Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

history of weak dynasties


Recommended Posts

Other than the end of the Qing, what were the other top 5 weak periods in Dynastic history. I assume rampant corruption was the main factor, but what were the variations?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

woodcutter

Everone wants to talk about their favorite dynasty, but no-one wants to chat about the weak ones! Thats human nature.............

Of course every dynasty ended in weakness, to some extent. The real distortion in focusing only on the "glory of the Tang" and the "stupendous Song" etc is that some vital periods of Chinese history remain rather unknown. For example the period of the Nothern and Southern dynasties involved much progress, but little is written about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
studentyoung
Everone wants to talk about their favorite dynasty, but no-one wants to chat about the weak ones! Thats human nature.............

In fact, so many historical experts in China have written so many academic reports in Chinese on the research of reasons for the weak dynasties, to avoid the leaders cloning the bitter historical lessons. Because to translate the historical stuff is really hard work with low / no pay (sometimes, you will even get into trouble for it), only very few people are willing to do so.

Of course every dynasty ended in weakness, to some extent. The real distortion in focusing only on the "glory of the Tang" and the "stupendous Song" etc is that some vital periods of Chinese history remain rather unknown.

In my opinion, the distortion in focusing only on the “glory of the Tang” and the “stupendous Song” is maybe for the traveling promotion and the national proper-pride (民族自尊心).

Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Of course every dynasty ended in weakness, to some extent.

That's right. For these dynasties, I pick these periods as the weakest within that dynasty.

1) Western Han (206BC - 8AD)

Weak point: (86BC - 8AD) The Han empire started to deteriorate after the death of Han Wudi in 86BC. High taxes caused by Wudi's expansionist policies, exploitation of the poor by wealthy landowners, the ability of the rich to get away from the law, and dominance in court by consort families and eunuchs led to the empire's decline.

2) Eastern Han (23AD - 220AD)

Weak point: (105AD - 220AD). Never as strong as the Western Han, dominance of court politics by empresses and puppet emperors.

3) Tang Dynasty (618 - 907AD)

Weak point: (756 - 907AD). It all went downhill after An Lushan's rebellion (756-762). Seeds of decline were sown during the 天寶 period (742-756) of 唐玄宗. The emperor's womanizing, neglect of state affairs, and increasing independence of military governors weakened the central authority during 天寶.

4) Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127AD)

Weak point: (1086 - 1127). There were two factions in Emperor Shenzong's court when Wang Anshi was prime minister, one faction (the classicists) supported Wang Anshi's reforms, and the other faction (the historicists), led by 司馬光 and 蘇軾, opposed his reforms and wanted incremental change instead. This factionalism hindered decision making during Northern Song despite Wang being in charge. After Wang's death in 1086, corrupt officials started to take over.

5) Southern Song (1127 - 1279) - Was really a tributary state of the Jurchens following the collapse of Northern Song. So it was never quite strong.

6) Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368 ).

Weak point: After Kublai Khan's death.

7) Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Weak point: (Mid 16th century to 1644). Zhu Yuanzhang set a bad example for the dynasty's emperors. Ming was too ultra-conservative, repressive, and inward-looking. Had Ming been more open-minded towards new ideas, China's fate would have been much different. The worst emperor during Ming was Wanli, closely followed by Zhu Yuanzhang. Other factors that contributed to the Ming decline were Japanese piracy and the costly Ming expedition to assist the Koreans during Japan's 1592 and 1597 invasions of Korea.

8. Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

Weak point: (1796-1911). The seeds of decline were sown during the later years of Qianlong's reign, when he gave too much power to the corrupt official He Shen. Qianlong also maintained a closed-door policy that shut off China from the outside world and prevented access to technologies and ideas. Very ultra-conservative like Ming. The worst period during Qing was the period of Empress Dowager Cixi. She impeded China's progress more than any of the preceding Qing rulers. Funds that were allocated to modernize China's navy were used instead to build her Summer Palace. Later her corpse was shredded by KMT soldiers, and she probably deserved it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
studentyoung
6) Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368 ).

Weak point: After Kublai Khan's death.

Sorry, but I don't think it is the proper reason for the decline of Yuan Dynasty.

The problem maybe lied in its policies on nationalities. According to the national policies 民族政策in Yuan Dynasty, all people were divided into four classes, i.e.1) Mongolian, 2) Se Mu people (色目人, people lived in Ningxi area, Gansu Province and Tibet), 3) Han people in Northern China (北方汉人), 4) Han people in Southern China(南方汉人). Under this policy, the Han people in southern China were the lowest classes in the society. All the Han people were politically and legally discriminated and treated unequally. The national discrimination was the crucial point to aggravate the national conflict, and finally leaded to the decline of Yuan Dynasty, because the Han people could bear the discrimination and oppress no more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, but I don't think it is the proper reason for the decline of Yuan Dynasty.

The problem maybe lied in its policies on nationalities. According to the national policies 民族政策in Yuan Dynasty, all people were divided into four classes, i.e.1) Mongolian, 2) Se Mu people (色目人, people lived in Ningxi area, Gansu Province and Tibet), 3) Han people in Northern China (北方汉人), 4) Han people in Southern China(南方汉人). Under this policy, the Han people in southern China were the lowest classes in the society. All the Han people were politically and legally discriminated and treated unequally. The national discrimination was the crucial point to aggravate the national conflict, and finally leaded to the decline of Yuan Dynasty, because the Han people could bear the discrimination and oppress no more.

Of course, you are 100% correct. 8)

I was lazy on Yuan. Thanks for being more specific. I wasn't stating Kublai Khan's death as the exact reason for Yuan's decline. The Yuan dynasty did begin a steep decline though after his death, for the exact reason you mentioned.

That was one big difference between Yuan and Qing, which is why the latter was able to last much longer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

7) Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Weak point: (Mid 16th century to 1644). Zhu Yuanzhang set a bad example for the dynasty's emperors. Ming was too ultra-conservative' date=' repressive, and inward-looking. Had Ming been more open-minded towards new ideas, China's fate would have been much different. The worst emperor during Ming was Wanli, closely followed by Zhu Yuanzhang. Other factors that contributed to the Ming decline were Japanese piracy and the costly Ming expedition to assist the Koreans during Japan's 1592 and 1597 invasions of Korea.

.[/quote']

How is Zhu Yuanzhang is considered worst emperor? You dislike him doesn't mean he is the worst emepror. Many historian viewed him as one of the greatest Emepror. If you read the various books by Cheu Hock-Tong, Ralph D. Sawyer, Kong Meng San Phor Kark, you will realize Ming triump at its time. Under his reign, argriculture, economy,population improved significantly. Sure, you many called him repressive or inward looking, doesn't this happen to other emperor. Do remember, other countries like Britain, France, spain was forces to be outward looking as their countries does not possess abundant resources as China.Most chinese emperor would have to do the same at that time since why need to trade when the country have evrything it need.

The collaspe of Ming happen after the death of Yongle in 1424. Since then, Ming emperor take no interest in government affair and give enunchs the power later lead to abuse of power and corruption."

Read some historical book written by various reseacher instead of internet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How is Ming dynasty the greatest dynasty in Chinese history, as you mentioned in the other thread? Even greater than Tang or Han? Heresy!

Ming cannot even compare to Qing as a regional power.

Sure, you many called him repressive or inward looking, doesn't this happen to other emperor.

No. Not Tang Taizong, Wu Zetian, Tang Ming Huang, Kangxi, Han Wendi, Han Jingdi, or any of the early Song emperors. These emperors did not repress political thought to the extent Zhu Yuanzhang did, or flog public servants for the most trivial of reasons like Zhu did, or execute 30,000 people after his prime minister plotted against him. Even the people who knew the people that knew the prime minister were executed.

Zhu was not the worst emperor in history, nor was he the worst Ming emperor. That honor should belong to Wanli. At least Zhu was much better than Sui Yangdi. But Zhu was the most brutal Ming emperor and one of the biggest tyrants in Chinese history.

The collaspe of Ming happen after the death of Yongle in 1424. Since then, Ming emperor take no interest in government affair and give enunchs the power later lead to abuse of power and corruption."

Don't you think the above statements contradict your assertion that Ming was the greatest dynasty? :nono Ming was founded in 1368. 1424-1368 = 56 years. How many years left for Ming dynasty? 220 years. So based on your statement above, for 220 years following Yongle's death, all the following emperors were worthless.

Under his reign, argriculture, economy,population improved significantly.

Sorry your reasoning is too generalized. Agriculture, economy, and population also improved during Empress Lu's reign in Western Han. Is she considered one of the greatest rulers? Some people say Qin Shi Huang is one of the greatest Chinese emperors because he unified China, built the Great Wall, and standardized the written script. Well is he one of the greatest Chinese emperors?

Please do additional research into Chinese history before making conclusions from sweeping generalizations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From the above explanation, I can know that you have little knowledge about Ming. You mention that Ming merely as regional power or not even to Qing. The Ming reach the "superpower" status when Yong le reign, it emerged the world greatest naval power unmatched by any power. It also help to bring malacca empire as Ming vassal state (unless you try to prove me wrong by arguing malaysia history textbook make mistake) and bring ambassadors from various strong nation(eg siam empire) to bring "tribute" to Ming Emperor . After 1433, Ming dismantled the fleet and become isolate from outside world doesn't mean its power disappear right away. Many historian do agree that it is the start of Ming decline. However, come to many surprise trade boom in 16 century.(want to know why ?) Qing Empire is greatly limited to regional compare to Tang or Ming. Yes, Ming exert influence was short (after the fleet stop in 1433), which only lasted about three decades but no such empire except Tang can achieve that.

Also, if you go to China history forum and look at my ranking. I never said that Ming are greater than Han or Tang. I would like say that Ming are definitely one of china greatest dynasty in china.I do agree with you one point that Zhu Yuanzhang did set a bad example for the later Ming emperor as there is no one (prime minister) left to assist less capable emperor. However, does killing a lot of people make him a worst emperor. Look at Stalin, why majority russians view him as one of greatest rulers ? why people in russian doesn't view him as tryant? Many historian also wu zetian bring further propesity and stability to the country eventhough she is clueless.

I do have to stress one point. It should be "decline" instead of " collaspe" , I make mistake in typing. The decline of Ming happen after Yong le died, enunchs become powerful. However, there are some several emperor and high official are hardworking and capable. For example, Hongzhi Emperor (died in 1505). Zhang Juzheng

also capable Emperor wanli official. With his help, the Ming managed to collect tax revenues reach 80 millions shekel unmatched by Kang xi reign.

Also, let me ask you few question if you say Zhu Yuanzhang is bad rulers. Why does Ming managed to survive for over 270 years? It should be collaspe much quickly than that just like Yuan or sourthern song. How can Yong le can fund such expensive the naval expedition, launch costly invansion against the mongol, moving capital to beijing? Some of these happen at Yong le earlier reign, so it has very little to do with Yong le capability. During Zhu Yuanzhang reign, he reduce taxes to help the poor. Even Yong le reign, there is no evidence showing that Yong le put a heavy taxes burden on its people to fund its expedition. If Zhu Yuan zhang is bad ruler, its dynasty should be long bankrupted, where did Yong le can get all of the funds needed since taxing heavily on its people could not possibly solve the problem( which happen to later Ming).

The greatness of the dynasty is determined by its achievement and sucessess not failure. If you want to further argue with me, I will be at China history forum.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The greatness of the dynasty is determined by its achievement and sucessess not failure.

Did you know you typed all that without mentioning any legitimate achievements in Ming dynasty; except your reference to Zheng He's naval expeditions, which did not bring any territory directly under the control of Ming; and your reference to collecting tax revenues, which any emperor can muster. If you want to talk about tax revenues, might as well talk about Liu Heng or Yongzheng.

It also help to bring malacca empire as Ming vassal state (unless you try to prove me wrong by arguing malaysia history textbook make mistake) and bring ambassadors from various strong nation(eg siam empire) to bring "tribute" to Ming Emperor .

Don't make me laugh. Did you know that the tributary system means nothing in terms of having direct control or influence over other regions? Tributes are merely symbolic and any region can give tributes to the other nation to give the fake image of being a subordinate power. Koguryo and Silla defeated Sui and Tang, respectively, and even after defeating Chinese forces and remaining independent, both kingdoms continued to give tribute to China.

By the way, Ming never achieved the level of direct influence that Qing had over autonomous regions during Kangxi's reign. Did Ming ever have direct control over Xinjiang? No. Did Ming bring China's northeastern border up to the Amur River? No. Did Ming ever have direct influence over Tibet; something that Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong were able to do? No. Did Ming ever bring Taiwan directly into China's sphere of influence, which Shi Lang was able to do during Qing? No. In fact, the Ming rulers suggested that the Dutch setup shop on Taiwan. Ming was successful in subjugating Annam though.

Funny how you only mentioned Zhu Yuanzhang and Yongle, mentioning only how Yongle was able to fund a fleet of ships that achieved little value, except exploring a few regions here and there without direct establishing Chinese rule over those areas. What Zheng He did looked so petty in comparison to what the British did!

Also, let me ask you few question if you say Zhu Yuanzhang is bad rulers. Why does Ming managed to survive for over 270 years? It should be collaspe much quickly than that just like Yuan or sourthern song. How can Yong le can fund such expensive the naval expedition, launch costly invansion against the mongol, moving capital to beijing? Some of these happen at Yong le earlier reign, so it has very little to do with Yong le capability. During Zhu Yuanzhang reign, he reduce taxes to help the poor. Even Yong le reign, there is no evidence showing that Yong le put a heavy taxes burden on its people to fund its expedition. If Zhu Yuan zhang is bad ruler, its dynasty should be long bankrupted, where did Yong le can get all of the funds needed since taxing heavily on its people could not possibly solve the problem( which happen to later Ming).

Now you answer your own question. I want to see if you can back up your own questions. What achievements (which I have not heard you mention even a single legitimate one, except being able to raise tax revenue, moving a capital, and sending a maritime expedition overseas) allowed Ming to survive for 276 years? Do you actually think being able to survive for 276 years is a criteria for greatness? I hope you are not that simple-minded. Longevity is not an indicator of success. Take a look at Wanli's reign (1573-1620). He ruled for 47 years, but his rule was not a competent one.

If you want to further argue with me, I will be at China history forum.

I will be more than happy to argue with you at http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?showtopic=4839 and http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?showtopic=4641

Hope you come up with good arguments there. If you are not able to, then there is no point in arguing with an i---. (Don't mean to offend you)

Link to post
Share on other sites
However, does killing a lot of people make him a worst emperor. Look at Stalin, why majority russians view him as one of greatest rulers ? why people in russian doesn't view him as tryant? Many historian also wu zetian bring further propesity and stability to the country eventhough she is clueless.

Tommy79, you are condoning ends justifying the means. A ruler killing a lot of people can make him the worst leader in his country. Does Mao sound familiar? However in Zhu Yuanzhang's case, he is not the worst emperor because he was hardworking during his reign (to the point of micromanagement), and did try to alleviate the peasants' condition. But in the process, he created a reign of terror that killed hundreds of thousands of people, and he enjoyed taking delight in seeing offenders (often for very trivial crimes) tortured in front of him for the longest period of time before they are finally executed.

I would much rather have a benign, lazy emperor; rather than a hardworking, malignant one in the likes of Zhu Yuanzhang or Qin Shi Huang.

Ever heard of the Case of the Prestamped Documents in 1376? A large group of respected and revered officials thought of a way to process tax documents more efficiently, without any hint of corruption whatsoever. However since these officials deviated from the set of procedures that Zhu Yuanzhang had originally set out, he had them all executed even though they were trying to improve the process. Everything had to be done his way at all times, or else.

Zhu also created a secret police, many of whom were eunuchs, in charge of spying on citizens. Those suspected of opposing him politically were tortured to extract confessions, and many were executed.

People were afraid to serve in his government because of his sadistic ways and irrational behavior. People's lives became dependent on the emperor's mood. Zhu then made an edict saying that anyone who turned down an official appointment by him to serve in his government will be executed. If you turned down his job offer, you will be executed.

Zhu also persecuted the scholarly if he perceived any wording that seemed like criticizing his governance, even though it was not the scholar's intention. For example, if a scholar wrote the word "red", he would perceive it as a swipe on his past since he was once a Red Turban rebel. Would you want to live during his reign and be executed as a scholar for writing one incorrect word?

The first emperor of a dynasty sets the tone of that dynasty, and Zhu Yuanzhang definitely set the tone for the Ming dynasty to be one of the darkest periods in Chinese history. Successive Ming emperors were just as repressive as him. Liu Bang was also a peasant like Zhu, but why was his Han dynasty unanimously considered one of the greatest or the greatest Chinese dynasty? The difference lies in Liu Bang not being a tyrant, and he was the first to promote the Confucian scholarly even though he despised them. Liu set a good precedent for following Han emperors.

Also look at the first emperor of Tang, Li Yuan. Was he a tyrant? No. Otherwise, Tang would not become the greatest, or one of the greatest dynasties in Chinese history.

Ming was certainly not one of the greatest. Just because Ming was a dynasty established by Han Chinese, and overthrew Yuan, or sent a maritime expedition overseas, doesn't mean anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...