The military humiliation of China by the West in the 19th century was slight in objective terms but lethal to late-imperial political culture. This was partly because prestige structures, such as that of China, are unusually susceptible to humiliation, and partly because the western impact revitalized and reshaped existing subversive elements. Traditionalists and would-be reformers agreed that there was a crisis, but offered conflicting solutions, especially with respect to the desirability or otherwise of modern technology and some form of democracy. Eventually the interpretation of Chinese history was recast in terms of international intercultural competition, and policy reformulated on this basis so as to lead toward a kind of Sino-western synthesis with China politically and culturally on top.
|Publication status||Published - 1999|