The political set-up of China began in the prehistoric period. China was inhabited by the early man from as early as a million years ago by Homo erectus, as archaeology states. However, a clear non-mythical, non-prehistoric political era of China is well traced back to around 2000 BC. This is documented in history as the beginning of dynasties (Wolfram 7).
A dynasty is an order of leaders well thought-out to be from the same family lineage.
The first recognizable dynasty was the Xia dynasty which ran from around 2100 BC-1600 BC, when a leader named Shun left his throne for his minister, Yu, whom he saw as a good government worker. Yu is credited for eliminating flooding by building canals along all the major rivers.
The entry of the Shang dynasty marked the end of Xias. This lasted from around 1600-1028 BC. Its leader had a title Ti, similar to that of the supreme god at the time. The Shang had a state whose capital was in Northern Honan, north of Yellow river. The area, under structured Shang control, included just before the end of the dynasty, the present-day provinces of Honan, western Shantung, southern Hopei, central and south Shansi, east Shensi and parts of Kiangsu and Anhui. They lived in constant wars with their neighbors (Wolfram 12). Shang Zhou, the last king of Shang killed himself after his military was crushed by the Zhou people.
The Zhou took control of the empire from around 1027-221 BC.
The imperial period entered, with the first dynasty as the Qin/Chin dynasty (221-206 BC), which built the famous Great Wall of China (Wolfran 35). Other dynasties in the imperial period include; the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), Jin dynasty among others, together with the famous Tang dynasty which was the most prosperous period of Chinese history. It developed trade routes like the Silky Road, technology increased and religion became pronounced. Poetry developed in this dynasty too. Then the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD) closed the era of dynasties and ushered in the Republic of China in from 1912-1949.
Well defined political parties began to form. Leader Sun Yan Tsen entered into an agreement with the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1920 in a bid to unite the fragmented China. Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai-shek was involved in a bitter fight with the CPC during the Sino-Japanese version of the world war Chiang Kai?shek had been by far the most skillful player in this game, and at the same time the man who had the support of the foreign governments and of the financiers of Shanghai, gained the victory. China became unified under his dictatorship. The war resumed again in 1945 after the end of the world war. The CPC had taken control of most parts of China by 1949 (Rosen 325).
In the same year, after a complete victory by the CPC, China became the peoples Republic of China under Mao Zedong who led till 1976. He fought against the oppression of the poor by the capitalists, and aimed at the suppression of former owners of land. He believed Socialism was the key to success for China. He began the Cultural Revolution and viewed ordinary citizens as counter revolution. Education and public transport almost came to a complete halt.
After Zedong came Deng Xiaoping and his economic reforms. He ruled from 1976-1989. He decentralized industries from the government and set up special economic zones where foreign investment was to get without much interference from the government. Rapid industrialization, growth of living standards and urbanization are credited to Dengs era (Wolfran 172).
Jiang Zemin got into power till 2002. The Three Gorges Dam was built during his era. Two external colonies resumed to China; Macau in 1999 and Hong Kong in 1997.
Then President Hu Jintao ascended to the throne in 2002. His era was challenged by the emergence of the public health crisis of SARS. The unrelenting economic growth of the country as well as its sporting muscle status gained China the rights to host the 2008 Olympics.
From the political history, it can be observed that women participation has not been mentioned. However, their involvement in politics can be well traced back to 1949 after it became the Peoples Republic of China. They fought against women discrimination in the arena and even formed groups and leagues to fight for their rights (Rosen 338). In 950, they were allowed to vote. Some notable women in politics include: Vice Premier Wu Yi, who in 2007 was Forbes 2nd most powerful in the world. Although politics in China are male dominated, women rights are guaranteed in the constitution and they are free to compete with men equally.