The Roots Of Communist China Essay

1808 words - 7 pages

To say that the Chinese Communist revolution is a non-Westernrevolution is more than a clich'. That revolution has been primarilydirected, not like the French Revolution but against alien Westerninfluences that approached the level of domination and drasticallyaltered China's traditional relationship with the world. Hence theChinese Communist attitude toward China's traditional past isselectively critical, but by no means totally hostile. The ChineseCommunist revolution, and the foreign policy of the regime to which ithas given rise, have several roots, each of which is embedded in thepast more deeply than one would tend to expect of a movement seeminglyso convulsive.The Chinese superiority complex institutionalized in theirtributary system was justified by any standards less advanced orefficient than those of the modern West. China developed an elaborateand effective political system resting on a remarkable culturalunity, the latter in turn being due mainly to the general acceptanceof a common, although difficult, written language and a common set ofethical and social values, known as Confucianism. Traditional chinahad neither the knowledge nor the power that would have been necessaryto cope with the superior science, technology, economic organization,and military force that expanding West brought to bear on it. Thegeneral sense of national weakness and humiliation was rendered stillkeener by a unique phenomenon, the modernization of Japan and its riseto great power status. Japan's success threw China's failure intosharp remission.The Japanese performance contributed to the discrediting andcollapse of China's imperial system, but it did little to make thingseasier for the subsequent successor. The Republic was never able toachieve territorial and national unity in the face of badcommunications and the widespread diffusion of modern arms throughoutthe country. Lacking internal authority, it did not carry much weightin its foreign relations. As it struggled awkwardly, there arose twomore radical political forces, the relatively powerful Kuomintang ofSun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and the younger and weakerCommunist Party of China (CPC ). With indispensable support from theCPC and the Third International, the Kuomintang achieved sufficientsuccess so it felt justified in proclaiming a new government,controlled by itself, for the whole of China. For a time theKuomintang made a valiant effort to tackle China's numerous andcolossal problems, including those that had ruined its predecessor :poor communications and the wide distribution of arms. It also took astrongly anti-Western course in its foreign relations, with somesuccess. It is impossible to say whether the Kuomintang's regime wouldultimately have proven viable and successful if it had not been ruinedby an external enemy, as the Republic had been by its internalopponents. The more the Japanese exerted preemptive pressures onChina, the more the people tended to look on the Kuomintang asthe only...

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