Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 05, 2018

The Historic Background of China's Perception of the West - by Carl Zha

Carl Zha publishes the Clash of civilizations and empires podcast.

This illustrated history was originally tweeted yesterday, May 4th 2018. It is slightly edited and republished here with the author's permission.


How the West’s betrayal of China in Versailles after World War I led to the long Chinese Revolution that shaped today's Chinese perception of the West

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

99 years ago, on May 4th 1919, the original Tiananmen student protest broke out. The students protested the Allied Powers' betrayal at Versailles: The German Shangdong colony was given to Japan instead of returning it to China. This despite China's sending of 140,000 men to work on the Western front.


The story begins with the first Sino-Japanese War 1894-95. Japan, after going through a full westernization program, decisively defeated China which had a half-hearted 'Self-Strengthening' modernization program that tried to preserve Confucian traditions while adopting Western technology.

Japan defeating China triggered a new round of Imperial Powers scramble to carve up China. Germany was particularly eager to not be left out.

Germany took the port city of Qingdao (Tsingtao) on the Shangdong Peninsula where they brought over beer tech giving birth to Tsingtao Beer.

Qingdao(Tsingtao) became the major German base for its newly acquired Pacific colonies until the eve of World War I.

In 1890 Germany played a leading role in attacking the Chinese capital Beijing to suppress the Boxer Rebellion together with the 8 Nation Alliance of Britain, France, United States, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Austria-Hungary.

Britain viewed German presence as threat to its colonies in China. After World War I broke out, Britain allied with Japan to besiege Qingdao. 23,000 Japanese and 1,500 British troops attacked 3,650 Germans and 324 Austro-Hungarians. Woodblock print and the Japanese flagship Suwo.

Britain promised the German Pacific colonies to Japan including Qingdao. Students explore a scale model of the Qingdao area depicting the city during the siege of the city by British and Japanese forces in October and November 1914.

As World War I wore on longer than anybody expected, the Allied Powers faced acute labor shortages. Britain came up with a scheme to recruit Chinese labors. But China was neutral so she had to be persuaded to join the war

China wanted to have the German Shangdong colony returned. Entered U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson asked China to join the war and promised support for China to gain Shangdong back after Germany’s defeat.

While the young republican China sees Britain and France as ruthless Imperial Powers, it has an enormous regard for the U.S. which it hopes to model itself after. Top Chinese diplomat was the American educated Wellington Koo. Madam Koo, an international style icon, popularized Cheongsam/Qipao dresses.

China did as Wilson asked, entered the war against Germany and send 340,000 men to help with the Allied war effort. 140,000 went to the Western Front, 200,000 went to Russia. Chinese comprised the largest non-European labor force on the Allied side during World War I.

On the Western front, the 140,000 Chinese labor were know as the Chinese Labour Corp. They dug trenches, worked in timber yards, build steamers, repair railroads. 6,000 were even sent to Iraq to work in Basra.

Chinese Labour Corp men load 9.2-inch shells onto a railway wagon at Boulogne for transport to the front line, August 1917.

Chinese Labour Corps men and a British soldier cannibalize a wrecked Mark IV tank for spare parts at the central stores of the Tank Corps, Teneur, spring 1918.

Chinese Labour Corps workers washing a Mark V tank at the Tank Corps Central Workshops, Erin, France, February 1918.

In other cases, Chinese workers staffed munitions factory during World War I.

Chinese Labour Corp men practice martial arts with swords in Crecy Forest, 27 January 1918.

200,000 Chinese men toiled in Russia. 10,000 Chinese build the Murmansk railway in the Arctic Circle. After the October revolution, 40,000+ Chinese would join the Red Army in the Russian Civil War.

The bulk of the 340,000 Chinese men sent to work in the World War I frontlines were recruited from Shangdong province, where Germany's colony of Qingdao was located. The map shows British and French transport routes for Chinese workers to Europe. Little is known about routes to the Middle East and Russia.

Unbeknownst to China, while China joined the war on the allied side at the U.S. urging, hoping to gain back Shangdong province, the U.S. and Japan signed the secret Lansing-Ishii Agreement in 1917 where they recognized each other’s special 'interests' in China. Japan’s interest is the German colony Qingdao.

Fully believing Woodrow Wilson’s promise of self-determination, the top Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo, who won the Columbia-Cornell Debating Medal in his American school days, argued passionately for the return of the Shangdong Peninsula at the Paris Peace Conference.

Opposite of Wellington Koo is the Japanese diplomat Baron Makino, a skilled go player. Makino played his hand tactically. He knew Wilson’s baby is the League of Nations. He proposed a racial equality clause knowing full well that the U.S., with its Jim Crow Laws, would oppose it.

Japan then threaten to veto the League of Nations, which would not work without Japan, unless ...  the U.S. agreed to give Germany’s former Shangdong colony to Japan. Wilson dutifully complied and decide to honor the Lansing-Ishii agreement, selling the Chinese down the river.

Wellington Koo is not the only Chinese diplomat in Paris. There is Trinidad born Eugene Chen who does not speak Chinese but represent another Chinese government because China was divided between a Beijing government in the north and a Canton(Guangzhou) government in the south.

Eugene Chen was a Hakka Chinese born in Trinidad to a former Taiping rebel who fled to the Caribbean. Eugene became a lawyer and married the French creole girl Agatha Alphosin Ganteaume. But he 'returned' to China after the 1911 Revolution overthrew the Qing Imperial government.

Growing disappointed with the Beijing government, Eugene Chen went to join Sun Yatsen’s Canton (Guangzhou) government in the south. Here is Sun Yatsen with a very young Chiang Kai-shek.

The October Revolution broke out towards the end of World War I. Suddenly an alternative political model appeared to the Chinese.

40,000 Chinese labor trapped in Russia joined the Red Army in the Russian Civil War. A White Army propaganda poster depicts Trotsky as Satan wearing a Pentagram, and portrays the Bolsheviks' Chinese supporters as mass murderers. The caption reads "Peace and Liberty in Sovdepiya".

The Soviets saw a chance to draw China away from the West and into their camp. They leaked details of the secret U.S.-Japan Lansing-Ishii agreement to Eugene Chen in Paris, who then leaked it to the Chinese press. Furious Chinese students took to street to protest at this betrayal especially by the U.S.

Previously young Chinese had looked up to the U.S. as a beacon of democracy. The Versailles Treaty made them realize that the U.S. only pays lip service to freedom and democracy while ruthlessly pursuing its self-interests.The May 4th movement is born to protest the weakness of the Chinese government and calls for reform.

Young people wanted to make China strong so it would not be bullied. They demand fundamental cultural and political changes to make it happen. There is a sense that Confucian traditions had failed China. China must welcome democracy and science and embrace modernity to move forward.

The seminal May 4th movement witnesses an upsurge of Chinese nationalism. New Chinese nationalists call for a rejection of traditional values and the selective adoption of the Western ideals of "Mr. Science" (賽先生) and "Mr. Democracy" (德先生) in order to strengthen the new nation.

Disillusioned with the West and seeking for an alternative political model leads some to look to the newly found Soviet Union. Two leading intellectuals of the May 4th movement, Li Dazhao (left) and Chen Duxiu(right), co-founded the Chinese Communist Party.

While heading the Peking University library, Chinese Communist Party co-founder Li Dazhao would influence a young student working there. His name was Mao Zedong.

The other leading intellectual of the May 4th Movement is Hu Shih, a classical liberal, who parted ways with the Communists. But the bourgeois soil upon which liberalism thrives is scarce in China, limiting their impact to the small number of educated urban elites.

The anti-traditionalism of the May 4th movement eventually reached its logical conclusion during the campaign to eradicate Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas in the Cultural Revolution starting in 1966 which aimed to destroy all aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square students protest was the last echo of the May 4th movement, and of the century long Chinese revolution. Students demanded political change to make the nation strong and prosper. Afterwards pragmatism would replace idealism.

China has come full circle. New found confidence enables the people to embrace tradition again. In 2011, a Confucius statue even appeared in Tiananmen Square. But the controversy remained. It was removed after 100 days without explanation.

After the Cultural Revolution, China experience a brief honeymoon with the West in the 1980s. Chinese youth hungered to learn about the outside world. There was a lot of goodwill towards the U.S. This period lasted beyond the Tiananmen protest of 1989.

A big turning point in Chinese public opinion was the 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade where three Chinese journalists were killed. No one in China believed the U.S. claim of an accidental bombing due to faulty maps.

Adding fuel to the fire was the collision of a U.S. spy plane near Hainan Island with a Chinese PLA J-8 fighter plane which caused the J8 to crash and an emergency landing of U.S. spy plane on Hainan Island. Previous pro-American sentiment of Chinese youth decidedly turned.

After the Arab Spring, many Chinese viewed the U.S. just as their elders in the May 4th movement did: paying lip service to freedom and democracy while ruthlessly pursuing naked self-interests. Many sympathized when the Geneva conference on Syria had no Syrians (except the waiter) because that was China’s lot 99 years ago.

May 4th is now the official Youth Day in China. A relief on the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square depicting the May 4th movement.

Thank you for reading this long thread.

May the 4th be with you!

Posted by b on May 5, 2018 at 17:39 UTC | Permalink

next page »

1890 not 1990

Posted by: Albertde | May 5 2018 17:57 utc | 1

@Albertde Thanks! Corrected.

Posted by: b | May 5 2018 18:07 utc | 2

Thanks for the history. I recently read a book called "Wolf Totem" describing native Mongolians whose indigenous life was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It was my first book about a civilization wiping out a native culture outside of the Americas. It gives an interesting inside-look into the Cultural Revolution and how indigenous and deep-rural people responded to the Four Olds program and the huge pressure to conform to the new beliefs and ways even as the new things clearly made no sense in the context of their own lives. I highly recommend it, but it's about as saddening as any honest look at civilized-vs-indigenous conflict.

Posted by: A | May 5 2018 18:20 utc | 3

May the 4th be with you!

Obi-Wan only had to say it once.
And Luke never looked back.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 5 2018 18:37 utc | 4

"In 1890 Germany played a leading role in attacking the Chinese capital Beijing to suppress the Boxer Rebellion together with the 8 Nation Alliance of Britain, France, United States, Germany, Italy, Russia

The Russian Empire was an important part of the forces seeking to dismember and loot China. It was part of the imperialist "wolfpack", so to speak, and took lots of land from China.

You can still see the russian Czar in one of the pictures. The picture where a gang of imperialists are dining with China. The text should reflect more about Russia's role in all of that.

Posted by: Hmm | May 5 2018 18:38 utc | 5

re Treaty of Versailles...claimed by George Seldes to be the the scoop of the century, as the secret terms ere made public in the usa before Congress could vote to ratify; result was Congress after multiple vote refused to ratify.

But the scoop was wrongly credited to the wrong person!

George Seldes , a newspaperman at the Paris meetings, promised to keep secret how the scoop occurred until the death of the 2 prime actors. Namely, by prior arrangement, Spearman Lewis [another newsman] made a copy of the copy that China's representative was taking back to China for official action there. They created a fake taxi accident at Place de la Concorde to obtain and make the copy and return it to the rwp in the ensuing traffic jam.

Seldes quickly figured out who got it and the ruse. Spearman Lewis confirmed and Seldes promised to keep the secret until both Lewis and China's rep had died.

Spearman gave the copy to Frazier Hunt to hand-carry back to the USA.
Hunt passed it to the NY Times and they published the entire secret terms.
The outrage in China involved organized student protests and one of the student leaders was Mao Zedong!; later Chairman Mao.

Posted by: chu teh | May 5 2018 18:58 utc | 6

One might have expected the "Christian" West to have learnt, from its History of self-inflicted wounds, that back-stabbing ought to be abandoned as its No 1 priority...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 5 2018 19:14 utc | 7

Posted by: Hmm | May 5, 2018 2:38:50 PM | 5

Sorry, Hmm. As soon as the Bolsheviks took over in Russia, the Russians took a bow and departed China. The others stayed.

A radical improvement in Russian Chinese relations took place following the October 1917 revolution caused by the decision of the new Bolshevik government to renounce the extra territorial privileges Russia had obtained in China as a result of the unequal treaties. The USSR became the strongest supporter during this period of Sun Ya-tsen’s Chinese nationalist republican movement and of the Guomindang government in Nanjing that Sun Ya-tsen eventually set up. Sun Ya-tsen for his part was a staunch friend and supporter of the USSR. Though many are aware of the very close relationship between the USSR and China in the 1950s few in my experience know of the equally strong and arguably more genuine friendship between their two governments in the 1920s.

As I said, sorry.

Posted by: Lea | May 5 2018 19:16 utc | 8

The 1989 Tiananmen Square students protest was the last echo of the May 4th movement, and of the century long Chinese revolution. Students demanded political change to make the nation strong and prosper. Afterwards pragmatism would replace idealism.

1989 was clearly an attempt to do a color revolution in China, alongside the wave of decommunization of East Europe in the same year. It was the farsical version of 1919. Just read the six points of revindication of those "students" and you can easily see their aim was capitalist restoration in China, not revolution: it was, therefore, a counter-revolution.

Posted by: vk | May 5 2018 19:23 utc | 9

Thanks for the interesting history lesson. It reminds me that "There is nothing new under the sun." Empires come and go. The State is always all about oppressing, destroying, deceiving and pursuing power and tyranny--all in the name of spreading "democracy and freedom" to other hapless countries. The only difference now is, we have a much more sophisticated weaponry to efficiently kill vast populations of people in a short time.

Posted by: Eric | May 5 2018 19:24 utc | 10

fascinating post and overview here b.. thank you.. the treaty of versailles is such a critical turning point in so much of world politics even into today.. i really appreciate this post and having light shined on aspects of world politics that have eluded me..

Posted by: james | May 5 2018 19:29 utc | 11

Hmm @5

Russia has been through two major changes since that time. Britain and US are still the same.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 5 2018 19:30 utc | 12

There is also an eight part series at the Vineyard of the Saker on the West using drugs and other measures to control China

Posted by: Krollchem | May 5 2018 19:33 utc | 13

Yah, I noticed this one, too, b.

Seems like you and I are re-posting a lot of the same Twitter feeds, lately.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 5 2018 20:06 utc | 14

This is extremely helpful, thank you. Incidentally, what was the ostensible motive ascribed to the US bombing of the Belgrade Chinese embassy in 1999? And is there a consensus view on the matter of whether the incident was accidental (as the US claims) or not (as most Chinese are reported to believe)?

Posted by: WJ | May 5 2018 20:27 utc | 15

Thanks b...... a century of humiliation.........

When I was studying and working in Los Angeles in the early 60s upto the 70s, the White and the fucking Black still called the Chinese: "DOG,” gook, chink, rickshaw puller, Chinaman, laundryman and more....”

It was so funny and they love it.....

Posted by: OJS | May 5 2018 20:39 utc | 16

Don't forget the heavy US involvement supporting Chiang Kai Shek against the Communists for the decades between World War I and World War II, of which the Flying Tigers was one example.
And the abandoned Nationalist armies that were sent into the Korea War to fight American soldiers.
China's view of American policies is far more than just the Shandong incident, although that one is quite prominent.
There is also no mention of the long-standing Taiwan issue. The Nationalist government fled there with China's arts and treasury.

Posted by: c1ue | May 5 2018 20:51 utc | 17

That's a nicely illustrated recapitulation of official Chinese government history. The stated premise -- that Chinese youth, Chinese intellectuals, nee all of China itself, was on the verge of siding with the Americans/"the West" but a few diplomatic blunders wrecked it -- should strike the casual reader as rather thin. Indeed, China's antipathy to foreigners (look back to Owen Lattimore for this) makes any rapprochement virtually inconceivable. The very definition of "Chinese" is "the people of the valley" -- the hydraulic civilization that needs a strong central government to regulate water flows for rice production. The waigouren, the people of the mountain, the nomads, the herders . . . those are perennially the enemy, to be conquered by civilization, sinicized.

The narrative here is that the West could be China's friend, if only it were better behaved. That is very fanciful indeed, and wishful thinking at best. The historical slant here is polemical, designed to appeal to a conscience eager to perceive itself as guilty (and therefore implicitly quite powerful, always a flattering hidden premise). One of the primary tensions of that time was the hatred between the Chinese and their Qing (Nomadic or at least formerly so) overlords. The Chinese wanted to rule themselves, for once, and resented the play the little runt devils were making to seize the mantle of heaven.

Mao was nothing if not a great student of Chinese Dynastic history. His efforts were to found a new dynasty, and appearing as Communist to the outside world was but one of the tools he used to forge that dynasty. When his son died in what we call the Korean war, it became clear that leadership could not be based on hereditary succession, and yet in every other way what you are dealing with here is a dynasty. Make of it what you will. I think it's healthy and helpful to see it on it's own terms. There are no easy conclusions, then. The kind of romanticized projection embalmed in this potted history, though, is more likely to be misleading than insightful.

Posted by: Rhetoric | May 5 2018 20:59 utc | 18

Thanks B for this important post.

I'm still in the process of absorbing information about the Indian subcontinent's contribution in world War I (also major league and just as little known as China's contribution) so discovering that Chinese labour built trenches on the Western Front and helped build the railway to Murmansk (which I surmise US invasion forces had planned to use in 1919, when pro-monarchist forces fought the Bolsheviks) came as a huge surprise. It's going to take a while to sink in.

Thanks also to Lea for reminding me of Anatoly Karlin's post on Chinese-Russian relations since the 1600s.

Posted by: Jen | May 5 2018 21:19 utc | 19

Post-WWII double crossing continued by the US.
The dispute over the Daiyou Islands whereby the US granted administrative control over the East China Sea islands to Japan was meant to engender hostility and to keep the Chinese bottled inside the inner island line. It was a clear betrayal of prior agreements.
It double-crossed the Nationalists, the Communists and rewarded the war criminals of Tokyo.

This robbed not only Beijing of the islands but Taiwan. Using the Japanese as as instrument of conflict is particularly bitter for the Chinese.

Now that Abe has freed all military constraints that kept the Japanese military a defense force, the true Imperialistic propensity is part of the new Indo-Pacific Quad strategy confronting China.

Double-cross is the way of the Hegemon.

The world should study the 480 treaties the US government signed with Native American nations and tribes. Not one treaty was kept. All were breeched by the land-hungry, resource-robbing, racist government in D.C.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 5 2018 21:29 utc | 20

re chu teh @ 6
I forgot to explain that the protest was that the Treaty Of Versailles secretly awarded Germany's China colony in Shandung to Japan as reward for Japan not entering WW1 against the allies.

Posted by: chu teh | May 5 2018 21:40 utc | 21

That peace treaty in Versailles was the reason fro world war 2 and still causing problems in the world.
No other country suffered more than Hungary, though
Lost 75% of it's territory and millions of it's countryman...

Posted by: Azember | May 5 2018 21:53 utc | 22

regarding the Cultural Revolution, here is a quite different take

Posted by: claudio | May 5 2018 22:20 utc | 23

re China's revolution from foreign occupiers to sovereign self-government; it was homegrown based on the realities of that time. That is why it succeeded.

Here is Edgar Snow, American journalist about a year before meeting Mao and introducing Mao to American readers on Saturday Evening Post.Snow recalls this incident before hearing rumors of the rebel Mao.

[Snow and Washington Wu, a government official and translator who had studied in America. After travelling with Wu and witnessing scenes of death and famine and starvation in northwest China, Snow recalls this dialog:

[Wu] "Terrible! Terrible!" he suddenly muttered one day when we discussed what we had seen. "I had been in America so many years I forgot about things like this. What a miserable , miserable country our China is!"
[ES]I felt a bond of sympathy with Wu when I first I heard him concede some evil in China apart from the sins of the white imperialists. His facade of arrogance and false pride cracked. There was a new spirit of protest against injustice in his voice, a new sense of humility and personal responsibility.
[Wu] "We must, we must do something to save China--quickly", he said. "But how?"
[ES]"There you sit with 30 centuries of experience behind you," said I. As an American, I can trace my origins a few generations. How can I answer that question for China!"
"There has to be a new birth," he said thoughtfully. "It can only come out of our own body--the body of our own history."

Wu was silent for a long time, locked by his thoughts, as I was by mine.

Posted by: chu teh | May 5 2018 22:22 utc | 24

Thanks @rhetoric #18, but I found the report a clear black and white recount of primary circumstances presented clearly and informatively. I feel your response is evasive and tangential to the reading of history. The USA and its ideology of oligarchism betrayed China as did all the other capitalist road nations.

You make the point that the Chinese are antipathetic to foreigners and therefor dealing with the USA improbable. That is way too simplistic in international relations. When you are threatened or at war with your neighboring nation and you are offered prospect of support from a world superpower nation to achieve your own independence and freedom you are likely to accept such support. Trust is what has given us peace between people and the breach of it has resulted mostly in conflict.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 5 2018 22:49 utc | 25

@23 claudio

Yes, that is a wonderful essay. I had never seen the Cultural Revolution unpacked this way. It seems that Mao may well have performed an astonishing feat in keeping the socialist development of China on its strong path. For all of the flaws and mistakes in its execution, it was aimed at rooting out corruption and changing the flow of privilege and money back to the productive class of the nation.

Ramin Mazaheri, an Iranian stationed lately in Paris for PressTV, is one of my favorite journalists. I love this series of articles he's writing on China. He was recently in Cuba also, and wrote some welcome news and truths about that remarkable nation. The Saker has published a lot of his work. I recommend him to all.

That link again: When Chinese Trash saved the world: Western lies about the Cultural Revolution

Posted by: Grieved | May 5 2018 23:06 utc | 26

Adam Garrie today has a good examination of China's living Marxism, and makes the point, along with Xi, that the "pragmatic" approach - which b's reposted history reports in its conclusion as China's ultimate method - is precisely why China uses Marxism as an engine for its nation and economy: because it works.

By contrast, China has pushed communism further than most other countries, including than the Soviet Union whose progress was interrupted by the corrupt leadership of the late 1980s. As a result, Chinese people are today, living in a country where wealth is greater than ever before and where social safety nets remain both for the urban proletariat and for rural workers. According to President Xi Jingpin’s new five year plan, rural poverty will be eliminated in China early in the next decade.

But if personal freedom, living standards, social confidence and social cohesion are all crumbling in the ‘capitalist/corporatist west’, in China all of these things are expanding in-line with the end stage of the social struggle that typifies early Marxist states.

For China, the age of war, social struggle and class struggle have resulted in a cohesive society that is not only more at peace with itself than ever but a society that is more prosperous, more orderly and one than provides more opportunities for individuals than ever before. This has neither been accomplished by embracing anarchy nor neo-liberalism but by combining Marxist thought with Chinese cultural characteristics.
- A Confident Beijing Brings Socialism With Chinese Characteristics to An Uncertain Germany for Marx’s 200th Birthday

I don't know much about Marx, but I read one of his essays once and understood immediately what a superb economist he was - among the really good ones of that classical period. I've seen it said that Marxism indeed is the best framework in which to parse the realities of today's "capitalism" and the west.

I'm really pleased that people are unpacking Marx and explaining his work nowadays. Ramin Mazaheri, whom I mentioned @26, does an excellent job of relating socialism to everyday life in very clear terms. And he does a faithful job of noting its triumphs in the world. I'm delighted to begin to learn more about China's systems, and to understand that this is socialism proving itself to be the greatest engine for good in the world.

The poor and unprivileged have been trying to get that damn jackboot off their face for centuries. I'm glad that the struggle is aglow with vitality, and has its victories.

Posted by: Grieved | May 5 2018 23:31 utc | 27

The 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations was not an echo of the 4:th of May movement and the Chinese revolution.It was a attempt by the CIA to launch a Colour revolution.

Posted by: Stefan Törmä | May 6 2018 0:09 utc | 28

Rhetoric @18 uncle tungsten @2x

It strikes me that Rhetoric's argument amounts to the claim that the synopsis of modern Chinese-Western relations offered above *cannot* be accurate because it runs against the immemorial essence of Chinese culture. This is a convenient claim for Rhetoric to make (and one wonderfully befitting his nom de plume) because it does not require him to note and address any specific inaccuracies in the original synopsis. Perhaps Rhetoric could address at least some of those inaccuracies for us. After all, the particular is always more persuasive than the general, as he of all people should know.

One note on Owen Lattimore, whom Rhetoric cites as an authoritative scholar on China's "antipathy to foreigners." Lattimore was, like many of his generation, an interesting case. An early, renown, and influential scholar of Chinese culture and political history, Lattimore nevertheless viewed this culture and history through the lens of his aspirational liberal globalism. Given his own assumptions and ideals, in other words, it is not surprising, perhaps, that China struck him as antipathetic to foreigners. Pretty much every historical culture not already sold on global liberalism (and liberalism always also means capitalism) could be described in this way.

Posted by: WJ | May 6 2018 0:19 utc | 29

great stuff from this guy - John King Fairbank - for more background:

Posted by: douglass truth | May 6 2018 0:32 utc | 30

China was not really Republican during WWI. It was actually divided and was in what is known as the Warlord era. It was only after the war that Sun Yat Sen was able to consolidate power for the ROC in China, gaining support needed thanks to the betrayal of the US. The betrayal also helped pave the way for the Communist Party to recruit, and along with the Republican Nationalists spent the next 25 years focused on conflict with Japan. Thanks to US betrayal of the Nationalists after WWII when they stopped supporting China militarily with Japan out of the picture, the Communists prevailed and CKS fled to Taiwan with Chinas art and much of its gold. Then the US betrayed Taiwan in favor of the Communists

Interesting article here.

In it they mention a company named AIC (backwards CIA). This was a private group of Americas biggest companies and banks to invest in infrastructure and other projects in overseas countries such as China, Russia, Japan and Latin American. It was described by a leading Wall street banker (Vanderbilt) in his autobiography. There is very little about this company in the historical record for some reason. I believe they may have been the roots of the Deep State that control the US and by extension much of the world today

Posted by: Pft | May 6 2018 0:46 utc | 31

I cannot understand why anyone is paying attention to Rhetoric as this most recent post with it's racist inaccuracies hidden in vague generalisations reveals him to be just another troll. As we know trolls are best ignored until they fuck off to more credulous territory, somewhere that garners emotive responses.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 6 2018 1:46 utc | 32

Thanks b, a good history lesson. Lets all hope China has learned the historical lessons about the kind of "democracy" the U$ empire projects, the world is waiting...

Posted by: ben | May 6 2018 2:02 utc | 33

Great post. Thank you for taking the time to include these powerful images.

Posted by: Andrew | May 6 2018 2:57 utc | 34

Thanks to b for the posting and Grieved for the link to the Ramin Mazaheri posting at the Saker

Those who read my comments know that I have written about China's 13 5-year plans before as an example of rule by committee as contrasted to the West's rule by the owners/inheritors of global finance. Reading the link by Grieved I learned how China is trying to instill an ongoing refresh mechanism in governance. and am impressed. China has 300-500 protests a day.....

If we can just keep the Western elite from being poor losers......

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 6 2018 3:36 utc | 35

Bad luck if you don't like it. I have had US/UK versions of other countries histories since a kid and have had to unlearn everything. Now some clown wants to pump more of it here.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 3:44 utc | 36

Mao was a great revolutionary but a lousy emperor. Somewhat pre-industrialized China was able to bring the US military to a stalemate in the Korean War. China, like the rest of the world, is bigger than it used to be so more than one family from the heroes of the revolution form the present dynasty. It is hard to know from Western journalism what it is really like in China today. I know my perceptions are still ill informed from the Cold War propaganda I heard growing up. I was in China in 2002 and was told you just don't talk about the Falun Gong. Just like the US, all digital communication is monitored but without the pretense of human rights or privacy. I notice the recent policy of regulating the populace with its Social Credit scores. No pretense of 'net neutrality' in China with its regulation of the internet. The power of modern technologies in controlling people is scary. At this time, probably out of self preservation, the Powers That Be in China still try to keep its population employed, unlike the US. I wish China success with its Belt Road Initiative as it is win-win for the parties involved unlike the US Empire policies of turning countries into rubble. So I have to wonder as the US is still good at creating chaos and destroying infrastructure.

Posted by: gepay | May 6 2018 3:55 utc | 37

Thanks, b.

I was asked to do a Cultural Revolution redux into a US propaganda campaign for the US in Afghanistan, splicing my knowledge of Afghanistan's unique pokitical media with the powerful Chinese imagery developed undrr Mao. This was during the Hearts and Minds phase, when the US military contracted for psyop they could bolster Karzai with as some kind of folk hero.

I got the job because once I'd done a similar redux of USA WW2 propaganda posters to be used in creating the Earth Day movement that thoroughly enriched and entrenched UScFederal power over the States. I loved the old US WW2 posters and especiallybthe Chinese Cuktural Revolution posters we tried to redux for Karzai.

All together a couple dozen billboard concepts were developed, a few were put up in Afghanistan to sway the 209 re-election, but in the end, Afghans were not so easily betrayed, and USA and their puppet Executor Karzai had to resort to ballot stuffing.

All in the rear view mirror until your piece tipoday, but I'll never forget Rodham racing back and forth after Karzai's selection, shrieking his victory was 'certified and legitimate' (cough) and 'legitimate and certified'!!!

To his credit, Karzai handed all the fabulous wealth of Afghanistsn to India and China, and Cheney's threatened surge, like his threat of carpet bombing to the Taliban 9 years earlier, ended up being fecklessky chossed by Obama and Petraeus.

Then the Great Gliwing Ball of Satan and all his Sword Dancing minions swept on to another genocidal holocaust.

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

Roughly translated:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

Posted by: Chipnik | May 6 2018 3:58 utc | 38

gepay 40

I went to China about 2015, not really knowing what to expect. Propaganda makes it out to be a police state. What I found was that compared to China, Australia is a police state and unlike China our our americanized cops always carry guns. The other thing that stood out was that in communist China, there are more family owned businesses per capita than Australia. Went to an area where no one spoke english and I don't speak Chinese. Got taken by a con man who charged us ten times the going rate for the ride to the hotel and passed off some counterfeit money to us. Turns out counterfeiting is a big issue there, everyone checks the notes. A crowd of friendly people at a store near where we were staying where trying to point out to me what was wrong with them, but I couldn't see it. Most stores had a machine that they would run money through that beeped when counterfeit was run through it.

My impressions. China is much less authoritarian than the so called west.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 4:22 utc | 39

OT, but I think of importance and interest to MoA barflies:

Vanessa Beeley has penned an article on the alleged defunding of the White Helmets Propaganda Construct well worth reading.

“…the White Helmets  (SCD) have not been informed of any “funding freeze”. He then relays the information that the White Helmets have recently signed contracts with Turkish and Qatari organisations to carry out new projects…”

“…it is increasingly clear that the U.S funding freeze for the White Helmets may well prove to be another in a long line of Trump administration myths…”

BTW: Vanessa gives "b" a shout out.

Posted by: Daniel | May 6 2018 4:36 utc | 40

geopay, anther thought. "Just like the US, all digital communication is monitored but without the pretense of human rights or privacy."... If this is good or bad depends on if it's done to the detriment of the people or for the good of the people. China like Russia is constantly under attack from the US/UK west. Perhaps that should simply be the anglo west.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 4:56 utc | 41

The US is not under any existential threat - well it has declared Venezuela one, but its privatized gulags hold more prisoners than the soviet gulags ever did. Police state? only one tiny country I hadn't heard of has more incarcerated per capita than the US.
Political repression? In the US, the original McCarthyism and the current McCarthyism. All MSM media in the US west now pump non stop propaganda.
I used to read some articles at this website as occasionally there would be dissenting articles and comments on propaganda article were allowed. Now no dissenting comments are allowed and no decent articles appear. A university website.
Take a look at the shit pumped out by your Harvard crowd Donny boy -
The US west is a pot full of frogs being boiled slowly.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 5:22 utc | 42

"... The very definition of "Chinese" is "the people of the valley" -- the hydraulic civilization that needs a strong central government to regulate water flows for rice production ..."

This sentence from Rhetoric @ 18 is such a howler of inaccuracy, among others in the comment, the wonder is that B allows the entire comment to stay.

The original Chinese state (the state of Qin) arose in an area where rice was not originally the staple crop - the staple crop was millet. Even today China grows a variety of staple cereals: corn, millet, wheat, not just rice.

Posted by: Jen | May 6 2018 5:37 utc | 43

Peter AU 1 | May 6, 2018 1:22:03 AM | 45

Bingo! USian's should get out while they still can.
I finally dumped the last U.S. news source I viewed; Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.
It's in the cesspool with the rest of the CCM.

Posted by: V | May 6 2018 5:41 utc | 44

@ Peter AU 1 with the comment about the web site "The"

I read them a bit when they first started but saw them early on as a sheepdog site for potential "freethinkers".

I think that the US is under existential threat from COMMUNIST China and it is not if but only a matter of time before that threat becomes overwhelming

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 6 2018 5:44 utc | 45

wrote the boiling frog hopefully.............

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 6 2018 5:45 utc | 46

Jen, the reason b allows comments like that to stay (I think) is because it will be ripped apart by commenters like yourself.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 5:54 utc | 47

psychohistorian 48

You may be right there (under threat from China).
Malcolm Frazer had a few articles at The Conversation not long before he died. Recommended Australia, like Russia turning to the east. I did a search for his articles at the university website and it turned up blank. Erased from history. When I first started reading it, it was just Au and UK. Many changes since bringing in US universities.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 6:04 utc | 48

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 5, 2018 10:27:51 PM | 36
If you don't like my comment use you're second amendment. Something no other country in the world has.
Rambo pissants.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 6:16 utc | 49

Boxer Rebellion 1899-1901.

Posted by: johnf | May 6 2018 6:40 utc | 50

@9, 29

China was already a good ten years into its capitalist transition in 1989. The party-state apparatus remained in place, but it runs a capitalist economy.

The interesting thing about the Tienanmen confrontation is - apart from the final confrontation in the square itself - how agreeably it was resolved. The party eliminated the remnants of the Cultural Revolution, which had been a source of grievance, and established limits to its reach in the personal sphere. In return for those gains, the party solidified its position as the sole venue for political action. For the Chinese, who by default tend to be apolitical, that was a good deal. Make money, tend to family, have fun, but don't step on the toes of the party.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 6:58 utc | 51


Hungary got screwed in the Treaty of Trianon, not Versailles. It and the later Treaty of Riga lit fires of ethnic conflict that smouldered until they flared up into full conflagration during WWII.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 7:10 utc | 52

Thirdeye 50
The Chinese have profound traditions of political - peasant rebellion.
They have a blueprint in Mao's achievements through and with and for the 100's of millions .
While ever a writing of Mao's exists the pressure will be for socialism for China and all humanity .
Herr Hitler - after all - had 'socialism with German characteristics , which in the upshot proved to be inadequate and fraudulant !

Posted by: ashley albanese | May 6 2018 7:11 utc | 53

Connecting the Cultural Revolution with the May 4th Movement gives it too much credit. It was a factional power struggle that ended up setting back China's educational system, a key component for China's aspirations as a top-tier nation in the world, by decades. In recent years, the Chinese government has invoked traditional Chinese values in its campaign against corruption.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 7:34 utc | 54


Mao was brutal and incompetent. He faced nowhere near the challenges that Lenin and Stalin did - repeated invasion and complete isolation - but accomplished much less. Virtually everything accomplished under Mao was in spite of, not because of, his leadership.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 7:49 utc | 55

@ Thirdeye #50:

"For the Chinese, who by default tend to be apolitical, that was a good deal. Make money, tend to family, have fun, but don't step on the toes of the party."

That would be an ideal solution if the Party truly remained a neutral party above and beyond any business dealings. But that is never the case when it comes to interaction between political and economic interests.

The democratic notion (if not the reality) is that there should be competing political interests as well as business interests. The disillusionment that a lot of people feel in the West arises from the not entirely erroneous impression that politicians of all parties are in the pockets of the same economic interests.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 6 2018 7:55 utc | 56

Only three countries have the power to resist the US. Russia, China, Iran. Syria nearly succumbed until the Russian intervention. Seems to be plenty of US apologists on this thread.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 7:55 utc | 57

Thirdeye | May 6, 2018 3:49:26 AM | 54

Rip off a long section of dunny roll, wipe your eye, take a fresh look at your US version of history.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 8:01 utc | 58

@uncle tungsten #25,writes:
"The USA and its ideology of oligarchism betrayed China as did all the other capitalist road nations." I don't know what to make of. "Capitalist Road nations"? -- rhetoric from the Mao era. In what way is China not, or in what way has it never been, itself a Capitalist Road nation, for starters.

What ideology of oligarchism is there in the USA? There's many ideologies afoot there, from "democracy" to "Democracy"; the Randian utilitarianism that the (soon to be late, at least politically) Paul Ryan represented, etc., etc. But oligarchism? It's not a term often reserved for an ideology popular in America. You often see Russia critiqued this way -- though I haven't seen that particular term employed to describe it. And you have "crony capitalism", which is what you might mean by this. But I think the term might best fit in China, where the modern form of social/economic organization lends itself to such a description. It is redolent of the Mandarin system. Individuals are selected, almost at random, to be the leaders of a factory, or in a particular sector of the economy. As long as they stay loyal to the Emperor -- in this case the CCP -- they're allowed to keep their wealth. The rules of the game are made clear, and order is kept.

What to make of the claim that the US was betraying China? Of all foreign nations at the time, the US had its Open Door Policy, which was a restraint on monochromatic colonialism. And it has to be noted that, in the past and up to the present, China regards itself as a Colonial Power in its own right.

When you write, "you are offered prospect of support from a world superpower nation to achieve your own independence and freedom you are likely to accept such support," my mind instantly went to Tibet and Tibet's relations with China.
@WJ #30
I find it humorous that you want to dismiss Lattimore because he, "viewed this culture and history through the lens of his aspirational liberal globalism." To the degree that he had any, and I think you'd have to specify which period in his life you found evidence of such, it never seemed to eclipse his integrity as a scholar. But that's not the part I find funny. It's that your, WJ's, aspirational liberal gloabalism, or whatever it is you console yourself with as an ideology, would be somehow more negligible.

One of the things I find impressive about Lattimore is that he had a firm grounding in classical Western thought (or, if you like, ideology), as evidenced by the career of his brother Richard, and that firm grounding is necessary when apprehending an other all too easily romanticized and projected upon. When he approached China, he did so through Mongolia. He was able to hold his own cultural perspective, and those of the cultures he was encountering, in abeyance, and evaluate them in a way perhaps not possible today.

Lattimore was outed as a Communist in an ordeal by the slander of the McCarren Committee and the McCarthy hearings. (Interestingly, Lattimore was in Afghanistan on behalf of the UN when he got called back to the States to stand trial.) He lost his post at the University and disappeared to Leeds. To cite him subsequently as an academic was to invite accusations of being a communist yourself, and so his work, the work of America's preeminent scholar of Asia, went in the direction of obscurity.

America's chance for understanding was lost, at least for several generations, with him. He was replaced by his student Fairbanks, a much dimmer light; who, in turn, was replace by Spence, an improvement. These days, if you want to apprehend China, you have to slog through many studies of very specialized topics, and probably learn the language and spend some time there yourself. Most people don't have the patience or the interest.

Deprived of Lattimore, it has been easy to take something off the shelf purporting to be the real view on China, and use it to further one's own ideological ends. Thus Mao becomes a hero of erstwhile Communist revolutionaries rather than a Dynastic founder. It's all too easy to project on to China an other that furthers an argument about domestic politics. Apprehending what China is on China's terms, while always a bit tenuous, is an invitation to discomfiture, as the result just isn't going to fit or add up neatly. My advice these days is to look to how China regards Japan, or how Korea regards China, and how Japan regards China, etc. The differences in perspective there, while not immediately useful for evaluating or promoting a western ideology, are at least manageable enough that one can apprehend them conscientiously with some degree of accuracy. And that leads to some understanding.

Again, the premise of this piece, clearly stated, was that the West/America could have been China's friend, if only . . . My contention is that was never on the table, and its disingenuous to suggest that it ever was. That China and the West should or could have good relations is not something I'm either opposing or arguing would be impossible -- though from the current Chinese mindset, China would tend to regard it as such. If it ever occurs, it will be dependent on a host of factors, not the least of which is America's relationship with Russia. It is truly a global issue, and regarding it on a bipolar America-Chinese axis is bound to be myopic.

My apologies for writing at such length. I think I stated my view on the piece rather clearly, and you & uncle seem to find my objections troubling, and want to dismiss them peripherally. They probably won't go away, and if you keep following them up, lead to more contradictions. As I wrote, there are no easy answers. (Well, except for the wrong ones.)

@Debisdead writes in #34 to accuse me of being a troll. I am not a troll and the false accusation of such should discredit @Debisdead evermore, what with the recent spate of Russophobia wantonly using that term, along with "bot", to discredit anti-establishment narratives.
@Jen #43
Please have your argument with Karl Wittfogel. Not such a howler, though certainly debatable.

Posted by: Rhetoric | May 6 2018 8:38 utc | 59

OT. It looks like Iraq has had a gutfull of US terrorists.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 8:41 utc | 60

Rhetoric "My apologies for writing at such length."
Fuck your apologies.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 8:44 utc | 61

US apologists are crawling out of the woodwork like maggots crawling out of a carcass on this thread.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 8:59 utc | 62

Thread looks dead. where are you US apologist faggots hiding? My nana nap time now. Have free run US apologists until sometime between 12 and 2am Au time which is my wake up time.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 10:31 utc | 63

ralphieboy @55

"The democratic notion (if not the reality) is that there should be competing political interests as well as business interests."

Yes. Freedom flourishes in the cracks between the conflicting elites.

Not very grand but better than nothing. Maybe the way it's starting to go now?

Posted by: English Outsider | May 6 2018 10:46 utc | 64

I cant see why you're giving Rhetoric a hard time. His points are valid, and he is clear and responsive. You might not agree with him, but this bar should not be a clique as much as a place of education. Let him speak, he is obviously not a troll.

Posted by: dan | May 6 2018 10:54 utc | 65

@ English Outsider #63

"Yes. Freedom flourishes in the cracks between the conflicting elites." That is why the US established the notion of Separation of Church and State: there were too many conflicting denominations to agree on any single Established Church, or as in the case of Germany, to divvy it up between Catholic and Lutheran.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 6 2018 11:07 utc | 66

@Dan #64

I don't post around here very much because of people who brand those who disagree with them as "troll" or "faggot". There are enough echo chambers on the Internet.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 6 2018 11:11 utc | 67

Peter AU 1 @ 47: Thanks for the compliment. You are doing pretty well here yourself.

Dan @ 64: I gave Rhetoric a hard time for that comment about Chinese civilisation being a "hydraulic empire". Rhetoric should have give the source of the remark as Karl Wittfogel then. Much of the rest of the comment - about China being hostile towards foreigners, for example - is sweeping generalisation that (as Debsisdead observes) borders on racism because, taken together with the Wittfogel view, it appears ignorant of Chinese history.

If the Chinese were hostile to certain groups of foreigners - for example, nomads from the Siberian north - that's understandable, in the context of Jurchen, Mongols, Manchus and others having been invaders who breached the Great Wall time and again, and who took away Chinese engineers and craftsmen to work for them. On the other hand, the Chinese were not hostile to the likes of Marco Polo and his relatives, or to Arab and Jewish traders who settled among them and brought Islam and Judaism to China. (The Jewish community in China, centred in Kaifeng, eventually died out through assimilation but there are still some 20+ million Chinese Muslims, not counting Uyghurs and Tajiks.)

One occasion when the Chinese needed help from outside was in the late 1700s / early 1800s when parts of the southeast Chinese coast and the Pearl River were menaced by the notorious pirate known as Madame Ching and her pirate fleets, the Manchus actually asked the Portuguese and the British (the major naval power in the world by then) to assist in stopping her. Neither the Manchus nor the Europeans managed to defeat her and her fleets of some 20,000 - 40,000 pirates. She managed to retire with a nice pardon and pension from the Qing government and used the money to set up her own casino.

Posted by: Jen | May 6 2018 12:32 utc | 68

Seems like a lot of folks got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. After you've had your cup of joe, go back and read all your comments where you referred to fellow barflies as trolls, faggot, etc. It really doesn't help your arguments any talking like that. Just remember that in a real bar, such talk might result in several of your teeth hitting the floor.

Posted by: morongobill | May 6 2018 13:36 utc | 69

Wonderful and timely, b! American and European betrayal and racism toward China and Asia in general provided fertile ground for a readership receptive to Edgar Snow's reportage from China, first with Red Star Over China, originally published in 1936, followed much later by Red China Today: The Other Side of the River. Dishonored by Americans and blacklisted for his China writings, Snow found himself valued and honored by Chinese who later used him as a communications conduit in setting up Nixon's China visit.

It's very lucky for the West that it's not part of China's nature to seek revenge. But it's quite clear China will pursue her own interests regarding what's been her national territory over the last several centuries--specifically as regards Taiwan: It's Chinese and will forever remain Chinese and no amount of "protection" provided by the Outlaw US Empire will prevent its reabsorption into China proper, just as with Macao and Hong Kong. As for China's reverence for Marx, sure, Hudson has long extolled Marx as longtime readers of him know; so, it shouldn't be a surprise to find Marx front and center of the paper Hudson delivered to a seminar in China over the past two days.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2018 14:03 utc | 70


The nature of your last response is just the same as that of your first comment. You still have not even stated what particular fact(s) or interpretation(s) of fact in the original synopsis are incorrect, much less explained why they are so.

I agree that Lattimore is an extremely complex figure, which is why I called him an "interesting case." I think we can both agree that he was never really a Communist.

Posted by: WJ | May 6 2018 14:30 utc | 71

For what it's worth, I've talked to a lot of upper-middle class and wealthy young Chinese. They are almost always materialistic, apolitical, proud of China's rise and nationalistic. Like most Western young people, they're dominated by the commercial media and what it tells them is cool, which includes the adjectives in the previous paragraph. What a Westerner notices as unusual is the acute conventional-thinking conformism that comes from being primarily and mostly unquestioningly loyal to parents. (I.e., Confucianism is strong!)

My perspective is limited, but added to more conventional sources, gives me the impression that moving forward China will (continue to) be a normal capitalist society during an intense industrialization phase, when general economic growth and domestic manufacturers are prioritized, in contrast to late capitalism when finance, propaganda and increasingly unequal distribution matter more than general economic growth and prosperity. Accordingly, leftists and populists in the West should cheer for China and what it represents right now -- economic development, manufacturing jobs, pulling people and nations out of hopeless, corrupt poverty -- but understand ... late/financialized capitalism will happen, eventually. There will be no vast cadres of real socialists to hold that back. And there are already an enormous number of former/current finance/economics majors ready to bring the neoliberal cult to China, great riches to themselves, and proud smiles onto their parents' faces.

Posted by: fairleft | May 6 2018 15:34 utc | 72

I see another comment of mine got mislaid from preview to post. Too bad as it highlighted the importance of journalist Edgar Snow's work and gave kudos to b for such a fine post!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2018 15:45 utc | 73

@70 Excellent observations. Many, many young Chinese are now familiar with Western ways through travel, education, internet, family connections etc. I doubt Chairman Mao could ever have imagined the scale of cross-pollination.... "leftists and populists in the West' are going to have to make some readjustments to their perceptions.

Posted by: dh | May 6 2018 16:25 utc | 74

4;Yankee ss didi gregorius was kicked in the head.the trainer says in the what day was it (may4);may the fourth be with you.

Posted by: dahoit | May 6 2018 16:36 utc | 75

Just for the record I have not accused Rhetoric of being a troll though I admit the tone of my first reply was a bit cheeky. It was the form of Rhetoric's critique that set off bells for me because it avoided addressing the particular details of the historical synopsis in question and instead appealed to some mythical essence of immemorial Chinese culture as itself disproving the historical interpretation on offer. This style of attack is typical of many contemporary "analyses" of the Middle East, the "Arab mind" etc.

Posted by: WJ | May 6 2018 16:59 utc | 76


Oh, Nooooooo! I've offended a Mao fanboy!

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 18:15 utc | 77

This post by b points out how the events during 1918 turned an entire generation of Chinese against the West. What has also been noted is how Bill Clinton's war against Serbia turned many Chinese against the US. The specific issue mentioned was the the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. It totally irrelevant whether or not that attack was a mistake or a deliberate attack. The reason it is irrelevant is that the Chinese people, including its high level officials, believe that the attack was deliberate. The indisputable fact is that no high level official in the Clinton administration went to Beijing and offered a formal apology for this mistake (if it was). This was a major affront.

The result of this assault and lack of appropriate apology was that whatever warm feelings many Chinese had about the US was lost. I have two Chinese friends that supported the 1989 Tien min square demonstrations in 1989 who concluded from this that the US did not respect China.

Also this attack on Serbia in 1999 convinced many Russians (I met a few) that basically the US was openly an enemy of Russia's fundamental national interests and even its culture.

Bill Clinton, the fool that he was and is, created more problems in that one very stupid war than even the crazy war Bush launched against Iraq in 2003. Bill Clinton managed to convince not only the Russian and Chinese leaders that the US cannot be trusted but also the intelligentsia of both of those countries.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 6 2018 18:16 utc | 78

@36 Peter AU 1

I hope you followed my links to Ramin Mazaheri and his articles on China, or were already familiar with them. I understand what you're saying about unlearning western versions of history. He has a new piece that adds real texture to the timeline b presents here, with amazing insight into the flows of China's development, with the rise of an opium oligarchy and an urban elite based on that trade, all of which, he shows quite convincingly, leads to neo-liberalism - which only socialism had the power to overthrow in the struggle of the people for a fair society.

Once China got off drugs: the link between opium and ‘liberal warlord’ Macron

Posted by: Grieved | May 6 2018 19:52 utc | 79

Grieved 79
Mazaheri's observation "We have no choice but to start at zero with primary sources:"

From veritas semper vincit's comment in the Black Cube thread "Lies upon lies. Each one has to be bigger than the prior one ,and so on ,in a vicious cycle . And the current lie has to take into account the prior ones"

World history as it has been taught most of us in the post WWII era west is mostly one big lie, then more lies built on a foundation of lies. Previously I had thought that China had learned from past mistakes in the earlier days of ideological communism and had become more pragmatic. From Mazaheri's article I start to see that rather than being mistakes, some of the early moves were a necessary foundation of a step by step process to make China into what it is today.
Will read your latest link shortly.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2018 21:20 utc | 80


It seems as simplistic to dismiss the Nationalist Chinese looking to the West as it is to embrace the simplified narrative that their turn away from the West was sole the result of the Versailles betrayal. The Nationalist movement in China was rooted in deep-seated opposition to the Qing Dynasty. They regarded the Qing as foreign usurpers who ruled the Han Chinese as a conquered people and re-instituted slavery. The conflicts with Imperial Britain were a sideshow. From the Nationalist standpoint, there was little reason to side with one group of usurpers against the other. Western-educated, English-speaking Chinese were well represented in the leadership of the 1910 revolution and they were aware of the Dynasty's use of traditional Chinese attitudes to maintain their power. Even with the disillusionment towards the Anglo-European powers following the 1910 revolution, the approach of looking to Westernism as a tool for liberating China was expressed in the rapid rise of Marxism within the Nationalist movement during the 1920s.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 6 2018 22:01 utc | 81

vk @9 and Stefan @28. I knew an old school Communist in the 1990s who absolutely agreed with your point that the 1989 Tianenmin Square event was a failed “color revolution.” I’ve since read some pretty convincing investigations that it was. ie. not “spontaneous,” but long planned and prepared by Western Intelligence. and while most participants were sincere “pro-democracy peaceful protesters,” there were armed violent provocateurs from the start, and even that the “massacre” was exaggerated at best.

Posted by: Daniel | May 7 2018 2:45 utc | 82

Great post and comments (again).

6,000 Chinese were sent to Basra, Iraq? Something I learned only a few years ago is that the first troops the Brits deployed in WW I were not sent to Belgium or France, but to Iraq.

British stand-up historian/comedian, Robert Newman did a brilliant 45 minute set on

“The History of Oil.”

Posted by: Daniel | May 7 2018 2:47 utc | 83

This is a very thorough view of China's perceptions of the "West". There is one big "twist" that was overlooked. in a word...OPIUM. The Sassoon Family and their grip on the opium trade is still relevant today. The "wars" with the west was no more than the Sassoon's power (through western armies) to force China to continue to allow Opium to addict its people. This family continues to distribute Opium and Heroin throughout the world today.
Afghanistan is the number one producer of Opium in the world. The United States and its Nato Allies have been enlisted by this family to protect the Poppy Fields of Afghanistan.
One only has to look at what happened to the world economy in 2008 - 2009 (after the Taliban burned the Poppy Fields of Afghanistan) to realize the magnitude of the Opium Trade controlled by the Sassoon Family.

Posted by: Jerry Hartlein | May 7 2018 3:01 utc | 84

Rhetoric and others re Owen Lattimore
It is serious error to say that Lattimore was "outed" as a communist. There is a pretty good review of the charges against Lattimore by McCarthy and others, including that he was a Russian spy, in wiki. Please read it for yourself, far too much detail to repeat here.
I met Lattimore in DC in 1965 at the law firm which had represented him in the 50's. He had moved to England, accepted a position at Leeds, because it was impossible to conduct serious academic research on China in the USA. Most of you are too young to comprehend what it was like even in the 60's. If you wanted to buy a goose down sleeping bag, of course it had to come from China, but it to be relabeled in Poland!
What a life he led, meeting Mao and Zhou back in 1937! and being named advisor to Chiang Kai-Shek by FDR in 1941!

Posted by: mauisurfer | May 7 2018 5:30 utc | 85

mauisurfer. Cool recollection.

In the 60s, a couple friends and I had a painting contracting company in Chicago. We got a job painting the basement of an industrial building, and I noticed what was happening on the first floor. Big trucks would unload crates on the loading dock. Workers would bring the crates in to row after row of tables and open them.

Then the workers would pull articles of clothing out of the crates, sew Sears labels onto them and repack them in Sears packaging and crate them back up for other trucks - with Sears painted on them - to pick up. I never saw anything with point of origin. Now you have me wondering if some were from China.

Side note: Most of the workers were what we called "Puerto Ricans," and few spoke much English (only later did I figure out that most were actually Mexican, passing as PR Americans).

Posted by: Daniel | May 7 2018 5:57 utc | 86


For perspective on the opium wars, consider how the forebears of the Nationalist movement were otherwise occupied during the mid-19th Century. If that scale of war effort were expended against the Brits, they could have been sent running home to mama. It's also interesting that the Taiping revolutionary government was under the banner of a mutant form of Christianity - an early example of Chinese choosing a western influence vis-a-vis their Qing overlords.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 7 2018 7:59 utc | 87


The big question is whether capitalism outside of the Western liberal model that gave it birth will necessarily follow the same trajectory into finance-dominated, value-destroying neoliberal capitalism. The CCP made a pragmatic decision based on national interest to develop a capitalist economy but they're not ideologically wedded to it the way Western governments are. The West chose capital over national interest and is facing civilizational decline as a consequence. Will the Chinese heed the lesson?

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 7 2018 10:23 utc | 88


I found out one day that there is a thing I call „data fetishism“ - meaning someone anonymous commits evil deeds and signs them not with his name but with the date+time they were commited, where either this DaTime stamp looks unusual (like „7.7.77“), and/or is of special relevance for the party concerned/damaged, and/or was predicted in the past already, so that it is alleged that the evildoers are active as such since a long time ago and must have much power when they can provide for the realization of their threats after so much time.

One party which seems to act this way - anonymously but signing with a „telling“ date/time stamp - is the SJ (Sociatas Jesu aka the jesuits), the Vatican‘s official army against everyone and everything non-catholic. Because of that I was puzzled by the SJ‘s seal (as shown completely on SJ publications since 1540+, and less completely in catholic churches until now), which seems to be mainly a map of a region (not necessarily of the surface of Earth) and is crowned by a two liner, where the first line says „+“, and the second „IHS“. The explanation offered for IHS is bogus - so, whatdoesitmean? I found that this map looks even more genuine when you turn it upside down, and then the two lines are below and say „SHI +“ - or, a word more english than latin, and a nice proof of what rascals those Holy Fathers can be when they feel being invisible. While the original (upside up) version makes no sense , the first step into its deciphering does, and not only in the region this map depicts.

Still, „SHI t“ does not mean much - could it mean more then just „feces“? Encrypting things by turning them upside down is a very basic encrypting technique, so the next one may also be rather basic. What about seeing a number code in it? S=19, H=8, I=9, t=20 - did the SJ want to point to a future major triumph of theirs, which in AD 1540+ they saw in AD 1989, 20?

What then is „20“? In the context of a year, it may either be a day (day 20 = January 20th = inauguration of potus41_Bush-sr , the Kennedy murderer) or a week in mid May. In that 20th week in 1989 potus41_Bush delivered a speech somewhere deep in Eurasia (I am writing from memory, and the details I found years ago are no longer there, sorry) which was seemingly destined to trigger the Tiananmen event two weeks later. A small putschlet in a far away country was probably not all the Holy Fathers imagined in 1540+ - it seems more probable that they counted on a complete avalanche or stampede of dominos falling from East (CN) via RU towards the West (East Germany). With China resisting the SJ‘s order, the plan stumbled, and the Holy Fathers lost their face as infallible rulers of human history.

Sadly I got to a more detailed notion of data fetishism only years after the SJ‘s day or/and week of SHIt, so that I could not warn the world in time; since then I did do some warning on later occasions, which may or may not have been useful at times. Anyway, in every such case the use of a data fetishist signature proves premeditation and bars all explanations with „spontaneous uproar“ etc.

In this context here, the SJ‘s early SHIt prediction together with the SJ‘s early and keen interest in China seems to exclude any possibility of anything spontaneous happening in early June, 1989 on Tiananmen square.

Also in 1989, I remember the words of a very sympathetic Jewish old lady who lived in West Berlin and hat strong ties with East Germany and their com'party (SED/SEW in West Berlin), who did their utmost to please poor victims of the nazi terror (e.g. free cures etc.). This steadfast enemy of Western capitalism happened to have a „good friend“ in an ultra-capitalist Westgerman company, Daimler-Benz, who seemingly was more concerned with world politics than with cars (and yes, Daimler Benz‘ stronghold at Salzufer was the official residency of the German „Abwehr“ or „BND“ in West Berlin, where reborn nazi orgs were officially „forbidden“). So the communist nazi victim I knew had so close ties with the ex nazi secret service within „Daimler-Benz“, that this friend of her‘s telephoned her early in 1989 and warned her that „very soon everything ‚there‘ (i.e. in ‚the East‘) will crumble, so you should better leave them“, at which that faithful old commie comrade promptly left her commie comrades, suddenly being „disappointed“ that East Germany‘s socialism was not really what she had hoped for. Ties between the SJ and the nazis of then and today are well documented, so that the clairvoyant within Mercedes had his knowledge of things to come very probably not from Abwehr spies within the Chinese student movement, but simply knew first hand when everything was destined not to „crumble“, but to be overthrown: on or beginning with the day/week of SHIt.

Posted by: wbguy | May 7 2018 11:48 utc | 89

Damn interesting.

I knew we had a lot of Chinese mercenaries in Russian Civil War, the fact that got heavily censored somewhere after WW2, but i had no idea how they managed to even get here.

That is really an interesting story. My gratitude to Carl Zha

Posted by: Arioch | May 7 2018 15:16 utc | 90

Chiang and his Kuomintang are not portrayed very well at all by US Generals Stimson and Mitchell during and after WW2, respectively, their views used extensively by Kolko in his Politics of War. Mitchell described them as no better than "gangsters" differing little from traditional War Lords in their treatment of the populace under their control. After his 1948 visit, Mitchell knew Mao's Communists would win the Civil War as Chaing was more interested in looting and skimming funds sent in support than fighting Mao, making it clear those who "lost China" were those Chinese supported by the West.

I see my comment plugging Edgar Snow's work finally appeared! Thanks b! I really can't stress the importance of Gabriel Kolko's works enough, particularly Politcs of War because it reveals so many items of historical importance that continue to shape our world today.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2018 16:09 utc | 91

> The anti-traditionalism of the May 4th movement eventually reached its logical conclusion during
> the campaign to eradicate Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas in the Cultural Revolution
> starting in 1966 which aimed to destroy all aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

This may stem from Western self-blindness to other cultures.

There is a very different take on the Cultural Revolution, claiming it was deeply rooted in Chinese history and culture.
Which discourse-mongers of the West both were neither very versed in nor could make use of admitting.

Posted by: Arioch | May 7 2018 16:48 utc | 92

I mean, any guy having Twitter, ping those two links above to Carl Zha, he might be interested in alternate view on the revolution he mentions.

Posted by: Arioch | May 7 2018 16:49 utc | 93

Sun Yat Sen correctly predicted what would happen if China joined the war and was against it. He understood Britains mode of operation and said, joining them as an ally only meant Britain would use them as bargaining material, which happened. He recommended smaller nations to remain neutral and not go into an alliance with the British. He knew Bismarck had gone to great lengths trying to avoid making Germany Britains main rival. Sun defends Germany's case saying: 'Why are we so tolerant towards the Allies and so un-reasonably severe towards Germany? '
'The British are as cunning as the fox and as changeable as the weather, and they are not ashamed of themselves'
When Sun describes Britains foreign policy method of rallying the weaker rivals against the stronger and as their relative strengths undergo changes Britain changes sides, Sun remarks:
'Such has been the consistent British policy during the last hundred
years. Those who are surprised at the ingratitude of Britain have not studied the history of England.'


Posted by: Peter Grafström | May 7 2018 16:53 utc | 94

On a related note, the scurrilous joint activities of FUKUS actually date back more than 150 years, starting with the China theatre.
One of the original `false flag' operations -literally - was the Arrow war, more usually referred to as the 2nd Opium War (1858).
Chinese soldiers had boarded the vessel Arrow, which was suspected of smuggling contraband into the mainland from the new British colony Hong Kong.
Its licence had expired anyway; but itching for a pretext to squeeze more juicy concessions from the Chinese melon, the British decided on another little war that would be a cakewalk over the hapless Qing-ruled empire.
(`Carving up the melon' came into expression as China faced the danger of being divvied up after the Boxing Uprising).
The French gleefully joined, for the reason of ONE unpopular priest lynched by villagers underwhelmed by his derogation of their `false' idols.
After some surprisingly fierce resistance against the invaders, a truce was called; however, the Anglo-French negotiators were besieged at Taku fort by a Mongol detachment.
But, hey, here comes the calvary!! An American colonel with the legation in Beijing - deciding that `blood is thicker than water' - charges to the rescue of his brethren.
Now, hold it! demand FUKUS apologists, you Asians broke the pact!
But what were YOUR pushy armed louts doing in someone else's sovereign territory, under cover of reasons flimsier than cheap made-in-China curtains to low American specs?
Doesn't matter, right? As the sneery British chant went: We have the Maxim/Gatling gun, they have not!
History doesn't repeat, it rhymes - sometimes. Try Spanish-American war, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin.
Right now to Iraq war, Skripal and Syria chemical false flags.
China learnt the FUKUS early, and hasn't forgotten.

Posted by: LitteWhiteCabbage | May 7 2018 17:03 utc | 95


Posted by: denk | May 7 2018 18:10 utc | 96

In case you havent noticed, after five centuries of abuse, the Chinese are finally mounting a counter attack on the anglos...

Aussie Clive Hamilton testifying in murkkan congress ,
China is laying the ground work on the coming attack on Oz.
There's a vast network of Chinese fifth columns lying low in Oz , ready to rise up when the Chinese embassy give the command.


The increasingly forked tongue Aussies are even outshining their perfidious albions cousins, no mean feat that !

Posted by: denk | May 8 2018 5:44 utc | 97

denk 97 "The increasingly forked tongue Aussies are even outshining their perfidious albions cousins, no mean feat that !"

yeah. I have been watching that. Friggin depressing.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 5:52 utc | 98

Thirdeye @88:

The CCP made a pragmatic decision based on national interest to develop a capitalist economy but they're not ideologically wedded to it the way Western governments are. The West chose capital over national interest and is facing civilizational decline as a consequence. Will the Chinese heed the lesson?

Neoliberalism is a libertarianism-inspired cult uniquely attractive to the de-nationalized ('globalized') selfish children of the people who started the industries they've inherited ownership of. These people _will_ want their doctrine to rule.

If such a counter-revolution is pushed or attempted while China is still not yet a fully developed economy, will there be enough nationalists in government and the military who understand what an economic death wish that would be? Where would they gather such awareness in this world today? Is the reach and influence of folks like Michael Hudson long and strong enough? Hope so!

Posted by: fairleft | May 8 2018 13:57 utc | 99

vk @9 and Stefan @28,

Daniel @82

Now looking back, 1989 Tianenmin Square event was definitely a failed color revolution. There was NO Tiananmen Massacre, which was totally a lie contrived and fabricated as usual by Western MSM and CIA. The students who were in the Tiananmen Square that night confirmed there was no killings whatsoever, they left the square through the opening left by the PLA soldiers.

The declassified diplomatic cable from then-Beijing Ambassador James Lilley to Washington dated July 12, 1989 that leaked out by Wikileak also confirmed no killing in Tiananmen Square:

.Tiananmen Square June 4, 1989: What really happened?

FT reporter admitted in his 20th anniversary memorial article on July 4th, 2009 that there was NO massacre took place in Tiananmen Square.

Thanks to Wikileak, some MSM had to confront the truth about Tiananmen Massacre they had been lying for all these years: Five key extracts from the WikiLeaks files on Tiananmen

Students with support from some of the thugish workers/criminals totally blocked the soliders and tanks and trucks. Then they started to take control of the tanks/trucks and/or set fire on them and grabed the guns from the soldiers. From this piece of video from HK TV station you can see how peacefully /violently things got out of control:Lie Exposed III: Tiananmen Square "Massacre" June 4th 1989

Years later, we have discussed with many ex-students who left China and are now living overseas and then come to realise that the whole process was just like how Maidan protest and other colour revolution have gone through:

Peaceful demonstration (People were against high inflation and corruption in 1989)--> Hijacked by the leaders with support from outsiders (CIA/anti-CCP HK organisations and Taiwan agents)who demanded unreasonable concessions from the government(basically down with the CCP) --> Pushed for violent confrontations (stole guns, set fire on tanks/trucks, blocked raods)--> Soldiers and students got shot at the same time by unknown (the soldiers were first shot and killed before they shot back, the heavy shot actually took place around Mu Xi Di at the west part of Chang'an Avenue )--> End.

Official figures for the death is around 200-300 (can't remember exact numbers), some of thse people were killed acutally by bullets that bounced back.

The next day there were all sorts of burnt and burning millitary vechicles lying along and around Chang'an Avenue and on roads in fronts of universities in the West part of Beijing, IIRC. It was war zone.

Those student leaders who still dare to claim there were massacre are there for the blood money (吃人血馒头), for their own's political and financial gains. That's why we detest and dispice them.

Posted by: mali | May 8 2018 16:13 utc | 100

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