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5,000 years my &ss!


Jive Turkey
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Why does the description of this forum support nationalistic myth by stating that China has 5,000 years of history?

5000 years - all in one easy-to-read forum

There was no concept of "China" 5,000 years ago. It's a stretch to claim that "China" has a history of even half that length of time.

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Haha, yes, I agree. Although half that length of time isn't that big of a stretch though. It depends on what historical aspect of China and Chinese culture you are talking about. The oracle bone inscriptions are about 3 to 4 thousand years old... so writen language is a little more than half that time... "China" isn't just a political concept. Actually, the title says "Chinese History"...so I'd correct myself and say "Chinese" isn't just a political concept.

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From my post on another board:

That depends how you define "civilization". Needless to say, clothing, tools and fire are fundamental. Some strict definitions call for the development of a formal system of written language. Some call for a consistent symbology. Domestication and agriculture is usually a requirement. Settled or semi-settled living is definitely a requirement. Cities especially are a plus. Political organization beyond the extended family is also considered a necessity, and to some extent, so is sense of nationhood, and a legal system. Sometimes, reasonably advanced arts and sciences are considered.

China definitely had all of these by about 2200 BC, the Xia dynasty.

Symbologies have been found as far back as 6600 BC (Peiligang, Jiahu), 6000 BC (Dadiwan, Gansu), 4000 BC (Banpo, Xian) and 2800 BC (Dawenkou, Shandong), many symbols of which resemble characters of the later formalized writing system of China.

Settled village dwellings have been around since early Neolithic times, around 7000 BC (Peiligang, and later, Cishan and Dadiwan) or so, and so has agriculture and animal domestication. A city complex was excavated in the eastern province of Anhui dating back to 3500 BC, making it the oldest known Chinese city, after the 3000 BC Dadiwan city structures and the 2500 BC city excavated in Shaanxi.

We do not know much about political organization and legal systems before the advent of writing, but one can assume that it ought to date back to at least the time of the first city, 3500 BC. Nationhood was probably around then, or at least around the time of the Xia, although that isn't really too important.

The Chinese have plenty of artistic records, though. A painting dug up in Dadiwan, dating back to around 2000 BC, is the oldest discovered Chinese painting. Also, pottery has been painted artistically in China since the Banpo and Dawenkou cultures (about 4200 BC). Examples of fine sculpture in jade, clay and stone have been uncovered dating to Hongshan and Liangzhu cultures (about 3500 BC), preceded by relatively more primitive specimens. Flutes from Jiahu dating back to around 7000 BC had 5 to 8 holes and were made taking into account scale and temperament. Xun, whistles, flutes, qing and drums have been dated to Neolithic times. Technology was also on par with the more advanced portions of the rest of the world during the Neolithic and for a long time after.

So, depending on how strictly you define civilization, you could say that China was civilized as far back as 4200, 5500, 6200, or 8600 years ago.

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So' date=' depending on how strictly you define civilization, you could say that China was civilized as far back as 4200, 5500, 6200, or 8600 years ago.[/quote']

Or one could say that China isn't civilized at present. :wink:

Here's a link about this topic on another site:

http://forumosa.com/3/viewtopic.php?t=1581&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

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Well, I'll leave this in your capable hands. When you've all come to a majority decision on the correct answer, let me know and I'll update the index page.

Until then, I'll leave the China Daily approved figure of 5,000 there.

Roddy

PS I'll also note the other site's discussion ran for 5 pages with no sign of an answer . . .

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here's some related thoughts that i quite like:

alexa: What makes you different from other critics in China?

xianting: Well, I've been doing this the longest, I suppose. I am the first to have been really supporting Chinese art in this way. And I have continued to support it from within China, on that plot of land. But I think I am also different because I am the least hopeful. I am very pessimistic. I think China is a broken vessel. Starting from 1919, the May Fourth movement when we began to destroy our traditional culture, and take in western influences. But we did not accept the basis of the western thinking. We took surface things, but not fundamentals.

alexa: Why does China do that, keep repeating destruction? Why not just replace it with something new?

xianting: Because we don't know what to establish. Chinese people have no standard of worth behind it all. There is only what's right ahead. Things change with the leadership, their tastes, their preferences become the new standard. There is no common, shared sense of value. People grab what they can. Everyone says that China is so old. But really I think that America with it's 200 years history is older than China because we only really now have 100 years of history. The new country, the new China is only 100 years old. Where is our so called "tradition", I don't see it.

alexa: So what is genuine in China and especially in Chinese art today?

xianting: Nothing. If there is something real it's when someone is able to bring out the brokenness, the tragedy, the bondage, and the need for humanity over the last 100 years of Chinese history.

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Not really on-topic, but imagine, China is called china because of the qin dynasty. But if the people which made that name (china) knew about the xia dynasty, maybe china might me hsiana, xia-na and I will call myself a xianese.

Interesting...? I think I surely must have seriously misunderstood the origins of the name china. :oops:

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Perhaps not proven by, but lots of dictionaries says that the name China , the Chin bit is from old Sanskrit text which the english then borrowed to create words like china, chinese, etc...

As to whether the Sanskrit "cin" that talks about chinese people really refers to the qin dynasty, well I don't know enough about it, but possible.

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Quest, the term China is a very recent name given by Europeans for Zhongguo and it is a term created by refering to Chin(Qin) dynasty because during that period, The Europeans only knew of that dynasty as the earliest. Before that names such as Cathay were given to China by European explorers. Similarily, India derives its name from the Indus civilisation known to Europeans.

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I know both Cathay and China mean zhongguo, but where is the proof that Chin refers to Qin. 秦 might not even have sounded like "Qin" in those days. There are too many homonyms, and given the monosyllabic nature of characters, words and names are so easily mistaken and mixed up.

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It is quite strange that cathay was used to refer to china then, since it came from the reference to qidan people, which is the liao dynasty, and from what we know from jin yong's tian long ba bu, I don't think many people in the southern song dynasty really liked to call the qidan "chinese" as such. Ok, ok, jin yong's novel isn't that good a historical reference, but you get my idea :)

Nevertheless, europeans did use it to talk about china.

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The word "China" as known in Europe should date later than the Qin Dynasty.

Europe was only familiar with China starting from the Han Dynasty when trade was flourishing on the Silk Route. Before that time, hardly could there be any contact between these two civilizations.

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China is called china because of the qin dynasty

China comes from 晋 (Jin), not likely from 秦 (Qin). 秦 lasted for fifteen years, and it is unlikely the Sanskrit speaking peoples from the subcontinent would know much about it. 晋 was the ethnic Chinese dynasty (founded by the Sima 司马 family) following the Three Kingdoms and Han. It reigned from 265-420 AD (including both Western and Eastern), around the time of Buddhism and contact with India.

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China comes from 晋 (Jin), not likely from 秦 (Qin).
This is the part I don't get. Sometimes 晋 (Jin) is transcripted as Chin, and sometimes 秦 (Qin) is transcripted as Chin too. Then there's the Qing/Ching too.

What is the correct pronunciation? Is there no difference between how "J", "Q" and "Ch" are pronounced?

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