China's historical grand strategy: defensive or offensive?


solarz

Brigadier
The one we know today started from the revolutionaries during the end of the Qing dynasty and yes Sun Zhongshan was one of them.

Can you elaborate on how the modern definition of "Han" is different from the meaning back in the beginning of the Qing dynasty, or even earlier on?
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.

The Han identity was definitely NOT created by Westerners. It is a firmly entrenched identity dating back to the Zhou dynasty (when it was called Huaxia instead of Han).

Now, over the millenia, the Huaxia/Han culture absorbed many other ethnic groups: Turks, Xianbei, Khitan, Manchu, etc.

The problem with Westerners is that they do not understand the difference between "Han" and "Chinese". That's why they say things like Yuan was a foreign dynasty, or that Liao was not Chinese.

Well, actually you've explained it perfectly. I'm specifically talking about the identity vs. "ethnicity". Westerners have tried to make it into the latter, when in Chinese history as I always understood it, was the former.
 

LawLeadsToPeace

Junior Member
Registered Member
Can you elaborate on how the modern definition of "Han" is different from the meaning back in the beginning of the Qing dynasty, or even earlier on?
The issue with the modern definition is that it more or less is based on the the Western view of the Han ethnic group. To the West, people who are Han are ONLY people from the Yellow River basin and have last names like Li and Liu, but that doesnt make sense since Chinese history just breaks that definition. The Yuan, Qing, Five Barbarians and Sixteen Kingdoms, and other eras prove that the Han definition is basically what you said. The Song tried to pull basically the Western version of Han before the West even thought about it and failed. If I remember correctly, Taiwan still uses the revolutionary version of Han or some sort of derivative that is much more exclusive than the historical one.
 

Hendrik_2000

Lieutenant General
Interesting paper and DNA study of Vanuatu people. turn out all the people from western pacific all the way to Hawaii are descendant from Nan man But how come the Melanesian does not look anything like East Asian Well turn out there are mixing with the papuan and depending on the ratio of mixing some look like Papuan, some like Polynesian(Hawaii, Tahiti, etc) look more like East Asian interesting. But the language and culture following the Nanman or Austronesian
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Where Did We Come From? The Origins Of The Ni-Vanuatu
  • By Matthew Spriggs
  • Oct 17, 2020
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Map showing the two earliest migrations to Vanuatu. The first, starting on the southern Chinese mainland 5000 years years ago reached Vanuatu 3000 years ago (3000BP). The second from New Britain occurred sometime between 2800 and 2400 years ago. The third migrations from Polynesia within the last 1000 years are not shown. The inset shows the proportions of East Asian (red) and New Britain Papuan (blue) ancestry in Vanuatu skeletons of different ages. From Lipson et al. 2018 in Current Biology.



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Graph to show the mixing (admixture) between East Asians (Green) and New Britain Papuans (Blue) in various populations. Solomon Islands Papuan is pink, New Guinea Highlands Papuan is black. The Kankaneay are a Philippines people and the Atayal are a tribe of Indigenous Taiwanese. From Lipson et al. 2020, published yesterday in Current Biology.


Distribution of the Lapita culture across the Western Pacific. The earliest sites are in the Bismarck Archipelago. Map by Stuart Bedford.

Burial 10 at Teouma Lapita cemetery on Efate showing three skulls and a jaw placed on the skeleton's chest. The skull to the left and the one to the right were analysed in the new study and are almost exclusively East Asian in ancestry. Photo by Matthew Spriggs.
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Most of us in Vanuatu know that the first people to arrive here were the ‘Lapita people’ some 3000 years ago. Before then the islands and plants and animals were here, but no people. But where did these Lapita people come from? And are Ni-Vanuatu their descendants?
Archaeologists, such as those of us at the Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta (VKS) and The Australian National University (ANU), have tried to answer the question often asked in the villages and nakamals when people find out who we are: “Where do we come from?”. We used to reply by talking about the very distinctive Lapita pottery decorations and their distribution in the Pacific with a trail back towards Island Southeast Asia where somewhat similar pottery is

It is no coincidence that both the first people to reach Vanuatu in early Lapita times and then the second group of New Britain Papuans both set off from the New Britain area, often called ‘The Lapita Homeland’. The Papuans were probably travelling on Lapita canoes or at least following the same known trade routes avoiding the Solomon Islands to reach Vanuatu directly. Over time the two groups inter-married and the descendants of this mixing are most Ni-Vanuatu of today, although the Papuan genetic ancestry is very much the dominant one. Ni-Vanuatu share 74 to 92 per cent of their genetic inheritance with New Britain Papuans, and only 8-24 per cent with those early Lapita individuals. But the New Britain Papuans were most likely Lapita people too, in the sense that they seem to have adopted Lapita culture and Austronesian languages on New Britain before they ever reached Vanuatu between about 2800 and 2400 years ago.
 

nlalyst

Junior Member
Registered Member
The issue with the modern definition is that it more or less is based on the the Western view of the Han ethnic group. To the West, people who are Han are ONLY people from the Yellow River basin and have last names like Li and Liu, but that doesnt make sense since Chinese history just breaks that definition. The Yuan, Qing, Five Barbarians and Sixteen Kingdoms, and other eras prove that the Han definition is basically what you said. The Song tried to pull basically the Western version of Han before the West even thought about it and failed. If I remember correctly, Taiwan still uses the revolutionary version of Han or some sort of derivative that is much more exclusive than the historical one.

As a westerner, I cannot agree with this. I think you have it the other way around. Until the late 19th century, Chinese thinkers saw themselves and those around them largely in cultural terms. They themselves were the "inner, civilized" people originating from the Central Plain of north China who called themselves Hua. The others were various "outer, barbarian" people. It was only under the pressure of foreign imperialism that the Chinese scholars and officials were compelled to start of thinking of their country no longer as a cultural sphere, but rather in political and geographic terms as a nation-state. It was principally Liang Qichao who was responsible for the redefinition of China from a civilization (actually the only civilization!) to a territorial state (among many).

The Western take on the Han is based largely on their experience with the Qing multi-ethnic empire, that was divided into several regions, of which Han populated China was one. The other 4 regions were Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan and Tibet. All inhabitants of these regions owed equal but separate obeisance to the emperor, which was evident from the fact that they were administered separately. Whereas the Han were governed by the civil bureaucracy and the Manchus (really all the banner-people) by the Eight Banners, the Mongols, Muslims and Tibetans were subject to the Court of Colonial Affairs.

It is interesting to remember that the early republican revolutionaries saw China as land belonging to the Han people, in other words China proper where nearly all residents were Han. The Manchus had no place in this China, and were to be expelled. They echoed the old revolutionary slogan of "Oppose Qing and restore Ming". As Zhang Binglin intimated, the appropriate refuge for the Manchus was Manchuria, their ancestral homeland, where they could create a nation-state of their own. The Japanese later tried to make that a reality.

The PRC engaged in Stalinist inspired social engineering, proclaimed itself a multi-ethnic state and exploded the originally 5 officially recognized ethnic groups into 56. The Muslims alone were split into 10 different groups, and the term "Hui" came to be reserved for the Chinese-speaking Muslims. On the other hand, the Han underwent a minimal subdivision even though distinct groups such as Hakka and the Subei people could arguably have qualified as ethnic groups. Interestingly, the Manchus too exploded. What used to be one people in the early Republic, became six: Xibe, Daur, Evenki, Oroqen, Hezhe and the Manchu.
 
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LawLeadsToPeace

Junior Member
Registered Member
As a westerner, I cannot agree with this. I think you have it the other way around. Until the late 19th century, Chinese thinkers saw themselves and those around them largely in cultural terms. They themselves were the "inner, civilized" people originating from the Central Plain of north China who called themselves Hua. The others were various "outer, barbarian" people. It was only under the pressure of foreign imperialism that the Chinese scholars and officials were compelled to start of thinking of their country no longer as a cultural sphere, but rather in political and geographic terms as a nation-state. It was principally Liang Qichao who was responsible for the redefinition of China from a civilization (actually the only civilization!) to a territorial state (among many). The Western take on the Han is based largely on their experience with the Qing multi-ethnic empire, that was divided into several regions, of which Han populated China was one. The other 4 regions were Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan and Tibet.

Agreed. When I wrote that post, I realized that it wasn't specific enough. Unfortunately, the "edit" time period expired, so the post couldn't be edited. What I meant was that the current view of "Han" (or as I vaguely wrote, "Western view") is based on Western concepts, such as race, that were utilized by Chinese thinkers, like the ones you mentioned, to push for a "Han" homeland. This view is also accepted by Westerners who utilize that to claim that China was ruled by "foreigners" such as the Manchus and Mongols. What I was saying was that such a view of "Han" is incorrect since multiple dynasties and states were led by "non-Han" who accepted Han culture as evidenced by literary works, compilation of historical records, language adoption, and more. So, technically speaking, those rulers and descendants are both Han and whatever culture they were born in. This view contradicts the contemporary perspective and is more or less based on a pre-Song era. Like I said, the Song tried to claim that only they are Han and will not accept anyone else, and it was kept by people who lived in the central plains. It is kind of similar to how white supremacists say that the US is only for whites and developed by whites despite the fact that other races contributed heavily to the US's development.
All inhabitants of these regions owed equal but separate obeisance to the emperor, which was evident from the fact that they were administered separately. Whereas the Han were governed by the civil bureaucracy and the Manchus (really all the banner-people) by the Eight Banners, the Mongols, Muslims and Tibetans were subject to the Court of Colonial Affairs. It is interesting to remember that the early republican revolutionaries saw China as land belonging to the Han people, in other words China proper where nearly all residents were Han. The Manchus had no place in this China, and were to be expelled. They echoed the old revolutionary slogan of "Oppose Qing and restore Ming". As Zhang Binglin intimated, the appropriate refuge for the Manchus was Manchuria, their ancestral homeland, where they could create a nation-state of their own. The Japanese later tried to make that a reality
No disagreement here.
The PRC engaged in Stalinist inspired social engineering, proclaimed itself a multi-ethnic state and exploded the originally 5 officially recognized ethnic groups into 56. The Muslims alone were split into 10 different groups, and the term "Hui" came to be reserved for the Chinese-speaking Muslims. On the other hand, the Han underwent a minimal subdivision even though distinct groups such as Hakka and the Subei people could arguably have qualified as ethnic groups. Interestingly, the Manchus too exploded. What used to be one people in the early Republic, became six: Xibe, Daur, Evenki, Oroqen, Hezhe and the Manchu.
Interesting. I'll have to look deeper into that.
 

solarz

Brigadier
It is interesting to remember that the early republican revolutionaries saw China as land belonging to the Han people, in other words China proper where nearly all residents were Han. The Manchus had no place in this China, and were to be expelled. They echoed the old revolutionary slogan of "Oppose Qing and restore Ming". As Zhang Binglin intimated, the appropriate refuge for the Manchus was Manchuria, their ancestral homeland, where they could create a nation-state of their own. The Japanese later tried to make that a reality.

The PRC engaged in Stalinist inspired social engineering, proclaimed itself a multi-ethnic state and exploded the originally 5 officially recognized ethnic groups into 56. The Muslims alone were split into 10 different groups, and the term "Hui" came to be reserved for the Chinese-speaking Muslims. On the other hand, the Han underwent a minimal subdivision even though distinct groups such as Hakka and the Subei people could arguably have qualified as ethnic groups. Interestingly, the Manchus too exploded. What used to be one people in the early Republic, became six: Xibe, Daur, Evenki, Oroqen, Hezhe and the Manchu.

Sun Zhongshan was trying to drum anti-Qing support by playing the race card. He can be shameless like that, despite his accomplishments.

Anyway, it's clear by the time the ROC was established, that the new republic was keen on controlling every part of the territory it self-proclaimingly inherited from the Qing dynasty. Sun was never more than a figurehead in the ROC, and I doubt even he still subscribed to the Han supremacy idea in his latter days.

The PRC didn't need to "proclaim itself a multi-ethnic state". It simply *was* a multi-ethnic state. In fact, China has always been a multi-ethnic state. The Qing dynasty especially played up the multi-ethnic part because it was ruled by an ethnic minority.

As for the Muslims being "split up", you realize that the word "Muslim" is not an ethnic group, right? Chinese Muslims have always spanned multiple ethnic groups, and you have it backwards on the Hui: they are actually Muslim Han, so the Han did go through a major division contrary to what you claim. As for the Hakka, maybe you should ask them whether they are Han or not? I believe @Gatekeeper and a few other forumites have Hakka ancestry.

As for the "Subei people", if you're referring to 苏北人, then I don't know what the hell you're smoking. My father's entire family comes from 苏北, and I've never in my whole life heard anything about us being distinct from other Han Chinese.
 

PiSigma

"the engineer"
As a westerner, I cannot agree with this. I think you have it the other way around. Until the late 19th century, Chinese thinkers saw themselves and those around them largely in cultural terms. They themselves were the "inner, civilized" people originating from the Central Plain of north China who called themselves Hua. The others were various "outer, barbarian" people. It was only under the pressure of foreign imperialism that the Chinese scholars and officials were compelled to start of thinking of their country no longer as a cultural sphere, but rather in political and geographic terms as a nation-state. It was principally Liang Qichao who was responsible for the redefinition of China from a civilization (actually the only civilization!) to a territorial state (among many).

The Western take on the Han is based largely on their experience with the Qing multi-ethnic empire, that was divided into several regions, of which Han populated China was one. The other 4 regions were Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan and Tibet. All inhabitants of these regions owed equal but separate obeisance to the emperor, which was evident from the fact that they were administered separately. Whereas the Han were governed by the civil bureaucracy and the Manchus (really all the banner-people) by the Eight Banners, the Mongols, Muslims and Tibetans were subject to the Court of Colonial Affairs.

It is interesting to remember that the early republican revolutionaries saw China as land belonging to the Han people, in other words China proper where nearly all residents were Han. The Manchus had no place in this China, and were to be expelled. They echoed the old revolutionary slogan of "Oppose Qing and restore Ming". As Zhang Binglin intimated, the appropriate refuge for the Manchus was Manchuria, their ancestral homeland, where they could create a nation-state of their own. The Japanese later tried to make that a reality.

The PRC engaged in Stalinist inspired social engineering, proclaimed itself a multi-ethnic state and exploded the originally 5 officially recognized ethnic groups into 56. The Muslims alone were split into 10 different groups, and the term "Hui" came to be reserved for the Chinese-speaking Muslims. On the other hand, the Han underwent a minimal subdivision even though distinct groups such as Hakka and the Subei people could arguably have qualified as ethnic groups. Interestingly, the Manchus too exploded. What used to be one people in the early Republic, became six: Xibe, Daur, Evenki, Oroqen, Hezhe and the Manchu.
I'm actually part Manchu and mongol, and pretty much what you wrote is wrong.

Muslim is not a ethnic group in china and never has been. It wasn't a distinct group in Tang, Song etc up to now. Historically anyone who people thought were Muslim were called Hui, so ethnically could be Han, Miao, Uyghur, mongol etc. But before the religious identification, it was the ethnic identification. Zheng he is consider han Chinese, but he is also a Muslim. Chinese people just don't care about religion like the other civilizations. Jews are also called Hui btw, because Jew = Muslim in Chinese eyes before.

The manchu clans are a little more complex. It was originally the Late Jin, so basically nomads from NE China that settles in North China during Song that got conquered by mongol and went to NE China again. Remember that the people and territory or Late Jin (Manchu) was established out of Ming territory. When the group went from Jin to Qing, most people are basically Han (Ming subjects) that just happen to live in NE China (what you call Manchuria). Ethnically these people are no different from the other Han Chinese, because of large intermarriage during the Liao/Jin periods of northern China. Then more migration during Ming. All those groups like the Khaitan for Liao were absorbed into the manchu identity like the han. And Xibe etc are also absorbed. None of these ethnic identifiers meant anything anymore.
 

nlalyst

Junior Member
Registered Member
Agreed. When I wrote that post, I realized that it wasn't specific enough. Unfortunately, the "edit" time period expired, so the post couldn't be edited. What I meant was that the current view of "Han" (or as I vaguely wrote, "Western view") is based on Western concepts, such as race, that were utilized by Chinese thinkers, like the ones you mentioned, to push for a "Han" homeland.
Sure, but it should be pointed out that many nationalist ideas propagated by the republican revolutionaries were actually imported from Japan, including the minzu concept.

As for the Muslims being "split up", you realize that the word "Muslim" is not an ethnic group, right? Chinese Muslims have always spanned multiple ethnic groups, and you have it backwards on the Hui: they are actually Muslim Han, so the Han did go through a major division contrary to what you claim. As for the Hakka, maybe you should ask them whether they are Han or not? I believe @Gatekeeper and a few other forumites have Hakka ancestry.
The "split up" as in from the 5 ethnic groups in Qing and early republican China (5 races under one union) to 56 in the PRC. The Hui was historically used to refer to Muslim Turkic people in Western China. You know this.
As for the "Subei people", if you're referring to 苏北人, then I don't know what the hell you're smoking. My father's entire family comes from 苏北, and I've never in my whole life heard anything about us being distinct from other Han Chinese.
The definition of who is Han changed from early republican China to the PRC and a group that identified themselves as Han got excluded in the PRC. But for the life of me, I cannot recall which one right now. The distinction was supposed to be based on the Stalinist definition of nationality or ethnic group, but it was rather liberally applied.According to this definition, a nationality was supposed to have the four following characteristics in common: language, territory, economic life, and mindset or culture. By the 1950s, most Manchus would have hardly qualified as a separate ethnic group according to the above. Very few were still able to speak or read the Manchu language, nor where they geographically concentrated in any one area.

That was in no small degree due to the rampant ethnic discrimination against banner people in the Republic of China. A large number of Bannermen adopted Han style surnames in the early republican period to escape discrimination. They even stopped observing their Manchu customs and stopped wearing their traditional dresses. Because a large number of Manchu men fell into destitute poverty and were unable to attract marriageable partners many Manchu women ended up marrying Han men. The Nationalist actually went much further than the early republicans: they denied that Manchus constituted a separate ethnic group and asserted that China was ethnically homogeneous. Sun Yat-Sen's Nationalism was only to be achieved by the creation of a new Chinese ethnic group (Zhonghua minzu). Modeled on American ethnicity, this Chinese ethnicity was to take the Han people (Hanzu) as the core and have the other four peoples (Manchus, Mongols, Muslims and Tibetans) all assimilate to them. For example this is why Lao She did not acknowledge his Manchu ancestry during that time. In the census taken in 1953, just 2.5 million people identified as Manchu, which is half the estimated banner people in late Qing.
 
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nlalyst

Junior Member
Registered Member
The PRC didn't need to "proclaim itself a multi-ethnic state". It simply *was* a multi-ethnic state. In fact, China has always been a multi-ethnic state. The Qing dynasty especially played up the multi-ethnic part because it was ruled by an ethnic minority.
I wrote that in contrast to Nationalist China. As I explained above, the Nationalists asserted that China had but one ethnic group, which was essentially the Han. No matter that the reality painted a different picture. That was just a temporary inconvenience. Take a look at what Chiang Kai-Shek wrote in his China's Destiny.

I'm actually part Manchu and mongol, and pretty much what you wrote is wrong.

Muslim is not a ethnic group in china and never has been. It wasn't a distinct group in Tang, Song etc up to now. Historically anyone who people thought were Muslim were called Hui, so ethnically could be Han, Miao, Uyghur, mongol etc. But before the religious identification, it was the ethnic identification. Zheng he is consider han Chinese, but he is also a Muslim. Chinese people just don't care about religion like the other civilizations. Jews are also called Hui btw, because Jew = Muslim in Chinese eyes before.
Then my English translation must be wrong? The "muslim" was in reference to the 5 races under one union from the early republic, which in turn was largely based on the Qing division of their multi-ethnic empire into five people.

As I understand it, the Manchu were really all the bannermen (of the 24 banners) in Qing era, an occupational caste and not an ethnicity in modern usage. In addition to the 8 "Manchu banners", they also included the 16 made up of Mongol and Hanjun banners. In the strict sense, the "true Manchus" would've been only the Old Manchu banners that Hong Taiji named Manju, and from whom all the emperors descended.
 
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