One thing that never change, all Chinese needs to make money, and lots of it
This is a discussion on How did China change in Culture, from Imperial era to today. within the Military History forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; I been reading Chinese history, the decline and fall of Qing dynasty, the warlord periods, Japan invasion, Civil war etc... ...
I been reading Chinese history, the decline and fall of Qing dynasty, the warlord periods, Japan invasion, Civil war etc... I am able to see chronologically how each event changed China to the modern day, but I am also curious culturally how has China changed during this period?
For example, what value did they emphasis in the past, and what do they emphasis now, and what traditions has been discarded, and what are some of the most important new lessons/cultures that they have adopted. And because of this, are the current Chinese culture more similar to Western culture now or still more resembles the traditional culture.
For example, I read that only until recently, woman have very low social status, and Chinese culture didn't really emphasis on teaching technology and science in school etc...
I would love for those of you that have some knowlege in this area to share, so I can get a better understand where will China be heading in the future and how it may contribute to the world culturally.
One thing that never change, all Chinese needs to make money, and lots of it
Here's an interesting paper about the development of Chinese scientific thought:
This is an interesting topic, and one I've pondered about myself as well.
First, we need to understand the sociopolitical climate of the late Qing era. China was defeated by the British in the Opium War, forced to cede Hong Kong; defeated by the Japanese in the Jiawu Battle and lost the entire Northern Fleet; its capital was sacked by the Eight Nations Alliance; forced into signing unequal treaties that granted foreigners extrajudicial rights; etc. etc.
The Chinese people, who had considered themselves the pinnacle of civilization at that moment, was now faced with the truth that they were now, in fact, a backwater society in danger of being left behind by the march of progress.
All this spurred Chinese intellectuals to look outside of China for social values. Sun Yat-sen brought back Republicanism, which eventually overthrew the Qing dynasty. This fundamentally changed the political culture of China: no longer would the Chinese accept an "Emperor" as their ruler. When Yuan Shikai tried to bring back imperialism and crown himself emperor, he was besieged by literally *everyone*. Yuan's faction was wiped out even though he had the strongest force at the time.
Another thing we need to understand is that feudal Chinese society was an *extremely* unequal society. Magistrates and Aristocrats could abuse peasants with impunity. Women had very little social status and were regarded as little higher than property for the men. Although the Republic of China ended imperial and aristocratic rule, many of the social inequalities remained. Although the Republic outlawed polygamy, this was rarely enforced. People still went on with a wife and one or more concubines. Other traditional practices, such as food binding, also continued.
Once the communists came into power, all that changed. Mao decreed that all backwater feudal practices were to be outlawed and severely punished. Most of the break from traditional practices came from the Mao era. He also declared that "women held up half the sky", and overnight, the women of China became equal to the men.
However, with the liberalization of the society that followed on the footsteps of the liberalization of the economy, traditional practices are returning to the Chinese society. Concubinage has again become a widespread practice, and much like it was during the feudal era, it is mostly practiced by the rich and powerful. Fortunately, gender equality does not seem to have suffered as a result.
Chinese society today is a place of contradictions. It is in constant flux, and has yet to find a balance between its traditional roots, and the empowerment of modernity. It remains to be seen what China will be like in the future.
China has had no permanent class of nobility like those in europe for geenrations.
its society was inherently more equal in that social mobility was restrict by birth.
a poor street peddeller who eventrually become rich, his sons could aspire to be a confucius gentlemen and examed into the civil service. therefore become the prime minister. ranked only next to emperor.
Manchu Qing's was a special abreation because of its inherent nobility and class structure.
also China during mid to late Qing dynasty was in a stagnant decline long before European kicked down china's door.
even during Qianlong's supposily golden reign. the productivity of the society stagnated.
during late song to early to late ming dynasty china was developing the early stages of capitalism. banking, proto mass manufacturing in urban areas espcially around souther chinese cities of Suzhou etc centered around textile.long range ocean borne trade... all these were in place.
what doom china in imho was the double blunting of Jin and Mongol wars and Manchus.
It is my opinion that if musket fire power were more developed Manchus woould never hada chance.
Yes, the rich have mistresses everywhere in the world. However, in China, it's not just the "rich". The practice of "xiao san" is widespread even among the upper-middle class.
Oh, it's not the same concubinage as from the "Old Society". For one thing, women are empowered now. They can enter or leave relationships of their own free will. However, the fact that polygyny is becoming ever more socially accepted does indicate a return to the "old" way of thinking. Already, we have wives who turn a blind eye to their husbands' affairs. How long before the wife accepts this enough to live under the same roof as the mistress?
You mentioned polygamy, are you saying these people now live together? Commonly occurring is not the same as acceptable. Turning a blind eye on it also does not equal to supporting it. The wife tolerating the husband having mistresses is also not limited to China. Should I remind you a lady called Hilary Clinton? That's different from polygamy, where a man living in the same house with his wives. All you have to do is to turn on a TV in the middle of the day and watch one of those day-time soaps and you'll see how kind of weird things going on...
And what is "Xiao San"?
Although I am really interested if there is any statistic on this, just how widespread this problem have gotten, and is there any government campaign try to stop this behavior etc..
Also I think, it goes a little haywire when a society first opens up. Just look at America in the 70's. All kinds of weird things happened. So whatever weird things are happening in China now will not be permanent.
---------- Post added at 03:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:07 PM ----------
This maybe consider one of the culture traditions that Chinese have gotten rid off from the past, or it maybe also coming back as well. Only time can tell.
---------- Post added at 03:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:20 PM ----------
Interesting, I see a lot of civilizations all around the world tries to adopt to this shock from the Western cultural invasion, would be interesting to see how China have tried to adopted to this, what exactly they learned from the West and how much have this new value replaced the old value, for example it appears that China is no longer an absolute monarchy system, but then again Mao governed China much like emperor himself, but the current leadership style is more consensus based, I wonder if this is going to be the new norm, or in the future if a strongman desires to take over, will the average Chinese accept him as an emperor style ruler.
As for the example of concubines culture, this is something that was discarded from the old days and then maybe getting accepted back again, because maybe the concept has not been totally erased, it was hidden behind people unconscious, and if this is so, I wonder what other traditions might be awaken again (good or bad).
And I think Woman’s equality is going to stay for good, because everyone can see how valuable woman can contribute to society if they are empowered, and this is not something that can go back again.
---------- Post added at 04:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:36 PM ----------
Anyway. When people have been oppressed for too long, more freedom and more wealth make people do all sorts of crazy stuff. Just like in the late 80's, people used to burn suitcases of money in public, just to show off how much money they had. Nobody does that anymore. The modern-day China is a lot like a teenager who is acting up. It will wear off.