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Did the Qing Manchus blame the Han for treachery during the British invasions?


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Was reading one of those terrible scare pieces on China when I ran across a comment thread about Vladivostok.  It contains something I've never heard before, that the Manchu blamed the Han for defeats during the British invasions.  The commenter claims to be well-read; I'm curious if anyone else has heard of this before.  The pertinent section:

So, the “Chinese dynasties” that controlled the area of Vladivostok were non-Han Mongol and Khitan/Jurchen/Manchu invaders of Han kingdoms, i.e. they were the conquest dynasties. To state that Vladivostok was long ago Chinese territory would be like the Spanish claiming Mecca and KSA’s oil fields were long ago Spain because once upon a time the Arabs conquered almost all of the Iberian peninsula. “We were conquered and the conqueror’s land is ours too.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to conquer your conqueror to claim his land. The Han Chinese didn’t do so until after WW2, so their claims begin then, which is almost eight decades after the region was given to Russia. It was the Manchus to give away but not the Hans.

As I already mentioned, a two-tier system was established between Manchu and Han. The Han considered the Manchu inferior, an issue that worried Qing because it needed to establish a system of rule to keep the Han under its thumb. Before they became the Qing, the Manchus spent years studying the conquest of the Han by the three foreign invaders to understand what was successful and what led to their respective downfalls, and then these Manchu devised a comprehension plan of invasion and post-conquest administration to keep the Han subservient.

Chief amongst this, the Manchu decided to keep Confucianism to legitimise their rule, and twice a week Confucian rituals were performed throughout the realm to demonstrate to the Han the dynasty’s mandate of heaven. It should be mentioned that the queue hairstyles required of all Han men were a violation of Confucian norms, but the Manchu needed a way quickly to identify pacified from rebel. The Manchu placed an emphasis on ethnic distinctiveness, on the “orderly congruence of race to custom”, which had the Manchu fixate on horsemanship, archery, their own style of dress, retention of their own Manchu names and language, and the perpetuation of shamanism. The Manchu were determined to avoid being absorbed and Sinicised. They confined their activities to military affairs and imperial administration. Commerce, the trades, and the like were for non-Manchus. In 1648 the emperor decreed that the Han and Manchu should be separated so that each could “live in peace.” This did not mean the Manchu were returning to Manchuria. Han Chinese were expelled from Beijing. To this end the Manchu Bannermen were housed in separate walled-garrison quarters in cities throughout the dynasty. Intermarriage was forbidden in 1655. Manchu women retained their own styles of hair and clothing and never participated in Han foot binding, which they thought was barbaric. The Han Bannermen included many non-Han people such as Koreans and other minorities who lived under Ming rule and flipped allegiance when offered the chance. In addition to the separate legal systems, a Han magistrate had to defer to the Bannerman’s commander. Manchus had their own jails, which were of comfort and cleanliness magnitudes better then jails for Han. The Manchus also retained their own written language for official documents to be handled exclusively by themselves; often these were assessments of the accuracy of Chinese-language reports written by Han administrators.

The British in Canton knew this segregated system and decided that extraterritoriality, where they too would fall under preferential law of their own making, suited their purposes. But it wasn’t only Manchus and Occidentals who had special privileges; Central Asian traders had been granted such privileges in the western borderland regions by the Qing as well. Under Qing, it was certainly not one law for all.

During the incursions by the western powers in the 1840s, the Bannermen often ruthlessly terrorised and murdered the Han. What else, the Qing thought, but Han treachery could explain how easily the British defeated Bannermen in city after city? Believing that without the help of Han traitors the foreigners would never have advanced as far as they did, reassurance grew amongst the Bannermen that the English were not so powerful after all and this kept them from seeking an earlier negotiated settlement, adjusting their defences, etc. Get rid of the traitors and the British would be defeated; blame for losses was thrown on those who interacted regularly with foreigners, chiefly merchants. But as defeats mounted soon the Qing were blaming all the Han for their setbacks. Official Manchu reports on the fall of the Zhapu garrison acquired significance: they said that when the British attacked there, Han traitors rose within the city to join them. The entire Zhapu garrison was wiped out, but not by the hand of either the British or the Han. The Bannermen fought to the end, killing their wives and children before committing suicide. Hearing of this, other Bannermen garrisons took pre-emptive action against their local Han populations and began slaughtering them, causing them to flee.

Once Qing fell it was a period of vengeance exacted by the Han on their former rulers, and during the early to mid-20th century Manchus began to hide their identity, Sinicize their names, and dispense with Manchu artifacts and behaviour – they needed to blend in to save their necks.

said the treaties were unequal and needed renegotiation;

They could have called the treaties Boatie McBoatface for all I care. You make same mistake the Chinese make. The treaties were not between equals; they were between victor and vanquished. Here’s the key thing, which I mentioned before, so make sure this sinks into your noggin. Everywhere throughout human history unequal treaties exist. The Germans were complaining about the Versailles Treaty seven decades after the First Anglo-Sino War. After the Franco-Prussian War the French signed an unequal treaty. The US Confederacy weren’t celebrating the equal terms ending the Civil War. The Chinese carry on as if this was unheard of in human history and only they had unequal treaties imposed on them. And as I mentioned previously, the Qing and other dynasties imposed victor’s treaties on those they defeated. In some cases the Qing (and the Mongolians as well) unequal terms were the wholesale slaughter of all in city that refused to surrender. Look at some of the conditions of Qing’s peace treaty with Chosun (Korea). The king has to send two of his sons as well as ministers’ sons to Qing as hostages, he had to provide armies and warships to aid the war on the Ming, Chosun is to honour Qing as a tributary overlord, the king is to kowtow to Qing, etc.

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