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MEAS 1009 RISING CHINA I. Responsible teacher: Senior Research Fellow Lauri Paltemaa ( laupalt@utu.fi ) Lectures Wed 16-18, PUB 2 Tutorials: CEAS Class Room, Tue, Group I 12-13, Group II 13-14, Group III 14-15

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MEAS 1009 RISING CHINA I

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Meas 1009 rising china i l.jpg

MEAS 1009 RISING CHINA I

  • Responsible teacher: Senior Research Fellow Lauri Paltemaa (laupalt@utu.fi)

  • Lectures Wed 16-18, PUB 2

  • Tutorials: CEAS Class Room, Tue, Group I 12-13, Group II 13-14, Group III 14-15

  • Taken as: lectures, exercises based on the reader and other material (course folder in the CEAS office)

  • Http://aasia.utu.fi/en/studying

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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RISING CHINA I

  • Objectives of the course: The course introduces students to modern history of China, i.e. from the Opium War to the present. The central theme in the course is how China lost and is now regaining its leading international status through an arduous process of reforms and revolutions.

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Ancient Glory of the Middle Kingdom

  • The Great Qing before 1840’s

  • What kind of a society and state was the Chinese empire before Western intrusion?

  • Views have changed overtime and are still changing

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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European Views on China

  • For the Europeans before the Napoleonic Wars China was a source of admiration and inspiration

    • Enlightenment thinkers (such as Voltaire, Leibniz, Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin): generally favourable for China

      • The emperor seen as the ideal enlightened philosopher-ruler, prosperity and order instead of European class society and feudal privileges

      • Exception: Montesquieu

    • Chinoiserie en vogue in the mid 18th century

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Picture 1) Chinoiserie in Potsdam (a Chinese villa)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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European Views on China

  • After the overthrow of the French Ancient Regime, new democratic ideals and industrial society in making made China appear anachronistic and backward

    • Generational change in perceptions in the early 19th century

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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European Views on China

  • European thinkers lost interest in China as a model and began to construct it as a backward “other”

    • The later part of the 19th century with rising nationalism, imperialist rivalry, social Darwinism

    • However, it was Europe that had changed, not China

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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European Views on China

  • The study of Chinese modern history (from Opium War 1840 to the present) relates to such questions as

  • Was imperialism justified, did China ”deserve” to become its subject?

    • What did Western colonialism mean to China: advancing vs. hindering social progress

    • The question of modernity (is there only one way / model to become modernized)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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European Views on China

  • Now that China is again regaining its previous international position, this history plays an important part in national myths and narratives of its rightful rise and relation to the West

  • Changing China may force us to change ways of thinking our own modern histories

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Great Qing Empire

  • To begin with, China (or the Great Qing Empire, 大清國) before the 19th century was the most prosperous, biggest and advanced economy on the planet

  • Managed through (by the standards of the time) rational and sophisticated bureaucracy with codified state ideology

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Great Qing Empire

  • The traditional state

  • Qing-dynasty:

    • Ruled by the Manchus from the north,

      • Alien rulers ruling through and over Han-Chinese bureaucracy

    • Came to power in 1644 (although it took until 1683 to root out direct resistance and never accomplished full legitimacy)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Great Qing Empire

  • Had co-opted the Ming bureaucracy and kept it largely intact upon conquest

    • Dual rule of Manchus watching over predominantly Han administration

    • ”Banner troops” garrisons in the most important cities, otherwise Han troops

  • Two major Emperors in the peak of Qing rule: Kang Xi (1662-1723) and Qian Long (1736-1796) ( “Kang-Qian Golden Age”)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Picture 2)Kang Xi (1662-1723) and

Qian Long (1736-1796) emperors (Wikipedia)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Great Qing Empire

  • Kang Xi: Stabilised and consolidated Manchu administration through the defeat of rebellions (most important the Revolt of the Three Feudatories 1674-1681)

    • Defeat of Tibetians, Dzungars,Russians, and Ming Loyalists

    • Establishing rules of succession

    • Expanded Qing empire

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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The Great Qing Empire

  • Qianlong continued the trend

    • Defeat of Xinjiang Muslims

    • Making Tibet a Qing protectorate

  • At the height of its power the Qing Dynasty ruled over 13 million square kilometres of territory

    • To this were added the vassal nations: Korea, Burma, Vietnam, Japan (in theory if not in practise)

      • China was the metropolitan centre for East Asian cultural, political and economic life

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Map 1) Qing Empire at around 1800 (Wikipedia)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Political System: bureaucratic despotism

    • The most important administrative body of the Qing dynasty was the Emperor

      • Presided over six ministries (or “boards”), each headed by two presidents

      • Trung Council (Grand Council) which was a body composed of the emperor and high officials for policy making

    • Officials formed a meritocracy, selected based on three level national examinations

    • Manchus selected based on clan and family background (hereditary aristocracy)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Court politics important

    • Inner and outer courts: outer court to manage matters of imperial household, inner court policy matters

    • Inner court dominated by the imperial family and Manchu nobility

      • Grand Council central policy-making body of the inner court

    • Factional struggles in the court destabilised the whole political system from time to time

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Boards: Board of Civil Appointments, Board of Finance, Board of Rites (foreign affairs, civil exams), Board of War, Board of Works, and Board of Punishments

  • Below them state bureaucracy had provincial, prefectural and county (magistrate) level administrations

  • The Qing state was extremely small: state administration consisted of only some 30 000 officials (excluding the army, hired hands, etc)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Minority areas (Mongolia, Tibet, and Eastern Turkmenistan) ruled under their own Court of Colonial Matters

    • The emperor acted as the Mongol khan, patron of Tibetan Buddhism, and protector of Muslims

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • (Neo)-Confucian state ideology / moral philosophy

  • Based on the teachings of Kongzi (551 – 479 BCE) and Mengzi (372 – 289 BCE)

  • Neo-ConfucianDeveloped by Zhu Xi in the 13. century

  • Incorporated Buddhist and Taoist cosmology to earlier Confucian political philosophy

    • Accordingly the universe sought to reach proper order of things

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • All things and their order in the universe were reflections of their innate qualities, principles (li), which they (including especially humans in their social setting) sought to fulfil

  • This applied also to politics and society:

    • The Emperor ruling under ”the mandate of Heaven”

    • Social hierarchy as the proper order

    • Benevolence (ren) and benevolent government (renzheng) the ideals, these to be reached through internalising proper social norms (rites, li)

    • This required years of arduous book study and training ones inner self

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Five relations

    • Emperor – minister, father – son, husband – wife, elder brother – younger brother, friend – friend

    • Formed the basis of hierarchical network of relations with their obligations, particularism: more respect and care to those close to you

      • Family especially important

      • Male chauvinist

    • Filial piety most valued: the emperor as the father of the people

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Ruling China

  • Were interpreted as supporting an autocratic society ruled by the best

    • However, Confucian tradition can be given more democratic interpretations

    • The “Mandate of Heaven” and right to rebel against non-benevolent rule (Mengzi)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Traditional society

  • Apart from the Manchu, no aristocracy existed as such

    • Instead, educated national gentry acted as the social elite

    • Offices were not hereditary

      • It was rare of a same family to have many generations of officials

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • For families training a son for officialdom (not a daughter, of course) was an investment that could yield generously if successful

    • About 2 % of the population had passed some level of exams

  • Apart from holding an office, land ownership the second source of social status

    • Land private property, no serfdom or slavery (in the Han society, at least)

      • However, tenantry, scarcity of good land and the reliance on agriculture made the poor probably as worse off as serfs in feudal Europe

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • State reach not very penetrating, the lowest state level administration in county level yamen

  • Yamen administered the government business of the town or region

    • Typically some 250 000 for one magistrate

    • Typical responsibilities included local finance, capital works, judging of civil and criminal cases, and issuing decrees and policies, maintaining public order and organising disaster relief if needed and showing Confucian example

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Picture 3) Official Session in a Chinese Yamen,

Guangzhou, before 1889 (Wikipedia)

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Normally local communities (villages, towns with clans, guilds, temples) were left to self-rule

  • Local gentry, village elders, etc. acted as the partner to the local state responsible for running the local governance (registering residents, collecting taxes, keeping up public order, public works, etc)

    • Clans and lineages important especially in the South

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Baojia -system of local responsibility to report the behaviour of local people to upper levels (applied to clans and temples, etc. as well)

  • Local Magistrates rotated regularly -> local gentry and permanent staff became powerful while the centre’s ability to rule weakened

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Peasantry mainly small land owners areas, renting the rest

    • Tenants common

    • Numbers increased due to lack of new land, large geographical variation

    • Land situation got worse in relative terms as population grew during the Qing rule

    • Population growth: 100 million in 1368 to 300 million in 1800

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • In agrarian society population growth meant growth of agricultural production at first, but when good land got scarce, growth rates dwindled and problem of overpopulation appeared

    • While population tripled 1680-1780, arable land only doubled

  • Growth in internal migration to less arable areas and overseas accelerated in the 19th century

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Bad crops, increasing official squeeze, and recurring natural disasters prone to lead to economic hardship and local unrest

  • Loss of land = loss of livelihood

    • If official relief aid was not forthcoming, the destitute could turn into banditry and rebellion

    • The ”human debris” of the landless poor a major resource of social unrest

MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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Traditional Society

  • Such groups easily gravitated to millennial clans or banditry

  • By the early 19th century Chinese countryside was in many places beyond state control,

  • Low-key disorder wide-spread (banditry, feuding villages, cults, etc.)

  • MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional Society

    • The local gentry also faced more competition when the number of offices did not grow at the speed of the population growth

      • Decrease in social mobility

      • Led to corruption (buying offices) and the gradual growth of parasitic middle-lower gentry (educated elite without proper jobs)

      • Idle gentry provided leadership for unrest

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • Traditional economy

    • An agrarian economy

    • Substance based small-farming and handicrafts at the core

    • Cotton clot (handicraft) the biggest industry, silk industry also substantial and advanced, as was pottery (porcelain)

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • Growing and developing economy

      • Signs of a capitalist mode of production appeared by the 18th century in many products and areas:

        • Production for export markets in production chains from raw material to end product

        • Large scale proto-factory production

        • Free labour market

        • Specialisation of work force

        • Cash cropping (concentrating on market crops, not for subsistence)

        • Production for export (silk, chinaware, tea)

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • Rivers and channels provided transportation networks for trade

      • Domestic trade well-developed, local specialities, raw materials, and edible crops transported all over the empire through waterways

      • Helped to make agriculture more and more commercialised in central locations

      • At the same time trade mostly localised: Qing China consisted of many natural trading areas with fewer contacts to other regions

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • Also Chinese banking system developed in the 19th century (Ningbo and Shanxi as the banking centres)

    • During the 19th century the economy became increasingly monetized, imported silver important in this respect (Mexican Dollars)

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • Prosperous economy:

      • At the peak of Qianlong reign, state revenues so much of surplus that annual taxation was cancelled four times

      • Differences to the West:

        • 1) economic growth was extensive, i.e. it was based on added manpower, not technological innovation and higher efficiency, which was just starting to take place in Europe

        • 2) Capital mainly invested on land -> low rate of return

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • 3) A strong bourgeoisie missing,

    • 4) No industrial technology (steam engine)

    • 5) Low interest in natural and economic sciences

      • Chinese science and engineering advanced, but problem-solving, not theory-building –oriented

      • Emphasis on moral philosophy in education, not natural science

      • Oversupply of cheap workforce did not encourage the development of labour-saving technologies

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Traditional economy

    • 6) Trade and industry and, therefore traders and industrialists, were regarded as secondary, even inferior, in Confucian world order

    • 7) Organisation of economy not “modern”

      • Traditional guilds, secret societies (banghui, “help society”), clan based organisations common in economy

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Conclusions

    • “The Needham Paradox”: Despite the fact that traditional China had advanced economy and technology, the country declined in the 19th century

      • A primary reason for the decline was that the country “lost its edge” by suppressing technicians and merchants whose power posed a threat to the Emperor

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Conclusions

    • Or was it that Qing was too successful?

      • No need to compete with regional rivalries, until it was too late?

    • Or was it that the Western intrusion derailed Chinese progress to capitalism and industrial society that was underway? (The “Sprouts of capitalism” argument)

    • Whatever is the answer, if any of these, the relation with the West dictated much of the developments during the 19th century

      • -> Lecture II

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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    Exercise 1 (18.9.)

    • Based on the sources in the course folder, answer these questions:

      • What factors mitigated against Chinese absolute monarchy from turning into tyranny in Abbe Huc’s eyes?

      • What kind of signs of decay of Qing Dynasty do you find in the sources?

      • How would you characterize the social structure of the late Qing?

    MEAS 1009 CHINA RISING, Lauri Paltemaa CEAS


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