As had happened before in China’s history, a decline, a Yin time, led to a revival, after an infusion of new blood. The new blood was the Mongols’. The deterioration of Chinese standards that had been achieved during the Han, Sui, T’ang and Sung periods had allowed the traditional borders to be broken. Mongols were the most successful invaders. Their conquest, take-over of the Chinese government and creation of a Mongol Empire led to disseminating many features of Chinese civilization to the rest of Eurasia and, finally, to China’s absorbing the Mongol.
During a fifty year Mongol Peace that spread across Northern Asia, the West learned of strange Chinese ways, like employing animals in novel tasks, elephants for landscaping and cormorants for fishing and oddities like growing long fingernails and foot-binding. Visitors and traders brought knowledge of more practical customs, the use of the abacus, food processing by storing grain in long strips, heating by burning black stones – coal – and a writing material made from cloth rags, to substitute for parchment.
The mismanagement of the Chinese economy at the end of the Mongol period, and the attempt to restore the ancient culture under the despotic Ming rulers failed. Rebellions against high taxes and the effects of the Western trade establishments contributed to Ming high handed policies. The infusion of Tungusic-Manchurian blood revived China again but a great population spurt and China’s failure to achieve an industrial society resulted in poverty and conflicts with Western trading companies. The Manchu government fell to democratic forces that were unable to solve persistent economic, and social problems and combat invasion by the Japanese. The development of a new political ideal, Communism, changed the face of China again. It became a world leader in the digital age.