20th Century Refugees--China

Figure 1.--Here we see what looks like displsced children in China. Unfortunately we can find very little informstion about the image. Some have been wounded. One source dates it to 1930, but we might guess it was a little earlier. The Chinese children wear traditional clothes. The European boy wears a sailor suit. There seems to be one mixed race child. This suggests it was near the coast, perhaps Shanghai. .

China was and continues to be the world's most populace country. For two millenium, Chima saw itself as the center of the world and the most advanced country on earth--the Celesytial Kingdom. The 19th century cme as a great shock. Europeans useding their growing industrial plower achived military dominnce over traditional Chinese society. The Chinese Imperiasl Government, unlike the Meiji Emperor in Japan, refused to promote fundamental reforms. The result was that the Europeans begann to carve up China with their powerful militaries. This began with securing coastal enclaves through the Unequal Treaties. Japan joined the process (1890s). The actions of the Europeans destabilized the Imperial System with growing numbers of Chinese demanding reform, their goals, however, differed. Some like the Boxers wanted to retain, but purify traditional society. Others wanted modernization along the lines of Meiji Japan. But because the Imperial Government resisted reform, this gradually took the form of republicanism. The result was nearly a century of turmoil and fighting, death, destruction, and the creation of tens of millions of refugees. Surely this meant the lasrgest number of refugees and displsced people in history, although unlike other refugees (Germand Indin), thos continued for decades and there was no clear place for the refugees to seek safety. Nor was there a way of feeding the vast number of displsced peoples. This century began with the Boxer Rebellion (1900), but contiuned with the Republican Revolutioin (1912) creating the war Lords. Then there was the Civil War (1923), Japanese sizure of Mnchuria (1931), Japanese invasion of China proper (1937), and than the final phase of the Civil War following World War II. Taiwan proved the one major refuge (1948). The Comminist victory brought political stability, but not the end of suffering. Many more people perished during Mao's rule than during the Japasnese occupation. (Many Chinese do no like to here this.) But the control of the Comminist Party and the unwillingness of neigboring countries to accept refugees made it impossible to flee China. Geography was another fasctor. China is hemmed in by deserts and mountains and the population centers are not along the country's borders. People most died or were killed in place where they were. This was stndard practive for Communist regimes (Cambodia, Germany, Korea, the Soviet Union (Ukraine being the most glring example), and Vietnam). The most well known Chinese Communist killing campaigns were the Great Leap Forward (1956) and the Cultural Revolution (1966). But Mao gentrated numerous campigns in which large numbers of people perished. Only with the Capitalist reforms did the Chinese people begin to experience real stability and economic progress (1990s)


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Created: 8:36 PM 9/14/2015
Last updated: 8:36 PM 9/14/2015