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200 × 120 mm
200 pages
01 Jul 2013

The Fall and Rise of China Healing the Trauma of History Paul U. Unschuld

For over a century, from the First Opium War in 1839–42 to the end of the Second World War, China was repeatedly humiliated by Western imperial powers and by its smaller neighbour, Japan. For a time the Middle Kingdom seemed on the verge of becoming a pawn of foreign interests. Then, in a process unmatched in history, this great culture recovered vigorously from its seemingly hopeless plight – so much so that today the state, its leaders and its burgeoning economic and military might are globally acknowledged and not infrequently feared.

The Fall and Rise of China: Healing the Trauma of History traces the country’s development in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries up to the present day and offers an explanation of the collective mentality that enabled China, confronted by the superiority of Western science and technology, to commit to the unsparing self-diagnosis that enabled its impressive rise and radical transformation. The country identified the aspects of Western civilization it must adopt in order to remove the cultural impediments to its own renaissance. Profoundly wounded, China prescribed for itself a therapy that followed the same principle used in Chinese medicine: that the cause lies first and foremost within oneself. Prevention and treatment must therefore always begin with one’s own deficiencies and mistakes. In this powerful polemic Paul Unschuld presents an entirely new understanding and analysis of China’s past and offers fascinating insights into its possible future.

‘examines how China is healing the trauma of history, specifically, the humiliation of repeated Western and Japanese aggression between the Opium War and the end of WWII . . . Unschuld’s arguments are provocative and idiosyncratic. Recommended.’ – Choice

‘the book can be regarded as an important contribution to the literature which discusses the historical factors and environments which made China behave the way it did. It is also written in a crisp and readable style. The information which the book provides with respect to Chinese medicine and how China worked towards transforming it by absorbing useful ideas from Western medicine is fascinating in itself.’ – Asian Affairs

‘Explores the development of China from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries up to the present day and examines the factors that led to its recent rise and radical transformation. Focuses on China – Zhongguo – an empire at the center of the world; a civilization in free fall; and a clash of cultures.’ – Journal of Economic Literature

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Paul U. Unschuld is Professor and Director of the Horst-Goertz Institute for the Theory, History and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the author of What is Medicine? Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing (2009).


Part I: China – Zhongguo – An Empire at the Centre of the World

1 A Distant King is Turned Away

2 A Distant Pope is Expelled

3 An Emperor’s Legacy is Erased

Part II: A Civilization in Free Fall

4 The Breach and the Thief

5 The British Intervention: Trauma 1

6 The Taiping Rebellion

7 The British-French Intervention: Trauma 2

8 The Russian Intervention: Trauma 3

9 The French Intervention: Trauma 4

10 The Japanese Intervention: Trauma 5

11 The German Intervention: Trauma 6

12 The Boxer Protocol: Trauma 7

13 The Custodian Banks: Trauma 8

14 The Japanese Invasion: Trauma 9

Part III: A Clash of Cultures?

15 How Would You Have Reacted?

16 The Tradition of Existential Autonomy

17 Europe and the Discovery of Social Welfare

18 China Takes Its Fate into Its Own Hands

19 First Steps to a New Beginning

20 Science and Medicine

21 How Much Westernization?

22 Marxism in China

23 The Path to the Present