The China That Is to Be

The China That Is to Be

The China That Is to Be

The China That Is to Be

Excerpt

What is the China of the future to be? The question is of absorbing interest and of great importance. Here is the most numerous fairly homogeneous people on the face of the globe. Back of them lies a long history, a history which can be traced continuously for more than three and a half millenniums. The Chinese have produced a great culture. In politics, in social structure, in economics, in philosophy, in art, and in literature theirs is one of the outstanding achievements of mankind. They have long been an empire, a realm in which theory believed that it ought of right to govern all mankind and to give its civilization to the entire human race. They dominated culturally their immediate neighbors and from time to time controlled politically the lands contiguous to them. In spite of internal political and cultural distresses, they are expanding. Within the present century they have settled most of Manchuria, an area not far from the size of Germany. They have been multiplying in the lands of southeast Asia. In 1941, the date of the latest census, they had become the largest single racial element in British Malaya, and they are important in Indo-China, Siam, Burma, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

China is in the process of revolution. Never before in her history have all phases of her culture been changing as rapidly as they are today. In this century of revolutions, when every people on the globe is being reshaped, and all mankind is on the march as never before since the historian began to ply his craft, among no other folk are changes in progress which are so sweeping and of such magnitude affecting directly so many millions.

These changes appear to be due primarily to the impact of the Occident. That impact began in the thirteenth century with merchants and missionaries from Europe. It lapsed in the fourteenth century, but was resumed in the sixteenth century and since that time has been continuous. Not until the eighteen nineties did that impact appear to make decisive impression upon the Chinese. In the past half century the effect has been mounting. The foundations of Chinese culture have been shaken and in some aspects shattered. Every phase of China's life is being altered. What is taking place is the more significant because the culture which is invading China, that of the Occident, is itself in revolution. China is, therefore, experiencing two revolutions, one in her hereditary culture and one in the civilization whose impact has been the occasion for the upsetting of her culture.

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