Mao and Brief History of China
No guide to the Pacific, or the world for that matter can be complete without a mention of China. Like daylight through curtains it persistently makes its presence felt in half the countires you visit through its people, its trade, its traditions and customs. It is impossible to ignore anyway, because China is larger than continental Europe, and contains over a quarter of the world’s peoples. Its processes of civilization have matched those of Europe and the so-called cradle of civilization – the Middle East.
Often Chna has led the west, and not just in the invention of gunpowder and printing – 200 years before Christ, China had a national road network, standardized coinage, weghts and measures, and script. Even now Europe can hardly match this. By 200 AD China had developed a civil service, nationwide examinations and had begun to codify its laws. Through all these and following ages the arts and sciences flourished astoundingly, leaving struggling Eurpoe for behind. Agriculture and trade were very advanced by Western standards – there was a credit exchange system in operation before the 9th century, and fairly sophisticated taxation. By the time Marco Polo and various missionaries arrived the West had a lot to learn.
A succession of wars, foreign invasions both military and trading by various powers, the revolution in 1911 that turned China into a republic, the Sino-Japanese War from 1937 – 1945 culminated in the struggles that led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1948. During all this time, and particularly since, increasing periods of introspection and isolation have left China something of a country apart, a country of mystery. Now this giant of life and history is opening up again to visitors and trade. More and more people are going there, not just statesmen and businessmen. It is of course an incredible country and should you experience it.