An industrial plant, Beijing, 1986. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

China is rapidly becoming an industrialized country. Since 1980 its gross domestic product has grown at an average rate of 10 percent annually, the highest in the world. China now ranks among world leaders in the output of steel, cement, coal, chemical fertilizers, and electronics.

China’s first attempts at modern industrialization occurred during the nineteenth century when the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) military leaders, who urged China to

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