History of India’s Neighbours-3
China, officially the People’s Republic of China is the most populous country in the world. It is also home to one four oldest civilizations in the world. It is also currently the most populous country in the world though as per World Population Prospects 2022, India is soon to overtake them. China is also the third largest country by land area and has the world’s second largest GDP (Nominal). China is also one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
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People’s Republic of China (PRC)
China fell under the rule of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949. They formed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949 and state led economic model. The Communist Party consolidated its rule by abolishing private property and arresting and punishing land owners. It is believed that around 1 to 2 million landowners were executed during this period.
Annexation of Tibet
- Tibet was a semi-autonomous region nominally under Chinese control since the thirteenth century CE. It enjoyed significant autonomy since the fall of the Qing Empire in 1912. However, once the Chinese mainland was unified by the CCP in 1949, they started multiple attempts at integrating Tibet into the mainland.
- On 7 March 1950, a Tibetan delegation arrived in Kalimpong, India, to open a dialogue with the newly declared People’s Republic of China and to secure assurances that the Chinese would respect Tibetan “territorial integrity”, among other things. However, the talks were delayed due to debates about the location of the talks.
- The Tibetan delegation did eventually meet with the PRC’s ambassador General Yuan Zhongxian in Delhi on 16 September 1950. Yuan communicated a 3-point proposal that Tibet be regarded as part of China, that China be responsible for Tibet’s defense, and that China be responsible for Tibet’s trade and foreign relations.
- After months of failed negotiations, attempts by Tibet to secure foreign support and assistance, PRC and Tibetan troop buildups, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) started the assault on 7 October 1950. Tibetan representatives in Beijing and the PRC Government signed the Seventeen Point Agreement on 23 May 1951, authorizing the PLA presence and Central People’s Government rule in Political Tibet.
1959 Tibetan uprising
- Armed resistance against Chinese rule in Tibet began in the year 1956. By 1957 resistance fighters’ attacks and People’s Liberation Army reprisals against Khampa resistance groups such as the Chushi Gangdruk became increasingly brutal. Later it was known that US intelligence agencies were giving covert support to the movement.
- While the Tibetan capital Lhasa remained firmly under Chinese control, the civil unrest started taking its toll on the populous, and the city was at the brink of eruption. Understanding the political uncertainty in the region, in March 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Lhasa, together with members of his family and his government.
- On 26 March the Dalai Lama entered Lhuntse Dzong, from where he sent a letter to Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, explaining the political situation in Tibet and requesting asylum. In response Nehru sent a detachment of the Assam Rifles to the border post in Chuthangmu near Tawang.
Indo-China War of 1962
- Granting asylum to Dalai Lama was seen by China as India’s ambitions to influence the Tibetan region even though the decision was done purely for humanitarian reasons. This created friction between India and China. This along with the refusal of Chinese to accept McMahon Line as the official boundary set the stage for a military action. The constant border skirmishes turned into full on war by October 1962. The war ended on November 1962 with the Chinese Army withdrawing to the north of McMahon line and the setting up of Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Great Leap Forward 1958 to 1962.
- The Great Leap Forward was an economic and social campaign led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It was aimed at reconstructing the country from an agrarian economy into a communist society through the formation of people’s communes.
- This however proved to be a disaster as it led to millions of deaths due to famines and oppression. The ban on private holdings ruined peasant life at its most basic level, according to Mirsky. Villagers were unable to secure enough food to go on living because they were deprived by the commune system of their traditional means of being able to rent, sell, or use their land as collateral for loans.
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution 1966-1976
- Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was launched in order to overcome the failures of the Great Leap Forward and to reinstate Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology in the PRC. The Cultural Revolution was characterized by violence and chaos. Various historical sites throughout the country were destroyed. Temples, churches, mosques, monasteries, and cemeteries were closed down and sometimes converted to other uses, looted, and destroyed.
Economic Reforms 1978-Present
- Reforms were launched by reformists within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on December 18, 1978, during the “Boluan Fanzheng” period. The economic reform toward a socialist market economy is underpinned by the Marxist framework of historical materialism.
- The socialist market economy is seen by the CCP as an early stage in the development of socialism (this stage is variously called the “primary” or “preliminary” stage of socialism), where public ownership coexists alongside a diverse range of non-public forms of ownership. Recent Chinese leaders including Xi Jinping (General Secretary of the Party from November 2012) have described the building of the “socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics” as the goal without any reference to a post-market socialist economy.