Was China considered powerful in the Qing Dynasty?

September 18th, 2004  

Topic: Was China considered powerful in the Qing Dynasty?

People from around the world considered China a powerful nation in the 17th and 18th century. The French Philosopher Voltaire even praised the Chinese style of government in the 18th century. However during the 19th century, when Britain fought a war against China, it was easy as taking candy from a baby. Then other countries like France, Germany, US, and Japan started to take advantage over China's weakness.
September 18th, 2004  
The Qing Dynasty was technically a foreign occupation by the ethnic Manchu peoples (similar to the Yuan Dynasty being a foreign occupation by the Mongols). There is no doubt that their dynasty controlled more area than any other (the Yuan/Mongolian exception being obvious of course), but their rule was seen as somewhat tyranical by some of those they ruled.

There is much within the traditions of the Chinese government that is highly commendable, the Civil Service Examination and many Confutian ideals being the most notable. This Civil Service Examination is simple enough to explain: Any Chinese person could take a certain test. Performance on that test determined whether they were fit to be given positions in the Imperial Court, and ruling buerocracy, etc. So we have a form of equal opportunity, though there was a lot more to it than that. Confusism isn't easy to summarize. Both predate the Qing by well over 1000 years.

I believe the Qing was a pretty brutal dynasty and quite foolish in their dealings with Europe. The failings of the Qing Dynasty were foremost in the abandonment of the imperial system as the governing system of China. The Qing Dynasty is quite similar to the Roman Empire in that they held together numerous varied ethnic groups, holding them in line by threat of overwhelming brute force. The penalty for a Han-Chinese marrying a Manchu was death. Apparently, they did not want to suffer the same fate as the Yuan - adsorbed and weakened by the Chinese culture. Tibet and modern-day Mongolia were conquered. Formosa passed from Dutch control to Qing control during their reign. They were given plenty of opportunity to modernize but the Qing stubbornly refused to believe that anything non-Chinese was of any use to them. They violently stamped out several attempts to "Westernize".

I'd say the best analogy for the Manchu/Qing Dynasty (prior to conflict with the West) is this: A version of the Yuan Dynasty (Mongolian) that managed to stick around a lot longer and adapt to Chinese culture more fully.
September 19th, 2004  
Then what is the definition of Chinese?

Why Chinese must only be the Han-Chinese?

Chinese is a general term for all different peoples living in China and holding Chinese culture, no matter it is Han, Mongol, Manchu, or other ethnics.

Also for many "Han-Chinese" thousands years ago, they were not part of that "Chinese Middle Kingdom" either, like my hometown Hunan, we were treated as barbarian Southerners, but now? We are completely Chinese, and we contributed a lot to Chinese power in military sense.

Well I can understand some foreigners who are eager to distinguish Chinese among Mongol, Manchu, Han, Titetan, Muslims, they try to create trouble almong all the Chinese, hence to weaken China.

September 19th, 2004  
Well, the duration of the Manchu occupation was longer than any prior to it. The Manchu peoples adopted and absorbed the Chinese culture, but the Han-Chinese viewed them as a foreign occupation. Conversely, the Manchus took great pains to make certain to not "polute" the Manchu blood with by letting themselves intermarry with the Han-Chinese. So the Qing Dynasty sees the greatest geographical control ever seen by a Chinese Dynasty other than the Yuan. They were not accepted as Chinese by the Han-Chinese anymore than the Yuan Dynasty, but somehow or another, they got things right where the Yuan got it wrong. They masterfully inserted themselves into Chinese society and culture. They overtook and subdued lands that no previous dynasty had ever managed.

The Han-Chinese outlook began as "this too shall pass", thinking that the Manchu domination would die in time like the Yuan had. Gradually, over the hundreds of years of Manchu dominance, the Han gradually came to accept that the Qing weren't going away anytime soon. No Flying Frog, if the Manchu and the Han were so melded together, why did the Manchu prohibition of Manchu/Han intermarriage continue to be enforced? The Han-Chinese ultimately gave up on there ever being an end to the Manchus domination. Much like India and the Aryan dominance, time blended the two into a single civilization in spite of the heavy-handed enforcement of separation. The Manchu ended up becoming an enforced aristocracy based on ethnicity, but the blending and melding of the two cultures was otherwise completed in the course of many centuries.

The domination of the Manchu carried on to the end of the Qing Dynasty, and continued thereafter. Today, you have two dialects: Cantonese (the language of the Han-Chinese) and Mandarine. Those speaking Cantonese are required to learn Mandarin or they are unable to function in society. Correct me if I'm wrong, but those speaking Mandarin as their first language are not requried to learn Cantonese, are they? Its pointless to call them Han and Manchu because they are no longer kept under enforced prohibition of intermixture. Its also pointless because the rest of the world hasn't a clue about Chinese history, wouldn't you agree? The ROC and thereafter PRC has managed to turn China into a more complete melting pot of cultures. Still, there is a general acknowledgement of there being a distiction between the two, much like the North and South in the United States today.
September 20th, 2004  

Topic: Well

Mandarin is China's official language. It is a very important thaeveryone speaks a same language. There are so many language, tradition in the U.S. What would be the ideal communication language-English.

You are right that Qing dynasty prohibited marriage between Han and Manchu. However, the Republic of China was formed under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yet Sen. Dr. Sun and Jiang Jie Shi lead the war of unification after defeating Yuen Shi Kai and other warlords.

So, at that time, there was no separation among hans, manchu or any other national within China any longer.

I am not quite sure when Nationalist took control of Taiwan before the retreat to the island.
September 22nd, 2004  
Well, maybe a couple of hundreds years ago there was a huge difference btw Manchu and Han people, but now there is completely no difference more, Han is not dominating the country, we don't treat the Manchu's as slaves either, we are simply all Chinese.
Also, the Manchu's didn't conquer China, it is the Han Chinese generals who invited the Manchu troops to help them in "civial wars" then the Manchu's stayed in China and then ruled with the Han Chinese. But indeed for many Chinese it was treated as a non-Chinese (or actually non-Han) people.

But I don't think it is appropriate to make distinguish among the Han or Mongol or Manchu or Muslim people in China now.

If talking about PAST, he*l, only a very small part of the current China is the real Middle Kingdom

Also, I don't even know what language did the Manchu's speak and did they have their own writting scripts, some people say many Manchu's speak simply Chinese at that time, it is anyway so close to each other. Got any info about it?
September 22nd, 2004  

Topic: <S>

Thats some intresting Information there!
I dident know that!
September 22nd, 2004  
My whole point was that the Qing Dynasty began as a foreign occupation, just like the Yuan Dynasty was. They remained a foreign occupation to some degree until the collapse of the Qing, but the melding of Han and Manchu culturally was inevitably accomplished. I've known a number of Chinese who immigrated to the USA and according to them there is a shadow of memory that the Manchu and Han were once separate. Quite like the North and South in the USA. They're not about to separate again, but the memory of being separate remains.

IMHO, Chinese History gets far less attention on this forum that it merits. We need more topics like this one. Unfortunately, few people know much Chinese History. One excellent example: Where is the largest pyramid in the world? Egypt? Central America? Nope, its in China.
September 22nd, 2004  
I am just curious about Manchu language.
The grandmother of a friend of mine is Manchu, but she cannot speak a word Manchu, the wife of my close friend is Mongol, she cannot speak one word Mongol.

I think the definition of Chinese is about the Chinese culture, everyone who embraces Chinese culture is Chinese, and the Han culture is the Chinese culture, there is simply no culture of Mongol or Manchu left in current China, or we can say the Chinese culture is a mix of all the cultures of all the peoples living in China.
September 22nd, 2004  
Where is the largest pyramid in the world? Egypt? Central America? Nope, its in China.
I didn't know that either, where in China?