China Recent History
The ancient Chinese called their country “Middle Rose”. This is because they believed that the earth was flat, that their country was in the center of the earth and being beautiful and fertile it could certainly be compared to a rose.
And that the country was fertile many peoples had to know at that time because already in 2000 BC, China welcomed many people of Asia, also reaching a high degree of civilization. In fact, long before the western peoples, the Chinese knew the press, the compass, the gunpowder and the silk industry.
According to Abbreviationfinder, China’s oldest historical information dates back to 2637 BC, the year in which the reign of Huang-ti began, surely the first king of China. Not much is known of him and six other kings who took turns. To have precise information of the Chinese kings, it was necessary to wait for the period from 2280 to 2256 before Christ and in particular of Yao, who was a very wise emperor, he increasingly extended the borders of his empire and always worked for the well-being of his subjects.
Another great emperor was You, from the Hia dynasty, who lived around 2197 BC. This dynasty remained in power for 400 years and 17 emperors took turns. The next dynasty was that of the Chang, to which Emperor Chou-si belonged, who transferred the then capital from Ngan-yang to the territory where Beijing is currently located.
But from the tenth to the third century BC, there were continuous struggles between the various principles of the empire that did not want to be subjected to the emperor and founded their autonomous states, each assuming the title of king. Not content with this, although now king of their independent states, they continued to fight each other for supremacy. The wars were long and bloody and they went down in history as the “fighting kings”.
And in the year 246 BC, Prince Cheng ascended the throne of one of the most powerful states in China. Ambitious, intelligent and daring, he set out to subdue all the other kings. Although the program was so great, it took a few years for Cheng to achieve the result he had set himself: the unity of the Chinese empire, after seven centuries of division. He then became emperor with the name of Huang-ti, which means “august lord”, he ruled for twenty years with much firmness and sagacity. His first concern was to defend China from possible aggressors, especially Mongolians, inhabitants of a vast region located in northern China. They had already tried to invade the territory before and then Huang-ti, he decided to start a colossal defense and built a great wall all around the north of the country. When the “Great Wall” was complete, it measured about 6000 km. in length, with its branches.
But this was not only the great merit of the emperor; he had roads, bridges and grandiose buildings built; then he made important reforms: that of the unification of writing, of weights and measures, was certainly the most ingenious and important.
The Chinese empire at that time included the basin of the Yellow river and the valley of the Yang-tsè river. In 241 BC the emperor sent a powerful army to occupy Southern China and when he died in 210 BC he left a vast and very well fortified empire.
Except Wu-ti, all emperors who succeeded each other until the third century after Christ were incapable. They could not keep the country united and the empire gradually declined. Around 220 China found itself divided into three great kingdoms. But then thanks to the ability of Minister Sze-ma Yen, in the third century the Chinese empire returned to being large and united. But it did not last long because the greed of the princes plunged the country into wars and chaos so that in the sixth century China was fragmented into many independent states. And with this situation it came to the thirteenth century when only three large states were formed. The first included northern China, with capital Beijing, the second southern China with capital Yang-chow and the third, western China with capital Ning-kia.
And in this century the Mongols arrived, led by Genghis Khan. He launched cavalry on the assault of the Great Wall. The resistance of the Chinese lasted two years, but then they were forced to withdraw. The Mongols reached Beijing, all of northern China was in the hands of Genghis Khan. Then, while his army started attacking western China, besieging Ning-kia, Genghis Khan suddenly died and command of the army passed into the hands of his son Ogdei, and then again to his grandchildren Mengku and Kubilai. And with the latter the conquest of the whole of China was completed: it was the year 179.
Kubilai was a very wise ruler and the Chinese ended up esteeming him; unlike his successors who were inept, but tyrants. And right below them the Chinese began to organize themselves into secret societies with the firm intention of overthrowing the Mongolian government. The chief of the Chinese patriots was Chu Yuan-Chang, the son of poor peasants. He, with a good and fierce group, fought against the Mongols and defeated them. In 1368 he entered Beijing where he was acclaimed emperor. He founded the Ming dynasty, which means bright. He ruled for 30 years demonstrating an uncommon political intuition. He worked tirelessly to restore the prosperity and security of the past to the Chinese empire. Then his work was continued by Yong-lo.
As soon as he ascended the throne, he first wanted to extend the borders of the empire and in fact, from 1410 to 1420 he managed to subdue part of Mongolia, Annam, part of Cambodia, Siam, southern India, the Malacca peninsula, the islands of Java, Sumatra and Ceylon. Upon his death in 1424, he left an empire of dimensions never reached before.
A century after the death of the powerful emperor, China was attacked by a dangerous opponent: Japan. Hideyoshi, a skilled Japanese politician, drew up an intelligent war plan. He thought first of occupying Korea as a secure base on the continent and then setting out to conquer China. But the Koreans strenuously opposed the Japanese and, in the meantime, China had the opportunity to organize and prepare for war. And in 1598 Koreans and Chinese together, after a few years of conflict, managed to repel the Japanese. After this adventure, China had to face another. The Manchus, in the early seventeenth century, also left to conquer the Chinese empire and succeeded after 30 years of fierce struggle. And so to the Chinese emperor, who had hanged himself so as not to fall into the hands of his enemies,
His successors were concerned only with extending the boundaries of the already immense empire and in the year 1796 this extended from Siberia to the Himalayas and from the Tien Scian to the Pacific coasts.
In the early nineteenth century, England made various maneuvers in order to establish trade relations with China and in fact managed to do so with the Tao-Kuang emperor. But since England exported to China, in very large quantities, a very deleterious drug for the organism, namely opium, the emperor in 1839 interrupted these commercial relations, and this provoked a war. And in 1840 the British, allied with the French, had the upper hand and after three years China was forced to restore the previous treaties. However, as China continued to create various difficulties for the trade of the western powers, in 1860 they sent a Franco-English corps which, after having occupied the city of Tien-tsin, reached as far as Beijing. And this time China was forced to open its major ports to European traffic. And this was very important for China because students, businessmen, men of letters, that is the highest class in China, knowing more closely the western civilization, ended up appreciating it. Hence secret societies were born with the aim of undermining the ruling dynasty and starting a civilization similar to the western one in their country.
Upon hearing of these maneuvers, Minister Yuan Sci-Kai, adviser to the then reigning empress, advised her to grant reforms in favor of the people. And in 1908 she promised the Constitution to the people. But as after the promise he did everything he could to not keep it, or at least to keep it, in October 1911 armed riots broke out all over China. A strong government army was sent to subdue the rioters, but they got the better of it, then proclaimed the Republic and set the government in Nanjing. President was appointed Minister Yuan Sci-Kai. Since, however, he ruled as a dictator and even went so far as to be proclaimed emperor, he provoked the disdain of the Republicans who rebelled and then, since things were going badly, he preferred to kill himself: it was June 1916.
After his death, the Republic of China experienced a decade of civil war. The leaders of the various established parties fought each other to dominate until a young general managed to restore peace in the country: it was Ciang Kai-scek. In a few years he eliminated all the unrest and in October 1928 he was elected President of the Republic. And after nine years China had to return to defend itself from the invasion of the Japanese. These poured into China with such a large number of soldiers that China had to surrender and the Japanese were the masters of much of northern and central China. And then to avoid other misfortunes, vice-president Wang Ching-Wei made agreements with the Japanese to conclude with the war, against the will of Ciang Kai-scek.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Japan allied itself with Germany and Italy; however, he decided to complete the entire conquest of China first. Ciang Kai-scek was enormously helped by the United States and, although in three years the Japanese had remarkable successes, even in August 1945 Japan, also bent by the immense destruction brought about by the American atomic bombs, had to bend not only to the allies, but even before China which thus regained its freedom and independence.
But a communist general with his troops had also participated in the fight against Japan: Mao Tse-tung. In short, he found himself at odds with Ciang Kai-scek and the hostilities between the two were so strong that, in September 1945, the Chinese were immediately involved in a civil war. And both sides asked for help from two different foreign powers. Mao Tse-tung asked them to the Soviet Union and the other to the United States.
The war continued until January 1949 when Ciang Kai-scek, deeming any further resistance useless, sent a message to Mao Tse-tung to reach an agreement. And since Mao’s conditions of peace were deemed unacceptable, Ciang Kai-scek preferred to resign. And so at the end of 1949 the communist troops had all the Chinese territory in their hands. And in October of that year Mao Tse-tung proclaimed the People’s Republic of China and the nationalists, then still headed by Ciang Kai-scek installed their government on the island of Formosa, now Taiwan.
Mao immediately undertook a grandiose work of reconstruction and restoration of the country, devastated and impoverished in half a century of civil wars and incompetent governments. Of course he asked great sacrifices to the population but in the decade 1949/59 he managed to bring China back into the assembly of the most prestigious nations.
An Permanent Active Council of the State and a Provisional People’s Revolutionary Council were established on which the political-military commissions responsible for controlling the six large administrative units into which China had been divided depended.
But this system did not last long and then in January 1953 Mao was appointed head of a committee that had the task of drafting a new Constitution and Chou En-lai, Prime Minister was charged with establishing a new electoral law. This was ready in March of the same year; first of all, however, a complete and accurate census was necessary in order to elect the representatives of the National Assembly. On September 15, 1954 there were these elections and the National Assembly met for the first time on September 20 and promulgated the new Constitution, modeled on what had already been operating in the USSR since 1936.
Among the very important offices established with the new Constitution, a National Defense Council was founded, headed by the President of the Republic, that is, by Mao, who thus had the command of all the armed forces. The Supreme People’s Court was also established as the highest judicial organ of the state.
And reforms began. The first concerned the costume. Marriage was abolished according to tradition; divorce by mutual consent was legalized and gender equality was proclaimed. Concubinage and prostitution were prohibited.
From this situation began the emancipation of the woman. Land reform followed. The latifundia disappeared, the land was distributed to the farmers who, however, did not become small landowners, but were forced to join in agricultural cooperatives.
Then came the phase of industrialization. Here too the constant participation of the population was necessary. All the plants had been rendered unusable and by the war and the continuous removal of basic materials. With the help of the Soviet Union, this problem also had an effective solution.
However, moralizing campaigns were also promoted against corruption, bureaucracy and absenteeism. The people were truly involved but also had to accept an important rule that limited population growth, in order not to frustrate all the efforts made to make everyday life more serene and liveable to people who already exist in large numbers.
In addition to the Communist Party, other minor parties of the same matrix were born in China, which however had little weight for the system of government.
The Chinese Communist Party, after having experienced a passing crisis in 1958, always had a preponderance in the experts. Mao Tse-Tung decided not to retain the post of President of the Republic, but remained President of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Chou En-lai was confirmed as Prime Minister and the new President of the Republic was Liu Shao-chi.
In foreign policy, China was inclined to agree diplomatic relations with all those countries which, however, should not have had relations with nationalist China, that is, Formosa.
The first nation that recognized the People’s Republic of China was the USSR. Then followed Britain and all the countries of northern Europe.
Those who categorically refused to recognize popular China were the United States, which not only did not recognize the presence of the Chinese representative at the United Nations, but even maintained their VII fleet around Formosa.
Trade, friendship, alliance and mutual aid agreements were made with the Soviet Union. Then the Soviet Union also undertook to build 156 industrial plants in China.
But following a crisis in the Strait of Formosa in July 1958 relations between the two largest communist states deteriorated.
China also formalized friendship agreements with all neighboring countries and then turned its interest also to African countries. First he recognized the Algerian Republic. But, following the Tibetan uprising of 1959, and the harsh repression of China, relations with Southeast Asian countries also changed. Especially with India there were real disputes when a map of the state was published in the Soviet Union, including some border areas on which India had long claimed sovereignty.
Trespassing on both sides also caused accidents which, however, were recomposed with an agreement signed in 1960.
Starting in 1960 China had to face a very difficult period, due to the breakdown of relations with the Soviet Union. This portrayed all its technicians busy building industrial plants and carrying out various types of public works and also ceased the supply of all materials.
And China suddenly found itself without the main ally and moreover isolated from the rest of the world.
Mao’s presence in the regime became important again. He changed the system of work, established small private companies and small landowners, granting farmers individual plots of arable land, but also the free market, which proved very important in the future. Then he gave the workers piecework to encourage production. And he also edited the ideology so that with a simple, but famous, slogan: “never forget the class struggle”, he invited all workers to the maximum performance for the welfare of the various social strata.
But the idea of class struggle was not shared by the President of the Republic Liu Shao-chi, who tried in every way to control the cadres of the party while Mao addressed the large mass of the population, almost all of peasant extraction, and young people, Thus was born, within the Chinese Communist Party, what was called the “struggle between the two lines”. Meanwhile, a radical change had taken place in the Soviet Union at the top of the leadership. In 1964 Khrushchev, anti-Chinese, was deposed and the pro-Soviet group within the Chinese Communist Party expressed itself for a reconciliation.
But at the same time the United States intervened in Vietnam, so that China found itself having to decide whether to continue the controversy with the Soviet Union or to form a single front with all the socialist countries in defense of Southeast Asia.
Mao decided to provide aid to both North Vietnam and South Vietnam without intervening with human elements so that the victory would, however, be for the Vietnamese people. But this also in order to prevent the conflict from taking on larger proportions and becoming worldwide.
In 1965 China was the scene of violent clashes between groups of young people, after a historical drama of the time had been brought to some theatrical scenes. This set in motion what was called the “great proletarian cultural revolution”.
It contained 16 essential points, first of all freedom of expression, especially through large-scale wall newspapers.
This revolution was carried out by young people, almost all students. During this period the movement of the “red guards” was born, also students here, who wore a red band on their arm, as Mao wore it, and faithfully followed its ideologies, enclosed in what was called the “red book”.
In 1966 the workers of the various urban centers had also joined the movement of the red guards and everywhere there were discussions, and even clashes, for the struggle for power.
It was a time of chaos for China and also of cultural reverse, as the universities had been closed. A civil war was also feared, but after various events, in 1968 the President of the Republic was dismissed and expelled from the party. And with him many other managers.
The following year the 9th Congress of the Party met and his companion in arms, Lin Piao, was appointed as Mao’s successor. Many soldiers arrived at the cadres.
For foreign policy, 1969 saw the controversy between China and the Soviet Union escalate over some areas of the northern border, once belonging to China, to which they had been subtracted from the expansionism of Tsarist Russia. In some border towns, near the Ussuri river, there were even some armed clashes. The tension, initially wide, then eased but never completely disappeared.
In the same 1969 China detonated its first atomic bomb, but, he declared, for experimental purposes only. He would never attack anyone with this vehicle first. And the following year he put the first artificial satellite into orbit. All to demonstrate its scientific and industrial power.
Following the divergences with the Soviet Union, China had the friendship of only Albania and Romania of all the socialist countries.
In 1971 another important event occurred which increased the prestige of popular China. Its representative was admitted to the United Nations with the consequent withdrawal of that of Formosa, with whose government all nations, including Italy, broke diplomatic relations.
The United States did not recognize popular China and yet representatives of the two countries met in Warsaw. In 1971 the American secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, visited China and in February 1972 Nixon also went there, the first American president to officially enter the great country.
China then turned its attention to African “third world” countries to which it sent economic and technical aid.
Meanwhile, Mao’s popularity had eased and Lin Piao had also left the political scene. In 1973, on the occasion of the 10th Party Congress, an attempted coup, which took place two years earlier, by a group loyal to Lin Piao, and of the death of the same in a plane crash, during a non his flight from China is better documented.
In January 1975 the IV National People’s Assembly met in Beijing, in which a new Constitution was approved. With it, much more importance was given to the Communist Party, the office of President of the Republic was abolished and China as a “popular democratic state” was called “a dictatorship state of the proletariat”.
In September 1976 Mao died and all his offices were entrusted to Hua Kuo-feng.
And at this point the struggles between the two lines resumed: the moderate and the radical one. The so-called “Shanghai Four” headed the latter, including Mao’s widow, considered dangerous dissenters and imprisoned as bandits. The new leadership team, headed by Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Hsiao-Ping, continued Mao’s work.
During the period of 1977/78, Chinese foreign policy was dominated by the so-called “Three Worlds” theory. In fact, he proposed the formation of three world blocs. The first must have belonged to the United States and the Soviet Union; in the second, in an intermediate position, Europe, Japan and Canada, and in the third, China, Africa and Latin America.
But no matter how hard China tried to financially help the countries of Asia and Africa, the results were poor.
During 1979 popular China proposed to Taiwan to get in touch and ask for military confrontation and in the same year it worsened its relations with Vietnam by condemning the military intervention made in Cambodia in March.
During this period and until 1980 many changes occurred in domestic politics. Old President Liu Shao-chi was rehabilitated as Mao’s personality and ideology began to shrink. And also many of those who had been defined and condemned as “revisionists” and “right-wing deviationists” were rehabilitated.
Thus mass demonstrations of peasants and students began; the former claimed better economic conditions, the latter human rights. Criticized and accused of connivance with foreign elements, they suffered strong repressions by Deng Xiao-Ping. But a variation to the Code of Criminal Procedure was proposed to the National People’s Congress, whereby capital punishment suffered a considerable decrease and, in any case, it was established that they would be applied only after the approval of the Supreme Court.
In September 1980 Hua Guo-Feng resigned and was replaced by Zhao Zijang. The press continued to attack Mao’s work so that the fourth anniversary of his death was completely ignored.
Meanwhile, the trial of the “Four of Shanghai” had been carried out and had ended with two death sentences, then commuted to life imprisonment.
Also in 1980, popular China had replaced Taiwan also as a member of the International Monetary Fund and from this obtained huge loans for the stabilization of its economy. In this regard, in agriculture, smaller units of the cooperatives had been reorganized and farmers had been allowed to use part of the products for direct sale. And this would have been an excellent incentive to increase productivity, provided that long droughts had not occurred, as happened in that year, especially in northern and eastern China.
In April 1982 a draft for a new constitution was published. Among the most important changes was the restoration of the office of President of the Republic, valid for 5 years; popular municipalities were replaced with municipalities; all the offices of the Communist Party were reorganized and the delays of bureaucracy and corruption in all sectors were fought.
During the years 1982/83 several campaigns were launched for the moralization of the country. The dangers of certain arts were reported, such as “decadent” western music, science fiction and existentialism. Pornography was condemned and greater censorship was applied to the press and cinema.
At this point there was talk of cultural revolution.
But also in the economic field there was a resurgence of the tight government controls on foreign trade in the year 1984.
On April 10, 1985, an agreement was signed between Britain and China for the return to the motherland of Hong Kong in 1997, which had been an English colony for 50 years.
In late 1985 and early 1986 there were gradual withdrawals from public office of Deng Xiao-Ping. In the spring of 1986 the Central Committee of the Party, in response to some protests on the dogmatic nature of Marxism-Leninism, reconfirmed its principles, condemned capitalism again, but rejected the concept of “Marxism as a rigid dogma”.
After the student demonstrations of December 1986, the party secretary, Hu Yaobang, accused of “bourgeois liberalism” was deposed and replaced by Zhao Zijang who in October 1987, at the thirteenth Party Congress, reiterated that “Chinese socialism was the result of integration of the principles of Marxism with the modernization of China “.
In any case, several changes were made to the party leadership at the end of the Congress with the voluntary withdrawal of Deng Xiao-Ping and President Li Xiannian. Zhao Ziyang himself announced that he would withdraw from the post of prime minister to be replaced by Li Peng.
During that year the protest in Tibet renewed. The Dalai Lama, who took refuge in India, was accused of being the instigator of the revolt. Furthermore, also in 1987, an agreement was reached with the Soviet Union on the border issue and Soviet troops were significantly reduced.
In March 1988 various social and economic reforms were implemented. Some military positions were abolished during the cultural revolution. Some intellectuals were rehabilitated. In the economic field, foreign joint venture companies were promoted.
Panchen Laman, the second spiritual leader of Tibet, died in January 1989. Lhasa was the scene of some violent demonstrations for which martial law was declared. Hu Yaobang also died in April and the occasion of his funeral was used by many students to stage demonstrations in Beijing. They started the hunger strike asking for democracy and in this they were supported by a large part of the population.
And pending the arrival of Gorbachev on May 15, for various Sino-Soviet agreements, the demonstrations were intensified.
Martial law was imposed on May 20 but, continuing the demonstrations, very strong repressions were carried out, the culmination of which was a massacre in Piazza Tien An Men, which recorded at least a thousand victims.
Most foreign nations blocked their opening policy towards China, while Zhao Ziyang, who had backed the students, resigned as party secretary, replaced by Jiang Zemin. Astrophysicist Fang Lizhi sought refuge in the United States Embassy. Then the Chinese government made some concessions and he was able to expatriate.
In 1991 both Japan and the United States decided to resume economic relations with China which, above all, also took off on the stock exchange in Shenzhen and Shanghai with an issue of securities which was a great success.
On April 1, 1991, Deng appointed Zhu Rongji, former mayor of Shanghai, deputy prime minister with special economic duties. These include the transition from the planned economy to the market economy.
And with the economic improvements, with the arrival of many consumer goods hitherto almost non-existent, the people did not seem to care much about democracy anymore.
Reforms continued and Deng visited all the provinces from north to south in 1992 to urge the population to make innovative efforts and increase production development.
Then in 1993 he disappeared from the political scene reaffirming his support for Jiang Zemin. The latter, together with Li Peng and Zhu Rongji, took care of the good performance of the economy and of the operations for the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, as established.
Then in May 1993 there was a stagnation in trade relations with the United States as the American President Bill Clinton, by partially closing the markets to Chinese imports, intended to postpone all trade, and all business in general, to safeguard human rights,
One element of difficulty in relations between the two countries was China’s lack of recognition of intellectual property rights, and therefore copied books, records and software from the American market to resell them on the Asian markets.
Another important fact came to disturb relations between the United States and China. The announcement was made officially on September 23, 1993 that the 2000 Olympics would be held in Sidney, Australia, despite the fact that the Chinese request, in addition to being presented well in advance, was eagerly awaited to revive China. as well as on international markets, also in the social field due to the increase in its prestige.
There was a moment of stasis in the relaxing dialogue which, however, then resumed. Many disputes were settled on the occasion of the visit that Jiang Zemin made to the United States on November 19 of that same year.
Along with the difficulties at the international level, serious problems also had to be faced within the country, including the disproportionate growth of inflation and corruption, even at the top of the same party.
In May 1995, news came that the United States had planned the visit to Taiwan of the President of Taiwan, Lee Teng Hui. This fact provoked the vibrant protests of the Chinese government which also withdrew its ambassador and then had missiles placed around the island threatening to invade it. But it was not the only moment of tension. Also on March 23, 1996, on the occasion of the presidential elections in Taiwan, China warned the president against giving independence speeches and once again the island was put under fire by Chinese military forces. This time, however, Clinton also sent the VII Pacific American fleet to the Taiwan Strait. There was a diplomatic crisis that returned with Lee Teng Hui’s wary behavior and all the military returned to their homelands.
On July 1, 1997 Hong Kong returned to China; the English Legislative Council, governing body, was replaced by a “provisional legislature” established by Beijing.
On September 12, 1997, the 15th Party Congress was held in Beijing, from which Jiang Zemin’s appointment to lead the party came out, after Deng’s death, which took place in February.
He officially declared that the state would retain a number of strategically relevant large companies, but otherwise extensive privatization would be introduced. He also reassured employees about the percentage of unemployment that would never exceed 4%. Even in the army the human contingent would have been reduced due to the continuous mechanization.
In the summer of that year many Southeast Asian countries found themselves in difficulty; China could play a balancing role in the whole area. The main beneficiaries of Chinese aid were Thailand and Indonesia, undergoing deep crises. China also made every effort to prevent the devaluation of the Asian currency, not to frustrate all international aid.
In the last few months of 1997, a great scandal broke out in Washington because an investigation, carried out by the FBI, showed that popular China had paid a large sum of money for the Clinton election campaign. The Chinese government strongly denied the news that, however, was confirmed by the one who provided the material, Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chaoying, of the People’s Liberation Army.
In June 1998 Clinton visited Beijing. But before this event, as a sign of relaxation, the Chinese government had freed the former student movement leader, Wang Dan, guilty of the events of Tien An Men Square, and had expatriated him to the United States.
In America, however, Clinton’s trip was highly criticized. Upon his arrival in Beijing, the Chinese government arrested some dissident protesters, including the Catholic bishop Jia Zhiguo, for demonstration purposes only: no one could feel free to swallow China’s internal affairs. Clinton and Jiang Zemin met in a press conference followed by millions of viewers; the two agreed to prophesy closer collaboration between their countries.
Continuing the journey after Shanghai, Clinton arrived in Hong Kong and here in an interview with a local newspaper he declared that the Chinese leader was certainly the right man to bring China back on the path of democracy.
At the beginning of August 1998, a frightening series of torrential rains brought the Yangzi River to overflow in several provinces in central China. Hundreds of thousands of people died and the damage was enormous. The fury of the waters destroyed entire cities, blew up bridges and power plants, millions of hectares of cultivated land were flooded. It was a tragedy that crossed China’s borders.
In the meantime, even Japan had been subjected to a rather large economic crisis and so could not give support in that very difficult moment.
In the second half of 1998 Tony Blair, British premier, went to China to establish the new political phase after the sale of Hong Kong and Jiang went to Japan to enter into commercial agreements. In the first months of 1999 he went to Russia and therefore also to Italy.
And despite Clinton’s condemnation of Beijing’s repressive stance against the formation of a Chinese opposition party between the two countries as a sign of future and lasting relaxation, numerous trade agreements were signed in September 1999.