China’s Amazing Rise from a Treacherous Past
China is the oldest continuous civilization existing today. She has over 3270 years of written history based on the oldest historical book, Shu Jing （Shang Dynasty）， although historians often cite five thousand years of Chinese history in terms of organized societies, or dynasties （Xia Dynasty, 2070BC to 1600BC before Shang and San Huang Wu Di before Xia). In such a long recorded history, there wAS rich information about evolution of human civilization, especially about philosophy, social structure, and scientific and economic development of the human society. Unfortunately, to a large part of the world, including China herself, China was only known for her recent two hundred years of history, including mostly her miserable years as a country suffered from foreign invasions and wars. Today, surprising to the world, China has risen again, not only as the second largest economy of the world, the top trading partner with 128 nations (2018), but also an advanced nation in numerous aspects from nation development point of view. Despite of China’s low key attitude and Western media’s selective focus on China’s faults real or not, undeniably China is now known for many of her achievements. China has succeeded in visiting the dark side of the moon with her latest moon shot to retrieve surface and interior soil from the moon. China independently developed her Beidou GPS system. She now has the most advanced transportation infrastructure in the world in terms of high-speed railroad grid, miles of highway including the number of cross-ocean bridges and superhighways. China is leading in telecommunication especially in mobile communication which enables her to have the largest number of smart phone users and leapfrogging from credit-card transactions to a phone based mobile pay system. China with her history of being a victim to foreign bully, has consciously built her defense capability not only in terms of deterring nuclear weapons but also with missiles capable of destroying invading carriers, submarines and hypersonic jets.
History Teaches and Chinese Learn
Chinese people suffered from a century of hardship through foreign invasions and extended wars including WW II which not only devastated the country but also left the nation divided with territories seized and occupied by foreign nations. Although the desire to recover the lost sovereignty was strong, the country was poor and fell far behind in industrialization. People had to work very hard just to keep alive never mind improving their livelihood. They needed a strong government to lead the people to get out of poverty.
In the fifties, the Chinese people all wear the same dark color clothing simply because they didn’t have the factories to make colorful fabrics, but the West interpreted that phenomenon as a suppressed society by a communist authoritarian government. It is certainly true that the Chinese Communist Party is a single party ruling the entire country but the usual authoritarian ruling like an Emperor or King or dictator does not apply to the CCP, simply because it has over ninety one million party members (91,914,000 as of 12/31/2019), out of which 49.6% has college degree or above, 27.2% female and 7.3% minorities organized with 4.68 million local groups. These 91 million CCP members are ruling the country with competitive and democratic system for performance evaluation and promotion. It is true that the party members serve all three branches of government, but the checks and balances are prescribed by Constitutions and laws in quite similar way like many other constitutions and laws.
The U.S. involvement in Asia
The U.S. was self-appointed as the post WW II world leader with an anti-Communism charter. The U.S. occupied Japan for seven years (1945-1952) and built a democratic constitution and government for Japan for the good of the world; even good for Japan as Japan was an imperialist spared generously from a punishment or war reparation. (In contrast, after the first Sino-Japanese war, 1884-1885, Japan demanded a war reparation from China equivalent to Seven times of Japan’s annual budget which funded Japan’s expansion and ambition to conquer China). Post WW II, the Korean Peninsula was separated into two Koreas, South and North similar to Germany divided into the East and West Germany. Under the anti-communism doctrine, the U.S. engaged in the Korean War when the North and South Korea developed a conflict at their division line. The Chinese did not want the Korean War but she hardly had a choice, either she had to let the Soviet Union to fight the U.S. on her front door very possibly on her soil or send troops to make sure the war is contained and kept outside out of China. On the one hand, the U.S. General McArthur was confident that he could run his troops all the way taking North Korea and crushing into China crossing the Yalu River. On the other hand, China was facing a not trustworthy ally, Stalin, who was ambitious to gain influence and territory in East Asia. China had experienced a huge land loss, when Japan and Russia engaged a war with ambition to colonize NE of China and the Korean Peninsula in 1904-1905. China under the leadership of Mao Ze Dong took the risk to send army to assist North Korea and fight the US-UN allied troops on Korean soil for only one purpose to avoid a repeat of history, i.e. China being bullied and penalized. McArthur underestimated the Chinese people’s resolve in defending Koreans, in reality defending themselves. The three year war (6/25/1950-7/27/1953) ended in Armistice keeping two Koreas separated till today. China tried very hard to get the U.S. to sign a peace treaty with two Koreas but the U.S. refused thus the Armistice still stands today. (To be continued)
Ifay Chang. Ph.D., Inventor, Author, TV Game Show Host and Columnist (www.us-chinaforum.org) as well as serving as Trustee, Somers Central School District.