With reference to the invention of the compass, the magnetic power of the loadstone was mentioned as early as the 3rd century B.C by Lu Pu-wei in his Almanac, and at the beginning of the 1st century A.D., Wang Chung, the materialist philosopher, observed in his Lun Heng that the loadstone points to the south, which indicates that magnetic polarity was known by then. Works of travel written at the beginning of the 12th century show that the compass was already in general use among Chinese navigators at that time.
It is recorded in ancient documents that Tsai Lun, a eunuch of the Eastern Han Dynasq (A.D. 25-220), invented paper, which he had made from bark, hemp, rags and worn-out fishing nets. In A.D. 105 (the last year of the reign of Emperor Ho Ti), Tsai Lun presented his invention to the emperor, and subsequently this method of making paper from plant fibre gradually spread in China.
Block-printing was invented about A.D. 600, in the Sui Dynasty.
Movable type was invented by Pi Sheng in the Sung Dynasty between 1041 and 1048.
According to tradition, gunpowder was invented in China in the 9th century and by the 11 century it was already in use for firing cannon.
Chen Sheng, Wu Kuang, Hsiang Yu and Liu Pang were leaders of the first great peasant uprising in the Chin Dynasty. In 209 B.C. Chen Sheng and Wu Kuang,
who were among nine hundred conscripts on their way to take up garrison duty at a frontier post, organized a revolt in Chihsien County (now Suhsien County in Anhwei Province) against the tyranny of the Chin Dynasty. Hsiang Yu and Liu Pang were the most prominent of those who rose in response to this armed uprising all over the country. Hsiang Yu's army annihilated the main forces of Chin, and Liu Pang's troops took Chin's capital. In the ensuing struggle between Liu Pang and Hsiang Yu, Liu Pang defeated Hsiang Yu and founded the Han Dynasty.
The Hsinshih, the Pinglin, the Red Eyebrows and the Bronze Horses are the names of peasant uprisings in the latter years of the Western Han Dynasty when peasant unrest was widespread. In A.D. 8, Wang Mang overthrew the reigning dynasty, ascended the throne and introduced a few reforms to stave off the peasant unrest. But the starving masses in Hsinshih (in what is now Chingshan County in Hupeh) and Pinglin (in what is now Suihsien County in Hupeh) rose in revolt. The Bronze Horses and the Red Eyebrows were the peasant forces which revolted during his reign in what are now central Hopei and central Shantung Provinces. The Red Eyebrows, the largest of the peasant forces, were so named because the soldiers painted their eyebrows red.
The Yellow Turbans, a peasant force which tevolted in A.D. 184, were named after their headgear.
Li Mi and Tou Chien-teh were leaders of great peasant uprisings against the Sui Dynasty in Honan and Hopei respectively at the opening of the 7th century.
Wang Hsien-chih organized an uprising in Shantung in A.D. 874. In the following year Huang Chao organized an uprising to support him.
Sung Chiang and Pang La were famous leaders of peasant uprisings early in the 12th century; Sung Chiang was active along the borders between Shantung, Hopei, Honan and Kiangsu, while Fang La was active in Chekiang and Anhwei.
In 1351, the people in many parts of the country rose in revolt against the rule of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty. In 1352, Chu Yuan-chang joined the rebel forces led by Kuo Tzu-hsing and became their commander upon the latter's death. In 1368, he finally succeeded in overthrowing the rule of the Mongol Dynasty, which had been tottering under the attacks of the people's forces, and founded the Ming Dynasty.
Li Tzu-cheng, also called King Chuang (the Dare-AII King), native of Michih, northern Shensi, was the leader of a peasant revolt which led to the overthrow of the Ming Dynasty. The revolt first started in northern Shensi in 1628. Li joined the forces led by Kao Ying-hsiang and ceampaigned through Honan and Anhwei and back to Shensi. After Kao's death in 1636, Li succeeded him, becoming King Chuang, and campaigned in and out of the provinces of Shensi, Szechuan, Honan and Hupeh. Finally he captured the imperial capital of Peking in 1644, whereupon the last Ming emperor committed suicide. The chief slogan he spread among the masses was "Support King Chuang, and pay no grain taxes". Another slogan of his to enforce discipline among his men ran: "Any murder means the killing of my father, any rape means the violation of my mother." Thus he won the support of the masses and his movement became the main current of the peasant revolts raging all over the country. As he, too, roamed about without ever establishing relatively consolidated base areas, he was eventually defeated by Wu San-kuei, a Ming general, who colluded with the Ching troops in a joint attack on Li.
From 1856 to 1860 Britain and France jointly waged a war of aggression against China, with the United States and tsarist Russia supporting them from the side-lines. The government of the Ching Dynasty was then devoting all its energies
to supprasing the peasant revolution of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and adopted a policy of passive resistance towards the foreign aggressors. The Anglo-French forces occupied such major cities as Canton, Tientsin and Peking, plundered and burned down the Yuan Ming Yuan Palace in Peking and forced the Ching govern ment to condude the Treaties of Tientsin and Peking. Their main provisions included the opening of Tientsin, Newchwang, Tengchow, Taiwan, Tamsui, Chaochow, Chiungchow, Nanking. Chinkiang, Kiukiang and Hankow as treaty ports, and the granting to foreigners of special privileges for travel, missionary activities and inland navigation in China's interior. From then on, the foreign forces of aggression spread through all China's coastal provinces and penetrated deep into the hinterland.
In 1882-83, the French aggressors invaded the northern part of Indo-China. In 1884-85 they extended their war of aggression to the Chinese provinces of Kwangsi, Taiwan, Fukien and Chekiang. Despite the victories gained in this war, the corrupt Ching government signed the humiliating Treaty of Tientsin.
In 1900 eight imperialist powers, Britain, the United States, Germany, France, tsarist Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria, sent a joint force to attack China in their attempt to suppress the Yi Ho Tuan Movement of the Chinese people against aggression. The Chinese people resisted heroically. The allied forces of the eight powers captured Taku and occupied Tientsin and Peking. In 1901 the Ching government concluded a treaty with the eight imperialist countries; its main provisions were that China had to pay those countries the huge sum of 450 million taels of silver as war reparations and grant them the special privilege of stationing troops in Peking and in the area from Peking to Tientsin and Shanhaikuan
Consular jurisdiction was one of the special privileges provided in the unequal treaties which the imperialist powers forced on the governments of old China -- beginning with the supplementaq treaty to the Sino-British Treaty of Nanking, signed at Humen (the Bogue) in 1843, and with the Sino-American Treaty of Wanghia in 1844. It meant that, if a national of any country enjoying the privilege of consular jurisdiction in China became a defendant in a lawsuit, civil or criminal, he was not to be tried by a Chinese court but by the consul of his own country.
Spheres of influence were different parts of China marked off at the end of the 19th century by the imperialist powers that committed aggression against China. Each of these powers marked off those areas which fell within its economic and military influence. Thus, the provinces in the lower and middle Yangtse valley were specified as the British sphere of influence; Yunnan, Kwangtung and Kwangsi as the French; Shantung as the German sphere; Fukien as the Japanese; and the three northeastern provinces (the present provinces of Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang) as the tsarist Russian sphere. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 the southern part of the three northeastern provinces came under Japanese influence.
The foreign concessions were areas which the imperialist powers seized in the treaty ports after compelling the Ching government to open these ports. In these so-called concessions they enforced an imperialist system of colonial rule entirely ependent of Chinese law and administration. Through those concessions, the imperialists exercised direct or indirect political and economic control over the Chinese feudal and comprador regime. During the revolution of 1924-27 the revolutionary people led by the Chinese Communist Party started a movement to abolish the concessions, and in January 1927 they took over the British concessions in Hankow and Kiukiang. However, the imperialists retained various concessions after Chiang Kai-shek betrayed the revolution.
"The Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in Colonial and Semi-Colonial Countries" adopted by the Sixth Comintern Congress, stenographic record of the Sixth Comintern Congress, issue No. 6, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1929, p. 128.
J. V. Stalin, "The Revolution in China and the Tasks of the Comintern" Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1954, Vol. IX, p. 292. ]
J. V. Stalin, "The Prospects of the Revolution in China", Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1954, Vol. VIII, p. 379.
See V. I. Lenin, "The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907", Collected Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1962 Vol. XIII, pp. 219-429.