Opium Wars and Century of Humiliation defines China’s foreign policy. It is important to understand how China functions, do what it does, and their ambitions of 2049 they all are synchronised. Made in China 2025 and Communist Party’s China Dream 2049 is a manifestation of same psychology to avenge Century of Humiliation and put China at the pivot of Global Order.
In 2017, Xi addressed the 19th National Congress of the CCP, extolling Ancient China as a once-great nation “plunged into the darkness of domestic turmoil and foreign aggression; its people were ravaged by wars, saw their homeland torn, and lived in poverty and despair”.
The era he describes is known by the Chinese as the Century of Humiliation, which began on 29 August 1842 upon China’s defeat to the British Empire at the close of the First Opium War and Treaty of Nanking.
Followed by Second Opium War between 1856-1860 where Franco-British forces aided by USA & Russia landed at Beijing and destroyed the ‘Imperial Summer Place’ which ransacking its historical treasures. That humiliating defeat of China leads to the Treaty of Tientsin in 1858 & Treaty of Peking in 1860. The reparations imposed on China by Britain-America made them do 23 concessions of which one was leasing out Hong Kong to the UK for 200 years and handing part of Manchuria to Tsarist Russia in far east reaffirming Treaty of Aigun of 1858.
The ensuing century scarred the Chinese psyche, whose prestige as the Celestial Empire was damaged by a series of brutal invasions by the era’s great powers. Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United States of America all vied for a chunk of the Chinese empire.
Needless to state again that India was the focal point of British Opium Wars on China as in from where Opium was grown & exported to China. This psyche of the Century of Humiliation drives the Chinese ambitions to upend the current Global Order by 2049 when CCP completes 100 years.
Chinese view India in contempt because the opium wars by the British were the party to the Century of Humiliation that rings a fervour of nationalism among who want to avenge that shame. They hold Indians equally guilty as a party to opium trade from India in the guise of East India Company.
Many wealthy Indian merchants & famous families traded in the growing of opium and were part of narcotics trade of the East India Company. Thus Chinese hold that grudge against India & want to avenge the same from West.
A thriving India going close to the west powers again i.e. America & allies further infuriates the Chinese as it thinks of India as a non-trustworthy power ringing the same old wounds of the Century of Humiliation. Thus China can never befriend of India, especially Communist China lead by CCP whose betrayals are for all to see from 1954 to 1962 to 2020 to backing Pakistan, its terrorist network & Jihadist groups in Afghanistan.
An Imperial China thus is now seeking to impose same Imperialism on the world, OBOR/BRI are the manifestation of Chinese imperialism which it followed for centuries via ‘Tributary System’ where neighbouring states paid tribute to Chinese Emperor by being subservient to them as the Vassal States. While the Chinese emperor granted some trading privileges in return & this system was at peak during Ming Dynasty Rule (1368-1644).
Thus imperial China is seeking to upend the Global Order to impose imperialism acting like East India Company in BRI/OBOR while making vassal states accept Chinese emperor is the centre of the universe as is believed in its folklore. Time has come for Free world & Democracies to unite to face this Chinese challenge in the form of CCP whose revisionism will plunge the world into ultimate chaos & conflict.