Why is China so poor?
China today is poor because of many, many reasons, but in short, due to over 350 years of mismanagement, political neglect and war. China have always been one of the largest and earliest power-base of invention. Gunpowder, paper, printing press etc, etc. But one of the problems with china, is the ideology and phycology keeps them inward, instead of being outward. They invented the gunpowder and cannon, but did not develop it to become efficient, so they were defeated by the British at naval battles. This is one of the causes of China's decreased size-They used to be bigger back then, before they were defeated by the combined-eight-powers.
With a few exceptions, China has always been the richest and most powerful country in the post- 1AD world. It wasn't until the mid-1700's that the power of Europe overtook that of China. China refused to modernise and continued to look inwards.
Eventually, bad government and European colonialism turned China into a wreck that looked set to disintegrate by 1912. A republic was established, and the future looked bright, but a civil war between republicans and communists raged for decades. The civil war provided Japan with the chance to invade, and in the 30's Japan annexed vast swaths of China, massacred millions and destroyed whole cities. After the war, the communists eventually won, the despotic rule of Mao saw China become even poorer. It wasn't until 1984 that China reversed this trend, and is today the fastest growing economy in the world, set to overtake the US by 2020. In this writer's opinion, China is merely returning to the position of economic supremacy it held for more than 1500 years.
The main reason why China is poor is due to imperialism. Most scholars will agree with this. For thousands of years, China was the richest country, but when the Europeans started trading with China, the Europeans realised they were losing out, so decided to poison China with opium. When China rejected the opium imports, the Europeans attacked with violent force. This set the stage for the Japanese invasions that would later come. After losing several wars with foreigners, the foreign forces drained China of its natural resources. The same foreign powers were also looting other countries in Asia, Africa, and America. They were able to get rich off of stolen wealth. Meanwhile, countries like India, and other African countries suffered.