Showing posts from June, 2018

Cixi Rules Until the End...

This is a simple post for people interested in China.    Hopefully, this will inspire my readers’ to read more Chinese History.   There’s some good stuff tucked away in those 5000 years.   (just sayin’)   The only thing equivalent to the stories and lessons learned Chinese History is The Bible.     It is interesting to note at the time of the Death of Christ, China already had at least 30 million people.    Jerusalem at most 70,000 people.   China’s biggest city meanwhile, Changan, “only” had 300,000 people. I think up to now we’ve seen Cixi for what she really was during the first half of her reign:   an uber competent person, stuck in an era nearly all Chinese Emperor’s throughout history were able themselves to avoid.   An era they had no control over.   An era where they were unable to control the narrative.   A time in Chinese History where they were forced to be reactive rather than proactive.    An era for which the Emperor of China rarely had to worry about any direct

Nala comes in through the back gate...Part One

Not so long ago, I wrote what I thought was a pretty cool post asking a basic question:   why did Japan not only hold its own against Western influence but rise to dominate East Asia?    A part of the answer was simple Geography.    Indeed, Geography saved Japan.   No question about it.   However, Japan did not simply cower behind its oceanic “wall”, but struck out beyond its natural barrier to not only defeat a Western nation in battle, albeit Russia, but to totally and utterly dominate everyone else it came into contact with for seventy years. What precipitated this strength was weakness. Between 1853 and 1867 Japan had three Shoguns.   In terms of power, the Japanese Shogun was equivalent to a Chinese Emperor.    In 1867, the Shogunate of Japan ceased to exist, and the power of the Japanese Emperor became resolute.   (The last Japanese Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu  His resignation in 1867 inversely led to the eventual rise of Japan as a military power.) And

A Touch of Evil

How does one compare Cixi and Jiang Qing? Different times, right? Indeed they were.    In sum, who was worse for China?   Who did China the worst damage, from an historical   perspective?   And who was personally crueler? Didn’t either of them have any redeeming qualities, whatsoever?    Life is never as it seems.   It is gray.   Judging things from a black and white perspective is foolish.   All we receive is a simplistic understanding of events.   Thus dooming us to repeat the same mistakes over. Frankly speaking, I’m not sure I’m up to this.    So vastly sweeping was their effect on China.   Nor am I particularly sure how to adequately address the aspects of their rule in question. Cixi was a member of the elite.   Born into Chinese aristocracy, if you will.   Jiang Qing was the daughter of a carpenter’s mistress.   Or in “Chinaspeak”, a concubine.     Even a “mere” carpenter could have a concubine in China. Cixi and Jiang Qing, one by luck and fortune,

Opium War Redux

( a few weeks ago I mentioned I'd be writing another post about the Chairman's wife...I will need time to write it up.  Probably around 2 weeks...let's see ) The cause of the Opium Wars between China and Britain is simple enough:   China didn’t buy anything.       This in turn caused a crisis within Britain because when the British did buy something the Chinese wanted to wisely be paid in Silver.     The British lusted after China’s tea and porcelain.    As such, Britain’s supply of silver was inexorably being drained.   Meanwhile   the Chinese had no demand for British wool.   Though they very much liked Britain’s clocks.    China’s lack of curiosity and centuries old custom of receiving tribute from neighboring nations, Vietnam, Korea, etc naturally bred a hard to break and well calcified sense of superiority towards other nations. While Britain itself banned the importation of opium, it simply had no qualms selling it to non Christian “inferior yellow people”