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China

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For the first half of the 20th century, China faced political chaos. Following a revolution in 1911, which overthrew the Manchu dynasty, the new Republic failed to take hold and China continue to be exploited by foreign powers, lacking any strong central government. The Chinese Civil War was an attempt by two ideologically opposed forces – the nationalists and the communists – to see who would ultimately be able to restore order and regain central control over China. The struggle between these two forces, which officially started in 1927, was interrupted by the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, but started again in 1946 once the war with Japan was over. the results of this war were to have a major effect not just on China itself, but on the international stage.

Long-term causes of the Chinese Civil War[edit]
Socio-economic factors[edit] Summary of Socio-economic factors
In 1900, China was ruled by the imperial Manchu dynasty. The vast majority of the population were peasants. Their life was hard, working the land, and most were extremely poor. It was the peasants who paid the taxes that in turn paid for the great Manchu imperial court.It was also the peasants who faced starvation during floods or droughts, as their subsistence farming techniques often left them with barely enough to feed their families. The population in China grew by 8 per cent in the second half of the 19th century, but the land cultivated only increased by 1 per cent. This imbalance made famines more frequent. Peasants' plots of land were reduced, although at the same time landlords increased rents; some peasants had to pay 80 per cent of their harvest. Peasants would be driven to the cities by poverty, where there was already high unemployment due to improved technology and cheap Western imports.
Political weakness and the influence of foreign powers[edit] Summary of Political weakness and the influence of foreign powers
In the century that preceded the Chinese Civil War, the European imperialist powers had humiliated and exploited China and caused the destabilisation of China's ruling Manchu regime. Britain had defeated China in the mid 19th century in the Opium Wars, and subsequently the great Chinese Empire was carved up into spheres of influence by the Europeans, Americans, and at the 19th century, the Japanese.

This photo is of a Chinese Boxer and illustrates the poor levels of armament compared with the contemporary European and Japanese military forces.
China had been forced to sign unequal treaties that gave the imperialist powers extraordinary controls over Chinese trade, territory, and ultimately sovereignty. Foreigners refused to abide by Chinese laws, and they had their own extra-territorial courts. In addition, missionaries flooded into China in an attempt to spread Christianity. Inflation and corruption weakened the financial position of the Manchus. Widespread corruption among local and provisional government officials also meant that a large portion of tax revenues did not reach the central government.
In 1850, the Taiping Rebellion spread throughout southern China. The rebellion, which lasted until 1864, was part religious movement, and part political reform movement. It was only put down after the death of millions of Chinese by regional armies. This involvement of regional armies began to move away from centralised control, which would result in the Warlord Era in the 1920s.

There had been attempts to resist Western control by sections of the educated elite in China. However, the Self-Strengthening Movement was divided as to how to modernize China, and the Manchus did not coherently support reform. China remained subjugated to the West, and faced the humiliation of defeat in war to Japan in 1895. China lost more territory to Japan when it was part of the settlement in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05). The extent of popular anti-Western feeling turned into widespread violent rebellion against Westerners and the Boxer Rebellion in 1899. However, without modern weaponry, the anti-foreign revolt was doomed to fail.
The overthrow of the Manchu dynasty[edit] Summary of The overthrow of the Manchu dynasty
By the beginning of the 20th century, China was in a desperate condition, and there was a growing feeling that the ruling Manchu dynasty would be overthrown so that China could be Westernised and democracy introduced. The political weakness of the Manchu dynasty intensified with the death of the Emperor and the succession of a two-year-old boy, Pu Yi, in 1908. The former Emperor's brother, Prince Chun, ruled as regent, but was not capable of conducting the essential programme of reform. Indeed, he dismissed the potential troublemaker General Jiang Jieshi and humiliated him, and he increased taxation and frustrated the business classes without any socio-economic progress being made.
In October 1911, the ruling dynasty was overthrown in a revolution known as the Double Tenth. A republic was created. The revolution began when the government lost control of the military; soldiers in Wuchang revolted and rebellion spread quickly Most provinces then declared themselves independent of Beijing. The key tensions and issues that led to this revolution would also be significant in the causes of the civil war 15 years later: the impact of imperialism, anti-foreign sentiment and political weakness.
In November 1911, in an attempt to seize the political initiative, delegates from 'independent' provinces gather in Nanjing to declare the creation of a Chinese Republic. A political exile, who had been in the USA during the revoltion, was invited to be China's first President − Dr Sun Yat Sen (or also known as Dr. Sun Yixian).
The imperial government attempted to use the former influential general of the Northern Army, Yuan Shikai, to suppress the rebellion, but he double-crossed them, arranging a deal with Sun Yixan. Sun agreed for Yuan Shikai to be President of the new republic in February 1912, in exchange for the end of Manchu rule in China. On the 12th of February 1912, Pu Yi was abdicated.
The revolution, however, was incomplete. There was no real introduction of democracy, and most former imperial officials kept their positions. The impetus for the revolution was wholly Chinese, but had not been led by the middle classes. It had been the military who ignited the rising and Chinese radicals had joined in later. Michael Lynch argued that the revolution was fundamentally a revolt by the provinces against the center:
The Double Tenth was a triumph of regionalism. It represented a particular phase in the long-running contest between central autocracy and local autonomy, a contest that was to shape much of China's history during the following forty years
The rule of Yuan Shikai[edit] Summary of The rule of Yuan Shikai
Yuan ruled China as a military dictator from 1912 until 1915. However, the key issues that had led to the revolution in 1911 remained unresolved. Regionalism continued under Yuan's rule and became the key obstacle to a united China. Sun's party reformed as the Guomindang (GMD) in 1912, and declared itself as a parliamentary party.
It is argued that Sun agreed to Yuan Shikai's rule in order to avert the possibility of China descending in to civil war. The republicans were not powerful enough at this stage to take on the military. It was a lesson that both the GMD and the Chinese communists would take on board − to win the political battle for China military power was needed.
Sun attempted to undermine Yuan's power by moving him from his power base in Beijing to the south of Najing to set up a new government. Yuan refused to leave. At this point the GMD were a regional power only in the southern provinces, and the republicans were not sufficiently organised to mount resistance to Yuan. A 'second revolution' failed and Sun had to flee to Japan in 1913. However, Yuan mastered his own downfall by a series of ill-conceived acts. The 1912 Republican constitution had created regional assemblies, which he abolished in an attempt to centralise power. This act further alienated the provincial powers, especially as tax revenues were centrally controlled. Yuan's final miscalculation was to proclaim himself as Emperor in 1916. At this point he lost the support of the military and stood down. He died three months later.
The GMD and the Three Principles[edit]
The GMD had been set up by Sun Yat sen in 1912. He wanted to create a unified modern and democratic China. He had returned to China after the Double Tenth Revolution in 1911, and established a government in southern China, in Canton. Sun was not a communist, although he was willing to cooperate with them, and the organisation of the GMD was along communist lines. Sun also saw the need to develop a GMD army.
Sun stated that he and his party had three guiding principles:
1 Nationalism − to rid China of foreign influence, unite China and to regain its international respect,
2 Democracy − the people should be educated so that they could ultimately rule themselves democratically, and
3 People's Livelihood − this was essentially 'land reform,' the redistribution of land to the peasants and economic development.
Short-term causes of the Chinese Civil War[edit]

Political weakness: regionalism − the warlords (1916−28)[edit] Summary of Political weakness: regionalism − the warlords (1916−28)
A key cause of the civil war in China was the increasing lack of unity in the country by the second decade of the 20th century. Indeed, regionalism pr provincialism was to play a significant role not only in causing the war, but also in its course and outcome.
With the abdication and death of Yuan, China lost the only figure that had maintained some degree of unity. China broke up into small states and provinces, each controlled by a warlord. These warlords ran their territories independently, organising and taxing the people in their domains. They had their own laws and even their own currencies. As warlords extended their power and wealth by expanding their territories, it was the peasants who suffered in their continuous wars. None of the warlords were willing to relinquish their armies or power to the central government.
The warlord period increased the sense of humiliation felt by many Chinese and, coupled with their desire to get rid of foreign influence, led to an increase in nationalism during the decade of warlord rule.
China had all but ceased to exist − it was in a state of internal anarchy. If the warlords remained, China would remain divided.
The May Fourth Movement[edit] Summary of The May Fourth Movement
During this period, two political movements developed in response to both the warlords and foreign influence in China. The May Fourth Movement began in 1919. Students led a mass demonstration in Beijing against the warlords, traditional Chinese culture and the Japanese. The hostility had been ignited by the Versailles settlement, which had given to Japan Germany's former concessions in Shandong province. China, it seemed, had joined the Allies in the war only to be humiliated by them.
The significance of the May Fourth Movement was that it was dedicated to change and the rebirth of China as a proud and independent nation. Some intellectuals and students were inspired by revolutionary ideology in order to achieve these goals. The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 provided a practical example. The new Bolshevik government had also denounced the imperialists, and said that all contested border claims would be dropped. Imperialism was perceived by many as the main cause of China's problems.
Other Chinese were inspired by the GMD nationalist party, which had grown much stronger during the warlord period. These two groups − the communists and the nationalists − were to come together in an alliance in 1922.

Attempt to unify China: the First United Front[edit] Summary of Attempt to unify China: the First United Front
Both the GMD and the CCP wanted a unified China. They agreed that the first step to this was to get rid of the warlords, and in 1922 they formed the First United Front. Both parties also agreed that China needed to be free of the foreign imperialist powers. The Third Principle of Sun Yixan's, 'the People's Livelihood,' was often call 'socialism,' which convinced the Comintern that this was a party they could back. In addition, Jiang had studied in Moscow in 1923, and then ran the Whampoa Military Academy, which was set up and funded by the USSR to train the GMD officers. Despite his Soviet links, however, Jiang was not a communist. Indeed, he became increasingly anti-communist, and began his leadership of the GMD by removing communists from key positions in the party. He stopped short of breaking off the alliance with the communists, as he knew that he must first take out his primary obstacle to a unified China − the warlords.
Jiang, now determined to act on the first of the Three Principles, attempted to unify China by putting an end to the warlords' power. Together with the communists, the GMD set out on the 'Northern Expedition' in 1926 to crush the warlords of the central and northern China. This operation was a great success; by 1927, the GMD and the communists had captured Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Nanjing. They took Beijing by 1928. Within two years, the United Front of the GMD and the CCP had destroyed the power of the warlords, and t he GMD announced that it was the legitimate government of China and the new capital and seat of government would be Nanjing.
Immediate causes of the Chinese Civil War: the GMD attacks on the CCP[edit] Summary of Immediate causes of the Chinese Civil War: the GMD attacks on the CCP
Despite the results of the Northern Expedition, China was not now unified. The United Front was only a friendship of convenience. What had united the CCP and the GMD − the fight against the warlords − was over, and ideology divided the two parties. The success of the Northern Expedition had been not only due to nationalist ambitions, it was also because of the communist promise of land to the peasants; this commitment had given them local peasant support. The communists also had support from the industrial workers. For example, Zhou Enlai, a communist leader of the GMD, had organised the workers rising in Shanghai.
The popular support for the communists was a key reason that Jiang decided he could no longer tolerate them in the GMD. There could be no more cooperation. Jiang was sympathetic to landlords and the middle classes, and was far more to the right than Sun had been. Areas under communist control had seen peasants attack landlords and seize land − this could not be tolerated. It seemed to Jiang that the CCP needed to be crushed before China could truly be unified under the GMD.
Jiang now expelled all communists from the GMD, and his attacks on the communists reached a peak in Shanghai in the 'White Terror' in April 1927. A powerful 'workers' party army' under Zhou Enlai had proved very effective during the Northern Expedition and Jiang turned on them, using informants from the underworld of triads and gangsters − 5,000 communists were shot. The GMD carried out similar attacks in other cities, in what became known as the 'purification movement' − 'purification' meant the massacre of thousands of communists, trade unionists, and peasant leaders. About a quarter of a million people were killed. Despite attempts to resists (Mao's Autumn Harvest Rising failed), the CCP was very nearly crushed by the end of 1927.
Ignoring the orders of the Comintern to retain the United Front, the CCP decided that its only hope of survival was to flee into the mountains of Jiangsi. The GMD pursued them, determined to destroy the communists. The civil war had begun.

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Poverty in China

...12/3/14 Poverty in China FRIDAY October seventeenth was China's first official “Poverty Alleviation Day”, a yearly assembly of "discussions and pledge drives", intended to rally deliberations to battle hardship. Obviously, because of China's quick financial advancement, the nation as of now assuages a great deal of destitution every day: a year ago the quantity of rustic poor fell by 16.5m or in excess of 45,000 individuals every day. However that still left 82.49m individuals stuck in country lack of sanitization toward the end of 2013, as indicated by official measurements. A few places in China are more awful off than they look. Their "luxurious city structures" mask devastated populaces, as per Xinhua, the state news office. Different parts of the nation are less poor than they let on. They would prefer not to be expelled from the rundown of "destitution stricken regions" due to the support and different profits they would relinquish. China's neediness is, in this way, a matter of some controversy and perplexity. In reality, China itself may not be as poor as its official media assume. Xinhua reports inaccurately that China's official destitution line is lower than the World Bank's worldwide standard of $1.25 a day. By that global standard, claims an alternate state-supported daily paper, the nation still has more than 200m destitute. In referring to that discouraging measurement, it echoes a discourse in June by Li Keqiang, China's chief, in which he said that......

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