History’s Meaning of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 5/5

October 16, 2010

A few Chinese intellectuals pleaded for a more open approach for knowledge. This took place a few decades before the clash between China and the West during the Qing Dynasty.

One Chinese scholar, Chiang Siu Chung, said that the Confucian texts were history and Confucius may be a true guide to life but the time was past to continue following this old curriculum of study.

Two years before this scholar’s death in 1799, he wrote a letter that said that history should no longer concern itself merely with the past but should use the past to reform the present and to look into the future. He predicted the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

Near Chiang Sui Chung’s death, China was about to come face to face with another culture whose view of history was diametrically opposed to Chinese tradition.

The Europeans with their Judea-Christian heritage believed that history had a purpose — that it was leading toward an appointed end and they would be the winners.

When The Chinese first met the Westerners, the Chinese had a dark description of the Europeans as a savage people who didn’t just come to sell but came to impose their ideas, their religions and their will on everyone they met.

This era culminated in the Opium Wars, which meant the Europeans wanted to get as many Chinese addicted to Opium as possible.

China was defeated by the very technology they had developed centuries earlier because they had stopped in their development. Unable to cope with the pressure from the West, the Chinese government collapsed and the Western Imperialists treated the Chinese people as if they were animals in their own land.

Then a great time of revolution had arrived as the I-Ching, the book of changes, says. In the I-Ching, there is a hexagram titled revolution.

In a revolution, the I-Ching says there are two mistakes that must be avoided. You must not move with excessive haste nor use excessive ruthlessness against the people.

Return to History of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 4



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. 

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