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stonelee

Here is one question confuse me?About when China became to exist.

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stonelee

In all Chinese history knowledge,China exist since 夏(夏 BC2207—BC1766 )中国历史年表

But i see there a lot of foreign friends in forum believe that China exist after 秦.

When 秦 conquered ("灭") the nations of 韩, 赵, 魏, 楚, 燕, 越, and 齐, it is considered to be the unification of China, though China did not exist before then.

As i konw,after the decline of 周 dynasty.All the leud(诸侯) begain to be independent.So 周 dynasty is devided to 鲁、齐、晋、秦、楚、宋、卫、陈、蔡、曹、郑、燕、吴、越...

They fight with each others in period of Chan guo(战国时期),and finally they became to 秦、齐、楚、燕、韩、赵、魏 in Spring and Autumn Period.

So i want to konw how you think about 夏商周 three dynasties? I just confuse why China only exist after 秦 unify China,because different history textbooks?

Thank you for your reply~,:help

ALL MAPS

No inline images and long quotes, thanks

Edited by roddy

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muyongshi

I wish I had more time at this point to formulate a very thorough answer but unfortunately the work is piling up so I can only do my short answer.

I think the key to this question is the consideration of China as a nation as opposed to individual regions or tribes. China is considered becoming China by 秦始皇 due to the fact that it was a "unification". I don't think any person would deny that before then there were Chinese people but the view of China as a nation is most due to this unification. We also recognize the small tribal like states as being in essence China but would view them more as individual states that in the end made up China.

Basically the key being the unification of them, leading to a nation. I think that is why it is said in the way it is. Now, this could be some interesting discussion on how to view it.

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imron

@stonelee, there are many foreigners here and elsewhere who have a deep understanding of China and its history. They also know that answering the question "When did China come into existence?" is not so black and white, but their answer to that is almost certain not to be "At the same time that any piece of land that was once governed by some country/nation/state that later became part of modern China". Nor are they so naive as to believe that China is, was and always will be the same shape and makeup that it is today. 话说天下大势,分久必合,合久必分。

It's not so much different textbooks, because many foreign Chinese-scholars have also read the Chinese textbooks, rather it's a different view of what it means to be a country/nation/state.

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leeyah
In all Chinese history knowledge,China exist since 夏(夏 BC2207—BC1766 )中国历史年表

But i see there a lot of foreign friends in forum believe that China exist after 秦.

Guess it was reading the Korean Confucius confusion thread that made you feel this way, but you shouldn't take things so literally nor generalize too much, judging foreign knowledge of China by half-serious replies in the forums.

In fact, as Imron nicely put it:

there are many foreigners here and elsewhere who have a deep understanding of China and its history. They also know that answering the question "When did China come into existence?" is not so black and white

I believe what created confusion in your understanding of foreign views of when China came into existence actually lies in the confusion about its English name, which indeed derives from the name of the unification period under the Qin 秦, in Western chronicles transliterated as Tschin/Ĉin, which gave us China in English. But you should know that worldwide there are different names for China even today and these different names actually derive from different sources of how knowledge of China reached them, in the West it was either the northern Asian route or southern searoute.

Of names other than Tschin/Cin for China in the West, all of which can still be seen in context with Chinese civilization, there are also:

1. Serica, the land of the Seres, the original Latin name for China from Greek/Latin word for silk: serica, and the Chinese were then known as Seres, from Greek word serikos (σηρικος), "made of silk", from s r (σηρ), "silkworm," in which case Seres is "the land where silk comes from."

2. Sinae which is said to have origins in Arabic: Sin صين spreading to Latin/Greek: Sin & which can still be seen today in the names for Sinology (Chinese Studies), Sinicization,Sino-Tibetan languages etc and which was also transliterated by the Japanese as 支那, but don't forget that Japan was under Jesuit influence in the 16th century, which undoubtedly left trace in their culture, too

3.And then there's Cathay, which originated from Mongolian: Kitad, Hyatad, and was used in the times of Marco Polo & is still used in Russian: Китай, and some Tatar languages (eg. Khitan).

And from what I know the regular names for China spoken similarly as 中华 are only used by China's Asian neighbors: Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, etc etc

Stonelee, like you said the beginnings of what is known as Chinese civilization goes back to 华夏, that's what we are taught in class in first year of Chinese history. No confusion there. It's (ab)using the name China to date the beginnings of Chinese civilization, which may lead to misunderstandings. Nothing more :)

Edited by leeyah

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skylee

oh stonelee why would you want to ask this question on this website?

IMHO it's not worth it (well unless you want to discuss it here, of course).

PS - I like my friend :) muyongshi's reply.

Edited by skylee
It should have been unless but I wrote unlike. Must have been too drunk.

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renzhe

Yeah, it's the difference between nation/culture and country.

Germany has only been unified since 1871. Before that, there was no Germany. When Goethe wrote his works, there was no Germany. There were German tribes, there was German language, and you could even speak of a German culture spanning many smaller states, but no Germany.

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muyongshi
PS - I like my friend muyongshi's reply.

I liked your reply too! Made me really want to add some sarcasm to the post but well... as you can see I'm learning to 忍. :mrgreen:

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wushijiao

I’d say that there are various answers. As a unified entity, I’d have to go with the Qin (秦). Culturally, it would probably be the Xia (夏). Politically, it would be October 1st, 1949 when today’s CCP /Party-state (黨國) officially took power.

But even then, when you say that Chinese history starts with the Xia, to some degree, one is projecting an identity backwards in time (Koreans have a habit of this as well, I think). Archeological discoveries show that there were other fairly well developed civilizations at the tme of the Xia living in other areas of what is currently China, say in Sichuan, but today, people in Sichuan don’t trace their identity back to them, but rather to the dominant nations that, by most accounts, were fairly small in size (maybe a hundred miles in radius). Furthermore, other nationalities have been absorbed into what is today’s China, but always focusing on 5,000 years of history and equating it directly with “China” can be slightly disturbing to some who don’t see themselves as 炎黃子孫。

Of course, this is not to say that China’s history isn’t amazing for all of its cultural, scientific, agricultural, artistic, and architectural, and political achievements, but I think the question is a bit more complicated that it looks on the surface.

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roddy

As has been said, it's a country vs culture / civilization issue. Eg:

.So 周 dynasty is devided to 鲁、齐、晋、秦、楚、宋、卫、陈、蔡、曹、郑、燕、吴、越...

They fight with each others in period of Chan guo(战国时期),and finally they became to 秦、齐、楚、燕、韩、赵、魏 in Spring and Autumn Period.

If you're going to say 中国 started with the 夏 - which of the 鲁、齐、晋、秦、楚、宋、卫、陈、蔡、曹、郑、燕、吴、越...; and then the 秦、齐、楚、燕、韩、赵、魏 was 中国 at that point? What if unification had happened under the 魏, not the 秦? Would 中国 exist now? Continuity of a culture, a civilization, I can see. But not of a country.

oh stonelee why would you want to ask this question on this website?

Feel free to recommend us some other websites.

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wushijiao

Also, if one is talking about China as a “country”, I think we’re almost certainly referring to the modern nation-state system that was developed in Europe in the 18th through 20th centuries. Most of “China’s” revered and respected dynasties have been large multi-ethnic empires that operated under the 朝貢關系 (tribute system) of international relations, which is vastly different (and arguably much less bloody) than the nation-state system or the post-Westphalia system. I argued in this post that one can possibly view China now as a civilization or empire that is still going through the process of becoming a nation-state (from the 朝貢關系 system, and Leninist model) .

If you buy that argument (and you may think it’s offensive or absurd), but if you buy it, then I think it implies that:

1) As a modern nation-state, the country is still relatively young (even though it is one of the oldest in terms of civilization continuity).

2) Westerners should be reflective about (morally) condemning the current government about violence stemming from ethnic tensions since, to some degree, China is simply having to adapt to a system of international relations and state set-up that it didn’t invent, and was more or less imposed on them. (Of course, you may also find that to be absurd).

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zozzen

So i want to konw how you think about 夏商周 three dynasties?

Well put. "Lou Zhu" seems to think that saying China as a unified country was born two something thousands years ago would shorten the lifespan of Chinese culture.

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YuehanHao

I feel the deeper question being asked is "how do you define 'China'"? If we could define this term precisely, then defining the starting point of China would be trivial.

A nation is ultimately an idea (usually a shared idea, although 约翰好国 is an exception to this rule), rather than a physical entity, and it is typically difficult to agree upon a definitive birth of that idea in cases where the physical entity or entities credited with founding the nation (i.e., human beings) were not demonstrably aware of the "national idea" themselves. For example, George Washington and friends consciously founded the idea of the United States, but did the earliest ancestors of present day Chinese found the idea of China or was theirs an idea that was similar to our idea of China yet different? Or perhaps, at what point in the continuum of time did their idea of China converge sufficiently to ours that we can begin to use this term for their idea?

Maybe questions of this sort are entertaining, but I think they have arbitrary answers (since there is no single definition of China) and are less important than factual questions related to the physical entity-human beings who created the history and culture that have evolved into what we think of now as China and Chinese (and their accomplishments), which are independent of and which rise above how we choose to define nationhood.

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stonelee
I think the key to this question is the consideration of China as a nation as opposed to individual regions or tribes.

Thank you muyongshi~Your short reply give me a lot of help~ The key is China as a nation or as a country. :mrgreen:

there are many foreigners here and elsewhere who have a deep understanding of China and its history.

HI~imron :wink: I konw there are many friends in this forum have a deep understanding of China and its history not only can speak Chinese. That is why i want to communicate with everyone in this forum. :wink:

rather it's a different view of what it means to be a country/nation/state.

I agree that.It will be another discussion that how to definition a country/nation/state.

HI~ leeyah Sorry for my late reply.There a lot of things happened in this week so that i can reply until now.:)

Guess it was reading the Korean Confucius confusion thread that made you feel this way, but you shouldn't take things so literally nor generalize too much, judging foreign knowledge of China by half-serious replies in the forums.

As you say,that thread puzzled me and maybe i really too literally... About the haif-serious replies...i will pay attention to it. Although i don't want to judge any thing, maybe some words should be uesd more serious~

Thank you for your remind~ jeeyah :D

Of names other than Tschin/Cin for China in the West, all of which can still be seen in context with Chinese civilization, there are also:

GREAT learning leeyah~ I believe there are many erudit persons who are good at history and language in this forum. It's very useful to me.
No confusion there.

I feel my puzzle is solved.:mrgreen:

oh stonelee why would you want to ask this question on this website?

Hi~ skylee

Because this confusion come from this website, so i want to solve it here.:mrgreen:

IMHO it's not worth it (well unlike you want to discuss it here, of course).

Thank you for your advice~ :wink:

I'm not come here to quarrel with someone else in this question,just what to kown everyone's opinion and solve my puzzle.That is all.

So i think it's OK to discuss it here.:wink:

Digression:I saw some of your replies in this forum,you are enthusiastic about helping others. There are some unknown reasons make me feel that you are a fashionable and confident girl living in HK or TW.Maybe you travel a lot places in the world and 刀子嘴豆腐心 in your real life. JUST guess~:mrgreen:

Yeah, it's the difference between nation/culture and country.

Hi~忍者兄.

As you say,It's just difference between nation/culture and country I get it:mrgreen:

As a unified entity, I’d have to go with the Qin (秦).

Hi~wushijiao:mrgreen: We all agree that 秦 is the first unified entity in Chinese history.

I just been puzzled when i know 夏商周 is not called China.

1) As a modern nation-state, the country is still relatively young (even though it is one of the oldest in terms of civilization continuity).

I totally agree this,as we always say we are in the primary stage of socialism.It's only 60years since PRC was set up.:)

I want to know if "a nation-state " means 单一民族国家?If it means that i won't agree with "a nation-state". (56 nations living in one country.)

about violence stemming from ethnic tensions since

If you means the crashs in Tibet and Urumqi. 我也想讲些题外话,我希望外国朋友多看看中国这边的报纸和新闻,我希望你们能从这些我们国内的报道中看出我们的失实和隐瞒。可是现在更多的是我们发现更多的外国方面的失实和欺骗的报道,比如CNN(在西藏事件后在中国最臭名昭著的媒体,臭名昭著毫不夸张,在那段时间,即使是在农村采访的外国媒体,也会被普通的人们询问是否是CNN)。

(If you means the crashs in Tibet and Urumqi. I also want to say something out of the thread.:mrgreen: I hope friends who are living out of China can read more domestic news/reports and sounds from China. I hope someone can find inconsistent with the facts and cheat from domestic media.But some inconsistent with the facts always been report by some westen media,such as CNN~Such a notorious media in China after report so many false about the clash in Tibet .)

Edited by roddy

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renzhe
忍者兄

:mrgreen: I like you 8)

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wushijiao
Or perhaps, at what point in the continuum of time did their idea of China converge sufficiently to ours that we can begin to use this term for their idea?

YuehanHao- that’s essentially the same question I was thinking of. But regardless, another way to look at it, perhaps, is to see whether or not the succeeding regime or country saw the previous one as its ancestors. In this sense, as far as I know (and could be wrong here), China can be said to go all the way back to the Xia because the states after Xia have seen themselves as following from that tradition. From this point of view, even if the Xia (or other earlier dynasties) had little in common with states after them, they could still be rightfully called “Chinese” since Chinese people have consistently identified themselves with that lineage.

I want to know if "a nation-state " means 单一民族国家?If it means that i won't agree with "a nation-state". (56 nations living in one country.

Hi Stonelee, if you go back and read the article I linked to in my previous post, you’ll see that, to a large extent, a nation-state is based on the concept of “单一民族国家” , or the idea that a nation's political and economic and military affairs all function within the context of the dominant ethnicity's cultural background and using the dominant ethnicity's language. The history of Europe, where the concept of the nation-state originated, is written in blood, much of it based on ethnic conflict, unfortunately. To a large extent, as I said before, I think that China is going from being a large multi-ethnic empire (in which minorities and tribute paying states had a high degree of autonomy) to more of the traditional nation-state model used by other countries. This doesn’t mean that other ethnic people stop living in the nation-state, it simply means that they will have to adapt and assimilate to the majority if they want to take part in mainstream political or economic life, while they maintain a certain degree of freedom in the private sphere. But perhaps I’m wrong about this, and I hope that I am.

some westen media,such as CNN~Such a notorious media in China after report so many false about the clash in Tibet .)

As far as these issues, last year we had a thread about Western media bias, which you can find here.

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muyongshi
For example, George Washington and friends consciously founded the idea of the United States, but did the earliest ancestors of present day Chinese found the idea of China or was theirs an idea that was similar to our idea of China yet different?

And I believe that when we look at it this is why we believe China as a nation really started with 秦始皇 because he had that conscience idea, goal, thought, whatever to unify and create a nation. And so that is why our view of China as a nation "started" with him. Yeah, it gets more complicated as you really get into the history and progression of China, however this is the simple answer.

忍者兄

I like you

Wow, renzhe, I never took you for the guy that likes his 马屁 getting 拍ed. :wink:

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renzhe

I'm very vain :oops:

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stonelee

Hi~wushijiao~:mrgreen: I learned a lot in our conversation. And here is another question i want to ask you~~~What is the meaning of your name "wushijiao"? 五十角? Just guess~:mrgreen:

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wushijiao
Hi~wushijiao~ I learned a lot in our conversation. And here is another question i want to ask you~~~What is the meaning of your name "wushijiao"? 五十角? Just guess

Yes, it is meant to be 五十角, named after the rapper 50 Cent, (although I later found out he uses the Chinese name 50分! I had already registered this name- wushijiao- at this point).

Anyway, stonelee, your English is very good. I hope you can keep on participating in discussions like this!

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stonelee
(although I later found out he uses the Chinese name 50分! I had already registered this name- wushijiao- at this point).

HAHA~~ This small mistake made your name became more interesing!:mrgreen:

wushijiao~Thank you for your encouragement,:mrgreen:

I hope you can keep on participating in discussions like this!
I will~I like these discussions!

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