20. Contemporary China and Its Place in the World

Strictly speaking, the time for writing a definitive history of contemporary China has not yet arrived. The Chinese revolution is like a long tunnel that has taken more than a century to grope through. As it gradually unfolds, it is most difficult for anyone inside or outside of it to describe its course. Even the revolutionaries themselves may be confused by its tortuous passage and momentarily lose their sense of direction. Today most primary sources are full of words of anger and frustration, giving negative emphasis to how things have not turned out as they should have done. When dealing with macrohistory, however, we are naturally inclined to be positive. What do we mean by the long-term rationality of history? It implies that even though the events may not suit us and may seem unreasonable and absurd in the short term, when taken together the entire sequence makes sense. It delivers us to a certain destination.

An undeniable fact about contemporary China is that although until the 1920s the country was mathematically unmanageable, now it is on its way to becoming mathematically manageable. Signs are that Chinese history; distinguished in the foregoing chapters for its incompatibility with the history of Western civilization, has finally found a link

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