What do the Chinese think of Manchu?

59 is mentioned. The "Story of the West Room" is the dramatic adaptation of a ballad of the same name. This eight-part ballad, the plot of which goes back to a novella from the Tang period, was written by Dong Jieyuan, who, however, redesigned his original. The focus is not on the event of a love that later breaks up again, but on the "intrigues of a rival who unsuccessfully tries to prevent the young student's love for the beautiful golden blackjack" .18 6. The Ming and Manchu Periods The Ming dynasty began in 1368. Zhu Yuanzhang, Buddhist monk and the son of a wandering farm laborer, became the first Ming emperor under the name Hongwu from leading a peasant uprising. With their troops he fought one victory after the other - on the way to Beijing, from where in 1367 he promoted the reunification of all of China. To strengthen his power, Hongwu exercised an authoritarian rule. Hongwu advocated political methods which, in the course of his rule, led to the complete concentration of all powers on the emperor. So he immediately turned suspiciously against those who had helped him to the highest power. This included his old fellow warrior Hu Weijong, who had become too powerful for the emperor and was now accused of being in contact with the Mongols and planning a revolt. 15,000 people were involved in a gigantic trial that ended with the execution of Hu Weijong. Aside from this execution, the power politics of Emperor Hongwu set the tone for the two and a half centuries after his death. For the Chinese, he was the founder of the important Ming dynasty and was therefore revered as a kind of hero until the end of the dynasty. But, on the other hand, the atmosphere of suspicion that arose under his rule should no longer normalize. There is a certain parallel here to Mao Tse-tung and to the impact of the Cultural Revolution. At that time, too, a small group of favorites around Mao formed in the top leadership, in which a climate of mistrust and conspiracy existed. The mysterious disappearance of Lin Biao in 1971, charged with attempted usurpation, was a first sign of this development. Mao Tsetung's "purges", which served his authoritarian claim to power against all actual and supposed enemies, aimed in the same direction. A largely balanced reign is associated with the name of the third emperor, Zhu Di, who ruled as Emperor Yongle from 1398 to 1424. He moved his court from Nanjing back to Beijing, which was being redesigned as the seat of government. In the nineteenth year of his reign (1421) the new Imperial Palace was ready for the official move. It is the largest ensemble of classical Chinese architecture and still one of the most imposing palace complexes today. At that time it was the residence and seat of government of the emperor and his harem, which was administered by a few thousand eunuchs. Nowhere was the emperor's claim to represent the Middle Kingdom as "Son of Heaven" as tangible as in the "Forbidden City". Without neglecting his political tasks: above all the expansion of the sea fleet into the strongest and most modern fleet of the time, Emperor Yongle in Beijing continued to devote himself to the expansion of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven: the huge circle with the three-tiered roofs, 50,000 of which are blue , glazed bricks symbolize the sky and reflect it shimmering in the sunlight. In terms of art history, it is interesting that the new and first builders of the Temple of Heaven did not use nails in the construction of the wooden frame, which is supported by 28 mighty columns. The number symbolism was of great importance - and it still is for the Chinese today. The four central pillars, almost 20 meters high, stand in the hall of prayers for the four seasons. The twelve inner columns represent the months, and the twelve on the outer row symbolize the day, which is divided into twelve double hours. What is interesting about Chinese architecture is the predominant wooden frame construction. The solid construction made of burnt bricks or stones was used where it was inevitable: for bridges, walls, fortifications and for the palaces of life beyond, of which only one structure - the grave of the Wanli emperor - has been excavated in a well-preserved state. These palaces are in no way inferior to those of this world in their gigantic dimensions. Like all Chinese rulers, the Ming emperors did not only think of this world. A special highlight was what was probably the most magnificent procession in ancient China: when the emperor left his palace on the day before the winter solstice to "speak to heaven" in front of the heavenly altar and in the hall of prayers for a good harvest, which was rebuilt in 1420 to seek and sacrifice heavenly assistance for a good harvest. The classical Chinese novels experienced their heyday in the literature of the Ming period.19 Four of them should be mentioned: The "History of the Three Kingdoms" already mentioned, in which the author Guanzhong - this should be added - took the liberty of Shu -Han dynasty as the "good" empire and the Wei dynasty as the "evil" empire. - The characters in the novel »The Robbers from Liang-Schan-Moor« also move on a historical basis. The novel tells of a group of robbers who declare war on corrupt officials. - The third of the four novels "The Journey to the West" combines various sources of Buddhist, Daoist and fantastic literature into a new organic whole that seeks to reflect the spiritual currents of the middle and later Ming period. - The fourth novel, "Jin Ping Mei", tells the story of the house of Ximen Qing with his wives and concubines. Craving for recognition, a thirst for power, jealousy and sexual greed shape human relationships in this world of novels. The way in which sexuality is portrayed has led the novel to be accused of pornography. - Except for this last novel, the uncensored version of which is banned in today's China, the first three still enjoy high editions. They also exist as cinema and television films and in their own way bear witness to a return of historical cultures. The conquest of all of China by the Manchu troops lasted several decades. After northern China was taken almost without a fight, the Manchus encountered protracted resistance in the Chinese south. And while the Manchus were initially able to rely on cooperation with the Chinese of today's north-east provinces, they were denied any support in the south. It was not until 1681 that the southwestern regions were conquered, and Taiwan was not conquered until 1683. In the Manchu regions, Chinese followers were used to secure the situation. The four first Qing emperors were largely prosperous and at peace. In the period from 1644, the fall of the Ming, to 1661, the rebuilding of the empire in the Shunzhi era, a minor emperor ruled, whose reign was represented by the Manchurian tribal aristocracy. He was followed by Xuanye as Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722), who succeeded in uniting the Chinese under Manchurian rule. His successor, the Yongzheng Emperor (1723-1735), complemented Kangxi's policy by banning Christian missions, allowing officials to be checked anonymously, and forming a "Grand Council of State" to implement the imperial edicts quickly. Eventually he drew up a state budget that formed the basis for prosperity during the reign of his son Qianlong (1736-1796). His reign is one of the most interesting from a political and cultural point of view. He promoted the arts, owned collections of several types of art and initiated the cataloging of the imperial collections of writings and paintings. The expansion of the Manchus continued after the conquest of China. Under the Qing dynasty, China reached an expansion that the Middle Kingdom still cites to justify its territorial claims.20 The expansion into Inner Asia confronted the Manchus with the steppe peoples. When the Manchus expanded in the northeast, the region between Urumchi and Kukunor was still under the control of the Khoschoten, who had already subjugated Tibet in 1640. This was significant for the steppe peoples, because appearing as patron of the Dalai Lama created prestige. Lamaism, the prevailing Buddhism in Lhasa, had prevailed among the nomadic tribes. In 1732, Emperor Yongzheng had his palace in Beijing converted into a Lamaist temple. In 1751, the Qing Dynasty managed to settle in Tibet. In order to disguise their power, Tibet was largely given its internal autonomy under the protectorate of China. 63 The Chinese Empire of the Manchus now encompassed a considerable part of the Asian continent. The 18th century was also an era of economic prosperity. At that time, Chinese agriculture achieved a high level of prosperity, which it owed to its techniques and the resulting yields. This highly developed agronomy had its parallel in the early industrial craft and the boom in trade. In many cities a modern manufacture and an early industry emerged, primarily in the textile branch. Porcelain products were partly exported to Europe. The Qianlong period outlined in this way was, however, also a time of waste in its later phase. The expansion policy of the Manchus, the high favoritism salaries, the demanding court, the embezzlement of office and the increasing corruption put a heavy burden on the state budget. Since 1775 the aging Emperor Qianlong also left many of his official duties to the young Banner General Heshen (1750-1799), who exerted a significant influence on the already autocratic politics of the Qing dynasty. There were uprisings - primarily peasants' uprisings - against Heshen's overwhelming collection of money. Parallel to the outlined description of the political and social climate, the literature of the Qing period dealt with the issues of the time from a Confucian and Buddhist point of view. Like many literary figures, the well-known Wu Jiaji preferred not to take on a public office under the rule of the Manchus - as was the case under the Mongols - but to write his poems in the midst of the common people. There he looked for Confucian cardinal virtues such as piety and loyalty to the ruler. The novel »Xiyou bu« by Dong Yue (1620-1686) proceeds in parallel: 21 it contains passages critical of society and directed against the Manchu and is devoted to questions of identity and the self in Chinese Buddhist thought. "Xiyou bu" is a little novel opposite the most famous Chinese novel "The Dream of the Red House" by Cao Xueqin (1715-1763). The novel, which summarizes the breadth of narrative literature of the late Chinese imperial era, marks the climax and the end of a tradition. A large number of texts began to refer to him very quickly after his publication. For Western readers, it is particularly informative because it can be viewed as a portrayal of the morals of the middle Qing period. The text addresses, among other things, Buddhist thought; the novel can be interpreted as the interface between two worlds - the western and the eastern hemisphere. The first half of the 19th century was marked by numerous problems for the Qing dynasty: by the above-mentioned desolate state finances and the increasing corruption in the area of ​​administration and the court. In addition, the peasant revolts, which were influenced by the "White Lotus Sect" and which began at the end of the reign of Emperor Qianlong in 1795, intensified. In the same year, the native tribes in Hunab and Guizhou rose; there were also uprisings in Tibet in 1807 and again in Guizhou in 1833. If the deficit trade balance and the economic recession are included in the analysis, a crisis emerges that finally erupted in the Taiping Uprising (1851-1864) - a survey that shook Chinese society to its foundations. The revolutionary and anti-Manchurian "Society of the White Lotus" was responsible for the unrest that broke out in northern China on the outskirts of Shandong in 1851. This aimed quite unconceptively at a redistribution of wealth through looting and other criminal methods. In that period of decline and crisis, the western imperial powers invaded China. After the British Parliament had withdrawn the monopoly of trade in Asia from the East India Company in 1834, the volume of trade with China increased, which exchanged its export goods such as tea, silk and porcelain for English silver. When silver became scarce, England began to pay for tea with opium as an import. In the years 1826 to 1838, opium consumption in China and, after the state prohibition of opium smuggling, continued to spread. A whole people threatened to become dependent: the consumption of opium had spread from the middle class to the craftsmen and even to the Buddhist-Lamaist monks and the Daoist priests. At that time the Mandarin Lin Zexu wrote to the emperor: 65 "If the smuggling does not stop and the opium is not stopped immediately, in a few years we will have no more funds for the maintenance of the army and no more people who are good soldiers." China imposed a foreign trade ban on England, which then threatened Canton and other coastal cities with a fleet of fifteen thousand marines. England did not enter into any negotiations. The Manchu Emperor's agent eventually offered England the territory of Hong Kong and a large amount of silver dollars. After England refused to agree, the only option left for the Manchu government was to accept the Nanking Treaty in August 1842 - the first of the fateful "unequal treaties." The Sinocentric world order, which knew no freedom of trade and classified states according to how close they were to Chinese culture, had to give way to the formal equality of all sovereign states and their free trade, as advocated by the Europeans. The Treaty of Nanking was signed on board the British warship "Nemesis", with which China ceded the island of Hong Kong to England and opened the ports of Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai to monopoly-free trade. This also made free trade possible for the other world powers. In the years 1870 to 1880 the pressure on China and the countries of the Chinese zone of influence increased; there was the occupation of the Ili Valley by the Russians, the intervention of Japan in Korea, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands and the attacks by France in north Vietnam. The second defeat in the Sino-Japanese War (1894), which had been triggered by the Tonghak uprising, initiated efforts to divide China through its aggressors. China, this vast and proud empire, had become so weak that the Chinese army suffered a severe defeat in the brief conflict between China and Japan in Korea, while its northern fleet in the Gulf of Bohai was also destroyed. At that time, China, the Middle Kingdom, experienced the most tragic epoch in its history, which it felt as a deep humiliation.

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In addition to the USA and Europe, Russia, China and India will increasingly determine world politics in the 21st century. To understand the purpose of these three new powers, one must look into the return of their political cultures. This return and the mostly parallel reorientation are based on a culturally pronounced collective memory and form a significant creative force.

This development, which has hardly been noticed until now, is the focus of the book. It also underscores the author's thesis that traditional cultures particularly emerge where - as with the new powers Russia, China and India - their political and cultural history was interrupted by imperialism and colonialism, but also by their own failed design experiments . An exciting book based on brilliant expertise.