No one wishes for a total Chinese collapse, but certain setbacks should be welcomed

Seven decades ago President Chiang Kai-Shek wrote in a preface to his wife’s book China Shall Rise Again, “For the rebirth of a people certain factors are necessary. Of these one is that the people should go through a period of trials and tribulations.” China had already endured a century of turmoil when Chiang wrote those words in 1941, but more was to come. In contemplating China’s future, we should remember that its modern past includes numerous failures. The Chinese themselves certainly don’t forget. For decades before the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, China was beset by foreign encroachment and farmers’ uprisings, and, after the establishment of the Chinese republic, it experienced the depredations of regional warlords, an invasion by Japan, civil war, the collapse of Chiang’s regime in the late 1940s, and Mao Zedong’s quarter-century of uneven rule (1949 -76).

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