(I wrote this on Sinocidal back in 2007. This article even got written about on Asian Correspondent. Here it is again, but with some cheeky updates to reflect the last few years)
5,000,000 years BC: Somewhere on the cooling igneous rock formed from millenia of geological turmoil that will one day settle and form the land we now know as China, sulphuric emissions from falling meteorites destroy stretches of lush forestry and wipe out all but the hardiest forms of life. A cycle has begun that will be repeated many times throughout the entire history of this land.
4,999,999 BC – 3001 BC: A quiet time for Chinese civilisation.
3000 BC: Exactly 5016 years ago this Tuesday, primitive man all over the world began to pick up objects using small wooden sticks as tools. Two advanced primates along the Yellow River basin decide that their way of picking up things with wooden sticks indicates their superior level of civilisation, and establish the foundations of Chinese civilisation after taking a shit in a hole.
2500 BC: Chinese scientists rename the fatherland “the motherland” after determining the sex of China.
1600 BC: The great Yu, last of the Five Legendary Rulers, promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years. “China is a developing country” he reminds critics.
770 BC – 476 BC: The Spring and Autumn Period occurs in China, and is only brought to an end by the invention of Summer and Winter by Chinese scientists.
479 BC: Confucius: philosopher, educator, and the man responsible for consolidating the guidelines that would shape East Asia, dies after chocking on a chicken bone. Though his earlier works were hailed as successes, commentators note that as he got older, the old man started to lose clarity. Phrases like: “Confucius says: Kids today don’t know they’re born”, “Confucius says: Take your coat off or you won’t feel the benefit”, and “Confucius says: I remember when this was all fields”, fail to make it into final editions of The Analects.
221 BC: The armies of Qin Shihuangdi “peacefully liberate” the whole of China for the first time, and the government goes around relieving citizens of burdensome relics of the old feudal system, like life and happiness. Qin Shihuangdi also builds the Great Wall of China: a feat of engineering so magnificent, that it can be seen anywhere in the world.
771 AD: At the height of China’s “Golden Age”, rebels An Lushan and Shi Siming lead an armed uprising against the ruling Tang Dynasty. Disgruntled peasants complain that the government spends too much time and money having passionate affairs and stirring political intrigue in order to attract CCTV producers of costume dramas from the future. The Curse of the Golden Flower fails to win a single Oscar nomination at the 2007 Academy Awards, and producers begin to leave the past as audiences demand more modern dramas. The An Lushan rebellion is quickly quelled and the Emperor blames everything on the time-travelling foreigners.
1167: The five year old Genghis Khan is left at home with his “Uncle Tommy” while his mother pops down the shops to buy some yak’s butter. A disturbed Genghis promises not to tell his mother about the “special games” he’s been playing, and grows up to conquer Asia and slaughter millions.
1266: Marco Polo arrives in Beijing and brings with him the inventions of spaghetti, ice cream, and gunpowder. Five years later, after investing in the Joint Venture “Sino-Polo Happy Food and Fireworks Factory”, a bankrupt Marco leaves China with all his ideas pirated and distributed freely around China. The Yuan Dynasty government responds to Venetian protests by saying it was all a ”misunderstanding”, and Marco “didn’t understand the Chinese way”.
1368: The Ming overthrows the Mongols and establishes a new dynasty that will last for nearly 200 years. During his coronation, the Emperor promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years. “China is a developing country” he reminds critics.
1405: Admiral Zheng He and his men arrive on the east coast of Africa: a feat accomplished 87 years before Columbus discovered America. Zheng He and his men spend their time in Africa walking around in a tour group and refusing to eat the local food. After being asked to leave for saying the locals were “too black”, Zheng He steals a giraffe, and cooks it upon arriving in China. The giraffe disagrees with the stomach of the Chinese Emperor; Zheng He is imprisoned and the African natives are then asked to apologise for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.
1793: Lord Macartney, a well-known celebrity in Great Britain, sails to China and pleads with the Emperor Qianlong to accept British exports of microwaved vegetarian meals and recordings of The Mull of Kintyre. Macartney’s demands aren’t met, and he returns disheartened to the United Kingdom. On the way he is robbed of most of his fortune by a one-legged gold-digging pirate.
1842: Faced against powerful slogans like “Keep China British” and “It’s time to euthanise the Sick Man of Asia”, feeble catchphrases like “Get high on Confucianism!” fail to win the War on Drugs for the Qing government. Hong Kong is ceded to the British, and the Chinese vow to seek revenge by bricking the windows of the British Embassy 125 years later.
1911: Sun Yat-sen’s new Republic ends nearly 5000 years of imaginary imperial rule. The new Chinese Congress promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years. “China is a developing country” they remind critics.
1949: After years of civil war, Japanese invasion, and national humiliation, a giant poster of Mao gains control of China. The giant poster wields power through an army of smaller, photocopied, versions of itself, and promises to rid all China of stamps featuring Queen Victoria and placards of Chiang Kai-Shek. The giant poster of Mao is head of the Chinese Communist Party, which at the time was the biggest, and probably the best, Communist Party in the whole world.
1958: Mao begins the Great Leap Forward, which quickly leaps to the top of the BBC’s All-Time Best Misnamed Political Campaigns, pushing aside old favourites like Hitler’s “Great Hanukah Promotion Drive” and Gandhi’s “Let’s Kick Their Fucking Heads Open”.
1966: Mao follows his success with “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”. A time which seemingly everybody chose to ignore completely and read a book about the Nanjing Massacre instead.
1969: The dreams of Man are realised as Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon. China responds by stating it too will place a man selling lamb kebabs, t-shirts, and musical lighters, on the moon by 2040.
June 4th 1989: According to the official records of the CCP, on this day the sun was shining, so Deng Xiaoping decided to have a nice picnic with his friends out in the countryside. On the way home, he saw a cute kid selling homemade lemonade by the roadside, so he bought six glasses for only one yuan each, and then gave the kid a shiny button to take home.
1997: The comet Hale-Bopp graced the heavens in one of the most beautiful sights ever to appear upon the celestial basin in recent years. Angry that the arrival of the comet was diverting media attention from the upcoming handover of Hong Kong, Deng Xiaoping passed away in a pathetic face-saving attempt to bring global attention back to China. The trick is a success, and none less that Dame Edna Everage himself arrives in Hong Kong to preside over the handover ceremony.
2000: Beijing authorities greet the arrival of the Olympic committee by painting the grass green and removing all the tramps off the streets. Six weeks later, Beijing authorities greet the arrival of the Eurovision Song Contest committee by painting the grass brown again, bringing the tramps back in, and letting them run wild on crack cocaine.
2008: The Glorious Olympics finally arrive like a shining beacon of awesomeness in a forest of shit. Human Rights activists in other countries protest against Beijing being awarded the Olympics and its treatment of Tibet. Chinese nationalists are quick to logon in rebuttal and tell the foreigners that China promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years. “China is a developing country” they remind us.
2013: A new President emerges who is universally declared to be THE BEST PRESIDENT EVER (by Xinhua, CCTV and the Peoples’ Daily). This President is so excellent that he scores 11/10 in absolutely everything he does, earning him the name Chairman XI. President Eleven loses no time in drawing up a list of all the foreigners living in China, ready to blame and behead them for when the GDP growth dips below 7% in three years time.
2016: Unknown blogger Arthur Meursault writes a blog post detailing the history of China. Two days later he finds over 100 comments in his spam folder from email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org telling him that he “doesn’t understand China” and is “a little fat”.