History Essays on The Rise of China
Events of 19th century China laid the foundation of the modern nation in various aspects. It was a period of endless political and economic tensions. During the waning years of Qing dynasty, these tensions were rampant and were a real catalyst to change and reforms that would shape the destiny of the country for many years to come. The Boxers rebellion which followed a civil war and later on the Taiping rebellion which resulted in Chinese defeat at sea and on land to the European powerhouses, Britain, France and Asian country of Japan. These activities brought the economy to its knees, the environment was not conducive, and the regime was affected by corruption. Problems that faced this system over 100 years out do those of recent years in the government of communist under Xi Jinping though the latter has more resources at his disposal than Qing during its time with Empress Dowager Cixi in power.
Major undoing during the Qing dynasty was due to the succession strategy of a Paramount ruler that created room for a vacuum at the helm which Cixi could not accommodate. Current regime under the Communist party has put in place organized transitions as it happened during the change of power from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping. They are also much better placed to allow reforms and transparency than it was the case during the Qing dynasty of the 19th century. Sun Yatsei’s removal from power in 1912 following a revolution led by Yuan Shikai echoes Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 that destabilized the nation. There have also been cases of leadership criticism where corrupt leaders live privileged lifestyles in comparison to the ordinary citizens. The situation is similar to the wangguo (lost country) under Qing dynasty that was a catalyst for most of the rebellions of the time as the citizens fought against oppression. Example the Manchus and the Han who fought against what they called enslavement. Current China is developing with little foreign interference in domestic affairs of the nation with no Emperor like leadership. The communist party with a relatively small following was however able to exert its authority in China. It would then roll out projects that were critical to the development of modern China.
The Manchus were subdued by the Han adopting their culture as they lost their military austerity. However, they isolated themselves from the Han thus becoming a target from the latter. The Manchus ideology of ruling over families that they had conquered can be reflected in the communist who demonstrates no serious commitment towards socialism but rather inducts new members purely for political and financial reasons who make sure they protect their interests. A similarity for the two scenarios is family values which are protected. Today unlike over a century ago where elites built palaces for their children, they invest in quality education for their children. Current governments, in contrast to the 20th-century dynasty, face no threat from foreign invasions but instead foreign countries launch manufacturing investments across the country. Such investments mean job creation for the Chinese translating to improved living standards of the Chinese people a phenomenon that has led to the rise of the middle class in China. The rise of China to the modern economic giant that it is and the political and financial influence that it influences on the global arena is as a result of selfless sacrifices made leaders like Feng (Schell, Orville, and John)
The Qing dynasty and the communist party share a common enemy, the media, 20th century saw the spread of Telegraph and newspaper use that enlightened the population with public opinion opposing the regime in power and led to reforms. The communist era is more at a disadvantage with the utilization of the internet and blogs which significantly minimize government influence on the people. Unlike the ancient China, a time when the government had a political system that ensured total control over its population, now the people of China have freedom of choice on issues pertaining settlement, travel, dress code, career choice as well as a choice of education. Notable contrast is the cultural difference, during the last days of the Qing dynasty, the population believed that to survive, China had to forego most of its traditional institutions and instead copy from Europe and Japan. Communist party control over the military is unchallenged, and the willingness to exert force to maintain power is evident (Gilley, Bruce, and Andrew p 15). Chinese political and economic power is superior to that of Europe and America and leaders are confident that the citizens are loyal to the regime in authority. Similar to Qianlong, there has been continuous growth under the communist party
The communist party replaced communism and instead agitated for a society that embraces harmony. Emperors were believed to be ordained and therefore had so much control over the people as they were thought to have supernatural powers to control anything on the surface. Government power was divided in three forms, namely; Aristocracy, nepotistic and meritocracy. State power was a preserve of the wealthy under the aristocracy form of government. High government role was reserved for the emperor’s family under nepotistic while meritocracy meant government officials would be appointed upon excellence in the imperial examination. On the contrary, after the CCP won against the nationalists in 1949, people were free to elect their leaders of their choice into power even though the opposition has been highly intimidated by the government (Fairbank, John King p 17). During the Qing dynasty, social classes were divided from the highest reserved for the emperor to the slaves who occupied the lowest level. However, under the control of the communist party, these social classes were abolished, and the peasants had their right to freedom of speech.
Unlike in 1916 a point in time when the nationalist party had trouble controlling warlords resulting to loss of power, modern China enjoys a period of political stability and a centralized government under the communist party. A similar aspect that is in lace and was in operation during imperial China is the culture, the common langue that has united the people of China against foreign influence. Modern China protects its territories against external aggression as it was the case during the imperial era only now the government is more powerful to face any enemy. Similarly, Imperial and modern China both demonstrate a vision for a prosperous China each making economic sides for a better place to its people, modern China is more mechanized, and hence the growth of industries and economic growth is rampant though both regimes focus on development. Unlike Imperial China, modern China has more global influence regarding commerce and world politics. Modern China borrows much of its policies from the past for a better future correcting the mistakes of the past and improving ancient technology
Fairbank, John King et al. The Cambridge History of China (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Gilley, Bruce and Andrew O’Neil. Middle Powers and the Rise of China (1st ed.). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014.
Schell, Orville and Delury, John. Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century (1st ed). New York: Random House, 2013.