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IAS Mains General Studies 1 Notes: Chinese History

Last Updated - January 05, 2017

China has rich ancient culture and heritage.  China was ruled by single authority for many centuries.  There were many dynasties which ruled China namely Xia, Shang, Han and Tang. Qing Dynasty was the last to rule the China. Qing Dynasty also known as Manchu Dynasty.

Qing Dynasty (Manchu Dynasty) Rule over China from the year 1644 – 1912. After that there were also dictatorships came into rule at irregular intervals also a civil war between Kuomintang and Communist Party held before the communist party established the people republic of China in 1949.

Now check out the Important events of Chinese History.

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Boxer Rebellion (1898 – 1900)

The Boxer Rebellion or Yihetuan Movement was anti-Christian and xenophobic movement which held in China in beginning of the end of Qing Dynasty, from period 1898 – 1900. It was started by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan) also known as “Boxers” in English. They were motivated by the proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign rules and Christianity. The Great powers intervened and defeated China.

Chinese Revolution (1911 – 12)

The Xinhai Revolution (Chinese Revolution) broke out in 1911. The revolution cause mutiny across southern China. As consequence of this revolution The Qing Dynasty rule came to an end. A republic government came to rule.

Provisional Republican Govt. Sun Yat Sen (1912)

Xinhai Rebel troops created a provisional govt. in Nanjing in that year under Sun Yat Sen. Dr. Sun Yetsen became the president of that provisional govt. It was lasted for some months only. Sun Yetsen resigned and gave charge to General Yuan Shih Kai.

Dictatorship: Yuan Shih Kai (1912 – 1916)

Yuan Shih Kai was the Minister in Manchu Dynasty. He forcefully created himself as the president for life, then he announced a new dynasty under him and declared himself as emperor. He ruled China from Beijing.

Warlord Era (1916 – 1928)

It was the time in history when the control of the country was divided among its military circles in main land region.

First United Front (1923 - 1927)

The first United front aka KMT – CPC Alliance of Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) was created in 1923 as an group to end the warlordism in China. They together created the National Revolution Army and set out in 1926 on the Northern Expedition. The CPC joined the KMT as individuals, making use of KMT’s superiority in numbers to help spread communism. The KMT, on the other hand, wanted to control the communists from within. Both parties had their own aims and the Front was unsustainable. In 1927, Nationalist Field Marshal (Generalissimo) Chiang Kai-shek purged the Communists from the Front while the Northern Expedition was still half-complete. This initiated a civil war between the two parties which lasted until the Second United Front was formed in 1936 to prepare for the coming Second Sino-Japanese War.

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Northern Expedition (1926-1928)

The Northern Expedition was a movement started by Kuomintang (KMT) from 1926 – 1928 for unifying China under its rule, by ending the control of Beiyang Govt and Local Warlords. Repercussion of this was the end of Warlords Era, China Reunification and establishment of Nanjing Govt.

Nanjing Decade and Civil War(1927 - 1937)

The Nanjing Decade or Golden Decade started from 1927 (or 1928) till 1937 in the Chinese Republic. It was started when Nationalist Generalissmo Chiang Kai Shek took the city from Zhili Warlord Sun Chuanfang halfway through the northern Expedition in 1927. He declared it as new national capital. The expedition continued until the rival Bieyang Govt. in Beijing was defeated in 1928.

But also at same period, there was Chinese civil war between Chinese nationalist party and Chinese Communist party. The Chinese Civil war which began with the killing of large no. of anti-communist in 1927 would continue until creation of Second United Front in December 1936. In this period, the Nationalist tried to finish the communist by using encirclement campaings. The failure of the early communist strategy of urban warfare led to rise of Mao Zedong who advocated guerrilla warfare.

The Second United Front (1937-1941)

The Second United Front was short group between the Chinese Nationalists Party (Kuomintang) and Communist Party of China to stop Japanese invasion during the second Sino-Japanese war, which suspended the Chinese Civil War from 1937 to 1941.

Chinese Civil War (1927 – 1950)

The Chinese Civil War was fought between forces loyal to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and forces loyal to the Kuomintang-led government of the Republic of China. The war started in August 1927, with Chiang Kai-Shek’s Northern Expedition, and ended when major active battles ceased in 1950. The war resulted in two de facto states, the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in mainland China, both claiming to be the legitimate government of China.

This war came to show the ideological differences between the communist and Nationalist. The war continued till the both parties joined together to become a force (Second United Front) against Japanese invasion. China’s Full scale Civil war again started in 1946.  After four more years, 1950 saw the cessation of major military hostilities, with the newly founded People’s Republic of China controlling mainland China (including Hainan), and the Republic of China’s jurisdiction being restricted to Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy, Matsu and several outlying islands.

Chinese Communist Revolution (1921 – 1949)

The Chinese Communist Revolution was the high point of the Communist Party progress to became powerful since its inception in 1921 and the second civil war (1946 - 1949). In the official media, this period is known as the War of Liberation.

The Major Black Marks on China: Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976)

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which is also known as Cultural Revolution, was a social political movement which took place in People’s Republic of China from 1966 and last till 1976. It was started by Mao Zedong, the chairman of Communist Party of China, with a aim to preserve “true” communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist, and traditional elements from the society and again impose the maoist thought as the dominant ideology in the party. The Revolution denoted the arrival of Mao Zedong to a place of force after the Great Leap Forward. The development deadened China politically and fundamentally influenced the nation financially and socially.


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