History of China A Look at Major Achievements of the Major Chinese Dynasties
Dynasty • A dynasty is a time period of a ruling family. It could last anywhere from 1 to hundreds of years. The Dynasty is named after the family name (last name) of the ruling family. China has had many dynasties. Some have been filled with excellent emperors who were fair to the people; however, there have also been emperors who were successful while they were abusive to some of their citizens. • Tai-Tsung, Tang Dynasty (626-649). (Both the dragon motif and the yellow color are restricted to the royalty only.)
Confucius, who lived about five hundred years before Christ, basically believed that moral men make good rulers and that virtue is one of the most important properties that an official can have. He also believed that virtue can be attained by following the proper way of behaving, and thus placed a great deal of stress on proper. Confucius introduced the idea of the “mandate of heaven”: that the rulers were put into power by the gods but dethronement meant he lost his mandate from heaven. Heaven in the Chinese context is a divine/natural force) and had the Mandate of Heaven to rule. born approx 551-479 BC watch Video A , Watch Video. Confucius B , (Religions worksheets)
Han DynastyApprox 206 BC to 220 AD • Like the Qin before them, the main goal of the Han was the unification of China. The expansion also led to trade with the people of inner Asia. Thereafter, the Silk Road was developed. The Silk Road actually consisted of more than one possible route through the mountains that the traders followed. Downfall for the Han! Same story: over tax people, people unhappy and revolt and overthrow the government!
Marco Polo (1254-1324), is probably the most famous Westerner traveled on the Silk Road. He excelled all the other travelers in his determination, his writing, and his influence. His journey through Asia lasted 24 years. He reached further than any of his predecessors, beyond Mongolia to China. His diaries sparked European interest and the want/need to find a way to China. This eventually led to European exploration and colonization.
The Boxer Rebellion The Chinese looked down upon foreigners so much that they wanted to rid the country of them. The US Secretary of state wanted an “Open Door” trade policy to “cash in” on the Chinese wealth that the British were enjoying. The Empress Dowager Cixi refused. Her second mistake was not helping the poor during the famine. The poor revolted against her.
There was an uprising of the poor who wanted to overthrow the emperor. A secret society in northern China began a campaign of terror against Christian missionaries and Chinese converts. Foreigners called them "Boxers" because they practiced martial arts. The society wanted to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and expel all foreigners and foreign influences. The Empress Dowager Cixi convinced the Boxers that the foreigners were to blame for the famine. • Throughout the summer of 1900 the Boxers burned churches and foreign residences and killed Chinese Christians on sight.
The Rebellion finally comes to a close • In June 1900 Britain, Russia, Japan, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria combined forces, sent in 19,000 troops, and suffered initial defeats before eventually taking control and occupying Beijing on Aug. 14, 1900. The US suffered 53 dead and 253 wounded in the rebellion. Beijing was looted and many Chinese people were tortured and killed. • The Boxers attacked the foreign embassies. After several weeks, British and American troops arrived and crushing the rebellion. • The foreign powers forced China to agree to a treaty that allowed foreign nations to station troops in Beijing. Captured Boxers
After the rebellion, the Empress escaped dressed as commoner. She returned later, and regained the throne. Soon afterwards, she died shortly after her son in 1908. The next heir was her young nephew, Pu Yi, just two years old. Pu Yi was soon overthrown by the nationalist Dr Sun Yat Sen, signaling the end of the dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China. The movie The Last Emperor was about young Pu Yi.
1945-1949: Communist Revolution Republic of China1912-1949 • When the Japanese surrendered the Russo-Japanese War, the Nationalists and the Communists began a mad scramble to seize territory that had been occupied by the Japanese. In particular, the two sides were not interested so much in territory as they were interested in the arsenals and technology that the Japanese had left behind. • In July, Chiang Kai-Shek attacked communist territories head-on and the civil war began. • Chiang's army seized over a hundred thousand square miles of communist territory. Mao Zedong, however, had seen this coming, and had been making preparations for a long, drawn out battle. The Nationalists held a national election for the National Assembly and on April 19, 1948, the National Assembly elected Chiang Kai-Shek as President of China. Dr Sun Yat Sen (See textbook for info.) Chiang Kai-Shek
People’s Republic of China1949- Present Day Mao Zedong answers . . . Video • By this point, however, the tide had turned in favor of the communists. The Nationalist Army had been spreading its troops all throughout the conquered areas and so had been seriously thinning out the troops available to fight the Red Army. • The Red Army, however, had been steadily growing all throughout 1946 and 1947. • As the Communist armies grew, they inflicted heavier and heavier losses on Nationalist forces. In the last year of the civil war, the communists inflicted over a million and a half casualties on the Nationalist Army. In the face of such staggering losses, the Nationalist Army simply disintegrated in mid-1949. On October 1, 1949, before all of China had been conquered, Mao declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China. China, from this point onwards, would consist of two governments: the mainland Communist government and the Taiwanese Nationalist government on the island of Formosa. And the conflict still goes on today. Chairman Mao Zedong: (See textbook for info)
1949: The creation of Taiwan • In English, as in Chinese, the name "Taiwan" is often used synonymously with the Republic of China, or Free China, while the term "China" usually refers to the People’s Republic of China, which controls mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. • The Republic of China (ROC) succeeded the Qing Dynasty in 1912, ending 2,000 years of imperial rule in China. Its existence on Mainland China was scarred by warlords, Japanese invasion, and civil war and ended in 1949 when its government was overthrown by the Chinese Communists. The ROC government then evacuated to Taipei where it continued to regard itself as the sole legitimate government of China. Chiang Kai-Shek memorial
1958: The Great Leap Forward • The Great Leap Forward took place in 1958. The Great Leap Forward was Mao’s attempt to modernize China’s economy so that by 1988, China would have an economy that rivaled America. • The Great Leap Forward planned to develop agriculture and industry. Mao believed that both had to grow to allow the other to grow. Industry could only prosper if the work force was well fed, while the agricultural workers needed industry to produce the modern tools needed for modernization. To allow for this, China was reformed into a series of communes. • The geographical size of a commune varied but most contained about 5000 families. The life of an individual was controlled by the commune. Schools, nurseries, and “Houses of Happiness” were provided by the communes so that all adults could work. Card issued to celebrate the Great Leap Forward Watch Video
Problems . . . • By the end of 1958, 700 million people had been placed into 26,578 communes. • In 1959, things started to go wrong. Political decisions/beliefs took precedence over common sense and communes faced the task of doing things which they were incapable of achieving. Commune leaders, who knew what their commune was capable of doing or not, could be charged with being a "bourgeois reactionary" if he complained. Such a charge would lead to prison. • Quickly produced farm machinery produced in factories fell to pieces when used. Many thousands of workers were injured after working long hours and falling asleep at their jobs.
1958: China’s Great Leap Forward • The excellent growing weather of 1958 was followed by a very poor growing year in 1959. Some parts of China were hit by floods. In other growing areas, drought was a major problem. • 1960 had even worse weather than 1959. Nine million people are thought to have starved to death in 1960 alone. The government had to introduce rationing. This put people on the most minimal amount of food and between 1959 and 1962, it is thought that 20 million people died of starvation or diseases related to starvation. • Some party members put the blame of the failure of the Great Leap Forward on Mao. He was popular with the people but he still had to resign from his position as Head of State (though he remained in the powerful Party Chairman position).
What to do next? • The day-to-day running of China was left to three moderates: Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. In late 1960, they abandoned the Great Leap Forward. Private ownership of land was reinstated and communes were cut down to a manageable size. Peasants also had the incentive to produce as much spare food as was possible. • These three moderates had restricted Mao’s power but his standing among the ordinary Chinese people was still high as he was seen as the leader of the revolution. He was to use this popularity with the people to revive his authority at the expense of the moderates. This was in the so-called Cultural Revolution.
1966-1976: The Chinese Cultural Revolution Video • In 1966, after spending years studying political economy and the classics of Chinese history, Mao was ready to act. • Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in August of 1966 in front of the Central Committee when he called for Red Guards to challenge Communist Party officials for their lack of revolutionary vision. • Mao and his group of radicals were still in control of the government. He wanted to get rid of all religion
Changing of the Guard • After years of turmoil and power struggle within the country involving offshoots of Mao’s revolutionary group—including the radical group led by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, Mao died in September of 1976. • A coalition of army and political leaders united and arrested Jiang Qing and her radical supporters, subsequently dubbed the Gang of Four. • In 1977, Deng Xiaoping emerges as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China.
1989: Tiananmen Square Several hundred civilians were shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic uprising in (Beijing) Tiananmen Square. More recently, this account is being disputed. Demonstrators, mainly students, had occupied the square for seven weeks, refusing to move until their demands for democratic reform were met. • The military offensive came after several failed attempts to persuade the protesters to leave. Throughout Saturday the government warned it would do whatever it saw necessary to clamp down on what it described as "social chaos". • The demonstrations in Tiananmen Square have been described as the greatest challenge to the communist state in China since the 1949 revolution. Watch Video
T-Square . . It has been suggested that the Communist leader Deng Xiaoping personally ordered their deployment as a way of shoring up his leadership. Hundreds were killed although it is unlikely a precise number will ever be known. • Reports also suggest that most of the violence actually occurred in surrounding areas as opposed to the Square and before the confrontation at the Square itself. • Peking has since become more widely known as Beijing.
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