The Roots of Communist China

Essay by randyrahulUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2006

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To say that the Chinese Communist revolution is a non-Western

revolution is more than a clich'. That revolution has been primarily

directed, not like the French Revolution but against alien Western

influences that approached the level of domination and drastically

altered China's traditional relationship with the world. Hence the

Chinese Communist attitude toward China's traditional past is

selectively critical, but by no means totally hostile. The Chinese

Communist revolution, and the foreign policy of the regime to which it

has given rise, have several roots, each of which is embedded in the

past more deeply than one would tend to expect of a movement seemingly

so convulsive.

The Chinese superiority complex institutionalized in their

tributary system was justified by any standards less advanced or

efficient than those of the modern West. China developed an elaborate

and effective political system resting on a remarkable cultural

unity, the latter in turn being due mainly to the general acceptance

of a common, although difficult, written language and a common set of

ethical and social values, known as Confucianism.

Traditional china

had neither the knowledge nor the power that would have been necessary

to cope with the superior science, technology, economic organization,

and military force that expanding West brought to bear on it. The

general sense of national weakness and humiliation was rendered still

keener by a unique phenomenon, the modernization of Japan and its rise

to great power status. Japan's success threw China's failure into

sharp remission.

The Japanese performance contributed to the discrediting and

collapse of China's imperial system, but it did little to make things

easier for the subsequent successor. The Republic was never able to

achieve territorial and national unity in the face of bad

communications and the widespread diffusion of modern arms throughout

the country. Lacking internal authority, it...