of Modern Chinese History." Harvard Business School Background Note 308-065, November 2007. (Revised February 2009.)