China's historical grand strategy: defensive or offensive?


Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
I was drawing logical conclusions from your definition of "China". First you said that "China" meant the entire known civilized world, but now you are saying that this doesn't include Japan. OK!

Would you agree that the Ming dynasty invaded and occupied northern Vietnam in the 15th century? Or does that too qualify as non-aggression?
More like quelling rebellion Vietnam was under Chinese rule for thousand of years literally
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Vietnam under Chinese rule or Bắc thuộc (北屬, which is translated to 'belonging to the north' in Vietnamese),
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
is used by Vietnamese historians to describe the period when today's northern Vietnam was under
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
rule. "Bắc thuộc" is considered to begin in 111 BC, when the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
conquered
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
(Chinese influence in the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
had begun centuries earlier) and lasted until the fall of the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
during the 10th century.
 

solarz

Brigadier
I was drawing logical conclusions from your definition of "China". First you said that "China" meant the entire known civilized world, but now you are saying that this doesn't include Japan. OK!

Would you agree that the Ming dynasty invaded and occupied northern Vietnam in the 15th century? Or does that too qualify as non-aggression?
LOL, you really have no clue right?

Annam was a tributary state of Ming under the Tran dynasty. A court minister named Ho usurped the throne and massacred the Tran family. He then sent false missives to the Ming Emperor claiming the Tran dynasty had no heirs and asking to be formally recognized as king of Annam. Ming granted his request, but then survivors of the Tran dynasty came to Ming to plead for help restoring their throne. The Ming Emperor sent a small force to escort the Tran Prince back to Annam, but Ho ambushed them and killed everyone.

This act was the trigger that launched the Ming invasion of Annam. As the tributary protector of Annam, Ming had the duty to help its vassal. Ming's mistake was in after deposing the Ho dynasty and failing to find suitable a replacement ruler, they decided to install a direct governorship.
 

Max Demian

Junior Member
Registered Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #73
Indeed, the Ming initialy intervened in name of a just and benevolent cause, supporting the Confucian Pacifism hypothesis. However, this intention was betrayed when it decided to annex Vietnam. Therefore, it acted as an aggressor.

This what the book has to say on the subject:

According to Confucianism, once the political objective of a righteous war is accomplished, the invading forces should withdraw. Before sending out the mass army, the Chinese emperor declared that he would withdraw his forces once a new ruler was installed in Vietnam. Now that the Ming had occupied the country, however, its war aim expanded from punitive expedition to conquest. At the suggestion of Ming commander Zhang Fu, who argued that Vietnam had been a part of China since ancient times and would like to become a Chinese territory again, Emperor Yongle went ahead and annexed Vietnam as a Chinese province, establishing an administrative structure akin to inland provinces such as Guangxi and Yunnan. Attempts were made to assimilate the Vietnamese. The new province was named Jiaozhi, Vietnam’s ancient name in the Tang dynasty.

The conquest of Vietnam paid off handsomely. As a result of the war, Ming China obtained 13.6 million piculs of grain, 230,590 elephants, horses and cattle, 8,677 ships, and 2.5 million military weapons. Ming records show that Vietnam had a population of about 3,120,000 and an unsinicized tribal population (manren) of 2,087,500. 39 The acquired grains were substantial, almost equal to the amount of grain (14.4 million piculs) produced by Ming military colonies in 1407.

Vietnam proved to be a hard place to administer. The Chinese conquest “ignored the strength of the historical traditions of Vietnamese independence and their hostility toward Chinese overlordship.” The Vietnamese resented Chinese rule and rebellions soon followed. At first, the Ming was able to subdue these rebellions by its preponderant military might; twice between 1408 and 1413, it sent armies to crush the insurrections. Vietnamese resistance notwithstanding, China was able to keep the territory for about two decades as a province. Nevertheless, constant rebellions developed into a financial and military burden on Ming resources. The costs of administering the new
territory soared. One commander reported in 1421 that the Chinese armies in Vietnam suffered from the problem of insufficient supplies and that the hit-and-run tactics of the Vietnamese guerrillas had made it increasingly difficult to maintain Chinese positions there. The pressure to withdraw began to build up.

Zhang Fu, the commander who conquered Vietnam in 1407, insisted on continuing the occupation: “Our officers and men have endured years of hardship to conquer [Vietnam]. This petition is a ruse by Le Loi. We should send more troops to wipe out the rebels.” Jian Yi and Xia Yuanji repeated their previous view that withdrawal would reveal Chinese weakness to the world. On the other hand, Yang Rong highlighted the strain of war and urged acceptance of Le Loi’s peace proposal: “We may turn disaster into good fortune. The suggestion to send in more troops should not be adopted.” Yang Shiqi suggested that the original plan of Emperor Yongle was not to annex Vietnam as a province, but to restore the Tran throne. The next day, the Chinese emperor announced his decision to withdraw from Vietnam.

The initial Vietnam campaign supports the just war theory of Confucian pacifism, but the subsequent conquest refutes it. Le Qui-Ly’s usurpation of the throne and his deception of the Ming court provided a just cause for China, the suzerain of the tribute system, to send an expeditionary force to restore the Tran house. But the Ming decision to annex Vietnam violated the Confucian principle. Our case study shows that the Ming war-aim expansion and the reluctant withdrawal from Vietnam support the power-based explanation of structural realism. Without military and systemic constraint, the Ming took advantage of the opportunity to increase power. However, the high cost of continuing the occupation finally compelled the Ming to withdraw from Vietnam. The Confucian precept of withdrawing after a righteous war
offered a good face-saving justification, although it was already twenty years later. Emperor Xuande and the two Yangs all cited historical precedents in accordance with this Confucian principle. The fundamental cause of withdrawal, however, was the enormous financial burden and Chinese inability to suppress Vietnamese insurgences. Ming China weighed the costs and benefits of conducting further military campaigns and concluded that the costs outweighed the benefits
 
Last edited:

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Another dribble from revisionist western historian that like to bad mouth anything Chinese The Ming withdrawn because that is the right thing to do Since the original mission was to restore the Tranh dynasty.

Plus Vietnam is at the periphery of the empire and has no natural advantage for China other than swamp. China did the same thing with Vietnam in 1988 or India 1962. They did the wise thing unlike you know who Why waste state treasury for vainglorious pursuit!
War for no good cause can only lead to ruin Pick your fight carefully. China did fight the Japanese and forced them to withdrawn for Korean peninsula guaranteeing their independent at huge cost that eventually lead to the Ming demise Did they stay in Korea afterward NO NO. All they require is Korean to show their gratitude which the Korean did even named their country small Ming and offer festivals to commemorate joint effort in beating Hideyoshi until modern time The modern young Korean like to dismissed China sacrifice and attribute their win only to Korean effort another revisionist history But the annals of Joseon tell different story
 
Last edited:

solarz

Brigadier
All nations have the right to defend its interests. Just because China historically ascribed to Confucianism does not rob them of that right. Christianity says "Thou shalt not murder" in its ten commandments, yet the Europeans have never refrained from killing and pillaging for their own profit. Why does this so-called "historian" feel the need to construct such an elaborate double-standard straw man?

What's more, the examples @Max Demian presents are laughably ridiculous. Attempting to paint the Song campaigns to reclaim the Sixteen Prefectures as "aggression", when those lands had been historically Han lands and were a vital part of the Great Wall, you know the fortification that was built by the First Emperor?

Then there's the narrative gymnastic (and a charade of historical analysis) attempting to paint Ming governorship of Annam as "aggression" when the author himself admits that the Ming military campaign was legitimate. What would have been the result of a Ming withdrawal without establishing a working government in Annam? One only needs to look at current day Iraq to see the answer! The only thing Ming was guilty of was failing to properly administer the region, leading to mounting insurrections, but this has nothing to do with the fact that Ming had every right and duty to mount that military expedition in the first place!
 

montyp165

Junior Member
The sole purpose of this thread by the OP is to accuse China of being a military aggressor that deserves destruction, and del
All nations have the right to defend its interests. Just because China historically ascribed to Confucianism does not rob them of that right. Christianity says "Thou shalt not murder" in its ten commandments, yet the Europeans have never refrained from killing and pillaging for their own profit. Why does this so-called "historian" feel the need to construct such an elaborate double-standard straw man?

What's more, the examples @Max Demian presents are laughably ridiculous. Attempting to paint the Song campaigns to reclaim the Sixteen Prefectures as "aggression", when those lands had been historically Han lands and were a vital part of the Great Wall, you know the fortification that was built by the First Emperor?

Then there's the narrative gymnastic (and a charade of historical analysis) attempting to paint Ming governorship of Annam as "aggression" when the author himself admits that the Ming military campaign was legitimate. What would have been the result of a Ming withdrawal without establishing a working government in Annam? One only needs to look at current day Iraq to see the answer! The only thing Ming was guilty of was failing to properly administer the region, leading to mounting insurrections, but this has nothing to do with the fact that Ming had every right and duty to mount that military expedition in the first place!
I for one do not trust the OP's intentions whatsover regarding the purpose of this thread from the get-go, as it seems far more an exercise in finding things to fit his preconceptions than any interest in truth.
 

solarz

Brigadier
The sole purpose of this thread by the OP is to accuse China of being a military aggressor that deserves destruction, and del


I for one do not trust the OP's intentions whatsover regarding the purpose of this thread from the get-go, as it seems far more an exercise in finding things to fit his preconceptions than any interest in truth.
Pretty much, this is the same guy that said China was the aggressor in the Korean War.
 

Phead128

Junior Member
I was drawing logical conclusions from your definition of "China". First you said that "China" meant the entire known civilized world, but now you are saying that this doesn't include Japan. OK!

Would you agree that the Ming dynasty invaded and occupied northern Vietnam in the 15th century? Or does that too qualify as non-aggression?
Bro, Vietnam was a Chinese province for over 1,049 years, longer than most European nations existence.

You really don't know Chinese history do you? The assimilation of Viets were so thorough, the Vietnamese Emperor
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
was referring to his subjects as "Han" people as late as the 1800's.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
 
Last edited:

Max Demian

Junior Member
Registered Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #79
The author of the book is not alone in observing that Ming annexed the territory of the defeated Ho dynasty, converted it into a Ming province and gave it the old name Jiaozhi.The English, French, Korean and Vietnamese Wikipedia entries are all in agreement on this:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. There is also this:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Yongle emperor's order to the invading army in 1406:
"Once our army enters Annam, except Buddhist and Taoist text; all books and notes, including folklore and children book, should be burnt. The stelae erected by China should be protected carefully, while those erected by Annam, should be completely annihilated. Do not spare even one character."

We can also read the following:
After the annexation of Đại Ngu into Ming territory, the Ming government imposed cultural regulations and enforced Han culture onto the Vietnamese natives. Men were to keep their hair long, as per Confucian teachings
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, instead of the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
of previous
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
and
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Dynasties. Women were also prohibited from practicing
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Ming administrators said their mission was to civilize the unorthodox Vietnamese barbarians.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
A royal edict was issued by Vietnam in 1474 forbidding Vietnamese from adopting foreign languages, hairstyles and clothes like that of the Lao, Champa or the "Northerners" which referred to the Ming. The edict was recorded in the 1479
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
of
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
.
 

Max Demian

Junior Member
Registered Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #80
Let's see what another book, "A history of China" by John Keay has to say on the issue of the invasion of Annam by Ming:

Like the Zheng He voyages, the early Ming misadventure in Vietnam is something of a mystery. While in the far north of China there were pressing reasons for intervening in Mongolia, in the far south the mainland kingdoms of south-east Asia neither posed a threat nor offered much advantage. Historically the Red River region had served China as a place of exile and a source of fragrances, iridescent feathers and incessant revolt. Its climate was reckoned lethal and its people ungovernable. With a dangling configuration like that of a seine net, Vietnam already seemed to exist for the sole purpose of ensnaring great powers. Sensibly the Hongwu emperor (Zhu Yuanzhang) had declared it off- limits to the Ming. In a set of ‘ancestral injunctions’ designed to govern the conduct of his successors – and often discomfit them – the Ming founder had included a list of countries that were not to be invaded. Annam, as most of Vietnam was then known, was the first on the list, followed by Champa and eventually Cambodia, which together shared the Mekong delta and its adjacent coastline. But the Yongle emperor chose to ignore this injunction. As proclaimed in Zheng He’s Changle inscription, he aspired to ‘surpass the Han and the Tang’. To an emperor who, by ousting his Jianwen nephew, had effectively usurped the imperial throne, there could be no clearer proof of Heaven’s approval and his own legitimacy than successfully recreating the greatest empires of the past; and since those of Han and Tang had embraced the Red River flood plain and extended down Annam’s coastal panhandle, so must his. But by now Annam had been independent under its native Tran dynasty for around four hundred years. It had acknowledged Song suzerainty at its own convenience and Yuan supremacy only under duress. During the Ming Hongwu and Jianwen reigns it had been largely ignored; and it could have been by the Yongle emperor. When in 1404 he was misled into recognising a rebellious pretender as the ruler of Annam, when in 1405 he corrected his mistake by recognising a supposed Tran descendant, and when in 1406 this claimant and his Ming escort were slaughtered the moment they set foot in Annam, the emperor might still have cited his father’s injunction and backed off. Instead he sent an army of 215,000 to invade. Worse still, in 1407, after a comprehensive victory, he annexed Annam, renaming it the Ming province of Jiaozhi. This is what it had been called under the Han, and now as then the Annamese proved anything but agreeable. Drawing on cherished memories of the Trung sisters, those indomitable Boadiceas who had defied the armies of the Later Han, they found inspirational leadership in members of the Tran and Le clans, plus a spirit of unquenchable resistance that freedom fighters of a later age would recognise as pristine nationalism. The hostilities that followed lasted twenty years. Thrice the country was thought pacified and thrice revolt broke out anew. The Ming forces seldom lost a battle; the Vietnamese never gave up the fight. By land and sea, more and more troops and supplies went south, but it made no difference. Terrain and climate weakened the invader and favoured the guerrilla tactics of the invaded. By the mid-1420s the Vietnamese resistance enjoyed almost universal support under the great Le Loi, a patriot who would one day inspire the young Nguyen Ai Quoc, otherwise Ho Chi Minh. (But the twentieth-century parallels are too numerous for mention.) Ming forces won no hearts and Ming administrators eased no minds. Champa, the Ming support base and ally in the south, became thoroughly disillusioned. And by 1423 a face-saving disengagement was already under consideration in Beijing. It had been the most comprehensive military failure in the history of the early Ming. Disengagement was not completed until 1427, four years and two emperors after the Yongle emperor’s death; and relations were not formally regularised until ten years, and two more emperors, later.

It is quite disingenuous to laugh at the American failings in Vietnam, while ignorant of China's own track record at a time when it was the world's sole superpower.
 
Last edited:

Top