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as ideal by Chinese early economists for the producing family (100
_mou_) considering the fact that about 80 per cent of all families at
that time were producers. By 1729 it was only 35 _mou_ per family, i.e.
the land had to produce almost twice as much as before. We have shown
that the agricultural developments in the Ming time greatly increased
the productivity of the land. This then, obviously resulted in an
increase of population. But by the middle of the eighteenth century,
assuming that production doubled since the sixteenth century, population
pressure was again as heavy as it had been then. And after _c_. 1750,
population pressure continued to build up to the present time.

Internal colonization continued during the Manchu time; there was a
continuous, but slow flow of people into Kwangsi, Kweichow, Yünnan. In
spite of laws which prohibited emigration, Chinese also moved into
South-East Asia. Chinese settlement in Manchuria was allowed only in the
last years of the Manchus. But such internal colonization or emigration
could alleviated the pressure only in some areas, while it continued to
build up in others.

In Europe as well as in Japan, we find a strong population increase; in
Europe at almost the same time as in China. But before population
pressure became too serious in Europe or Japan, industry developed and
absorbed the excess population. Thus, farms did not decrease too much in
size. Too small farms are always and in many ways uneconomical. With the
development of industries, the percentage of farm population decreased.
In China, however, the farm population was still as high as 73.3 per
cent of the total population in 1932 and the percentage rose to 81 per
cent in 1950.

From the middle of the seventeenth century on, commercial activities,
especially along the coast, continued to increase and we find gentry
families who equip sons who were unwilling or not capable to study and
to enter the ranks of the officials, but who were too unruly to sit in
villages and collect the rent from the tenants of the family, with money
to enter business. The newly settled areas of Kwangtung and Kwangsi were
ideal places for them: here they could sell Chinese products to the
native tribes or to the new settlers at high prices. Some of these men
introduced new techniques from the old provinces of China into the
"colonial" areas and set up dye factories, textile factories, etc., in
the new towns of the south. But the greatest stimulus for these
commercial activities was foreign, European trade. American silver which
had flooded Europe in the sixteenth century, began to flow into China
from the beginning of the seventeenth century on. The influx was stopped
not until between 1661 and 1684 when the government again prohibited
coastal shipping and removed coastal settlements into the interior in
order to stop piracy along the coasts of Fukien and independence
movements on Formosa. But even during these twenty-three years, the
price of silver was so low that home production was given up because it
did not pay off. In the eighteenth century, silver again continued to
enter China, while silk and tea were exported. This demand led to a
strong rise in the prices of silk and tea, and benefited the merchants.
When, from the late eighteenth century on, opium began to be imported,
the silver left China again. The merchants profited this time from the
opium trade, but farmers had to suffer: the price of silver went up, and
taxes had to be paid in silver, while farm products were sold for
copper. By 1835, the ounce of silver had a value of 2,000 copper coins
instead of one thousand before 1800. High gains in commerce prevented
investment in industries, because they would give lower and later
profits than commerce. From the nineteenth century on, more and more
industrial goods were offered by importers which also prevented
industrialization. Finally, the gentry basically remained
anti-industrial and anti-business. They tried to operate necessary
enterprises such as mining, melting, porcelain production as far as
possible as government establishments; but as the operators were
officials, they were not too business-minded and these enterprises did
not develop well. The businessmen certainly had enough capital, but they
invested it in land instead of investing it in industries which could at
any moment be taken away by the government, controlled by the officials
or forced to sell at set prices, and which were always subject to
exploitation by dishonest officials. A businessman felt secure only when
he had invested in land, when he had received an official title upon the
payment of large sums of money, or when he succeeded to push at least
one of his sons into the government bureaucracy. No doubt, in spite of
all this, Chinese business and industry kept on developing in the Manchu
time, but they did not develop at such a speed as to transform the
country from an agrarian into a modern industrial nation.

3 _Expansion in Central Asia; the first State treaty_

The rise of the Manchu dynasty actually began under the K'ang-hsi rule
(1663-1722). The emperor had three tasks. The first was the removal of
the last supporters of the Ming dynasty and of the generals, such as Wu
San-kui, who had tried to make themselves independent. This necessitated
a long series of campaigns, most of them in the south-west or south of
China; these scarcely affected the population of China proper. In 1683
Formosa was occupied and the last of the insurgent army commanders was
defeated. It was shown above that the situation of all these leaders
became hopeless as soon as the Manchus had occupied the rich Yangtze
region and the intelligentsia and the gentry of that region had gone
over to them.

A quite different type of insurgent commander was the Mongol prince
Galdan. He, too, planned to make himself independent of Manchu
overlordship. At first the Mongols had readily supported the Manchus,
when the latter were making raids into China and there was plenty of
booty. Now, however, the Manchus, under the influence of the Chinese
gentry whom they brought, and could not but bring, to their court, were
rapidly becoming Chinese in respect to culture. Even in the time of
K'ang-hsi the Manchus began to forget Manchurian; they brought tutors to
court to teach the young Manchus Chinese. Later even the emperors did
not understand Manchurian! As a result of this process, the Mongols
became alienated from the Manchurians, and the situation began once more
to be the same as at the time of the Ming rulers. Thus Galdan tried to
found an independent Mongol realm, free from Chinese influence.

The Manchus could not permit this, as such a realm would have threatened
the flank of their homeland, Manchuria, and would have attracted those
Manchus who objected to sinification. Between 1690 and 1696 there were
battles, in which the emperor actually took part in person. Galdan was
defeated. In 1715, however, there were new disturbances, this time in
western Mongolia. Tsewang Rabdan, whom the Chinese had made khan of the
Ölöt, rose against the Chinese. The wars that followed, extending far
into Turkestan and also involving its Turkish population together with
the Dzungars, ended with the Chinese conquest of the whole of Mongolia
and of parts of eastern Turkestan. As Tsewang Rabdan had tried to extend
his power as far as Tibet, a campaign was undertaken also into Tibet,
Lhasa was occupied, a new Dalai Lama was installed there as supreme
ruler, and Tibet was made into a protectorate. Since then Tibet has
remained to this day under some form of Chinese colonial rule.

This penetration of the Chinese into Turkestan took place just at the
time when the Russians were enormously expanding their empire in Asia,
and this formed the third problem for the Manchus. In 1650 the Russians
had established a fort by the river Amur. The Manchus regarded the Amur
(which they called the "River of the Black Dragon") as part of their own
territory, and in 1685 they destroyed the Russian settlement. After this
there were negotiations, which culminated in 1689 in the Treaty of
Nerchinsk. This treaty was the first concluded by the Chinese state with
a European power. Jesuit missionaries played a part in the negotiations
as interpreters. Owing to the difficulties of translation the text of
the treaty, in Chinese, Russian, and Manchurian, contained some
obscurities, particularly in regard to the frontier line. Accordingly,
in 1727 the Russians asked for a revision of the old treaty. The Chinese
emperor, whose rule name was Yung-cheng, arranged for the negotiations
to be carried on at the frontier, in the town of Kyakhta, in Mongolia,
where after long discussions a new treaty was concluded. Under this
treaty the Russians received permission to set up a legation and a
commercial agency in Peking, and also to maintain a church. This was the
beginning of the foreign Capitulations. From the Chinese point of view
there was nothing special in a facility of this sort. For some fifteen
centuries all the "barbarians" who had to bring tribute had been given
houses in the capital, where their envoys could wait until the emperor
would receive them - usually on New Year's Day. The custom had sprung up
at the reception of the Huns. Moreover, permission had always been given
for envoys to be accompanied by a few merchants, who during the envoy's
stay did a certain amount of business. Furthermore the time had been
when the Uighurs were permitted to set up a temple of their own. At the
time of the permission given to the Russians to set up a "legation", a
similar office was set up (in 1729) for "Uighur" peoples (meaning
Mohammedans), again under the control of an office, called the Office
for Regulation of Barbarians. The Mohammedan office was placed under two
Mohammedan leaders who lived in Peking. The Europeans, however, had
quite different ideas about a "legation", and about the significance of
permission to trade. They regarded this as the opening of diplomatic
relations between states on terms of equality, and the carrying on of
trade as a special privilege, a sort of Capitulation. This reciprocal
misunderstanding produced in the nineteenth century a number of serious
political conflicts. The Europeans charged the Chinese with breach of
treaties, failure to meet their obligations, and other such things,
while the Chinese considered that they had acted with perfect

4 _Culture_

In this K'ang-hsi period culture began to flourish again. The emperor
had attracted the gentry, and so the intelligentsia, to his court
because his uneducated Manchus could not alone have administered the
enormous empire; and he showed great interest in Chinese culture,
himself delved deeply into it, and had many works compiled, especially
works of an encyclopaedic character. The encyclopaedias enabled
information to be rapidly gained on all sorts of subjects, and thus were
just what an interested ruler needed, especially when, as a foreigner,
he was not in a position to gain really thorough instruction in things
Chinese. The Chinese encyclopaedias of the seventeenth and especially of
the eighteenth century were thus the outcome of the initiative of the
Manchurian emperor, and were compiled for his information; they were not
due, like the French encyclopaedias of the eighteenth century, to a
movement for the spread of knowledge among the people. For this latter
purpose the gigantic encyclopaedias of the Manchus, each of which fills
several bookcases, were much too expensive and were printed in much too
limited editions. The compilations began with the great geographical
encyclopaedia of Ku Yen-wu (1613-1682), and attained their climax in the
gigantic eighteenth-century encyclopaedia _T'u-shu chi-ch'eng_,
scientifically impeccable in the accuracy of its references to sources.
Here were already the beginnings of the "Archaeological School", built
up in the course of the eighteenth century. This school was usually
called "Han school" because the adherents went back to the commentaries
of the classical texts written in Han time and discarded the orthodox
explanations of Chu Hsi's school of Sung time. Later, its most prominent
leader was Tai Chen (1723-1777). Tai was greatly interested in
technology and science; he can be regarded as the first philosopher who
exhibited an empirical, scientific way of thinking. Late nineteenth and
early twentieth century Chinese scholarship is greatly obliged to him.

The most famous literary works of the Manchu epoch belong once more to
the field which Chinese do not regard as that of true literature - the
novel, the short story, and the drama. Poetry did exist, but it kept to
the old paths and had few fresh ideas. All the various forms of the Sung
period were made use of. The essayists, too, offered nothing new, though
their number was legion. One of the best known is Yüan Mei (1716-1797),
who was also the author of the collection of short stories _Tse-pu-yü_
("The Master did not tell"), which is regarded very highly by the
Chinese. The volume of short stories entitled _Liao-chai chich-i_, by
P'u Sung-lin (1640-1715?), is world-famous and has been translated into
every civilized language. Both collections are distinguished by their
simple but elegant style. The short story was popular among the greater
gentry; it abandoned the popular style it had in the Ming epoch, and
adopted the polished language of scholars.

The Manchu epoch has left to us what is by general consent the finest
novel in Chinese literature, _Hung-lou-meng_ ("The Dream of the Red
Chamber"), by Ts'ao Hsüeh-ch'in, who died in 1763. It describes the
downfall of a rich and powerful family from the highest rank of the
gentry, and the decadent son's love of a young and emotional lady of the
highest circles. The story is clothed in a mystical garb that does
something to soften its tragic ending. The interesting novel _Ju-lin
wai-shih_ ("Private Reports from the Life of Scholars"), by Wu
Ching-tz[)u] (1701-1754), is a mordant criticism of Confucianism with
its rigid formalism, of the social system, and of the examination
system. Social criticism is the theme of many novels. The most modern in
spirit of the works of this period is perhaps the treatment of feminism
in the novel _Ching-hua-yüan_, by Li Yu-chên (d. 1830), which demanded
equal rights for men and women.

The drama developed quickly in the Manchu epoch, particularly in
quantity, especially since the emperors greatly appreciated the theatre.
A catalogue of plays compiled in 1781 contains 1,013 titles! Some of
these dramas were of unprecedented length. One of them was played in 26
parts containing 240 acts; a performance took two years to complete!
Probably the finest dramas of the Manchu epoch are those of Li Yü (born
1611), who also became the first of the Chinese dramatic critics. What
he had to say about the art of the theatre, and about aesthetics in
general, is still worth reading.

About the middle of the nineteenth century the influence of Europe
became more and more marked. Translation began with Yen Fu (1853-1921),
who translated the first philosophical and scientific books and books on
social questions and made his compatriots acquainted with Western
thought. At the same time Lin Shu (1852-1924) translated the first
Western short stories and novels. With these two began the new style,
which was soon elaborated by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, a collaborator of Sun
Yat-sen's, and by others, and which ultimately produced the "literary
revolution" of 1917. Translation has continued to this day; almost every
book of outstanding importance in world literature is translated within
a few months of its appearance, and on the average these translations
are of a fairly high level.

Particularly fine work was produced in the field of porcelain in the
Manchu epoch. In 1680 the famous kilns in the province of Kiangsi were
reopened, and porcelain that is among the most artistically perfect in
the world was fired in them. Among the new colours were especially green
shades (one group is known as _famille verte_) and also black and yellow
compositions. Monochrome porcelain also developed further, including
very fine dark blue, brilliant red (called "ox-blood"), and white. In
the eighteenth century, however, there began an unmistakable decline,
which has continued to this day, although there are still a few
craftsmen and a few kilns that produce outstanding work (usually
attempts to imitate old models), often in small factories.

In painting, European influence soon shows itself. The best-known
example of this is Lang Shih-ning, an Italian missionary whose original
name was Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766); he began to work in China in
1715. He learned the Chinese method of painting, but introduced a number
of technical tricks of European painters, which were adopted in general
practice in China, especially by the official court painters: the
painting of the scholars who lived in seclusion remained uninfluenced.
Dutch flower-painting also had some influence in China as early as the
eighteenth century.

The missionaries played an important part at court. The first Manchu
emperors were as generous in this matter as the Mongols had been, and
allowed the foreigners to work in peace. They showed special interest in
the European science introduced by the missionaries; they had less
sympathy for their religious message. The missionaries, for their part,
sent to Europe enthusiastic accounts of the wonderful conditions in
China, and so helped to popularize the idea that was being formed in
Europe of an "enlightened", a constitutional, monarchy. The leaders of
the Enlightenment read these reports with enthusiasm, with the result
that they had an influence on the French Revolution. Confucius was found
particularly attractive, and was regarded as a forerunner of the
Enlightenment. The "Monadism" of the philosopher Leibniz was influenced
by these reports.

The missionaries gained a reputation at court as "scientists", and in
this they were of service both to China and to Europe. The behaviour of
the European merchants who followed the missions, spreading gradually in
growing numbers along the coasts of China, was not by any means so
irreproachable. The Chinese were certainly justified when they declared
that European ships often made landings on the coast and simply looted,
just as the Japanese had done before them. Reports of this came to the
court, and as captured foreigners described themselves as "Christians"
and also seemed to have some connection with the missionaries living at
court, and as disputes had broken out among the missionaries themselves
in connection with papal ecclesiastical policy, in the Yung-cheng period
(1723-1736; the name of the emperor was Shih Tsung) Christianity was
placed under a general ban, being regarded as a secret political

5 _Relations with the outer world_

During the Yung-cheng period there was long-continued guerrilla fighting
with natives in south-west China. The pressure of population in China
sought an outlet in emigration. More and more Chinese moved into the
south-west, and took the land from the natives, and the fighting was the
consequence of this.

At the beginning of the Ch'ien-lung period (1736-1796), fighting started
again in Turkestan. Mongols, now called Kalmuks, defeated by the
Chinese, had migrated to the Ili region, where after heavy fighting they
gained supremacy over some of the Kazaks and other Turkish peoples
living there and in western Turkestan. Some Kazak tribes went over to
the Russians, and in 1735 the Russian colonialists founded the town of
Orenburg in the western Kazak region. The Kalmuks fought the Chinese
without cessation until, in 1739, they entered into an agreement under
which they ceded half their territory to Manchu China, retaining only
the Ili region. The Kalmuks subsequently reunited with other sections of
the Kazaks against the Chinese. In 1754 peace was again concluded with
China, but it was followed by raids on both sides, so that the Manchus
determined to enter on a great campaign against the Ili region. This
ended with a decisive victory for the Chinese (1755). In the years that
followed, however, the Chinese began to be afraid that the various Kazak
tribes might unite in order to occupy the territory of the Kalmuks,
which was almost unpopulated owing to the mass slaughter of Kalmuks by
the Chinese. Unrest began among the Mohammedans throughout the
neighbouring western Turkestan, and the same Chinese generals who had
fought the Kalmuks marched into Turkestan and captured the Mohammedan
city states of Uch, Kashgar, and Yarkand.

The reinforcements for these campaigns, and for the garrisons which in
the following decades were stationed in the Ili region and in the west
of eastern Turkestan, marched along the road from Peking that leads
northward through Mongolia to the far distant Uliassutai and Kobdo. The
cost of transport for one _shih_ (about 66 lb.) amounted to 120 pieces
of silver. In 1781 certain economies were introduced, but between 1781
and 1791 over 30,000 tons, making some 8 tons a day, was transported to
that region. The cost of transport for supplies alone amounted in the
course of time to the not inconsiderable sum of 120,000,000 pieces of
silver. In addition to this there was the cost of the transported goods
and of the pay of soldiers and of the administration. These figures
apply to the period of occupation, of relative peace: during the actual
wars of conquest the expenditure was naturally far higher. Thus these
campaigns, though I do not think they brought actual economic ruin to
China, were nevertheless a costly enterprise, and one which produced
little positive advantage.

In addition to this, these wars brought China into conflict with the
European colonial powers. In the years during which the Chinese armies
were fighting in the Ili region, the Russians were putting out their
feelers in that direction, and the Chinese annals show plainly how the
Russians intervened in the fighting with the Kalmuks and Kazaks. The Hi
region remained thereafter a bone of contention between China and
Russia, until it finally went to Russia, bit by bit, between 1847 and
1881. The Kalmuks and Kazaks played a special part in Russo-Chinese
relations. The Chinese had sent a mission to the Kalmuks farthest west,
by the lower Volga, and had entered into relations with them, as early
as 1714. As Russian pressure on the Volga region continually grew, these
Kalmuks (mainly the Turgut tribe), who had lived there since 1630,
decided to return into Chinese territory (1771). During this enormously
difficult migration, almost entirely through hostile territory, a large
number of the Turgut perished; 85,000, however, reached the Hi region,
where they were settled by the Chinese on the lands of the eastern
Kalmuks, who had been largely exterminated.

In the south, too, the Chinese came into direct touch with the European
powers. In 1757 the English occupied Calcutta, and in 1766 the province
of Bengal. In 1767 a Manchu general, Ming Jui, who had been victorious
in the fighting for eastern Turkestan, marched against Burma, which was
made a dependency once more in 1769. And in 1790-1791 the Chinese
conquered Nepal, south of Tibet, because Nepalese had made two attacks
on Tibet. Thus English and Chinese political interests came here into

For the Ch'ien-lung period's many wars of conquest there seem to have
been two main reasons. The first was the need for security. The Mongols
had to be overthrown because otherwise the homeland of the Manchus was
menaced; in order to make sure of the suppression of the eastern
Mongols, the western Mongols (Kalmuks) had to be overthrown; to make
them harmless, Turkestan and the Ili region had to be conquered; Tibet
was needed for the security of Turkestan and Mongolia - and so on. Vast
territories, however, were conquered in this process which were of no
economic value, and most of which actually cost a great deal of money
and brought nothing in. They were conquered simply for security. That
advantage had been gained: an aggressor would have to cross great areas
of unproductive territory, with difficult conditions for reinforcements,
before he could actually reach China. In the second place, the Chinese
may actually have noticed the efforts that were being made by the
European powers, especially Russia and England, to divide Asia among
themselves, and accordingly they made sure of their own good share.

6 _Decline; revolts_

Online LibraryWolfram EberhardA History of China → online text (page 29 of 39)