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The Chinese built one of the oldest civilisations in history, and lived as a closed society for hundreds of years, stubbornly defending their traditions and culture.
In the 19th century, however, China began to open its doors to the outside world. It was the Europeans who came through those doors, particularly the British. The Europeans came to China for commercial reasons, and began bringing their own culture to the country.
Alongside Western culture, Western ideas also arrived.
One of these ideas was Darwin's theory of evolution.
DARWINISM'S VOYAGE TO CHINA
In 1895, 36 years after its publication, Darwin's The Origin of Species was translated into Chinese, and in a short space of time became very popular among the country's intellectuals.
Books by other evolutionary theoreticians who supported Darwin's views also began to spread through the country. These included:
Thomas Huxley, considered Darwin's most fervent supporter and for that reason known as "Darwin's bulldog."
Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, the founder of the theory of eugenics and a prominent racist.
The Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer, who applied Darwin's theory of evolution to the social sciences.
The common feature of these thinkers was their belief that man and all living things were in a constant state of conflict, and that it was this which allowed them to evolve. They denied creation, saying that man had emerged by chance and portraying him as a species of animal with no divine responsibility.
The spread of Darwinist thought through society in this way led to social turmoil, unrest and conflict in China, just as it did in other countries.
Darwinism had such an enormous effect in China in the 20th century that the Harvard University historian James Reeve Pusey wrote a book on that very issue -- China and Charles Darwin. According to Pusey's account, Darwinism had a profound effect on Chinese intellectuals, encouraged them to adopt a revolutionary world view, and provided major ideological support for the development of the Communist movement in the country.
The man who directed the course of the change that began with Darwinism was Mao Tse Tung ...
Mao's political ideology took shape during his student years in the early 1920s. His greatest inspiration was Chen Duxiu, the general secretary of the Communist Party whom he met in Shanghai. Duxiu's principle characteristic was his devotion to Darwinism. He taught Mao both Marxism and Darwinism. In his memoirs, written years later, Mao said, "Nobody influenced me as much as Chen Duxiu." (Clare Hollingworth, Mao, Triad Paladin Grafton Books, Glasgow, 1984, page 27)
The young Mao quickly came to prominence within the Communist Party, assuming the leadership from the second half of the 1920s. Communist guerrillas led by Mao began a long war against the central government led by Chiang Kai-Shek, who had also been influenced by Darwinism. The difference between them was that Mao was a communist and Chiang Kai-Shek a fascist.
During the Second World War, Mao's and Chiang Kai-Shek's forces formed a temporary alliance to fight the Japanese occupation, but began fighting each other again as soon as the war was over. During the conflict between the two Darwinist ideologies, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed. The Communist Party flag that was raised over the walls of Beijing represented an even darker time for the people of China, a land that was already in chaos.
Mao's rule opened with a huge display. Crowds gathered under red flags in Tiananmen Square applauded communism.
Mao then set out the promises of communism in his frightening, high-pitched voice.
Yet most of those who so happily cheered Mao were soon to become the victims of his savagery.
FOOTSTEPS OF DARKNESS
In the first years of the communist regime China's most important supporter was the Soviet Union. Stalin, the bloody dictator in Moscow, regarded Mao as both an ally and a personal friend. Mao now took his place alongside Stalin at the latter's show rallies.
The first bloody cooperation between the two communist dictators came just after Mao's revolution, in Korea in 1950. Acting with Chinese and Soviet support -m5JZttlLOpw
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