China’s One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 3 of 3

June 28, 2018

Then on December 7, 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and America enters the war. War supplies start to arrive in China through India and across the Himalayas to Chiang Kai-shek’s four-million-man army, but his government is corrupt, his troops are poorly fed, and morale is low.

Chiang Kai-shek is accepted as an equal among the leaders of the world while Mao and the Chinese Communist Party are ignored, but Mao works hard to keep up the morale of his troops through political training. Ignorant Western leaders don’t understand what he is doing and criticize him.

Joseph Stilwell, the commanding US general in China, is not happy with Chiang Kai-Shek because he is not fighting Japan. Chiang’s excuse it that he needs his troops to fight the Communists.

In 1945, America invites representatives from Chiang’s government to take part in Japan’s surrender on the battleship Missouri and ignores the Communists.

The American ambassador in China urges Mao to join Chiang in a unified government. To make this happen, the United States offers Mao protection and there are face-to-face negotiations between Mao and Chiang.

Meanwhile, in secret, Chiang moves his troops to launch an assault against Mao’s troops in Manchuria.

The United States urges Chiang to win the people by implementing Sun Yat-sen’s promised reforms.  Instead, Chiang’s war against the Chinese Communists causes run-away inflation. Essential goods become too expensive. The people want peace, and Mao offers the peasants what they want if he wins, land.

In 1948, Mao attacks. His army leaves the caves and captures Manchuria. When Chiang Kai-shek’s northern army surrenders, modern American weapons and equipment fall into Mao’s hands. Mao demands total surrender, but Chiang’s army boards ships for Taiwan taking China’s wealth and historical treasures with them. In fear, western businessmen and missionaries flee China.

By 1967, Mao had ruled China for 18 years. Protected by America, Chiang Kai-Shek was still in Taiwan serving as president for life. He also had six-hundred thousand Kuomintang troops, and the island people lived under martial law.

By the time Mao died in 1976, his failed Great Leap Forward and his brutal Cultural Revolution had almost destroyed China, but Deng Xiaoping becomes the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and changes course leading to the China of today. Since 1976, China is responsible for 90-percent of the reduction in global poverty. That means the rest of the world was only responsible for 10-percent of that reduction in poverty. When Mao became the leader of China in 1949, life expectancy was 35. When Deng took over in 1976, the average lifespan was 64.28 years. In 2017, life expectancy in China had increased to more than 76 years.

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 2 of 3

June 27, 2018

The reason that China was not divided up between other countries was that on October 10, 1911, a riot took place that couldn’t be controlled. Five weeks later, the Imperial government collapsed. The Qing Dynasty vanished overnight and two-thousand years of Imperial tradition was gone. The Chinese called this time “Double Death”.

The British and Americans could not control what replaced the Qing Dynasty. Students without weapons rioted in the streets. Warlords, who controlled armies, divided China and the chaos grew worse. Life became so cheap, that death was like a bloody circus. However, while the Chinese people suffered and starved, foreigners live in luxury and controlled China’s industries while being protected by the Western military.

Chinese students demanded a revolt and Sun Yat-sen,  known as the father of China’s republic, called on China to slay the dragon of Imperialism. He said China must start with nationalism, then democracy and finally socialism. The only country that offered help was Soviet Russia.

But when Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925) died, his concept of a Chinese style republic died with him. Chiang Kae-Shek, the leader of the Nationalist Party quickly replaced Sun Yat-sen and in Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek, now a dictator, struck without warning on April 12, 1927. His troops killed anyone suspected of being a Communist. In December, there was a Communist uprising in Canton. A battle raged for two days between the Communist and Nationalist troops ending in the executions of most of the Communists. Mao Zedong escaped and went into hiding.

Four years later, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Kuomintang army was not ready when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. He didn’t have tanks, the artillery was old and out of date, and the Chinese were still learning about airplanes.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party that Chiang thought he had destroyed were back, because Mao Zedong knew the peasants lived in horrible poverty, and he promised land reforms. By 1932, Mao had millions of supporters.

Yes, when Mao ruled China, he was a brutal dictator, but Chiang Kai-shek was also a brutal dictator in Taiwan until he died in 1976, the same year Mao died.

After Japan invades Manchuria, instead of fighting Japan, Chiang’s army bombed villages that Mao controlled killing tens of thousands of noncombatants. To survive, Mao retreated and took his ninety thousand troops on the famous thousand-mile Long March that many said was impossible. Successful, Mao calls for unity to fight Japan.

One of Chiang’s generals, Zhang Xueliang, forces him to sit down with the Communists where Chiang Kai-shek agrees to fight Japan. As soon as Chiang returns to his capital, he breaks the agreement and throws Zhang in prison.

Mao’s troops in the hills of Yunnan grow their own food. His army, dressed in shabby clothing wearing straw sandals, doesn’t look like a fighting force. Mao says the people are the sea and guerrillas are like fish that swim in the sea. Within a year, Mao’s army grows to 200,000.

Meanwhile, Chiang Kai-shek’s army loses battles and cities to the Japanese. To continue fighting, his government and army moves to the mountain city of Chongqing in Sichuan province. In 1939, the Japanese start bombing Chongqing nonstop. When asked about the Japanese threat, Chiang says that the Japanese are a disease of the skin, but the communists are a disease of the heart.

Continued with Part 3 on June 28, 2018, or return to Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China’s One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 1 of 3

June 26, 2018

The Encyclopedia Britannica reports that the Opium trade with China was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Western countries, mostly Great Britain, exported opium grown in India and sold it to China.

“Early in the 18th century, the Portuguese found that they could import opium from India and sell it in China at a considerable profit. By 1773 the British had discovered the trade, and that year they became the leading suppliers of the Chinese market.”

When China attempted to end the epidemic caused by opium in 1839, England and France invaded China and ended up forcing opium and Christianity on China. There were two Opium Wars. The second one ended in 1860.

What many people don’t know is that five American families made their great fortunes from the dirty money that came from that opium trade.

The Astor Family: America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacobs Astor, joined the opium smuggling trade in 1816 when his American Fur Company bought 10 tons of Turkish opium and smuggled it into Canton.

The Forbes Family: John Murray Forbes and Robert Bennet Forbes worked for Perkins & Co. in its China trade. It was the brothers’ activities in the 1830s and 1840s in China that led to the Forbes family’s accumulated wealth.

The Russel Family: Samuel Wadsworth Russell started as an orphaned apprentice to a maritime trade merchant, made his initial investment capital on trading commissions while working for other traders, and eventually founded Russell and Co., the most powerful American merchant house in China for most of the second half of the 19th Century.

The Delano Family: Warren Delano, Jr., the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was chief of operations for Russell & Co., another Boston trading firm which did big business in the China opium trade in Canton. He first went to China at age 24 and spent a decade dealing dope on the Pearl River before returning to New York as a newly wealthy and very eligible bachelor.

The Perkins Family: Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant, and Boston Brahmin par excellence made his bones as a young man trading slaves in Haiti, then peddled furs to China from the American Northwest before amassing a huge fortune smuggling Turkish opium into China.

After the Opium Wars, the British and Americans ended up controlling the industries in Shanghai, Nanking, Hankow, and Chunking.

The New York Times reported, “At the end of the 19th century, of a population of 300 million Chinese, 90 million were addicted to opium; the old Chinese empire was threatened by fragmentation, and the foreign powers were poised to divide it into economic zones of influence. The dismantling did not occur.”

Continued with Part 2 on June 27, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China