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The Qing conquest theory proposes that the actions and policies of the Qing dynasty, led by Manchus, held China back, and led to the Great Divergence in which China lost its early modern economic and industrial lead over the West. The theory seeks to explain why Europe could experience an industrial revolution, but China did not. Theory supporters, some of whom may be motivated by anti-Manchu sentiments, claim that advances in science and technology and economic development in the Song and Ming dynasties moved China toward a modern age, the restrictions placed on commerce and industry and the persecution of non-orthodox thought after the Transition from Ming to Qing in the seventeenth century caused the country to gradually stagnate and fall behind the West.
Different dates are offered for the beginning or end of ascendency and whether it was in economic, technological, or political terms. Some see the Qing as the time when China fell behind, either because of stagnation or because Europe or the West pulled ahead. The economic historian Angus Maddison calculates that in the tenth century China was the "world's leading economy in terms of per capita income," and that "between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries economic leadership passed from China to Western Europe."Carl Dahlman and Jean-Eric Aubert of the World Bank argue, based on Maddison's data, that China was the world's largest and most advanced economy for the most of the past two millennia and among the wealthiest and most advanced economies until the 18th century. Maddison believes that China's lead did not happen until the fall of the Roman Empire and that China lost its lead because Europe pulled ahead, not because of domestic conditions. In a review of the field in 2006, the Harvard economic historian David Landes began by stating that "as late as the end of the first millenium of our era, the civilizations of Asia werere well ahead of Europe in wealth and knowledge," but five hundred years, that is, in the early years of the Ming dynasty, later "the tables had turned."
The economic historian Mark Elvin, drawing on the work of Japanese historians, argues that the Song dynasty (960–1279), experienced a revolution in agriculture, water transport, finance, urbanization, science and technology, but that China was then caught in a high level equilibrium trap.Others claim that the Song dynasty economic revolution brought proto-industrialization with large increases in per capita income as well as industrial and agricultural output. Some scholars have termed the phenomenon China's "medieval urban revolution".
The Mongol conquest inflicted a large population loss and devastated the economy but the succeeding Ming dynasty brought a recovery in per capita incomes and economic output, surpassing Song dynasty heights. Late Ming laissez-faire policies such as nonintervention in markets and low taxes further stimulated commercialisation, as market agriculture replaced subsistence farming.Wage labour became increasingly common, as large-scale private industry developed, displacing indentured labor and often buying out government workshops. Historian Robert Allen estimates that family incomes and labor productivity of the Ming-era Yangtze Delta Region, the richest province of China, was far higher than contemporary Europe and exceeded the later Qing dynasty.
Some contend that economic and social developments during the late Ming paralleled the development of Europe in the 18th and the 19th centuries and that China would have entered a modern age had there been no Manchu conquest and no Qing dynasty.The Ming regime was ideologically rigid but cities and new wealth allowed room for intellectual fervor and liberalization. New thinkers like Wang Yangming and Li Zhi challenged orthodox Confucianism and argued that the words of Confucius and Mencius were fallible and that wisdom was universal. They also questioned government power over the economy and personal rights. Scholars of the Donglin school protested increases in government taxation during the Wanli Emperor, and restrictions on freedom of speech, advocating a program similar to classical liberalism. Ming dynasty scholars also investigated western science, such as Archimedes.
Supporters of the theory hold that the policies of the Qing dynasty slowed China's economic and scientific advancement and allowed Western nations to surpass China. Specific Qing policies cited include suppression of creative thought, literary persecution, discouragement of foreign trade, repressive domestic policies, rigid neo-Confucian emphasis on ideology rather than practical knowledge, disrespect for business and commerce, destructive fiscal and tax policy, as well as the devastation of the initial conquest itself.[ citation needed ]
Supporters most often point to Qing restriction on foreign trade as evidence of the theory.During the Ming dynasty, considerable commerce existed between China, Japan and Western Europe, estimated by Joseph Needham at nearly 300 million taels of silver from 1578 to 1644 (for comparison, the total Ming state revenues were from 20 to 30 million taels).
However, during the Qing dynasty, foreign trade was prohibited completely from 1644 to 1683, and it later restricted to only one port at Guangzhou. In addition, commerce had to be conducted by 13 guilds approved by the government, with competition prohibited.
The government also refused to provide protection to overseas Chinese. The emperor did not protest the massacres carried out by the Spanish and Dutch colonial authorities against the Chinese, such as what happened in the Spanish Philippines.
The restoration of serfdom is cited as another policy that greatly hampered the Chinese economy. Qing forces expropriated huge amounts of land, turning millions of people from tenant farmers into hereditary serfs. km2, of farmland. Serfdom was so common in the early Qing that slave markets were set up to buy and sell those who had been enslaved during the Qing expansion.The amount of land requisitioned amounted to nearly 16 million mou, or nearly 10,666
While literary persecution existed in China prior to Qing rule, it was rare and never widespread. During the late Ming dynasty, protests by scholars forced the government to declare that "speech will not be criminalized".However, the Qing government frequently used literary persecution to destroy opposition to Qing rule. Several cases of literary persecution saw hundreds of intellectuals and their families executed, often for minor offenses such as referring to Manchus as "barbarians" and using the Qing character in areas that was deemed offensive by the government. Thousands of ancient texts deemed subversive were burned in the persecutions. Protests by scholars, which had been common during the late Ming period, were also suppressed.
The persecutions extended to non-orthodox thought as well; scholars who disagreed with the standard Neo-Confucian theories were executed along with a scientist who argued that the brain, rather than the heart, was the centre of thought.
The Qing dynasty intervened in the economy far more than its predecessors.Unlike the Ming dynasty, who had adopted laissez-faire policies, there was frequent intervention in the economy by restricting the number of merchants allowed to operate. The official edicts discouraged the cultivation of commercial crops, in favour of subsistence agriculture. Also, most new mines were prohibited.
Supporters of the theory claim that such policies greatly damaged the Chinese economy.
The Ming-Qing transition was one of the most devastating wars in Chinese history, and it set back Chinese progress decades. Examples of the devastation include the Yangzhou massacre in which some 800,000 people, including women and children, were massacred by the Manchus.Whole provinces, such as Sichuan and Jiangnan, were thoroughly devastated and depopulated by the Manchu conquest, which killed an estimated 25 million people. Some scholars estimate that the Chinese economy did not the regain the level reached in the late Ming dynasty until 1750, nearly a century after the foundation of the Qing dynasty. According to economic historian Robert Allen, family incomes in the Yangtze delta, China's richest province, was actually below Ming levels in 1820 but equal to that of contemporary Britain.
The destructive effects of the Qing were felt economically for decades. In the 1690s, Tang Chen (陈唐[ verification needed ]), a retired Chinese scholar and failed merchant wrote:
More than fifty years have passed since the founding of the [Qing] dynasty, and the empire grows poorer each day. Farmers are destitute, artisans are destitute, merchants are destitute, and officials too are destitute. Grain is cheap, yet it is hard to eat one’s fill. Cloth is cheap, yet it is hard to cover one’s skin. Boatloads of goods travel from one marketplace to another, but the cargoes must be sold at a loss. Officials upon leaving their posts discover they have no wherewithal to support their households. Indeed the four occupations are all impoverished!
Kenneth Pomeranz rejects the assertion that "certain Asian societies were headed toward an industrial breakthrough until [British invaders] crushed the 'sprouts of capitalism'".He also holds that the Qing "revitalization of the state" had a positive effect on the Chinese economy.
The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient historical texts such as the Book of Documents, the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals mention and describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.
The Qing dynasty or the Qing Empire, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, with a brief restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The multiethnic Qing empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fourth largest empire in world history in terms of territorial size in 1790, also making it the largest Chinese dynasty. At a population of 432 million in 1912, it was the world's most populous country.
The Ming dynasty, officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, numerous rump regimes ruled by remnants of the Ming imperial family—collectively called the Southern Ming—survived until 1662.
China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history. One definition refers to the original area of Chinese civilization, the Central Plain ; another to the "Eighteen Provinces" system of the Qing dynasty. There is no direct translation for "China proper" in the Chinese language due to differences in terminology used by the Qing to refer to the regions and the expression is controversial among scholars, particularly in China, due to national territorial claims.
The Manchu are an ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria derives its name. They are sometimes called "red-tasseled Manchus", a reference to the ornamentation on traditional Manchu hats. The Later Jin (1616–1636) and Qing dynasty (1636–1912) were established and ruled by Manchus, who are descended from the Jurchen people who earlier established the Jin dynasty (1115–1234) in China.
The House of Aisin-Gioro was a Manchu clan that ruled Manchuria in 1616–1912, China in 1644–1912, and Manchukuo in 1932–1945. It established the Later Jin dynasty in 1616, which was renamed the Qing dynasty in 1636. Manchu bannermen were able to pass through the gates of the Great Wall in 1644, defeat the Ming, and gain control of China proper. The dynasty reached its zenith under the Qianlong emperor, who reigned from 1735 to 1796. This reign was followed by a century of gradual decline. It lost power in 1912 following an uprising by the Chinese Nationalist Party. Puyi, the last Aisin-Gioro emperor, continued to reign in the Forbidden City until the Articles of Favorable Treatment were revoked in 1924. The Qing was China's last imperial dynasty.
Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From the inauguration of dynastic rule by Yu the Great in circa 2070 BC to the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 in the wake of the Xinhai Revolution, China was ruled by a series of successive dynasties. Dynasties of China were not limited to those established by ethnic Han—the dominant Chinese ethnic group—and its predecessor, the Huaxia tribal confederation, but also included those founded by non-Han peoples.
The Great Divergence or European miracle is the socioeconomic shift in which the Western world overcame pre-modern growth constraints and emerged during the 19th century as the most powerful and wealthy world civilization, eclipsing Mughal India, Qing China, Joseon Korea, and Tokugawa Japan.
The literary inquisition, also known as speech crime (以言入罪), refers to official persecution of intellectuals for their writings in China. The Hanyu Da Cidian defines it as "the ruler deliberately extracts words or phrases from intellectual's writings and arbitrarily accuse him in order to persecute him" ("旧时谓统治者为迫害知识分子，故意从其著作中摘取字句，罗织成罪"). The Inquisition took place under each of the dynasties ruling China, although the Qing was particularly notorious for the practice. In general, there are two ways a literary inquisition could be carried out. First is that the conviction came from the writing itself. That is, the writing was the direct cause of the persecution. The second is that the writing was used as a tool to provide legitimate evidence for a predetermined conviction. Such persecutions could owe even to a single phrase or word which the ruler considered offensive. Some of these were due to naming taboo, such as writing a Chinese character that is part of the emperor's personal name. In the most serious cases, not only the writer, but also his immediate and extended families, as well as those close to him, would also be implicated and killed.
De-Sinicization refers to a process of eliminating or reducing Chinese cultural elements, identity, or consciousness from a society or nation. In modern contexts, it is often used in tandem with decolonization and contrasted to the assimilation process of Sinicization.
The economy of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) of China was the largest in the world during that period. It is regarded as one of China's three golden ages. The period was marked by the increasing political influence of the merchants, the gradual weakening of imperial rule, and technological advances.
The economic history of China covers thousands of years and the region has undergone alternating cycles of prosperity and decline. China, for the last two millennia, was one of the world's largest and most advanced economies. Economic historians usually divide China's history into three periods: the pre-imperial era before the rise of the Qin; the early imperial era from the Qin to the rise of the Song ; and the late imperial era, from the Song to the fall of the Qing.
The sprouts of capitalism, seeds of capitalism or capitalist sprouts are features of the economy of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties that mainland Chinese historians have seen as resembling developments in pre-industrial Europe, and as precursors of a hypothetical indigenous development of industrial capitalism. Korean nationalist historiography has also adopted the idea. In China the sprouts theory was denounced during the Cultural Revolution, but saw renewed interest after the economy began to grow rapidly in the 1980s.
The transition from Ming to Qing, Ming–Qing transition, or Manchu conquest of China from 1618 to 1683 saw the transition between two major dynasties in Chinese history. It was the decades-long conflict between the emergent Qing dynasty (清朝), the incumbent Ming dynasty (明朝), and several smaller factions in China. It ended with the rise of the Qing, and the fall of the Ming and other factions.
Zhao Yi was a poet, historian, and critic during the Qing Dynasty in China. Zhao is notable for his innovative poetry, his historical writings, and for espousing unconventional views on various aspects of Chinese dynastic history.
The New Qing History is a historiographical school that gained prominence in the United States in the mid-1990s by offering a wide-ranging revision of history of the Manchu Qing dynasty. Earlier historians had emphasized the power of Han Chinese to “sinicize” their conquerors, that is, to assimilate and make them Chinese in their thought and institutions. In the 1980s and early 1990s, American scholars began to learn Manchu and took advantage of newly opened Chinese- and Manchu-language archives. This research found that the Manchu rulers were savvy in manipulating their subjects and from the 1630s through at least the 18th century, emperors developed a sense of Manchu identity and used Central Asian models of rule as much as they did Confucian ones. According to some scholars, at the height of their power, the Qing regarded "China" as only a part, although a very important part, of a much wider empire that extended into the Inner Asian territories of Mongolia, Tibet, the Northeast and Xinjiang, or Chinese (Eastern) Turkestan.
Jiangnan is a former province of China whose capital was Jiangning, which covered the land from north of the Huai River to south of the Yangtze River in East China. The province existed during early Qing dynasty and was divided into the provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui during the era of the Kangxi Emperor (1654–1722) and Qianlong Emperor (1736–1795) and ceased to exist since then.
Wang Jiafan was a Chinese historian specializing in economic and social history of China and Jiangnan regional history. He was a professor and doctoral supervisor at East China Normal University.
The population history of China covers the long-term pattern of population growth in China and its impact on the history of China. For recent trends see demographics of China and China.