Part 1: The race toward barbarism
Gunpowder remained unknown in the West until the late 10th century. However, Europeans abandoned outmoded rules of chivalry after the Middle Ages and enthusiastically incorporated firearms and artillery into the lexicon of their military arts after the late 15th century. In contrast, thanks to the Confucian aversion to technological progress, Chinese military planners did not modernize their martial code, basing foreign policy on the principle of civilized benevolence. They continued to suppress development of firearms as immoral and dishonorable up to the 19th century, much to China's misfortune.
As a result, European armies arrived in China in the 19th century with superior firearms. They consistently and repeatedly scored decisive victories with their small but better-armed expeditionary forces over the numerically superior yet technologically backward, sword-wielding Chinese army of the decrepit Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).
China's most influential revolutionary, Mao Zedong, proclaimed in modern times his famous dictum:Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.He was in fact condemning the obsolete values of Confucianism (ru jia) as much as stating a truism in barbaric modern realpolitik.
As with most of Liu's articles the entire thing is worth reading, not just for the way he gives cultural context to the Mao quote.