Chinese history: the century of humiliation


In Chapter 3 of his book “On China”, Henry Kissinger entitled “from the preeminence to decline” the author wrote the unprecedented and historic shock of changing in China history. The historic shift from the mandate of heaven in which it graded all states as tributary to the equal treatment with Britain and to the humiliated China. The China concept of International order and relation was changed.

He wrote “as the nineteen century progressed, China experienced almost every imaginable shock to its historic image of itself. Before the Opium War, it conceived of diplomacy and international trade mainly as forms of recognition of China’s preeminence. Now, even as it entered a period of domestic turmoil, it faced three foreign challenges, any one of which could be enough to overturn a dynasty. These threats came from every direction and in heretofore barely conceivable incarnations”.

China can draws a better future from this bitter of humiliation and in which it reflects about the Chinese strategic intention. As summarized by Chinese strategic thinkers “our failures did not lie on our man and capacity, but because of our outdated systems, poor equipment and our ignorance of the maritime strategy”. These are the reasons that China now focus on its maritime strategy, modernize the weapons and racing to catch up the advanced technology. The author continues that from these periods China reconciled the values that marked its greatness with the technology and commerce on which it would have to base its security.  

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