Asia in Transition

Ming China: A Global Mission Refused
a. Introduction
i. Zhu Yuanzhang – military peasant commander who rebelled against
ii. Declared Hongwu emperor in 1368
b. 30 year reign to ride China of barbarian Mongols
i. Got rid of dress, Mongol names dropped
ii. Names removed from buildings/records
iii. Mongol palaces/administrative buildings destroyed
Another Scholar-Gentry Revival
a. At first hesitant – peasant wary of scholar gentry, but needed
b. Civil Service Exam becomes ven more critical in determining future
i. 2 out of 3 years test given
ii. Exams given in large compounds
1. 1. Slept, ate, answered questions in cubicle
iii. Competitive – thousands of positions for hundreds of spots – think you
have to get a 2350 on your SATs to go to college
iv. Most talented could run provincial then maybe imperial posts
1. Most respected people in land – next to royal family
Reform: Hongwu’s Efforts to Root Out Abuses in Court Politics
a. Tried to keep administrators in line
i. Got rid of chief minister position – took his powers
ii. Publicly beat naughty administrators – como ce dice “caning”
b. Tried to get rid of conspiracy
i. All court wives must be relatively poor – gets rid of party politics
ii. Exiled threats to the provinces – can’t stay in Forbidden City
c. Started censorship – thought control
d. Many of these plans were ignored by future leaders
Return to Scholar-Gentry Social Dominance
a. Hongwu tried to help out the poor
i. public works, gave unoccupied lands to hard-working peasants
ii. Supplemental income through cloth production/handicrafts
b. But…landlords got richer
i. Gambled, lent money and didn’t have to pay taxes
ii. Bought more land from peasants who couldn’t pay debts
iii. Gentry justified the income gap because they romanticized worked hard
c. Neo-Confucian thinking
i. Youths to elders, women to men
ii. Some wanted draconian methods to keep people in line
1. For example, teacher cut off head of student that disagreed
a. Note: This practice is currently illegal in 34 states,
including California
iii. 3. Women kept inferior
1. Thousands came to the court hoping to be noticed – maybe a
2. How can they get respect/independence
a. Have male children – which is hard due to the XX
chromosome issue
b. Become a mother-in-law and then treat daughter-in-law
like garbage
c. Become courtesan – talented young lady who entertained
men – step above prostitution
An Age of Growth: Agriculture, Population, Commerce and the Arts
a. Population increased due to improved diet
i. Maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts – that’s why they have peanuts on the table
in Chinese restaurants
1. Less susceptible to droughts
ii. Could be grown on hilly, marginal land
b. Controlled terms of trade
i. Porcelain, silk textiles, tea, ceramics, lacquerware in demand
1. Tons of American silver ended up in China
ii. Europeans could do trade in Macao and Canton
1. Merchants obviously benefited
2. But…gov’t got taxes and officials got bribes/favors
c. Money spent on the arts – patrons
i. Court, city, country life as focus – landscapes still important
ii. Literature – novels start being created
The Last Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Qing Empire in China
A. Introduction
a. China’s isolation and disdain for outside world comes back to haunt them
i. After century of successful Manchu rule, government turns
b. Manchus – Nurhaci – 1559-1626 organized nomads, unites tribes, attacks
Northern China
i. Elite begin adopting Chinese ways
ii. Manchus actually invited in by the Ming to help put down a rebellion
1. They end up invading Beijing in 1644, and then pushed South
2. Forced submission of nomadic peoples on west, tribute from south
3. Took on dynasty name of Qing
iii. c. Allowed Chinese scholar gentry to maintain influence
1. Though Manchus – only 2% of population – clearly took over
iv. d. Unlike Mongols…
1. Retained examination system
a. Let sons take courses
2. Most recent Son of Heaven – adopted ideology
3. Practiced traditional Confucian virtues
4. Patrons of the arts
Economy and Society in the Early Centuries of Qing Rule
a. Manchu maintained Chinese social structure
i. Respect/acceptance for rank/hierarchy
ii. Suspicion of other social organizations – guilds/secret societies
iii. Women treated poorly
1. Infanticide increases – men actually outnumber women
a. A financial drain on the household – dowry
2. Males marry women below them in social status – male control
3. Only power in elite households – maybe control other
women/younger men
b. Focused on making lives better for farmers
i. Tax breaks for those that resettle lands
ii. Tax/labor demands lowered
iii. Money spent on repairing infrastructure
c. But…landlords become dominant
i. Supply and demand – more peasants than land – owners control terms
ii. Nobles prove status by clothes/carried in sedan chairs
1. Some even grow nails long – don’t have to work – not nasal
d. Loosen control of commerce – actually makes gains
i. New ways of financing
ii. Lucrative markets for traders
1. Wealthy new group of merchants – compradors
Rot from Within: Bureaucratic Breakdown and Social Disintegration
a. But then things start to fall apart
i. Exam system riddled with cheating/favoritism
1. Bribes examiners, scholars paid to take exam for the rich
2. Sons of officials put in places of power – nepotism vs. meritocracy
3. Merchants/landowners put in power
a. Lack the Confucian values
4. Bureaucracy became means of improving lives of wealthy/not poor
ii. Money given to wealthy families, not for infrastructure
1. Money taken from military – left unprotected
2. Unrepaired dikes destroy land > famine and disease
iii. Widespread migration – banditry, vagabonds
b. 2. Why wasn’t this dynasty merely replaced by another? Key points!!!
i. Ming era brought in American crops – population explosion
ii. Refusal to bring in technological innovations to satisfy this population
iii. Corruption and conservative Manchus prevented needed changes
iv. Also, different “barbarians” - Westerners
Barbarians at the Southern Gates: The Opium War and After
a. Europeans larger threat than nomads – technology makes up for numbers
b. Europeans had to find a way to balance trade
i. Bad – silks, fine porcelains, tea for silver bullion
ii. Good – let’s get them addicted – how about to Indian opium?
c. Chinese a bit upset about opium trade
i. Sapping economy of bullion – can’t pay for public works
ii. Plus – people get addicted – 1% addicted to drug, opium dens, officials
d. For years, laws against opium not enforced until…
i. Lin Zexu enforces the laws
ii. Blockades Canton from European traders – warehouses searched
1. Opium confiscated and destroyed
iii. Surprisingly, Europeans annoyed – property rights being infringed
1. Easily won naval, land war of 1839-1841
iv. From victory – China forced to open ports – not just Canton/Macau
1. 90 ports – 300,000 traders by 1890s
e. China treated as subservient to Europe after 1850
i. No protective tariffs to protect Chinese manufacturing
ii. Had to accept European ambassadors in court – as equals
iii. Opium trade rolls in unchecked
A Civilization at Risk: Rebellion and Failed Reforms
a. Rebellions go on across the land
i. Christian, yet psycho prophet Hong Xiuquan leads the Taiping Rebellion
1. Promised social reform, land redistribution, liberation for women
2. Attacked Confucian values – wanted to create simpler script
a. Make literacy more possible for everyone
3. Eventually local landowners create military that stops rebellion
a. Plus…Hong Xiuquan losing his mind
ii. Manchu rulers refuse to institute necessary reforms
iii. End of dynasty – final straw was Cixi – powerful empress
1. Imprisons nephew in Forbidden City
2. Spends money on fancy marble boat, not on military
iv. Boxer Rebellion – 1989-1901 – European, American, Japanese put down
1. Boxers trying to end foreign economic/political control
2. Insult to injury – gov’t then has to pay EAJs for their losses
The Fall of the Qing: The End of a Civilization?
a. Secret societies start popping up
i. Yes…you’ve all heard of the dreaded White Lotus, Triads and Society of
Elders and Brothers
1. Failed amazingly – no $ and poorly organized
2. But…set precedent…became training ground for future rebellions
b. Some Western-educated leaders support a Europeanesque political reform
c. Rising middle class
i. Mad at Manchus and foreigners
1. Cut off queues – no not a bank line – that insulting little ponytail
d. Finally in 1911 – students + mutinies from imperial troops + secret socities
i. Puyi forced to abdicate thrown – last emperor anyone?
e. 1905 – Civil service exam given for last time – don’t cry…it’s over
i. Can’t solve China’s problems with Confucian ideals from 2500 years ago
ii. End of the Confucian system – violently destroyed
1. Massive civil bureaucracy
2. Rule by educated/cultivated scholar-gentry
3. Artistic accomplishments of old now criticized