The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 1/3

February 19, 2011

China sees nations that share its border as its lips and questions what happens to the teeth when the lips are gone.

However, which countries are considered China’s lips?

That question may be answered by the list of countries in Asia that were part of China’s tributary system during the Qing Dynasty: Tibet, Khalkha (a subgroup of the Mongolians), Korea, Ryukyu (Okinawa), Annam (Vietnam), Siam (Thailand), Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Nepal, the Dzungar people of Mongolia, and Turpan which is now located in China’s Xinjiang Province.

Although other nations such as the United Kingdom, Russia, Portugal, the Netherlands and even the Holy See (Catholics) paid tribute to China in the 17th and 18th centuries, they are not considered part of China’s lips.

The first foreign threat in China’s sphere of influence was when Spain conquered the Philippines in 1565 – 1571. Although China did not feel threatened by Spain, the conquest did not go unnoticed.

Spain would maintain a colony in the Philippines until the United States defeated Spain in 1898. Then the Philippines became a colony of the US until 1946 and then the US would keep military bases there until 1992. The US occupation of the Philippines was brutal.

The first serious threat to China’s lips was Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1592 with the professed goal of conquering Korea, the Ming Dynasty and then India.

However, a combined Korean and Chinese army defeated the Japanese.

Japan’s second invasion of Korea in 1597 also failed when another joint Chinese and Korean army defeated the Japanese again.

The next threat to China happened when Britain fought China during the First Opium war 1839 – 1842.  Then in 1856 – 1860, Britain was joined by France and the United States to fight and win the Second Opium War.

At about the same time in 1858, France’s navy attacked Da Nang in what is today known as Vietnam in. By 1867, a sizable chunk of Southeast Asia became a French Colony. After World War II, the Vietnamese rebelled and fought the French from 1945 to 1954.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

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Kingdom of Heavenly Peace (1845-1864)

February 13, 2011

I’ve mentioned the Taiping Rebellion often. After writing more than a thousand posts and about four hundred thousand words, it’s difficult to recall all that I’ve said of the man that started this rebellion.

There is irony in Hong Xiuquan’s choice of naming his kingdom. During the years his Christian rebellion thrived, he ruled over a third of China and had an army of more than two million troops.

Since he was a converted Christian, Hong Xiuquan made overtures to the British and French asking for an alliance to help defeat the Godless Qing (Manchu) Dynasty. The British and French turned him down.

After all, profits often come before God. Christians may always ask for forgiveness later.

Xiuquan made his mistake by wanting to rid China of opium, which British merchants along with French, Germans, Americans, etc. wanted to keep selling to the Chinese.

The embedded video is about Hong Xiuquan. Hal Holbrook is the narrator and says, “While the seventh day Sabbath doctrine was gaining ground in America in the middle of the 19th century, the Taiping Revolution was sweeping across China…”

Hong Xiuquan was the ambitious son of a poor, peasant farmer.

However, he had a goal to become successful. After failing the Chinese civil service examinations several times, he met a Chinese Christian convert passing out pamphlets published by Protestant missionaries.

Hong put the pamphlets on a shelf and forgot them. After failing several more civil service exams, Hong suffered a breakdown and had strange dreams of an old man.

Holbrook says, “Traditional Chinese would not attach any importance to dreams unless or until there was some clear connection to real life.” At first, Hong did not see a connection.

Jonathan Spence, the author of God’s Chinese Son, which is about the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan explains that eventually the connection was made between the dreams and the Protestant pamphlets. The old man in Hong’s dreams had to be God.

After that, Hong Xiuquan believed the purpose of his life was to establish the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace. His religious zeal spread among the suffering peasants and inspired the greatest revolutionary movement of the 19th century.

The Qing Dynasty successfully asked the British and French for help, which allowed the Manchu to crush Hong’s Christian rebellion in 1864. In 19 years of rebellion, more than 20 million died.

Learn more of The Opium Wars (1839 – 1852) and (1856-1860)

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 2/2

December 14, 2010

The Yongzheng Emperor ruled from 1722 to 1735. He was frugal like his father, the Kangxi Emperor.

Yongzheng created an effective government and used military force to preserve the dynasty’s position as his father had. Under his leadership, he continued the era of peace and prosperity by cracking down on corruption and waste while reforming the financial administration of the empire.

The Qianlong Emperor (birth/death 1711 – 1799) ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). He subdued about ten rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions stretched from 1747 to 1792.

However, when the Qianlong Emperor died, China was unified, at peace and strong. He was a brilliant military leader and expanded the empire further into Mongolia and Tibet.

During the rule of the Qianlong Emperor, Manchu and Chinese armies proved the Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

Chinese settlers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Taiwan dealt with rebellions of the aboriginal tribes that could only be subdued by military force. Muslim people also resisted the Qing regime in Gansu and Xinjiang.

During the 19th century, the two Opium Wars started by Britain and France weakened the Qing Dynasty.

Besides the Opium Wars, there was also the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted more than a decade and cost about 20 million lives.

In 1900, The so-called Boxer Rebellion (known as “I-ho Chuan” or the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) was originally started against the Manchu Qing Dynasty but the Qing government managed to redirect this rebellion against the foreigner invaders that had defeated China during the earlier Opium Wars.

This ended in a worse defeat after the foreign powers formed an alliance and marched on Beijing slaughtering the rebels.

The driving force behind the revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing Dynasty was Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

However, once the Qing Dynasty fell, warlords tore China apart and it would take years of struggle to reunify China under one government in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan with much of China’s imperial treasures and gold.

Return to The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.