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  • There is no doubt that China is one of the most powerful countries in the world today.

  • To some, China's rise to power has been nerve-racking.

  • Yet, China has always been powerful and influential, and in the grand scheme of human history,

  • China being an economic and cultural powerhouse has actually been the norm.

  • So let's take a look at the evolution of China and why it may be on track to be the

  • world's next number one superpower.

  • If you want to understand why things are the way they are today, you have to understand

  • the past.

  • The Chinese culture is one of the oldest in the world.

  • And like today, the ancient Chinese were builders.

  • Construction projects on a massive scale are being built right now, putting millions of

  • Chinese citizens to work, and over 2000 years ago, China was doing the same thing.

  • Although there was definitely more slave labor being used in the past.

  • One of the most famous construction projects of ancient times started at the beginning

  • of Chinese history.

  • Qin Shihuangdi had unified much of the Chinese heartland between 221 and 206 BC, and it was

  • during this time that construction began on the first Great Wall of China.

  • The period following Qin Shihuangdi's rule was considered the first Golden Age of the

  • region.

  • Between 206 BC and 220 AD, China saw huge leaps in economic growth and its culture spread.

  • Approximately 400 years later—a relatively short time in the scheme of thingsthe second

  • Golden Age of China began and it extended its sphere of its influence all the way into

  • central Asia.

  • Just like with all empires, change in power was something to be expected.

  • By the 13th century, the Mongols had conquered China and united much of the country under

  • their rule.

  • During this time, Beijing became the capital, and Westerners such as Marco Polo visited

  • the country.

  • This marked the starting point of contact between China and the West, which eventually

  • evolved into prosperous trading relationships and the exchange of ideas, but also led to

  • death and destruction when the Mongols swept across the Asian continent and invaded Europe.

  • In 1368 the Ming Dynasty overthrew the Mongols and took control of the country, and China

  • moved away from warfare and conquest to start focusing on the country itself.

  • China's economy ramped up due to high agricultural output, the bureaucracy and military were

  • centralized, and the Great Wall of China was completed.

  • We often forget that when learning about other countries, we are taught about them through

  • the lens of our own culture.

  • For people living in theWestern World,” the history curriculum in school rarely touches

  • on the achievements or cultures of Asian countries.

  • Make no mistake, just because China's early power and influence aren't often taught

  • or talked about that does not mean they didn't happen.

  • China's past was full of advancements and economic growth, something that continues

  • to this day.

  • We know of Chinese influence in the ancient past from written records and archaeological

  • data.

  • As we move closer to the present, we have even more information about the chain of events,

  • which led to China becoming one of the most powerful nations on the planet.

  • By the 19th century, Western powers had colonized many parts of the world, including Asia.

  • China had been in a long decline, and the unequal treaties negotiated by European powers

  • had crippled the Chinese economy even further.

  • This led to the destabilization of the government, allowing regional warlords to rise to power.

  • During the 19th and early 20th century, events were set in motion that would lead to modern-day

  • China.

  • It was a time of bloodshed and oppression in the country.

  • Foreign intervention in the affairs of China led to the exploitation of its government

  • and peoples, which led to massive amounts of poverty.

  • Along with Russia and Japan, Western countries exploited China and forced the government

  • into giving concessions while simultaneously weakening the country's ruling body.

  • Then in 1931, Japan invaded China.

  • Over the next decade, they occupied more and more Chinese land.

  • In 1937 the different factions within China united to fight back against the Japanese

  • annexation of their country.

  • Finally, the Chinese took back their lands but immediately fell into civil war, and whoever

  • won would rule the country.

  • China had gone through decades of struggle to regain its land and power.

  • In 1949, Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist Party of China, was victorious over the opposing

  • Nationalist side during the civil war.

  • The foundation of modern-day China had finally begun.

  • It is essential not to forget everything that led up to this point.

  • The idea of China's power and influence in the past was still ingrained in the country's

  • cultural history.

  • The memories of the oppression and exploitation of China by Western nations and their allies

  • were also still fresh in the collective consciousness of the Chinese people.

  • And the longing to return to a time where China's power and economic strength were

  • respected was a driving force for the decisions made by the new Communist government.

  • In 1958 Mao launched theGreat Leap Forward,” a five-year economic plan that was meant to

  • lift the Chinese people out of poverty and jumpstart the country's economy.

  • It was supposed to collectivize farming and introduce labor-intensive industries.

  • As with all economic plans, not everyone would benefit, and the plan ended up being a complete

  • failure.

  • However, the move towards revitalizing the Chinese economy persisted.

  • Mao's follow-up plan was theCultural Revolution,” which lasted ten years and

  • changed the country's political and ideological systems.

  • It was a way to inspire a revolutionary spirit in the people, which it did, but not in the

  • way Mao had intended.

  • The masses protested, causing disruptions in the economic, social, and political systems

  • of China.

  • This primed the country for extreme changes.

  • When Mao died in 1976, he was succeeded by Deng Xiaoping.

  • His main goal was to start China on a path to economic reform that would make the country

  • wealthy and influential in the growing world economy.

  • Xiaoping knew that to ramp up the economy, the country needed a healthy workforce.

  • Population growth in China had exploded, which meant there were plenty of workers, but the

  • resources required to support so many people were lacking.

  • In response to this, the government imposed a one-child policy to try and curb population

  • growth.

  • The government also granted peasants the right to farm their own plots of land instead of

  • relying solely on the communist distribution system.

  • These changes resulted in improved living standards and decreased the number of food

  • shortages.

  • Xiaoping also started China's “open-door policy,” which now allowed diplomatic relations

  • to resume and foreign investments to begin within the country.

  • It also provided other nations access to China's very large yet very cheap labor workforce.

  • All of these things combined led to an enormous amount of money being poured into China, setting

  • the country up to become one of the largest economies in the world.

  • China was gaining massive amounts of wealth and influence through relations with different

  • governments and corporations around the world.

  • Theopen-door policyalso allowed the development of a market economy and private

  • business sectors.

  • But just like when wealth and growth come to any country, the average citizen does not

  • always benefit.

  • Corruption in the government ran rampant and influential leaders were getting wealthy from

  • the economic boom, but poverty and cultural shifts led to protests around China.

  • This culminated in the Tiananmen Square massacre.

  • International outrage led to sanctions on China, but this did not stop the economic

  • engine that had already been set in motion.

  • In 1989, stock markets opened in Shanghai and Shenzhen leading to even more economic

  • growth.

  • Three years later Russia and China signed a declaration restoring cooperation between

  • the two countries, which allowed for further economic opportunities for China.

  • In that same year, the International Monetary Fund ranked China as the third-largest economy

  • in the world after the United States and Japan.

  • It wouldn't be long until they moved even further up in the rankings.

  • On October 1st, 1999, the country celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as the People's

  • Republic of China.

  • The following year the government cracked down on corruption with public executions.

  • Not everyone agreed with the methods of the People's Republic, but the power that they

  • wielded allowed for swift change and few actual repercussions.

  • In 2001, China met with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to

  • create the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

  • The mission of this new alliance was to combat ethnic and religious militancy in the countries.

  • Of even more significant benefit to China though, was the agreement which promoted trade

  • and investment between the countries.

  • With economic opportunity looming around every corner, China took the next step in expanding

  • its power and influence by joining the World Trade Organization.

  • This allowed for negotiations with other countries to lower trade barriers and tariffs on Chinese

  • goods.

  • With fewer restrictions, and the ability to trade worldwide more efficiently, the Chinese

  • economy grew faster than ever.

  • Many people still lived in poverty though, and the government continuously turned a blind

  • eye to unlawful working conditions.

  • Some workers were even treated as slaves or paid an unlivable wage.

  • This allowed Chinese companies to make and sell products at lower and lower prices while

  • still making enormous profits.

  • As the economy grew, more resources could be spent on other government projects like

  • military and space programs.

  • In 2003 China launched its first crewed spacecraft.

  • Two years after that, China and Russia conducted their first joint military exercises.

  • With a powerful ally in Russia and several free trade agreements with other countries

  • in the region, China gained more and more power.

  • While expanding its global influence, China also has been constructing cities and internal

  • renovation projects that created jobs and cash flow for its citizens.

  • In 2006 China finished building the world's largest hydroelectric dam called the Three

  • Gorges Dam.

  • Later that year, China met with African leaders for the China-Africa summit in Beijing.

  • Around 2 billion dollars in business deals were agreed upon in exchange for loans and

  • credit from China.

  • This only furthered China's economic power and gave them leverage in the future.

  • With the industrialization of China, its numerous large-scale construction projects, and the

  • desire to keep its economy going, concerns about public and environmental health had

  • fallen to the wayside.

  • The government acknowledged that pollution in the country had reached critical levels

  • and that new policies would be implemented to deal with the problem.

  • However, this did not stop the economic drive of the country.

  • The government continued to pour money into technology and the military.

  • China tested long-range missiles and even shot down an old weather satellite in space,

  • showing the world that they now had missiles capable of hitting targets in orbit.

  • In 2008 as the global economy slowed down, the Chinese government announced a 586 billion

  • dollar stimulus package to ensure their economic growth wouldn't stall.

  • To secure the resources they needed, China signed a 25 billion dollar deal with Russia

  • making sure that the country has enough oil for the next 20 years.

  • In 2010 China became the world's largest exporter, and the following year China overtook Japan

  • as the world's second-largest economy.

  • And even after China overtook Japan, it continued to grow its economy until 2014, at which point,

  • things finally started to slow down.

  • China's economy is still growing, but not at the incredible rate that it had been over

  • the previous decade.

  • Thanks to a strong economy and a government with absolute authority, China grew into one

  • of the most powerful nations in the world.

  • But this is not surprising, as even in the past, China was incredibly influential.

  • They had the workforce to ramp up their economy, and once they switched from isolationist policies

  • to joining the global economy, there was very little that could stop China's progress.

  • The economic gains made by China did pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty

  • but at the expense of polluted air and unsafe working conditions.

  • Whether your political ideology is for or against the way China runs its country, there

  • is no denying that there were benefits from the reforms and economic policies they implemented.

  • Education rates have gone up drastically, and it is estimated that by 2030 the same

  • percentage of Chinese workers will have a university degree as countries in Europe have

  • today.

  • However, many poor rural communities in the country have low skill levels and an aging

  • workforce.

  • But this is also true in other economically advanced countries around the world.

  • China became powerful by taking a different path than Western countries, and now with

  • a thriving economy comes the ability to have a strong military and loan out money to other

  • countries, which can be used as leverage in the future.

  • It is no surprise that after a time of relatively low economic and cultural output during European

  • colonization, China would eventually return to its norm as being one of the most powerful

  • countries in the world, a position it has held for much of its multi-thousand-year history.

  • Now check outReal Reason Why China Wants To Expand.”

  • Or watchChina vs United States (USA) - Who Would Win?

  • 2020 Military / Army Comparison

There is no doubt that China is one of the most powerful countries in the world today.

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How China Evolved to Become So Powerful

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    Summer posted on 2021/06/18
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