Communism in History and Theory: Asia, Africa, and the Americas

By Donald F. Busky | Go to book overview
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Communism in China

ANCIENT CHINA

To understand the development of Chinese communism, we must first look at the bureaucratic system that existed in China for many centuries, and how through corruption and inability to resist Western imperialism, this latter system fell, giving rise to the communist revolution in that country. 1

Feudalism in the West lasted from about 800 to 1400 C.E., but in China, it existed on a much earlier time scale: 1500 to 211 B.C.E. After this period, China developed a political system known as Confucianism.

Confucius had lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E. He taught a system of ethics based on the idea that the only way to improve society was for individuals to improve their own behavior. These ethical ideas translated politically into a government based on scholar-bureaucrats. In other words, the best system of government, it was believed, would be one based on a bureaucracy made up of scholars extremely well trained in ethics. Entry and advancement in this vast bureaucracy, headed by an emperor, would be by civil service examinations that tested knowledge in the Confucian classics.


THE OPIUM WAR

As in all bureaucracies, corruption, inefficiency, and parasitism were fairly common problems and were even accepted. The whims of the em-

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