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Generational Country Study: China

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Generational Crisis Wars

-- China: Taiping Rebellion -- 1851-1864
-- China: Civil War + World War Two -- 1932-1949

Brief Generational History - updated 6-June-2008

1852-73: Taiping era (Crisis Era)

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.

1874-94: Self-strengthening era (Recovery Era)

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.

1894-1918: Revolutionary Awakening (Awakening Era)

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

1918-1934 Warlord Period (Unraveling Era)

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.

1934-49 Communist Revolution (Crisis Era)

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.

1949-1965 The People's Republic (Recovery Era)

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.

1965-89 Cultural Revolution (Awakening Era)

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.

1989-present Falun Gong era (Unraveling Era)

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.

The Future

Today, China's social structure is unraveling rapidly, as can be seen from from the tens of thousands of regional rebellions each year, over 100 million migrant workers, high food prices, high rust belt unemployment, addiction to a bubble economy, unraveling of Mao's social structure and secessionist provinces.

Article Cross-References

-- Taiwan / China relations thaw in wake of election and earthquake: Taiwan's new President reiterated the "three noes" in his inauguration speech (28-May-2008)
-- How inflammatory was President Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset?: The speech may have touched some nerves among the Palestinians, and changed American policy. (16-May-2008)
-- Sichuan earthquake devastation opens a period of good will with China, in contrast to Burma: China's sudden openness draws friendship and sympathy from Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere. (16-May-2008)
-- China requests foreign assistance for earthquake relief - cash only: It's likely that tens of thousands of people were killed on Monday (12-May-2008)
-- Burma (Myanmar) junta is turning a natural disaster into a criminal catastrophe: Could it affect the Beijing summer Olympics? (11-May-2008)
-- Cyclone Nargis could trigger violence in Burma (Myanmar): Burmese generals are placing obstacles in the way of international aid. (8-May-2008)
-- Zimbabwe's "Liberation Hero" president Robert Mugabe continues to destroy his country: With a 150000% inflation rate, torture, and destruction of property, (4-May-08)
-- Food rationing comes to the United States: After years of price rises, mainstream media is finally recognizing there's a problem. (24-Apr-08)
-- China and Taiwan: Understanding two different war paradigms: None of Obama, Clinton or McCain have any idea of this. (23-Apr-08)
-- Investors back in full bubble mode, after concluding that the crisis is over: However, the fundamentals haven't changed. (22-Apr-08)
-- Chinese call for a "people's army" to protect Olympics torch in Australia: Call is to protect torch from "splittists", "scum" and "running dogs" (16-Apr-08)
-- Food panics and riots spread around the world: The unending sharp price wheat, corn and rice prices are destabilizing nations. (9-Apr-08)
-- Pakistan's tribal areas have become the world nerve center for al-Qaeda terrorism: Al-Qaeda now has "free reign" and "safe haven" in this region. (6-Apr-08)
-- China "betrays" Iran, as internal problems in both countries mount: Diplomats say that China has provided Iran's nuclear weapons plans to the UN. (5-Apr-08)
-- Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou overwhelmingly wins Taiwan presidency: In a major change of political direction, (23-Mar-08)
-- China's crackdown on Tibet is swaying the Taiwan presidential election: Ugly memories of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre are being revived. (21-Mar-08)
-- China's problems mount, as Tibet violence is linked to summer Olympics: Violence has spread well beyond the borders of Tibet itself. (18-Mar-08)
-- China crushes protests by Buddhist monks in Tibet: The Dalai Lama, exiled in India since 1959, called for calm. (16-Mar-08)
-- Malaysia government in crisis after 'Sons of the Soil' turn against their leader: Malaysia's stock market fell 10% on Monday on panic selling, (11-Mar-08)
-- China continues massive military expansion as it announces 18% military budget increases: This comes as a new Pentagon report documents China's military buildup. (6-Mar-08)
-- China walks Olympics / Darfur tightrope after Steven Spielberg resigns: Steven Spielberg's resignation earlier this week as artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics (23-Feb-08)
-- Review of recent international stories: Pakistan, Kosovo and Cuba in the news (20-Feb-08)
-- Catastrophic snow storm could potentially destabilize Chinese government: Xinhua: People are "dark, cold and hungry in dead cities," (2-Feb-08)
-- Reader comments on the Nihilism of Generation-X: Who's more at fault for our problems - Gen-Xers or Boomers? (29-Jan-08)
-- Sri Lanka government declares all out war against Tamil Tiger rebels: Sri Lanka has said it is formally withdrawing from a 2002 ceasefire agreement (4-Jan-08)
-- Japanese Prime Minister sucks up to China in a four-day trip: However, issues of substance in the East China Sea were left unresolved. (1-Jan-08)
-- Pakistanis are increasingly joining forces with al-Qaeda: The contrast with the Iraq war and al-Qaeda in Iraq is instructive. (30-Dec-07)
-- Chinese commemorate the 1937 Massacre at Nanking (Nanjing): Hundreds of thousands of civilians were raped and killed (18-Dec-07)
-- Chinese commemorate the 1937 Massacre at Nanking (Nanjing): Hundreds of thousands of civilians were raped and killed (18-Dec-07)
-- UN Climate Change conference appears to be ending in farce: After two weeks of fun on Bali beaches, participants appear to have agreed on only one thing: (14-Dec-07)
-- Vladimir Putin's party wins Russian Parliamentary election by a landslide: How does Putin's "cult of personality" work? (4-Dec-07)
-- China's economy and trade surplus surge even more explosively: Once again, mainstream macroeconomics failed to predict or explain what's going on. (20-Jul-07)
-- Congressional xenophobia risking confrontation and retaliation from China: Senators are promising a tough "veto-proof" law targeting China's alleged currency manipulation. (18-Jun-07)
-- Chavez threatens further harsh reprisals against the "fascist assault" by the media: In Venezuela, the student anti-government demonstrations appear to headed for a violent climax, (31-May-07)
-- Students riot against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela: Finally we can see what America in the sixties was like. (30-May-07)
-- China confirms that a soldier has contracted bird flu: Leaders of China's Central Committee are "highly concerned" (27-May-07)
-- Chinese peasants use fertility drugs to get around "one-child" policy: How did this family get four kids? (26-May-07)
-- Multiple bubbles bursting in China as peasants riot over "one child" policy: Government officials are expressing increasing concern over China's stock market bubble, (23-May-07)
-- China's skyrocketing trade surplus causing compulsive xenophobia in Congress: China's February trade surplus soared nearly tenfold compared to the same month last year, (13-May-07)
-- China's economy grows at 11.1%, continues to explode: And champagne corks pop once more, as the Dow tops 13,000. (26-Apr-07)
-- President Bush gives Sudan "one last chance" to end Darfur genocide: But is Steven Spielberg aiding the genocide? (19-Apr-07)
-- Price of food is skyrocketing in India and China: In fact, crop prices are increasing around the world, (11-Apr-07)
-- The Administration and Congress plan harsh protectionist trade sanctions against China: The Chinese are "strongly dissatisfied" with a recent US decision (9-Apr-07)
-- Premier Wen says China is "unsteady, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable": In press conference, he also scolds Taiwan over Chen's "four wants." (22-Mar-07)
-- China's Foreign Minister replies to "China threat" to US and Japan: And China changes the official transcript to hide what he really said. (1-Mar-07)
-- Iran test fires submarine to surface missile in the massive "Blow of Zolfaqar" military games: Iran (like China) continues rapid militarization, while confrontation over nuclear development looms. (28-Aug-06)
-- Furious Chinese ambassador harshly threatens U.S. over Taiwan: BBC anchor Carrie Gracie must have really pissed off Sha Zukang, (18-Aug-06)
-- New Pentagon report details China's preparations for war: "China's leaders have yet to adequately explain the purposes (24-May-06)
-- China's plans for war with America: China is openly making plans for all-out war with the United States, (1-May-06)
-- An eerie similarity: Chinese President Hu Jintao and Donald Rumsfeld: Hu gives President Bush a copy of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" when they meet on Thursday. (20-Apr-06)
-- China's People's National Congress paralyzed by ideology: China's top officials were unable to stop from committing a "historic error" (17-Mar-06)
-- Personal savings rate plummets to Great Depression levels: Ben Bernanke becomes Fed Chairman tomorrow, and faces exponentially growing debt levels (31-Jan-06)
-- Bird flu: World holds breath for China and Vietnam Lunar New Year celebrations: If we get through the next month without a pandemic, we may be OK till next season. (30-Jan-06)
-- China reports 2005 economy still overheated at 9.9% growth: Like a railroad train careening down the track out of control, (26-Jan-06)
-- China Prime Minister warns that country is becoming unstable: Blaming local governments for making a "historic error," (24-Jan-06)
-- China and Taiwan step closer to military confrontation: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian took the offensive on Sunday, (3-Jan-06)
-- Japanese minister calls Chinese a considerable military threat: Relations between China and Japan continue to increase in anger and hostility, (22-Dec-05)
-- Chinese killing of Dongzhou protesters revives memories of Tiananmen Square massacre: Chinese armed security forces fired on villagers protesting land confiscation, killing many peasants (11-Dec-05)
-- New Spielberg movie Memoirs of a Geisha infuriates both China and Japan: As if Japan-China relations aren't bad enough (see previous item below), (1-Dec-05)
-- Slowing China economy may become deflationary due to overcapacity: Economic problems are growing against the backdrop of continually deteriorating relations with Japan (1-Dec-05)
-- Canada announces that bird flu findings are not pathenogenic: After many weeks of delay, Canada has finally responded to conspiracy buffs. (29-Nov-05)
-- George Bush lectures China on being more like Taiwan: It's incredible that President Bush told China to be more open and democratic, (17-Nov-05)
-- China mobilizes its army to fight bird flu: Does this move have greater significance? (5-Nov-05)
-- Donald Rumsfeld visits China and cordially raises concerns: Laying the groundwork for a November visit to China by President Bush, (24-Oct-05)
-- Violent beating of democratic activist in China illustrates country's increasing instablity: Government authorities are thought to be responsible for the attack on Lu Banglie, (11-Oct-05)
-- Department of Defense increasingly sees China as a military foe: A front page article in today's Wall Street Journal (8-Sep-05)

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Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.