III - Recent Chinese History: 19th and 20th Centuries
This summary comes directly form East Asia: Tradition and Transformation by Fairbank, Reischauer, and Craig (1989).
19th century China: Invasion and Rebellion
Decline of Ching came at same time as Western imperialism increased. Both internal rebellion and Western invasion had profound impacts on China for a century. The persistence of tradition and self-sufficiency within China caused it to be resistant to change. The ruling class (merchants, landowners, degree holders - usually from large successful families) that were intermediaries between the peasants and imperial government had unique part to play. They were literate and had a higher culture than the peasants, and wanted to preserve their status. Marriages arranged to maintain family structure. Landlords and tenant families part of clans, which did allow upward mobility for some. Exam system still in place, based on classics. Hence society slow to change.
Economy also slow to change, due to large size and self-sufficiency. Foreign contact couldn't quickly change patterns of large domestic economy. Tea and silk export industries involved labor intensive work, not easily susceptible to modernization. No leadership in government with respect to economic development. Hence economy was at different state of development compared to Europe. It also hadn't institutionalized science and invention. Production absorbed in consumption to keep huge population going, not for new savings and investments.
The government was also passive, especially at the local level since it was spread so thin. Magistrates held responsible in almost ritualistic way for all things that happened. They tried to avoid trouble which led to lack of innovation and development. By avoiding even the appearance of trouble, they didn't deal with problems that did develop. Led to compromises which harmonized situation, not change them. This led to growth of organized corruption which rob dynasty of resources. The helped lead to impoverishment of the peasants.
China's Image of the West: Chinese had limited information about the West except for lore and form visitors to Canton who were traders and merchants. Canton trade became center of growth. Opium trade with Britain started developing Opium considered an evil in Britain. Opium used as a drug in China but smoking began only after tobacco smoking had spread to China from America by way of Manila in the 17th century. In the 18th century, about 1000 chests (each 133 lb.) of opium imported from India every year, but by 1838 this figure grew to 40,000. Use obviously also increased by demoralization of people. Of course, British India had become dependent on it for 5-10% of its revenue. Opium traders in China made great profits. Initially brought into Canton, but later distributed through port cities NE of Canton. Government couldn't stop the trade. Selling and smoking opium had been prohibited by 1729 and often repeated, but many Chinese made money in its trade, leading to corruption. Eventually not only British expansion was dependent on opium but became entrenched in Chinese smuggling systems.
In addition, many of the hong merchants, pressed for taxes to government, and short on money, went into debt of East India Company. This upset West, as well as arbitrary arrest and torture of accused people in Chinese law. Crisis developed in 1834 when proponents of free trade abolished East India Company's monopoly on trade. Official of British government (Lord Napier) sent to open relations with China and bring end to tribute system of payments. Chinese did not view Brits as equals and soon stopped British trade and eventually supplies to Brits. Brits respond with naval power and emperor demanded all English submit or be expelled. Eventually lessening of tensions, with result that trade no longer confined to Canton and competing private traders increased, along with trade and lawlessness.
Opium War: The First Anglo-Chinese War (1839-1842) example of imperialist aggression. The government tried to stop the Opium trade, but superior naval power of Britain led to humiliating treaty that gave West special privileges in China. In historical context, this war came at time when Chinese and Japanese seclusion policies out of date, and industrial West's power expanding quickly. The West's concepts of freedom, science and economic growth sweeping over the world. Opium inflow lead to a drain of silver from the Chinese coffers, upsetting their currencies values. A compromise proposal was made to continue to oppose smoking by officials, soldiers, and scholars, but to legalize the import with a tariff imposed which would prevent smuggling. Likewise the silver outflow would be decreased since opium could be purchased only through bartering. Supported in Canton, but not Peking and compromise died. However in 1839 cultivators, distributors, consumers, and importers (foreign) all subject to death penalty. An anti-opium trade depressed trade to almost nothing in 1839 in Canton, but it stimulated coastal trade. Britain would neither aid or restrain the smugglers. The Chinese govt. tried to suppress opium use and maintain tribute system of foreign relations, communicated with British not through superintendents but through Hong merchants.
Lin Tse-hsu was chosen to exterminate opium evil by wiping out Canton network or importers and distributors. He had to use force to coerce foreign traders to give up opium supplies. He confined foreign community of 350 men into Thirteen Factories outside the main walls of Canton. Under pressure, British community retreated from Canton to Macao and then to Hong Kong in 1839. Hostilities started but trade continued.
Ching not prepared for war. Troops lacked training, discipline, courage. British had no territorial ambitions except to establish commercial base at Hong Kong, but also wanted an end to the tribute system. War lasted until Treaty of Nanking in 1842 in which Hong Kong was ceded to Britain, and 5 ports, including Canton and Shanghai were opened to the British. Three additional treaties signed, including the American and French treaties, giving them the same privileges that would be awarded to the British. Recognized Western law of Westerns in these controlled areas and extended them to their Chinese servants and assistants.
Western Impact: Western contact led to undermining of traditional order. Additional wars and treaties in 1856-1860. Chinese tried to use the new barbarians to control them (i.e. French control British), and tried to learn Western technology to strengthen themselves. But China to large and impact felt mostly just along the coast. Opium trade expanded as well as addiction. Americans also participate in opium trade. Poppy cultivation started in China to eliminate need for import. Tea and silk exports rose, but they were paid for with opium money.
Missionary influences increase at this time. First Protestant missionary was Robert Morrison, who lived in Canton from 1807 . He studied Chinese and translated the Bible. American Protestant missionaries reached Canton in 1830. Peter Parker started a medical missionary. Converted some Chinese including Morrison's first, Liang Afa, who wrote many tracts of the Bible and disseminated them. Catholic Church spread widely through work of Chinese priests. Western Catholic priests dressed and lived like Chinese, but Protestants brought their own culture and attacked Taoists and Buddhist idols. They had a greater impact.
Rise of Rebellion: After 1850, peasant led rebellions covered much of China for 20 years. The main cause was not the limited Western impact before 1850 but general conditions in China at time. (Population increase, administrative deterioration, floods, famine, etc.) This lead to increase in banditry and riots. Opposition organized by secret societies. Some were offshoots of the White Lotus Society in the North, and the Triad Society (or Heaven and Earth Society) in the South. Disorder most widespread in South which was the last conquered by the Manchu's and the one with most Western influence.
Taiping Kingdom: One of largest and most deadly popular rebellion was lead to Hong Xia Yuan and his chief collaborators, the Hakkas, a minority group of North China immigrants living in South China. Hong failed Confucian state exams. Had mystical experience associated with an illness in which he dreamt that he had gone to heaven and discovered he was Jesus's younger brother, and who had to save mankind. He was highly influenced by tracts written by the early convert Liang Afa. He developed his own religious ideas mostly based on the Old Testament. He organized the God Worshippers Society, which attracted all kinds of disenfranchised peoples (Hakkas, Triad Society members, pirates, peasants). Took up armed resistance and spread, setting up the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace. (Taiping means Great Peace) Other leaders emerged through whom both God and Jesus talked to the followers. Eventually capture Nanking and set up the Taiping Kingdom. Men and women were separated. Equality between the sexes illustrated by formation of women military units and abolition of foot binding. Strong rules against slavery, adultery, alcohol, opium, tobacco. His followers preached to crowds, and destroyed idols and temples of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucianist. Their fanaticism destroyed their appeal. Internal conflict among the leaders weakened the movement. The Ching dynasty reasserted itself with its ability to monopolized trained talent who could govern.
A separate rebellion emerged in 1853 in area west of the Grand Canal between the Huai and Yellow Rivers, which had harbored secret society bandit gangs. The Nien movement was organized as alliance of 5 bands under yellow, white, blue, black, and red banners and imitated Taipings in wearing long hair. Also the Chinese Muslim minority in Yuan in NW China start a rebellion. Ching dynasty caught between internal rebellions and foreign aggression. The rebellions led to the slaughter of millions and wholesale destruction of cities and farm capital. In contrast, the Opium wars didn't lead to many deaths, but called into question the old order of Chinese society and started undermining it. West wanted acceptance of West concept of international trade and relations. Anglo-French negotiators secured treaties, as well as American and Russians. Permanent Western delegations at Peking would end ancient tradition of Chinese superiority. However the Chinese resisted implementation and sunk several British ships. French and British returned in 1860 with stronger force and defeated the Chinese, and entered Beijing in October 1860. A new treaty gave Britain the Kowloon peninsula opposite Hong Kong, and gave the French right for Catholic missionaries to own property in the interior. Similarly, Russia gained privileges in Manchuria.
Restoration of Ching Government: Just as in Han and Tang when rebellion was followed by restoration of dynasty, so in 1860 the dynasty was restored in Beijing in 1860. All the successes of the rebellions forced the Ching to unite behind strong leadership who cooperated warily with treaty systems and give full support army leaders in suppression of the rebellions. Chinese army purchased foreign weapons which gave them advantage in rebellions. In 1864 the capital of the Heavenly Empire, Nanking, was taken by the Ching forces, which collapsed the Taiping rebellion. Likewise the other rebellions were crushed.
Opening of China: 11 more ports were opened in North China, Manchuria, Taiwan, and upstream on Yangtze. The import of opium was legalized and foreign imports of all kinds allowed into the interior. Likewise missionaries could travel in the interior, and Catholics and Protestant began to acquire property. Behind all these changes stood the power of the British Empire. This lead to a grand intensification of the Western challenge to China. However, the traditional Chinese state and social order which had accommodated alien rulers in the past, remained intact. At the same time, foreign influence allowed China the chance to modernize.
China's Response to the West
Japan, which was also saddled with unequal treaties, underwent an amazing transformation during the Meiji period in the years . from 1868 to 1912. In contrast China was much slower to responds to Western ideas, partly due to its great size and its entrenched bureaucracy and its "culturalism". By the time imperialism increased, it was too late for a successful response. However, early attempts to respond were somewhat successful. Two significant changes occurred in 1860. First, the Anglo-French invasion of Beijing forced the emperor to accept foreigners as equals, undermining their ancient claim to kingship. Second, the Taiping threat caused a buildup of regional Chinese military power under Tseng Kuo-fan, which weakened Manchu control. He used suppression of the rebels as a means of securing military arms. This led to a campaign of self-strengthening in military as well as diplomatic, fiscal, and educational fields. Established more modern diplomatic relations with the West. A Interpreters College was established in Beijing so they could understand Western merchants and diplomats and learn their ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. A demand for Western scientific learning developed after establishment of arsenals and shipyards. However, their major aim was still to revive old Confucian style of government.
The emperor from 1862-1875 was a weak boy, dominated by his mother, the Empress Dowager, who became entrenched in power and governed with the aid of eunuchs and other officials. However, she had no grasp of Chinas problems of modernization.
After all the rebellions were suppressed, China had enormous task of reconstruction like in US after the Civil War. After China lacked industrial capacity. Also the treasury had been exhausted. Inflation occurred. Instituted new taxes including on commerce. By the 1860's the interests and ideas of Manchu and Chinese leaders nearly identical. But after the rebellions, the new talent that emerged was mostly Chinese. Manchu leadership effectively assimilated into Chinese upper class.
Reaction to Christian Missions: The restoration of Confucian teachings lead to an anti-Christian movement aroused by increased missionary activity. By 1870 there were 400,000 Catholics ministered to by European Jesuits, etc., and Chinese priests. Sino-French agreement of 1860 promised missionaries toleration and restoration of former properties. Church became a landlord, and after its long history in China became firmly rooted in Chinese society. In contrast, Protestants were still on the periphery. By 1870 probably fewer than 6000 converts.
Confucians criticized Christian doctrine as superstitious and unorthodox. Given the foreign imperialist were Christians as were the Taiping rebels, Chinese grew increasingly anti-Christian. In addition, missionaries were rivals in performing many social functions such as teaching and establishing schools. The goal of the missionary was ultimately to subvert the traditional Chinese order. They were many small incidents and attacks on missionaries but they didn't check their movement. Rumors abound that Catholic sisters, who accepted orphans, kidnapped children . This lead to Tientsin Massacre of 1870. French Sisters had offered fees for orphans, but after rumors spread about kidnappings, a mob gathered. A French magistrate fired, missed, and then was killed by a mob, which killed others foreigners, nuns, and destroyed Catholic facilities. This left relationships between Chinese and West.
Difficulties of Early Industrialization: After 1870 the rate of China's economic modernization lagged behind that of Japan and the West. This resulted from the incapacity of the government to take the lead in modernization. The Ching leaders had a vested interest in maintaining the power structure and using modernization for personal and political gain (especially under the control of Empress Dowager Tzu-hsi. Port cities experienced material growth along with intellectual and cultural innovation. Yet Western ideas still had minor impact overall in the Chinese tradition. The new developments that took hold (modern post office, press, training of students abroad) were still superimposed over all institutions.
Imperialism in China
After end of Sino-French war in 1885, China enjoyed a decade of tranquility in her foreign relations. Powerful regional reformers emerged. Japan defeated China (under Li Peiyang) in naval battle in 1894, it upset the balance of power within China and also internationally. A humiliating treaty gave Japan Taiwan and large sums of money. Large steam navies and railways gave the countries possessing them great advantages. It lead to competition of foreign powers for China. It lead Russia to support China and ally themselves against any attack by the strengthening Japanese. It also got a 25 year lease on the southern tip of Manchuria, the Liatoung or Kwantung Peninsula, giving Russia a long sought ice-free port. Like a domino, Germany, France, and Russia took or leased parts of China. These were all legalized by treaties whit China usually through 99 year leases and created spheres of influence. This was viewed as t he first step into turning parts of China into colonies of Europe, threatening the extinction of the Ching Empire. These events inspired both the Reform Movement and the Boxer uprising.
Reform Movement: Conservatives were stunned by China's defeat in 1894, and wished the war to continue. Kang Yu-wei advocated for great reforms and for rejecting the peace treaty and moving the capital inland for a prolonged war. This started the reform movement and the development of scholar-gentry political associations or study societies, which published journals and newspapers. But how could Western ideas be adopted in Chinese society? A popular slogan emerged: "Chinese learning for the essential principles; Western learning for the practical applications." This back Neo-Confucian ideas of substance and function, but stretched to cover Westernization. Another approach was to validate Western ideas within Chinese tradition. For example, it was said that "Western sciences borrowed their roots from ancient Chinese mathematics". some traced origins of Chemistry to 5 element theory. Also they tried to find a doctrine of change in its own past history.
Kang Yu-wei supplied the reinterpretation by which Classics could sanction Westernization and Confucianism could include progress. It questioned the authenticity of the ancient text versions of Confucians classics, which broke Neo-Confucian orthodoxy. Concluded that Han learning wrong, and the Classics revered by Sung scholars were forged. He also pushed new textual interpretations. He suggested Confucius created principal classics as way to make institutional reforms. He also raised Confucianism to a national religion. When imperialist ready to divide up China, Kang was given audience with 27 year old emperor where he proposed new internal administration to preserve dynasty against enemies from without - including a cabinet, a national assembly, a constitution, converting monasteries to schools. In 1898 reforms were issued, but few were carried out since officials wanted to see how the Empress Dowager, in retirement since 1899, could respond. All the reformers, except the emperor, were Chinese. Chang chih-tung published a book against these radical reforms. He aimed to preserve the Manchu dynasty by reviving the Confucian order system. It upheld 3 of 5 of Mencius's relationships: between emperor and official, father and son, husband and wife. He opposed almost all of the political and civil reforms which would bring more liberties. He proposed to save China by education: reform exam system, set up schools, colleges, and universities with a curriculum that stress both Confucian classics and Western technology. Also he hoped to promote industrialization. In 1898 the Empress Dowager, with the help of Manchu military, seized the emperor in a coup d'etat and began her third reign. Some moderate reform remained but the radical attempt at reform, modeled after Meiji restoration in Japan, failed. Clearly, any revolution in China would have to come from below, probably through violence. (in the future).
Boxer Rebellion: After failure of the Reform Movement, the initiative shifted to a popular movement led by secret society - the "Righteous and Harmonious Fists" or more simply, the Boxers. They practices a form of Chinese boxing which, through a sequence of postures and exercises, aimed to harmonize the mind and muscle in preparation for combat. In addition they used Taoist magical practices and rituals in which they were to become possessed by spirits which made them impervious to foreign bullets. Their original slogan in 1899 was "overthrow the Ching; destroy the foreigner". Anti-Christian hostility fueled their movement. In addition, economic and political condition did as well, as did conditions resulting from floods and droughts. Anti-foreign officials enlisted the help of the anti-dynastic Boxers, which changed their slogan to "support the Ching; destroy the foreigner". Ching officials were split about the Boxers, but mostly they despised their fanaticism. In June 1900 the Boxers besieged foreign communities in both Tientsin and Peking. The foreign powers organized a naval reprisal. Ching Dynasty declared war against the foreigners. Many foreigners and Chinese Christians died. Regional Chinese officials proposed that if the West sent no more warships into the Yangtze area, regional authority would be maintained. Hence the Boxer War, the 4th and largest which China fought against the West in the 19th century, remained localized in the north. The Empress Dowager simultaneously led policies of extermination and peace overtures. When the West began to loot Peking, the Empress and emperor left by cart disguised and went to Xian. By late 1900 there were around 45,000 foreign troops in north China and Russia had a separate war with Manchuria. The Boxer Protocol was signed in 1901 by a Manchu prince. It required the execution of 10 high officials, punishments, apologies, suspension of exams in 45 cities, occupation of railway posts to ensure access to Peking from the sea, and a great indemnity. This was the low point of the Chings foreign relations, which were to never rise again.
After 1901, imperialist domination not confined to spheres of influence but extended to Peking's entire financial structure. The Japanese and Boxer indemnities drained off Ching revenues.
America had avoided "imperialism" in East Asia, as it had avoided getting entangled in Europe. But certain influences led to significant involvement in East Asia, mostly through its rise of industrial manufacturing and cheap export products. The American expansion in 1898 was triggered by Spanish-American war of that year. Dewey's fleet in Hong Kong was prepared to attack the Spanish fleet in Manila and within hours it was sunk. America occupied Manila and received the Philippines from Spain. With naval bases in Manila, Hawaii, and Guam, American had great military power in the Pacific. John Hay, Secretary of State, issued his first Open Door Policy - Each power should not interfere with any treaty port and vested interest within its sphere of influence in China; only Chinese gov't should collect duties on trade; no preferential harbor and railways fees should benefit the subjects of a power with a sphere. In short, the policy tried to preserve equality of trade in China, not the Chinese state. After the Boxer rebellion, Hay's second policy stated American desire for a solution that would bring permanent safety and peace to China, preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entities and safeguard China for free trade with the world. It had no forceful action to back it up.
China's Weaknesses and Strengths: In 1900 the imperialist powers kept the reactionary Ching dynasty in power to enjoy special privileges. They had cooperated with authorities in China during 6 decades of unequal treaties. Why didn't China respond earlier to foreign encroachment - by modernizing and expelling the imperialists?
The mid century rebels were anti-Manchu and nationalistic, but lacked modern ideas. The strongest, the Taipings, showed little ability to change established order. Movements later were more defensive. The reformers of 1898, although revolutionary, viewed themselves as loyal to the dynasty. The weakness of change in China was a tribute to the strength of its social order. This stands in stark contrast to Japan which underwent quick change during the Meiji restoration.
China had vast resources, but they were exploited in traditional ways. Japan was poorer in resources, but the people met the challenge of change. The great size of China, which could have made it a world power, also slowed its response. Economically, it was almost self-sufficient. Strategically, ti was almost invulnerable to conquest. The dense interior populations remained beyond foreign contact. Chinas institutions were balanced and well tempered to preserve equilibrium among 3 classes - the monarch, the landlord-scholar-gentry class, and illiterate farming populace. Their national religion was in fact the worship of their past. China was under the spell of her own great historical tradition and ancient learning, both kept alive by the written language.
The backward looking self-sufficiency of intellectual life gave China's leaders to major characteristics:
The Chinese empire had taken in its surroundings. The Mongol and Manchu conquests were characteristic and fundamental to the Chinese empire. The Ching dynasty suppressed racist-nationalist sentiments. It recruited upper level loyalty and few officials represented the lower level classes. The elite lacked a sense of national purpose in making changes, which inhibited modernization. However, their response to the West was affected by an unusual and non nationalistic factor- the tendency to admit barbarians to participation in Chinese society and to cooperate with foreigners on their periphery. They accommodated to the presence of the West on their periphery but didn't use this opportunity to learn from them and expel them, as they did in Japan.
China: From Monarchy to Warlordism
The last decade (1901-1911) of the Ching was marked by institutional and social change and ended with political collapse. After the Boxer Rebellion, the Empress Dowager supported radical reforms. The reformers paved the ground for the revolution that was to come. Modernization meant Chinese nationalism which implied the end of Manchu rule. Education was first on list for reform.
The general aim of the educational program was to train and select officials more effectively, not the education of the masses. How could they do this and appease classically trained scholar-officials? The did by setting up parallel schools in the territories, which fed into the exam system. In ten years the new schools supplanted the old. However, the old style schools were still cheaper. The new schools also faced competition with Protestant-based high schools and colleges with fostered Christianity, individualism, education of women, etc. To compete, government abolish exam system in 1905. They based their new schools on Japan's new and effective system, and soon they sent students there and recruited Japanese teachers. The new system, instead of indoctrinating students loyal to Confucius and the emperor, produced revolutionaries, with many Western ideas such as social Darwinism.
In similar fashion, the armies reformed. They moved away from the Manchu banner forces, and established military academies, regional armies. Also administrative and financial reform was undertaken. They tried constitutional reform, but these precipitated a power struggle. The Ching regime as weakened by the death of the Empress Dowager (the old Budda as she was called) in 1908. One day before, the healthy emperor also died under mysterious conditions. These events left the throne in the hands of ignorant Manchu princes. In 1910, representatives of all 16 provincial assemblies gathered in Peking, and petitioned for a national parliament, which was rejected.
Provincial conflict with the central power came to head over railroad building. Foreign controlled rail lines (Russia, Japan, Germany, France) were tools of economic imperialism. A movement arose that wanted redemption of the foreign lines and formed companies to build Chinese provincial lines. Peking wanted to buy out and nationalize provincial rail lines. The provinces thought that the corrupt Manchus were selling China to foreigners. Railroad protection units arose which became increasingly violent anti-dynastic.
Revolution of 1911: Just as new regimes in China had started their conquest from an external base (Ex: Mongol, Manchu), so did revolution of 1911 which was largely made in Japan. Japan had become a great power between 1895 and 1905. They were a stimulus to modern education, militarism, and constitutionalism in China, and served as a home base for Chinese revolutionaries.
Two major figures of the era were Liang Chi-ch'ao and Sun Yat-sen. Liang spent almost ten years in Japan and became the most influential writer of the period. His hope for China lay in popular education for nationalism. He advocated for transfer of loyalty of people from the ruler to the nation, from Confucian personal relationships to principles of law, and the establishment of a constitution, parliament, and a responsible government. He was an upper-class aristocrat.
Sun Yat-sen was an early professional revolutionary who approached China's problems antithetically. He built up an early revolutionary movement. He was the son of a peasant and schooled by an uncle who had fought for the Taipings. He studied 3 years in Honolulu in a Church of England boarding school. He spent 5 years in Canton and Hong Kong studying chemistry, physiology, and surgery for his medical degree. His began practice in Macao but was forced out of practice since he lacked a diploma from Portugal. Thwarted and disregarded by those in power, he became a revolutionary. He set up his own secret society, the Revive China Society which tried in 1895 to seize the Canton government offices. He escaped to Japan, cut is queue, grew a mustache, and in Western clothes passed for a Japanese named Nakayama. He went to London where he was kidnapped for 12 in preparation for his scheduled return to China for execution, but his old medicine teacher mobilized British opinion and got him released. He returned to Japan, he developed his own ideological appeal, in face of increasing opposition. He put together a series of ideas to justify and guide a republican revolution. These were his 3 principles: nationalism (i.e. anti-Manchu, anti-imperialist, pro-republican), democracy (anti-Confucian egalitarianism guaranteed by a constitution - 5 powers - executive, legislative, judicial, along with exam and control powers), and livelihood (often later equated to socialism, but more appropriately ).
Sun, in 1905, was most widely traveled and eldest of revolutionaries in Japan, but he was not of the scholarly elite nor known for his literary works or intellect. However, given the complexity of the time, he had more success that perhaps anyone else could have. He thought China could catch up and surpass the West through a quick revolution. There were a series of uprising in China after this,but they were more political than military. By 1911 the Manchus had lost public confidence and support of officials, police and troops. On October 10, 3000 troops rebelled, and the Manchu governor-general fled Wuchang, which fell to the rebels. Within weeks the anti-Manchu revolt spread to other areas. By December most of the provinces declared their independence under Ching army officers. Sun Yat-sen reached Shanghai and was elected as figurehead at Nanking in January 1912. The revolution was essentially nonviolent and inconclusive since its main aim was negative - to get rid of the Manchus. They realized they need unity to forestall foreign, and probably Japanese invasion. Yuan Shih-k'ai engineered a settlement. On Feb. 12, 1912, the infant emperor abdicated, ending the Ching dynasty. Sun Yat-sen resigned as provisional president and Yuan was elected successor.
However, without the emperor, political life deteriorated. Lacking traditional sanctions and not having yet developed modern ones, both Yuan and the warlords relied more and more on military power.
Republics Decline into Warlordism: The great modern transformations of economy, politics, society, thought and culture which have swept the world smashed traditional Chinese civilization to pieces after 1912. The rest of the century has been a search for a new order. The new provisional president, Yuan, became involved in a power struggle with other revolutionary leaders. Through use of bribery, force, assassination, and an effort to revive the monarch he was branded an enemy. A Republican party formed which supported him. When Liang returned from Japan to a hero's welcome, he formed a Democratic party and eventually a Progressive party. The monarchy and now the ruling party were unused to the idea of an opposition party. Another party was formed by Sung Chiao-jen called the Kuo-min-Tang (KMT) or National Peoples Party. They received a majority in the parliament by February 1913. In March however, Yuan orchestrated the assassination of Sung Chiao-jen. Yuan confused the public with false changes against some the the Kuo-min-Tang. His efforts showed that the power-holder is above the law and that an opposition leader can be checked by eliminating the leader. In addition Yuan borrowed large amounts of foreign money to pay his army, and eventually moved troops against the KMT. This lead 7 provincial governments to declare independence from Peking in a short-lived second revolution. It was suppressed within months. Sun Yat-sen fled to Japan.
The Progressive party with moderate KMT help formed a cabinet in Peking which included Lian as a minister. Yuan wanted to get named president of parliament and then dissolve it. On October 6, he was elected, and on October 7 the major powers recognized the Chinese Republic. In November he dissolved the KMT, in January 1914 he suspended parliament and became dictator. Only a small fraction of society cared, since Chinese were used to rule by a emperor. He revived the state cult of Confucianism, conducted ancient imperial rites at the Temple of Heaven, and by 1915 was president for life.
The republic then lost control over Tibet and Outer Mongolia, but later negotiated with Britain and Russia for their autonomy with some Chinese control. World War I came, which allowed Japan to embark on a course of aggression. Japan declared war on Germany, and flouted Chinese neutrality. Japan demanded and won powers in China, with no Western power coming to China's aid. The Sino-Japanese treaties of May 25, 1915 confirmed Japan's dominant position in Shantung and South Manchuria as well as giving them special interests in the industrial bases of Central China. This roused Chinese nationalism, trumpeted by Yuan. However, he couldn't govern China effectively with a poverty of political beliefs. He launched at effort to become emperor but it failed, partly due to dissatisfaction from the generals and opposition form the Japanese government. He died in 1916 after months of fighting against the provinces.
The Son of Heaven as an institution became discredited by 1911. For Heaven's Mandate had been substituted the concept of the people's will, the consent of the governed. In addition, the provinces, distinct in geography, culture, climate, history, etc., had grown independent of Peking.
Warlordism: Between 1916 and 1928 China was divided among competing warlords, or local military leaders. In Japan, Sun Yat-sen reverted to his earlier secret society approach to revolution, and in July 1914 launched the Chinese Revolutionary Party. This was not democratic, nor did it appeal to rising patriotism as he omitted nationalism form his platform. His thinking was directed toward cooperation with Japan, not imperialism. He reemerged in 1917 into the warlord-parliamentary fray. He went to Canton, convened 250 members of parliament, and formed a military government with himself as generalsisimo. However fragmentation among the warlords continued. From 1922-26 several inter-provincial wars erupted, producing incalculable suffering. Out of the desperation came a new revolution which began among the intellectual class.
The Rise and Decline of Nationalist China
The warlord era was both chaotic and creative, since new ways could be tried only after old ways were broken. The decline of central power permitted the rise of disorder in countryside and decline of Western imports led to rise of native industry. By 1914 a modern Chinese administrative and entrepreneurial class emerged. In addition, Chinese capital accumulated in overseas communities and in the ports. A labor force had been draw to urban centers. A new status for youth and women emerged, as students claimed the old privileged status of the scholar class. The emergence of new social classes - merchant/entrepreneurs, factory laborers, and modern students, fostered the change of Chinese society. Large numbers of students studied in Japan, France, and the US. The intellectual revolution centered at Beijing National University (Peita) led by chancellor Tsai Yuan-pei. He brought to the University advocates of freedom such as espoused in the French revolution - liberty, equality, fraternity. Blame for China's decay was given to Confucianism. A literary renaissance occurred, to create a new written style to go with modern thought and to reach the common people - and to destroy the written language that had been the "repository of Confucian morality and Taoist superstition".
May 4th Incident: The stems from a 1919 demonstration by students in Beijing and marks the emergence of nationalism as the dominant force in politics. After WWI, it was clear that President Wilson's doctrine of self-determination and open diplomacy did not apply to East Asia. The 1918 Warlord government at Beijing signed secret agreements in Paris confirming Japans influence in China (especially in Shantung). Protest increased in China. On May 4, over 3000 college students assembled at the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tienanmen) and endorsed a manifesto. The demonstration erupted into violence. After this students, both male and female, organized and secured support from the press, merchants, and Sun Yat-sen. The movement of students and the modern scholar class (professors, teachers, writers, journalist) expanded. The cabinet in Beijing resigned and China refused to sign the Versailles Treaty.
This new nationalism was marked by the rise of party dictatorship, the growth of socialist thinking, and the struggle against imperialism. The ensuing intellectual activity was dubbed the "New Culture Movement". Translations of Western works increased dramatically. They attacked the ancient three relationships of Confucian thought:, the subordination of subject to ruler, of son to father, and wife to husband. It denounced the 3 corresponding virtues: loyalty to superiors, filiality, and female subjects. Anti-Confucianists attacked the tyranny of parent, arrangements of marriage, and subordination of youth to family. Women's rights were dramatically increased. The attack on Confucianism stimulated a critical reevaluation of Chinese antiquity. This concern for national heritage was increased after Liang returned from the Paris peace conference, disillusioned with the spiritual bankruptcy of Western civilization. However, as the intellectual revolution triumphed over the traditional order, it lost its unity of aim and split into those seeking evolution vs. revolution.
Introduction of Marxism-Leninism: Marxism's appeal lay partly in its claim to be scientific in an age when science seemed to be the secret of the West. Marx's concept of "historical materialism" - that society progress through a sequence of stages (primitive, slave-owning, feudal, capitalist, socialist) by virtue of a class struggle between ruling and exploited classes for control of the means of production - appealed to students in need of a way to explain progress and history. Lenin's revolution to bring Communism to power and his explanation of colonial imperialism as due to the growth of international capitalism were likewise appealing, as was the startling success of the Soviets. It explained China's backwardness as a result of capitalist imperialism. This message was especially welcomed after Versailles. The founding First Congress of the Chinese Communist party, attended by Mao and 11 others, occurred in July 1921 in Shanghai. The Soviets helped with agents form the Communist International (Comintern). Chou En-Lai who became a leader of Chinese communist in France, also returned to China.
Background of the Nationalist Revolution: The 1920's saw the height of warlord disorder and the rise of revolution. The first aim of the revolution was national reunification. Others were to abolish foreign privileges and influence under the unequal treaties. On the domestic scene, aims diverged. Some wanted social revolution through mass organization of factory laborers and peasants. Others didn't want such a social revolution. The West had helped to destroy the old order, but how could it help build a new one? They tried in the post WWI settlement of 1921-1922 based on the Washington Conference. The West wanted China to develop a stable government and had always kept open the possibility of liquidating the unequal treaties. The conference produced result to limit Western and Japanese influence and everyone supported the Open Door ideas. They moved to liquidate the unequal treaties by calling for conference on tariffs and extra territoriality. These later two did not come to pass, possibly because of lack of a real central government in China. Lenin's ideas became more appealing to Chinese dealing with vestiges of imperialism. Lenin's successors, Trotsky and Stalin urged flexibility in dealing with China, such as working with the KMT.
Sun Yat-sen was seeking a party organization that could both take power and govern. The May 4th incident inspired him to revive and reorganize the KMT which was completed at the First Congress in January 1924. He also developed a relationship with the Comintern. This meant cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Sun, with Soviet advice, began the creation of a party army and sent his military assistant, Chiang Kai-shek to the Soviet Union to study its methods. A few hundred members of the CCP joined with scores of thousands of KMT members, which diluted their impact. To go along with party structure, he needed a new revolutionary ideology, including "knowing is more difficult than doing". Sun did not accept the Leninist ideas that capitalism inevitably leads to imperialism. He favored a struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors within the country, not without. He put forth the 3 Principles of the People. These included self-determination for Chinese and its minorities, and to make the government the machinery, the people the engineers. Nationalism was the dominant theme. Likewise they needed an indoctrinated army. Chiang became head of a new academy, and the leading CCP representative, Chou En-lai, was deputy head of the political education department of the army. Sun died unexpectedly on March 12, 1925 and became a cult-figurehead. To carry on is cause, the Nationalist Government was formed at Canton on July 1 as a military party dictatorship with Wang Ching-wei has the chair.
KMT rise to Power: In 1925 two revolutionary parties, the KMT and the smaller CCP were riding a upsurge of patriotic, anti-imperialism and militant anti-capitalist labor movement. In the factories, people worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Child labor and horrible conditions in factories were common. Chinese industrialists were ready to oppose them. Strikes and protests increased and on May 30, British police killed 13 demonstrators, nationwide strikes and protest erupted. A similar incident on June 23 lead to the death of 52 Chinese, which resulted in a 15 month strike and boycott against Hong Kong, crippling British trade. Youth joined the CCP in great numbers. The left wing of the KMT supported the CCP. The parties stayed in alliance, however, as Stalin chose to support it. The arrangement was supported by Wang, the leader of the left wing, and Chiang, the principal military leader. However communist influence in the KMT was expanding. Allegedly in self-defense, Chiang on March 20 staged a coup d'etat at Canton and urged military unification of China. the CCP still agreed to an alliance. In July 1926 he carried out a military campaign against the warlords. It continued in the North in 1927 and as the anticommunist military grew stronger, it split. Chiang and the KMT military joined the right KMT in turning against the left KMT and the CCP. Soon the left KMT turned against the CCP. On April 18, Chiang set up his own government in Nanking. On August 1 an uprising of communist troops at Nanchang began an open civil war between the two parties. Mao Tse-tung, who advocated a peasant uprising (contrary to Moscow's directive) led the "Autumn Harvest" insurrection in Hunan, which was suppressed. The young CCP leadership was executed, driven underground, or forced into the countryside.
Decade of the Nanking Government: From 1928-1937, when the Japanese attacked, was a distinct period when China faced the Western world, while the West was absorbed in its own problems - the Depression, Nazism, Stalinism. Nanking had 3 major issues to deal with: contact with the West, aggression from Japan, and problems in the countryside. The government looked for answers from the West and its past, but was stuck in-between. The country was underdeveloped. With 400-500 million people, it had the same number of modern highways as Spain with 25 million people, and less industrial production than 8 million people in Belgium. China turned to Western models, which it increasingly understood more than its own country. Also, after the KMT came to power, it abandoned the Soviet-style organizations used to mobilize its people. It turned against the student movements, and lost its sense of mission. It became a wing of the bureaucracy and anti-revolutionary.
Chinese politics still required a single power-holder at the top. Unification against warlords and resistance against the Japanese required a military leader - Chiang Kai-shek. He didn't believe in efficacy of popular movements compared to military force. He married a Welleslely graduate and sister of Sun Yat-sen's widow, and became a Methodist. He had several relatives with American background in financial posts and colleagues with Japanese background in military posts. The left and right generals joined up against him temporarily in 1931 but didn't succeed. Chiang became party leader in 1938. He was nicknamed Generalissimo by the press. Japans militarism necessitated a military defense and distracted attention to domestic reform. After he rid himself of Soviet advisors, he sought German advisors.
During the Nanking decade, the models of economic growth were provide by totalitarian countries - Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, and Japan. It was almost impossible to make credit available to the farming population at the village level. It devoted most effort towards the modern, treaty-port sector of the economy. The intellectual inheritors of the May 4th period were split into two camps: the reformists (typically academically inclined scholars) and revolutionist (typically activist-minded writers). American reformers had greatest influence on the reformers. There were about 24 Christian colleges with foreigned trained faculty. Even though they had only 6500 students, compared to 41,000 in government institutions of higher learning, they had great impact. American influence was evident in research institutes of the central government and the big Rockefeller-supported Peking Union Medical College. Likewise there were 30,000 missionaries from America, who tried to make the Christian church in China indigenous and interested in social welfare and justice.
Japan's Aggression in China: Manchuria, China's Northeast, was 1/4 the size of China but had less than 1/10 its people (95% Chinese). Chinese nationalism and its claims to Manchuria clashed with Japanese militarism. Japanese officials arranged the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931 and proceeded to take it over. This lead to an undeclared war which ended in an armistice. Japan set up a puppet government there with Japanese advisors in indirect control, mindful of old barbarian conquest of China with help from the Chinese. The last Ching boy-emperor was enthroned, and helped create this fictitious state. They changed the currency and industrialized it and gave Japan a strategic base on the continent. They then created a demilitarized zone just south of the Wall through which smuggled goods and drugs were brought. In 1935 North China made a neutral zone but Japanese tried to incite a separatist movement, but this collapsed after student demonstrations in Beijing.
China engaged in nonmilitary resistance in the form of a boycott after the Mukden incident, which was effective and spread. It was coordinated by the KMT with help from students and merchants. Japan's exports to Chinas were cut in half. Their aggression provoked strong nationalism in China. Nanking, however, discounted the capabilities of nonmilitary and guerilla resistance. Chiang wanted to build up his conventional army first. He avoided a showdown for 6 years after 1931, but during this time had little success in mobilizing the masses. He followed a strategy of "unification before resistance" and led 5 anti-Communists extermination campaigns instead. By 1936 the Communists had survived the Long March of 1934-5 and had a base in the NW. The CCP and Comintern proposed a second united front against the Japanese (to take Japanese pressure off the Soviets and Nationalist pressure off the KMT). Chiang was kidnapped in December in Xian by Chinese troops from Manchuria who were more eager to resist the Japanese than rid China of the CCP.
Full scale aggression started in 1937, first near Beijing on July 7th, then at Shanghai in August. This was really the start of WWII, which lasted 8 years in China. Until Pearl Harbor, China fought alone while America sold oil and iron to Japan. China fought Japan to a standstill in Shanghai, but at a terrible expense. Once outflanked, they withdrew westward, trading space for time and using scorch earth tactics to destroy many industrial installations. In 1938 the Nationalist government moved up the Yangtze gorges to Chongqing, out of reach of tanks but not planes.
Occupied China was divided into two puppet regimes, each with its own currency. In the North, Japanese forces set up a Provisional Government at Beijing urging anti-Communism and anti-Westernism. In Central China, Japan installed a second government in Nanking. Wang Ching-wei defected from Chongqing and Chiang and became head of the Nationalist Government in Nanking. Beyond the SW periphery of Japans invasion, the Nationalist Government survived in the hinterland, bringing it into competition with the Communists. From mid 1937 started another period of KMT-CCP collaboration. The KMT saw that the CCP would gain more from wartime social transformation and mass mobilizations than the KMT, so they blockaded the CCP base in the NW.
The original leaders of the KMT clung to power and had about 5 million men under arms. Yet the intellectual leadership had meager, old ideas - anti-imperialism and resurrection of Confucian social order while industrialized. Eventually most people felt enervated, demoralized, and blamed the regime in power.
Initially the Soviets came to their aid, but this stopped after the onset of WWII in Europe. After Pearl Harbor, the US through military aid began for the first time to play a major role in Chinas domestic affairs. The US Air Force checked the Japanese bombing of Free China's cities. But the strategy to defeat Germany before Japan gave the Asian theater lower priority. The initial American policy was to make China a great power capable of stabilizing East Asia after Japan's defeat, but also to help the Nationalist Government build up its military. If the allied attack had gone through China, communism would probably have had a lesser chance of developing. This lower priority developed animosities among all players, including between China and the US. The KMT wanted to unify China militarily, while the CCP hoped to seize power for social revolution. America pressed for a unified KMT-CCP effort.
After the Japanese defeat, the Nationalist, who were well-armed, were overconfident in their ability to defeat the Communist. The government was economically in shambles and politically insecure, but with superior firepower. This led to eventual civil war. American aid in wartime, coming late to a hard-pressed regime, served more as a crutch to lean on than a means to cure the problem. The KMT and Nationalist China's deterioration over 8 years of war reflected overwhelming circumstances and inadequate leadership. The Nationalist Government, based on coastal cities, deteriorated as it moved inland. The CCP success were accomplished without the burden of frontal resistance to the Japanese and national responsibilities. Nationalists forces tied down most of the Japanese troops in China and suffered the great part of China's 3 million or more battle casualties. Out of war in China came something new, the greatest of all its revolutions.
The Peoples Republic of China
The CCP had initially ignored the peasants in orthodox Marxist/Leninist fashion, but Mao thought that the revolutionary vanguard was not the proletariat but the peasants. In 1934 the KMT blockaded their positions and invaded Communist area. Over 100,000 CCP members broke out and made the legendary Long March that took them 1 year and 6000 miles on foot. Only in January 1935 did the CCP recognized Mao's leadership. Less than 20,000 made it to northern Shensi and made their headquarters in Yenan. There they stayed for 10 years.
The CCP joined the KMT in united fronts against the Japanese, but essentially these were really uneasy truces. CCP power expanded as the war needed mobilization of the peasants. By 1945 the CCP had 19 bases in the north with a population of 90 million and large armies. They tried to maintain a long-term revolutionary movement during the war and used guerilla and stealth techniques to reach the people. In addition, they built the party to over 1 million by 1945. In 1942 Mao inaugurated an ideological reform movement to correct "unorthodox tendencies" in thought and actions. Prolonged criticism in groups, confessions of guilt and repentance in public became standard. They rid themselves or orthodox Soviet trained communist, and believed the Marxist/Leninist theory had to be applied to rural Chinese reality and take on national form. It was based on the fat that the Communist order was really independent of the proletariat and that ideological tendencies didn't come from class affiliation. A persons class was determined by his ideology.
A new cult of the common people, stressing liberation, aimed at awaking the masses. Modern technology and new social organizations should enrich peasant life. Party workers should live in the village and work with the peasants. Only then could the leaders lead the masses. However absolute power was necessary to accomplish this.
The KMT-CCP Civil War: The war, from 1946-1949 was one of the biggest struggles in modern times. The Nationalists had 3 million troops with modern arms, but with no cause to inspire the soldiers. CCP forces started off with a million but gained steadily in men and American equipment from Nationalists surrenders. They maneuvered in the countryside and mobilized villages, while avoiding large battles. Urban populations in the KMT areas were increasingly demoralized by skyrocketing inflation. Corruption among the KMT military and government leaders was also prevalent. By 1948 both sides had equal forces. Chiang Kai-Shek and part of the KMT leadership fled to Taiwan and in Beijing, in October 1, 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed.
Founding the PRC: With 28 years of experience, the CCP had a vision and ability to create a new China. Through 1957 there was vigorous innovation and great success. They started a "people's democratic dictatorship", gathering great support while eliminating enemies. Chou En Lai became Prime Minister. Liberal intellectuals wee given high positions to use their talents. The CCP set up a three-tier system of power: party, government, and the army, tied together by the Communist leadership. The party eventually grew to 47 million in 1987. The Central Committee grew to 94, but main power was held by Standing Committee of 7. For the government structure, the People's Representative Congress was convened in 1954 and subsequently. It was suppose to give popular participation in government, but it had no power. Government structure was reorganized in 1954 with a new constitution that diminished role of non-communists and strengthened the Prime Minister. New nationwide mass organized were created (Democratic Women, Youth, Cooperative Workers, etc. These helped to bridge the gap between the people and the officials, but also made it possible to indoctrinate, manipulate opinion, and bring overwhelming public pressure. Campaigns or movement could be initiated quickly as the central committee wished to direct blows at institutions or individuals. Finally there were well paid security forces and secret services. Street committees were to promote welfare but also surveillance and denunciation of neighbors and families. People's courts were set up for trials after accused were interrogated without counsel and had confessed. Law expressed the wishes of the Party which could change and were not codifiable.
Economic Changes: To quell inflation after the war, agricultural taxes were collected in the country, and sales and businesses taxes in the cities. Inflation was checked around 1955. By 1952 railroads had been rebuilt and expanded. A centralized banking system and currency covered the country. Enterprise was increasingly under state control, which controlled production. Land reform was initiated. First enemy were eliminated and reform explained to the peasants. Struggle meetings were held in which people vented grievances. Unpopular landlords could be killed or expelled. Peasant associations were then created which could classify, confiscated and redistribute land. A new collective agrarian system was developed.
Social Changes: A new marriage law of 1950 gave women equality with men in rights of marriage, divorce, and property ownership, acknowledging the emancipation of women. As a symbolic blow to the old family system and filial piety, children were commended for denouncing their parents. Extended family ties disparaged as feudal and romantic love as bourgeois. They tried to displace the extended family leaving the nuclear family as the unit. Mobilization of the people was made easier in the late 50's by the Korean war. Reports of China's early victories and later of alleged germ warfare by the US helped destroy the generally favorable image of the US. Two major themes were to "resist America, aid Korea", and to "suppress counterrevolutionaries. They called for patriotic spying on relatives and neighbors, public denunciation of even parents, and sending enemies of the people into labor camps. Executions of enemies condemned by "people's courts" were in the hundred of thousands if not millions. Foreign missionaries were expelled. They kept Christian worship but free of foreigners.
Thought reform was practices. It had common features:
Student "brainwashing" was carried out in big revolutionary colleges. Authorities used old Chinese ideas when useful. Confucian scholars (like Wang Yang-ming) attacked dualism of knowledge and action, holding that sincere men must express moral perceptions in equally moral conduct. Confucian self-cultivation meant that knowledge is realized in action and action contributes to knowledge. The possibility existed of morally improving human nature through proper ethical instruction. These ideas were used by the Communist. Good communists would discipline self through self-cultivation, so as to become flexibly obedient to the party leadership. Maoism diverted loyalty not to family, father, and emperor, but to the people, party and the leader.
Korean War: Mao signed a 30 year Sino-Soviet alliance treaty in 1950. Truman ordered the American 7th fleet to stop an invasion of China into Taiwan. When the US forces crossed the 38th parallel in Korea, their efforts changed from stopping North Korean aggression to unifying the peninsula. China felt like it needed a buffer state so it issued a warning of intervention, and volunteer army personnel crossed into North Korea in October and in late November surprised the Americans, forcing them to retreat to Seoul. But neither could China unify the Korean peninsula either, faced with United Nations resistance. Heavy fight which lead to a stalemate and armistice resulted. China also invaded Tibet in October 1950 to reassert Chinese control. Soviet-styled army of 2.5 million men was formed. The tried to mimic the Soviets in industrialization. Most trade then went to the USSR. However, the Soviet model, which favored heavy industrialization at the expense of the peasants didn't fit China.
The Struggle Toward Socialism: Next to famine and disease, the farmer's old enemy was the ruling class, which usually governed towns and cities. Mao's problem was how to reach the villages and revolutionize them. There was a fusion of morality in politics in the revolution such that a policy mistake was a moral crime. Mao's thought also stressed contradictions the basis of a dialectical process of conflict. (Ex: conflicts of socialism and imperialism; needs of industry and agriculture within China, freedom and discipline, etc.). The ideas is that when contradictions are perceived, they lead to struggle, polarization, and the resolutions in a new unity. One struggle leads to another without an end, in what Mao called "continuing revolution" - the opposite of the old Confucian idea of harmony.
Cooperatives developed after Mao toured the country side and called for 250 million peasants to form 2 million cooperatives of 50 families each. Unlike Lenin, Mao started with villages, not cities, and eliminated all anti-Communist leadership. Next banks, industry and trade was nationalized. This process also required mobilization of the intellectuals and professionals (about 100,000) who were still mainly Western oriented. A campaign for freer criticism by intellectuals was begun in May 1956 under the slogan "Let a hundred flowers bloom together; let the hundred schools of thought contend." Criticism was not to overstep complete devotion to the parties final authority. Then in 57 he announced his doctrine of contradictions. Within this framework he hope that a continuing struggle over policy decisions, using his method of unity-criticism-unit, would be pursued yet contained. In May 1957 a torrent of public criticism with the CCP's totalitarian political system emerged, which startled the party. It was harshly suppressed. Critics were obliged to accuse themselves publicly and condemn one another.
Roused by the danger of being out of touch with the masses, the CCP started in April 57 a campaign for "rectification". These two campaigns merged into a great "anti-rightist" campaign, which stigmatized and put out of action up to 3/4 of a million of China's educated elite - a disaster for the revolution. There was also a campaign for "downward transfer" - when intellectuals and officials, including teachers and students, were moved into the countryside for manual labor and reeducation. From then on Mao's revolution ran into a series of disasters.
The Great Leap Forward of 1958: Red tape had grown faster than production. Collectivization hadn't really increased output as population grew 30%. Tax collection barely grew. To meet this, the Great Leap Forward was adopted to achieve development in the modern industrial sector and rural agricultural sector. In the villages, mass mobilization of men would be used to develop irrigation, flood control, etc. The overambitious goals were formulated by local people, not economists. Some decentralization occurred. Exaggerated claims were made and then later withdrawn. It led to ten's of thousands of reservoirs, thousands of hydroelectric stations, bridges, etc. But great mistakes were made while withdrawing huge manpower from agriculture. The commune became an integral part of the Great Leap.
This revolution collapsed from overwork and exhaustion and incapable management. An egalitarian pay scale lowered productivity. As the agricultural crisis worsened, the commune was decentralized and private garden plots reintroduced. In the early 60's, China suffered from adverse weather, poor harvest, and withdrawal of aid from the USSR, causing great economic hardship. Mortality rose by 25 million over normal. The mounting extremism of the revolution in the 50's, the tendency to accelerate campaigns and revise target upward had been encourage by Mao. By the 60's the peoples lost their initial enthusiasm for the revolution. Worse, however, a rift had widened between the top party organizers and Mao. Members of the Central Committee denounced Mao's extremist policies. He weathered it but his infallibility was removed and he removed himself from day-to-day decisions.
Foreign Policy: The ethnocentric tradition that the Chinese Empire was all under heaven or mankind's central country (Middle Kingdom) had stressed its self-sufficiency and nonexpansiveness except in the frontier of Inner Asia. But in 1950's a new Chinese nation was created that expanded over Inner Asia to include Tibetans, Inner Mongols, Uighur Turks, and many other minorities to encompass a populace of more than 700 million people. The Han majority inherited an ideal of a unified central government as the guarantor of peace and prosperity. One major aim was to reclaim Taiwan. They stressed American Imperialism as the enemy as China's liberation as a model for elsewhere. They aided the Viet Minh in Indo -China. They showed renewed belligerency as evidenced in Tibet, whose people were pressed toward a socialist revolution. In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India, after which China harshly repressed Tibet.
The Cultural Revolution: Popular dissatisfaction mounted as economic fortunes fell. Although the CCP had established control of China, disunity in the party increase especially when Soviet-style industrialization was abandoned. Every revolution must eventually ask the question: When should changed give way to stability? Alternatively, How can the revolutionary spirit be maintained. Soon a Sino-Soviet split emerged, which shouldn't have been surprising, given their different histories, needs, goals, etc. Khrushchev denounced the Great Leap Forward and communes, which Mao claimed to be using to surpassing Moscow. A fear of Chinese fanaticism and expansion grew in the USSR, and by 1969 armed border clashed arose. China tried to capture the leadership of the Communist world by supporting national liberation movements in Asia and Africa. Later it turned inward after promise of no invasion of North Vietnam by the US left the China in an apparent powerless position to help a neighbor and abortive coups in Indonesia followed by the slaughter of pro-Beijing Indonesian Communist Party. Internally, within the party there were also deep strains. The CCP had built great structures of administration, but opportunists and strong families reemerged interested in special privileges, better education, etc. The upper levels became less revolutionary while the lower levels felt frustrated. Individuals in the party also experience morale problems. A personal dossier was kept on everyone, which could easily be used against them. Selection of specific human targets for denunciation, public humiliation suggested that each person must toe the line. As a result, campaigns lost their efficiency. Members would do the right thing without the necessary commitment. They avoided close friendships. They would feign enthusiasm in the mobilization phase of a campaign but be prudently self-critical in the consolidation phase - i.e. they learned how to protect themselves. Too many people lost faith in Mao's approach to solving China's problems. In 1962 Mao called for "socialist education" but an inadequate response led Mao to turn to the army. A new campaign was launched in 1964, to "learn from the People's Liberation Army". By the fall of 1965 started the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution - (to create a propertyless class culture)
This ran in actually from May 1966 to Mao's death in 1976. It was actually a second revolution more than a controlled campaign. As he moved against his opposition, he found they had more support than he thought and from within the Party. He moved to develop great support from outside the Party. Hysteria among millions of youth led to exhaustion, apathy, and further surges of effort. It resulted in a purge of the Party by Mao, not from within, like Stalin had done, but from without using mass organizations like the Red Guard youth and the People's Liberation Army, using public humiliation, beatings, and arrest. He set up a nationwide Cultural Revolution organization headed by a committee with included his wife, Chiang Ching. In the fall of 1966, 11 million Red Guard came to Beijing for mass rallies and then dispersed in Long Marches. They violently attacked people and things the representing the four olds: ideology, thought, habit, and customs. In January 1967 Mao escalated the revolution to further attach the Party structure itself, inciting the masses to seize power from below. All carried the little red booklet, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Party establishment was shattered. Party members fought back, fielding their own Red Guards, Local factions began to use firearms. Civil warfare reached a point that the army had to be called in frequently to quell the disturbances. More civil power went to the military. Schools and Universities remained closed for years while intellectuals were attacked and students fought. In the fall of 1968 Mao disbanded the Red Guard, and the millions of students went to farms. School reopened in 1970 but acquisition of learning couldn't came by a quick fix. In September, 1971, Lin Piao, Mao's appointed successor , died in apparent plane crash. He was later made out to be a traitor to the Revolution. Then followed a succession struggle. Premier Chou En-lai effected the rehabilitation of Teng Hsiao-ping. After Chous death, he was removed by Mao's Cultural Revolution group, called the Gang of Four, head by his wife.
The Cultural Revolution was an enormous cultural and human disaster for China. It lost 10 years of development. There was a reign of terror against intellectual and official people, destructiveness waged by ignorant teenagers, and killings and tortures of victims number approximately 1 million.
Sino-Soviet Normalization: Americas defeat in Vietnam coincided with other factors which made it possible for Nixon to renew ties with China. The US withdrew from Indochina followed the policy of detente or negotiation with Moscow. Mao came to view Americas capitalist imperialism as a minor contradiction in comparison to the Soviets social imperialism. Henry Kissenger made a secret visit to Beijing to plan a trip by Nixon. In October 71, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was expelled from the UN and the PRC admitted. Nixon visited in February 1972 and in 1973 the two governments opened embassies.
Mao died in 1976 and Teng Hsio-Ping rose to power. He died in 1997? and instituted great economic reform in China, leading to the system of today which espouses market-based economy with a still dying state run industries but with strong social controls which give little freedom to people.