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China’s Diplomatic, Military and Political relations
The Yuan Dynasty was one of the most influential authorities that reigned over the Chinese territory and preceded other dynasties which included the Song and Ming. The Yuan dynasty used Marc Polo to communicate with other countries. In regard to the relationship between the Yuan dynasty and its neighbors, it incurred a lot of rebellion from its rivals such as the Mongols.
During this struggle, the rebels could terrorize the allies of Yuan Dynasty and free them to China (Ebrey et al. 179). In the same light, the author reveals that the continuous rebellion by the neighboring countries led to the formation of anti-Yuan dynasty which aimed at conquering it (179).
The dynasty did not only solve its conflicts through war but also using diplomatic means. In this regard, they could use travelers to communicate with the European countries such as Italy. For instance, they sent Mac Polo to deliver a letter to Italy in order to create ties with the dynasty. The dynasty could also receive visitors such as John of Montecorvino who was a missionary from Italy (Sen and Victor 75).
Ebrey revealed that the Ming Dynasty was founded by Zhu Yuanzhang who had experienced the plight of poverty during the Yuan Dynasty which had imposed a lot of disorders in China (227). In fact, Ebrey stated that Zhu had started his life from the bottom of society (228).
The author further states that the founder’s attempts to bring order on the society of the Chinese people were mostly considered as a draconian act (227). However, although the people were not always positive towards his acts, the author elaborates that 30 years of the Ming dynasty transformed China in a great way (227). This achievement was attained against many odds including intensive rebellion from the royalists of the Yuan government (Ebrey et al. 228).
During one of the struggle for power, the Yuan government troops burnt down the temple of Zhu showing disrespect (Ebrey et al. 228). The continuous military attacks show that the Chinese territories were not used to solving their difference in a diplomatic manner. Instead they used their power to outdo, conquer, and colonize other territories.
The song formed a separate and critical dynasty in the Chinese history. The dynasty was founded between 860 and 960 when the forces were devolved to deal with the local issues (Ebrey et al. 91). The author reveals that during this period any local man who was capable of organizing defense teams against the rebels could be declared as the king (91). This defense was quite crucial considering the strong rivals of the song dynasty who included Liao and others.
How China Affected the Asian Countries
China had profound effect on the various aspects of Asia countries including culture, religion, and political factors. For example, Ebrey stated that the expansion of Han dynasty in China incorporated the Peninsula’s north western part.
This expansion increased the interaction among Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese people leading to spread to Chinese culture and technology (Ebrey et al. 98). In this regard, the Korean gradually embraced the Chinese ideologies such as Buddhism, writing skills, and Confucianism as a result of the increased interaction.
The author then stated that in the fourteenth century, the outpost fell of Chinese dynasties evoked the creation of three different states of the Korean territory which was established in China (98). However, Ebrey elaborated that the domestic production of silver in China decreased significantly in 1430 requiring them to acquire it from the neighboring countries which produced the metal.
As a result, they bought about 50 percent of the Japanese silver as well as the one transported by the Portuguese ships in order to satisfy the demand (Ebrey et al. 267). In the same light, they also relied on Russia, which is one of the Asian countries, for silver that was mined in Mexico. It is thus evident that the Chinese influenced the Russian economy profoundly owing to silver trade that took place between the two nations.
Additionally, China affected the economic development of Japan following the trade between the two countries. In this regard, the Chinese monetary system used to sliver to make currency making it an important commodity in China (Ebrey et al. 267). The Chinese trading experience is revisited by Lockard when he stated that Chinese and Arabs were quite skillful in the technology of sea transport which enabled them to become active in the Southeast Asian trade (63).
He then stated that the trade between China and other countries continued to grow during the 700 to1500 era. While elaborating the role of China towards economic development of South Asia, he revealed that the Chinese were the main people who captained the ships which sailed to Japan and China (90).
This implies that the Chinese were probably the drivers of economic development in this region owing to the early technological knowledge. The author further focused on the spread of Chinese trade to the Arabian countries. In this case, the authors revealed that in 1296, Angkor conducted active trade with the Chinese merchants owing to the support provided by the Chinese ambassador in Angkor (39).
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The ambassador then left a detailed description concerning the society’s conduct as well as its authorities in order to create way for the future unions between China and Angkor (39). Further, Lockard described China as a country that inspired the development of trade in other countries. Between 1400 and 1650, the author revealed that China entered into an age of commerce where they practiced trade across the Indian Ocean (64).
This initiative increased the demand of the Southern Asian demands which probably inspired other Asian countries to enter participate in this trade. It is thus evident that China a perfect example of a country that motivated others Asian Countries to adopt trade. Moreover, China was a major threat to Vietnam especially when considering the political stability of this country. In this regard, Lockard pointed out that since the Chinese authorities frequently sent their forces to Vietnam, the Vietnamese could not ignore their sporadic attacks (62).
Spread of Buddhism
Buddhism has already existed in the world for approximately 2500 years, and it was founded by Siddhartha Gautama who was a prince of a tiny Indian realm (Lockard 22). Siddhartha was also well known as the Buddha (“enlightened one”) (Lockard 22). According to historical records, Buddhism had been highly praised during the time of India’s Mauryan empire by its third king Ashoka who himself devoutly believed in Buddhism (Ebrey et al. 57).
During the period of Ashoka’s governing, Buddhism carried forward and flourished extensively (Ebrey et al. 57). According to historians, king Ashoka took advantage of the mechanism of his kingdom to widely promote Buddhism within India (Ebrey et al. 57). As a devote Buddhist, he banned animal sacrifices, and made an approximately one-year long pilgrimage to all the holy places of Buddhism (Ebrey et al. 57).
Nevertheless Buddhism declined after 1200 C.E., it spread to the neighboring world due to Ashoka’s dispatch of Buddhist missionaries to the rest of Eurasia (Ebrey et al. 57-58). Thus, India established relationships with its neighboring world on military, trade, religion, and culture. Due to the fact that it is the birth land of two religions: Buddhism, which spread to Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia ((Trautmann 8).
For East Asia, one propagation path was northwest through Central Asia to China, which explains why the first Buddhist text was translated in the language from Central Asia rather than the language from India (Ebrey et al. 58). For Southeast Asia, the route started from east to Sri Lanka and then to most of the Southeast Asia (Ebrey et al. 58).
Though language diversity occurred along the path of the dissemination of the Buddhism, some translators like Kumarajiva made huge contributions to unify the language of Buddhist text and thus made the spreading of Buddhism more smooth (Ebrey et al. 59-60).
According to the research of some scholars, it was during the Han Dynasty that Buddhism was initially brought into China by the Buddhist monks travelling from the outside world with the development of diplomacy and trade. However, the development of Buddhism was quite limited due to the prosperity of Confucianism in Han times. After the decline of the Han Dynasty in 220 C.E., Buddhism started to flourish in 300 C.E. (Ebrey et al. 70).
Buddhist emphasized that the quality of “kindness, charity, the preservation of life, and prospect of salvation” was significantly important (Ebrey et al. 70). Such emphasises attracted not only male followers but also female followers since becoming a nun emancipated women from being repressed in their traditional role in the ancient Chinese society (Ebrey et al. 70-71).
How Asian countries influenced China
The Korean states appeared in China through the Tang Dynasties from Han such that they were in close contact with the people of China (Ebrey et al. 98). The author then stated that since the Tang and Sui authorities attempted to sabotage the Koreans, they developed a lot of resistance against the two governments in order to secure their livelihood in China (98). This evoked a lot of competition against the expansion of the two Chinese territories considering that the three territories wanted to expand geographically.
Additionally, the Manchurian were one of the most important dynasties which sahped the history of China and its culture. In this regard, the Manchus fought against the Chinese Ming dynasty so that they could rule China (Ebrey et al., 255).
Ebrey argued that conquering China was one of the Manchus’ priorities since they considered it as resourceful country as compared to its counterparts including Korea (255). After the conquest of China by the Manchus Qing reigned over the land Chinese territory seeking political ties with Joseon who helped them to extend their campaign in China.
Following the weakening of security in China, Qing expanded it by conquering other territories around the Chinese vicinity. This obviously led to the geographical expansion of China leading to the increased security. However, Ebrey pointed out that during an attempted conquest of Joseon, the Korean state proved it strength by portraying its resolve as a nonthreatening territory which could remain autonomous (255).
Ebrey, Patricia, Anne Walthall, and James Palais. East Asia: a cultural, social, and political history. 2nd ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 2012. Print.
Lockard, Craig. Southeast Asia in world history. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Sen, Tansen, and Victor Mair. Traditional China in Asian and world history. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2012. Print.
Trautmann, Thomas. India: brief history of a civilization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.