We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
China is a major country in East Asia. The population is predominantly ethnic Chinese (Han) with significant minorities in Tibert, Xinjiang and Mongolia.
In 1644 China was ruled by the Qing dynasty and by the 18th century the country had become very prosperous. Several rebellions took place in the 19th century. Defeat in the Sino-Japanese War (1894) and the Boxer Rising encouraged reforms but the dynasty ended in the Chinese Revolution of 1911.
Sun Yat-sen briefly became president and with Song Jiaoren established the Kuomintang (National People's Party). When the party was suppressed in 1913 by General Yuan Shikai, Sun Yat-sen escaped to Japan.
Sun Yat-sen returned to Guangzhou and with the the help of advisers from the Soviet Union the Kuomintang gradually increased its power in China. In 1924 it adopted the "Three Principles of the People" (nationalism, democracy and social reform). He also established the Whampoa Military Academy under Chiang Kai-Shek.
Sun Yat-sen died on 12th March 1925. After a struggle with Wang Ching-Wei, Chiang Kai-Shek eventually emerged as the leader of the Kuomintang. He now carried out a purge that eliminated the communists from the organization. Those communists who survived managed to established the Jiangxi Soviet.
The nationalists now imposed a blockade and Mao Zedong decided to evacuate the area and establish a new stronghold in the north-west of China. In October 1934 Mao, Lin Biao, Zhu De, and some 100,000 men and their dependents headed west through mountainous areas.
The marchers experienced terrible hardships. The most notable passages included the crossing of the suspension bridge over a deep gorge at Luting (May, 1935), travelling over the Tahsueh Shan mountains (August, 1935) and the swampland of Sikang (September, 1935).
The marchers covered about fifty miles a day and reached Shensi on 20th October 1935. It is estimated that only around 30,000 survived the 8,000-mile Long March.
When the Japanese Army invaded the heartland of China in 1937, Chiang was forced to move his capital from Nanking to Chungking. He lost control of the coastal regions and most of the major cities to Japan. In an effort to beat the Japanese he agreed to collaborate with Mao Zedong and his communist army.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Chiang and his government received considerable financial support from the United States. General Joseph Stilwell, head of American Army Forces in China, Burma and India (CBI), disagreed with this policy, arguing that Chiang Kai-Shek was an inept leader and was ignorant of the fundamentals of modern warfare. Stilwell was accused of being pro-communist and in October 1944 Stilwell was recalled to the United States and was replaced by General Albert Wedemeyer.
During the Second World War Mao's well-organized guerrilla forces were well led by Zhu De and Lin Biao. As soon as the Japanese surrendered, Communist forces began a war against the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-Shek. The communists gradually gained control of the country and on 1st October, 1949, Mao announced the establishment of People's Republic of China. Chiang and the remnants of his armed forces fled to Formosa (Taiwan).
In 1958 Mao Zedong announced the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to increase agricultural and industrial production. This reform programme included the establishment of large agricultural communes containing as many as 75,000 people. The communes ran their own collective farms and factories. Each family received a share of the profits and also had a small private plot of land. However, three years of floods and bad harvests severely damaged levels of production. The scheme was also hurt by the decision of the Soviet Union to withdraw its large number of technical experts working in the country. In 1962 Mao's reform programme came to an end and the country resorted to a more traditional form of economic production.
As a result of the failure on the Great Leap Forward, Mao retired from the post of chairman of the People's Republic of China. His place as head of state was taken by Liu Shaoqi. Mao remained important in determining overall policy. In the early 1960s Mao became highly critical of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. He was appalled by the way Nikita Khrushchev backed down over the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Mao Zedong became openly involved in politics in 1966 when with Lin Biao he initiated the Cultural Revolution. On 3rd September, 1966, Lin Biao made a speech where he urged pupils in schools and colleges to criticize those party officials who had been influenced by the ideas of Nikita Khrushchev.
Mao was concerned by those party leaders such as Liu Shaoqi, who favoured the introduction of piecework, greater wage differentials and measures that sought to undermine collective farms and factories. In an attempt to dislodge those in power who favoured the Soviet model of communism, Mao galvanized students and young workers as his Red Guards to attack revisionists in the party. Mao told them the revolution was in danger and that they must do all they could to stop the emergence of a privileged class in China. He argued this is what had happened in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev.
Lin Biao compiled some of Mao's writings into the handbook, The Quotations of Chairman Mao, and arranged for a copy of what became known as the Little Red Book, to every Chinese citizen.
Zhou Enlai at first gave his support to the campaign but became concerned when fighting broke out between the Red Guards and the revisionists. In order to achieve peace at the end of 1966 he called for an end to these attacks on party officials. Mao Zedong remained in control of the Cultural Revolution and with the support of the army was able to oust the revisionists.
The Cultural Revolution came to an end when Liu Shaoqi resigned from all his posts on 13th October 1968. Lin Biao now became Mao's designated successor.
Mao now gave his support to the Gang of Four: Jiang Qing (Mao's third wife), Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan and Zhange Chungqiao. These four radicals occupied powerful positions in the Politburo after the Tenth Party Congress of 1973.
Mao Zedong died in Beijing on 9th September, 1976. After the death of Mao the power of the Gang of Four declined dramatically. In 1980 they were found guilty of plotting against the state. Jiang Qing and Zhange Chungqiao, who were considered to be the leaders, were sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment). Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan received lengthy prison sentences.
In this China History Podcast episode, Laszlo teams up with Rob Moore and Lee Moore (no relation) from The Chinese Literature Podcast to explore the life and work of the highly influential writer Lin Yutang. Though rather unknown in our day, there was a time when Lin Yutang was the most recognizable name in the West.
Hi Everyone I'd like to announce that along with avid.fm I’m pleased to present to you an introduction to the Silk Road - its past, present, and future. If you want to understand the history of the Silk Road and the implications of its modern-day successor, the Belt & Road Initiative, this course will equip you with.
China Repackages Its History in Support of Xi’s National Vision
Chun Han Wong
Modern lore has it that Mao Zedong’s eldest son, who was killed in a United Nations airstrike during the Korean War, had given away his position by firing up a stove to make egg fried rice.
That story didn’t sit right with the Chinese Academy of History, launched two years ago by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to counter negative views of the ruling Communist Party’s past.
In November, on the 70th anniversary of Mao Anying’s death, the academy served up another version. Citing what it said were declassified telegrams and eyewitness accounts, the academy said in a social-media post that Mao was killed after enemy forces detected radio transmissions from his commander’s headquarters.
“These rumormongers have tied up Mao Anying with egg fried rice, gravely dwarfing the heroic image of Mao Anying’s brave sacrifice,” said the post, which has attracted about 1.9 million views. “Their hearts are vicious.” The academy attributed the egg fried rice story to the 2003 edition of a Chinese military officer’s memoir. It didn’t mention the book was published by the Chinese military’s official press.
The history academy is run by Gao Xiang, a 57-year-old historian turned propaganda official who has mixed traditional scholarship with viral marketing techniques to repackage the past in support of Mr. Xi’s vision for a resurgent China.
Continue reading your article with a WSJ membership
China Facts: Eunuchs (yes, eunuchs)
China prisoners of war were castrated…with both their penis and testicles cut off with a knife at the same time, as early as the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 – 1050 BC),
[ Wikipedia “Eunuch”]
During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), men sentenced to castration were turned into eunuch slaves and forced to work on state projects including the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army.
[ Wikipedia “Eunuch” ]
Self-castration was voluntarily performed by men who wanted to serve the Emperor, who employed about 70,000 eunuchs during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). To ensure the purity of the imperial bloodline, eunuchs were the only males allowed to be in certain sections of the Forbidden City.
[ Wikipedia “Eunuch”, “Ming Dynasty” ]
During the Ming Dynasty, eunuchs gained great power as trusted advisors to the Emperor. The most famous was Zheng He, the legendary naval admiral and explorer who commanded seven diplomatic voyages—sailing with up to 300 ships and 20,000+ people.
[ The eunuchs in the Ming dynasty H. Tsai 1996 Wikipedia ]
More crazy facts! “Husbands castrated for cheating” in China facts: Crime & Punishment
U.S. Relations With China
Since 1949, U.S.-China relations have evolved from tense standoffs to a complex mix of intensifying diplomacy, growing international rivalry, and increasingly intertwined economies.
Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong establishes the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on October 1 after peasant-backed Communists defeat the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang and thousands of his troops flee to Taiwan. 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.
The Soviet-backed North Korean People’s Army invades South Korea on June 25. The United Nations and the United States rush to South Korea’s defense. China, in support of the communist North, retaliates when U.S., UN, and South Korean troops approach the Chinese border. As many as four million people die in the three-year conflict until the United Nations, China, and North Korea sign an armistice agreement in 1953 [PDF].
President Dwight Eisenhower lifts the U.S. navy blockade of Taiwan in 1953, leading Chiang Kai-shek to deploy thousands of troops to the Quemoy and Matsu islands in the Taiwan Strait in August 1954. Mainland China’s People’s Liberation Army responds by shelling the islands. Washington signs a mutual defense treaty with Chiang’s Nationalists. In the spring of 1955, the United States threatens a nuclear attack on China. That April, China agrees to negotiate, claiming a limited victory after the Nationalists' withdrawal from Dachen Island. Crises erupt again in 1956 and 1996.
Nine years after the People’s Republic of China asserts control over Tibet, a widespread uprising occurs in Lhasa. Thousands die in the ensuing crackdown by PRC forces, and the Dalai Lama flees to India. The United States joins the United Nations in condemning Beijing for human rights abuses in Tibet, while the Central Intelligence Agency helps arm the Tibetan resistance beginning in the late 1950s.
China joins the nuclear club in October 1964 when it conducts its first test of an atomic bomb. The test comes amid U.S.-Sino tensions over the escalating conflict in Vietnam. By the time of the test, China has amassed troops along its border with Vietnam.
Differences over security, ideology, and development models strain Sino-Soviet relations. China’s radical industrialization policies, known as the Great Leap Forward, lead the Soviet Union to withdraw advisors in 1960. Disagreements culminate in border skirmishes in March 1969. Moscow replaces Washington as China’s biggest threat, and the Sino-Soviet split contributes to Beijing’s eventual rapprochement with the United States.
In the first public sign of warming relations between Washington and Beijing, China’s ping-pong team invites members of the U.S. team to China on April 6, 1971. Journalists accompanying the U.S. players are among the first Americans allowed to enter China since 1949. In July of 1971, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger makes a secret trip to China. Shortly thereafter, the United Nations recognizes the People’s Republic of China, endowing it with the permanent Security Council seat that had been held by Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China on Taiwan since 1945.
President Richard Nixon spends eight days in China in February 1972, during which he meets Chairman Mao and signs the Shanghai Communiqué with Premier Zhou Enlai. The communiqué sets the stage for improved U.S.-Sino relations by allowing China and the United States to discuss difficult issues, particularly Taiwan. However, normalization of relations between the two countries makes slow progress for much of the decade.
U.S. President Jimmy Carter grants China full diplomatic recognition, while acknowledging mainland China’s One China principle and severing normal ties with Taiwan. Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, who leads China through major economic reforms, visits the United States shortly thereafter. However, in April, Congress approves the Taiwan Relations Act, allowing continued commercial and cultural relations between the United States and Taiwan. The act requires Washington to provide Taipei with defensive arms, but does not officially violate the U.S.’s One China policy.
The Reagan administration issues the “Six Assurances” to Taiwan, including pledges that it will honor the Taiwan Relations Act, it would not mediate between Taiwan and China, and it had no set date to terminate arms sales to Taiwan. The Reagan administration then signs in August 1982 a third joint communiqué with the People’s Republic of China to normalize relations. It reaffirms the U.S. commitment to its One China policy. Though Ronald Reagan voices support for stronger ties with Taiwan during his presidential campaign, his administration works to improve Beijing-Washington relations at the height of U.S. concerns over Soviet expansionism. President Reagan visits China in April 1984 and in June, the U.S. government permits Beijing to make purchases of U.S. military equipment.
In the spring of 1989, thousands of students hold demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, demanding democratic reforms and an end to corruption. On June 3, the government sends in military troops to clear the square, leaving hundreds of protesters dead. In response, the U.S. government suspends military sales to Beijing and freezes relations.
In September 1993, China releases Wei Jingsheng, a political prisoner since 1979. That year, President Bill Clinton launches a policy of “constructive engagement” with China. However, after Beijing loses its bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games, the Chinese government imprisons Wei again. Four years later, Clinton secures the release of Wei and Tiananmen Square protester Wang Dan. Beijing deports both dissidents to the United States.
The Nationalist Party’s Lee Teng-hui wins Taiwan’s first free presidential elections by a large margin in March 1996, despite Chinese missile tests meant to sway Taiwanese voters against voting for the pro-independence candidate. The elections come a year after China recalls its ambassador after President Clinton authorizes a visit by Lee, reversing a fifteen-year-old U.S. policy against granting visas to Taiwan’s leaders. In 1996, Washington and Beijing agree to exchange officials again.
NATO accidentally bombs the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during its campaign against Serbian forces occupying Kosovo in May 1999, shaking U.S.-Sino relations. The United States and NATO offer apologies for the series of U.S. intelligence mistakes that led to the deadly bombing, but thousands of Chinese demonstrators protest throughout the country, attacking official U.S. property.
President Clinton signs the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 in October, granting Beijing permanent normal trade relations with the United States and paving the way for China to join the World Trade Organization in 2001. Between 1980 and 2004, U.S.-China trade rises from $5 billion to $231 billion. In 2006, China surpasses Mexico as the United States’ second-biggest trade partner, after Canada.
In April 2001, a U.S. reconnaissance plane collides with a Chinese fighter and makes an emergency landing on Chinese territory. Authorities on China’s Hainan Island detain the twenty-four-member U.S. crew. After twelve days and a tense standoff, authorities release the crew, and President George W. Bush expresses regret over the death of a Chinese pilot and the landing of the U.S. plane.
In a September 2005 speech, Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick initiates a strategic dialogue with China. Recognizing Beijing as an emerging power, he calls on China to serve as a “responsible stakeholder” and use its influence to draw nations such as Sudan, North Korea, and Iran into the international system. That same year, North Korea walks away from Six-Party Talks aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. After North Korea conducts its first nuclear test in October 2006, China serves as a mediator to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
In March 2007, China announces an 18 percent budget increase in defense spending for 2007, totaling more than $45 billion. Increases in military expenditures average 15 percent a year from 1990 to 2005. During a 2007 tour of Asia, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says China’s military buildup is “not consistent” with the country’s stated goal of a “peaceful rise.” China says it is increasing spending to provide better training and higher salaries for its soldiers, to “protect national security and territorial integrity.”
In September 2008, China surpasses Japan to become the largest holder of U.S. debt—or treasuries—at around $600 billion. The growing interdependence between the U.S. and Chinese economies becomes evident as a financial crisis threatens the global economy, fueling concerns over U.S.-China economic imbalances.
China surpasses Japan as the world’s second-largest economy after it is valued at $1.33 trillion for the second quarter of 2010, slightly above Japan’s $1.28 trillion for that year. China is on track to overtake the United States as the world’s number one economy by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill. At the start of 2011, China reports a total GDP of $5.88 trillion for 2010, compared to Japan’s $5.47 trillion.
In an essay for Foreign Policy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlines a U.S. “pivot” to Asia. Clinton’s call for “increased investment—diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise—in the Asia-Pacific region” is seen as a move to counter China’s growing clout. That month, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, U.S. President Barack Obama announces the United States and eight other nations have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a multinational free trade agreement. Obama later announces plans to deploy 2,500 marines in Australia, prompting criticism from Beijing.
The U.S. trade deficit with China rises from $273.1 billion in 2010 to an all-time high of $295.5 billion in 2011. The increase accounts for three-quarters of the growth in the U.S. trade deficit for 2011. In March, the United States, the EU, and Japan file a “request for consultations” with China at the World Trade Organization over its restrictions on exporting rare earth metals. The United States and its allies contend China's quota violates international trade norms, forcing multinational firms that use the metals to relocate to China. China calls the move “rash and unfair,” while vowing to defend its rights in trade disputes.
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest in Shandong province on April 22 and flees to the U.S. embassy in Beijing. U.S. diplomats negotiate an agreement with Chinese officials allowing Chen to stay in China and study law in a city close to the capital. However, after Chen moves to Beijing, he changes his mind and asks to take shelter in the United States. The development threatens to undermine U.S.-China diplomatic ties, but both sides avert a crisis by allowing Chen to visit the United States as a student, rather than as an asylum seeker.
The 18th National Party Congress concludes with the most significant leadership turnover in decades as about 70 percent of the members of the country’s major leadership bodies—the Politburo Standing Committee, the Central Military Commission, and the State Council—are replaced. Li Keqiang assumes the role of premier, while Xi Jinping replaces Hu Jintao as president, Communist Party general secretary, and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi delivers a series of speeches on the “rejuvenation” of China.
President Obama hosts President Xi for a “shirt-sleeves summit” at the Sunnylands Estate in California in a bid to build a personal rapport with his counterpart and ease tense U.S.-China relations. The leaders pledge to cooperate more effectively on pressing bilateral, regional, and global issues, including climate change and North Korea. Obama and Xi also vow to establish a “new model” of relations, a nod to Xi’s concept of establishing a “new type of great power relations” for the United States and China.
A U.S. court indicts five Chinese hackers, allegedly with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army, on charges of stealing trade technology from U.S. companies. In response, Beijing suspends its cooperation in the U.S.-China cybersecurity working group. In June 2015, U.S. authorities signal that there is evidence that Chinese hackers are behind the major online breach of the Office of Personnel Management and the theft of data from twenty-two million current and formal federal employees.
On the sidelines of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, President Obama and President Xi issue a joint statement on climate change, pledging to reduce carbon emissions. Obama sets a more ambitious target for U.S. emissions cutbacks, and Xi makes China’s first promise to curb carbon emissions’ growth by 2030. These commitments by the world’s top polluters stirred hopes among some experts that they would boost momentum for global negotiations ahead of the 2015 UN-led Climate Change Conference in Paris.
At the fourteenth annual Shangri-La Dialogue on Asian security, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter calls on China to halt its controversial land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, saying that the United States opposes “any further militarization” of the disputed territory. Ahead of the conference, U.S. officials say that images from U.S. naval surveillance provide evidence that China is placing military equipment on a chain of artificial islands, despite Beijing's claims that construction is mainly for civilian purposes.
U.S. President Donald J. Trump says he will honor the One China policy in a call with President Xi. After winning the presidential election, Trump breaks with established practice by speaking on the telephone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and questioning the U.S. commitment to its One China policy. Washington’s policy for four decades has recognized that there is but one China. Under this policy, the United States has maintained formal ties with the People’s Republic of China but also maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan, including the provision of defense aid. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, visiting Beijing in March, describes the U.S.-China relationship as one “built on nonconfrontation, no conflict, mutual respect, and always searching for win-win solutions.”
President Trump welcomes China’s Xi for a two-day summit at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where bilateral trade and North Korea top the agenda. Afterward, Trump touts “tremendous progress” in the U.S.-China relationship and Xi cites a deepened understanding and greater trust building. In mid-May, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross unveils a ten-part agreement between Beijing and Washington to expand trade of products and services such as beef, poultry, and electronic payments. Ross describes the bilateral relationship as “hitting a new high,” though the countries do not address more contentious trade issues including aluminum, car parts, and steel.
The Trump administration announces sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports, worth at least $50 billion, in response to what the White House alleges is Chinese theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property. Coming on the heels of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the measures target goods including clothing, shoes, and electronics and restrict some Chinese investment in the United States. China imposes retaliatory measures in early April on a range of U.S. products, stoking concerns of a trade war between the world’s largest economies. The move marks a hardening of President Trump’s approach to China after high-profile summits with President Xi in April and November 2017.
The Trump administration imposes fresh tariffs totaling $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. More than eight hundred Chinese products in the industrial and transport sectors, as well as goods such as televisions and medical devices, will face a 25 percent import tax. China retaliates with its own tariffs on more than five hundred U.S. products. The reprisal, also valued around $34 billion, targets commodities such as beef, dairy, seafood, and soybeans. President Trump and members of his administration believe that China is “ripping off” the United States, taking advantage of free trade rules to the detriment of U.S. firms operating in China. Beijing criticizes the Trump administration’s moves as “trade bullying” and cautions that tariffs could trigger global market unrest.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech marking the clearest articulation yet of the Trump administration’s policy toward China and a significant hardening of the United States’ position. Pence says the United States will prioritize competition over cooperation by using tariffs to combat “economic aggression.” He also condemns what he calls growing Chinese military aggression, especially in the South China Sea, criticizes increased censorship and religious persecution by the Chinese government, and accuses China of stealing American intellectual property and interfering in U.S. elections. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces Pence’s speech as “groundless accusations” and warns that such actions could harm U.S.-China ties.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom and electronics company Huawei, is arrested in Canada at the United States’ request. The U.S. Justice Department alleges Huawei and Meng violated trade sanctions against Iran and committed fraud and requests her extradition. In apparent retaliation, China detains two Canadian citizens, who officials accuse of undermining China’s national security. Calling Meng’s arrest a “serious political incident,” Chinese officials demand her immediate release. U.S. officials emphasize an unbiased and apolitical legal process, but Trump implies Meng’s charges could be used as leverage in ongoing U.S.-China trade talks.
Amid legal proceedings against Meng, Huawei sues the United States in a separate lawsuit for banning U.S. federal agencies from using the telecom giant’s equipment. In a battle with Beijing for technological supremacy, the Trump administration launches an aggressive campaign warning other countries not to use Huawei equipment to build 5G networks, claiming the Chinese government could use the company to spy.
After trade talks break down, the Trump administration raises tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China retaliates by announcing plans to increase tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods. President Trump says he believes the high costs imposed by tariffs will force China to make a deal favorable to the United States, while China’s Foreign Ministry says the United States has “extravagant expectations.” Days later, the Trump administration bans U.S. companies from using foreign-made telecommunications equipment that could threaten national security, a move believed to target Huawei. The U.S. Commerce Department also adds Huawei to its foreign entity blacklist.
After China’s central bank lets the yuan weaken significantly, the Trump administration designates China a currency manipulator. The designation, applied to China for the first time since 1994, is mainly symbolic, but it comes less than a week after Trump announced higher tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods. That means everything the United States imports from China now faces taxes. Beijing warns that the designation will “trigger financial market turmoil.”
China - History
Most of Chinese history can be divided up into a series of dynasties from the start of the Xia dynasty in 2205 BCE to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912 CE. You can go here to learn more about Ancient China.
Xia Dynasty (2205 to 1575)
Shang Dynasty (1570 to 1045)
- 771 - Start of the Spring and Autumn Period and the rise if the Eastern Zhou.
- 551 - The Chinese philosopher Confucius is born. His thoughts and ideas will have a great impact on the culture of China.
- 221 - The first emperor of China, Emperor Qin, unites all of China under one rule.
- 220 - Construction on the Great Wall of China begins in an effort to keep out the Mongols.
- 210 - Emperor Qin dies and is buried with the Terra Cotta Army.
- 207 - The Chinese Civil Service is established to help run the government.
- 104 - The Chinese Calendar is defined.
- 105 - Paper is invented by Cai Lun.
- 208 - The Battle of Red Cliffs occurs.
- 250 - The religion of Buddhism is introduced. It will become one of the three main religions of China.
- 609 - The Grand Canal is finished.
- 868 - The first use of wood block printing to print a book.
- 1044 - Gunpowder is invented. It is first used for fireworks.
- 1088 - The Chinese invent the magnetic compass.
- 1200 - The Mongol tribes are united under Genghis Khan. He begins his conquest of northern China.
- 1279 - Mongol leader Kublai Khan defeats the Chinese and takes control of the land. He forms his own dynasty called the Yuan dynasty.
- 1405 - Explorer Zheng He makes his first journey to India and Africa. The construction on the Forbidden City begins.
- 1420 - Beijing is made capital of China.
- 1517 - The Portuguese arrive and establish trade with China.
- 1900 - The Boxer Rebellion occurs with violence against foreigners and Christians. International forces intervene.
- 1908 - Puyi becomes the last Emperor of China at the age of 2.
- 1910 - Slavery is abolished in China.
- 1911 - The Qing dynasty is overthrown by the Xinhai Revolution.
- 1912 - Revolutionary Sun Yat-sen becomes the first President of the Republic of China.
- 1912 - China adopts the Gregorian Calendar.
- 1917 - China joins World War I and declares war on Germany.
- 1927 - The Ten Years Civil War occurs between the Kuomintang nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the communist party, led by Mao Zedong.
- 1928 - Chiang Kai-shek becomes the Chairman of the National Government of China.
- 1934 - Mao Zedong leads his people on a retreat across China called the Long March.
- 1937 - China is invaded by Japan. Japan captures several important cities including Beijing.
- 1941 - Japan attacks the United States at Pearl Harbor. China is now on the side of the Allies in World War II.
- 1945 - World War II comes to an end and Japan is defeated. The Civil War between the communists and the nationalists resumes.
- 1949 - The communists win the war and the People's Republic of China is formed by Mao Zedong.
- 1949 - The nationalists flee to Taiwan and set up their government.
- 1958 - Beginning of the "Great Leap Forward." The plan fails and millions starve to death.
- 1964 - China develops a nuclear bomb.
- 1966 - Mao begins his "Cultural Revolution" in which over one million people are killed.
- 1972 - President Richard Nixon visits China.
- 1974 - The Terra Cotta Warriors are discovered.
- 1984 - The communist party allows for economic reforms with less government involvement in business.
- 1997 - The United Kingdom hands over control of Hong Kong to China.
- 2006 - The Three Gorges Dam is completed.
- 2008 - The summer Olympics are held in Biejing.
- 2010 - China becomes the world's second largest economy behind the United States.
China's history is rich with art, politics, science, and philosophy. It is home to the oldest of the major world civilizations.
China was ruled by various dynasties for much of its history. The first dynasty is believed to be the Xia dynasty which formed somewhere around 2250 BC. The Shang or Yin dynasty gained power around the 14th century BC. The Han Dynasty, which lasted over 400 years from 206 BC to 220 AD, was one of the most influential in China's history. Much of the culture today was created during the Han Dynasty. Later famous dynasties, like the Song and the Tang, continued to refine the culture and bring new innovations to the world including printed money, a permanent navy, and a complex government that ruled over 100 million people.
The last of the great dynasties, the Qing Dynasty, began in 1644. The Ming Dynasty was in power, but was overthrown by the Manchus who put the Qing dynasty into power. During the Qing dynasty, western influences, European trade, and a number of wars all served to weaken China. Great Britain gained control of Hong Kong after the Opium Wars.
In the early 1900s the people of China began to want reform. Revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen created the Chinese Nationalist Peoples Party, also called the KMT or Kuomintang. After Sun Yat-sen died, Chiang Kai-shek became leader of the party. However, Chiang turned on the leaders of the CCP, the communist party, and had many of them killed. The Chinese Civil War broke out between the KMT and the communists. A new leader, Mao Zedong took over the communists and led the CCP on a famous "Long March" to a distant area of China. There they regrouped and eventually gained the strength to force Chiang Kai-shek out of China and to the island of Taiwan.
Mao Zedong established the Peoples Republic of China on October 1, 1949. This new government was strongly allied with the Soviet Union and modeled its government after Soviet communism.
In 1958, Mao Zedong embarked on a new plan called the Great Leap Forward. Unfortunately, this plan backfired and China experienced a terrible famine including much starvation and death. Over the next several decades China would struggle with political reforms and economic policy, slowly recovering and becoming a major world power again. Today, China is a major world power and the second largest economy in the world.
Sars virus outbreak
2003 March-April - China and Hong Kong are hit by the pneumonia-like Sars virus, thought to have originated in Guangdong province in November 2002. Strict quarantine measures are enforced to stop the disease spreading.
2003 June - Sluice gates on Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower scheme, are closed to allow the reservoir to fill up.
2003 June - Hong Kong is declared free of Sars. Days later the World Health Organization lifts its Sars-related travel warning for Beijing.
2003 June - China, India reach de facto agreement over status of Tibet and Sikkim in landmark cross-border trade agreement.
2003 July-August - Some 500,000 people march in Hong Kong against Article 23, a controversial anti-subversion bill. Two key Hong Kong government officials resign. The government shelves the bill.
___ History of China
The first recognized dynasty—the Xia—lasted from about 2200 to 1750 B.C. and marked the transition from the late neolithic age to the Bronze Age. The Xia was the beginning of a long period of cultural development and dynastic succession that led the way to the more urbanized civilization of the Shang Dynasty (1750–1040 B.C.). Hereditary Shang kings ruled over much of North China, and Shang armies fought frequent wars against neighboring settlements and nomadic herders from the north. The Shang capitals were centers of sophisticated court life for the king, who was the shamanistic head of the ancestor- and spirit-worship cult. Intellectual life developed in significant ways during the Shang period and flourished in the next dynasty—the Zhou (1040–256 B.C.).
China’s great schools of intellectual thought—Confucianism, Legalism, Daoism, Mohism, and others—all developed during the Zhou Dynasty.
The intersection of migration, amalgamation, and development has characterized China’s history from its earliest origins and resulted in a distinctive system of writing, philosophy, art, and social and political organization and civilization that was continuous over the past 4,000 years. Since the beginning of recorded history (at least since the Shang Dynasty), the people of China have developed a strong sense of their origins, both mythological and real, and kept voluminous records concerning both. As a result of these records, augmented by numerous archaeological discoveries in the second half of the twentieth century, information concerning the ancient past, not only of China but also of much of East, Central, and Inner Asia, has survived. [see also: Five Emperors]
The Imperial Period:
|Qin Shi Huangdi (秦始皇 Qín Shǐhuáng - 259 BC – 210 BC) King of the Qin state. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC. |
Another recurrent historical theme has been the unceasing struggle of the largely agrarian Chinese against the threat posed to their safety and way of life by non-Chinese peoples on the margins of their territory. For centuries, most of the foreigners that China’s officials saw came from or through the Central and Inner Asian societies to the north and west. This circumstance conditioned the Chinese view of the outside world. The Chinese saw their domain as the self-sufficient center of the universe, and from this image they derived the traditional (and still used) Chinese name for their country—Zhongguo, literally Middle Kingdom or Central Nation. Those at the center (zhong) of civilization (as they knew it) distinguished themselves from the “barbarian” peoples on the outside (wai), whose cultures were presumed to be inferior by Chinese standards. For centuries, China faced periodic invasions from Central and Inner Asia—including major incursions in the twelfth century by the Khitan and the Jurchen, in the thirteenth century by the Mongols, and in the seventeenth century by the Manchu, all of whom left an imprint on Chinese civilization while heightening Chinese perceptions of threat from the north.
Starting in the pre-Qin period, Chinese states built large defensive walls that, in time, composed a “Great Wall.” The Great Wall is actually a series of noncontiguous walls, forts, and other defensive structures built or rebuilt during the Qin, Han, Sui (A.D. 589–618), Jin (1115–1234), and Ming (1368–1643) periods, rather than a single, continuous wall. The Great Wall reaches from the coast of Hebei Province to northwestern Gansu, officially 6,000 kilometers in length, although unofficial estimates range from 2,700 kilometers to as many as 50,000 kilometers, depending on which structures are included in the measurement.
The Tang (618–907) and Song (960–1279) dynasties represented high points of Chinese cultural development and interaction with distant foreign lands. The Yuan, or Mongol, Dynasty (1279–1368) was a period of foreign occupation but of even greater interaction with other cultures. Despite these periods of openness, which brought occasional Middle Eastern and European envoys and missionaries, the China-centered (“sinocentric”) view of the world remained largely undisturbed until the nineteenth century when China first clashed with the European nations.
|Puyi (溥仪 溥儀 Pǔyí - 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967) the Xuantong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty wearing the imperial Dragon Robe. He was the last Emperor of China. |
|Sun Yat-sen (孫中山 孫逸仙 Sūn Yìxiān - 1866–1925) |
Sun Yat-sen (whereas 'Sun' is the family name) was a Chinese statesman provisional president of the Republic of China 1911–12 and president of the Southern Chinese Republic 1923–25. He organized the Kuomintang force and established a secessionist government at Guangzhou.
With the 1927 split between the Guomindang and the CCP, the CCP began to engage in armed struggle against the Jiang regime. The Red Army was established in 1927, and after a series of uprisings and internal political struggles, the CCP announced the establishment in 1931 of the Chinese Soviet Republic under the chairmanship of Mao in Jiangxi Province in south-central China. After a series of deadly annihilation campaigns by Jiang’s armies, the Red Army and the CCP apparatus broke out of Jiangxi and embarked on their epic 12,500-kilometer Long March of 1934–35 to a new stronghold in Shaanxi Province in the north. During the march, Mao consolidated his hold over the CCP when in 1935 he became chairman, a position he held until his death in 1976.
Mao Zedong ( 毛泽东 毛澤東 Máo Zédōng - 26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976)
Chinese statesman chairman of the Communist Party of the Chinese People's Republic 1949–76 head of state 1949–59. A cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and its effective leader from the time of the Long March (1934–35), he eventually defeated both the occupying Japanese and rival Kuomintang nationalist forces to create the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Popstar Mao - Andy Warhol's iconic image of Mao Zedong was created in the early 1970s, in the time when U.S. President Richard Nixon had the attention of the world (media) with his unexpected visit to China, meeting the 1st Chairman.
Reform-era activities began in earnest in 1978 and eventually made China one of the largest world economies and trading partners as well as an emerging regional military power. The Four Modernizations (agriculture, industry, science and technology, and national defense) became the preeminent agenda within the party, state, and society. The well-being of China’s people increased substantially, especially along coastal areas and in urban areas involved in manufacturing for the world market. Yet, politics, the so-called “fifth modernization,” occurred at too slow a pace for the emerging generation. China’s incipient democracy movement was subdued in 1978–79 at the very time that China’s economic reforms were being launched. As Deng consolidated his control of China, the call for political reform came to the fore again in the mid-1980s, and pro-reform leaders were placed in positions of authority: Zhao Ziyang (1919–2005) was appointed premier, and Hu Yaobang (1915–89) CCP general secretary. Deng himself, satisfied with being the “power behind the throne,” never held a top position. The democracy movement, however, was violently suppressed by the military in the 1989 Tiananmen incident.
|Jiang Zemin (江泽民 江澤民 Jiāng Zémín - born 17 August 1926) |
Chinese politician, he was general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP 1989–2002) and President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003.
|Hu Jintao (胡锦涛 胡錦濤 Hú Jǐntāo - born 21 December 1942) |
Chinese paramount leader between 2002 and 2012. He was general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 2002 and he was the President of PR China from 2003 to 2013.
The current President is Xi Jinping, who took office on 14 March 2013.
An old missionary student of China once remarked that Chinese history is &ldquoremote, monotonous, obscure, and-worst of all-there is too much of it.&rdquo China has the longest continuous history of any country in the world&mdash3,500 years of written history. And even 3,500 years ago China&rsquos civilization was old! This in itself is discouraging to the student, particularly if we think of history as a baffling catalogue of who begat somebody, who succeeded somebody, who slew somebody, with only an occasional concubine thrown in for human interest. But taken in another way, Chinese history can be made to throw sharp lights and revealing shadows on the story of all mankind&mdashfrom its most primitive beginnings, some of which were in Asia, to its highest point of development in philosophy and religion, literature and art.
In art and philosophy, many people think, no culture has ever surpassed that of China in its great creative periods. In material culture, though we think of the roots of our own civilization as being almost entirely European, we have also received much from Asia&mdashpaper, gunpowder, the compass, silk, tea, and porcelain.
We Were Once the &ldquoBackward&rdquo Ones
There is nothing like a brief look at Chinese history to give one a new and wholesome respect for the Chinese people. We are likely - today to think of the Chinese as a &ldquobackward&rdquo people who are less civilized than we are, and it is true that in what we carelessly speak of as civilization&mdashmechanization and the fruits of scientific discovery&mdashthey have, in the last hundred years, lagged behind the procession and are only beginning to catch up. There are reasons for this temporary backwardness which we will take up later. It is wholesome to realize, however, that this attitude of superiority on the part of Western nations has existed for only about a hundred years.
Until the Opium War of 1840&ndash42 the European merchants and voyagers who reached the distant land of China had looked upon the Chinese with a good deal of awe as a people of superior culture. They still had much the same attitude as Marco Polo, who, in the thirteenth century, had told the people of Italy that China under the rule of the Mongols had a much more centralized and efficient system of government than European countries had. Coming from the banking and trading city of Venice, he admired the wide use of paper money in China. To a Europe which had not yet begun to use coal he also described how the Chinese mined and burned a kind of stone which was much superior to wood as fuel.
NEOLITHIC AGE. Agricultural communities in Yellow River valley cultivated loess soil with stone tools. Domesticated dog and pig. Hunting and fishing tribes in Yangtse valley.
BRONZE AGE. Primitive Yellow River city states. Probable use of irrigation. Shang-inscribed bones give base line of history. Sheep and goats domesticated. Writing. Beautiful bronze castings. Potter&rsquos wheel. Stone carving. Silk culture and weaving. Wheeled vehicles.
ANCIENT FEUDALISM. Expansion from Yellow River to Yangtse valley. &ldquoCity and country&rdquo cells. Increased irrigation. Eunuchs. Horse-drawn war chariots. 841 B.C. earliest authenticated date.
IRON AGE. Round coins. Magnetism known.
CLASSICAL PERIOD. Confucius. Lao-tze.
BEGINNING OF EMPIRE. Great Wall.
Palace architecture. Trade through Central Asia with Roman Empire. Ink
Carthage and Corinth destroyed
First Buddhist influences.
3 KINGDOMS (CHIN WEI SUNG, CHI, LIANG, CHEN)
Political disunity but cultural progress and spread.
Buddhism flourishing. Use of coal.
Trade with Indo-China and Siam.
Large-scale unification. Grand Canal.
ZENITH OF CULTURE. Chinese culture reaches Japan. Turk and Tungus alliances.
Revival of Confucianism weakens power of Buddhist monasteries. Mohammedanism. Cotton from India. Porcelain. First printed book. State examinations organized. Rise of Khitan. Foot binding. Poetry, painting, sculpture.
Classical Renaissance. Paper money.
Navigation and mathematics.
MONGOL AGE. Jenghis Khan. Marco Polo. Franciscans.
Turks take Constantinople
Period of restoration and stagnation.
Portuguese traders arrive.
Clash with Japan over Korea.
American, French, Industrial Revolutions
Canton open to Western trade.
Treaties with Western powers. Spread of
Western culture. Taiping Rebellion.
Boxer Rebellion. 1911 Revolution. Nationalist
Revolution. Unification under Chiang Kai-shek.
Japanese invasion and World War II.
China in fact had a civilization similar to that of Europe before the Industrial Revolution, and superior to it in many ways. The agriculture of China was more advanced and productive than that of Europe because of the great use of irrigation: and the wide network of canals that supplied water for irrigation also provided cheap transport. The Chinese bad reached a high level of technique and art in the malting of such things as porcelain and silk, and in general the guild craftsmen of their cities were at least equal to those of the cities of pre-industrial Europe.
Moreover the Chinese had gone a good deal further than Europeans in the use of writing as a vehicle of civilization and -government, and everything which that means. They had extensive statistics of government and finance at a time when Europe had practically none. They used written orders and regulations when Europe was still dependent on government by word of mouth.
The historical chart shows what was happening in China at the time of well-known events in the Western world. Note that some of the highest points in Chinese civilization came during the darkest days in Europe. The central column of the chart shows a succession of Chinese dynasties. A dynasty is the reign of one ruling family, and some families remained in power for several hundred years before they were overthrown either by another Chinese family or by barbarians from the north.
In the Beginning
The Chinese people did not come to China from somewhere else as did our own early settlers but are thought to be the direct descendants of the prehistoric cave men who lived in North China hundreds of thousands of years ago. Chinese civilization as we know it first developed along the great bend of the Yellow River, where the earth was soft and easily worked by the crude tools of China&rsquos Stone Age men who lived before 3000 B.C.
From the Yellow River the Chinese spread north, east, and south, sometimes absorbing aboriginal tribes, until by the time of Confucius (500 B.C.) they occupied most of the coun­try between the Yangtze River and the Great Wall, and had developed from primitive Stone Age men to men who could domesticate animals, irrigate land, make beautiful bronze weapons and utensils, build walled cities, and produce great philosophers like Confucius.
At the time of Confucius, China consisted of many small states ruled by feudal lords. While they were loosely federated under an emperor it was not until 221 B.C., when the last of China&rsquos feudal kingdoms fell, that China was united as a single empire. The imperial form of government lasted from 221 B.C. to 1911 A.D.
China&rsquos first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, is known as the builder of the Great Wall, which runs from the sea westward into the deserts of Central Asia&mdasha distance about as great as from New York City to the Rockies. The purpose of this stupendous job of engineering was to protect the settled Chinese people from the raids of barbarian nomads who lived beyond it. Much of this great walled frontier is still standing today.
How Dynasties Rose and Fell
Through the 2,000 years of China&rsquos empire, students can trace a sort of pattern of the rise and fall of dynasties. A dynasty would come into power after a period of war and famine had reduced the population to the point where there was enough land and food to go around. There would be prosperity, a civilized, sophisticated, and lavish court, families of great wealth and culture scattered over the country, and a flowering of art, literature, and philosophy. Then gradually the population would increase and the farms be divided, the landlords would refuse to pay taxes, thus weakening the government, and at the same time would collect more and more rent from the peasants. There would be savage peasant rebellions. Out of these rebellions would arise warriors and adventurers who enlisted the outlawed peasants, seized power by the sword, and overthrew the dynasty.
Once in power, the successful war lord would need to bring into his service scholars who understood administration and the keeping of records. These scholars were largely from the landlord class, the only class with leisure to acquire an education. While they built a government service for the new dynasty they founded landed estates for themselves and their heirs. As the power of the landlords grew the state of the peasants worsened and the same things would happen all over again.
Several times dynasties were founded by nomad warriors from beyond the Great Wall. The last dynasty of the empire was founded by Manchus from Manchuria, who ruled in China from 1644 until the empire fell in 1911. It is said that China has always absorbed her conquerors. Until the Japanese invasion her conquerors have been barbarians who looked up to the higher civilization of China and eagerly adopted it. The armored cars and tanks of a more mechanized civilization are not so readily digested.
Of What Use Today Is an Old Civilization?
One may ask, &ldquoWhat good does it do the Chinese to have such an old civilization?&rdquo There is a very real advantage, which visitors to China often sense when they cannot explain it. The values of culture and of being civilized have existed in China so long that they have soaked right through the whole people. Even a poor Chinese with no education is likely to have the instincts and bearing of an educated man. He sets great store by such things as personal dignity, self-respect, and respect for others. Even if he knows the history of his country and his native region only by legend and folklore instead of reading, still he knows it&mdashusually a surprising amount of it. And he has a tremendous hunger and aptitude for education, which is one of the reasons why the future progress of China, once it is freed from foreign aggression, is likely to be amazingly rapid.
was the capital of the Tangut Western dynasty. The Tanguts were a Tibeto-Burman people. They had helped the suppress rebellions at the end of the Tang dynasty, when Tang central government was weak. After the fall of the Tang in 907, the Tanguts set up the Western dynasty, with their capital at Yinchuan. They ruled a large area of north western China from there for two hundred years. Keen Buddhists, they created a new script. The Western Xia fought several major wars with China, which attempted to destroy it. But it was the Mongols who eventually destroyed the Tanguts, devastating their capital at Yinchuan in 1127 so comprehensively that travellers such as Marco Polo and Rashid al-Din called it 'The Black City' or the 'Dead City'. The Western Xia imperial tombs can still be seen outside Yinchuan, and look like pyramids. The site has nine imperial mausoleums and 250 tombs of nobles. The Mongols renamed the area '', which means 'Pacified Xia'. Ningxia is still the name of the province today.