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China, protest and revolution, 1800–1911

Leonard H. Lubitz

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Eastern Asia » China

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics democracy, nationalism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00348.x


The nineteenth century would come to be defined in Chinese history as a particularly fervent period of rebellions. Some scholars surmise that this is a result of a confluence of various factors, the most important of which were the stresses of a regime attempting to remain in force over a growing population while also being engaged in various military actions such as the Opium Wars, the advent of foreign sovereign powers on Chinese soil, economic difficulties, and natural disasters, the latter portending the end of a regime according to the cultural beliefs of the Middle Kingdom. The artificial image of China as a monolithic society has been promoted by numerous regimes throughout its history. Within this scope, tolerance for religious and ethnic minorities who dare to identify with their own background rather than conforming are considered unacceptable. A vivid example is the Qing Dynasty's goal of forcing all of the peoples of the lands it enveloped obediently to submit to its absolute rule. A particular target were the Muslims of China. Originating from Persia, Central Asia, and Mongolia, this sizable minority had received favorable treatment from the Ming Dynasty that encouraged their emigration to China, but they suffered losses estimated at 12 million people between 1648 and 1878 at the hands of the ruling Manchus. Numerous revolts ensued, their causes ranging from frustration ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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