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To say that the Chinese Communist revolution is a non-Western revolution is more than a clich That revolution has been primarily directed not like the French Revolution but against alien Western influences that approached the level of domination and drastically altered Chinas traditional relationship with the world Hence the Chinese Communist attitude toward Chinas traditional past is selectively critical but by no means totally hostile The Chinese Communist revolution and the foreign policy of the regime to which it has given rise have several roots each of which is embedded in the past more deeply than one would tend to expect of a movement seemingly so convulsive The Chinese superiority complex institutionalized in their tributary system was justified by any standards less advanced or efficient than those of the modern West China developed an elaborate and effective political system resting on a remarkable cultural unity the latter in turn being due mainly to the general acceptance of a common although difficult written language and a common set of ethical and social values known as Confucianism Traditional china had neither the knowledge nor the power that would have been necessary to cope with the superior science technology economic organization and military force that expanding West brought to bear on it The general sense of national weakness and humiliation was rendered still keener by a unique phenomenon the modernization of Japan and its rise to great power status Japans success threw Chinas failure into sharp remission The Japanese performance contributed to the discrediting and collapse of Chinas imperial system but it did little to make things easier for the subsequent successor The Republic was never able to achieve territorial and national unity in the face of bad communications and the widespread diffusion of modern arms throughout the country Lacking internal authority it did not carry much weight in its foreign relations As it struggled awkwardly there arose two more radical political forces the relatively powerful Kuomintang of
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