The Twentieth-Century Events Of The Chinese Revolution

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Revolution has been central to the creation of the modern world. For China, the twentieth century was a turbulent time of constant warfare and momentous political and social changes. There are two notable twentieth-century events that are widely considered to be the Chinese “Revolution” in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and history textbooks. The first one is the 1911 Revolution, also known as the “Xinhai Revolution,” which brought about the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, the end to over 2,000 years of imperial rule in China, and the establishment of the Republic of China. In 1949, the Chinese Communist Revolution marked the victory of the Communists after the long civil war against the Nationalist forces and established the People’s Republic …show more content…
The most widespread and devastating of all was the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64). Though traditionally called a rebellion, this large-scale political and religious revolt claimed as many as 50 million lives and thus can be considered the bloodiest civil war in world history. China during this period was faced with severe economic dislocation, a weakened imperial army from the second Opium War (1956-60), and corruption of local officials. The rebellion was initiated in the Guangdong province in southern China and led by a Chinese Christian cult under the leadership of Hong Xiuquan, a Hakka Chinese who became a Christian convert. Hong believed that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ and that he had a holy mission to destroy the demon Manchus. While Hong’s religious followers formed the core, hundreds of thousands of poor peasants and other outcasts, who had their own grievances and miseries and saw nothing to lose by joining the revolt, followed Hong and his army. They captured the city of Nanjing, massacred its entire Manchu population, and established the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace. Furthermore, the Taiping ideologies of egalitarianism, communalism, and strict bans on idolatrous activities posed new challenges to the Chinese …show more content…
Natural disasters – severe drought followed by a Yellow River flood in late 1898, caused “problems of hunger anxiety, of growing nervousness, restlessness, and hopelessness” and soon led the peasants to blame their poverty on the foreigners (Schoppa, 119). The direct response to these occurrences was called the Boxer Uprising, an officially supported uprising of 1900 that attempted to drive all Christians and foreigners out of China. The leading force of the uprising was a secret martial arts society, which was largely made up of poor, young Chinese peasants from the Shandong province who had been “outraged by the influx of missionaries, the building of railroads, seizures of Chinese territory in Shandong, and many other aspects of imperialism” (Cheng, 174). Westerners named this society “Boxers” because they performed rituals that would supposedly make them invulnerable to bullets. The Boxers killed thousands of foreign missionaries and Chinese Christians, and marched north to attack the foreign embassies at Beijing. The dilemma faced by the Qing government was that Western nations demanded that the Qing court suppress this uprising, while the Boxers asked for the imperial court’s support. Initially, the court suppressed the Boxers. But when the Boxers

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