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imperialist and colonist


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With the rise of the Qing dynasty in the mid-17th century, and its extensive state-building enterprise in the 18th, Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Manchuria and Taiwan came under the jurisdiction of the Chinese empire for the first time in history.



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It's an interesting topic, but there are a couple of problems with how the reviewer is framing the issue. He doesn't make any effort to explore how much of the sometimes brutual expansionist policy (e.g. the reference to a genocide in central Asia) was due to the Manchus and how much to their Han subjects. He does write that "We must view these institutions and innovations as creations of the Qing, not developments from previous dynasties." That sounds potentially contradictory to his entire thesis. However he continues to refers to the Manchu rulers of Qing as simply Chinese, without stating how much of the military ideology was imported into China by the Manchus. I would think that's an important point. Otherwise, if we don't make the distinction, couldn't we also blame the Chinese for the rampage through the Middle East and Central Europe by the descendants of Genghis Khan?

Another problem is that the term "colony" is usually used to refer to land that you conquer without annexation. Practically speaking, that means that you don't give the colonial subjects the same rights that citizens of your own territory have. For example, British colonial subjects didn't have any representation in Parliament. So by that standard, it seems a misnomer to call the new territories annexed by the Qing colonies or call the policies colonialist -- unless we can find evidence that Qing subjects in the old territories enjoyed greater civil rights than those in the new territories. "Imperialist" is probably the more accurate term.

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Well, it's natural that the Mongol rulers of Yuan would include Mongolia in their territory. They probably were also friendly with the Tibetans, like the later Manchus were. Jonathan Spence, in his book "In Search of Modern China" (which starts with the Ming), writes that the Tibetans and Manchus are ethnically related, which made it easier for them to be close allies during the Qing dynasty.
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Would be a big surprise to me if that was true. They shared a common religion (a fact which also made it much easier to include Mongolia into the Qing empire), but what else?

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