China and Neighbourhood

On The Brink Of Revolution: An Analysis Of China’s Incomplete Revolution And Its Impending Completion By Minority Groups

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Although China’s 1949 Revolution could be considered a completion of its 1911 Revolution, the Chinese Revolution actually remains incomplete. While these two events altered the political and economic structures of the country, the societal structure was fundamentally unchanged. Chinese society has indicated a need for change and certain factors point towards an impending movement to bring about these necessary changes. Naturally, it could be anticipated that those who require social changes more so than any other change will be the ones spearheading a movement for change, especially if this is an educated group of people. It is, therefore, evident that the recent and significant improvements in the education of minority groups in China will be the driving factor in carrying out the remaining steps of the Chinese Revolution.


When one considers a revolution certain components, such as change, are obvious, but revolutions also entail other less blatant attributes. The word “revolution” originates from the Latin word revolutio, which translates to: “revolving” or “turning around.” The first of these definitions supports the Marxist idea that revolutions are ongoing processes that do not simply take place within one event. The second of these translations implies an entire volte-face. A revolution is a combination of these two translations: an ongoing process of complete change. In order to obtain a complete understanding of revolution, it is necessary to look as far back as Plato and Aristotle to observe the origins of defining and explaining revolutions. In The Republic, Plato argues that revolution is motivated by groups who are at a disadvantage in their society. He describes these disadvantaged peoples as being, “ready to sting and fully armed, and some of them owe money, some have forfeited their citizenship; a third class in both predicaments; and they hate and conspire against those who have got their property, and against everybody else, are eager for revolution.”1 He believed that revolutions were economically motivated by oppressed groups of people seeking a drastic change. Similarly, in Politics, Aristotle makes the claim that “poverty is the parent of revolution.”2 According to Aristotle, it is “men of ruined fortunes sure to stir up revolutions.”3 It is evident that even as long ago as the 400s BCE, oppression, especially economically, has been a predominant factor in causing revolutions. 

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Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3

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