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If you were Emperor


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If you were Emperor of China, what period would you choose and what would you do?

Here is what I would do:

If I was emperor in the Northern Song dynasty, I would build a strong military rather than deemphasize the importance of the military. Every male will be required to serve one year in the military and learn how to use the 斬馬刀, with rewards based on performance (ex. number of enemy heads taken). I would tell all my generals to use cannons. A famous saying arose during the Northern Song, 好鐵不用丁, 好人不用兵. This mentality contributed to the fall of Northern and Southern Song under the hands of the Jurchens and Mongols, and made Song men effeminate.

As an emperor in the Ming dynasty, I will continue Zheng He's voyages.

As an emperor in the Qing dynasty, I will ban footbinding, send all the corrupt officials to the chopping board, have 3,000 concubines, revise the civil service exams to account for practical technical specialties rather than memorize 2,000 year old Confucian Classics, and continue working with the Jesuits to foster an environment where science, medicine, and technology can grow

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You know that emporer that had all of China's navy and ships destroyed during China's sea-power period (they were trading with Africa and stuff..)? I'd be him and I wouldn't be a dumbass by destroying China's potential to be a coloinal power. :conf

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wushijiao

I would probably go back to the 雍正 or 乾l隆 era. I'd import in science and technology in a more systematic way in order to keep China on the leading edge of the inducstrial revolution. I'd also implement these social reforms that bhchao mentioned,

I will ban footbinding, send all the corrupt officials to the chopping board, have 3,000 concubines, revise the civil service exams to account for practical technical specialties rather than memorize 2,000 year old Confucian Classics
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Any emperor might import S & T during 18th century, except yours 雍正 or 乾l隆 or any one of this family. Because they were afraid of the sense of nationalism that would be imported at the same time.

I would probably go back to the 雍正 or 乾l隆 era. I'd import in science and technology in a more systematic way in order to keep China on the leading edge of the inducstrial revolution. I'd also implement these social reforms that bhchao mentioned,
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woodcutter

OK then, if we are talking about maximizing Chinese power rather than enjoying ourselves then I shall stop my obscene daydream about being King Zhou.

According to Gavin Menzies, the most important thing would be to get Zhu Di to stick a lightning rod on top of his palace and stop the devastating fire that took place. That way the Chinese would have still respected Zhu Di's big plans, carried on with the trade and imposed Confucianism and foot-binding across the world. :clap

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As emperor I would also make quarterly trips to TaiShan, pay homage to my ancestors on the mountain, and make September 28th a national holiday. 8)

I will execute all the corrupt officials, but ban the death penalty for commoners.

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Would I still be British inside, or would I feel Chinese, with an aching desire to maximize national power?

Sorry, but you have a conflict of interest here. 8) What is wrong with maximizing national power? Doesn't every Chinese emperor or world leader in history want to maximize national power? Otherwise the British navy would not be in Guangzhou in 1840!

To defeat your opponent is good, to divide the enemy even better. That is part of the fun being an emperor or military general in the last millenium.

If I was emperor during Qing, I'll take Lord Macartney's guns anytime, adopt foreign technology as my own, perfect it to the point of perfection, and then unleash it with deadly precision and maximum firepower against the European powers after playing them against each other. And I'll take no prisoners.

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woodcutter

Not at all. Like girls, some emporers just wanna have fun. Why worry about the empire when you can tour the south or cavort with Yang Gui Fei?

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Not at all. Like girls, some emporers just wanna have fun. Why worry about the empire when you can tour the south or cavort with Yang Gui Fei?

Well there were some emperors that were like that. Sui Yangdi was a notorious pleasure-seeking emperor who still went on pleasure trips in the south during the last crumbling days of his dynasty. He was even assassinated in his bath at Yangzhou.

The Ming emperor Wanli was another example, and to a lesser degree Qianlong.

However there were some great responsible emperors who were tolerant on the social level but warlike in foreign policy. For example, Tang Taizong tolerated different religions and ideas while maintaining an aggressive foreign policy. Everytime a leader of a foreign tributary during Zhenguan heard Taizong's name, they trembled.

Kangxi and Yongzheng were also diligent, responsible emperors. Kangxi was a benevolent emperor skilled in PR as well as foreign policy matters. He personally led several military campaigns. He also welcomed foreign ideas, and was highly interested in European science and medicine via the Jesuits. His grandson Qianlong was much different, and was a spoiled kid who was mainly interested in grandiose pleasures while being closed-minded.

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woodcutter

You must try and be a bit more critical of what you read. The leaders of foreign nations did very little trembling when they heard the names of Chinese leaders, I should imagine.

I would quite like to be the spoiled Qianlong, but I wouldn't make myself any pet fancy boys in my old age!

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