China Essay, Research Paper
Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai): 1898-1975 One of the leaders of the Communist Party of China, and prime minister of the Chinese People’s Republic from its inception in 1949 until his death, born in Huaian, Kiangsu Province, China. In 1927 he became a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, and in 1932 was appointed to succeed Mao Zedong as political commissar of the Red Army, but after 1935, following Mao’s elevation, he served him faithfully, becoming the Party’s chief negotiator and diplomat. As minister of foreign affairs (and concurrently prime minister) he vastly increased China’s international influence. Perhaps his greatest triumph of mediation was in the Cultural Revolution in China, when he worked to preserve national unity and the survival of government against the forces of anarchy.
Chiang Kai-shek [chang kiy shek] (, or *Jiang Jieshi*) :1887 — 1975 Revolutionary leader of 20th-c China, the effective head of the Nationalist Republic (1928–49), and head thereafter of the emigr Nationalist Party regime in Taiwan, born into a merchant family in Zhejiang. He interrupted his military education in Japan to return to China and join the Nationalist revolution. In 1918 he joined the separatist revolutionary government of Sun Yixian (Sun Yat-sen) in Canton, where he was appointed commandant of the new Whampoa Military Academy. After Sun’s death (1925), he launched an expedition against the warlords and the Beijing government, entering Beijing in 1928, but fixed the Nationalist capital at Nanjing (Nanking). During the ensuing decade the Nationalist Party steadily lost support to the Communists. When Japan launched a campaign to conquer China (1937), Nationalist resistance was weak. Defeated by the Communist forces, he was forced to retreat to Taiwan (1949), where he presided over the beginnings of Taiwan’s “economic miracle”.
Confucius: 551BC — 479 Chinese philosopher, born in the state of Lu (modern Shantung). Largely self-educated, he married at 19, became a local administrator, and in 531 BC began his career as a teacher. In 501BC he was appointed Governor of Chung-tu, then minister of works, and later minister of justice. His ideas for social reform made him the idol of the people; but his enemies caused him to leave Lu, and he travelled widely, followed by many disciples. He later edited the ancient writings, and the Confucian Analects, memorabilia compiled soon after his death, are a collection of his sayings and doings. His moral teaching stressed the importance of the traditional relations of filial piety and brotherly respect
Deng Xiaoping (, or Teng Hsiao-p’ing): 1904 — 1997 Leader of the Chinese Communist Party, after 1978 the dominant figure in Chinese politics, born in Sichuan province, China. He studied in France, where he joined the Communist Party, and in the Soviet Union, and became associated with Mao Zedong during the period of the Jiangxi Soviet (1928–34). In 1954 he became secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party, but reacted strongly against the excesses of the Great Leap Forward (1958–9). When Mao launched the Cultural Revolution (1966), Deng was criticized and purged along with Liu Shaoqi, but retained the confidence of Premier Zhou Enlai and was restored to power in 1974. Again dismissed in 1976, after the death of Mao he was restored once more to power, and from 1978 had taken China through a rapid course of pragmatic reforms.
Jiang Zemin : 1926 — Chinese president (1993– ), born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. An electrical engineer, he became commercial counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Moscow (1950–6) and during the 1960s and 1970s held a number of posts in the ministries of heavy industry and power. He was elected to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) central committee in 1982, and appointed Mayor of Shanghai in 1985. A cautious reformer, loyal to the Party, he was inducted into the Politburo in 1987, and following the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy massacre and the dismissal of Zhao Ziyang, was elected Party leader (1989), and chairman of the Central Military Commission (1990). He has pledged to maintain China’s “open door’ economic strategy.
Genghis Khan (, also spelled Jingis or Chingis Khan (”Very Mighty Ruler’), originally Temujin) : 1162/7 — 1227 Mongol conqueror, born in Temujin on the R Onon. He succeeded his father at 13, and struggled for many years against hostile tribes, subjugating the Naimans, conquering Tangut, and receiving the submission of the Turkish Uigurs. In 1206 he changed his name to the one by which he is now known, and from 1211, in several campaigns, he overran the empire of N China, the Kara-Chitai empire, the empire of Kharezm, and other territories. By his death the Mongol empire stretched from the Black Sea to the Pacific.
Kublai Khan: 1214 — 1294 Mongol emperor of China (1279–94), the grandson of Genghis Khan. An energetic prince, he suppressed his rivals, adopted the Chinese mode of civilization, encouraged men of letters, and made Buddhism the state religion. He established himself at Cambaluc (modern Beijing), the first foreignerever to rule in China, and ruled an empire which extended as far as the R Danube. The splendour of his court was legendary.
Kangxi (, also spelled K’ang-hsi, originally Xuanye): 1654 — 1722 Fifth emperor of the Manchurian Qing dynasty, and the second to rule China. He succeeded at the age of eight, and ruled personally at 16, cultivating the image of an ideal Confucian ruler, and stressing traditional morality. He organized the compilation of a Ming history, a 50`000-character dictionary, and (1726) a 5000-volume encyclopedia. He adopted the Western calendar, and permitted an East India Company trading post (1699). A pro-Ming revolt was crushed in the SE (1673–81), and he conquered Outer Mongolia (1696), Taiwan (1683), W Mongolia, and Turkestan (from 1715), and established a Tibetan protectorate (1720). A man of wide personal interests, he published three volumes of essays.
Lao Tzu (Laozi): c. 550BC — The legendary founder of Chinese Taoism (Daoism). Nothing is known of his life: the oldest biography (c.100 BC) claims he held official rank. He was first mentioned by Zhuangzi. Taoist tradition attributes their classic text, the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) to Laozi, but it was written in the 3rd-c BC. By the 2nd-c AD, Taoists claimed he had lived more than once and had travelled to India, where he became the Buddha. (Later he was claimed to have founded Manichaeism.) The Tang emperors (618–906) claimed descent from him.
Mao Zedong: 1893 — 1976 Leader and leading theorist of the Chinese communist revolution, born in the village of Shaoshan, Hunan Province, China, the son of a farmer. He graduated from Changsha teachers’ training college, then worked at Beijing University, where he was influenced by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. He took a leading part in the May Fourth Movement, becoming a Marxist and a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (1921). During the first united front with the Guomindang (Nationalist Party), he concentrated on political work among the peasants of his native province, and advocated a rural revolution, creating a soviet in Jiangxi province in 1928. After the break with the Guomindang in 1927, the Communists were driven from the cities, and with the assistance first of Zhu De, later of Lin Biao, he evolved the guerrilla tactics of “people’s war’. In 1934 the Guomindang was at last able to destroy the Jiangxi Soviet, and in the subsequent Long March the Communist forces retreated to Shanxi to set up a new base. This established Mao’s supremacy in the Party. ; When in 1936, under the increasing threat of Japanese invasion, the Guomindang renewed their alliance with the Communists, Mao restored and vastly increased the political and military power of his Party. His claim to share in the government led to civil war; the regime of Jiang Jieshi was ousted from the Chinese mainland; and the new People’s Republic of China was proclaimed (1949) with Mao as both Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and President of the Republic. He followed the Soviet model of economic development and social change until 1958, then broke with the USSR and launched his Great Leap Forward, which encouraged the establishment of rural industry and the use of surplus rural labour to create a new infrastructure for agriculture. The failure of the Great Leap lost him most of his influence, but by 1966, with China’s armed forces securely in the hands of his ally Lin Biao, he launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the Great Leap strategy was revived (with caution) when the left wing was victorious in the ensuing political struggles (1966–71). He died after a prolonged illness, which may have weakened his judgment. A strong reaction then set in against “cult of personality’ and the excessive collectivism and egalitarianism which had emerged during his time in power. A political, military, social, and economic essayist, he was also a significant minor poet.
Nixon, Richard (Milhous) : 1913 — 1994 Thirty-seventh U.S. president; born in Yorba Linda, Calif. Born to Quaker parents, he graduated from Whittier College (Calif.) (1934) and Duke University Law School (1937). He practiced law Whittier, Calif., and briefly served with the Office of Price Administration (1942) before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II (1942–46). He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep., Calif.; 1947–51) in a campaign noted for his accusation that his Democratic opponent was supported by Communists. As a member of the House Committee on un-american Activities, he gained fame for his part in the Alger Hiss spy case. He then went on to the U.S. Senate (1951–53), again after suggesting that his Democratic opponent was tainted by Communist associations. He became Eisenhower’s vice-president in 1952 and was unusally visible and active in that role. In 1958 he faced down hostile demonstrations in Peru and Venezuela, and in 1959 he had his famous “kitchen debate” with Khrushchev at an American exhibit in Moscow. After narrowly losing the presidency to Kennedy in 1960, he lost a bid for governor of California in 1962, apparently ending his political career. But he came back to win the presidency in 1968, promising a quick end to the Vietnam war; in reality he enlarged and continued America’s active role until 1973. His administration was marked by social unrest at home, but he had some accomplishments in foreign relations, notably a 1972 arms treaty with the U.S.S.R. and opening of relations with Communist China. Reelected by a landslide in 1972, Nixon was brought down by revelations of administration misdeeds collectively known as “Watergate.” Facing certain impeachment, in August 1974 he became the first U.S. president to resign. He retired from public life for some years and concentrated on writing a series of books on political affairs; but eventually he began to make public appearances at home and abroad, in person and in the media, and he ended by attaining something of the status of an “elder statesman.”
Marco Polo: 1254 — 1324 Merchant and traveller, born in Venice, Italy. After a previous visit to Kublai Khan in China (1260–9), his father and uncle made a second journey (1271–5), taking Marco with them. He became an envoy in Kublai Khan’s service, and served as Governor of Yangzhou. He left China in 1292, returned to Venice (1295), and fought against the Genoese, but was captured. During his imprisonment, he compiled an account of his travels, Il milione (trans The Travels of Marco Polo), which became widely read.
Qin Shihuangdi (, also spelled Ch’in Shih Huang-ti) : 259BC –210BC First true emperor of China, who forcibly unified much of modern China following the decline of the Zhou dynasty. His achievements in unifying, centralizing, and bureaucratizing China may have been influenced by those of Darius I of Persia, and followed precepts laid out by the legalist philosopher Xunzi. Aided by his chief minister Li Si he consolidated N defences into a Great Wall, and drove the Xiongnu (Huns) from S of the Yellow R. He conquered the S, built canals and roads, divided China into 36 military prefectures, destroyed feudalism, and disarmed nobles. He also standardized Chinese script, and harmonized axle lengths, weights, measures, and laws. His principal palace, accommodating 10`000, was connected to 270 others by a covered road network. He was buried in a starry mausoleum with 6000 life-size terracotta guards. The tomb has been excavated since 1974.
Sun Yixian (, or Sun Yat-sen, originally Sun Wen): 1866-1925 Founder and early leader of China’s Nationalist Party, born in Xiang-shan, Guangdong, China. He was educated in Hawaii and in Hong Kong, where he trained as a doctor. Alarmed by the weakness and decay of his country, he founded the Society for the Revival of China, and sprang to fame when, on a visit to London, he was kidnapped by the Chinese legation and released through the intervention of the Foreign Office. He then helped to organize risings in S China. He returned to China after the 1911 Wuhan rising, realized that he would not be widely acceptable as president, and voluntarily handed over the office to Yuan Shikai. After the assassination of his follower, Sung Chiao-jen, civil war ensued (1913), and he set up a separate government at Guangzhou (Canton). He was widely
accepted as the true leader of the nation.
Empress L : — 180BC Consort of the first Han dynasty Chinese emperor, Gaozu, and dowager empress after his death (195 BC). She tried to ensure her own family’s succession, but after her death all were murdered, and Wendi, Gaozu’s son, acceded.
Wu, Empress (, in full Wu Zhao DT1a ?): ? — 706 Empress of China, the only woman ever to rule China in her own name. A concubine of Emperor Taizong, she married his son, Emperor Gaozong, whom she dominated after his stroke (660). After his death (683) she first ruled through her own sons, then following a reign of bloody terror she seized the title emperor in 690 with the dynastic name Zhou (Chou). To establish legitimacy, she claimed to be Maitreya, a supposed Buddhist “messiah’, ordered public prophecy of a female monarch 700 years after Buddha, and rewrote genealogies. Highly capable, she expanded the bureaucracy and examination system, set up a personal secretariat, and dominated both Korea and Tibet. She was forced to abdicate in 705, and her family were assassinated in 710.
Taiping Rebellion, in Chinese history, popular uprising against the imperial government of the Manchu (Ch’ing) dynasty, occurring between 1850 and 1864. The rebellion was led by the Cantonese schoolmaster Hung Hsiu-ch’ an. After a serious illness accompanied by visions, he was inspired by Protestant missionary tracts to found a movement dedicated to religious reform and to the overthrow of the Manchus. In 1851 Hung and his followers occupied the village of Yong-an (Yung-an) in Guangxi (Kwangsi) Province, and he proclaimed himself the Heavenly King of the Taiping, or Heavenly Kingdom. In 1852, after further organization, he led his forces through Hunan and Hebei (Hopeh) provinces and along the Yangtze River to Nanjing (Nanking), which they captured in 1853. With headquarters in Nanjing, Hung’s armies established strongholds to the north and south and instituted an authoritarian government with Christian and socialistic features. Largely because of administrative weaknesses and lack of military discipline, the rebels failed to consolidate their conquests and crush the tottering Manchu regime.
The turning point of the rebellion came when a new imperial army was organized by the Chinese scholar Tseng Kuo-fan. Tseng was successful in containing Hung’s troops in Nanjing, and when the rebels attempted to seize Shanghai, Western volunteers organized the “Ever Victorious Army,” commanded first by the American adventurer Frederick Ward and later by the British soldier Charles Gordon. This army inflicted heavy defeats on the Taiping in the Shanghai area, and in 1864 Tseng’s army recaptured Nanjing. Hung had already committed suicide when the city was taken. The extended revolt, which cost the lives of approximately 20 million people, seriously weakened the Manchu dynasty and contributed to its eventual downfall in 1912.