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A Brief History of China

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  1. A Brief History of China

  2. In the Beginning… • China is a very ancient civilization • The kingdom from which China grew was established for many centuries • The first emperor, Shi Huangdi, established the Qin Empire in 221 BC

  3. Ancient Dynasties • Shang: c.1600 - c.1100 BC • Zhou: c.1100 BC - 256 BC • Qin: 256 BC - 206 BC • Han: 206 BC - 220 AD • 3 Kingdoms: 220 - 265 • Six dynasties: 265 - 589 • Sui: 589 - 618 • Tang: 618 - 907 • 5 dynasties & 10 kingdoms: 907-980 • Song: 980 - 1279

  4. Later Dynasties • Yuan: 1279 – 1368 (the Mongol Empire) • Ming: 1368 – 1644 • The first Ming emperor drove out the Mongols and re-established the Chinese Empire) • Qing: 1644 – 1912 • The last imperial dynasty of China • Formed the territorial base for modern China • The Chinese Empire survived for 2133 years. In comparison, the Roman Empire survived for about 500 years and the British Empire for about 350.

  5. Modern China • Early modern Chinese history starts with the Ming Dynasty, about 1500 AD • Large army and navy • Expansive trade with Europeans (porcelain, tea, silk) • Trade declines due to shortage of silver from S. America along with the “Little Ice Age” • Ming Dynasty collapses

  6. After Ming Collapses • Invaders from north, the Manchu's, establish Qing Dynasty • 1644 -1912 rule (nearly 300 years) • Prospered as traders, specifically with Britain • Main trade: tea, porcelain, and silk were traded for opium, an incredibly addictive drug

  7. The Impact of Opium… • 90% of all Chinese males under the age of forty in the country's coastal regions used the drug (estimated to be upwards of 12 million) • Business activity was much reduced • Civil service ground to a halt, and the standard of living fell • 57% of all Chinese imports were opium

  8. Opium Wars • Two wars were fought the First from 1839 to 1842 and the Second from 1856 to 1860 • Fought between Great Britain and China over trade and diplomatic relations when China forbade the opium trade in the country. • Outcome of both wars: China loses 

  9. The Boxer Rebellion • 1899 -1901: a group of peasants from the north banded together into a secret society known as I-ho ch'üan ("Righteous and Harmonious Fists"), called the "Boxers" by Western press. • Goal: Rid China of all western influence

  10. The Boxer Rebellion • By late 1899, bands of Boxers massacred western missionaries and Chinese Christians; burnt churches and foreign residences, and destroyed railroad stations and property • Response of the Qing Dynasty: Empress Dowager Tzu'u Hzi sends out Imperial Army in support of Boxers; declares war on all foreign nations with diplomatic ties in China.

  11. Empress Dowager Tzu'uHzi

  12. Response of the West • International force of approximately 54,000 troops from 8 nations (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) arrived to take Beijing and rescue the foreigners and Chinese Christians. • Result: Rebellion put down • Aftermath: weakening of the Qing Dynasty

  13. Forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance

  14. The Modern Era • 1911, idea of rebellion against a ruling class and establishment of a government by the people reaches China • The child emperor, Puyi, was forced by rebels to abdicate

  15. The Republic of China • In 1912, the Republic of China was founded by the Kuomintang (KMT, or "Nationalist Party") • Preceded by the Qing Dynasty and followed by the People’s Republic of China in 1949 • Republic was founded after a revolution that ended the 2,000 year imperial rule of China • During the period between 1912 and the end of the Republic in 1949, China was primarily ruled by warlords.

  16. Chaing Kai-shek • Chinese military & political leader • Led Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) for five decades • Head of state of the Chinese Nationalist government between 1928 and 1949. • Fought against communists, which grew after 1917.

  17. Sino-Japanese Wars • Sino = a prefix used to refer to China • Empire of Japan begins attacks on China in 1937; quickly seizes many northern and coastal areas • US gunboat Panay is sunk by Japanese bombers while peace still exists between the US and Japan • With the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Japan captures European and US territories in China ( e.g. Hong Kong and Macau) • Chinese, US and British forces fight back from western and central China • The Japanese are eventually defeated in 1945 but many areas of northern, southern and eastern China are devastated by the war

  18. The Civil War & Revolution • Despite partial alliances against the Japanese, a state of war exists between the Kuomintang and Communist forces for over 20 years from 1926 • Civil War fully breaks out in 1946 • The Communist Party of China seizes power on October 1st, 1949 • Various offshore islands stay loyal to the Kuomintang and Chang Kai-Shek re-establishes the Chinese Republic on Taiwan

  19. Mao Tse-tung • Served as chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959, and led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death in 1976 • For Homework: Please read the biography of Mao.

  20. Leaps Forward (and Back) • The Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) saw Mao attempt to turn China from an agrarian economy to an industrialized society a la Soviet Union • Poster: “We’ll smash the old world and build a new one”.

  21. Leaping Back… • Government executed people who did not agree with the pace of radical change. • The crackdown led to the deaths of 550,000 people by 1958. • Government plunged into debt by increasing spending on development of industry

  22. Leaping Further Back… • Local leaders competed with one another to see who could create the most activity • Result: agricultural tasks were neglected leaving the grain harvest to rot in the fields • Result: leaders over reported their harvests to their superiors in Beijing • Result: what was thought to be surplus grain was sold abroad • Result: Famine!

  23. And Still Further • Scholars have estimated that somewhere between 16.5 million and 40 million people died before the experiment came to an end in 1961, making the Great Leap Famine the largest in world history.

  24. Collectivized Agriculture • China was reformed into a series of communes • Average size: 5,000 families • Gave up ownership of personal property - everything was owned by the commune • Nurseries & Schools provided, as well as elder care (“Houses of Happiness”) • Soldiers worked alongside people • Communes run by Communist Party members • By 1958, 700 million people had been placed into 26,578 communes

  25. Propaganda • Propaganda was everywhere – including in the fields where the workers could listen to political speeches as they worked as the communes provided public address systems.

  26. Go all out and aim high. The East leaps forward, the West is worried, 1958

  27. Brave the wind and the waves, everything has remarkable abilities, 1958

  28. Everybody is fully occupied in production, the trade sector is also fully occupied for everybody, 1958

  29. Speed up the mechanization of agriculture - People's communes are good, 1960

  30. The melons are sweet, grain and rice are fragrant, everybody tries the flavor, 1958

  31. The power to fight disasters is strong to quicker raise the levels of production and life - People's communes are good, 1960

  32. The Cultural Revolution • 1965-1968 - Mao Zedong attempts to reassert his control over the Communist Party. • Mao felt the Communist party had become too intellectual and “bourgeoisie” • Bourgeoisie = The capitalist class who own most of society's wealth and means of production. • Urges the nation’s youth to purge the "impure" elements of Chinese society and revive the revolutionary spirit

  33. The Red Guard • Mao shut down schools • Students formed paramilitary groups called the Red Guards • Attacked and harassed members of China's elderly and intellectual population • Many Chinese cities reached the brink of anarchy by September 1967

  34. Two Chinese citizens branded as "Capitalist" and subjected to physical abuse in the public - to get Chinese who were less than revolutionary to struggle with their "errors"

  35. Chinese youth conducting a “Struggle Session,” forced on an adult (probably teacher or local official) in some of the worst cases they would even be beaten

  36. Red Guards denounce a group of Franciscan nuns in front of their desecrated church in late August 1966.

  37. The Red Guard • President Liu Shaoqi and other Communist leaders were removed from power • Millions were forced into manual labor, and thousands (possibly millions) were executed or killed in the violence. • The result was massive civil unrest, and the army was sent in to control student disorder

  38. Mao’s Cult of Personality • Mao's image became displayed almost everywhere, present in homes, offices and shops. • Student members of the Communist Party were encouraged to carry copies of Mao's Little Red Book of quotation • Numerous posters, badges and musical compositions referenced Mao in the phrase "Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts" and a "Savior of the people".

  39. Advance victoriously while following Chairman Mao's revolutionary line in literature and the arts, 1968

  40. Respectfully wish Chairman Mao eternal life!, 1968

  41. Comrade Mao Zedong is the greatest Marxist-Leninist of the present age, 1969

  42. Chairman Mao gives us a happy life, 1954