Background. Chinese history is characterized by repeated cycles alternating between strong centralized governments and weak decentralized transitional regimes. The 20th century saw one of the transitional interregnums, during which China was beset by major famines, civil unrest, military defeats, and foreign occupation.
The last half of the century saw the slow re-emergence of a centralized state, dominated by the communists under Mao Zedong....
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