One hundred years is not much for China, but this century was not an ordinary one. To a large extent, it was a consequence of the Boxer Rebellion and the crushing defeat of China by the allied powers. The Chinese got seriously interested in Western culture. First and foremost they were concerned with such mundane things as railroad, telegraph, and semi-automatic rifle; but the change of mind on a deeper level was also evident:
"Militant Christianity triumphed temporarily over the ancient religions, not because great numbers of the Chinese were persuaded to accept the cross, but because they were converted to a belief in education... The Chinese would be selective about the offerings of the West; they would eventually reject Christ but accept John Dewey (and later Messr. Marx and Lenin)."
An eyewitness of the Boxer Rebellion quite naturally reached a sober conclusion: "If the Chinese are a cruel people, they will probably be more cruel in the future, for they have the example of the civilized people to follow." Also remarkable is the following observation:
"The inevitable by-product of this sudden increase in the educated class was the creation of intelligentsia. The intelligentsia has been described as a group of educated people in a country which cannot find any other occupation than that of undermining the traditional institutions which keep that country from being in the front line of 'progress'. China certainly found herself with this irritant in the early years of the XX century."
Triumph of Communism in China is not incidental either. In the popular perception, it were the Communists who restored the traditional orthodoxy, all but destroyed by the Western predators, kicked out the despised missionaries, and even tamed the Roman Catholics: Catholicism is legal in China, but... has no official ties with the Vatican, and bishops are elected from among reliable comrades under strict supervision of the Communist Party.