Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism

Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism

Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism

Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism

Excerpt

PREMODERN CHINA enjoyed a relatively placid and coherent social order. But it would be untrue to say that, before the Communist revolution, the country's only major political or social upheavals were dynastic changes and peasant revolts. In its long history, China has undergone at least five periods of revolutionary change: the unification of China by Shih Huang-ti, the first emperor of the absolutist Ch'in dynasty (221-209 B.C.); the attempt to create an aristocratic culture during the Six Dynasties era (A.D. 222-589); the Sung dynasty attempt to substitute an educated plebeian elite for the aristocratic ruling class (960-1279); the T'aip'ing Rebellion, an effort to set up a theocratic-socialist state (1850-64); and the pre-Communist nationalist movement, beginning with Dr. Sun Yat-sen's 1911 Revolution and ending with the May Fourth Movement of 1919, the cultural apostasy that preceded the emergence of Chinese Marxism.

However, except for such movements as the abortive anti-Confucian T'aip'ing Rebellion, during the two milleniums before the Communist rise to power Confucianism was the most resilient and the predominant system of thought. No dynasty since the Ch'in had claimed such a sweeping break with Confucian tradition as did the modern Communists. Confucianism, renewing . . .

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