Why the history of China is steeped in blood and death

For three weeks now, I’ve been attending a course at London’s City Lit adult college on the recent history of China. What is very apparent from our sessions is just how much blood has been shed and just how many lives have been lost throughout the long history of China. This is a powerful element in the thinking of China’s modern leadership: remembering the history of the country, they are determined to do anything necessary to avoid turmoil and even disunity in the relentless drive to economic growth and prosperity.

Wikipedia has a fascinating  section which lists wars and disasters throughout history by the scale of the death toll:

  • three of the top five armed conflicts took place in China
  • the two deadliest famines occurred in China
  • the five deadliest floods happened in China
  • the largest death toll of any period was in China

The last reference is to the consequences of the political and economic reforms of Chairman Mao. According to Wikipedia, the lowest estimate of the death toll is 49 million and the highest is 78 million – horrifying figures.

Now you know why the Chinese Communist Party will do anything to control dissent and minimise conflict.


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