The concept of "world view" is absolutely necessary to an understanding of other people's worlds and lives. We westerners seem to think that our view of the world is the only "correct" one, and that, when others seem to depart from it, they have sunk into the world of "ideology".
Frankly, this is nonsense. Just as we have, other cultures have their own world views, and these can be poles apart from our own. They, too, may look at us as having sunk into "ideology".
Peasant/farmers who—many of whom—now have access to television broadcasts emanating ultimately from Beijing, are least likely to have departed from "traditional" ways.
Further points about China's world view:
• "Maoism" is a tiny and dwindling part of it.
• What we westerners tend to call "Confucianism" is unknown as such to Chinese; to them it's simply the way "things are done" or are "proper".
• This has been largely unchanged since at least Ming times. (The Manchus who took over "China" in 1644 were very careful not to tamper with "Chinese" core beliefs.)
This does not mean that all Chinese "think alike"!
Different age cohorts are likely to exhibit differences:
• Children simply follow their parents' example;
• From, say, age 12 to 20, teenagers and young adults may be as preoccupied with things exciting and foreign (excluding sex) as are our young people;
• When marriage age rolls around at age 20 or so, these same young people will revert to
what we call "Confucian" ways;
• When their own children "leave the nest" around age 20, the now "free" adults are likely to wonder why they were so "silly" earlier on.
Then there are the "idiosyncratic" individuals for whom we offer no explanation, except to say it must have to do with unique parenting or other experiential contingencies.
The items that follow have been chosen for their relevance to Qing China's external affairs.
SZ = 顺直，Shunzhi, Shun Chi (1638–1661)
KX = 康熙, Kangxi, K'ang Hsi (1654-1722)
QL = 乾隆，Qianlong, Ch'ien Lung (1711-1799)
JQ = 嘉庆, Jia Qing, Chia Ch'ing (1760-1820)
QL 41:11:26 (Jan. 5, 1777) An Imperial Essay on the Way to Deal with the Barbarians
The Emperor decreed to the ministers in the grand council:
“According to the memorial of the Board of Punishment, they will reprimand Li Zhiying for his communication in which he reported that a demoted licentiate, Ni Hung-wen, owed more than 10,000 liang in all to the barbarian merchants.
“Such foreign merchants who risk their lives to sail across two oceans, originally aimed to make money. We should naturally trade with them honestly, so they can take plenty of money home. This is the only proper way! It is the just manner of Our Middle Kingdom. If foreigners meet unscrupulous people of the Interior who use trickery to cheat, they suffer the loss of both their goods and money. We must intervene according to our law. Yet Li Zhiying sentenced the said criminal by condemning him only to a light punishment. Even the money which he paid was raised by himself voluntarily. This so-called sentence means no money is to be paid. Thus Li Zhiying makes the strangers suffer wrongs with no means of righting them. How can that be the right way for an administrator of the frontier provinces to pacify strangers?
“Fortunately, the Board of Punishment reported that it will reprimand him. Hearing the details, We can adjust the problem. If the Board simply follows the sentence, nobody can tell how great a mistake is made. The Middle Kingdom’s reign and pacification of the foreigners depend entirely upon justice and fairness so that they may be grateful and respect Us. This is Our customary and just way. If, as a matter of course, we look upon foreigners as useless people and allow them to be deceived and defrauded by native rascals, and if when they have grievances and appeal to our government, we show partiality to our people and fail to alleviate the foreigners’ difficulties, then, since they cannot go to Beijing to present further accusations, they have no recourse but to store up and suppress hatred for us in their hearts. Therefore, after they return home they will spread the word [of our conduct] to the island barbarians. How can we prevent an attitude of contempt toward our viceroy and governor?
“Moreover, it might happen that because they fear our unscrupulous Guangdong rascals and because their appeal to the government is useless, they all will hesitate to come here in the future. Foreign ships visiting our shores will be reduced to a mere handful. Moreover, we regard this as a special case and shall undertake its settlement with due caution.
“In the late period of the Han, the Tang, the Song, and the Ming dynasties, the Emperors were mostly ignorant of how to treat strangers hospitably. When the foreigners were weak and powerless, Chinese Emperors treated them with contempt and insulted them. When the foreigners became strong and troublesome, the Emperors feared them and negotiated with them. They bore the insults of the foreigners until the great war broke out. Then it was too late to establish good relationships. The defeat of the Song dynasty and the downfall of the Ming dynasty were due to this cause. We must use history as a mirror for ourselves.
“At the present time Our Empire is at her peak. The various barbarians fear and live in awe of Our power so that they dare not show disobedience. However, if we want preventive measures we must forthwith cease to allow the growth of abuses.
“In this case concerning the English merchants, both the viceroy and the governor thought that because the debt was small, they could settle the matter carelessly. They did not realize that the case was very important. The proverb says that if little drops fall ceaselessly, a great river will form. We rule and reign both the Interior and the Exterior and look upon all people with impartiality....
“For instance, the exchange of horses between our Yi-li and the Kazaks must be conducted with great propriety. Horses driven to Yi-li by the Kazaks are not always good horses; we must select and accept only the good ones. Since their horses are useful, we should pay their real value and thus avoid trouble. If our satin and cloth which we pay to the Kazaks in exchange for the horses are cheap and inferior, we secretly reduce the value of their horses and the Kazaks cannot earn sufficient profit from what they have sold. Their trade with us lasts longer than a single day and thus they learn all the crooked Chinese tricks. They may not voice their complaints, but how can we expect them to obey us willingly? Such deception violates our original idea when we initiated and legislated mutual trade and the wrongs will be multiplied, as we are already aware. Therefore the general of Yi-li must use all his energy to observe the permanent regulation. If he allows the situation to deteriorate daily and does not know how to correct it, and we learn of this, he cannot escape punishment!
“Again, throughout Korea, Annam, Liu-qiu, Japan, the Laos, and the nations in the coastal provinces of the Eastern and Western oceans, where there is mutual trade with foreign merchants, all generals, viceroys and governors should act in accordance with our principles and seek ways of upholding them. Whenever there is a foreign negotiation or a lawsuit they should never support only our people to the injury of the foreign barbarians. Even to the territory of the Miao tribes, the magistrates should extend Our idea. If they regard this edict only as a dead letter whenever they must deal with a similar case, then whether We hear of it through Our inquiry or through the impeachment of the censors, We must punish that general, that viceroy and that governor severely.
“The generals, viceroys and governors are all appointed by Us and they should all share Our point of view. Never neglect it! Never forget it! Then We can carry out this immemorial policy. Even Our sons and grandsons should respectfully share and pass on Our instructions from generation to generation. Never should they forget this instruction, for then We may expect to enjoy Our Empire for millions of years to come.
“We order you to transmit this edict to all generals, viceroys and governors for their obedience. We order that it be recorded in the official procedure of the transfer of personnel. Let the new appointees obey this forever! It should also be duplicated and one copy of it displayed in the Imperial School for the princes of blood. Let them all respectfully obey this edict and never relax it!” (1021, 11b-15a)
QL 52:11:9 (Dec. 17, 1787) Tibetans Are Not Barbarians
The Emperor decreed to the ministers in the Grand Council: “Today when a memorial from Ba-yan-san reported the date when the envoy sent by the Dalai Lama from Anterior Tibet (前臧; Qian-Zang) passed through the territory of Shaanxi, he referred to him as a barbarian envoy (夷史; Yi-shi). This was very wrong!
“The Interior and the Exterior of our Empire are one family. Moreover, Tibet (外臧; Wai-Zang) has long been incorporated into Our territory and should not be compared with Russia which is still savage and to be tamed and therefore, rightly called ‘barbarian.’ The envoy who is about to arrive should be given his proper title, Abbot (Lai-shi Kan-bu). However, Ba-yan-san allowed his incompetent staff to write down the envoy’s status as ‘barbarian envoy’ and to present this memorial without careful reading to Us. When Ba-yan-san read his memorial, he did not notice that error! How could he be so stupid?
“We order you to transmit an edict reprimanding him severely!” (1292, 25b)
SZ 4:6:8 (July 9, 1647) The Envoy from the Philippines (Luzon) Arrives at Beijing
Earlier the three kingdoms of Liu-qiu [琉球; today Okinawa], An-nan (Annam; 安南; today Vietnam), and Lu-sung (呂宋; today, the Philippines) had sent envoys to present tribute to the late Ming Dynasty. They stayed in Fujian and did not return home. Therefore when our Grand Army conquered Fujian we captured them and transferred them to the capital.
The Emperor decreed that these tributary envoys of the three kingdoms, Li Guangyao  and the others, were to receive clothes, hats, satins, and cotton materials. Then they were to be returned to their own countries to summon their kings to submission.
The edict addressed to the King of Liu-qiu declared:
We pacified the Middle Kingdom and regard all regions under Heaven as one family. We remember that your Liu-qiu kingdom has served the Middle Kingdom as a vassal-state. Since ancient times it has been customary for you to send envoys and to pay homage and to present tribute [to the Middle Kingdom]. Therefore, We dispatch your envoy to deliver this edict to you. Now if your kingdom obeys Heaven and follows reason, you will dispatch an envoy to Our Capital and present to Us your patents and seals which the former Ming Dynasty bestowed on you. We shall also invest you with the same title [King of Liu-qiu] as before.
The content of the edicts to the two kingdoms of Annam and Luzon was identical. (32, 18a-b)
SC 4:7:25 (Aug. 25, 1647) Because the province of Guangdong had been newly pacified, the Emperor proclaimed a special and gracious edict:
“Starting the first day of the first month of the fourth year of Shun-zhi (Feb. 5, 1647) the poll-tax and the land-tax of Guangdong province shall be collected according to the regulation of the 48th year of Wan-li (1620) of the former [Ming] Dynasty. All additional impositions issued during the reigns of Tian-qi (1621-27) and Chong-zheng (1628-44) shall be abolished.
“If the various nations in the Southern Seas and in the neighborhood of Guangdong–for example, Siam and Annam– will offer tribute to Us and will sincerely submit to Our civilization and be vassal-states, the court will not shoot a single arrow toward them, but will treat them as graciously as We have treated Korea. As to routes, their tributary envoys should use the direct highway to the capital so that the court may show its hospitality toward strangers.” (33, 9a-14a)
SZ 8:1:7 (Feb. 26, 1651) Macao Submits to the Qing Dynasty
[Li Qifeng, the governor of Guangdong, forwarded a petition from the Portuguese Vereadores (Wei-li-duo) to the Chinese authorities at the court as follows:]
“[Wei-li]-duo and others (Portuguese senators) are natives of Xi-yang-guo (Portugal). They (the Portuguese) had scaled the mountains and navigated the seas before they had a chance to look upon the brilliance of the Celestial Empire. They settled at Hao-jing-ao (Macao) to trade and have paid taxes to China for more than one hundred years. Now they have recently entered into the era of the benevolent grace of the Qing Dynasty. The whole population of Ao-men (Macao), old men and children alike, so heartily acclaim the Imperial benevolence that their plaudits could shake the earth. On the nineteenth day of the last month (Feb. 8, 1651), they presented their petition of submission to the lieutenant-general (Can-jiang) of Xiangshan-xian to be forwarded on their behalf. They wish that aliens may be treated with kindness, and that they may enjoy their lives and their occupations and share the blessing of our great peace on this earth....” (MCSL III, 4, 307)
SZ 12:10:22 (Nov. 19, 1655) The Hollanders again Petition to Present Tribute by Sending Two Ships
Part I: The Report of Prince Ping-nan to the Board of Rites
According to the records of previous occasions, in the tenth year of Shun-zhi, envoys from the Kingdom of Holland across the seas came to present tribute. An edict was received that this (the presentation of tribute) could not be permitted. It has been respectfully obeyed.
Now on the fifth day of the eighth month in this year (Sept. 4, 1655) it was reported that two barbarian ships of Holland had entered our territory. The two provincial magistrates, the viceroy and the governor, and Prince Ping-nan invited Prince Jing-nan, Geng, to the official chamber for a conference. Then the maritime prefect, Xu Tan, offered a petition [saying] that the Hollanders had brought a memorial, and then he handed me a copy of their tribute-list.
I, Prince Ping-nan, take note of the fact that the tribute-bearers have come from an overseas nation as a result of the great extension of the virtue and power of His Imperial Majesty. His gracious benevolence has spread to so remote a distance that the barbarians are willing to scale the mountains and navigate the seas in order to look upon the glorious Heaven and the brilliant Sun. It is indeed a glorious event, honoring our prosperous dynasty.
In a previous year the Kingdom of Holland sent envoys to petition for the right to present tribute; but without a memorial and without native products. Now again they come and do not fear the difficulty and danger of the rolling waves. Moreover, the language of their envoys is very appealing and this time they do bring a memorial and native products. It seems to me that their sincerity toward our civilization should not be met with strong opposition, otherwise we might discourage the remote barbarians from admiring the grandeur of this superior Empire. However, we, the Two Princes, remembered the previous order, and dared not act without authorization from the court. We have also especially ordered our officers and soldiers to guard and care for the Dutch. (MCSL III, 4, 382a)
SZ 17:5:3 (June 10, 1660) Another Russian Embassy Dismissed without Audience at Beijing
One year later, the Cha-han Khan sent another Embassy to bring a memorial and to present tribute. They spent three years on the journey. In the memorial he (the Czar) did not follow our calendar, but dated it 1165, and called himself a Great Khan with many boastful words. This memorial was sent to the princes and ministers for deliberation.
They agreed: “We should expel his embassy and refuse his tribute.” When their decision was handed to the Emperor, they received an edict:
“The Cha-han Khan, depending upon his chieftainship, sent Us a proud and impolite memorial, yet, when foreign countries begin to follow Our culture, We should forgive and tolerate them, in order to show Our kindness toward strangers.
“Although Russia is situated far on Our western border and has never received Our education and culture, yet the Cha-han Khan has sent an embassy to bring a memorial hither. This may show his sincere admiration for Our justice. The Board of Rites is ordered to give the envoys a feast and to accept their tribute. The Cha-han Khan and his envoys should also be given gifts. However, We do not need to send the Cha-han Khan an envoy nor need We reply to his memorial in a written letter. Your office should be merely to explain to his envoys that because the memorial of the Cha-han Khan is proud and impolite, We cannot allow them to be received in audience; and then to send them back home.” (135, 2b-3a)
Part II: 13:7:2 (Aug. 21, 1656) The Hollanders Permitted to Come to China Every Eighth Year
The Board of Rites memorialized:
“The Kingdom of Holland has never before presented tribute. Now she comes to do homage after her credentials have been translated twice. This is indeed the result of the influence of Your Majesty's virtue. Now we sympathize with them for their long and dangerous journey. We should allow them to present tribute every five years. Concerning their tributary route, they should enter and leave China from Guangdong. Concerning their trade on our seas, we have already reported clearly that it cannot be granted. However, they are allowed to trade at the Cosmopolitan House (Hui-tong Guan). It is still forbidden to trade goods that are contraband according to our regulations.”
The Board of Rites received an edict [from the Emperor]: “The Kingdom of Holland admires justice and offers sincere loyalty, and asks permission for its envoys to sail the seas to present tribute. Considering their journey is long and dangerous, and in order to show our sympathy toward the strangers, We order them to come to pay homage to Us every eight years.” (102, 22a)
KX 60:3:23 (Apr. 19, 1721) Tu-li-shen Reports his Escort of Izmailov to Selenginsk
“Your servant escorted the Russian Ambassador to Selenginsk, arriving on the twenty-third day of the third month (April 19). The ambassador told Your servant:
According to the communiqué from our capital, St. Petersburg, our soldiers fought against Sweden at sea last summer. We killed 103 of their officers and soldiers and captured 407 men and 140 cannon. 124 of our Russians were killed and 203 captured. When I inquired of the people who came from that area, they replied that our Cha-han Khan now lives at St. Petersburg, and that the soldiers whom we dispatched to the Salt Lake had captured several subjects of Ce-wang A-la-bu-tan. Our soldiers are still stationed at Zhai-sang Nao-er. As of now Ce-wang A-la-bu-tan has not sent soldiers there, nor has our country sent him an envoy. The Kazaks and the Ha-la Ha-er-ba-ke are still unfriendly with Ce-wang A-la-bu-tan, and we do not know if they fought against each other. The A-yu-qi Khan of the Turgots and Gong-ke-er Khan of Tu-li-yie-si-ke (Turkey) are still as friendly with us as ever. There is no other news.
“Your servant has already reported these accounts in the letter sent to the officer of the Imperial Bodyguards, La-xi.
“The communication which Duke A-ling-a sent to the Chief of Selenginsk is not found in the files. The Russians said: ‘We do not keep Chinese official letters; we only make a duplicate and forward the original to the palace of our Cha-han Khan.’ When the duplicate was found, Ambassador Izmailov read it and said:
The August Emperor who reigns over the Universe by heavenly benevolence wishes peace within the four seas. He will not permit war and he hopes that all people may enjoy great peace. The kindness of His Buddha-like heart extends everywhere, no matter whether the countries are near or far from China. When His Majesty heard that our country had mobilized an army against Ce-wang A-la-bu-tan, His Majesty ordered the Duke and Chairman of the Li-fan Yuan to send us a letter, which said: ‘Ce-wang A-la-bu-tan is a man with a good fighting record. When your country dispatches soldiers against him, you must guard your rear carefully and not underestimate the enemy.’
This original communication has been already sent to the Cha-han Khan. If our Khan sees this letter, he must sincerely thank His Majesty and be happy. While I was at Beijing, the great August Emperor heard that our Cha-han Khan was waging war at sea. His Majesty let me forward a gracious edict to our Khan. Indeed, His grace shines on everyone as clearly as the sun and the moon. I have already recorded that gracious edict so that when I arrive at St. Petersburg, I shall report it to our Cha-han Khan.
Since peace was concluded over thirty years ago, the people of our country have been greatly helped by the favor of the great August Emperor. Our Cha-han Khan sincerely thanks the August Emperor for His kindness and demonstrates his sincerity by sending an ambassador to ask after His Imperial Majesty’s health and to present native products as tribute. After we arrived at the Celestial Empire, we respectfully presented the memorial at the Chang-chun Yuan. We had looked into the heavenly countenance and presented our tribute of native products in the golden palace. We learned the appropriate salutations and performed the rites of courtesy at the jade stairway. The state dinner was a gorgeous display. We received the highest honor when the Supreme Sovereign personally bestowed upon me a glass of wine. In addition, I was given sable caps and cloaks. His Majesty was concerned that perhaps the water and climate of Beijing might not suit us; he therefore ordered that good water should be specially prepared for our use. We not only received various dishes from the Imperial kitchen, but also we were allowed to see all the rare curios and all the wonderful scenery of various places in Beijing. Therefore, not only was rich favor bestowed upon our Cha-han Khan, but I, his envoy, also received extraordinary gifts. I am only an ant-like humble personality, born in a remote wilderness, but I have seen rare curios that no one sees in the course of ten thousand years, and I have tasted delicacies such as few taste in a lifetime.
Since this August Emperor’s grace is so magnanimous, he bestowed upon us these many objects and allowed us to see the wonderful sights. After we return to our native land, we will report to our Cha-han Khan and proclaim to the whole country this account so that it will be recorded in the archives and memorialized forever. Moreover, we shall respectfully keep the many curios which we received as most precious treasures to be handed on to future generations.
I, Izmailov, personally received the generous favor of the August Emperor and was greatly honored. By reason of this honor, the generations of my descendents will be respected and distinguished in my country forever.
“Ambassador Izmailov departed from Selenginsk on the twenty-eighth day of the third month.”
This memorial was delivered to Beijing on the fourth day of the fifth month. (IYL, rare, 96a-99a)
QL 29:11:1 (Nov. 23, 1764) A New Edition of the Yi-tong-zhi Is Requested
Censor Cao Xuemin memorialized: “During recent years we have pacified the territory of Dzungaria [I-li, north of the Tian-shan range] and of the Mohammedan cities (Kashgaria, south of the Tian-shan range) so that we have extended our territory about twenty thousand li. It is an unprecedented achievement. Previously courtiers were ordered to compile the Xi-yu Tu-zhi (the Illustrated Gazetteer of the Western Territory). The officials who served on the Imperial Board of Astronomy were ordered to measure the latitude and longitude of these two regions now incorporated into our maps and atlases. However, we have not yet decided to compile a new edition of our Yi-tong-zhi (the Complete Gazetteer of the Imperial Territory).
“In the Yi-tong-zhi, all territories belonging to us are exclusively recorded; these consist of, not only all provinces directly under the central government, but also fifty-seven countries that are either our wai-fan (外番; outer frontier) or our shu-guo (属国; vassal kingdoms) in addition to thirty-one other tributary countries which come to do homage and bear tribute to us.” (722, 1a-5a)
The English-language quotes here are from Fu Lo-shu, A Documentary Chronicle of Sino-Western Relations (1644-1820) (Tucson, U. of Arizona Press, 1966), but have been modified slightly (with reference to the original Chinese) to accord with Pinyin spellings and to simplify Fu's punctuations.
All items originate in the 清史录 unless annotated as MCSL; some abbreviated versions may be found in 清史编年 [Qing-shih bian-nian]>, 中国人民大学出版社, 1985]
MCSL - 明清史料 [Ming-Ch'ing Shih-liao] Taibei, Academia Sinica
• Governor Sande (2nd governor of the Spanish Phillipines) offered to undertake the conquest of the country with from four to a thousand men. "This people is so cowardly," said Sande, "that no one rides on horseback."