Hot answers tagged

108

No, there is no known record of that kind of native linguistic script analysis in pre-modern China, although its quite possible it came up and was rejected, for reasons I'll outline below. The main issue here is that the mostly-logographic system China uses has historically been covering up for the fact that quite a few Chinese "dialects" are not mutually-...


99

Despite common misconception, both Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula were ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, via the Treaty of Nanking and the Convention of Peking, respectively. London was under no legal obligation to return them to China. However, most of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong actually consists of the New Territories. That was ...


76

They did. Depending on the preferred definition of "colonies", Chinese states in fact established innumerable colonies throughout history. Certainly the most common form was overland colonies created in conquered "barbarian" territories. This processes lasts up till today; Beijing's sinicisation and settlement policies in Tibet and Xinjiang are viewed with ...


73

China (or at least its core) had a central, unifying culture built around philosophers such as Confucius and Lao-tse that was attractive to people over a wide land area. Also, the Chinese written language was developed from pictograms that represented "words," which although pronounced differently in different locations, could have the same meaning over wide ...


53

The original question is a bit vague as to who exactly is calling China, well, "China." This also means that it's a bit tricky to pin down what exactly the word "China" refers to (e.g. is it the same word as "Cathay," "Sina," etc.? Is it even referring to a nation?), especially because it's not at all a certainty that "China" is derived from "Ch'in/Qin" (I'...


52

Because the Japanese Government surrendered on 15 August. Naturally, the Japanese military was ordered to lay down their arms. For Manchuria this meant the much-reduced Kwantung Army, which accordingly surrendered as a unit to the advancing Soviets. There is a surprising amount of confusion over when exactly the surrender took place. A quick search found ...


51

You're describing the mian (冕), a style of classical Chinese head dress that was indeed worn by successive Emperors of China. The basic design consisted of a hat secured to the head with a red string (纓), topped by a rectangular board (綖), with threads of gems (旒) attached to its front and back edges, and two "ear plugs" (充耳) hanging off the two sides. ...


49

Yes, but neither by the Chinese nor only for Chinese. Kublai Khan ordered the Tibetan Sakya trizin Phagpa to create a universal alphabet to be used by the languages of his empire. It's usually known after him as 'Phags-pa Script'. Because he wasn't interested in marking tones, Phagpa differentiated Chinese syllables by recourse to outdated pronunciations ...


48

The Chinese situation was fundamentally different from the Western European colonial empires. In fact it's rather more like Russia, who also managed to keep her Eurasian empire, or the United States, who acquire vast territories West of the Mississippi. In the case of China, those lands you refer to are mostly Sinkiang and Tibet. Most notably there is the ...


44

Verse 3. After crossing a river, you should get far away from it. If the river is a barrier, you can be hemmed in against it. If your enemy is the one hemmed in, they also have a defense on at least one side, preventing you from surrounding them. Verse 4. When an invading force crosses a river in its onward march, do not advance to meet it in mid-...


43

Taiwan was basically a part of China, and under Nationalist control at the time. (The Philippines were a foreign country.) Also,the Nationalist army, while weaker than the Communists, was far stronger than anything the Taiwanese were likely to put up.


43

Victor Henry Mair is an American Sinologist and professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, and this is what he wrote (emphasis mine): An English language report in The Quarterly Bulletin of Chinese Bibliography states that, on October 4, 1935, the government “authorized” the use of simplified characters in official and private documents. In ...


41

Well, the short answer is no, unless you define "always" to start at around 1683. Historically, Taiwan is in fact the ancestral home of the Austronesian language family. Prior to modern times, this was the world's most geographically diverse language family, with speakers ranged from Madagascar to Easter Island to Hawaii. There are several subgroups in ...


40

Yes we have at least one account of cannibalism. First source: A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Guardian Second source: I didn't know that there were thousands of cases of cannibalism. . . . People ate corpses and fought for the bodies. In Gansu they killed outsiders; people told me strangers passed through and they killed ...


39

Everyone learnt from the Korean War and wished to avoid a repeat of a bloody direct Chinese-American fighting. At the onset of the escalated American involvement in 1965, Beijing made it clear where the Chinese line in the sand is: [I]f the Americans went beyond the bombing of the North and used ground forces to invade North Vietnam, China would have to ...


39

Because of emigration restrictions from the Soviet Union imposed from at least the 1920's on, there were very few ethnic Russians of recent arrival in the U.S., and the Western world in general, during the 1950's. Those ethnic Russians (and Ukrainians) had mostly arrived during the late 19th, or very early 20th, century. By the 1950's ethnic Slavs were ...


36

Tom Au is right; his answer is the correct answer. I want to add two more data points: Hainan was closer to Mainland China and would be more difficult to defend against amphibious assault, Taiwan had the advantage of being far enough away that it was difficult for the communists to invade. Taiwan had another advantage over other islands: It had been ...


34

Jung Chang -author of bestseller Wild Swans (Harper Collins, London 1992) together with her husband, British sinologist, Jon Halliday, in their biography, Mao,The Unknown Story (Cape, London 2005) assert that it happened. During the famine, some resorted to cannibalism. One post-Mao study (promptly suppressed), of Fengyang county in Anhui province, ...


33

In Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, the first chapter by Walter Scheidel, From the "Great Convergence" to the "First Great Divergence", makes the case that the Chinese style of government focussed on centralising power while the Roman style allowed for a great deal of autonomy for appointed officials. The Warring States era ...


31

The nature of the silk road meant that it had to pass through commercial centres. "The Silk Road was largely fragmented and very few merchants travelled the whole route. Goods were passed from one merchant to another until it reached the final buyers" source So deviation over the steppes wasn't really possible as it was not the intermediaries goal to ...


30

Well there were a few reasons They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism. Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and made ...


28

And if you'd lived your life in the Republic of China you'd have learned that Taiwan is an independent nation, the one true China, and that the rebel government in Beijing is illegally in power there (that may have been toned down now, but that used to be the line in the ROC). Both are of course propaganda. Truth is Taiwan wasn't "always" part of China ...


28

Because China was actually pretty far from India. For most of the past millennia, China and India were not "neighbouring countries" in any meaningful sense of the word. Most Chinese empires did not actually stretch all the way to the Indian subcontinent. It seems you're considering China and India based on their modern borders, but that is misleading: ...


27

I find it interesting that many answers belong to "armchair generals", that point only to the military power, and logistics, *1 but forget to mention the issues that could lead to a war in the first place. Remember, war is the continuation of politics.... First of all, I would point the main issue would be noticing how these issues affect the internal ...


26

The other two answers speak in terms of Tibet's legal status; and these answers, while correct, don't properly explain why Tibet is important to China. This answer relates entirely to geography. The motives: Short Answer: 1. Tibet has control of most the water in China; the Huang He and the Chang Jiang originate there. If you exercise control these two ...


25

TLDR: Phonetic scripts won't work because of how the Chinese languages are structured. So it never really came up before Europeans arrived. Language Issues: There are several ways to answer this question; before I get into the history, it is important to ask: Is it possible to represent Chinese in a phonetic script? According to my first Chinese language ...


24

The basis for the 5,000 years figure comes from tracing Chinese "history" to the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. This figure includes over 1,000 years of legends. The next 1000 years are semi-legendary, being only somewhat corroborated by historical evidence. We start to have fragmentary historical records for a few centuries after that, but true ...


23

I take it you mean why was there no "Scramble for China" in the 19th century. Excluding Hong Kong, ceded to Britain after the First Opium War. The Second Sino-Japanese War makes an excellent case study of the problems of invading China. In 1937 China had a completely out of date military and an ineffective industrial base, and was fighting a civil war. ...


22

After Mongols lost control of China (end of Yuan dynasty), there were many struggles between Mongols and Chinese as well as different Mongol tribes. These struggles weakened the integration among Mongols. After a successful but short-lived unification attempt by Dayan Khan, a more organized disintegration took place giving birth to Khalkha Mongols (formerly ...


22

I think that stems from both geographic and cultural factors. At first it is almost like Jim Thio said. Only that it may not exactly be mountains. If you look at the early agricultural societies in the West, those would be 1) along the Nile river (Egypt) 2) Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Mesopotamia). Those are two places divided not only by mountains, but by ...


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