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xuechengfeng

Decline of the Qing

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xuechengfeng

This is what I have so far, if anybody feels like reading and critiquing it. Thanks for all the advice bhchao, but my teacher told me to start at the Opium War because including Qianlong and all that good stuff would make it too long [i'm already pushing 8 pages with still too much too talk about, and it's a 12 page max.]

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bhchao

Wow, you wrote this?! 寫得很好 :clap

This is a very well written, accurate critique. I am very impressed.

I have a few suggestions. You wrote:

1. "one of the first notorious and most successful emperors, Kangxi".

The 'notorious' word is debatable. I do not think that most people consider Kangxi to fit that term, judging from history. Any posters here think otherwise? I think the sentence would sound better and more accurate if it was changed to "one of the first and most successful emperors, Kangxi".

2. "This association developed as response to pitiful economic conditions" should be changed to "This association developed as a response to pitiful economic conditions"

3. "A small number of Western forces originally had trouble with the Boxers, but a force coalesced of mostly soldiers from Japan, Russia, the United States, and Britain, and quickly crushed this pernicious movement."

Remove the 'and' after 'Britain'.

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xuechengfeng

thanks for checking it out!! :clap I'll post the next 3 pages after I finish them today, if you want to see the rest. :mrgreen:

I first had the exact sentence you had for Kangxi, but then it seemed like my book only emphasized Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong as the "notorious" 3 emperors.

thanks for catching the other errors as well. 8)

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xuechengfeng

During the time period which China faced three devastating wars, as well as two crippling rebellions, the Qing government attempted various reforms to help restore China to the levels of ancient prestige. The first reform was entitled the self-strengthening movement, and it last from 1874 to 1894. Wei Yuan, a renowned scholar, aptly summed up the movement’s objective when he said that China should ‘learn the superior barbarian techniques to control the barbarians,’ specifically referring to Westerners. The strategy was to obtain the practical usage of Western learning, while maintaining Chinese cultural customs – a tactic right from a page out of Sun Zi’s playbook, which states: “Know yourself, know your enemy, win then thousand battles.” During this twenty-year facelift, China did accomplish several achievements. Students were sent abroad to take advantage of superior higher education institutions; schools were setup for foreign language learning; army officers were sent to Germany to study military science; etc. However, the self-strengthening movement was seen as a failure when evaluated next to the success of Japan’s Meiji restoration, and the end of the movement is generally regarded as the conclusion of the embarrassing Sino-Japanese confrontation, in 1895.

In spite of minimal success, the attempts at self-strengthening proved to be a failure as a result of the government being erroneously grounded in Confucian and Sino centric thought. Although the aim of the movement was to provide China with the advancements of industrialized Western powers, the idea remained that the maintenance of Confucianism was essential for the morally driven culture to not become like the ‘barbarians.’ “Trying to make China into a strong modern nation through restoring Confucian principles was doomed to failure, because Confucianism was incompatible with the requirements of a modern nation.” One of the most obvious problems lay in the examination system, which stressed the memorization and knowledge of the Confucian classics. Without passing these exams, one could not achieve the highest accolade in Chinese society, which was to be a government official. However, with government and bureaucracy expanding in the modern world, technical skills were now required to maintain an efficient administration, thus making a mastery of Confucian thought practically irrelevant. This quandary led to under qualified bureaucrats who could advise one how to be a virtuous citizen, but could find it problematic to run an economy capable of catching up with the industrial world. Another problem was Sino centric opinions; for centuries China has been the often-unaccredited innovator of technological advancement, such as the three creations Francis Bacon argued are the most influential inventions in history: the compass (navigation), gunpowder (warfare), and printing (literature). The Qing government became complacent. For example, China was interested in maintaining the speed of the traditional courier service, but was not interested in more effective and quicker communications through the building of railroads and telegraph systems. Setting up railroads and telegraphs were seen by most officials as toys: useless, exotic items from abroad. Lastly, though initial successes were demonstrated through foreign education programs, the outcome was a disaster. When the supervisor of the mission met with Chinese students who were attending Yale, they failed to perform the traditional ketou of deference, which infuriate the supervisor, who found it this behavior as Western values usurping Chinese tradition. The mission was eventually recalled.

The last major attempt at saving the dynasty was entitled the Hundred Days Reform of 1898. The proponent of change was a scholar named Kang Youwei, who aimed at reinterpreting Confucius in an amicable way for revisionists and status quo adherents alike. Kang’s reforms included positive ideas such as the revamping of the examination system, focusing on current issues as opposed to Confucian classics; the inclusion of Western studies in all Chinese education; the reform of the army; a Westernized bureaucracy; elected officials; etc. The failure to execute positive change was the mainly the fault of the aforementioned empress dowager Ci Xi, with supplementary complaints from nobles, officials, and military heads. The most adamant opposition was Confucian scholars, who were not interested in reformation of the examination system, which led them to their positions of prestige. After the emperor Guangxu fell ill, who was the only convinced of the necessity for reform, a coup d'état occurred. Once again, China was thrown into turmoil, and the failure to reform immensely weakened the Qing and spurred a growing resentment mixed with a newfound nationalism.

The foundations of the Qing government were on a shaky ground, and merely needed a nudge to crumble. The jolt came from Sun Zhongshan and his revolutionary group, eventually known as the Kuomintang. Sun’s four slogans were: drive away the Manchus, recover China for the Chinese, establish a republic, and equalize land ownership. As the years passed and troops amassed, the group accidentally exploded homemade bombs in 1911. With their hiding place exposed, Kuomintang members were forced to protect themselves, and the spark for the revolution was ignited. The Manchus were being massacred, and Ci Xi called upon the formerly deposed general that helped put down the Hundred Days reforms, Yuan Shikai. He was successful in negotiating a compromise and that year, he became the president of The Republic of China, effectively ending the Qing dynasty. Yuan Shikai led a tumultuous reign for the next five years until his death; afterwards, China’s brief governments involved a period of warlordism and Kuomintang rule, the finally becoming established through the current Chinese Communist Party, who came to power in 1949 under the iron-fist rule of Mao Zedong.

The latter era of the Qing government was a model of how not to run a country. In many respects, this dynasty was no different than any other who gained and lost the Mandate of Heaven; however, the significant difference lied in the development of the industrialized nation-state, which rendered the Qing government ineffective and left behind. The Manchus failed miserably at reforming in necessary ways to compete with the Western Powers and Japan. Had officials not been so Sino centric and attempted to modernize, it is arguable that the reign of the Qing could have been prolonged. Military upgrading could have prevented numerous defeats, which established foreign dominion over China and led to a resentful nationalistic spirit. Also not helping was the fact that the Manchus were foreign rulers; however, with effective governmental protection from Western domination coupled with industrial innovations that would have stimulated standards of living and economic growth, preemptively quelling citizen unrest, the Manchus could have cultivated nationalism in a positive, diversionary approach. Through the abolishment of Confucian exams at an early stage, more efficient government could have been groomed to effectively compete with the seasoned Western diplomats. There are many speculatory remarks that are generally fruitless what-if scenarios. The most important aspect of studying the fall of the Qing dynasty is for future analyzations through critical notations of what can crumble a government and cause unwanted instability. Though the current Chinese Communist Party has had a generally stable rule, with the exception of policies like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, officials interested in continue rule could benefit from scrutinizing aspects of the Qing dynasty, namely the nee for education. In the mid-1980’s, a surveyor in the rural Gansu province questioned one of the most educated peasants on his thought about Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping. The response was that both of these men seemed to be good emperors, despite the last emperor abdicating nearly seventy years prior.

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xuechengfeng

that is rough, but finished -- i didn't go over any grammar mistakes. thanks for checking it out if you do! :wink:

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bhchao

The second paragraph is excellent. I think you clearly and objectively nailed home the point that the memorization of ancient Confucian texts was irrevelant in running a modern industrialized state, and how the attachment to this Confucian tradition within the government bureaucracy stifled China's attempts to become a modern industrialized state.

There is a change you should make. You wrote "The Manchus were being massacred, and Ci Xi called upon the formerly deposed general that helped put down the Hundred Days reforms, Yuan Shikai." Cixi was already dead by 1911.

I suggest changing that sentence to "The Manchus were being massacred, and the Qing government called upon the formerly....." or "The Qing government called upon the formerly...."

Your points were very clear and I think you did an excellent job analyzing the causes of the Qing decline, and what could have been done to prevent that, as well as how the current day leadership can improve its rule by analyzing previous mistakes made in China's history.

You had a few minor grammatical errors, and I'm going to send the corrected grammatical version through pm, rather than type all of it here.

你的老師應該會給你很高的成勣. :D

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bhchao

I have corrected the sentences that originally had errors in them or sounded a little clunky. Please compare them to what you originally had, and if you agree to the revisions, make the necessary changes. I have decided to post them here so other members can evaluate your essay as well.

1.

Original sentence:

The first reform was entitled the self-strengthening movement, and it last from 1874 to 1894.

New sentence:

The first reform was entitled the self-strengthening movement, and it lasted from 1874 to 1894.

2.

Original sentence:

When the supervisor of the mission met with Chinese students who were attending Yale, they failed to perform the traditional ketou of deference, which infuriate the supervisor, who found it this behavior as Western values usurping Chinese tradition.

New sentence:

When the supervisor of the mission met with Chinese students who were attending Yale, they failed to perform the traditional ketou of deference, which infuriated the supervisor, who found this lack of respect as a Western value usurping Chinese tradition.

3.

Original sentence:

The failure to execute positive change was the mainly the fault of the aforementioned empress dowager Ci Xi, with supplementary complaints from nobles, officials, and military heads.

New sentence:

The failure to execute positive change was mainly the fault of the aforementioned empress dowager Ci Xi, with supplementary complaints from nobles, officials, and military heads.

4.

Original sentence:

The most adamant opposition was Confucian scholars, who were not interested in reformation of the examination system, which led them to their positions of prestige.

New sentence:

The most adamant opposition came from Confucian scholars, who were not interested in reforming the examination system, which led them to their positions of prestige.

5.

Original sentence:

After the emperor Guangxu fell ill, who was the only convinced of the necessity for reform, a coup d'état occurred.

New sentence:

After the emperor Guangxu fell ill, who was convinced of the necessity for reform and was a supporter of the Hundred Days Reform, a coup d'état occurred.

6.

Original sentence:

The Manchus were being massacred, and Ci Xi called upon the formerly deposed general that helped put down the Hundred Days reforms, Yuan Shikai.

New sentence:

'The Manchus were being massacred, and the Qing government called upon the formerly deposed general that helped put down the Hundred Days reforms, Yuan Shikai, to defeat the revolutionaries' OR

'The Qing government called upon the formerly deposed general that helped put down the Hundred Days reforms, Yuan Shikai, to defeat the revolutionaries'

7.

Original sentence:

…afterwards, China’s brief governments involved a period of warlordism and Kuomintang rule, the finally becoming established through the current Chinese Communist Party, who came to power in 1949 under the iron-fist rule of Mao Zedong.

New sentence:

Afterwards, China’s brief governments involved a period of warlordism and Kuomintang rule, with the Chinese Communist Party finally coming to power in 1949 under the iron-fist rule of Mao Zedong.

8.

Original sentence:

The latter era of the Qing government was a model of how not to run a country.

New sentence:

The latter era of the Qing government was not a good model of how to run a country.

9.

Original sentence:

In many respects, this dynasty was no different than any other who gained and lost the Mandate of Heaven; however, the significant difference lied in the development of the industrialized nation-state, which rendered the Qing government ineffective and left behind.

New sentence:

In many respects, this dynasty was no different than any other who gained and lost the Mandate of Heaven; however, the significant difference lied in the development of the industrialized nation-state, which rendered the Qing government ineffective and backwards when compared to the industrialized states of Europe and Japan.

10.

Original sentence:

The most important aspect of studying the fall of the Qing dynasty is for future analyzations through critical notations of what can crumble a government and cause unwanted instability.

New sentence:

The most important aspect of studying the fall of the Qing dynasty is analyzing the factors contributing to its decline, and applying this analysis to future critiques of what can crumble a government and cause unwanted instability.

11.

Original sentence:

Though the current Chinese Communist Party has had a generally stable rule, with the exception of policies like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, officials interested in continue rule could benefit from scrutinizing aspects of the Qing dynasty, namely the nee for education.

New sentence:

Though the current Chinese Communist Party has had a generally stable rule, with the exception of policies like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, officials interested in social stability could benefit from scrutinizing aspects of the Qing dynasty, namely the need for education, continued economic prosperity, and decreased corruption in the government bureaucracy.

12.

Original sentence:

The response was that both of these men seemed to be good emperors, despite the last emperor abdicating nearly seventy years prior.

New sentence:

The response was that both of these men seemed to be good emperors, despite the last emperor Puyi abdicating nearly seventy years prior.

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xuechengfeng

phew, good thing I have you to look over my paper -- I would have been embarrassed if I turned in something so grammatically ugly. :oops: Thanks for all the critique and grammar help; if anybody else has comments, I would like to see them, and I will let everyone know the grade I get. There is also a prize for this essay from 250 to 500 bucks, so we'll see how that goes, although with so many students, I'm not holding my breath. :wall

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bhchao

You're welcome. Hope all goes well.

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xuechengfeng

well i don't know the actual grade I got on the paper, but I finished with an A in the class, so I'm assuming it was good. My professor also looked over it and told me that I should enter it in the writing studies contest because it was good. I'm praying, but I doubt I'll win the prize. Thanks for the help again..:clap

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bhchao

You should enter your paper in the writing studies contest, and aim for the big prize. If you never try, you never know. 8)

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xuechengfeng

they said they'd have a decision by july 1st & i haven't heard nething, so i'm assuming i didn't win. :-?

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