100 Years of Humiliation

1) Description

From the mid-1800s to the 1900s, China experienced a period of national humiliation. Foreign powers forced China to sign a series of "unequal treaties", forcing open trade ports and establishing foreign concessions in major cities, while demanding reparations from the weakened Chinese imperial government. Under the principle of extraterritoriality, Chinese courts were denied jurisdiction over foreign citizens charged with crimes. Missionaries were allowed to come and go as they wished. In the 1930s, Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria, carrying out brutal military campaigns in other parts of China (e.g. Rape of Nanjing). Foreign nations dominated the economy, controlling the many areas such as the taxes, customs, railways, shipping, and the manufacturing and distribution sectors. Growth came to a standstill during this period, and living conditions deteriorated: GDP per capita was $600 in 1829, compared to $530 in 1870, $552 in 1913, and $439 in 1950.

2) Significance

The 100 Years of Humiliation contributed to the rise of nationalism in the beginning of the 1900s, which was an important step to the rise in power of the CCP. In this sense, as the Chinese people began feeling discontent towards being oppressed by foreign powers, the CCP was able to work this to their advantage. For instance, when Chiang Kai-shek was busy trying to eliminate Mao and the CCP, the Communists were fighting off the Japanese invasion in the 1930s. Thus, by using this anti-foreigner situation, the CCP was able to gain popularity and support, helping Mao rise to power.