China fact of the day

Any Chinese person who has gone to elementary school or watched television news can explain the tale of China’s 100 years of humiliation. Starting with the Opium Wars in the 19th century, foreign powers bullied a weak and backward China into turning Hong Kong and Macau into European colonies. Students must memorize the unequal treaties the Qing dynasty signed during that period.

There’s even a name for it: “national humiliation education.”

Here is more from Li Yuan at the NYT.

Comments

"Any Republican person who has gone to elementary school or watched television news can explain the tale of Talk Radio’s 100 years of humiliation. Starting with the Fairness Doctrine in the 20th century, FCC powers bullied a weak and backward telecommunications medium into turning CNN and the NYTimes into Democrat colonies. Students must memorize the unequal censorship the Kennedy dynasty signed during that period."

Hmmm

It would be a graphic novel, except that is just a PC name for comic book, so instead it's a children's book of nursery rhymes with pictures, approved by the Texas State board of education textbook committee.

Yes this has been devastating for Hong Kong and Macau. All that freedom, all that success, all that money and quality of life. Thankfully China/communism will rescue them and kill anyone who disagrees...

Is that you Danny?

That sounds like an accurate recounting of the history of the Qing Dynasty. I do hope accuracy is maintained for events after that.

Amusing to think that such “national humiliation education” is very unlikely to point to Japan's 19th century history as a contrast showing how a society was able to meet the challenge of European imperialism.

Though admittedly, the fact that the Japanese tried joining that imperialism club in the 20th century (including attempting to take over a chunk of China) is the sort of thing that would be opposed by communist doctrine much less Chinese nationalism, so maybe it is just a wash in the end.

I would hope China does not hold Japan up as a model. It should find a way to development that does not involve imperialism.

Here's a rad idea, instead of Cultural Revolution 2.0, how about following the model of Deng Xiaoping, who was 110% a communist but still thought China's Presidents should be limited to two terms and that there should be an independent legal system?

Tried? Attempting? Japan did join the imperialism club and it did take over a chunk of China, namely Manchuria, as well as Korea, and had colonial influence further down in SEA. Infrastructure built by or under the auspices of pre-war Japanese is still in use in North Korea, and I suspect in SK and Manchuria also.

' Japan did join the imperialism club'

Well, they tried to. But beating the Russians may have given them a false impression at how easy the imperialism game is to play. Compared to European empires (well, maybe not the Swedish one), four or so decades is pretty pathetic.

Good heavens. When your kid finishes grade school, do you say "that's pretty pathetic" because you did 20 years of formal education? They were just late to the game, same as the Germans.

'They were just late to the game, same as the Germans.'

The Germans also did a pathetic job when playing the imperialism game. It isn't the reason that matters, it this fact that both Germany and Japan lost heavily after they attempted to join the imperialist club.

"...both Germany and Japan lost heavily after they attempted to join the imperialist club."

Because they didn't think through the likely outcome of declaring war against an engineering,manufacturing, and logistics Colossus.

The rest is history.

' Japan did join the imperialism club'
Well, they tried to.
-------------
And we would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling Americans!

I call Hate Education. TheKoreans do it too. It leads to nothing good. Those who don't remember the past are doomed to be happy, like the Japanese.

Sun Yat-sen looked very closely at Japan as an example. In fact, he lived there for around five years, under the protection of a Japanese politician.

Chiang Kai-shek was similar, in that he lived and studied there for years. Perhaps even more surprisingly, he served in the IJA for a couple years.

From my understanding, mainland Chinese historiography and schooling ignore or heavily downplay these influences.

All you libertarians that don't understand the power of ethnic studies could look at how China worked that into a national mission statement. Greatness through victim studies 101. In America we teach exceptionalism, only to produce generations of complacent, entitled snowflakes starting with the Boomers.

They way the NYT author characterizes it as some sort of national victimization complex. Probably along the lines of most sociology or ethnic studies 101 classes in most universities.

As opposed to the more better US 'exceptionalism' complex that MSM pumps out everyday since every countries' problem is America's to figure out since we all learned how America singly handily won both World Wars with no real allies.

Also, ignore the major shooting wars after WWII and all the internal problems in the US since that's just some loser States' problems.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2016/05/15/asia/china-cultural-revolution-red-guard-confession/index.html - "My generation grew up drinking wolf's milk: we were born with hatred, and taught to struggle and hate everyone."

They are still drinking wolf's milk...

Nonetheless, I do not think this adds merit to the subtly antidemocratic, pro-Party, pro-Big Business shilling that one sees about. A people educated in propaganda are still less likely to start wars and conflicts that an authoritarian elite with a view closer to the truth, but an interest in holding a grip on power and in benefitting without having to pay a cost in blood.

The article is referring to the Cultural Revolution, when people were taught to hate all kinds of fictitious enemies, including their own teachers and parents.

Teaching about what happened to China in the 1800s and early 1900s isn’t about hate; it’s about “never again.” Colonial powers during this era really did screw China and kill hundreds of millions of Chinese through war, famine, and poverty. This period was, according to what objective statistics exist such as population growth and life expectancy, worse than the Mao era. I don’t sense that Chinese people hate the West so much as they want to copy the West’s power and prosperity to avoid anything like that happening again.

Colonial powers didn't cause any of that; China reaching a new Malthusian equilibrium with slow population growth would be nothing unexpected in this era - the Chinese population had simply rapidly expanded to close to its potential using new crops and methods - and to the extent political circumstances and death can be blamed for population stagnation (rather than a lack of innovation), those can be attributed to internal Han Chinese rebellions and civil wars (Taiping, Boxers), which are not the responsibility of European states.

Wasn't there a war, you know, a war involving China trying to enforce its borders and keep out drugs?

Ah yes, that's right, the Opium Wars. Which actually was the responsibility of European states. And wait, isn't there a term for that sort of behavior? Right - gunboat diplomacy.

You are welcome to argue that China would have been a mess without te Opium Wars - but since they actually happened, we will never know. But the Opium Wars were not about internal Chinese politics, they were about China trying to enforce its laws and preserve its society in the face of a massive drug importing business.

Nope, you can do counterfactuals about what causes economic divergence, and people who claim that opium was causal in economic divergence are actually implicitly making them, and not in a position to then turn around and go "Well, who knows?".

'you can do counterfactuals'

So, could you perhaps give an example of a counter factual where China did not face a massive imported drug problem resulting in war, did not have to pay for losing such wars both with silver and territory, and had its market protections dismantled to provide European states better opportunities to exploit Chinese weakness for profit?

Almost sounds like there just might be something to the idea that China actually did face massive external pressures to an extent that countries such as Japan or Thailand did not face.

Again, China still might have been a basket case, of course. The point is, we will never know, as the actual history shows it was not merely internal problems that caused China difficulties.

'who claim that opium'

Well, I am claiming that the Opium Wars were a fundamental problem, not opium per se (of course, there is some entwining, but the basic cause of those wars was China attempting to prevent outsiders from breaking its laws) . Obviously, opium had nothing to do with Japan seizing Taiwan, but by that point, China had been a decades long recipient of gunboat diplomacy - and the imposition of whatever measures various states wished to impose on a Chinese state no longer able to resist them.

So the problem was not so much the spread of drug addiction or even the direct impact of Qing concessions to the Brits, etc., but the loss of prestige and legitimacy for the imperial government. The fact that the Manchus were "alien" did not help matters. This was a necessary condition for the disorders that followed, the most important of which was the Taiping rebellion.

If you read The Great Divergence by Kenneth Pomeranz, you will find that China started rapidly falling behind the UK and France (and to a lesser extent the still developing Germany and the United States) about 25 to 35 years before the first of the Opium Wars occurred. The Imperial Court actively tried from around 1800 to close China off from the rest of the world, which is a major reason why the Opium Wars happened: without a WTO or a GATT system, the only way trade disputes (and impounding opium was just that, a trade dispute) could be settled in the face of diplomatic failure was through military action. The death knell for Imperial China was not the Opium Wars, but the Taiping Rebellion of the 1840s, killing likely 40 million people and devastating huge swaths of the country. Obviously the first Opium War preceded this, but there is no clear causal nexus aside from the flow of time. Anti-corruption was the main driver of the Taiping Rebellion, and corruption had plagued Qing China for at least 50 years prior to the Opium Wars: indeed, the flow of opium into China was essentially unrestrained because corrupt customs officials accepted money in exchange for allowing the opium imports in the decades prior to the first of the wars.

Opium Wars started in 1839, China had famines in 1810 and 1811 from which they never recovered. Absent time travel, I would suggest that the fate of Qing China had more to do with things other than gunboat diplomacy.

Lest we forget, Lord Macartney, went to the Qianlong Emperor specifically to open some other form of trade. Notably Macartney was hopeful that the Qianlong Emperor might allow the British to trade Indian rice for Chinese tea. The Qianlong Emperor, in his normal racist fashion, rejected all the British attempts at trade liberalization and rejected all British goods as not needed by China.

This included large amounts of rice, which would have prevented mass starvation seventeen years hence. This included weaponry which would later be used to win the Opium Wars.

So no, the Qing were quite adept at ruining the Chinese economy and starving their peasants all on their own. They opted, repeatedly, for stability and corruption rather than stable contracts, trade, and innovation.

Preaching about the Qing being oppressed from the outside runs into the same trouble as German revanchism between the wars. Sure hostile nations took advantage of weakness, but that weakness arose in the first place because China decided it could dictate to the world, refused to allow the peasantry to innovate, and structured the state around avoiding unrest ... not unlike China today. Blaming outsiders for the failures of the past only ensures that they will again be ignored until the cost of fixing them rises too high.

'So no, the Qing were quite adept at ruining the Chinese economy and starving their peasants all on their own. '

And the British were quite adept at ruining the Indian economy and starving the peasants all on their own. 'The late 18th and 19th centuries saw increase in the incidence of severe famine. Millions died from 1850 to 1899 in 24 major famines; more than in any other 50-year period. These famines in British India were bad enough to have a remarkable impact on the long term population growth of the country, especially in the half century between 1871–1921. The first, the Bengal famine of 1770, is estimated to have taken the lives of nearly one-third of the population of the region—about 10 million people' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine_in_India#British_rule

Basically, no one running an empire has ever cared about the peasants.

And to point to the British as benevolently interested in free trade to help people from starving will only be bitterly laughed at by the Irish, to provide another example of British administrative competence. Just in case one would be tempted to say that today's Indians would be blaming outsiders for the failures of the past. Oddly, since the British left, there has not been a single famine that comes close to a typical one (out of 24) under British rule, not that correlation is ever evidence of causation, right?

prior, this off topic Anglophobic rant (yet another from you) does not constitute a rebuttal to anything Sure actually said.

Forget it, Jake. It's priortown.

Famines in the 1870s and 1890s in India don't relate at all to why China declined rapidly in the first couple decades of the 19th Century. Nor, for that matter, would the 1840s potato famine in Ireland be relevant.

Yes, and?

The British, like all empires, had large numbers of famines and exploitation. None of this changes the fact that the Qing Empire was seen as largely illegitimate by the peasantry, the bureaucracy was hopelessly corrupt, and the empire was even having trouble with such basic tasks as maintaining the dikes. When it comes to imperial despots, the BEI was simply more efficient than the Qing.

The Opium Wars were a symptom, not a cause, of China's decline. A decline brought about because peasants of the West were indeed liberated and able to contribute to a tide of innovation and expansion. Reciting all the woes that stemmed from the Qing decadence, as lamented by the Qing, without properly attributing it to culture and a central government unable to govern is likely to have similar results to the old Dolchstoßlegende. A state that leads a mostly willing population to conflict, but not to a lasting victory that impoverishes everyone.

I agree that the Opium Wars are a symptom of decline and not the cause but you can't downplay the destructive forces of imperialism. The Qing could have found its way out of power in a more orderly fashion without more death and destruction than necessary for an internal regime change but when you introduce foreigners, and very hostile, war-making ones at that (UK and Japan), you split the energy and attention of the population and prolong their necessary work. Imagine if the Qing were out of power before the Russian Revolution. China might not even be communist.

The Qing were out of power before the Russian Revolution. The last Qing was deposed in 1912 and a Republic was founded by Sun Yat-sen.

As far as Qing being displaced internally, the state was moribund since at least the late 18th century. If revolution was going to occur absent foreign influence it would have happened before the Opium War; after all the Qing eked out the better part of a century after losing the Opium Wars so I cannot think that population would have easily transitioned without external influences.

In any event, the worst killings in China before the Communists or Japanese were from the Taipings. The Western powers backed the Qing and the majority of deaths came from famine and the traditional Qing armies (not the Ever Victorious Army).

Again left to their own devices, the Qing looked quite capable of making the same sort of bloody hash of things that the Ming and Yuan had managed in their times. It may not have been clockwork, but Chinese empires tended to end poorly in blood and starvation. I suspect that absent the British it would have been just one bloody peasant revolt after another.

Very similar to Norway then, where the 3 centuries under Danish rule is called the "400 year night" (yup, not great at counting either the nationalists). Education is mainly propaganda of course, but fortunately it doesn't stick

All cultures manufacture an identity.

But it's probably more productive when it is based on accomplishment rather than grievance.

'course it works here too. Grievance president.

This is obviously anonymous/mouse.

Off topic and pointless.

My China fact of the day is that I don’t like the POTUS.

So, that's the first impersonation, conveniently close to the first post.

13:21 - 9:53 = 3:28

So unique names are good for maybe 3 1/2 hours around here.

Kinda sorry to see it go. Xyzzy has good roots, for anyone old enough to remember Colossal Cave as the new hotness.

I might follow through with it for the rest of the day.

(If I did my google search properly, the name had never been used by anyone at MR before this morning.)

If your comments were even slightly on topic, you would be much harder to identify.

Perhaps it's not surprising that the need to *disconnect* from current events is especially keen today.

So for the record:

Your China fact of that day is that you don’t like the POTUS, and you are furious with anyone who is not equally outraged on a daily basis to the point of spamming Trump comments in unrelated threads. Also you are outraged at other people who agree with you politically but point out where you’re either factually wrong about things or off topic.

That’s your China fact of the day. China. Fact. Of the day.

What a childish reduction.

I linked to a well respected book, written by an econ professor, and blurbed/endorsed by Larry Summers, Adam Posen, and Dani Rodrik.

It says that China is not alone in using grievance to form an identity.

It is common across the world today.

To disastrous consequences.

So yes then. Your China Fact of the Day is that you don’t like the POTUS.

Specifically on a thread about PRC using education as a tool of ideological control.

lol, like a 4th grade hall monitor, dedicated to keeping the page at 4th grade level

Your response to a sleep study is to rant about the POTUS.

Your response to Chinese k-12 education is to rant about the POTUS.

I think your obsession is more about your mental decline and senility, a post about which would actually be relevant to the POTUS.

Unlike everything else.

China's humiliation (foreign domination) was also a function of internal divisions, which helps explain the obsession with national (political) unity. The irony of the white nationalist movement in America is that it is causing a division in the nation about as great as slavery.

You significantly overestimate the presence of white nationalism in the US.

American invaded Japan to stop fascism. America invaded Korea to stop communism. American invaded Vietnam to stop communism. Why aren't we invading China to stop communism?

Given a big part of the humiliation involved Chinese becoming drug addicts, the war on drug is basically a war on China's revenge.

Opium had very little, causally, to do with China's poor late 19th century, which was probably mainly a consequence of poor quality institutions with little capacity to modernize, and an overreach on population size from a late 18th - early 19th century boom linked to new crops.

Opium helped British Indian traders finance trade with China, when their normal arbitrage on Spanish colonial silver dollars became difficult due to the American revolutions, but really contributed causally to nothing in divergence of either economy, not when it was the result of the Indian trade, or the many times larger Chinese internal supply which evolved through the mid-late 19th century - https://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2008/WDR2008_100years_drug_control_origins.pdf.

Even at the heights of consumption in 1890, less than 3% of the population touched the drug, and this represented a fivefold absolute increase in smokers from the 1830s, without any substantial increase in population... Opium use and imports were immaterial to Chinese national incomes, at least in the 19th century.

'Opium had very little, causally, to do with China's poor late 19th century'

On the other hand, the Opium Wars certainly did, particularly as the second occurred 1856-1860. And to seriously argue that the Treaty of Nanking was meaningless to Chinese growth is a stretch, as it was only the first of the unequal treaties - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Nanking

prior, we can argue that the Opium Wars and unequal treaties drastically lowered the opinion of the Chinese state among the population, and then inspired rebellions among the Chinese people, which was their only outlet and quite a credible one given China's weak, authoritarian states, and that the insecurity and violence from these conflict caused Chinese stagnation, preventing any initiative to build and progress. The West undermined the credibility of the Qing, with negative effects, is somewhat plausible.

What we can't argue credibly is that the actual transfer of money through the opium trade, or through any of the unequal treaties, nor the social and economic burden of opium use themselves contributed in any way to stagnation in China. In terms of the amounts and flows involved these are fairly stupid arguments.

'we can argue that the Opium Wars and unequal treaties drastically lowered the opinion of the Chinese state among the population'

They did a bit more than that. This is from the Treaty of Naking - 'The fundamental purpose of the treaty was to change the framework of foreign trade imposed by the Canton System, which had been in force since 1760. Under Article V, the treaty abolished the former monopoly of the Cohong and their Thirteen Factories in Canton. Four additional "treaty ports" opened for foreign trade alongside Canton (Shameen Island from 1859 until 1943): Amoy (Xiamen until 1930), Foochowfoo (Fuzhou), Ningpo (Ningbo) and Shanghai (until 1943), where foreign merchants were to be allowed to trade with anyone they wished.'

And this - 'The Qing government was obliged to pay the British government six million silver dollars for the opium that had been confiscated by Lin Zexu in 1839 (Article IV), 3 million dollars in compensation for debts that the Hong merchants in Canton owed British merchants (Article V), and a further 12 million dollars in war reparations for the cost of the war (Article VI). The total sum of 21 million dollars was to be paid in installments over three years and the Qing government would be charged an annual interest rate of 5 percent for the money that was not paid in a timely manner (Article VII)'

Along with ceding Hong Kong, of course. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Nanking

And this cite from the wikipedia article is hopefully not really all that disputable - 'The Nanking Treaty ended the old Canton System and created a new disadvantageous framework for China's foreign relations and overseas trade, which would last for almost a hundred years. From the Chinese perspective, the most injurious terms were the fixed trade tariff, extraterritoriality, and the most favoured nation provisions.'

You keep fixating on the opium trade - I am not really sure why, since it was obviously the wars and their aftermath that were significant, not opium per se. And the wars were fought to further European commercial interests. Dismantling the Canton System was considerably more important than importing opium, at least from a European perspective.

I was "focusing" above on opium and the opium trade as a causal factor because the person I was responding to said "Given a big part of the humiliation involved Chinese becoming drug addicts" (which implies that opium and the opium trade were a causal factor).

This is hardly an odd "focus" in response to such a claim? Your "focus" is a stranger way, if anything, to barge into my response to him.

China collects one-third as much tax revenue as the United States, measured as a percentage of GDP. Maybe the United States should invade China to teach them the value of a mixed economy with a strong central government?

That was a response to Th... Adam Wiliamson above.

According to https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/compare-countries/ china and the US spend the same share of GDP.

And total tax revenue are about the same.

The difference is China taxes consumption at 4-5 times the US rate, just like most of the rest of the work. Aka GST, VAT. Thus taxes on property, assets, profits can be low in China.

Of course, a VAT is a business tax with zero tax dodges for things like paying wages, which means the rate can be lower.

Well, no, according to that it's much less.

If you think VAT cannot be dodged, then I have a bridge to sell you, VAT-free at that.

Premise fail - https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-tax-revenues-gdp?country=COL+GHA+TUR+USA+FRA+GBR+CHN - China's tax rev as % GDP 23.79%, USA 25.77%.

An almost indistinguishable difference. Pretty far from your imaginings of China collecting, what, a mere 8% of GDP? China probably collects more money relative to subsistence level income (share of the population that can't be taxed without falling further into extreme poverty).

The United States does maintain relatively low taxation given it's income - https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/country-level-taxes-vs-income. Note other outliers are places like Ireland, Singapore, UAE, whose high GDPs are often based on bulk exporting, tax dodging, less of which is in the end seen by their people as income or consumption, so harder to tax.

(Tangentially, where do these China shills who style themselves and China as ideologically neutral pro-business technocrats get these strange and counter-factual ideas from?

China is an authoritarian Marxist ideological state which sees building its economy through internal export led industrialization and keeping its populace placated through getting richer as a means to an ends, of international power and of maintaining the hold of the revolutionary party on society. That is what "catching mice" means to in Deng's fable of the black and white cats.

Again, a private economy and compliance with international business rules is just means to that ends; the party doesn't believe particularly in the efficiency of a de-centralized, non-state controlled, low tax economy, and its key figures will frequently make pronouncements to the opposite effect, glorifying the supremacy of a centrally controlled society with managed industrial development, peppered with Marxist rhetoric.)

I got it from here:

https://tradingeconomics.com/china/tax-revenue-percent-of-gdp-wb-data.html

Note it says fine, penalties, and most social security contributions are excluded. Social security contributions would add up to a lot as they can be 22-24% of typical workers' income in big cities.

Does the US number include social security, or state and local taxes? I have never in my life, even with part-time work when I was a student, paid a tax rate of only 26% when including all federal, state, and local taxes.

But the larger point in the OP is correct even if exaggerated—China’s government footprint in the economy is at most on par with the US, and smaller than in most of Europe.

I would assume that it's "all-in" as far as they can go, though you're free to check the sources.

I would note you are having a slightly dumb moment if you are to try and debunk with "Well, my income is taxed at higher than that!", since total GDP hardly= sum of all income from wages, as you would know (since you seem pretty smart in general).

In any case, tax as % GDP is also a dumb metric of a state's "footprint" in the economy; states which lack the ability to raise can lack many formal legal mechanisms preventing state ownership and intervention (formally and informally), and act in the economy much more than liberal market economies with higher levels of general taxation. (Through history states which quite diverged from what economic liberals would ever think of as a free economy have levied very low levels of general taxation. E.g. Qing vs contemporary Western Europe.)

Just to be clear, Th-Williamson made a stupid and evil comment so I responded with a stupid comment about the how China collects one-third the tax revenue of the United States in percentage of GDP terms.

The figure I used is misleading because it leaves out social security payments which are large in China. (Though Australia's figures would also leave out our forced savings.) I'm fine with the conclusion that Chinese and US tax revenue is roughly comparable. I'm not fine with Th-Williamson's murder boner.

I enjoy my I-Phone more knowing it was made by Chinese national humiliation. Products made with American pride are overpriced and falls apart quickly. Just like Trump's America.

Earlier in the article, we get this: "A pro-protest tweet by a Houston Rockets executive, Daryl Morey, ignited a firestorm of anger against the N.B.A., demonstrating the depth of feeling."

Really? If Twitter is banned in China, then how did the tweet "ignite a firestorm of anger" among ordinary (non-government) Chinese who weren't even allowed to see the tweet?

The problem with these, "Oh, you don't understand, this is not just about tyranny, 'the Chinese' (implying ordinary, non-government Chinese) have a different perspective" arguments is that they don't explain how "the Chinese" come to be offended by Western comments that they're not allowed to see. Does national humiliation education also teach ESP?

I have no doubt that large numbers, in absolute terms, of Chinese drink the government Kool-Aid. However, claims that "1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united" about anything are a tip-off that the author himself is serving up the government Kool-Aid. The 1.4B Chinese aren't allowed to say what they think.

Besides, if it's truly the case that Chinese sensibilities are irrevocably warped from government propaganda brain washing, then that would make their views on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, etc. even more suspect. And, no, a good rejoinder would not be to say, "Well, we are brainwashed too." We do not face a government censorship regime that prevents us from reading non-government views.

Btw, the KMT subjected Taiwanese to the same national humiliation education during their period of military rule over Taiwan. Now that Taiwan is democratic and Taiwanese are free to express their opinions, why is there no desire among Taiwanese to end their alleged humiliation by re-uniting with China?

'why is there no desire among Taiwanese to end their alleged humiliation by re-uniting with China'

Well, wouldn't they have to re-unite with Japan first? Which would then logically lead to a return of the Japanese educational system.

Because Taiwan already ended its national humiliation by becoming a first-world country, and would have nothing to gain from reunification.

People in China do not want to take back lost portions of the old Chinese Empire with no strategic or economic value such as Mongolia either.

I don't understand. Why would our good friends Japan and Red China manipulate children to create antiWestern hatred? They are our friends? Brazil and the Kurds are all real enemies, according the orange madman.

Anybody notice in the article that Joe Tsai, owner of the Nets, accuses the HK protests of being a separatist movement while his own newspaper, the SCMP, listed all 5 protestor demands none of which are separatism? This is the kind of miscommunication at the political level that will lead to a lot of needless death. I understand that Joe has to put on his game face but he could do a little better by sticking closer to the truth instead of currying favor by toeing the party line.

China has been going through the centralization/humiliation cycle for a thousand years. That cycle is the very first thing that comes up in Chinese history, elsewhere, like wiki.

Give me a few nukes and I can end their humiliation.

There is a saying from the Soviet Union that “everything they taught us about communism was false, but everything they taught us about the capitalists was true.” I think this applies here too. China shouldn’t cover up the history of the communist party’s own failures, but any fair reading of the “Century of Humiliation” period in Chinese history is that China was badly screwed by foreign powers. Just look at the lack of population growth in China from 1850-1950 while the rest of the world’s population more than doubled and it’s clear that hundreds of millions of Chinese must have died due to famine, poverty, and war during this period. China was forced to pay hundreds of billions of dollars in today’s money in war “reparations” to foreign countries that invaded China (plus vastly increase spending on military to meet these threats, whereas the Qing had a very low rate of taxation and military spending prior to the First Opium War) while its own people were starving. The result was humanitarian conditions in China that were even worse than the Mao period if you go by population growth and life expectancy. So it’s not more surprising that Chinese would learn about this period, just like Jews learn about the Holocaust.

Zaua... There is a fundamental problem in having this discussion, taking the position that China did not endure "100 years of humiliation" is automatically framed as "pro-imperialist". This is wrong. We can agree that "Beijing" or the national government was not given the face they felt they deserved. This much is true. In the 1800's the world was full ineffective governments. Beijing was not special. Western governments themselves were only waking up to what their responsibilities to the people should be. Sewage systems to prevent disease for example.

The truth is more complicated. There are plenty of statistics that show a different story. Again, I fear saying this for being misunderstood as "pro-imperialism" ... which I am not. But plenty of "face" was given to China...just not to Beijing.

'government was not given the face they felt they deserved'

Not to mention losing territory they thought theirs - Macua, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.

'Beijing was not special.'

Yet strangely, only the Chinese had to fight an empire that systematically introducing opium. Of course, they were no match for the Royal Nav. Wikipedia provides a nice overview - 'The Opium Wars were two wars in the mid-19th century involving Great Qing and the British Government and concerned their imposition of trade of opium upon China, thus compromising China’s territorial sovereignty and economic power for almost a century. The clashes included the First Opium War (1839–1842), with the British naval forces, and in the Second Opium War (1856–1860), also known as the Arrow or Anglo-French Wars to the Chinese, Britain was aided by French forces. The wars and subsequently imposed treaties weakened the Qing dynasty and Chinese governments, and forced China to increase its imports from colonial and imperial powers.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

'But plenty of "face" was given to China...just not to Beijing.'

You really have to wonder what people in Shanghai would think of that statement, considering this history - 'In 1854, the three countries created the Shanghai Municipal Council to serve all their interests, but, in 1862, the French concession dropped out of the arrangement. The following year the British and American settlements formally united to create the Shanghai International Settlement. As more foreign powers entered into treaty relations with China, their nationals also became part of the administration of the settlement, but it always remained a predominantly British affair until the growth of Japan's involvement in the late 1930s.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_International_Settlement But who knows, maybe you feel that face was saved through allowing Chinese to claim it was still their territory, unlike Hong Kong or Macau.

Why wasn't opium sold in Japan, then?

Because the Japanese had the good fortune of not dealing with the British East India Company? Or because the Japanese did not offer anything attractive enough to be worth much time or effort of the part of any European empire (Portuguese, Dutch, or British come instantly to mind)?

Or maybe the fact it was the U.S. that opened up Japan was a good thing, compared to what happened to China?

Because the Japanese had the good fortune of not dealing with the British East India Company? Or because the Japanese did not offer anything attractive enough to be worth much time or effort of the part of any European empire (Portuguese, Dutch, or British come instantly to mind)?

Because they didn't smoke opium? Here's an article from 1900 (10.1001/jama.1900.02470130044008):

The use of opium in China is apparently regarded by the Japanese authorities as one of the causes of the decadence of that empire. To such an extent does this feeling exist that it is said that out of a number of Japanese coolies employed in the China-Japanese War, a certain portion contracted the opium habit and for this were brought before the Japanese commander. Rather than allow them to return to Japan and introduce the habit there, it is reported that he had them lined up and shot.

Or maybe the fact it was the U.S. that opened up Japan was a good thing, compared to what happened to China?

Americans sold opium to China too. It's even on Wikipedia.

'Because they didn't smoke opium?'

Neither did the Chinese - well, until the British East India Company decided to get into a new business line. And breaking China's laws seems to have played no role at all in their decision making.

'Americans sold opium to China too. '

They sure did - isn't that common knowledge? But the USN didn't, and it was the American government who opened up Japan, not Yankee traders - in a fashion that was considerably different than the British East India Company.

The Chinese smoked opium before EIC. If the market hadn't already existed, EIC wouldn't have thought it a good enough trade to recover the huge trade imbalance of silver that was flowing into China in payment for tea. As for breaking laws, laws are worth nothing if they aren't enforced (there is even a formal term for that in English: desuetude). China's problem was precisely that its government was so weak and fragmented that it couldn't enforce its own laws. If Chinese didn't respect their own laws, why should the EIC? Apparently the emperor had problems enforcing anti-opium laws even in Beijing, and as for Southern coastal provinces, forget it. Mountains are high, emperor is far away. In contrast, today China has no problem enforcing its laws, and Western companies are brown-nosing up to it.

> the American government who opened up Japan
Yeah, sure. They insisted on precisely the same pattern of extraterritoriality for their citizens, trade preferences etc. as all other colonial powers. The difference was that (a) Japanese didn't smoke opium to begin with, having a strong enough government to suppress the practice, and (b) they had their shit together enough to completely rebuild the country and beat Russia barely 50 years after Capt. Perry steamed into Uraga. In contrast, the Chinese firmly believed that gwailo were beating them with magic and evolved such brilliant ideas as

General Yang Gang’s idea of attacking the British fleet with chamber pots full of women’s urine [Ref 25] which would bring bad luck on the barbarians.

Even after seeing Japan's example, including studying in Japan's imperial universities, they still couldn't get their shit together for 50 years.

Pretty much everyone with access to opium has used it, for thousands of years.

This, however, shows how a market develops - 'Imports of opium into China stood at 200 chests annually in 1729, when the first anti-opium edict was promulgated. By the time Chinese authorities reissued the prohibition in starker terms in 1799, the figure had leaped; 4,500 chests were imported in the year 1800. The decade of the 1830s witnessed a rapid rise in opium trade and by 1838, just before the First Opium War, it had climbed to 40,000 chests. The rise continued on after the Treaty of Nanking (1842) that concluded the war. By 1858 annual imports had risen to 70,000 chests (4,480 long tons (4,550 t)), approximately equivalent to global production of opium for the decade surrounding the year 2000.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_opium_in_China

'Apparently the emperor had problems enforcing anti-opium laws even in Beijing, and as for Southern coastal provinces, forget it.'

You do know how the first Opium War started, right? 'In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor, rejecting proposals to legalize and tax opium, appointed viceroy Lin Zexu to go to Canton to halt the opium trade completely. Lin wrote to Queen Victoria an open letter in an appeal to her moral responsibility to stop the opium trade. When he failed to get a response, he initially attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this ultimately failed too. Then Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants' enclave. He confiscated all supplies and ordered a blockade of foreign ships to get them to surrender their opium supply. Lin confiscated 20,283 chests of opium (approximately 1210 tons or 2.66 million pounds).'

Sounds like the Chinese government was completely ineffective, right? Though apparently the British Empire disagreed, and the Royal Navy went on to ensure that a free trade in opium would prevail.

Why do you think the emperor had to send a superspecial viceroy to try to do something? Because his regular channels were completely useless, that's why. As for my remark about the emperor having difficulty with enforcing anti-opium law in Beijing, I am going by the 1810 edict quoted on the very Wikipedia page you are referring to.

Here's an extremely thorough discussion showing, with references, what China was like in the Opium Wars period: https://www.quora.com/Had-the-Qing-Empire-purchased-modern-weapons-from-a-European-power-could-they-have-defeated-the-British-Empire-in-the-Opium-War-in-the-1840s If this doesn't scream "internal misgovernment" to you, there is nothing more to discuss, we won't agree on anything.

Of course there was internal misgovernment.

Let us use another Asian example, where a newly risen Asian power was able to sink a fleet armed with modern weapons. Strangely, people don't often explain that Russian loss to internal misgovernment, in contrast to what happened to China. Almost as if people are eager to say that what happened to China in the 19th century had nothing to do with European imperialism, not really. Which just might be the point of at least the Chinese accurately portraying the history of that period.

No less than the Czar himself thought that defeat represented Russian internal misgovernment.

In fact the largest army of the conflict of the war wasn't even in Asia. It was in Poland suppressing a revolt that the Poles hoped to make good on solely due to the perceived weakness of the Russian state.

Then, of course, there was the entire 1905 Revolution which explicitly held that Russia had been too backwards and needed reform. Which the Czar, begrudgingly, signed off on later.

The military, the ethnic minorities, the peasants, the students, the navy ... everyone thought that the defeat against Japan showed that Russia was being terribly misgoverned and needed reform.

+100500. It's strange to read clockwork_prior, who just the other day outed himself as a fan of early Soviet Union with its electrification etc., to say that "people don't often explain that Russian loss [in 1905] to internal misgovernment".

“everything they taught us about communism was false, but everything they taught us about the capitalists was true.”

This is what brought them the age of the oligarchs. They had no expectation of moral capitalism, and so demanded none.

Believers in an amoral market take note.

Communist apparatchiks looting state property = capitalism and free exchange.

+1 Zaua VOR

Yet, we keep supporting Red China's fascist regime. Why?!

So China is the world's most butthurt country? What a crappy national story. A government that wants their people to have a victim mentality. That is their path to greatness?

They want to use this to justify their crimes.

They behave like animals.

Sounds like China was, and still pretty much is, as Imperial as they could manage, given the technology and relative geopolitical power of the period, up to and including today.

China's long-term goal is the destruction of the British Commonwealth. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

I happen to like The Magna Carta and the continuing evolution ideas of what came after.

China didn’t give the world that. Not so fond of what they want to impose, either.

Destroy the Commonwealth from a certain POV is also destroying America.

That 54k# of Fentanyl via Mexico sounds a little like revenge.

And if I read it correctly, I think part of I-phone production is coming to Texas.

Most of what went wrong in China in the 19th century was a continuation of prior domestic trends. But, no one likes taking responsibility or admitting they were wrong so it's easier to just blame foreign intrusion. To the communists the only Chinese borne cause was Confucius. To them he was little more than a sexist conformist and a defender of the slave owning aristocracy. It might seem odd to claim that all the problems faced by hundreds of millions over the course of centuries could be one guys fault, but thats what they went with.

Foreign intrusion, particularly Japan and Russia openly annexing territory was bad, but it wasn't the main issue. Indeed, if your nation becomes so weak you can be bullied like that I consider it a domestic failure. China's greatest 19th century calamity was the 14 year long Taiping Rebellion in which a religious fanatic claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus lead a campaign that may have cost 15-30 million lives. There were rebellions in the Muslim regions and both Tibet and Mongolia broke away. Domestic economic, political, and military policy were all subpar. The conservatism nad isolationism of prior dynasties stamped out intellectual curiosity. Famines occasionally struck rural areas while the KMT failed to control inflation. Lawlessness and a protracted civil war did even more harm as Chinese society fragmented into a period in which war lords effectively ruled the provinces.

Irrigation, rivers, and canals were neglected. The military progressively weakened. Banking, industry, agriculture, and trade all suffered.

This is why we shouldn't expect Xi to do anything that looks like surrender in the current trade war.

I feel like all of these arguments about who was responsible for “the century of humiliation” are missing the point. I highly doubt that whether the Qing or foreigners were to blame is relevant to the CCP. Rather, the narrative of foreign nations causing a “century of humiliation” and then the CCP ending that humiliation by strengthening and unifying the nation is the point. That is to say, the propaganda value is the point. Of course, there is the danger that too many Chinese leaders buy into too simplistic a view of that period of time and make bad decisions on that basis. However, so long as the party returns to the norms of limiting leaders to 10 years in power, they should be able to correct course from a bad leader in plenty time to prevent too much harm.

I'm late to the commenting party but......one American commercial icon is standing up to China: South Park =)

"You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you wanna suck on the warm teat of China. " https://twitter.com/SouthPark/status/1181025874864418816

Makes for good propaganda and keeps hate alive so people are receptive to unfair China policies. Does Viet Nam have one? Certainly, they should have one. China's own rulers were most humiliating towards their own people. Suggest read American Century and Beyond by George Herring for a short survey of the period.

I thought he got it wrong about Macau. Macau was leased to Portuguese permanently in 1557, long before Mancuria conquested China in 1644.

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