The Fall and Rise of China: Healing the Trauma of History
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Today, China is a global power, home to the world’s fastest-growing economy and largest standing army—which makes it hard to believe that only 150 years ago, China was enduring defeats by Western imperial powers and neighboring Japan. For a time, the Middle Kingdom seemed like it was on the verge of being overtaken by foreign interests—but the country has quickly and ambitiously become a player on the world stage once again.
Urals in 1581, especially those under the leader Yermak, who, with fewer than 1,000 Cossacks and mercenaries, gradually pushed eastward, colonizing regions inhabited by numerous Siberian nomadic peoples. Whereas the French had to cross the Mediterranean to Algeria to add colonies to their homelands, and the British entire oceans to North America and Nigeria, Russia merely had to surmount the Urals, the natural frontier to the territories beyond. By the mid-seventeenth century the Cossacks had
nationwide ban on missionary work. All missionaries, most of them Spanish or Portuguese, were expelled. Japanese converts were given a choice: either to abjure their faith in a ceremony mocking an image of Christ, or be executed. From the mid-seventeenth century, contact with other countries stopped almost completely. On the one hand, this was to the fall and rise of china 70 keep out the missionaries. On the other, the Tokugawa Shoguns, who ruled over a feudal society with vassal structures,
foreign progressive culture, not enough of which was done in the past. We should assimilate whatever is useful to us today not only from the present-day socialist and new-democratic cultures but also from the earlier cultures of other nations, for example, from the culture of the various capitalist countries in the Age of Enlightenment. However, we should not gulp any of this foreign material down uncritically, but must treat it as we do our food – ﬁrst chewing it, then submitting it to the
task could only be accomplished because China, confronted by the evident superiority of Western science and technology, had committed to an unsparing self-diagnosis which identiﬁed the aspects of Western civilization the country had to adopt in order to remove the cultural impediments to China’s own renaissance. Instead of venting its many individual the fall and rise of china 8 aversions to the West as collective hatred of the aggressors, China took a path of reason and fundamental renewal.
River. For a while the situation did not go beyond intermittent clashes with Chinese forces, as wars in the south placed greater demands on the attention of Chinese A Distant Pope is Expelled 25 generals. Only in 1685, when Cossacks began demanding tributes from Tungusic peoples in the form of fur animals, did the Chinese overrun the oldest settlement, called Albasin by the Europeans, destroy the fortiﬁcations and ﬁnally, in 1689, sign the Treaty of Nerchinsk, which set the border, returned