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Revenge Strategy, wasting the power of your hate on the guiltless (XXXIX): A promenade to China´s last 100 years (part 1).

Today I would like to take to a promenade, a walk through the last 100 years of Chinese History. I have collected and curated the next information, mainly from the website Asia for Educators, an initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University.

Timeline of China’s Modern History

1644-1911 The Qing Dynasty
1792 Novel, The Dream of the Red Chamber, published
1793 Macartney Mission from Great Britain
1839-1842 Opium War between Great Britain and China
1842-1843 Treaty of Nanking and Bogue Supplement fix tariff at 5 percent and establish extraterritoriality and most-favored-nation principle in China. Great Britain acquires Hong Kong.
1850-1864 Taiping Rebellion
1860 Treaty of Peking; Great Britain acquires Kowloon; Russia gets all lands north of Amur and east of Ussuri Rivers.
1884-1885 China defeated in a war with France; establishment of French Indo-China
1894-1895 China defeated by Japan; treaty of Shimonoseki
1895-1900 Scramble for concessions
1898 Hundred Day’s Reform attempted by the Guangxu Emperor on the advice of Kang Youwei (1823-1901); halted by Empress Dowager Zuxi
1900-1901 Boxer Rebellion; allied occupation of Peking; indemnity of 450 million taels (Chinese silver coins)
1905 Abolition of the civil service examination system. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) founds Revolutionary Alliance in Tokyo.
1912 China declared a republic; Sun Yat-sen first President but resigns in favor of Yuan Shih-kai (1859-1916); formation of Nationalist Party
1915-1920 New Culture Movement:
Chen Duxiu (1879-1942), Hu Shi (1891-1962), Lu Xun (1881-1936)
1916-1926 Warlord period
1917 Sun Yat-sen sets up a rival government in Canton
1919 May Fourth Incident
1921 The founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai
1926-1927 Northern Expedition led by General Chiang Kai-Shek (1884-1975) reunifies China under the Nationalist government
1931 Mukden Incident; Japanese expansion in Manchuria
1934 Chiang Kai-shek’s New Life Movement
1934-1935 Long March; Communist headquarters established in Yenan under the leadership of Mao Zedong (1893-1976)
1938 Chiang Kai-shek moves the capital to Chungking
1941 New Fourth Army Incident causes a rupture in Communist and Nationalist united front. The United States enters a war with Japan.
1945 The Soviet Union enters the war against Japan, invading Manchuria. The United States attempts to mediate an accord between Communists and Nationalists.
1946-1949 Civil War between Communists and Nationalists results in the Communist victory of Mao Zedong.
Adapted from Patricia Buckley Ebrey, ed. Chinese Civilization and Society: A Sourcebook, New York: Free Press, 1981. Reprinted with permission.

China Before Communism (China BC)

According to Asia for Educators experts, the Chinese economy was one of the top ones on earth in the 16th Century. The Qing (Ch´ing) Dynasty started this grandeur epoch in 1644.


In this French political cartoon from 1898, titled “China – The Cake of Kings…And of Emperors,” the Qing Leader observes powerlessly as a pastry representing China is divided up by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, William II of Germany, Nicholas II of Russia. the French Marianne, and a samurai of Japan. The Cartoon is intended to portray the imperialist tendencies towards China at the time. An illustration from “Le Petit Journal”, 16th January 1898.

Nevertheless, by the late 18th century, the Chinese demographics growth versus the abundance of resources coming from arable land proved to be insufficient to fulfill the wants and needs of the whole country.  At that time China was an agriculture society full of farmers´families who produced for their own subsistence. In addition, the local province’s representatives acted much for their own comfort, than to support with loyalty to the Qing Authorities.

European merchant states saw China as a land of exports and imports; and entered into unequal treaties with the Chinese authorities. The Chinese idiosyncrasy and the lack of a strong army triggered multiple procurements of legal land jurisdictions (sections) of their nation (particularly port cities, facilities, or the equivalent of what “free trade zones” are today) to the western foreigners. With foreigners, other religions and cultures also wished their own modus operandi in China. “The Chinese were also forced under all these treaties to allow Western Christian missionaries to proselytize in the interior of the country”. Between the Opium War of 1839-42, and the early 1900s; the British, French, Germans, Americans, and Japanese competed for “spheres of influence” within China Qing domains.

china wax.jpgDuring the 19th Century, China experienced series of natural catastrophes (drought and famine) and man-made disasters (especially floods from deteriorating water-control works, made worse by over-reclamation of the wetlands, lowlands, and mountain slopes that were necessary to control water runoff). The Qing leaders lost their power, and their state weakness was merely evident.   China was unable to provide the resources for its own population. A series of rebellions occurred across the country. The Taiping (1851-1864), Nian (Nien) (1853-1868), Moslem (1855-1873), and Boxer (1898-1901) rebellions all took place in the latter part of the 19th century. The last Chinese Emperors from the Qing Dynasty couldn´t fit with the western system’s new rules of the trading game.

Western nations and Japan imposed their economic demands on China.  Much of the intellectual history of the late Qing (Ch’ing) and Republican periods (1912-1949) focused around the conflicting views within China of how it should respond to foreign pressures.

Revolution and War to kick out the Qing Dynasty.

The combination of internal outbursts and foreign aggression led to the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911 and called for the establishment of a republic. The Qing rule of order came to an end, unable to stop the western states, Russia and Japan who were obtaining territories, ports, transportation railways concessions, “open-door policies”, etc.

A new leader emerged. Sun Yat-Sen. In an effort to unify China, Sun Yat-Sen led the forces calling for a republican government and established the Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Party in 1912. The collapse of the dynastic system ushered in the turbulent “warlord period,” however, with regional power centers competing for control. Sun Yat-Sen was forced to resign. And finally the Nationalist General Chiang Kai-Shek was responsible for partially reunite China in 1928, but it was invaded by Japan in 1937 and subsequently engulfed by World War II.

Mao Zedong joined the moment.

Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Zedong

Chiang Kai-Shek And Mao Zedong Jack Wilkes/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

In the 1920s some Chinese found in the Marxism Theories, the ideology option to liberate themselves from the Western powers, Russia and Japan.  The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed in 1921 to promote a revolution based on Marxist principles. Under Mao Zedong’s leadership, the Chinese Communist Party established rural forces (as opposed to urban) and began mobilizing farmers. Driven out of southern China by Chiang Kai-shek and Nationalist troops, the CCP made its headquarters in the remote mountainous area of Yenan in north China subsequent to the Long March of 1935-36. The CCP gained strength by calling for united resistance against the Japanese and by experimenting with land reform and other policies to ease the plight of the peasants.

China Map.pngAfter the end of WW II with the defeat of Japan in 1945,  the civil war between the Communists led by Zedong and the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-Shek continued over the right to lead China’s political and economic development and reestablish China’s position in the world. On October 1, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Nationalist government flee away and evacuated to the island of Taiwan, where it established the Republic of China (ROC).

The United States—which backed the Nationalists against invading Japanese forces during World War II—supports Chiang’s exiled Republic of China government in Taipei, setting the stage for several decades of limited U.S. relations with mainland China.

China after Communism  (China AC).

In honor of not extending today´s walk to cause you exhaustion, we will stop here. To be continued next week. Please don´t lose sight of our outline. Thank you.dongfeng

Sources of Reference to write this post:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.


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