EUROPE ASIA FOUNDATION - INSIGHT
A Glimpse into the Chinese Mindset
On the international scene, China is now a powerful country. India and China are geographic neighbours and since last more than 3000 years, these two great civilizations have been coexisting peacefully. Yet, common Indians know hardly anything about China and its people. It is essential for us to know more about China.
Known ancient Chinese history dates back to 2100-1600 BCE when the Xia dynasty was ruling over parts of China. Not much is known about this ancient dynasty since written records are not available. Later on, from 1600-1050 BCE, the Shang dynasty ruled parts of China. After the fall of the Shang dynasty, the Zhou dynasty took over and ruled parts of China from 1046 to 256 BCE. Towards the end of the Zhou Rule, small kingdoms arose and they were constantly at war with each other. This period of chaos / anarchy is known as the ‘Warring States Period’. This period lasted for some time and came to an end when the Qin dynasty came to power (221-206 BCE).
Qin Xi Huangdi united his empire and organized it properly. He established a powerful central rule and created a well-trained bureaucracy for administering the empire. Stability, peace and good administration resulted in rapid development of the Qin empire. It would not be an exaggeration to say that today Modern China stands on the solid foundation created by Emperor Qin Xi Huangdi.
Two important ideas developed and took roots in the Chinese society during the period of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. These two ideas still influence the Chinese mind set. The idea/concept of ‘Middle Kingdom’ and the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ are these two ideas. For the last 3000 years these ideas have influenced the thinking of Chinese rulers and are creating huge problems for the world. So, it
is important to know more about them.
Middle Kingdom China is located within geographic boundaries marked by the inhospitable Gobi desert to the north, the South China sea to the South, the huge Ocean to the east, and the insurmountable Himalayan ranges to the west. Hence, for centuries, it was isolated from the outside world. The Chinese civilization flourished in its own cocoon. During the Shang and Zhou dynasties between the period of BCE 1000-1200, the Chinese culture developed in various fields and became an enriched civilization.
Because of the geographic isolation, the Chinese thought that they alone were the Center of all Culture and the Civilized World and the rest were barbarians. This idea chrystallised during Qin dynasty. “Our Kingdom is at the Center and Middle of the civilized world. We are superior and the rest of the world is inferior and uncivilized.” This idea of superiority became entrenched in the Chinese mindset to such an extent that even today it influences their thinking and actions.
Even to this day, in Chinese language ‘China’ is called as ‘Zhongguo’ and the word Zhongguo literally means ‘Middle Kingdom’. Because of this deeply entrenched superiority complex (Middle
Kingdom-Syndrome) in the Chinese psyche, China has trouble in having friendly relations with other countries in the world.
Mandate of Heaven
The other idea/thought which still influences the Chinese mindset is the idea of ‘Mandate of Heaven’ meaning Heavenly or Divine Right to Rule. In 1046 BCE, the Zhou king deposed the erstwhile Shang dynasty and established his own rule. He thought that the people should not oppose this takeover and must accept the regime change. So, this thought/idea of Mandate of Heaven was created and propagated. The concept of ‘Mandate of Heaven’ was that Heaven or God had given to the Rulers the right to Rule. They must rule for the welfare of the common people. If they become despots and harass and torture their subjects then this Mandate of Heaven is revoked and the people have a right to depose such despotic rulers. This concept of Mandate of Heaven was deeply ingrained in the Chinese Culture. Over a period of time, various Kings used this concept to their own advantage and the people also used it for deposing tyrannical regimes. This concept of Mandate of Heaven still
influences Chinese thinking.
When we view the present Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime from a historical perspective it becomes clear that the present ruling elites of China are totally influenced by the idea of Middle Kingdom. “Our ruling system is the best. All other countries must copy or replicate our system. We are the best and the world must accept our superiority and be subservient to us,” forms the core of their
thinking. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and many other countries are being strangled by the Chinese debt trap. Indirectly, such countries have been enslaved by the CCP Regime. The idea of Middle Kingdom is so strongly influencing the CCP Regime that today it is trying to enslave the whole world.
Also, the present Chinese rulers are still influenced by the idea of Mandate of Heaven, but they refuse to accept this fact. The CCP has ruled China for the last 74 years.
This undemocratic Regime is ruling over the Chinese people in such a despotic and tyrannical manner as if it has received a Mandate of Heaven to rule over China. Now, it is necessary to check and study if this CCP Regime is working for the welfare of the Chinese common man or not. For such a study, the following information is most important to arrive at the correct answer:
- During the Chinese Civil War from October 1934 to October 1935, under the leadership of Mao-Tse-Tung, 80,000 people marched for about 9,000km. This is famously known as the ‘Long March’. Out of the 80,000 Chinese people who started the march, around 70,000 died due to starvation, disease and war. The CCP was responsible for the tragic death of these 70,000 common Chinese people.
- In 1949, Mao-Tse-Tung became the ruler of China. Later on, from 1958 to 1962, he started the campaign called ‘Great Leap Forward’. This campaign was based on some very ill-conceived ideas and was conducted in such a horrible manner that Agriculture and Industrial development suffered extremely badly. Food and grain production was reduced to such a low level that from 1959 to 1961 a great famine occurred in China. This man-made famine was so horrible that around 30 million people died of starvation. This is one of the worst famines in recent human history.
- Later on, for 10 years, from 1966 to 1976, under the leadership of Mao, the Chinese Communist Party launched a ‘Cultural Revolution’. Under the cover of this campaign, Mao-Tse-Tung eliminated his political rivals. Due to the atrocities and violence committed during this 10-year-long Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Culture, society and family system were destroyed. Around 1-2 million Chinese died
during this campaign.
- In 1950, China started military operation to capture Tibet. The Tibetans strongly resisted this military takeover but the Communist Army brutally suppressed all resistance. On 10th March 1959, Tibetan men and women staged a massive revolt in Lhasa. The Chinese Army (PLA) mercilessly crushed this revolt. In a month’s time, the Chinese Army killed about 80,000 Tibetan men and women. The revered Dalai Lama had to leave Tibet and take refuge in India. Since 1950, about 1.2 million Tibetans have died in the struggle for the Liberation of Tibet.
- In May-June 1989, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was witnessing a huge demonstration. Millions of Chinese youths were agitating and demanding democracy and basic Human Rights. On the night of 4th June 1989, the CCP Regime unleashed the Chinese Army (PLA) against these youths. The PLA started indiscriminate firing on the unarmed youths. Army tanks were used to literally crush the youths. Approximately 10,000 young Chinese were killed in this brutal, inhuman, cold-blooded massacre. This is the most brutal massacre in modern human history.
The above are just a few examples of the manner in which the CCP Regime treats its own Chinese subjects. We must understand that the Communist Regime and the common Chinese people are two distinct entities. The common Chinese citizens are the very first victims of the murderous Communist Regime. According to the concept of Mandate of Heaven, it is clear that the CCP is being brutal and not working for the welfare of the people. The CCP Regime has lost the Mandate of Heaven and so the Chinese masses have now got a right to resort to Regime Change. The mass resistance seen in many places in China is a sign of the rising discontent and indication of the gradual process of Regime Change. The CCP has finally lost its Mandate of Heaven. The Chinese masses are now mandated to seek a Regime Change and establish, for the first time, a truly democratic, welfare State in China. This is the right time for the Chinese people to struggle for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
By Milind Mahajan