bathrobe Posted April 9, 2004 at 01:54 AM Report Share Posted April 9, 2004 at 01:54 AM this China strangely refers to an extrapolated past form of modern China, as if these territories once belonged to the Chinese who are living/ruling in China today This habit of extrapolating into the past is one of the unsurmountable obstacles in trying to speak sensibly about China and its history. There are lots of contradictions involving wholes and parts, or past and present. Two examples: 1. 5,000 years of history. Taiwan is part of China. Thus, although the island of Formosa was only settled by the Han 300 or so years ago, the Taiwanese claim to be heirs to 5,000 years of Chinese history. The Vietnamese, on the other hand, spent more time under Chinese rule -- 1,000 years -- than Taiwan has been part of China. But by declaring independence, the Vietnamese lost their right to claim 5,000 years of history. They would be lucky if they could claim 3,000 years. This really is a nonsensical and meaningless result. 2. The Mongols It has been claimed to me by some that the Chinese were once a vigorous and aggressive people. Why look, our armies once fought all the way to Europe! Naturally the episode being referred to is the dramatic Mongol expansion through Asia in the 12th century (I think -- forgive me if the century is wrong). The problem is that at the time the Mongols were not Chinese. They did invade China and became a Chinese dynasty, but China was only one of their possessions. Many centuries later, the Mongols came to be classed as a member of the 中华民族, and thus as 'Chinese'. Extrapolating backwards (they are 'Chinese', so we can take credit for everything they have done) produces this weird result. Incidentally, if you do this with the Mongols you strictly should do it with all the ethnic groups of China, including the Koreans, the Russians, and the Vietnamese, all of whom are classed as minority ethnic groups! So thanks to that little group of 俄罗斯族, China is heir to all the great traditions of Russia, including the building of St Petersburg, the expansion to the east, etc., etc. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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