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Old 11-09-2011, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Bronx
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For the past mellinia or two the chinese people have neen a defensive and not on the offensive such as semites anf europeans who have been offensive people since ancient times. Chinese are very inclosed. A good example is the great wall of china, keeps chinese in and outsiders like muslims, mongols and turks out. I wish china gooluck with neo colonism especially in africa.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:15 AM
 
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China had an expansionist, dynastic phase of sorts during the 700's, when the armies of the Tang Dynasty were pressing across the Tian Shan mountains and into modern-day Kyrgyzstan.

However, this was an expensive, time-consuming, and very bloody process involving extremely long supply lines and very hostile mountain tribes with shifting allegiances. Something like the Battle of Talas in 751 was a big hit for the dynasty of the time, and expansionism in general took on some very negative connotations in "central" Chinese culture.

There wasn't a great desire to send men and supplies across frostbitten mountain passes just to grab at slender valleys full of angry locals.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
I understand that from the fall of Rome to the age of Discovery, China was the most technologically advanced country in the world. Their ships were far superior in construction, durability, technology, etc. than European ships.
You might want to check out the Discovery/History channels for their programs on Chinese history.

Ancient Discoveries did this program on Chinese Super Ships a while back.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Maryland about 20 miles NW of DC
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A point of discussion that seems to be overlooked is the Chinese world view which until recently divided the world into China and lands of lesser barbarian peoples who were not as civikized as Chinese people. The Chinese built barriers like The Great Wall to keep the barbarians out of China and that contact of Chinese with foreigners was asking for trouble. In this light the Imperial prohibition concerning long distance navigation makes a king of sense. This is the behavior of a very insular inward looking people and I think still colors Chinese behavior even today. Now a interesting implication is how such a people would react to a invasion of space they think of as Chinese. The peace of the 21st century may very well hinge on the answer to this question.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,146,547 times
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Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
I understand that from the fall of Rome to the age of Discovery, China was the most technologically advanced country in the world. Their ships were far superior in construction, durability, technology, etc. than European ships. But from the unification of China in the early-200's BC until European became the dominant powers, China did not sail around the world setting up colonies and expanding their empire. Why not? Why did not China simply not take over the rest of East Asia and Southeast Asia, at the least? Was it due to the fact that often the rest of Asia simply paid tribute to China as the dominant power? Please do not argue that Chinese are by nature more peaceful than Europeans...I heard this argument before from my Chinese professor and China has a history at least as brutal as that in the West with civil wars, famines and massacres, just like the rest of the world. So why did not China simply expand its power beyond its borders? Is it as simple, as they had everything they already needed, or am I missing something else?
I took a class on China back in college; my (also Chinese) professor said the reason was the nature of Chinese culture itself.

In Chinese culture, China was the center of the universe. They did sent ships and explorers out; I think they even made it to America (though it can't be proven). But the Chinese had a bit of a superiority complex and figured they already had the best of everything and were more concerned with keeping the rest of the world out of China. After the voyages of Zheng He, Chinese Royalty adopted an isolationist policy and maintained it for centuries; in the beginning they did have the best of everything but fell way behind over the centuries while still reveling in that annoying superiority complex.

So the answer is that exploring/conquering inferior barbarian lands just wasn't a priority to China.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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It depends on what you mean by saying "colonize". Though it did not happen with precisely the same motivations as European colonization, by method of European inspired trade and shipping through the centuries, the Chinese are in a sense great global colonizers, with ethnic enclaves in most of the world, including even many remote islands as well as every continent, perhaps excepting only Antarctica. To say that the Chinese never colonized is thus terribly ignorant.
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:33 PM
 
Location: NC
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The simple answer is that Conservative Confucians who dominated the imperial court were against it. Both because it was expensive and they held the belief was that the rest of the world had nothing of offer China.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:58 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Well if you count as the Mongols as defacto Chinese they conquered most of the known world. Their capital was Beijing/Xanadu.

China did conquer a few nations/places. Vietnam way back around 100 AD, Taiwan in the 1600s, Tibet in a sense (although the relationship has been complex) and there was the failed attempt to conquer Japan.

I think the main reason was because China was physically isolated by the towering Tibetan plateau/Himalayas, and the harsh Gobi and Siberia to the north. China is already a big place - bigger than Europe excluding Russia - so maybe they felt they didn't require more land? Most colonial nations, it seems, were rather small in area, and the main reason they went out was to get riches and resources. The religious reasons were usually just used to justify it, to tame and evangelize the savage heathens. China become so big and culturally monolithic that maybe they simply didn't see any need to take over other lands. Trade, across land and via sea, was enough to enrich China. I think it's the same reason why the US didn't really have colonial aspirations outside of North America. Both have this opinion that they were/are the best in the world.

One could argue that in a way China has economically conquered much of Southeast Asia. In many countries many of the elite/political leaders are actually mostly of partial Chinese descent.

Maybe the Chinese, strategic as always, merely waited thousands of years for the right moment to colonise. And that moment is now, lol.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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As has been said the Chinese looked around, didn't see anyone who had anything to offer them, and decided it wasn't worth the effort to try to civilize a world of barbarians.

However, for a fuller answer we should also exam just what Zheng He did on his voyages. The main purpose was to go give gifts to foreign rulers in turn for them agreeing that the Chinese emperor was indeed their superior and was appointed to rule China. Let that sink in. The Chinese built fleets of the largest wooden ships in history so they could travel vast distances to give people they'd never talk to again fantastically expensive gifts so those people would say the guy rulling China was the guy who should rule China even though their opinion didn't matter in any real way. Other than that the Treasure Ships didn't do much of anything. Zheng He's forces intervened in a local conflict on Sri Lanka. A few guys and possibly some women stayed behind in a few locations in Madagascar and the east African cost, but their impact afterwards was so minor we only know they were there through genetic testing. Some giraffes and other African animals were brought to China where they were promptly believed to be kirin and other mythological Chinese animals whose appearance was taken to show that the Emperor was doing a bang up job. Zheng He made hajj to Mecca. Those are about the only thing worth mentioning that the Treasure Ships did other than bribe foreign rulers to affirm the Chinese Emperor's right to rule China, and out of all of that the battle in Sri Lanka is the only one that possibly had any significant effects in world history.

So why didn't the Chinese colonize places? Because even when they had the ability to do so the concept was so completely foreign to them that it would never occur to them to make any serious effort to do so. Indeed Zheng He's friendship with the emperor was the key factor in getting the Treasure Ships authorized, and if he had not been Muslim slave captured in the far west of China he may well have been so absorbed into the mainstream Chinese mindset of the time that he would never have thought up such an idea to begin with.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:21 AM
 
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Because they were CIVILIZED. Their mission was to trade with other cultures, whom they viewed as equals, and then leave, not conquer. Europeans were/are barbarians. They have spread disease, colonialism, rape, genocide and racism globally. So, yes, they were more violent than the Chinese. You need to listen to your Chinese professor.
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