HISTORY OF CHINA (C. 1840 – 1978)
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Q. 1. Discuss the factors that contributed to the growth of nationalism in China.
Ans. For centuries the attitude of China regarding its place does not correlate with the other countries of the world.
The China was in contact with the other countries only through the trade. The smaller kingdoms, which were located in its periphery often, paid tribute in the form of gifts to the Emperor of China.
Thus, according to China, Chinese Empire was the most superior and its Emperor was the Son of Heaven.
The concept of nation with the boundaries never existed for Chinese. They were shocked, when Western concept of international laws was imposed on them and they had to accept these ideas.
According to scholars, on the one side Chinese were afraid of foreigners and on the other side, they had deep superiority complex.
But some other argued about the acceptance of Buddhism by Chinese. Also traditional links between China and India never revealed any striking experience about sino-centrism attitude of China.
After the defeat in the opium war, nationalism became the driving force in Chinese politics. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Nationalism on the Rise
Chinese Nationalism included three different but correlated components.
- To oppose the imperialism.
- To overthrow the Manchu (Qing dynasty).
- To demand the strong, modern and centralized nation capable enough to abolish imperialism and advancement in all the three basic scenario of life like social, political and cultural.
Resistance to Imperialism
The foreign attacks began since the time of the opium war. On every defeat, China had to face unequal treaty, which further increased foreign encroachments.
In many cases, China was effectively forced to pay large amounts of reparations, open up ports for trade, cede or lease territories.
The Sino-Japanese war added to its deteriorating condition and led the China to become a part of “scramble of concession”.
Physically, China was unable to prevent these encroachments but it was determine to get what it lost in the hands of imperialism.
By the end of 19th century, the word like “national sovereign” began to appear in official documents.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
During the starting of 20th century, China proved its sovereign rights over Tibet. After losing Manchuria by Russia in hands of Japan, China immediately reconstructed the administration in order to stop Japanese ambition of expansion.
In order to prevent Mongolia from the capture of Russia, China encouraged the Chinese to live there, instructed local officials against Russia and set up Chinese type administration by sending the troops.
The general public of China also adopted aggressive attitude against Japan and Western countries. Through the newspapers, posters, dramas, the message of Chinese nationalism spread.
The success of Anti-American boycott and the Anti-Japanese boycott showed the willingness of Chinese merchants and workers that they could sacrifice their own interests in favour to achieve nationalistic objectives.
Abolition of Manchu dynasty and abolition of concessions to foreigners including extraterritorial rights were the common demands among the Chinese revolutionaries. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Nationalism and Nation-building Anti-imperialism was not the only impact of nationalism, it demanded provincial and regional victory also.
During the last days of Manchu rule, the government set up provincial assemblies, which provided the platform for debate and discussion, thus helped in spreading the patriotic feelings.
The intention of local merchants to expand their trade was one of the important reasons for the demand of nationalism. In their own country, the foreigners got the more privileges over these local merchants.
Thus a uniform national monetary system was required, which led the need of nation building, a strong unified nation.
The Chinese population was majorly composed of Han, but it was ruled by the Qing dynasty (Manchu), racially different from Han and contributed only 6 per cent of national population.
Manchu actually belonged to Manchuria possessed by different culture than that of Chinese natives. When Manchu rule began to decline, many anti-Manchu sentiments arose among the Han people. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Although the Qing court composed of vast numbers of Han Chinese and many bureaucrats were Han, yet the Manchu rulers were blamed for adopting wrong policy in foreign affairs.
The anti-Manchu sentiments were more common among the people, who belonged to secret societies. The Slogan, “overthrow the Manchus, restore the Chinese”, was raised by anti-Manchu Chinese communities.
The intensity for anti-Manchu sentiments vary from place to place and time to time. It was not the anti- Manchuism, but the anti-imperialism, which had united the Chinese population.
Q. 2. Write a note on the New Cultural Movement in China after 1911. Discuss the role of intellectuals in China’s Cultural Revolution.
Ans. The New Culture Movement was an intellectual and reformist movement that reached its peak in 1919.
The movement was initiated mainly by university students angry at China’s treatment at the hands of Western powers. a broad collection of scholars, writers and intellectuals, based mainly in Beijing and Shanghai participated in the New Culture Movement. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
They were particularly outraged by the treatment of Shandong province, which was given to the Japanese after World War I.
Beginning in the mid-1910s, exponents of New Culture argued that Confucianism and classical philosophy had little relevance or value in 20th century China.
For China to survive and prosper, it had to adapt and embrace modern ideas and values.
The New Culture Movement launched withering attacks on Confucianism, which had sustained the Qing dynasty beyond its usefulness and reinforced outdated social values like hierarchy, paternalism, obedience and unquestioning respect.
New Culture writers supported the introduction of Western social and political concepts and values, including democracy, republicanism, self-determination, equality and individual liberties.
New Culture advocates recognised these things were not achievable without a significant cultural shift among China’s leaders and its people.
There could never be a democratic China, they argued, while political authority was reinforced by Confucian teachings, while tradition consistently blocked progress and while patriarchal family structures impeded individual freedoms and the rights of women.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Attack on Tradition: Intellectual Efforts
The analysis of New Culture Movement suggests the attack on traditional cultural heritage.
Chen appeal to the Chinese that “be independent not surveille, progressive not conservative, aggressive not passive” simply challenged the entire tradition including
the teaching of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. It was felt that without abolishing the superstitious and conservative culture, the entire traditional political structure could not be removed.
After returning from United States in 1917, Hu Shih asked not to talk about politics for another twenty years. His followers included the educated youth, who did not believe in corrupt and rotten system.
The differences arose between the outlook of the New Youth and the pioneer thinkers on the ideas of changing society. But the educational approach was in favour of the restructuring of the society.
The abolition of examination system in 1905 helped in differentiating between the politicians and intellectuals. The emergence of new literature was another aspect of the new cultural movement.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Hu Shih’s attempts for accepting the spoken language as written language contributed in curing deep spiritual ailments of the Chinese people by introducing the ‘high culture literature in easy language.
In fact, the people associated with art deeply moved by these non-artistic concerns. The stress started giving on ‘individualism’ in both its liberal and romantic sense rather than political salvation.
The best example was the translation of a Norwegian play A Doll’s House, which supported the liberation of women within the family.
The idea behind the Hu Shih’s movement to “reorganize the national heritage” was to undermine the credibility of orthodox histories through effective means.
Chinese nationalists were finding the roots of modern culture in the Chinese past. Hu Shih also gave preference to new literature and new scholars.
Inspired from the philosophy of John Deway during his student life in United States, Hu Shih was able to translate Chin- Duxiu’s famous formula “Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy” in its own version.
According to Deway science and democracy were inseparable values. If men adopted the theories of science and applied it to nature successfully, he could get freedom from the superstitions and dogma.
Shih accepted the delicate epistemological issues from the Deway’s ideology in science and methodology and interpreted it in simple ways.
Because of its scientific background, Hu Shih could not digested appeal of the nation of total revolutionary transformation.
In the same time, Lu Hsun emerged as most capable literary inspiration with different sensibilities. His writings were very popular among the Chinese. Initially he was inspired from the evolutionary statement.
The post 1911 revolutions tuned his hope to bleak and underwent blank wall of despair. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
After the New Cultural Movement, he decided to write again but was not given response by Chinese people. His past was totally different from that of Hu Shih. It showed in his writings also.
Q. 3. Analyse the significance of the Opium Wars in the evolution of the Sino-Western relations in the 19th Century.
Ans. The Opium War, while having opium as its central point of contention, was and is about far more significant matters than the sale of drugs.
The war marked a moment when global power shifted irrevocably from East to West, in a clash of cultures amid an atmosphere of ignorance and arrogance on both sides.
The issue debated between British and Chinese forces was whether the British merchants would be allowed to trade as they saw fit or limited to trading in a manner of which the Chinese government approved.
The fact that one of the trade goods whose method of circulation was being determined by force was opium was of lesser importance to both parties: the Treaty of Nanking, which concluded the first Opium War in 1842, opened a series of additional ports to British residence and trade, which allowed the British better access to trade routes irrespective of the identity of the goods they wished to market.
However, the moral controversy of the trade processes disputed in the Opium War was increased dramatically by the identity of the product involved.
Britain’s continued trade in opium led to the virtual incapacitation of whole sectors of the population of China. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The systematic physical endangerment of the citizens of another nation constitutes warfare, Britain’s most potent weapon against China was opium.
While some scholars deny that opium was the immediate factor to initiate the war.
The center of debate moved around two important questions:
- If the opium factor was not present, whether or not war between the China and British would have been predicted at some time?
2. Who was actually responsible to begin the war, whether the Western powers, who launched a war on another country or the Chinese Empire, whose sino-centrism attitude refused to recognize the right of nation to engage in free trade.
Beside these, there are various queries involved responsible for continuing debate over the opium wars, which compelled the scholars to go into deep study of Chinese history. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
It helps in correlating those times and events with what is going today as matter of national sovereignty, independence of countries etc., are important in the present scenario also.
Chinese literature was also influenced by the Opium Wars as in poem Sanyuanli, Chang Weiping praised the struggle of peasants.
Q. 4. What led to the Chinese Revolution of 1911?
Ans. During the third quarter of 19th century, the Chinese state governed by the Qing rulers were facing severe crisis and were virtually on the decline.
For handling these crises, Qing state and government embarked upon a programme of reforms. These reforms were introduced for upholding the Confucian tradition and political rules.
These programmes provided a vision at least to the educated people in search of the political change, which finally led the 1911 Revolution.
The rising of new social groups, growing discontent among the peasants and gentry class and growing feeling of nationalism were certain factors that led to the outbreak of the revolution in China.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The Qing rulers tried to prevent their decay by introducing reforms in the field of education, army and administrative and institutional organizations, in more extensive way than those proposed by Kang Youwei.
These reforms marked an attempt to create a modern state structure of China, but could not prevent the termination of Qing dynasty.
Education: The important measures in the field of education were announced in Jan. 1901.
In order to change the traditional old system of education, a series of imperial edicts were passed from 1901 to 1906 for restructuring the system as well as for introducing new contents in education system.
A network of schools was planned according to which elementary schools at the districts, secondary schools at the prefectures and college at each province were established.
The traditional eight-legged essay was abolished and new subjects like history of China, World history, Science, etc., were introduced.
Gentry and elite class actively supported this modern system of education and by 1909, there were more than 100,000 modern schools in China.
With the abolition of traditional system of education, the gentry’s ties with the monarchical state gradually weakened.
Military: In the military reforms from 1901 to 1906, Yuan Shi-Kai played a significant role. The Manchu banner system was replaced with the trained troops at the military academies in the provinces.
The traditional military exanimation system was abolished and the army was re-organized according to Western line.
Yuan formed the Northern army equipped with modern arms and officers, who trained abroad or at the new military machines.
The Northern army had six divisions and Japanese military instructors. The army was loyal to Yuan.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Administrative and Institutional: Many changes were introduced to the administration including the abolition of compulsory quota for the posts of Manchus and Chinese.
But these changes worked in favour of the Manchus and created dissatisfaction among Chinese officials. Getting inspired from Japan, the Manchus initiated a programme of constitutional reforms.
Thus, Empress Dowager set a Commission for the advice regarding to the type of political reforms in 1905, and by 1907, a Constitutional Government Commission was created with the promise of instituting constitutional and provincial assemblies.
By getting extreme support for the parliamentary government, the constitutional principles were announced on Aug. 1908.
The Qing brought these reforms for getting the support of people, but according to the gentry these could form the basis of transfer of power to local or provincial levels.
The elections were meant for the elite class only as the candidate must have annual income of over 5,000 taels or possessed by provincial degree or must have graduated from the new middle school.
Thus, the assemblies became the centre of opposition. Under stressed conditions, Prince Chun promised of a proper parliament by 1913, but the formation of cabinet composed of mainly princes and Manchu nobles in 1911 aggravated the anger among people. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
It resulted in the armed rebellion in various provinces, which brought out the final fall of the Qing dynasty.
Q. 5. Discuss the major changes introduced in China under the leadership of Mao Zedong.
Ans. Mao Zedong had prepared the blueprint of the government in his essay “On the Peoples’ Democratic Dictatorship”.
According to its framework of political structure, the Chinese population must contribute and participate in the political and economic life of the country actively.
In order to terminate the power of landlords and reactionaries, the people must fight together with their entire might.
In the Chinese Republic of communist government, there were 14 parties and there was a space for the non-communists also.
The non-communists could occupy the position both in the government and the deputy head of states. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The framework of this political structure was such that it got the support of all working class, the peasantry and the bourgeoisie. Mao Zedong had become the Chairman of the Republic.
Land Reforms: The major aspects of the land reforms carried under the new regime included the redistribution of the all lands of the village or the district among the peasants and the landowners equally.
Those landlords who gave their consent they would cultivate the land by themselves were provided with the equal share of land.
This policy was adopted in the old liberated zones. The 1950 agrarian policy was modified in order to obtain the support of broad section of the society.
In new liberated zones, the rich peasants were allowed to keep their lands as they produce the rice in comparatively larger amounts, which was required in order to fulfil the cities demands for food.
The system of tenant farming was abolished and thus saved about one- fourth of the country’s agricultural production, which otherwise grabbed by the landlords.
The peoples’ courts and peasantry organizations were established at village and district level to sort out any disputes.
Health campaigns and literacy campaigns were also organized by the government to develop the confidence among the peasant class.
The women and the youth were also given priority in order to bring social, political and economic transformation of the society.
Industry: The bourgeoisie was mainly involved with the industrial management.
Through the 1950 law, the communists made vast networks of unions in factories, city federations, and different branches of industry in order to control the price and the distribution of primary materials.
The private economy was also allowed to cope with the economic crisis under the control of state government. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Various measures were taken against corruption and bribery, which badly affected the productivity. Attempts were also made to put in order the transport system, commerce and trade.
Social Change: The women life was transformed by making the Marriage Law of 1950, in which the women were provided with equal rights to men.
According to this law, the marriage should be based on mutual consent. This law also provided the protection to the children as many female infants were killed and sometimes many parents sold their children.
All these activities were declared illegal. Prostitution was declared as crime and various measures were taken to support the prostitutes by women’s organizations.
The opium trade and public gambling were banned and the opium addicts were provided with education and cure.
In order to teach poor peasant class, literacy camps were organized in the villages, factories and among the poor section of the cities.
A proper network was developed through the mass organizations linked with the Communist Party in order to implement these social, political and economic changes to the most backward areas of the country.
All these mass organizations including the unions, women’s organization, youth groups, professionals, etc. played a significant role in creating the social, political and ideological foundations for the success of the democratic regime.
Q. 6. Write a note on Confucian philosophy.
Ans. Confucianism is a philosophy and belief system from ancient China, which laid the foundation for much of Chinese culture.
Confucius was a philosopher and teacher who lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E. His thoughts on ethics, good behavior, and moral character were written down by his disciples in several books, the most important being the Lunyu.
He is also known in Chinese as the Master Kong, or Kongfans. The main idea of Confucianism is the importance of having a good moral character, which can then affect the world around.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
He urged a return to what he considered the golden days when relationships and mutual obligations among people were respected, such as those between the ruler and the ruled, between father and son, and other family relationships.
This moral character is achieved through the virtue of ren, or “humanity,” which leads to more virtuous behaviors, such as respect, altruism, and humility.
Confucius believed in the importance of education in order to create this virtuous character. According to him, order and prosperity would be restored only if truly moral ‘men of talent’ governed the land.
Confucius believed that these qualities of men did not depend on birth but on education and merit.
He thought that people are essentially good yet may have strayed from the appropriate forms of conduct.
Rituals in Confucianism were designed to bring about this respectful attitude and create a sense of community within a group.
Confucius was a teacher and advisor to the local ruler. The teachings of Confucius were collected by his disciples and made into a compilation known as the Analects. Initially, Confucian ideas appealed mostly to everyday folks.
But over time, his philosophy gained popularity in the political sphere and became the official belief system of the Chinese state.
Confucianism also became a big part of the educational system. So much so that officials had to master Confucian principles in order to pass the civil service exams for government employment. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Because of this, Confucian ideas have influenced the Chinese government for centuries. Confucius’s ideas became an intrinsic part of the traditional Chinese ethos.
Q. 7. Explain the significance of the Hundred Days Reforms in China.
Ans. As the name suggests itself, the reform lasted around 100 days from June 11 to September 16 of 1898. Kang and his associates helped in carrying out this reform. Kang was also appointed as secretary of the Tsungli Yamen.
The Scope of Reform: The Hundred Days Reforms cover a wide range of subjects giving much emphasis on administration, education and economy.
The unnecessary posts and subsidies paid to Manchu were abolished. To bring the direct contact of the Emperor with the people, all officials and subjects were allowed to keep their suggestion directly to the Emperor.
Old academics were transformed by including new subjects like Science and Economics. For the supervision of agriculture, industry and trade, different ministries were formed.
For handling the financial management of the state, new offices were established equipped with the modern legal system.
These measures were not carried out to overthrow the power of the state. But the Manchu and Chinese officials were quite anxious about these changes.
The Reaction: The intention of Hundred Days Reforms programme was not to overthrow the power of the state, but it received much reaction from various sections of the society. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
By getting the hidden support of Dowagar Empress Tzu Hsi, Yuan Shi-Kai made the Kuangshu Emperor prisoner and announced for the arrest of all the reformist leaders.
Kung Yai-wei and his close associates fled to abroad, while Tan Sitong and other five reformers were executed. All the measures were cancelled except for the edict founding the University of Peking.
The reason for the failure of the reform may vary but the proposed political reforms were focused on the ruling elites. Besides it, these initiated measures against the imperial aggression.
Gradually, the people began to take interest in the new learning and thus, the demand for democracy increased.
The impact of 1898 reform could not be neglected as one group of people admitted the need of political reform while the other group was convinced with the Qing inability to rule.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Q. 8. Discuss the impact of New Youth on the Chinese intellectuals.
Ans. The publication of New Youth played a significant role in bringing the intellectual and literary revolution.
Hu Shih emphasized on accepting all the writings in spoken language (not in classical Chinese) in order to give more accessibility of knowledge to more people.
It was favoured by many intellectuals and by 1920s most writers accepted the vernacular language (the spoken language).
Hu Shih’s views were first published in New Youth and approved by its editor Chen Duxin, who had founded the magazine in 1915. Its editorial committee was joined by many leading intellectuals.
The financial constraints led to the magazine’s suspension of publication, but it was continuously becoming popular among the students.
It demanded the Chinese youth to become progressive, scientific, independent, practical and outspoken. Through this magazine, Chen attacked on Confucianism and advocated the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity.
The impact of the magazine was so much on the students that they eagerly waited for its every issue. IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
It provided the platform for the debates and discussion on variety of issues through the column of this journal. Very soon, it became the mouthpiece of the young, enthusiastic, patriotic and liberal generation.
Q. 9. Briefly discuss the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
Ans. The implementation of the social education system (SEM) was not enough for Mao to consolidate a revolutionary socialist society.
He introduced a more intense and extensive movement, called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in 1966 that continued until 1976.
Ideological Justification of the GPCR: According to Mao, it is impossible to achieve true socialism until the abolishment of feudal and capitalist ideas.
Thus, Mao created the concept of ‘Continuous Revolution’, whose basic premise was the Theory of Continuing the Revolution under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
According to Mao, only the establishment of a socialist society could not make the society revolutionary as the seeds of feudalism and capitalism were ingrained in the minds of people.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The proletariat (working class) has to remain vigilant and carry on revolutionary class warfare to prevent a bourgeois society from emerging by fighting the so-called capitalist roaders.
Mao called his opponents senior leaders in the party such as Liu Shaoqi. President and Politburo member, Party Secretary General Deng Xiaoping, Beijing Mayor Peng Zhen the capitalist roaders.
Q. 10. Explain the Commune system.
Ans. Peasants, workers led the foundation for the social base of communists. Through various agrarian reforms, the communists were able to win the support of peasants and workers.
Most important agrarian policy was the redistribution of confiscated land from the landlords or rich peasants. By giving the slogan of “land belongs to the tiller” the communists encouraged the peasant community.
Also by reducing the rent and burden of taxes on the peasant and worker class, they offered them the new dimension.
All the public land and the land owned by the landlords was to be taken over by the local peasant associations and together with the rest of the land in the locality, redistributed equally on a per capita basis.
Having obtained land the peasants enthusiastically participated in the civil war from the side of the Communists.IGNOU BHIE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Health and literacy campaigns were conducted by peasants associations, activities by women’s groups and those of young people also ensured the participation of all sections in the transformation of the life of the people.
However, the communists got tremendous support from the people of China. This was because they had adopted pro-people policies and the communists also opposed feudal and capitalist exploitation.