This is a series on the People’s Republic of China and looks at how China became the global power it is today, what this means to the world order and how the “One belt, One Road” megaproject is the ultimate expression of Chinese economic prowess.

Part II: China, The revolution from 1949 – 1976 and beyond:

Mao Zedong ever the strategist realised that PRC, the People’s Republic of China needed reliable, international allies and within months had visited Stalin in Moscow where you got aid from the Russians. Upon returning to Beijing, in a speech to party officials he noted the importance of strong allies for China in the light of growing U.S. global hegemony and the countless invasions by the Japanese in the past.

To unify the Korean peninsula under communist rule, The Korean War (1950-1953) began when Kim Sung II’s North Korean Communist army armed with Soviet tanks quickly crossed the 38th Parallel, overran South Korea, and invaded non-Communist South Korea. The United Nations assembled a coalition of 15 international allies under General Mac Arthur and came to the assistance of the South Koreans. After months of fighting, the allies had pushed the North Koreans back over the 38th parallel and were on the verge of invading the capital, Pyongyang. The capital was taken and MacArthur pushed further on to the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and China, hoping to overthrow the Communists in one fell swoop against the better judgement of his political bosses in Washington. 

Barely a year old, the Chinese Communists would for the first time use the one advantage they have over a superior enemy, their manpower and dedication to the Chinese cause. On the verge of invading China, MacArthur troops were met with a quarter of a million battle-hardened Chinese veterans who would fight them to a standstill and force MacArthur back over the 38th parallel, which to this day still separates the North from the South. Suffering more than a million casualties, the Chinese army had achieved two things post the armistice two years later; they had beaten the most advanced nations in the world and they finally received recognition from the United States that they are a “fact of life” and a “force to be reckoned with.” The “unintended” national psychological consequence of the Chinese victory was proof of how the whole nation can be mobilised in support of the Chinese Communist party’s goals and objectives. This pathology would demonstrate itself as the single most important Chinese characteristic over the next couple of decades and define how the world would view Chine and their unique brand of Communism in the distant future. 

The so-called, “enemies without guns” purge was launched by Finance Minister Bo Yibo to strip China of its own internal enemies, those are defined as tax evaders, bribers, crooked businessmen and anyone else with corrupt Western pretensions. Again, it would not be the first time the Communists would use these types of tactics on its own people, and arguably this would lay the foundation for future “hard and soft” purges and the consolidation of state power in China.

No one can say that Mao could have predicted that Communist China would one day soon topple the mighty American Empire and become the new global giant for the next century, but history certainly shows us “obvious” markers of what would eventually make China so stunningly successful and cement its position in the 21st century as both the manufacturing powerhouse of the planet, but also create an economy so powerful, it would become the de facto “lender of last resorts” to the ailing United States of America itself.