Inception: From Hundred Days Reform to Xinhai Revolution
China’s encounter with the West in mid-nineteenth century set off changes that had “not been seen for three thousands years”. These changes, including the Opium War, and later, the First Sino-Japanese War, jolted the Qing dynasty onto a course of modernization and ushered in China’s near-modern history. China’s defeats in the wars set the tone for the period of history, which to this day is still remembered with much bitterness. But imperialism and colonialism were not all the enemies that China faced; a stronger foe was feudalism from its own past. Together, the two forces defined the objectives of China’s modernization: national survival, people’s liberation and individual wellbeing. In comparison, the West, which experienced the same process centuries before, shared similar yet different objectives in their own modernization: individual liberty, nation state and citizen’s wellbeing.