History of China

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Tiananmen gate of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City used to be the palace of the emperor of China, it is now a tourist attraction.

The origin of Chinese civilization is shrouded in myth and conflicting tales. Documented history begins with the Shang dynasty, founded about 1600 BC. China has long been the most populous country in the world. It's warring states were united into a single nation by Qin Shi Huang, the king of Qin, in 221 BC. For the next two thousand years, the country was ruled by a series of dynasties that followed the principles of Confucianism. Officials were selected by an examination system which tested their knowledge of classic works of literature. The Qing (1644-1911), the last of these dynasties, was founded by the Manchu, a nomadic people from the northeast.

Publications established by Christian missionaries introduced reformist ideas in the late 19th century, culminating in the Chinese Revolution of 1911. The May Fourth Movement of the 1920s was characterized by language reform, campaigns against footbinding and other abusive practices toward women, and a reverent attitude toward "science." At this time, the country was divided among various warlord factions. It was reunited in 1927 by the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek. In 1937, most of China was occupied by Japan. Fighting between Nationalist China and Japan continued until 1945, when Japan was defeated by the United States.

After the war, China was ensnared in Cold War rivalries. In the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), Soviet-backed communists led by Mao Zedong defeated the U.S.-backed Nationalists. Although impoverished by many years of war and upheaval, China entered the Korean War (1950-1953) with Soviet backing. Loses were heavy, but U.S. forces did retreat before the Chinese offensive. During the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), the communists starved the nation's peasants to maximize rice exports. The money raised was used to build a nuclear bomb, which was tested in 1964.

Market-oriented reforms have allowed the country to experience rapid economic growth since 1978. China's economy is now has the world's second largest, surpassing that of Japan in 2010. However, the Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power. In 1989, the army killed thousands of anti-Communist demonstrators in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Chinese people.jpg



A map of China

Traditional history begins with Pangu, the first living being. When Pangu died, his left eye became the Sun. Various parts of his body became different parts of the Earth. There followed a succession of Three Sovereigns, or demigod rulers. The first and best known of these was Fuxi (2852–2737 BC). Fuxi and his sister Nüwa survived a worldwide flood by retreating to the Kunlun Mountains. After the Three Sovereigns, China was ruled by the Five Emperors. The Yellow Emperor (r. 2698–2598 BC) is given credit for numerous inventions and is considered the founder of Chinese civilization.

During the reign of Emperor Yao (2356 - 2255 BC), a great and terrible flood began.[1] The waters overtopped hills and mountains, threatening heaven itself. Yao appointed Gun to control the food. To build dikes, Gun stole soil that expanded magically from the Supreme Deity. This angered the Supreme Deity, and the flood raged on. Yao consulted the Four Mountains, who advised him to appoint Shun as his successor. Shun (r. 2255 – 2195 BC) was only a distant relative of Yao, but he was known throughout the kingdom as a dutiful son. Shun's father had repeatedly tried to murder him, so being a dutiful son was not as easy as it might sound. Shun was later singled out by Confucius as an example of outstanding filial piety. Yet he too proved helpless before the flood. Shun's successor, Yu the Great (c. 2200 - 2100 BC), was finally able to control the raging waters by building embankments made of non-magical soil. Yu's son succeeded him, making Yu the founder of the legendary Xia dynasty (2070 – c. 1600 BC).


The neolithic site of Yangshao in Henan Province was excavated by Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson in 1921. The Yangshao culture thrived along Yellow River and cultivated millet from about 4900 to 3000 BC. Silk was produced and pottery was fired in kilns dug into the ground. The bones of domesticated dogs, cattle, sheep and goats have been found.[2] As of 1999, a total of 31 Yangshao sites have been located.[3] The remains of a second neolithic culture were uncovered by C.T. Wu at Longshan in Shandong in 1928. Black pottery is a characteristic find at Longshan archaeological sites. Longshan is now considered an example of the second phase of a Yangshao-Longshan culture, one that lasted from 3000 to 2000 BC. Copper was introduced around 2000 BC, and China entered the Bronze Age around 1700 BC. China's first significant state was the Erlitou culture (1900–1350 BC). This was a Bronze Age state whose capital in Henan Province was excavated in 1959.


History of China
History of China
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang dynasty c. 1600 – 1046 BC
Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin dynasty 221–206 BC
Han dynasty 206 BC – AD 220
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms
Liao dynasty
Song dynasty 960–1279
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Republic 1912–1949
People's Republic 1949–present

The traditional view of ancient Chinese history, still promoted by the Chinese government, is of a succession of dynasties from Xia to Shang to Zhou going back 5,000 years. Historians working in China identify Erlitou with the Xia dynasty.[4] Other states and cultures existed at the same time, and the focus on the traditional dynastic sequence may reflect the basis of dynasty-oriented historians. Among the first historians to carefully separate myth from history was Sima Qian. His history begins with the exile of King Li of the Zhou dynasty in 841 BC, still the earliest securely dated event in Chinese history.

Xia dynasty: 2070–c. 1600 BC

The Xia dynasty is the first dynasty in traditional history. The legend of this dynasty was used by the Zhou to justify their conquest of the Shang. It can be compared to the King Arthur legend in England, which Medieval writers developed to justify the Norman conquest. The fourteen Xia rulers on the traditional dynasty list were descended from Yu the Great. Jie, the last king of the dynasty, is said to have fallen in love with a beautiful but cruel woman. In response, Zi Lü led a revolt, overthrew the Xia, and founded the Shang dynasty.

Shang dynasty: 1600-c. 1046 BC

The Shang, found in 1600 BC, was China's first fully historical dynasty. It was a Bronze Age culture.

Zhou dynasty: c. 1045–256 BC

Iron replaced bronze around 600 BC, during the Zhou dynasty.

Imperial China

Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened by the development of a Confucian state ideology and a common written language that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects. Whenever China was conquered by nomadic tribes, as it was by the Mongols in the 13th century, the conquerors sooner or later adopted the ways of the "higher" Chinese civilization and staffed the bureaucracy with Chinese.

When the Chinese discovered gunpowder they had no intention of using it as a weapon. Instead, it was developed in the Tang dynasty as a formula for immortality by religious Daoist alchemists. It was discovered to be a powerful explosive, and when lit, gunpowder in a bamboo stick made a colorful explosion. This loud explosion was used to chase away evil spirits and to celebrate weddings, victories in battles, and religious ceremonies. However, contrary to popular belief, the first depiction of gunpowder in pictorial form shows it in military use. Similarly, it is also known that before the arrival of Westerners in China, Chinese troops were equipped with firearms.

Great Wall

Great Wall of China.jpg

The Great Wall of China was designed to keep enemies out and protect their country. Construction took centuries, and was begun during the Qin dynasty, 221-206 BC. In 246 BC the emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, whose original name was Ying Zheng, came to power in the state of Qin. By 221 BC, he had unified China using the Legalistic philosophy of his state to encourage colonization and to build up the military in what was previously a minor desert state.

The Great Wall winds some 2,400 km (1,500 mi) along the edge of the Mongolian plateau from Gansu Province in the west to the Yellow Sea in the east. Its width ranges from 4 to 12 m (12 to 40 ft) and its height from 6 to 15 m (20 to 50 ft). It makes possible much more effective military defense of China from invaders.

It was perhaps the greatest and largest thing ever created by man by that point. Unlike the wall we see today, it was originally an earthen and wooden rampart structure, and had earlier precedents, walls built by the various states of the Warring States period to keep out nomads in the north. There was a huge human cost involved; it is believed over a million people died in the construction. The wall that is visible today dates from the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), begun after the expulsion of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1276 - 1368) and nearly a thousand years of nomad rule in China under various dynastic titles. It did not, however, prevent a final nomadic group from conquering China at the end of the Ming dynasty in 1368 - the Manchus. The Shanhaiguan pass, the main route into and out of Manchuria, was not protected by the wall, and in 1644, Manchus, Buddhist descendants of the Jurchen tribes who had fought the Han Chinese for centuries, invaded the north of China, exploiting the weak late-Ming government and infrastructure. This resulted in the formation of the Qing dynasty, which lasted until the revolution of 1911.

Ming dynasty: 1368-1644

The Ming period is the only era of later imperial history during which all of China was ruled by a native, or Han dynasty. The success of the Chinese in regaining control over their own government is an important event in history, and the Ming dynasty thus has been regarded, both in Ming times and even more so in the 21st century, as an era of Chinese resurgence.

A map of Asia during the Ming dynasty

All the counties in China had a county government, a Confucian school, and the standard Chinese family system. Typically the dominant local elite comprised high status families comprised of the gentry owners and managers of land and of other forms of wealth, as well as smaller groups that were subject to elite domination and protection. Much attention was paid to genealogy to prove that high status was inherited from generations back. Substantial land holdings were directly managed by the owning families in the early Ming period, but toward the end of the era marketing and ownership were depersonalized by the increased circulation of silver as money, and estate management gravitated into the hands of hired bailiffs. Together with the departure of the most talented youth into the imperial service, the result was direct contacts between the elite and subject groups were disrupted, and romantic images of country life disappeared from the literature. In villages across China elite families participated in the life of the empire by sending their sons into the very high status imperial civil service. Most of the successful sons had a common education in the county and prefecture schools, had been recruited by competitive examination, and were posted to offices that might be anywhere in the empire, including the imperial capital. At first the recommendation of an elite local sponsor was important; increasing the imperial government relied more on merit exams, and thus entry into the national ruling class became more difficult. Downward social mobility into the peasantry was possible for less successful sons; upward mobility from the peasant class was unheard of.[5]

Qing dynasty: 1644-1911

Chinese had an advanced artistic culture and well-developed science and technology. However, its science and technology stood still after 1700 and in the 21st century very little survives outside museums and remote villages, except in for the ever-popular forms of traditional medicine like acupuncture.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by large-scale civil wars, major famines, military defeats by Britain and Japan, regional control by powerful warlords and foreign intervention such as the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. In the 1860s, electrotype technology was applied to allow newspapers in the Chinese language to be mass-produced and widely circulated. Christian missionaries were at the forefront in taking advantage of this technology. The reformers of the 1890s were educated concerning modern approaches and ideologies by their publications, particularly Wanguo Gongbao (A Review of the Times).

Reforms: 1901-1908

The humiliation of the Boxer Rebellion stimulated a second reform movement—this time sanctioned by Empress Dowager Cixi. From 1901 to 1908, the dynasty announced a series of educational, military, and administrative reforms, many reminiscent of the "one hundreds days" of 1898. The imperial examinations of 1902 and 1904 included questions on the politics, science and technology of all countries, requiring some 50,000 students to study such subjects, most of whom would not otherwise be interested.[6] Unfortunately, the examination system was abolished in 1905.

Armies were raised and trained in European (and Japanese) fashion and plans for a national army were laid. The creation of the "new army" reflected rising esteem for the military profession and the emergence of a new national elite that dominated China for much of the 20th century. More officers and men were now literate, while patriotism and better pay served as an inducement for service.

Japan's victory over Russia in 1905 electrified nationalists across Asia. The adoption of a constitutional monarchy in Russia following the war created a model for action. In 1908, the court issued a timetable: Consultative provincial assemblies by 1909, a consultative national assembly by 1910, and both a constitution and a parliament by 1917. Cixi's death in 1908 left the dynasty practically leaderless. The new emperor was a child and the regent incompetent. The army leaders felt little loyalty to either. They yearned for the return of Yuan Shikai, a Cixi favorite dismissed in 1909.

Revolution planned

While the reformers of the 1890s sought to modernize China by working within the dynasty, the following generation was fed up with the Qing. It was the age of racism, and many Chinese were influenced by anti-Manchu racial theories.[7] The old crimes of the Manchu, such as the Yangzhou Massacre of 1645, were dug up and used against them. Anti-Manchu revolutionary groups were formed in the Yangtze cities by 1903, and those in Tokyo banded together to form the "Revolutionary Alliance" in 1905, led by Sun Yat-sen. By 1910, even Liang Qichao, the most prominent Chinese intellectual at the time and once a prominent advocate of constitutional monarchy, had joined Sun as a revolutionary.

Republic: 1912-1949

Map South Asia.jpg

Yuan Shikai: 1911-1916

By 1911 China had 400 million people and the beginnings of a railroad system. The old dynasty collapsed in 1911 as soldiers mutinied, and the emperor abdicated in early 1912. A republic was proclaimed on January 1, 1912, but power was held by army leader Yuan Shikai (1859-1916). The army officers felt loyalty to Yuan as a former commander who reorganized the army. Most owed their positions to him. The Nationalist Party won parliamentary elections in 1913, but Yuan had the parliamentary leader assassinated, crushed republican uprisings, shut down parliament, and ruled as a dictator. Yuan proclaimed himself emperor in 1915. This triggered an uprising based in the South. Few army officers appreciated the prospect of serving Yuan's playboy son, who was now heir to the throne. Faced with unanimous opposition, Yuan renounced the throne. He died suddenly of natural causes in June 1916.[8]

Age of warlords: 1916-1930

After Yuan's death, the Beiyang clique at first backed Prime Minister Duan Qirui. By 1919, army leadership had devolved into three rival factions: Anhui, Zhili, and Fengtian.[9] Zhang Zuolin, warlord of Manchuria and head of the Fengtian clique, was backed by Japan. He gained control of Beijing in 1926. The reactionary character of the Zhang regime provoked a backlash in the more reform-minded South. Sun Yat-sen and the Nationalist Party, backed by the Soviets, established a rival government in Guangzhou in 1925. Whampoa Academy trained a new generation of army officers who would be loyal to the party, not affiliated with any of the Beiyang cliques.

The Nanjing decade: 1927-1937

Chiang Kai-shek, who become Nationalist leader following Sun's death, defeated the Beiyang warlords and moved to central government to Nanjing in 1927. A warlord revolt was defeated in a brief but bloody war in 1930. Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, and in 1937 invaded all of China, defeating the government armies, seizing the coast, the major cities, and setting up a puppet government that controlled most of the population. China's resistance was ineffective.[10]

Communist Party

The Chinese Communist Party was founded in Shanghai, China's largest city, in 1921. It was allied with the KMT but in classical Marxist style its goal was initially to foment revolution among urban workers and to seize the ultimate political power of entire China. It was controlled by Stalin in Moscow through the Comintern. In 1927, however, a bloody anti-communist coup by the Nationalist, destroyed the CCP in the cities. Forced into the countryside, the CCP broke with Russian guidance and developed a new strategy based on agrarian revolution, mobilizing poor peasants by promising to confiscate and redistribute the lands held by landlords. Mao Zedong took the lead.[11]

The Long March: 1934-36

In 1934-35, the CCP fled the KMT with over 100,000 men and women.They divided into several armies, marched 6,000 miles inland through a brutal terrain of frigid mountain passes, freezing rivers and marshes in search of a sanctuary to continue their revolution. Only 7000 survived the march.[12]

The Long March became the heroic memory of the CCP, and virtually all the Communist leaders of the next 70 years were marchers or their children.[13]

World War II: 1937-1945

When the war against Japan broke out in 1937, the Kuomintang (KMT) had more than 1.7 million armed soldiers, ships with 110,000 tons of displacement, and about 600 fighter planes of various kinds.

The total size of the CCP Army, including the New Fourth Army, which was newly formed in November 1937, did not exceed 70,000 people. Its power was weakened further by internal fractional politics; it could have been eliminated in a single battle. If the CCP were to face the Japanese in battle, it would not be able to defeat a single division of Japanese troops. Sustaining its own power rather than ensuring the survival of the nation was the central focus and the reason for its emphasis on “national unity.”

After the Japanese occupied the city of Shenyang on Sept. 18, 1931, thereby extending Japanese control over large areas in northeastern China, the CCP fought alongside Japanese invaders to defeat the KMT. The CCP exhorted people in the KMT-controlled areas to rebel against the KMT, calling on “workers to strike, peasants to make trouble, students to boycott classes, poor people to quit working, soldiers to revolt” so as to overthrow the Nationalist government.

China suffered millions of deaths in the long war, even though battles were few. The Japanese killed tens of thousands of civilians in the occupied territories. Tens of thousands more died when Nationalist troops broke the levees of the Yangtze to stop the Japanese advance after the loss of the capital, Nanking. Millions more Chinese died because of famine during the war.

Millions of Chinese moved to the western regions of China to avoid Japanese invasion. Cities like Kunming ballooned with new arrivals. Entire factories and universities were often taken along for the journey. Japan captured major coastal cities like Shanghai early in the war; cutting the rest of China off from its chief source of finance and industry.

The city of Chongqing became the most frequently bombed city in history.[14]

The KMT Army was essentially alone on the frontlines fighting the Japanese, losing more than 200 marshals in the war. The commanding officers on the CCP side bore nearly no losses. Though China received Lend Lease economic and military aid from the United States, the KMT did not have sufficient infrastructure to properly arm or even feed its military forces. Textbooks however of the CCP have constantly claimed that the KMT did not resist the Japanese and that it was the CCP that led the great victory in the war against Japan.

Biological warfare

The Japanese set up a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit in Harbin. Unit 731 and its affiliated units were involved in research, development and experimental deployment of epidemic-creating biowarfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both military and civilian) throughout World War II. Plague-infected fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, including coastal Ningbo and Changde, Hunan Province, in 1940 and 1941.[15] This military aerial spraying killed tens of thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics. An expedition to Nanking involved spreading typhoid and paratyphoid germs into the wells, marshes, and houses of the city, as well as infusing them into snacks to be distributed among the locals. Epidemics broke out shortly after, to the elation of many researchers, where it was concluded that paratyphoid fever was "the most effective" of the pathogens.[16][17][18]

At least 12 large-scale field trials of biological weapons were performed, and at least 11 Chinese cities were attacked with biological agents. An attack on Changda in 1941 reportedly led to approximately 10,000 biological casualties and 1,700 deaths among ill-prepared Japanese troops, with most cases due to cholera.[19] Japanese researchers performed tests on prisoners with bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, and other diseases.[20] This research led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb and the flea bomb used to spread bubonic plague.[21] Some of these bombs were designed with porcelain shells, an idea proposed by Ishii in 1938.

Due to pressure from numerous accounts of the bio-warfare attacks, Chiang Kai-shek sent a delegation of army and foreign medical personnel in November 1941 to document evidence and treat the afflicted. A report on the Japanese use of plague-infested fleas on Changde was made widely available the following year, but was not addressed by the Allied Powers until Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a public warning in 1943 condemning the attacks.[22][23]

Civil War: 1946-1949

The Chinese Nationalist government or Kuomintang (KMT) was allied with the U.S. and Britain against Japan, and at war's end joined the United Nations as a permanent member of the 5-nation Security Council, with a veto. The Americans attempted to force a negotiated settlement between the KMT and the Soviet-backed Communists, but failed.

Chiang Kai-shek himself would claim that Deputy Secretary of Treasury Harry Dexter White, a prominent New Dealer and member of the Communist Party USA, sabotaged U.S. foreign policy and the Chinese Nationalist government. The United States Congress had made a commitment to the Nationalist government with the China Gold Act to supply $200 million in gold to curb inflation in Nationalist China.[24] White's direction from the Kremlin prevented the shipment until it was too late to be effective in stemming the inflation. In a December 9, 1944 memo to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, White wrote,

We have stalled as much as we have dared and have succeeded in limiting gold shipments to $26 million during the past year. We think it would be a serious mistake to permit further large shipments at this time.[25]

People's Republic: 1949 - present

Mao Zedong proclaims the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949.
Main article: People's Republic of China

In the face of economic collapse the Communists won the civil war in 1949 under Mao Zedong (1893-1976). Mao established a totalitarian Stalinist regime, driving the KMT to Taiwan. Taiwan is recognized as an integral part of China in theory, but in practice has been independent since 1949. Mao liquidated millions of opponents saying,

“What can Emperor Qin Shi Huang brag about? He only killed 460 Confucian scholars, but we killed 46,000 intellectuals. There are people who accuse us of practicing dictatorship like Emperor Qin Shi Huang, and we admit to it all. It fits the reality. It is a pity that they did not give us enough credit, so we need to add to it.”[26]

Maoist China fought the United States in the bloody Korean War (1950–53), and broke with the Soviet Union over the issue of who best represented the Marxist orthodoxy.

Religious intolerance

The Chinese Communist Party persecutes the country's Christian population, as well as the Falun Gong population, and Tibetan Buddhists. There are several well-documented cases of abuse, torture and false imprisonment.[27]

In 1950, the CCP instructed its local governments to ban all unofficial religious faiths and secret societies. The CCP stated that those “feudalistic” underground groups were mere tools in the hands of landlords, rich farmers, reactionaries, and special agents of the Kuomintang (KMT). In the nationwide crackdown, the government mobilized the classes they trusted to identify and persecute members of religious groups.

The communist controlled Chinese embassy in France tweeted an anti-Semitic image portraying the United States as the grim reaper carrying an Israeli flag knocking on Hong Kong's door.[28]

Governments at various levels were directly involved in disbanding such “superstitious groups,” such as communities of Christians, Catholics, Taoists, and Buddhists. They ordered all members of these churches, temples, and religious societies to register with government agencies and to repent for their involvement. Failure to do so would mean severe punishment.

In 1951, the government formally promulgated regulations stating that those who continued their activities in unofficial religious groups would face a life sentence or the death penalty.

This movement persecuted a large number of kind-hearted and law-abiding believers in God. Incomplete statistics indicate that in the 1950s, the CCP persecuted at least 3 million religious believers and underground group members, some of whom were killed. The CCP searched almost every household across the nation and interrogated its members. The executions reinforced the CCP’s message that communist ideology was the only legitimate ideology and the only legitimate faith.

The concept of “patriotic believers” soon emerged, and the state constitution protected only patriotic believers. The reality was that, whatever religion you believed in, there were only these criteria: You had to follow the CCP’s instructions, and you had to acknowledge that the CCP was above all religions. If you were a Christian, the CCP was the God of the Christian God. If you were a Buddhist, the CCP was the Master Buddha of the Master Buddha. Among Muslims, the CCP was the Allah of the Allah. When it came to the Living Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, the CCP would intervene, and itself choose who the Living Buddha would be.

The CCP left you no choice but to say and do what the CCP demanded you to say and do. All believers were forced to carry out the CCP’s objectives while upholding their respective faiths in name only. Failing to do so would make you the target of the CCP’s persecution and dictatorship.

According to a Feb. 22, 2002, report by Chinese online magazine Ren yu Renquan (Humanity and Human Rights), 20,000 Christians conducted a survey among 560,000 Christians in house churches in 207 cities in 22 provinces in China. The survey found that, among house church attendees, 130,000 were under government surveillance.

In the book “How the Chinese Communist Party Persecuted Christians,”[29] it is stated that by 1957, the CCP had killed more than 11,000 religious adherents and had arbitrarily arrested and extorted money from many more.

By eliminating the landlord class and the capitalist class and by persecuting large numbers of God-worshipping and law-abiding people, the CCP cleared the way for communism to become the all-encompassing religion of China.

In front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Great Leap Forward

The Great Leap Forward (1958–60) and the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) were the two worst periods of leftist domination in the history of China. Beginning in 1958, Mao imposed unrealistic targets on Chinese grain production to extract funds from agriculture for rapid industrial growth. Maoists placed relentless pressure on Communist cadres for ruthless implementation of the Great Leap Forward. China's grain output in 1959-60 declined sharply from 1957 levels and rural per capita grain retention decreased dramatically. Throughout China, party cadres' mismanagement of agricultural production was responsible for the decline in grain output, and the Communist state's excessive requisition of grain caused food shortages for the peasants.[30]

Cultural Revolution

See also: Cultural Revolution

In the early 1960s, State President Liu Shaoqi and his protégé, Party General Secretary Deng Xiaoping, took over direction of the party and adopted pragmatic economic policies at odds with Mao's revolutionary vision. Dissatisfied with China's new direction and his own reduced authority, Party Chairman Mao launched a massive political attack on Liu, Deng, and other pragmatists in the spring of 1966. The new movement, the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," was unprecedented in communist history. For the first time, a section of the Chinese communist leadership sought to rally popular opposition against another leadership group. China was set on a course of political and social anarchy that lasted the better part of a decade.

In the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, Mao and his "closest comrade in arms," National Defense Minister Lin Biao, charged Liu, Deng, and other top party leaders with dragging China back toward capitalism. Radical youth organizations, called Red Guards, attacked party and state organizations at all levels, seeking out leaders who would not bend to the radical wind.

Gradually, Red Guard and other radical activity subsided, and the Chinese political situation stabilized along complex factional lines. The leadership conflict came to a head in September 1971, when Party Vice Chairman and Defense Minister Lin Biao reportedly tried to stage a coup against Mao; Lin Biao later died in a plane crash in Mongolia.

Mao's regime imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. The Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 was inspired by Mao and devastated the intellectual class. Tens of thousands of intellectuals and teachers were educators were insulted, tortured, driven to suicide or executed by their students. Mobilized as members of the Red Guards, a new youth organization, the students attacked the educators as "capitalist intellectuals." From 1967 to 1978, the state "send-down" (rustication) policy 17 million urban youth to live and work in rural areas, with a permanent negative impact on their intellectual development and careers.[31]

The upheaval was not limited to the cities. Maoist political ideology and teachings provided the catalyst for village conflicts that brought out traditional grievances and further escalated the conflicts. Some of the catalysts were student activists carrying out Mao's teachings, factional disputes, and the Four Clean-up campaigns that purged village officials and corruption. These conflicts spread to traditional grievances like lineage and hamlet hostilities and disputes over leadership and rights. Often, the conflicts caused by Party politics intersected traditional conflicts to the extent that the root causes of the conflicts were lost. This resulted in further escalation of the conflicts, which became more complex and widespread.

In rural China an estimated 750,000 to 1.5 million people were killed, and about as many permanently injured; 36 million who suffered some form of political persecution. The vast majority of these casualties occurred from 1968 to 1971, after the end of the period of popular rebellion and factional conflict and the establishment of provisional organs of local state power.[32]

Mao's policies were illustrated in posters that used art for political purposes. The posters glorified Mao, criticized his opponents, urged cooperation among all revolutionary groups, and condemned capitalism and foreign imperialists.[33] Major leadership changes and purges occurred at the top, involving Lin Biao, the Gang of Four, and Deng Xiaoping.


In 1972 the world was stunned when American President Richard Nixon visited Beijing, ending the cold war between the two countries and opening an era of détente and friendship that continues into the 21st century.[34]

The post-Mao era

After Mao's death in September 1976 Hua Guofeng was quickly confirmed as party chairman and premier. A month later, Hua, backed by the army, arrested Jiang Qing and other members of the "Gang of Four" that organized the Cultural Revolution.

In December 1978, the Third Plenum (of the 11th Party Congress Central Committee) adopted economic reform policies aimed at expanding rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing central planning, and attracting foreign direct investment into China. Hua was forced to resign at this time, leaving Deng as top leader.

Deng focused on market-oriented economic development. By 2000, output had quadrupled, population growth ended (by imposing a one-child policy), and good relations were secured with the West.

Massacre at Tiananmen Square

The death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, coupled with growing economic hardship caused by high inflation, triggered protests by students, intellectuals, and others. The protesters camped out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu's death and to protest against those who would slow reform.

Martial law was declared on May 20, 1989. Late on June 3 and early on the morning of June 4, military units were brought into Beijing. They used armed force to clear demonstrators from the streets. There are no official estimates of deaths in Beijing, but most observers believe that casualties numbered in the hundreds.

Post-Deng China

Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death in 1997. Jiang Zemin gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. In November 2002, Hu Jintao was selected leader. In 1992, he had been designated by Deng Xiaoping as the "core" of the fourth generation leaders. On March 14, 2013 Xi Jinping was "elected" as new president.[35]

National Stadium, Beijing.

China's "economic miracle" since it was granted Most Favored Nation (MFN) status by the U.S. Congress in 2002, and access to the U.S. consumer market, led to unprecedented economic growth and better living conditions for millions of Chinese. It also strengthened the grip of the anti-democratic Chinese Communist Party over people's everyday lives, and the loss of manufacturing jobs for consumer products in the United States.

China's investment climate changed significantly. In the early 1980s, China restricted foreign investments to export-oriented operations and required foreign investors to form joint-venture partnerships with Chinese firms. Foreign direct investment (FDI) grew quickly during the 1980s, but stalled in late 1989 in the aftermath of Tiananmen. In response, the government introduced legislation and regulations designed to encourage foreigners to invest in high-priority sectors and regions. Since the early 1990s, China has allowed foreign investors to manufacture and sell a wide range of goods on the domestic market, and authorized the establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises, now the preferred form of FDI. However, the Chinese Government's emphasis on guiding FDI into manufacturing has led to market saturation in some industries, while leaving China's services sectors underdeveloped. China is now one of the leading recipients of FDI in the world, receiving almost $80 billion in 2005 according to World Bank statistics.

Despite the CCP's human rights abuses in the Tiananmen massacre, no trade sanctions were ever leveled by Western Powers and globalists. China was rewarded for its human rights abuses in 2001, despite the absence of reforms, by being welcomed into the World Trade Organization with full membership and a year later granted Most Favored Nation trade status by the U.S. Congress.

China's merchandise exports totaled $969.3 billion and imports totaled $791.8 billion in 2006. Its global trade surplus surged from $32 billion in 2004 to $177.5 billion in 2006. China's primary trading partners include Japan, the EU, the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. According to U.S. statistics, China had a trade surplus with the U.S. of $232.6 billion in 2006.

China has taken important steps to open its foreign trading system and integrate itself into the world trading system. In November 1991, China joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group, which promotes free trade and cooperation in the economic, trade, investment, and technology spheres. China served as APEC chair in 2001, and Shanghai hosted the annual APEC leaders meeting in October of that year.

China formally joined the WTO in December 2001. As part of this far-reaching trade liberalization agreement, China agreed to lower tariffs and abolish market impediments. Chinese and foreign businessmen, for example, gained the right to import and export on their own, and to sell their products without going through a government middleman. By 2005, average tariff rates on key U.S. agricultural exports dropped from 31% to 14% and on industrial products from 25% to 9%. The agreement also opens up new opportunities for U.S. providers of services like banking, insurance, and telecommunications. China has made significant progress implementing its WTO commitments, but serious concerns remain, particularly in the realm of intellectual property rights protection.

While accession does not guarantee smaller trade deficits, full implementation of all WTO commitments would further open China's markets to—and help level the playing field for—U.S. exports. China is now one of the most important markets for U.S. exports: in 2006, U.S. exports to China totaled $55.2 billion, almost triple the $19 billion when China joined the WTO in 2001 and up 32% over 2005. U.S. agricultural exports have increased dramatically, making China our fourth-largest agricultural export market (after Canada, Japan, and Mexico). Over the same period (2001-2006), U.S. imports from China have risen from $102 billion to $287.8 billion.

Export growth continues to be a major driver of China's rapid economic growth. To increase exports, China has pursued policies such as fostering the rapid development of foreign-invested factories, which assemble imported components into consumer goods for export, and liberalizing trading rights. In its eleventh Five-Year Program, adopted in 2005, China placed greater emphasis on developing a consumer demand-driven economy to sustain economic growth and address global imbalances.

The United States is one of China's primary suppliers of power generating equipment, aircraft and parts, computers and industrial machinery, raw materials, and chemical and agricultural products. However, U.S. exporters continue to have concerns about fair market access due to strict testing and standards requirements for some imported products. In addition, a lack of transparency in the regulatory process makes it difficult for businesses to plan for changes in the domestic market structure. The April 11, 2006 U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) produced agreements on key U.S. trade concerns ranging from market access to U.S. beef, medical devices, and telecommunications; to the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including, significantly, software. The JCCT also produced an agreement to establish a U.S.-China High Technology and Strategic Trade Working Group to review export control cooperation and facilitate high technology trade.

By 2017, imposition of tariffs by U.S. President Donald J. Trump began to redress the imbalance. China's economy was developed over those early decades of the 21st century as a coastal, manufacturing economy entirely dependent on exports. Young people left their home villages in the countryside to seek work in coastal factories. The prosperity was all built on access to the U.S. consumer market, and Americans' appetite for cheap manufactured goods. Scant attention was paid to developing a domestic service sector economy, while the vast interior remained impoverished, and increasingly so as young people abandoned rural agricultural work for urban factory work.

Wuhan coronavirus

See also: CCP global pandemic
Wuhan Institute of Virology

China agreed to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1984, but both academics and government agencies have asserted that the regime is a world leader in bioweapon production.[36] The U.S. State Department and other agencies stating publicly in 2009 that they believe China has offensive biological agents.[37] China is “commonly considered to have an active biological warfare program,” says the Federation of American Scientists. An official with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defence charged that China is the world leader in toxin “threats.”[38]

the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is linked to Beijing's covert bioweapons program. WIV is under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but certain laboratories within it have linkage with the PLA or BW-related elements within the Chinese defense establishment. Suspicions were raised about the WIV when a group of Chinese virologists working in Canada improperly sent to China samples of what he described as some of the deadliest viruses on earth, including the Ebola virus.[39]

In 2015, Chinese military scientists discussed how to weaponize SARS coronaviruses to "cause the enemy’s medical system to collapse." In a 263-page document, written by People's Liberation Army scientists and senior Chinese public health officials and obtained by the US State Department during its investigation into the origins of COVID-19, suggests that SARS coronaviruses could herald a "new era of genetic weapons," and noted that they can be "artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before."[40]

2020 U.S. Presidential election interference

See also: United States presidential election, 2020

Di Dongsheng, a vice-dean at the School of International Relations at Renmin University in Beijing, made public statements before a large audience on November 28, 2020:

"We know that the Trump administration is in a trade war with us, so why can’t we fix the Trump administration? Why did China and the US used to be able to settle all kinds of issues between 1992 and 2016?" he asked. "I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here. It’s just because we have people at the top. We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence."

"During the US-China trade war, Wall Street tried to help, and I know that my friends on the US side told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t do much. But now we’re seeing Biden was elected, the traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street, so you see that, right?"

"Trump has been saying that Biden’s son has some sort of global foundation. Have you noticed that? Who helped [Hunter] build the foundations? Got it? There are a lot of deals inside all these."[41][42][43]

Economic history

China's economy, based on rice and wheat farming, was generally prosperous until the 18th century. Population pressures and failure to adopt new technology led to an impoverished nation by 1900.

After Mao's death, the policy of modernization along Western lines has led to a remarkable rate of economic growth in the industrial cities, which have pulled in millions of peasants from the still poor rural areas. Slack environmental standards have led to serious pollution problems.

The modern Chinese economy has benefited from investments from Taiwan and Hong Kong. They jumped far ahead of China by 1970 in terms of technology, and in recent years have invested in mainland industries.

These two factors have changed the Chinese economy, from a command economy to a more socialist state, with the Chinese economy increasingly in the hands of privately owned businesses, not state- or military-run enterprises. However, after several years the trend reversed, as it is in the start that those who are related to the political power are treated differently than the rest of the enterprises.

Since 1980 China has enjoyed the highest economic growth rates in the world. Suddenly in mid-2008, the growth rate slowed sharply from 11% a year to only 5.5%. Much of the economy was geared to exports and building factories for exports to the United States and Japan. When the Financial Crisis of 2008 hit, exports fell off and prices for industrial products like steel fell in half. Many factories were shut down. The decline has especially hit steel, cement, and the construction industry. The government in November 2008 announced a $586 billion stimulus program to build roads, dams, electric grids, and other infrastructure projects that are designed to supplement the international market.[44]

Since 1979, China has largely rejected socialism and embraced capitalism, while maintaining Communist party rule. Private ownership of the means of production has dramatically reduced poverty and increased wealth, especially in the cities but also in rural areas. Nationally the GDP (in 2007 prices) has exploded from 2 trillion yuan in 1980 to 25 trillion in 2007.

As late as 1980 60% of the people in rural China lives in poverty; by 2007 fewer than 5% did. Grain production has grown 300 to 500 tons per person, and rural income per person has soared from a few hundred yuan in 1980 to over 4000.[45]

The reforms reformed and opened its economy. The Chinese leadership adopted a more pragmatic perspective on many political and socioeconomic problems. China's economic transformation had a profound impact not only on China but on the world. The market-oriented reforms China implemented since the 1980s unleashed individual initiative and entrepreneurship. The result was the largest reduction of poverty and one of the fastest increases in income levels ever seen. China today is the second-largest economy in the world. It sustained average economic growth of over 9.5% up to the Crash of 2008. In 2006 its $2.76 trillion economy was about one-fifth the size of the U.S. economy. By 2021 it's $15 trillion dollar economy was more than three-fourths.

In the 1980s, China tried to combine central planning with market-oriented reforms to increase productivity, living standards, and technological quality without exacerbating inflation, unemployment, and budget deficits. China pursued agricultural reforms, dismantling the commune system and introducing a household-based system that provided peasants greater decision-making in agricultural activities. The government also encouraged nonagricultural activities such as village enterprises in rural areas, and promoted more self-management for state-owned enterprises, increased competition in the marketplace, and facilitated direct contact between Chinese and foreign trading enterprises. China also relied more on foreign financing and imports.

During the 1980s, these reforms led to average annual rates of growth of 10% in agricultural and industrial output. Rural per capita real income doubled. China became self-sufficient in grain production; rural industries accounted for 23% of agricultural output, helping absorb surplus labor in the countryside. The variety of light industrial and consumer goods increased. Reforms began in the fiscal, financial, banking, price-setting, and labor systems.

By the late 1980s, however, the economy had become overheated with increasing rates of inflation. At the end of 1988, in reaction to a surge of inflation caused by accelerated price reforms, the leadership introduced an austerity program.

The Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai overlooks the Huangpu River.

China's economy regained momentum in the early 1990s. During a visit to southern China in early 1992, China's paramount leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, made a series of political pronouncements designed to reinvigorate the process of economic reform. The 14th Party Congress later in the year backed Deng's renewed push for market reforms, stating that China's key task in the 1990s was to create a "socialist market economy." The 10-year development plan for the 1990s stressed continuity in the political system with bolder reform of the economic system.

China's economy grew at an average rate of 10% per year during the period 1990–2004, the highest growth rate in the world. China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10.0% in 2003, and even faster, 10.1%, in 2004, and 9.9% in 2005 despite attempts by the government to cool the economy. China's total trade in 2006 surpassed $1.76 trillion, making China the world's third-largest trading nation after the U.S. and Germany. Such high growth is necessary if China is to generate the 15 million jobs needed annually—roughly the size of Ecuador or Cambodia—to employ new entrants into the job market.

Nevertheless, serious imbalances exist behind the spectacular trade performance, high investment flows, and high GDP growth. High numbers of non-performing loans weigh down the state-run banking system. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are still a drag on growth, despite announced efforts to sell, merge, or close the vast majority of SOEs.

Social and economic indicators have improved since reforms were launched, but rising inequality is evident between the more highly developed coastal provinces and the less developed, poorer inland regions. According to World Bank estimates, more than 152 million people in China in 2003—mostly in rural areas of the lagging inland provinces—still live in poverty, on consumption of less than U.S. $1 a day.

Following the Chinese Communist Party's Third Plenum, held in October 2003, Chinese legislators unveiled several proposed amendments to the state constitution. One of the most significant was a proposal to provide protection for private property rights. Legislators also indicated there would be a new emphasis on certain aspects of overall government economic policy, including efforts to reduce unemployment (now in the 8-10% range in urban areas), to rebalance income distribution between urban and rural regions, and to maintain economic growth while protecting the environment and improving social equity. The National People's Congress approved the amendments when it met in March 2004. The Fifth Plenum in October 2005 approved the 11th Five-Year Economic Program aimed at building a "harmonious society" through a more balanced wealth distribution and improved education, medical care, and social security.


  1. The Biblical flood may be dated as 2304 BC.("The Date of Noah’s Flood" by Dr John Osgood)
  2. Vasey, Daniel E., An Ecological History of Agriculture 10,000 BD to AD 10,000, p. 157 (2002)
  3. Xiaolin Ma, "Emergent Social Complexity in the Yangshao Culture: Analyses of Settlement Patterns and Faunal Remains from Lingbao, Western Henan, China C. 4900-3000 BC
  4. The official view of ancient chronology is given by the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project (2001), which refines the traditional timeline.
  5. Dardess, A Ming Society (1996)
  6. Iwo Amelung, "The Examination System and the Dissemination of Western Knowledge during the Late Qing"
  7. Ishikawa Yoshihiro, "Anti-Manchu racism and the rise of anthropology in early 20th century China"
  8. Hsü, (1999) ch 20
  9. Hsü, (1999) ch 20
  10. Spence, Search for Modern China (1990) ch 14-16
  11. Spence, Search for Modern China (1990) ch 14
  12. John M. Glionna, "China's reality check on Long March," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 16, 2008
  13. Sun Shuyun, The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth (2007)
  14. Chóngqìng.
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ciadoc
  16. Harris, Sheldon. Factories of Death.
  17. Barenblatt, Daniel. A Plague Upon Humanity: the Secret Genocide of Axis Japan's Germ Warfare Operation, HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN 0-06-018625-9
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :0
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named histpersp
  20. Biological Weapons Program-Japan Federation of American Scientists
  21. Review of the studies on Germ Warfare Tien-wei Wu A Preliminary Review of Studies of Japanese Biological Warfare and Unit 731 in the United States
  22. Biohazard: Unit 731 and the American Cover-Up (Page 5).
  23. Guillemin, Jeanne (2017). Friedrich, Bretislav; Hoffmann, Dieter; Renn, Jürgen et al.. eds. "The 1925 Geneva Protocol: China's CBW Charges Against Japan at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal" (in en). One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences (Springer International Publishing): 273–286. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51664-6_15. ISBN 9783319516646. 
  24. David Rees, Harry Dexter White; a Study in Paradox, London, 1974, pg. 333.
  25. David Rees, Harry Dexter White; a Study in Paradox, pg. 326.
  26. http://www.ninecommentaries.com/english-3
  27. Christians under Attack in China, By Frederick W. Stakelbeck Jr., FrontPage Magazine, January 25, 2007.
  28. https://freebeacon.com/national-security/chinese-embassy-in-france-tweets-quickly-deletes-anti-semitic-imagery/
  29. “How the Chinese Communist Party Persecuted Christians” (in Chinese). 1958. Cited in Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, Part 3.
  30. Yixin Chen, "Cold War Competition and Food Production in China, 1957-1962," Agricultural History 2009 83(1): 51-78,
  31. Xueguang Zhou and Liren Hou, "Children of the Cultural Revolution: the State and the Life Course in the People's Republic of China." American Sociological Review 1999 64(1): 12-36. Issn: 0003-1224 in Jstor
  32. Jonathan Unger, "Cultural Revolution Conflict in the Villages." China Quarterly 1998 (153): 82-106. Issn: 0305-7410 in Jstor ; Andrew G. Walder, and Yang Su, "The Cultural Revolution in the Countryside: Scope, Timing and Human Impact." China Quarterly 2003 (173): 74-99. Issn: 0305-7410
  33. Patricia Powell, and Joseph Wong, "Propaganda Posters from the Chinese Cultural Revolution." Historian 1997 59(4): 776-793. Issn: 0018-2370 in EBSCO
  34. For primary sources and details see "Record of Historic Richard Nixon-Zhou Enlai Talks in February 1972 Now Declassified"
  35. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9929619/Xi-Jinping-elected-Chinas-president-Telegraph-dispatch.html
  36. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/questions-surround-canadian-shipment-of-deadly-viruses-to-china-66254
  37. https://www.voanews.com/archive/china-denies-us-report-it-has-biological-weapons-capabilities
  38. https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/7/23/defense-officials-see-increased-threat-from-chinese-russian-chembio-weapon
  39. https://greatgameindia.com/coronavirus-bioweapon/
  40. https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/chinese-military-discussed-weaponizing-covid-2015-cause-enemys-medical-system-collapse
  41. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/12/08/top_chinese_intellectual_boasts_about_old_friends_who_are_at_the_top_of_americas_core_inner_circle_of_power_and_influence.html#!
  42. https://youtu.be/lyQUtPEBBSA
  43. https://thepostmillennial.com/watch-tucker-carlson-exposes-how-media-democrats-have-been-working-on-behalf-of-china/
  44. David Barboza, "Great Engine of China Slows ," New York Times Nov. 25, 2008
  45. See Economist Dec. 13, 2008

See also

External links

Further reading

For a more detailed guide go to the Bibliography below

Detailed Bibliography

For a long scholarly bibliography through 2001 see "Modern Chinese History: A Basic Bibliography".


  • Eberharad, Wolfram. A History of China (2005), 380 pages' full text online free
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, and Kwang-ching Liu. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1999) 352 pages excerpt and text search
  • Fairbank, John King and Goldman, Merle. China: A New History. 2nd ed. Harvard U. Press, (2006). 640 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Gernet, Jacques, J. R. Foster, and Charles Hartman. A History of Chinese Civilization (1996), called the best one-volume survey; excerpt and text search
  • Hsü, Immanuel Chung-yueh. The Rise of Modern China, 6th ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999), highly detailed coverage of 1644-1999, in 1136pp. excerpt and text search
  • Huang, Ray. China, a Macro History (1997) 335pp, an idiosyncratic approach, not for beginners; online edition from Questia
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. The Development of China (1917) 273 pages; full text online
  • Michael, Franz. China through the Ages: History of a Civilization. (1986). 278pp; online edition from Questia
  • Mote, Frederick W. Imperial China, 900–1800 Harvard University Press, 1999, 1,136 pages, the authoritative treatment of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties; excerpt and text search
  • Perkins, Dorothy. Encyclopedia of China: The Essential Reference to China, Its History and Culture. Facts on File, 1999. 662 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Roberts, J. A. G. A Concise History of China. Harvard U. Press, 1999. 341 pp.
  • Schoppa, R. Keith. The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History. Columbia U. Press, 2000. 356 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China (1991), 876pp; well written survey from 1644 to 1980s excerpt and text search; complete edition online at Questia
  • Ven, Hans van de, ed. Warfare in Chinese History. E. J. Brill, 2000. 456 pp. online edition
  • Wang, Ke-wen, ed. Modern China: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. Garland, 1998. 442 pp.
  • Wright, David Curtis. History of China (2001) 257pp; online edition
  • full text of older histories (pre 1923)

Prehistory and early history

  • Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China, Yale University Press, 1986.

Intellectual, social and cultural history

  • de Bary, William Theodore, et al., Sources of Chinese Tradition (1960), primary sources
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. Women and the Family in Chinese History (2002) online edition from Questia
  • Fung, Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy, (2d ed. 2 vol., University Press, 1963)
  • Goldman, Merle and Lee, Leo Ou-fan, ed. An Intellectual History of Modern China. Cambridge U. Press, 2002. 607 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Mair, Victor H., ed. The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. Columbia U. Press, 2001. 800 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Mote, Frederick W. Intellectual Foundations of China, (2d ed. 1989)
  • Needham, Joseph; Robinson, Kenneth Girdwood; and Huang, Ray. Science and Civilisation in China: V. 7, Part 2: General Conclusions and Reflections. (2004). 283 pp. the last volume of a monumental series
  • Schwartz, Benjamin. The World of Thought in Ancient China (1985)
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution (1982), 560pp' intellectual history of politics, 1895-1930s excerpt and text search
  • Temple, Robert, and Joseph Needham. The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention, (2007), summarizes Needham's massive multivolume history
  • Watson, William. The Arts of China, 900-1620. (2000). 304 pp.
  • Watson, William. The Arts of China to A.D. 900 2000. excerpt and text search
  • Xinian, Fu, Guo Daiheng, Liu Xujie, and Pan Guxi. Chinese Architecture (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Xu, Guoqi, and William C. Kirby. Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008 (2008)


  • Charbonnier, Jean, David Notley, and M. N. L. Couve de Murville. Christians in China: A.D. 600 to 2000 (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Seiwert, Hubert. Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History. Brill, 2003. 548 pp.


  • Braester, Yomi. Witness against History: Literature, Film, and Public Discourse in Twentieth-Century China. Stanford U. Press, 2003. 264 pp.
  • Crossley, Pamela Kyle. A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology (2002) complete text online free
  • Duara, Prasenjit. Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China. U. of Chicago Press, 1995. 275 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Huang, Ray. Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History: Discourses, Syntheses and Comparisons. M. E. Sharpe, 1999. 274 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Huters, Theodore; Wong, R. Bin; and Yu, Pauline, eds. Culture and State in Chinese History: Convention, Accommodations, and Critiques. Stanford U. Press, 1997. 500 pp.
  • Johnston, Alastair Iain. Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. Princeton U. Press, 1995. 307 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Lach, Donald F. "China in Western Thought and Culture," in Philip P. Wiener, ed. The Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1974) online edition
  • Ng, On-Cho and Wang, Q. Edward. Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China. U. of Hawai`i Press, 2005. 306 pp.
  • Van Kley, Edwin J. "Europe's 'Discovery' of China and the Writing of World History," The American Historical Review, 76 (1971), 358-85. in JSTOR
  • Wang, Ben. Illuminations from the Past: Trauma, Memory, and History in Modern China. Stanford U. Press, 2004. 311 pp.
  • Wang, David Der-wei. The Monster That Is History: History, Violence, and Fictional Writing in Twentieth-Century China. U. of California Press, 2004. 402 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Wang, Q. Edward. Inventing China Through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography. State U. of New York Press, 2001. 304 pp.
  • Wilkinson, Endymion. Chinese History, A Manual, Revised and Enlarged. Harvard U. Asia Center, 2000. 1181 pp. Standard research guide to 4300 books and sources (most in Chinese) covering all major topics; for advanced users only
  • Xia, Yafeng. "The Study of Cold War International History in China: A Review of the Last Twenty Years," Journal of Cold War Studies10#1 Winter 2008, pp. 81–115 in Project Muse
  • Studies of Modern Chinese History: Reviews and Historiographical Essays