The long march to affluence

Yu Jie, a Chatham House senior research fellow, charts the rise of the superpower in the East but warns of testing times ahead

The World Today
Published 26 July 2019 Updated 19 February 2021 5 minute READ

If one examines the past century of China’s history, many years ending in the number Nine have profoundly changed China and shaped the world’s perceptionsof the Middle Kingdom. The years 1919, 1949, 1979 are the ones that, in the view of the ruling Communist Party, have defined modern China. It prefers to forget the years 1959, 1969 and 1989. Let’s start with our chronological journey from 1919 to see why those years decided China’s fate. Shakespeare’s phrase ‘what’s past is prologue’ may help us understand the challenges of the immediate future though the lens of the past hundred years.


1919 Democracy, nation and science

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.