With more than 4,000 years of recorded history, China was a pioneer of human civilization yet had many social and political setbacks over time. Culturally, it has always been a destination of fascination, particularly because it developed with relatively little outside influence (except Buddhism came from India) in spite of bordering 14 countries. But this quasi-isolation left China ill-prepared to cope with technologically superior countries from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. This sparked an internal revolution in the early 1900s against the old regime, culminating in a dominant communist government in 1949. Today, it is making a comeback as one of the world’s superpowers.