When Americans think of China, it is usually a faded image frozen in time. It is an old film, shot in what could pass as the beginning of time, of cold, dour, high-stepping soldiers bouncing past a review stand in unison with a rifle resting on one shoulder and both eyes fixed on the box of dignitaries sitting to the side.

But China is more than outdated military footage. The People’s Republic of China, as it is formally known, sits on an area of land slightly smaller than the United States.

But its population of 1.3 billion people is four times larger than the U.S. population of 315 million.

Students in China, like those in other counties, tend to know American history better than most Americans. Whether it is arrogance, ignorance or a combination of both, Americans, in general, know little about their past and even less about China, an ancient civilization that dates back more than 5,000 years.

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