China’s Hegemonic Ambition and Expansionism

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Beijing’s Coastal Real Estate


    On September 7, Japanese coast guard officials detained the crew of a Chinese fishing trawler after it rammed into two Japanese coast guard ships. The captain of the trawler was detained and faced charges that could have sent him to prison for up to three years. The incident set off a high-profile showdown between Beijing and Tokyo: the Chinese government threatened to withdraw from discussions over the East China Sea gas field and suspend ministerial-level contacts, organized demonstrations outside Japanese diplomatic missions in China, imposed an embargo on the shipment of rare earth metals to Japan, and detained four Japanese citizens for allegedly videotaping military targets in Hebei Province. Japan finally succumbed to the pressure and released the captain in late September.

    Many analysts have pointed to the incident as proof that Beijing has adopted a more aggressive stance toward its regional rivals. But Chinese behavior in the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas over the past several decades reveals a longstanding pattern of bullying and outright threats. As China has struggled to expand its maritime boundaries, assert sovereignty over disputed islands and vast maritime resources, and enhance its naval capabilities [/to counter U.S. Navy dominance in the Pacific, it has never been reluctant to use force or coercion. This long history of aggression suggests that the United States will have to be firm and proactive in countering China's expanding self-proclaimed zone of influence if it hopes to keep Beijing from dominating the coastal seas of the western Pacific.

    China has been most aggressive in the South China Sea, where it claims a number of disputed territories. In 1974, taking advantage of Washington's preoccupation with leaving Vietnam, China invaded the Paracel Islands -- which were then under South Vietnamese control -- beginning an illegal occupation that continues today. Over the years, China has increased its military presence on the islands, building a military airfield and an intelligence monitoring facility that can be used for operations in the South China Sea.

    Chinese aggression against Vietnam has continued in recent years, much of it meant to dominate the regional fishing trade. For example, in January 2005, Chinese naval vessels shot and killed nine Vietnamese fishermen inside Vietnamese waters. In 2009, Chinese military forces seized a total of 17 Vietnamese fishing boats and their 210 crew members. Then, in April 2010, China issued a unilateral fishing ban for the South China Sea in an effort to gain control over the sea's dwindling fish stocks. Vietnamese fishermen have made their living in these waters for centuries, and Hanoi views Beijing's heavy-handed policies as a serious violation of Vietnamese sovereignty. China has also resorted to economic coercion -- it has threatened both British Petroleum, in 2007, and Exxon Mobil, in 2008, with the loss of business opportunities in mainland China if the companies did not end their joint ventures with Vietnam in the South China Sea.

    Chinese aggression has not been limited to Vietnam. In 1995, China occupied Mischief Reef, an islet located only 130 miles from the Philippines' Palawan Island and strategically situated astride the Palawan Strait, one of Asia's most important sea-lanes. Despite repeated Filipino requests to withdraw, China has continued its illegal military buildup in the reef; Chinese naval forces there could be used to disrupt maritime traffic passing through the Malacca and Singapore Straits to the Philippines and northern Asia.


    Chinese ships and aircraft have also interfered with U.S. ships and aircraft in and over the South China Sea many times. One of the most noteworthy incidents came in April 2001, when a Chinese F-8 fighter collided with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane, forcing the U.S. aircraft to make an emergency landing at the Lingshui airfield. The crew was detained for more than two weeks before being released. More recently, in March 2009, five Chinese vessels -- three government ships and two small merchant ships -- harassed the U.S.S. Impeccable in the South China Sea, approximately 75 nautical miles from Hainan Island. The merchant ships intentionally stopped in front of the Impeccable, forcing it to make an emergency "all stop" to avoid a collision. Just a few months later, two Chinese fishing trawlers harassed the U.S.S. Victorious in a similar incident. It appears that Beijing is now using civilian vessels as proxies to advance its strategy of denying access to its coastal seas.

    Beijing is sensitive to any rhetoric from Washington about Chinese maritime policies. In July 2010, China conducted an unprecedented military exercise in the South China Sea, involving ships and aircraft from all three of its fleets. This came after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated earlier that month at the ASEAN Regional Forum that "the United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea." Clearly, Beijing considers the South China Sea a vital square in its geopolitical chessboard. In fact, last March, Beijing announced that the sea was now a "core interest" for China -- a position previously reserved only for Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan.

    Beijing's claims over Taiwan are the underlying factor in Chinese policy toward the East China Sea. Not only does China consider Taiwan to be its sovereign territory but it has also passed legislation that asserts its authority to "enact laws and regulations relating to transit passage of foreign vessels and aircraft" through the Taiwan Strait. This law violates the international law of the sea, which allows for the freedom of navigation and overflight through the strait. In the mid-1990s, China conducted a series of military exercises off the Taiwanese coast in an effort to dissuade the independence movement and to intimidate the electorate from voting for Kuomintang party candidates in the March 1996 Taiwanese election.

    China has also reacted aggressively to the U.S. presence in the Yellow Sea over the past decade. In 2001, a Chinese Jianheu III-class frigate confronted the U.S.N.S. Bowditch, which was legally conducting a routine military survey in the Yellow Sea, and ordered the unarmed ship to leave the Chinese exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an area of sea over which a state claims rights of exploration and exploitation of resources. In 2009, Chinese vessels once again harassed a U.S. surveillance ship in the Yellow Sea.

    In July 2010, China objected to a planned U.S.-South Korean military exercise in the Yellow Sea, which was organized as a response to North Korea's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010. Beijing criticized the participation of the U.S.S. George Washington, arguing that deploying an aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea would be provocative and a threat to Chinese national security -- even though the U.S. carrier had conducted operations in the Yellow Sea earlier in the year without incident. Ultimately, the U.S. Navy went through with the exercise but without deploying the George Washington to the Yellow Sea. The decision turned out to be a major political victory for China's strategy of denying outside powers access to its surrounding waters. Moreover, rather than acknowledge the United States' gesture, Beijing conducted a live-fire naval exercise of its own in the Yellow Sea. To date, the George Washington has not returned to the Yellow Sea.

    This type of appeasement is not only unproductive; it unnecessarily short sells the capabilities and reach of U.S. naval forces. As Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) has observed, only the United States has "both the stature and the national power" to confront China's "obvious imbalance of power" in the South China Sea. Yet to date, U.S. efforts have been feeble at best -- Washington has made a number of statements emphasizing the importance of freedom of navigation but done little to demonstrate U.S. resolve. If the United States is to reassert its role in the Pacific and counter China's growing dominance, it must increase its naval presence in the region and be prepared to demonstrate U.S. support for its regional partners with action, not words. To quote a Chinese proverb: talk does not make rice.

    In practice, this means that Washington must not give in to Chinese demands to halt or reduce surveillance operations in and over the EEZ. The U.S. Navy should also send an aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea at the earliest opportunity; not doing so will embolden China to protest even louder the next time the United States proposes naval exercises off the Korean peninsula. The U.S. navy must also not enter into a so-called Incidents at Sea agreement with its Chinese counterpart. Such a document, which would govern the movement of the two countries' naval forces, would significantly enhance the prestige of the Chinese navy and make it appear an equal to U.S. naval forces -- something it is not.

    The United States should also join Indonesia and Vietnam in protesting China's expansive U-shaped claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea. It should follow this protest by deploying an increased naval presence in the South China Sea, particularly in the vicinity of the islets occupied by China (for example, the Paracels and Mischief Reef). Washington should also recognize Japanese sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands and state publicly that U.S. obligations under the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty apply to the Senkakus. It should take similar steps with regard to the Philippine claims to Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group. Finally, the United States must continue a robust and visible reconnaissance and surveillance program off the coast of China, as well as routine carrier operations in the Yellow Sea.


    Of course, Beijing may react harshly to some of these measures and threaten a renewed embargo on the export of rare earth metals. Yet continued appeasement is likely to be even worse -- it would only embolden Beijing to solidify further its economic and military dominance in the Pacific.

    Expansionism

    This is a fair summary of China's attempt to intimidate its neighbours and flout all international laws.

    Indeed, it is time that the US exerts itself as also the peripheral nations to take note of China's expansionist hunger and take necessary action.

    It is also time for India, which can counter the Chinese influence, to pursue vigorously its 'Look East' policy and cement traditional and historical ties.

    China is a runaway menace as some might say!
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    CHINA: Putting Out A Fire In Its Neighborhood


    That was the question posed by Li Hongmei, the columnist of the Chinese Communist Party controlled “People’s Daily Online”, in an article carried by it on November 12, 2010. The theme of the article was that while China’s relations with distant countries such as those in the European Union have been steadily improving, its relations with its Asian neighbours are not cordial.

    The article quoted a Chinese saying that “a distant water supply is no good in putting out a nearby fire” and added: “To wit, China will never bend its consistent determination to seek after the good-neighborly mood in its vicinity.”

    Concern over the “nearby fire” in China’s relations with Japan and with some ASEAN countries, particularly Vietnam, due to lingering disputes over the question of sovereignty over some islands in the East and South China Sea has been increasingly reflected in some articles carried by the Party and Government-controlled media in recent weeks following the exacerbation of tensions with Japan in the wake of the incident of September involving the Japanese Coast Guard and a Chinese fishing trawler near the Senkaku group of islands under the control of Japan, but claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory. This concern has been aggravated by the open interest evinced by the US since a meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi in July last in the territorial disputes on the ground that these could affect the freedom of navigation in the area. Chinese perceptions that the US is seeking to exploit the disputes over the islands for driving a wedge between China and these countries and for re-asserting its role in South-East and East Asia led to the publication of introspective articles and comments calling for corrective action by Beijing without giving up its territorial claims.

    The “People’s Daily Online” article cited above was preceded by an editorial in the “Global Times” the previous day titled: “China needs to mitigate external friction.” It said inter alia: “Before China reaches a certain level of industrialization, it has to spare some efforts to deal with various disputes and conspiracies. In its neighborhood, China needs to make sure regional disputes over material benefits do not escalate into ideological confrontations.”

    In an interview with the Government-controlled “China Daily” on November 12, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said that Beijing was dedicated to a peaceful resolution of all maritime disputes -- so long as outside parties were not involved in the talks. "The security environment around China is very complicated, with traditional and non-traditional security challenges intertwined. A new security concept should be established with mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination at its core." After rejecting any US role in the matter, he said: “It is important to refrain from expanding, complicating or internationalising the disputes. We believe that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully through bilateral negotiations between the parties directly involved."

    On November 11, the “China Daily” published a written interview given by President Hu Jintao to the South Korean media on the eve of his departure to Seoul to attend the G-20 summit. He said in the interview: “China cherishes its relationships with neighbors and will adhere to its traditional Asia policies. China values its traditional friendship with its neighboring countries and adheres to implementing the policy of building good neighborly relationships and partnerships. Beijing insists on properly handling problems through consultation. Despite the difficulties, China's relations with its neighbors still show a promising trend. “

    The “China Daily” quoted Pang Zhongying, of the Beijing-based Renmin University, as saying that Hu's comments are a timely response to reports that China's relations with Southeast Asian nations are deteriorating over territorial issues and that US involvement is needed and that "the President is assuring the nations, on the eve of two key international summits, that China's attitude of peacefully handling the problem will never change." It also quoted Shi Yinhong, Pang's colleague at the Renmin University, as saying that “there are diplomatic difficulties in Asia confronting China and that the problems concern different situations. You cannot blame all of them on a certain country. There are also plenty of chances to improve relations given the mutual interests.”

    After having spurned the Japanese initiative for a bilateral summit between Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in the margins of the recent East Asia summit at Hanoi, China, worried over its negative image, agreed to a summit between Prime Minister Kan and President Hu in the margins of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum) summit at Yokohama in Japan on November 13.

    The Xinhua news agency quoted Hu as having told the Japanese Prime Minister during the meeting that China and Japan should proceed with determination in the right direction for stronger bilateral ties, pushing for strategic and mutually beneficial relations along a healthy and stable track. A press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the meeting made the following points:




    The 22-minute meeting took place at the invitation of Kan.
    Hu said it serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples for the two countries to get along in peace, friendship and cooperation. He urged the two countries to take a strategic and long-term perspective and to observe the principles of the four important political documents: the joint statement in 1972, the Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1978, the joint declaration in 1998 and the joint statement this May.
    Hu said both sides should work together to conduct human and cultural exchanges and to deepen mutual understanding and friendship.
    China and Japan, as two important trade partners, should also increase dialogue and coordination in global affairs, get committed to the rejuvenation of Asia, and join hands to tackle global challenges, he said. Kan said he completely agreed with the Chinese leader's views on bilateral ties. Kan pledged to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in every sector and to push for stronger bilateral ties.

    In a media briefing, Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama, who was present at the Hu-Kan meeting, gave the following Japanese version of the meeting:


    He believed the talks marked a "big step forward’’ in improving the two nations’ ties.
    Kan and Hu shared the view that ‘‘development of long-term, stable strategic, mutually beneficial ties is of benefit to both countries’ people and is also extremely important to peace and development in the region and the world.’‘
    The two leaders also agreed to further expand public and private sector exchanges and strengthen cooperation in economic and other global issues in the light of the discussions at the APEC and G-20 talks. On the Senkakus, Kan was the first to touch on the matter, ‘‘clearly’’ conveying to Hu Japan’s ‘‘firm position’’ on the islands. Hu also conveyed China’s position on the islands. Fukuyama refused to elaborate the position taken by the two leaders.
    Kan again mentioned about restoring Japan-China ties to where they were in June. Kan’s previous face-to-face meeting with Hu took place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Toronto in June, during which they agreed to enhance strategic, mutually beneficial relations.

    The meeting between Hu and Kan was followed the next day by a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Japanese counterpart Seiji Maehara. According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Yang and Maehara agreed to implement the agreements reached between Hu and Kan by firmly sticking to the direction of developing China-Japan relations and safeguarding the overall interests of bilateral ties. The spokesperson said that the two Foreign Ministers agreed that China and Japan should adopt positive measures to enhance friendly feelings between the two peoples, boost practical cooperation, and improve bilateral relations.

    Japan's Kyodo News Agency said Maehara, in his talks with Yang, urged China to reopen talks on developing the natural gas field in the East China Sea, while Yang took a cautious stance and said a proper atmosphere should be created first. The news agency added that the two Foreign Ministers also agreed to cooperate on the goal of nuclear non-proliferation on the Korean Peninsula and on tackling global warming and striving to further develop their strategic and mutually beneficial partnership.

    It has been reported that following the talks the Chinese authorities have promised to expedite customs clearance of pending shipments to Japan of rare earths, but have not given any assurance of removing the quantitative cuts in their exports in future. The Japanese electronic industries are almost totally dependent on imports of rare earths from China. The quantitative restrictions and the slowing down of the customs clearance of pending consignments were resorted to by Beijing as an act of reprisal for the Japanese action in detaining the Captain and other crew members of the Chinese fishing trawler. Even after the Japanese Coast Guard released them, China did not withdraw these measures. While it is now apparently willing to expedite the customs clearance it has stuck to its quantitative restrictions. Japan has reportedly sought the supply of rare earths from India and Vietnam. While they have reportedly agreed to consider the Japanese request, this is not for tomorrow. Their production is miniscule compared to China’s production, which meets 97 per cent of the global requirements.

    Concern over the possibility of the US exploiting the differences of China with its neighbours has definitely introduced a re-thinking in the Chinese policy towards its neighbours. This does not mean any Chinese concessions on the question of territorial sovereignty. The Chinese give indications of toning down their rhetoric and restoring harmony in their relations with their neighbours. It is interesting to note that the recent writings in China on the need for a more accommodating policy towards its neighbours in order to pre-empt the perceived US designs to drive a wedge between China and its neighbours does not make any reference to China’s pending border dispute with India. India’s policy of bilaterally settling its disputes with China and Pakistan without allowing any third party role has given confidence to the Chinese that despite the closer strategic relations between the US and India, Beijing does not have to fear any US meddling in the border dispute.

    B. Raman
    B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: [email protected]
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is natural that problems rise with neighbours and not with distant enemies!

    This from a Chinese “a distant water supply is no good in putting out a nearby fire” and added: “To wit, China will never bend its consistent determination to seek after the good-neighborly mood in its vicinity.” does not mean anything. They always use these type of pious homilies to justify or obfuscate and so it does not excite. In fact, such homilies have been reduced to being banal and bilgewater.

    If indeed the US is trying to drive a wedge between China and other Asian countries, so be it. However, it must be noted that to use the Chinese manner of justification with metaphors and homilies - there is no smoke without a fire!

    It is ludicrous to use these homilies by the Chinese to calm troubled waters (pun intended!). Chinese aggressive expansionism and territorial grab has reached its zenith and the neighbours are no longer amused and are not in a mood to extend an avuncular licence. Therefore, the fault is China's and the US is merely cashing in. China does it too in areas of international conflict of interests, albeit mostly covertly while professing a Confucius calm to state that their policy is not to interfere in the internal matters of a country. That is a neat way to support and wean advantages even from dictatorial and oppressive regimes.

    The Sino Japanese discussions have been such a success (sic!) that Japan has promptly send troops to occupy the otherwise uninhabited islands!

    Beware of the Greek who bear gifts - an old saying!
     
  5. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    China LOVES to throw around its weight and this propensity to show off its new found status and power will only get bigger in coming years.

    China's biggest problem is that US is firmly entrenched in Asia and the more the Chinese trouble their neighbours ,the American influence and footprint gets bigger.

    India will not get the thick end of the Chinese stick maybe because we too have a thick stick. China will reserve its worst behaviour for Japan and ASEAN nations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2010
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The days of 1962 is over.

    China has a long memory and so it still can recall the answer India gave China in 1969.

    China has messed up all the goodwill, if one can call it so, in Asia because of her double standards, which are now clearly discernible and her aggressive empire building is no longer tolerated with a benign eye on a 'peace at all costs' attitude.

    The Rubicon has been crossed.

    China has to take stock!
     
  7. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    The guy who wrote this piece of garbbage is clueless. China and Indonesia have no territorial disputes, Indonesia on the other hand has an uneasy relationship with Malaysia. If he wants to talk about so-called imbalance of power in South China Sea, then maybe he should first talk about imbalance of power in the florida straits, what about imbalance of power along the border between India and Pakistan? And if he had watched TV-series Whale Wars, he would know better that japanese seamen are not exactly angels.
     
  8. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Looks like same guy wrote this article as well.


    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa rejected China’s stance that the U.S. stay out of territorial disputes in the South China Sea ahead of a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders with President Barack Obama.

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is aware of China’s position “but at the same time the issues on the South China Sea need resolution,” Natalegawa said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television. “Indonesia, through Asean, is keen to ensure we have conditions conducive for negotiations to take place” so disagreements “can be resolved through peaceful means.”

    China yesterday signaled for the U.S. to stay out of the spat over territorial waters, portions of which are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

    The U.S. has asserted a role in the sea vital to world trade to push back against Chinese assertiveness in the region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the matter “a leading diplomatic priority” at an Asean meeting in Hanoi two months ago. That drew a reaction from China, which prefers to negotiate with claimants on a one-to-one basis.

    The dispute comes as China and Japan are locked in a diplomatic row centering on conflicting territorial claims in the same waters. That conflict “reminds all of us that we cannot take for granted the relatively benign atmosphere we’ve had for many decades now in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Natalegawa, who is in New York to attend United Nations meetings.

    Talks Stalled

    Talks between Asean and China on a code of conduct in the sea have stalled since they agreed in 2002 to resolve disagreements peacefully. In a July filing to the UN, Indonesia said China’s claim to the entire sea “clearly lacks international legal basis.”

    Obama has sought to boost security and trade ties with Asean, the fourth-biggest export market for the U.S. His meeting with Asean leaders in Singapore last year was the first- ever a U.S. president has held with the bloc.

    This week’s meeting “is a good symbol that the group is a priority for the Obama administration,” said Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “There are, however, questions about the substance of the summit, especially given the domestic priorities for the U.S. President.”

    Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will not attend Asean’s meeting with Obama. The U.S. president has postponed a planned trip to his childhood home three times this year, most recently in June because of the Gulf oil spill.

    Vision, Partnership

    “The fact that certain visits have yet to take place I don’t think is impairing our vision of partnership in the future,” Natalegawa said. “I’m very optimistic that we’re heading into even deeper and wider relations.”

    Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, and its 231 million people make up about 40 percent of Asean’s population. In July, the U.S. resumed ties with Indonesia’s special forces that were cut 12 years ago because of human rights concerns.
     
  9. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa talks about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

    China signaled for the U.S. to stay out of disputes over the sea, three days before President Barack Obama is due to meet with regional leaders concerned over China’s territorial claims in the oil-and gas-rich waters. Portions of the South China Sea are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. China claims almost the entire sea. Separately, China and Japan are locked in a diplomatic dispute centering on conflicting territorial claims in the East China Sea.


    [video]http://www.bloomberg.com/video/63081396/[/video]
     
  10. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    You better worry about the inevitable new Islamic invasion rather than anything else. Bush and Co have managed the masterpiece of releasing the monster from the pandora box that is the worldwide islamic awakening. India will bear the brunt of this force. This time the islam invaders are coming back with an vengence, their aim is to finish the job their ancestors started several centuries ago, namely complete islamization of India. It will be fun to watch.
     
  11. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Real fun to watch will be Uighars Rioting and killing Hans in Xinxiang . You stop worrying about us and save your own ass which is about to be on fire.
     
  12. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Uigurs tried that and failed badly. You need to realize that unlike India where hindu and muslims look alike and live side-by-side, Uigurs and Han look very different and live in areas which don't overlap, so it's very difficult for them to sneak upon us. Then muslims make up a tiny percentage of the population in China whereas they represent like one fifthh or sixth of India's total.
     
  13. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Understanding Chinese hegemonic aspirations

    Starting this thread to discuss the Chinese mindset in its present day aggressive behavior towards its neighbors and its wish to dominate the world in years to come.
    Discuss the history of Chinese military expansion and their rationale (over the millenia). There was a time when they were the ones being invaded and therefore they built the Great Wall to protect it.

    Discuss all relevant historical aspects along with modern day realities. I am sure the present day context of Tibet will come up, but dont convert it into a tibet thread and the usual things that have been flogged over and over again.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Chinese or to be precise the Han mindset has been shaped by the Concept of Legalism.

    In Chinese history, Legalism (Chinese: 法 家; pinyin: Fǎjiā; Wade–Giles: Fa-chia; literally "School of law") was one of the main philosophic currents during the Warring States Period (and before), although the term itself was invented in the Han dynasty and thus does not refer to an organized 'school' of thought. It basically postulates that the inherent strengths of the people are not sufficient to prevent chaos and political corruption, and recommends laws as the primary tool to amend this. The trends that were later called Legalism have a common focus on strengthening the political power of the ruler, of which law is only one part. The most important surviving texts from this tradition are the Han Fei Zi and the Book of Lord Shang. In Qin the ideas of Shang Yang and Li Si were essential in building the strong government that eventually defeated its rivals. Legalism was a utilitarian political philosophy that did not address higher questions like the nature and purpose of life.[1] The school's most famous proponent and contributor Han Fei Zi (韓非子) believed that a ruler should use the following three tools to govern his subjects:

    1. Fa (Chinese: 法; pinyin: fǎ; literally "law or principle"): The law code must be clearly written and made public. All people under the ruler were equal before the law. Laws should reward those who obey them and punish accordingly those who dare to break them. Thus it is guaranteed that actions taken are systematically predictable. In addition, the system of law ran the state, not the ruler, a statement of rule of law. If the law is successfully enforced, even a weak ruler will be strong.

    2. Shu (Chinese: 術; pinyin: shù; literally "method, tactic or art"): Special tactics and "secrets" are to be employed by the ruler to make sure others don't take over control of the state. Especially important is that no one can fathom the ruler's motivations, and thus no one can know which behaviour might help them getting ahead; except for following the 法 or laws.

    3. Shi (Chinese: 勢; pinyin: shì; literally "legitimacy, power or charisma"): It is the position of the ruler, not the ruler himself or herself, that holds the power. Therefore, analysis of the trends, the context, and the facts are essential for a real ruler.

    Origin

    The early thought behind Legalism was first formed by Shang Yang and was further developed by Hanfeizi and Li Si as a realist reform oriented philosophy meant to strengthen government and reinforce adherence to the law. Legalism fully emerged during the Warring States Period, a critical point in ancient Chinese history. The Warring States Period and the preceding were marked by frequent violence and war, and many new philosophies were founded to cope with the environment of the time including, Daoism, Confucianism, and Mohism.

    Some of the first adopters of Legalism were the statesman Shang Yang of the State of Qin. The legal elements of Shang Yang's theories were based on the Book of Law written by Li Kui of the State of Wei. Overall, these theories advocated the belief that all people are fundamentally flawed and that stringent laws and harsh punishments are required to keep them in order. In addition, his theories thought all humanity was selfish and evil, which added towards the cause for Shang Yang becoming prime minister of the Qin under the rule of Duke Xiao of Qin and gradually transforming the state into a vigorously regulated machine, the sole purpose of which was the elimination of all rivals. The Qin Dynasty would eventually conquer six other feudal states and create what is regarded as the first true Chinese Empire. Shang Yang swept away the aristocracy and implemented a meritocracy – those who achieved could reach high places and birth privilege was reserved exclusively for the ruler of the state. Previously the army had been controlled by nobles and constituted of feudal levies. Now generals could come from any part of society, provided they had sufficient skill. In addition, troops were highly trained and disciplined. From then on, Qin was taking its shape to become the most powerful state in China before it eventually brought all of the six other states together (Qi, Chu, Han, Yan, Zhao, and Wei) under Qin Shi Huang.

    Role of the ruler

    Primarily members of the ruling class, the Legalists emphasized that the head of state was endowed with the "mystery of authority” (Chinese: 勢; pinyin: shì), and as such his decisions must always command the respect and obedience of the people. The state (country) comes first, not the individual. The emperor’s very figure brought legitimacy. In emphasizing the power of rulership, Legalists such as Shen Dao (ca. 350 - 275 BCE) and Shen Buhai sought to devalue the importance of the charismatic ruler. Skillful rulers hid their true intentions and feigned nonchalance. To ensure that all of his words were revered, the wise ruler kept a low profile. Thus, theoretically, by cloaking both his desires and his will, the Emperors checked sycophancy and forced his subject to heed his dictates. While Shang Yang (the Prime Minister of Duke Xiao of Qin) would allow rulers to listen to musical instruments rather than focus on foreign policy, Han Fei (the Legalist scholar most admired by the First Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi) demanded more of the wise ruler. A good leader, by Han Fei's standards, must not only accept the advice of loyal ministers when shown to be in error, but must also extend courtesy to those beneath him or her and not be too avaricious. The adept ruler also understood the importance of strictness over benevolence. Although the ruler was expected to be paternalistic, the Legalists emphasized that being too kind would spoil the populace and threaten the state's internal order. Interestingly, according to Han's Grand Historian Sima Qian (ca. 145-86 BCE), while the First Qin Emperor hid himself from the rest of the world (perhaps due to a desire to attain immortality) and thus maintained a low profile, he did not necessarily follow all of the Legalists’ advice on the role of the ruler.
    Role of ministers in Legalist thought

    To aid the ruler and help prevent misgovernance, for fifteen years – formalized the concept of shu , or the bureaucratic model of administration that served to advance the ideal Legalist ruler’s program. To the Legalists, the intelligent minister was the ruler's most important aide. Where as the minister’s duty was to understand specific affairs, the ruler was responsible for correctly judging ministers’ performances. Stressing that ministers and other officials too often sought favours from foreign powers by abusing their positions, Han Fei urged rulers to control these individuals by the two handles of punishment and favour. Officials were required, through fear, to ensure that ministers' accomplishments were neither greater than nor inferior to the assigned undertaking. According to the eminent sinologist Robin Yates, newly discovered Qin Dynasty legal codes show that officials were required to correctly calculate the exact amount of labor expected of all artisans; if the artisan was ordered to perform either too much work or too little work, the official would be held accountable. Thus, in Legalist theory, ministers and other officials were prevented from performing some other official's duties and were punished if they attempted to blind the ruler with words or failed to warn the ruler of danger. One consequence of this situation was that the ministers could always be held accountable for royal misadventures while the ruler’s name was never to be tarnished. By emphasizing performance, however, over sophistry, the Legalists hoped to eliminate bureaucratic corruption and intrigues amongst the officialdom through fear of being severely punished, exiled or executed.

    Purpose of law

    The entire system was set up to make model citizens behave and act how the dynasty wanted them to act against their will. The laws supported by the Legalists were meant to support the state, the emperor, and his military. They were also reform-oriented and innovative. In theory, the Legalists believed that if the punishments were heavy and the law equally applied, neither the powerful nor the weak would be able to escape state control. The Legalists especially emphasized pragmatism over precedence and custom as the basis of law. Guided by Legalist thought, the First Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, would weaken the power of the feudal lords, divide the unified empire into thirty-six administrative provinces, and standardize the writing system. Reflecting Legalist passion for order and structure, Qin soldiers were only mobilized when both halves of tiger-shaped tallies (one held by the ruler and the other by the commanding general) were brought together. Likewise, all documents in the empire had to have recorded the year they were written, the scribe who copied them, and up to the exact hour of delivery. Accepting Shang Yang’s earlier emphasis on the standardization of weights and measures, the Qin Shi Huang would also accept Shang Yang’s philosophy that no individual in the state should be above the law (by ensuring harsh punishments for all cases of dissent) and that families should be divided into smaller households. While there is reason to doubt Sima Qian’s claim that Qin Shi Huang did in fact divide households into groups of ten, certainly the other examples of standardization and administrative organization undertaken by the First Emperor reflect the importance of Legalist thought in Qin law. Based on promoting the interests of the state Qin, the law (Chinese: 法; pinyin: fǎ; literally "law, method, way") served as a vehicle to both control the populace and eliminate dissent.

    Legalism and individual autonomy

    The Legalist philosophers emphasized the primacy of the state over individual autonomy. The lone individual had no legitimate civil rights and any personal freedom had to strengthen the ruler. Han Fei, in particular, would be very caustic towards the concept of individual rights. Fundamentally, the Legalists viewed the plebeian (common people of lower class) and their actions as evil and foolish.

    However, Legalism allowed the common people to gain in rank if they performed well. For example, soldiers would gain in rank according to the number of heads the soldiers collected. A soldier may even gain noble rank. In contrast, some other states allowed only the well-connected to gain higher ranks. An example of this would be Lü Buwei, who originally a merchant, was able to become Chancellor of China, an occurrence that would never happen in the other six states. He played a major role in King Zhuangxiang of Qin's rise to power.

    According to Shang Yang's The Book of Lord Shang, the people themselves wanted a ruler to generate order. Social cohesion in the Legalist state mandated that the populace never escape punishment. The Qin dynasty used the people, for example, to maintain vigilant mutual surveillance over one another under threat of death.

    This intrastate realpolitik would end up devouring the Legalist philosophers themselves. Shang Yang, in advocating the state’s right to punish even the heir-apparent’s tutor, would run afoul of the future King Huiwen of Qin (circa. 338 -311 B.C.). Whereas at one point, he had the power to exile his opponents (and, thus, eviscerate individual criticism) to border regions of the state, he died when torn into pieces by chariots. Similarly, Han Fei would end up being poisoned by his envious former classmate Li Si, who in turn would be killed (under the law he had introduced) by the aggressive and violent Second Qin Emperor that he had helped to take the thrones.

    Decline

    In later dynasties, Legalism was discredited and ceased to be an independent school of thought. However, both ancient and modern Confucian observers of Chinese politics have argued that some Legalist ideas have merged with mainstream Confucianism and still play a major role in government. The philosophy of imperial China has been described as a Confucian exterior covering a core of Legalism (Chinese: 儒表法裡; pinyin: rú biăo fă lǐ; literally "Confucian, the external surface; Legalism, the interior"). In other words, Confucian values are used to sugarcoat the harsh Legalist ideas that underlie the Imperial system. During the Sui and Tang dynasty, Buddhist ideas were also part of the external face of the imperial system.

    There was a brief revival of Legalism during the Sui dynasty's efforts to reunify China. After the Sui dynasty was replaced by the Tang dynasty, the Tang government still used the government structure left behind by the Sui dynasty, albeit with much reduced punishments.

    More recently, Mao Zedong, who had some knowledge of ancient Chinese philosophy, compared himself with Qin Shi Huang[citation needed] and publicly approved of some Legalist methods. One such method approved in the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping administration is the reward and punishment, which has increased the size of the Beijing government in the process. However, since the 1990s the related concept of the rule of law has gained currency.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    History of China

    Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1700 BC – ca. 1046 BC). Oracle bones with ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty have been radiocarbon dated to as early as 1500 BC. The origins of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC-256 BC).

    The Zhou Dynasty began to bow to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC. The ability of the Zhou to control its regional lords lessened, and the kingdom eventually broke apart into smaller states, beginning in the Spring and Autumn Period and reaching full expression in the Warring States period. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang united the various warring kingdoms and created the first Chinese empire. Successive dynasties in Chinese history developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the Emperor of China to directly control vast territories.

    The conventional view of Chinese history is that of alternating periods of political unity and disunity, with China occasionally being dominated by Inner Asian peoples, most of whom were in turn assimilated into the Han Chinese population. Cultural and political influences from many parts of Asia, carried by successive waves of immigration, expansion, and cultural assimilation, are part of the modern culture of China.

    Prehistory
    Paleolithic


    What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated to 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu in Shanxi Province is the earliest recorded use of fire by Homo erectus, which is dated 1.27 million years ago. The excavations at Yuanmou and later Lantian show early habitation. Perhaps the most famous specimen of Homo erectus found in China is the so-called Peking Man discovered in 1923-27.

    Three pottery pieces were unearthed at Liyuzui Cave in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province dated 16,500 and 19,000 BC

    Neolithic

    The Neolithic age in China can be traced back to between 12,000 and 10,000 BC. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is radiocarbon-dated to about 7000 BC. The Peiligang culture of Xinzheng county, Henan was excavated in 1977. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a cultural center, where the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of those was found at Banpo, Xi'an. The Yellow River was so named because of loess forming its banks gave a yellowish tint to the water.

    The early history of China is made obscure by the lack of written documents from this period, coupled with the existence of accounts written during later time periods that attempted to describe events that had occurred several centuries previously. In a sense, the problem stems from centuries of introspection on the part of the Chinese people, which has blurred the distinction between fact and fiction in regards to this early history.

    By 7000 BC, the Chinese were farming millet, giving rise to the Jiahu culture. At Damaidi in Ningxia, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6000-5000 BC have been discovered "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, moon, stars, gods and scenes of hunting or grazing." These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. Later Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture around 2500 BC.

    Ancient era
    Xia Dynasty (ca. 2100-ca. 1600 BC)


    The Xia Dynasty of China (from ca. 2100 BC to 1600 BC) is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical records such as Records of the Grand Historian and Bamboo Annals.

    Although there is disagreement as to whether the dynasty actually existed, there is some archaeological evidence pointing to its possible existence. The historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), who wrote the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian, and the so-called Bamboo Annals date the founding of the Xia Dynasty to 4,200 years ago, but this date has not been corroborated. Most archaeologists now connect the Xia to excavations at Erlitou in central Henan province, where a bronze smelter from around 2000 BC was unearthed. Early markings from this period found on pottery and shells are thought to be ancestral to modern Chinese characters. With few clear records matching the Shang oracle bones or the Zhou bronze vessel writings, the Xia era remains poorly understood.

    According to mythology, the dynasty ended around 1600 BC as a consequence of the Battle of Mingtiao.

    Shang Dynasty (ca. 1700-1046 BC)

    The earliest written record of Chinese past so far discovered dates from the Shang Dynasty in perhaps the 13th century BC and takes the form of inscriptions of divination records on the bones or shells of animals—the so-called oracle bones. Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang Dynasty, ca. 1600-1046 BC, are divided into two sets. The first set, from the earlier Shang period comes from sources at Erligang, Zhengzhou and Shangcheng. The second set, from the later Shang or Yin (殷) period, consists of a large body of oracle bone writings. Anyang, in modern-day Henan, has been confirmed as the last of the Shang's nine capitals (ca. 1300-1046 BC). The Shang Dynasty featured 31 kings, from Tang of Shang to King Zhou of Shang. In this period, the Chinese worshipped many different gods - weather gods and sky gods - and also a supreme god, named Shangdi, who ruled over the other gods. Those who lived during the Shang Dynasty also believed that their ancestors - their parents and grandparents - became like gods when they died, and that their ancestors wanted to be worshipped too, like gods. Each family worshipped its own ancestors.

    Around 1500 BC, the Chinese began to use written oracle bones to predict the future. By the time of the Zhou Dynasty (about 1100 BC), the Chinese were also worshipping a natural force called tian, which is usually translated as Heaven. Like Shangdi, Heaven ruled over all the other gods, and it decided who would rule China, under the Mandate of Heaven. The ruler could rule as long as he or she had the Mandate of Heaven. It was believed that the emperor or empress had lost the Mandate of Heaven when natural disasters occurred in great number, and when, more realistically, the sovereign had apparently lost his concern for the people. In response, the royal house would be overthrown, and a new house would rule, having been granted the Mandate of Heaven.

    The Records of the Grand Historian states that the Shang Dynasty moved its capital six times. The final (and most important) move to Yin in 1350 BC led to the dynasty's golden age. The term Yin Dynasty has been synonymous with the Shang dynasty in history, although it has lately been used to specifically refer to the latter half of the Shang Dynasty.

    Chinese historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, but the actual political situation in early China is known to have been much more complicated. Hence, as some scholars of China suggest, the Xia and the Shang can possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou is known to have existed at the same time as the Shang.

    Written records found at Anyang confirm the existence of the Shang dynasty. However, Western scholars are often hesitant to associate settlements that are contemporaneous with the Anyang settlement with the Shang dynasty. For example, archaeological findings at Sanxingdui suggest a technologically advanced civilization culturally unlike Anyang. The evidence is inconclusive in proving how far the Shang realm extended from Anyang. The leading hypothesis is that Anyang, ruled by the same Shang in the official history, coexisted and traded with numerous other culturally diverse settlements in the area that is now referred to as China proper.

    Zhou Dynasty (1066-256 BC)

    The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to approximately 256 BC. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Zhou Dynasty began to emerge in the Yellow River valley, overrunning the territory of the Shang. The Zhou appeared to have begun their rule under a semi-feudal system. The Zhou were a people who lived west of the Shang, and the Zhou leader had been appointed "Western Protector" by the Shang. The ruler of the Zhou, King Wu, with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Zhou, as regent, managed to defeat the Shang at the Battle of Muye. The king of Zhou at this time invoked the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to legitimize his rule, a concept that would be influential for almost every succeeding dynasty. The Zhou initially moved their capital west to an area near modern Xi'an, on the Wei River, a tributary of the Yellow River, but they would preside over a series of expansions into the Yangtze River valley. This would be the first of many population migrations from north to south in Chinese history.

    Spring and Autumn Period (722-476 BC)

    In the 8th century BC, power became decentralized during the Spring and Autumn Period, named after the influential Spring and Autumn Annals. In this period, local military leaders used by the Zhou began to assert their power and vie for hegemony. The situation was aggravated by the invasion of other peoples from the northwest, such as the Qin, forcing the Zhou to move their capital east to Luoyang. This marks the second major phase of the Zhou dynasty: the Eastern Zhou. In each of the hundreds of states that eventually arose, local strongmen held most of the political power and continued their subservience to the Zhou kings in name only. For instance, local leaders started using royal titles for themselves. The Hundred Schools of Thought of Chinese philosophy blossomed during this period, and such influential intellectual movements as Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism and Mohism were founded, partly in response to the changing political world. The Spring and Autumn Period is marked by a falling apart of the central Zhou power. China now consists of hundreds of states, some of them only as large as a village with a fort.

    Warring States Period (476-221 BC)

    After further political consolidation, seven prominent states remained by the end of 5th century BC, and the years in which these few states battled each other are known as the Warring States Period. Though there remained a nominal Zhou king until 256 BC, he was largely a figurehead and held little real power. As neighboring territories of these warring states, including areas of modern Sichuan and Liaoning, were annexed, they were governed under the new local administrative system of commandery and prefecture (郡縣/郡县). This system had been in use since the Spring and Autumn Period, and parts can still be seen in the modern system of Sheng & Xian (province and county, 省縣/省县). The final expansion in this period began during the reign of Ying Zheng, the king of Qin. His unification of the other six powers, and further annexations in the modern regions of Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi in 214 BC, enabled him to proclaim himself the First Emperor (Qin Shi Huang).

    Imperial era
    Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)


    Historians often refer to the period from Qin Dynasty to the end of Qing Dynasty as Imperial China. Though the unified reign of the Qin Emperor lasted only 12 years, he managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Han Chinese homeland and to unite them under a tightly centralized Legalist government seated at Xianyang (close to modern Xi'an). The doctrine of Legalism that guided the Qin emphasized strict adherence to a legal code and the absolute power of the emperor. This philosophy, while effective for expanding the empire in a military fashion, proved unworkable for governing it in peacetime. The Qin Emperor presided over the brutal silencing of political opposition, including the event known as the burning of books and burying of scholars. This would be the impetus behind the later Han synthesis incorporating the more moderate schools of political governance.



    The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang.
    The Qin Dynasty is well known for beginning the Great Wall of China, which was later augmented and enhanced during the Ming Dynasty. The other major contributions of the Qin include the concept of a centralized government, the unification of the legal code, development of the written language, measurement, and currency of China after the tribulations of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods. Even something as basic as the length of axles for carts had to be made uniform to ensure a viable trading system throughout the empire.

    Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220)

    The Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) emerged in 206 BC, with its founder Liu Bang proclaimed emperor in 202 BC. It was the first dynasty to embrace the philosophy of Confucianism, which became the ideological underpinning of all regimes until the end of imperial China. Under the Han Dynasty, China made great advances in many areas of the arts and sciences. Emperor Wu consolidated and extended the Chinese empire by pushing back the Xiongnu (identified with the Huns) into the steppes of modern Inner Mongolia, wresting from them the modern areas of Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai. This enabled the first opening of trading connections between China and the West, along the Silk Road. Han Dynasty general Ban Chao expanded his conquests across the Pamirs to the shores of the Caspian Sea.[18] The first of several Roman embassies to China is recorded in Chinese sources, coming from the sea route in AD 166, and a second one in AD 284.

    Nevertheless, land acquisitions by elite families gradually drained the tax base. In AD 9, the usurper Wang Mang founded the short-lived Xin ("New") Dynasty and started an extensive program of land and other economic reforms. These programs, however, were never supported by the landholding families, because they favored the peasants. The instability brought about chaos and uprisings.

    Emperor Guangwu reinstated the Han Dynasty with the support of landholding and merchant families at Luoyang, east of Xi'an. This new era would be termed the Eastern Han Dynasty. Han power declined again amidst land acquisitions, invasions, and feuding between consort clans and eunuchs. The Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in AD 184, ushering in an era of warlords. In the ensuing turmoil, three states tried to gain predominance in the period of the Three Kingdoms. This time period has been greatly romanticized in works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

    Wei and Jin Period (AD 265–420)

    After Cao Cao reunified the north in 208, his son proclaimed the Wei dynasty in 220. Soon, Wei's rivals Shu and Wu proclaimed their independence, leading China into the Three Kingdoms Period. This period was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state that had existed during the Qin and Han dynasties, and an increase in the power of great families. Although the Three Kingdoms were reunified by the Jin Dynasty in 280, this structure was essentially the same until the Wu Hu uprising.

    Wu Hu Period (AD 304–439)

    Taking advantage of civil war in the Jin Dynasty, the contemporary non-Han Chinese (Wu Hu) ethnic groups controlled much of the country in the early 4th century and provoked large-scale Han Chinese migrations to south of the Yangtze River. In 303 the Di people rebelled and later captured Chengdu, establishing the state of Cheng Han. Under Liu Yuan, the Xiongnu rebelled near today's Linfen County and established the state of Han Zhao. Liu Yuan's successor Liu Cong captured and executed the last two Western Jin emperors. Sixteen kingdoms were a plethora of short-lived non-Chinese dynasties that came to rule the whole or parts of northern China in the 4th and 5th centuries. Many ethnic groups were involved, including ancestors of the Turks, Mongols, and Tibetans. Most of these nomadic peoples had, to some extent, been "sinicized" long before their ascent to power. In fact, some of them, notably the Qiang and the Xiongnu, had already been allowed to live in the frontier regions within the Great Wall since late Han times.

    Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420–589)

    Signaled by the collapse of East Jin Dynasty in 420, China entered the era of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. The Han people managed to survive the military attacks from the nomadic tribes of the north, such as the Xianbei, and their civilization continued to thrive.
    In southern China, fierce debates about whether Buddhism should be allowed to exist were held frequently by the royal court and nobles. Finally, near the end of the Southern and Northern Dynasties era, both Buddhist and Taoist followers compromised and became more tolerant of each other.
    In 589, Sui annexed the last Southern Dynasty, Chen, through military force, and put an end to the era of Southern and Northern Dynasties.

    Sui Dynasty (AD 589–618)

    The Sui Dynasty, which managed to reunite the country in 589 after nearly four centuries of political fragmentation, played a role more important than its length of existence would suggest. The Sui brought China together again and set up many institutions that were to be adopted by their successors, the Tang. Like the Qin, however, the Sui overused their resources and collapsed. Also similar to the Qin, traditional history has judged the Sui somewhat unfairly, as it has stressed the harshness of the Sui regime and the arrogance of its second emperor, giving little credit for the Dynasty's many positive achievements.

    Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907)

    On June 18, 618, Gaozu took the throne, and the Tang Dynasty was established, opening a new age of prosperity and innovations in arts and technology. Buddhism, which had gradually been established in China from the 1st century AD, became the predominant religion and was adopted by the imperial family and many of the common people.

    Chang'an (modern Xi'an), the national capital, is thought to have been the world's largest city at the time. The Tang and the Han dynasties are often referred to as the most prosperous periods of Chinese history.

    The Tang, like the Han, kept the trade routes open to the west and south. There was extensive trade with distant foreign countries, and many foreign merchants settled in China.

    The Tang introduced a new system into the Chinese government, called the "equal-field system". This system gave families land grants from the emperor based on their needs, not their wealth.

    From about 860, the Tang Dynasty began to decline due to a series of rebellions within China itself and in the previously subject Kingdom of Nanzhao to the south. One of the warlords, Huang Chao, captured Guangzhou in 879, killing most of the 200,000 inhabitants, including most of the large colony of foreign merchant families there.[19] In late 880, Luoyang surrendered to him, and on 5 January 881 he conquered Chang'an. The emperor Xizong fled to Chengdu, and Huang established a new temporary regime, which was eventually destroyed by Tang forces, but another time of political chaos followed.

    Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907–960)

    The period of political disunity between the Tang and the Song, known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, lasted little more than half a century, from 907 to 960. During this brief era, when China was in all respects a multi-state system, five regimes succeeded one another rapidly in control of the old Imperial heartland in northern China. During this same time, 10 more stable regimes occupied sections of southern and western China, so the period is also referred to as that of the Ten Kingdoms.

    Song, Liao, Jin, and Western Xia Dynasties (AD 960–1234)

    In 960, the Song Dynasty gained power over most of China and established its capital in Kaifeng (later known as Bianjing), starting a period of economic prosperity, while the Khitan Liao Dynasty ruled over Manchuria, present-day Mongolia, and parts of Northern China. In 1115, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty emerged to prominence, annihilating the Liao Dynasty in 10 years. Meanwhile, in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi, and Ningxia, there emerged a Western Xia Dynasty from 1032 to 1227, established by Tangut tribes.
    The Jin Dynasty took power over northern China and Kaifeng from the Song Dynasty, which moved its capital to Hangzhou (杭州). The Southern Song Dynasty also suffered the humiliation of having to acknowledge the Jin Dynasty as formal overlords. In the ensuing years, China was divided between the Song Dynasty, the Jin Dynasty and the Tangut Western Xia. Southern Song experienced a period of great technological development which can be explained in part by the military pressure that it felt from the north. This included the use of gunpowder weapons, which played a large role in the Song Dynasty naval victories against the Jin in the Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi on the Yangtze River in 1161. Furthermore, China's first permanent standing navy was assembled and provided an admiral's office at Dinghai in 1132, under the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song.

    The Song Dynasty is considered by many to be classical China's high point in science and technology, with innovative scholar-officials such as Su Song (1020–1101) and Shen Kuo (1031–1095). There was court intrigue between the political rivals of the Reformers and Conservatives, led by the chancellors Wang Anshi and Sima Guang, respectively. By the mid-to-late 13th century the Chinese had adopted the dogma of Neo-Confucian philosophy formulated by Zhu Xi. There were enormous literary works compiled during the Song Dynasty, such as the historical work of the Zizhi Tongjian. Culture and the arts flourished, with grandiose artworks such as Along the River During the Qingming Festival and Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute, while there were great Buddhist painters such as Lin Tinggui.

    Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1368)

    The Jurchen-founded Jin Dynasty was defeated by the Mongols, who then proceeded to defeat the Southern Song in a long and bloody war, the first war in which firearms played an important role. During the era after the war, later called the Pax Mongolica, adventurous Westerners such as Marco Polo travelled all the way to China and brought the first reports of its wonders to Europe. In the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongols were divided between those who wanted to remain based in the steppes and those who wished to adopt the customs of the Chinese.
    Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, wanting to adopt the customs of China, established the Yuan Dynasty. This was the first dynasty to rule the whole of China from Beijing as the capital. Beijing had been ceded to Liao in AD 938 with the Sixteen Prefectures of Yan Yun. Before that, it had been the capital of the Jin, who did not rule all of China.
    Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people. While it is tempting to attribute this major decline solely to Mongol ferocity, scholars today have mixed sentiments regarding this subject. Scholars such as Frederick W. Mote argue that the wide drop in numbers reflects an administrative failure to record rather than a de facto decrease whilst others such as Timothy Brook argue that the Mongols created a system of enserfment among a huge portion of the Chinese populace causing many to disappear from the census altogether. Other historians like William McNeill and David Morgan argue that the Bubonic Plague was the main factor behind the demographic decline during this period. The 14th century epidemics of plague (Black Death) is estimated to have killed 30% of the population of China.

    Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644)

    Throughout the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted less than a century, there was relatively strong sentiment among the populace against the Mongol rule. The frequent natural disasters since the 1340s finally led to peasant revolts. The Yuan Dynasty was eventually overthrown by the Ming Dynasty in 1368.

    Urbanization increased as the population grew and as the division of labor grew more complex. Large urban centers, such as Nanjing and Beijing, also contributed to the growth of private industry. In particular, small-scale industries grew up, often specializing in paper, silk, cotton, and porcelain goods. For the most part, however, relatively small urban centers with markets proliferated around the country. Town markets mainly traded food, with some necessary manufactures such as pins or oil.

    Despite the xenophobia and intellectual introspection characteristic of the increasingly popular new school of neo-Confucianism, China under the early Ming Dynasty was not isolated. Foreign trade and other contacts with the outside world, particularly Japan, increased considerably. Chinese merchants explored all of the Indian Ocean, reaching East Africa with the voyages of Zheng He.

    Zhu Yuanzhang or (Hong-wu, the founder of the dynasty, laid the foundations for a state interested less in commerce and more in extracting revenues from the agricultural sector. Perhaps because of the Emperor's background as a peasant, the Ming economic system emphasized agriculture, unlike that of the Song and the Mongolian Dynasties, which relied on traders and merchants for revenue. Neo-feudal landholdings of the Song and Mongol periods were expropriated by the Ming rulers. Land estates were confiscated by the government, fragmented, and rented out. Private slavery was forbidden. Consequently, after the death of Emperor Yong-le, independent peasant landholders predominated in Chinese agriculture. These laws might have paved the way to removing the worst of the poverty during the previous regimes.

    The dynasty had a strong and complex central government that unified and controlled the empire. The emperor's role became more autocratic, although Zhu Yuanzhang necessarily continued to use what he called the "Grand Secretaries" (内阁) to assist with the immense paperwork of the bureaucracy, including memorials (petitions and recommendations to the throne), imperial edicts in reply, reports of various kinds, and tax records. It was this same bureaucracy that later prevented the Ming government from being able to adapt to changes in society, and eventually led to its decline.

    Emperor Yong-le strenuously tried to extend China's influence beyond its borders by demanding other rulers send ambassadors to China to present tribute. A large navy was built, including four-masted ships displacing 1,500 tons. A standing army of 1 million troops (some estimate as many as 1.9 million was created. The Chinese armies conquered Vietnam for around 20 years, while the Chinese fleet sailed the China seas and the Indian Ocean, cruising as far as the east coast of Africa. The Chinese gained influence in East Turkestan. Several maritime Asian nations sent envoys with tribute for the Chinese emperor. Domestically, the Grand Canal was expanded and proved to be a stimulus to domestic trade. Over 100,000 tons of iron per year were produced. Many books were printed using movable type. The imperial palace in Beijing's Forbidden City reached its current splendor. It was also during these centuries that the potential of south China came to be fully exploited. New crops were widely cultivated and industries such as those producing porcelain and textiles flourished.

    In 1449 Esen Tayisi led an Oirat Mongol invasion of northern China which culminated in the capture of the Zhengtong Emperor at Tumu. In 1542 the Mongol leader Altan Khan began to harass China along the northern border. In 1550 he even reached the suburbs of Beijing. The empire also had to deal with Japanese pirates attacking the southeastern coastline;[23] General Qi Jiguang was instrumental in defeating these pirates. The deadliest earthquake of all times, the Shaanxi earthquake of 1556 that killed approximately 830,000 people, occurred during the Jiajing Emperor's reign.

    During the Ming dynasty the last construction on the Great Wall was undertaken to protect China from foreign invasions. While the Great Wall had been built in earlier times, most of what is seen today was either built or repaired by the Ming. The brick and granite work was enlarged, the watch towers were redesigned, and cannons were placed along its length.

    Qing Dynasty (AD 1644–1911)

    The Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) was founded after the defeat of the Ming, the last Han Chinese dynasty, by the Manchus. The Manchus were formerly known as the Jurchen. When Beijing was captured by Li Zicheng's peasant rebels in 1644, the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. The Manchu then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the Qing dynasty. The Manchus adopted the Confucian norms of traditional Chinese government in their rule of China proper.

    The Manchus enforced a 'queue order' forcing the Han Chinese to adopt the Manchu queue hairstyle and Manchu-style clothing. The traditional Han clothing, or Hanfu, was also replaced by Manchu-style clothing Qipao (bannermen dress and Tangzhuang). Emperor Kangxi ordered the creation of the most complete dictionary of Chinese characters ever put together at the time. The Qing dynasty set up the "Eight Banners" system that provided the basic framework for the Qing military organization. The bannermen were prohibited from participating in trade and manual labour unless they petitioned to be removed from banner status. They were considered a form of nobility and were given preferential treatment in terms of annual pensions, land and allotments of cloth.

    Over the next half-century, the Qing consolidated control of some areas originally under the Ming, including Yunnan. They also stretched their sphere of influence over Xinjiang, Tibet and Mongolia. But during the 19th century, Qing control weakened. Britain's desire to continue its opium trade with China collided with imperial edicts prohibiting the addictive drug, and the First Opium War erupted in 1840. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking.

    A large rebellion, the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1864), involved around a third of China falling under control of the Taiping Tianguo, a quasi-Christian religious movement led by the "Heavenly King" Hong Xiuquan. Only after fourteen years were the Taipings finally crushed - the Taiping army was destroyed in the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864. The death toll during the 15 years of the rebellion was about 20 million.

    In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed with the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars, Nien Rebellion, Muslim Rebellion, Panthay Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion. In many ways, the rebellions and the unequal treaties the Qing were forced to sign with the imperialist powers are symptomatic of the Qing's inability to deal with the new challenges of the 19th century.

    By the 1860s, the Qing Dynasty had put down the rebellions at enormous cost and loss of life. This undermined the credibility of the Qing regime and, spearheaded by local initiatives by provincial leaders and gentry, contributed to the rise of warlordism in China. The Qing Dynasty under the Emperor Guangxu proceeded to deal with the problem of modernization through the Self-Strengthening Movement. However, between 1898 and 1908 the Empress Dowager Cixi had the reformist Guangxu imprisoned for being "mentally disabled. The Empress Dowager, with the help of conservatives, initiated a military coup, effectively removed the young Emperor from power, and overturned most of the more radical reforms. Guangxu died one day before the death of the Empress Dowager (some believe he was poisoned by Cixi). Official corruption, cynicism, and imperial family quarrels made most of the military reforms useless. As a result, the Qing's "New Armies" were soundly defeated in the Sino-French War (1883-1885) and the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).

    At the start of the 20th century, the Boxer Rebellion threatened northern China. This was a conservative anti-imperialist movement that sought to return China to old ways. The Empress Dowager, probably seeking to ensure her continued grip on power, sided with the Boxers when they advanced on Beijing. In response, a relief expedition of the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China to rescue the besieged foreign missions. Consisting of British, Japanese, Russian, Italian, German, French, US and Austrian troops, the alliance defeated the Boxers and demanded further concessions from the Qing government.


    Over the next half-century, the Qing consolidated control of some areas originally under the Ming, including Yunnan. They also stretched their sphere of influence over Xinjiang, Tibet and Mongolia. But during the 19th century, Qing control weakened. Britain's desire to continue its opium trade with China collided with imperial edicts prohibiting the addictive drug, and the First Opium War erupted in 1840. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking.

    A large rebellion, the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1864), involved around a third of China falling under control of the Taiping Tianguo, a quasi-Christian religious movement led by the "Heavenly King" Hong Xiuquan. Only after fourteen years were the Taipings finally crushed - the Taiping army was destroyed in the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864. The death toll during the 15 years of the rebellion was about 20 million.

    In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed with the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars, Nien Rebellion, Muslim Rebellion, Panthay Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion. In many ways, the rebellions and the unequal treaties the Qing were forced to sign with the imperialist powers are symptomatic of the Qing's inability to deal with the new challenges of the 19th century.

    By the 1860s, the Qing Dynasty had put down the rebellions at enormous cost and loss of life. This undermined the credibility of the Qing regime and, spearheaded by local initiatives by provincial leaders and gentry, contributed to the rise of warlordism in China. The Qing Dynasty under the Emperor Guangxu proceeded to deal with the problem of modernization through the Self-Strengthening Movement. However, between 1898 and 1908 the Empress Dowager Cixi had the reformist Guangxu imprisoned for being "mentally disabled”. The Empress Dowager, with the help of conservatives, initiated a military coup, effectively removed the young Emperor from power, and overturned most of the more radical reforms. Guangxu died one day before the death of the Empress Dowager (some believe he was poisoned by Cixi). Official corruption, cynicism, and imperial family quarrels made most of the military reforms useless. As a result, the Qing's "New Armies" were soundly defeated in the Sino-French War (1883-1885) and the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).
    At the start of the 20th century, the Boxer Rebellion threatened northern China. This was a conservative anti-imperialist movement that sought to return China to old ways. The Empress Dowager, probably seeking to ensure her continued grip on power, sided with the Boxers when they advanced on Beijing. In response, a relief expedition of the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China to rescue the besieged foreign missions. Consisting of British, Japanese, Russian, Italian, German, French, US and Austrian troops, the alliance defeated the Boxers and demanded further concessions from the Qing government.

    Modern era
    Republic of China


    Frustrated by the Qing court's resistance to reform and by China's weakness, young officials, military officers, and students—inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen When Sun Yat-sen was asked by one of the leading revolutionary generals to what he ascribed the success, he said, "To Christianity more than to any other single cause. Along with its ideals of religious freedom, and along with these it inculcates everywhere a doctrine of universal love and peace. These ideals appeal to the Chinese; they largely caused the Revolution, and they largely determined its peaceful character. They began to advocate the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the creation of a republic.

    Slavery in China was abolished in 1910.

    A revolutionary military uprising, the Wuchang Uprising, began on October 10, 1911 in Wuhan. The provisional government of the Republic of China was formed in Nanjing on March 12, 1912 with Sun Yat-sen as President, but Sun was forced to turn power over to Yuan Shikai, who commanded the New Army and was Prime Minister under the Qing government, as part of the agreement to let the last Qing monarch abdicate (a decision Sun would later regret). Over the next few years, Yuan proceeded to abolish the national and provincial assemblies, and declared himself emperor in late 1915. Yuan's imperial ambitions were fiercely opposed by his subordinates; faced with the prospect of rebellion, he abdicated in March 1916, and died in June of that year. His death left a power vacuum in China; the republican government was all but shattered. This ushered in the warlord era, during which much of the country was ruled by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders.

    In 1919, the May Fourth Movement began as a response to the terms imposed on China by the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, but quickly became a protest movement about the domestic situation in China. The discrediting of liberal Western philosophy amongst Chinese intellectuals was followed by the adoption of more radical lines of thought. This in turn planted the seeds for the irreconcilable conflict between the left and right in China that would dominate Chinese history for the rest of the century.

    In the 1920s, Sun Yat-Sen established a revolutionary base in south China, and set out to unite the fragmented nation. With Soviet assistance, he entered into an alliance with the fledgling Communist Party of China. After Sun's death from cancer in 1925, one of his protégés, Chiang Kai-shek, seized control of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party or KMT) and succeeded in bringing most of south and central China under its rule in a military campaign known as the Northern Expedition. Having defeated the warlords in south and central China by military force, Chiang was able to secure the nominal allegiance of the warlords in the North. In 1927, Chiang turned on the CPC and relentlessly chased the CPC armies and its leaders from their bases in southern and eastern China. In 1934, driven from their mountain bases such as the Chinese Soviet Republic, the CPC forces embarked on the Long March across China's most desolate terrain to the northwest, where they established a guerrilla base at Yan'an in Shaanxi Province.

    During the Long March, the communists reorganized under a new leader, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung). The bitter struggle between the KMT and the CPC continued, openly or clandestinely, through the 14-year long Japanese occupation (1931–1945) of various parts of the country. The two Chinese parties nominally formed a united front to oppose the Japanese in 1937, during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which became a part of World War II. Following the defeat of Japan in 1945, the war between the KMT and the CPC resumed, after failed attempts at reconciliation and a negotiated settlement. By 1949, the CPC had occupied most of the country.

    At the end of WWII in 1945 as part of the overall Japanese surrender, Japanese troops in Taiwan surrendered to Republic of China troops giving Chiang Kai-shek effective control of Taiwan.[27] When Chiang was defeated by CPC forces in mainland China in 1949, he retreated to Taiwan with his government and his most disciplined troops, along with most of the KMT leadership and a large number of their supporters.

    1949 to Present

    With the CPC's victory, and their proclamation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, Taiwan was again politically separated from mainland China, and continues to be governed by the Republic of China to the present day. No peace treaty has ever been signed between the two opposing parties.

    The rest is known.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    History of the Peoples Republic of China

    The history of the People's Republic of China details the history of mainland China since October 1, 1949, when, after a near complete victory by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China (PRC) from atop Tiananmen (the gate of heavenly peace). The PRC has for several decades been synonymous with China, but it is only the most recent political entity to govern mainland China, preceded by the Republic of China (ROC) and thousands of years of imperial dynasties.

    A failed attempt

    During 1931 to 1934, with support from the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party established another country inside the Republic of China. It was called the Chinese Soviet Republic. It had its own bank system and printed its own money, etc. It was the first time in the modern era when two Chinas occurred. It was officially dissolved on 22 September 1937, when the Chinese Communist Party issued, in the context of the Second United Front, its manifesto on unity with the Kuomintang, as the Second Sino-Japanese War was only a few weeks old.

    1949–1976: Socialist transformation under Mao Zedong

    Following the Chinese Civil War and the victory of Mao Zedong's Communist forces over the Kuomintang forces of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to Taiwan, Mao declared the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Mao's first goal was a total overhaul of the land ownership system, and extensive land reforms. China's old system of landlord ownership of farmland and tenant peasants was replaced with a distribution system in favour of poor/landless peasants. Mao laid heavy emphasis on class struggle and theoretical work, and in 1953 began various campaigns to persecute former landlords and merchants, including the execution of more powerful landlords. Drug trafficking in the country as well as foreign investment were largely wiped out. Many buildings of historical and cultural significance as well as countless artefacts were destroyed by the Maoist regime, since they were considered reminders of the "feudal" past.

    Mao believed that socialism would eventually triumph over all other ideologies, and following the First Five-Year Plan based on a Soviet-style centrally controlled economy, Mao took on the ambitious project of the Great Leap Forward in 1958, beginning an unprecedented process of collectivization in rural areas. Mao urged the use of communally organized iron smelters to increase steel production, pulling workers off of agricultural labor to the point that large amounts of crops rotted unharvested. Mao decided to continue to advocate these smelters despite a visit to a factory steel mill which proved to him that high quality steel could only be produced in a factory. He thought that ending the program would dampen peasant enthusiasm for his political mobilization, the Great Leap Forward.

    The destruction of balance constitutes leaping forward and such destruction is better than balance. Imbalance and headache are good things. - Mao, May 1958, in a speech.

    The implementation of Maoist thought in China may have been responsible for over 70 million excessive deaths during peacetime, with the Great Leap Forward, Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957-58,[5] and the Cultural Revolution. Because of Mao's land reforms during the Great Leap Forward, which resulted in massive famines, thirty million perished between 1958 and 1961. By the end of 1961 the birth rate was nearly cut in half because of malnutrition. Active campaigns, including party purges and "reeducation" resulted in the imprisonment or execution of those deemed to hold views contrary to Maoist ideals.] Mao's failure with the Leap reduced his power in government, whose administrative duties fell to Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping.

    To impose socialist orthodoxy and rid China of "old elements", and at the same time serving certain political goals, Mao began the Cultural Revolution in May 1966. The campaign was far reaching into all aspects of Chinese life. Red Guards terrorized the streets as many ordinary citizens were deemed counter-revolutionaries. Education and public transportation came to a nearly complete halt. Daily life involved shouting slogans and reciting Mao quotations. Many prominent political leaders, including Liu and Deng, were purged and deemed "capitalist-roaders". The campaign would not come to a complete end until the death of Mao in 1976.

    Supporters of the Maoist Era claim that under Mao, China's unity and sovereignty was assured for the first time in a century, and there was development of infrastructure, industry, healthcare, and education, which raised standard of living for the average Chinese. They also claimed that campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were essential in jumpstarting China's development and "purifying" its culture. More nuanced arguments claim that though the consequences of both these campaigns were economically and humanly disastrous, they left behind a "clean slate" on which later economic progress could be built. Supporters often also doubt statistics or accounts given for death tolls or other damages incurred by Mao's campaigns, attributing the high death toll to natural disasters, famine, or other consequences of political chaos during the rule of Chiang Kai-Shek.

    Critics of Mao's regime assert that Mao's administration imposed strict controls over everyday life, and believe that political campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution and many others during Mao's era (1949–1976) contributed to or caused millions of deaths, incurred severe economic costs, and damaged China's cultural heritage. The Great Leap Forward in particular preceded a massive famine in which 30–40 million people died; most Western and many Chinese analysts attribute this to poor agricultural and economic planning.

    1976–1989: Rise of Deng Xiaoping and economic reforms

    Mao Zedong's death was followed by a power struggle between the Gang of Four, Hua Guofeng, and eventually Deng Xiaoping. Deng would maneuver himself to the top of China's leadership by 1980. At the Third Plenum of the of the Eleventh National Party Congress Central Committee, Deng embarked China on the road to Economic Reforms and Openness (Gaige Kaifang), policies that began with the de-collectivization of the countryside, followed with industrial reforms aimed at decentralizing government controls in the industrial sector. A major document presented at the September 1979 Fourth Plenum, gave a "preliminary assessment" of the entire 30-year period of Communist rule. At the plenum, party Vice Chairman Ye Jianying declared the Cultural Revolution "an appalling catastrophe" and "the most severe setback to [the] socialist cause since [1949]." The Chinese government's condemnation of the Cultural Revolution culminated in the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China, adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. This stated that "Comrade Mao Zedong was a great Marxist and a great proletarian revolutionary, strategist and theorist. It is true that he made gross mistakes during the "cultural revolution", but, if we judge his activities as a whole, his contributions to the Chinese revolution far outweigh his mistakes. His merits are primary and his errors secondary."

    On the subject of Mao's legacy Deng coined the famous phrase "7 parts good, 3 parts bad", and avoided denouncing Mao altogether. Deng championed the idea of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), areas where foreign investment would be allowed to pour in without strict government restraint and regulations, running on a basically capitalist system. Deng laid emphasis on light industry as a stepping stone to the development of heavy industries.

    Supporters of the economic reforms point to the rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy, the creation of an urban middle class that now constitutes 15% of the population, higher living standards (which is shown via dramatic increases in GDP per capita, consumer spending, life expectancy, literacy rate, and total grain output) and a much wider range of personal rights and freedoms for average Chinese as evidence of the success of the reforms.

    Although standards of living improved significantly in the 1980s, Deng's reforms were not without criticism. Conservatives asserted that Deng opened China once again to various social evils, and an overall increase in materialistic thinking, while liberals attacked Deng's unrelenting stance on the political front. Liberal forces began manifesting with different forms of protest against the Party's totalitarian leadership, which in 1989 lead to weeks of spontaneous protests in the Tiananmen Square protests. The government imposed martial law and sent in military tanks and soldiers to suppress the demonstrations. Western countries and multilateral organizations briefly suspended their formal ties with China's government under Premier Li Peng's leadership, which was directly responsible for the military curfew and bloody crackdown.

    Critics of the economic reforms, both in China and abroad, claim that the reforms have caused wealth disparity, environmental pollution, rampant corruption, widespread unemployment associated with layoffs at inefficient state-owned enterprises, and has introduced often unwelcome cultural influences. Consequently they believe that China's culture has been corrupted, the poor have been reduced to a hopeless abject underclass, and that the social stability is threatened. They are also of the opinion that various political reforms, such as moves towards popular elections, have been unfairly nipped in the bud. Regardless of either view, today, the public perception of Mao has improved at least superficially; images of Mao and Mao related objects have become fashionable, commonly used on novelty items and even as talismans. However, the path of modernization and market-oriented economic reforms that China started since the early 1980s appears to be fundamentally unchallenged. Even critics of China's market reforms do not wish to see a backtrack of these two decades of reforms, but rather propose corrective measures to offset some of the social issues caused by existing reforms.

    In 1979, the Chinese government instituted a one child policy to try to control its rapidly increasing population. The controversial policy resulted in a dramatic decrease in child poverty. The law currently applies to about a third of mainland Chinese.

    1989–2002: Economic growth under the third generation

    After Tiananmen, Deng Xiaoping retired from public view. While keeping ultimate control, power was passed onto the third generation of leadership led by Jiang Zemin, who was hailed as its "core". Economic growth, despite foreign trade embargoes, returned to a fast pace by the mid-1990s. Jiang's macroeconomic reforms furthered Deng's vision for "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics". At the same time, Jiang's period saw a continued rise in social corruption in all areas of life. Unemployment skyrocketed as unprofitable SOE's were closed to make way for more competitive ventures, internally and abroad. The ill-equipped social welfare system was put on a serious test. Jiang also laid heavy emphasis on scientific and technological advancement in areas such as space exploration. To sustain vast human consumption, the Three Gorges Dam was built, attracting supporters and widespread criticism. Environmental pollution became a very serious problem as Beijing was frequently hit by sandstorm as a result of desertification.

    The 1990s saw two foreign colonies returned to China, Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, and Macau from Portugal in 1999. Hong Kong and Macau mostly continued their own governance, retaining independence in their economic, social, and judicial systems.

    Jiang and President Clinton exchanged state visits, but Sino-American relations took very sour turns at the end of the decade. On May 7, 1999, during the Kosovo War, US aircraft bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The U.S. government claimed the strike was due to bad intelligence and false target identification.

    Inside the US, the Cox Report stated that China had been stealing various top US military secrets.

    In 2001, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US surveillance plane over international waters near Hainan, inciting further outrage with the Chinese public, already dissatisfied with the US.

    On the political agenda, China was once again put on the spotlight for the banning of public Falun Gong activity in 1999. Silent protesters from the spiritual movement sat outside of Zhongnanhai, asking for dialogue with China's leaders. Jiang saw it as threatening to the political situation and outlawed the group altogether, while using the mass media to denounce it as an evil cult.

    Conversely, Premier Zhu Rongji's economic policies held China's economy strong during the Asian Financial Crisis. Economic growth averaged at 8% annually, pushed back by the 1998 Yangtze River Floods. After a decade of talks, China was finally admitted into the World Trade Organization. Standards of living improved significantly, although a wide urban-rural wealth gap was opened, as China saw the reappearance of the middle class. Wealth disparity between East and the Western hinterlands continued to widen by the day, prompting government programs to "develop the West", taking on such ambitious projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The burden of education was greater than ever. Rampant corruption continued despite Premier Zhu's anti-corruption campaign that executed many officials.

    2002–present

    The first major crisis faced by China in the 21st century as a new generation of leaders led by Hu Jintao after assuming power was the public health crisis involving SARS, an illness that seemed to have originated out of Guangdong province. China's position in the war on terror drew the country closer diplomatically to the United States. The economy continues to grow in double-digit numbers as the development of rural areas became the major focus of government policy. In gradual steps to consolidate his power, Hu Jintao removed Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu and other potential political opponents amidst the fight against corruption, and the on-going struggle against once powerful Shanghai clique. The assertion of the Scientific Perspective to create a Harmonious Society is the focus of the Hu-Wen administration, as some Jiang-era excesses are slowly reversed. Although the administration continues to face pressure to reform the political system and the party, the Hu-Wen administration is comparatively better received than the Jiang administration. In the years after Hu's rise to power, respect of basic human rights in China continue to be a source of concern.

    The political status and future of Taiwan remain uncertain, but steps have been taken to improving relations between the Communist Party and several of Taiwan's pro-unification parties, notably former rival Kuomintang.

    The continued economic growth of the country as well as its sporting power status has gained China the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. However, this had also put Hu's administration under intense spotlight. While the 2008 Olympic is commonly understood to be a come-out party for People's Republic of China, in light of the March 2008 Tibet protests, the government received heavy scrutiny. The Olympic torch was met with protest en route. Within the country these reactions were met with a fervent wave of nationalism with accusations of Western bias against China.

    In May 2008, a massive earthquake registering 8.0 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan province of China, exacting a death toll officially estimated at approximately 70,000. The government responded more quickly than in it did with previous events, and has allowed foreign media access to the regions that were hit the hardest. The adequacy of the government response was generally praised, and the relief efforts extended to every corner of Chinese life. In May and June 2008, heavy rains in southern China caused severe flooding in the provinces of Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong, with dozens of fatalities and over a million people forced to evacuate.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Great Leap Forward

    The Great Leap Forward (simplified Chinese: 大跃进; traditional Chinese: 大躍進; pinyin: Dà yuè jìn) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) was an economic and social campaign of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through the process of agriculturalization, industrialization, and collectivization. Mao Zedong led the campaign based on the Theory of Productive Forces, and intensified it after being informed of the impending disaster from grain shortages.

    Chief changes in the lives of rural Chinese included the introduction of a mandatory process of agricultural collectivization, which was introduced incrementally. Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were labeled as counter revolutionaries and persecuted. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions, social pressure, and violence. Food rationing was introduced, in some cases leaving rural Chinese with less than 250g (half a jin, 8.82 ounces) of grain per day. Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw "its development … aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward." The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, and claimed the lives of 45 million people.

    The Cambridge History of China presents data on economic growth rates in China from 1953 through 1985, calculated by Harvard professor of political economy Dwight H. Perkins. Of all the periods spanning this time frame, only the 1958-1962 period, the period during which the Great Leap Forward campaign was carried out, was a period of economic regress as defined by the growth rate. "As these figures indicate, enormous amounts of investment produced only modest increases in production or none at all," argued Perkins. "The growth of national income for the entire 1958-65 period was less than half of the 1966-78 period, and it took almost twice the level of investment to produce a given increase in output in the former period as in the latter. In short, the Great Leap was a very expensive disaster."

    In subsequent conferences in 1960 and 1962, the negative effects of the Great Leap Forward were studied by the CPC, and Mao was criticized in the party conferences. Party members less economically left-wing like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping rose to power, and Mao was marginalized within the party, leading him to initiate the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

    Background

    In October 1949 after the defeat of the Kuomintang, the Chinese Communist Party proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Immediately, landlords and wealthier peasants had their land holdings forcibly redistributed to poorer peasants. In the agricultural sectors, crops deemed by the Party to be "full of evil" such as the opium crop, were destroyed and replaced with crops such as rice. Within the Party, there was major debate about redistribution. A moderate faction within the party and Politburo member Liu Shaoqi argued that change should be gradual and any collectivization of the peasantry should wait until industrialization, which could provide the agricultural machinery for mechanized farming. A more radical faction led by Mao Zedong agreed that the best way to finance industrialization was for the government to take control of agriculture, thereby establishing a monopoly over grain distribution and supply. This would allow the state to buy at a low price and sell much higher, thus raising the capital necessary for the industrialization of the country.

    It was realized that this policy would be unpopular with the peasants and therefore it was proposed that the peasants should be brought under Party control by the establishment of agricultural collectives which would also facilitate the sharing of tools and draft animals. This policy was gradually pushed through between 1949 and 1958, first by establishing "mutual aid teams" of 5-15 households, then in 1953 "elementary agricultural cooperatives" of 20-40 households, then from 1956 in "higher co-operatives" of 100-300 families. These reforms (sometimes now referred to as The Great Leap Forward) were generally unpopular with the peasants and usually implemented by summoning them to meetings and making them stay there for days and sometimes weeks until they "voluntarily" agreed to join the collective.

    Besides these economic changes, the Party implemented major social changes in the countryside including the banishing of all religious and mystic institutions and ceremonies and replacing them with political meetings and propaganda sessions. Attempts were made to enhance rural education and the status of women (allowing females to initiate divorce if they desired) and ending foot-binding, child marriage and opium addiction. Internal passports (called the hukou system) were introduced in 1956, forbidding travel without appropriate authorization. Highest priority was given to the urban proletariat for whom a welfare state was created.

    The first phase of collectivization was not a great success and there was widespread famine in 1956, though the Party's propaganda machine announced progressively higher harvests. Moderates within the Party, including Zhou Enlai, argued for a reversal of collectivization. The position of the moderates was strengthened by Khrushchev's 1956 Secret speech at the 20th Congress which uncovered Stalin's crimes and highlighted the failure of his agricultural policies including collectivization in the USSR.

    In 1957 Mao responded to the tensions in the Party by promoting free speech and criticism under the 100 Flowers Campaign. In retrospect, some have come to argue that this was a ploy to allow critics of the regime, primarily intellectuals but also low ranking members of the party critical of the agricultural policies, to identify themselves. Some claim that Mao simply swung to the side of the hard-liners once his policies gained strong opposition. Once he had done so, at least half a million were purged under the Anti-Rightist campaign, which effectively silenced any opposition from within the Party or from agricultural experts to the changes which would be implemented under the Great Leap Forward.

    By the completion of the first 5 Year Economic Plan in 1957, Mao had come to doubt that the path to socialism that had been taken by the Soviet Union was appropriate for China. He was critical of Khrushchev's reversal of Stalinist policies and alarmed by the uprisings that had taken place in East Germany, Poland and Hungary, and the perception that the USSR was seeking "Peaceful coexistence" with the Western powers. Mao had become convinced that China should follow its own path to Communism.

    According to Jonathan Mirsky, a historian and journalist specializing in Chinese affairs, China's isolation from most of the rest of the world, along with the Korean War, had accelerated Mao's attacks on his perceived domestic enemies. It led him to accelerate his designs to develop an economy where the regime would get maximum benefit from rural taxation.

    Before the Great Leap, peasants farmed their own small pockets of land, and observed traditional practices connected to markets—festivals, banquets, and paying homage to ancestors. Starting in 1954, peasants were encouraged to form and join collectives, which would putatively increase their efficiency without robbing them of their own land or restricting their livelihoods. By 1958, however, private ownership was entirely abolished and households all over China were forced into state-operated communes. Mao insisted that the communes must produce more grain for the cities and earn foreign exchange from exports.

    Organizational and operational factors

    The Great Leap Forward campaign began during the period of the Second Five Year Plan which was scheduled to run from 1958–1963, though the campaign itself was discontinued by 1961. Mao unveiled the Great Leap Forward at a meeting in January 1958 in Nanjing. The central idea behind the Great Leap was that rapid development of China's agricultural and industrial sectors should take place in parallel. The hope was to industrialize by making use of the massive supply of cheap labour and avoid having to import heavy machinery. To achieve this, Mao advocated that a further round of collectivization modeled on the USSR's "Third Period" was necessary in the Chinese countryside where the existing collectives would be merged into huge People's Communes.

    People's communes

    An experimental commune was established at Chayashan in Henan in April 1958. Here for the first time private plots were entirely abolished and communal kitchens were introduced. At the Politburo meetings in August 1958, it was decided that these people's communes would become the new form of economic and political organization throughout rural China. By the end of the year approximately 25,000 communes had been set up, with an average of 5,000 households each. The communes were relatively self sufficient co-operatives where wages and money were replaced by work points.

    Based on his fieldwork, Ralph A. Thaxton Jr. describes the people's communes as a form of "apartheid system" for Chinese farm households. The commune system was aimed at maximizing production for provisioning the cities and constructing offices, factories, schools, and social insurance systems for urban-dwelling workers, cadres and officials. Citizens in rural areas who criticized the system were labeled "dangerous." Escape was also difficult or impossible, and those who attempted were denied by "party-orchestrated public struggle," which further jeopardized their survival.[9] Besides agriculture, communes also incorporated some light industry and construction projects.
    [edit] Industrialization

    Mao saw grain and steel production as the key pillars of economic development. He forecast that within 15 years of the start of the Great Leap, China's steel production would surpass that of the UK. In the August 1958 Politburo meetings, it was decided that steel production would be set to double within the year, most of the increase coming through backyard steel furnaces.[citation needed] Major investments in larger state enterprises were made in 1958-60: 1,587, 1,361, and 1,815 medium- and large-scale state projects were started in 1958, 1959, and 1960 respectively, more in each year than in the first Five Year Plan.[10] Millions of Chinese became state workers as a consequence of this unprecedented industrial investment: in 1958, 21 million were added to non-agricultural state payrolls, and total state employment reached a peak of 50.44 million in 1960, more than doubling the 1957 level; the urban population swelled by 31.24 million people.[11] These new workers placed major stress on China's food-rationing system, which led to increased and unsustainable demands on rural food production.[11] During this rapid expansion, coordination suffered and material shortages were frequent, resulting in "a huge rise in the wage bill, largely for construction workers, but no corresponding increase in manufactured goods."[12] Facing a massive deficit, the government cut industrial investment from 38.9 to 7.1 billion yuan from 1960 to 1962 (an 82% decrease; the 1957 level was 14.4 billion).

    Backyard furnaces

    With no personal knowledge of metallurgy, Mao encouraged the establishment of small backyard steel furnaces in every commune and in each urban neighbourhood. Mao was shown an example of a backyard furnace in Hefei, Anhui in September 1958 by provincial first secretary Zeng Xisheng. The unit was claimed to be manufacturing high quality steel (though in fact the finished steel had probably been manufactured elsewhere). Huge efforts on the part of peasants and other workers were made to produce steel out of scrap metal. To fuel the furnaces the local environment was denuded of trees and wood taken from the doors and furniture of peasants' houses. Pots, pans, and other metal artifacts were requisitioned to supply the "scrap" for the furnaces so that the wildly optimistic production targets could be met. Many of the male agricultural workers were diverted from the harvest to help the iron production as were the workers at many factories, schools and even hospitals. Although the output consisted of low quality lumps of pig iron which was of negligible economic worth, Mao had a deep distrust of intellectuals and faith in the power of the mass mobilization of the peasants. Moreover, the experience of the intellectual classes following the Hundred Flowers Campaign silenced those aware of the folly of such a plan. According to his private doctor, Li Zhisui, Mao and his entourage visited traditional steel works in Manchuria in January 1959 where he found out that high quality steel could only be produced in large scale factories using reliable fuel such as coal. However, he decided not to order a halt to the backyard steel furnaces so as not to dampen the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses. The program was only quietly abandoned much later in that year.

    Substantial effort was expended during the Great Leap Forward on large-scale, but often on poorly planned capital construction projects, such as irrigation works often built without input from trained engineers. Mao was well aware of the human cost of these water-conservancy campaigns. In early 1958, while listening to a report on irrigation in Jiangsu, he muttered that:

    "Wu Zhipu claims he can move 30 billion cubic metres; I think 30,000 people will die. Zeng Xisheng has said that he will move 20 billion cubic metres, and I think that 20,000 people will die. Weiqing only promises 600 million cubic metres, maybe nobody will die."

    Nevertheless, mass mobilization on irrigation works continued unabated for the next several years, and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of exhausted, starving villagers.The inhabitants of Qingshui and Gansu referred to these projects as the "killing fields."

    On the communes, a number of radical and controversial agricultural innovations were promoted at the behest of Mao. Many of these were based on the ideas of now discredited Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko and his followers. The policies included close cropping, whereby seeds were sown far more densely than normal on the incorrect assumption that seeds of the same class would not compete with each other. Deep ploughing (up to 2m deep) was encouraged on the mistaken belief that this would yield plants with extra large root systems. Moderately productive land was left unplanted with the belief that concentrating manure and effort on the most fertile land would lead to large per-acre productivity gains. Altogether, these untested innovations generally led to decreases in grain production rather than increases.

    Meanwhile, local leaders were pressured into falsely reporting ever-higher grain production figures to their political superiors. Participants at political meetings remembered production figures being inflated up to 10 times actual production amounts as the race to please superiors and win plaudits – like the chance to meet Mao himself – intensified. The state was later able to force many production groups to sell more grain than they could spare based on these false production figures.

    The initial impact of the Great Leap Forward was discussed at the Lushan Conference in July/August 1959. Although many of the more moderate leaders had reservations about the new policy, the only senior leader to speak out openly was Marshall Peng Dehuai. Mao used the conference to dismiss Peng from his post as Defence Minister and denounce both Peng (who came from a poor peasant family) and his supporters as "bourgeois," and launch a nationwide campaign against "rightist opportunism." Peng was replaced by Lin Biao, who began a systematic purge of Peng's supporters from the military.

    Treatment of villagers

    The ban on private holdings ruined peasant life at its most basic level, according to Mirsky. Villagers were unable to secure enough food to go on living, because the traditional means of being able to rent, sell, or use their land as collateral for loans was deprived of them by the commune system.[6] In one village, once the commune was operational the Party boss and his colleagues "swung into manic action, herding villagers into the fields to sleep and to work intolerable hours, and forcing them to walk, starving, to distant additional projects.

    Edward Friedman, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Paul Pickowicz, a historian at the University of California at San Diego and Mark Selden, a sociologist at Binghamton University, wrote about the dynamic of interaction between the Party and villagers:

    Beyond attack, beyond question, was the systemic and structured dynamic of the socialist state that intimidated and impoverished millions of patriotic and loyal villagers.

    The authors present a similar picture to Thaxton in depicting the Communist Party's destruction of the traditions of Chinese villagers. Traditionally prized local customs were deemed signs of "feudalism" to be extinguished, according to Mirsky. "Among them were funerals, weddings, local markets, and festivals. The Party thus destroyed 'much that gave meaning to Chinese lives. These private bonds were social glue. To mourn and to celebrate is to be human. To share joy, grief, and pain is humanizing.'" Failure to participate in the CCP's political campaigns—though the aims of such campaigns were often conflicting--"could result in detention, torture, death, and the suffering of entire families."

    Public criticism sessions were often used to intimidate the peasants into obeying local cadres; they increased the death rate of the famine in several ways, according to Thaxton. "In the first case, blows to the body caused internal injuries that, in combination with physical emaciation and acute hunger, could induce death." In one case, after a peasant stole two cabbages from the common fields, the thief was publicly criticized for half a day. He collapsed, fell ill, and never recovered. Others were sent to labour camps.

    Modes of resistance

    According to over 20 years of research by Ralph Thaxton, professor of politics at Brandeis University, villagers turned against the CCP during and after the Great Leap, seeing it as autocratic, brutal, corrupt, and mean-spirited.[6] The CCP's policies, which included plunder, forced labor, and starvation, according to Thaxton, led villagers "to think about their relationship with the Communist Party in ways that do not bode well for the continuity of socialist rule."

    Often, villagers composed doggerel to show their defiance to the regime, and "perhaps, to remain sane." During the Great Leap, one jingle ran: "Flatter shamelessly—eat delicacies.... Don't flatter—starve to death for sure."

    Climate conditions and famine

    Despite the harmful agricultural innovations, the weather in 1958 was very favorable and the harvest promised to be good. Unfortunately, the amount of labour diverted to steel production and construction projects meant that much of the harvest was left to rot uncollected in some areas. This problem was exacerbated by a devastating locust swarm, which was caused when their natural predators were killed as part of the Great Sparrow Campaign. Although actual harvests were reduced, local officials, under tremendous pressure from central authorities to report record harvests in response to the new innovations, competed with each other to announce increasingly exaggerated results. These were used as a basis for determining the amount of grain to be taken by the State to supply the towns and cities, and to export. This left barely enough for the peasants, and in some areas, starvation set in. During 1958–1960 China continued to be a substantial net exporter of grain, despite the widespread famine experienced in the countryside, as Mao sought to maintain face and convince the outside world of the success of his plans. Foreign aid was refused. When the Japanese foreign minister told his Chinese counterpart Chen Yi of an offer of 100,000 tonnes of wheat to be shipped out of public view, he was rebuffed. John F Kennedy was also aware that the Chinese were exporting food to Africa and Cuba during the famine and said "we've had no indication from the Chinese Communists that they would welcome any offer of food."

    In 1959 and 1960 the weather was less favorable, and the situation got considerably worse, with many of China's provinces experiencing severe famine. Droughts, floods, and general bad weather caught China completely by surprise. In July 1959, the Yellow River flooded in East China. According to the Disaster Center,it directly killed, either through starvation from crop failure or drowning, an estimated 2 million people.

    In 1960, at least some degree of drought and other bad weather affected 55 percent of cultivated land, while an estimated 60 percent of northern agricultural land received no rain at all.

    With dramatically reduced yields, even urban areas suffered much reduced rations; however, mass starvation was largely confined to the countryside, where, as a result of drastically inflated production statistics, very little grain was left for the peasants to eat. Food shortages were bad throughout the country; however, the provinces which had adopted Mao's reforms with the most vigor, such as Anhui, Gansu and Henan, tended to suffer disproportionately. Sichuan, one of China's most populous provinces, known in China as "Heaven's Granary" because of its fertility, is thought to have suffered the greatest absolute numbers of deaths from starvation due to the vigor with which provincial leader Li Jinquan undertook Mao's reforms. During the Great Leap Forward, cases of cannibalism also occurred in the parts of China that were severely affected by drought and famine.

    The agricultural policies of the Great Leap Forward and the associated famine would then continue until January 1961, where, at the Ninth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee, the restoration of agricultural production through a reversal of the Great Leap policies was started. Grain exports were stopped, and imports from Canada and Australia helped to reduce the impact of the food shortages, at least in the coastal cities.

    Consequences

    As inflated statistics reached planning authorities, orders were given to divert human resources into industry rather than agriculture. The official toll of excess deaths recorded in China for the years of the Great Leap Forward is 14 million, but as of 1987, scholars had estimated the number of victims to be between 20 and 43 million. An article in The Independent published in 2010 profiled the finding of Hong Kong historian Frank Dikötter who, according to the article, estimated the total death toll between 1958 and 1962 to be "at least 45 million people", who were "worked, starved or beaten to death", citing a speech presented by him at the Woodstock Literary Festival and a book he had written on the subject based on examination of Chinese archival material that had been sealed until 1996.

    The three years between 1959 and 1962 were known as the "Three Bitter Years" and the Three Years of Natural Disasters. Many local officials were tried and publicly executed for giving out misinformation.

    Thaxton's final judgement of the effect on villagers of the famine was that "Village people... had come to associate socialism with starvation and the agents of the party-state with the spectre of death."

    Deaths by starvation

    Starting in the early 1980s, critics of the Great Leap added quantitative muscle to their arsenal. U.S. government employee Judith Banister published what became an influential article in the China Quarterly, and since then estimates as high as 30 million deaths in the Great Leap became common in the U.S. press.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Mao and the Communist Party knew that some of their policies were contributing to the starvation.Foreign minister Chen Yi said of some of the early human losses in November 1958:

    "Casualties have indeed appeared among workers, but it is not enough to stop us in our tracks. This is the price we have to pay, it's nothing to be afraid of. Who knows how many people have been sacrificed on the battlefields and in the prisons [for the revolutionary cause]? Now we have a few cases of illness and death: it's nothing!"

    During a secret meeting in Shanghai in 1959, Mao demanded the state procurement of one-third of all grain to feed the cities and satisfy foreign clients, and noted that "If you don't go above a third, people won't rebel." He also stated at the same meeting:

    "When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill."

    # Frank Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine, Key Arguments

    # Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62. Walker & Company, 2010. p. 70. ISBN 0802777686
    # ^ Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62. Walker & Company, 2010. p. 88. ISBN 0802777686
     
  19. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    India and US talk, China is a subtext

    http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/foreign-hand/2010/11/05/india-and-us-talk-china-is-a-subtext/


    The writer of this blog seems to be having a good grip on geo political and geo-strategic issues.I agree with most of his views except there is a diochtomy between the two on China.It is better for India to follow its own China policy sometimes playing tag with the Us when needed rather that co-ordinating with them.We can play between them both to our best advantage
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    badguy2000

    In an English language forum, what did you expect?

    In Swahili or Esperanto?

    Would you the understand it better?

    Que Déu ens ajudi!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  21. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sorry, I didn't read this book.
    Could you please tell where did he got Mao's words? Because it doesn't sound like a word from a chinese leader. Too frank, too stupid. Even a chinese student would got some words better than him. If he realy say these words, his enemies/comrades would love to hear it and make it public. So they can replace his position in next day.

    And you also get the fact wrong, except Sichuan provice, villagers in general were eating more food than people in cities. My old relatives including my mum and grandfather have same experience: if you want eat more, find the opportunity to work in countryside. The cause of sichuan famin was the officers there exaggerated their food production.
     

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