China 2 – College Essay Essay

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The Roots of Communist China

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.

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