Illicit drug trade, multiple drug wars, and territory surrendered to foreign drug powers.
• The Opium Wars
• The Taiping Rebellion
• The Last Emperor
• The Warlord Period
• Foreign Concessions
• The Japanese Occupation (WWII)
• The Chinese Civil War
• The Korean War
• The Great Leap Forward
• The Cultural Revolution
Rebels, including Jesus’ brother, seizing parts of the country. Military skirmishes, land grabs, punitive treaties, and general all-around bullying by foreign powers. Warriors with mystical powers defending the homeland. Palace intrigue, attempted coups, abdication, democratization, assassinations, mutinies, cessation, and a broken government. Warlords ruling the country. Full scale invasion and occupation, all-out war, and 20 million casualties. Civil war, 6 million casualties, and another war. Property seizures, massive societal restructuring, radical economic initiatives, famine, disease, and 20+ million casualties. Turning the people against themselves, struggle sessions, labor camps, torture, and more than 1 million casualties.
Incredible drama and horrendous suffering
The last 200 years of Chinese history has contained more drama than Hollywood would ever dare put into a script. It is simply amazing how China was dragged from one crisis to another and how its people were forced to endure unspeakable hardship. The death toll is staggering and the conclusion, total societal collapse of a kind virtually unparalleled in human history, is horrific and yet strangely fitting for what must be considered one of the most tumultuous two centuries any society has ever had to endure in human history.
History worth knowing
History matters. Not just theoretically, but practically, mostly because it can reveal critical factors that shape how people think and the course a country might take in the future. China has about 5,000 years of history and you don’t have nearly enough time to study it all. That’s OK because it is the most recent history that is most relevant. In China’s case a good start would be gaining a general understanding of the last few centuries.
In this space on our website, The China Learning Curve will provide a concise summary of the major events that have unfolded over the last two centuries of Chinese history along with summary comments as to the major lessons that foreigners should take from China’s history. Look for the history section to be launched soon.