What do Americans or Europeans think about thecentury-old humiliation of the Chinese nation between 1840 and 1940?
What is written about itin the text-books of these countries?
19 upvotesby Sed Chapman, Don Johnson, Joe Geronimo Martinez, (more)
InAmerica during this period the tension was between the official positive viewof China as a major power of similar continental extent, ally, potential tradepartner, student of American science and organization, and potential convert toChristianity; and a darker cynical popular view of China as poor, frustratinglybackward, culturally strange, and limitless source of cheap labor that couldundermine American workers' earnings.
In China apparently the troubled century is presented primarily in terms ofinsults to the Chinese state such as the Opium War, sacking of the SummerPalace, etc., or at least this is what people from the PRC seem to mention.This history is at most mentioned very briefly in American world historytextbooks. Beyond that, only a few university students take coursesspecifically on Chinese or Asian history.
American hostility to China has consistently come from the working class andorganized labor movement, while elites tended to see China as an opportunity.
AndyLee Chaisiri, Game Designer, Art Director, &... (more)
123 upvotes by Jadeson Chen, Ericko Samudera, KoushikRajagopalan, (more)
"Chinesereally suck at fighting"
That's the main impression you get. History class is mostly the story of majorwars, and the only time I learned about China in the classroom when they lose.So you get to read about how Chinese only rely on sheer numbers as they getblown away by guns and cannons through Britain's drug invasion to the Boxer Uprising.
There's also not much sympathy either. Like for the fall of the Roman Empireyou get the impression "wow,a great culture has fallen to barbarians, such a tragedy" but the fall of the Qing is more "Wow these guys are stupidlyincompetent, no wonder a more vigorous culture defeated them".
I've found out otherwise on my own (likehow a Muslim Chinese army using German weaponry defeated every western armythey encountered in the Boxer Uprising), but if all I learned about Chinawas from school I'd just think of them as some kind of orc/goblin horde.
There's not much covering the Republic of China and the Communist rebellioneither. I remember it being summed up in one chapter of my history book, therest was about Japan invading China and helpless Chinese being slaughtereduntil brave Americans swooped in with airplanes to rescue them. 'Course thenext chapter is about Chinese hordes swooping into Korea getting blown away bymachine guns and artillery. I think they called it 'human wave' tactics and itwas presented in a negative light, even though operations like D-Day were alsoa human wave relying on sheer numbers to get past machine gun fire, but it waspresented more heroically.
The Nanjing massacre usually gets its own day to learn about as we see how theJapanese were monsters that deserved to be punished but... it's kind of oddthat just a few chapters before when China got invaded by westerners, we gointo lots of detail about the 'reasons' they did it like how China wasinterfering with 'free trade'(Chineseauthorities did not want opium in their country)with Britain, or howxenophobic Chinese cruelly attacked and mutilated westerners so the westerninvaders were actually just punishing a crime, or a vague sense of socialDarwinism that 'well Chineseare really shitty at fighting so it's their own fault for losing'. When Ilooked up the Boxer Uprising on my own I found various accounts of westernsoldiers raping and mutilating Chinese women, but that's something my historyclass never mentioned, and if anything they kind of pre-emptively denied themwith a segment on how Chinese were spreading'rumors' about westerners performing medicalexperiments on Chinese to incite them to kill westerners and we're suppose tolaugh at how absurd the idea is(andhow dumb the Chinese are for believing it).
That and starving. Also footbinding too.
Some American writers grew up with this as their only source on China(particularlyolder generations as they didn't have Quora back them to learn more), soyou'll often see a highly negative depiction of 'ancient' China. Like if youread Neal Stephenson's post cyberpunk/futurist/sci-fi novel'A Diamond Age' you can see how an otherwiseintelligent and well informed author depicts China as a ravening horde ofgoblins, because that's what he learned in school about them.
*A good example of 'Chinese suck at fighting' is how one presents the Jindynasty. When the Jin defeat the Song dynasty it's described as "Northernnomads defeat China", but when the Mongols defeat the Jin it's describedas "Mongols defeat China". The Jin are not Chinese if they win, butare Chinese if they lose, strange huh?
Erica Friedman, TheLibrarian is IN, 5₵
50 upvotesby Dennis Ferguson, Andy Warwick, Sed Chapman, (more)
I have apersonal rule about grudges - let 'em go.
Yes, Britain was pretty cruel to China during the Boxer rebellion, yes theAmerican government were cruel to Natives during the same time. History isliterally a list of people doing terrible things to other people and animals,and plants and this planet. If we obsess about a wrong from 100 years ago, 150years ago, do we make it better? Do we stop it from happening?
How far back do we hold grudges? Am I to continue to be angry at Antiochus fordestroying the Temple in Jerusalem? Or for the destruction of the Roman Empire?If I hold a grudge for Germany about National Socialism, I'll miss that they'vebecome a pretty amazing country since then and that my own country is capableof having a National Socialist Party pop up at any time.
What good is it to comment on the mote of dust in my neighbor's eye and ignorethe beam in my own?
You were not around between 1840 and 1940. Neither was I. How about weaddress the real issues that exist now, rather than ones that are faitaccompli？