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India v/s China: We’ve got Facebook! What’ve you got?

An interesting analysis in TIME magazine, to the extent that it tries to be an analysis:

And don’t forget to check out these two accompanying arguments, one for India and one for China:

I plan to blog about this general issue sometime soon. Right now however, I just can’t help commenting on just two points for the time being, particularly because many westerners have humongous misconceptions about these issues. Almost every article on the topic contains at least a reference to these two fallacious points.

From the Case for India article:

The only way either economy can keep growth roaring is to develop high-tech industries and innovative companies — a difficult leap that demands the type of smartly run companies India already has. It also requires democracy and civil liberties. By censoring the Internet, controlling the press and stifling debate, Beijing is suppressing the open exchange of information and risk-taking spirit necessary for entrepreneurial innovation. Indians, enjoying full freedom of expression and association, face no such hurdles.

This absolutely bullshit view – that of relating internet censorship and “human rights” to entrepreneurial spirit and scientific research, and concluding that the former stifles the later – is so common, especially in the west, that it really makes one wonder whether people have lost the ability to think. And I am not talking about the ability to think in any profoundly intellectual way – just normal thinking that separates Homo Sapiens as a species from, say, American politicians.

Analysts and Journalists focus only on the tiny, miniscule, 0.0001% of search results that China does censor – and then extrapolate it to conclude that this will negatively affect (“stiffle” is their favorite word) entrepreneurial spirit and scientific research. Yes – China does censor certain search terms. But what does a search result relating to the Dalai Lama have to do with a citizen who wants to begin a tech startup? How pray will a scientist’s research in quantum physics be affected if the Chinese government censors his google search results about Tiananmen?? (I can just see the headline now – China lags in Physics research due to government cover up of Tiananmen massacre, says scientist). How did the team that created the Sunway system (whose theoretical peak performance is 74% faster than the fastest US supercomputer, and it used homegrown chips) be stifled when they realized that they can’t use Facebook and Twitter?

Screw government grants and cutting-edge research facilities!” – they’ll say. “We want to tweet and protest. We’re going to India – the land of freedom. So what if its richest city has 42% of its population living in slums and where more people have mobile phones than access to a proper toilet??! We don’t care about about living standards!!! We want freedom of speech and a free internet!! And not just the 99.9999% free internet that China offers! No sir – for us, that 0.00001% censored search results are more important!

Now that I think of it – this will make for a good Onion story. I can just see the headline now – Scientist prefers Facebook over better standards of living. “It will make life better for my children” he says.

Another piece of BS:

We can also make the case that India is more entrepreneurial than China. Indian firms like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro practically invented the entire offshore IT-services industry — a sector China is now attempting to copy. At their ever expanding campuses, these companies train and absorb thousands of new hires each year while extending their reach to every corner of the globe — management challenges Chinese executives would struggle to tackle.

The BPO industry in India is based on call-center employees answering stupid phone calls from stupid customers in the US and other countries (BTW – that anecdote about Americans calling to say that their computers are not working when they were not actually plugged in – is actually true). All these call center employees (who go by the fanciful title of “executives”) have no technical skills whatsoever – they just read out the instructions that appear to them on their help screen to customers. It is common knowledge in India that people work at a call center iff (if and only if) they can’t get employment anywhere else – and a few do it for the money. It is nobody’s – and I mean nobody’s – first choice. In fact, joining a call-center is considered a sort of slur and an insult – that they couldn’t get employed anywhere else and had to join a call center and had to work night shifts. In a nutshell – they are “unemployable”. This is the sector that has put India on the global map.

NASSCOM says that 90% Graduates and 75% Engineers in India are unemployable. That explains why companies like Infosys and TCS have to spend an average of 6-8 months and spend crores of rupees training engineering graduates. Yes – those people have already acquired degrees – and they still need months of training! A very large number (perhaps the majority, though I can’t verify it) of fresh engineering graduates that these companies hire during campus recruitment drives – are actually graduates from non-software fields, such as Electronics, Telecommunication, Mechanical etc. And then they train them in software and teach them a few languages, and they are ready and qualified to work in a software MNC! Whatever they learnt in most of the past four years gone to waste – never to be used again. In fact, one recruiter from a major MNC once told me that they just require the “aptitude” of an engineer, they are going to teach them everything else anyway.

Name one software product that has come out of this so-called IT superpower. Name one Indian university that has broken into the top 100 in the world. Name just one piece of innovation (software or otherwise) that you’ve heard of that has come from India, despite its “freedom”. But who cares? We’ve got Facebook!


(originally published at India’s China Blog)


  1. zack
    December 1st, 2011 at 01:39 | #1

    the desire to perpetuate Western hegemony by pitting two of Asia’s giants against each other is a desire as old as western colonialism. the Courting of India as a proposed “counterweight” to China involves flattering Indians in the hopes that India will compromise its own national security for the sake of western geopolitics.

    i can only hope that our Indian brothers and sisters are savvy enough to not be swayed by such obvious ideological propagandistic ploys.

    btw notice how the Time article cites infosys and other tech assistance sectors as evidence of India’s progress? its obvious that servile industries to the white man are the only ‘acceptable’ industries Asians are allowed to perform or excel at. That’s why the West craps their pants whenever China excels at a certain technology or makes breakthroughs in tech development-advances in the material sciences that to my knowledge owe nothing to “being able to perform a search for dalai lama/tiannenmen 1989”.

    Perhaps the West is so afraid of a powerful rising China because they have good reason to be afraid; they know very well what their ancestors’ crimes during the opium wars or the unequal treaties were, and have tried their best to whitewash history or ignore that sorry chapter in the histories of their own countries

  2. raventhorn
    December 1st, 2011 at 06:48 | #2


    I second Zack’s comment on Western Hegemony in pitting Asians against Asians.

    While I do not consider Asians’ historical complaint against the Western powers as some kind of call for revenge, I think the West’s policies in Asia can ONLY be reasonably considered as a continuation of Western Colonialism.

    As such, the West has made no effort to truly disavow its historical crimes in Asia, (let alone apologize or compensate for them).

    *Some troll said on this forum, China wants West to “kowtow” to it.

    Well, I say, That’s akin to a robber pointing a gun at you, robbing your money, and then demanding that you do not call the cops on him.

    Hey, Robbers should be afraid, that’s the risk of the professional criminals.

    (Funny enough, there was just recently a lawsuit filed by a US convict against a couple that he held hostage, the convict claims that the couple violated an oral agreement, made at the point of a gun, that the couple promised to hide the convict in exchange for money, and safety from the gun!)

  3. December 1st, 2011 at 08:59 | #3

    In the 50s, India was ahead of China. For the last 30 years, China is decades ahead of India and the next 30 years will not look good for India.

    Most favorable articles on India are written by Indians with their dumb nationalism and none has been to China. Tier I cities cannot compare with Tier III cities in China if you compare subway, airport, train, high rises, electricity, corruption, intelligent property enforcement, protectionism, quality… The last four must be a surprise for the westerners. The list is endless.

    Indians are happier, and it could be due to less competition. From my contact in US, Indians here are as smart as the Chinese.

    Most Indians want to stay in US without waiting for the improvement in their native country while Chinese have a lot of ‘sea turtles’ swimming back to the mother land. India is grossly mis governed.

  4. December 1st, 2011 at 10:15 | #4

    Why there are so little FDI to India? You have to ask how long it takes to open a business in India and how many bribes you have to pay.

    Chinese seldom compare their country to India, but Indians compare a lot with China. I do not see a lot of Chinese settling down in India, but Indians could be the second among all Asian countries settling down in Hong Kong after the housekeepers from Philippine.

    Count how many high rises in Hong Kong and how many in entire India. Count how many articles in WSJ on Hong Kong (one city in China) and the entire India. The list again is endless. I rest my case.

  5. kchew
    December 1st, 2011 at 12:20 | #5

    In a nutshell, India is unable to industrialize due to various constraints like lack of infrastructures, excessive bureaucratic red tapes, and rampant corruptions. These constraints are in fact closely linked to governing elite class and the caste systems prevalent in India.

    The BPO industry seems to be the way out of the conundrum and thus allow India to skip the industrialization stage altogether. However, the supply chains of the BPO industry are very short, and thus unable to provide employments to large numbers and wide range of Indian job seekers. The BPO industry also faces intense competition from other developing countries, particularly the Philippines.

    China faces multitudes of problems too. However, in China’s case the industrialization phase is well established, and barring war, the economy and new jobs will grow consistently in next 20 years. By then, many existing problems would be resolved (though new problems could appear along the way).

  6. December 1st, 2011 at 13:52 | #6

    We keep a list of firms to keep track of to see whether they are making applications for patents in areas of interest. Not one of the companies on the list at the moment is mainland Chinese – We’ve monitored more than one PRC firm in the past, but after a while monitoring them, couldn’t find anything of relevance. India is quite a different story.

    On the flip-side, India is the only place I’ve ever heard of PAs bribing examiners to grant patents. SIPO does a pretty good job, better than the USPTO in my opinion.

  7. zack
    December 1st, 2011 at 17:21 | #7

    it might’ve escaped the notice of the authors of the Time article but China’s doing fine-even thriving-without the likes of facebook, youtube, google, twitter etc etc because its got its own variants with its own “killer aps” geared towards the Chinese market. For eg, there’s sina weibo, youku, baidu, tudou, alibaba, etc etc etc just off the top of my head.

    as for “stifling innovation”, perhaps those very same authors would like to explain how China is ranked up there when it comes to patents and research papers?

  8. December 2nd, 2011 at 03:26 | #8

    @Zack – I don’t know what the Time author’s answer would be, but I know what my own answer would be:

    1) The companies that you mention have been very successful, but in a large extent they started by emulating similar companies in the United States. Certainly some of them at least have developed into more than mere clones, but this origin should not be forgotten.

    2) The large number of patents filed by Chinese inventors can be explained simply – quantity, not quality. Patent filings are a very poor measure of innovation.

    When I worked at Foxconn, application were filed for literally thousands of variations of e.g., mobile phone hinges, SIM card locks, battery holders, improvements to PCB manufacture, lightboard improvements – the problem with many of them was that they appeared in the main to be very minor improvements that no-one would want to use. Licensing income was commensurate to the degree of improvement.

    Now, some of this can be explained by Foxconn’s strategy (i.e., fairly obviously, they were trying to create a patent minefield to disuade competitors) but Foxconn is not the only company that does this. Huawei is only relatively better in this regard.

    Academic patent filings are, at least from what I’ve seen of them, even worse. The main motivator for them often appears to be the prestige of a granted patent (regardless of the subject matter it actually covers), the meeting of government-set targets, or the generous subsidies offered for filings.

    3) Same goes for academic papers with the added twist that many of them, at least in my experience, are the product of plagiarism and fraud. In all three of the universities I studied and worked at in Nanjing during my time there from 2003 to 2005 I met academics who would openly admit directly plagiarising their work from articles available on the internet. Many would excuse this by saying that it was the only way they could meet targets set for the submission of papers by the universities.

    One which particularly sticks out in my mind was a professor at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics whose research centred around reverse engineering a piece of technology used (according to him) on the American F-16. The thing was, the details of this particular piece of technology were already in the public domain, so all he needed to do was copy that data and present it as his research. This guy was just one example among many.

    I also heard of lecturers who would advise their students to engage in plagiarism. It was with no great surprise that I discovered that, having set an essay topic for my writing class, roughly 90% of the essays eventually submitted were demonstrably plagiarised (some even had the URL of the website from which they had been copied left in). Many of these students went on to become academics themselves.

    Sure, things may have gotten better in the meantime – there was a good piece of engineering research that came out of Nanjing South-East University a little while back – but given that the same people are still working in the same jobs, and likely giving the same advice, I am far from convinced.

    4) Finally, let me just say that I don’t see any of this as a permanent state of affairs. I also don’t think that dictatorial states are incapable of acheiving innovation (see the USSR and Germany as examples), but I do think they limit certain kinds of innovation that require freedom of expression to flourish.

  9. December 2nd, 2011 at 06:05 | #9

    Showing my ignorance in patents, I wonder whether there is one global patent office. If not, Chinese can file a patent in China that already has a patent in another country. If so, it is used for protecting lawsuit in its own native country.

  10. raventhorn
    December 2nd, 2011 at 08:17 | #10


    “roughly 90% of the essays eventually submitted were demonstrably plagiarised (some even had the URL of the website from which they had been copied left in).”

    I think you are contradicting yourself here.

    If someone leaves in the URL, that’s giving credit to the original source, ie, a CITATION. Plagiarise means taking someone else’s work and make pretend it’s your own. If someone leaves in the URL for the original source, he’s already indicating that the portion is from someone else.

  11. December 2nd, 2011 at 09:45 | #11

    @FOARP #8

    Certainly the notion that patents do not indicate innovation is true. The observation you made about patents can be summarized by the general concern on patent proliferation – which has taken hold only in China, but Europe, Japan, S. Korea, and the U.S. In the U.S., many have observed that of 10 patents filed, at least 9 are junk (worthless filings filed more to intimidate (takes much lawyer time to find the golden nuggets from the chaff). In the China, maybe instead of 90%, they would reach 95% – I don’t know. In any case, in my opinion, very few patented things are truly innovative, and certainly most innovative things will be made with or without patents (necessity is the mother of all inventions…after all).

    Now to academic papers, what you observe is also characteristic of all academia – not just Chinese academia. The pressure to publish – of publish of perish – has people conducting esoteric studies on very narrow topics. With a university system that support a population of 1.4 billion – certainly there will be more junk published than say in the U.K. with a population a few mangitude less. That’s the economy of scale of a system that encourages publication at all costs.

    In any case – when is the last time you came across a truly innovative idea or paper in your work? In many ways, we all copy from each other… It only differs how (polished) we do it…

  12. December 2nd, 2011 at 15:29 | #12

    Chinese are just as capable as Westerners. The thing that has held them back in modern history were Western colonialism and invasions followed by the Japanese invasion, and then followed by their own disastrous GLF and CR policies.

    Now that the ordinary Chinese finally have the freedom to pursue everything rather than tied down with subsistence, my guess is we have not seen very much yet. Wait until they have their own passenger aircrafts, electric cars, O/S’s, microprocessors, drug companies, blockbuster movies, and on and on.

    In my humble opinion, those thinking China cannot innovate because she lacks Western ‘freedom’ are the type of people who seek to understand their world by searching inside their own behinds.

  13. aeiou
    December 2nd, 2011 at 16:08 | #13

    Well what else are they going to say? admit that they are wrong and all the rhetoric is simply a facade to impose self serving western ideologues onto everyone? of course they will argue the democracy is superior even though Kashmir makes Tibet look like Disneyland, even though India and China started from the same place, China has pulled away. And they will argue till they are staring into the abyss. Of course westerners are going to say the west is superior, no matter how liberal, how PC, how tolerant. Unless you’re a defenceless, helpless, oppressed noble savage, you will feel all the contempt of the western establishment, with all the smug condescension that it entails. But, if you’re a noble savage, you get to be the token underdog of the month, become the perpetual underlings, forever surrogate to their western stewards. It’s like a politically correct version of the white man’s burden.

  14. December 2nd, 2011 at 16:50 | #14

    Hmm..The most technologically innovative and advanced country in WWII happened to be Nazi Germany. To equate innovation and technology prowess solely to political system is idiotic.

    Imperial Japan also have many technology innovation due in part to necessity but above all to having a govn’t that is supportive of R&D. The long lance torpedo, best night naval optic sight design, the Mitsubishi A6M fighter, planes carrying submarine are weapons without peers the time they are introduced. I wouldn’t call imperial Japan a free and democratic society either. And for that matter is imperial Great Britain, France and racist America a land of equality during WWI or WWII. Lots of innovation come from those places too.

  15. December 2nd, 2011 at 19:34 | #15

    While it’s true that many scientific innovations are not stifled but promoted by China, one thing definitely is – China’s important growing media sector. While entertainment may be discounted as frivolous ways of fun, it’s highly important in constructing the Chinese image both abroad and at home.

    Unfortunately, SARFT, unlike many of the highly effective Chinese agencies, have done little to promote the industry but only arbitrary rules to stifle it, limiting whatever is popular at the moment. The decision to prevent TV show ads AND limiting entertainment program reduces incentive to produce original cultural products, and gives Chinese figures less of a chance to shine.
    On one hand, this allows users to turn to the internet for foreign products. On the other, SARFT is surprisingly friend to foreign cultural products, be it artists, films or TV, giving them little to no restrictions other than the film quota. What we’re seeing is while CCTV is continuously inviting foreign guests and airing foreign shows, SARFT is preventing smaller channels from creating their own entertainment.
    While places like South Korea realize the importance of this cultural export and has special commissions to support it, SARFT appears to be mostly trying to stifle home-grown of cultural products

  16. scl
    December 2nd, 2011 at 22:00 | #16

    If the Time article compared mother and infant mortality rate, nutritional state, and hunger index, India would be worse than some sub-Sahara countries. Maoist insurgency is still alive and well, and the areas seeking Independence from the central government will probably exceed the current 18 in the future. There would be no comparison if the Time did not report selectively.

  17. Nihc
    December 3rd, 2011 at 06:03 | #17

    “Chinese are just as capable as Westerners. The thing that has held them back in modern history were Western colonialism and invasions followed by the Japanese invasion, and then followed by their own disastrous GLF and CR policies.”

    A bit off topic, but I would argue that the thing that have held back China was the extremely violent, chaotic and oppressive Manchu rule, not colonialism. If Ming dynasty have survived, they could potentially have reformed and resisted Western imperialism like Japan did. I think blaming westerners are often overly done. In some ways they were much less nasty than some of our Asian fellows.

  18. Nihc
    December 3rd, 2011 at 06:06 | #18

    Speaking of the media sector, when is China gonna produce a decent computer game lol. Maybe the Government is blocking this as well since gaming addiction is one of the most harmful foreign import since opium.

  19. December 3rd, 2011 at 06:16 | #19

    I am talking about an entire essay printed directly from a website, and hence including the URL at the bottom of every page, but submitted as the student’s own. If you want to see what I’m talking about and are using IE, right-click on the screen and select “print preview”. See the URL at the bottom of the page in the preview? That’s what I’m talking about – except the students in question had written their names and student numbers at the top, had no idea what was actually written in the essays submitted when questioned (including the meaning of many of the longer words), and more than one of them eventually admitted having copied them. None accused denied it.

    As for why this happens, it simply comes down to a lack of enforcement of the rules, targets for average grades, and corruption. I didn’t try to report the people caught plagiarising on the essay assignment because there were simply too many of them, although I and a colleague of mine who was teaching in the same school did have a meeting with the department head about this. However, when later on I had a student enter a oral exam (one which was explicitly closed-book), open a book in front of me, and try to find answers for my questions in the book, I failed him and reported him to the university. I was later told that he had paid 100 yuan to the relevant office to have the fail turned into a passing grade.

    @TonyP4 – WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Office) is the nearest the world has to a patent office, but it is really just a clearing house facilitating applications to one or more national patent offices world-wide. There is nor such thing as an enforceable “world patent”, just patent applications which result in applications for national rights in one or more countries.

    China, just like every country in the world with (AFAIK) the exception of New Zealand, will not allow patents to be granted for inventions already published elsewhere in the world. In practice, this means that the patent examiner at SIPO (China’s patent office) will perform a search during the examination of an application for a patent in China where he or she will try to find documents, including patent documents, which show that the invention for which a patent is sought is either not new, or is obvious.

    Ideally, no-one should be able to get a patent in China for something that was already published elsewhere before the relevant date. If a patent is granted in China for something that has already been patent elsewhere before the relevant date, various mechanisms exist by which the patent can be revoked.

    @Allen – I agree that most patents are essentially money-losers. I am not sure what the figure for China is, but I would not be surprised if your 90/95% figure is accurate. Of course the US has problems in this area – mostly related to lax examination standards (how many times do you see USPTO patent examiners who appear to be fresh grads go straight to allowance rather than actually fight?), ‘pure’ software/business patents, and lax standards for obviousness.

    I also agree that that there’s a lot of academic work being done world-wide which is essentially useless. The big problem existing in China and not, at least in my experience, existing to a large extent in the UK and the US, is wide-scale plagiarism and academic fraud to the point where academics openly admit the way in which they reach their targets. Only a fool would deny that plagiarism/fraud takes place in every country, but the contrast between CCLS and South-East or NUAA was like that between night and day.

  20. December 3rd, 2011 at 06:31 | #20

    Chinese already have passenger plane (minus engine and some component), blockbuster movies… They have UNIX for free so there is no need for another incompatible OS. They have some hardware CPU mirrored from another US company. A lot of high tech developments are due to import as US does not allow import on dual purpose stuffs unless China has similar high tech counter parts.

    It echoed your sentiment.

  21. SP
    December 3rd, 2011 at 07:45 | #21

    “We’ve got Facebook! What’ve you got?”

    errrr… let’s start from the page 1 paragraph 1 : We’ve got 105 IQ!

    Now try to beat that in the next 20 millennia. Good luck! ^ ^

    ” i can only hope that our Indian brothers and sisters are savvy enough to not be swayed by such obvious ideological propagandistic ploys”

    Hmmm…an anti-science liberal wishful thinking exemplifies what’s going wrong with the Chinese mass, especially elite perceptions about India and Indian mass.

    A trick is a trick only in the eyes of beholders. It doesn’t matter how many “savvy” Indians in India’s highest intellectual levels are. Sheer Indian (permanent) mass ignorance ( see how “India” was , and still is, like in the last millennium) and lack of self-discipline/control ( due to biological reasons) ensure that a Sino-Indian conflict will be almost inevitable with “divide and rule” of the West or not, and whether being told it’s a trick or not doesn’t matter either. For intelligent and realistic minds that used to foresee what’s coming, the only questions that are subject to debate are When and How.

    That’s why average IQ of a nation matters and matters hugely. That’s why China should have a Plan B accordingly, even still wishing a “peaceful rise” (by sheer luck it might occur). Interesting that England would never have problems on border issue or otherwise with India, if it were in China’s shoes neighbouring India instead. In such a scenario, the Brits would take back South Tibet in no time with a fraction of manpower that China is currently deploying at the issue, and Indians would kiss the ground the former walked in return. Something, somewhere in China’s national policy dealing with India is highly ineffective or just profoundly wrong.

    I suspect that the main cause of the wrong policy-making is rooted in long-held Chinese beliefs, thanks to the Communist/liberal propaganda, that “India is an old civilisation”, “India had peacefully co-existed with China for thousands of years”, “Indians are Buddhists”, etc. None of these is true however. Contrary to main stream propaganda:

     the ancient Indu Valley Civilisation (IVC) had NOTHING to do with the current “India” which has a short history of about 60 years – a product of the British Empire, prior to which it was Mongols, Arabs/Muslims, Persians, etrc. The race of intellectual and governing elites of IVC and modern India are different. For IVC, the leading elites were non-white Caucasians of several different tribes migrated from the middle east; whereas those of the current “India” are Mongrels of pretty much everything.

     Unlike ancient China which is largely the current China territorially, philosophically, culturally and racially, ancient Indu Valley Civilisation was long gone with the underlying elites. What’s left today is a sort of “United Tribes of Brazil” in India. Due to the natural disabler Himalaya mountains, ancient China had little contact with “India” at a time until the modern era. Actually the British know more about “India” and Indians than what its immediate neighbour the Chinese do. Hence so-called “peaceful co-existence” was not out of subjective judgements and conscious acts of the mass of the both sides, but forced by natural barriers which are fastly-overcome by modern technologies.

     And Indians are NOT Buddhists (arguablely the West coast of USA is perhaps more Buddhist than India) , but by and large Hindus, who are by definition not as peaceful as the former judging from modern era experiences.

    Perhaps China should take a leaf out of the Queen’s book? On the ground of both China and India’s long term national interests, particularly those already dirt poor Indian mass whose birth rate is exploding at near world record’s pace, China should, and must, be merciful by breaking India into 30 pieces for the sake of humanity — the world at large, perhaps especially Vietnam, would understand thereafter.


    “From my contact in US, Indians here are as smart as the Chinese.”

    From my experiences in a Zoo, those half a dozen highly-selected wild boars are as tall and as fearsome as the black bears next door. Your point being?

  22. Antioxidants
    December 3rd, 2011 at 09:39 | #22

    It is true that India is not an ancient civilization but a modern creation out of colonialism. But I think most Indians now, especially the younger ones, do believe that India is an ancient civilization. Even though the concept of an Indian is fairly recent (Gandhi, for example, according to his autobiography, didn’t know he is an Indian until he was classified as one when board a train in South Africa), the sense of Indianness among a lot of Indians now are real. This is in marked contrast to many post colonial countries in the middle east where the sense of nationhood is still not ingrained into the national psyche of the people. In this sense, India is pretty successful in instilling a sense of nationhood among its people. For example, Indian students are now taught a revisionist history of their country in that ancient ‘India’ exists in the form of the Mauyan empire…etc. Google Mauyan empire and you will notice its territory encompass most of modern India and more, including Afghanistan and part of Iran. The trouble with this history is that it was first propagated by a English man by the name of James Princep during the British Raj to create a sense of cohesion among the subjects for better governing and control. The problem with this history is that before that no people in the subcontinent known about this history either in the form of historical record or in the form of verbal folklore. There is also no corroborative history by Persian historian about the existence of such an empire. When independent India came along, the government resurrect this idea and teach it as history.

    Indian nationalism is a real problem and this may explain why India is such a bully to her neighbors, whether to Pakistan, to China, to Nepal, to Bangladesh, to Sri Lanka and to the now annexed Sikkim. The British has created a bully on China’s footstep.

  23. December 3rd, 2011 at 09:44 | #23

    I have to disagree on your analysis of the Ming vs the Qing govn’t. The Qing might have a bannerman ruling class that eventually lost its effectiveness to run the govn’t, it has always allowed the mandarin class and people with ability to rise to high post.

    Although the Ming mandarin class have even more power (more power than any dynasty) they were seriously hampered by the factionalism and the power of the 宦官. The emperor also have the power to beat or even execute the mandarin who offended him. The Ming court also have palace servant of around 100,000 strong. I view this as a very negative trait. The Ming also introduced the first secret police force 锦衣卫 in the world. A system the Qing abolished.

    By contrast the Qing introduce the system of the 谏官 who can say anything he wants in the court and is supposedly untouchable. The Qing emperor also by law has to read all scroll submission by the mandarin and he cannot tear or throw the scroll even if he may not like it. The emperor also cannot beat any mandarin in the court or execute them unless they violated the law. The Qing also limit the rank of 宦官 to 5th grade thus limiting their power and influence. The Qing usually have palace servants of around 10,000 strong. A descendent of Yue Fei even serve as a general.

    To be fair to the Ming, the Qing actually copy the whole Ming system in place except by the introduction of the banner system and the modification I have noted. So to say that the Qing is more oppressive than the Ming is factually incorrect. On top of that look at the khans and emperors produced by the Qing. The Qing must win hands down by putting on the thrones so many outstanding leaders. from Nurhaci, Wongtaiji, Dorgun, Kangxi, Yongzhen, Qianlong etc. Both dynasties have their share of boy emperors and decay at the end of the reign. The Ming produced only 2 emperors that I would rank as comparable.

    The problem with the Qing I see is the same as all previous dynasties. After the initial consolidation period the nobility(ruling calss) gradually become corrupted, siphoning taxes and refusing to pay taxes. Nearly all dynasties fell when wealth disparity was the greatest.

    Another problem with the Qing was that, at that time they are actually running the largest directly ruled empire known to man. (The Mongol empire was ruled by feudal kingdoms) Basically to keep China running smoothly for 300 yrs was a feat in itself. I do agree the rule for the last 100 yrs is pretty bad but which empire isn’t. It should have disintegrated when the Taiping rebellion started but the mandarin class kept it in one piece.

    The biggest flaw of both dynasties is lack of reform at the end. The Qing’s bannerman class was taking up the lion share of the wealth of the empire. It is this class that Empress Cixi represented for the 40yrs of her rule. I will let you to draw the conclusion of how any country should innovate and reform its system to stay competitive.

  24. SP
    December 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 | #24

    There is a huge and quite fundamental difference between Nationalist patriots and Jingoistic bigots whom those so called “Indian Nationalists” really are in my observation.

    Nationalism, based the notion of nationhood, is in a nutshell formed upon the concept of race, mono-race to be precise. At its most natural setting , Nationalism is the strongest and most stable if it’s built upon a geographical area that is mono-racial, mono-cultural and mono-(main)religious. In light of this background Eskimos are, and must be, naturally much more Nationalists than Indians.

    Modern “India”, where numbers of official languages (highlighting the underlying multi-racial YET Mongrel make-ups) dwarf those of the EU, and where the numbers of main religions outdo the numbers of stars one can see with bare eyes in a clear night, is NOT a natural nation. Therefore so called “Indian Nationalism”, assuming there is such a “thing”, is psychologically fragile and socially synthetic and pathetic for that matter to be the best, while misguided and anti-nature/anti-evolutionary to be the worst.

    Even the US and the EU, where “Nationalism” is associated by default with White Nationalism, could barely sustain their artificial multi-culti liberal experiment (for however short period of time it has lasted till now, 40 years?) at their technological and human developmental heights, let alone semi-illiterate India, a place where basic amenities such as drinking water, electricity and indoor-plumbing are scarce or non-existent.

    As an avid student of world history and Perfect Tao of Harmony, China should closely observe global Fengshui, adjust the corresponding national policies to act whenever the first opportunity represents itself aiming to squash this Jingoistic “India” bully into several dozen primitive tribes as they naturally are (and originally were until not long ago), putting a billion or so native sub-continental stone-age dwellers, or shall we call “Indian Nationalists”, out of their fanatical “India” lab-rat misery.

    Mankind would then own China a postcard of big Thank-you.

  25. Antioxidants
    December 3rd, 2011 at 12:01 | #25

    It should be noted that Indians are acting as if they are the injured party vis-a-vis the border dispute with China. They behave as if they are a peaceful hapless victim of an territorial aggressive China. Nothing is farther from the truth. Border disagreement or dispute between countries are actually pretty normal. After all, border demarcation is a zero sum game and it is natural and expected for respective countries to stage its claim to the maximum extent within the parameters of accepted customs and principles. But this is not the case between China and India. China is actually bending backwards to accommodate India’s claim but all it got is more land grab and more accusations of ‘incursions’ from India. What China should do is to stop the meaningless border talks with India and educate its people of what happened before 1962. This is important because this endless accusations from India also frames the way in which the world at large, notably the Western nations, perceived China and India. Here are two sources as starter:



  26. December 3rd, 2011 at 16:58 | #26

    If the Manchu’s are today about finding ways to encourage revolution or sowing chaos in China, I would criticize them equally.

  27. Naqshbandiyya
    December 4th, 2011 at 10:42 | #27

    The two links you posted, especially the second, are truly a deep education beyond the Sino-Indian border dispute. Among the topics covered are the “domestication” of the colonized Indians to British strategic thinking, the effect of Tsarist Russian expansionism on Sino-Soviet relations, and the lawful formation of boundaries (and river boundaries) in the transition from empire to nation-state. I heartily recommend that they be added to HH’s “Recommended Readings” list.

    You would have to be a diehard Indian nationalist to believe, after hearing that discussion between the British and Indian professors at ANU, that China is still at fault for the border dispute between the two countries. But for various reasons that we know now, history, facts, and international law don’t matter to the West in this dispute. It is a tragedy of cosmic proportions that the Chinese Communists – in contrast to the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan – were so willing to cede historical Chinese territory for good relations with neighboring states, yet were so consistently branded the “aggressor” in its disputes by the capitalist West.

    The other huge irony in that piece, especially to Westerners, is that it was precisely China’s lack of “democracy” that allowed it to make such humiliating decisions in the short term to fulfill its long-term strategic goal of peace. Of course, the converse – that India’s leadership was democratic, ergo, it could not and cannot compromise with China – is not true. The situation just speaks to the lack of foward-thinking statesmen in India, who may yet materialize, as one discussant pointed out, with the demise of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

    If the discussion will make you think, the question and answer session will make you cringe. Basically, the objection to China’s overwhelming legitimacy in the dispute is “But but but… Tibet! The Tibet issue! What about that?” Nobody needed to explain what the “Tibet issue” was; since the issue is so well-known and so damaging to China’s position in any area, just invoking the magic word “Tibet” was enough to shut down all rational thinking and make China the villain. It’s like saying, “But Hitler” or, “But Nazis” in any argument (and surely enough, one audience member quoted Chang & Halliday’s moronic book, which makes that exact comparison between Mao and Hitler, in the exchange).

    What, then, is the “Tibet issue” that completely demolishes China’s position in its border dispute? So the argument goes, the people in Indian-occupied South Tibet live under freedom and democracy, while the people in China’s Tibet are under brutal repression, genocide, etc. Plus, the Dalai Lama, that astute scholar of international law, has endorsed the Indian claim to the territory, and he represents the opinion of every single Tibetan. It doesn’t matter how India got posession of the territory, but we (the Free World) can be glad it did, because better our friendly darkies than those chink Commies.

    The unpleasant subtext to the discussion is that China has no legitimacy to rule over any Tibetan territory, let alone that Tibetan territory that India has seized. And they’re right. Dalai and friends have been pounding away at this issue for 60 years, and China has been basically absent from the conversation. Dalai wins by default. The leaders of China are pragmatic people, and they know this. That’s why the Zhou Enlai compromise, offered to the Indians from the very beginning, is the best way to solve this dispute. China recognizes India’s control of South Tibet, although a historical injustice, as a fait accompli. Likewise, India recognizes China’s control of Aksai Chin, a much smaller uninhabited wasteland abutting Kashmir, and whose Indian claim is based on 19th century map forgeries, as a fellow fait accompli. Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai; everyone’s friends again.

    Wait, how is this proposal different from just not doing anything? It would be useful to explain this to the Indians, who refuse to negotiate about the border. By definition, a border treaty signifies agreement on where one country ends and another begins. Currently, there’s no agreement between China and India on even the line of actual control, that is, the de facto division of territory created by war. That 1962 conflict resulted from India pushing north of the “McMahon line”, that unilateral British boundary which India uses to justify its claims. So long as there is no border treaty, there is the constant temptation for both parties (but especially the Indians, who have shown themselves to have less scruples about this sort of thing), to engage in military buildups, border skirmishes, and other preludes to war. In whose interest is this Asian fratricide? Only that of the United States, which needs a quick replacement for Taiwan as a foil to China’s rise. India may have more information than China, but it has much less introspection. Until it makes the first step towards solving its border dispute with China, India cannot boast a truly independent foreign policy.

  28. Nihc
    December 4th, 2011 at 20:53 | #28

    Ray, I can’t claim to be an expert on the emperors. Granted, the Ming were hardly the best dynasty China had.

    However, I think the Manchus already set themselves as oppressive and domineering from the beginning by:

    Forcing people to wear the queue and cut their long hair, which was an important symbol of filial piety, at the pain of death for disobeying.

    Forcing people to wear the Qipao and Changshan with similar punishments.

    Essentially it was ‘cultural genocide’ (to throw a modern political term) on a mass scale.

    Chinese art and culture degraded because the people lost all sense of self esteem, this is reflected in many remaining temples and artifacts from that period.

    The Manchus also used resources of the majority Han Chinese to build lavish temples/ gifts for their allies the Mongols and Tibetans.

    I have been to Inner Mongolia, where the Dazhao temple in Hohhot for example has gilded Buddha images of gold and intricate decorative motifs, despite Hohhot more or less being only an outpost of the Qing Empire at that time.

    Whereas their sponsorship of the Qing Yang Gong temple in Chengdu during the Qing dynasty look more like tacky rubbish.

    It was a racist regime from the beginning with plenty of injustices, the Qing Empire deserved to fall.

  29. raventhorn
    December 5th, 2011 at 06:27 | #29


    I think back to Chinese history, and I think we Chinese sometimes take our Culture a little too seriously in the past, (and perhaps not enough in the modern era, to our detriment).

    We Chinese sometimes forget the big deals that we made of our “culture”, for examples:

    (1) Around and before the Spring Autumn period and Warring Nations period, the way that we Chinese distinguished ourselves from the “barbarians” in the North, South, West, is that Chinese wore the robes folding right side under the left side, whereas the “barbarians” wore their robes folding the left side under the right side. (This was our tradition for over 2000 years. This cultural distinction sounds very silly to some of us modern people now. But this was an important distinction. Early Koreans and Japanese were only considered “civilized”, when they adopted this Chinese tradition).

    (2) During the Warring Nations Period, Zhao King wanted to adopt trousers for his soldiers, to make their fighting on horseback easier and more efficient. This caused a huge uproar, not just among his people, but also among the other Chinese nations, because the “trouser” was a Barbarian clothing style. Zhao King’s own uncle vowed to risk death (for defying the King’s orders), rather than to wear the trouser. The Zhao King had to plead and plead with his uncle to get him to change his mind.

    (3) We Chinese sometimes complain about how the Manchurians forced Han Chinese to wear the queue, But do we forget that so many Chinese also resisted cutting of the Queue in the modern era? (As many Japanese also resisted cutting their queue during the Meiji era?)

    *What’s my point:

    if we look back, we find us Chinese changing over time, with our culture, and we can see that “culture” does not stay the same, thus we should not cling so strongly onto any version of it. We can regret the wars fought over such strong “cultural attachments”, but ultimately, history has its own will of shaping us.

    Victors do not always win, victims do not always lose.

    And we should also take notice, that we can see why some others might feel so strongly about “culture”, when we felt the same in our past.

    But in such scale of things, we should be clear that we Chinese are not waging any “cultural wars” at the present.

  30. raffiaflower
    December 5th, 2011 at 08:59 | #30

    “India cannot boast a truly independent foreign policy”.
    This recalls the visit of Condoleeza Rice to India, spiked boots and all. Madame Secretary of State pledged American “help” to transform India into a Great Power. Dohhh?? How can any country truly be a Great Power if you are being fitted out by someone else to their shape and size? You don’t make a Great Power the way you bake a cupcake or macaroon. Great nations do not have “greatness” thrust upon them -here, India, have a bite of this power cookie, says US.
    Russia is a Great Power because it won’t take nicely to any bear-baiting by Nato or US.
    China is a rising Great Power which fought long,isolated and hard against foreign domination and, even in its most hardscrabble days during Communist consolidation, refused to crumble under external threat. Britain and France are lapdogs that bark loudly through the bullhorn of their American master, seated on out-sized Security Council chairs. The Japanese experience – raised back to proxy power status by US but crushed again when it became an economic threat in the 1980s – should caution India about putting its destiny in the hands of others. A truly Great Power acts and decides in its own interests, or in alliance with nations on terms of mutual respect and equality. India needs to shed its colonial hangover from British colonialism, and its superior/inferior complex with China, to fully develop its potential as a great nation.

  31. Rhan
    December 5th, 2011 at 16:49 | #31

    Ray / rv / Nihc,

    Interesting discussion. I always have this question in mind, is racism a main concern to Han Chinese during late Qing? Actually after the Taiping Rebellion, the military power already shifted to Han Chinese, it is just a matter who make the first move, Zheng Guofan lack the guts and Yuan Shikai grasp his chance. Sun Yetsen started his revolt using a race approach but change it later. By reading rv on queue, I can’t resist to think about Gu Hongming unique approach to culture.

  32. December 5th, 2011 at 17:12 | #32

    Added your links to the HH’s recommended reading list. Thanks.

  33. raventhorn
    December 6th, 2011 at 05:56 | #33


    I think there is some aspects of racism/reverse-racism when Han Chinese raise the flag of Chinese nationalism.

    And I would use the term “reverse-racism”, because for much of Chinese history, Han Chinese were on the receiving end of the “racism” and military incursions/invasions.

    Consider the Mongol and Manchurian rules in China, Han Chinese were the oppressed Majority in their own homeland.

    Even if that racist oppression subsided somewhat later in the Yuan and Qing Dynasties, It would still feel like the equivalent of “End of Slavery, but beginning of Segregation”.

    *Now, some have suggested that Han Chinese historically were militarily aggressive. I would dispute that. China had historically fought over disputed border regions against outside tribes, but these disputes are mutual, and considering the low frequencies of such disputes and slow pace of China’s territorial growth, in comparison to its population growth, I would definitively say, China is 1 of the least expansionist ancient civilizations in the world.

    (Historically, whenever a nation experience an explosion in population growth, military expansionism is generally inevitable, but not in China’s case, which usually held onto stable territorial size at times of population growth).

    *Speaking of Queues, I am reminded that the British at the time of their victory in the Opium Wars, forcibly cut off the queues of captured Chinese soldiers and civilians, as a ritual to humiliate the Chinese people.

    British Newspapers even made cartoons celebrating such rituals. (I think the French did some of that too).

    Ever since then, the Queue has come to symbolize a historical humiliation brought by the West upon all Chinese.

    This was also why many Han Chinese also later resisted cutting off their own queues, because it would be symbolically humiliating oneself, when others have already done the same.

    *So, one can see, Manchurians were not the ONLY 1 who used culture to humiliate and dominate other people, the Westerners (in their enlightened imperialism) did pretty much the same thing.

    And the French/British getting freaked out about Muslim women in Europe wearing the Burqa??!

    Well, one can easily see the Freudian guilt complex in that, ie. sons and daughters of those who “cut off Chinese Queues” are afraid of Muslims coming to force them wear the Burqa.

    Not Irony, just pure and simple Guilty conscience.

    So you see, Western dominance of the world was about dominance in EVERYTHING, not much difference from the Manchurians. (Weapons may be different, methods are the same in the end).

  34. December 6th, 2011 at 20:01 | #34

    Well, I always avoid using the term Manchu because Han Chinese actually formed the majority of the bannermen outnumbering the Manchu and the Mongolian combined. They actually did not force the people to adopt their clothes (which is actually a combination of Man and Han fashion). The Qipao (banner dress) was worn as high fashion of the court and the people naturally followed.
    However, I agree that shaving the head and retaining the queue is forced upon the general population. Interestingly, it applies only to the majority Han population. For example, if you called yourself Miao, Yao, Hui, Mongolian, Tibetan or other minority you are exempted. During the initial introduction, there were fierce resistance and they were put down bloodily. The most famous being 嘉定三屠 http://baike.baidu.com/view/33002.htm The sad reality is that the officers and men putting down the rebellion are Han too. This incident and the massacre of Yangzhou was used by Sun Yat San to rally support to overthrow the so-called foreigners. Nevertheless, the Man was so integrated that when the Qing was overthrown, nothing happened to them, they just become another Chinese group. If actual hatred existed they would be massacred.

    Using cultural genocide is too strong a word. History shown that the Qing prince Dorgun initially agreed that only those Han serving the court need to have Man hair style. However, he changed his mind after walking through the street in the city. The reason is that he see that the Han pretty much outnumbered the Man at least 100 to 1, he feel really uncomfortable hence changing his mind about allowing the Han to retain their old hair style.

    The national religion of the Qing is Tibetan Buddhism with Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta http://baike.baidu.com/view/8813.htm (who is the Buddha statue on the crown of Qing emperor) as the most important figure head. I agree that other than Tibetan Buddhism no other religion got special benefit from the court. But you have to bear in mind that Chinese have no unified national religion.

    I don’t believe that Chinese tradition suffered in any way. All the Qing emperors except Nurhachi were fluent in three languages (Man, Mongolian and Mandarin). The formal court language is Mandarin, although records were kept in three languages. All Qing emperors and nobility have to study the Confucian and Chinese classics. In fact in the old Late Jin capital of Shenyang, Wangtaiji named one of his palace关雎which is from the Chinese classic Shijing 诗经. The Qing are the most sinicized of any non Han Chinese groups.

    I think it is the Man who eventually got assimilated, not the other way round. All ruling Chinese dynasty pretty much frown upon intermarrying with commoners. Although the Qing forbid that, Han can apply to become a bannerman. Most people didn’t realized that Kangxi and Qianlong mother came from the Han banner. If you do the math, Kangxi is 25% Man, 25% Mongolian and 50% Han. So the line is pretty blur. When the ROC was founded all bannermen regardless of whether Han or Man was classified as Man people.

    I think you should look at the Qing as just another Chinese dynasty. They have their flaws but a lot of strength too. China today is still smaller than Qing, for example. All dynasties have blood on their hands. The Ming was pretty oppressive in many ways, the biggest edge they have over the Qing is that they have a superior centralized control. They can rebuild the great wall many times over and send out great fleet. The Qing is rather weak centrally. A war or a collapsed of the dike in Huanghe would caused great fiscal shortfall. The Qing did control both sides of the great wall though.

  35. December 6th, 2011 at 20:09 | #35

    The Zhao king is 赵武灵王. By copying Hun cavalry tactics, he turned Zhao into a major power.

    And talking about hair style and fashion, how many Chinese today wear Han clothing or don’t cut their hair as per Confucian tradition?

    So you are right in that we should look ahead. We shouldn’t forget the past but shouldn’t emulate the past completely.

  36. aeiou
    December 6th, 2011 at 20:57 | #36

    I think the Qing feared rebellion much more so than the previous dynasties due to the fact that they were very conscious of the legitimacy of their mandate to rule. There were still Ming loyalists after the Qing was well established. Having said, they still managed to rule for several centuries, and did mange to maintain a degree of prosperity – e.g raise crop output. Mainly though I think it is because of their paranoia that made them very inward looking; especially in neglecting the frontier territories and their armies – all of it made for a very rigid regime, especially after a few centuries, unable to adapt to external threats.

  37. Antioxidants
    December 6th, 2011 at 22:17 | #37

    Talking about Ming loyalist after the Qing was well established, many of the present day organized crime syndicates in Hong Kong, the so called ‘triad’, have its roots traced back to the underground anti-Qing pro Ming societies.

  38. Nihc
    December 6th, 2011 at 23:49 | #38

    “And talking about hair style and fashion, how many Chinese today wear Han clothing or don’t cut their hair as per Confucian tradition?
    So you are right in that we should look ahead. We shouldn’t forget the past but shouldn’t emulate the past completely.”

    Hanfu would be a lot more prominent today if not for Qing rule. The fact was after the fall of the Qing, the majority Chinese had no strong attachment to the Man dress and queue especially because it was a symbol of oppression. (Except out of a sense of western re-humiliation as noted by raventhorn).

    China was hence rapidly westernizing after the revolution in term of clothings, even at a time where most Japanese still wear kimonos.

    I recalled this story where only time Han people have been wearing Hanfu during the Qing dynasty is when they died, their descendants would dress them up in Ming style clothings and loosen the queue so that they would at least have some dignity in death. This is why the Jiangshi “hopping vampire” is dressed in clothing of the previous dynasty.

    “Interestingly, it applies only to the majority Han population. For example, if you called yourself Miao, Yao, Hui, Mongolian, Tibetan or other minority you are exempted.”

    Yes, the Qing specifically targeted the Han, possibly due to the fact that in many ways the Han are the most significant threat to their rule, and hence the subjugation and psychological humiliation must be total. In fact, they bought support from minorities like the Mongols or Tibetans with wealth and position as I have described above. The Mongols and Tibetans are also special compared to the other races because they are nomads with strong cavalry skills, and hence is also a threat. I remembered that other groups like the Nakhi people also hated the Manchus. Western powers were trying to encourage them to ‘become independent’, but one of their king/leader insisted that they were Chinese, but noted that they hate the Manchu rulers.

    “The sad reality is that the officers and men putting down the rebellion are Han too.”

    漢奸 Hanjian have existed for a long time in Chinese history for example even during the Song dynasty and its a human condition. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Tibetans considered many Tibetan CPC cadres as traitors willing to crush their own people. Even if you go to Youtube, with Alan Dawa Dolma singing in the PLA uniform, many Tibetan exiles call her a traitor.

  39. Rhan
    December 7th, 2011 at 04:47 | #39

    Haha rv, you grasp every opportunity to whack the West, but there is much truth pertaining to what you wrote.

  40. raventhorn
    December 7th, 2011 at 05:24 | #40


    On the contrary, the “opportunity” is rare to remember history, especially history that others do not want us to remember.

    Thus, we should grasp every opportunity as we can. For if history is forgotten, we will have no more opportunities left to remember it.

  41. raventhorn
    December 7th, 2011 at 07:09 | #41
  42. raventhorn
    December 7th, 2011 at 07:25 | #42


    speaking of “traitors”, I was speaking with a Cuban American friend, who noted to me, (and I was already aware), many Cuban Americans hate Communists with a sort of blood vengence.

    I sarcastically noted, my family is full of “traitors”, because if I traced my family back far enough, I will find members of my family who worked for various dictators and evil rulers in Chinese history.

    Thus, then I noted, my family do not believe in taking political differences seriously, because I said,

    “blood is thicker than politics” in China.

    We are all Chinese, in our long history, political differences of single life times would mean very little in the long run.

    *The same is true for humanity in general. Life is too short to hold onto political blood feuds.

    This is what allowed us Chinese to move on from Cultural Revolution to Reforms, and probably greater things in the future.

    And this is why Tibetans in Exile and DL will amount to very little. They are holding onto their “blood feud”, forgetting even the origin of it, holding onto the hatred for the sake of hatred.

    That is no way for Buddhists to live. That is no way for real human beings to live.

  43. December 7th, 2011 at 09:23 | #43

    I agree there are some hard core Ming (Han) loyalist who never forgive the Qing for forcing their hair style and rule on the unwilling. It is a mistake to say the Qing is weak on the frontier compare to the Ming, the Qing has direct rule from Tibet, Mongolia to Xingjiang (which was renamed by them from simply the Western Region). They pretty much control both sides of the great wall unlike the Ming.
    I am not sure paranoia is the correct word to describe the Qing. In many cases if you do a side by side comparison with Ming. They pretty much copy the Ming law with the Qing having the more lenient law and weaker central system. The Ming was easily as inward looking as the Qing. It is during the mid-Ming period that China gradually lost not just its technological edge but also in govn’t administration, banking and even commerce development vs the most advanced system of the world. In my opinion the Ming (after the Yuan) has the most oppressive law.

    The triads are not just in HK but all over the world. Sun Yat San received a lot of support from them. Don’t be fooled by HK movies (LOL) though as HK probably has the weakest triads as the govn’t rule is very effective there. Taiwan, in my opinion has the most powerful triad infiltration. When a big boss died, the KMT, DPP, People First Party all attened the funeral.

    The triads tradition oprobably started even earlier going all the way back to the Three Kingdom Period.

  44. December 7th, 2011 at 10:05 | #44

    I understand your position from a mono ethnic point of view but Chinese history is never about a single group. I agree if not for Qing rule, so-called Hanfu would be more popular but why is it not so today? Nobody is preventing the modern Chinese from wearing them. The fact is Chinese love tradition but also change! Is burning computer, Mercedes car as offering to the dead a Chinese tradition? It is now, it is extremely popular in HK, Taiwan etc. Like I have said the Qing changed their mind about hair style mainly because they are afraid. You are right that many minority groups do not like high handed inteference from the central govn’t. If you go back in time it is rife from the Han to Yuan, Ming, Qing etc. So it is not just a Qing thing. Qianlong considered his “ten victories” his military accomplishment, nearly all against the minorities. In is only when viewed through a narrowed ethnocentric angle that Alan Dawa Dolma is considered a traitor. We shouldn’t fall into this trap ourselves.

    For me the Qing shouldn’t be remembered for their last one hundred years (which I admit brought suffering to most Chinese), they shouldn’t also be remembered for their first two hundred years which built up a strong China after the Ming fell from internal peasants rebellion. They actually have good legitimacy because Nurhachi and his grandfather actually hold the title of governor from the Qing court. When his descendents troops entered Beijing the pretext was to avenge the Ming emperor and restored order. I was surprised myself because the Beijing people actually was relieved that the coalition force which include majority Han Chinese due to many defections ran out the forces of Li Zicheng. The Qing rule was almost a certainty due to very capable leadership in the beginning. Most capable Ming generals/scholars switched to the Qing instead of joining Li Zicheng or other Ming princes. There must be a reason for all this to happen. And when the Qing coalition forces started their conquest they were actually outnumbered easily ten to one by the peasants army and Ming loyalist combined. The question to ponder is, why did they win instead?

  45. SP
    December 7th, 2011 at 14:27 | #45

    @ Ray.


    We must view Qing, or anything for that matter, in its entirety, not first or second part. Arguablely the only good point of Qing was to have expanded Ming’s ( and previous Han Chinese Dynasties) territory to the “maximum” at the time. Nonetheless, even this is questionable since the size doesn’t always matter: England, Germany, Japan were/are all tiny in comparison, so what happened?

    Regardless Qing’s legitimacy and popular view at a time, China would have not have become the “China” the world know of today without Qing with all the cancers it contained:

    1. A Han Dynasty (whether peasant one like Li zicheng or not) has always put meritocracy first even with rampant corruptions from time to time. Not Qing, though, when “race” was de facto far more important in the ranking. This alone retarded China’s governing elites class for 300 years.

    2. The mentality of Han Chinese dynasties always was “strategically overlook the opponents while tactically emphasise them” like what Mao put it. This determined that Han would look for technological improvements, most of the time at least, whenever they noticed they were left behind by some people, even though they may look down on these “barbarians” at the same time. This determined that a dynasty ruled by Han people would not become a backward society comparatively. It could and would clearly identify thru numerous occasions decades before the Opium War that Europe and Japan were rising while China was falling fast. This would force the governing elites to “wake up and extend the lead”.

    Not Qing. Qing covered its ears and eyes, refusing to recognise Britain’s rise, and Japan’s sharp rise for that matter , killing off all the revolutionary (in the sense of industrialisation) Han Chinese elites in the Qing court and the country and did nothing, NOTHING! — fundamentally due to Manchu’s narrow world view and “barbarian” inferior nature (forged by its nomad “culture”), particularly in light of the fact that arguablely speaking the Yangzi Delta was technically almost at par with the most advanced regions of England at the Eve of Industrialisation. Without retarded Qing rule, Han China would, and could almost for certain, have been industrialised ( even being forced) about the same era as Britain and Germany, but EARLIER than Japan, not 150 years later till today!

    3. As direct consequences of 2, all humiliations of being weak during the last 200 years which including Opium Wars, the invasions of Japan, and Mao’s communism to name a few, could have been avoided.

    Imagine without Mao? Li zicheng’s or whoever’s dynasty would most likely ended up as the first Asian Republic or at least a British style Monarch at the turn of the century with comprehensive national industrial power rivalling that of the British Empire. Then Communist “Soviet” freekshow would have been killed off by Nazi Germany, to which a nationalistic and economically über strong Han dynasty or republic would have either kept neutral or being friendly… then the world would have been completely different from we see today to the extent that one could not even be sure that a “farmer-oriented copycat America of 19th century” would have become the superpower so soon and so fast…

    Not to mention the impact of global soft power a Han dynasty/Monarch/Republic or the lackof entailed. Just ask any westerner or easterner today of what’s his/her perceived ideal of traditional Chinese, the answer would be, for sure, a loudly-spoken pig-tailed peasant with a comical jacket and a funny rice-field hat, who spits everywhere, eats every worms under the sky and doesn’t give a damn about civilised manners such as queuing, etc — a patent legacy of backward Qing and its direct consequence – Mao China. None of them would have known that these behaviours were completely alien to Han Chinese culture as well. Sad to see that the dress codes, hair styles, social norms and customs of “Japan” in Tom Cruise’s The last Samurai are actually far more Han Chinese alike (Japan was a good copycat after all) than Jackie Chan’s pathetic Shanghai Noon along with Jet Li’s which were Manchu — 100% alien and backward culture.

  46. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 19:54 | #46

    U.S. Energy Secretary is Chinese
    Former U.S. Commerce Secretary is Chinese
    Leading U.S. Supercomputer expert is Chinese
    Mayors of San Francisco and Oakland are Chinese
    First U.S. Asian Astronaut is Chinese
    Many Chinese are working in U.S. national Research Labs., AT&T Labs and IBM Labs, many high-tech. companies in silicon valley.
    Many iphones, ipads, Macs and PC are made by Chinese
    TSMC is the world leading IC manufacturers
    Only Intel can match TSMC and many Chinese are working for Intel too.
    China has the second largest GDP next to U.S.
    Should I say more????

  47. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 20:05 | #47

    Chinese are building their own blue water navy including carrier battle groups, nuclear submarines. etc.
    Chinese are building their national high speed rail networks
    China is the leading ship builder in the world
    U.S. owed Chinese 1.4+ trillion dollars
    Most U.S. electronic equipments and appliances are made by Chinese

  48. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 20:16 | #48

    TSMC is a Chinese company (world leading IC manufacturer)
    Nvidia is a Chinese company (world leading PC graphic card manufacturer)
    HTC is a Chinese company (world leading smart phone manufacturer)
    Chinese are launching their space programs and are building their first space station
    Can’t do much about the past Chinese history
    Do look at what Chinese are doing now and the future

  49. Antioxidants
    December 7th, 2011 at 20:18 | #49


    By the time Britain approach China at the zenith of its colonial power, the Qing court was already sufficiently sinizied that the Qing officials at the time probably think more like a Han than a Manchu. So I don’t think the scenario you described will play out. A Han dynasty will probably react more or less the same.

    @Real Deal,

    The list is not impressive at all. If this is what Chinese can show for, then it is actually pretty pathetic considering that Chinese people account for one fifth of humanity. I would say that the time when science Nobel prizes and Fields medals are dominated by the Chinese is when China has finally arrived. From what I can extrapolate using existing data and trend, I would put the time frame to be within 50 years.

  50. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 20:47 | #50


    Can’t cry over spilled milk. Holding on yesterday is not going do anything for anybody.

    Some Chinese are kept talking about past Chinese history to westerners for what?

    I am talking what Chinese are doing right now and what Chinese can do in the future.
    Isn’t what you are trying to say in your last couple sentences in your last paragraph?

    Only changes for the better for the Chinese had happened when Chinese GDP is growing

    Many Chinese had won Nobel prizes in the past and didn’t do much for the Chinese.
    Some Chinese Nobel prize winners had helped Chinese build their first atomic bomb. Big Deal?

    Chinese need real national economic gains but not some academic fame!!!

    Can’t win with number alone neither!!!
    Human wave attack is so old school!!

    So what is your point?

  51. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 21:11 | #51


    I would not called strong Chinese presence in U.S. government (2 president Cabinet Members, etc.) is pathetic.

    I would not called Chinese are dominating world IC, PC and other electronic industries is pathetic.

    I would not called Chinese are partially powered the U.S. high-tech. and defense industries is pathetic.

    I would not called growing Chinese GDP and updating and upgrading national infostructures and defenses is pathetic

    I would called your Obsession with academic fame (ie. noble prize) and human wave attack is real pathetic!!!!

  52. Real Deal
    December 7th, 2011 at 21:31 | #52

    Back to the main topic China verse India

    I had already stated what Chinese are doing right now.

    U.S. is trying to use India to do their dirty works against Chinese.

    The only winners are U.S., EU and Russia.

    India has been buying several billions of dollars of weapons from EU and Russia.

    U.S. is trying to sell billions of dollars of weapons to India.

    U.S., EU and Russia are trying so hard to fan the flame between India and China.
    So they can sell billions of dollars of weapons to India to bail their economic problems.

    So what is India is doing?

    Instead using those billions to help themselves, India is using those billions to buy weapons from EU and Russia and may be U.S. in the future?

  53. SP
    December 8th, 2011 at 15:07 | #53

    Antioxidants: Not quite. Qing officials = nil. Which Qing emporer/empress was sinisied? Though they learned from the Han calling others barbarians, what they couldn’t learn from the Han was to be vigilant tactically, at all time. Han emporers(by and large) were the original model of talking softly with a big stick in the hand, whereas Qing was almost exactly in reverse. Plus, Qing’s 300-year Afirmative Action across the board arguablely makes the one in modern America look like a spring picnic in a garden.


    Real deal: certainly that India’s govening elites have already known that they’ve been used as a pawn. Then again, the mentality of “India” has always been Prund of Being A Pawn (of the white master), because it shows them that 1/ the masters haven’t forgotten India, and 2/the residual millitary & civilian tech that masters may throw at “India”would definitely make India shining — “superpower all the way before 2020” anyone? It’s so obvious that “India” actually feels flattered and quite pleasant for being the bitch.


    Back to the topic, I kinda wish the Yanks fan the flame further as it would force the impotent CPC grow a pair of balls taking care of this “India” for good in the name of mankind. Compare to what Mao & Co had in 1962, the CPC today is like a 5-year-old with that idiotic “peaceful rising”. Carrot will only make a sense if the stick is shown AND used from time to time (see the onging modern examples in the middle east), particularly to some double-digit average IQers.

    Think about it, regardless how one views of Mao persoanlly, he had no nuke, no tech, no plane, no industry, no friends, and barely enough food for god’s sake yet he was against 2 nuke-enabled superpowers simultanously at a time and still took British-backed American-equipped India for a ride at the drop of hat. Even the once-great Britan could launch a war 2000 miles aways next to Argentina for the sake of an island and won it, and it still will if required. CPC’s soft talking policy with no stick backup deserves no respect. A vietnam can dare to spit in your face… The epic policy failure is unbelievable! BTW, India is no nuke power today no matter how it boasts, as both its nuke sophistication and delivery system were still at levels of 60’s. China should split this pathetic “India”, now, to make an example. The Brits, the Yanks would have done that with soft skill that would also make all the world media singing the praise afterwards… now that’s something!

  54. SP
    December 10th, 2011 at 05:48 | #54

    Look, comparing India to China is like comparing Mexico to the United States. The point is clear.

    If you guys, whether Chinese from China or ethnic Chinese elsewhere, have time to write blogs, why not dedicate some pieces ( a significant portion I would suggest) on REAL issues that matter to Han Nationalists (a.k.a. the long term wellbeing of China / Chinese as a civilisation) to add some sane voices in blogosphere, since rational Han Nationalism in mainland China where such voices are needed is neutered fom what I read.

    (BTW, if you think Nationalism is somehow a dirty word, then I suggest you read less of propaganda outlets such as CNN, BBC, NYT…)

    CPC-led China is adopting the very same stupid neo-liberal policies that are eating the West heart out, yet possiblely at much larger scale, can’t you see!!!???

    e.g. from what I read in recent news:

    1. China’s 1-child policy only applies to Han.

    This in time would lead to digress on National Average IQ!

    Several points difference of national average IQ matters HUGELY – 100 IQ European dominated the last 300 years when chances arose creating the modern world, while 90 IQ ( “only” 10 points lower) Thais and Cambodians could barely feed themselves, and 82 IQ India still look like stunk in the bronze-age.

    2. China’s PM Wen recently advocated welcoming “Indian IT enterprises / personnel” to China.

    Indian double-digit IQ scam-internationals (call centres, basic-code writers and shitty firms such as Wipro, Infosys, Tata…) then would immigrate to China together with their employees, family members, lobby groups, caste system, and despicable corruptions altogether after sucking dry the West, their previous host, and India itself.

    What, are this Wen guy and his “Think Tank” MENTAL??!!

    (homework: Japan has had acute labour shortages for ages. When was the last time Japan welcomed Indian IT “gurus”? )

    3. To a large extent, the point 2 applies also to current Singapore (a temporary economical “paradise” based on shaky multiculti) , which is embracing Indian “geniuses” from India with open arms.

    Corruptions are rampant in Singapore, yes I haven’t mistaken, as ethnic Singapore Indians in power (thanks to its own version of Affirmative Action) have gone to an extreme length to make sure their brothers/sisters from paternal / tribal Indian villages get hired first aand most of time in Singapore even with fake CV qualifications if required, ahead of high tech immigrants from HK and China.

    Unlike what main stream perceives, Singapore is actually a race-based liberal AA time bomb just like USA.

    4. A recent news saying that “Chinese firms have decided to bid for Indian infrastructures”.

    You can’t get more retarded than THIS !

    See if I heard it correctly, so tens of thousands of Han Chinese (without higher education granted. but noneheless with 105 average IQ , solid building skills and iron discipline – things that Indians don’t have), helped by massive finance from Chinese national banks (money that India doesn’t have), are to act as the lowest hard labourers working their hearts out 24*7 (a spirit unheard of in India) on notorious Indian rails, roads, electricity grids, gas pipelines, airports, sewages, water facilities ( at perhaps the lowest prices/profit margin in the world that even piss poor Indian domestic firms are unwilling to do!), trying to finish them on time and in budget ( unheard of in India), in order to build a strong India that WILL one day double cross China?

    I say the Chinese guys, whether the CEOs of such bidding firms or such decision-makers of higher-ups, need to be rounded up and executed in front of their families ( I’m sure Jeremy Clarkson would agree), for being either morons or traitors, or both.

    Now blog-runners, I see there are many of you, GO WRITE ABOUT THESE!

  55. Nihc
    December 10th, 2011 at 06:28 | #55


    “Several points difference of national average IQ matters HUGELY – 100 IQ European dominated the last 300 years when chances arose creating the modern world, while 90 IQ ( “only” 10 points lower) Thais and Cambodians could barely feed themselves,”

    I have to say you are being ridiculous. While I agree with you that the Manchu did great harm to China, your description of Thailand is ignorant to say the least. Until recently, Thailand was much wealthier compared to China. (GDP in China has not close up with Thailand yet). This was the case throughout the dark days of communism.

    I live in Thailand for most of my youth, as well as having visited China numerous times since 15 years ago, and as recently as this year. Only until recently did places like Shanghai shoot through the roof. The credit is clearly due to the correct governmental policy, in addition to the hard work of Chinese people.

    I would say that even during highschool more than 10 years ago, a city like Beijing was not more developed than Bangkok.

    The Thai people are not starving, its a very unequal society yes with plenty of problems related to exploitation, but I have never heard of someone starving to death here. And of course the Thais are not known for their drive and studiousness. However they are on average far more polite and cultured than your average man from China, even to this day.

    As for the Cambodians, sadly the Thais also look down on them. However, the Khmers were once upon a time one of the most powerful empire in these part of the world, the Thai mere new comers and tributaries. Most Thai high culture derived its origin from Khmer culture. But their decline have been long and hard since the Thais sacked their capital more than 3 times. As well as some self inflicted wounds by the Khmer Rouge. (Before communism, Cambodia was quite prosperous under French rule).

    If Thailand had implemented the correct policies and governance, I believe it could have gone much further than where it is today.

  56. Nihc
    December 10th, 2011 at 08:29 | #56

    Just have to add, Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice, as well as the top 8 exporter of food products. The labeling of them as being unable to feed themselves is laughable. SEA was far more prosperous than China or Korea at the end of Qing which explains the massive presence of overseas Chinese who were practically refugees throughout the region. What I am saying is, those who think Qing was a good dynasty is rubbish, and those who seriously look down on SE Asians also need to get their head check, if at least for manners and morality. At least my family owe them quite a few debts, no thanks to China.

    Further more, Thai companies like CP, Charoen Pokphand, was one of the biggest investor in China when they started the reform, and they even had a presence in the Shanghai Expo when I was there last year.

    Thailand had one of the earliest earliest Air Force in Asia, as well as a reformed minded king back a hundred years ago, who achieved many things within a short span of time. Unfortunately they adopted this dysfunctional ‘sham democracy’ system after the end of absolute monarchy, which had power struggle between different factions resulting in the creation of 17 constitutions since 1932 which is quite ridiculous. If Thailand was ruled as well as Singapore it would have gone much much further ahead.

  57. December 10th, 2011 at 09:03 | #57

    I think you are skirting the issue here. Comparing Shanghai to Bangkok is meaningless. The initial communist land reform is successful in China in the 1950s and in the 1980s. It is still successful in the Indian state of Kerala, so much so that it has the highest life expetancy and literacy rate.

    Thailand on a per capita basis might seems fine. It is in the distribution that is screwed up. Thailand on average have higher percentage of abject poverty compare to China today. The life expactancy and education is also lower. In fact even in a relatively better off SE asian country like Malaysia, these three parameters are now lagging behind the PRC.

    The isolated example you quote of the success of Thailand is what I would say isolated examples. Qing China has the highest standard of living from mid 1600 to mid 1800. Lots of accomplishment too but you remember it for the last 60 yrs or so.

    And your analysis of Thailand contained too much personal emotional connection. Saying that Thai people is nicer and friendlier than those from China is patronizing. My question is if the people are so nice now, then why do the politician, police, and military are so corrupted in Thailand today. Blame the system? A while back a few Thai soldiers mudered 13 Chinese sailors. Why Thailand today does not allow its minority to even use their name in their native language. Sorry, Thailand is not a homogenous one ethnicity or religious state but the rulling class prefer it that way, which is wrong.

  58. December 10th, 2011 at 09:21 | #58

    Did you read what I wrote? When the Qing set up for the conquest of China in 1644, the Han Bannermen constituted more than half of the so-called Manchu. The Qing emperors from Kangxi onwards grew up reading the Confucian classics. In practicing Confucianism, ones shouldn’t forget ones traditional culture. That’s what the Qing court are doing, become sinicized but not forgetting their own nomadic/Jurchen/Man root.

    I disagree with your view on the privileged of bannermen as racial in nature. There are no pure blooded Man left by 1700s. If you looked back at the Han, Tang and Ming dynasty the mandarin class are dominated by family/clan f or ages. The Qing has a ruling class of bannermen which is a legacy of the tribal nature of the Jurchen. It is correct that some position are limited to bannermen, the fact is it is rather exclusive, some position is reserved for the yellow or white or blue or red banner. It worked great to maintain stability and balance of power at first. (well they did conquered China, despite being outnumbered 100 to 1, didn’t they? They vaulted imperial Japanese army can’t even do that) However, it becomes a detriment in the later stage when the bannermen become so rich and privileged that they can’t ride a horse let alone shoot an arrow accurately.

    I think you are glorifying the Han dynasty too much, it took over 100yrs for them to be even able to challenge the Hun. There are actually a western and eastern Han dynasty with the Xin in the middle. If you go into details there are equal share of good and bad times. Same with the Tang. Despite all the greatness and peace talked about so much, there are time of disaster where the capital Xian, Luoyang was sacked many times! The indulgence of the Han and Tang court actually put the Qing to shame. There’s a similarity with all those dynasties, they rise, consolidate, fell or reconsolidate.

  59. Nihc
    December 10th, 2011 at 20:19 | #59

    Ray, we are arguing completely different points here. I never said that Thailand was well run. I was countering SP’s arguments that Thailand ‘can barely feed itself’ due to lower IQ or whatever.

    As for Qing standard of living. China was a well integrated economy since ancient time. No feudal society like Thailand at that period will have better overall living standard.

    However it was clear that many western colonies have better living standard compared to China by late Qing.

    “There are no pure blooded Man left by 1700s”

    What about those laws banning intermarriage between Man and Han people? Seriously you would not convince me that Qing is not a racist regime.

    Seriously, one of my best friend since start of this year is a Manchu. He has a distinctive appearance. I never inquired if he is pure blood or whatever. But apparently Korean people confuse him for one of their own quite often.

  60. SP
    December 11th, 2011 at 03:46 | #60

    OKE, Nihc. My apologies for throwing in Thailand as a wrong example. I’ve been to Bangkok once actually, in the 90’s. It was, and is, one of the best metros (alongwith Kuala Lumpur) in SE Asia, and perhaps is still better than Beijing in many ways such as in adhering to traffic rules and some basic civilties such as not spitting systemically, not pissing in the streets (for toddlers), reasonable queuing… Most of my fellow travellers opinion that flying to Bangkok from Mumbai gives one a renewed feeling of Back to Civilisation. We have to, however, bear in minds that a significant portion of Thai intellectual/economical elites are actually ethnic Chinese. That said, my previous point was not mute, that 10 points IQ makes a great deal of difference. Perhaps a better example of 90 or high 80s IQ would be Mexico. (Standing at low 80’s, India’s IQ is just another evidence that it would more likely be disbanded as an artificial nation in the foreseeable future, other than industrialised or civilised, perhaps never will.)

    Ray :

    On Qing, perhap several things should be clear already-

    a/ judging fom its ENTIRETY, it made more harm to China than good.

    b/ higher living standard in Qing is not point. Certainly Americans have higher living standard under Bush/Obama than Thomas Jefferson, yet the latter oversaw the fundation of a great country whereas the former systemically eroded it.

    c/ The rise of the West (and Japan to a lesser extent) was not sudden, but a prolonged process of several hundred years during the Qing rule. Qing had pretty of opportunities meanwhile yet failed to recognise them conceptually hence failed to even think about reform. On the contary, it proactively killed off any efforts initiated by the enthic Chinese elites to do so in varied periods. It was too little too late when the Republic was founded since the great decline could not be avoided at a time. This directly resulted China´s great fall technologically vís-a-vís the rest of the world – 1st time in China´s entire history, which in return opened the door to rampant rebellions and hence made extreme Jewish political ideologies (i.e. Mao´s Communism) — an entirely allien ideology known to the traditional Han Chinese — immensely attractive amongst the mass and practically feasible in mainland China, another disaster.

    A Han-led last dynasty though would have not let that happen so easily because the Han are incrediblely intelligent people with strong tradition of self-reflection (typical Confucius) and sharp strategic acumen focused on larger picture. China therefore would most likely have taken any of plenty opportunities at a time to reform and industrialised, alongside with Japan at least. That would made the whole difference since it would natually paved the way for capitalism based on Republic or British style monarch… 100 years humiliation could then be largely avoided.

  61. Rhan
    December 11th, 2011 at 06:43 | #61

    SP, your view is a pleasure to read but I am doubtful if Han is as good as you point out. I think Ray is trying to present a more balance view by narrating numerous time about Ming and their limitation, and Qing don’t even have one that open the gate like what a Han Chinese Wu Sangui did, but too bad China have a Cixi (or a feudalistic and dynastic system), revolution is inevitable, but of course if we look back, we often feel painful why Guangxu and Kang didn’t bold enough to bring down the old lady, but what to do, is that not another Han Chinese Yuen that fail them?

    As for ‘peaceful rise’, I think this is the aspiration of most Chinese includes those in overseas. And I agree with you on Mao, without his courageous approach, Chinese is still like a sick man of Asia, and those Chinese that criticise Mao would still living under the humiliation like dog in Shanghai before revolution.

  62. December 11th, 2011 at 10:07 | #62

    I would agree there is no mass starvation in Thailand but easily 30-50% of the rural population live in different level of poverty hence in election you see the urban population vote for one part and the rural population for another which is a great source of chaos for the country now. That’s why I always feel that a socialist/communist form of economic policy is essential for getting the poor to self sustaining level before any industrialization can occurred. Thailand actually have a pretty good industrial region but bringing prosperity to its poorer population is near to impossible under the current economical model.

    “What about those laws banning intermarriage between Man and Han people? Seriously you would not convince me that Qing is not a racist regime.”

    That’s a good point but it is not entirely racist in nature but rather a form of class distinction that have always present in all society. Like I have said, any Han Chinese can apply to join the Han banner. It is between bannermen and commoner that intermarrying is not allowed. Europe practice this until the 19th century. The reason is that the Qing court paid all bannermen a monthly stipend depending on his banner rank, and if there are more and more bannermen the govn’t cannot support it. This is the major reason for the fall of the Qing. Qixi and the banner class refused to reform it well until 1911. Basically by early 1800s the banner class cannot defend or run the country but refused to give up power. The really racist dynasty is actually the Yuan.

    The Qiren (bannermen) still have a superiority complex until this very day. Do you know that a distant cousin of the last Qing emperor was the secretary general of the KMT last year (he is the deputy mayor of Ma Yingjiu). And the Qiren has almost 100% literacy rate by early 1700s. Of all ethnic group in greater China today, the so-called Man Chinese has the highest standard of living and education level courtesy of the Qing dynasty.

    Anyway, a bunch of Korean Chinese was integrated into the Qiren too. Nurhachi served under a Korean Ming general http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Chengliang who is in charge of the Jurchen affair of Northeastern China. Maybe your friend is of Korean Qiren.

  63. December 11th, 2011 at 11:16 | #63

    If you look at imperial Chinese dynasties, ALL of them could be said to leave more harm than good but they are a necessity. Why didn’t the Han dynasty introduce a universal education system so that China become a modern country by the birth of Christ?

    I am comparing Qing China of 1750s to the rest of the world and it compared favourably. What we must ask is what went wrong after Kangxi, Yongzhen and Qianlong? You could also argue that Washington and Jefferson being racist slave owners planted the seed for the future American Civil War. This war leaves 1 out of 10 adult male dead, devastated nearly all of the South industrial areas, and nearly destroyed the United States as a country. The Qing is not flawless but it compares favourably to Ming who is even more inward looking and hiding behind the great wall. If Ming is to survive, China would simply be 1/4 the size it is today! Like I have said many times the Qing actually inherited the whole government system of the Ming, replaced its military system by its own and introduced a new noble class, the Qiren.

    Hey, I think you are being unfair when you criticized the Qing as a whole. It is emperor Guangxu who initiated the reform but the problem is that the nobility would have none of that. The same thing happened in Europe in the form of the English civil war and the French revolution. Basically, no entrenched elite class would give up power willingly. In late Qing the nobility refused just like their European counterpart.

    The problem with China is that it never has any direct competitor of comparable population or technology since the Qin dynasty. In contrast, Europe is a hot bed of competing small powers. Five hundred years ago the greatest European power is the Ottoman. In order to counter this threat, Portugal and Spain innovated and becomes great naval imperial power. Then they go into decline and was replaced by Dutch, then English. On the continent, France replaced the Austrian empire. The unification of Italy and Germany brought new challenges. So for the past 500 yrs, the European keep on innovating because it is a necessity for them to survive. They colonized because they want to overcome their larger neighbours.

    China under any Confucian dynasty would have a different outlook. Columbus was looking for fame and fortune. When he reached the Caribbean his first thought was how he could used superior arms to take the native’s land and enslaved them. By contrast, the Ming and Qing was already sitting of the richest empire in the world. They have no incentive to design better arms or military formation. With mass population surplus (Qing population reached 300 million in 1800) there is also no need for technological advances. Basically, European colonization of the world is a given after nearly 1000 years of constant fighting between the different states.

    China and India simply have such a different historical background that overseas expansion is almost impossible. The Ming stopped at what it considered traditional Han territory while the Qing expanded and stopped at the periphery. The biggest advantage the latter European powers have is through education, it is a necessity since they needed governors, civil servants, engineers, doctors, scientist etc to run their vast empire. The latter European power introduced universal education system. By contrast in China and India, by 1900 only around 10% of the population has an education. All these factors are to play a big role.

  64. Nihc
    December 12th, 2011 at 03:02 | #64


    “Maybe your friend is of Korean Qiren.”

    That would be extremely ironic since he, like many Chinese nationalist hates Koreans. In his own words (not mine) he thinks they are “arrogant peasants”. He also thinks Koreans look ‘odd’, whereas he thinks Japanese people are a lot more like Chinese. (But Japanese people are also distinctive in appearance to me). Its probably have to Korea being more genetically isolated due to being a peninsular, and Japan having injected Han blood by Xu Fu during Qin dynasty, which displaced the tribal stone age Jomon/ Ainu culture with a feudal one.

    Anyway, I don’t think he looks that similar to Koreans, he looks a lot like this Manchu singer 火風 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67DikfjVY1E
    That is if the singer was in his twenties and slimmer.

    But of course Koreans and Manchus are related, not only in the Altaic language root, as well as one of the founding kingdoms in their historical three kingdoms being of Jurchen origin.

  65. December 14th, 2011 at 10:44 | #65

    Today (Dec. 14, 11) I must have too much time in my hands. To prove my point that China is more influential in global business via a simple experiment, I count how many articles with headline on China and compare same on India. The result is: China 6, India 1.

    China has 5 favorable articles on China and India’s only article is unfavorable on India.

  66. LOLZ
    December 14th, 2011 at 21:47 | #66

    World bank came up with a list of the best and worst places to do business in the world. Out of the BRICS nations India came up dead last. For specific areas like building permits India came out nearly the last (something like 180 out of 183) in the world. Transparency international consistently puts India as more corrupt than China in its studies about corruption. If you look at key demographics metrics such as literacy (only 40% of Indian women can read), life expectancy (average Chinese outlives Indians by 10 years), infant mortality rate (India has the highest infant mortality rate in Asia and among the highest in the world), India can barely compete with Pakistan, a nation which Indians love to mock on a regular basis.

    The only thing which India has going for it is a flawed democracy and a supposedly “free media”. But if the rich and powerful in India continue to live above the law while corruption is rampant at a rate which is even worse than China, it makes you wonder why do so many think India’s political system is superior?

  67. zack
    December 15th, 2011 at 00:58 | #67

    because the leaders in the western owe their power to the supposed success of the liberal democratic model. Therefore, they can’t afford to portray any liberal (or illberal in the case of india) democracy as ‘failing’ even though that’s exactly what’s been happening since 08, and instead desperately need to go on the offensive on other alternatives to the model of their rule.
    that’s why they come down so hard on China and desperately seek ways to find ways to balkanise China or incite revolution; it’ll be interesting how different european countries become after China pretty much saves their butts with this euro currency crisis

  68. raventhorn
    December 15th, 2011 at 06:32 | #68


    I have been meaning to write a post about a similar line of reasoning as you just commented. So I guess I can elaborate mine here.

    (1) Western narative (or justification) for the “Western success” is often attributed to “Free Market” and “Liberal Democracy”.

    (2) thus, if an alternative model, say China’s “Market economy with socialist characteristics” and Chinese 1 party socialism limited democratic Republic model, succeeded, then it would collapse the mirage of superiority of the “Western System”.

    (3) More dangerous for the West, because Western success is largely attributed to the SYSTEM, “rule of law”, which also defines the “culture” of Western civilization, if the SYSTEM appear to fail, then it hits the core of the Western Culture as well. (There is no fall back system/position).

    In contrast, for China, even if the SYSTEM fails, (such as the ROC), “Rule of Man”, or more accurately, “Rule of Confucian Culture” takes over at the core, and new systems spring forth from the Culture, adapt to new global situations, as China adapted to the modern world fairly quickly (as Japan similarly did earlier).

    *I do attribute China’s success (and Japanese and South Korean and Singaporean and Taiwanese successes) to our common “Rule of Confucian Culture” in the core of these Asian nations, which enable them to adapt quickly to new world situations.

    I believe, no system can be absolutely superior to others through all times. Times change, systems fail to meet the needs of the new times, and systems will fail.

    “Rule of Law/system” is temporary, and cannot be counted on.

    Westerners’ need to try to put down or contain China’s rise is obviously sign that their “system” cannot cope with rising challenges on merits alone.

  69. zack
    December 15th, 2011 at 21:30 | #69

    i look forward to your article, raventhorn; in my view, the problem with the Western paradigm comes in two parts.

    1) Westerners believe in a ‘one size fits all’ model and approach, hence they attempt to couch their standards and views as ‘Universal values’-some of which are and should be taken for granted such as freedom to express one’s views (as . Most Westerners fail to understand the one simple fact that the Chinese have a very different culture and attitude towards their own. Any student of the languages would comprehend this well, you can understand so much about a peoples’ viewpoints and profound meanings when you study a language, and sad to say but some english translations of various Chinese texts are rather poor in my experience.

    2) a judeo christian religion that emphasizes and promotes missionising (as opposed to leading by example such as in Buddhism or taoism/confucianism) has influenced the Western political establishment and population to expect their leaders to ‘turn the world Western’, if you will. Even if most of the population happens to be agnostics, proselytisation of the liberal democratic model has become a staple of liberal democracies (reminds me also of how trotsky wanted to turn the world communist).

    i agree on your point about how the rule of law might sound good in theory, in practice it is a starkly different matter. It’s also the difference between what’s legal and what’s justice, but i suppose that is a topic for another thread;).

    anyway, to sum up; pundits who trumpet about the success of the ‘liberal democratic’ model fail to comprehend China’s current success, hence they need to rationalise this “DOES NOT COMPUTE” as ‘oh china’s going to collapse any moment now’ (ahem gordon chang/willy lam/minxin pei/ etc etc) or else face the prospect of what amounts to an existential crisis for themselves. it’s like trying to explain scientific evolution to a born again christian creationist, you’re not going to change their preconceived judgements cuz so much of their ego depends on this myth.

  70. SP
    December 22nd, 2011 at 07:30 | #70

    Scores of India’s top 2 states ranked at near the bottom in all 3 categories of 74-country global study in PISA 2009 where Shanghai topped the ranking

    —- news just out yet global mass media delibrerately ignore it.

    “Knowledge superpower” no more?

    Or just take a one-month breath then come back allover again?


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