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China is an enigma for most Americans. In an attempt to clarify the issues the University of Chicago's Center for Policy Study has conducted a thorough examination during the past year of all aspects of China its foreign and domestic policies and Western policy in Asia. In May the center with the support of the Johnson Foundation of rasing Wisconsin convened a special press briefing for thirty six editors and editorial writers. Today we will hear one of the seminar leaders paying t hole the James Westfall Thompson professor of history at the University of Chicago professor Holt discusses aspects of China's history salient to the present day. I'd like to begin with the growth of China as a geography can you ask me entity. You see I like to dispose of this aspect you know of it as few words as possible. Of course in China's long history China did expand westward
twice to as far as the hot rodder sea and winds to the to as far as the Caspian Sea. But those early expansions did not only family permanently print U.S. Army. And China. But as I look back as a historian that to state the most important a period of the empire building itself the growth of China as a geographic entity took place in the last the imperial dynasty under the Manchus because it was the men choose who permanently integrity. Among hods areas U.S. you know Mongolia was China proper. And brought you in Manchuria permanently to China. And also conquered U.S.-Chinese Turkey's time. And a cocoa north which is now called a Ching Hai he says special
area on this area. And too bad to end it you know to back. You not to want to see the Manchu Empire was the largest single consolidated the Empire. Chinese history. And even in her declining days what a Manchu Empire covered considerably more territory. Than is covered by the People's Republic of China. And along with this empire building I think the important aspect has been the extension of China's internal from teenagers. And this aspect of China's history. Actually goes as far back as the beginnings of China's written history if not earlier. Suffices to make. Alarm a complex a story. A simple I shall say that I see the loss the face self the extension of China's internal front here also took place. You manchild times and.
A policy often forced a scene. Synthesize Asen was carried onto the worst you see the non-Chinese ass nuke entity's in China proper particularly the sauce west you see way though that chapter of the extension of the internal front carried out by the Manchus. It is extremely doubtful that the Nationalist government at during its long war against Japan. Could have. Made the mountainous sauce best use of the last and most important a territorial base of operation. I should mention first of all certain institutions or characteristics of the traditional as well as the modern Chinese state. The first. Prevailing officer civilian I deal with in traditional Chinese government I mean. Sure not to blind us to the hard fact that every Dynasty was founded on military strength.
Or by the transference of military power. It is true that every dynastic founder had to make full use of a valuable ideological factors to legitimatize his is wrong. And that in cases of more stable and enduring dynasties the military element had to be subordinate subordinate to the civilian. But their success and the duration of a dynasty depended primarily under the ability of the funder and his successes to keep the Imperial Army. The fact you feel a centrally controlled and it will design various institutional checks by which to forestall the rights of regional military contenders. From the first empire into 21 PCT for the funding of the People's Republic of China 1949. There has not been a single exception. Thank you spite of the three stages of political evolution the two worst constitutionalism
expounded by the late Dr Singh Yes then. I love the fact that the Nationalist government whether on the mainland or on the island of Taiwan is used to go beyond the first stage of military dictatorship is too well-known to need any explanation. It seems more than coincidental that amount to his success. Last two Lebanese are down to the very parents and the army which he himself has created and expanded and made the current far reaching purge. Most last recourse is once again the Army. Now I don't like the weakness of the European monarchs which aided our rights off democracy. The persistent historical fact that the Chinese state has always ultimate power from the Army has largely predetermined its all authoritarian character. The second. ANNOUNCER characteristics of traditional Chinese state and protocol but I
don't want to go into details about this growth say the rice of rice and to grow softer and prokaryote but suffice it for me to point out that here but not even this. I'm pro kata has is a directive bantering proper and a standing U.S. off their. Presence seen. As you know that after the national government established the Nanking in one thousand twenty seven. It's systematically cultivating a cult by requiring all government offices and schools to hold a sudden memory one session each Monday. Which see Raymundo slate consisted of three balls to Dr. sense photograph. They're reading by the chair man of Dr. Dr. sense of whale and the whole observance of three minutes silence. From the early 1930s onwards the Nationalist government began to cultivate that cult as well. Since then it has become customary that
wherever their names in the title appear in print they are to be alienated. You know exactly the same way as order names and titles and prayers. Some China experience have interpreted the reason for the refusal of most China to funnel Khrushchev's movement to be that China politically economically socially and ideologically. Yes you know stage roughly comparable to that of the Soviet Union the early studies. For students of Chinese history however a more valid explanation is historical fact that for more than 2000 years the Chinese nation has never experienced any system of state and government which is not easily identifiable by a single charismatic leader the Emperor or his modern counterpart.
Where I believe you will have plenty after opportunities to discuss this is a charismatic leader against organized nation or institutionalization of zation. But that is not the business of the historians but granted political scientists. Third leg. I think looking back to China as a long political heritage. I would point out that institutionally speaking you see the ruler. Well often than not. You see had to various means to bypass. The highest organ. What we may call policymaking organ if we flew to a scrimmage would be nice dig beneath the surface to find out say China never. Well ever since about 130 B.C. I mean 120 B.C.. Who had a China never succeeded to get in and say you know
having a say you know establishing a kind of effective happen 8 system is effective in the sense that if the cabinet is a fairly good independent of the Emperor it could be an effective policy making party. Now I should turn to a China as a very another very important heritage of Chinese that has social heritage and here I think perhaps that the mostly you love anything that you live in an ageing aspects of China's social heritage would be fires to disguise a very briefly. You see that that nature and the pattern and extent of China after social mobility you see in China because it is my believe that and I said to say to the to those questions that is of the nature and extent of China's mobility will go far to it to explain. You see you see the Chinese society. And here I'm afraid. And I have to go back to work. I mean to start with
Confucius. As you know Nancy to the point of departure of the Confucian theory of a social equity. Is that. All the things you including human beings are by nature an equal. Music Confucius is not to be bragging you got determinism. That meant different intelligence ability and a moral character is taken for granted by Confucius and his chief exponents. The Confucian concept of a natural Parakey of man. You say fitted in nicely with the feudal hierarchy of the at times. Yet on the other hand. Confucius and his exponents all realized that a feudal order which had a long pinion process of decay could be solid waste when they can just this you know parenting into a feudal system was a fact inflated retrenched. Confucius found that the natural heritage of man.
Based on differences intelligence had been retained and of moral character came into direct conflict with a few do harakiri based on state works. Is it based on status at birth. You said these two things clash. I'm a fact if way to rationalize their hierarchical society. That's Confucius said gestate a leg to members of the ruling class on the basis of individual merit. But under Feudalism most a man you including many who are naturally gifted. And led to the opportunity for education. Confucius proposal was therefore to all for the high end of low equal opportunity self education. For only thus. Could a superior man be distinguished and selected from the rarest and recruited for government service. Hence Confucius the motto saving. Coat you know education there should be no
class distinctions and cult. When it is remembered that up to his lifetime education had a practically been among non-playoff to hear Ratatouille field rest talk recy. Confucius who and there were two you implement his doctorate. By offering instruction to all his disciples. You respect you from off their social origin. Surely indeed to be credited with the first step toward a social and intellectual you mancipation. That as they are attempting to perpetuate the feudal system. Confucius standees and his followers. Actually how to rotate the arrival of a new social order based or not I'm here ready to restate has individual merit. Holding a hierarchical society. They concern themselves. With the means to take away its you know current injustice and to bring about
social equity. Many days through a job creation this is quite the true spirit of confusion so for ideology transcends boundaries and has remained a useful long after the break up of the feudal system. Now I have devote much of my intellectual life to you see a detailed study of this problem. But suffice it for me to say this say the Confucian social ideology. You see was carried out to stab by stab. U.S. and to look after the funding of the mean dynasty in thirteen sixty eight he said that is China. Say they stopped public schools that is all a half a nation the British definition would mean the opposite. That means private schools. Public schools. I mean that. The throughout the country. And then there is a long ways not only to civil service examination system
easy to see did dot fail to promote awkward mobility for the poor. Of course as you said there were many isor factors such as private academies you see Caminiti chance to use it to help the local promising locus a native son is easy to go ahead academical 8 you see clan schools and to so on and so forth even printing you see have something to do with all this. But I'd like to hire you my historic brief historical introduction you see ways to present scenes. There. Now as you no doubt to after 19 0 5. A civil service examination system was permanent on east and when the traditional school system collapsed and was replaced by Martin type schools. We find can't. See the opportunity structure for the poor for the intelligent for the poor shrunk considerably.
Because the traditional education system was inexpensive. You see that the late Chinese government by the latest meant you said lost a sick center itself that China's long imperial age now offered a nationwide rudimentary but nationwide scholarship system. But now after 1985 you see all the old things collapsed and yet China never had an opportunity to offer ample opportunities for modern type of education. Use it without massive that people waste the result that says it has said it said a social mobility rate that is what a poor creature rated a very significant extent and the degree you see them in times and times but still you see a wage was still rather significant Yousif. The crime you see in the 20th century as I look back I would say that's it a nationalised period that is the twenty two years 1997 2:37 was a period do you know who age you see the power elite was
definitely close to to the nonparty man. And a small minded endowed to say the long range of declining. Social mobility right. You see whites first and that became a tangible U.S. after demential conquest of China he said the new shrinkage of the opportunity structure throughout the Manchu period but particularly during the early Republican period you see that see it seems to me at least to half ad something to do you see with these social and rest and revolutions that characterized the modern times that it's not the nine thousand nine hundred twenty eight centuries. Now in this connection I would say that despite the outward a Confucian after current great problem of the great probably Tyron Cultural Revolution we may still perhaps find you see an irrational Colonel.
He says after the whole. Movement that there can be little doubt that the mullahs are dong that. Is very much consarned with the opportunity is available. You see two. Young men and young women after pass into and the working class origins use it to go through this. Tough and competitive education or they had to use it to go through college. I think the service is now about China's economic heritage I think actually. It would require to have very long discussion but I'd like to make things as simple as possible. By pointing out two things. First. I am tired I agree. With. I read to say with Professor Dirk a body prepared a written comment on my paper wage.
He pointed out that. Well off the various aspects of China's heritage You see I. Did not include you in my paper you see a discussion. I'll quote what I appears to again to have been probably the greatest single sociological difference between a traditional China and. Traditional Europol mark early modern Europe. Name day you see the absence in China. You see of course one of them of a bourgeois class the bush was enough of a capitalist class. I entirely agree with you except that I mostly You see I have a happy day a call his attention you see to my first a major study in Chinese history done. Many years ago so you know early fifties that is in my case study of a group of 18th century and Merchant Princes China's solid merchant
was the richest man richest merchant since. You know I believe I gave rugs a comprehensive explanation to the braces like traditional China failed to develop a capital is the class you see as characterized you see the Europe of the sixties to the 18th century inclusive I think the basic reasons work went dece first. The traditional. So should the contra mirror being such. That most sane say that reaches the man. You were right in believing get beyond a certain limit moment may fail too but get more social prestige and security. Intact. See those said the priest teacher must be sought. You see good not patronizing scholars and you not talking to elite mode off after say the elite culture expressions for instance for the rich merchants to
become the foremost are to come last years for example you say you're not aware. They were all of. The cases of a quart of Apple and called Come speak as consumption. And at the same time you see a great work and courage of their younger brothers or sons to study the classics and a literature serious way so that they could as a phrase or assent. You see the social media by all pertaining the highest a degree conferred by this state because only the U.S. could the family become numbers after I mean could it be admitted into the ruling elite. You see so this has something to do to do it with traditional China as what we may call a Confucian value system. But you know SNCC can't be focused set to be to have close relationship with the structure of
power in China because the bureaucracy of course obviously is he the most powerful group in China one of wealth and all powerful. You see was not the ultimate power to seek for are to meet power you have to take to make use of your wealth. You see united to attain. You see that automate source of social policy. And say all this together with the fact that the in traditional China there were so few used to do tional lies the channel for profit but with investment. Say the reasons are many but I would entirely agree I entirely agree was Professor body that traditional China failed to develop the capital is this a class that this had to have something a very direct trade to do with Allah and the standing of China's he immediate economic heritage. Now the absence of a capitalistic class.
Until we got to see the opening of China by. Say the British gun bombs during the Opium War that is 1839 to 42. Partially helps to explain the fact that during China's recent fairly recent internal struggle. You see there economically speaking. You see they are just not a powerful class of. Capitalists. Quite schwer to serve as a counterweight you see to various radical forces. Of course it is true that after the opening of the treaty Paul sent us so on so forth. You'll do fine see they can seep into capitalism there because see the all the day over all the media of the treaty port was very different. You see from there. So sure I think the general social in the culture and media you see off of the rest of China. You see I've got a vast country. And it is it does not
seem to be coincidental that some overseas Chinese. Have become a very great China very capitalistic not just because of the different Miliband use of different values and disallow cell phones that suffices for me to say this. You see that during the during the first aborted during and immediately after the first people. Indeed to give the treaty ports on the coast as well as say they going down to Riverport. Time not good to Sweetness not rice alphanumeric only small but otherwise a highly significant class OFF DOn't LAUGH AND MEN not theories was called National Bush was Zeke you see. So the bankers financiers and don't see industrialists you say Who are you invested to have a LEO substantially. You say you know number of light industries. The first war period to afford them that golden opportunities for X-Men.
But then. After the establishment of the nationalist government in one thousand twenty seven years of the Nationalist government produced so many stoppers that the national central back and the floor stood up as a major private banks to become actually appendages to the to the to the government. You see with all the modern financial. Mess. You see the Nationalist government you see was an ideal position to engage in highly speculate TV economic activities. You see you milking the nation you see gim perceptible and then see their work break off war a waste as AI gives Japan from July 1937 onwards. First they gave the nationalists govern opportunities use it to establish a number of economic control was the result of that by the end of the war. According to the estimate of an independent leading paper
after China that is stock bought gotten bought. That is the Nationalist government vast I mean accounted for say the government accounted for more than 70 percent after capital after a modern type. Of the. Industry. You see the wartime area areas that was not occupied by the Japanese in wartime. Now Japan's surrender of course was accompanied by a large scale say transference of property that is that Japan and a puppet Kang told or even privately owned. You see Alien or enemy properties. You sort of lost a scale to transfers off such economic assets Youssif from the Japanese and the puppet regimes to the Nationalist government that first made the Nationalist government economically. Supre.
And all this was accompanied by say that. The worst are you inflation that world history. I may perhaps qualify this statement by calling your attention to the fact that according to sheer figures figures of course are the hunger and that brief post the second one hungering inflation is even worse. But because of the short duration you see say fact andan Garen nation was much less you see than the prolonged inflation. That. Happened in China at between 37 and 40 nights. And that's the inflation that really do you see the National Blues was either all the professional classes you see to economic non-entity you see you indeed without inflation not soft and. You see say the whole nation for communism.
And I believe that most of you if not most if not all of you offered me a U.S. base this chapter. You see health or. Economic history. Of 20th century China that I should dotted to all along it but suffice for me to say that. So the Euros. Such were the evils of the bureaucratic capitalism. Of the national government. I wouldn't mind that. Yet. It's not only doc youth's own grave. You see also pay for the wrongful bureaucratic collective. So you've just heard Professor ping te whole of the University of Chicago professor Holt discussed aspects of China's history say into the present day. This program was based on a special conference held by the University of Chicago's Center for Policy Study with the support of the Johnson Foundation of racing in Wisconsin. The next two programs in the series will deal with
China: Policy and perspective
Salient aspects of China's history
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University of Chicago
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program features a lecture by Chinese-American historian Ping-ti Ho of the University of Chicago.
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A series of talks from the University of Chicago dealing with current events in China.
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Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: He, Bingdi
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-46-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:28
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Chicago: “China: Policy and perspective; Salient aspects of China's history,” 1967-08-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “China: Policy and perspective; Salient aspects of China's history.” 1967-08-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: China: Policy and perspective; Salient aspects of China's history. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from