Qing Dynasty (1636 AD – 1912 AD)
The Qing Dynasty, sometimes known as the Manchu Dynasty , was founded by the Manchu clan Aisin Gioro (爱新觉罗) , in what is today northeast China expanded into China proper and the surrounding territories of Inner Asia , establishing the Empire of the Great Qing, which was founded not by the Han Chinese people, but by the Manchus , a semi-nomadic people not even known by that name when they first rose to prominence in what is now northeastern China. Taking advantage of the political instability and popular rebellions convulsing the Ming dynasty , the highly organized military forces of the Manchus swept into the Ming capital of Beijing in 1644 , and there remained until the Qing dynasty was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 , with the last emperor abdicating early in 1912 . The Qing was the last imperial dynasty of China .
To further suppress the Chinese intellectuals, Manchu emperors, like Qianlong (乾隆) emperor , resorted to "literary inquisition" (文字狱) for controlling the minds and thoughts of Chinese, which was the law forbidding people writing any words politically. Many people died from Wen Zi Yu by writing some words which were not even political at all. Manchu forbade the assembly of scholars or intellectuals into societies and moreover advocated "eight-part essay" (八股文) as the format for imperial civil service exams.
The most complete dictionary of Chinese characters, commanded by Emperor Kangxi (康熙) , put together at the time, and under Emperor Qianlong, the compilation of a catalogue of the important works on Chinese culture was made. Thousands of books viewed by Manchu rulers as politically unacceptable were destroyed when compiling the catalogue.
In an attempt of avoiding the possibility of being assimilated into the Chinese, the Qing Dynasty also set up the Eight Banners system (八旗制度). Eight Banners were military institutions, which was set up to provide a structure with which the Manchu `bannermen' were meant to identify. Banner membership was to be based on traditional Manchu skills such as archery, horsemanship, and frugality. In addition, they were encouraged to use the Manchu language, rather than Chinese. Bannermen were given economic and legal privileges in Chinese cities.
In Qing Dynasty, the national economy was still based on agriculture. In the culture and practiced ideology, feudal ethics and rites continued to dominate society. The foreign policy of the Qing was one of isolationism. The government was conservative and arrogant. It failed to join the industrial revolution that was spreading across the countries in the West. Sadly, these factors led to China falling more and more behind the developing world and the gap between it and Western nations inevitably widened.
Mass civil disorder had also begun and continuously grown. Cixi (慈禧) and the Guangxu (光绪) emperor both died in 1908 , leaving a relatively powerless and unstable central authority. The Wuchang Uprising succeeded on October 10th , 1911 , and was followed by a proclamation of a separate central government, the Republic of China , in Nanjing with Sun Yat-sen (孙中山) as its provisional head, who enabled the Chinese people to overthrow the Qing Dynasty who had ruled China for 268 years. With its demise feudalism, which had lasted for more than two thousand years, was brought to the end. The nation had entered a new era - Republic of China.