A Search for Respect: An Examination of China's Actions after World War II.
Subject Area - History
Title: A Search for Respect: An Examination of China's Actions after World War II.
Author: Lieutenant Colonel Gregory A. Ballard, USMC.
Thesis: That China's post-World War II actions can be explained as a response to the collective incursions imposed upon it beginning in the nineteenth century.
Discussion: China was one of the great civilizations of the world, if not the greatest. China withdrew from the international community beginning in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, while the western world was expanding its collective economy and imperialistic notions. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, China began a "hundred years of embarrassment" when foreign nations, primarily western nations, degraded China by a series of military victories and subsequent humiliating concessions. This appears to have left them with a loss of self-esteem, with a desire to regain their lost prestige.
Conclusion: An analysis of the military and economic actions taken, first by Mao Zedong and then by Deng Xiaoping, can be seen as a series of decisions and policies designed to regain China's lost prestige. This has enabled China to act more forcefully in the international arena, as seen by its stance on current issues.
An examination of the post-World War II policies by Chinese leaders suggests that these policies were a response to the collective incursions of other nations, beginning in the nineteenth century. These incursions, primarily by western industrialized nations, have possibly left the Chinese with a sense of humiliation and inferiority, which resulted in a series of policy decisions designed to regain their collective loss of self-esteem.
This paper will argue that Chinese policies after World War II resulted from China's attempts to gain back its self-respect, after suffering repeated degradation by foreign nations. The analysis begins with a description of the greatness of Imperial China, explaining why this past causes the Chinese to perceive their nation as special, much more so than other nations. Following this will be an analysis that details the depth of the humiliation China suffered at the hands of other nations, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The next two chapters will analyze the policies of the two most important leaders of China after World War II, in their attempts to re-establish the Chinese self-esteem. Then, current issues regarding China will be viewed in light of its history. The concluding chapter will address some future implications for the United States.
The future of China is immensely important to the United States. Its presence looms large over East Asia, easily the fastest growing area economically in the world. Historically the dominant Asian nation, China's culture has permeated Asia for centuries, and substantial percentages of ethnic Chinese live in many of these countries. Containing one fifth of the world's population, China's own economy, after a series of disastrous economic policies under Mao Zedong, has experienced explosive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for many years, and will do so for the foreseeable future. China is also increasing its military capability to such an extent that it suggests China may be taking more than a defensive posture. All of these factors combine to make China a nation that cannot be ignored.
While China continues to grow, East Asia collectively continues to be a very large trading partner with the United States and its Western allies. This trade continues to increase yearly. The Pacific Rim nations, including China, are forecast to be the predominant economic area in the world within twenty-five years, and "where commerce goes, the military and warfighters are needed."  This means that the strategic balance in East Asia will continue to be of immense importance to the United States, the dominant military superpower.
All of these realities suggest that the United States must have an understanding of the cultural and historical influences that guide China's policies today, as such understanding is necessary to protect United States' interests in Asia, which include the security and stability of the region, trade, and human rights. To understand these influences, one must look through the prism of China's quest for international respect.
This thesis assumes that China can "earn" respect in three categories: 1) the maintenance of a strong economy, 2) the maintenance of a strong military that can carry out the will of the policy makers, and 3) the ability to act politically without incurring a meaningful reaction from other nations. This last category, political power, results from the combination of a strong economy and a strong military. As this paper attempts to demonstrate, this is the path on which China is proceeding.
The geographic isolation of northern China resulted in the development of a distinct culture. Largely unaware of cultures to the west, the Chinese believed their country was the center of civilization.  They called their land Chung-kuo, which is commonly translated as the "Middle Kingdom," and later used the term t'ien-hsia, meaning "all under heaven" to refer to the Chinese Empire.  Their leaders ruled with the "mandate from heaven."
China was unified by the Ch'in dynasty in 246 B.C.,  but areas of China had been under dynastic rule for up to two thousand years earlier. Probably due to the largest population concentrations in very early East Asia, China became the dominating influence in the region. The cultural patterns that developed in China affected virtually all of East Asia. As such, the Chinese developed a "culturalism" in imperial times, that suggested that the civilization was more significant than, and would endure past, the political entity of the nation. 
This is best exemplified by a comparison between the Roman and Chinese empires. At the height of its power, Rome had conquered the known world, and become the known world's cultural center. However, not able to sustain the repeated attempts on its autocracy, partially due to its own incompetence, the Roman Empire was eventually destroyed by foreign and native conquerors. Conversely, China may have been conquered many times, but a "cultural conquest" was deemed unimaginable,  and never occurred. Instead, conquerors, to include the final dynasty, the Manchu, were absorbed into the Chinese culture. This reinforced the Chinese belief in their cultural superiority, even when dominated by others.
Two major contributors to this feeling of Chinese cultural superiority were the inventions of the Chinese writing system and paper. The writing system was developed nearly three thousand years ago, far ahead of any other civilization, and still dominates East Asian civilization. It is a distinctive form of writing, both more difficult and descriptive than phonetic systems of writing used in all other areas of the world. Into the mid-nineteenth century, most educated Asians received some instruction in Chinese writing. The influence of this writing system proved deep and widespread in East Asia, and even into the late 1800s, "most books written in Korea and Vietnam and many of those written in Japan were in classical Chinese, not in the national languages." 
The development of paper, when combined with the writing system, enabled the Chinese to develop a deeper, richer record of their history than other civilizations. The Han dynasty (206 B.C.-222 A.D.), the first truly dominant dynasty, greatly emphasized historical writing, and it was their greatest literary achievement.  The reverence for classical literature among the Chinese remains strong even today.
Adding to the feeling of cultural superiority was a tributary system throughout East Asia. China's emperor was paid tribute by most surrounding nations, including Korea, Japan, Annam (Vietnam), Tibet, and others.  Tribute was the cost of doing business with China, and those paying tribute had to accept the terms that China imposed and also had to acknowledge the supremacy of the emperor. For this tribute, the lesser nations received permission for trade, perhaps military protection, and at times, a "confirmation" of a new ruler by the emperor. 
Well into the dynastic period, the global flow of influence heavily favored the Chinese, that is from east to west. The inventions of China that made their way west are numerous. They included silk, paper and the printing press (to include paper money), porcelain, the compass, gunpowder, cast-iron, and others. In addition, the Chinese believed their system of government, with its emphasis on education and meritocracy, was superior. Therefore, early interaction with Europe probably deepened the Chinese conviction that their civilization was superior, and that the Europeans were an inferior race.
China's shipbuilding inventions (such as the stern-post rudder and the compass) particularly enabled the Chinese to increase their influence, as they developed a blue-water capability that preceded their European counterparts. During the Mongol rule in the thirteenth century, China developed an impressive navy, numbering over four thousand ships.  The Mongols used this navy to "enforce" trade with its East Asian neighbors, again asserting China's dominance. The resulting well-developed trading system greatly favored the Chinese and further cemented China's perceived superiority.
However, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), China began to isolate itself from the European "barbarians". This was probably precipitated by a growing distrust of all foreigners. The Ming was a native dynasty, that replaced the nearly century old Yuan dynasty, who were Mongol.  Before the Ming, the Chinese tended only to perceive foreigners as inferior, even their Mongol conquerors. With the return of a true Chinese ruler, China drew back from even associating with foreigners.
Another possible reason for the Chinese disdaining foreigners was the increasing emphasis that Europeans placed on commerce. The Chinese believed that wealth should come from production, such as agriculture or manufacturing. European traders made their money by selling the goods of others. To the Chinese, the desire for profits made from the work of others dominated western thinking. This seemed to confirm to the Chinese that the Europeans were an inferior race. 
Ming emperors concentrated on expanding the tax base within the traditional agricultural system of China, declining to expand commerce with other nations, as the Ming looked upon commerce as an expense, rather than as an opportunity for wealth. Chinese shipbuilding, and the ability to exert Chinese influence, suffered as a result. By 1436, the emperor had forbidden the construction of seagoing ships, a clear sign that China was isolating itself from the rest of the world. This decision can be seen as one contributing factor in the decline of the dynastic system that was to fall hundreds of years later.
The imperial history of China clearly indicates it was one of the world's greatest civilizations, and perhaps the greatest. "China was once the superior civilization of the world, not only the equal of Rome but far ahead of medieval Europe."  Chinese civilization made many advancements far ahead of contemporary civilizations. Between 1000 and 1500, China's combination of agricultural output, industrial skill, and standard of living was equal to, or superior to, that of Europe.  China's most famous inventions and its government mechanisms, such as merit-based examinations, recordkeeping and central control of the economy and society were far ahead of its Western equivalents. 
The self-imposed isolation, from the Ming through the end of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, occurred just as the European nations, due to the prevailing mercantilist thought, were greatly expanding their seagoing commerce, and their imperialistic notions. Additionally, the nation-states of Europe began to practice balance of power politics, while experiencing tremendous entrepreneurial energy. China maintained some exposure to international commerce (mainly the Portuguese based at Macao and the British at Canton), but the commerce was of little to no importance to the emperor. So for hundreds of years, the Chinese, secure in the knowledge of their cultural superiority, resisted change and effectively allowed their diplomatic and military skills to deteriorate. The world around them, however, was changing rapidly. These two realities would collide in the mid-nineteenth century.
A HUNDRED YEARS OF EMBARRASSMENT
China's decision to turn inward occurred at a fateful time. Europe was about to experience a period of rapid growth, both economically and militarily, while China stagnated. By the 1800s, Europe was still experiencing economic growth, and was continuing to exercise its imperialist muscles. European nations sought new markets and products. Consequently, China would be forced to deal with the "barbarians" again, after hundreds of years of relative isolation. After so many years of isolationism, China was ill equipped to deal with the now aggressive Europeans.
A series of conquests and humiliations at the hands of foreigners occurred from the mid-nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. The memories of these degradations are still fresh in the Chinese mind. "Nothing colours China's attitude to outsiders so much as the memory of the humiliations it suffered ...at the hands of foreigners."  As an example, in 1990, when China was still suffering from the sanctions imposed by the Western nations after the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the prime minister of China, Li Peng, told the Chinese people that they should "expose the crime committed by imperialists in their aggression against China...so as to heighten their vigilance against the imperialist strategy of peaceful evolution."  The crime he was referring to was the first Opium War, fought against England between 1839-1842. 
A brief summary of the defeats and the concessions made by China during the period from 1839 to 1945 illustrates the depth of the humiliation China suffered and gives some perspective as to China's current suspicion of external forces.
1839-1842: The Opium War - The British engaged in the routine, illegal sale of opium through the port of Canton. Opium was banned in China, but the export of Chinese tea to England, by the influential British East India Company, caused a British trade deficit that was financed by a steady flow of English silver to China. To reduce the trade deficit, and to counter the Chinese ban on opium, the British East India Company sold Indian opium to private merchants, who then distributed it illegally in China. This resulted in such an increased demand for opium that the trade deficit reversed and silver began to flow from China to England. Although the opium trade was largely confined to the southeast coastal regions, the effects of this outward flow of silver affected the national economy. 
The Commissioner of Canton, Lin Zexu, a loyal, principled official, but ignorant of the outside world,  attempted to suppress this trade by holding British subjects hostage and seizing British property. The British retaliated with military force. After a series of coastal skirmishes and futile attempts at a negotiated settlement, the British decisively defeated the Chinese. The conflict was ended by the Treaty of Nanjing, which became the model for a long series of unequal treaties. The treaty contained the following provisions:
- a sizable indemnity
- four ports, in addition to Canton, opened to foreign trade
- British consuls in each port
- fixed tariffs on imports and exports
- the surrender of Hong Kong to England in perpetuity. 
This episode, more so than any other, has continued to echo throughout China as "imperialist aggression."  China was not only defeated militarily by the "barbarians," but was also forced to accept an addictive drug into their culture. In addition, the concept of extraterritoriality, where foreign nationals were not subject to Chinese law in China, was reinforced.
1856-1860: The Arrow War (also known as the Second Opium War) - This war resulted from pent-up Chinese emotions over the continuing British incursions. Started over a torn British flag, concern over British honor quickly escalated this conflict. France joined the British, on a pretext of avenging the murder of a Catholic priest. An attempt to end the war in 1858 with the Treaty of Beijing failed when the Chinese and British could not agree on where to finalize the treaty, so more conflict ensued. Finally, it ended in 1860 with the signing of the Conventions in Beijing. This treaty contained the following humiliating provisions:
- British diplomatic residence in Beijing
- more indemnities
- the opening of 10 new ports
- the ceding of Kowloon to England.
As a result of the military and political weakness of China at this point, Russia and the United States obtained similar treaties, with Russia also gaining land.  China now began to feel the pressing imperialism of the West, and had no answer. The humiliations were to continue.
Soon after the Arrow War, the "Self-Strengthening" movement, a series of Chinese modernization projects, began. The intent was to learn the "barbarian" techniques in order to turn these techniques against the foreigners. Unfortunately, the effort was not coordinated, and had little support from the Empress Dowager Cixi, the real power in China from 1861-1908. This movement intended to strengthen the existing order, not to fundamentally change or replace it.  The failure of the "Self-Strengthening" movement was shown by the erosion of the Chinese tributary system, which was soon to follow.
1884-1885: The Sino-French War - France attempted to extend its influence over Annam (Vietnam), a long-time tributary to China. Annam sought Chinese help, and discussions in China ranged from conciliatory gestures toward the French, revealing China's now very apparent weakness, to a clamor for war by others in the Chinese government. An agreement between Chinese and French negotiators specified a Chinese withdrawal from Annam and the recognition of French interests in Annam, but both governments rejected this agreement. The ensuing fight resulted in China's defeat by the French. France won complete control of Annam and ruled it until 1954. China's inability to defend its interests dealt a serious blow to the Chinese tributary system. 
1894-1895: The Sino-Japanese War - Less than thirty years after being "opened" by the American, Commodore Perry, Japan sought to wrest control of Korea, China's most important tributary. Formerly a Chinese tributary herself, Japan soundly defeated China in a series of battles in Korea. The Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the conflict, and imposed the following provisions:
- China recognizes the "independence" of Korea
- Taiwan, the Pescadores, and the Liaodong Peninsula ceded to Japan (the peninsula was then returned to China when Russia, France, and Germany protested)
- a severe indemnity
- four ports opened to the Japanese
- the Japanese allowed to manufacture locally in China. 
This conflict marked the beginning of continuing Japanese imperialist designs on China that would not end until Japan's defeat in World War II. The Treaty of Shimonoseki further exposed the increasing weakness of the Chinese position. The embarrassing defeat by a former tributary invited further encroachments. Internally, it encouraged movements for reform and revolution. 
1900: The Boxer Uprising - Originally intended as an internal anti-dynastic revolt, this uprising began in northern China in response to the dynasty's inability to cope with the increasing western influence. However, the Chinese government was able to successfully re-direct the Boxers' fury toward the foreign aggressors, and the Boxers, with the Empress Dowager's approval, attacked the foreign legations in Beijing. This brought the militaries of Japan, Russia, England, the United States, and France directly into the capital city, where they soon routed the Boxers. The peace treaty that followed, the Boxer Protocol, was yet another severe humiliation to the Chinese dynasty. Soon after this embarrassment, the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, arrogantly fought on Chinese territory, further enflamed Chinese anti-dynastic and anti-foreigner sentiment.
The cumulative effect of foreign aggression against China, beginning with the Opium War until the Russo-Japanese War, a period of just 65 years, eventually brought down 4000 years of Chinese dynastic rule. The Empress Dowager Cixi, who effectively controlled China for the majority of this period of humiliating defeats, was more interested in her personal grip on power, and was seemingly blind to the danger her actions were posing to continuing the dynasty. Chinese officialdom, after hundreds of years of looking inward and resisting change, was unable to counter the imperial incursions of foreign powers. The most impressive imperial dynasty in history ended in 1912.
The new government, formed in 1912 and led by the Guomindang (Nationalist Party), was republican in name only. The history of governance during the short republican period of 1912-1949, although fascinating in its development, is relevant in only two respects for purposes of this thesis. First, further humiliation was thrust upon China by Japanese occupation of vast areas of China during the Pacific War from 1931 to 1945. This humiliation was exacerbated by the sometimes grisly actions of the Japanese military.
Second, during the Pacific War, a civil war was ongoing between the Guomindang and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Sun Yat-sen, the Guomindang's founder, was western educated and a leading anti-dynastic leader. His eventual successor, Chiang Kai-shek, received his military training in Japan and married a Christian, American-educated woman. China, under the Guomindang, allied itself with the United States during the Pacific War and appeared to have developed effective methods for dealing with foreigners. The eventual leader of the CCP, Mao Zedong, was far more nationalistic in his focus, although he did adopt the Soviet Communist ideology as his model. This civil war continued after the Pacific War, until 1949, when the Chinese Communists defeated the Guomindang and assumed control of China.
After thousands of years of a proud, independent dynasty, China was now a poor, mostly illiterate country, with little international power or respect.
STARTS AND STOPS:
AN IMPRACTICAL BEGINNING UNDER MAO
Mao Zedong's and the Chinese Communist Party's ascension to power in 1949 gave China its third form of government in less than fifty years. This was a dramatic and unsettling precedent after more than 4000 years of Chinese dynastic government. The Chinese Communist Party assumed control of the Chinese nation, now called the People's Republic of China, fully aware that the last two government systems had fallen, not only by internal weakness, but also by an inability to deal with external forces. Certainly the future of China was in doubt, as no one knew what actions the now powerful victors of World War II, the United States, England, and the Soviet Union, would take.
Logic, especially to a western mind, would suggest that a new government in the most populous country in the world, with a recent history of being so completely humiliated in the international arena, would attempt to ensure its security by forming a protective alliance with the WW II victors. This became only partially true. The CCP had adopted Soviet Marxist ideology before their ascension to power, and the CCP continued to receive assistance from the Soviet Union, even after they came to power. This ideological alliance with the Soviet Union did give the Chinese a measure of security, even though the Russians were historically no friend of China's.
However, the relationship was a tenuous one, as shown by Mao's first visit to the Soviet Union in December 1949. Stalin did not even acknowledge Mao's presence for days, providing evidence to the CCP that they were low on Moscow's list of priorities.  The CCP was not accepted in the international order either, as shown by the fact that the Guomindang government, now isolated on Taiwan, was seated in the United Nations as the recognized government of China.
However, the "mandate of heaven" was bestowed on the CCP quite rapidly, so they could act with some measure of confidence that the Chinese people would follow accordingly. Hindsight suggests that if the CCP had attempted to form alliances, particularly trade alliances, with the western victors, the new Chinese government would have been in a much better position to rebuild the economy. However, this is not what happened.
The western victors, who had been allied with the Guomindang against the Japanese, had already begun to harden their anti-communist stance, due to the Soviet Union proving to be a difficult partner in peace. Consequently, the western victors were reluctant to deal with the CCP. In addition, although the CCP recognized the Soviet ideology, Stalin barely even recognized Mao, who as leader of the world's most populous country and a border nation to the Soviet Union, could have been perceived as a threat by Stalin. Yet, it was a central goal of the PRC leaders to gain international prestige at this time.  So, they embarked upon a risky, war-laden course in an attempt to gain respect.
Communist North Korea attacked South Korea in June 1950 and pushed the South Korean and American forces all the way to Pusan in the southeast corner of South Korea. After a brilliant amphibious assault at Inchon on the west coast of South Korea, General MacArthur and the now United Nations' forces forced the North Koreans back across the border and continued pushing north toward the Chinese border at the Yalu River.
In October, the PRC attacked the United Nations' forces, primarily Americans, in North Korea. This was a massive assault that achieved complete surprise. The People's Liberation Army (PLA), although battle hardened, suffered tremendous casualties against the overwhelming firepower and logistics of the United Nations' forces. However, their tenacity and physical courage pushed the UN forces back across the 38th Parallel (the North Korea-South Korea border), and an essential stalemate occurred, resulting in an armistice in 1953.
It is possible that the Chinese were attempting to reinforce the Communist ideology that North Korea professed along with the Chinese, or perhaps the Chinese were attempting to protect their border, fearing an attack (although President Truman had publicly relieved MacArthur of command after MacArthur repeatedly implied that locations in China might be attacked). However, this military adventure can be looked at in a different context. The PRC, after a hundred years of humiliation, but now with a large, experienced army, had an opportunity to take on the most powerful western militaries, and to re-establish their historical sphere of influence in Korea. Even after MacArthur's relief, which clearly implied that the UN forces would not cross the Chinese border, the PRC continued to fight. They eventually had the most casualties of the entire Korean War, nearly a million, and the endurance and heroism of the Chinese soldiers were trumpeted throughout China in literature, films and plays. 
A new government, with many internal problems to solve, takes a million casualties in a war in which they had fairly stable assurance that their border would not be crossed. In addition, the land on which the battle was fought was a former tributary to China. All of this only makes sense in the context of seeking respect. China was able to match wills against the best in the world and come out, if not on top, at least equal to its adversaries. This is especially significant in that the adversaries included Britain, the United States, and France, all of whom humiliated China in the last century.
Further, China gained a large measure of respect from the Soviet Union, which greatly appreciated the Chinese loyalty to the defense of the Soviet bloc. Instead of the indifference that Mao experienced in December of 1949, the Soviets increased military aid to the PRC. 
About the same time that the Chinese attacked across the North Korean border, the PLA also invaded Tibet. Before World War II, the British, who controlled India, had an interest in maintaining Tibet as a buffer state. After World War II and the independence of India in 1947, that interest was gone. The PRC invaded Tibet to "liberate" it; from whom or what is unclear. Thus, the Chinese had expanded their land for the first time in over a century, and had now occupied a country that had enjoyed some umbrella of protection from the British, a major player in the prior humiliation of China.
While the Chinese were busy in Korea from 1950-1953, Vietnam, another former tributary to China, was escalating its struggle for independence against the French. The Chinese, although fighting a major war on the Korean peninsula, provided tremendous amounts of military assistance to Vietnam. Besides providing military hardware, the PLA trained Vietnamese troops in China, and massed two hundred thousand of their own troops on the Vietnamese border.  After the Vietnamese victory in 1954 at the battle of Dienbienphu, the French and the Vietnamese convened a conference in Geneva, with the Americans in attendance, to discuss matters. However, of significance at this conference was the presence of a Chinese delegation. The leader of the delegation, Zhou Enlai, proved to be an extremely skillful diplomat. This was the Chinese "debut" on the international diplomatic stage and they proved very influential.  Zhou encouraged the division of Vietnam, in an attempt to hold the burgeoning power of Vietnam in check. Keeping the Southeast Asian nations fragmented made them more susceptible to Chinese influence, thereby enabling the Chinese to increase their power and influence in the region. The Chinese were remembering the lessons from their imperial past.
After a hundred years of embarrassment, the Chinese Communists, within five years of assuming power, had gained the respect of the Soviet Union, and had defeated American, French, and British interests. The struggles for Korea and Tibet gained the PRC respect as a regional military power, and Zhou Enlai's efforts at Geneva gave the Chinese true international recognition as a power player.
Along with their conventional military gains, the Chinese, with initial Soviet expertise, also embarked upon the course of becoming a nuclear power. Although the Soviets had withdrawn military assistance by 1960, the Chinese detonated their first nuclear bomb in 1964,  which put them in very exclusive international company at the time, yet another measure of respect.
Mao's last international triumph Mao was gaining international recognition of the PRC at the expense of Taiwan. First, in 1971, the United States gave up its official opposition to the PRC's admission to the United Nations. Taiwan was forced to withdraw from the UN and the PRC then occupied the China seat in the UN. The People's Republic of China was now officially recognized by the nations of the world as the one and only China.
Next came the Shanghai Communiqué. This document was the result of a historic meeting between President Nixon and Mao, where the United States bilaterally recognized that there is only one China, represented by the People's Republic of China. By isolating Taiwan, a very loyal and trusted ally of the United States, this communiqué epitomized the power and influence that China now wielded. It was also a classic realpolitik move by China (much like Zhou's actions at Geneva), as Soviet patronage of China had eroded and the Soviet Union began looking more like an enemy than a friend. President Nixon's "opening" of China did much to isolate the Soviet Union, which now had to fear both the United States and China.
Of particular note, Mao apparently told Nixon that China would not need Taiwan for one hundred years.  This indicates that, for China, the issue was one of international prestige. It was not the actual possession of Taiwan that was important to the Chinese, but the US acknowledgment that the PRC was the only true China.
Mao's military and diplomatic actions most probably were necessary. The measure of international respect toward China in 1949 was low indeed. It has been argued that these military actions by the Chinese government were used to rally the people in a nationalist frenzy in order to maintain legitimacy; however, as has been stated, Mao already had the "mandate from heaven," thereby negating any need to use nationalism as a means of maintaining power. The Chinese military and diplomatic efforts during this time make sense only in the context of seeking to restore lost prestige and influence.
As impressively as Mao and Zhou moved China forward on the international stage, increasing the PRC as an international power, Mao's economic programs significantly hurt China. A strong economy is a measure of national power, and therefore international respect. A weak, struggling economy lessens a nation's ability to sustain itself and therefore to conduct international trade in its favor. A nation relying on others for its needs, without acceptable alternatives, is susceptible to their influence, and this posture is obviously contrary to commanding international respect.
The value of hindsight tells us that communism as an economic model is a failure. However, Mao did not realize this early in his tenure. In fact, he had good reason to expect it to work. The Soviet Union had experienced gains in its economy. Also, Mao was successful in using the communist model to stabilize his economy early on. The national budget was balanced; government administration costs, to include defense expenditures were reduced; interest rates declined from a nearly 80% in 1949 to 3% in 1951; and inflation was low, below 2% through the mid-1950s. 
Then came the realization that the Stalinist model for economic growth was not particularly suited to China's situation.  The Soviet economy, much more industrialized when the Stalinist model was imposed, would not work in the poorer, predominantly agricultural economy of China.
Consequently, Mao and his economic advisors made decisions that began to ruin China economically. The first disaster was the Great Leap Forward from 1958-1960. An autocratic, corruption-filled attempt to improve the economy, the GLF resulted in 20 to 30 million Chinese dying from hunger or malnutrition. After Mao abandoned the Great Leap Forward, more administrative and economic failures were to occur, including the famous Cultural Revolution. Mao believed that all true cultural changes needed a revolutionary focus with moral exhortations to the populace as the basis for change. However, Mao had already won his revolution; now it was time to govern. Mao's approach ignored human nature, and therefore sound policy options could not be formulated. The country needed a sound domestic policy, and there was none to be found. Mao insisted on "red over expert." The lack of a coherent economic strategy kept China from consolidating the gains in international prestige it had won on the battlefields and in the diplomatic arena.
The Chinese now know, that to maintain a strong military, you must have a strong economy. That was not so clear before. Communist countries routinely spend far more of their gross domestic product on defense than do democracies. Since communist countries rely heavily on state expenditures, military spending becomes a drain on the economy, and is not supportable in the long run. The large military that Mao desired (it reached 4 million men) was influential in initially winning China some international respect. However, after a promising economic start, a series of disastrous economic policies threatened China's ability to sustain its military, and to fulfill its people's needs, putting China in a weakened position reminiscent of the mid-nineteenth century. China required a change of direction. Fortunately, a more pragmatic leader was to emerge.
SETTING THE STAGE:
UNDER DENG XIAOPING
After Mao Zedong's death in 1976, there was a struggle for the direction of the CCP and the future of China. After two years of this struggle, Deng Xiaoping, who had twice been previously purged and rehabilitated by the CCP, emerged as the "paramount ruler."  A veteran of the Long March, he was first and foremost a pragmatist, not a strict ideologue. With China still feeling the effects of the Cultural Revolution, he knew that China must modernize or it would never attain its rightful place among nations. This chapter will focus on Deng's changes to the economy and the military, two of the three elements needed for international respect and power.
Deng Xiaoping's pragmatic economic and military reforms precipitated yet another fundamental change in this century in China. Having endured the loss of the imperial dynasty, experimented with republican government, and having witnessed Mao Zedong's revolutionary ascent to power and the subsequent economic disasters, China changed course again with Deng. Deng's dramatic reforms have set China on course to become the largest economy in the world by 2025. These reforms will likely continue after Deng's recent death, as he has apparently passed the torch to pragmatists who will continue China on its present course. As will be made clear, leadership matters, especially in non-democratic states. 
Deng focused his efforts on developing the national economy, which has been and will be the centerpiece of China's grand strategy for the remainder of this century and the first half of the 21st century.  Deng realized that an expanding economy would improve the lot of the Chinese people, enable China to improve its military, and give China economic leverage in foreign trade, resulting in increased power and respect. Acknowledging that "the Chinese economy could progress only with a greater infusion of technology and capital, both obtained abroad,"  Deng instituted free market practices and emphasized expanding foreign trade. The acknowledgment of the importance of foreign technology, the search for profit, and a heavy reliance on foreign trade all contrasted sharply with Mao's policies.
Additionally, ethnic Chinese seemed to show tremendous economic vigor everywhere except in China.  It was embarrassing for the Chinese government to see almost all of its neighbors in East Asia, many populated by ethnic Chinese, dramatically increase their standard of living, while the destructive communist economic policies continued to keep China poor.
Deng's plan called for Four Modernizations: Agriculture, Industry, Science and Technology, and Defense.  Agriculture and industry would be made more efficient, science and technology were to be upgraded to bring China into more modern times, and defense was to be modernized. However, Deng recognized that economic expansion would have to be the engine that would drive these four modernizations.
The economic system that emerged has been termed "market socialism." It is a unique and curious blend of policies that has significantly increased the economic growth of the nation while maintaining the CCP's strong grip on power.
Deng realized that central control from Beijing was costly and inefficient. Therefore, Deng decentralized economic decisions by giving far more autonomy to province officials. To increase agricultural and industrial production, China instituted regional profit programs. Although farmers still could not own land, they and their communities were allowed to sell excess crops for profit. The earlier Maoist method, which relied on moral exhortation, was abandoned in favor of using profits as incentive to increase production. Similarly, regional industries were allowed to produce to meet market demand (although prices were still controlled), and actual bidding for construction projects became routine. The more liberal economic policies fostered a continuing economic growth throughout much of China. Decentralization resulted in some loss of control, but Deng was astute enough to realize that a nation as large as China, that needed to modernize, could not be run efficiently from a single point.
The long period of stable economic growth, resulting from sounder capitalist economic policies, has given foreign investors increased confidence. Between 1979 and 1991, Singapore invested $897 million US dollars in China. In 1992 alone, this figure jumped to $997 million. Taiwan, still operating as a sovereign nation but with increasing commercial ties to China, invested $5.5 billion dollars in 1992, compared to only $3.4 billion dollars invested in the entire previous decade.  Most of this investment has come from East Asian nations which are most familiar with China's policies, and confident in China's new direction. China's sounder economic policies, combined with its sheer size, are resulting in China re-establishing a more dominant regional presence.
Deng also realized that the CCP needed to educate its leadership in order to more effectively manage the new market socialism. Under Mao, only 14% of the party had the equivalent of a high school education. In line with Mao's dictum of "red over expert," the old CCP members were strong on ideology, but very weak in practical management. In attempting to rectify this situation, Deng saw that these older, ideologically determined party members were becoming obstacles, and over a million had to be pensioned off.  By 1984, fifty percent of local party officials had college degrees, and among higher party officials, over two-thirds had university degrees. This dramatic change illustrated Deng's determination to change the course of China's economy.
Deng's changes have put China on track to become the world's largest economic power, based on Gross Domestic Product.  China's Gross Domestic Product has averaged a ten percent growth for nearly fifteen years,  and grew an amazing 12.2% per annum between 1991 and 1995.  No other nation in the world has been growing at such an impressive rate for such an extended period, and it appears poised to continue this level of growth for the foreseeable future.
As shown below, China is still growing faster than the other still fast-growing East Asian nations. The increases in Gross Domestic Products of the ASEAN  nations (minus Brunei) for 1996 and projections for 1997 are as follows: 
GDP Increases in China and selected ASEAN nations
China 8.7% 9.5%
Singapore 8.0% 6.9%
Thailand 7.7% 7.1%
Malaysia 8.5% 7.8%
Indonesia 7.1% 7.2%
Philippines 5.5% 5.8%
Vietnam 9.7% 7.9%
These rates of increase far exceed those of fully industrialized nations, whose GDP increases are usually between 1% and 3% per annum.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the per capita GDP is still far behind more advanced nations, as charted below. However, when actual purchasing power is taken into account, the Chinese people have, by any measure, greatly increased their standard of living in the last fifteen years.  Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund rank China third in purchasing power,  and China will easily have the largest GDP based on purchasing power by 2020.  Although the projected per capita GDP for 1997 appears small, it has nearly doubled from just four years earlier. 
Projected GDP per capita in $US for 1997
Hong Kong 27130
United States 29600 
China's potentially huge consumer market has attracted the interest of many foreign exporters, yet, as mentioned above, nearly 80% of the foreign investment into China comes from overseas Chinese in East Asia.  However, the western industrialized nations which have been slow in moving are showing much more interest. If the economy, and therefore the purchasing power of the Chinese, was not increasing, then few countries would be interested. Therefore, Deng's focus on improving the economy has enabled China to gain much respect and power. It has nations vying for favor in order to penetrate the potentially huge Chinese consumer market.
As the Chinese standard of living increases, the government has taken steps to ensure China is as self-sufficient as possible, thereby reducing its dependence on foreign nations. An industrializing population requires many more resources. For instance, energy consumption per capita in an industrialized nation is greater than in an agricultural nation,  so to prevent energy over-dependence on foreigners, China opened three nuclear power plants in 1995.  This reduces China's dependence on foreign nations, and precludes economic leverage, and possibly political influence, being used against them in an embarrassing manner.
The dramatic economic expansion has enabled China to modernize its military. When Deng took power, he opposed increased military spending, feeling it would detract from his focus on the economy. Previously, Deng was the first CCP official to become the Chief of Staff of the PLA,  so he understood the military's needs; but now that he was in charge of China, the "economics first" approach was the certain course to be taken.
"Resource allocations for the 'Four Modernizations' place defense modernization fourth, after agriculture, industry, and science and technology,"  and there can be no doubt that the maintenance and growth of the Chinese economy remain the primary goal of the CCP.  Deng believed that there can be no strong military without a strong economy to support it. A recent study concluded that, even with the secretive Chinese budget, China spends less than 2% of its GDP on defense compared to about 5% in 1978.  This decrease in percentage is in large part due to the growth and liberalization of China's economy, and is a much lower percentage than communist nations typically spend on their militaries.
Before talking about the modernization of the conventional forces, China's nuclear forces, their main strategic deterrent, must be mentioned. The nuclear forces are the only military area where China is close to the lead internationally.  They have over a dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles and about sixty intermediate range ballistic missiles, along with bombers and a ballistic missile nuclear submarine. 
The nuclear deterrence may not seem as formidable as the United States' or Russia's, but China is the only East Asian nation with such weapons, giving it a claim to regional military dominance. China depends on these weapons mainly for intimidation and deterrence, as demonstrated by the test-firings in the Taiwan Straits in 1995 and 1996, just before Taiwanese elections. 
Although China's conventional military capability still lags behind its nuclear capability, the conventional military forces have improved greatly. The initial catalyst for change was the poor performance of the PLA in border clashes with Vietnam in early 1979. Then Minister of Defense, Xu Xiangqian, in an uncommonly candid statement for a major Chinese official, stated:
"We should admit that our army cannot meet with the demands of a modern war. There are many questions concerning the use of modern weapons, the organization of joint operations and bringing the various armed services into full play. We should also see that our army-men's scientific and cultural level is not high and that an army cannot be modernized if its men do not have modern scientific and cultural knowledge. These are acute contradictions before us and we must make arduous efforts to resolve them. Otherwise, even if our army has advanced weapons, it cannot use them and bring them into full play." 
So China began a modernization program, relying more on technology and less on moral exhortations. The technology it relied upon initially, however, was the Soviet-style equipment, that was shown to be largely inadequate in 1991 by the decisive victory of the coalition forces against Iraq. The Gulf War clearly demonstrated to the Chinese military leadership that its current structure had little to no power projection capability, and that the 1950s Russian and Chinese technology it relied upon was inadequate.  Therefore, China intensified its modernization program with an emphasis toward power projection. "Since the projection of power is above all a matter of air and naval forces, China has been devoting substantial efforts to modernizing those arms." 
The Chinese increased their missile-carrying ships from twenty to two hundred and their submarines from thirty-five to over fifty.  Other ships have been developed, with a heavy emphasis on foreign technology. Most significantly, almost all the ships are blue-water in their capability, not brown water.  The Chinese considered obtaining the ex-Russian aircraft carrier Novorossiysk,  but rejected it. However, the Chinese recently have been negotiating with the French for the 35-year old, full-size carrier, Clemenceau, which is nuclear capable. 
Although China's air force will actually decrease in size in the next few years, many aircraft will be much more modern. Both Russia and Israel are selling limited quantities of SU-27s and F-10s (similar to the American F-16) to China.  Although most of the aircraft that China will use early in the next century would be considered obsolete today,  the combination of aircraft will give China an effective regional power projection capability.
While it is easy to dismiss the Chinese air and naval modernization as inadequate, the mere fact that they are upgrading is significant.  The unmistakable trend of upgrading technology is present, and this, combined with "a concentrated effort ... to improve the skills and knowledge of the officer corps at all levels of the military hierarchy,"  makes China a much more potent military power than just 20 years ago. China's power projection capabilities will enable it to threaten Taiwan and islands in the South China Sea. The combination of the nuclear weapons threat and the power projection capability may be sufficient to allow China to intimidate its potential challengers. East Asian countries may decide that giving up territorial claims may be worth the long term goal of accommodating China, as the Philippines decided at Mischief Reef in 1995. The military power of China, with its continuously improving power projection capability, is clearly now a regional force to be feared, and respected.
As intended, Deng's economic and military changes enabled China to recover much of its ancient prestige. China is now a power to be reckoned with, and can act more independently in the international arena. How China uses this third element of power and respect, the ability to act, is the subject of the next chapter, as current issues are seen through the Chinese prism of respect.
THE PRISM OF RESPECT
Because of its early dominance, China considered itself as a "unique land of civilization."  This belief, when coupled with the Chinese cultural respect for history and ancestor worship, means that China has a deeply rooted notion of its own importance, and wants to assume its rightful place among the nations of the world. 
Deng Xiaoping's changes to China's economy and military gave the Chinese increased influence throughout the world, enabling them to conduct themselves internationally from a much more prominent position than previously. That China is operating from a much different level of respect than before manifests itself when analyzing current issues. This chapter will analyze some of these issues and will attempt to show that Chinese actions can best be understood in the context of having suffered great humiliation at the hands of foreign nations, after thousands of years of being an imperial power that commanded tremendous respect. China's actions reflect a continuing quest to re-establish its prestige and influence in the region and around the world.
A very current example of China's intent to regain its international prestige is the return of Hong Kong on 1 July 1997. This victory reverses an embarrassing result from the Treaty of Nanjing, which ended the Opium War in 1842. Internally, the Chinese government is promoting 1 July 1997 as a day of national unity and dignity, and songs have been written in honor of the occasion. An even more telling sign of just how much this means to China's self-image is the existence of a digital clock in downtown Beijing, ticking off the seconds until Hong Kong is returned to China.  Clearly, the return of Hong Kong is a precious symbol of China's rebound from the hundred years of embarrassment.
As the date moves closer, China is deliberately ignoring the provisions of its agreement with England. China has chosen its own legislative body for Hong Kong, announced military moves without the required consultations, and generally shown the world that China, not England, is in charge of the turnover. Despite these transgressions, there has been little international reaction, even from England. China is reclaiming its territory and no one is going to interfere. The implication of China being able to act freely in this matter is that it helps establish China's increased stature in the region and the world. It may also embolden China to become more aggressive regionally, having established that the international community will now recognize Chinese claims to historically Chinese territories. The additional implications for Taiwan are unmistakable.
Taiwan's status remains near the top of China's agenda. The "One China" policy of the United States, and the Chinese entry into the United Nations, ousting Taiwan, were significant steps toward international prestige; but China has yet to consummate the deal. Despite the Shanghai Communiqué, the United States continues to frustrate Chinese designs on Taiwan. China, perhaps emboldened by its Hong Kong victory, has been pushing the issue with its military demonstrations in 1995 and 1996 in the Taiwan Straits. The military counter-demonstrations by the United States, which caused China to back down, were embarrassing.
The timing of the 1995 and 1996 Chinese demonstrations, during legislative and presidential elections respectively, can not be dismissed. The demonstrations could represent a Chinese feeling that democratic elections in Taiwan, combined with the still booming Taiwanese economy, may mean that the "One China" policy of the Shanghai Communiqué will never be consummated.
The evolving Taiwan scenario is far too similar to the Chinese humiliations of the previous century, when imperialistic powers imposed their will militarily, frequently gaining more concessions in the process. Chinese rhetoric remains strident on this issue. Taiwan is traditional Chinese territory that was originally ceded during the hundred years of embarrassment, and then seized illegally by Chiang Kai-shek in 1949. Taiwan is an issue that China will never let go. For China, it is primarily a matter of international respect.
Trade is another issue that provokes memories of past embarrassment. China, much like other fast-growing Asian nations, expanded its economy through exports. Past trade with western nations resulted in humiliation for China, but China's burgeoning exports are resulting in trade deficits for western nations, including the United States. China's trade imbalance with the United States exceeded $22 billion in 1993,  and is headed toward $50 billion, larger than the much-heralded trade imbalance with Japan. These trade deficits are now causing protectionist sentiments toward China.
Entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a related issue. China is traditionally suspicious of joining multilateral organizations, largely viewing them as fronts for other powers. China only participates to avoid losing influence.  However, China is interested in joining the WTO to increase their trade potential, but they desire to join as a "developing economy," which requires less scrutiny than a "developed member." However, the western nations, including the United States, are balking at this proposal, citing the size of the Chinese economy.  The United States in particular is insisting that "China's membership in the new World Trade Organization comes only in the context of expanded access to China's domestic markets and adequate enforcement of its laws protecting foreign intellectual property." 
All of this protectionist talk by western nations, and by the United States in particular, is far too reminiscent of past humiliations. There may be an element of realpolitik, and perhaps of concern over sovereignty, in China's stance on trade and the WTO, but much of China's reluctance to act in the manner desired by other nations can be seen as a response to past humiliations levied upon China by these same nations. China simply doesn't trust these nations' intents. Neither eliminating the trade deficits, nor joining the WTO, would increase China's influence; in fact, these actions might decrease Chinese influence. China's economy, military, and ability to act internationally have improved steadily without joining the WTO. This, along with their historical reluctance to join such multi-lateral organizations, seems the best explanation for their actions.
Strategic weapons proliferation is another issue where China is ignoring the international community. China sells missiles to Pakistan, and has also sold "dual use" items (for civilian and military use) to Iran that could be used to produce biological weapons.  China may view this as a sovereignty issue, and also one in which the western nations are being hypocritical. The US is the world's largest arms exporter and China sees no difference. Even the nature of the weapons and the instability of the nations they are selling to does not seem to dissuade the Chinese from following an independent course on this issue.
Another way of viewing these sales, though, is as a renewal of the Chinese tributary system. The Chinese tributary system garnered China great international fear and respect. China may view these arms sales as not only shoring up security concerns (for instance, Pakistan is the chief rival to India, historically no friend to China, and Iran has vast oil reserves, to which China may want access), but also in having allies who rely on China, and who recognize its dominance, similar to the former tributary system. In addition, selling weapons to other nations provides China a sense of being a peer of western nations. Both of these aspects point to China attempting to increase its international prestige.
Human rights receive more attention in the United States than any other Chinese issue. Although certainly China has laws, China has always been, and remains a nation largely ruled by men, not laws,  something the United States has trouble with conceptually. The Chinese view all human rights' issues, to include the slaughter in Tiananmen Square in 1989, as internal matters, and issues of sovereignty. However, the Chinese strident insistence on sovereignty in human rights is probably influenced by memories of the extraterritoriality that western nations imposed upon China in the nineteenth century.
The United States is virtually alone on this issue. Most Asian nations share the Chinese view of sovereignty, so the United States can not find support among its Asian allies against China's human rights' policies. In addition, the United States' western allies have become increasingly unwilling to support the US position on this issue.  Perhaps the shame of extraterritoriality previously thrust upon China is being remembered.
Although there has been significant improvement in human rights in China in the last twenty years, abuses continue. Most are unseen and unreported. Tiananmen Square in 1989 was different in that China was surprised by world reaction, and the immediate loss of international prestige. However, even this brutal episode was not enough to isolate China. Within a very short time, most nations, including the United States, were back currying favor with China.
As an example, the general who executed the order at Tiananmen has visited the US, was escorted on a distinguished tour, to include meeting the Secretary of Defense and speaking at the National War College in Washington D. C. In addition, Li Peng, who signed the order allowing the slaughter at Tiananmen, recently hosted Vice-President Al Gore. Similar such diplomatic receptions have occurred recently in other nations. The increased power of China is evident.
All of these major issues, Hong Kong, Taiwan, trade and the WTO, weapons proliferation, and human rights, sound like the Chinese have chosen a policy of "never again." "China is determined to demonstrate that it will no longer allow other nations to limit its ability to act where its interests are involved. Beijing will make its own rules in regaining great power status."  If at all possible, China will not allow its nation nor its culture to be degraded. This is a remarkable reversal for a giant but impoverished nation that had been treated like an international doormat for a century. 
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
This paper has argued that China's policies after World War II resulted from the combination of its past imperial glory and the subsequent humiliation it suffered at the hands of foreign powers. However, China's policies, due to its increased national power, are becoming more provocative, causing a debate in the United States about how to deal with China. The American interests in Asia include security and stability, trade, and human rights. These are seemingly contradictory goals when the increasingly economically powerful China is contrasted with the sometimes brutal autocracy in China.
Former Secretary of Defense, William Perry, pointed out, "You can't contain a billion people." This fact mandates that the US must continue to "engage" China, not isolate it, as illustrated by the following excerpt from the United States' National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement:
"A stable, open, prosperous, and strong China is important to the United States and to our friends and allies in the region. A stable and open China is more likely to work cooperatively with others and to contribute positively to peace in the region and to respect the rights and interests of its people. A prosperous China will provide an expanding market for American goods and services. We have a profound stake in helping to ensure that China pursues its modernization in ways that contribute to the overall security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region. To that end, we strongly promote China's participation in regional security mechanisms to reassure its neighbors and assuage its own security concerns." 
The passage indicates a belief that engaging China will eventually lead to improvement in human rights and democracy. As mentioned in the last chapter, the United States risks being alone on this issue since many nations in Europe and elsewhere do not support linking trade to human rights' abuses in China. Many in the current administration believe, as do most China experts, that maintaining trade links with China offers the best hope for eventual democratization and human rights' improvement in China, similar to scenarios that unfolded in Taiwan and South Korea.  The continued opening of the Chinese economy, along with the increase in communications and travel throughout the world, should bode well for the United States' desires in China on the issue of human rights.
China's continued offensive military buildup remains a difficult issue, however. The military capability continues to grow rapidly and the intent of this increased military capability appears to be "aimed directly at challenging US military power and capabilities."  It appears that, along with the military maintaining domestic law and order, which violates the basic democratic principle of civilian control of the military, China also wants to establish itself as a regional hegemon, challenging the United States' influence in Asia. In addition, due to China's geographical and cultural closeness, no Asian nation would want to be seen as siding with the United States at the risk of alienating China.
To protect its interests, the United States must maintain its military forces in Japan and South Korea, which contributes to the political and economic stability of the region. It should also encourage western nations to establish treaties and other arrangements with Asian nations, in order to send a signal to China that many countries other than the United States have interests in Asia. Further, the United States must continue to speak out against aggressive Chinese policies, such as China's aggression in the Spratly Islands and against Taiwan, actions that threaten to disrupt the security and stability of the region.
The United States should understand the historical and cultural sensitivities in China, and avoid policies and statements that hearken back to the hundred years of embarrassment. Deng Xiaoping's economic and military reforms have made China such a power that China can not be isolated by the US, no matter the US stance on human rights. China's influence, through its burgeoning economy and much stronger military posture, accords it much more respect than a smaller nation who may, in the United States' view, be guilty of similar human rights' abuses. Isolating China, with its continuously advancing level of economic activity, would be a disastrous policy, and would only result in increased world tensions. Patience, and a gradual, continued emphasis on United States' interests, along with respect for China's international position, will lead to a much more effective foreign policy. Conversely, "a policy of confrontation with China risks America's isolation in Asia,"  and could possibly lead to war, something clearly not in America's interests.
China does listen. The United States has the most developed, complex economy in the world, and the strongest military. The Chinese know and admire this. However, China's growing power is inevitable. It has established policies that have significantly increased its political, economic, and military power. The United States can not allow China to decrease stability in the region through aggressive military action, but the United States also must conduct policy so as to not awaken the painful memories of China's humiliating past. It is a difficult task.
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