China Facing the 21st Century

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China: Facing the 21st Century

China's history is quite extensive dating from at least 2200 BC. It is divided into clearly marked stages where important events and individuals contributed to what today is the second largest economy of the world, measured in nominal GDP (millions of USD), according to the International Monetary Fund. One of the individuals that set the tone during the Dynastic China was K'ung Fu-tzu (Confucius), who emerged as the first Chinese thinker to introduce concepts that became fundamental not only to Confucian philosophy but to Chinese philosophy in general. His theories were part of China’s imperial system and have influenced China through modern times. (Johnson, 1979)

The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was credited for unifying the country in 221 BC, creating its first dinasty as well as adapting the Chinese currency, weights and measure, and the Chinese language.

Inventions like paper, gunpowder, printing, the compass, iron casting and the mechanical clock demonstrated that China was more developed than the West.

After the fading of China’s last dynsaty, the Qing (1644-1911), the country emerged into chaos, conflicts in between the Guomingdan (GMD) nationalist party and the Chinese Comunist Party (CCP). Subsequently, Mao Zedong (Communist Party of China) took power and ended the civil war by proclaiming the People’s Republic Of China on October 1st, 1949. Mao is viewed as a great revolutionary, and most valued for his contributions and efforts to rebuild the economy. However, he is held responsible of millions of deaths associated to campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward (1958-1957) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Mao died on September 9th, 1976 concluding with what was called the “Maoist Era”. Following his death, Deng Xiaoping gradually emerged as the leader of China and initiated China’s program of economic reform in 1978. When Deng took control of China in 1978, the country was still feeling the...
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