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Chinese history--- Is Modernizing the Ancient Possible - Essay Example

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The study aims at looking at some of the contrasting views of modernizers and the neo-Confucians in China as it tries to resist collapse as an industrial nation despite the country being endowed with a lot of resources. This is dated back to the 20th century during the time…
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Chinese history--- Is Modernizing the Ancient Possible
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Insert Insert Grade Insert Insert Chinese history--- Is Modernizing the Ancient Possible? The study aims atlooking at some of the contrasting views of modernizers and the neo-Confucians in China as it tries to resist collapse as an industrial nation despite the country being endowed with a lot of resources. This is dated back to the 20th century during the time Europe and the rest of the world traded in a variety of items. This has widely drawn a lot of interest as scholars try to study the factors that led to the Chinese response to the West, something which widely lies on the need to protect its cultural traditions of Neo-Confucians and the religious connotation. China stuck to the Confucian teaching of humanity and avoided by all means any technical skill acquisition or professional training. This no doubt led to its backwardness.
As history would tell, China’s economic and political stagnation during the 20th century can be said to be their own folly. It is interesting to note that China was a giant of trade especially in the East, with all the resources that would be a pre-requisite for steering any growth and development of any country yet economically it was crippled (Wright 3). This could be explained through a number of factors. For instance, its response to the west when it (the West) widely opened its arms for trade with them. The Chinese rebelled against them seeing them not as potential economic partners but as enemies, coming to frustrate their culture and their way of life. This kind of reasoning is based on the fact that the Chinese were fully obsessed with their culture and the need to maintain the status quo that any foreign interference would be met with resistance. They were therefore not linked by a program which could foster the country’s growth but by their search for what they termed as spiritual values and critique of the West and their influence (BBC 1).
The Confucians view morality as a key ingredient for the cultivation of social relations with the essence of government being nothing short of good morals. Things however began to change with the collapse of the Han dynasty causing a stiff religious competition with Taoism aimed at cultivation of meditation as a form of internal discipline. The reform that took place through the interaction with the outside world aftermath reshaped Buddhism as the neo-Confucians, giving it a new look on the self mindset and a philosophical evaluation of the world. This change was in itself not easy since China thwarted every attempt for change, especially one that they viewed as being imposed on them by foreigners.
Even though the Chinese did not have much interest in trading with the West, there was a strong demand for opium in China. They were thus forced to accept the exchange of opium for Chinese goods. This led to the opium wars of 1839-1842 and another major war between 1856-1860 which saw the Manchu conquerors later being defeated in Taiping rebellion by the locals who were viewed as corrupt and in effective in dealing with the West whom they called foreign devils (Taiping Rebellion 1).
Prominent scholars also emerged during that time; a good example being Kang Youwei, a reformer who wanted to modernize the ancient China after Meiji Japan. Unfortunately, he was widely criticized and threatened which made him flee to Japan where together with other colleagues managed to promote constitutional monarchy, a credit Japan owed to China.
Works Cited
BBC (2013). “The Boxer Rebellion.” BBC, 2013. Web. 8 April, 2013. .
Taiping Rebellion. “Introduction The Taiping Rebellion 1850-1871.” Taiping Rebellion, Web. 8 April, 2013. .
Wright, Grace. Points in Chinese History. North Carolina: Lulu Publishers, 2007. Print Read More
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