China’s 14th National People’s Congress: No Ordinary Cups of Tea
Compared to the periods of imperial rule that precede it, the Song dynasty government (960–1279) was more autocratic than any Chinese government had been. Under a growing Mongolian threat to the north, civil rule was complemented with an extremely centrally controlled army. The autocracy, centralization and anti-mercantile policies of the Chinese Confucian elite could not prevent private enterprises from blooming, however. After Song rule was finally overthrown by the Mongols in 1279, mercantilism trumped Confucian ideology for the centuries to come. After the fall of the final imperial dynasty in 1912, struggles between ideological orthodoxy and economic reality remained ever-present. The rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 did not change this either.
(Photo credit: Eric Prouzet, Unsplash)