II - Early Modern Phase

This summary comes directly form East Asia: Tradition and Transformation by Fairbank, Reischauer, and Craig (1989).

Dividing point between ancient Chinese history and early modern phase center around 8th century, starting in Late Tang. This started a time in which Chinese culture remained fairly constant until the 1900's. This stands in stark contrast to Europe, which during this time underwent the Renaissance, Reformation, and saw the birth of modern science. The intellectual leadership rejected Buddhism and returned to Confucianism but in a new form (Neoconfucianism). This reemphasis on secularism distinguished them from SE Asia and the West. As they rejected foreign religion and lost again against barbarian invasions, the became more cultural intolerant and more ethnocentric. They changed from a per capital system of taxation to taxing land areas. This along with an increase in domestic and international trade contributed to new problems in governance.

Also there was a change in society. In early Tang, the ruling class were the power aristocrats but this changed to a powerful class of landowners. With decrease in aristocracy came the triumph of the bureaucratic system. Or possibly the exam state caused the decrease in power of the aristocracy. Positions based on talent not birth. (i.e. The final triumph of the Confucian ideas of egalitarianism. Coupled with this was a change form military to civilian leadership.

Finally these was a change in the center of gravity of the country. The capital remained in the north, where the major defense problem was, but the lower Yangtze was the economic heart of the country. The cultural center shifted from the country to the city. These patterns would dominate until the 1900's. The 8th through the 13 centuries are considered the Second Golden Age of Chinese Culture.

LATE TANG: Rule of Hsuan Tsung, 712-756 was key period in transition. Government operating less smoothly, which led to breakdown in taxes and military defense, just like in the Han. There was a rapid increase in population. Emperor rewarded ministers with great land tracts and servants which made it impossible to redistribute land to peasants. Taxes which fell on peasants were increasingly not collectable.

In 751 they were defeated by the Arabs, which led to a turning point in East Asian history. It led to the end of Chinese control of central Asia, and the beginning of 5 centuries of steady military decline. It led to the beginning of Islam in central Asia. Regional commanders took power. Even so, Tang survive another century. After these revolts, a new financial basis of governing emerged. The transport of grain improved, and a new tax system based on land area and not individuals made tax collection simpler. However, revolts continued in 874 and 907 before final collapse. The central, south and part of the north were divided among a number of former commanders, each claming to be emperor of China. Grouped together as the "10 Kingdoms". In the north, had 5 dynasties from 907-960, followed by rule by a series of ambitious generals. Three of the 5 were "barbarians" - Turkish and Iranian. At same time, barbarians pressing in from the North. This disunity only lasted 50 years instead of the 3 1/2 centuries of division in the 6 Dynasties period. Perhaps the tradition of unity was to strong. China was never again divided for more than 50 years until the 1900's.

SONG: 960, tai Tsu founded Song Dynasty, which lasted until 1219. Used local military power to control regions, but this led to ultimate military weakness against the barbarians. The government administration was strengthened, more centralized at capital (Kaiteng) than ever. The strength of the civil service system was evidenced by fact that the revolt in 949 and usurpation of power was the last in Chinese history. The Song and subsequent dynasties would fall due to external conquest. (Sung fall to Mongols)

Economic Problems: Although the Song was prosperous, there was the usual administrative decline, possibly associated with an increasing population (probably greater than 100 million). Increasing concentration of farmland in hands of biggest landlords. Peasants unable to pay taxes, led to less money, decreased salaries and morale. Reforms of Wang An-Shih bolstered government finances through graduated land taxes, cheaper credit, price regulation and government commodity controls, which arose anger of large landowners and bureaucracy. However, this period was a great time of institutional, economic, commercial and cultural growth

Technological Advances: There were great advances in agricultural productivity. New strains of rice were developed, and new large water control projects, Large amount of textiles, lacquer, and porcelain made. The abacus came into use for calculations. Gunpowder was used for explosive weapons like mines, grenades, projectiles. However, the most important advance was the development of printing which lead to the spreading of books. By the 7th century printing process used full page wood blocks of pictures or text. Series of consecutive printed blocks produce whole book in scrolls, which were folded at regular intervals and stitched on one side to get continuous, standard Chinese printed book with continuous double-folded pages. By 950 there were large numbers of printed books. Continued to use whole blocks of wood as the unit for printing, given the large number of Chinese characters. In the 15th century, the invention of printing reached the West. Europeans discard wood blocks for moveable type.

Growth of Trade: This was the greatest reason for economic growth. Great commercial cities appear for the first time, lined with markets. Foreign trade was great increased in the Sung. Overseas trade with India and the Mideast greatly expanded. This contrast with Europe in which overseas trading took off in 16th century. This was helped by new techniques in shipbuilding and navigation. By the 3rd century ACE, the Chinese knew about magnets, and a compass was used by 1119 ACE. In the West, trade increased with the rise of Islam, but E and S coasts important. Except of fine cotton textiles, the Chinese imported raw material (horses, hides, gems, spices, curry) and exported manufactured goods (books, paintings, art, silk, porcelain). In this time they had a great expansion of the currency system and developed paper currency.

Society and Culture: The commercial revolution occurring in China did not produce as great a social change in China compared to those that occurred at around the same time in Europe, probably because it took place within an organized bureaucratic system which adjusted to changes and were strengthen by them. In contrast, the feudal system of Europe was incapable of accommodating to great economic change in Europe, leading to a collapse of the system and profound social change.

Nevertheless, changes occurred between the 8th and 13th centuries. The society of 13th century China had many features characteristic of modern China. 13th century China can be seen as a younger version of China in the 1800's. The same statement can not be made of Europe. Some of the changes that occurred in this time frame:

  1. government no longer oppose private accumulation of agricultural land, which led to a large number of small and medium land owners.
  2. Old self-sufficient estates no longer efficient, and the political power of landowners decreased.
  3. China depended less on agricultural wealth.
  4. society became increasingly urbanized (by 12th century, 52 large urban centers with greater than 100,000 households. City dwellers dominate society. Higher culture, life luxurious - cities had amuse centers at center with wine and tea shops, restaurants, theaters, puppet shows. etc. Also, however, lots of paupers.
  5. change in position of women when urbanized. Led to further decline in status of women as they became less "essential" compared to rural women. New rules against remarriage of widows, growth of number of concubines, and introduced custom of binding feet of upper-class women from age of 5, producing a foot about half the normal size. Viewed as sign of wealth of husband and developed erotic associations for men.
  6. triumph of civilian instead of military view in this urban culture. Song disdain military service.

In art, there were few foreign influences. Painting showed its strongest development. Buddhism painters were paramount but there was a great increase in secular art. There was a shift from figures and depictions of human events to landscape in which humans were small parts of the landscape, which showed nature as a whole. Song painting, in comparison to medieval or Renaissance Europe, seems modern. Not just religious themes or icons. They were valued for aesthetics. Artist were respected, highly educated and had a high status. Famous artist would put stamp on important painting as indication of authenticity and ownership, which would increase its value.

Calligraphy and literary skills, especially writing poems, considered were a necessity . The written word was greatly respected. In the 10th century, there was a great increase in private schools. Lyric poetry abound and became looser than in Tang. Song considered golden age of formal prose. Also saw beginning of popular theater and romances. Most of the great poets, prose writers, and scholars were officials and statesmen - i.e. the Universal Man.

Religion and Philosophy: Clear patterns in philosophical thought that remained characteristic of China until the 19th century. The philosophical synthesis, known in the West as Neoconfucianism, was unchanged until the collapse under Western thought and revolutionary changes in the 20th century. Two factors behind revived interest in Confucian thought.

Neoconfucianism was partly a rediscovery, partly new ideas. Society was different than ancient China, partly due to Buddhist influences which conditioned people to think in metaphysical terms. But new synthesis rejected Taoist search for immortality and Buddhist concern with divine and afterlife. Neo-Confucian thought returned to ancient China's emphasis on social and political matters, especially ethics.

The final synthesis of "Neoconfucianism" in this period was by Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) (1130-1200), compared by many to Aquinas. He passed the highest grade of government exam at the age of 18 (half the usual age)  In 1177 he compiled his influential commentaries on Mencius and Confucius.  He transformed Confucianism along metaphysical lines partly through a synthesis of Confucian, Taoist, adn Buddhist principles. 

He furthered the notion that all natural objects composed of two essences: 

For example, Li provides the pattern of a house, but the actual house made of Chi.  Also Li part of the limitless, timeless, unitary supreme Ultimate. Influence of Buddhism obvious. Developed elaborate relationships between supreme Ultimate, yin/yang, 5 element theories, and developed cyclic theory of change like Buddhism. But real heart of Neo-Confucian thought was in application of its ideas to ethics and social/political institutions. Main conflict between Mencius (man is by nature good, only need teaching and self-development) and Xunzi (Hsun-Tzu) (man is by nature evil, need strict control and indoctrination) came to collision in Song. Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) settled conflict in favor of Mencius. Li of nature good and pure. It is origin of 5 basic virtues: (note 5 relating to 5 element theory)

  1. love
  2. uprightness
  3. propriety
  4. knowledge
  5. reliability

Chi needs polishing to give pure Li its full potential. Do this by education and self-cultivation. Confucianism as known during the last 1000 years, came into full development during Song Neoconfucianists.

Family centered ethics stressed, along with the 5 human relationships first spelled out by Mencius. these were between

  1. ruler and subject
  2. father and son
  3. husband and wife
  4. elder brother and younger brother
  5. friend and friend

Except last 1, all relationships of authority and obedience.

Also the ideal of benevolent paternalism developed. The sate was like a large family. The authority of the rule was like that of a father. Finally the bureaucratic ideals institutionalized in civil service and exam systems. Moral, scholarly men would guide and administer the government.

After Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) death, Neoconfucianism ideals became rigid orthodoxy. His commentaries on the classics standards, and all answers on state exams had to conform to them. Eventually it placed an intellectual straitjacket on thought and led to a growing rigidity of Chinese society. Neoconfucianism helped create the unique, stable and traditional society of early modern China, that came to be viewed as unchanging in comparison to Europe. The relative slowness of change left the country very weak in the 19th century before the onslaught of the West. For Chinese who lived through this period, it was an era characterized by a high degree of political, social, and spiritual stability possibly preferable to chaos of change in Europe. The stability that lasted from the 13th to 19th centuries unparalleled in world history. It took massive blows from the outside to destroy this stability.


Between 13th and 19th centuries, Chinese way of life very stable, even though China was governed by 3 ruling houses: Yuan, the MIng, and the Ching. The Yuan and Ching were non-Chinese dynasties of conquest, but these rulers and peoples ruled without fundamentally changing Chinese institutions.

In the North, in central Asia, were the Turks, Mongolians, and Tibetans. Invasions from the North by the people in this regions led to the Yuan and Ching dynasties. The Chinese and the Central Asian people of the North had two different ways of life, and two different societies, partially based on geography. Lack of rain and no rivers flowing to the sea in the Inner Asian steppe, made extensive agriculture impossible. Hence the area supported a sparse population. There population was 1/40th of that of China. What made them such greater fighters.

Society of Steppe: In grasslands, raise animals in nomadic life style. Sheep and horses are the basis of the economy. Cities didn't flourish, so there was limited culture and technology. Literacy was low, and religion based mostly on Shamans - medicine men. Since lacked accumulated possessions, could mobilize and move quickly. Men were hunter-warriors, while women managed the camp. Very individualistic people, like the old West . A Chieftain lead the group. Warriors had iron stirrups (great for stabilized archery) and compound bows which reigned superior until 1400's and development of firearms.

In the Northern boundary of China (next to steppe peoples), the Great Wall was unstable, rainfall was marginal, and agricultural often disastrous The Chinese and "Mongols" had a mixed culture at the border. There were many different Kingdoms in different areas. Consider just one, the Mongols, who seized power in China to form Yuan Dynasty. The Mongols had characteristics similar to other invaders of China:

  1. invaders seize power in Northern China during period of disorder.
  2. invaders enlisted Chinese advice, especially from area near border
  3. barbarian cavalry supplied with better horses.
  4. they utilized a policy of tolerance and appeasement of local Chinese leaders which became administrators and tax collectors.
  5. maintained homeland of own beyond the Wall to preserve own existence as people and avoid absorption
  6. made use of Chinese institutions of government, letting traditional administration, civil, and cultural life continue
  7. dual Sino-barbarian administration established at local levels.
  8. preserved control through military force.
  9. in midst of overwhelming number of Chinese, invaders borrowed Chinese culture. As a result, the invaders were eventually absorbed or expelled.

Mongol Empire: Mongols lived in small, patriarch clans. Polygamy increased demand for wives outside of clan, leading to seizing other clans groups whose members became vassals. Genghis Khan, born 1167) became their great organizer and unifier. Drew up religious sanctions and permanent basis for his rule. He built a civil administration, and his bodyguards grew to an army of 10,000. By 1227, population of his empire about 130,000, tiny in comparison to China population of perhaps 2.5 million. His army, clad in leathery furs, would live in the saddle for 10 days and nights at a time, and could cover huge distances - up to 270 miles in 3 days. Lived by plundering. They would encircle the enemy and use heavy bows which could kill at 600 feet. Often they would trick the enemy to pursue them and then turn back and encircle them. They were masters of espionage and psychological warfare, and terrorism.

Genghis Khan subjugated NW China in about 1210, and all of Northern China in 1211-1215, when he destroyed the capital. He gained services of Chinese who convinced him not to waste China. He overran the Turkish empire (now Russian Turkestan) in 1219-1221, and died in 1227, after establishing the basis of a far-flung Eurasian empire. Kahn stated:

"Man's highest joy is in victory to conquer ones' enemies, to pursue them, to deprive them of their possessions, to make their beloved weep, to ride on their horses, and to embrace their wives and daughters."

Genghis divided is empire among his 4 sons of his main wife into 4 Khantes, which were expanded by his grandsons. In expanding over most of known world, the mixed Mongol/Turk armies overran Persia (1231), E.Asia, Korea, Moscow, Poland, and Hungry to the Danube. They reached the Adriatic (between Italy and the former Yugoslavia), but the great Khan died, stopping the advance over Western Christendom. Eventually the descendants yielded to region forces. Mongol rulers in West Asia accept Islam, and in China they became Buddhist and Confucians.

It took another generation to conquer the southern part of China, which completed by 1279, which was completed under Genghis Khan's ablest grandson, Khubilai (1214-1294), who became the Grand Khan in 1260. He ruled for 34 years and took Peking (Beijing) for his winter capital. In 1271 he adopted the Chinese dynastic name of Yuan, which means first beginning or origin. It was the first dynastic name not derived from a place name. .


He continued administrative structure of the Tang and Sung, with 6 divisions of ministries and 3 central government structure: administrative, military, and supervisory. How could he rule and persuade people to acquiesce to foreign rule? He had to maintain order, allow Chinese talent to rise in political life, and lead scholar-officials by fostering Confucian ideology and culture. Mongols not prepared for this, They differed significantly from the Chinese people. They preferred leather and fur, they were not used to washing, they had no surnames, and had a moral code which gave greater freedom to women. The Chinese couldn't stand them. Therefore, the Mongols employed foreigners, especially Muslims from Central and West Asian, and set up hierarchical social class system, with Mongols on top, followed by non-chinese collaborators, Northern Chinese (who capitulated first), and then Southern Chinese. There was separate laws for them and the Chinese.

Life Under Yuan Dynasty: Khubilai protected Confucian temples and revived the culture of Confucius. The exam system decline. The scholar class was antagonized by the Mongol's patronage of foreign religions. There was a setback for Neo-Confucian doctrines of Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi). The superstitious Mongols with a background in Shamanism, accepted debased forms of Buddhism from Tibet - Lamaism. He was hailed as the ideal Buddhist monarch. He moved capital to Peking, and within it build the city of Khanabaligh, or "city of Khan". Within it was palace enclosed by double walls, and complete with parks, treasuries, a lake, and a hill. (Later to become part of "Forbidden City").

He was succeeded by his grandson, then Mongol rule declined, A civil war followed in 1328, Paper money no longer accepted for taxes, led to bankruptcy, followed by major floods on Yellow rivers.

Western Travelers to China: During this time Europeans traveled to China through the main routes established in the large Mongol empire over Central Asia. Marco Polo was the first of many who brought word of "Cathay" (derived from Khitai, an empire in N. China). Some of the routes were:

Many Greek Orthodox Christians were in the Great Khans court. Also may Nestorian Christian Christians (an heretical sect) came from Persia, and the patriarch at Baghdad created an archbishop district in Peking in 1225. In the 1300's a papal emissary established a Roman Catholic church in China. Many Western merchants came, but Marco Polo was the only one to leave a written record. He set out in 1271 and spent 17 years (127501291) in Khublai service, returning to Venice in 1295. He wrote Description of the World, which contained the first written description of the geography, economic life and government of China. Described it as superior in size, culture, and technology. (Ex: Described the burning of black stones for heat). A counter part, Rabban Sauma, a Nestorian monk born in Peking, was sent to Europe to seek Christian help against Islam. In 1387 he visited Constantinople, Naples, Rome and Paris.

Most contact however was directed between China and Western Asia, with great caravans going from Baghdad to Peking. During Mongol rule, Russia, Persia, and Mesopotamia received a large impact from Chinese influences. The Mongol century saw the flow of things from China, including gunpowder, paper money, printing, porcelain, textiles, playing cards, medical discoveries and art. Likewise, China most influenced by Arab and Turkish culture. Islam took root, but not Christianity or Judaism.

Despite a century of contact, foreign influences on China stayed superficial. The exam system was partially maintained, not supplanted. The attraction of Chinese culture was so strong.

MING (1368-1694): This is one of the great eras or orderly government and social stability in human history. Over 100 million people lived 276 years in comparative peace. The Ming dynasty eventually declined and was overrun by yet another foreign invader, the Manchus. The warfare was limited as was the destruction, in contrast to the 30 Years War in Europe from 1618-1648. The political and social order of the Ming era was so stable, the it persisted, relatively unchanged, for another 267 years (1644-1912) under Manchu occupation. However this great stability in China was maintained during those centuries that saw the rise of modern Europe, with the:

These had no counterparts in China. Consequently by the 19th century, China had fallen behind and "underdeveloped" in material culture, technology, and economic/political organization. One reason for this was that Chinese leaders were devoted to tradition. Instead of the ideal of progress, Chinese Ming/Ching saw the ideal models far in the past. They turned back to the great age of the Han, Tang, and Song dynasties, coupled with resentment against the Mongols. Alien rule had inspired hostility toward alien things in general. This hardened into a lack of interest in anything beyond Chinese civilization and a growing introspection within Chinese life. The help produced a growing ethnocentrism.

This Chinese "culturalism" differed from modern nationalism, when nations assert their own distinctiveness and superiority since they fear political and cultural inundation by other groups. Chinese showed no feeling of cultural inferiority, but rather a complete confidence in their system. Likewise, nationalism is often asserted by a cultural subset of the people but the Chinese acted as a large ethnocentric universe, an administrative unit under a central government. This remarkable cohesiveness can't be attributable to geography alone since it would take 1 month for orders to cross the country. The Chinese state was the Chinese culture.

Founding of Ming: Rivalry within imperial clan developed. 15 years of famine in North China started in 1333. Also severe flooding of the Yellow occurred, decreasing grain supplies. In 1340 there were uprisings in every province. Secret societies develop which opposing ruling dynasty. The winner of Chu Yuan-chang (1328-1398), a commoner, who became "son of heaven". His band crossed the Yangtze in 1356 and seized Nanking. Mongols fought themselves. He seized Peking in 1368 but used Nanking as his capital. Proclaimed himself first emperor of Ming (Brilliant) Dynasty. The second strong rule moved capital back to Beijing in 1421. He rebuilt Peking on more extensive plan that did Mongols. Main city walls, 40 feet high, and 14 miles around, formed a square with nine gates, each one protected by an outer gate. In center stood the walls of the Imperial city, 5 miles in perimeter. Within it, were the high red walls of the Forbidden City, the imperial palace itself, surrounded by a moat about 2 miles in perimeter. Running S to N through the palace are throne halls with gold-titled roofs.

Ming Despotism: There were 17 Ming emperors, and a series of phases. The founding and consolidation were followed by expansion, gradual decline, a period of reform in the late 1500's and problems and the collapse in the 1600's. First Ming emperor Hung-wu, became cruel, paranoid. In 1380, he suppressed a plot, then abolished central administration organ of past dynasties. From then on, emperor rule was direct, personal, more autocratic.

Made use of Grand Secretaries, which became institutionalized, like a cabinet. One group that got power was the Eunuchs. Their influenced increased as subsequent emperors, who had Eunuchs as childhood companions, took power. Eunuchs lacked family loyalty and depended completely on their master eventually had great influence. Rule by emperor was arbitrary, as evident in corporeal punishment (against Confucian tradition).

Structure of Government: Ming emperors retained some structure of central government: a civil bureaucracy with 6 ministries (carry on government); a centralized military (keep regime in power); and a hierarchy of censors who investigate conduct of justice official, granaries, schools (i.e. kept watch on all). This was like 20th century China with the party, the army, and the government. China under the Ming had 15 provinces, which increased to 18 under the Ching)

Society and Culture: Ming wanted to return to pre-Mongol system of Tang and Sung, so built-up the exam system into levels:

Scholarship: During Ming, about 300 private academies for scholarly study, free tuition. In 1407 produce encyclopedia of Yung-Lo Period (11095 volumes), compiling all main work in history, government, ethics, etc. Li Shih Chen (xx) in 26 years compiled illustrated work with 2000 animal, plant, and mineral drugs and 8000 prescriptions. In 1578 describe smallpox inoculation. 200 years of domestic peace brought increased economic growth, farm production, population, trade, cities, educational opportunities.

Most influential Ming philosopher Wang Yang-Ming, who went past the orthodoxy of Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) and advocated spiritual enlightenment through meditation, self-exam, and ethical activism. Supported the School of Ming, which denied the dualism of Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) system, in which there was a sharp distinction between heaven and man and therefore between heavenly principles and human desire. He viewed both as part of a single realm, closer to Buddhism and Zen. Stressed meditation and intuitive knowledge. Instead of "extension of knowledge" achieved through investigation of things" (Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi)), revise to extension of intuitive knowledge achieved by investigation of ones own inner mind - the LI within oneself. Meditation led to enlightenment. In Confucian system, self-cultivation sought to eliminate desires, but only selfish desires so achieve harmony with others. Led Wang to stress "unity of knowledge and conduct". Wang said:

"Knowledge is the beginning of conduct; conduct is the completion of knowledge."

Foreign Relations: Anticommercialism - Hung-wu sent envoys to peripheral states. Relations with other states based on culturalism, not naturalism. China assumed that with respect to other states, they were the largest, oldest, their parents, and their source (an extension of the Confucian order). They were not aggressive or imperialistic. Had maritime expeditions from 1405-1433 to get states of S and SE Asia into tribute system. The first fleet that sailed had 62 vessels with 28,000 men, and reached India. The 4th fleet reached the Strait of Hormoz in the Persian Gulf. IN 1431-33 they reached the east cost of Africa. They sailed across the Indian ocean about 1000 years before the Portuguese did in 1498, and 1500 years before the Spanish armada. Some of their junks were 400 feet in length with 4 decks. Suddenly they stopped these voyages and never resumed them, probably because of their great cost.

Anti-Commercialism; Anti-Imperialism: Although they sailed 150 years before Sir Francis Drake set sail for Queen Elizabeth and started British colonialization, China never did. During the Ming, the Chinese empire was greater than all of Europe in size and volume of commerce, yet they never became a maritime power. By default, the East China sea and even the China coast became dominated by non-Chinese seafarers (Japanese, Portuguese, Spain, Dutch, followed by the British and then Americans) from which emerged imperialism of West. Ming received taxes from land taxes, not trade taxes. They did not join the great commercial revolution sweeping the world. Why:

End of Ming Rule: The end was associated with the same features that ended other dynasties: effete rulers, corruption and misuse of power, factional jealousy, fiscal bankruptcy, rise of rebellion, and foreign invasion. Late Emperors irresponsible and incompetent. Confucian resistance led by scholars. Condemnation of philosophical eclecticism that confuse Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Rebellion arose mostly from lack of government, inadequate taxes. There was a great famine in 1628. Bandits took Beijing in 1644. Really the dynasty was destroyed before invasion by barbarians.

CHING - QIN (1649-1911): Rise of Manchu dynasty began in 1600's contemporaneous with the American colonies, and lasted until 1911. Dominated by a social system that changed little. In the 18th century, its population and size was the largest yet, and it was extremely stable. The 19th century was a disaster. Manchus preside over Chinese state until the 1880's. They were very successful in maintaining traditional order but this probably contributed to its collapse since it could not well adapt to outside forces.

The Manchus had a powerful leader like Ghenghis Khan. Manchu rose to power on fringe of Chinese culture where they learned from the Mongols and from the Chinese without being subjugated. Southernmost Manchuria (North of the Korean peninsula) had been part of ancient China. But this region was unique since there were no natural barriers defending it from the North. However, it could be cut off from land contact with China by a mountain-sea pass, where the Great Wall meets the coast. It was a place where Chinese and were intermingled, and strong barbarians could country the agricultural Chinese population. Chinese defense was to establish Chinese political control over the tribes and rule with loose reins. This led to the creation of a Sinicized Manchu state.

Nurhachi (1559-1626) was founder of Manchu state. Father and grandfather killed in fights with Chinese. Developed an administrative system and writing system. Soon translations of Mencius and Confucius available in Manchuria. In 1616 he took the title of emperor from dynasty of 1122-1234. In 1618 he attacked the Ming. He died in 1626 but was followed in rule by sons and grandsons. Organized bureaucracy of govt. and military based on Chinese system, and recruited from Chinese in state, which at that time numbered about 3 million.

8th son, Abahai, soon used military to take over neighbors (Korea). Led expeditions through the Great Wall, and during this time renamed his dynasty of conquest the Ching. Key person in Manchu conquest of China in 1644 was Ming general, Wu San-kuei, native of southern Manchuria. A rebel Chinese leader was advancing toward Beijing, Instead of surrendering to him, he surrendered to the Manchus. The combined to defeat the rebel Chinese army and the Manchu conquest of China was effected. China fell to rebels (Manchurians) who had developed a rival regime outside of China, and not to rebels from within. Wu San Kuei helped install Manchu dynasty. Also took control of Taiwan for the first time in 1683. Ching worked to incorporate Mongols of Inner Mongolia then outer Mongolia and in the 18th century to protectorate over Tibet.

Manchu rule over China: How could the Manchus preserve themselves as a cohesive minority with control of power when they represented only 2% of the population? They build up own material resources to levels rivaling that of the ordinary state. The remainder of the Manchus were given land to till and were exempt for local jurisdiction. For all Manchus, there was a ban on engaging in trade or labor, intermarrying, or following Chinese customs. Traditional clan system was mandatory, and education in Manchu language required. On other hand, all Chinese were required to braid their hair in a queue and shave the rest of their hair to emulate the Manchu. (A symbol of submission). Remnants of the Ming military were absorbed into the police. The Manchu maintained their homeland as a separate base. Nevertheless Chinese culture overtook them. Manchus in China learned Chinese. Still how could a limited number of Manchu rule a people approximately 50 times as numerous? To this day, modern Chinese feel humiliated by this. Possible explanations:

They stated in power by becoming as Chinese as their subjects. Used military force in reserve, power exercised by the Son of Heaven, and supervision of Chinese collaborators in government. Said they came to suppress anti-Ming rebels. All important decisions made by the emperor. Recruited Chinese through exam system. One emperor, Kang-hsi (ruled from 1661-1722) selected top scholars to compile Ming History. Also compiled complete works of Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi), and a massive encyclopedia larger than the Britannica.

Culture in late Imperial China:

Scholars dealt with failure of Ming Rule and reemergence of Barbarian conquerors. Ku Yen-wu blame abstract philosophies of Neoconfucianism, especially of Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi), and its metaphysical branch of Wang Yang-Ming. Attach routine acceptance of preconceived ideas propagated through the classics and exam system. Advocate pursuit of knowledge practical to society by studying writings before the Song period. This brought with it inductive method through assembling evidence from broad range of sources and making hypotheses- called the method of empirical research. Textual criticism and analysis flourish. It, however, was not applied to natural science and technology. Likewise attack Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi)'s li and chi. Emperor dominated learned world and led literary inquisitions, suppressing many works that were anti-Ching.

Common people still used Taoism and Buddhism to explain the world, while family and village life still their focus. Painting a major avocation of cultured men (again show Taoist and Buddhist impact). In literature, broader public read romantic fiction, often written in Ming. One popular book was The Dream of the Red Chamber by Tsao Hsueh-chin.

Beginning of Decline: Bu 1800's three areas of decline: Military increasingly ineffective; political corruption; jobs pressure under great population growth. In military arena, many campaigns at periphery of empire were conducted which were very expensive. The White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1804) occurred in region between Han and Yangtze rivers gorges. Poor settlers had created communities in infertile mountain area. Little administration in area. White Lotus Society, a religious cult, made promise of restoration of Ming to area, along with personal salvation. Eventually Ching suppress with campaign of pursuit and extermination, but took significant time and cost. Before this popular uprising was area of domestic peace and prosperity, but large population rise. (142 million in 1741 to 432 million in 1851). In ancient and thickly populated agricultural state, hard to handle such a rise. These numbers are a bit suspect, but still reflect great increase in population. Accounted for by peace and increase in food supply. Decreased time of rice cultivation, and import of sweet potatoes, corn, tobacco, and peanuts of America occurred in late 16th or early 17th century. This growth in population not paralleled by growth in Ching administration.

Early Western Contact: To days of Marco Polo, China clearly much more advanced civilization. Consider the flow of ideas and goods and inventions that went from East to west. Material technology paralleled by primacy in bureaucratic government, painting, etc. First European explorers of China coast were Portuguese pirates, who arrived in 1514. Created island fortress outside Canton River mouth, hindering trade and flouting Chinese law. Expelled from Canton in 1522. Around 1580 got permission to base trade on small peninsula of Macao, which was walled off by the Chinese. Dutch took Malacca in 1641.

Both traders and evangelist had great impact on China, with later being more influential. Jesuit missionaries arrive during late Ming and early Ching. Greatest was Matteo Ricci (Li Ma-tou), who accommodated their message to Chinese customs. Adopted Confucian scholars gown, talk with scholars, demonstrating West devices like clocks. Became fluent in Mandarin and literate in the classics. Presented Christianity as system of wisdom and ethics like Han Confucianism. Established residence in Peking and soon had many converts, including ministers of state. Jesuits used Western knowledge of astronomy to help Chinese with calendars, etc. In last years of Ming, Jesuits had many converts among imperial family. A Western library of several 1000 volumes was brought in Peking, and additional works were produced on Christianity, astronomy, math, medicine, European govt., etc. Most famous convert, Hsu Kuang-chi (Paul Hsu) with Ricci completed translation of first 6 books of Euclid's geometry. After Manchu conquest, Jesuit mission in Peking reach height of importance and missionaries saw emperor almost daily.

The image of China in Europe (from the Jesuits) led to viewing China as example of an idealized ancient moral society independent of religion. But Jesuits also became Sinicized - i.e. made cultural accommodations. Christian faith adds to traditional Confucian practice - it completes it, while doing away with Buddhism. They attacked Taoism and Buddhism as idolatry, while rejecting Neoconfucianism. Some theologians thought Jesuits went to far in accepting Chinese practices which effectively destroyed traditional Christian monotheism. Although there were about 300,000 Christians, their leadership was split on this issue.

Confucian scholars were hostile to Christianity. They were skeptical about such issues as the divinity of Christ, and the virgin birth. Also, they culturally defended Chinese practice. Lead to persecution of Christians. Chinese viewed Christianity as secret cult with foreign connections, and hence subversive. A papal bull confirmed anti-Jesuit position in 1715. This affronted the emperor, who had worked with Jesuits and found the useful and reliable. In 1722, the emperor turned against the missionaries and began a suppression of Christianity. In 1742 another papal bull required (until changed in 1938) a strict oath of Catholic missionaries to forbid all Christian practice of the "rites and ceremonies of China".

Canton Trade: Hard to achieve stability through limited foreign contact at Canton (SE coast) especially when faced the more powerful European expansion led by the British East India Company (private yet had broad governmental powers). Built and armed outposts, and exercise legal authority over its countrymen. Developed navies and fleets of ships. Eventually had authority of both a merchant and governmental institution. It ruled India until the end of its charter in 1858. British factory or trading outpost established in Canton in 1699 and developed Canton system. All British business settled there, with trade centered on silks and teas. Both China and England wished to profit from it, but it soon outgrew the Chinese framework of the tribute system of business. Large junks (with crews of 180 carrying as much as 1000 tons) would travel between Canton and SE Asia - Malacca). Chinese administrate trade by forming merchant firms - hang, anglicized as hong - to be licensed brokers responsible for trade. Likewise, Europeans organize into merchant guilds - given a monopoly of Western trade. Foreign merchants kept outside the city walls of Canton to region called the 13 factories and their activities were highly regulated. More trade made it necessary to speak more pidgin (business English). Many British made great fortunes but learned little of Chinese culture. In 1784 Americans began to compete in Canton.