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This is the crisis period that triggered the unification of China into a single country, rather than a group of independent provinces. The major war was the Taiping Rebellion, but there were other revolts in other parts of China. (This is an example of what's called "merging timelines," when different regions with separate timelines merge together into a single timeline.) The principal revolts were the following:
> 1850-64 Taiping Rebellion (Eastern China) > 1851-68 Nian Rebellion (Central China) > 1855-73 Muslim (Panthay) rebellion in Yunnan (Southern China) > 1862-73 Muslim revolt in Shaanxi and Gansu (Northwest China)
Humiliated Generation (Artists) - Growing up during this enormous and bloody civil war, they missed their chance for the fight. As adults, they and all of China were humiliated in 1895 in the Sino-Japanese war.
The Recovery era began with the “Self-Strengthening Movement," the study of Western skills, government, technology and industry. China had been humiliated in the Opium Wars of the 1840s, and it was argued that China could become stronger by learning Western ways and adapting them to Chinese culture. It was successful, and the next few decades saw China advance far towards catching up with the rest of the world in technology, finance and trade.
Revolutionary Generation (Prophets) - Remarkably, Taiping era crisis did not dislodge the government of the Qing dynasty of the Manchus, although the Manchus (from Manchuria), had governed China for centuries. This generation first brought down the Manchus, in 1912, and then led the Communist Revolution.
The Awakening era began with the first of many attempts to overthrow the Qing dynasty by means of secret revolutionary societies. The first was formed by Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), who failed and was forced to flee to Hawaii and the United States, but later returned after the success of the 1911 revolution to become President.
As soon as the 1894 revolution failed, China was defeated and humiliated by the 1895 Sino-Japanese War. China was forced to sign a treaty which ceded Korea, Taiwan and other territories to Japan, a small neighbor on whom China had formerly looked on condescendingly.
The 1911 Chinese Revolution replaced the Qing Dynasty with a Republic which lasted only two years, and was replaced in turn by a military dictatorship.
The Awakening era ended with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the formation of the Communist International (Comintern) and its plan to conquer the world.
??? Generation (Nomads) - To be supplied
There were massive student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere in 1919, resulting in a student union of the Republic of China.
The central government disintegrated, leaving power in the the hands of small groups of militarists and their armies in constant battles for power. This led to the formation of two power groups:
-- In 1921, the Communist Party was formed in Shanghai. Mao Zedong (1893-1976) rose to prominence in the Party after a clash in 1925 with the KMT.
-- In 1922, Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) formed what was to become the Nationalist party or KMT (Kuomintang Party).
The two factions fought through an unraveling war until Mao and his army was surrounded and faced with defeat in 1934.
Communist Generation (Heroes)
All the separate revolts and rebellions of the Taiping era were now merged into a single civil war between the Mao and Chian, resulting in the victory of the Communist Revolution.
Mao escaped the encirclement through the Long March, the longest retreat in history, lasting a year. This began the civil war.
The two sides were forced to unify because of Japan's invasion, especially after the "Rape of Nanjing" in December 1937.
The civil war resumed after WW II, forcing the nationalists onto Taiwan.
Preparatory Generation (Artists)
Led by the current president, Hu Jintao, this generation has been preparing China for its greatest challenge, all-out war with the U.S., Japan and India.
Mao consolidated his power by executing millions of people in the 1950s. Mao said "Let a hundred flowers bloom," meaning that free expression should be encouraged, but intellectuals who expressed grievances were executed or sent off the work camps.
The worst was Mao's Great Leap Forward, 1958-60, during which some 20 to 30 million people died of starvation in a man-made famine. This was a disaster of almost unimaginable proportions and created many enemies for Mao.
Miserable Generation (Prophets)
I call them the "Miserable Generation," a name that I picked up several years ago in an article by a Chinese author. They were starved by Mao's Great Leap Forward, and they got no education, thanks to Mao's Great Cultural Revolution. They turned into a political force after he 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and now their Falun Gong movement is being violently suppressed.
To retaliate against his enemies, Mao launched the Great Cultural Revolution (1965-68) and formed the Red Guards, mostly young students, to implement the assault on dissidents. They brought the country to the verge of chaos, carrying out summary execution, forcing tens of thousands from their homes or into labor camps. Schools and universities were shut down for several years.
During this period, China developed a rapprochement with the United States, joined the United Nations, instituted many educational and government reforms, and launched the "Democracy Wall" movement. In 1980, China launched the "one-child" policy. By the end of the era, Mao was openly criticized.
Tiananmen Generation (Nomads)
Growing up in the aftermath of the chaos of the cultural revolution, this generation formed the bulk of the millions of students that crowded into Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The era was launched by the Tiananmen Square massacre, triggering the huge movement, followers of the Falun Gong. Their leaders believe it to be the modern version of the God-Worshipper's Society, a spiritual movement which launched the Taiping Rebellion, and was a form of Christianity combined with Buddhism. By 1999 the movement was so widespread that Beijing clamped down on it. It's rumored that millions of adherents have been jailed.
One-child Generation (Heroes) - This generation bore the brunt of the one-child policy which has created an enormous surplus of young males, meaning that a large segment of this generation will never get married. This generation almost has nothing to lose by going to war -- against Beijing, against Japan, or against the U.S. And they will be guided by the last Prophets - the Miserables -- and supported by the last Nomads -- the Tiananmens.