The century of China has begun. But how has this grand empire called Middle Kingdom become what it is today?
The Gate of the Dragon – the Long Rise of China tells of the momentous epochs and significant turning points in Chinese History.
It all started with Qin, the first emperor. Out of China he formed a united empire – a new global power was born, but also an unrestrained cult around China’s ruler. Qin chose the divine dragon as symbol for the emperor, whose power comprises of “everything under the sky”.
Along with China’s unification, a new border emerged: the one separating the barbaric “outside” from the civilised “inside”. The Forbidden City emerges as epicentre of the emperors’ universe. The great Chinese fleet enters unknown worlds. But then China closes the gate of the dragon, entrenching itself behind the Great Wall and losing sight of global developments.
When the Europeans introduced opium to the Chinese market in the 19th century, the major challenge for the emperor on his dragon-throne emerged. The Western allies’ defeat of China in the Opium Wars and the Boxer Uprising sealed the end of the empire that had lasted for over 2000 years in the Middle Kingdom.
Today China faces once more a turning point in its history. Will the gate of the dragon be further opened to the future globalized world? China’s long rise continues. Whatever the future holds, China’s past will live on.