ASIAN HISTORY 7
Comparingthe Mongol Yuan and Manchu Qing dynasty governments
Thestructure of the Yuan Dynasty was essentially bureaucratic in natureand reflected the cultural aspects of the various ethnic tribesliving under the empire. The Yuan Mongol government had threedivisions of authority the military, civil and censorial governmentinstitutions. In addition, there was a central secretariatinstitution that managed the civil affairs of the empire throughsurveillance and inspection. In this regime, the role of central andlocal governments overlapped between the military and civiljurisdictions, primarily due to the traditional reliance on militaryinstitution for governance.
However,the civilian central secretariat was responsible for coordinating thevarious government agencies. The existence of central government andthe six ministries reflected the Mongolian priority and policiesthere was department of finance, war, justice and others, althoughthe government had created the Ministry of Justice, it was not usedfor cases that involved many members of the ethnic groups, suchcases were decided through a mixed board of Mongols and the Chinese.
TheHan Chinese people were historically, politically and sociallydiscriminated by the other tribes especially during the reign ofMongols and the Qing Dynasties. Under the Yuan regime, the Mongolsmonopolized all government post for regional and central governments.The Mongols were fond of employing non Mongols in their empireespecially the inhabitants of Central and Middle East. The empireexpanded to the Asian and European nations a situation that led torich culture exchange in such areas as music, drama, novel and otherrich cultural aspects from the neighboring societies the CatholicEuropeans, Asian Muslims and the Chinese in the Northwest and South.These cultural artifacts were incorporated into the Mongolgovernment the Chinese Confucian government practices wereincorporated in the Mongolian governments as a way of maintainingorder especially among the Han tribes. The administration of theMongols undertook massive public constructions in water, road,communications, food granaries, construction of Beijing City, railterminus and other renovations.
TheQing dynasty also adopted the bureaucratic institutions butgovernment appointments were split between the Manchus and the HasChinese while other positions were given to the Mongols. In similarmanner as that of earlier dynasties, the Qing government appointedofficials through the imperial examination process. The governmentwas also divided into divisions of civil and military institutions ashad been the case during the Yuan dynasty. The central government hada powerful grand secretary who managed other institutions just likeduring the Yuan Dynasty. However, the Manchu Qing administration hada more developed government structure with more positions developedin the civil and military divisions of governments.
Unlikethe Yuan Empire, the Manchu Qing Dynasty had a more centralgovernment controlled through ‘inner courts’ that were morepowerful government institution for controlling the military andcentralizing government authority in the empire. The six ministrieswere retained and served similar responsibilities as those of formerempires. The central government used a dual system in assigninggovernment positions among the Hans Chinese and the Manchu tribe,however, just like the Yuan Empire, the Hans Chinese werediscriminated against and were assigned lesser government positionsas a way of enhancing their loyalty to the ruling Qingadministration.
Inaddition, unlike the Yuan governments, the Qing administration hadother unique departments such as the Lifan Yuan institution thatsupervised administration activities among the ethnic minority groupsand other foreign affair activities. The Qing Dynasty adopted anImperial Household department which was used to supervise internalaffairs of the imperial government family. Overall, the Manchu Qingadministration retained various institutions of previous governmentsas depicted through Confucian court practices, civil service,military divisions and loyalty appointments. The major differencebetween Qing administration and former empires and the Yuan Mingadministrations was that, Qing government reduced the role ofmilitary institution in the government and increased the bureaucraticstructure of the government as well as enlarging the central servicegovernment.
Mingstate and society: social and economic developments during the MingDynasty
Duringthis period of Ming Empire (considered as one of the most orderly andstable era of society and government), the influence of feudalsociety declined and a capitalist society emerged. The new empire,implemented policies aimed at boosting economy and raising thewelfare of the society. The administration made efforts to establisha more self sufficient society. One of the policy implemented focusedon enlarging food production by supporting peasants’ agriculturalproduction for more produce that would serve the growing society.Primarily, agriculture was the main economic activity during thisperiod in food production.
Inaddition, the regime adopted stiffer policies of punishing corruptofficials in courts. Besides farming, the cultural society engagedmore in handicraft porcelain making which became a major source ofincome to the society and the Ming administration. Advancedhandicraft industry facilitated great urbanization and a marketeconomy where foreign and local commodities were sold. As a result,metropolis like Yangzhou, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing, Nanjing,Chengdu and Xian developed successfully. Later, ineffectivegovernment policies of restraining economy and banning shipping ofcommodities negatively affected commercial development. During theinitial stages of the empire administration, the state had goodpolicies for the society as espoused by the great efforts done inimproving agriculture, economy, military and water conservancy.However, after death of the regimes emperor (Zhang Juzheng) thesucceeding emperor neglected state affairs and the society.Consequently, there were massive cases of corruption, exploitationand natural disasters which lead to extreme hardships
Nationalistand Communist paths to modernity (1921-1976)
Inan attempt to create a powerful and united modern China State, thegovernment regimes in the early 20thcentury adopted the communist manifesto as a way of enhancing socialreforms, national unity and independence. Chinese intellectualsproposed communism as a strategy of ensuring peace they observedthat socialism would prevent conflicts brought by capitalism. Inaddition, communism was adopted as a means of differentiating Chinafrom the western values of capitalism which were seen as the sourceof social conflicts.
Inparticular, communism was seen as a surest way of liberating thepeasant workers and in general the Chinese people from foreignexploitation. In a similar note, the prevailing anarchical state inRussia after the Bolshevik revolution, the resulting Marxistideologies incensed China to adapt them in their formation ofcommunist state. The Chinese government implemented socialism intheir economy, social and political arenas as a way of making China apowerful modern state through industrialization, improving theliving conditions of people, reducing the economic gap and productionof modern military weapons.
Thenationalists proposed nationalism ideology as way of affirmativepolicy by the government in relation to international affairs mainlydue to international aggression especially the western countries whowere against communism in China. While communism advocated forsocialist ideals in internal management of state affairs, thenationalism ideology focused on extending the Chinese influenceinternationally. Nationalism was aimed at holding the communitytogether just the same way communism enhanced social integration.This perspective was driven by self determination to retain Chinesecultural identity and hold the nation together in the changinganarchical modern world. This determination was aimed at restoringthe Chinese role and influence in the world as well as eradicatingforeign influence on China.
Therefore,the underlying strategy was to develop an independent modern Statethat could wall out imperialist expansions and maintain internalunity. As such, the nationalism strategy was to reduce externaldependency and enhance more internal developments. It was alsoadopted as a means of giving minority group nationalities power,economic and education success this was done as an attempt to avoidindividual independent demands which were not based on the principalof equality. Assessed critically, both nationalism and communismideologies focused on holding the Chinese nation together andextending its influence at international level. Nationalism wouldfoster self determination among the diverse Chinese tribes and opposeforeign imperialism while communism fostered socialism and unityamong the community members.
FengGuifen on Manufacture of Foreign Weapons and Yan Fu, on Strength(1901 1895)
FengGuifen (Feng Kuei-fen) was a Confucian scholar and philosopher whobelieved in the doctrine of ‘self strengthening movement.’ Inrelation to the Chinese manufacture of foreign weapons, Feng arguedthat China needed to adapt to the western values and technology ofmilitary systems as a way of facilitating industrialization. Hisopinions were that, China needed to learn from the barbarians(western nation) on how to make more powerful guns and ships.Yan Fu (Yen Fu)on the other hand, argued that, it was not possible to imitate thewestern mode of arsenal making without wholesome borrowing of thedemocratic government systems and science. In other words, Yan Fustressed on the need for China to change the cultural, social andpolitical aspects in line with western values, as a way ofmodernizing the Chinese nation.