History of China

The two pre-historic centers from which migrations of modern human population over the continent took place were south west Asia and a region comprising the Mongolians’ plateaus and North China. From prehistoric to historic times, possibly beginning as early as 30,000 years ago, movements from South West Asia continued towards Europe and into Central Asia with significant movements into china was taking place. Prehistoric counter movements along the China coast carried early Asiatic migrants of South East Asia, Northward again into Korea and Japan. It is believed that the Japanese and Koreans joined together to settle in China and led to the establishments of Chinese Civilization. Vietnamese influence has profoundly affected Chinese society, setting it apart from the main land societies further west. Chinese Buddhism, formally the Mahayana School is of the Vietnamese influence.

China and Foreign Powers:

China consisted of five regions. They were China proper, Manchuria, Mongolia, Sinkiang and Tibet. They did not become a colony or dependency of any European country. China had a strong Government to hold the country together. The Manchu kings, who conquered China in 1644 continued to rule over the country till 1912. But China grew weak around 19th Century. European countries had trade contact with China. The Jesuits were the first to reach China with the aim to spread Christianity. The Portuguese reached China in 1516 A.D. They were followed by the Dutch and British and other European powers. Americans also had trade contacts with China but were restricted only to the city of Canton. The British made several attempts to increase trade with China. The British and other European powers felt that they were treated as foreign devils and denied the status of equality with the Chinese. Meanwhile a new trade was rapidly growing. Opium was smuggled into China. The British traders forced opium on the Chinese people in its worst form. The Chinese Government issued order prohibiting the import of opium. But the British continued to smuggle opium, which led to the opium wars.

Opium Wars:

In 1840, the First Opium War broke out between the English and the Chinese. The military weakness of China led to their defeat. By the Treaty of Nanking, China gave the Island of Hong Kong and a war indemnity to Britain. She opened five ports for the English trade. The Treaty of Nanking opened doors to Britain in China. The Second Opium War forced China to legalize the opium trade and also to open more ports for foreign trade. The humiliation suffered at the hands of foreign powers made China rise in rebellion against the Manchu king and foreigners in 1854. It is known as the Taiping Rebellion. Though the Manchu king was able to suppress the Rebellion their authority over China deteriorated. In the Sino-Japanese war of 1894 China was defeated and had to concede Formosa Island to Japan. This humiliating defeat led to the Boxer Rebellion. The Chinese youth called Boxers under the leadership of Empress Tzu-Hsi rebelled against the foreign powers and attacked European settlements and Christians in 1899. The combined army of the European powers defeated the Boxers. Tzu-Hsi fled the capital, Peking. Based on the Open Door Policy formulated by the USA, the Chinese territories were partitioned among the foreign powers. This partition of China is known as “Cutting of the Chinese melon”. Thus China became an international colony.

Mao Tse Tung and Communist Party in China:

In 1920, Mao Tse Tung, Chou En Lai and others formed the Communist Party of China in Peking. In 1924, the Kuomintang and the communist party decided to work together. The Soviet Union gave various kinds of aids and also trained the revolutionary army. When Dr. Sun Yar Sen died in 1925 the unity between the Kuomintang and the communist party was broken. In 1931, when the Japanese attacked China, the two parties agreed to work together to resist the Japanese invasion. Kuomintang was under the leadership of Chiang Kai Sheik and the communist party was under the leadership of Mao-Tse-Tung and Chou En Lai. However, the conflict between the two never ceased. The Kuomintang represented the interests of mainly the landlords and capitalists. The communist party was a party of workers and peasants. Mao Tse Tung and Chou-En-Lai organized a March to North China from South China. This is known as Long March of 1934-35, as it covered nearly 6000 miles. Because of the policies pursued by the communist party, it gradually won over the hearts of millions of people. It also organized a huge army, which was called he People’s Liberation Army. After the defeat of Japan, civil wars broke out in China. The Government of the United States gave liberal aid to Chiang Kai Sheik. By 1949 his armies were completely defeated. Chiang Kai Sheik went to Taiwan (Formosa) and formed a Government, which was recognized by the U.S.A.

China, Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo, which is called as People’s Republic of China has Beijing (Peking) as its capital. The large cities in China are Shangai, Canton and Shenzhen. The Area of China is 9,561,000 sq.kms with a population of 1,280.7m. The main language is Chinese. It has a literacy rate of 82% and main religions are Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. The main currency or Renminbi (means Currency in Chinese) of the country is Yuan.

China – Some Facts:

The most populous county in the world and the third largest in area, China is made up of 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and four municipalities. It occupies most of the habitable mainland of East Asia. Two thirds of the territory is mountainous or desert, only one-tenth is cultivated. The eastern half of China is one of the World’s best-watered lands. Three great river systems (the Chang or Uangtze, Huang or Yellow and Xi) provide water for the farmlands. One of the oldest countries in the world, China became a republic in 1911. Following internal conflicts after World War II involving the Kuomintang, Communists and other factions, China came under the domination of Communist armies. The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed in Peking on October 1, 1949, under Mao Tse-Tung. The Kuomintang govt. moved to Taiwan, Dec.8, 1949. Mao died in 1976 and Deng Xiaoping succeeded him as the ‘paramount leader’ of China. Deng died in 1997 and Jiang Zemin came to power.

On Oct. 26, 1971 China was admitted a member of the UN, displacing Nationalist China (Taiwan). China is essentially an agricultural country. The main crops are rice, tea, tobacco, sugarcane, jute, Soya, groundnut and hemp. The main forest products are teak and ting oil. Among the principal industries are cotton and woolen mills, iron, leather and electrical equipments. The chief minerals are coal, manganese, iron ore, gold, copper, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten, mercury, antimony and tin Petroleum industries are steadily growing.


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