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The Chinese View of Power
Unformatted Document Text:  China’s northern expansion was rather limited when the Chinese ruled the country, but alien rule turned out to be a long-term blessing in disguise. Such threat became grave in Spring and Autumn period. The invasion of the Jung people contributed to the decision of moving the capital from the modern city of Xian to Loyang. Lattimore argued that in fighting barbarians, China in the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period was expanding rather than defending its territories. 58 Between the fall of the Han dynasty and the establishment of the Sui dynasty, China was mainly divided. The Jin dynasty (265-420) unified China, and ended the short-lived three kingdoms. Various alien peoples settled downed in northern China during the third and fourth centuries. Their rising power forced the Jin court to flee southward to today’s Nanjing in 317, which was followed by a succession of “southern dynasties.” From 300 to 440, five different alien tribes established about 16 short-lived kingdoms in the north. The Toba group of the Xianbei established the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534), reunified Northern China in 440, and became the first dynasty of conquest in China. During the so-called Northern Dynasties, only half of the population in the north was Chinese due to wars and southern migration. Alien tribes adopted the Chinese language and customs, and intermarried with the Chinese. The Chinese territories were expanded and the Chinese culture was enriched. For about half a century after the Tang dynasty, China lacked central government. In the era of the so-called “five dynasties and ten kingdoms,” the Chinese established ten kingdoms mainly in South China, whereas aliens established Five Dynasties mainly in North China. The Song dynasty (960-1279) eliminated the Chinese rival states, but had to share Northern China with Xi Xia, a Tangut kingdom in the northwest, and Liao, a Khitans kingdom in the northeast. In 1127, like the Jin dynasty, the Song court fled southward to today’s Hangzhou. Later the Song dynasty was eliminated by the Mongols; even later, the Ming dynasty was ended by the Manchus. 59 History was full of irony. The Chinese territory expanded during the alien ruler. Only under the Mongols did China extend its control to its southwest. It was the Qing dynasty that solidified the Chinese control over Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongol, and Manchuria. For Fung, the emphasis upon the foreign domination of the Yuan and Qing dynasties resulted from modern nationalism. When the Mongols and Manchus conquered China, they had sinified to a considerable extent. They dominated the Chinese politically, but the Chinese dominated them culturally. 60 Pattern 3: Divide and Rule Chinese survival and development involved the use of divide-and-rule tactics. China has used a balance-of-power tactics for a long time, as reflected in two famous phases yi-yi-zhi-yi (using barbarians to check barbarians) and yi-yi-fa-yi (using barbarians to check or attack barbarians). The Chinese unification process is very much a story of balance of power and its failure. The state of Qin was a rising hegemon, and other six Chinese states attempted to survive. The Qin lay in the extreme west, while the other six states were scattered to the east, ranging from north to south. The Qin aimed at the 58 Lattimore, ????? 59 John K. Fairbank, “Synarchy under the Treaties,” in Chinese Thought and Institutions, ed. John K. Fairbank (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 204-231. 60 Fung, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, p. 188. 11

Authors: Hu, Shaohua.
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background image
China’s northern expansion was rather limited when the Chinese ruled the
country, but alien rule turned out to be a long-term blessing in disguise. Such threat
became grave in Spring and Autumn period. The invasion of the Jung people contributed
to the decision of moving the capital from the modern city of Xian to Loyang. Lattimore
argued that in fighting barbarians, China in the Spring and Autumn period and the
Warring States period was expanding rather than defending its territories.
Between the fall of the Han dynasty and the establishment of the Sui dynasty,
China was mainly divided. The Jin dynasty (265-420) unified China, and ended the short-
lived three kingdoms. Various alien peoples settled downed in northern China during the
third and fourth centuries. Their rising power forced the Jin court to flee southward to
today’s Nanjing in 317, which was followed by a succession of “southern dynasties.”
From 300 to 440, five different alien tribes established about 16 short-lived kingdoms in
the north. The Toba group of the Xianbei established the Northern Wei dynasty (386-
534), reunified Northern China in 440, and became the first dynasty of conquest in China.
During the so-called Northern Dynasties, only half of the population in the north was
Chinese due to wars and southern migration. Alien tribes adopted the Chinese language
and customs, and intermarried with the Chinese. The Chinese territories were expanded
and the Chinese culture was enriched.
For about half a century after the Tang dynasty, China lacked central government.
In the era of the so-called “five dynasties and ten kingdoms,” the Chinese established ten
kingdoms mainly in South China, whereas aliens established Five Dynasties mainly in
North China. The Song dynasty (960-1279) eliminated the Chinese rival states, but had to
share Northern China with Xi Xia, a Tangut kingdom in the northwest, and Liao, a
Khitans kingdom in the northeast. In 1127, like the Jin dynasty, the Song court fled
southward to today’s Hangzhou. Later the Song dynasty was eliminated by the Mongols;
even later, the Ming dynasty was ended by the Manchus.
History was full of irony. The Chinese territory expanded during the alien ruler.
Only under the Mongols did China extend its control to its southwest. It was the Qing
dynasty that solidified the Chinese control over Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongol, and Manchuria.
For Fung, the emphasis upon the foreign domination of the Yuan and Qing dynasties
resulted from modern nationalism. When the Mongols and Manchus conquered China,
they had sinified to a considerable extent. They dominated the Chinese politically, but the
Chinese dominated them culturally.
Pattern 3: Divide and Rule
Chinese survival and development involved the use of divide-and-rule tactics.
China has used a balance-of-power tactics for a long time, as reflected in two famous
phases yi-yi-zhi-yi (using barbarians to check barbarians) and yi-yi-fa-yi (using barbarians
to check or attack barbarians). The Chinese unification process is very much a story of
balance of power and its failure. The state of Qin was a rising hegemon, and other six
Chinese states attempted to survive. The Qin lay in the extreme west, while the other six
states were scattered to the east, ranging from north to south. The Qin aimed at the
58
Lattimore, ?????
59
John K. Fairbank, “Synarchy under the Treaties,” in Chinese Thought and Institutions,
ed. John K. Fairbank (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 204-231.
60
Fung, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, p. 188.
11


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