Growth Of Asian Nations: China And Japan
Asia is generally divided into South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia and West Asia. China and Japan are part of East Asia. The People's Republic of China, which was established in 1949 is the largest country in East Asia. It is also the fourth largest country in the world. It has the largest population in the world. It shares its border with 14 nations in Asia.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. China was ruled by many dynasties. During the 19th and 20th centuries, China was ruled by the Manchu dynasty. China during Manchu rule became weak. China was called the sick man of Asia. It became a quasi colony of the western powers. The European countries came to China for trade and commerce. China called the Europeans as 'Red Barbarians'. China imposed many restrictions on European traders. Co-hong (security merchants) was the institution that controlled the European trade. Particularly the English and French did not like this. Slowly the English merchants introduced opium to the Chinese traders. In due course of time, China imported large quantities of opium. Opium-eating became a national vice. Therefore, the Chinese government imposed rules to prohibit opium trade. The action of Commissioner Lin Tse hsu led to First Opium War (1839-1842) in which England defeated China. The war came to an end with the Treaty of Nanking. In 1856 the Second Opium War took place. This time Britain, France, USA and Russia fought against China. The war ended with the Treaty of Tientsin in 1860.
Thus, the western countries established their supremacy in China. China was partitioned into many economic zones controlled by western powers. This is known as 'the cutting of the Chinese Melon' (ie., cutting China into many pieces). The failure of Manchu dynasty led to the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) in China. It was led by Hung Hsiu-chxan. The rebellion was crushed. China was controlled by queen Tzu hsi from 1860 to 1908 till her death. Tzu hsi's reactionary rule led to revolutionary movements in China.
In 1894-1895 a war broke out between China and Japan. This is known as the First Sino-Japanese War. The war was fought for the control of Korea. China was defeated in this war. This led to a Chinese revolt known as the Boxer Rebellion against the foreign domination of China. This rebellion was also suppressed with the help of the western countries.
However, during this time an intellectual emerged as the undisputed leader of China. He was Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He is known as the 'Morning Star' of China. He mobilized young revolutionaries and started the 1911 Revolution in China. This revolution ended the Manchu rule in China. New flag, new calendar were adopted. China for the first time became a republic. Yuan Shih Kai became the President of the Chinese Republic.
During the First World War, Japan captured the Shantung Province from China. After the War, at the Peace Conference at Versailles China wanted to get back her territory of Shantung province. But the allied countries gave Shantung to Japan. Immediately, the May Fourth Movement started in China.
Following this once again Dr. Sun Yat Sen assumed control of China. He started the Kuomintang Party. With the Russian help he wanted to introduce reforms in China. It was during this period the
Chinese Communist Party of China was started. Mso Tse Tung and Chou -en-lai were the original founding members of the Communist Party of China.
In 1924 Dr. Sun Yat Sen passed away. The leadership of the Kuomintang party was assumed by Chiang Kai Shek. In the beginning there was an understanding between the Kuomintang and the Communists. But, soon both became rivals. Chiang wanted to exterminate Mao's Communist Party. Mao retired to northern China. It is known as the Long March. There the Communists established their control. In 1945 a civil war broke out between the Communists and the Kuomintang. Finally, Mao established the People's Republic of China in October 1949. Chinag Kai Shek fled to Taiwan, which is known as Nationalist China. During the Cold War Era the USA supported the Nationalist China . Hence, the Nationalist China became a member of the UNO until 1971.The Peoples Republic of China was admitted as a member in the UNO only in 1971.
Mao Tse Tung introduced the economic reform known as the Great Leap Forward. In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. During the Cultural Revolution those who were against Mao were removed from the Communist Party and imprisoned.
After Mao's death in 1976 and the Gang of Four were arrested. Following this Deng Xiaoping quickly captured power from Mao's successor Hua Guofeng. Deng introduced many economic reforms including the relaxation of government control over the Chinese economy. Thus China moved from a planned economy to a mixed economy. As a result of the changing economic scene China formally joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Japan was the only country which was not colonized by the European countries in Asia. Though it was geographically a small country, it became a powerful country. Japan like the western countries followed a policy of imperialism in Asia. It possessed great military strength. Today Japan is an economic giant.
Japan followed a policy of isolation for more than 200 years. It was broken by Commodore Perry of the U.S.A. on 8th July 1853. His mission paved the way for Japan's trade with the West. During this period the Tokugawa Shoguns controlled Japan. Perry's mission led to the restoration of the Japanese Emperor to full authority. This is known as the Meiji Restoration.
The Meiji Restoration had initiated many reforms in Japan. The feudal system was abolished. Western legal system was adopted. Constitutional Monarchy, as in Britain, was introduced according to the Meiji Constitution. Japan was fully modernized.
Soon Japan followed a policy of militarism and imperialism. Japan defeated China in 1894-95. Subsequently, it defeated the biggest European country Russia in 1904-05. During the First World War Japan captured the Chinese territory of Shantung which was leased to Germany. It also imposed the 21 Demands on China. Thus, at the end of the First World War Japan emerged as a superior military power. Hence, in order to control Japan's Navy the Washington
Naval Conference was held in 1921-22. But this was only a temporary measure.
In 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria and established a puppet regime. In 1937 once again Japan invaded China. Finally, it joined with Germany and Italy and formed the axis. In 1941 Japan attacked the Pearl Harbour and the U.S.A. entered the Second World War in support of Britain and France and Russia.
On August 6th and 9th two atom bombs were dropped by the U.S.A. on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered to the U.S.A.
After the war, Japan was placed under control of the Supreme Commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The new constitution took effect on 3rd May 1947. The United States and 45 other Allied nations signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September 1951. Following the treaty, Japan was made an independent nation once again.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Japan's history consists mainly of its rapid development into a major economic power. The U.S.A. provided the latest technology to Japan. Thus, Japan rapidly rebuilt its heavy industrial sector.
Japan soon emerged as a significant power in MACARTHUR many economic spheres, including steel making, car manufacture and the manufacture of electronic goods. Distinguishing characteristics of the Japanese economy include the cooperation of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and banks in closely-knit groups called keiretsu emerged. For examples Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Mitsui, Dai-Ichi Kangyo and Sanwa are some of the powerful companies.
Politically, the postwar Japan has been dominated by one party - the Liberal Democratic Party. The party remained practically invincible for almost half a century. Emperor Hirohito died in 1989 and his son Akihito succeeded.
In the 21st century Japan emerged as a strong economic power. Japan is the only Asian country to be included in the group of developed countries. Japan is a member of the G8 (Group of developed countries).