The Chinese World Order: Traditional China’s Foreign Relations 0674126009, 9780674126008

In this volume, thirteen scholars from half a dozen countries examine the foreign relations of the Chinese empire before

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Table of contents :
Sinocentrism and Its Problems
A Set of Assumptions: The Origin and Growth of the Chinese World Order
Aims and Means: The Diversity of Practice in China’s Foreign Relations
Highlights of This Volume
The Sinocentric World Order: Myth and Reality
Kuo Sung-tao: “An Investigation of Reality in the History of Frontier Pacification”
The Classical Confucian Tradition on Dealing with Non-Chinese
Ideas on Frontier Pacification in the Imperial Era
The Chi-mi or “Loose Rein” Policy: A Historical Survey
The Myth of Superiority: Its Origin
The Myth of Superiority in the Major Histories
Southern Sung and Yuan in Contrast
The Idea of Impartiality
The Idea of Inclusiveness
Superiority versus Equality
The Chinese Idea of Tribute and Its Acceptance Abroad
The Ch’ing View of the World outside China
The Relationship between Tribute and Trade
The Nature of Tributary Trade
Early Ch’ing Foreign Trade Policies
Korean Embassies to China
Economic Aspects of the Tributary Relationship
A Brief Evaluation of the Tributary Relationship
Early Satsuma-Ryukyu Relations up to the Invasion of 1609
Satsuma’s Surveillance over the Ryukyus
Ryukyuan Tributary Relations with Japan
Satsuma’s Differentiation of the Islands
Satsuma’s Economic Motivation and the Trade with China
Liu-ch’iu’s Request for Investiture
Formation of the Investiture Mission
Scholar-Officials’ Views on the Voyage
Preparations in Shuri
The Investiture Ceremonies
The Investiture Missions’ Concomitant Trading Activities at Naha
Cultural Activities
The Chinese and Liu-ch’iuan Views of Their Relationship
The Rise of the Tayson Rebellion
The Ch’ing Intervention of 1788
The Settlement of the Incident
The Vietnamese King’s Visit to Peking
The Pattern of Sino-Vietnamese Relations
The Weakness of the Imperial Virtue in Inner Asia
Power Relations between the Han and the Hsiung-nu
Ch’ing-Tibetan Relations before the Mid-nineteenth Century
“Tribute” from Central Asia
Chu Ti and Shährukh Bahädur
Tribute and Trade: Traditional Relations to 1755
The Manchus and the Khojas: China Takes a Piece of Central Asia
A Chronicle of Sino-Dutch Contact
Motivation and Conflict in Sino-Dutch Relations
The Chinese Diplomatic Tradition
A New Look at the Mid-century
The Treaties’ Continuity with Chinese Tradition
The Long Twilight of the Tribute System
Tradition in the Use of Western Warriors
An Interpretation: Power Structure and Culture
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The East Asian Research Center at Harvard University administers research projects designed to further scholarly understanding of China, Korea, Japan, and adjacent areas.


CHINESE Traditional




WORLD ORDER Chinas Foreign Relations


by J O H N



WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY Ta-tuan Ch'en Hae-jong Chun John K. Fairbank David Farquhar Joseph F. Fletcher Truong Buu Lam

Mark Mancall Robert K. Sakai Benjamin I. Schwartz Chusei Suzuki Wang Gungwu John E. Wilis, Jr. Lien-sheng Yang



© Copyright 1968 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College All rights reserved Distributed in Great Britain by Oxford University Press Preparation of this volume has been aided by a grant from the Ford Foundation Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 68-14255 Printed in the United States of America

This volume is dedicated by the other contributors to the Harvard- Yenching Professor of Chinese History LIEN-SHENG Y A N G


This volume deals with an ambiguous, multi-cultural, and multi-bibliographic subject, which has consequently lent itself to development through panels and symposia: first, a session on "The Traditional International Order in East Asia" at the 1963 meeting of the Association for Asian Studies in Philadelphia; later, a session on "The Chinese World Order" at the 1965 meeting of the American Historical Association in San Francisco. Messrs. Fairbank, Farquhar, Fletcher, Mancall, and Wills participated in both these panels. However, the essays and case studies now presented in this volume were principally discussed in a week-long conference at Endicott House, the estate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Dedham, Massachusetts, in September 1965. This prolonged and systematic interchange among scholars from several countries permitted the making of many comparisons and agreement on many definitions of terms. This in turn produced a degree of consensus on several points but also inspired considerable reworking of the papers. We wish to record our particular indebtedness to Professor Shinobu Iwamura, presently director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University, who took time from his duties in this field to join us in his older role as a specialist in Mongol studies. The conference rapporteur, Professor David Hamilton of the Department of History at the University of Iowa, made a signal contribution to the clarity and consistency of our formulations, and the special editor of this volume, Mrs. Elizabeth MacLeod Matheson, has brought into a common order researches of very disparate backgrounds. This conference as a year-long enterprise was made possible by the support of the Ford Foundation. Over the long term we have also been indebted to Professor Owen Lattimore, now of the University of Leeds, whose Inner Asian Frontiers of China (1940) did so much to stimulate this field of inquiry, and to Professor Tatsuro Yamamoto of the University of Tokyo, similarly a pioneer in Vietnamese studies. Both participated in the 1963 panel. We are also indebted to Professor Stanley Hoffmann of Harvard, who joined in the 1965 panel.


A P R E L I M I N A R Y F R A M E W O R K / John K. Fairbank


Sinocentrism and Its Problems A Set of Assumptions: The Origin and Growth of the Chinese World Order Aims and Means: The Diversity of Practice in China's Foreign Relations Highlights of This Volume

HISTORICAL NOTES O R D E R / Lien-sheng Yang




The Sinocentric World Order: Myth and Reality Kuo Sung-tao: "An Investigation of Reality in the History of Frontier Pacification" The Classical Confucian Tradition on Dealing with Non-Chinese Ideas on Frontier Pacification in the Imperial Era The Chi-mi or "Loose Rein" Policy: A Historical Survey

EARLY MING RELATIONS WITH SOUTHEAST A S I A : A B A C K G R O U N D E S S A Y / Wang Gungwu The Myth of Superiority: Its Origin The Myth of Superiority in the Major Histories Southern Sung and Yuan in Contrast The Idea of Impartiality The Idea of Inclusiveness Superiority versus Equality




The Chinese Idea of Tribute and Its Acceptance Abroad The Ch'ing View of the World outside China The Relationship between Tribute and Trade The Nature of Tributary Trade Early Ch'ing Foreign Trade Policies



Korean Embassies to China The Kinds of Embassies and Their Duties · Appointment and Composition of an Embassy · Preparation for Departure · The Route · Ceremonies and Activities in Peking · Reports to the King · Frequency of Embassies Chinese Embassies to Korea Economic Aspects of the Tributary Relationship Tributary Goods and Imperial Gifts · Gifts to Embassy Members · Travel Expenses of Embassies · Trade A Brief Evaluation of the Tributary Relationship

T H E R Y U K Y U ( L I U - C H ' I U ) I S L A N D S AS A F I E F O F S A T S U M A / Robert K. Sakai 112 Early Satsuma-Ryukyu Relations up to the Invasion of 1609 Satsuma's Surveillance over the Ryukyus Ryukyuan Tributary Relations with Japan Satsuma's Differentiation of the Islands Satsuma's Economic Motivation and the Trade with China


Contents INVESTITURE OF LIU-CH'IU C H ' I N G P E R I O D / Ta-tuan Ch'en



THE 135

Liu-ch'iu's Request for Investiture Formation of the Investiture Mission Scholar-Officials' Views on the Voyage Preparations in Shuri The Investiture Ceremonies The Investiture Missions' Concomitant Trading Activities at Naha Cultural Activities The Chinese and Liu-ch'iuan Views of Their Relationship

INTERVENTION VERSUS TRIBUTE IN SINOV I E T N A M E S E R E L A T I O N S , 1 7 8 8 - 1 7 9 0 / Truong Buu Lam The The The The The


Rise of the Täyson Rebellion Ch'ing Intervention of 1788 Settlement of the Incident Vietnamese King's Visit to Peking Pattern of Sino-Vietnamese Relations



THE 180

The Weakness of the Imperial Virtue in Inner Asia Power Relations between the Han and the Hsiung-nu Ch'ing-Tibetan Relations before the Mid-nineteenth Century




Contents CHINA AND C E N T R A L ASIA, Fletcher

1368-1884 /Joseph F. 206

"Tribute" from Central Asia Chu Ti and Shährukh Bahadur Tribute and Trade: Traditional Relations to 1755 The Manchus and the Khojas: China Takes a Piece of Central Asia

CH'ING RELATIONS 1690/ John E. Wills, Jr.





A Chronicle of Sino-Dutch Contact Motivation and Conflict in Sino-Dutch Relations The Chinese Diplomatic Tradition



A New Look at the Mid-century The Treaties' Continuity with Chinese Tradition The Long Twilight of the Tribute System Tradition in the Use of Western Warriors An Interpretation: Power Structure and Culture


ORDER, 276









1. The Ch'ing Empire, 1644-1912


2. Liu-ch'iu (Ryukyu Islands)


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This book is about China's relations with non-Chinese states before the present century, mainly during the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1912). The authors look at the Chinese empire and its world order partly through its own eyes and partly as seen by half a dozen outside peoples. The hoary stereotypes of the Chinese tribute system are scrutinized both in theory and in practice, from without as well as from within. The result, I think, opens the door a bit further on a system that handled the interstate relations of a large part of mankind throughout most of recorded history. This chapter of man's political experience even has some indeterminate relevance to the world's China problem of today. Before getting down to case studies, we present here a summary of the generalized and ideal structure of tribute relations. This normative pattern, the Chinese world order, was a set of ideas and practices developed and perpetuated by the rulers of China over many centuries.

Sinocentrism and Its Problems The societies of East Asia—China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and the small island kingdom of Liu-ch'iu (Ryukyu)—had all stemmed from ancient China and developed within the Chinese culture area, the area most influenced by the civilization of ancient China, for example, by the Chinese ideographic writing system, the Confucian classical teachings about family and social order, the official examination system, and the imperial Chinese monarchy and bureaucracy. Age, size, and wealth all made China


John Κ. Fairbank the natural center of this East Asian world. Geography kept the whole region separate from West and South Asia and made it the most distinctive of all the great culture areas. In European parlance, it became the Far East. But in Chinese terms this Far Eastern world was Sinocentric. T'ienhsia* " all-under-Heaven," presided over by T'ien-tzu, the " Son of Heaven," sometimes was used to embrace the whole world including everything outside of China (Chung-kuo, " t h e Central States," the Middle Kingdom); but in common usage it was taken to designate the Chinese empire, which in any case included most of the known world. 1 The relations of the Chinese with surrounding areas, and with nonChinese peoples generally, were colored by this concept of Sinocentrism and an assumption of Chinese superiority. The Chinese tended to think of their foreign relations as giving expression externally to the same principles of social and political order that were manifested internally within the Chinese state and society. China's foreign relations were accordingly hierarchic and nonegalitarian, like Chinese society itself. In the course of time, there grew up a network of Sino-foreign relations that roughly corresponded in East Asia to the international order that grew up in Europe, although, as we shall see, international and even interstate do not seem appropriate terms for it. We prefer to call it the Chinese world order. The graded and concentric hierarchy of China's foreign relations included other peoples and countries which we may group in three main zones—first, the Sinic Zone consisting of the most nearby and culturally similar tributaries, Korea and Vietnam, parts of which had anciently been ruled within the Chinese empire, and also the Liu-ch'iu (Ryukyu) Islands and, at brief times, Japan. Secondly, the Inner Asian Zone, consisting of tributary tribes and states of the nomadic or seminomadic peoples of Inner Asia, who were not only ethnically and culturally non-Chinese but were also outside or on the fringe of the Chinese culture area, even though sometimes pressing upon the Great Wall frontier. Third, the Outer Zone, consisting of the "outer barbarians" (wai-i) generally, at a further distance over land or sea, including eventually Japan and other states of Southeast and South Asia and Europe that were supposed to send tribute when trading. A l l these non-Chinese states and peoples were expected in theory to be properly tributary to the Son of Heaven in the Central Country, but the theory frequently was not observed in fact. Indeed, the chief problem of *For Chinese characters to accompany all transliterations of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese names and terms, see Glossary.




China's foreign relations was how to square theory with fact, the ideological claim with the actual practice. Russian or British envoys who refused to kotow were considered in effect rebels and were so labeled in Chinese because they were trying consciously or unconsciously to demolish the established scheme of things. China's external order was so closely related to her internal order that one could not long survive without the other; when the barbarians were not submissive abroad, rebels might more easily arise within. Most dynasties collapsed under the twin blows of "inside disorder and outside calamity" (nei-luan wai-huari), that is, domestic rebellion and foreign invasion. Every regime was therefore under pressure to make the facts of its foreign relations fit the theory and so confirm its claim to rule China. The basic fault underlying this Sinocentric world order was the fact that it was not coterminous with the Chinese culture area. The non-Chinese states of that area, forming the Sinic Zone, were umbilically tied to China by cultural bonds such as the Chinese written language and Confucianism, but the Inner Asian Zone was composed of peoples of distinctly nonChinese culture. Manchus, Mongols, Uighur Turks, Tibetans, and others had to be included, even though their societies and cultures were basically very different from those of China. For example, their writing systems were alphabetic, their economies largely pastoral-nomadic, and their political organizations mainly tribal. Yet they could never be excluded from the Chinese world order because mounted bowmen from the Inner Asian grasslands, in the long equine era of warfare before the use of firearms, provided the dominant military force in the East Asian scene. Thus, the Chinese culture-based theory of the Son of Heaven's supremacy had to come to terms with the geographic fact of nomadic Inner Asian fighting power. In strategic terms the "Chinese empire" had to be actually the great continental "Empire of East Asia," stretching from the Pamirs to Pusan, which all the great Chinese dynasties strove to control. In this empire the non-Chinese tribesmen of Inner Asia came more and more to supply the striking force that constituted the decisive military component of government. China's cultural and economic superiority over the Inner Asian peoples could often be used as means to control them, but sometimes it was not enough. From the Han to the Ch'ing periods, the nonChinese warriors of Inner Asia played an increasingly important role in war and politics within the empire—witness the "barbarian" inroads that culminated in the Mongol (1279-1368) and Manchu dynasties of conquest. 2 Once in power at Peking, though such non-Chinese dynasties made many


John Κ. Fairbank innovations, on balance they utilized the Chinese tradition in governing China and to a large extent in conducting their foreign relations. One wellmarked feature of this tradition was its preservation of the theory of Sinocentrism by the constant use of Sinocentric terminology, as was evidenced in all aspects of the tribute system, which indeed by Ming and Ch'ing times was partly preserved by means of terminology. Outside countries, if they were to have contact with China at all, were expected and when possible obliged to do so as tributaries. Thus their trade must be regarded as a boon granted their ruler by the emperor and must be accompanied by the formalities of presenting tribute through missions to Peking. Economic relations could be formally permitted only within this political framework. In the last resort, even if the foreigner did not actually comply with the forms of tribute, the terminology of tribute would be applied to him in the Chinese record nevertheless. The case of Lord Macartney in 1793, who only bent the knee before the Ch'ien-lung Emperor but was recorded as prostrating himself in the kotow, was not unique. Thus, Nationalist and Communist China have inherited a set of institutionalized attitudes and historical precedents not easily conformable to the European tradition of international relations among equally sovereign nation states. Modern China's difficulty of adjustment to the international order of nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has come partly from the great tradition of the Chinese world order. This tradition is of more than historical interest and bears upon Chinese political thinking today. Study of this subject could, of course, take account of the relations with all countries known to China during 2,000 years, on political, economic, military, cultural, and other levels and from both the Chinese and nonChinese points of view. But so broad a terrain can be covered only by essays such as only a few scholars are as yet capable of writing; it can best be penetrated by case studies, drawn from recent centuries, mainly in the Ch'ing period (1644-1912), such as form the bulk of this volume.

A Set of Assumptions: The Origin and Growth of the Chinese World Order

In modern parlance, this volume appraises the theory and practice of the foreign relations of the Chinese empire in early modern times. We analyze the structure and functioning of an international order composed of China and states or peoples in contact with China. This international order




flourished until the Western powers intruded into East Asia in the midnineteenth century; thereafter it survived vestigially down to 1911. In modern parlance alone, however, we cannot comprehend this international order. As in all historical research, to understand it in our own modern terms in English we must first find out how it was understood by Chinese and other East Asian peoples in their own languages at the time. Once we seek to understand its structure and functioning on this basis, we enter a different world. We find, for example, that the traditional Chinese world order can hardly be called international because the participants in it did not use concepts corresponding to the Western ideas of nation, or sovereignty, or equality of states each having equal sovereignty. In our research we have therefore had to develop quite consciously from the outset two distinct systems of terminology, one derived from East Asian languages to represent the theory and practice of this order as understood by those who participated in it at the time and one to present our own analysis of it in English. A preliminary framework of assumptions concerning the Chinese world order should include the following points. We begin with a genetic approach: How did it originate and develop? 1. The Chinese world originated as an agrarian-based culture island. It spread outward from North China by the gradual absorption of surrounding territories, mainly southward. It remained the center of the world known to it, only vaguely aware of the other ancient centers to the west. Eventually the steppe nomads appeared on the grasslands of Mongolia and created a different but poorer society on the fringe of the Chinese world, stronger sometimes in warfare but never in the arts of civilization. 2. The Chinese world (t'ien-hsia) never lost its sense of all-embracing unity and cultural entity. Even in China's "feudal" age 3 (the Warring States of 403-221 B.C.), the many walled centers that functioned politically as multiple units of equal status, retained the theory of their subordination to the Chou dynasty ruler. In 221 B.c. they were actually unified in the Ch'in empire. Chinese ethnocentrism and unity were reaffirmed. Outward movement continued to push the frontier southward and to maintain Chinese outposts in Korea, North Vietnam, and Central Asia. 3. From the first, the Chinese world was hierarchic and anti-egalitarian. Its people were organized in status levels according to sex, kinship, and social function. Men were superior to women, elders to juniors, and the literate few to the illiterate mass. However, caste was avoided. In theory and to some degree in practice, the outstanding individual's mobility into


John Κ. Fairbank the elite was made possible through his virtuous conduct as a "superior m a n " and through his achievement in examinations or otherwise. The Confucian philosophy that sanctioned this hierarchic order became an orthodoxy. It was supported and perpetuated by the literate elite through doctrines of superordination-subordination summed up in the Three Bonds (san-kang) governing the relations of benevolence and obedience, respectively, between father and son, husband and wife, and prince and minister. 4. At the apex of the Chinese world was the Son of Heaven, who eventually became in theory omnicompetent, functioning as military leader, administrator, judge, high priest, philosophical sage, arbiter of taste, and patron of arts and letters, all in one. In performing his multiple roles he was more than human. The ancient Shang kings had been buried with hundreds of sacrificed retainers; Sons of Heaven remained superior to ordinary mortals because of their unique function in maintaining order among mankind and maintaining harmony between human society and the rest of the cosmos. 5. The hierarchic social order under the Son of Heaven included among its structural elements an unusually large ideological component. In other words, the system was sustained by a heavy stress on ideological orthodoxy, especially on the idea that adherence to the correct teachings would be manifested in virtuous conduct and would enhance one's authority and influence (te). Right conduct according to the proper norms was believed to move others by its example. According to this mystique, proper ceremonial forms (/() influenced the beholder and confirmed in his mind the authority of a ruler, official, or superior man. Thus, right principles exhibited through proper conduct, including ceremonies, gave one prestige among others and power over them. 6. Education and indoctrination in the classics instilled the right standards in men, promoted harmony between rulers and ruled, and so sustained the social order. But inferior persons were not susceptible of being influenced by proper ceremonies (li) and right principles (another character also pronounced li). For them, regulation and punishment by criminal law (fa) were the available and necessary means of control. The canny administrator (fa-chia or Legalist) knew how to combine these two tools of government. 7. Leadership both in the propagation of the classical doctrines manifested in li (ceremonies) and in the alternative application of fa (regulations) to dispense rewards and punishments was taken by the Son of Heaven. Society, including government, centered in his person as its apex.




His personality was the concrete object of loyalty and awe, rather than any impersonal and abstract concept of state, people, or nation. His rule was personal. 8. The emperor in ruling used two types of administrative structure. The more ancient type was based on personal relations between emperor and subject. The less ancient type was bureaucratic. The two structures existed side by side. Throughout the imperial era down to 1912 there still persisted, parallel to the far-flung bureaucratic structure of China's domestic administration, the older power structure of the emperor's personal relationships, both within the dynastic family and with certain other notables outside it. This was what, in broad terms, created the aristocracy under each dynasty. In many respects this could be called a feudal system; using European terms as very rough and often misleading equivalents, we could say that the emperor "invested" ( f e n g ) a number of hereditary "vassals" {fan) who in turn presented him with "tribute" (kung). First of all there were "clan vassals" or "clan feudatories" (tsung-fan) within the dynastic family who were invested with titles and authority or at least gifts. This group included princes of the imperial house and even imperial concubines. Next came "inner feudatories" or "internal vassals" (nei-fan) who were similarly invested. The most famous examples were the three Chinese collaborators in the Manchu conquest of 1644 who in 1672-1683 staged the great rebellion of the Three Feudatories (san-fan). Last came the "outer feudatories" or "external vassals" (wai-fan) who were rulers of states or other entities outside the borders of China proper. All these vassals had hereditary status, although in some cases it declined one degree each generation until it vanished. Tribute, which had originally meant tax payments, generally came to consist of ceremonial presents, typically of local products ( f a n g wu). 9. The second type of administrative structure, the bureaucratic one, was spread over China proper under the unifying Ch'in and Early Han dynasties after 221 B.C. Bureaucratic government using professionally qualified administrators who were given definite territorial jurisdictions, paid by fixed salaries, controlled by written correspondence, and replaced at prearranged periods, was developed mainly by the so-called Legalists, who became most famous for their use of impersonal regulations (fa) but were actually the inventors of a strictly regulated bureaucracy in general. They helped divide the empire into commanderies and districts (chiin and hsien) and began the long tradition of Chinese administrative statecraft. 4 10. We are now able to see that the rule of the central and unique Son


John Κ. Fairbank of Heaven could be maintained over so broad and diverse a terrain and so vast a population precisely because it was so superficial. The emperor remained supreme as a symbol of unity because his officials did not attempt to rule directly in the villages. Instead, the indoctrinated local elite, mainly holders of examination degrees, dominated the villages while remaining loyal to the emperor as the keystone of the social order. Their training in Confucianism gave this local elite, or so-called gentry class, an innerdirected commitment to orthodox beliefs and a faith in the social order of which they formed the privileged upper stratum. 11. This ideological commitment was expected not only from the ruling elite within the Chinese world but also from the rulers of states outside China, insofar as they had any contact with it. It became established in the Chinese view that the mystical influence of the all-wise example and virtue (te) of the Son of Heaven not only reached throughout China proper but continued outward beyond the borders of China to all mankind and gave them order and peace, albeit with gradually decreasing efficacy, as parts of a concentric hierarchy. But since rulers outside China, or on the fringe, were beyond the reach of the bureaucratic structure of territorial administration, they became attached to the emperor directly as part of the surviving structure of personal or "feudal" administration described above. The above is the theoretical background of Professor T. Kurihara's finding,5 from the study of ancient seals, that the interior vassals of the Son of Heaven included high officials, feudal princes, and lesser lords within the area of China proper, where the virtuous influence (te) of the Son of Heaven prevailed and both li (ceremonies) and fa (regulations) were fully effective, whereas exterior vassals were of lower rank and ruled in peripheral areas on the borders of China where the imperial influence (te) was only imperfectly diffused and the li were effective but fa were not (that is, the Son of Heaven lacked direct coercive power). As a third category Professor Kurihara notes that the ruler (shan-yü) of the barbarous nomadic Hsiung-nu was a "guest vassal" (k'o-ch'eri) in an area where the imperial influence was even less prevalent and only special aspects of the li were effective. 12. Typically, as the area under Chinese rule expanded, the tendency was for exterior vassals of one period (for example, the Chou) to become interior vassals of a later period (for example, the Ch'in and Han). This was the case with the ruler of the Nan-yueh kingdom in South China, which in time became incorporated into the empire. Similarly, it may be




suggested, the Hsiung-nu guest vassal of the Han in Mongolia was eventually succeeded by the Mongols, first as exterior vassals of the Ming and then as close allies and subjects of the Ch'ing, though still called wai-fan. In this way non-Chinese rulers could come into closer contact with the Son of Heaven as the influence of the Chinese world expanded. In theory, they were irresistibly drawn into this relationship, they "came and were transformed" (lai-hua), by the superior blessings of (Chinese) civilization. In comparison, Europe saw the development of a number of nationstates theoretically equal in sovereignty and mutually independent within the culture area of Christendom. The European order, with its interest in precise division of territories and its own concepts of legitimacy, came to depend upon a balance of power among the nation states. The Chinese world order, in contrast, was unified andcentralizedin theory by the universal preeminence of the Son of Heaven. It was not organized by a division of territories among sovereigns of equal status but rather by the subordination of all local authorities to the central and awe-inspiring power of the emperor. This organizing principle of superordination-subordination was also used in East Asia between non-Chinese regimes in situations in which the rulers of China did not participate at all—for example, between Manchus and Mongols, or between Satsuma and Liu-ch'iu, or even between Nepal and Tibet. The Sinocentric relationship was evidently the archetype of a whole set of often interlocking relations that developed in the East Asian area. 13. As cavalry from the Inner Asian grasslands gradually became the final arbiter of battle in East Asia, it became an established practice that in eras of Chinese weakness non-Chinese rulers could become actual emperors of China, Sons of Heaven at the apex of the structure. Non-Chinese were not only admitted to the Chinese world, they could even reach the point of taking over the imperial function. At first, some ruled parts of China, like the Khitan Liao dynasty after 907 and the Jiirched Chin dynasty after 1122. Thus non-Chinese conquerors, having already entered into the power structure of the Chinese world, could seize control of it from the top down without essentially altering it. Eventually, some ruled all China, like the Mongols after 1279 and the Manchus after 1644. 14. This comprehensiveness of the Chinese world order was evidenced in its official terminology. For example, take the term fan yjfo , translated above as vassal. It has the basic meaning of " a hedge, a boundary, a frontier; to screen, to protect." It has a long and complex history dating from the so-called feudal period before the Ch'in unification of 221 B.C. Fan


John Κ. Fairbank figures in the Manchu institution for management of Inner Asian relations, the Li-fan yuan (variously and inadequately translated as Court of Colonial Affairs or Mongolian Superintendency). The term fan also figures within China in a sense comparable to English vassal or fief. For example, under the Ming there were in all sixty-two Princes of the Blood, for fifty of whom there were "set up fiefs" (chien-fan). They were listed as "enfeoffed princes" (fan-wang). e Complexity is not diminished by the fact that this term fan was identical in sound and close in form to two other terms with slightly different radicals, fan and fan both meaning "foreign" or "barbarous"; so fan-wang were "foreign kings" who presented tribute at the Ming court. Thus the sound offan stands ambiguously for characters that mean respectively foreign or vassal; and the latter leaves us with the problem how far to attach to it the connotations of vassal as used in European feudalism. (This same fan becomes in Japan the han or daimyo domains of Tokugawa feudalism.) In any case, "vassals" are found both inside China and outside. Similarly the term kung is used with reference to tribute presented from non-Chinese rulers abroad and also in connection with domestic matters such as the "tribute rice" (ts'ao-mi or kung-mi) shipped annually from the Lower Yangtze region to feed Peking; or the "tribute student" (kungsheng), a category of degree-holder by purchase under the Ch'ing examination system. However we may translate such terms, they plainly were used with reference to both foreign and domestic aspects of imperial government. 15. Non-Chinese rulers participated in the Chinese world order by observing the appropriate forms and ceremonies (//) in their contact with the Son of Heaven. Taken together, these practices constituted the tribute system. Under its regulations in the Ch'ing period (a) non-Chinese rulers were given a patent of appointment and an official seal for use in correspondence ; (b) they were given a noble rank in the Ch'ing hierarchy; (c) they dated their communications by the Ch'ing calendar, that is, by the Ta Ch'ing dynastic reign-title; (d) they presented tribute memorials of various sorts on appropriate statutory occasions; (e) they also presented a symbolic tribute {kung) of local products; (f) they or their envoys were escorted to court by the imperial post; (g) they performed the appropriate ceremonies of the Ch'ing court, notably the kotow;




(h) they received imperial gifts in return; and (i) they were granted certain privileges of trade at the frontier and at the capital. 7 The following table shows the regular Ch'ing tributaries in the order listed in the 1818 edition of the Collected Statutes (Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien), together with the expected frequency and routes of tribute missions. 8 TABLE

1. Ch'ing Tributaries as of 1818.

Country Korea Lui-ch'iu Annam Laos Siam Sulu Holland Burma Western Ocean (Portugal, the Papacy, England)

Frequency of missions


Tribute four times a year presented all together at the end of the year Tribute once every other year Tribute once in two years, sending an envoy to court once in four years to present two tributes together Tribute once in ten years Tribute once in three years Tribute once in five years or more Tribute at no fixed period; the old regulations were for tribute once in five years Tribute once in ten years Tribute at no fixed periods

via Mukden and Shanhaikuan via Foochow via Chen-nan-kuan and Kwangsi via via via via

Yunnan Canton Amoy Canton

via Yunnan via Macao

Aims and Means: The Diversity of Practice in China's Foreign Relations Preceding pages stress the Chinese view, in which the imperial government's foreign relations were merely an outward extension of its administration of China proper, so that everyone in contact with China could have a place in the Chinese world order. This view was culturally based and politically oriented. In trying to make it prevail, rulers of China faced problems of several types which raise interesting questions. Their chief political problem was how to maintain Chinese superiority in situations of military weakness. Solutions included cessation of contact; indoctrinating the foreigner in the Chinese view by cultural-ideological means; buying him off by honors or material inducements or both; using one barbarian against another through diplomatic maneuvers; and in the


John Κ. Fairbank final extremity accepting barbarian rulers at the apex of the Chinese world. But it is noteworthy that non-Chinese could rule over Chinese only in certain circumstances, in a certain kind of state. What were these circumstances or prerequisites? The principal economic problem was the conflict of interest over trade, but here the rulers of China usually declared themselves ready to sacrifice economic substance in order to preserve political form. They ordinarily refused to acknowledge any dependence upon trade, and consequently it remained formally subordinate to tribute. But the informal interplay of economic interests still went on. How far did trade actually motivate tribute relations on either side ? Other recurrent questions arose from the cultural differences between China and certain tributaries, and these differences led the two parties to see their relationship in far different terms at either end. Generally the tributaries from the Inner Asian and Outer zones had their own nonChinese views of their relationship to China and accepted the Chinese view of it only in part, superficially or tacitly, as a matter of expedience. As the mystique of the imperial virtue grew thin across the cultural gap, in Lhasa, Moscow, or Batavia, alternative theories of politics were asserted and sometimes clashed with the Chinese doctrine. Non-Chinese in contact with China faced a constant problem of adjustment. Eventually, with the arrival of Western navies, China would face this problem even more profoundly. How great was the capacity for adjustment, for toleration of different customs, views, and values, on either side ? In short, the Chinese world order was a unified concept only at the Chinese end and only on the normative level, as an ideal pattern. Because the concept dominates the Chinese record, our researches have been addressed in large part to testing how far it influenced events in fact. What was the actual efficacy of the Chinese grand design ? As an aid to empirical description, I insert here a table of the major types of relationships as conceived from the Chinese side and the principal means used to maintain them. This chart is my own invention, and it may mean more to the inventor than to others. This table suggests the principal repertoire of means available to rulers of the Chinese empire in their relations with non-Chinese. These means lie along a spectrum that runs from one extreme of military conquest and administrative assimilation (under Control) to another extreme of complete nonintercourse and avoidance of contact. In general, China's foreign relations (in a Western sense) will be found to lie between these all-or-




Aims and Means in China's Foreign Relations.

I. Types of Relationships, as developed or at least desired in the Chinese approaches to foreign areas (Ch'ing period to 1840). Aim in view Means used




A-l Military (wu) A-2 Administrative (/i and fa)


B-l "Cultural" and ideological (wen, te) B-2 Religious (chakravartin)



C-l Material interest (//) C-2 Diplomatic

II. Principal means, used in relations with foreign areas in the Chinese world order of the Ch'ing period. (Parentheses indicate means used briefly or secondarily.) Sinic Zone (Chinese Culture Area) Korea


Inner Asian Zone Mongolia

A-l A-2 B-l

Outer Zone (Distant Places) Russia

C-l C-2 (A-l)


C-l C-2 Vietnam

B-l (A-l) Sulu Tibet


B-l C-l


C-l (A-2)


C-l (C-2)




Central Asia Japan

(B-l) (C-l)


B-2 C-2 (A-l)

A-l A-2 C-l C-2

nothing extremes, in between the incorporation of non-Chinese into the bureaucratic empire and a refusal to acknowledge their existence. But the Chinese view was less concerned than the Western over what was foreign because the Son of Heaven was in any case superior to all rulers and peoples and their status therefore might easily shift back and forth through various degrees of proximity to his central authority.


John Κ. Fairbank For instance, military conquest and administrative assimilation, by which North Vietnam had been controlled down to the tenth century, gave way to tribute relations thereafter. But control was reasserted by the Ming invasion and rule of North Vietnam from 1406 to 1428. The relationship then reverted to tribute and remained so until 1885 except for the shortlived Ch'ing invasion of 1789. On balance, China's power-holders found it preferable to have Vietnam a regular tributary than to rule it directly. Again, the distant empire of Russia was first dealt with by use of military force, to secure the limitation of Russian expansion that was at length agreed upon in the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689. Russian interest in trading caravans to Peking was then utilized to demand tribute and the kotow. But the eventually more stable solution, achieved in the Treaty of Kiakhta of 1727, was to permit trade without tribute on the far frontier at the "trading town" of Mai-mai-chen. On balance Peking preferred to let trade continue without tribute on the periphery of the empire, rather than either demand tribute or shut off trade. The same was true of the distant states of Southeast Asia listed as trading countries in the 1818 edition of the Collected Statutes: Chinese merchant junks traded in these places but they no longer sent tribute as they had in the early Ming period. Of the Europeans at Canton, the Dutch in 1795 sent tribute and actually kotowed; the British were recorded as doing so in 1793; the Americans were disregarded in the record. It is significant that, of the various means here identified, all were used in the Ch'ing relationship with the Mongols, who provided both the earliest allies and the principal rivals of the Manchu ruling power.

Highlights of This Volume

The following summary comments on each chapter do not by any means do them justice, much less sum them up. They are offered nevertheless to indicate in brief compass the main outlines of this symposium. The first three chapters deal with the growth of Chinese ideas, attitudes, and institutions concerning foreign relations in general. Mr. Yang begins by contrasting myth and reality in China's traditional attitude toward outsiders. Concepts of kinship or of inner and outer zones had early been applied to foreign relations. But the power-based realism of Han and T'ang was subsequently overlaid by boastful talk. This was the accusation, for example, of the pioneer nineteenth-century diplomat, Kuo




Sung-tao. Mr. Yang therefore takes a realistic look at the tradition by tracing in classical texts the cognate trends toward using militarism or pacifism (coercion or persuasion, power or virtue) as means of dealing with nonChinese and then looks at ideas used in frontier pacification. Finally, he shows the ancient origin and range of variations in the "loose-rein" or chi-mi appeasement policy that was used in dealing with stronger barbarians. Mr. Wang's masterly study, for which we are all the more indebted because he could not attend our conference, is really much more than a background essay. It is the broadest survey of the evidence concerning preCh'ing tribute relations that has yet been made. It first analyzes the early development of China's myth of superiority as formulated by successive major historians from Han to Sung. As this theory grew up to interpret China's experience of foreign relations it gradually became a conventional framework. Basic to this theory was the idea of the emperor's moral superiority and rule-by-virtue (te), as exemplified preeminently during the T'ang (618-907). Consequently the Mongol conquest, achieved by force and not at all by virtue, was a shattering blow to the Chinese theory; but the impermanence of Mongol rule could subsequently be attributed to its having relied on power alone, rather than on the proper balance of power and virtue. Mr. Wang then traces the Ming emperors' vigorous efforts to expand China's tributary relations in the direction of a world order: their claim to an impartial superiority, their attempt to include all countries. Thus under the Ming and early Ch'ing the theory of China's material-and-moral superiority continued, with ever greater sophistication, to be the principal assumption in her foreign relations. Mr. Mancall's wide-ranging essay describes how the Chinese world view was variously accepted in Vietnam, Siam, and Central Asia and how it was given new effect by the Ch'ing distinction between the "northwestern crescent" of Inner Asian peoples and those to the east and south. He then examines the various forms of tributary trade, its complex connection with tribute and with the exchange of gifts, and its nature as an administered trade conducted at "ports of trade" on the frontier. This multifaceted analysis concludes with an account of the rather pragmatic foreign trade policies of the early Ch'ing rulers before their sinification. After these analyses of broad aspects of the Chinese world order, its history and character, we then turn to case studies of particular countries. Mr. Chun gives us the fullest account yet available of the many types and functions of Korean embassies to the Ch'ing court: how they were com-


John Κ. Fairbank posed, where they went, what they did in Peking, and their frequency. He also describes the Chinese embassies to Korea. He then analyzes the economic aspect of tribute—the kinds and values of Korean goods presented as local products and of Chinese gifts in reply, the travel costs, and the trade, both legal and illegal. Korea offered the primary example, almost the ideal model, of tributary relations. Mr. Chun's detailed factual analysis leads him to conclude that the main motive of the institution in this case was less economic or cultural than it was political. The next two chapters are a fine study in ambivalence. Mr. Sakai shows in detail, mainly from the records of Satsuma, how the Liu-ch'iu (Ryukyu) island kingdom was in fact after 1609 tightly controlled as a vassal of the Satsuma daimyo. Yet at the same time Liu-ch'iu was an acknowledged tributary of China, as well as a profitable entrepot for an unacknowledged Sino-Japanese trade. Satsuma therefore fostered this trade, keeping its surveillance and control over the islands hidden from China at the same time that it obliged Liu-ch'iu's rulers to send Japanese-style tribute missions annually to the Satsuma capital at Kagoshima and periodically with great pomp to the Tokugawa capital at Edo (Tokyo). Satsuma's comprehensive policies even extended to preserving the non-Japanese flavor of Liu-ch'iuan life, its cultural and political identity, the better to profit from it materially! Mr. Sakai's eye-opening account of Japanese control makes Mr. Ch'en's study of the Ch'ing dynasty's solemn investiture of Liu-ch'iu kings all the more fascinating. The regular Sino-Liu-ch'iuan tributary trade is noted here only in passing. Mr. Ch'en focuses on the eight missions sent by the Ch'ing to carry out rituals largely inherited from the Ming, manifest the emperor's moral sway, and generally promote Confucian culture. Liu-ch'iu requested investiture, Peking appointed top-level scholars, and they organized their mission in Foochow, whence some five hundred persons, including many merchants in disguise, sailed to the islands. Their reception, the elaborate imperial rituals, the attendant trading, and the many cultural activities of the Chinese envoys, all throw light on how the imperial virtue really operated in a foreign capital. Mr. Lam traces the mixed Ch'ing response to the succession crisis in Vietnam in the late eighteenth century. Frightened by the Täyson rebellion in 1788, the emperor of the effete Le dynasty (1428-1788) left his capital at Hanoi, and his family actually fled into China. The ambitious governorgeneral of Kwangtung and Kwangsi won Peking's agreement to intervene in Vietnam and restore the Le ruler, though he was instructed to do it with only a small force that would let the Vietnamese do the fighting while the




presence of the Ch'ing troops gave them self-confidence. Within a month the Ch'ing forces were in Hanoi and soon the Le ruler had received investiture. While the Ch'ing commanders, their mission accomplished, were hesitating to withdraw, they suddenly found themselves under rebel attack: the main bridge out of Hanoi collapsed, and much of the Ch'ing force never made it back to the frontier. After this disaster, however, rather than intervene again to escalate its commitment, Peking decided that the Le dynasty had indeed lost Heaven's mandate, and so it accepted a respectful tribute mission from the new Täyson ruler of Vietnam. This mission of 1790 was lavishly received by the Ch'ien-lung Emperor at Jehol (the summer capital where Macartney came three years later), thus reaffirming the SinoVietnamese tributary relationship. Turning from the Sinic to the Inner Asian zone of tributaries, Mr. Suzuki begins by surveying the fluctuations in the early relations between the Han dynasty and the powerful nomadic Hsiung-nu rulers in Mongolia, where the culturally based imperial virtue was so much less potent than Chinese arms; instead of virtue, the only alternative to arms was material bribery. Instead of a monarch-subject relationship of superiority, often the best that China could achieve was a sort of equality expressed in fictional family ties. In Tibet Mr. Suzuki finds still another alternative to the emperor's superiority-by-virtue in the form of the priest-patron (bhikshudänapati) relationship. As a means of controlling the Mongols, who believed in the Tibetan Lamaist faith, early Ch'ing emperors patronized the Dalai Lama as chakravartin monarchs, not as Confucian rulers. From 1720 to 1792, when Ch'ing armies intervened increasingly in Tibetan politics, the relationship gradually added the more familiar element of imperial power. But it declined in the nineteenth century, when the Ch'ing could not help Nepal against Britain in 1814-1816 or even Tibet against Nepal in 1854-1856. Continuing with the Ch'ing-Mongol relationship, Mr. Farquhar notes its early beginning, long before the Manchu conquest of China in 1644. The Manchus not only recognized their cultural affinity and indebtedness to the Mongols but also regarded the Mongols' country, people, and rulers as essentially equals of their own. The Manchu vocabulary, culture, and political ideas were in large part borrowed from the Mongols (or in some instances from China through the Mongols). Consequently the Manchu rule imposed upon the Mongols under the Ch'ing was nothing strange but had common Mongol-Manchu roots, and this helps to account for its success.


John Κ. Fairbank Mr. Fletcher's study of Ming and Ch'ing relations with the oasis states of Central Asia finds these places at first most concerned with caravan trade by non-Chinese merchants in tributary channels, real or pretended. Islamic rulers refused to acknowledge Chinese superiority, but embassies were still exchanged and still recorded in China as tributary, even though the great Yung-lo Emperor seems actually to have addressed Tamerlane's successor, Shährukh, on terms of equality. By the time the Western Mongols threatened Ch'ing control of Mongolia and Tibet in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Central Asia had assumed a new strategic importance and the Ch'ing conquests of the 1750's now gave the oases of Kashgaria sixty years of peace under the indirect rule of a local elite of begs, who governed with Islamic law and Ch'ing support. But after 1820 rebellion could not be suppressed nor, in the end, bought off by the weakened regime at Peking. Its surprising comeback in the 1870's, which Mr. Fletcher does not pursue, and the creation of Sinkiang province in 1884, mark another of the pronounced fluctuations of Chinese power in Central Asia. Behind the Chinese record it is possible from non-Chinese sources to see the deviations from the tribute myth that circumstances often required on this most distant geographical and cultural frontier. Mr. Wills' chapter on Sino-Dutch relations deals with the most active of the Western countries from the Outer Zone that participated in the Ch'ing tribute system. In the seventeenth century the Dutch East India Company far excelled its British counterpart, trading with Japan and China on a scale that Britain could not yet match. Mr. Wills summarizes the course of Sino-Dutch relations in a forty-year period that saw their joint naval operations against Taiwan (Formosa), intermittent trade in Fukien, a second Dutch tribute embassy to Peking in 1667, a Ch'ing embassy to Batavia in 1679, and a great deal of negotiation, all of it plagued by problems of communication across the cultural gap. He therefore analyzes the various types of conflict, the mutual lack of curiosity, the discordant expectations and customs, and the administrative-jurisdictional pitfalls on either side, as well as the Chinese diplomatic tradition that was applied to the Dutch. Mr. Fairbank's paper concerns the twilight of tribute in the nineteenth century: Western treaty relations at first fitted into the Ch'ing tradition. The treaty ports began as special foreign quarters where foreign headmen (consuls) still bore responsibility. By extending the same privileges to all treaty powers through the most-favored-nation clause, the emperor still treated them with equal impartiality, the better to play them off one against




another. After 1860 the emperor could no longer claim superiority over Westerners, but in Ch'ing relations with the Sinic Zone and parts of Inner Asia the concepts and forms of tribute were consistently maintained for another two decades both in fact and in the record. The possibility of taking the Westerners, preeminently Britain, into the power structure of the Chinese state, as still another minority group of conquerors on the Chinese frontier, was checked by cultural differences. The Western barbarians had no intention of learning to rule China in the Chinese way, and the tribute system collapsed with the dynasty. Our volume concludes with the reflections of a specialist in the history of thought. Mr. Schwartz notes that the Chinese view of world order began with the common ancient notion of universal kingship. In the Chinese case this became inextricably associated with the peculiarly Confucian mystique of rule-by-virtue and with an "absolutization of the Confucian moral order," which made it impossible for nineteenth-century China to accept the Western multistate system. The assumption of universal kingship had hardly been challenged in the Warring States period (403-221 B.c.) and it survived both the attack of Buddhism in the post-Han era and the actual weakness of Chinese power in the Southern Sung (A.D. 1127-1279). In contrast, when in the Near East the idea of universal kingship was passed on through Alexander to the Roman emperorship, its "religio-cosmological foundation" was confused and weakened in the process. In China alone it was progressively strengthened by the refinement of the Confucian concept of a moral social order culminating in the Son of Heaven. But it could not survive into the twentieth century, and Chinese communism has had to develop a new system in a new world.


Lien-sheng Yang / H I S T O R I C A L ON T H E C H I N E S E W O R L D


The Sinocentric World Order: Myth and Reality The Chinese world order is often described as having been a Sinocentric hierarchy. In theory, it should have been hierarchical in at least three ways, China being internal, large, and high andthebarbariansbeingexternal, small, and low. Reviewing the whole range of Chinese history, however, one finds that this multidimensional Sinocentric world order was a myth backed up at different times by realities of varying degree, sometimes approaching nil. It is true that China often played the leading role in East Asia as a combined civil and military force. But it must not be inferred that the Chinese had no idea at all about other civilized peoples on earth. Records from the Han dynasty speak highly of the civilized Western people of Ta-Ch'in, literally, Great China. In medieval times, many Chinese had great respect for India because it was the home of Buddhism. Politically and militarily, in several periods, China recognized neighboring peoples as equal adversaries (ti-kuo). Note, for example, the relations between Han and Hsiungnu; T'ang and T'u-chiieh or later T'u-fan; Sung and Liao, Chin and Yuan. In these relations kinship terms were often used. Thus the Sung emperor and the Liao emperor were supposed to be respectively elder and younger brothers. To make peace with Chin in 1138, however, the founder of the Southern Sung dynasty had to accept the status of a vassal (ch'en). His successor improved the status to that of a nephew (chih) and addressed the Chin emperor as younger uncle (shu), that is, father's younger brother. To maintain peace on the frontier, the Han and T'ang dynasties gave princesses or girls of the imperial clan as brides to barbarian chiefs. The




Han and the Sung sent to their northern neighbors annual presents of large amount and value, nominally as a kind of economic aid but actually as tribute in reverse. The term wai-kuo, meaning foreign countries, did not originate in the nineteenth century but had a long history going back to the Han dynasty. In Sung times, wai-kuo (lieh) chuan, "accounts of foreign countries," became a category in historical writing. It would be erroneous to assume that the Chinese as a people had had no experience of interstate relationships prior to 1800. There is no doubt that China had at least a vague concept of state (km) by late Chou times. Several modern scholars have compared the multistate system in the Ch'un-ch'iu or Spring and Autumn period (722-481 B.C.) with modern international relations. Later in the Chan-kuo or Warring States period (403-221 B.C.), the powerful states were quite independent and no longer had respect for the Chou king. Mencius was practically defining a state when he specified the three treasures of a state ruler: land, people, and government. In Late Chou times (down to 221 B.C.), a distinction was also made between fien-hsia," all-under-Heaven," and Chung-kuo "the central Chinese state(s)"; the latter term left out peripheral states like Ch'in, Ch'u, Wu and Yueh. The Chinese idea of inner and outer areas or zones is an important one that deserves more attention. Tradition takes it back to remote antiquity. The Hsia and Shang dynasties were supposed to have had five zones (wu-fu), and the Chou as many as nine. Of the nine fu or ch'i (chi), the outermost was called fan-fu or fan-ch'i. In this phrase the character we transliterate as fan was written with a grass radical (no. 140) and was a variant of another character also transliterated fan which was written with both the grass and the water radicals (no. 85) and meant "protecting, feudatory." Later the fan with the grass radical was also used as a variant of the character fan that meant "foreign, barbarian." 1 Although these elaborate divisions were largely fictitious, they seem to have reflected a more realistic division between nei-fu, the inner or royal domain, and wai-fu, areas of the outer lords, in Shang and Chou times.2 Of course, the terms wai and nei (external and internal) might be used in a relative sense. Thus, one could talk about the inner-inner, the outer-outer, and so forth. Some of the outer areas might be absorbed into the inner as a result of military or cultural expansion. Potentially, all "foreigners" (chu-fari) could become "outer feudatories" (wai-fari). Or, in more general terms, all "uncivilized barbarians" (sheng-fan) could become "civilized" barbarians (shu-fan).


Lien-Sheng Yang



This relative usage of nei and wai, however, does not mean that there were no boundaries between China as a state (Chung-kuo) and its neighbors or satellites. The histories record numerous cases of dispute and settlement concerning boundaries. As the Han emperor once reminded the Hsiung-nu ruler, frontier boundaries (sai) were maintained not only to defend against invaders but also to prevent Chinese rascals from going out. Of course, the boundary need not always be a line. It might be a belt of land in which both sides refrained from occupancy and cultivation, or a zone in which the people belonged to both countries, or a buffer state. It was also possible for the Chinese emperor to declare a boundary unilaterally. For instance, Sung T'ai-tsu is said to have used a jade ax to draw a line on the map along the Ta-tu river in Yunnan and to have announced, "The territory beyond the line shall not be ours." As Professor Wang notes elsewhere in this volume, Ming T'ai-tsu also left a list of fifteen or more states, including Korea, Japan, Annam, and Java, as pu-cheng chih-kuo or states to which China should not send punitive expeditions.3 Another point to bear in mind is that cultural and political frontiers need not be identical. In studying the Chinese world order it is important to distinguish myth and reality wherever possible. Both can be influential. One may prefer to call a myth a cultural or psychological reality. Nevertheless, it should be distinguished from a political reality.

Kuo Sung-tao: "An Investigation of Reality in the History of Frontier Pacification" In his Prolegomena to The CKun Ts'ew with the Tso chuen published in 1872, James Legge bitterly criticized China's ministers and people for their failure to "realize the fact that China is only one of many independent nations in the world " (p. 52). Fortunately there were a few exceptions, of whom Kuo Sung-tao (1818-1891) was probably the most outstanding. About the middle of the nineteenth century, Kuo already sensed that China was in an unprecedented international situation. Having been brought up in the Confucian tradition he was quick in turning to history for useful lessons. Kuo made a historical survey of foreign affairs from Ch'in and Han down to Ming times and entitled his manuscript" Sui-pien cheng-shih" or "An Investigation of Reality in the History of Frontier Pacification." His aim was to correct the errors of scholars who from the Southern Sung




era on down had uttered empty words while ignoring reality. The following remarks are taken from the preface to this book, the only part of it known to us: "Excellent indeed are the words of Pan K u : to control the barbarians the sage rulers punished and resisted them when they came [to invade China], and prepared and guarded against them when they left. If, attracted by China's civilization, they came to offer tribute, they would be treated with courtesy, and kept under loose rein without severing the relationship, so that the blame of being crooked (ch'ii) would always be on them. However, ever since Liu K'uang of the T'ang in his Wu chih or ' Principles of Military Affairs' criticized Pan Ku as 'detailed but not conclusive' (hsiang erh wei-chin), later Confucian scholars have borrowed his view and indulged in making boastful, unrealistic remarks. As a result, the grand strategy by which the Han and T'ang dynasties controlled the barbarians has been lost for over seven hundred years. " A t the time of Wang Mang (A.D. 8-23), Yen Yu, in his discussion of policy toward the Hsiung-nu, observed that there had been no completely satisfactory policy, the Chou dynasty had only a second-best policy, the Han dynasty had a third-best one, but the Ch'in had no policy at all. Liu K'uang reversed this view and considered the Chou to have had the best policy, the Ch'in the next best, and the Han the third best. [However,] the Hsien-yun [identified as ancestors of the Hsiung-nu] in Chou times were not yet very strong, and when the Chou suffered an attack by the Ch'üan-jung, King P'ing moved the capital to the east and thereby lost the heartland of the Western Chou. How can the Chou be said to have had a policy? " T h e critics merely hold that the Chinese and the barbarians had to be segregated and that one should not indulge in militarism. But how can one explain the position not to indulge in militarism in Ch'in and Han times when China was strong, but to indulge in it at a time like the Southern Sung when China had become very weak ? Pan Ku said,' Scholars in sashed robes tend to stick to an appeasement (ho-ch'iri) policy, while armed warriors speak about punitive expeditions.' The great [Han] Confucian Tung Chung-shu and the celebrated minister Wei Hsiang were examples of such scholars in sashed robes. In the early years of the Southern Sung [however] those who spoke for war were all people in sashed robes, and generals like Han Shih-chung and Yueh Fei, while quarrelsome, were able to distinguish themselves in warfare. Subsequently, civil officials talked loftily about military strategy, but military people, generals and lieutenants alike,


Lien-Sheng Yang


held their breath while waiting for orders to proceed because their fighting morale was very low. Goals and results thus became discrepant. "Therefore, although Sung and Ming scholars may seem to have made many attractive discourses, they spent too much of their energy to repudiate the words of Pan Ku, and, as a result, very often they permitted the blame of being crooked to rest on China." 4 It is said that Kuo's book totaled 24 chüan? If it is still preserved and can someday be published, it undoubtedly will make an interesting volume. Meanwhile, one may attempt to suggest some of the highlights that ought to appear in such a historical study: the classical Confucian tradition for dealing with non-Chinese peoples, ideas on frontier pacification in the imperial era, and the "loose-rein" (chi-mi) policy in particular.®

The Classical Confucian Tradition on Dealing with Non-Chinese By the time of Confucius, China had already had a civilization for well over a millennium and had accumulated considerable political and social experience. This background at least partly explains the rather sophisticated views held by people in the Ch'un-ch'iu period toward militarism and the barbarians. In the Confucian classic, the Tso chuan,7 one discerns two tendencies, one toward pacifism and the other toward militarism as the most effective means for dealing with the barbarians. Most views were mixed with various amounts of idealism and realism, persuasion and intimidation, as shown in the following examples. For the most part these are familiar quotations; they illustrate the diversity of the classical quotations that could be drawn upon.


Pacific Views:

1. I have heard the sayings" Call the wavering with courtesy; cherish the remote with kindness"; when kindness and courtesy are invariably shown, there are none but will be won. (Tso-chuan, p. 149, quoting Kuan Chung) 2. The character for prowess is formed by those of " t o stay" and " a spear" . . . Thus military prowess is seen in the repression of cruelty, the calling in of the weapons of war, the preservation of the great appointment, the firm establishment of one's merit, the giving repose to the people, the harmonizing all [the States], and the enlargement of the general wealth. (Tso-chuan, p. 320, quoting the viscount of Ch'u) 3. [The Jung are birds and beasts.] (A sentence not translated by Legge.)


ON THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER Shall we not be acting an impolitic course, if we lose the States, though we gain the Jung? . . . To be on good terms with the Jung has five advantages. The Jung and Ti are continually changing their residence, and are fond of exchanging land for goods. Their lands can be purchased;—this is the first advantage. Our borders will not be kept in apprehension. The people can labour on their fields, and the husbandmen complete their toils; this is the second. When the Jung and Ti serve Chin, our neighbours all round will be terrified, and the States will be awed and cherish our friendship; this is the third. Tranquillizing the Jung by our goodness, our armies will not be toiled and weapons will not be broken; this is the fourth. Taking warning from the sovereign I, and using only measures of virtue, the remote will come to us, and the near will be at rest; this is the fifth. (Tso-chuan, p. 424, quoting Wei Chiang) 4. War is destructive to the people, an insect that eats up the resources [of a State], and the greatest calamity of the small states. If any one tries to put an end to it, though we may think that it cannot be done, we must sanction his principle. (Tso-chuan, p. 526, quoting Han Hsuan-tzu) 5. It is by good faith that a small State serves a great one, and benevolence is seen in a great State's protecting a small one. (Tso-chuan, p. 814, quoting Tzu-fu Ching-po) B.

Militant Views:

1. The Ti and Jung are wolves, to whom no indulgence should be given; with the States of the great land, all are nearly related, and none should be abandoned; luxurious repose is a poison, which should not be cherished. CTso-chuan, p. 149, quoting Kuan Chung) 2. To advance when you see advance is possible, and withdraw in face of difficulties, is a good way of moving the army; to absorb weak states, and attack those that are wilfully blind, is a good rule of war. (Tso-chuan, p. 317, quoting Sui Wu-tzu) 3. The Jung and Ti know nothing of affection or friendship and are full of greed. The best plan is to attack them. (Tso-chuan, p. 424, quoting the marquis of Chin) 4. Heaven has produced the five elements which supply men's requirements and the people use them all. Not one of them can be dispensed with; who can do away with the instruments of war? They have been long in requisition. It is by them the lawless are kept in awe, and accomplished virtue is displayed. (Tso-chuan, p. 534, quoting Tzu-han)


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5. Those distant people have nothing to do with our great land; those wild tribes must not be permitted to create disorder among our flowery States. (Tso-chuan, p. 777, quoting Confucius) Like idealism and realism, militarism and pacifism need not be exactly contradictory but can be mutually complementary, parts of a single policy. It may be noted that both A-l and B-l are said to be words of Kuan Chung the celebrated minister of Ch'i, and B-5 words of Confucius, who also said in the Analects, "But for Kuan Chung, we should now be wearing our hair unbound, and the lapels of our coats buttoned on the left side." (Analects, p. 282) Tradition has it that when Confucius compiled the Ch'un-ch'iu, he considered the States of the great land internal and the barbarians external. On the other hand, another Ch'un-ch'iu tradition also stresses the principle of wang-che wu-wai, "the King leaves nothing and nobody outside his realm." 8 In other words, the ideal king should be a truly universal king, and not separate from the internal and the external. Professor Wang's article shows the use of this concept in the Ming period. Elsewhere Confucius appears to be more pacific and idealistic: "By indulgent treatment of men from a distance, they are brought to resort to him from all quarters. And by kindly cherishing the princes of the States, the whole kingdom is brought to revere him" (The Doctrine of the Mean, p. 409). From this passage people have picked two key characters to form the compound huai-jou, " t o cherish and to soften; appeasement." Also, "let his words be sincere and truthful, and his actions honorable and careful; such conduct may be practiced among the rude tribes of the South or the North" (Analects, p. 295). "Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive, all the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated to attract them to be so; and when they have been so attracted, they must be made contented and tranquil" (ibid., pp. 308-309). These remarks stressing noncoercive influences to win over distant barbarians contrast sharply with another view which may have been even more ancient: " I t is virtue by which the people of the Middle State are cherished; it is by severity that the wild tribes around are awed" (Tso-chuan, p. 196). These were words of Ts'ang Ke, who was probably quoting an old saying. On the other hand, Confucius also considered military weapons necessary; as he said, "Let good men teach the people seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in war" (Analects, p. 275). Similarly, while Mencius declared that " I n the 'Spring and Autumn' there are no righteous wars" (Mencius, p. 305) and that "Those who are




skillful in fighting should suffer the highest punishment" (p. 305), he also praised King T'ang of Shang because "while he punished their rulers, he consoled the people" (p. 273) and King Wu of Chou who "saved the people from the midst of fire and water, seizing only the oppressors [and destroying them]" (p. 274). Mencius also said, " I have heard of men using [the doctrines of] our great land to change barbarians, but I have never yet heard of any being changed by barbarians" (p. 253). Altogether, although the classical Confucian tradition tends to be on balance more pacific and idealistic, it was by no means one-sided. The attitude at times appeared ambivalent but perhaps was also dialectical, envisioning the use of coercion and persuasion as cognate principles. Mencius also laid down the following celebrated rule governing foreign relations: "The King Hsuan of Ch'i asked, saying, 'Is there any way to [regulate one's maintenance] of intercourse with neighbouring kingdoms?' Mencius replied, 'There i s . . . But it requires a perfectly virtuous [prince] to be able, with a great [country] to serve a small one—as, for instance T'ang served Ke, and King Wen served the K'un barbarians. And it requires a wise [prince] to be able, with a small country, to serve a large one—as the king T'ai served the Hsiung-yü, and Kou-chien served Wu. He who with a great [State] serves a small one, delights in Heaven. He who with a small [State] serves a large one, stands in awe of Heaven.'" (pp. 154155). For a long period in the history of Korea, her relationship to China was referred to as shih-ta," a small country serving a large one," and her relationship to Japan as chiao-lin, "intercourse, with a neighboring kingdom," both terms having been derived from this passage. It should be admitted that the Chinese even in remote antiquity seem to have indulged in comparing barbarians with all kinds of animals, as is illustrated in several of the above quotations. Names of barbarian tribes were often written in characters with animal radicals, for example, Ti, "northern barbarians" with the dog radical (no. 94), and Man for "southern barbarians" with the worm radical (no. 142). In the ancient world view, the outermost areas were reserved for barbarians, ferocious animals, and evil spirits. "If he be not of our kin, he is sure to have a different mind " (Tso-chuan, p. 355) was an ancient generalization. Of course, many barbarians did have physical features different from those of the Chinese. In addition, most Chinese believed that barbarians were more greedy and warlike, therefore closer to animals in character. This ancient


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association persisted for many centuries, as will be seen in the following sections. One may also add that racial discrimination is not a habit confined to one culture or society. It is particularly difficult to reform if the habit was formed during the childhood of an individual or in the early historical period of a society. To spell it out, however, may begin to dispel it.

Ideas on Frontier Pacification in the Imperial Era Both Tung Chung-shu and Wei Hsiang of the Han had been against excessive militarism. The view of the minister Wei followed closely the Confucian tradition. He distinguished five kinds of military forces: " Forces used to settle chaos and to punish the tyrannous are righteous forces, which will dominate all-under-Heaven. Forces used reluctantly for selfdefense are responsive forces, which will win. Forces used to release minor grudges or resentment are resentful forces, which will suffer defeat. Forces used to seize territory and wealth are greedy forces, which will meet destruction. Forces used to display great power and numerical strength to awe the enemy are arrogant forces, which will meet extinction. These five are not only matters of man but also the way of Heaven." 9 Tung Chung-shu held that "while gentlemen can be moved by principle, greedy people can be moved only by profit. People like the Hsiung-nu cannot be converted by humanity and justice, but can only be appeased with huge profit, and tied down with an appeal to Heaven. Therefore, the policy should be to corrupt them with wealth, to strengthen the agreement with an oath, and to concern their minds by requiring their chieftain's son as a hostage." The result would be a reduction of military expenditures and peace on the frontier. 10 In the opinion of Pan Ku, however, Tung's policy was impractical, particularly in his suggestion of reducing frontier defense. In his preface to the work mentioned above, Kuo Sung-tao did not mention another early Han thinker, Chia I, who was famous for his policy of "three standards and five baits" (san-piao wu-erh). According to the Hsin shu attributed to Chia, the three standards were for the Han emperor to keep good faith (hsin) in his friendly words, and to make the Hsiung-nu believe that the Son of Heaven actually loved (ai) their barbarian faces and appearance and took delight in (hao) their barbarian techniques. The five baits were to provide the surrendering barbarians with




silk clothing and carriages; delicious f o o d ; entertainments with music, dances, games and female attendants; mansions with a kitchen, granary, garage, and slaves; and to shower them with all kinds of imperial favor and personal attention, so as to spoil their senses (of eyes, mouth, ears, and belly) and to win their hearts. 11 A t the end of Chia's biography in the Han sku,12 Pan K u refers to Chia's "three standards and five baits" but gives no details and merely brushes the whole idea aside as impractical. He did not anticipate that, coming down to the Sung dynasty, long periods of peace would be secured apparently because the Liao and later the Chin enjoyed the annual gifts of precious metals and silk from the Sung and became less militant. Even Ch'eng I and Chu Hsi admitted that the policy of Chia I worked in a fashion in their own times, although they also felt shameful about the situation. 13 Obviously an essential factor here was that there had been a military stalemate before agreement on peace was reached. One point rarely stressed by scholars is that Chia I also proposed a positive policy to divide up the surrendering barbarians and to settle them outside the frontier, by making each thousand households a state and giving each state its fen-ti or share-territory, thus establishing a kind of frontier feudalism after the Chinese pattern. The problem of settling surrendering barbarians remained an acute one throughout the imperial era. This was true particularly when the settlement involved a change in their mode of production. Y e n Y u praised the limited punitive expedition of King Hsuan of Chou, whose generals chased the barbarians but stopped at the frontier. In Yen's opinion, barbarians being like mosquitoes and wasps, the only effective means against them was to drive them away. The deep penetrations into Hsiung-nu territories under Han Wu-ti were too costly and therefore constituted a third-best policy. The worst was that of the first emperor of Ch'in, who exhausted his people to build the Great Walls. 1 4 Liu K'uang, as K u o Sung-tao pointed out, approved the Great Walls as a valuable project that caused temporary toil but yielded long-term profit. So he labeled the Ch'in policy the second best, next to that of the Chou. But he considered it shameful and costly for the Han to maintain the hoch'in policy of peace or "appeasement" by sending princesses and gifts to the Hsiung-nu. He said that the Han dynasty was wrong both in attacking the barbarians when they were strong and in giving them economic aid when they were weak. The money should have been spent on frontier defense. In addition, Liu objected to the hostage system and to diplomatic


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and economic exchanges between China and the barbarians; the barbarians would thereby become more tricky, more greedy, and still harder to manage, whereas the Chinese might be corrupted by the importation of foreign curiosities. In short, barbarians were like insects and reptiles, not to be treated with yielding courtesy nor disputed with as to who was the crooked party. 15 Altogether Liu's position seems to have been unreasonably isolationist ; perhaps it was a reaction to an overdose of cosmopolitanism under the T'ang. Anyway, Kuo Sung-tao seems to have been justified* in his criticism. That Confucian scholars from Southern Sung times had swapped position with military people and become emotionally bellicose was a favorite theme of Kuo, who stressed it over and over in his collected works. But Kuo overstated his thesis in failing to mention exceptions. For instance, in 1592 there were several Ming literati-officials (a minority, to be sure) who objected to sending troops to Korea to fight the Japanese invasion, although the emperor and his major advisers appear quickly to have determined to follow a positive policy. Because 1592 was exactly ten years after the death of the realistic responsible statesman Chang Chü-cheng, it is interesting to speculate how he would have reacted to the situation if he had been still alive and in power. I wish to quote two selections from Chang's remarks on barbarians to conclude this section: " Critics of today all say peace negotiations show weakness and horsemarkets cause trouble. Those who make such remarks are not only disloyal but also very unwise. Peace is reached when two belligerent parties find themselves at a stalemate and obliged to settle peacefully. In case of the ho-ch'in policy of Han or the gift-offering of Sung, the party that controlled the peace was the barbarians and not China. That is why Chia I called the situation upside-down and K'ou Chun was reluctant to adopt the plan. Now, however, barbarians claim to be obedient subjects and beg for titles of nobility. The party that controls the peace is China. This is widely different from the case of Han or Sung. It can only be called a tributary communication, not a peace negotiation" (letter to Wang Chiench'uan). 16 "In frontier areas it is difficult completely to avoid minor breakages, which in general will not harm the grand strategy. On the other hand, if one takes every incident seriously and deals with it accordingly, it will not be helpful to the grand strategy. This is a point you want to be aware of. Now even in our metropolitan areas one may find theft or robbery in broad


ON THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER daylight or even plunder of the government treasury and murdering of government officials. How much the more so will it be with barbarians? The three garrisons (wei) at Chi have submitted to China for over two hundred years, and yet when they seize our people or grab bestowed articles, one cannot adjudicate all the cases. How can one hold responsible the arrogant, bellicose barbarians who have surrendered only recently? The important principle is for the officials in charge to deal with them in a flexible manner: Just like dogs, if they wag their tails, bones will be thrown to them; if they bark wildly, they will be beaten with sticks; after the beating, if they submit again, bones will be thrown to them again; after the bones, if they bark again, then more beating. How can one argue with them about being crooked or straight or about the observation of law?" (reply to Wu Huan-chou). 17

The Chi-mi or "Loose Rein" Policy: A Historical Survey As a bone-and-stick policy compared barbarians with dogs, the chi-mi or "loose rein" policy compared them with cattle. More important, both policies were flexible. The bone-and-stick policy had two major alternatives, and the bones and sticks could be large or small. The "loose rein" policy, although basically one of appeasement, also had a wide range of meanings as used in Chinese history. Most of the definitions of chi-mi were made in Han times. Pan Ku's chi-mipu-chiieh or "keeping under loose rein without severing the relationship" was a principle already current in the time of Han Wu-ti. Another early definition was offered by Hsiao Wang-chih at a court conference to discuss the protocol to be accorded to the Hsiung-nu chieftain (shan-yü), who was to pay an official visit to the Han emperor in 51 B.C. Hsiao observed that the shan-yü was head of a ti-kuo, or a state of rival status, and therefore should not be treated as a subject (pu-ch'en). This treatment was the principle of chi-mi. Barbarians belonged to the Huang-fu or " wild zone" and could not be expected to make regular court visits. According to Hsiao, by not treating them as subjects the Han would be free not to consider any later disobedient Hsiung-nu chieftains as disloyal servants and therefore would not be obliged to send punitive expeditions against them. This proposal was adopted by the Han emperor. The policy of chi-mi pu-ch'en, also known as pu chuan-chih, "not to impose despotic control over them," was also supported in 3 B.c. by Yang Hsiung, who held that


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although barbarians who failed to come to pay court visits should not be forced to do so, those who came should not be refused. The expenditures involved in the entertainments and gift-making were considered necessary.18 In A.D. 52, when the northern Hsiung-nu, following the example of their southern cousins, also requested a ho-ch'in relationship, the Han emperor ordered the members of the Three Lords' Offices (San-fu) to hold a discussion about how to respond. Pan Piao, father of Pan Ku, said that because the Han dynasty was then not strong enough to help the southern Hsiung-nu to attack the northern, the relationship with the latter should not be severed. According to him, the principle of chi-mi was that if the barbarians came in accordance with li (rites and rituals), in no case should they be denied a response (// wu pu ta). Following his suggestion, the Han accepted the gifts of the northern Hsiung-nu, made grants to them in corresponding value, and also informed them about the precedents set by obedient and disobedient chieftains of the southern Hsiung-nu. 19 Around A.D. 79 the weakened northern Hsiung-nu made more overtures for peace. Pan Ku again favored the chi-mi policy and proposed a two-toone formula: for every two times they sent envoys to China, China should send one mission to them. 20 This formula to maintain a lukewarm peace, however, soon proved unneccessary. In A.D. 89 Han troops under General Tou Hsien deeply penetrated the Hsiung-nu territory and won a decisive battle. Pan Ku, as secretary with the army, was ordered to compose an inscription for a stone monument on the Yen-jan shan to commemorate the victory, which he apparently was glad to do. It should be added that the Pan family produced not only men of letters, but also generals in Ku's brother Ch'ao and Ch'ao's son Yung, both of whom were remarkably successful in the Western Regions. Altogether, it was a family well versed in frontier affairs. With the establishment of the chi-mi fu chou or "military and civil prefectures under loose rein" by the T'ang dynasty on its frontier, the expression chi-mi became part of a technical term referring to a special institution. In general, the head of such a prefecture (normally a native) was permitted to pass his post on hereditarily, was allowed not to report on population and finances to the central government, and was given much liberty in local internal affairs. The Sung continued the institution of chimi chou. The Ming also used the terms chi-mi chou hsien, "prefectures and districts under loose rein" and chi-mi wei-so, "garrisons under loose rein"; but the most common term referring to the institution was fu-ssu or "local chieftains serving as officials," including t'u-chih-chou, "local


ON THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER chieftains as chou magistrates," t'u chih-hsiert, "local chieftains as hsien magistrates," and so forth. Such prefectures and districts under loose rein constituted a frontier prefectural system in name but a frontier feudal system in reality. The efforts made by the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties to convert them into regular prefectures and districts (a process known as kai-t'u kuei-liu) yielded only limited results. The institution of chi-mifu chou or t'u-ssu was sometimes described as i-i chih-i, "using barbarians to govern barbarians," a policy related to but not identical with that of i-i kung-i or i-ifa-i, "using barbarians to attack barbarians," and i-i chih-i, "using barbarians to check barbarians." The phrase "using barbarians to attack barbarians" in its various versions in Chinese can be traced back to Pan Ch'ao and others of the Later Han, Ch'ao Ts'o of the Early Han, and the Kuan tzu, a work attributed to Kuan Chung. 21 Although bitterly criticized as a foolish policy by Wang Fu-chih in the seventeenth century, it has continued to be resorted to by strategists from time to time in reality if not in name. The above survey demonstrates that the chi-mi policy could be used either inside or outside of the frontier depending on whether China was weak or strong. Kuo Sung-tao also viewed the term chi-mi favorably. What he praised in Pan Ku's chi-mi policy was his stress on sincerity and good faith: "so that the blame of being crooked would always be on them." This was certainly in Han Wen-ti's mind when he promised the Hsiung-nu in 162 B.C. that "after the ho-ch'in agreement, the Han dynasty will not be the party to commit a fault first" (Han kuo pu hsien).22 This policy also agrees with the classical Confucian tradition. Mutual confidence, of course, is a necessary condition for any lasting peace. Before choosing between peace and war, however, it is important to collect intelligence, analyze it, and test the result of the analysis so as to ascertain the other party's strength and intention. In his realization that China in the nineteenth century was in an unprecedented situation and in his determination that China had to make an all-out effort to understand the foreigners, Kuo was more penetrating than most if not all of his contemporaries. Actually, in the area of foreign relations Kuo was proud of his own depth (shen) while granting largeness Cta) to Li Hung-chang and solidity (shih) to Shen Pao-chen.23 Another remarkable point is that, except for a cliche like chi-mi, his collected works, including volumes of prose, poetry, and memorials, do not seem to contain even a single instance in which he himself compared foreigners or barbarians to animals.


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The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) was founded after the Chinese had experienced nearly a hundred years of humiliation and subjugation under the Mongols. For the northern Chinese this humiliation had begun even earlier, in 1126, with the Jürched capture of Kaifeng. But the Mongol Yuan period (1279-1368) was particularly difficult to explain, because it was the first time the whole of China had come under foreign rule. The conquest could not have been explained in simple traditional terms as long as the Mongols were still in power, because there was no precedent in the whole of Chinese history for China's total envelopment within a foreign-based empire. During the Yuan, the Confucian view of the world in general, and of foreign relations in particular, had been severely challenged. Only when it was clear that the Mongols could be defeated and driven out and China revert to Chinese rule could an explanation of the conquest be found. The Ming founder, Chu Yuan-chang, who became the Hung-wu Emperor, was especially concerned that the northern Chinese should understand what had happened. In November 1367,1 when he ordered fresh troops for the northern campaign against the Mongols still in China, he sent a message to the peoples of North China which invoked the classical concept of the Mandate of Heaven. It read in part: "Ever since the earliest emperors ruled all-under-Heaven, China has controlled the barbarians from within while the barbarians have respectfully looked to China from without. The barbarians have never been known to rule the empire (fien-hsia)


SOUTHEAST ASIA : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY from within China. Since the Sung was overthrown and the Yuan came as northern barbarians (ti) to rule over China, all peoples within and without have offered submission without exception. This was hardly (the result of) human effort, but really the gift of Heaven . . . " The message continued to explain that Heaven's rejection of the Mongols because of their lack of virtue (te) was more significant than mere Mongol misrule. In saving China from barbarian rule, Chu Yuan-chang added, Heaven must have wanted a man of China to rule over the people of China. This message, like the series of proclamations following Hung-wu's accession to the throne the next year, was drafted by the Confucian scholars he had recruited to his cause.2 Their approach was strictly traditional and each statement, as in the November message quoted above, referred to a historically determined view of what had always held true for China and its relations with non-Chinese peoples. The new Ming court thought it necessary to reassert the validity of the Confucian view of China's place in the world and systematically began to do so. Each step was taken with an eye on the classics of history (especially the Classic of Documents and the Tso chuan or Tso Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals) as well as on the institutions and practices of the Han and T'ang dynasties at their peak and of the Northern Sung when it was still viable.3 Yet, although the Ming court constantly made out that its relations with foreign countries were based on relationships firmly established in the past, its statements can be shown, through the officially accepted or sponsored Chinese historical writings themselves, to have been misleading. Take, for example, the November message above. The records show clearly that the Chinese empire frequently had not "controlled the barbarians from within," and just as frequently the barbarians had not "respectfully looked to China from without." Also, all too often, tame Chinese scholars and ministers had reassured foreign conquerors of North China like the T'o-pa Wei, or the Sha-t'o Turks, or the Jiirched Chin ruling houses that their nonChinese dynasties did rule t'ien-hsia. As for saying that submission had been offered to the Mongol Yuan " since the Sung was overthrown," the Ming compilers of the Yuan shih themselves admitted that most peoples had been forced to submit long before Sung China was conquered. The submissions followed the success of Mongol armed might and had nothing to do with the survival of the Sung or the finer issues of legitimacy (chengfung) favored in traditional historical explanation. Finally, it should be added that Mongol power and the will to conquer the whole world was based on superior fighting ability rather than on anything the Chinese could


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call virtue (ie)—in other words, the Mongol conquest had been very much the result of "human effort." 4 There seems, therefore, a considerable gap between convention and reality. This can also be seen in early Ming relations with Southeast Asian countries as conducted in terms of a long-accepted tributary system. There was much in the tributary system that was conventional: the language, the rituals, the recording of events, the basic Confucian view of the world. But there also appear to have been strands that were radically different: the aggressiveness, the emperor's personal interest, the particular blend of impartiality and armed might. This brief essay can hardly attempt to prove that this was so. It does, I believe, bring out one fact. The early Ming emperors claimed to have revived a classical system based on historical experience. They treated foreign relations as if the main attitudes toward the whole subject had grown out of China's past practice. I propose now to survey the Chinese historical writings to discover what these attitudes were and trace briefly how they evolved in imperial China. Central to the classical system was the attitude of superiority. This idea of superiority developed over a long and continuous period as the product of history and not as an inherent trait of the Chinese. At times it was clearly myth, a sustaining and comforting myth, but equally clearly at other times it was reality, a reality that nurtured cultural pride but also called for moral restraint. The long-asked question has been why China developed a system of relationships with foreign countries peculiar to herself. I believe that if we can understand how the Chinese held on to their idea of superiority, the reason why they worked out their own system of foreign relations would not then be so remarkable.

The Myth of Superiority: Its Origin It appears to me pertinent to begin by saying that there is no evidence that the Chinese were innately more prone to arrogance than any other people. The ancient historical records both before and after Confucius show that the Chinese conformed to the general pattern of civilized nations of early times. All peoples who believed that they alone were civilized did so because they thought their neighbors less civilized than themselves. This view was often proved wrong by subsequent contact with other civilized peoples. Sometimes it was completely demolished by events. In the case of the earliest Chinese philosophers, the view persisted throughout the Shang


W I T H SOUTHEAST ASIA: B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY and Chou periods. Even in the midst of bitter interstate rivalries, as in the Warring States or Chan-kuo period, these thinkers and writers apparently saw no reason to doubt that the Chinese form of civilization was a superior one. In every direction, after military victories or sustained cultural influence, the "barbarians" were either ejected from Chinese terrain or brought into the fold as "new" Chinese. The philosophers thus became more dogmatic about the essential homogeneity and unity of an emerging Chinese people. Contacts with the "barbarian" Man, Yi, Jung, and Ti on the four quarters confirmed them in their belief that Chinese civilization was matchless and supreme. Thus began a theory of superiority, and certainly up to the end of the Chou the theory would appear to have corresponded to reality. Already it could be said that some non-Chinese people accepted this superiority, as in the case of the Ch'in state in Shensi and later of Pa and Shu in Szechwan; or of the states of Wu and Yueh in the Huai and Yangtze delta regions; or in the extended territories of Ch'u in Kiangsi and Hunan, and in the Yen state in northern Hopei and west and southern Manchuria. 5 During these formative years of Chinese civilization, two points need special noting. The philosophers were not unanimous about what constituted civilization and they also debated vigorously the best means of achieving its fullest growth; but there was a consensus that the chu-hsia (Chinese) were different from and superior to the yi-ti (barbarians). Certain criteria were suggested by the different schools of thought, but there was no single view about how the Chinese should deal with nonChinese. A number of different ways were possible. There was conquest and assimilation by force or by example; or a pushing out of those who resisted; or some kind of lord-vassal relationship with chiefs and rulers willing to accept that status; or a total refusal to deal with barbarians. It was left to historical developments, as interpreted through the eyes of Confucian historians, to bring about a clearer view of how Chinese imperial governments should see the outside world. The second point is that, although there was no agreement about policy, the vocabulary concerning Sino-foreign relations was being steadily developed. Already some of these terms were the same as those describing existing relationships between the Son of Heaven (t'ien-tzu) and his feudal lords (chu-hou)—for example, the terms "to present tribute" (kung), " t o offer u p " (hsien), and "to come to court" (ch'ao). Others were used to denote distance and separation, as in huang-fu (territory far from the capital) and fan-fu (the outermost region).6 Such terms were not used with


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any consistency, nor did they represent actual relations. They were perhaps more like metaphors or myths than descriptions of political reality, but it would be difficult to prove from this that the myths did not derive from any reality at all or did not carry some conviction. The Ch'in unification marked the first important turning point in Chinese foreign relations. A single Chinese ruler faced many foreign kings. We begin to have fuller records of such relations. There is no need for us to depend on philosophers for Chinese attitudes and generalizations about non-Chinese peoples. Full formal relations were now carried on with a variety of countries, most of which were smaller than China. It was left to the historian to describe these relations and comment on China's position. Historians like Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Pan Ku, and their successors had to test out the accepted view of Chinese superiority. They could, with hindsight, judge the policies of emperors and ministers. They could, if they wanted to, take a longer view and examine the assumptions that lay behind imperial policy. Both indirectly, by their selection of material, and directly by observations and comments at the end of each chapter of their histories in sections called lun and tsan,7 they could and did set out a theory of foreign relations; not just a theory that helped to explain the past, but also one to guide the future. When we examine the historians' works and comments and their role in providing continuity for imperial government, it is remarkable how many of them took pains to comment on foreign relations. It is particularly noteworthy that most of the standard histories from Ssu-ma Ch'ien's Shih chi to Ou-yang Hsiu's Hsin Wu-tai shih contain many discussions on this subject, while the remaining five histories of Sung, Liao, Chin, Yuan, and Ming compiled between 1297 and 1739 significantly left the chapters on "foreign countries" (wai-kuo) with hardly any comment. In the following pages I propose to survey briefly the work of some of these historians and try to show how their comments provide us with clues as to the evolution of a Chinese theory of foreign relations, and why the lack of comment after 1279 is also revealing of changes in the myth as well as the reality.

The Myth of Superiority in the Major Histories Ssu-ma Ch'ien lived to see the appearance of several countries that had relations with the Han empire, but whose status and the nature of whose relations had yet to be defined. He saw the significance of this fact and devoted six chapters to these countries. Five of them dealt with areas




traditionally known to the Chinese, while the sixth concerned the newly discovered states of Central Asia. 8 In the first five concerning the Hsiungnu, the countries of South and Southwest China and those of Manchuria, he emphasized their ancient ties with the legendary emperors and with the Hsia, Shang, and Chou dynasties. He quoted earlier sources about kung, ch'ao, hsien, and fu (submission) as the basis of traditional relations, yet he clearly noted that both Ch'in Shih-huang-ti and Han Wu-ti conquered territories where they could. It was not enough to have these countries enrolled as various sorts of vassals (chu-hou, wai-ch'en, or fan-cKen), and to have them kuei-fu (submit their allegiance) and feng-chao (receive orders). It was thought necessary to subdue them by force, to make them surrender (chii-kuo hsiang), and to appoint officials (chih-li) so as to incorporate them into the empire. 9 This was particularly true of Han Wu-ti's reign. And where the invasion and conquest was swift and successful, Ssu-ma Ch'ien approved of the policies adopted. Where conquest failed, however, as with the Hsiung-nu, he quoted memorials against the wastefulness of war by civilian ministers who argued that the Hsiung-nu were too strong and their lands not worth conquering. He also quoted letters to and from the Hsiung-nu ruler or shan-yii and showed the wisdom of the peace (ho-ch'in)policy ofWen-ti and his proposals for "coexistence" and "nonaggression" (wu-ju-sai, wu-ch'u-sai). By implication, Ssu-ma Ch'ien was not convinced that his contemporaries were right to insist that the Hsiungnu submit as "exterior vassals" (wai-ch'en), that is, surrender unconditionally or face war. 10 Even more difficult was the question of relations with the countries of the Western Region. Chang Ch'ien had advised a fraternal relationship with the king of Wu-sun, to be accompanied by efforts to get the other countries to become wai-ch'en. The Wu-sun king, however, was subordinate to the Hsiung-nu whereas smaller states were themselves subordinate to Wu-sun. As for Ta-yuan (Ferghana) after the Chinese invasion, it went through a stage of alliance (meng) in the beginning, later sending hostages (chih) to China, and finally forcing the Chinese to send gifts to them to maintain order (lu-ch'ih i chen-fu chih). All relations with Central Asia were maintained at great expense, and Ssu-ma Ch'ien obviously disapproved of this. 11 The cost of exhibiting power and virtue (wei-te) there seemed too high. From Ssu-ma Ch'ien's account and from his comments on foreign relations, it seems clear that the Chinese perceived several kinds of relationship between countries in the known world. Most countries adopted


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some kind of unequal relationship not only with China but also among themselves. None, however, was really stable. The degree of inequality fluctuated with changes in the relative strength of countries at different times. Only Emperor Wen-ti's ho-cffin or peace policy implied equality, and this was abandoned in Wu-ti's time. At this point there was no single accepted view of what China's relations with foreign countries should be based upon. A man like Ssu-ma Ch'ien was able to show that many Chinese did not believe that such relations could be permanent if they were based only on force and on relative strength. This uncertainty appears to have been created by events, by the historical situation and the new experience of Ch'in-Han unification. The Confucian philosophers had not anticipated it, and ready answers had not yet been found in the classics. A hundred and fifty years later, Pan Ku in his great Han history was able to see the picture more clearly. Once the Hsiung-nu empire had begun to disintegrate and the shatt-yii had offered to pay respect personally to the Son of Heaven, it would appear that the last obstacle to the Chinese view of their own superiority had been removed. But Pan Ku, while recording that the Hsiung-nu came to the court (ju-ch'ao, ch'ao-hsien, feng-hsien), also favored the argument that the shatt-yii should not be compared to chu-hou or vassals but should be treated as a "guest" (k'o) and placed above the chu-hou. The equality implied in the term k'o was reinforced by relating that the shan-yii came to court for tactical reasons, having argued with his ministers t h a t " strength and weakness change with time" and that it was Han's turn to be strong and the Hsiung-nu's turn to submit in order to survive.12 Pan Ku recognized that relations with the Hsiung-nu posed the greatest difficulty in any definition of China's position vis-ä-vis all other countries, and he devoted his longest comment or tsan to this subject. In this he set out authoritatively what he thought should be the basis of future relations. He criticized the Han debate on whether the policy should be one of peace (ho-ch'in) or aggression (cheng-fa); he thought both views were short-sighted and dependent on relative strength. He even attacked Tung Chung-shu's proposals on the ground that they were unrealistic unless the Hsiung-nu and the Chinese shared common cultural values. He then showed how he favored the policy of treating the Hsiung-nu as k'o or guest vassals while remaining in a state of constant preparedness against their attack. After giving his historical judgments on Han policy, he proceeded to outline the traditions of Chinese-barbarian relations. Since barbarian problems were ancient ones, he argued, solutions should




follow the traditional practices which were valid for all time. He referred to the concept of the Five Submissions or wti-fu, in which were spelt out the five degrees of hierarchical relationship based on distance from the imperial realm. He spoke of treating the Chinese (chu-hsia) as Inner (nei) and the barbarians (yi-ti) as Outer (wai) peoples and showed how this was determined by nature and geography. With the Outer barbarians there were to be no formal relations; there should also be no aggressive wars against them. These barbarians were to be controlled only when they approached China and watchfully guarded against when they went away. And finally Pan Ku implied that the last emperors of Han had achieved something close to this view of an Inner-Outer separation based on Chinese superiority by declining to deal actively with foreign countries. 13 Pan Ku was the first to try to establish a firm theory of imperial foreign relations. He did this not so much by sticking to the realities of Han history as by reaffirming certain pre-imperial attitudes. Ingeniously, he made it appear that the classical metaphors suited the historical facts, and even that the facts demanded the restatement of the myth. He set the historiographical practice by recording Hsiung-nu missions as bearing tribute while admitting that their status was properly that of k'o or guests. By this time all foreign missions were recorded as tribute missions, and both administrative convention and historical custom sanctified this practice thereafter. The Chinese had begun to believe that the tributary relationship was the only normal one which did not conflict with their total view of the known world. This theory was unchallenged by events for more than two hundred years after Pan Ku's death. Internal rebellions had been disastrous at the end of the Later Han, but recovery was satisfactory; new barbarian threats were met successfully by force and surrendered tribesmen were resettled within Chinese territory. Not until the beginning of the fourth century A.D. did developments along the northern and western borders radically change the status quo. North China came under non-Chinese rule, and every effort of Chinese rulers in Central and South China to reconquer the north was unsuccessful. Two historians of the fifth century were outstanding in their reflections on the dilemma that the Chinese confronted when viewing foreign relations from the banks of the Yangtze. They were Fan Yeh and Shen Yiieh. Both were to find difficulties in reconciling Pan Ku's theory with the contemporary situation. Fan Yeh, writing of the Later Han dynasty, and not of the immediate past, had the easier task of the two. 14 But he showed his disappointment with Han foreign policy and was particularly bitter about the men who had




advocated the policy of resettlement (nei ch'ien) for the Hsiung-nu and the Ch'iang people from Tibet. In his six lun and tsan on foreign countries he showed sympathy for those who had advocated war (cheng-fa), and in several chapters of his history, unlike Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Pan Ku, he recognized the military achievements of Emperor Wu-ti, who had brought glory to China. He did not comment directly on Pan Ku's views on foreign relations but appeared to regret the fall of North China too much to care for the finer points of k'o status and Inner-Outer separation. Fan distinguished between relations with Man-Yi barbarians to the south and east and those with the Ch'iang and Hsiung-nu to the west and north. For the latter he emphasized the need for strength, the strength that the Han empire had had but did not use wisely or to the full. He wrote as one who saw that, since China could be defeated, the only reliable way to prevent this was for China to be always forceful in its relations with foreign states. This feeling was shared by Shen Yiieh, who had the more difficult task of writing about a dynasty, the Liu Sung (420-479), which had never ruled in the north and at a time when there was no prospect of winning back the north from the so-nu, the T'o-pa Wei. 15 In despair, he referred to the stalemate along the Huai valley in much the same way that earlier historians had referred to a stalemate along the Great Wall. He echoed Pan Ku in affirming the absolute division between barbarian and Chinese, but the line was now much farther south—between the dry plains dominated by nomad horsemen and the flood plains defended by Chinese river shipping. Shen Yiieh also noted that China had been cut off from the countries of the Western Region by land and that the western countries sought trading relations by sea. He recorded that many Buddhist countries in South and Southeast Asia came because they considered the Chinese emperor a Buddhist ruler. 18 Trade and a common faith had become prominent in foreign relations and these realities were not ignored. But he could not, nor did he wish to, depart from the accepted practice of describing all countries that sought any kind of relationship with China as coming with tribute. The official language implying superiority was employed, although without much conviction, largely because of the desire to think in tributary terms and to use a uniform terminology. The myth was sustained, but this did not necessarily mean that Shen Yiieh or Fan Yeh was completely blind to historical facts. The Pan Ku theory of Han superiority was obviously inadequate to regulate relations between the T'o-pa Wei and the southern Chinese dynasties. It did, however, suffice when foreign rulers sent missions to trade in peace. No question of political superiority was involved in this


W I T H S O U T H E A S T A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY sphere, only the acknowledgment that other countries wanted what China had to give. As long as there was reason to believe that this was more or less the case, this fact justified the continued use of the now-established language of foreign relations. Although both Fan Yeh and Shen Yiieh wrote in Confucian terms, theirs was not an age of Confucian orthodoxy. It is ironical that it was in North China, among the successors of the T'o-pa dynasty, that the value of Confucian doctrine for imperial government was reaffirmed. When successful unification followed under the Sui and T'ang emperors, a whole series of official historians was asked to interpret the centuries of division. They were led to comment on how the Han heritage had endured invasion and conquest, on what made great emperors and good government, and also on how China should deal with foreign countries. The historians, reading their Classic of Documents carefully, came to agree that good government manifested itself through the concept of te (virtue, vertu, power) and then went on to say that it was the presence of this te that persuaded people within and outside the empire to offer submission and accept the leadership of the Son of Heaven. This idea was not new to the Confucians. What was new was that the historians came to see te as central to imperial China's relations with foreign countries. The great proponent of this view was Wei Cheng (580-643), who wrote the comments on the history of the Sui dynasty. 17 He was supported by the team of historians who compiled the final version of the Chin shu (History of the Chin dynasty). 18 They were not concerned with tactical issues of peace and war, nor did they discuss the more passive views of Inner-Outer separation. Their long view of history concluded that where there was te (or tao-te), where there was able, firm, and properly constituted government, the foreign countries came in peace and came respectfully. This view was succinctly expressed by the unofficial historian, Li Yen-shou, author of the Nan shih and Pei shih, when he used the phrase, "with te, they came; without tao they went away." 19 That this phrase was a statement of ideology is clear. Actual policy had to be determined by a more realistic appraisal of the facts. Ling-hu Te-fen, author of the Chou shu, discussed Pan Ku's views and carefully noted that his definitions were relevant only to the Han. He pointed out that history was so fluid and the rhythm of strength and weakness so unpredictable that the only sound policy was one o f " act on opportunity; move according to the times"—an utterly pragmatic and flexible approach toward foreign countries. 20


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The early T'ang historians lived in a reign of judicious campaigns against countries to the northeast, north, and northwest and a succession of victories. It seemed clear to them that te was the product and a function of power. Although they had no means of knowing that the T'ang was to last for nearly three hundred years, they were perhaps confident that the te manifested in the first fifty years could carry the dynasty on for a very long time. In fact the T'ang did endure, and the historians of the tenth and eleventh centuries who came to write its history (Chiu Tang shu and Hsin T'ang shu) were led to conclude that T'ang te was indeed glorious. 21 Although mistakes had been made and some of the barbarians were never completely pacified, there seemed no reason to doubt that foreign relations should be conducted on the assumptions of China's te. There was, of course, a rhythm of prosperity and decline (skeng and shuai), and policies toward the strong and the weak (cKiang and jo) should indeed vary, but ultimately the government "should only be anxious if it did not have te and not be concerned that people [foreign missions] did not come." 22 In the afterglow of T'ang te, the official Sung historians likewise saw that this te was essential to Chinese superiority. Foreign relations conducted in the shadow of Chinese te was an integral function of China's place in the world. Only a few like Ou-yang Hsiu entertained private doubts, but his views were probably read as pertinent only to the disorderly Five Dynasties period and not for universal application. 23 It appears to me that a Confucian theory of government, which was to guide foreign relations, was boldly stated at the beginning of the T'ang and confirmed by T'ang history. Sung historians were, on the whole, convinced of this, just as second- and third-century Confucians were certain that Pan Ku's idea of Inner-Outer separation was the best expression of Chinese superiority. Historical facts made it necessary to redefine the myth in more acceptable terms; yet it would be wrong to think that the myth itself did not undergo change. Pan Ku's version of the myth was already dubious in the eyes of Fan Yeh and Shen Yüeh, but the resurgence of Confucian values in the T'ang brought about a new statement of the myth, a statement more confident and more far-reaching. When even successful foreign invasions had ended in a final Chinese supremacy, something catastrophic would have to occur before the Chinese could doubt that their myth of superiority would transcend reality. Something catastrophic for the Chinese did indeed happen within 220 years after the Hsin Tang shu was completed in 1060. For the first time the whole of China came under foreign rule. It became difficult to see how the


W I T H S O U T H E A S T A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY historians could reconcile the Mongol conquest with the established myth of superiority. And indeed they had considerable difficulty in doing so. The standard practice of compiling the previous dynasty's history was delayed for nearly seventy years. When this was finally done, all three dynasties of Sung, Liao, and Chin were deemed to have been "legitimate." 24 But an extraordinary thing happened. For the three centuries of intense relations between the Sung and the Liao, and between the Sung and the Chin empires themselves, and between all three and other countries (from 960 to 1276), there was no significant historical comment on the nature of foreign relations. The only comments the historians allowed themselves included a General Introduction on foreign countries and one comment on the Tangut Hsi Hsia in Sung shih, one on Hsi Hsia and Korea in Chin shih. Understandably, there could have been nothing on relations with the Mongols, but there was also no comment on Sung relations with the countries to the east, south, and southwest. Of the four comments mentioned, those on Korea said nothing about the relationships involved, whereas those on the Hsi Hsia extolled its rulers' skill at surviving for 258 years and their wisdom in embracing Confucius; only one comment referred to Hsi Hsia as never having really paid tribute to any empire, and another had a timid allusion to te being better than li (force) in relation to Khitan attempts to conquer Hsi Hsia before 1115.25 After seventy years of Mongol rule the Confucian historians were finally permitted to write their histories, but they appeared reluctant to discuss the nature of foreign relations. That this lack of discussion was because of reluctance rather than because there was nothing to add on the subject seems even more likely when the Yuan shih is also examined. Here the early Ming historians found it wiser not to comment on any of the events of the Mongol empire at all. It was as if the whole Mongol imperial experience was beyond rationalization. It was enough that tradition was observed and an official history filled the gap from the fall of the Sung. Significantly, there was to be a second total conquest of China in 1644. When this happened, Ming history had to be written. Again there was delay while points of interpretation were disputed (this time for ninety-five years), and again there was no comment on foreign relations, even though there were comments on most other chapters of Ming shih.26 Different explanations may be found for the omissions noted above in the post-Sung dynastic histories. That there should be such omissions, however, has probably a simpler explanation. In the light of the continuous and intense discussions of foreign relations to be found in the standard





histories from Ssu-ma Ch'ien to Ou-yang Hsiu, over a period of more than 1,100 years, the one obvious change in reality that confounded the myth was the Mongol conquest completed in 1279. The historians had had to strain the concept of legitimacy in order to accept the Liao dynasty; they succeeded in straining it still further by incorporating Mongol history into the mainstream of Chinese history. Comment on this was too difficult to be attempted, particularly as the theory of te simply could not be made to apply to Sung failure against the Mongols and there was nothing in Yuan expansionism and dominance over foreign countries that could be described as a function of te. The immensely comforting te of the T'ang dynasty, which had been an inspiration to the Sung Chinese, could not provide an adequate framework for judging Sung and Yuan foreign relations. When the Chinese Ming rulers reigned once more after 1368, there had to be new appraisals to help the Chinese understand their place in the world again. But there was a difference between their relations with the North and with Southeast Asia. The expansion of foreign northern dynasties into China from 936 to 1368 had changed Chinese attitudes toward the North and upset traditional relations with northern and western countries for over 400 years (for the Yuan, there were only Mongol-Mongol relations across the whole Asian continent). But there had been no similar break in relations with Southeast Asia. 27 It would appear profitable for us to examine Southern Sung and Mongol relations with Southeast Asia and compare them with those of the early Ming in order to see if there were significant changes in the nature of foreign relations during this crucial period before and after 1279. Before I begin, let me sum up the main shifts in the view of foreign relations which may be seen in the comments of successive generations of historians. It was Ssu-ma Ch'ien who set the tone by showing that the subject was worth full discussion in terms of historical events and not merely through traditional values. Pan Ku, the more aggressive Confucian scholar, was ready to draw general conclusions and provide guiding principles, but even he was groping for a more stable foreign relationship and his use of choice classical allusions suggests a seeking for authority rather than a reassertion of philosophical doctrine. Three hundred years later Fan Yeh and Shen Yüeh revealed their uncertainty about universal principles and were much more impressed by the need for strength and force. With the skilled use of force the Sui and T'ang rulers brought power and glory to the empire, and T'ang and Sung historians concluded that it was


W I T H SOUTHEAST A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY China's possession of te that made for satisfactory relations with foreign countries. It was at this point that the Sung empire began to face its ordeal against the power of the Jiirched and later of the Mongols.

Southern Sung and Yuan in Contrast The Sung shih General Introduction to foreign countries begins by restating the accepted view that "the te of T'ang having declined, the [missions of] distant huang-fu areas did not come." 28 Then, with Sung unification, foreign countries came from all directions in response to the dynasty's awe-inspiring "majesty and virtue," wei-te. The Sung treatment of these missions was to be "generous with gifts without calculating the value of tribute and to grant them honors without making heavy demands; if they came they were not rejected, if they went, they were not pursued." Invasions were thrown back, but there was no excessive resort to arms. It was admitted that, with the fall of the Northern Sung, the North was cut off and only from countries on the western and southeastern borders were there still some missions. It is remarkable that the Sung shih has almost nothing to say about official relations between the Southern Sung and the Southeast Asian countries. The defeat of the Sung by the Jiirched in 1126-1127 was humiliating. The new emperor, Kao-tsung, at Lin-an (Hangchow) sought goodwill in Southeast Asia by trying to reopen relations with the Khmer empire and with Java and others, but only Annam and Champa responded. To both the latter Kao-tsung offered additional titles, and to Annam he offered full recognition of its independence. After 1155 there was no further tribute from Champa; only Annam continued to send tribute, and its last mission in 1261 was somewhat perfunctory, though it did present an elephant.29 Until 1155 the Sung may still have exerted an influence on the border relations between Annam and Champa. After that date nothing remains; and the wars between Champa and the Khmers were wholly ignored— neither side sought Chinese mediation or notice. The weakened Southern Sung, although based on Lin-an and close to the great ports of Fukien, where a thriving trade with Southeast Asia continued to develop, virtually lost official contact with all the countries of that area except Annam for about 150 years. During this period a great deal was happening in Southeast Asia which the Chinese could easily have known about through traders at Chü'an-chou if they had wanted to. 30


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But there was perhaps nothing to justify speaking of the survival of Sung te in the south. Even more remarkable is the way the Yuan shih recorded, without comment, the new Mongol relations with the Southeast Asian countries. Conventional language was used to describe the countries that had not yet submitted (wei-fu), even when describing the Mongol pattern of conquest. Khubilai Khan's first edict to the king of Annam in 1260 was identical with traditional edicts of this kind, referring to the king's wish to pay his respects to the Mongol empire (hsiang-feng mu-yi) and submit (ch'en-fu) as before, but there was a pointed reference to hostages being desirable. When this was agreed to, the next edict demanded clearly specified tribute items, which included sending three Confucian scholars, three doctors, and three astrologers. In 1266 the king pleaded that he be exempted from sending scholars and artisans, and this was agreed to. Then in 1267 Khubilai Khan laid down what he really meant by the terms of tribute: 31 1. The ruler to seek audience personally 2. Sons to be sent as hostages 3. A census of population to be made 4. The people to provide military corvee 5. Taxes to be paid 6. A Mongol governor to be in charge Missions came and went to discuss these terms, but even the Mongols could not get the Vietnamese to comply with the terms without resorting to force. An inconclusive war eventually followed in 1286-1288. Annam sent tribute throughout the period of disputation over what the tributary relationship signified. But neither side doubted that the relationship was dictated entirely by Mongol power. With other countries in Southeast Asia the Mongols sought relations only after the conquest of South China in 1278. They were aggressive toward Champa while seeking friendly relations with Siam and with countries as far away as the Malabar coast in South India. They were particularly friendly toward the Khmer empire and appear to have accepted the Khmers as some kind of ally from whom help would have been welcome. But, as with Annam, the attack on Champa failed (1283-1284), partly because neither the Vietnamese nor the Khmers would agree to helping the Mongol forces. Finally, at the end of Khubilai Khan's reign, in 1293, there came the disastrous campaign in Java. After that there were no further adventures in Southeast Asia. 32 Two points deserve special note. The Mongols demanded subjection


W I T H SOUTHEAST ASIA: B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY (nei-fu or hsiang) from both Annam and Champa but only tribute (kung) from the others. The initiative came from the Yuan court, and, although the language used has come to us couched in Confucian terms, the demands were obviously accompanied by threats, and force was in fact used wherever feasible or necessary. The second point is that there was no system of foreign relations here, merely the extension of the Mongol empire as far as proved possible. Only where power was irrelevant did the Mongols genuinely attempt a more traditional Chinese-style relationship, as with the Khmers, Siam, and Quilon. It is not difficult to understand why the compilers of Yuan shih preferred not to comment on the subject. The Mongol vision of their destiny to conquer the world differed fundamentally from the reassuring view of T'ang and Sung te persuading the world to submit to Chinese moral superiority. There could have been no reconciliation between the two if the Southern Sung had survived. The Chinese would have confidently waited until northern China was eventually won back, as so often before, to the cause of government by te. But the Sung did not survive and, for at least thirty years after 1279, the Mongol vision prevailed. This was long enough for the Chinese ministers to find that there was no real contradiction between te and force as long as the force was applied by a ruler possessing te. After all, there were the examples of Han Wu-ti and T'ang T'ai-tsung in Chinese history and both were more successful when compared with Khubilai Khan's failures in Annam and Champa and against Japan and Java. With te, the use of force would have been more positive and just; without te, force was doomed to fail. The Mongol conquest proved that force was necessary, but the rapid decline of the Yuan also confirmed that the old formula of wei and te, material "power" and moral "virtue," must not be separated. What was wrong with the Sung was its overemphasis on te and its neglect of wei. The proper balance between the two was essential. This was the lesson of Mongol rule. When we compare the policies of Hung-wu and Yung-lo with those of the Sung and Yuan emperors, we can perceive the early Ming corrective to Sung te, supplied by a big show of Ming power and majesty. The Mongols had reminded the Chinese of what had been the winning combination in the past, a hard core of wei surrounded by a soft pulp of te. In the decisions of the two Ming emperors toward Southeast Asia, this combination can be seen as pivotal to the Chinese faith in their superiority over others.


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The Idea of Impartiality Many examples of claims based on history may be found in the letters or edicts that Emperor Hung-wu sent to all the foreign rulers known to the court in East, Southeast, and South Asia. One that was at the heart of the tribute system was the much repeated statement, " I n the past, when the emperors ruled all-under-Heaven, all who were lit by the sun and moon, whether near or far, were treated with impartiality. Thus with China stable and peaceful, [the countries in] all four directions were in their proper places and there was no intention to make them submit (to China)." 33 The phrase "treated with impartiality" (i-shih fung-jen) referred to an ideal situation in which the emperor did not discriminate between various foreign rulers—very much like a sage who would show affection and generosity to all his disciples. These rulers were not equal to the emperor, but they were equal in the eyes of the emperor. The statement above claimed to have past practice as its authority. But from the earliest records it can be seen that the Chinese were aware of various degrees of inequality in the relations between countries, for example, the Wu-sun kingdom, although subordinate to the Hsiung-nu in a fu-shu relationship, had a superior or i-shu relationship with states smaller than itself. In addition, the Han had had a fraternal (k'un-ti) relationship with the Hsiung-nu, and Emperor Wu-ti was, from the beginning, advised to have a similar fraternal relationship with the Wu-sun king. 34 Later, during the Northern and Southern dynasties, it was recorded that Po-ssu (Persia) sent tributary missions to the Northern Wei court and, about the same time, also to the Liang court in the South. At this time, the South regarded the T'o-pa Wei as inferior so-nu or "plaited hair" barbarians while the North contemptuously referred to the Chinese dynasties as tao-i or "island" barbarians. 36 A similar complication arose with the Tangut Hsi Hsia and the Koreans during the Sung dynasty. They both sent tribute to the Sung as well as to empires the Sung could hardly acknowledge as equals, the Khitan Liao and the Jürched Chin. 36 During the early Ming, however, there were genuine examples of Ming impartiality. Emperor Hung-wu was carefully impartial in the quarrels between Annam and Champa; this contrasted sharply with Mongol policy under Khubilai Khan, when Annam had been asked to help the Yuan against Champa. And when Hung-wu differentiated between countries near to China and those far away, it was apparently out of consideration for those whose envoys had a longer way to travel and not because of


W I T H SOUTHEAST A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY favoritism toward those closer to China. But a policy of impartiality, implying a principle of universal, even cosmic, equality, was in fact directly linked with China's superior size, resources, and power, as well as with her imperial interests. In spite of its protestations, the Ming court took a direct interest in the affairs of Annam and Korea, its closest neighbors in East Asia, and it also expected higher standards of behavior from them. 37 On the other hand, it was threatening and suspicious in dealing with Japan and cool toward Java. 38 And when foreign countries had the slightest connection with the internal politics of the court (as in the case of the obscure intrigues Prime Minister Hu Wei-yung was supposed to have started with envoys from Japan and Srivijaya), Emperor Hung-wu did not regard it as anything to do with disorder in the universe. His reactions were purely a violent response toward a power struggle which threatened his personal dominance over all imperial affairs.39 The ideal of impartiality often could be invoked to serve China's power interests. For example, Emperor Hung-wu's envoys to Brunei in 1370 could argue that since Java sent tribute to China, there was no reason why Brunei should send tribute to Java and not to China. By an act of adherence to China, Brunei and Java would have become equal before the Ming court. The Javanese envoys present at Brunei countered by reminding its king that it was the Javanese who had saved him during the Sulu invasion. The envoys said, "If you give your allegiance to China, you will be without us. When Sulu attacks again, you will have to seek help from China." Nevertheless, for reasons that have not been recorded, the Brunei king, at least in form, turned temporarily to China. The Ming records suggest that he saw the light (wu). In fact, however, Brunei sent no further missions after 1370 and was still paying an annual tribute to Java in 1408, while the Javanese sent at least eight missions during Hung-wu's reign (1368-1398). Brunei may have thought it more discreet to remain a vassal of Java until it was certain of real support from the Ming empire. When Emperor Yung-lo (1402-1424) appeared more forceful, Brunei asked in 1408 for the fullest protection and agreed to a form of provincial status {fang-chen; ching-t'u hsi-shu chih-fang). The young king also asked to be relieved of the obligation to send tribute to Java, and Yung-lo declared that Java should exempt Brunei from tribute. 40 It would appear that the claim of impartiality was convincing when China seemed prepared to back its recognition of any country with military or naval support. From this point of view, there was a considerable difference between the reigns of Hung-wu and of Yung-lo. During the reign of Hung-


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wu, Brunei for one was not convinced. Srivijaya, on the other hand, sent regular missions and sought Chinese recognition to protect it from Java. Although it had already been subordinated (wei-fu, i-shu) by Java, Chinese recognition would have implied that Srivijaya was still Java's equal. The Javanese were angered and killed the Chinese envoys sent to Srivijaya. Hung-wu was unable or unwilling to retaliate, and Srivijaya was soon afterward destroyed. 41 Curiously, in 1397, nearly twenty years later, Hungwu and his ministers wondered about the break in relations with countries beyond Siam and decided to compose a letter for the Srivijayan ruler. The letter was sent through Siam to Java, its contents to be conveyed to Srivijaya. The emperor was probably unaware that the kingdom no longer existed and that Java was then not in a position to control its dependencies in Sumatra and Malaya. What is interesting is the tone and wording of the letter. After reprimanding Srivijaya for having been disrespectful and ungrateful, the letter continued, " Should the Son of Heaven become violently angry, (he can) send an officer with an army of ten thousand to execute divine judgment as easily as the turn of his p a l m . . . Only Srivijaya obstructs our influence... This petty little country, by daring to be willful and refusing to submit, seeks its own destruction..." 42 This statement di rectly contradicted Hung-wu's own injunction in 1371 that the countries of East and Southeast Asia were those that would never be attacked (pu-cheng chih kuo).13 Was this letter a prelude to a show of force? It is interesting to note that in the last two years of his reign Hung-wu was checking on all his frontiers. He called for precautions along the northern frontier, he followed carefully various campaigns against tribal rebels in the southwest, he warned Annam not to interfere in Kwangsi, he renewed prohibitions against private overseas trade conducted by coastal Chinese, and he sent a strong letter to Ti"betan and other western kings and chiefs demanding that they send regular tribute. Soon after this letter of 1397 to Srivijaya, he was told that Korea was restless and not as respectful as it used to be, and raids from Japan by Wako pirates were more dangerous than ever.44 Within a few months, in the midst of intense activity, Hung-wu died in 1398 at the age of 70. He could not have had any idea of using force at this stage of his reign, and it was doubtful if the empire's impartiality could be maintained in the face of the many threats confronting it. This uncertainty and anxiety of 1397 contrasted strongly with Hung-wu's firm statement of policy in 1371. Then he had roundly declared, "The countries of barbarians overseas which bring calamity to China must not be spared from punishment. Those that do China no harm must not be


W I T H S O U T H E A S T A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY hastily i n v a d e d . . . We observe that small barbarian countries, across oceans and in the fastnesses of mountains, are remote in one corner [of the world]. If they do not trouble China, we will definitely not attack them. As for the barbarians on the northwest who have for generations been a danger to China, there cannot but be careful preparations against t h e m . . . " (italics added). 45 The hard and realistic tone of this statement of 1371 bears no resemblance to the image of impartiality and the conventional language of tributary relations. The reference to smallness, both in 1371 and in the 1397 letter to Srivijaya, shows that the emperor was perfectly aware of the permanent weakness of the countries of East and Southeast Asia as compared with the volatile and threatening nomad groupings to the north. In Hung-wu's own terms then, impartiality toward foreign countries was a function of Chinese power. It was convincing only when China's strength and security could not be challenged. In the advice to Brunei, warnings to Annam and Champa, praise for Siam, and admonitions to Srivijaya, the emperor's high moral tone of impartiality was like a velvet glove. But Hung-wu, who had declared that they were countries not to be attacked, could not be sure that they saw anything hard within the glove. His son, Yung-lo, was to leave no room for doubt. So much has been written on the foreign relations of Yung-lo's reign that I can be brief in outlining the main events. During the first years, between 1402 and 1405, Yung-lo followed Hung-wu's example by sending missions to every country known to him. His letters to foreign rulers explained the circumstances of his accession (not admitting to usurpation, of course) and his envoys usually succeeded in persuading the rulers to send missions bearing what was in every case recorded as tributary gifts. Then, from 1405, he began to send Cheng Ho with large naval forces to reach out to the Indian Ocean and its western shores. A variety of reasons have been given for these expeditions, ranging from the less credible one of a search for his nephew, whose throne he had taken, to the sinister but equally unconvincing one of imperial expansion. Certainly no single reason is adequate to explain such an immense expenditure of men and resources. The search for treasure (Cheng Ho's vessels were called "treasure-ships," pao-clfuari), the show of power and wealth, the desire to know what Timur (Tamerlane) and other Mongols were doing in the Far West of Asia, the extension of the tributary system, the personal vanity of Yung-lo and his greed for glory, the rivalries and politics of the inner and outer courts—all these may have contributed toward the decision. 48 Of particular interest is


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the extent to which Yung-lo's actions reflected a conception of a Chinese world order or a theory of foreign relations. To begin with, there was no apparent change in the conventional language which we associate with the tributary system. Certainly the ideal of impartiality was firmly asserted and, in the actions of Cheng Ho's naval forces, this impartiality was to a large extent real. Cheng Ho was as ready to punish the Chinese leaders of Palembang as he was the rebel leaders in Samudra in northeast Sumatra and even the king of Ceylon, when he was convinced that they had shown impropriety or defiance toward the Ming. His naval forces were not sent for diplomatic purposes, as was Chang Ch'ien on his famous journey to Central Asia or Kan Ying on his journey to Chaldea during the Han; nor were they expeditionary forces for conquest and war, like the armies of Li Kuang-li sent against Ferghana or those of Pan Ch'ao of the Han or Kao Hsien-chih of the T'ang sent to pacify the countries of Central Asia. Cheng Ho's expeditions were not merely naval versions of earlier adventures overland toward the West, and they were not directly linked with any efforts to secure the traditional Chinese frontiers. They were sent out without forewarning and, after seven expeditions, they were withdrawn without regret. 47 It seems unlikely that the voyages were decided upon quite arbitrarily, the result of one of Emperor Yung-lo's brainstorms. At the official level, their immediate achievement was to bring large numbers of new countries into the tributary system. Could it not be that the expeditions were the logical outcome of an effort to extend that system and make it truly the machinery of a world order?

The Idea of Inclusiveness This interpretation seems possible if we are to take Yung-lo's edicts and proclamations at their face value. Not only did he enjoin respect for China, for which the reward was impartial treatment; he also confirmed his father's policy of seeking to extend the range of his impartiality over more and more countries, whether or not they were important to his empire's basic interests. Particularly significant was his earnestness about another facet of the tributary system. This was the practice of giving largesse and hospitality in order to " show nothing left out" or " show no outer-separation" (shih-wu-wai).ie This attitude goes much further than impartiality; it implies admission into the family of civilized peoples. The phrase shih-wu-


W I T H S O U T H E A S T A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY wai was found in Hung-wu's decrees, but Yung-lo applied it much further, to the most sacred institutions of the empire. During the T'ang and Sung, this idea of " showing that no one was left outside" had taken the form largely of the conferment of titles on foreign chieftains and kings and their envoys. With the Koreans and the Vietnamese (or as in Chinese usage, the Annamese), China had in common the written language and all that followed from it: the classics, literature, the calendar, the political system itself. But, until the time of Hung-wu, the inclusion of outsiders within Chinese civilization had stopped there. Then in early 1370 he had argued that since Annam, Korea, and Champa owed allegiance (ch'en-fu) to China, their mountains and rivers should also receive the rites of sacrifice together with those of China. He personally composed a sermon and sent sacrificial gifts; the event was immortalized in a specially prepared stone inscription. Finally, the mountains and rivers of the three countries were declared to be properly within China's maps (hsi-kuei chih-fang), and, in the complete list of miscellaneous divinities, they were placed immediately after all the sacred mountains and rivers of China proper. 49 For some years after this, copies of all the major edicts concerning the Ming empire were sent to the courts of the three countries. 50 A further extension took place when Brunei, a reluctant tributary which feared the wrath of its real suzerain Java, was encouraged in 1375 to come into the fold by having its mountains and rivers listed after those of Fukien as recipients of general sacrifice. However, Brunei did not appreciate this and remained a vassal of Java until 1408.51 There is nothing in this practice to suggest that Hung-wu was ambitious for territorial expansion. What he did was in the best classical tradition and followed a long-established imperial practice. It reflected his anxiety to revive institutions worthy of a Chinese empire. " T o show nothing left o u t " was an ideal he thought proper to carry out almost literally. Ynng-lo now went much further. His envoys were asked to persuade all countries to submit to China. To Southeast Asia he first sent bureaucrats, but he soon turned to his trusted eunuchs to bring his largesse to the various rulers. This policy was partly to cut down the rigid formalities, administrative restrictions, and Confucian scruples and partly to simplify the tributary relationship by making it between one ruler and another, not involving the submission of one government to another. Yung-lo sent altogether forty-eight missions in twenty-two years. These excluded Annam, which came under Ming rule after 1406, but included most countries from the Philippines through the Indian Ocean. 52 Of the forty-eight missions,


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only eight are known to have been led by bureaucrats: all three to Cambodia and some early missions to Champa, Siam, Brunei, and the Chinese port of Palembang. 53 Of the remainder, a number of senior eunuchs did the job of conveying Yung-lo's greetings and wishes and communicating a picture of Ming China's superior place in the world. Many of the eunuchs were supported by large naval forces, notably Cheng Ho, Yin Ch'ing, and Hou Hsien; otherwise it would be difficult to see how Yung-lo could have succeeded so well.51 The first outstanding result of this eunuch diplomacy was the timely recognition of the newly established kingdom of Malacca. As I have shown elsewhere, in a study of the origins of the relations between Malacca and Ming China, 56 Yin Ch'ing was quick to see Malacca's importance for any attempt to keep the sea lanes open to India. As Malacca was itself also in need of help against its two powerful neighbors, Siam and Java, it was easy to cement a useful and profitable relationship. Malacca was reported to have asked for full protection, and Yung-lo responded by ordering the enfeoffment of its western hill and by personally writing an inscription for the occasion. The wording of the inscription is of special interest as it was the first of its kind to have been written for an overseas foreign country. It stated the proper place of the sage and virtuous ruler in the cosmic realm and what this owed to the harmony between Heaven and Earth. Yung-lo then went on to say what he owed to his father who, "With the virtue of a sage and placed in the seat of a sage, had a controlling power over Heaven, Earth, and Man, thus harmonizing yin and yang and protecting all that exists, understanding everything in the universe, inclusive even of that which is beyond Heaven and Earth." With such a heritage, Yung-lo was able to offer help to Malacca and grant its wish to be like a tributepaying province of China. He chose to say that Malacca wished to be better than barbarian and wanted to be permanently part of the imperial

domain (ch'ao-i yao-huang, yung wei tien-fu).And he concluded that the ancient sage kings had ensured this state of "no outer-separation" (wu-wai) by enfeoffing mountains and stabilizing frontiers. 56 Composing this inscription and the poem that accompanied it seems to have given Yung-lo considerable satisfaction, for three months later he found an occasion to write a similar piece for the Japanese shogun, and three years later he was even more pleased to write another for the king of Brunei. Then, after two journeys to his proposed capital in Peking and two campaigns against the Mongols, he returned to Nanking and wrote a fourth piece for the ruler of Cochin in South India. All four 57 expressed


W I T H SOUTHEAST A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY the same concern for proper cosmic relationships and mentioned the legacy from his father. All were intended to commemorate the enfeoffment of mountains and the sealing of closer relations between his empire and the four countries concerned. But the reasons why the mountains were enfeoffed were different. Malacca asked for help and the Chinese had the power to give it. Japan asked for nothing except friendly trading relations, and Yung-lo saw fit to flatter the shogun and praise the Japanese for observing Chinese ways. The king of Brunei came to court in person, the first foreign ruler to do so for several centuries, and Yung-lo was himself flattered. As for Cochin, we do not know why it desired a special relationship. Perhaps it was helpful to the Cochinese in trade and pleasing to Yunglo personally; it certainly did neither country any harm. Cheng Ho may have favored the move in order to safeguard one good port on the way to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. To have "nothing left out" or " n o outer-separation" was no doubt a good slogan. It could be used to strengthen the idea of "treating with impartiality" all countries. There was never any attempt to be precise about what tributary status meant, and the Chinese were probably wise to leave the question vague and the position flexible. Hence it remains puzzling that the principle of "no outer-separation" could lead some countries into a specially favored status while Yung-lo successfully maintained his impartiality toward all who sent tribute to him. Was Yung-lo merely careless when he described Malacca as wishing to be part of the imperial domain (tien-fu) and later advised the young heir apparent of one of the Sulu kings to maintain his father's position in the outermost region (fanfu)lBe As a classical revivalist, Yung-lo would know that, of the Nine Submissions (chiu-fu) of the Chou, tien-fu was the first or second position while fan-fu was the last. 69 Was Malacca so different from Sulu in his eyes? The rulers of both countries appeared at the Ming court, Malacca first in 1411 and Sulu in 1417. And when the Sulu kings were presented with gifts, the records specifically state that they were treated like the ruler of Malacca. 60 Similarly, when we compare the two countries in Southeast Asia that had enfeoffed mountains, Malacca and Brunei, we note that they both had the privilege of being protected from Java (although by this time the Majapahit empire had already become too weak to control its dependencies), whereas Malacca had the added advantage of being protected from a more dangerous enemy, Siam. At the Ming court both rulers were feted and entertained lavishly. Yet there was never any doubt as to which was the


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more important to the Chinese. For Malacca they were prepared to threaten the Javanese and admonish the Siamese. This gateway to the Indian Ocean, where they had one of their two official depots and ship-repairing factories (kuan-cKang), Yung-lo was prepared to defend against anyone. 61 He could still be impartial, as he was when he ruled that Malacca had no real claim to Palembang, which had always been a dependency of Java. 62 But in carrying out the policy of "no outer-separation," he made it clear that Malacca was less separate than most other countries in Southeast Asia, for it was intimately tied up with the success of the naval expeditions to the West. The importance of Malacca comes out significantly when we compare the frequencies of missions between China and the seven main Southeast Asian countries of the time. They divide into three groups. 63 1402-1424




Missions from China




Missions to China
















Champa stands out from the rest because of its involvement in the SinoAnnamese war and Yung-lo's difficulties in coping with Annamese guerrillas after 1418. For over twenty years Champa had a common border with China, and several of the Chinese missions were sent to discuss border disputes and the problem of Cham help to Annamese patriots. Champa's own regular missions were sent partly to reassure the Chinese of its good will.64 The four countries of Cambodia, Siam, Java, and Brunei all received far fewer missions from China than they sent. Brunei, despite its having received the favor of an enfeoffed mountain, received Chinese missions in the lowest proportion of all, a mere one third. 65 Cambodia was not much better off, but it was never keen to have very close links with any country. It had been attacked by Champa and remained always wary of Siam. Its missions were probably diplomatic in nature, sent to insure China's warning its neighbors from time to time. 66 Siam and Java, on the other hand, both sent regular missions, presumably to aid the highly developed local trade which both countries controlled. Two points should be noted. Java was twice on Cheng Ho's itinerary whereas Siam was never a stop for the great expeditions. But Yung-lo sent special missions to


W I T H SOUTHEAST A S I A : B A C K G R O U N D ESSAY Siam each time and also to Java most times. As for the missions to China, both Siam and Java depended mainly on their own shipping resources, although it must be assumed that some of them merely followed the Chinese mission ships home to China. 67 The figures for the Cambodia and Brunei missions may have been low because of the inconvenience of depending on Chinese ocean-going shipping. Finally, Malacca and Samudra. Both countries were ports on the way to India and Africa for all Cheng Ho's missions. Those led by Cheng Ho accounted for six of the missions from China during Yung-lo's reign. Between Cheng Ho's missions and those led by other eunuchs like Yin Ch'ing, Kan Ch'iian, and Hou Hsien, there were nearly as many missions to these countries as they sent to China. Of all the Chinese missions, only one may be described as having been sent specially to Malacca, that of Kan Ch'iian in 1412. All the others merely stopped on their way to South India or to Bengal or to the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and East Africa. 68 Similarly, both Malacca and Samudra sent tribute missions to China when the Chinese missions returned via their ports. One mission from Malacca (in 1412) and two from Samudra (in 1411 and 1412) probably traveled to China in the Bengalese ships which had been sent to China on the Bengal ruler's own initiative.69 There was, however, one major difference between the two countries: Malacca had its mountains enfeoffed and its kings went personally to China at least three times during Yung-lo's reign; Samudra only sent envoys on all eleven occasions.70 But the striking fact is that both sent regular tribute because the Chinese or the Bengalese provided transportation (certainly free on Chinese ships). The record might have been quite different if it had not been for that factor. If we return to the comparison between Brunei and Malacca, it is evident that Brunei gained little advantage from having a special status. And how insignificant this status was, compared with the economic resources of Siam and Java and the strategic position of Malacca and Samudra! Yung-lo may have genuinely meant to be impartial and also "show no outer-separation," but he could no more change the geography of Southeast Asia than countries in Southeast Asia could change the shape and size of China itself. Let us now consider whether Yung-lo extended the tribute system to cover "over thirty new countries" because this extension followed logically from his conception of the role of the Son of Heaven in the Chinese world order. First, he would have had to contend with other people's ideas about the world order, taking account of what other great rulers


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called themselves and what their subject or tributary states thought about their systems of subordination. None of the rulers of Southeast Asian countries during this period conceived of an equality of status among different countries any more than Yung-lo did. None of them had yet thought of creating a system of equal states for purposes of international relations. Different self-centered views of superiority existed side by side. They derived from a variety of different sources, from Hinduism and Buddhism in Java and Cambodia, from Hinayana Buddhism in Thailand and Burma, from Confucianism in Vietnam, and from Islam in Samudra and Malacca. 71 Did Yung-lo's idea of world order successfully overcome the self-centeredness of other rulers ? Or was Chinese domination primarily a function of the historical fact that China was large, populous, rich, and united under one strong ruler? From the above survey of the reigns of Hung-wu and Yung-lo it would appear that the emperors and their ministers acted always on two levels. On the one hand, they were intensely conscious of the glories of China's history and her traditional moral and political philosophy, which, after centuries of weakness, they were eager to rediscover and apply to their immediate problems. On the other, they were impressed by their own strength and wealth compared with the weakness of all the states around them. Immediate past history would suggest that Mongol power had been a paramount factor in the Mongols' success in imposing a world order on most peoples. The Mongols always took the initiative to seek out their enemies and rivals and turn them into subjects or vassals. What they lacked was a theory of action, a long and varied history which validated that theory, and a class of superior men who could put the theory into practice over the long term. But what was the Chinese theory concerning foreign countries ? To hard-headed and ruthless soldiers like Hung-wu and Yunglo, a soaring view of the emperor's divinity and omnipotence was surely not enough to form the basis of diplomacy and statecraft. How elusive was the tributary system! History had shown that tribute-paying countries might one day become tribute-exacting. There could not surely be a stable system without power, sustained power.

Superiority versus Equality I have suggested that how the Chinese held on to the belief in their own superiority was more remarkable than why they did so. They held on to this




view largely because of their keen sense of the relevance of their history for all time. Of what other country in the world can it be said that writings on its foreign relations of two thousand, or even one thousand, years ago seem so compellingly alive today? Traditional Chinese dealings with non-Chinese peoples are often described as having been based on hierarchical principles. This I believe to be inadequate for an understanding of the tributary system. More important is the principle of superiority together with that of security or inviolability. From this, it should become clear that Chinese institutions were not as inflexible as they have often been made out to be by students of nineteenth-century history. Although the institutions reflected Chinese superiority, they also reflected the view that had evolved over the centuries, that all foreign countries were equal in the eyes of the Chinese and should be treated with impartiality. That this was myth is clear to us today, but it is also clear that reality never could permanently challenge the myth. In the nineteenth century China had to be forced " t o enter into the family of nations." China joined an international system in which all members were equal, at least in theory; in fact, it was difficult for China not to feel that it had been admitted as a less-than-equal member. China's bending before superior force was a rational decision which the Western powers could approve of, but there has always been some doubt as to whether it was not simply a decision of strategy and whether the Chinese ever believed that equality really existed in international relations. This doubt partly explains the current fear that, when given the chance, the Chinese may wish to go back to their long-hallowed tradition of treating foreign countries as all alike but unequal and inferior to China. The modern assumption that foreign relations between equal nations is the norm leads us to regard any kind of unequal relationship between countries as a departure from this norm. It has also led us to consider any self-centered view of the world with suspicion and even abhorrence. But whereas we believe the equality of nations to be both realistic and just today, in a world of nation-state politics, it is important to bear in mind that the present theory of equality in international relations grew out of interstate rivalries within a closed Christian-European civilization on the eve of European expansion, and that this equality was practiced in only a limited context until the twentieth century. The historian cannot accept such a concept of equality as self-evident or permanently assured. He cannot afford to ignore the fact that all foreign relations in the past have involved degrees of equality shading into degrees of inequality. Nor can


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he fail to see that both of these were determined not only by actual power and wealth, but also by finer points of status, attitude, and political strategy. If we acknowledge that relations of inequality were in fact the norm in history, we shall find it easier to understand China's traditional relations with foreign countries. We shall also see that the Chinese sense of their country's superiority was not a unique phenomenon. What was exceptional was that the Chinese ruling groups were able to move back and forth between the assertion of myth and the acceptance of reality so frequently and for so long a time without abandoning this superior view of themselves. There has been much speculation about what a Communist China will do when it becomes a power as strong as the strongest power in the world today. If its belief in Chinese superiority persists, it seems likely that the country will seek its future role by looking closely at its own history. The debate about this, centering on the degrees of continuity and of change, seems to be turning in favor of the view that the Chinese will return to some of their traditions. But here opinions divide sharply between the many who see any such return as pointing to future Chinese aggression and those who say that the tradition was one of superior and arrogant but peaceful indifference. Obviously, we cannot have it both ways. Did the name Middle Kingdom mean one that sought to dominate other countries from its central position, or did it merely express a cosmological explanation for Chinese cultural achievements ? This essay has attempted to show that neither view explains the history of China's relations with foreign countries. The tributary system was the result of both " majesty and power" and the extension of Chinese principles of government. It took a long time to evolve, and the final development from the early years of the Ming dynasty to the last years of the Ch'ing was determined by past traditions as well as by contemporary conditions. The Chinese were often slow and reluctant to change, and their changes were always accommodated within older institutions. But there is no reason to believe that their present and future attitudes will not be determined by their response to present and future challenges. The Chinese have shown their capacity to adapt their myths to reality; they may also find that new myths will better serve their purpose.


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The Chinese Idea of Tribute and Its Acceptance Abroad Any attempt to describe the tribute system immediately encounters certain intellectual problems. First, the system cannot be explained in terms of Western usage and practice. It is misleading to find modern Western equivalents for traditional Chinese institutions or concepts: they may resemble each other in structure or function, but they may have quite different significance when examined within the contexts of the traditional Confucian and modern Western societies. Rather, the tribute system must be understood, in all its ramifications, in terms of the vocabulary and institutions of traditional China. Second, the analyst must constantly bear in mind that the concept of the "tribute system" is a Western invention for descriptive purposes. The Confucian scholar-bureaucrat did not conceive of a tribute system (there is no Chinese word for it) as an institutional complex complete within itself or distinct from the other institutions of Confucian society. Nor did he conceive of China or Chinese civilization. There was only civilization and barbarism, and they were conceptually related in that they defined each other—that is, what was not civilized was barbaric. Civilization was, to use Vadime Elisseeff's apt phrase, , an empire without neighbors.1 In this sense the Chinese state was not a state at all, in the conventional meaning of that word, but rather the administration of civilized society in toto; and the emperor, far from being the ruler of one state among many, was the mediator between heaven and earth, a cardinal point in the universal continuum, the apex of civilization, unique in the universe. In other


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words, the emperor was not only a temporal political ruler but a figure of cosmic dimensions. The rituals he performed, or those performed about him, were not particularistic but universal. In the annual fertility rite he plowed the sacred furrow not so that Chinese crops could grow but so that crops per se could grow. The emperor was possessed of two distinct but related personalities. As a key point in the cosmos he was the embodiment of virtue who by his very nature carried out the rites required for the continuing harmony of the universe, in both its natural and its social aspects. This personality was identified by his title of fien-tzu, Son of Heaven, a son not in a biological but in a holistic sense. His second personality was that of a human being, the man at the apex of organized civilization, and in this personality he was styled huang-ti, emperor, the first one having been the first emperor of the Ch'in dynasty. In this personality he could stray from the path of true virtue, betray his role as Son of Heaven, and cause disharmony in the universe. Presentation of tribute to the emperor was the ritual appropriate to acknowledging the world order. It recognized not simply or even necessarily China!s superior civilization but civilization itself, whose highest point was the emperor, who, as Son of Heaven, was the tangent-point between human society and the rest of the cosmos. Entry into the emperor's presence or court required recognition of these principles through the correct performance of the rituals of tribute presentation. Refusal to perform the rituals was tantamount not to an insult to the emperor's person, as it would be interpreted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but to a discordant note in the universal scheme of things, an unnatural act which could not be tolerated by the emperor, since his role was to maintain the harmony of all things. The rituals could not be compromised, and no barbarian could be admitted to the emperor's presence unless he performed them. It did not follow, of course, that he could not visit or even reside in Peking. Russians, for instance, resided there almost continuously after 1727, but because they did not seek entry into the emperor's presence they were not required to perform the ritual. The Confucian world view gave rise to other differences between Western and traditional Chinese diplomatic practice. For instance, in East Asia the written word assumed a primacy over all other forms of communication, partly because as an ideographic script the Chinese written language could be understood by the initiated regardless of his ability to speak Chinese. A given character had the same meaning in China, Korea,


SYSTEM: AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY Japan, and Annam, regardless of its pronunciation. Equally if not more important, however, was the role of the written word as the conveyer of virtue. Textual criticism of the classics was more than a simple scholarly pursuit, and even in divination and popular religion the written word assumed ritual importance that it lacked in the West. Consequently it was quite natural that in diplomacy an ambassador's credentials and the letters he carried from his master were valued more highly, and treated with greater reverence, than the person of the ambassador himself. Time and again in Russian and British relations with Peking, and even in British relations with Confucian Annam, the issue of the relative value of the ambassador's person or his documents was a source of contention.2 In the West the ambassador as the personal representative of his master partook of his master's official personality. International law even today recognizes the physical and legal immunity of the ambassador and his embassy. In the East Asian diplomatic scheme of things, however, the ambassador was fundamentally only a messenger conveying his master's letters. His own person was not inviolate and he might, in fact, be harshly treated; Western envoys to Peking before 1842 often complained that they were ill-handled by their hosts, and they felt that such mistreatment was not simply unpleasant but constituted a personal insult to the envoy's master. On the plane of social philosophy, the tribute relationship was conceived of as extending the social structure of civilization into the realms beyond the immediate power of the emperor. The five Confucian relationships (between ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, friend and friend) often provided the vocabulary of definition for specific tributary relationships. Moreover, the emperor constantly used the terminology expressive of his relationship to his Chinese subjects to describe his relationships with the tributary states or peoples. He showed them compassion, encouraged them, nourished them. The tribute relationship was always bilateral, never multilateral: one partner was always the ruler of China. When discord threatened, it was often because China's partner in the relationship could not accept, ideologically or institutionally, the imperatives implicit in it. The degree of acceptance varied greatly—from complete acceptance of Confucianism as the tributary state's own ideology, as in Vietnam (Annam), to analogous, but distinct, sets of assumptions, as in the case of Siam, to total political cynicism in the search for survival, as among the Turks in Central Asia. This variation illustrated the flexibility of the system.


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Vietnam, like Korea and Liu-ch'iu, was a Chinese tributary state participating in the East Asian world order on the basis of its own Confucian heritage, the product of long centuries of direct Chinese control and indirect political and cultural influence. Its state structure and literature were patterned on China's, its written language was almost pure Chinese and its spoken tongue was strongly influenced by it. Confucianism, along with its characteristic examination system, dominated the country's political and intellectual life. The degree to which the Vietnamese kings themselves accepted the Confucian view of the world order is apparent in the Khamdinh Viet-su thong-giam cuong-muc (The complete mirror of Vietnamese history, text and commentary, compiled by imperial order), completed in 1884 and published in 1885 by the Bureau of History of the Vietnamese imperial government at Hue as an official document intended for Vietnamese, not Chinese, edification. This nineteenth-century document describes an event that took place in 179 B.C., during the Han dynasty and before the East Asian world order achieved its classic form in the Ming and Ch'ing periods, in terms that clearly illustrate Vietnam's full acceptance of Confucian institutions on their own terms. 3 When Emperor Wen-ti of the Han ascended the throne in 179 B.C. he sent a letter to the Vietnamese king in which he discussed frontier affairs, particularly referring to certain disturbances that had recently taken place. Assuring the king of Vietnam that he had no interest in occupying Vietnamese territory, the emperor wrote " . . . although you govern independently you have changed your title from king to emperor. When two emperors appear simultaneously, one must be destroyed; sending an ambassador to communicate the way [of this] may produce a struggle. Struggling and not yielding is not the way of a person endowed with humanity." The emperor's concluding statement was that he was sending an ambassador to Vietnam bearing gifts and he thought it suitable for the Vietnamese king to submit himself to the will of the emperor. The king of Vietnam informed the Chinese envoy that he respectfully submitted to the emperor's will "as a tributary subject" and promised to send tribute in the proper fashion. He then issued a proclamation to his people in which he declared: " I hear that two heroes cannot appear together, that two sages cannot exist in the same generation. The Han emperor (huang-ti) is the sagacious Son of Heaven (t'ien-tzu). Henceforth I shall suppress my own imperial edicts, imperial cart, and the [imperial] banner of the left command." Finally, he wrote the Han emperor a




letter, fully expressing his understanding and acceptance of the tributary philosophy: 4 "I, the great chief of the barbarians, with temerity worthy of death, worshiping twice, present this to His Majesty the Emperor. I was formerly an official of Viet. [Han] Kao-ti deigned to confer on me the seal and ribbon [attached to the seal] and invested me as king of Nam-viet. When the august emperor [Han] Hui-ti ascended the throne, he in justice did not dismiss me and treated me extremely generously. When the empress Kao retained power, she divided the Chinese from the barbarians [that is, civilized from barbarian] and issued a decree saying, 'It is forbidden to send to Nam-viet agricultural implements made of iron, and if horses, oxen, and sheep are to be sent, there should be sent only males and not females.' I live in a remote region, and my horses, oxen, and sheep were already very old. I thought that having performed the rituals incorrectly, I was being subjected to the death penalty. I sent Phien, president of my secretariat, and Cao, the general of my army, and Binh, my censor, officials of three classes, to present a letter, confessing the past. None returned. Moreover, I heard rumors that my parents' tombs and sepulchers had already been despoiled and that my brothers and relatives had already been put to death. I conferred with my ministers who advised me saying, 'Now, if inside you are unable to shake [yourself free] from the Han, outside you will have no means of rising and distinguishing yourself.' That is why I changed my title, calling myself emperor. I governed my country as emperor but did not dare harm the empire [that is, t'ien hsia, all-under-Heaven, the Chinese empire]. When Emperor Kao-ti heard this he was exceedingly angry and erased the Nam-viet ambassadorial list [he canceled the tribute regulations as applied to Nam-viet]. Ambassadors were not exchanged. I furtively suspected I had been slandered by the king of Truong Sa. That is why I sent troops to attack his frontier. Moreover . . . the chiefs of Dong Nam and Tay An called themselves kings; I called myself emperor for the purpose of giving myself pleasure. How would I dare to inform the Heavenly King [the emperor] ? I have lived in Viet for forty-nine years. Now I carry in my arms my grandchildren. Still, I rise early and bed late. I lie down and find no peace on my mat. I eat and find no flavor. My eyes do not perceive the brilliant colors. My ears do not hear the sounds of bell and drum, all because I could not serve the Han. Now Your Majesty graciously restores my old title and communicates through an ambassador as of old. Therefore, when I die my bones will not rot. I change my title and dare not call myself emperor . . . [Here follows a list of tributary goods





sent to the e m p e r o r ] . . . With a temerity worthy of death I twice worshipfully inform Your Imperial Majesty of all this . . . " The Han Emperor reportedly was pleased with this letter, and normal relations were re-established between China and Vietnam. The report concludes: "Afterward, whenever the king sent ambassadors, if it was to the Han he called himself king, and in [imperial] audiences he was ranked as a feudal prince. Inside his own country he used his ancient title." The institutionalization of hierarchy, which was Confucianism, also influenced Vietnam's dealings with its neighbors. In 1813, for instance, Vietnamese troops drove the Siamese out of Cambodia at the request of the Cambodian king. In Ban trieu ban nghich liet truyen (Biographies of rebels against the present dynasty) it is reported that " Our troops built two walls and constructed a Pavilion of the Pacified Frontier [at Phnom Penh], and on this pavilion they built a structure called the Yu-yuan-t'ang, to be a place where the barbarian king [the Cambodian king] will look toward Hu6, worshiping." 5 This report is particularly interesting in that it uses Chinese terminology for barbarians when referring to Cambodians—that is, the Vietnamese called the Cambodians fan, or barbarians, though they referred to themselves in the same terms in correspondence with the Chinese. The entire structure of foreign relations was Confucian. Siam, in contrast to Annam, was not Confucian, and even if Rama I, who founded the Chakri dynasty in 1782, was part Chinese, the Siamese king was in no fashion a Confucian monarch. On the contrary, he was considered, in Siamese political theory, a reincarnated deity, a chakravartin or universal emperor. Moreover, he was a bodhisattva, a being destined to be a Buddha. His authority was absolute, his person was both sacred and unapproachable. His country was not influenced by Chinese culture as was Vietnam: Siamese was written with an alphabetic script; the country's dominant religion was Hinayana Buddhism, and Brahmanic Hindus rather than Confucian literati dominated the court's ceremonial and intellectual life. Not the Confucian classics but the Indian Ramayana was Siam's most important literary monument. Mongkut, one of the most important of the Chakri kings, styled himself in English "by the blessing from the highest superagency of the whole universe, the first King of the Siamese kingdom and sovereign of all its dependent tributary countries lying around in adjacent states," and indeed Siam's king received tribute from various minor princes in Malaya, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, when his strength was sufficient to the task. 8


SYSTEM: AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY Siam's traditional foreign policy was, in John F. Cady's words, " t o seek accommodation with the dominant outside power in the area," and until the arrival of the Europeans in Southeast Asia in force this dominant power was usually China.7 Siam's accommodation with China was entirely within the context of the Confucian tributary system. During the Ch'ing era Siam sent some forty-nine official tribute missions to Peking, almost three fourths of them after the accession of the Chakri dynasty to the throne in Bangkok. This tribute relationship was possible, however, not because Confucianism dominated Siamese thought as it did Vietnamese, but because, first, the imperatives of Siamese political theory could accommodate Confucian pretensions without serious conflict and, second, Bangkok's court ritual was influenced by Peking's. A description of the coronation of King Prajdhipok of Siam in February 1926, using forms that were characteristic of the Chakri court, reports that the king received the Great Crown of Victory from the hands of the (Brahmanic) High Priest of Siva and placed it on his own head. 8 H. G. Quaritch Wales, of the Lord Chamberlain's Department of the Court of Siam, remarked, "Although he received the Crown from the hands of a representative of the god Siva, it is quite natural that a divine or priestly king would not tolerate the idea of actually being crowned by mortal h a n d s . . . " The entire ceremonial, in fact, stressed the divine nature of the king, his identity with the godhead. The king's divinity was emphasized at many points, among them in his declaration as Defender of the Faith.® Paradoxically, it was precisely the king's divinity, I suggest, that enabled him to participate in the Confucian tribute system. The Siamese king, like the Chinese emperor, was theoretically possessed of two personalities, in this case a religious personality and a political one. In his religious personality the king of Siam was a chakravartin or universal emperor, as the Sanskrit title is sometimes translated. The chakravartin, in ancient Hindu political theory, "was regarded as the greatest of kings, the overlord, and not as the head of a comprehensive state controlled directly from the capital," or he was regarded as "the world emperor, whose role was analogous to that of the ruler of the cosmic order." 10 By the beginning of the Christian era, Drekmeier suggests, "What remained of the more virile culture of the Vedic age was the idea of the exceptional man who is able to remake the world—the 'historical man' who emerges to save the dharmic order from whatever decay may be at work in the structure." 11 The concept is clearer in the ancient Hindu political text Arthashastra, which suggests, according to Drekmeier, that "self-mastery and world-


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mastery are interdependent." The universal quality of the chakravartin's kingship was, therefore, largely spiritual, and the chakravartin was not necessarily a unique cosmological figure from the viewpoint of political philosophy. More than one chakravartin could exist in the world simultaneously, 12 and the emperor of China did not constitute a challenge to this aspect of the Siamese king's kingship. China was, in fact, irrelevant here. In his political personality, on the other hand, the Siamese king might find himself in a hierarchical situation where, depending upon Siam's power at any given moment, he would be either the giver or recipient of tribute, or both. Siam's view of her place in the tribute system, therefore, was not Confucian but an extension of the king's empirical political position, and his receipt of tribute from lesser princes did not necessarily obviate the possibility of his presenting tribute to a prince greater than he, the emperor of China. At the same time, Siamese court ceremonial was strongly influenced by Chinese practice, particularly in the reception of ambassadors, which, as Wales suggests, was a nonreligious ceremony. The right of foreign ambassadors at the Siamese court to follow their own customs was established only in the Bowring-Parkes treaty of 1856, and Siamese continued to prostrate themselves at state audiences until King Chulalongkorn's accession to the throne in 1868, when the reforming king abolished this practice. Consequently, Peking's court practices were not so radically different from Bangkok's as to disturb the tributary relationship; by the time prostration was ended at the Siamese court traditional tributary relations with Peking had already been terminated (the last Siamese tributary mission visited Peking in 1853). Siam, therefore, fitted into the tributary pattern on the basis of secular state practice without disturbing her traditional non-Confucian religious and political world views. When we look at China's relations with the Central Asian peoples, we see that no dynasty based on the sedentary bureaucratic society of China could tolerate the molestation of its frontier by nomadic raiders, for they not only disturbed the stability of the bureaucratic process but also challenged the very legitimacy of the dynasty in Confucian terms by suggesting that the emperor had lost the mandate of heaven because of his inability to control the barbarians. Consequently, Central Asia, and not sedentary Southeast Asia, was the primary focus of dynastic foreign policy, at least until the early nineteenth century. China constantly sought to dominate the Central Asian steppes and deserts by demonstrating her military




strength, trying to force the barbarians to recognize it by performing the prescribed Confucian rituals. Confucian China was only a militarypolitical threat to the sedentary grain-growing societies of Southeast and East Asia, but it threatened the very way of life of the Turkish and Mongol nomads, who were never at ease in their relationship with the imperial power. For instance, when the Manchu Nurhaci, founder of the Ch'ing dynasty, proposed an alliance to the Mongols, he clearly recognized the societal differences between nomads and sedentary Confucian Chinese as a basis for joint offensive military action: 13 "Although the two nations Ta-Ming [the Ming dynasty] and Solongkha [Korea] have different tongues, the clothes they wear and the hair upon their heads are similar, and therefore those two nations live as one nation. Although we two nations have different tongues, the clothes we wear and the hair upon our heads are similar. If you are an intelligent person, saying [to yourself] 'at the moment when my elder brother, the khan, is making war against the Ta-Ming whom I have hated from ancient times, Father Heaven and Mother Earth favor him, and he breaches the cities in a great manner and is continuously overcoming the great enemy,' then you send envoys [to me] saying, Ί shall be of one accord with my elder brother, the khan, whom the gods have favored, and shall make war against the hated Ta-Ming nation.' Would that not be right?" Perhaps the clearest expression of nomadic suspicion of the Chinese is the Turkish Orkhon inscription of the eighth century, found in what is now Outer Mongolia. The epitaph of the Turkic khan Költegin is written as if he himself were speaking and reads in part: 14 "In the Ötükän fastnesses there was no real leader, but the Ötükän fastness was just such a country in which it was possible to create a tribal alliance, and it was in this very country that, having settled down, I joined my life with the Chinese. The Chinese people, giving us limitless amounts of gold, silver, alcohol [grain], and silk always had sweet speech and luxurious treasures, and seducing us with this sweet speech and luxurious treasure they so strongly attracted faraway peoples to themselves, who settled close by, and then absorbed their evil practices . . . Having given yourselves over to seduction by their sweet words and precious gifts, you, Ο Turks, have perished in large numbers . . . Evil people instructed a part of the Turks, saying, 'To him who lives far away, the Chinese give poor gifts, but to him who lives close by, they give fine gifts.' By these words they instructed you, and now you, people, not possessing true wisdom, have heeded their words, and having approached right up [to China] have


Mark Mancall / THE CH'ING TRIBUTE perished there in great numbers. Thus, Ο Turks, when you go into that country you come to the edge of death, but when, on the other hand, you stay in your ötükän fastnesses, and only send caravans [for trade or tribute] you have no woes at all." Only when Chinese military power was demonstrably greater than the nomads' ability profitably to raid the frontier could Confucian China force the Turks and Mongols into the tribute system. In this respect the Ch'ing dynasty of the Manchus had an advantage over purely Chinese dynasties.

The Ch'ing View of the World outside China During the Ming, tributary relations had been supervised by the Board of Rites' Reception Department. 15 Relations with certain tribes of aborigines along China's cultural frontiers (which were not necessarily coterminous with the area of the emperor's effective power) were managed by a department of the Board of War. Although the Ming Statutes contained a clear geographical distinction for purposes of description between, for instance, "northern barbarians" and others, it did not distinguish between them in the organization of its formal tributary mechanisms. The Manchus modified and refined this system even before their conquest of China proper in 1644. An office was created to handle Manchu relations with the Mongols probably even before the official establishment of the Ch'ing dynasty at Mukden in 1636, and in 1638 this "Mongolian Office" became the Li-fan yuan, usually called the Mongolian Superintendency or the Court of Colonial Affairs, but perhaps more properly translated, in view of both the exact meaning of the title and the nature of the institution, as the Barbarian Control Office. After the Manchu entrance into China in 1644 and the transfer of the dynastic capital to Peking, the Li-fan yuan became an integral part of the tribute system and it used the rites and forms of the traditional Confucian Chinese system to conduct relations with the "barbarians." With the expansion of the Manchu dominions, the Li-fan yuan managed relations with Tibet and Sinkiang as well as with Mongolia. 16 The Li-fan yuan originated in the Manchu relationship with the Mongols. The latter were the Ch'ing dynasty's first allies and vassals. Like the Manchus, the Mongols were a frontier people essentially peripheral to the center of East Asian civilization, whence they wished to draw luxury goods


SYSTEM: AN INTERPRETIVE ESSAY and political emoluments by raid or by trade, and they participated in the Manchu conquest of China as an auxiliary military force. The Mongols were Lamaists, looking toward Tibet as their spiritual center, not Confucians facing the emperor's throne. The Manchu alphabet derived from the Mongolian, and the Manchu language contained many borrowings from Mongolian, the result of long contact. Once the Manchus had conquered China it was to their advantage to continue the Li-fan yuan as the instrument for handling the problems they faced in Central Asia, problems common to all continentally oriented dynasties in the North China plain: the control of the Central Asian peoples through techniques of divide-andrule and the prevention of attacks along China's frontiers. These problems the Manchus did not face as sharply along their other frontiers. The existence during the Ch'ing of two tribute offices, the Board of Rites and the Li-fan yuan, that did not overlap in their geographical responsibilities though they shared ritual procedures, is an indication that the Manchu image of the East Asian world differed from the Ming. Under the latter, the world had been divided into two distinct parts: China and nonChina. The Ming, in a conservative Confucian Chinese reaction to barbarian domination under the Mongol Yuan, had raised high and largely undifferentiated barriers between itself and the outside world, regardless of the nature of that world. The Ch'ing lived in a perceptually more complex environment. The Manchus themselves came from an economy that was based originally on a mixture of hunting, fishing, and animal husbandry, technologically far different from the sedentary agricultural grain-growing economy of China. That the Manchus clearly recognized a difference between themselves and the Chinese was clear throughout their dominion in China, where strict regulations prohibited marriage to Chinese and where Manchus did not become peasants but remained fairly strictly within the structure of their own martial society. The court went so far as to attempt the preservation of the difference by means of ritual hunts recalling the Manchus' original way of life. Mongolia, Sinkiang, and Tibet, forming a crescent astride China's northern and western frontiers, all shared certain fundamental characteristics. With the exception of parts of Sinkiang and certain Tibetan valleys, where there was some precarious oasis-based agriculture, they were regions suited more to extensive nomadic animal-husbandry economies than to intensive agriculture. Where cities existed at all, as at Urga in Mongolia or Lhasa in Tibet, they were not based primarily on the control of agricultural hinterland as in China but on their particular religious and commercial functions, from


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which they derived their livelihood. In this fashion the societies of the northwestern crescent resembled more the Manchu homeland in Manchuria than they did China proper, and this resemblance was emphasized by Manchu prohibitions on Chinese emigration to any of these areas. None of these regions, including most of Manchuria before 1636, had accepted Confucianism and other aspects of Chinese culture as the organizing principles of their own societies.17 On the other hand, the regions to the east, southeast, and south of China were sharply different from the northwestern crescent. Like China they were dominated, or were presumed to be dominated, by sedentary graingrowing economies; they had adopted, or were supposed to have adopted, Confucian principles for the organization of government. They used the Chinese calendar and the Chinese language in addressing themselves to the emperor. Indeed, in Korea, Annam (or Vietnam), and Liu-ch'iu they used Chinese even within their own governments. Their rulers were understood to be traditional Confucian monarch-vassals of the emperor of China. Japan, Korea, Liu-ch'iu, and Annam may at times have fitted this pattern of expectations fairly closely, and if Siam and Burma did not, they were still agricultural economies somewhat resembling China. All the organized states in t h i s " southeastern crescent" that extended from Japan and Korea through Southeast Asia to Burma shared with China similarities in environment, grain-producing technology, and intensive land use and settlement. Consequently, the world as viewed by the Manchu conquerors of China was also divided in two, but not along the China-non-China axis of the Ming. China proper, East Asia, and Southeast Asia appeared to belong to one ecological system, and the only region in East Asia that exhibited different environmental characteristics was the northwestern crescent of societies. Beyond China and its two surrounding crescents lay wasteland, deserts, high mountains, impenetrable forests, or water, the existence of all of which contributed to the unity of East Asia and made it an almost closed "international" socio-economic system. The organization of the tribute system reflected this Manchu perception of their empire's environment. The societies of East and Southeast Asia were included within the jurisdiction of the Board of Rites, which was itself charged with the performance of that broad spectrum of rites that transmitted Confucian culture inside China itself. Ritually, therefore, these regions were an extension of China proper beyond the immediately effective control of the emperor. The societies of the northwest crescent, however, were under the jurisdiction of quite a separate body, the Li-fan




yuan, whose sole function was the conduct of intercourse between them and the Ch'ing. This distinction was required for the maintenance of relations between China and nomadic Asia on the one hand and China and agricultural Asia on the other. Economic similarity between communities may well give rise to disunion, that is, social cohesion depends on economically or ecologically necessary exchanges, not merely on the exchange of marginal luxuries. For instance, trade between China and Southeast Asia may have been economically convenient for Peking because the transportation costs on Siamese rice brought to the China coast by sea were less than costs on rice transported to the coast from certain interior Chinese provinces. However, despite higher costs rice was available in the interior of China and the state could survive fairly well without the transportation of rice from Southeast Asia. China and the societies of the northwest crescent, however, were engaged in exchanges that were considered necessary for the stability of Chinese society. The imperial power in China required horses and other products of Central Asia's animal-husbandry economy that were not adequately produced in China. The Central Asians, for their part, needed Chinese tea, grain, and other products of China's sedentary agriculture and cottage industry. This exchange was one of necessity more than of convenience.

The Relationship between Tribute and Trade Tribute and trade were neither synonymous nor completely independent activities. They were intricately, but not necessarily directly, interrelated. Commerce between China and the barbarians took place in three patterns. First, trade followed immediately upon the presentation of tribute to the emperor at the capital. Tribute missions were usually accompanied by merchants who were permitted to trade at Peking for a specified number of days immediately after completion of the tributary rituals. In these cases, trade was also permitted at the frontier. There were marketplaces on the Sino-Korean and Sino-Mongolian frontiers, for instance, and in ports along the China coast. Second, trade might take place at Peking without the presentation of tribute. The Russians, for instance, visited Peking very frequently for trade between 1695 and 1755, but during that same period court documents record only one tribute mission, in 1728.


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Third, trade might take place along the frontier without the presentation of tribute. The British East India Company traded at Canton regularly until the Opium War, but during the years from 1644 to 1842 only four English tribute missions are referred to in official documents, and two of these references are to the Macartney embassy of 1793. The presentation of tribute by a specific country was not, therefore, a prerequisite for commercial exchange between that country and China. When small barbarian kingdoms sought to present tribute at court, or when Central Asian merchants pretended tributary status in order to present tribute to the emperor, it was largely because the presentation of tribute was itself a commercially profitable act—that is, the court bore the expenses of a "tribute mission" while it remained in Peking and exchanged gifts with it to the profit of the "tributary." The presentation of tribute to the emperor was not necessarily related to the broad exchanges of the international marketplace, yet the two were connected in several different dimensions. Although of secondary importance to the establishment of the relationship between the emperor and his vassals, the tribute-gift exchange at the heart of the tribute ceremonial was also an economic exchange of real values. The objects offered in tribute or received in gift were often rare in the society of the recipient and, consequently, would have commanded a high price on the market had they been offered for sale as luxury goods in the normal course of commerce; their value, of course, would have been enhanced by their connection with the imperial household. It is clear, however, that the tribute-gift exchange was by no means either purely ceremonial and symbolic or purely commercial. 18 In other words, ceremonial and commerce became so intertwined as to be separable only analytically. Feasts and dinners had ritual value but at the same time they had economic importance as a means of defraying the costs of an embassy's sojourn in Peking. The greater value of the emperor's gifts as against the tribute he received had, in addition to social, psychological, and moral value, a strictly economic value in that the difference between tribute and gift was a subsidy toward the costs of the tribute mission itself. The exchange of gifts does not always mean trade, of course; it would be ridiculous to look at gift exchanges between husband and wife, or parents and children, as commercial acts. Yet the commercial intent of the tribute act stands out if subjected to critical analysis. At its most simple, the tribute ceremonial did away with hatred and conflict so that the trade could take place between friends or, at least, non-enemies. On a slightly


SYSTEM: AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY more complex level, the Peking-centered tributary institutions (the tribute embassies and their appurtenances) provided an opportunity for the exchange of goods at Peking. Here it must be clearly perceived that the presentation of tribute was the primary value in the emperor's eyes, even if the tributary used the ceremony mainly to obtain access to the Peking market. From the point of view of the East Asian order, tribute was the primary activity in the tribute-trade combination. However, just as tribute was presented to the emperor at Peking, so missions went from Peking to the tributaries to invest them with symbols of rank and patents of office, and on these occasions trade also took place. This was not simply a reflexive or reciprocative act. There were no periodic visitations by imperial representatives to vassal capitals, but such a practice could be used when required. Like the circular and countercircular movement of shells and necklaces in the Kula ring, it kept movement going in both directions. At its most complex and fundamental, tribute's relationship to trade can be described as the ritual appropriate to commercial activities in the universe. Tribute was, in this sense, a "sanction" for commercial activity, but it was not a specific sanction for a specific act, nor was it a permissive sanction. Rather, it was a sine qua non: trading activity within the Chinese world required the presentation of tribute to the emperor by someone at some point in time, and preferably, though not necessarily, by the representative of the chief of the power trading with China. Russia, for instance, could trade at Peking without presenting tribute because (1) Russian merchants did not seek access to the emperor and (2) tribute per se was periodically presented to the emperor by others. In this sense, the presentation of tribute and the receipt of gifts were ceremonial barter cosmologically required as a basis for trade. The emperor, paraphrasing Dostoevskii's Grand Inquisitor, might have remarked," We have given them order, legitimacy, and bread, and they have given us their power and recognized our position in the cosmos." In another dimension, trade and tribute were important linked aspects of Chinese diplomacy. This is patently clear in a memorial written by Wang Ch'ung-ku, governor-general of Hsüan-fu and Tatung, in the 1570's. Discussing a Mongol chieftain's request for entitlement and trade, Wang listed eight subjects for the court's consideration, including trade. "The northern barbarians depend entirely on China for their supply of cooking pots, iron, and textiles," Wang memorialized. "Now that they have foresworn invasion of China, their envoys have requested the opening of markets for trade so as to prevent the occurrence of theft and robbery." 19


Mark Mancall / THE C H ' I N G T R I B U T E Wang specifically related trade to the prevention of incursions into China by the barbarians because they had agreed not to transgress on Chinese soil. Although the agreement may have been symbolized or consummated by the presentation of tribute, trade followed upon the agreement, not the tribute. In a slightly different dimension, trade and tribute were related aspects of a process of exchange that included not only tribute goods and things of economic value, but political recognition and military aid, courtesies, entertainments, women, and feasts. All these exchanges were " a wide and enduring contract" in which groups, not individuals, were bound by mutual obligations. The individuals represented in the contractual situation were social bodies, not distinctive personalities. The tributary chieftain and the emperor were intermediaries, symbols, points in the universe; they were not simply private individuals engaged in mutually profitable business. The marketplace was only one element in this exchange. Furthermore, although both the presentation of tribute and the exchange of goods in the marketplace appeared voluntary, in reality they were definitely and distinctly obligatory on each side, under the sanction of warfare or natural disaster.20 Trade and tribute were also related as paired integrative mechanisms. Both functioned to bridge the antagonisms between Han Chinese society and its neighbors. Trade was a comparatively peaceful means of obtaining goods not available on the spot. 21 Therefore, it belonged to the same genre of social activity as hunting, raiding, war, and robbery. However, trade's distinctive characteristic was its two-sided movement: value moved in two directions, though not necessarily simultaneously, giving this form of exchange a fairly regular and peaceful character. Trade was at one end of a spectrum of forms of hostile economic relationships whose other end was war; in between were tribute, minor pilfering, and raids. At the tradetribute end of the spectrum hostility graded away into the symbolic affirmations of differential rank that was the tribute system. Trade could be hostile, rather than friendly, because higgle-haggling was the basic, almost ritualistic, form of exchange at all levels of the universal East Asian market. Haggling by its very nature involved an antagonistic relationship between the partners to the exchange, whereas exchanging tribute and gifts served as a reintegrative process, removing or dissolving antagonisms that might lead to conflict over commercial matters. In Central Asia, for instance, when the tribute system broke down owing to imperial weakness, the antagonistic elements in the frontier market


SYSTEM: AN INTERPRETIVE ESSAY haggling increased. The peaceful integrative mechanisms had failed and a new integrative mechanism, war, took over, as the ultimate expression of the haggling antagonism. In other words, the maximizing of one side's economic self-interest required moving up the spectrum from trade, when tribute's reintegrative role failed, into seizure. War, however, might be only marginally profitable and the risks were high. For the nomad, trade and its alternative, war, might be conditions for survival, but trade was far preferable. Only in this perspective does the trade-tribute relationship become really intelligible. To misread tribute simply as a "cover" for trade, and to understand trade as a purely commercial activity, is to distort the nature of the traditional institutions of the East Asian international order.

The Nature of Tributary Trade China's premodern foreign trade was usually two-sided—a bilateral trade between China and a second power. Transportation routes were discrete and usually defined by the geographical proximity of the second trading party to one of China's frontiers. China traded with Portugal at Macao, the European East India companies at Canton, the Koreans on the Korean frontier, and the Russians at Kiakhta. Similarly, she traded discretely with caravans which came to Peking along preagreed routes and did not consider that they competed with one another. Although the Canton market was bilateral only in the brief period of British domination at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, Kiakhta remained a bilateral market because all European goods funneled through it still came under Russian control. Three main types of trade occurred in two-sided commerce, each based on a different integrative principle. Gift trade was based on simple reciprocity according to certain accepted behavior patterns, and it appeared in China's external commerce both at Peking in the form of the tributegift exchange and at the frontier in the form of certain concessions, such as gifts and entertainments, in return for barbarian tranquility. The second form was market trade, in which the supply-demand-price mechanism was the integrative factor, and its important appearance was at Canton as a result of the growth of the market connected with European economies. The third, and by far the most important, type was administered trade. Administered trade was based on a contractual relationship between the





two partners. The contract could take many forms. In Russia's case, for instance, it was a diplomatic treaty, whereas in China's trade with England before 1839 it took the form of England's agreement, albeit tacit and at times most unwilling, to operate within the "Canton system." In China's relations with her tributaries the tribute system itself was in this sense contractual. But regardless of the form the contract took, the structure of the administered trade was fairly uniform throughout, differing only slightly to accommodate the peculiarities of China's partners. Administered trade presupposed the existence of relatively permanent trading bodies, like governments or government-chartered companies. Trade was carried on by administrative methods through channels controlled either by the government or by a company. Haggling between traders over prices was not part of the procedure, since equivalences were established by tacit or explicit agreement, usually through formal negotiations between officials of government or company. Bargaining occurred over matters other than price, though it might be expressed in terms of exchange ratios (which are different from price) because exchange was made, theoretically, in terms of units on a basis of one for one. Adjustments, when required, were made in terms of units exchanged, but redress of commercial grievances came through appeal to an official, not through bargaining between traders. Depending on the relative strength of the trading partners, prices might be set by Peking herself (as in her trade with Central Asia), or by mutual agreement (as at Kiakhta). Administered trade required, therefore, specific marketplaces where commerce could take place, to which the trading partners could control access and where the partners' official representatives could enforce compliance with the fixed price. China's traditional external trade took place primarily in locations that may be classed generically as "ports of trade." They were the product of two quite distinct traditions. In the first place, China's ports of trade were analogues of markets in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, Central America, and along the West African coast. The port of trade was a primary organ of administered trade that persisted in several parts of the world "from antiquity almost to the threshold of modern times." 22 Its survival reflected the fundamental role it played in contact between societies under conditions of premodern technology and statecraft. Probably arising from a tradition of politically neutral meeting places that stemmed from primitive silent trade, the ports of trade were "towns or cities whose specific function was to serve as a meeting place for foreign traders." Traditional


S Y S T E M : A N I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY authorities usually feared the penetration of their territories by foreigners, who might disrupt the common acceptance of certain social or mythic forms of control. Strangers in premodern societies likewise tended to shun the territories of foreign authorities that were incorporated into militarily strong hinterland empires. Consequently, ports of trade as a rule developed either on the frontiers of a state or empire or in the politically neutral territory of a small, weak, independent potentate. Trade in these ports was based on contracts and administered by special organs of the host authority. Competition was excluded and prices were set through negotiations. Within the confines of the port of trade, special administrative organs might develop out of the cooperation of the various authorities whose traders met there. If the port of trade in general was the product of a universal experience, in China it grew also from traditional Chinese patterns of commercial behavior and their application to external commerce. Ports were located, as one would expect, at the outer edges of imperial power. Port of trade practices were analogous to practices inside the empire. For instance, they followed the Chinese tradition that markets should be extramural. Their trading periods were set by decree and custom, much as were those of markets within the empire. They were also discontinuous. The existence of this Chinese domestic tradition may explain why the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties were willing to permit Sino-foreign trade within the ports of trade but did not permit Chinese merchants to travel abroad for trade: abroad, the government could not define normative or expected behavior patterns. Kiakhta on the Russo-Mongolian frontier, the other frontier trading posts for commerce with the barbarians, and seaports like Canton, all ports of trade, were located in places where Peking's central control was at its farthest limit. Although the Ming and Ch'ing dynastic authorities were prepared to permit foreigners to come to Peking within the context of tributary missions, their penchant was to avoid foreign visits outside the strictly structured tributary situation and their constant eifort was to remove trade to the frontier. This policy can be understood in terms of the port of trade concept. For instance, when in 1405 Peking received a request from the Fu-yu Garrison in Manchuria to permit Manchus to sell horses at the capital, the court decided to disallow the request; instead, it ordered the establishment of markets at two places in the Liaotung region of Manchuria. 2 3 Similarly, in 1571 four markets were opened in Central Asia for trade with the Mongols. In 1727 the Manchus and Russians


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negotiated the creation of frontier trading posts which, by 1755, had resulted in the removal of almost all Sino-Russian trade from Peking to the frontier. And Peking constantly rejected English requests for permission to trade outside Canton. In fact, the treaty-port system which was born along the China coast in the middle of the nineteenth century under the urging of British guns was really a modern modification of the ancient port of trade. China's Inner Asian frontier markets and seacoast ports were functionally equivalent, because both were at the outer edge of imperial power. But riverine China's failure to follow logically down the rivers and early become a seagoing power and thus secure better communication even with South China than overland routes afforded can be explained only by an almost mesmerizing continental orientation born of constant danger from the nomads of Inner Asia. The sea bore comparatively little danger and therefore was not equally an object of bureaucratic concern. Extraterritoriality developed on the coast at an early date, at least as early as the Arab trade during the T'ang, but with minor exceptions it never really developed in Inner Asia. Dynastic unconcern with the coast transformed it into a frontier region under weak control in contrast to the strong coastal control among Western maritime powers. This weakness was apparent during the reign of the K'ang-hsi Emperor, who ordered the importation of rice from Siam to feed his coastal garrisons because Siamese rice was cheaper than rice transported from inland China, even though the provisioning of his coastal garrisons was far less secure—China controlled its own internal transportation routes but did not control the routes to Southeast Asia. Even in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the West was pressing hard upon the China coast, the Ch'ing did not, as they probably could have, overwhelm the foreigners by sheer numbers. Instead, they chose surrender, which stands in the historical record in sharp contrast with their resolute behavior forty years later in Iii, in Central Asia, when they faced a continental Russian incursion. The coast was simply less important than Inner Asia. Commerce in the ports of trade in Inner Asia or along the China coast was administered, at least theoretically, in accord with regulations that implicitly denied the possible development of a supply-demand market mechanism. Such a mechanism could not exist in the presence of regulations controlling access to the market and the rate, or "price," at which exchanges were to take place. Ming legislation indicates that strict regulations existed for the operation of horse markets. For instance, only


SYSTEM: AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY authorized persons were permitted to participate in the commerce on market days, and private trade between Chinese and Mongols outside the market was strictly forbidden. New regulations issued in 1608 to govern certain markets also illustrated the principle of administered trade. Chinese "sales" to Mongols were limited to textiles and foodstuffs. Chinese garrison officers were to control the quality of Mongol horses offered for "purchase." Business was to be conducted "with dispatch" and barbarians were not to be permitted to tarry in the marketplace. The number of Mongol "envoys," or merchants (within the tribute system context), was to be kept at the proper level by official interpreters. Perhaps most significant, the regulations specified that "once the trade regulations had been fixed, the least increase in the number of horses or in price was to be strictly forbidden." 24 Tribute itself was a form of trade and was subject, therefore, to the practices typical of administered trade. Wang Ch'ung-ku's memorial concerning the establishment of trade with the Mongols in the 1570's said quite clearly concerning tribute: "There should be one tribute annually . . . In to to the number should not exceed 500 horses and 150 envoys. Let the horses be divided into three grades. Thirty of the best grade should be presented for palace use, but the rest should be paid for according to the worth of each horse. Old and lean ones should not be accepted as tribute. Each year sixty of the barbarian [envoys] should be allowed to enter the capital, and the rest should be made to wait at the border. When the envoys depart they should be allowed to use the proceeds from the horse sales to purchase textiles for presentation as gifts for their chiefs." 25 Whatever may have been Wang Ch'ung-ku's understanding of trade processes, he was obviously not referring to any kind of market that could be identified in terms of a supply-demand-price mechanism. The licensed traders at Kiakhta, the hong merchants of Canton, and the caravan merchants officially recognized for trade at Peking were all participants in an administered trade within a pre- or non-market economy. At Peking itself, and not only in the frontier ports of trade, the principles of the non-market economy operated in the tribute situation. When the court demanded goods at "low prices" in addition to the formal tribute presentations, it was not asking for special privileges, nor was it trying to get something for nothing or for less than the market price, as many Western observers thought. On the contrary, it was trying to obtain, as was its due within the system, goods for which it considered it had already paid in part or in whole, at a just price, by providing housing and other


Mark Mancall / THE CH'ING TRIBUTE services in connection with the tribute mission's sojourn at the capital. From another viewpoint, such demands could be considered, functionally, a tax for permission to trade. The caravans, especially those of the Russians, often failed to recognize this pattern of interaction, and the resulting conflict was resolved only by the eventual transferal of trade to the frontier. Two final questions remain to be asked in this description of the tribute system's economy. First, what was the degree of risk involved, in the tribute trade, for the merchants? The chief difference between administered and free market trade lay in the activities of the traders themselves. Because there was no fluctuating price-making market, price risk was, to all intents, excluded, and profit depended on turnover rather than on price differentials. It is for this reason that, for instance, Russian accounts of the trade speak of the "turnover" of the merchants' investment rather than of profits on price fluctuations. Furthermore, because the accounting procedures did not usually include the cost of transportation or the administration of the market, participation in the trade was tantamount to participation in its profits. There was, apparently, no risk of debtor's insolvency either, because the state or the company assumed the risks of transportation and administration and, at worst, the merchant was left with his goods and only minor costs against them, required for his own subsistence. For this reason, in the 1720's, when Russian furs did not sell well at Peking, the Russian merchants returned to Siberia with their pelts rather than risk their sale at a loss on the China market. Equally, the merchant to whom public goods were entrusted for sale had to produce either the goods or their equivalent, but he did not incur the risk of paying costs due to the failure of trade. Second, what was the economic difference between tribute and taxes ? Tribute was a fixed sum or quantity of specified goods required by fiat or by tradition, regardless of the producers' productivity. The same definition may be applied to taxes set by quota in traditional China, whereas in a modern market economy, with ascending or progressive tax scales, taxes can be defined as percentages of production, either uniformly or in increasing percentages as profit or income increases. Tribute was defined by imperial edict and so was statutory in the same sense that taxes were. Consequently, it may be suggested that although tribute and various taxes were called by different terms, the terms referred primarily to the different persons receiving the tax or tribute, more than to the sources. Functionally,


S Y S T E M : AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY therefore, taxes and tribute in economic terms were almost indistinguishable.

Early Ch'ing Foreign Trade Policies The Manchus, a non-Sinitic frontier people, were strongly influenced by the Ming dynasty and, more and more, they adopted traditional SinoConfucian institutions after 1636, when they founded their Ch'ing dynasty, and more particularly after 1644, when they began their conquest of China. But the Manchus infused the newly adopted institutions with the barbarian vigor of their early emperors. Official public disdain for foreign commerce and the institutional identification of trade with tribute were absent in the early years of the Ch'ing era. On the contrary, until the very end of the K'ang-hsi reign in 1722, the new rulers were positively and actively interested in the development of certain forms of foreign trade and, to an extent, understood the economic implications of commerce. Not yet subjected to the full weight of Confucian orthodoxy by sinification, these emperors were comparatively pragmatic in the solution of their economic and diplomatic problems. Their treatment of early Ch'ing trade with Korea and along China's southeastern coast illustrates their vigor. The Manchus entered into active commercial relations with Korea at least a decade and a half before the beginning of their conquest of China in 1644. The development of their armies required food and other material, for which Korea was the best source. As early as January 15, 1628, Abahai (Emperor T'ai-tsung) ordered Ingguldai, 26 a lieutenant colonel in the Plain White Banner, and a certain Major Bajilan to accompany a Korean envoy back to Korea in order to deliver a letter to the Korean king. The letter was a detailed proposal for the opening of trade between Manchuria and Korea. 27 In its explicit proposals it contains an implicit rationale for the development of trade: commerce promotes friendly relations between trading partners. 28 T'ai-tsung was quite willing to let Manchu merchants go to the Korean capital to trade. He also indicated that he understood the relationship of demand and supply and the role of foreign trade in the development of his state. Although he insisted that his own grain supplies were sufficient to feed his people, he claimed they were insufficient to feed a population grown larger through the adherence of vassal tribes. Consequently, he sought trade in Korea. The correspondence between T'ai-tsung and the Korean king, after the


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Manchu request for trade, showed a conscious distinction between trade and tribute. In a letter dated March 3, 1628, and entered in the Ch'ing dynasty's official records as a simple message, the Korean king agreed to open trade in order to alleviate Manchuria's grain shortage; moreover, he permitted the establishment of a market in one of his frontier cities, but he stipulated that trade there must be conducted freely.29 A second letter, dated March 7, 1628, was delivered on the occasion of the presentation of certain ritually required annual spring gifts.30 Although it was not exactly tributary, the style and terminology of this second letter were more ceremonial and traditional than the first. Trade, the Korean king said, was based on the exchange of surplus commodities, and it would prosper provided it was unrestricted. During the next five years Korean-Manchu commerce grew, though not without disputes. In 1633 T'ai-tsung sent a mission to Korea to trade ginseng for silk and to present a formal complaint to the Korean king concerning price changes made by Korean merchants for their commodities.31 Later that same year, on October 16, 1633, T'ai-tsung sent Ingguldai back to Korea to deliver a letter to the king, in which he discussed his desire for economic self-sufficiency and the need for protectionist policies to achieve that goal. 32 He complained that the Koreans were capricious in the setting of prices. Consequently, in order to diminish his dependence on foreign trade and to increase the internal production of such items as cotton, he announced a five-year development program and a protectionist policy by prohibiting the weaving of silk or its importation from Korea, because silk competed with cotton. He concluded by warning Korea that the breaking of commercial agreements could have serious political consequences. After 1644 Manchuria's economic difficulties were obviously eased by the conquest of China. By the end of the seventeenth century, China, a grain-exporting region, was part of the Manchu empire; as late as 1698 the Ch'ing, formerly purchasers of Korean grain, were able to send 30,000 shih of rice to Seoul. 33 T'ai-tsung's positive attitude toward trade was carried into China after the conquest and became part, but only part, of the background of K'ang-hsi's trade policies. For the Manchus, the K'ang-hsi reign was a period of adjustment to China and to the institutions they needed to govern their newly won empire. Conflict developed between traditional SinoConfucian commercial attitudes and the pragmatic vigor that had characterized T'ai-tsung's dealings with the Koreans. This conflict was expressed, on the policy-making level, in a general doubt as to whether foreign trade




should be encouraged and, if so, to what extent it should be controlled by more than the already existing mechanisms. Manchu policy makers, whether they were dispensing edicts at the capital or proposing policies from the provinces, were remarkably aware of the economic problems they faced in China after their wars of conquest. The conflict between various possible trade policies is clearly evident in the development and vagaries of policy along the southeastern coast, where trade had a definite economic value for the Ch'ing, above and beyond the simple supply of necessary commodities that China did not itself produce. K'ang-hsi assumed the throne in 1661 at the Chinese age of eight (sui), in the midst of the struggle against the Ming loyalist Cheng Ch'eng-kung and his successors. In that same year, Huang Wu, a former Ming general who had surrendered to the Manchus, recommended the removal of the coastal inhabitants of the provinces of Shantung, Kiangnan, Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung inland to a distance of thirty to fifty li.34 This measure was intended to deny to the Cheng party any opportunities for supply raids along the coast. On May 9, 1668, the emperor approved a suggestion from the Board of War that, for the same reason, foreign trade should be prohibited "if it is not a time for the presentation of tribute." 35 This edict is particularly interesting because it states that a search of the records had been made for mention of " foreign traders who come when it is not a time for the presentation of tribute." The absence of such traders in the records is used to justify the new prohibition of nontributary trade. This close identification of trade and tribute is absent in Manchu records before 1644, but this absence should not be misconstrued: probably the only trade that would find official mention in the records of the imperial court was that which took place during the visit of tribute missions to the capital. Practical considerations of defense dictated these traditional SinoConfucian trade policies in 1668, but by 1684 both the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories in the south and southwest and the Cheng rebellion in the southeast had been overcome; the Manchus sat firmly on China's throne. An edict of that year, issued to the grand secretaries, indicated a sharp return to the original Manchu view of the value of foreign trade. The emperor stated explicitly that maritime trade would benefit the coastal regions of Fukien and Kwangtung by increasing commodity circulation and purchasing power. Furthermore, the proceeds from a light tax on foreign trade could be used to support the Fukien and Kwangtung garrisons, in lieu of the transportation of rice from the interior. This support,


Mark Mancall \ THE C H ' I N G T R I B U T E in turn, would benefit the interior provinces by decreasing the exactions upon them for military supplies and transport. 36 In order to encourage trade the emperor prohibited the collection of taxes from maritime trade at coastal bridges, ferries, ports, and customhouses, beyond the light garrison tax he himself proposed. Ch'ing support for foreign trade was reaffirmed in February 1708. Lao Chih-pan, a censor, had memorialized that the price of rice in Chekiang and Kiangsu had suddenly risen because "evil merchants" were exporting rice from the interior overseas, and he recommended the complete cessation of foreign trade. K'ang-hsi opposed this vigorously and ordered, instead, closer surveillance at the ports. 37 However, the continuity of the emperor's pro-trade policy was seriously endangered by the development of an export trade in ships. During a southern progress K'ang-hsi had noticed that there were extensive shipyards at Soochow, and upon inquiry he was informed that annually some 1,000 or more ships went abroad to trade, but that only fifty to sixty percent returned. The remainder were exchanged abroad for silver. The Soochow ship merchants had told him that the ships that did not return from abroad were destroyed by storms. What particularly disturbed the emperor was the use of ironwood for the construction of keels. Ironwood was available only in Kwangtung, he noted in 1716, and if ships with ironwood keels were sold abroad China would lose control of the shipbuilding industry (which actually, of course, she did not control in the first place)." Herein is something irregular. A stop should be put to it," the emperor concluded. 38 K'ang-hsi's overriding concern was not to increase the inflow of silver (as would have been the case had he been guided by the mercantilist ideas then prevalent in Europe), but to prevent the export of a valuable wood. Consequently, he forbade Chinese ships to sail to Southeast Asia, thus reverting to dependence on Southeast Asian bottoms and traders for commerce with that region. 39 Shortly afterward the emperor approved a strict set of regulations designed to prevent active Chinese trade with Southeast Asia, but a year later, on March 20, 1718, he modified these at the request of the governorgeneral of Kwangtung and Kwangsi to permit Chinese vessels to trade directly with Vietnam. 40 Up to the very end of his life, K'ang-hsi continued to encourage those forms of foreign trade he considered beneficial for the Chinese economy. As late as July 2, 1722, he issued an edict encouraging the importation of cheap rice from Siam to his southeastern provinces. Fukien, Kwangtung, and Ningpo in Chekiang were each to receive 100,000 shih of rice, but, in


S Y S T E M : AN I N T E R P R E T I V E ESSAY accord with his policy of 1717, the rice was to be carried on Siamese ships. 41 The emperor's death at the end of 1722 marked the end of experimentation and encouragement in the field of foreign trade for well over a century. As early as 1727 his successor, Yung-cheng, issued an edict ordering the strict control and, if possible, outright prevention of Chinese emigration abroad or the return of Chinese emigrants to their homes. In general, policy turned to strict Sino-Confucian attitudes toward commerce. Where necessary, however, Yung-cheng was still able to extend existing institutions to new areas. When the governor-general of Chekiang, an official high in the emperor's favor, requested the application to his province of the rules governing and permitting rice imports from Southeast Asia, Yung-cheng agreed. 42 K'ang-hsi's trade policies, which to some extent influenced the early years of his successor's reign, were only a reflection, in one specific area of state activity, of the general pragmatism that characterized his entire era. The favor shown the Jesuits at Peking (which for political reasons admittedly began to decline toward the end of K'ang-hsi's long years on the throne), and the emperor's keen curiosity about things foreign, demonstrate that the dynasty had not yet become completely sinified. The contrast with a later monarch of equally long reign, Ch'ien-lung (1736-1796), is striking. K'ang-hsi could never have written Ch'ien-lung's famous 1793 edict to the king of England, which, as one commentator has remarked, is composed in "powerful and elegant Chinese, drafted by a master hand." 4 3 The categories of thought from which it proceeded show clearly the influence of the rigid Sino-Confucian tradition, for Ch'ien-lung forbade the residence of a European representative inside the Manchu empire and told the English that his empire "does not value rare and precious things... nor do we have the slightest need of your Country's manufactures." 44


Hae-jong Chun/ S I N O - K O R E A N




Tributary relations with China had developed from the earliest stages of Korean history,1 and by the early Ch'ing period they were highly systematized. Korea was the model tributary, and during the Ch'ing era official Sino-Korean relations, mainly concerned with the sending and receiving of embassies and the conduct of trade between the two countries, provided an example of the relations expected or desired between China and other peripheral states. Although the Ch'ing-Korean tributary system was largely an elaboration of the Ming system, this paper concentrates on the Ch'ing in order to present a detailed picture of how the system actually operated.2

Korean Embassies to China We can best begin this examination of the Korean embassies to Ch'ing China by noting the regulations and practices concerning: the kinds of embassies and the business they transacted, their appointment and composition, their preparation for departure to China, the routes they took, the ceremonies and activities in Peking, their reports after they returned to Korea, and their frequency. The economic aspects of the embassies will be described in a later section.

a. The Kinds of Embassies and Their Duties In the late fourteenth century (the early Ming period) under the Yi dynasty (1392-1910) the rulers of Korea had annually sent three regular


RELATIONS IN THE C H ' l N G PERIOD embassies to China: 3 on the occasions of (1) New Year's Day, (2) imperial birthdays, and (3) the birthdays of imperial heirs apparent. These embassies bore the title respectively of (1) chöngjo* (in Chinese romanization cheng-cK ao), (2) söngjöl (sheng-chieh), and (3) cKöncKu (ch'ien-ch'iu). Besides these there were occasional embassies of thanks for imperial grace (satin; Chinese hsieh-eri), congratulations (chinha; chin-ho), condolence (chinwi; ch'en-wei), offering incense (chinhyang; chin-hsiang), presenting obituary notices (kobu; kao-fu), conveying tributary horses (amma\ ya-ma), memorializing (chumun; tsou-wen), and so on. By late Ming times, in the early seventeenth century, the titles of the Korean embassies still remained the same, except that the embassy for the winter solstice (tongji; tung-chih) had replaced all of the three regular embassies mentioned above. This new kind of embassy was usually given concurrently one or both of the titles of the embassies for the imperial birthday and the birthday of the heir apparent. Some of the titles of the occasional embassies also had been changed slightly, although the actual duties of each of them did not change fundamentally. In the early days of Manchu rule, when Korea had become tributary to the new Manchu state in South Manchuria, namely from 1637 through 1644, Korea annually sent four regular embassies. These were the embassies on the Manchu ruler's birthday, New Year's Day, winter solstice, and the embassy for annual tribute (yon'gong; nien-kung). However, in practice one of the first three embassies actually was given the title of annual tribute embassy concurrently every year.4 In 1645 all of the four regular embassies to the Ch'ing, whose capital was now at Peking, were put together under the title of the winter solstice, which was also called yearly tribute (sep'ye; sui-pi). These new regular embassies together with the occasional ones, which were slightly different from those of earlier times, continued to be sent without any significant change up to the very end of Sino-Korean tribute relations in 1894. The titles of the various kinds of embassies in the Ch'ing period were as follows: the winter solstice, thanking for imperial grace, memorializing (chuch'öng; tsou-ch'ing), congratulating, responding to accusations (pyönmu; pien-wu),5 offering condolence, offering incense, and presenting obituary notices. Envoys were also sent for courtesy visits (munan; wen-an) during Ch'ing imperial tours in Manchuria, and for conducting joint in* Chinese characters for these and other terms are given in the Glossary under both the Korean and the Chinese transliterations.


Hae-Jong Chun /



vestigations of criminals (cKamhaek; ts'an-ho). Again, envoys were frequently sent to transfer memorials (chefit; chi-tsou) and other communications (cheja; chi-tzu) to the Board of Rites, or to provincial governors or others.8 The duties of the various embassies were naturally manifold. Every embassy carried memorials, other communications, and tribute objects. Fortunately for historians, most of the memorials and other communications and the lists of the tributary goods during the Ch'ing period were compiled and published under the title of "Collection of Documents Exchanged between Korea and China, and Korea and J a p a n " (Tongmun hwigo; Chinese, T'ung-wen hui-k'ao). According to parts 1 and 5 of this collection,7 the embassies were classified as follows:


Korean tribute missions to China.

Categories of missions according to their purpose or function, with chiian numbers


Activities of missions according to the documentation they used

1. Investiture (l^t)

Presenting petition and receiving imperial patent for the adoption of a Korean heir apparent, for appointment of a royal consort, or enthronement, or adoption of posthumous honors.

2. Expression of grief (5-6)

Presenting obituary notices from Korea, receiving funeral odes given by the emperor and others, and presenting thanks for the odes.

3. Congratulations (7-15)

Presented on occasions of imperial enthronement, the adoption of imperial reign titles and posthumous titles, adoption of an imperial heir apparent, appointment of an imperial consort, and suppression of rebellions in China.

4. Condolence (16)

Offering incense on the occasions of the death of the emperor or one of his family members and condolence on the occasions of conflagration in the Ch'ing court.

5. Courtesy visit (17)

Presented on the occasions of imperial visits to Shen-yang (Mukden) and other places.

6. Seasonal embassy (18-32)

In the early Ch'ing period four regular embassies went annually, but after 1645 all of them were put together into this one.

RELATIONS IN THE C H ' l N G Categories of missions according to their purpose or function, with chiian numbers 7. Explanation (33-34)

8. Style of memorial (35) 9. Requests (36) 10. Bestowal of gifts (37)


Activities of missions according to the documentation they used

Offering explanations concerning disturbances in Korea, or misunderstanding or false accusation on the part of the Ch'ing—particularly unreasonable statements about Korea in Chinese historical works. Inquiring about the style of various memorials and, in addition, inquiry into the date of the emperor's birthday. Requests by China for a supply of rice, falcons, rifles or for presenting Korean books to China. For bestowal of rice, writing brushes, Chinese books, minerals for medical use, etc.

11. Remission of and exemption from taxes (38-40)

Remission of taxes on tributary goods, exemption from ceremonials in receiving imperial embassies, mitigation of punishment of Korean criminals, or reduction of the retinue and suspension of private trade of Chinese embassy members. 12. Conveying imperial orders Concerning the return of the Korean hostage, Prince Sohyön; discharge of anti-Manchu (41) Koreans from government service and their delivery to China; and improprieties in memorialization and tributary embassies. 13. Calendar Requesting the imperial calendar every year after 1644. (42) 14. Solar and lunar eclipses Communications from the Peking Board of Rites (43-44) on eclipses and replies to them. 15. Trade Concerning trade in Peking and on the tributary route by Korean embassies, prohibitions, local (45-47) trade, trade in drugs, and fines accruing from suspending local trade. 16. Border affairs (48) 17. Border trespassers (49-62) 18. Smuggling (63-64)

Fixing border lines and setting up military posts and colonies in the border area.

19. Extradition (65)

Extradition of runaways, especially from embassies.

Koreans (chiian 49-59); Chinese (chiian 60-62). Smuggling niter (potassium nitrate, used in gunpowder), sulphur, copper, horses, books, maps, ginseng, etc.


Hae-Jong Chun Categories of missions according to their purpose or function, with chiiart numbers 20. Castaways (66-73) 21. Indemnification (74-75) 22. Military affairs (76) 23. Relief (77) 24. Information on Japan (78) 23. Miscellanea (79)



Activities of missions according to the documentation they used

Koreans (chiiart 66-69); Chinese (chiian 70-73). Repayment for private debts and lost properties. Frontier and maritime defense. Conveying pecuniary assistance from the Ch'ing at the funerals of Korean royal family members, embassy members, and the like. Incidental reports on Japan and Japanese castaways. Intermarriage between the two courts, the change of the place name of Shen-yang, and amnesties in time of drought.

26. Information on Western Reports on Western intrusions into Korea from affairs 1866 to 1879. (Pt. 5, all in 1 churn) Note: Items 1-25 are in part 1 of TMHG; item 26 in part 5. The above classification may be rearranged for our analytic purposes into several categories roughly as follows (those consisting of more than three chiian are italicized). Highly ritualistic: classifications 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8. Semiritualistic and semidiplomatic: S and 23. Tribute: 6, 9, 10, and 11. Trade: 15 and 18. Border affairs: 16, 17, 19, 20, and 22. Calendar and astronomy: 13 and 14. Foreign affairs: 24 and 26. Political and miscellaneous: 7, 12, 21, and 25. Judging from this rearrangement it may be said that, although more than two thirds of the twenty-six classifications of missions by purpose or function are explicitly characteristic of tributary relations, those numbered from 15 through 22 are not so characteristic but instead are functions which figure also in modern international relations.




b. Appointment and Composition of an Embassy An embassy was usually composed of one envoy, one associate envoy, one attendant secretary, a certain number of interpreters, tribute guards, and minor officials; the total membership of an embassy was about thirty persons, 8 although the composition and number varied according to the kind of embassy. Details of the composition of various embassies are given in Table 2. TABLE

2. Membership of various embassies. Type of embassy •31

Position Envoy Associate envoy Attendant secretary First-class chief interpreter Second-class chief interpreter Guards of various kinds Minor interpreter Physician Writer Painter Court physician Additional minor official Additional guard Military officer Language student w Military officer from Uiju Astronomer Total

•a ο Ά 1 -S «

·2 11 a Ü

1 °

t .5


JJ 1 I S

•% >


l l α u

.9 £

8 £


3 δ

.9 £


1 1 1 2a 2 14 1 1 lb 1 0 0 0 7 1 1 lc

1 1 1 1 2 9 1 1 1 0 2 ld 2" 8 1 2 0

1 0 1 1 or 2 0 3 or 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 2 0

1 0 0 2 or 3 0 2 or 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0



1 0 1 1 2 5 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 1 2 0

-5 fr

20 15-17


u 0

S 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 Oor 1 0 0 0 2-3

Source: Table based on T'ongmun-gwan ji, 3:2-5b, 57-59. The rest of the embassies, which are not listed here, mostly follow the case of the embassy for presenting thanks for imperial grace.



Chun / S I N O - K O R E A N


a. Prior to 1765, one. b. Prior to 1720 accompanied by another minor writer. c. Prior to 1741 occasionally, after 1741 every year, and after 1763 once every three years. d. At times two. e. Abolished in 1697 and restored in 1707.

The envoy and the associate envoy were nominated from among the Korean princes and officials of rank higher than 3A (Korea had the same nine ranks as China, each divided into A and Β grades); and the attendant secretary among those higher than 6B. The rank of each was temporarily raised by one or two grades upon his nomination as a member of an embassy. The envoy, the associate envoy, and the attendant secretary were called the "three envoys." The attendant secretary recorded everyday occurrences during the mission and reported them to the Korean king. He was also competent to inspect all the members of the embassy and sometimes acted for the envoys despite the presence of other high-ranking officials or interpreters. 9 Whereas the "three envoys" were chosen from among royal family members and, in most cases, among officials of various offices, most of the other embassy members were recommended from among the personnel of the Office of Interpreters or Sayök won (Szu-i yiian). The envoys were usually nominated well ahead of their departure. In the case of the winter solstice embassy, they were supposed to be nominated in the sixth month and depart in the tenth or eleventh month. 10 Many of the embassy members were ordinarily persons who had often been to China. Prince Inp'yong, for example, headed almost a dozen embassies in the seventeenth century. In the case of an embassy in 1787, sixteen members out of twenty-six had been to China before, and seven members more than five times. 11 Indeed, one member had been on twenty-seven embassies, and another on twenty-five—real "China hands"! Most of the members were accompanied by various retainers such as minor secretaries, horse drivers, umbrella holders, ushers, sedan-chair bearers, heralds, henchmen, and so on, and these were mostly chosen by the members themselves. Thus the whole corps of an embassy usually numbered from 200 to 300 persons. 12 c. Preparation for Departure Preceding the departure of an embassy, various memorials and communications 13 as well as tributary goods 14 were prepared, examined, and




carefully packed. 15 The documents an embassy carried with it numbered, in most cases, more than ten. 16 And when an embassy was given another title concurrently, the number of documents naturally increased. The embassy was given its travel expenses in kind and in money, and local governments were asked by official letters to support its transportation and provide lodging.17 An embassy carried an enormous volume of goods, besides tributary goods, such as the funds for travel expenses mentioned above, goods for private trade, food, fodder, and so on; the whole amount numbered at times more than 350 sacks.18 After the envoys had audience of the king, the embassy left Seoul for Peking on the same day.

d. The Route Although various sea and land routes had been taken during the Ming period, 19 a land route was used during the Ch'ing, and it was considered much shorter and more convenient than any sea route. Main places on the route were, with minor changes during the Ch'ing: Seoul, P'yöngyang (Chinese, P'ing-jang), Uiju (I-chou), the Yalu River, Feng-huang ch'eng, Lien-shan kuan, Liao-tung, Shen-yang, Kuang-ning, Sha-ho, Shan-hai kuan, T'ung-chou, and Peking.20 The route was about 3,000 li, or about 750 miles long and travel over it took forty to sixty days.21 In some cases the embassy stayed in Uiju for several days before crossing the river, and the journey to Peking took several days longer than the journey home, which usually took between forty and fifty days.22 Before crossing the Yalu the embassy memorialized the king as to its membership, followers, horses, tributary goods, and other goods,23 and these were also reported to the Manchu local officials on arrival at Ts'emen.24 At Shen-yang (Mukden) the embassy presented a part of the local tributary products to the Manchu local authorities and the latter, memorializing the emperor, transmitted them to Peking. At first they also dispatched an escort for the embassy, but this was stopped after 1677.26 In the meantime the embassy gave presents as a kind of commission to Manchu local officials at several places.26 This was done en route both to and from Peking.


Hae-Jong Chun / S I N O - K O R E A N T R I B U T A R Y e. Ceremonies and Activities in Peking When the embassy entered Peking, its arrival was made known to the Residence for Tributary Envoys (Hui-t'ung kuan) and its members were received by interpreters from that organ. 27 During their stay in Peking, and during their travel in China, the Banqueting Court (Kuang-lu szu) of the Ch'ing supplied them with food. 28 On the day following their arrival they presented the memorials and communications to a minister of the Board of Rites. In the case of a New Year's embassy the envoy, after having practiced the ceremonies, was received in audience with other Manchu officials and tributary envoys from other countries. 29 In the meantime the annual tribute and "local products" were received, after the Board of Rites had memorialized and subsequently received an imperial endorsement of approval. 30 The Korean envoy was banqueted by the Board of Rites and received an imperial audience and imperial gifts. 31 Included were gifts to the king and embassy members and to only thirty of the embassy's retainers. 32 At its departure the embassy was again banqueted and, after having notified the Court of State Ceremonial (Hung-lu szu), the embassy left Peking and was escorted as far as Shan-hai kuan by some officials of the Board of War. 33 In the Ming period the sojourn in Peking was limited to forty days, but in the Ch'ing there was no limitation and embassies could stay for about two months. 34 Many of the embassy members had contact with Chinese officials and scholars and also visited book stores and other places,35 besides discharging their official duties.

Sources·. Data for 1637 to 1881 are based on TMHG, ts'e 43, which gives, in most cases, the title of the embassy, the names of the three envoys, and dates of departure and return. Data for 1882 to 1894 are from Chosen shi (History of Korea; Seoul, 1938), Ser. 6, Vol. 4. In both cases data are arranged by the year of departure. TMHG seems to be the most accurate record of frequency, whereas Chosen shi is not inclusive. The Kuang-hsü period is, therefore, separated in the table on the bottom line. NB: The whole period has been divided mainly according to the reign periods of emperors. A figure after / (slant) shows the number of times the "winter solstice" title was held concurrently by other embassies. In other words, in 139 years out of 238 there were winter solstice embassies, but in 99 years this title was added to the title of one of the other kinds of embassies. The title of "incense offering" was in every case held concurrently by an embassy of condolence.



Average per year, over all Total including memorial and communication Presenting communication Hcn^nOOOOO^H

Presenting memorial

OOiaOOHOlftS« Ιηί^ΟΚ^ΝίΟΝΟΟ« "ή & § 8 < l ·


T3 α α > h •2 «3 ε 21 O.I 2 ίη οGflC. ιΛ C τ3 οωQU α« tV ΐ f^ tft g2u g§ε g | | j? Ζ £ § § < Iοο

Number of years

g l g g

f i g £ U

1636-1644 1645-1661 1662-1692 1693-1722 1723-1735 1736-1765 1766-1795 1796-1820 1821-1850 1851-1874 1875-1880

9 17 31 30 13 30 30 25 30 24 6

18 37 39 15 15 14 4 8 10 5 4

22 3 0 0 0 2 2 7 18 17 7

40 40 39 15 15 16 6 15 28 22 11

2.00 2.17 1.25 0.50 1.15 0.46 0.13 0.32 0.33 0.20 0.66

4.44 2.35 1.25 0.50 1.15 0.53 0.20 0.60 0.93 0.91 1.83

45.0 92.5 100.0 100.0 100.0 87.5 66.6 53.3 35.7 22.7 36.3










Source: TMHG, ts'e 44. NB: Embassies are counted by the year of departure from Peking. Even though an embassy may have conveyed more than one edict or command, still it has been counted as only one.


Hae-Jong Chun / S I N O - K O R E A N T R I B U T A R Y An imperial Ch'ing embassy usually consisted of an envoy, an associate envoy, two chief interpreters, two minor interpreters, and eighteen followers.37 In the earlier period some of the imperial envoys were men of Korean origin. Chinese embassies took the same route as Korean embassies to Peking except for the visit to Shen-yang.38 The reception of imperial embassies was one of the most important affairs of Korea, not least because it was a heavy financial burden. As soon as the notice of an embassy's departure was received, a temporary office was set up for receiving the envoy.39 During the embassy's travel from the Yalu to Seoul, at least five groups of Korean officials and their retinues were sent out to receive the embassy.40 The embassy was sumptuously banqueted at several places en route. 41 Local governments also played their parts in receiving the embassy.42 The reception in Seoul was even more luxurious and ceremonial. The envoy was received in audience by the king and banqueted several times during his comparatively short stay in Seoul.43

Economic Aspects of the Tributary Relationship The economic aspects of Sino-Korean tributary relations must be examined if we are to understand and evaluate the whole relationship. But each of the aspects—tributary goods, travel expenses of embassies, and gifts as well as trade—requires further comprehensive study. My discussion is limited to two questions, whether the tributary relationship was profitable to the respective countries and whether or how far the tributary system was maintained for economic purposes.

a. Tributary Goods and Imperial Gifts By comparing the various editions of Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien (Collected statutes of the Ch'ing) one easily discovers that the tributary goods to be sent from Korea to the Ch'ing court differ in kind and in volume according to the various editions of the statutes and that a significant part of the enormous amount and value of the goods required in the early Ch'ing era had been remitted by the Yung-cheng period (1722-1735). The annual tributary goods stipulated in the Ch'ing period are shown in Table 5.44 The value of the annual tributary goods in about 1808 was roughly 80,000 copper taels. 46




5. Korean tributary goods required in the Ch'ing period. Amount remitted and date of remittance (1641-1728)

Amount required (1637-1640)


Amount required (1729-1894)

Gold Silver Parts of bows Large-size paper Small-size paper Leopard skins Otter skins Deer skins Black squirrel skins Tea Pepper Sapan wood Girdle knives Multi-edged knives Mats with dragon pattern Mats with variegated pattern Ramie fiber White thin silk

100 liang (weight) 100 Hang (1692) 0 1,000 taels 1,000 taels (1711) 0 200 100 (1647), 100 (1655) 0 1,000 rolls 1,000 (1655) added 2,000 rolls 1,500 rolls 1,500 (1655) added 3,000 rolls 100 pieces 100 (1711) 0 400 pieces 100 (1723) 300 pieces 100 pieces 100 pieces 300 (1723) 300 pieces 0 1,000 sacks 1,000 (1645) 0 10 catties 10 (1647) 0 200 (1647) 200 catties 0 26 6 (1643), 10 (1645) 10 20 10 (1645), 10 (1647) 0

Red thin silk Green thin silk Various cotton goods

250 pieces 250 pieces 10,000 pieces

Various hemp goods Rice

1,800 pieces 10,000 sacks

4 pieces


40 pieces 200 pieces 1,500 pieces


20 (1643)

2 pieces 20 pieces 200 pieces 200 pieces

500 (1643), 500 (1645), 100 (1647), 200 (1651) 50 (1643), 100 (1645) 100 pieces 50 (1643), 100 (1645) 100 pieces 200(1643),500(1645), 1,000 pieces (fine) 2,200 (1645), 2,100 2,000 pieces (raw) (1647), 600 (1651), 600(1692), 800(1723) 0 300(1643), 1,500(1645) 9,000(1641),900 40 sacks (1647), 60 (1728)

Source: TMGJ, 3:28-29b. Besides the annual tributary goods the envoy presented "local products" or pcmgmul (fang-wu) to the emperor, the empress dowager, and the heir apparent. These varied slightly in kind and amount according to the occasion. A significant part of the local products had been remitted by the end of the K'ang-hsi period, and the kinds and amounts of them presented on the winter solstice in the late Ch'ing period were as follows: 46 Local products for the empress were slightly fewer than those for the emperor, and so also were those for the empress dowager, and possibly those for the imperial grandmother. Thus the whole amount of the local products presented on the winter solstice may be estimated as at least


Hae-Jong Chun / SINO-KOREAN T R I B U T A R Y Item Fine yellow ramie Fine white ramie Yellow thin silk White thin silk Mats with dragon pattern Mats with yellow pattern Mats with full pattern Square mats with full pattern Mats with variegated pattern White cotton-paper

To the emperor

To the heir apparent

10 pieces 20 pieces 20 pieces 20 pieces 2 20 20 20 20 2,000 rolls

0 IS pieces 0 10 pieces 0 10 10 0 10 500 rolls

three times the amount for the emperor alone. Those presented on New Year's Day were the same, and so were those on the imperial birthday. Since an embassy on the winter solstice presented all of the local products for the three occasions, they must have totaled almost ten times as much as those presented to the emperor solely on the winter solstice. The values of the local products presented by the various Korean embassies in the early nineteenth century were thus as follows: 47


6. Value of Korean local products presented by embassies (in copper taels).

Type of embassy Winter solstice (to emperor alone, on three occasions) Presenting thanks (to emperor, empress, empress dowager, and heir apparent) Memorializing (to all the above) Responding to accusations (to all the above) Courtesy visit (to all the above) Offering incense (to emperor, empress, or empress dowager)


26,004 10,135 About the same as above About the same as above 6,800 27,008

Thus the total of Korea's annual tributary goods and local products was far more than 100,000 copper taels. This was not by any means compensated by the annual imperial gifts to the Korean king which were as follows : 48




7. Gifts from the Ch'ing emperor to the king of Korea.

Satin Type of embassy (costumes) Winter solstice New Year's Day Imperial birthday Annual tribute Total

Marten (pelts)

Various satins Saddle-horses (pieces)

5 5 5 5

100 100 100 100

8 8 8 8

0 1 1 1





The value of these gifts was approximately 7,000 copper taels. 49 There were also imperial bestowals, though trivial, upon the king and his family on the occasion of other Korean embassies to Peking and imperial embassies to Korea. Nevertheless we must conclude that the value of the imperial gifts was about one tenth of that of the Korean tributary goods.

b. Gifts to Embassy Members Table 8 shows the total amount of the imperial gifts to the embassy members on a winter solstice including the portions due to the embassies for New Year's Day, the imperial birthday, and annual tribute. 50 In the case of other embassies the amounts were about one fourth.


8. Imperial gifts to members of Korean embassies.

Recipients 2 envoys 1 attendant secretary 3 chief interpreters 24 tribute guards 30 retainers Total

Large-size Small-size satin goods satin goods (costumes) (pieces)

Silver (taels)

Silk (pieces)


Blue cotton cloth (pieces)



















0 0

96 0

1,680 540

48 0

0 0

192 0








Hae-Jong Chun



The value of these objects in the early nineteenth century was about 22,000 copper taels. 51 At the other end of this exchange, Korean gifts to Chinese embassy members had decreased significantly in amount by the middle of the Ch'ing period. But still their amount and value were really enormous. A Ch'ing embassy was given several thousand pieces of silk, hemp, ramie, and cotton stuffs, more than 20,000 taels of silver, various skins, various kinds of mats and paper, a voluminous amount of tobacco and pipes, various knives, fans, medicines, food, art objects, books, stationery, and so forth. 62 It may suffice to say that the value of silver, not to speak of other things, given to a Chinese embassy was about four times that of the imperial gifts to a Korean embassy. 63

c. Travel Expenses of Embassies Every Korean embassy to Peking seems to have spent an enormous amount for travel costs during their four months or more of travel. Not only the members and their retinue but also the horses consumed a great deal of rice, soybean, and other supplies which were very costly, even though they were supplied by China during their stay in Peking and their travel in China. 54 But what really tortured Korea was the burden of the expenditure for Chinese embassies.66 It is really surprising to note that the single province of Hwanghae spent 47,431 copper taels in receiving and sending off an imperial embassy in a period of about two weeks, one week each way to and from Seoul; 56 and Korea's total expenditure for a Ch'ing embassy was more than 230,000 taels, 67 about one sixth of the annual total expenditure of all her central government organs. Chinese embassy members may have enjoyed their travel in Korea, but the Koreans suffered heavily from the burden. China also spent a large amount on travel expenses. China supplied at the least about 40,000 copper taels worth of food and wood 58 for a Korean embassy, and accordingly spent 80,000 taels a year on the average. This amount does not include other expenses for Korean embassies supported by China or expenses for Chinese embassies. Even though the central government's yearly quota of land tax receipts in nineteenth-century China was about 30 million silver taels,59 these travel expenses should not be regarded as trivial.


RELATIONS IN THE C H ' l N G PERIOD d. Trade For a deeper understanding of Sino-Korean tributary relations it is important to investigate the subject of trade, but this is another large topic for further study and here I can give only a general outline. Trade between the two countries was conducted in connection with the embassies and also in border areas. Korean embassy members carried with them a certain amount of private investment in the form of silver or ginseng at their own expense, in addition to the travel expenses supplied by the Korean government.60 Every member of an embassy was allowed to carry 2,000 taels of silver or ginseng.61 The total for one embassy, in 1787, amounted to more than 80,000 taels in silver.82 This private investment was originally designed to make up for the insufficiency of the official travel funds, but actually it became a means of private trade. About ten per cent of the 80,000 taels mentioned above was for official trade on behalf of the Korean court. 63 This trade was conducted in the area of the residence at Peking of the Korean embassy and was also officially permitted by the Ch'ing. 61 The goods traded there were various: luxuries, daily necessities, goods for commercial purposes, books, and so on. 65 For the use of the Korean court various satins, silks, medicinal herbs, and luxuries were purchased.66 Merchants and sometimes smugglers, participating in the embassy in disguise as followers or retainers, took advantage of this opportunity. The Ch'ing banned to trade certain special goods, such as niter and other materials for military use, history books, maps, and a few other things, and also forbade bringing Chinese people out of the Chinese territory. 67 Chinese envoys also conducted trade in Seoul. Although the amount of this trade was usually small, the Chinese often did not pay enough for the goods they acquired and thereby annoyed the Korean government. In connection with Korean embassies there were two other opportunities for illegal trade: When the Korean embassies arrived at Ts'e-men on the way to and from Peking, local people, and especially certain Chinese licensed carriers accompanying the embassy on its way home, took the opportunity to conduct unauthorized trade. 68 The other opportunity was connected with a special inspector called tallyön sa (t'uan-lien shift)"9. The inspector and his followers conducted unauthorized trade quite contrary to their duty. Local Chinese and Koreans joined in. 70 The amount of goods traded in this unauthorized way was apparently enormous. On each occa-


Hae-Jong Chun / SINO-KOREAN TRIBUTARY sion almost 100,000 taels of silver flowed out from Korea to China, and, if the legal and illegal trades are added together, more than half a million taels of silver went out every year. 71 Furthermore, border trade between the two countries was conducted at Chunggang (Chung-chiang), a small island in the estuary of the Yalu, Hoeryöng (Hui-ning), and Kyöng'wön (Ch'ing-yüan). The last two places are in the lower Tumen valley. Hoeryöng, Kyöng'wön, and some other places in the area had been market places where local Manchu tribes had been accustomed to acquiring necessary goods from Korea ever since the early Ming period. The trade at these three places had started in early Ch'ing times, and the markets were officially set up to be open twice a year in Chunggang, once a year in Hoeryöng, and once every two years in Kyöng'wön. 72 The fixed items and amounts that could be traded, with a rough estimate of the value of the goods sold to the Manchus at each border market, are as follows: 73 TABLE

9. Markets for the Manchus on the Korean border. Item traded At Chunggang Cows Sea-tangle Sea cucumbers Cotton cloth White paper Thick paper Salt Ploughshares Pottery

Amount permitted

Value (copper taels)

200 15,795 catties 2,200 catties 548 pieces 8,400 rolls 600 rolls 310 piculs 194 3,300

4,000 5,420 2,200 1,096 2,540 2,700 775 97 330

Total At Hoeryöng Cows Ploughshares Salt

19,158 114 2,600 8SS piculs

Total At Kyöng'wön Cows Ploughshares Iron pots Total


2,280 1,300 2,138 5,718

50 48 55

1,000 24 55 1,079

R E L A T I O N S IN THE C H ' l N G


We may note that the Manchus procured at these markets a reasonable amount of necessary goods, whereas Korea received blue cotton cloth, deer skins, and sheep skins, which were comparatively useless.74 Because these markets were conducted officially, both governments had to pay the necessary expenses. Korea spent about 30,000 copper taels for the trade at Hoeryöng, and about 15,000 taels for that at Kyöng'wön, besides the cost of goods in both cases.75 The opening of these officially authorized border markets was of course exploited for illegal trade, just as in the case of the trade at Ts'e-men and that by the special inspectors. 76 In the earliest stage of Manchu-Korean relations, the Manchus had eagerly wanted Korea to trade or to present as tributary goods those things that were lacking in Manchuria. But Korea often rejected these requests on the plea that Korea had been used to getting such goods from China but now they were banned. After the Manchus became the rulers of China their requests were naturally less importunate. But the limitation on the amount of private trade and the bans by both sides were often disregarded, and illegal trade flourished in connection with tributary embassies and in border areas. This illegal trade was a constant problem for both Korea and China. 77

A Brief Evaluation of the Tributary Relationship Although each aspect of Ch'ing-Korean tributary relations might be further pursued in detail, a general evaluation of the tributary relationship may now be attempted. Some scholars, particularly those of the tributary state—not only historians but also political scientists and economists—have argued that the major role played by the embassies between the two countries was commercial. But judging from the above examination of the values of tributary goods, of imperial gifts to the Korean royal family, and the gifts to Chinese and Korean embassies, plus their travel expenses, and the legal and illegal trades, one may make the following points: (1) Through the imperial bestowals and the legal trade Korea could get certain luxuries and necessary medicines, whereas China could also acquire some goods that were badly needed. (2) But the value of the tributary goods from Korea and the Korean gifts to Chinese embassies far exceeded what Korea re-


Hae-Jong Chun



ceived. (3) Some Chinese embassy members and the smugglers who conducted illegal trade may no doubt have profited. But it is hardly believable that the Ch'ing government itself profited much from the economic aspect of Sino-Korean tributary relations. (4) Through the trade, both legal and illegal, a large amount of silver, which was an important part of the total income of the Korean government, flowed out to China. Thus the tributary system brought the Korean government an enormous financial loss and net disadvantage. (5) If travel expenses are also taken into consideration, even the Chinese government can hardly have gained financially from these tributary relations. It seems evident therefore that there was no sound economic reason for the Chinese rulers to work out and maintain such a magnificent system. Some scholars have emphasized the cultural aspects of the embassies. It is true that many of the embassy members were scholars. They became acquainted with Ch'ing scholarship, and by bringing back important scholarly works they contributed highly to the development of Korean culture. The cultural efflorescence of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Korea, which the Koreans of that period enjoyed and of which twentieth-century Koreans are still proud, was much indebted to the scholars who had been in China as embassy members. Granting that this cultural development deserves to be appreciated, it was still the achievement of the Korean scholars, not of the tributary system itself. Instead, the system hindered a general cultural influx from China, and from other countries as well. If the two countries had left their borders open and had freely communicated with each other, Korea might have enjoyed Chinese culture much more widely, and thus Korea might also have become much more sinicized. China naturally welcomed those who wanted to be sinicized, insofar as they were under direct Chinese political control. But Korea was in a tributary relationship with China, not under her direct political control; therefore, China did not exercise intentionally any purely cultural influence on Korea. It may be said that the tributary system was not designed for direct cultural influence, although one should not disregard the fact that tribute missions played an important role in Korea's cultural development. Thus the nature of the Sino-Korean tributary system can best be explained from the point of view of politics. China only wanted Korea to remain gentle and ritualistic, not to say obedient, and Korea was so; so long as Korea sent tribute, received imperial patents concerning matters of adoption, marriage, and the like in the royal family and remained peaceful


RELATIONS IN THE C H ' l N G PERIOD both at home and toward China, the Ch'ing did not interfere in Korea's internal affairs. Korea was not fully devoted to the Ch'ing dynasty, whereas she had highly respected the Ming, not only because the Ming had given help during the Japanese invasions of the late sixteenth century but also because Confucian culture had flourished in Ming China. Even in the late eighteenth century many Korean scholars who had been in Ch'ing China asserted that Korea might properly "respect the great [Ch'ing]" not because it was strong politically or militarily, but because it had "become the successor of the great [Confucian] culture." Here we find that exerting a cultural influence was not an intrinsic aim of the tributary system for China, as the suzerain state, but, ironically, Chinese culture did in fact exert an influence upon the psychology of the people of Korea, the tributary state, and helped them preserve the tributary relationship. To put it another way, the tributary system may have been closely related to the Confucian Chinese culture, but the Ch'ing, knowing consciously or unconsciously that Korea had already been fully sinicized, felt no need to exert further cultural influence on Korea. Finally, for the rulers and upper class of Korea, the tributary relationship with China helped to preserve their status and power. This relationship seems to have been one reason for the comparatively long duration of dynasties in Korea. In other words, among other factors, the tributary system was politically acceptable to the rulers of Korea as well as of China.


Robert Κ. Sakai / THE R Y U K Y U (LIU-CH'IU) I S L A N D S AS A FIEF OF S A T S U M A

The status of the Ryukyu kingdom in early modern times was puzzling not only to Western observers but also to the Japanese. The eighteenthcentury scholar Hayashi Shihei noted that the kingdom, being between the two big countries of China and Japan, "subjects herself to both countries and pays tribute to both. She uses the Japanese calendar when she deals with Japan, and the Chinese calendar when she contacts China." 1 In Japan the government of the westernmost han, Satsuma, was not bothered by political forms; in pragmatic fashion it controlled the Ryukyus in the manner best calculated to bring Satsuma profit and prestige. Thus Satsuma stage-managed the island kingdom's relations with China from behind the scenes. A Satsuma official memorandum to Ryukyu of 1710, for example, claimed that the Tokugawa shogun had received Ryukyu envoys with special courtesies because of a reminder from the Satsuma daimyo that the Ryukyu king was a foreign monarch who received investiture from the emperor of China and whose envoys therefore must be given the respect due to representatives of an outside state. At the same time the shogun had been told that Ryukyu dispatched a tribute mission to him because of Satsuma's military domination over the archipelago, Note: Financial assistance for this study was granted by the University of Nebraska Research Council. The author also is grateful for scholarly advice from Professor Torao Haraguchi of the University of Kagoshima and for the research assistance of Miss Nobuko Tsukui.


ν ,0' Κ Υ US Η Kagöshim



Liu-ch'iu (

# Yaku Shima #


R y i / K y u





Kikaishima , η ^


£|Tokunoshima 0Okinoerabu &





















Robert Κ. Sakai / THE R Y U K Y U I S L A N D S and the memorandum of 1710 reminded the Ryukyuans: " I t is most unusual that the shogun, who has no fear of great China, should grant a special audience to envoys of the king of the Ryukyus. This is all due to the fact that the daimyo of Satsuma commands the respect of the shogun. Chüzati-ö [the Ryukyu king] should be aware of this and should be very grateful. This whole situation should be made known both to the [Ryukyu] officials and to the common people." 2 Caught thus between its two powerful neighbors, the Ryukyu government was well schooled in diplomatic evasion, which helped to keep her status in confusion. When the question of sovereignty over the little kingdom created a crisis between China and Japan in 1873, the sanshikan (the three senior officials in Okinawa) wrote the Japanese Foreign Ministry that the Ryukyus regarded China as a father and Japan as a mother. 3 In his paper, Professor Ch'en deals with the Liu-ch'iu Islands' relations with China, and I will try to describe the precise relationship between the Ryukyus (using the Japanese transliteration of the name) and Satsuma during the Tokugawa period. In brief, Satsuma considered the Ryukyu Islands a vassal state which should acknowledge her superiority by sending annual tribute to her capital at Kagoshima as well as occasional missions to the shogun at Edo. Yet this Satsuma-Ryukyu relationship was maintained side by side with the tributary relationship between China and Ryukyu. The ambivalence portrayed in these two papers casts an interesting light on the Chinese world order. Before analyzing the Japan-Ryukyu relationship, let us note the main features of the Japanese polity in comparison with that of China. In the first place, it may be suggested that the territory and government of the Tokugawa shogun constituted a sort of small-scale Middle Kingdom. He exercised a central control over numerous subordinate but relatively autonomous states, the location of which indicated the degree of intimacy and loyalty to be expected of their rulers. Thus the shimpan (related han) and the fudai (hereditary) daimyo formed the inner circle of trusted lords, whereas the potentially dangerous tozama (outer) daimyo were given territory far from the center. Daimyo related to the shogun or entrusted with responsibilities in his government (the bakufu) were also those most under the shogun's thumb. Shimpan and fudai daimyo were constantly shifted around from one territory to another, and their holdings might be increased or reduced. The tozama lords, although not privileged to hold office in the bakufu, were relatively more secure from bakufu interference. The arrangement of fiefs within the Japanese feudal system had a certain




superficial resemblance to the Chinese world order. Like rulers tributary to China, the daimyo were formally invested with authority by the shogun, to whom they were thus obligated to express their loyalty and submission through the complex arrangements for leaving hostages and residing annually at Edo under the so-called sankin system. The han governments, like the states outside China, enjoyed considerable autonomy, each daimyo maintaining his own army, administrative system, and tax collections. There were basic differences, however, between the Sinocentric world order and the Tokugawa feudal system. Unlike states tributary to China, the nearly three hundred han in Japan were parts of a nation, small states within a well-defined larger state. The shogun-daimyo relationship involved much more than a ceremonious exchange of tribute and gifts between envoys and court; it was more direct and personal and more explicitly defined; each daimyo himself necessarily had to make his periodic sankin trek to Edo. Whereas China's claim to centrality in a loosely conceived universal empire was based on the assumption of the superior virtue of the emperor and the superiority of the Chinese way of life, the Tokugawa shogun's sway over Japan depended directly on the preponderance of his power. Tokugawa relations with the han, shaped by political and defensive concerns, were intended to maintain an absolute superiority. In the absence of a concept of equality among sovereign states, Japanese foreign policy had tended historically to alternate between dynamic expansion and deliberate contraction. Whereas China generally assumed that the cultural and moral superiority of the Confucian Way would naturally prevail over less civilized areas, Tokugawa statesmen had no illusions as to the potential threat of outside powers. Particularly aware of Western military power, they had adopted in the early seventeenth century the seclusion-exclusion policy which eliminated contact with the outside world except under rigidly controlled conditions. The Ryukyu kingdom, however, was anomolous. The archipelago was outside the Tokugawa system because the king was invested with authority by the emperor of China, yet the islands were within the sway of the shogun because Ryukyu was dependent upon Satsuma and the latter subordinate to the shogun. Early Satsuma-Ryukyu Relations up to the Invasion of 1609 In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Ryukyu Islands had been an important center of East and Southeast Asian commerce. This was especi-

" 5

Robert Κ. Sakai



ally true after the unification of the islands under King Shö Hashi in 1429 and the subsequent establishment of a royal monopoly over trade. 4 Since in this period Japan was torn by civil wars, which heightened the desire for economic strength, the lord of Satsuma soon saw the commercial advantage to be gained by tapping Ryukyu's overseas trade. In 1472 he tentatively asserted his authority by demanding that Ryukyu cease trading with ships from other countries, a reference probably to ships sent by his rivals in Japan; and in 1480 he instructed the Ryukyu king to dispatch a tribute mission forthwith to the Muromachi bakufu.5 It is not clear whether such a mission was sent, but from time to time officials from Okinawa did present themselves in Satsuma to express solicitude or to felicitate the daimyo as occasion demanded. In the last quarter of the sixteenth century relations became closer and sometimes were strained. In 1573 a priest representing the Satsuma daimyo reported having been shabbily received by Ryukyu officials. In 1584 tribute brought by a Ryukyu delegation to Kagoshima was considered to be trifling, and its documents irregular. Satsuma lost prestige among the Ryukyuans when the han was invaded in 1587 by Hideyoshi. He considered annexing the islands and in the following year ordered a tribute mission sent to him. Although the Ryukyu king promptly complied, a further order of 1591, demanding a conscription of troops to support Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea, met with resistance. Satsuma then interceded in behalf of the Ryukyus and secured a compromise: instead of men, the islands would provide supplies adequate to maintain 7,500 troops for ten months. But King Shö Nei in Okinawa did not appreciate this arrangement, and because Satsuma had not provided security against Hideyoshi's exactions, he sought to strengthen his ties with the Ming by informing the Chinese of the impending Japanese attack on the continent. Pleading a shortage of food for his own people, the king delayed the delivery of supplies to Hideyoshi, who thereupon ordered a land survey to be carried out in the islands in 1594 as an extension of the survey undertaken for the whole of Japan. Eventually the Ryukyus did deliver about half of the requisitioned supplies, and Satsuma provided the remainder and thereafter considered the kingdom to be under heavy debt to her.6 In 1604 the daimyo admonished the king, charging that acknowledgment was due for the generous and humanitarian treatment accorded shipwrecked Ryukyuans by Japanese authorities. He reminded him that Tokugawa Ieyasu's recent appointment as shogun called for an official delegation to Edo; he warned the king to mend his ways and thus avoid later


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA regrets.7 From this letter it is clear that Satsuma had assumed a paternalistic attitude toward her neighbor whereas, on the other hand, the officials in Okinawa were perhaps deliberately slighting Japan in favor of China. We know that at this time King Shö Nei was preparing to receive an investiture mission from Peking which would formalize his accession to the throne. Faced with recalcitrance, Satsuma prepared more forceful measures. In 1605 and again in 1606 the daiymo requested permission from the shogun to send an expedition to chastise the islanders. Permission was finally granted and Satsuma's obligation to assist in building a castle at Sumpu was canceled. The daimyo sent one more delegation in 1608 to demand a more submissive attitude from the king. Upon the return of this mission the invasion was launched from Kagoshima in the third lunar month of 1609.® Approximately three thousand troops were transported on about one hundred vessels for the attack. Öshima island collapsed first, followed in quick succession by Tokunoshima and Okinoerabu. By the first of the fourth month landings had been made at Unten-ko, thus flanking Naha, the principal city of Okinawa. Kume castle was captured and the city capitulated. On the third, Shuri castle was seized and the government surrendered to the invaders. Within two months after setting out, the victorious army returned to Kagoshima with one hundred captives, including the king and the sanshikan.e The campaign had been swift and decisive. Instructions for the invasion had ordered troops to be withdrawn as soon as military objectives were attained and no later than the fifth or sixth month of the lunar year. Thus the mission had been accomplished within the scheduled time. No occupation of the archipelago had been contemplated, and in the "Regulations for the expeditionary troops going to the Ryukyus" instructions were given to avoid unnecessarily arousing the antagonism of the people. The warnings about disorderly conduct included prohibitions against the desecration of palaces and shrines and the heedless scattering of (Confucian) classics and other books. 10 The royal prisoner and his chief advisers were treated by the Satsuma daimyo as his distinguished guests. Shimazu Iehisa accepted the apologies of King Shö Nei for his errant behavior but detained the Ryukyuans as his "guests" for over two years, during which they were feted with banquets and other entertainment. In the summer of 1610 the daimyo escorted his "guests" to Suruga to meet the retired shogun, Ieyasu, and thence to Edo


Robert Κ. Sakai



for an audience with the young shogun, Hidetada. Both these Tokugawa rulers received the Ryukyuans warmly and bountifully. They had already congratulated the Satsuma daimyo and had assigned him the care of the Ryukyu kingdom. 11 This application of the classic policy of reward and punishment was calculated to bend the Ryukyuans to Satsuma's will without destroying the political facade of the kingdom. Preservation of this structure served the respective economic and political interests of the daimyo and the shogun. The patience of the Satsuma officials may have been tested, but finally the king and his ministers on the nineteenth of the ninth month of 1611 swore an oath of allegiance to the daimyo of Satsuma and signed documents which were to govern future relations between Satsuma and the Ryukyus. 12 Five days later they were permitted to return to Okinawa, although one minister, who refused to sign, was executed. The compliance of the king and his councillors was rewarded by an assurance that the independence of the kingdom and the dignity of the royal family would be preserved. The agreements also guaranteed the rights of islanders against abuse by Satsuma representatives and recognized the social and cultural autonomy of the kingdom. These terms of 1611 were reinforced or amended by numerous other regulations and instructions on the government of the islands issued from time to time by Kagoshima officials. As in the feudal system of Tokugawa Japan, Satsuma-Ryukyu relations were established on a relatively formal contractual basis, rather than on vague expressions of Japan's cultural or moral superiority. In fact, Satsuma did not claim to have any such superiority; she merely established her military preponderance, demonstrated the futility of resistance, and exacted from the Ryukyus certain rights and privileges.

Satsuma's Surveillance over the Ryukyus As a result of the military conquest of the Ryukyus, the archipelago had been divided into two parts. The islands north of Okinawa were separated from the kingdom and placed directly under Satsuma's administration. These northern islands included the Amami Öshima group, Kikai-shima, Tokuno-shima, Okinoerabu-shima, and Yoron-jima. The southern islands were designated by the daimyo as the territory of the Ryukyu kokushi or country administrator. 13 This form of reference to the king presumably put him in a status lower than the daimyo of Satsuma han. A naiken or land


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA survey by the han was undertaken in 1610 and the king's taka or landholdings in terms of yield were fixed at 89,086 koku (1 koku = 4.9 bushels). By 1634 the Ryukyu landholdings (taka) were listed in the shogunate's registry as part of the total taka of the Satsuma daimyo.14 It is clear that King Shö Nei reoccupied the throne only because Satsuma permitted it. Satsuma troops did not remain as an occupation force but the threat of their return was ever present.15 Moreover, the kingdom was left without arms. Swords were permitted to important officials only. After 1699 Satsuma regulations strictly prohibited the importation of all weapons.16 Ryukyu hostages were kept in Kagoshima to discourage uprisings, and Satsuma supervisory officials and inspectors were sent to the islands to ensure compliance with Satsuma policies. Under such conditions the Ryukyu government could be entrusted with administrative routine in the islands' internal affairs. However, the king had less freedom under Satsuma control than the tozama lords had under the shogun, for their private armies gave them some bargaining power. Succession to the Ryukyu throne was determined by Satsuma. King Shö Nei left no offspring when he died in 1621. His successor, King Shö Ho, had to be approved by the daimyo before he could assume the title. Each new king thereafter was first approved by the daimyo; only after ascending the throne did the king send a mission to the emperor of China to announce the regal change and to request formal investment. King Shö Ho also sent a written pledge of loyalty to the daimyo, an act that became obligatory for each incoming king; and upon their appointment to office, the regent and sanshikan were required to submit similar written pledges of loyalty.17 In 1660 and 1692 the heirs apparent (the later King Shö Tei and King Shö Eki) visited the daimyo at Kagoshima, and this too came to be expected of all crown princes when they reached the age of fifteen.18 Satsuma's grip was further tightened by the requirement that certain members of the royal family or of the sanshikan reside in the Ryukyu-kan, the official hostel or residence for Ryukyu representatives, at Kagoshima. Tribute missions, another form of submission, are discussed below. Satsuma controlled its southern kingdom primarily by surveillance. Rather few officials were sent to the islands. Their direct participation in internal administration was slight, their chief responsibilities being foreign trade and foreign relations. Otherwise, they transmitted orders from the han to the Ryukyu officials and served as watchdogs of the daimyo. A memorandum probably drafted in the early eighteenth century by the Satsuma records office for the bakufu 19 states: "The zaiban (resident magis-


Robert Κ. Sakai



träte) sent from here to the Ryukyus is a metsuke (inspector). A total of about 100 men are sent over, including four yoriki (samurai of lower grade). They serve for three years and then are relieved by others. The residence of the zaiban is at a place called Naha. It is about one ri away from Shuri where the Ryukyu king (Ryükyü koku-o) resides. Except on business, Satsuma officials must not wantonly mix with Ryukyu people." In addition to the yoriki, the zaiban was assisted by several tsukeyakunin (lit.," attached officials") and yokome (investigating police agents), some of whom were located in the other islands. The yokome functioned in part like censors in China, reporting on the conduct of all officials, including the magistrate. Foreign relations, overseas trade, and military affairs were controlled by the Satsuma government; general laws and domestic policies were left to the Ryukyu king and his advisers. Satsuma declared in 1624, however, that judicial cases that involved the death penalty or exile should be referred to Satsuma for final decision, and in 1627 it was decreed that new laws or changes of customs in the Ryukyus must be approved by han officials.20 Occasionally Satsuma dispatched special investigators to check on the general behavior of Ryukyu officials. In 1803 two were sent with "instructions concerning the king of the Ryukyus, who is very young." Because of his tender age, local officials were enjoined to "devote themselves to a harmonious administration." They were cautioned against promoting their self-interest, gathering sycophants, dismissing those who served selflessly and diligently, or causing unnecessary difficulties for farmers and other lowly people. 21 These admonitions were in the best Confucian tradition of moralistic generalities. Satsuma's technique of control is better revealed in the frequent and detailed instructions sent to the magistrate and other han officials. Instructions in 168822 gave much attention to sea trade and the control of illicit traffic. They enjoined the resident magistrate to pay strict attention to his duties as the daimyo's representative. Among other details, he should concern himself with crime and punishment, the proscription of Christianity, and the ban on Christian literature. When the sanshikan or other high officials of the Shuri government came on business, he should receive them directly, not through intermediaries. He and his staff were forbidden to borrow things from the Ryukyu treasurer or request special favors from the king. Travel by Satsuma personnel was restricted both to minimize expenses and to limit opportunities for personal business transactions. Members of the staff who needed to go to Shuri should report their pur-


AS A F I E F OF SATSUMA pose, destination, and place of lodging to the magistrate and then go directly to their destination without dalliance. Anyone caught in transactions for private profit was subject to severe punishment. These injunctions were repeated in 1700.23 The magistrate was reminded that he represented the daimyo's interests and that negligence of duty and the distractions of wine, women, and pleasure jaunts would not be tolerated. He and his staff must refrain from making special requests to the Ryukyu government. When important officials from Shuri arrived he must give them his personal attention. If business continued into the night, he might serve them a light repast, but drinking and feasting were forbidden. When his assistants journeyed to Shuri they must not accept entertainment from villagers. Satsuma personnel were forbidden to participate in large hunting parties; the reasons were: the expense of such expeditions, the impropriety of inviting Ryukyuan guests, the feeling of the people against the killing of animals, and the danger of damaging private property. However, the hunting of wild boar and deer was permissible. Satsuma officials were not to cut down trees for fuel without permission from local authorities. Visits of the magistrate to the king were limited to official calls announcing his arrival at or departure from Okinawa or exchanging greetings on New Year's Day. On such occasions he must not accept entertainment or overstay his welcome. His visits to other members of the royal family were also limited to official calls to exchange gifts and greetings. Social contact with Ryukyuans of lesser status, of course, was improper. Over half this document of 1700 complained about breaches of regulations such as illegal business operations, acceptance of bribes, fraternization with the local populace, and establishment of illegal contact with persons on incoming ships. It was alleged that Satsuma personnel had married Ryukyu women contrary to regulations and had used their relatives to promote private interests. Such men were ordered shipped home immediately, leaving their Ryukyuan families behind. Since Satsuma personnel were not allowed to bring their families to the islands, the temptations to fraternize and have parties with the local people were undoubtedly irresistible. But the han government was primarily interested in protecting Satsuma's economic interest and in preserving the facade of an independent Ryukyu kingdom free from Japanese interference. Yokome were police agents empowered to report on the conduct of all Satsuma personnel in the Ryukyus of whatever rank. Their duties were defined by the Satsuma minister, Niiro Chikae, in 1686.24 Once again, the


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prohibitions against social contact with the local population were listed; yokome were to report any infractions or rumors of infraction of these rules. Social relations of the magistrate and his assistants with captains or crews of ships or with merchants, or the acceptance of entertainment from them, were to be reported. If Satsuma men behaved arrogantly or interfered with administration, or if the magistrate and his subordinates, while inspecting farm areas, imposed extra labor services upon the farmers, it should be reported. Although the yokome were also to report on the general behavior of Ryukyu officials, their major task was to keep Satsuma men in line, to protect the han trade, and to prevent abuse of the people. In 1657 detailed instructions had been issued for ships' captains. 25 Besides taking measures against smuggling, illegal commerce, and unauthorized boarding of ships, captains were to be responsible for the proper behavior of their men on shore. The men and officers of a ship were organized into kumi (groups), and each kumi was collectively responsible for the misbehavior of any of its members. Captains and crews were instructed that if they should encounter the Ryukyu king, members of the royalfamily, chief ministers, or others of the local aristocracy, they should show these dignitaries proper courtesy by prostrating themselves and allowing them to pass without obstruction. When they came upon ordinary Ryukyuans or gathered with other men from Satsuma, they were prohibited from discussing or practicing any of the military arts. The han was anxious to avoid incidents.

Ryukyuan Tributary Relations with Japan While Satsuma's resident magistrate kept an eye on the situation in the archipelago, the Ryükyü-gakari or Ryukyu official in Kagoshima had charge of preparing administrative directives for the kingdom. These were given to the zaiban oyakata (resident elder) and the Ryükyü-kikiyaku (Ryukyu listener), who were in charge of the mission quartered in the Ryukyu-kan or residence in Kagoshima. Of the two, the oyakata was a senior Ryukyuan official representing the king and the kikiyaku was the Satsuma official who kept watch over the activities of the Ryukyu-kan. These officials then jointly transmitted the directives by ship to the sanshikan in Okinawa, and the sanshikan sent copies to the magistrate or other appropriate Satsuma officials there. Besides their administrative functions the Ryukyu representatives at Kagoshima no doubt served as hostages of




Satsuma. In addition to the permanent mission, each year a delegation of about twenty officials arrived from Okinawa to extend the respects (sankin) of the R y u k y u king to the daimyo. According to notes of the Satsuma records office, the delegation was headed by a middle-grade officer. 26 R y u k y u representatives in Kagoshima, like Satsuma men in Naha, were not to establish unofficial social relationships with the local people. They could not visit homes except for official social calls or other designated business, and Satsuma warned against extending invitations to them. Correspondence with Ryukyuans for other than official purposes was forbidden. Entry into the Ryukyu-kan by unauthorized personnel or even loitering about its premises were offenses. 27 People with a legitimate need to visit it were to state their business in writing beforehand. A n y necessary conferences were to be conducted within the Ryukyu-kan. Further to keep a distance between the islanders and Satsuma officials, it was ordered that " W h e n one makes an official visit to a Ryukyuan, every conversation must be through an interpreter. Answers [to questions by Ryukyuans] must also be made through this interpreter." 28 One gathers that the presence of the interpreter was due to political considerations, not language problems. Occasionally when a messenger or representative came directly from the daimyo, he was to be referred to in official communications as a jöshi (envoy from above). 29 Despite these frequently issued regulations, there were repeated complaints in official documents concerning their infringement. These men from the southern islands were objects of more than idle curiosity. They were cultured aristocrats, well versed in Confucian studies, and contact with them was probably much desired among intellectuals and the upper classes of Kagoshima society. The official policy of isolating the delegation in the Ryukyu-kan derived primarily from fear lest illegal commercial and financial transactions take place to the detriment of the han monopoly. In addition to maintaining a constant staff in the Ryukyu-kan and the annual sankin mission from Okinawa to Kagoshima, the king sent special missions to congratulate the daimyo on his assuming his title or receiving promotions and honors from the shogun; or to thank the daimyo when the king himself ascended the R y u k y u throne or received special favors from the han. Although it became customary in the latter part of the seventeenth century for the heir apparent to pay one visit to the daimyo, the titular ruler was not required to go to Kagoshima. Much less frequently, congratulatory or appreciatory missions were sent



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from the islands to Edo. The Kagoshima kenshi records twenty-one such missions between 1634 and 1850, ten of the former and eleven of the latter type, each headed by a prince of the blood. The deputy envoy in 1634 was also a prince of the blood (and so entitled öji). For 1644, 1649, and 1653, names and titles of the deputy are not given, but thereafter he was always of the rank of oyakata or elder. In 1832 the chief envoy or öji died soon after arriving in Kagoshima. Because of the difficulties of sea travel from the Ryukyus, another prince of the blood, well acquainted with the mission's responsibilities, was promoted from the rank of pechin (junior elder) to öji, and he was made chief envoy on the initiative of Satsuma officials.30 Ryukyu missions to China to express congratulations or gratitude, according to Shidehara, were headed by officials of the lesser rank 31 of elder (oyakata or pechin), never of the rank of prince of the blood (öji or anji). If a prince or an anji was selected for the trip to Peking, his title was temporarily reduced to that of oyakata or pechin. Relations between the Ryukyus and Edo were carefully controlled by Satsuma. Communications from the Ryukyu kingdom to the shogunate were subject to the editing and approval of han officials. This can be seen in a memorandum of 17 1 3 32 recording the receipt of instructions from the han to the Ryukyu sanshikan probably via the members of the Ryukyu-kan in Kagoshima: " A communication has come from the council of elders [at Kagoshima] (go-karö-jü) that an envoy must be sent to offer condolence in connection with the death of Lord Ienobu [shogun, 1709-1712] on the 15th day of the 10th month. In connection with the letter [to be sent] for the occasion [it should be recalled that] when Lord Tsunayoshi passed away in 1701 [probably a copyist's error; Shogun Tsunayoshi died in 1709] the letter of condolence prepared by the go-röjü [elders] and that by the king did not correspond in content. Moreover, this spring when Uema pechin brought the letter of appreciation for gifts received by the Ryukyu emissaries two years ago, the letter was corrected and approved at Kagoshima and then forwarded to Edo. A draft copy has been given to Uema oyakata. The letter of condolence to be sent next year should be studied and prepared with the [above] letter as a model. Although it is understood that the official letter should be written with careful consideration, yet because some changes may be necessary, sufficient extra sheets of paper are requested to be sent. The format of the official letter has been changed and this change has been approved, so the letter should be prepared accordingly. This letter of condolence should be sent to the following:


AS A F I E F OF SATSUMA one copy to Ii Kamon no Kamisama one copy to Tsuchiya Sagami no Kamisama one copy jointly to Akimoto Tajima no Kamisama Okubo Kagami no Kamisama Inoue Kawachi no Kamisama Abe Bungo no Kamisama The above instructions have been received and their contents will be transmitted in detail to the Ryukyus. Record of the 52nd year of K'ang-hsi, 5th month 3rd year of Shotoku, 11th month, 8th day." The Ryukyu embassies to Edo were carefully staged spectacles intended to inspire awe and respect for the great Satsuma daimyo, the only Japanese lord to have a foreign kingdom under his wing. In the year preceding a mission Satsuma officials impressed upon the Ryukyu-kan the necessity to stay on schedule. For example, Kobatsu pechin in the Ryukyu government reported to Matsushima oyakata in May (1789 ?)33 the receipt of a reminder from the Ryukyu-kan that a tribute mission was due in Edo the following May. He complained, however, that the return of the Ryukyu tribute ship from China was delayed and there was still much work to be done. Another difficulty, he said, was the regulation that all members of the mission to Edo must arrive together. In December, Ryukyu officials in a joint letter to Yonahara oyakata34 at the Ryukyu-kan in Kagoshima stated that the prince could not depart in January, as urged by the Satsuma government, inasmuch as the collection of gifts for a great number of people would require the entire month. Moreover, the ship returning from China would not arrive in February because of weather conditions. Permission was sought to delay departure from Okinawa until March; this date would still meet the schedule for arrival at Edo. A later note on this document shows that Satsuma agreed to the delay but with a further exhortation to hasten. The Ryukyu mission, headed by a prince as chief envoy and an oyakata as his deputy, included about twenty lesser officials and about eighty guards, attendants, and carriers. 35 They were met at Kagoshima by Satsuma warriors and high-ranking officials including the daimyo alternate (rusui), chief minister (karo), attendant inspector (soba metsuke), and censors or spies {metsuke). An official call was made on the daimyo, and the delega-


Robert Κ. Sakai / THE R Y U K Y U I S L A N D S tion was banqueted and entertained. 36 As honored guests of the lord of Satsuma, they were transported aboard his official ship bound for Osaka. At the mouth of the Yodogawa River they transferred to special boats to go up stream and then mounted horses to go to Fushimi and call on members of the Tokugawa family. From Fushimi they proceeded along the Tökaidö to Edo with a large escort of proud Satsuma troops. The southern islanders' Ryukyuan garments seemed strange and exciting to the thousands of Japanese who gaped as the procession marched by amidst a great din of trumpets, bugles, flutes, and drums. The prince rode in a palanquin protected from dust and sun by bearers of colorful umbrellas, while the deputy envoy either rode a horse or followed in another palanquin. These dignitaries were in the midst of a column of banner and placard bearers, musicians, guards with long swords and lances, and servants carrying intriguing treasure chests. The excitement and curiosity aroused by this pageantry are attested by the numerous picture scrolls and detailed descriptive accounts produced after each of these missions.37 Once in Edo the mission's movements were carefully defined—for example, from the residence of Matsudaira Osumi no kami to the shogun's castle, or from the residence in Shiba of Lord Matsudaira Osumi no kami to those of the Lord of Kii or of the Lord of Owari. 38 The daimyo of Satsuma invariably preceded the chief of the Ryukyu delegation in its audience with the shogun. Generally the daimyo had had his audience on the day before and made the final arrangements for presentation of his foreign envoys. Expensive gifts from the Ryukyu king were presented not only to the shogun but also to the three branch families of the Tokugawa and to the elders (röjü), while the chief envoy also brought gifts for the above individuals as well as for the junior elders (wakadoshiyori) and other important personages in the Edo court. After a banquet given by the shogun, many gifts were bestowed upon the distinguished visitors to take on their return trip. From Edo they proceeded to Toeizan and Nikkosan to pay their respects at the shrines of the Tokugawa shoguns.39 Satsuma provided 2,000 hyö of rice for the expenses of the Ryukyuans' trip to Edo. 40 During their journey to and from Edo an interesting itinerary was planned for the Ryukyuans, to let them see the observance of the first market day of the year (the third day of the second month), or the Gion festival at Kyoto in mid-June, or peasant folk dances, folk dances of merchants, theatrical performances, archery, and horsemanship. The activities of the delegates, however, were quite restricted. A document of 1787 states: 41 " O n such occasions, watch carefully for any Ryukyuans who


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA loiter about. The regulations prohibit their mingling with other people in such places; there should be no relaxation of this. If they desire to see places other than those listed above, they may from time to time forward their request to the [Kagoshima] official who will consider the matter."

Satsuma's Differentiation of the Islands Prior to these restrictions, which were probably established in the second or third decade of the eighteenth century, it is likely that the scholarly aristocrats from the southern islands found a congenial social and intellectual climate at Edo. The Confucian scholar and adviser to the shogun, Arai Hakuseki, for example, found much profit in conversing with these visitors from a foreign kingdom.42 Hakuseki not only wrote a short book on the Ryukyus, but an official memorandum of 1715 suggests that he used Ryukyuan channels to seek some kind of recognition from the Hanlin scholars of China. Hakuseki had sent a poem together with a gift of money to the scholars, but because no reply had been received the Ryukyu officials were undecided what to do next.43 Confucianism was strongly sponsored by the scholars of Okinawa, and to this the Japanese authorities certainly had no objection. In general Satsuma does not seem to have tried to exert much influence on cultural and social affairs in Okinawa. Christianity, of course, was strictly proscribed, but certainly Satsuma did not take the attitude of the Chinese, that a tributary state should be in their cultural orbit. For political and economic reasons, the foreignness of the Ryukyu Islanders was emphasized. Thus the envoys to Edo were decked out in their Ryukyuan dress and spoke the Ryukyu dialect, using interpreters to communicate with the Japanese. For very special reasons, a Ryukyuan might be allowed to change his status to that of a Satsuma subject. In 1787 notice was given by the han government to the Ryukyu-kan that a certain Niigaki from the islands had been made an okobito (low-ranking samurai), and he and his posterity were to be allowed to dress like Japanese. Moreover, his name was to be transferred from the Ryukyu registry to that of Satsuma. 44 Apart from such an exception, we may assume it was difficult for a Ryukyuan consciously to abandon his way of life and adopt the Japanese mode. Satsuma's social and cultural policy discouraged this. Even the names of Ryukyuans were ordered changed in 1625 if they happened to be similar to Japanese names. These similar-sounding names were to be


Robert Κ. Sakai / THE R Y U K Y U ISLANDS written in unlikely, non-Japanese combinations of Chinese characters. As explained by the Okinawan scholar, Shuncho Higa, Satsuma's policy forced Okinawans to eschew names with "the flavor of Yamato" and to adopt those with the "flavor of a foreign people." 45 These changes became permanent with the establishment of genealogical records, which the gentry of Okinawa were ordered to submit in 1670; in 1689 a genealogical bureau was set up at Shuri and family genealogies were officially compiled.46 Satsuma's social-cultural policy for the Ryukyu kingdom contrasted sharply with the policy for the northern islands of the archipelago which had been divorced from the kingdom after 1609 and placed directly under han control. The people in öshima, Kikai-jima, Tokuno-shima, Okinoerabu-shima, and Yoron-jima, though they had had strong ties with Naha and Shuri, were now made to assume all the obligations of Satsuma subjects. Deliberate efforts were made to submerge their culture in the Satsuma way of life. Thus in the Ryukyu kingdom, Satsuma aimed to preserve the dignity of the royal family and aristocracy, and the new genealogical bureau emphasized class differences and respect for status. By contrast, han policy for the northern islands called for the confiscation and burning of genealogical records in 1706.47 This was a deliberate effort to weaken traditional authority. Formerly, the high officials of these northern islands had gone to Okinawa to receive their appointments and distinctively colored headbands denoting their different ranks. Satsuma now terminated these trips to the southern capital, and the wearing of headbands was discontinued, much to the chagrin of the status-conscious officials. In response to these prohibitions, whose date I have not found, the local officials petitioned the öshima daikan, or Satsuma representative, for a reversal of policy: "Some of us regret that we are degraded to the same level as farmers because we have lost the records of our family lineage which had been transmitted to us from our ancestors," they said. They complained they were unable to carry out instructions efficiently because "Sometimes we, the higher officials, are slighted, and the distinctions of upper and lower ranks are not respected . . . Please take pity on us. We humbly ask your favor to treat us [high-ranking] officials differently from the farmers. In regard to head dress, also, please let us maintain our dignity."48 From the above it can be seen that although Satsuma wished to preserve the political and administrative structure of the Ryukyu kingdom, in the northern islands the traditional power structure was deliberately weakened so that Satsuma's authority might be interposed directly. This policy ex-


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA tended to the noro, the priestesses who exerted considerable influence on the lives of the people. Kerr describes the noro as "an influential hierarchy which reached from the chief priestess at the king's court to the meanest village in the most distant countryside and offlying island . . ." 49 The noro influence in Okinawa was suddenly reduced by the king in 1667 when he demoted the chief priestess to a level below that of the queen and the prime minister and abolished the office of divination. It is probable that this action was dictated by Confucian scholars at court rather than by any pressure from Satsuma. In the northern islands, on the other hand, the Confucian influence was weak, and after the separation from Shuri the noro influence increased more than ever. To cope with this threat to Satsuma authority, a prohibition issued in 1624 discontinued the practice of the noro receiving appointment from the Ryukyu king. In the Kyöhö period (1716-1735) the periodic pilgrimages by noro to the capital at Shuri were strictly prohibited.50 Although these trips continued to be made in secret in small boats, Satsuma's repressive policy did succeed in discrediting this religious institution and demoralizing the priestesses, who were cut off from regular stipends. The decline of the noro, however, only made the less institutionalized yuta or mediums more ubiquitous and important to the rural folk of the islands. The yuta were men or women who claimed to be spiritual agents able to communicate with the dead. They were consulted on a variety of problems much as were the geomancers of China, and their influence over the people caused much difficulty in the carrying out of Satsuma directives. The han government exerted pressure to stamp out the yuta, without too much success.51

Satsuma's Economic Motivation and the Trade with China Satsuma's social-cultural policy toward the Ryukyu kingdom was relatively mild, not because of generosity, but rather because it was advantageous to maintain Ryukyu's cultural identity. The policy enhanced the prestige of the daimyo and yet protected Satsuma's tenuous commercial contact with the continent. Thus it was essential that the reality of Satsuma's final control over the southern islands should not be blatantly displayed as it was in the case of the northern island group. The true nature of Satsuma's control can be seen in her economic policy, which weighed heavily on the king, his officials, and his subjects. Even while King Shö Nei was being held as an honorable captive of the


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daimyo, han officials had carried out a land survey of the islands in 1610 in order to fix tax responsibilities.52 Another survey in 1611 determined that the taka (value of the land in terms of yield) was 89,086 koku, and the fief registry recorded this amount as the possession of the Ryukyu king. On the basis of this calculation the king's yearly tribute to the han was fixed. Because the Ryukyu Islands produced a supply of rice inadequate even for its own inhabitants, payments were to be made in various other designated local products, whose values were converted into units of rice. 53 For some products in short supply, permission was granted in 1612 to substitute cash payments, and in 1613 this commutation was made general for the kingdom, the amount being thirty-two kan (a kan = 3.75 kg or 8.27 lbs.) of silver each year. A few special products, such as banana fiber cloth, continued to be submitted in kind, their value being calculated into the total of thirty-two kan. For the year 1615 this tax was suddenly doubled, probably to help defray the costs of Satsuma's participation in the Osaka campaign. In addition to these fixed annual payments there were extra contributions required of individual landholders, to be paid in kind or in money. Except in the case of certain desired commodities such as high quality cloth, shöchü (potato wine), hawsers, or vegetable oils, commutation to money payment was usually allowed. These payments fluctuated with the price of rice. Freight costs for transporting these goods to Satsuma were borne by the king's treasury. In 1629 the daimyo Shimazu Iehisa acknowledged that an error had occurred in calculating the yield for the island of Miyakojima, and the king was informed that his total holdings were reduced by 6,000 koku, bringing the total down to 83,085 koku. In 1635 another naiken (survey by the han) was carried out, but this so-called survey did not remeasure the land area and yield; it simply added a certain amount of measure to every hundred koku of rice, thereby increasing the king's taka by over 6,119 koku. In addition, new taxes were levied on land producing plantain, Chinese hemp, and rushes, on clumps of mulberry bushes and hemp palm, on lacquer, and on the households of salt dealers. These added a revenue of 1,679 koku. The total holding of the Ryukyu king in 1635 was determined to be 90,883 koku. In the same year a tax on grazing land for horses and cattle (of which there were 22,987 head) was assessed. Although the assessment varied from time to time, in 1803 the tax paid to the han from this source amounted to over 444 koku, paid in money. 54 In addition to the above taxes the kingdom was subjected to extra contributions to meet the financial crises of the han government. Such demands were made in 1635 when the daimyo's Edo residence burned down. A


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA designated amount of money was to be given within fifteen months, after which interest payments would also be demanded. In 1645 the han made further exactions to recoup losses incurred by the fall in the price of rice. A second Edo fire meant more contributions by the Ryukyus in 1659, and in 1682 every Ryukyu man and woman was assessed five bu of silver to diminish the staggering debt of the daimyo. 65 Generally the han taxed the Ryukyu economy for what the traffic could bear. Sometimes there were remissions of taxes for specific local areas, as for Yaeyama Island in 1647, or the tax might be reduced because of adverse conditions. In 1722 a general land survey was ordered by the han but on the plea of the Ryukyu government the survey was not carried out on the islands and the proposed increase in the taxation of products was reduced by half, bringing the taka of the Ryukyu king to 94,230 koku. The new tax payment amounting to over 7,632 koku, exclusive of shipping charges, was due to begin in 1724, but the Ryukyuans were still bankrupt as a result of their required payments for goods brought in by the Chinese investiture mission of 1719.56 (On this problem see the next chapter, p. 150.) Money had to be collected throughout the kingdom to meet these debts; final payment for purchases at the time of the investiture mission was not completed until 1728. For this reason the Shuri government requested that new tax payments to Kagoshima be deferred until 1729, and this was granted.57 Added to tax payments in kind and in money there was another assessment called "hardship rice" (kurö mai), which was a labor tax. The regent in 1662 requested exemption from this levy, arguing that labor services could not be rendered from the Ryukyus and that payment in goods or money was difficult because of the costs of a fire in Shuri palace. This plea was not accepted by Kagoshima. This labor tax, based on the 1722 taka figure, amounted to 1,036 koku. Finally, the production of sugar and turmeric (for dyestufF) was made a government monopoly in 1646 to enable the Ryukyu king to pay back a loan from the Satsuma government.58 Payment for transportation of these two commodities was made with rice, because payment in sugar to the captains and crews of ships would weaken the monopoly. These exactions on the local resources of the islands were not inconsiderable, but the foreign trade that Satsuma conducted with China through the Ryukyus was undoubtedly of even larger significance in the eyes of Satsuma authorities. This foreign trade was monopolized by the daimyo, subsidized to a large extent by the han treasury, and closely super-


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vised by han officials. This was Satsuma's secret trade, and so hard figures on its value and volume are difficult to obtain. 58 For this study I summarize Satsuma's control measures. The Ryukyu trade with China was dependent upon the maintenance of a proper tributary relationship by the king with his suzerain the emperor. Satsuma fostered the fiction of Ryukyu's "independence" and encouraged the kingdom to cultivate sedulously her ties to the Chinese empire, 60 in order to exploit the commercial opportunities they presented. It may be argued that the Shuri government was proud to be within the cultural orbit of China and that tribute missions were faithfully sent to Peking because Ryukyu derived satisfaction from the resulting cultural and political ties. However, it should not be forgotten that the continuation of these ties was a choice made by Satsuma, not by the Ryukyus. The nature of Satsuma's interest in her Ryukyu dependency is indicated by the fact that the headquarters of the zaiban bugyö, the daimyo's representative, was located at Naha, the port city, rather than at Shuri, the royal capital. In contrast to the moralistic directives issued from Kagoshima to guide Okinawan political behavior, the rules and regulations for the control of trade were explicit and detailed, and the supervision by Satsuma representatives was direct and forceful, leaving little to the initiative and judgment of the island officials. Every trip made by Ryukyuans to China was carefully supervised by han officials, and the captain, crew, and official passengers pledged to observe faithfully the disciplinary regulations and conduct themselves according to careful instructions. Ryukyuans were prepared to handle questions asked by Chinese. For example, if asked whether they made round trips to Yamato (Japan), the answer was to be "no." To inquiries about weapons in the islands they should reply that "There seem to be a few weapons, but we do not know where they were made." If asked whether gold, silver, copper, iron, pepper, or sapanwood were found in the Ryukyus, the response should be " I am too young to know the answer." Concerning the calendar they should say that the one given by the official at Foochow was the one used. To queries about payments to Kagoshima they should feign ignorance. Concerning these and other questions and answers summarized in 1686, the Ryukyu officials remarked: "The preceding are the conclusions of our discussions which the Satsuma government ordered us to make, so that the answers will be ready whenever the Peking hsiu ts'ai (scholars) ask us questions." 61 Thorough consideration was given to ship and cargo control. Instructions


AS A FIEF OF SATSUMA of 1693 on preparing vessels for the trip to China warned that repairs and the checking of equipment must be attended to well in advance. When the silver arrived from Kagoshima it was to be promptly checked, the rest of the cargo loaded on, and the ship made ready to set sail with the first favorable wind. Two Satsuma officials from the office of the zaiban bugyö and two from the Shuri government were to board ship to check and measure all weapons, examine the signatures on short and long swords and spears, stamp their seals on and record all the items in the registry. After the inspection and as the crew and passengers came aboard, a final check of the official seals was to be made against the entries in the registry. During inspection only the ship's officers remained on board and other members waited on shore. All cargo was checked in the presence of officials, but the silver was officially counted, sealed, and stowed away. As the crew and passengers filed aboard they were checked against the registry, and once on board they could not leave the ship except by special permission. Until departure, other ships were kept away, and a watch was maintained on board ship and on shore by officials of the zaiban bugyö and by the Satsuma yokome. After leaving Naha harbor, ships bound for China often stopped at Kerama Island and Kume Island to await a favorable wind. Therefore a Satsuma yokome and a yokome of the Shuri government were dispatched to these islands to maintain a strict watch.62 Similar precautions were taken for ships returning from China. According to instructions of 1693,63 as soon as the ship anchored off any of the islands of the archipelago, a watch was established on board ship as well as on land. Yokome approached the ship on a guard boat but did not board. At night a fire was maintained on deck to light up the ship, and all other craft were kept away. The yokome were consulted if food, water, and fuel had to be taken aboard, and if tugboats were required on stormy nights a yokome accompanied each tugboat. If two ships arrived at Naha at the same time, one ship was to enter first under escort of a patrol boat, while the other waited at the entrance under careful surveillance. Careful attention was given to the cargo during unloading and storage in the warehouse. Every item was checked, and even broken or damaged articles were kept for the accounting. Personal belongings and private purchases of ship's officers and civilian officials also were inspected, and these were prohibited from sale. Inspectors from the zaiban bugyö and from Shuri were instructed to work from six in the morning until six at night in order to expedite clearance and hasten the next step of the voyage from Naha to Kagoshima.


Robert Κ. Sakai



These examples will suffice to show the concern of the Satsuma government to prevent any leakage from their monopoly of trade in goods from China. According to a record of 1778,64 there were twenty-three guard posts scattered throughout the southern islands to observe maritime traffic and to alert local officials of the approach of any vessel. Usually there were three men to each post. During the sailing season guards atop commanding mountains and promontories scanned the seas night and day. Before the advent of the steamship most Western ships, if they came to Japan, skirted the Ryukyu Islands. After the Opium War in China the pressure of Western merchants to break down Japan's seclusion increased perceptibly, causing great concern to the bakufu as well as to the daimyo of Satsuma. It was Lord Shimazu Nariakira's view that this pressure could be eased by permitting limited foreign contact at Naha. His proposal was accepted in 1846 by Abe Masahiro, the senior councillor of the Edo government, who also gave Satsuma permission to hasten measures for defense of the Ryukyus and for this purpose to acquire the necessary ships and weapons from the West. This use of the Ryukyu kingdom, as an outpost and buffer state of Satsuma and Japan, requires much more detailed study than is allowed here. The exception made for the Ryukyus in the application of the exclusion policy, however, illustrates the fact that the Ryukyu kingdom was regarded as a puppet state. It was not part of Japan, but was subject to the manipulation of the Satsuma daimyo and the Tokugawa bakufu. Both the Chinese and the Japanese views of world order were based on the assumption of the inequality of states. Although China was content to accept the king's acknowledgment of China's cultural leadership, Satsuma demanded control of the economic resources of the archipelago. This control she exerted by methods that were not alien to the feudal system of Tokugawa Japan. The Ryukyu king was not unlike the shiryöshu (private territorial lords), vassals of the Satsuma daimyo who placed at his disposal their own tax resources and personal armies on demand. Their allegiance was guaranteed by their forced residence in the shadow of the daimyo's castle. The king did not have to reside in Kagoshima, but neither did he have his own army. He was completely dependent upon Satsuma for military protection and in the Ryukyu-kan he also provided hostages. Although the king paid tribute to both China and Japan, it must be concluded that the relationship of his kingdom to the two superior powers was very different, both in degree and in kind.


Ta-tuan CKen / I N V E S T I T U R E OF LIUC H ' I U K I N G S IN THE C H ' I N G


Although Liu-ch'iu was a small country, it maintained regular tributary relations with China throughout the Ming and Ch'ing eras. Ships sent by the king of Liu-ch'iu sailed to Fukien every year, and this annual contact was political and cultural as well as commercial. Assuming this regular background, this paper examines one aspect of Sino-Liu-ch'iuanrelations: the investiture of Liu-ch'iu kings by Chinese emperors. Within the traditional East Asian world order, missions from tributary countries frequently went to China, but the imperial court sent abroad only a small number of Chinese officials. The principal occasion for dispatching missions out of China was the investiture of tributary kings. The customary title for officials sent for this purpose was fien-shih (celestial envoy). These envoys of course differed from ambassadors exchanged by present-day states, because as representatives of the Son of Heaven the Chinese were in a superior position in a hierarchic world order. Nor were these envoys diplomats like those exchanged by states within ancient China. Envoys sent for investiture ceremonies had no important state business to transact and hence no need of diplomatic skill.1 Superficially, their mission was routine, involving only a trip to the capital of a tributary country and officiating at the investiture ceremony. Yet, simple though they appear to be, these missions were a complex phenomenon embracing political, economic, and cultural activities. Many tributary practices seem stale and perfunctory in a statute book or in official terminology. In operation they extended in diverse directions. Chinese investiture missions involved far more than simple formality. A study of those to Liu-ch'iu is especially revealing because of the islands' See map on page 113.


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peculiar position. After the Satsuma invasion of 1609, as Professor Sakai's paper makes very clear, Liu-ch'iu entered into a status of "dual subordination": the islands became a vassal of Satsuma and at the same time continued as a tributary to China. Satsuma wished to monopolize the Liu-ch'iuChina trade, and therefore permitted Liu-ch'iu's tributary relations with China to continue, and even promoted them. Liu-ch'iu's tribute-bearing missions, accompanied by traders and students, went to China as before. Chinese investiture envoys continued to go to Liu-ch'iu to perform the ceremony. This relationship with China lasted altogether about five hundred years, from 1372 to 1879. In the Ch'ing period eight investiture missions in all were dispatched to Liu-ch'iu: three in the K'ang-hsi period (1663, 1683, and 1719), one in the Ch'ien-lung period (1756), two in the Chia-ch'ing period (1800 and 1808), one in the Tao-kuang (1838), and one in the T'ung-chih (1866). Many of the customs relating to these missions came down from the Ming and remained almost unchanged through the Ch'ing period in both China and Liu-ch'iu. This strange, but satisfactory, relationship can tell us, I believe, a great deal about the Chinese and Liu-ch'iuan views of world order.

Liu-ch'iu's Request for


The Ch'ing statutes stipulated that whenever a tributary country had a succession to its throne, it was to send an envoy to China to request investiture from the Chinese emperor.2 The time for making such a request was not specified, and Liu-ch'iu generally filed its request long after the new king had acceded to the throne. For a small country like Liu-ch'iu the investiture was a costly business, requiring years of preparation for elaborate ceremonies, for entertaining the large Chinese mission, and for purchasing the goods that the mission would bring along. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when Liu-ch'iu was in a "golden age" and still functioned as an important entrepot serving many points throughout East and Southeast Asia,3 preparation for investiture was no problem. The king usually received investiture two years after his succession. With the decline of trade and economy, kings of later periods had to wait a long time—from four to eighteen years. The interval between succession and investiture serves as a rough indicator of political and economic conditions in Liu-ch'iu. For example, the king captured by Satsuma in 1609, Shö Nei (in Chinese, Shang Ning), waited seventeen years before he received in-


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD vestiture, and for the last king of Liu-ch'iu, Shö Tai (Shang T'ai), the interval was eighteen years.4 Liu-ch'iu usually sent four types of mission to China in connection with an investiture. When a king died, the Liu-ch'iuan government sent an envoy to "report the death" to the Chinese court (this was termed in Chinese pao-sang). Years later, on completion of all the preparations, another envoy went to China to present the formal "request for investiture" (ch'ing-feng). The request granted, Liu-ch'iu sent an envoy to Foochow to "meet the investiture envoys" (chieh-feng). After investiture the king sent a mission with special tribute to the Chinese court to "express gratitude for the emperor's grace" (hsieh-en). Only the last mission went to Peking to have audience with the emperor; the other three stopped at Foochow. Generally Liu-ch'iu did not send special ships for these missions; the members of the missions went to China aboard regular tribute vessels. When Liu-ch'iu received orders from China not to send the regular biennial tribute, Satsuma found it convenient to use these missions as a pretext for dispatching trading ships to Foochow—a maneuver especially evident in the late Ming period when China was discouraging Liu-ch'iuan missions after the Satsuma invasion. 5 Investiture was a ritual that had nothing to do with the ascendancy of the king to political authority; it merely confirmed it. Each time Chinese envoys came to perform the investiture, the king had been on the throne for several years, his succession approved by the daimyo of Satsuma. Nonetheless, before he received the patent of appointment from the Chinese emperor he could not call himself king of Liu-ch'iu in communications to the Chinese government. He could only assume the title of shih-tzu (heir apparent). In some cases the reign of a king was so short-lived that he died without investiture. In such cases his successor called himself shih-sun (the heir, lit., "grandson," of the king). This title did not necessarily represent kinship: in 1802 when King Shö On (Shang Wen) died, his three-year-old son Shö Sei (Shang Ch'eng) succeeded to the throne; Shö Sei died the next year and had no brother, so succession passed to his uncle Shö Κό (Shang Hao), a younger brother of Shö On; in Liu-ch'iu's communication to China, Shö Kö used the title "grandson of the king," using the kinship term loosely in the sense of "second successor."6 This loose use of a kinship term is even more evident in the cases of two earlier Liu-ch'iuan kings, Shö Shishö (Shang Ssu-shao, 1406-1421) and Shö En (Shang Yüan, 1470-1476). Both were founders of new dynasties and had no kinship relation to their predecessors. Nevertheless, in the request of China for


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investiture they assumed the title "heir" and reported the death of their "fathers," obviously to avoid possible objection from the Chinese court. 7 The imperial court seldom hesitated to grant investiture to a new reigning house in a tributary country, so long as the new ruler was willing to send symbolic tribute and observe all the formalities. To the Chinese court the important thing was the ruler's acceptance of the Confucian world view; who the ruler might be was not of genuine concern. In addition to a formal request from the heir, the Chinese court required Liu-ch'iu to submit another document, a t'ung-kuo kan-chieh (national pledge of loyalty), a pledge signed by about ninety leaders including the prime minister (sessei; she-cheng), the three councillors of state (sanshikan; san-ssu-kuan), officials and village elders throughout the country. This document stated that the king had died, that the heir was upright and generous, benevolent and filial, respectful and sincere, and that he commanded the devotion of officials and of the people and therefore was qualified to succeed to the throne so as to glorify this dependency of China. 8 This statement was a formality, but it fully reflected the Confucian principles of rule by virtue.

Formation of the Investiture Mission When the formal request for investiture from Liu-ch'iu reached the court, the emperor would order the Board of Rites, the Grand Secretariat, the Hanlin Academy and the Censorate each to select from their Manchu and Chinese staffs a few individuals " excellent in learning and of refined and impressive appearance " as possible investiture envoys. According to the journal of an envoy, in the year 1800 fourteen officials were nominated, including four secretaries from the Grand Secretariat (Nei-ko chung-shu), three compilers from the Hanlin Academy, four metropolitan censors from the Censorate, and four secretaries (chu-shih) from the Board of Rites. With nominations complete, the Board of Rites presented the nominees to the emperor in audience, during which the emperor appointed one to be chief envoy and another vice-envoy.9 In selecting the envoys a major criterion seems to have been the candidates' attainment in learning. 10 Of sixteen envoys and vice-envoys sent to Liu-ch'iu in the Ch'ing period, thirteen held the highest literary degree (chin-shih), and of these two had attained chuang-yiian (top scholar of the year) and one had attained t'an-hua (third place).11 Chief envoys were


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD generally Hanlin compilers; vice-envoys were sometimes from the Hanlin Academy, sometimes from the Grand Secretariat. These officials were in sixth or seventh rank, but during their mission they held first rank and wore the first-rank court dress with the unicorn pattern that had originally been the dress for a provincial military commander. The Board of Works supplied the dress, also other articles necessary for an emperor's representative, such as regalia, yellow umbrella, dragon flags. The Grand Secretariat prepared documents for the envoys: an imperial patent and edict conferring investiture, an imperial funeral essay for the deceased king, and an imperial sacrificial essay to be read and burned in the Temple of the Sea Goddess in Foochow to pray for protection during the voyage. Gifts the envoys took to Liu-ch'iu consisted of thirty rolls of brocades and silk for the king, twenty for the queen. The Imperial Household provided these gifts. Sometimes a mission took a votive tablet bearing handwriting of the emperor, which the king would hang in a building in his palace— in the Gallery of Imperial Calligraphy (Yü-shu lou). 12 A high rank and the court dress of a military commander suggests the court's intention to enhance the prestige of the envoys. Still, in financial matters the mission enjoyed no special arrangement. The envoys held no funds for their embassy. For the journey to Foochow the Board of War gave notice to local authorities to provide the envoys and their retinue with lodging, transportation, and supplies, and the Liu-ch'iuan government entertained the mission while it was in Liu-ch'iu. Apparently the investiture envoys to Liu-ch'iu received the same treatment as imperial commissioners sent to the Chinese provinces on special duties. 13 The envoys must have had some financial difficulties. An envoy in 1682 requested that he and the vice-envoy be given two years' salary in advance so they could have money to spend. 14 This request, once granted, became a rule, but the allowance was not enough. After their appointment, two envoys of the 1800 mission went to see Chi Yiin, the great scholar who was president of the Board of Rites, to inquire about rules and precedents pertaining to investiture missions. In conversation the envoys implied concern about the inadequate financial arrangements. Chi Yün told them that previously, when a Hanlin official had been appointed envoy, his colleagues in the Academy and his fellow metropolitan graduates had usually made him a present of several thousand taels of silver for expenses. But as "human warmth was getting thinner every day" this practice no longer existed. "Nevertheless," Chi exhorted the envoys, "since the prestige of the country is involved, you should try your best to fulfill your





mission, and not cherish the idea that being unashamed of wearing shabby dress is something sublime." 15 Chi was trying to tell the envoys to make a good show in spite of pecuniary embarrassment. His words reflect the envoys' financial problem, and also the court's consciousness of prestige. The chief envoy of the 1800 mission, a native of Anhwei, hurried back to his home town to make preparations; the vice-envoy, a Szechwanese, was unable to do so. All arrangements made, the two envoys had an audience with the emperor, who instructed them to be considerate and not to disturb the people of Liu-ch'iu. The envoys then left Peking and made the cross-country journey to Foochow. As imperial commissioners, during their journey they met local officials, including governors-general and governors, who came to inquire after the emperor's health and kotow to the small movable pavilion decorated with dragons ([lung-fing) which carried the imperial edicts and other evidence of authority that the envoys took along. At Foochow the envoys set up their mission, and then sailed to Liuch'iu in the summer, taking advantage of the southeast monsoon. The number of people in a mission was partly regulated. Personal servants allowed to the chief envoy were twenty, to the vice-envoy, fifteen. Envoys might have two doctors and a few private secretaries. The title for a private secretary was ts'ung-k'e, "coming-along guest." In most cases private secretaries were scholar-friends of the envoys, their status rather similar to that of a magistrate's private secretaries yet not exactly the same. On one occasion a Buddhist monk served in this capacity. 16 Their number was not stipulated; each envoy took three or four. These forty-odd secretaries and servants were directly associated with the envoys and accompanied them from Peking to Foochow. They constituted about one tenth of the whole mission. At Foochow the Fukien provincial authorities assigned still other personnel to the envoys. A military force of two hundred men under two commanders accompanied the mission to protect the two investiture vessels against pirates and, of course, the two vessels required crews of some size. In addition, there was a large group of attendants including clerks, messengers, doormen, tailors, cooks, barbers, sedan-chair bearers, parasol and fan bearers, gong beaters, pipers, drummers, and miscellaneous servants.17 The size of these two categories, the crew and the attendants, was never specified. Since the total size of the mission was generally five hundred people, 18 they evidently constituted about half of it. In spite of their low status, these people formed an important group


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD because many were Foochow merchants who took the opportunity to go to Liu-ch'iu for private trade. For each investiture mission the Fukien government recruited people "experienced in sea travel and familiar with conditions in Liu-ch'iu" to serve as crew members and attendants. 19 In Foochow there lived families who had carried on trade with the Liuch'iuans for centuries—ever since the early Ming. These people responded to the recruitment call and became members of the mission. This practice must have begun in the Ming era because, in a journal of the 1534 mission, the earliest extant journal, the envoy complained that most of his crew members were merchants and had no knowledge of navigation. 20 Procedures of recruiting and the precise numbers of merchants in each mission are not known.

Scholar-Officials'' Views on the Voyage Although it was an honor to be an investiture envoy, it was a hazardous commission. Unlike the Liu-ch'iuans, the scholars from the Hanlin Academy were by no means daring navigators. The round trip to Naha was a terrible adventure. In every journal written by an investiture envoy there was a lively description of how waves tossed the ships high and low and how narrowly passengers escaped the storms. In the Ming dynasty, Chinese envoys sent to Liu-ch'iu made a practice of bringing all kinds of utensils and implements, including hoes and ploughs, to make provision for settlement, in case storms should strand them on some island, making them unable to return to China. 21 During the Hung-wu and Yung-lo periods (1368-1424) there was even a practice, or so it was said, of bringing along two coffins for the chief and vice-envoys. On the front part of the coffin were inscribed these words, "Coffin of the envoy from the Celestial Empire," and the inscription was covered by a silver plate. In case a storm wrecked the vessel, the envoys were to lie in the coffins, after which fellow passengers would nail down the covers. The hope was that people coming across the drifting coffins would pick them out of the sea to obtain the silver. Removing the silver plate, they might leave the coffins on the shore of some island. When a subsequent mission passed this place, it could bring the corpses of the previous envoys back to China. 22 Fear of the sea by no means lessened in the Ch'ing period. The investiture vessel of the 1756 mission was wrecked and the envoys and their suite almost drowned. Wang Wen-chih (1730-1802), a great poet and callig-


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rapher, had received an invitation from the chief envoy to accompany this mission.23 His friends had earnestly advised him not to accept because of the rough voyage. The eccentric Wang, however, found the experience exhilarating, and in reminiscence wrote: "In those days it was my nature to be strongly attracted to strange experiences, and I was particularly drawn to the desire to see the ocean in order to arouse vast sentiment in my breast. Therefore I ignored all the advice to the contrary and went along on the voyage." 24 A friend, the eminent essayist Yao Nai, in his comments on the episode reflects the usual Chinese scholar-official's view of hazardous ocean navigation and makes much of Wang's unusual attitude: "His intimates all gathered tearfully to restrain the gentleman (Wang), but he paid no heed, and set forth on the sea where his boat was capsized. By good fortune he was rescued from death, and was the more pleased by the experience, saying: It is Heaven's will this way to perfect my poems." 26 A pirate fleet attacked another investiture mission in 1800 on the return voyage and, after repelling the pirates, the mission encountered a big storm. Details of these accidents were recorded in a journal by the viceenvoy Li Ting-yüan. The chief envoy Chao Wen-k'ai, the chuang-yiian of 1796 whom the Chia-ch'ing Emperor considered a capable official, had been in good health before undertaking the investiture mission, but after his return from Liu-ch'iu he was said to be greatly weakened by the terrifying hardships. He died four years later. 26 As the voyage was fraught with danger, it was natural that envoys should feel great concern about the condition of the vessels they took. According to Ming practice, the Fukien authorities were to build two ships for each investiture mission, probably to insure the safety of the mission; but when the regime decayed and corruption prevailed, local officials enriched themselves, and the result turned out to be exactly contrary to the design. Usually a factory was opened especially for building the ships, and materials came from various places, large government funds were spent and workers recruited. Corrupt officials in charge of the work embezzled the funds and gave little heed to the quality of the ships. Quarrels between envoys and the Fukien officials were frequent, and it often took a long time to complete the work. Sometimes envoys had to wait at Foochow for three or four years before they could sail. In several journals written at the end of the Ming there were complaints about this abuse. Envoys indignantly suggested that in future the Fukien officials superintending the work, as well as the shipbuilders, should all go aboard the ships and sail to Liu-ch'iu together. 27


L I U - C H ' I U K I N G S IN THE C H ' I N G


In the Ch'ing dynasty, except for the first mission sent in 1663, there were no special investiture vessels. The mission of 1682 went in two naval vessels, while the mission of 1719 and the five succeeding ones all used merchant vessels. Fukien authorities contracted for these merchant vessels but the shipowners received no rent. Instead, they obtained permission to carry cargoes to and from Liu-ch'iu.28 This arrangement eliminated all abuses resulting from shipbuilding, but trade carried by the crew members, as we shall see, created a different problem.

Preparations in Shuri The investiture mission usually stayed in Liu-ch'iu for five months, and then sailed on the northeast monsoon to return to Foochow. To provide supplies for five hundred people for such a long period taxed the Liu-ch'iu treasury. Looking at the list of supplies, we can get an idea of the burden. The daily provisions required for the two envoys consisted of the following: one peck (tou) of rice, four catties of flour, five of pork, three of lamb, two chickens, ten eggs, four catties of fresh fish, four of dried fish, two sturgeons, two watermelons, eleven catties of vegetables, and assorted condiments. In addition, every five days the king sent representatives to greet the envoys and on each visit they took presents including a pig, a sheep, two chickens, fish, fruit, wine, and other foodstuffs. 29 Daily provisions for the two troop commanders were similar but smaller in quantity. For the rest of the mission the provisions were in three grades. Even for a person belonging to the lowest grade the Shuri government had to supply daily three pints (sheng) of rice, one catty of pork, one of dried fish, one cup of liquor. Moreover, for the return voyage the government supplied fifteen days' provisions for five hundred people. These daily provisions over a period totaling 150 days constituted a huge amount. N o wonder it required several years for a poor country like Liu-ch'iu to accumulate the foodstuffs. The standard for provisions was set by Liuch'iu and was adhered to throughout the Ch'ing period. In addition to supplying foodstuffs, the Shuri government had to repair bridges and roads and dredge rivers and canals around Naha and Shuri. It had to renovate and put in good order the compound specially constructed to lodge the Chinese mission. This compound was the T'ien-shih kuan (Residence for the celestial envoy), located in Naha and built in the Chinese architectural style. It closely resembled a yamen. Second only to


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the royal palace, it was the most magnificent building in Liu-ch'iu, an enclosure surrounded by stone walls, with the main gate facing the south. A forecourt enclosed by a wooden fence had a ceremonial entranceway and guard offices, dominated by a tall flagstaff on which flew the investiture mission's banner. Behind, a series of gates led into a second forecourt and then to the main enclosure in which there were four major halls in palace style and several side buildings for retainers and servants. The main buildings were reported to be spacious and elegant, decorated with carefully preserved wooden plaques bearing the inscribed and gilded calligraphy of previous envoys. Trees and gardens beautified the enclosure, which must have been of impressive proportions and design. Adjoining was the compound that had served in earlier times, through the later Ming, until the new T'ien-shih kuan was built in the late seventeenth century.30 During the mission's stay in Liu-ch'iu the government set up a commission in a building near the T'ien-shih kuan, exclusively for business concerning the mission. The commission had seven departments in charge of maintenance of the building, supplies, secretarial affairs, banquets, and trade by mission members. Each department had an official as its head, with three assistants and twenty runners. Constantly on duty in the T'ienshih kuan was a Liu-ch'iuan official and twenty assistants. The department in charge of trade was the Hyöka-gata (P'ing-chia fang, Department of Valuation); it handled the purchase of import cargoes brought in by mission members and the supply of export cargoes the mission was to take back. The Liu-ch'iu government had to procure silver to purchase the Chinese goods when import cargoes exceeded exports; this was one of the government's major problems in preparing for the investiture mission. Expenses for the investiture ceremony, including entertainment of the mission and capital for trade, amounted to 3,200 kan (320,000 taels) of silver.31 Part was provided by a loan at interest from Satsuma.32 Usually the Liu-ch'iuan government had to collect advance taxes to meet investiture expenses. In addition, officials or common people donated money or grain to the government, for investiture use. The king conferred titles or lands on such donors. 33 In addition to all these arrangements the Shuri government had to undertake another big task—concealment of the Satsuma-Liu-ch'iu relationship from the Chinese envoy and his suite. To keep Liu-ch'iu's tributary relations with China undisturbed, so that it might monopolize the Liu-


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD ch'iu-China trade, the Satsuma clan demanded that Liu-ch'iu preserve the secret of its dependency on Satsuma. Before the arrival of each investiture mission, Liu-ch'iu received an administrative order from Satsuma: " I n case ships arrive from Satsuma while the investiture ship is at anchor, the Liu-ch'iuan authorities are required to hide from the Chinese the name of the Japanese era, names of the Japanese aboard the ships, Japanese books and any other things which it is undesirable to allow to come under the notice of the Chinese. You should refrain from singing Japanese songs or using the Japanese language. In case the Chinese speak to you in Japanese you should pretend you do not understand. You should try to avoid Japanese-like customs." 34 The Liu-ch'iu government gave public notice of these restrictions and of strict punishment in case of violation. Sometimes the order treated trivial details. It demanded in 1866 that during the sojourn of the investiture mission all men around Naha must wear long trousers. According to Iha Fuyu, the government issued this order because it feared that when Chinese envoys took excursions in the suburbs they might see Liu-ch'iuan farmers wearing shitaobi (Japanese-style loin cloths), which might reveal the Liu-ch'iu-Japan relationship. 35 Before the investiture mission arrived, Satsuma's resident representative in Liu-ch'iu and his subordinates all withdrew from Naha and hid themselves at Gusukuma village, in Urasoe district, a short distance north of Naha and Shuri. Japanese ships at the Naha port sailed all the way down to the Unten port so they could be out of sight of the Chinese. Those not able to leave were burned. While staying behind the scenes, the Satsuma officials directed the show. The clan government sent an official specially for the occasion of the investiture (kansen bugyo), who kept close watch on every move. 38 All these arrangements have been called "child's play" and "tragicomedies" by the late Okinawan historian Higaonna Kanjun, but he also reminds us that they were serious matters requiring the most prudent handling by those concerned. 37

The Investiture Ceremonies Investiture and tribute-presentation were the two phases of the tribute system, and both were rituals of the imperial court. The only difference was that one was performed in the emperor's presence and the other by


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proxy. Ceremonial practices naturally received great emphasis, and every detail was meticulously observed and minutely recorded. In the investiture of Liu-ch'iu kings, the ritual started as soon as the two investiture vessels cast anchor at Naha, when the king and the whole court came to the port to perform the "ceremony to welcome the imperial 3S patent" (ying-chao li). They made a full kotow before the patent and inquired from the envoys after the emperor's health. The two envoys and other members of the mission then went to the Envoys' Residence. During their stay in Liu-ch'iu the envoys, as representatives of the emperor, performed two rites, one for "bestowing the imperial sacrifice upon the deceased king" (yü-chi hsien-wang), and the other for "investing "the new king (ts'e-feng). On his part the Liu-ch'iu king gave seven banquets to entertain the envoys. In addition, every five days the king sent the councillors of state and other officials to greet the envoys; everyone followed rigid protocol for these visits. All of these ceremonies and banquets were performed according to rules established in the Ming and observed, with minor changes, throughout the Ch'ing period. In every journal by envoys there is a section recording in detail all these ceremonies, essentially the same. Here we need only present a brief description of the investiture ceremony, enough to give an idea of a ritual which may seem pompous and pretentious today but which, at that time, was a serious and important affair. Previous to the day set for the investiture ceremony, the Liu-ch'iu government adorned with festoons the gate of the Envoys' Residence and all roads that the envoys were to pass over. A wooden chamber was made as a symbolic replica of the Chinese imperial court, in the form of an elevated hall with steps leading to it. This "court" was in the middle of the main courtyard of the king's palace. Several tables were in the "court" for displaying the imperial patent, edict, and gifts to the king and queen. At the left side of the "court" was a platform on which two members of the Chinese mission recited aloud the imperial patent and edict. On investiture day the councillors of state and other Liu-ch'iuan courtiers in court costume for festive occasions gathered at dawn in the Envoys' Residence. The two envoys, after receiving a salute from the Liuch'iuan officials, had the patent, edict, gifts, and the tablet bearing the imperial calligraphy placed in several small, movable pavilions decorated with dragons and festoons. Liu-ch'iuan officials performed the kotow to these objects from the emperor, and then led the pavilions, the envoys and their suite, and the insignia in procession to the palace. The distance between


L I U - C H ' I U K I N G S IN THE C H ' I N G PERIOD the Envoys' Residence and the palace was ten li (about three miles), and thousands of people gathered to watch the procession. The king or, rather, the heir to the throne, as he still was, and a number of his courtiers waited at the Shou-li fang, an arch serving as the main approach to the Shuri palace.39 When the procession came near, the heir and his officials knelt at the roadside. The procession stopped before them, and they stood. All Liu-ch'iuan officials were arrayed according to their ranks. At the order of a ceremonial usher, the heir led his court in performing the full kotow to the pavilions containing items symbolic of the imperial presence, as if he were receiving the emperor of China at the Shuri palace. After this ceremony the procession, now led by the heir, continued to the palace courtyard. The imperial patent was moved from the pavilions to tables in the "imperial court," with the two envoys standing at the sides of the tables. The heir and his officials all took their positions in the courtyard, and the royal band performed music. There was another kotow to the "court" as if making a formal salute to the emperor seated in the Palace Hall. The investiture itself followed, with intervals of court music and of silence punctuated by the standing, kneeling, and kotowing of the heir and his officials, all following the call of the ceremonial usher. The ceremony began with recitation of the imperial patent and edict, with the heir kneeling and listening. This done, he performed another kotow to the "court" expressing gratitude to the emperor. The title of king was now formally conferred upon him, and in journals of the envoys at this juncture he commenced to be called kuo-wang (king) instead of shih-tzu. The envoys handed to the king one by one the gifts to himself, those to the queen, and the imperial tablet. At each bestowal he performed another ceremonial kotow to the "court." According to Chinese rules the envoys should have taken back the imperial patent and edict and returned them to the Grand Secretariat. Liu-ch'iu always requested the patent and edict as a national heirloom. To prove how they treasured these imperial orders a councillor of state came out with all patents and edicts given to previous kings and presented them to the envoys for examination. Satisfied, the envoys granted Liu-ch'iu's request. For this bestowal the king made another kotow. Before they left Peking the envoys had been authorized to leave the patent and edict with the king. The whole sequence of request, examination of the old patent and edicts, and final permission, was a mere formality, a part of the ceremony. This practice also came down from the Ming. The last bestowal concluded the investiture ceremony. The king led the


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envoys on a tour of the palace, during which they paid their respects to the Gallery of Imperial Calligraphy, which was above the main hall of the palace. The three then went to a hall at the north side of the palace and there the king and the envoys kotowed to each other. This was not a full kotow, but a single kotow, that is, one kneeling and three prostrations. The envoys took their leave and returned to the Envoys' Residence. As for the costume the king wore during the investiture ceremony, in the Ming era it was the practice to grant Chinese court costumes to the Liu-ch'iuan kings and officials as imperial gifts. The costume bestowed upon a Liu-ch'iuan king in the early Ming was that prescribed for a Chinese courtier of the second rank. Those granted in later periods were more elaborate and higher in rank—as for a prince of the imperial house. 40 When Liu-ch'iu established formal relations with the Ch'ing dynasty, Satsuma felt grave concern over the possibility that the Manchus might force Liu-ch'iu to adopt the queue and wear Tatar dress. They thought this would bring disgrace not only to Satsuma but to Japan. Officials went to the shogunate to secure instructions. The shogunate, fearing that disobedience to the Ch'ing court might cause difficulty, gave instructions that Liuch'iu should follow Ch'ing orders. 41 To the relief of Satsuma and Liu-ch'iu, the Manchus had no intention of pushing the requirement of the queue. When the first Ch'ing mission came in 1663, the imperial court allowed the king of Liu-ch'iu to wear "what he sees fit." 42 He continued to wear Ming court costume, and this was also worn during subsequent investitures. Chinese envoys of the early Ch'ing were still conscious of it and showed concern, but in the later period such concern seems to have disappeared. The envoys of 1800 viewed the king's costume with amusement, and remarked that the king's hat was just like that worn by a king on the Chinese stage. 43 From the above account, the king in this single ceremony performed the kotow as many as eight times, seven full and one single. During the sojourn of the investiture envoys, in the course of different ceremonies and banquets, the king and court performed the kotow on numerous occasions. When the kotow was made to the emperor as represented by the imperial patent and so forth, the envoys stood by without making a return salute. When the king was saluting the envoys the two parties made a single kotow to each other. When the Liu-ch'iuan officials saluted the envoys, usually in a single kotow, the envoys did not kotow in return. They only made a bow (tso-i), sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, depending on the ranks of the Liu-ch'iuan officials, because the envoys during their tenure



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were first-rank officials in the Chinese court and hence much superior to Liu-ch'iuan officials. It is well known that the kotow as a form of salutation was most objectionable to Westerners. " Y e t , " as one historian remarks, " i t should not be forgotten by egalitarian Westerners (who invariably did forget) that the kotow was merely a part of the universal order of Confucian ceremony which symbolized all the relationships of life. The emperor performed the kotow to Heaven and to his parents, the highest officials of the empire performed it to the emperor, and friends or dignitaries might even perform it mutually to each other. From a tribute envoy it was, therefore, no more than good manners." 4 4

The Investiture Missions' Concomitant Trading Activities at Naha Like the Liu-ch'iu tribute missions from Naha to Foochow, the investiture missions involved trading activities. The total of this trade was much smaller because it could be conducted only on the infrequent occasions of the Chinese official missions to Liu-ch'iu, and there were only eight such in the last two hundred years of Liu-ch'iu's dependency on China, from the mission of 1663 to the last one in 1866. Thus it was not a normal part of Chinese overseas trade, nor even a normal aspect of the Liu-ch'iuan economy. Nevertheless, although not of much economic importance, this trade enables us to observe the behavior of those involved in it and the attitude of the Chinese court. Trade in conjunction with investiture missions appears to go back to the beginnings of the Liu-ch'iuan dependency, in the Hung-wu period of the late fourteenth century. 46 Liu-ch'iu's flourishing trade of the early Ming, which had declined in the later sixteenth century, eventually came under the limitations imposed by Satsuma. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we learn of increasing difficulties in this trade. By early Ch'ing times, Liu-ch'iu evidently no longer had a market adequate to support the trade, and her buying power was low, for there are evidences of Chinese members of the investiture missions being unable to dispose of their goods and even having to force the Liuch'iuan government to buy them. We have noted that one of the seven agencies established by the Liu-ch'iu government to handle the investiture missions was the Department of Valuation, which was responsible for evaluating goods and fixing prices both of import items and of goods taken




back to Foochow with the returning missions. Trading activities centered in this office, not surprisingly, and frequent squabbles between Chinese and Liu-ch'iuan officials resulted. Although the annual Liu-ch'iu trade at Foochow was under official regulation, trade at Naha was in no way official and did not leave much trace in Chinese documents. Journals of Chinese envoys, although often highly informative, tend not to describe unpleasant aspects such as disputes over prices. Not only were journals sometimes presented to the throne and hence written with that in mind, but also the psychology of officialdom prevented too intimate a concern with matters of commerce. The investiture mission of 1719 was known for having had serious disputes with the Liu-ch'iuans over the price of trading goods. This mission was unusual because the K'ang-hsi Emperor, who had developed an extraordinary interest in cartography under Jesuit influence, attached two Chinese cartographers to the mission to prepare maps of Liu-ch'iu. 46 These two men, plus their party, enlarged the mission to more than six hundred persons, and a greater volume of goods was taken along for trading. When it was unable to dispose of this quantity of goods, the mission lingered beyond the usual departure date in the tenth lunar month when winds were favorable for the return trip. Instead of the usual five months, this mission stayed for eight and a half. Maintaining so large a mission was difficult, and efforts to force the sale of goods at profitable prices engendered ill will between Chinese mission members and Liu-ch'iuan officials. The goods the Chinese brought in were worth two thousand kan of silver, while Liu-ch'iu had only accumulated five hundred kan for purchasing them. The Chinese wanted to avoid taking a large stock of goods all the way back to Foochow. They declared that Liuch'iu, poor as it claimed to be, was a kingdom that ought to have the financial capacity to purchase six thousand kan of goods with ease. They could not understand why Liu-ch'iu procured only five hundred kan. Finally Sai On (Ts'ai Wen), Liu-ch'iu's most eminent scholar-statesman, who was tutor to the king, was called in to help break the deadlock. The negotiations were strained. According to Sai On, one day he was surrounded by four or five hundred Chinese in a Naha street, pressing him to accept their terms, and the prime minister and the three councillors of state all went into hiding at a temple. Eventually Sai On was able to get a compromise by paying another hundred kan, procured by collecting silver hairpins and tin and copper utensils from noble families in Shuri and Naha. (This story is in Sai On's autobiography, the only autobiography written in the days of


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD the Liu-ch'iu kingdom.) 47 Other detailed accounts of such disputes are not available, although some Liu-ch'iuan family genealogies mention them briefly. One such genealogy records an interesting episode. A member of that family was a government official in charge of repairing the investiture vessels in 1719. When he completed his work in the tenth lunar month, he went to see the Chinese to give them a report; this was obviously a polite notice that things were ready for their departure. The Chinese refused to listen, on the ground that they had not yet disposed of their goods. One day the vice-envoy, Hsü Pao-kuang, secretly informed Tei Junsoku (Ch'eng Shun-tse), the great Liu-ch'iu scholar who was then charged with receiving the investiture mission, that the Chinese merchants were scheming to burn the mission's vessels so that they could stay in Liu-ch'iu until past the New Year, when they expected merchants from "Pao-tao" (Takarajima; "Treasure Island") would come to buy their goods. Greatly alarmed, the Liu-ch'iu government sent men to watch the vessels day and night and thus prevented disaster.48 This record is in an article by a contemporary Okinawan scholar who also informs us that the chief envoy of that mission, Hai Pao, was notoriously greedy and left a scandalous record among the Liu-ch'iuans whereas the vice-envoy Hsü Pao-kuang was sympathetic and understanding. Again, to check this statement we have no other sources.49 Hai Pao, a Manchu, was a Hanlin corrector, and Hsü Pao-kuang, t'an-hua of 1712, was a Hanlin compiler and a famous scholar-poet. We know that Hsü maintained a lifelong friendship with Tei Junsoku after the mission, and he was also reported to have donated a sum of money, paid as a gift from the king, to improve the Confucian temple in Liu-ch'iu. Hsü wrote an important work Chung-shan cKuan-hsin lu (Memoirs of Liu-ch'iu). In this six-chiian work he gave only a few lines to discussion of the trading activities which undoubtedly had been the major problem of his mission. He did mention the predicament in disposing of goods and suggested banning future commerce so as to relieve Liu-ch'iu's burden. 50 For the 1719 mission the Liu-ch'iu government kept a detailed inventory which lists goods as well as the names and titles of carriers. 51 This inventory was made by a Chinese clerk of the mission and was probably given to the Department of Valuation for reference. It contains a variety of goods including not only the usual cloth goods and medicine but luxuries such as spices, jade, porcelain, clocks, antiques, and scrolls of famous Sung, Yüan, and Ming painters and calligraphers. Altogether 109 people


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are listed. Their titles—doorman, gong beater, piper, fan bearer—indicate that these were Foochow merchants who responded to recruiting by the Fukien government, ostensibly to serve in the mission, actually to trade. One sedan-chair bearer brought with him, among other things, 45,000 pieces of benzoin and eighty pairs of eyeglasses. Certainly no ordinary sedan-chair bearer! An impression emerges that Liu-ch'iu got into trouble as a result of deceptive measures which Satsuma required her to use in cheating the Chinese. When Liu-ch'iuans went to Foochow for trade, they received strict orders not to mention the Satsuma connection. 52 They could only say that money and goods on their ships, of Satsuma origin, were from "Takarajima" and that trading ships from "Takarajima" made annual trips to Liu-ch'iu. Perhaps misled by this information, Chinese merchants insisted on waiting for traders from "Treasure Island" to come and buy their goods. Those Chinese who themselves had carried on the annual Liuch'iu trade at Foochow must have known its volume; this could lead them to believe that Liu-ch'iu had a much larger financial capacity and was intentionally boycotting their goods. The large amount of luxury goods they brought to Naha also reflected their overestimate of Liu-ch'iu's buying power and their unawareness that Liu-ch'iu no longer had an overseas market. Four years earlier, in 1715, the Chinese ships allowed to trade at Nagasaki had been reduced from eighty to thirty by order of the Tokugawa shogunate. Whether this and other Tokugawa restrictions on Chinese trade had any effect in enlarging the 1719 mission to Liu-ch'iu, we do not know. Foochow merchants engaged in the Nagasaki trade may have hoped their goods could reach Japan through the Liu-ch'iu channel. Goods that the Liu-ch'iu government bought from Chinese merchants at Naha would eventually go to Satsuma for resale in the Japanese market. 53 The circumstances of these transactions are not known, nor is it possible to tell whether Liu-ch'iu was able to profit from the resale or how Satsuma regarded the investiture trade and the disputes in it. The mission of 1756 marks another unhappy chapter in official SinoLiu-ch'iuan relations. After they left Foochow the two investiture ships were wrecked in a typhoon. One carrying the envoys went aground on rocks near Kumejima west of Naha, but its occupants were rescued by the Liu-ch'iuans. The other was cast back on the shore of Chekiang. 64 Chinese mission members aboard the second ship went overland to Foochow, where they prepared a new ship and came to Naha in winter. Making up this loss of goods must have greatly increased the private capital investment of


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD the mission members and made them anxious to recover it in trade at Naha. We lack records from the Liu-ch'iu side, but from correspondence between Liu-ch'iu and China we learn that in compensation for losses at sea the king presented the mission with a " g i f t " of over 50,000 ounces of silver (the precise circumstances and motives for this we cannot determine): When the mission returned to China the governor of Fukien raised no objection to the acceptance of Liu-ch'iu's compensation and reported the matter to the court. The Ch'ien-lung Emperor considered it improper for China to impose such a burden on a small country because of an investiture. He ordered the money returned to Liu-ch'iu and authorized payment of public funds in Fukien to compensate the mission members for their loss.55 About a month later the two Chinese investiture envoys returned to Peking and had an audience with the emperor, during which they reported the shipwreck and said the king had voluntarily given the silver as compensation for the mission's losses. Influenced by the envoy's report, the emperor issued another edict telling the governor-general of Fukien and Chekiang that if he had not yet acted upon the previous edict he could forget about it and let the mission members accept the Liu-ch'iuan compensation. The governor-general replied that since the current Liu-ch'iu envoys had gone to Peking, the money had not yet been paid over to them and that, after making an investigation, he found that soldiers and other mission members had made disturbances in Liu-ch'iu by forcing sale of their goods, quarreling, fighting, and intimidating superiors. This report enraged the Ch'ien-lung Emperor, on whose further order the money was returned to Liu-ch'iu and the Chinese malefactors were arrested and put on trial. The two military commanders and eight soldiers and attendants of the mission were beheaded, four received a sentence of "detention for strangling," and others were beaten and banished. 66 The chief envoy Ch'iian K'uei and the vice-envoy Chou Huang were also penalized for inability to control the mission personnel. The Board of Civil Appointments recommended dismissal, but the emperor gave them special consideration on the ground that they had taken an overseas mission and suffered shipwreck. The chief envoy was pardoned; the vice-envoy was deprived of his title but retained at his post. 57 The motives of the two envoys in making their report to the emperor are an interesting subject, but we have no way to pursue it. From the severity of the punishment of mission members it seems the court must have decided to maintain the dignity of China as well as make an example to curb private speculation in such public affairs.


Ta-Tuan CKen j I N V E S T I T U R E OF In contrast, the mission of 1800 dispatched its official duties in normal time and appears to have made unusual efforts to limit private trade and prevent trouble between its members and the government of Liu-ch'iu. The two envoys, before leaving Foochow, had subjected the preparations to special scrutiny and had rigorously limited the amount and character of privately carried goods. The chief envoy even dismissed his personal servants for carrying trading goods. Moreover, the investiture was conferred during a period of national mourning for the deceased Ch'ien-lung Emperor, so the seven official banquets which the king ordinarily gave were canceled, presumably saving the Liu-ch'iuan government a large sum. In short, this mission seems to have been successful. In gratitude the king presented the two envoys with a gift of 10,000 ounces of silver, which they declined.68 For the 1838 mission we have an edict from the Tao-kuang Emperor which explicitly described the problems arising from the investiture missions' trading activities and stated the policy of the Chinese court. 59 According to a censor's report, when investiture missions had been sent to Liu-ch'iu in the past, the envoys' personal servants and soldiers and attendants from Fukien had often taken along trading goods, privately owned or contracted from merchants, which they sold to the Liu-ch'iuans by force and at high prices. Such conduct was contrary to the court's intent to be considerate to outer dependencies, and it also affected China's dignity. Therefore, said the censor, it should be strictly prohibited. Envoys ought naturally to be responsible for their personal servants, but the emperor realized that it would be difficult for the envoys to discipline soldiers and others who were not their subordinates. The governor of Fukien was thus to make a search of investiture vessels before their departure for Liu-ch'iu. Should a personal servant of an envoy be found carrying goods, the envoy was to punish him. If any soldiers and attendants from Fukien were found making such an attempt, the governor of Fukien was to inflict the severest punishment. Such was the attitude of the imperial court toward trade connected with investiture. This edict and measures taken earlier by the Ch'ien-lung Emperor make it clear that this trade was never an official enterprise. There seems to be no ground for attributing any economic motive to the imperial court in its dispatching of investiture missions. The position of the local government of Fukien is less clear. Officially it only allowed the shipowners to carry "ballast cargo" for private trade, as compensation for using their ships as investiture mission vessels. As we


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have seen, a large number of the mission members regularly engaged in private trade, and many were connected with the local government. The envoys' control over this Fukien group was by no means effective. As to the exact connection between the local officials and this trade, we can only conjecture that the complicated pattern prevailing in foreign trade at Canton and Foochow existed here also. An even less clear but not uninteresting aspect is the envoys' own position in this trade. The investiture mission to Liu-ch'iu created a rare occasion which directly involved in trade scholars from the Hanlin Academy, the "pure g r o u p " (ch'ing-pan). eo The active trading of the mission has given rise to speculation that the envoys participated. Higaonna Kanjun has remarked that envoys, in undertaking a hazardous mission, expected a large remuneration for their risky venture. 61 Such a general statement is open to question. The unsatisfactory documentation does not allow us any definite conclusion on this subject, but it is easy to see that the personality of an envoy would be a decisive factor both in his own attitude toward illicit profit-seeking and in his ability to control his personal servants. The performance of the envoys must have varied. Some who left journals about their missions did express displeasure over this phase of the mission, which not only created trouble but also prevented their early return. 62 There were instances, too, when the envoy took the role of impersonal objective arbitrator and brought about compromise settlements of disputes over prices between Chinese merchants and Liu-ch'iu officials. 63 However, we must remember that personal servants of the envoys did engage in trade. A servant whose master's post at the Hanlin Academy generally offered little chance to receive bribes could have viewed the mission to Liu-ch'iu as a rare opportunity. 64 An envoy of course might connive at his servants' activities or might be unable to control them; they could borrow his authority to bully the Liu-ch'iuans or collaborate with Fukien soldiers and merchants. The envoy's name might be blackened by his servant's wrongdoing. There was a well-known legend about a Ming official Hsieh Chieh, who was vice-envoy of the 1579 mission. One of his relatives brought to Liu-ch'iu a large number of hairnets, which did not sell because the Liu-ch'iuans had no use for them. Later, the legend goes, an order came from Hsieh that on the day of investiture everyone must wear a hairnet or be guilty of serious disrespect. The hairnets sold. The legend was said to be so widespread t h a t " Liu-ch'iuans wear hairnets " became an expression in the kingdom synonymous with forcible action by influential people. 65 From biographies of Hsieh Chieh, who was later


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Minister of Revenue, we learn that he was an upright official known for his integrity and generosity.68 Yet this legend came down through the centuries. The vice-envoy of the 1800 mission heard it from a Liu-ch'iuan official and recorded it in his journal. In short, although Chinese scholar-officials were well known for their disdain of things mercantile, one cannot say that all the envoys to Liuch'iu were able to dissociate themselves from the commercial activities so closely connected with their missions. Their writings and subsequent careers leave no doubt that these envoys can be called " the cream of the literati," generally men of principle, not concerned solely with profit. 67 It would also be hasty to think that they undertook the mission in expectation of financial return. A Japanese scholar, an expert on Satsuma and Liu-ch'iu, Mutö Chöhei, comments that although some envoys left scandalous legends among the Liu-ch'iuans, unscrupulous conduct among them was actually rare. Chinese envoys generally took care of their dignity and did their best to cultivate good will.68 As for abuses by Chinese soldiers and attendants in Liu-ch'iu, such misdeeds also appeared on China's domestic scene. Repeated imperial orders prohibiting imperial commissioners and their subordinates from making disturbances or exacting payments suggest the frequent occurrence of such delinquencies.69 There were instances when investiture missions sent by the Ming court to enfeoff Chinese imperial princes in their provincial estates caused trouble on the journey and even delayed the investiture in order to exact bribes from the princes.70 Abuses accompanying some of the missions to Liu-ch'iu may represent problems of domestic administration more than conscious exploitation of a tributary country.



It is now clear that there were two distinct groups of people within an investiture mission. One group, about one fiftieth of the mission, consisted of the envoys and their private secretaries; the other was composed of servants, soldiers, government runners, and merchants. The backgrounds of these two groups gave them different purposes and interests. While the larger group was haggling over prices at the Department of Valuation, the smaller group engaged in activity that left a much more enduring influence in Liu-ch'iu. Chinese envoys to Liu-ch'iu were in all cases men of high scholarly attain-


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD ment. Though not usually of correspondingly high position in the Chinese hierarchy of government, they were men of prestige and cultural refinement, often selected from among members of the Hanlin Academy, or eminent historians and literary figures. Each envoy took along a few private secretaries who were friends on his own social and cultural level. These men often combined the skills of poet, painter, musician, doctor of medicine, and calligrapher. The embassies thus reflected the highest level of Chinese civilization. The Liu-ch'iuan community possessed many persons capable of appreciating these aspects of Chinese culture and skilled in many of these arts. The cultural effect of the embassies was great. During their stay in Liuch'iu members of the missions wrote inscriptions, memorial tablets, and commemorative pieces to be placed in temples, private homes, scenic or historic spots, schools, or government buildings. Many homes of eminent Liu-ch'iuan families had such examples of calligraphy, often inscribed in wood or stone, prominently displayed where they must have enhanced the prestige of their owners. Many of these are in the Okinawan museums. During the months of residence in Liu-ch'iu these Chinese scholars also discussed Chinese learning, exchanged poetry with their Liu-ch'iuan hosts and counterparts, and even corrected the latter's poems and tutored them in literary style. There were instances where the Liu-ch'iu king asked some of the private secretaries in Chinese missions to teach princes and relatives of the royal household to play the ancient Chinese lute. One student of medicine gave instruction in Chinese medical texts and traditional medical arts, often a subject of study among Chinese literati. 71 The Liu-ch'iu king also engaged scholars to tutor the students, already selected, who went to China in the year following an investiture mission to study for three years in the Imperial Academy (Kuo-tzu chien). 72 Wherever these envoys appeared in Liu-ch'iuan government circles and society, there was so insistent a demand for poems and calligraphy that one of the envoys of the mission of 1808 noted that it was necessary for a mission to take along private secretaries to supply the envoy with poems and calligraphy for distribution. 73 These envoys, whose positions at home as Hanlin compilers, historians, and antiquarians provided the normal outlet for their scholarly interests, during the mission abroad naturally sought scope for their talents in investigation of Liu-ch'iuan history and conditions. A by-product of the missions was a series of scholarly journals reporting not only the immediate experiences of an embassy but also background material of all kinds. Of


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eight missions in the Ch'ing dynasty, seven produced such journals, all published, of which all but the last in 1866 are of high quality. They are not only an important source of information for China about a foreign region but a major documentary source of Liu-ch'iuan history. Liuch'iuans relied on these Chinese sources in compiling their own national history, and the Japanese also used them. Of the three most famous, one was translated into French and two were summarized in English.74 Any study of the history of Liu-ch'iu must rely on them. The best of them, such as the Chung-shan ch'uan-hsin lu (Memoirs of Liu-ch'iu) and the Liu-ch'iu kuo chih-liieh (Brief gazetteer of the kingdom of Liu-ch'iu), are equivalent to detailed travel accounts plus background of the kind found in a Chinese gazetteer, with historical, economic, geographic, social, and cultural information illustrated by drawings by artist members of the mission and maps made on the scene—not only invaluable historical sources but monuments to the cultural relations between the two countries. The journal of the envoy of 1866, Chao Hsin, which he called Hsii Liuch'iu kuo chih-liieh (Supplement to the Brief gazetteer of the kingdom of Liu-ch'iu), is the poorest of the seven. Chao often merely enters the comment: " N o change from previous gazetteer." In fact there must have been profound changes after the mission of 1838. The Western powers were beginning to make their presence felt. 76 The French had appeared in 1844, and in 1846 the British established a medical mission and left behind an English doctor, the Reverend B. J. Bettelheim, who remained about eight years, despite Liu-ch'iu's repeated protests. Liu-ch'iu reported these events to the Chinese court, requesting aid in forcing foreigners to withdraw. China responded passively and routinely, forwarding instructions to the governor-general of Liang-Kuang at Canton to notify representatives of Western powers there that the Dragon Throne hoped they would comply with Liu-ch'iu's wishes and remove the aliens.76 But the Chinese regarded this problem as a peripheral matter. The governor-general, Ch'i-ying, had commented that the object of the Western powers was to use Liu-ch'iu as a stepping stone to Japan. 77 From the Chinese court this report drew no response, and in 1853 Commodore Perry landed at Naha, where he established a coaling station for the American navy. He forced the government of Liu-ch'iu into a treaty with the United States guaranteeing good treatment for American vessels.78 The French and Dutch demanded and received similar treaties. These visits by Westerners, and an increasing awareness of the Western world, undoubtedly accompanied many changes that the Chinese envoy of


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD 1866 might have noted. Instead, Chao Hsin seems to have carried out his investiture duties and returned to China in November 1866. He could not have anticipated the Meiji restoration one year later in Japan and the annexation of Liu-ch'iu by Japan in 1879. Unaware that his was the last investiture mission during five centuries of Sino-Liu-ch'iuan relations, Chao Hsin was content to leave a superficial record that failed to inform China of changes imminent in her world.

The Chinese and Liu-cKiuan Views of Their Relationship Although private attitudes are not easily ascertained from the documents, we do know that under her dual subordination to Satsuma and China Liu-ch'iu had to follow an evasive policy. As time wore on, a spirit of deception naturally prevailed in the tribute relationship and also in historiography. Chüzan seifu (Chung-shan shih-p'u), the Liu-ch'iuan chronology, recorded the country's relations with China, while a separate supplement dealt with its relations with Satsuma; the former alone would be perused by the Chinese investiture envoys. From the version for China we learn that in 1861 King Shö Tai, concerned over the devastation caused by the Taiping rebels and the recent invasion of Peking by the Anglo-French troops, ordered his people to hold a nationwide prayer for China, wishing her to "suppress the bandits, expel the barbarians, and enjoy peace." 79 The supplement to the chronology states that the same was done for Satsuma when British forces bombarded Kagoshima in 1863.80 In poems written in Peking the Liu-ch'iuans always praised the imperial virtues, describing the emperor's kindness to people from afar and his favors lavished upon them; similar expressions are to be found in poems written by Liu-ch'iuans in Japan, showing gratitude to the daimyo of Satsuma and the shogun. 81 In the records there is little or no reflection of the likes and dislikes of the Liu-ch'iuans, and private writings are wanting. From the economic standpoint, although investiture embarrassed the Liu-ch'iu government financially, this was offset by the profits gained through sending the regular tribute missions to China. The tribute period for Liu-ch'iu was once every two years. Each time she sent a mission of two hundred persons aboard two ships. In the off year another ship carrying one hundred persons went over to bring back the tribute envoys. Like other tributary countries, Liu-ch'iu received the privilege of carrying trade goods duty free to Foochow, and the missions stayed in China at the


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expense of the Chinese government. After each investiture four Liu-ch'iuan students went to study at the Imperial Academy in Peking, and a much larger group went to Foochow to receive their education under tutors there or to learn technical skills. The Chinese government supported them also. Any comparison between profits so gained year by year and expenses incurred by the infrequent official Chinese missions must show a balance in favor of Liu-ch'iu. Quite aside from economic considerations, the Liu-ch'iu government attached a high spiritual value to the investiture, even though it had no immediate effect on the king's political authority. During the long period of direct contact with China, Chinese influence had permeated Liu-ch'iu's administration and Confucianism had become the state ideology. This was evident in Liu-ch'iuan schools. On the elementary level, textbooks were the Three Character Classic, Chu Hsi's Hsiao-hsiieh (The Lesser Learning, a handbook for the young), and the Four Books. Study of the two latter items went into the middle level, which also included the Five Classics, calligraphy, and arithmetic. In the National Academy, at the highest level, the program included study of the Four Books and the Five Classics, with courses in T'ang poetry, writing Chinese essays, and drafting correspondence in Chinese.82 Such an educational background, plus Liu-ch'iu's long-standing tributary relations with China, naturally made the Liuch'iuans view their position in the Confucian world order in much the same terms as the Chinese did. To them investiture, formality though it was, seemed a necessary part of their political structure. After 1609 Liu-ch'iu, as a powerless small country, had to accept Satsuma's will in every detail. But as the tributary relation with China was not disrupted and Confucianism continued to be the state ideology, the change does not seem to have altered the Liu-ch'iuan view that China was the center of the East Asian world and the source of cultural values. Reverence for the investiture ceremony and respect for the Ch'ing envoys are evident in all official Liu-ch'iuan documents. Such expressions of respect are also found in family genealogies not written for perusal by the Chinese. In one such genealogy under the item " h o n o r " are recorded such events as the visit of a member of that family to a Chinese envoy and someone's receiving a gift from an envoy. 83 This genealogy belonged to a family of Kumemura, a settlement of descendants of the Chinese immigrants, where respect for the Chinese envoys is, of course, not remarkable. A more interesting record is in a genealogy of a family in Kumejima. When one of the investiture ships of the 1756 mission was wrecked nearby, the




envoys landed on that island and during their sojourn visited a local official's house, where they temporarily stored the imperial patent and other imperial objects. The envoys had dinner at the house and later the chief envoy gave the official a piece of his own calligraphy and other gifts as an act of gratitude. This was such an extraordinary honor that the official secured permission from Shuri to have the calligraphy made into a tablet and hung in his house as an heirloom. The whole event was highlighted by the official in the family genealogy, in which he put a portrait of himself accompanied by a long essay in Chinese. He wrote of how he had observed the teaching of his ancestors and endeavored to cultivate filial piety and other virtues and was rewarded by the great honor of meeting the envoys and receiving gifts from them. He emphasized these points in writing, so that his descendants could realize the importance of the ancestors' teaching and the cultivation of virtue. 84 Another indication of the Liu-ch'iuan attitude toward investiture appeared in an event of 1682. In that year, when Liu-ch'iu's request for investiture reached the court, the Board of Rites, possibly because of the pending naval expedition to Taiwan, recommended that investiture take place in Foochow by proxy, to obviate the need for a mission to Naha. Such an arrangement would not be unprecedented because the Ch'ing court sent envoys only to Korea, Liu-ch'iu, and Annam to officiate at investiture ceremonies; for other tributary countries the imperial patent and edict went to Chinese provincial authorities who handed them to a tribute envoy to take back to the new ruler. 85 These different arrangements made no change in other tributary practices, such as tribute-presentation at court and dutyfree trade at the port of entry, and so, materially, Liu-ch'iu would lose nothing by such an arrangement; she could receive investiture through her own tribute envoys and still have the right to send the annual vessels to Foochow. Nevertheless Liu-ch'iu in 1682 would not accept such a course and petitioned the imperial court to dispatch the investiture mission as usual. The K'ang-hsi Emperor, over the objection of the Board of Rites, gave special permission, and the investiture missions were continued. 88 But for the insistence of Liu-ch'iu, they might have been stopped. Summing up, we can see that the practice of investiture was by no means unfavorable to Liu-ch'iu. We can speculate further on Liu-ch'iu's attitude in the light of her relations with Satsuma. Although Liu-ch'iu's reaction toward Satsuma's control does not easily appear from official records, one gets the impression that Liu-ch'iu had a strong sense of fear under Satsuma's rigid surveillance. One modern Okinawan historian, Iha Fuya,


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has called the Satsuma rule slavery.87 This attitude is reflected in a saying among Liu-ch'iuan administrators, "Τδηηο o-toriai Yamato no go-hökö" (Intercourse with China and service to Japan), 88 as well as in a statement from Shö Tai, the last Liu-ch'iu king: Sai On once advised King Shö Kei (1713-1751) that if Liu-ch'iu offended China she could explain it away but if she offended Satsuma, even in the most minor matter, she would get into trouble. This advice became a motto of the Liu-ch'iu rulers, passed down orally from one generation to another. 89 Although fearful and obedient, the Liu-ch'iu government on one point, on intercourse with China, could muster some feeble resistance to Satsuma's authority. Satsuma directed everything from behind the scenes yet had to rely on Liu-ch'iuans for the performance on the stage. As principal actors, the Liu-ch'iuans could make suggestions as to their parts. One of Satsuma's resident representatives in Liu-ch'iu died in 1838, and Liu-ch'iu was to send the corpse to Kagoshima for burial. The government of Liuch'iu refused to do this, giving as reason the rather improbable argument that in case the ship carrying the coffin should be wrecked and drift onto the China coast, Chinese authorities might find out that Liu-ch'iu was under Satsuma's control. Satsuma accepted Liu-ch'iu's argument as sound, and let the corpse be buried in Liu-ch'iu. 90 Liu-ch'iu's position appears also from correspondence between its government and the Satsuma officials in Liu-ch'iu before the arrival of the Chinese investiture mission in 1866.91 The government asked the Satsuma people to hide while the Chinese mission was in Liu-ch'iu and not roam around, and it suggested the answers they should give if the Chinese saw them and made inquiries. The government also pointed out that Chinese envoys generally wrote journals about their missions, which were presented to the throne. Should they have any suspicion, then Liu-ch'iu's relations with Satsuma and the shogunate, which Liu-ch'iu had taken so much pains to conceal, might become known to the Chinese court, and discontinuance of tributary relations might result, a most serious matter. Reading these documents, one feels that the Liu-ch'iu government was trying to play the occasion of investiture against the authority of Satsuma, applying the tactic of "using one barbarian to check another barbarian" or—more precisely—striving for a "balance of power." The question now arises: were Liu-ch'iu's deceptive measures effective in concealing her subordination to Satsuma from the Chinese envoys? What was the Chinese view on this matter ? The answer, I think, must be that by her deceptive measures Liu-ch'iu was successful in keeping secret


L I U - C H ' I U KINGS IN THE CH'ING PERIOD her administrative subordination to Satsuma, but she could not conceal the fact of Japanese influence in Liu-ch'iu, which was, of course, too extensive to cover. Chinese envoys were certainly not men of simple minds. The Japanese influence in Liu-ch'iu could not escape their attention. The Satsuma invasion is noted in the account of Liu-ch'iu in the History of the Ming Dynasty (Ming shih). Journals of investiture envoys, written in the late Ming prior to the Satsuma invasion, also mentioned the presence of Japanese in Liu-ch'iu. Because Chinese envoys after appointment usually read Chinese records on Liu-ch'iu, they must have had general knowledge of the connection. During their stay in Liu-ch'iu their own observations could confirm it. One envoy remarked: " It is said that Liu-ch'iu is not far away from Japan, and the two countries always maintain trade relations. However, the Liu-ch'iuans shun this subject very carefully, as if they had no knowledge at all of the existence of that country." 92 Another envoy pointed out that many editions of the Chinese classics that he had seen in Liu-ch'iu had been published in Japan. The texts were in Chinese but had Japanese reading marks at the side of each column of characters. There were also Japanese reign titles such as Höreki, Eishö, Genna. The Liu-ch'iuans said they got these books from Foochow, but the envoy was sure that there was no such thing in Foochow. 93 Although these examples show how Chinese envoys saw through the deceptive measures practiced by Shuri, there is no indication that Liuch'iu's real subordination to Satsuma came to their knowledge. Some did note the Satsuma invasion in their journals, with details, but they recorded it as a historical event and made no mention of Satsuma's continued control. They realized the Liu-ch'iuans were hiding something. There is no evidence that they ever bothered to make a deeper inquiry, much less an issue of the matter. They demanded no explanation and never reported Shuri's deceptions to the Chinese court. They rested content with the loyalty shown by the Liu-ch'iuan government, pleased with all the sinicized forms they witnessed in Shuri and Naha. The evidence of all the mission journals written in the Ch'ing era indicates that the Chinese envoys—and also the Ch'ing court—remained indifferent toward Liu-ch'iu-Japanese relations. Not until 1875, when Japan ordered Liu-ch'iu to stop sending tribute to China and Liu-ch'iu petitioned China for help, did the Chinese court realize that Liu-ch'iu had actually been a vassal of Satsuma ever since 1609. During the ensuing Sino-Japanese negotiations over the Liu-ch'iu problem, the Chinese court displayed an appalling lack of information about the situation in Liu-ch'iu. 84


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This indifference is not difficult to understand if we remember that China's basic tenet toward tributary countries was passive," laissez-faire,"95 and that the whole tribute system was a defensive design for maintaining the status quo to ensure China's security. The Chinese court generally paid little attention to the internal and external affairs of tributary countries. Though Liu-ch'iu was a most faithful tributary and was well treated by China, the Chinese court never had much interest in it. Only at the end of the Ming, because of strained Sino-Japanese relations, did the court show concern over Liu-ch'iu's strategic position, fearing Japan might use Liu-ch'iu to invade China. Even then China only took the precaution of delaying Liu-ch'iu's tribute period, under one pretext or another. 98 When the Tokugawa seclusion policy removed the Japanese threat, Liu-ch'iuJapanese relations were no longer of concern to Peking. The Chinese envoys' indifference can also be understood as reflecting the bureaucratic attitude which generally favored limiting interference and keeping troublesome business to a minimum.97 In Liu-ch'iu the envoys received the greatest respect from the government and people; their investiture ceremonies were smoothly performed. Nothing interfered with the fulfillment of their mission, and they knew that China and Japan were then at peace. Even if they had discovered Liu-ch'iu's subordination to Satsuma, to make it an issue would have inconvenienced the imperial court as well as themselves. We can even infer that had the Chinese court been informed of Liuch'iu's dual subordination it might not have been concerned, as long as China and Japan had peaceful relations and Liu-ch'iu continued to present tribute to Peking. In traditional East Asia, dual subordination was not so serious a problem as in modern times. In the Han, the ruler of Wu-sun had become subordinate to both the Han and the Hsiung-nu by marrying both a Han princess and a daughter of the Hsiung-nu ruler. During the Sino-Japanese dispute over Liu-ch'iu in the 1870's the biggest thorn was that Japan forbade Liu-ch'iu to send tribute to China. Had Liu-ch'iu continued the tributary relationship, Peking might have had no objection to her concurrent subordination to Japan. But the dual subordination of Liu-ch'iu was possible only when the East Asian world was isolated and while Japan remained in seclusion. By the later nineteenth century these conditions no longer existed.


Truong Buu Lam / I N T E R V E N T I O N TRIBUTE IN



RELATIONS, 1788-1790

In this paper are studied the disruption and resumption of Sino-Vietnamese tributary relations in a period when a new dynastic power was arising in Vietnam.* The events of the period 1788-1790 highlight the basic interests of the two parties in the tributary system. For China it was a clever and economical device for dealing with a bordering country which the Chinese rulers did not consider practical to control directly and yet wanted to keep revolving within the orbit of China's influence. For the Vietnamese rulers tribute provided a way to remain relatively independent of their giant neighbor, avoiding both excessive cost and Chinese interference in their internal affairs. Yet the Chinese power on Vietnam's frontier remained a permanent threat, for it could move quickly to chastise a ruler who seemed to contravene the tributary relationship.

The Rise of the T&yson Rebellion Toward the end of the eighteenth century, Vietnam underwent one of the most turbulent periods of her history. 1 Since 1620 the country had been divided into two rival "principalities," governed by the Trinh family in * With the author's permission but with a sense of shame, we have omitted the proper diacritic marks on Vietnamese transcriptions except for the circumflex. That this action will be welcomed by the printer and no doubt accepted by most readers is a reflection of American backwardness in Vietnamese studies-Ed.


Truong Buu Lam / I N T E R V E N T I O N V E R S U S the north, and by the Nguyen family in the south. Both these families ruled on behalf of the emperor of the Later Le dynasty (1428-1788), who apparently retained only religious and symbolic powers.2 Toward the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the power and prestige of the two princely families and consequently of the Le emperor declined. In both courts, the decline has been attributed to similar problems. First, power had been transmitted to a son of a favorite instead of to the legitimate son. Second, there had been abuse of power by favorite ministers and members of their families, leading to corruption and inefficiency in the administrative system. As a result, the country was practically ungoverned, and, as crops failed, rebellions broke out. The discontent was exploited by three brothers, Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Lu, and Nguyen Hue, who in 1771 raised the banner of revolt and called themselves Täyson (Täy-son), after the name of their place of origin. 3 The Nguyen prince who ruled in the south was thus caught between these rebels and the Trinh in the north, who took advantage of this situation to seize the southern capital, Phu-xuän, in 1775. However, the Täyson, having killed the Nguyen prince and conquered the entire southern region, turned against the Trinh. Under the slogan "destroy the Trinh to restore the L e , " Nguyen Hue, the third brother, launched a heavy attack against the north. In 1786 he restored the Le emperor to power and married his daughter. Shortly afterward the emperor died, and Nguyen Hue settled the succession in favor of the emperor's grandson, Le Duy Ky. He then left the capital. At that time, whereas the northern part of the country was still under the Le emperor, the south had become three kingdoms: Nguyen Nhac, the eldest Täyson brother, assumed the title of "central emperor" (Trunguong Hoang-de) and ruled the central region from his capital in Qui-nhon; Nguyen Lu was given the title of Dong Dinh vuong (the king who settles the east) and governed the region of Gia-dinh (near modern Saigon); Nguyen Hue received the northernmost region with its capital of Phu-xuän (the present Hue), the ancient capital of the Nguyen princes. His title was Bac Binh vuong (the king who pacifies the north). Nguyen Hue deserved his title. Because he was the most powerful and the most able of the three brothers and because his realm bordered on the Le emperor's territory in the north, he considered it his responsibility to take care of the emperor's affairs. For this reason, early in 1788, Nguyen Hue came to Hanoi to execute one of the Le emperor's ministers who had become too pretentious. We are told that his action, with or without reason, frightened the Le emperor, who fled from the capital while his entire family sought refuge in


TRIBUTE IN SINO-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS China. Nguyen Hue felt he still lacked sufficient support to take the imperial title, so he installed a member of the Le family as supervisor of the country's affairs, left one of his faithful generals in Hanoi, and returned to his capital in Hue. It was at this point that the Ch'ing authorities in China became closely involved in Vietnamese affairs.

The Ch'ing Intervention of 1788

The Chinese authorities apparently were not very well informed about developments in Vietnam during the Täyson rebellion. The first mention of the rebellion came in a report from the governor-general of LiangKwang received on October 29, 1787, informing the court that the Vietnamese king had lost the seal given to him by the Ch'ing emperor and that, because he had died, his heir now requested to be invested.4 The court agreed to grant the request provided that Vietnam send an embassy to Peking. No embassy, however, came to the Chinese capital. This was not surprising, for at that time the Le king had already been displaced. In July 1788 the prefect of T'ai-p'ing in the province of Kwangsi reported that almost one hundred people had come to Lung-chou, in his prefecture, to seek refuge. These people belonged to the family of the Vietnamese king and were pursued by the rebels who had seized the capital. The king himself had already fled from the capital. But, except for the capital, all other regions remained faithful to the Le dynasty.6 Peking's reaction to this report was normal: orders were given to receive all the refugees. An order was also issued to Sun Yung-ch'ing, the governor of Kwangsi, and to Sun Shih-i, the governor-general of Liang-Kwang, to proceed to Lung-chou to make inquiries about the situation in Vietnam.6 China's main object was to maintain peace and order in the border regions. For this reason, the Grand Council decided to reinforce the troops along the frontier and to await the results of the investigations into the reason for the rebellion before taking any definite action.7 Ch'ing policy thus seemed to rely entirely upon the information and assessment of the governor-general of Liang-Kwang. The policy recommended by Sun Shih-i was understandable, given the personality and career of this official.8 First, Sun Shih-i had become an official only at the age of forty-two, when he was appointed secretary in the


Truong Buu Lam / INTERVENTION VERSUS Grand Secretariat. Despite his relatively rapid ascent thereafter, he perhaps felt that he needed to distinguish himself by further achievements. Until his involvement in Vietnamese affairs, he had been active mostly in literary and administrative fields, having been one of the compilers of the Four Treasuries·, he had variously served as clerk during the Burmese expedition, as financial commissioner, as governor, and finally as governorgeneral. What Sun lacked was some military exploit in his record. He probably could not but compare himself to the then governor-general of neighboring Fukien and Chekiang, Fu-k'ang-an, who, though first and foremost a civil official, had won fame on the battlefield. Sun's desire for military glory had been apparent at the time of the Taiwan expedition in 1787. As governor-general of Liang-Kwang, Sun had started making preparations for a military expedition, even though he had received no order to do so. When a campaign against the Taiwanese rebels was finally launched, it was commanded by Fu-k'ang-an.9 Shortly after the Taiwan expedition, Sun received the report from the prefect of T'ai-p'ing concerning the Vietnamese rebellion. Possibly he now saw an opportunity to seize. At any rate, he responded to the Vietnamese affair as quickly as he had to the Taiwan rebellion. Upon receiving the report and before any orders reached him, Sun hastened to Lung-chou. What he learned from the Vietnamese refugees confirmed what the prefect had reported. Perhaps it was also what he wanted to hear. In his memorial Sun reported that the Vietnamese king was not among the refugees. He immediately drew the conclusion that the whole country had not fallen into rebel hands. Further he emphasized that many local officials remained faithful to the dynasty. For these reasons, he asserted, it was neither too late nor too difficult " t o think carefully about a restoration." Intervention, however, had to be decided upon quickly in order to protect the people who still believed in the future of the Le dynasty and to encourage them not to surrender to the rebels.10 Is it possible that Sun also suggested, in a secret and separate memorial, that advantage be taken of the situation to bring Vietnam under direct Ch'ing rule ? Wei Yuan, the historian of Ch'ing military campaigns, seems to have believed so when he wrote that, in his reply to Sun, the emperor considered it not decent to "avail of this danger to gain territory," since the Le kings had served the empire very faithfully for more than a hundred years.11 Sun's report seems to have won the Grand Council over to the idea of intervention. Nevertheless, the court thought it would be better if the


T R I B U T E IN S I N O - V I E T N A M E S E


Vietnamese pacified the rebellion by themselves and the Chinese army followed the Vietnamese troops only in order to give them confidence. Therefore, it would be sufficient to dispatch a small army to Vietnam. 12 While Sun was carrying out the imperial instructions on the frontier, at the capital the Grand Council tried to find a rationale for justifying Chinese intervention. The main argument of the advocates of direct intervention was that the Le dynasty had served the empire respectfully for more than a hundred years: "We cannot bear to see this family destroyed." 13 This feeling was based upon the time-honored principle "protect the weak and recover the lost." Because it was normal for the Chinese to consider the barbarians subjects of the emperor, they thought it legitimate to protect these barbarians and their ruler from rebellious elements. The aim of the expedition was thus to restore the Le family to the Vietnamese throne. 11 After much deliberation, the order to move across the border was given to Sun Shih-i.15 This order, however, was not without restraining provisions. The Chinese forces were told not to take any active part in the pacification. Sun Shih-i was to send Hsii Shih-heng,16 the commander-inchief of Kwangsi, to back the Le forces but not to intervene unless these forces were defeated. As for Sun Shih-i, he was ordered to remain on the frontier and direct all operations from there. 17 On October 21, 1788, when the rains had stopped, the Chinese forces crossed into Vietnam. The expeditionary army was headed by Sun Shih-i (who either disregarded the orders to remain on the border or had received new instructions) and Hsii Shih-heng. This force of some 10,000 men moved from Kwangsi in the direction of Hanoi through the Chen-nan pass, while another army of 5,000 men under the command of Wu Taching, governor of Yunnan, advanced toward Hanoi through Meng-tzu and K'ai-hua. 18 Less than a month later Sun entered Hanoi. The population lined the streets of the city to welcome the imperial army. On the same night the Le king came to Sun's headquarters and they agreed upon a day for the investiture ceremony. 19 Several days later the ceremony took place. The initial aim of the expedition was thus achieved. Upon hearing the news, the emperor conferred on Sun Shih-i the title of duke and on Hsü Shih-heng the title of viscount. 20 But these commanders declined the rewards on the grounds that they would not deserve them until they had captured the leader of the rebellion. However, by that time, Nguyen Hue was in Quang-


Truong Buu Lam / I N T E R V E N T I O N V E R S U S nam in the south, where he had fled as soon as he felt "the wind of the imperial army." Sun Shih-i decided to proceed to the rebel nest. 21 The Grand Council, however, disagreed with his decision. Since the objective of "protecting the weak and recovering the lost" had been achieved, the court felt that Sun should return to China with his troops. 22 The court gave several reasons for this view. First, there was the matter of cost. It had already been necessary to establish on the route from Yunnan to Hanoi about forty supply stations. Hanoi was separated from Quangnam by more than 2,000 li, and it would require over fifty-three additional stations and an additional 100,000 or more men to send an expedition that far. 2 3 Second, Chinese soldiers were not used to the climate of Vietnam, and it was feared that if they stayed there through the rainy season they would suffer from various diseases. Third, the court did not want the Vietnamese to misunderstand its real intentions. The intervention had been planned to restore the Le king, and if the expeditionary army stayed in the country after this objective had been achieved it would raise doubts about China's motives. 24 Finally and perhaps most important, there were many signs that the Le dynasty had by now lost the mandate of Heaven (about which more will be said later). And since the emperor never contradicted the will of Heaven, it was thought that he should withdraw his protection from the Le dynasty. 25 But Sun Shih-i was reluctant to leave Hanoi. From Sun's memorials it is possible to speculate that his reluctance was due to the fact that the second army, from Yunnan, was about to join the main army in Hanoi. 2 6 It is conceivable that Sun Shih-i hoped this would induce Nguyen Hue to surrender,27 particularly because, as he thought, the Nguyen brothers were fighting among themselves. 28 Sun Shih-i therefore decided to disregard the imperial order and to wait. He did not have to wait long. A few days after he had made this decision news came to him of a rebel advance. Upon hearing that Nguyen Hue himself led the rebel forces, the Le king fled from Hanoi. Sun Shih-i finally decided to withdraw too. It was too late for an orderly withdrawal however. The retreat was a disaster for Sun's army. More than half his soldiers could not cross the Thi-cau river on the outskirts of Hanoi; under the weight of the army in full flight the bridge collapsed. Hsii Shih-heng and many of the army officers were left behind. As a result of this disaster, Sun Shih-i was removed from his post as governor-general of LiangKwang and was replaced by Fu-k'ang-an. Thus ended the first phase of Sino-Vietnamese relations in this period.




The main question that arises in connection with this phase is why an apparent about-face occurred in Chinese policy toward Vietnam. The expedition to Vietnam had obviously been sent to restore the Le king. But the Le king had no sooner been restored than the emperor decided to drop him on the grounds that he had lost the mandate of Heaven. There are two possible interpretations of this shift. One is that the edicts ordering the withdrawal were forged after the event in order to make Sun Shih-i wholly responsible for the disaster, which stemmed from his failure to withdraw. This theory presupposes that the Chinese initially intended that Chinese troops remain in Vietnam after the restoration of the Le in order to control the country's affairs. In other words, the expedition had imperialist motives behind it. Such a possibility should not be ruled out, and, in fact, Vietnamese historians tend to accept this interpretation.29 It would not have been the first time the Chinese had occupied Vietnam under the pretext of restoring a deposed king.30 The second interpretation is that the Grand Council was not very eager to intervene in Vietnamese affairs and did so only under pressure from Sun Shih-i. It did not want Chinese troops to remain in Vietnam any longer than absolutely necessary and consequently ordered the withdrawal after the objective of restoring the Le king had been achieved. This interpretation seems to me more acceptable for two reasons. First, it is likely that the court decided to intervene, despite its hesitation, because it felt that the emperor had certain obligations toward the tributary king and that these obligations had to be honored. However, once this had been done, the emperor may have considered his commitment fulfilled and wanted no more involvement in Vietnamese affairs. Second, whatever the precise reasons for the intervention, it is certain that the emperor's desire to terminate Chinese involvement in Vietnamese affairs stemmed from the court's judgment that the Le dynasty had lost the mandate of Heaven. From the court's viewpoint, there were good reasons for this judgment. In the first place, it knew that the Vietnamese king had not dared to return to the capital of Hanoi before its reconquest by the Chinese army. Next, Sun Shih-i informed the court that among Vietnamese officials he had met no worthy people.31 To sum up, the expedition may have been necessary in order to observe certain principles in Chinese relations with tributary states. However, once these principles had been observed, the Chinese no longer had any reason to stay in Vietnam, especially in view of the unworthiness, as they saw it, of the dynasty they had restored to power.


Truong Buu Lam / I N T E R V E N T I O N V E R S U S If the second interpretation is correct, then it follows that Sun Shih-i did in fact receive orders to withdraw. If so, it must be asked how a commander like Sun could have disobeyed imperial orders. Several explanations may be advanced. First, he may not have had sufficient time to prepare his withdrawal; no more than six weeks had elapsed between his arrival in Hanoi and his expulsion. Second, it is possible that he counted on the capture of the rebel leader to counterbalance his disobedience. Moreover, it is conceivable that he relied upon his court connections and especially on Ho-shen, Ch'ien-lung's chief minister, to come to his rescue in case of failure. If so, he was apparently proved correct. Shortly after he was removed as governor-general, he was appointed president of the Board of War at the capital and was concurrently made a grand councillor. For his failure he merely lost his title of duke. Third, Sun's disobedience may have been prompted by the fact that the expedition was a financially profitable affair. It has been suggested that the mid-Ch'ing campaigns were lucrative enterprises and that "the large allocations of imperial funds necessary in each case seem to have created a vested interest in the expansion or, more commonly, the prolongation of operations." 32 The financial element could, in fact, have been an important incentive for the prolongation of the Vietnamese operation, for it is known that in addition to putting the Kwangsi treasury at the disposal of Sun Shih-i, the emperor had ordered the Board of Revenue to transfer to him 500,000 silver taels from neighboring provinces. 33 More important, Sun had received what amounted to a blank check for the expenditures of the campaign and particularly for taking care of the local population which had remained loyal to the dynasty. 34 Whatever the reasons for Sun's disobedience, it brought him defeat. After his expulsion and the flight of the legitimate king, Nguyen Hue became the actual sovereign of Vietnam 35 and he was now responsible for the country's relations with China.

The Settlement of the Incident

The appointment of Fu-k'ang-an, a famous military commander, as governor-general of Liang-Kwang 36 and of several veteran officers of the Taiwan campaign 37 to replace those who had been lost in Vietnam, seemed to inaugurate a warlike policy. However, although troops were


TRIBUTE IN SINO-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS massed at the frontier, 38 orders to move them never came. For this inaction there seem to have been three reasons. The first is related to an earlier experience of an unsuccessful campaign against Burma. From 1766 to 1770 China undertook several expeditions designed to bring Burma under control, but all resulted in disaster.39 The court's explanation was that the Chinese soldiers were exhausted by Burma's climate and by the diseases they had contracted there. The implication was that the same thing could happen in Vietnam, where climatic conditions were similar.40 The second reason given by the court was that the Vietnamese people were rebellious. An expedition would be costly of men and money, and the best that could come of it would be the annexation of Vietnam. But then, what would China profit from the conquest of a country impossible to control, unless, as in Sinkiang, the imperial government should send there a large number of officials and troops? Furthermore, argued the court, in Vietnam, unlike Sinkiang, the military garrisons and the administrative apparatus would very soon turn out to be useless because in Vietnam "the history of past dynasties has demonstrated that Chinese occupation of that country has never lasted for more than one or two decades." 41 Third, the court felt that even if China could control Vietnam directly it would be necessary to appoint a viceroy to administer the country. With this in mind, an imperial decree noted that in such a case, there would be no difference between a Ch'ing viceroy and Nguyen Hue, for the new Vietnamese ruler might now be viewed as an imperially appointed official. The Chinese emperor had indeed been entrusted by Heaven to administer the entire world and he delegated officials to take care of the internal affairs of the various distinct territories. The notion underlying this view was that "Heaven divided the territories but not the people." Thus the court was in no hurry to send Chinese troops into Vietnam, The Ch'ing now felt no overriding obligation toward the Le king because by twice fleeing from Hanoi he had shown himself to be an unworthy ruler. Peking, therefore, was now ready for a peaceful settlement of the Vietnamese problem. The court hoped that the appointment of a famous military leader to settle it would intimidate Nguyen Hu6 and induce him to offer his submission.42 Nguyen Hu6, on his part, was no less ready for a peaceful solution. Even before launching his attack against the Chinese expeditionary forces, he had been worried about China's subsequent vengeance.43 His worry


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was exacerbated by the fact that the Siamese, incited by the survivor of the former Nguyen princes, Nguyen Anh (who eventually was to unify and rule over Vietnam under the reign title of Gia-long), were threatening his new kingdom from the south and west.44 Thus the way was paved for negotiations. A few days after Fu-k'ang-an's arrival on the frontier, an important embassy bearing tribute arrived from Hanoi to offer Nguyen Hue's submission.45 It was exactly what both the court and Fu-k'ang-an had expected. The court, as we have seen, had desired a peaceful settlement,46 whereas Fu-k'ang-an was particularly eager not to antagonize the court because he had been involved in irregularities in his former post. 47 Moreover, Vietnamese documents state that the governor-general was not indifferent to the numerous presents offered by Nguyen Hue. 48 In addition to all this, Nguyen Hue's submission and apologies were perfectly acceptable. The tone of his petition was respectful and obedient, as were the manners of his envoys. Nguyen Hud stressed many times that his attack on the imperial army had been nothing but an accident; it had occurred because in the early hours of the morning his soldiers could not distinguish the Chinese from the local forces. In other words, he would not have dared to attack the imperial troops.48 Thus Chinese prestige was saved. It is not surprising that Fu-k'ang-an imposed only two conditions for peace: all Chinese prisoners were to be handed back to China and Nguyen Hue himself was to come to the Chinese capital to offer his apologies and submission. Nguyen Hug accepted these conditions with one slight modification: he would come to the capital only in the following year in order to participate in the celebration marking the emperor's eightieth anniversary.50 In the meantime he sent an important embassy to Peking, headed by his nephew, to present tribute.61 The Vietnamese crisis was thus virtually over, and the only condition to be fulfilled was Nguyen Hue's visit to Peking.

The Vietnamese King's Visit to Peking It was in the tradition of Sino-Vietnamese relations that China require Vietnamese rulers who had opposed the Chinese to come to the capital to beg for pardon. 52 It was also in the tradition that Vietnamese rulers were afraid to go to the Chinese capital. Other kings before Nguyen


TRIBUTE IN SINO-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS Hue had declined such an invitation, sending in their stead a golden statue of a man. The gold statue may have been intended to replace the Vietnamese king who did not want to come to the capital, or it may have represented the Chinese general or generals who had been killed by the Vietnamese. Because the sending of this statue had always been connected with these two circumstances together, there is no way of knowing the intended symbolism.63 Reluctance to come to China's capital may, in any case, have been rather characteristic of tributary kings—hence the infrequency of their visits. Perhaps for this reason, the Ch'ien-lung Emperor was much flattered by and most enthusiastic about Nguyen Hue's promise to participate in the celebration marking his eightieth birthday. The Ch'ing Veritable Records are full of his instructions concerning this visit. The president of the Board of Rites was ordered to compile a new chapter of protocol concerning the reception to be given to the king at every level.54 The Chinese envoys to Vietnam were instructed to describe the king's clothes in order to enable the emperor to have such clothes made as presents for Nguyen Hue. 55 The local officials all along Nguyen Hug's route were told to impress upon him the achievements of the empire in order to reinforce his desire to "come to be transformed." 56 Fu-k'ang-an himself was ordered to escort the royal embassy and to make sure that all Nguyen Hue's needs were satisfied.57 Finally, the visit of the Vietnamese king was such an important event that all punishments for misdeeds committed by Ch'ing officials involved in the preparations for the visit were suspended.58 At the same time, the emperor seemed to comply with the requests put forward by Nguyen Hue, who appeared to be testing out Ch'ing good will. First, he asked his ambassadors to request some ginseng for his mother; both Fu-k'ang-an and the emperor sent it to him at once.59 After that Nguyen Hue sent an embassy to Peking with two other requests. The first was that the Chinese calendar, which the tributary states had to use and for which they had to send an embassy every year to the Chinese capital,60 be sent to him. The emperor quickly consented.61 The second was that the trade between the two countries which had been suspended since the outbreak of hostilities62 be resumed.63 In response to this request the emperor ordered that the frontier be reopened and emporia established in order to provide the Vietnamese population with all that it needed.64 The sincere intentions of the Ch'ing court were further evidenced in the way its authorities handled the Le refugees. The Le king was ordered to



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shave his head and wear Manchu dress. After that he was transferred to the capital, to be enrolled in a Chinese banner as a captain, with the thirdgrade rank in the official hierarchy.65 The other refugees were sent to Kiangnan, Chekiang, or Szechwan: some were enrolled in the banners of the local governor-general and some became simple citizens, for whom means of subsistence were to be provided by the local officials. ββ In part these measures were motivated by the desire to take care of those Vietnamese who had remained faithful to China. In part, however, they stemmed from the desire to prevent any Vietnamese attempt to restore the Le dynasty, so that Nguyen HuS could come to the Chinese capital free of worry and confident that China had no intention of restoring his rival. 67 Nguyen Hue did not fail to appreciate these evidences of a friendly attitude, but the internal situation in Vietnam could not by any standards be considered sufficiently settled to allow the king to be absent from his country for almost eight months. The king was thus faced with a dilemma. If he left Vietnam for an extended journey the Siamese, with the cooperation of his internal rival, the descendant of the Nguyen princes, would probably seize the opportunity to make their move. If he failed to go to Peking the Chinese government would be deeply insulted and SinoVietnamese relations could be fatally injured. It is possible, though by no means certain, that Nguyen Hue solved his problem by the unique method of sending his double to Peking. 68 On May 28, 1790 (Ch'ien-lung 55), the Vietnamese embassy headed by the king—or his double—arrived at the Chinese frontier. They were immediately met by Fu-k'ang-an and proceeded to the capital. At Lianghsiang, south of Peking, they were welcomed by the vice-president of the Board of Rites who, in the name of the emperor, offered the traditional tea and led them directly to the summer capital in Jehol. 69 During this trip there occurred three incidents that revealed Ch'ienlung's magnanimous attitude toward his tributary king, Nguyen HuS. 70 It seems that, according to the regulations of the empire, all the correspondence of an ambassador to his country had to undergo Chinese censorship, and copies of this correspondence were even sent to the Grand Council. Fu-k'ang-an applied this rule to the first three letters sent by Nguyen HuS. However, as soon as the emperor discovered this, he ordered that Nguyen Hue's correspondence should not be censored, since this was hardly the ideal way of expressing confidence in dignitaries coming from remote countries.71 When the emperor learned that Nguyen HuS was accompanied by his


TRIBUTE IN SI NO-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS son, he immediately invested the son as crown prince. Ch'ien-lung wrote to Nguyen Hue: "You did not mind covering the distance of more than ten thousand li to come to greet me. It is because you consider me your master and your father. If you regard me as your father, how can I not regard you as my son? Your son, by his coming, proves that his loyalty to me is only equal to the good education he receives from you." 72 The third incident occurred when the Vietnamese embassy arrived in Kiangsi. The emperor discovered, from a note sent in by the governor, that the daily expense of entertaining the embassy amounted to four thousand silver taels. At first unconcerned about these large amounts, the emperor became worried that if Nguyen HuS was so well treated by the local authorities, it would be difficult to improve upon that treatment at the capital. 73 Upon arrival at Jehol on August 20,1790, Nguyen HuS was immediately given an imperial audience. From then on he accompanied the emperor at all public functions, which culminated in the celebration honoring the emperor's eightieth birthday. In his writings connected with the celebrations, the emperor did not fail to mention the presence of the Vietnamese king during these festivities.74 Sino-Vietnamese relations during the reign of Nguyen Hue, as reflected in the number of embassies sent from Vietnam to China, appear to have been unusually close. From 1661 to 1911, over a period of 250 years, embassies were sent to China in only forty-five years—an average of about one embassy every five years. However, during the period from 1789 to 1793, that is, during Nguyen Hug's reign, there was at least one embassy every year.75 But this frequency only reflects relations on the ceremonial level. As one Chinese historian has noted, Nguyen HuS's close contacts with China on the official level did not prevent him from pursuing an independent policy designed to further Vietnamese interests as he saw them, even when it antagonized the Chinese. 76 This policy was manifest in several instances. First, he reportedly gave certain Chinese pirates official Vietnamese ranks and then sent them to raid the South China coast. Second, he is said to have aided the rebel Triad Society (T'ien-ti hui) in Kwangsi. These moves were meant to pave the way for the reconquest of Liang-Kwang which, according to Nguyen HuS, had belonged to Vietnam in ancient times.77 Third, instead of using Chinese characters as the official writing system, as previous dynasties had done, Nguyen Hue adopted the nom characters, a combination of Chinese characters designed to transcribe the Vietnamese spoken language.78






Fourth, he made preparations for conquering Siam, which was helping his internal rival, although Siam was also a tributary of China. 79

The Pattern of Sino-Vietnamese Relations We have briefly surveyed Sino-Vietnamese relations during an eventful period in which the operation of the tributary system was particularly significant. Against this background let us now try to highlight certain characteristics of the tributary relationship. The peculiarity of this relationship distinguished it from the kind of tie that could normally be expected between two independent states. It was a complex arrangement not clearly expressed in any treaty but containing such elements as personal relations between the rulers, an implicit obligation on the part of China to render assistance to a tributary in time of need, and a tacit acceptance of certain ceremonial duties by both sides. Equally striking is the fact that the relationship was not between two equal states. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that China was the superior and the tributary state the inferior. The Vietnamese kings clearly realized that they had to acknowledge China's suzerainty and become tributaries in order to avoid active intervention by China in their internal affairs. Thus the Le king as a tributary ruler turned to China for protection when his rule was endangered. This reaction was indeed normal, in terms both of legal justification and of military strategy. As suzerain, China was committed to protect the legitimate dynasty recognized by her. Again, among Vietnam's neighboring states, China was obviously the only one in a position to accord effective military aid. It was no less normal a pattern of conduct for Nguyen Hue, upon seizing the throne, to request the Son of Heaven to legitimize his rule. This was without any doubt the only way to secure peaceful relations with the Chinese empire. In short, it was in the interest of the Vietnamese kings to surrender part of their sovereignty in return for the assurance that in case of rebellion they would be protected by China and that in time of internal peace they would not be conquered and directly administered by China. On the other hand, it was in the Chinese interest to keep Vietnam within the tributary system. China felt that she could not govern this area directly; at the same time, she wished to avoid trouble in frontier regions. Hence, however aware the Chinese may have been of their cultural and military superiority, they did not take the tributary status of their inferior




neighbors for granted but carried on an active policy based upon "the imperial way of managing the subordinate states." This way was to treat them on " a n equal basis of benevolence" in order to encourage them willingly " t o come and be transformed." Ch'ien-lung's policy toward Nguyen Hue was merely one example of this attitude. Tributary status was granted by China not to a country but to a ruler. This status could be granted only after the foreign ruler had manifested his acknowledgment of China's superiority in the respectful language of his petitions, in the reverent manner of his envoys, and in the expression of his desire to come " t o be transformed." Only then was he invested as king by the Chinese emperor and his tribute accepted. Thus, the tribute offered to Ch'ien-lung by Nguyen Hue was refused until Nguyen Hue had been recognized by China as the ruler of Vietnam, even though for centuries Vietnam had been part of the Chinese tributary system. Moreover, because the granting of tributary status was a personal matter, this status was not transferable. Upon the death of a tributary ruler, his heir, even if he was the legal and undisputed successor, had to go through the same process of acquiring Chinese recognition. The investiture of a tributary ruler was apparently viewed by the Chinese emperor as similar to the appointment of an official within the empire. Hence investiture could be withdrawn if the ruler failed in his duty—that is, if he failed to maintain peace and order, as did the Le king. In such a case the tributary king could be punished just like any other high official of the empire. It was expressly stated that the only reason the emperor had refrained from punishing the Le king was that his family had served the Chinese empire for more than a hundred years. Similarly, it was stated that one of the reasons for recognizing Nguyen Hue as ruler of Vietnam was that he was not different from an imperially appointed official managing the affairs of a conquered country. Such rationalizations, of course, justified Chinese pragmatism while providing its ratification by a myth. In short, the principle of " Heaven has divided up territories but not peoples" set the pattern of China's relations with foreign countries, particularly with neighboring countries. This subtle notion gave China a highly flexible tool with which to conduct her external relations. She could recognize independent rulers because territories could be independent, but she could also intervene whenever and wherever she judged it necessary because the Chinese emperor was responsible for all the peoples under Heaven and because their rulers were viewed as his appointed representatives.


Chusei Suzuki / C H I N A ' S R E L A T I O N S WITH I N N E R A S I A : THE



It is generally assumed that with peripheral nations China established a superior-inferior relationship on the assumption of her cultural ascendancy and that this enabled China to enforce a divide-and-rule policy, or at least a policy of trade control, so as to maintain peace on her borders. The validity of this assumption rests upon the extent to which the Chinese claim of cultural ascendancy was actually effective across her frontiers. We can readily agree that China's claim of cultural superiority was more or less effective toward such countries as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, agricultural societies resembling that of China which regarded Chinese culture as advanced and worthy of adoption. But the situation was quite different in the case of northern and western nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples, who since earliest times had had repeated and bitter struggles with the Chinese. In this paper the distinct nature of China's relations with Inner Asia is analyzed by examining first the weakness of China's cultural influence there and then tracing as a case study the power fluctuations in the relationship between the Han and the Hsiung-nu. Against this background Ch'ing-Tibetan relations are then examined. The Weakness of the Imperial Virtue in Inner Asia

As our first example let us take the cultural relations between the Han and the Hsiung-nu.1 As a policy for the Han, a certain Liu Ching proposed tr>


Chusei Suzuki j C H I N A ' S R E L A T I O N S W I T H I N N E R A S I A the Kao-tsu Emperor, the dynastic founder, that eloquent envoys should be sent to the Hsiung-nu for the purpose of promoting "civility and etiquette" (li-chieh) as the basis of a cultural life.2 However, this policy proved ineffective. Yüeh Chung-hang, a Chinese who had a deep resentment toward the Han court and was a mouthpiece of the Hsiung-nu, puts it in perspective. He not only never succumbed to the denunciation of Hsiung-nu social customs by the frequently dispatched Han envoys; he also condemned the weak points of the aristocratic culture of China. The same criticism of Chinese culture was offered by Yu-yü of the I-ch'ii people.3 Again, the Mongols under Chinggis Khan and his successors did not much respect Chinese culture, and the same attitude was assumed by the T'uchüeh (Turks) when they were in power. In fact, although the spread of Chinese goods among her neighbors, which took place throughout history, may imply a spread of Chinese culture, it does not mean that the northerners were persuaded of China's cultural ascendancy; for when they were stronger than China, they tended to regard goods from China as loot or trophies to be taken from China as the weaker party. The specific Chinese notion that expressed the claim of cultural ascendancy and appeared frequently in historical documents was that the virtue of the Son of Heaven had pervaded the outlying barbarians, with the result that they turned toward him and came to his court with tribute. This was the notion of that group of Han Confucians (hsien-liang, "the wise and good") who in the Yen-fieh lun, or Debates on Salt and Iron, argued against the group of politicians (tai-fu, "the great officers") who advocated the buildup of state wealth and military power; the Confucians held that a policy of using virtue to control the barbarians, by letting them participate in the ceremonies performed at the ancestral shrine of the imperial court, would inspire in them civility and etiquette.4 Similarly, Confucius had remarked in the Analects·. "If distant people are not obedient [to China, Chinese rulers] should win them over by cultivating their own 'refinement and virtue' (wen-te)."5 A variant of this policy of propagating Chinese culture was to spread the moral teaching of filial piety, as proposed by Hsieh Pi of the Later Han: "As it is said, if a Son of Heaven acts according to filial piety, the barbarians of the four directions will become peaceful; nothing but filial piety can save the borders which, beset by rebellions, are contracting day by day." 6 This notion also underlay the Chinese explanation of why the barbarians sent tributary missions to China. For example, in extolling Wang Mang's merits the Han History stated that "The ten thousand countries within the


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four seas were won over by the righteousness [of the Han dynasty] and . . . [they learned to send envoys] to assist in the ceremonials [at the shrine of the Han court], together with curious presents to be offered there." 7 Again, in an edict issued on the occasion of an imperial journey to T'aishan, the Later Han emperor Chang-ti remarked: "The remotest peoples of Yao-fu and Huang-fu in the distant areas north of the desert and west of the Pamirs . . . [send envoys] running as fast as flying horses to take part in the ceremonies in the suburbs of the imperial capital (chiao) and in the place for the worship of the deities of Heaven and Earth and the Five Emperors (chih), [where] all of them assist in the services [performed by the emperors]." 8 This notion was not only preserved in Confucian ideology, it was presumably institutionalized in the pre-Ch'in period, for a record in Hsiin-tzu implies that barbarian chiefs in the remote Yao-fu and Huang-fu areas sent envoys, yearly or at least once in their lives, to participate in the ceremonies observed by the Chinese monarchs. 9 For a later period the Wei shu states that " I n the fourth moon, on the day keng-cKen [May 30, 419] the emperor (Ming-yiian-ti) went out to do service at the eastern shrine. [Envoys] of the remote vassals (fan) assisting in the ceremonies numbered several hundred." 10 It may be supposed that many among these "several hundred" were envoys from barbarian chiefs who then happened to be in the Northern Wei capital. In Han times the Hsiung-nu seem to have sent envoys to the Han court annually to attend the New Year celebration and rituals. 11 After Hu-hanhsieh, the Hsiung-nu supreme ruler (shan-yii), surrendered to the Han in 53 B.C., he chose New Year's Day to attend the Han court and pay homage to the emperor. He presented himself at court again in 33 B.C., to celebrate the New Year, and his successor appeared there in the same way in 25 B.C. In the Later Han period it became a formal obligation for the barbarians to attend the New Year celebration at the court and for the foreign tribute bearers and hostages (shih-tzu) to participate in the ceremony held annually in the first month of the year at the imperial tombs. 12 In fact, a hostage son of the shan-yii, Hu-han-hsieh II, who was held in the Han capital, is reported to have worshiped at the imperial tomb after he had attended the New Year celebration. It seems almost certain that a similar practice had been established in the Former Han period for the foreign tributary missions, including those from the Hsiung-nu, though we have no reliable sources to prove it. In Ming times, at any rate, foreign tributary missions usually entered the imperial capital to attend the ceremonies on the


W I T H INNER ASIA occasions of the New Year celebration and the emperor's birthday. 13 In the Ch'ing this practice remained unchanged. These facts lead us to conclude that the Confucian notion of the extension of the imperial virtue came to be associated institutionally with the annual New Year's Day ceremonies, which were designed to demonstrate directly the power and prestige of the ruling Chinese dynasty. Yet this does not prove that the Confucian idea of extending the sway of the imperial "virtue" through the promotion of "civility and etiquette" was actually the effective cause of China's power. As a principle of domestic order within China, rule by virtue implied a policy of mild punishment, moderate taxation, restrained recruitment, and so on; in short, a policy of peace and leniency. In accord with this principle, only a nonmilitaristic policy was applicable to the foreign nations outside the sphere of China's political power.14 But we know that in relations between the Han and the Hsiung-nu, for example, such a nonmilitaristic policy was impracticable except during the fifty years of peace at the end of the Former Han dynasty. In actual fact, when it was too difficult or too expensive for China to deal with her neighbors by military power, she adopted a policy of giving the other party money and goods. This was a bribery policy, one type of which had already been advocated by Kuan-tzu. 16 In accordance with this policy, a great many goods were sent from the Han to the Hsiung-nu in the early years of the Former Han dynasty, and later Wang Mang freely resorted to this method in dealing with the border nations. The historian Pan Ku classified the Han policies toward the Hsiung-nu into two categories: a peace policy supported by the Confucian group and a militaristic policy supported by the warriors. He criticized the former as a bribery policy, implying that the Confucian policy of disseminating "virtue " to the barbarians was in practical effect little more than a policy of bribery. In addition, Pan Ku pointed out that this policy of virtue was not effective when the other party was stronger. In short, it cannot be supposed that the spread of the Confucian monarch's virtuous influence through the promotion of civility and etiquette or politics of bribery, or nonmilitarism automatically gave birth to a superior-inferior order between China and her border nations. Generally speaking, the superior-inferior relationship was brought about only when China was stronger in power and had the financial strength to satisfy fully the demands of border nations for the exchange of goods. Consequently, as it worked out, many Chinese dynasties at their height sent


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numerous envoys to very remote areas to induce the local chiefs to send tribute to China. The Confucians interpreted the barbarians' responsiveness to these invitations as a barometer of the imperial virtue, but the real attraction was the strength and wealth of China. All the above was clearly recognized by realistic thinkers and politicians. Han Fei-tzu remarked: "Even if a monarch of a hostile country were to praise my righteousness, I would not send tribute to his court. Even if a feudal prince inside the frontier passes were to reproach my deeds, I would make him send birds as tribute to my court. Thus the more powerful can force others to come to their courts [with tribute] while the less powerful are forced by others to come to their court." 16 Similarly the politicians in the Debates on Salt and Iron observed: "The Ch'in, after having unified the empire . . . set up the title of emperor, and forced the barbarians in the four directions to come to court. Though they came from every remotest corner, it was not because they had become obedient to the virtue of the Ch'in but because they feared the power of the Ch'in. Thus it is said that a more powerful [ruler] can force others to come to his c o u r t . . ," 17 The discrepancy between international reality and the Confucian ideal of the pervasion of virtue seems to have led to the paradoxical conclusion that virtue is power or that right is might. This conclusion was manifested in the frequently used but self-contradictory expression, "The foreign barbarians come up to the imperial court, fearful of the power and attracted by the virtue [of the Chinese rulers]." This Confucian ideal gave rise to many efforts, particularly during prosperous periods of a dynasty, to invite more and more foreign tribute bearers, because they were regarded as a sign of great virtue. Their presence thus seemed to justify the dynasty's rule over China, notwithstanding the fact that satisfying a great number of greedy tribute bearers, and particularly transporting them from the frontiers to the capital, imposed great financial burdens on China all the way from the Han period down to the Ch'ing. There is no doubt that China endeavored to maintain the exchange of goods with the border nations on the basis of a tributary relationship. For example, in its relations with the countries of the Western Regions (Hsi-yii, modern Turkestan), the Han court gave seals with colored ribbons to the tribute bearers as a sign of their vassal status vis-ä-vis the dynasty. For the foreigners, whose purpose in coming to China was simply the pursuit of commercial profit, China's arrogance in receiving tribute from them and giving them seals was sometimes an occasion for ridicule.18




When they lacked the power to control the border nations, the Han could not refuse their demands for trade for fear of retaliatory border incursions.19 When the Hsien-pei people were strong at the end of the Later Han era, they defied Han control of trade by obtaining iron, a prohibited item, contrary to the border regulations, or even by obtaining the goods they wanted by violent means.20 These facts show not only that superior power was needed to control trade, but also that the concept of "tributary" trade was nonsense whenever China lost its power. In the same way, trade relations between the Ming and the Jtirched chiefs were dependent upon power relations; the Jürched regarded the Ming permits given to their tribute bearers simply as licenses to trade. It may thus be concluded that it was only when China was powerful that she could maintain a superior-inferior relationship with the border nations, control trade with them, and enforce a divide-and-rule policy to keep the borders quiet. Consequently, as certain Japanese scholars have recently suggested,21 the system of enfeoffment (sappö taisei in Japanese), which was almost synonymous with the tributary system, cannot be regarded as the universal basis of Far Eastern international relations.22 Important in this respect is the fact that not all the peripheral nations were connected with China by monarch-subject ties. For example, in the Former Han period the Hsiung-nu were controlled by such ties for only fifty years at the end of the dynasty, and in its early stages this control was exercised on a fraternal (k'un-ti) basis; even so, peace did not last long. In 1963 Assistant Professor Mori Masao of Tokyo University spoke interestingly on Sui and T'ang relations with the T'u-chüeh (Turks), the Hui-ho (Uighurs), T'u-fan (Tibet), and the countries west of the Pamirs.23 He pointed out that the chi-mi-chou system (described above in Professor Yang's paper), though famous as a supposed Chinese world order, was really effective only for fifty years in the seventh century. He also pointed out that besides the monarch-subject ties that existed, there were father-son, father-in-law to son-in-law, and elder brother-younger brother relationships in effect between the Chinese rulers and their northern and western neighbors. In Sung relations with the Liao and the Chin there occurred also two uncle-nephew relationships, that is, those of father's elder brother and father's younger brother to son. Among these familial and pseudofamilial relationships, the fraternal Han-Hsiung-nu bond functioned as between equals. The father-in-law-son-in-law ties between the T'ang and Tibetan rulers were brought about by the marriage of two T'ang princesses to Tibetan rulers; but the Tibetans' status was equal to that of the T'ang


Chusei Suzuki / C H I N A ' S R E L A T I O N S emperors, a fact that can be inferred from the positions the two partners assumed in the two alliances formed in 783 and in 821.24 Thus we may conclude that in spite of the Confucian interpretation, some of the above-cited fictional ties functioned in the international field on the basis of a tacitly accepted principle of equality. One problem here is that the familial ties appeared mainly in China's relations with her northern and western neighbors, many of whom had long, repeated, and severe struggles with China. As already noted by Mr. Mori in respect to the SuiT'ang period, the shift from one to another of the familial patterns in China's relationship with any particular nation seems to have been caused chiefly by shifts in the power relations between the two partners. Therefore, it is not realistic to neglect the factor of power in considering the formal relations between China and her neighbors.

Power Relations between the Han and the Hsiung-nu A typical example of these power relations is found in Han-Hsiung-nu relations, whose history can be divided into eight successive periods or "scenes": Scene I: 200 B.C-133 B.C. Scene II: 133-89 Scene III: 89-51 Scene IV: 51-A.D. 1 1-25 Scene V: 25-73 Scene VI: Scene VII: 73-92 Scene VIII: 92-220 In scenes I and VI, Hsiung-nu military power was more or less heavily exercised on the northern frontier of the Han, who stood on the defensive, unable to make an effective counterattack. In scenes II and VII the Han turned to the offensive and undertook many counterexpeditions. Scenes III and VIII, however, were not similar. In scene III the Han found its repeated across-the-desert expeditions fruitless and an armed stalemate resulted because the Hsiung-nu had moved their center to the north of the Gobi desert in 119 B.C. In scene IV tension relaxed and peace lasted for fifty years, until in scene V the forcible policy of Wang Mang provoked the Hsiung-nu into a new counterattack.


W I T H INNER ASIA A pattern emerges in which the two conflicting parties experienced two cycles of attack and counterattack, expansion and contraction, pressure and counterpressure. The average duration of each stage was a little under forty years. Between these two major cycles (scenes I and II and scenes VI and VII) were inserted an armed confrontation of thirty-eight years, a peaceful coexistence of fifty years, and a twenty-four-year period of Han dynastic change. These two cycles can be compared to a pendulum movement. In scene VIII a struggle for hegemony started and continued, with gradually increasing intensity, among the southern Hsiung-nu, the Hsienpei, and other northern peoples, which caused the Han frontier system to collapse. In the south, too, the Han empire was disintegrating and a new political order was being sought. It was, in other words, an interval in which a new drama with new stars and settings was being prepared, to follow the first period of north-south conflicts. Now let us examine the motives on both sides which influenced the pendulum movement mentioned above. We begin with the Hsiung-nu at the transition from scenes V to VI, that is, in A.D. 25: the Hsiung-nu ruler insisted that his people had obeyed the Han at the time of the Hsiian-ti Emperor (scene V) only because of their temporary decline in power. Now, however, the (Later) Han should obey the Hsiung-nu because the pressure exerted by the Hsiung-nu on China's northern frontiers had inflicted disaster on Wang Mang's usurper regime and had opened the way for the reestablishment of the Han dynasty.25 Here it is apparent that the northerners regarded the disunity and disorder in China as providing them an opportunity to invade China either to loot or, in this case, to establish hegemony there. Later the same idea inspired the Hsiung-nu chief Liu Yüan-hai, when he was about to found a dynasty in what is now Shansi province.26 We can assume in retrospect that the disorder in China and the consequent collapse of the northern defense system at the time of dynastic succession between the Ch'in and the Han must likewise have contributed greatly to the original unity of the Hsiung-nu brought about by the shan-yii Mao-tun. In considering the motives of the Han, let us first examine the shift from scenes I to II in about 133 B.C. In scene I peace and war had alternated, and the Han had blamed the Hsiung-nu for having destroyed peaceful relations. In 176 B.C., however, when the Hsiung-nu proposed peace, they said that their invasion of the Ordos a year before had been provoked by the Han. Likewise the shift in 133 B.C. from a twenty-two-year peace to the Han counterattacks of scene II was not a result of Hsiung-nu pro-


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vocation but was brought about by the Wu-ti Emperor. He changed the former passive policy to one of active retaliation, backed up by the economic power of the Han empire, which had steadily increased over the past seventy-odd years. How then did this shift compare with the swing in A.D. 73 from scenes VI to VII ? Although the split among the Hsiung-nu in A.D. 48 into northern and southern branches had unexpectedly given the Han the advantage in the balance of power, the Later Han emperor Kuang-wu-ti, rejecting a proposal to attack the northern Hsiung-nu, declared that the domestic situation was not yet sufficiently stabilized to permit an expedition outside the borders: "If it were possible to annihilate the great invaders [the Hsiung-nu], we would like very much to do so even at the cost of half the power of the empire, but now that the time is not ripe for us we had better let the people rest." 27 Later, however, as the Han domestic situation improved, the Ming-ti Emperor, following Wu-ti's example, resumed the aggressive policy of attacking the Hsiung-nu and of opening up the Western Regions (Hsiyü), probably in A.D. 13 or 14.28 Clearly the recovery of a dominant power position was the decisive factor that put the Han on the offensive. We must also note Wang Mang's policy toward the Hsiung-nu, which destroyed the peaceful relations that had lasted for the previous fifty years. His was a dual policy: first, to create artificially the appearance of " virtue " on the part of the Chinese monarch by giving money and goods to the neighboring barbarians and, second, to interfere in Hsiung-nu affairs so as to deprive them of the privileged position they had had over the Wuhuan and Ch'e-shih-hou-kuo, based at Urumchi. This latter policy inevitably invited armed aggression by the Hsiung-nu and resulted in a largescale counterattack by Wang Mang, which, however, led to disaster for his newly established "Hsin" dynasty. It can be concluded from these facts that, in the case of both the Han and the Hsiung-nu, each was inspired to aggressive action mainly by an awareness of superior strength over the other. It is therefore difficult to say that the Hsiung-nu were essentially aggressive and that the Han were never militaristic and expansionistic. Whichever side was responsible for the first swing of the pendulum, once it had started swinging, the shifts in power relations between the two parties kept it in motion. In similar fashion, the alternation of pressure and counterpressure continued throughout China's long history down to the mid-eighteenth century when the Zunghar Mongols were destroyed as rivals of the Ch'ing


W I T H INNER ASIA dynasty. Presumably this has led the Chinese people to the firm belief that after a period of disgraceful submission to foreign pressure, China, in her turn, will rightly have a day of glory predetermined by the laws of history, when she will expel, pursue, and control the foreign invaders. In contrast to this, what is the historical pattern of the foreign relations of India, another great Asian nation ? As is well known, India has been incessantly invaded through her northwest frontier. Here, however, the foreign pressure came one-sidedly from north to south, and it was unusual, though not unheard of, for power to be exercised from the south over the frontiers into the northern homeland of the invaders, as was the case with China. Of course, the regimes of the foreign invaders of India were often overthrown by native revolt, but resistance ended when the former ruling group had been incorporated into Indian society as a caste, and further counterattack outside the subcontinent was not undertaken. This comparison may provide a historical background for the observation that whereas India, after independence, came to good terms with her former rulers, the British, China interpreted the turn of history in 1949 as a glorious shift from a century of dishonorable inferiority to a brilliant age of ascendency over her former invaders. This reaction tends to corroborate Professor Parkinson's propositions that "If imperialism leads to eventual revolt, the revolt leads as inevitably to a new imperialism," and "Ascendency creates resistance, and resistance turns into a new ascendency."29 Here we can see a connection between China's domestic policy and her foreign relations. Many of the important domestic policies and reforms in China's long history were planned and carried out for the purpose of effectively opposing the northern peoples—witness Han Wu-ti's various domestic measures based on his policy against the Hsiung-nu; the famous Sung "new laws" planned by Wang An-shih and aimed at "self-strengthening" to cope with the Liao and the Hsi Hsia states; the many Ming measures planned to oppose the Mongols, who had recovered their power during the mid-Ming period; and under the Ch'ing, the financial reforms executed by the Yung-cheng Emperor, which have recently been widely studied by Japanese scholars and which seem to have been motivated by the need to cope with the Zunghar Mongols.30 We need not mention the "yang-wu" ("Westernization") and other late Ch'ing reform movements stimulated by foreign pressures. These examples show what deep marks were left on China's domestic affairs by the severe north-south confrontation. This situation contrasts, for example, with the situation in Tokugawa Japan, where many reforms were brought about purely on the basis of domestic


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necessity. The implication seems to be that internal reforms in China could be realized best when they were backed up, if not forced, by a crisis in foreign relations. If so, it may be that in the frame of historical tradition the Chinese Communists owe not a little of their success to the antiforeign factor in their movement. Now let us return to the interaction between the two main principles of China's foreign relations; the monarch-subject or superior-inferior principle, and the principle of equality reflected in fictional family ties. In China's relations with the Southeast Asian (Nan-hai) countries, the latters' motive in sending missions to China was to cultivate friendly contact with the Chinese monarch, whose position they visualized only on the basis of their own cultural background; the Chinese, in their turn, evaluated these missions in terms of the Confucian view of the pervasion of virtue and the monarch-subject relationship. 31 Plainly a discrepancy existed in the two partners' interpretations of their mutual relationship but did not raise any serious problem, since their contacts were rare and no important political interests were involved. Japanese relations with the T'ang dynasty also may be placed in this category, for, at least outwardly, Japan did not accept subject status vis-ä-vis the T'ang dynasty. Their attitude can be inferred from the fact that Japanese emperors never presented a formal letter to the T'ang emperor and that the envoys sent to the T'ang (the so-called kentö-shi), inventing one excuse or another, never presented to the Japanese emperors the edicts that the T'ang emperors had issued to them. 32 However, in relations between China and a northern people such as the Hsiung-nu, which involved many mutual political interests, the formal relationship between the two partners could not be left unsettled. The peace formalized in the fraternal tie of scene I of Han-Hsiung-nu relations was frequently broken by both sides. After scene III the Hsiung-nu wanted to restore a lasting peace based on the conditions of scene I. Their proposals were refused by the Han, however, who strongly demanded, as the terms of peace, the establishment of a monarch-subject relationship and the right to retain a hostage (shih-tzu) in the Han capital, which would be another symbol of submission as well as a unilateral assurance of peace on the part of the Hsiung-nu. Because the internal dissension, famines, and military defeats in the Hsiung-nu camp gave the Han overwhelming predominance in terms of power, the Hsiung-nu had no choice but to accept the Han demands in order to enter into the long peace of scene IV. This shows that the Han viewed the equal fraternal relationship as a temporary one, detestable and intolerable, to be replaced by a monarch-




subject tie by improving their power position vis-ä-vis the Hsiung-nu. It can be supposed that the same motive drove China to change an unsatisfactory equality into a satisfactory inequality in Sung relations with the Liao and Hsi Hsia, where frequent changes in formal relationships took place in accordance with the shifts in power. Consequently the monarchsubject tie with the neighboring barbarians was not a mere myth irrelevant to reality but was rather a basic principle on which to reform the unsatisfactory situation of equality. A few words may be said here about China's policy for controlling the peripheral nations. It was typically and repeatedly said that "to control barbarians by using other barbarians brings profit to China." The specific methods by which this policy was implemented were the creation and sustenance of armed conflicts among the different peoples, or within a particular people, and for this purpose bribery was often employed. For example, in the years after A.D. 220 T'ien Yu "had regarded unity among the barbarians as harmful to China, brewed feuds by alienating them, and let them fight against each other," 33 and the Han "incited the [southern] barbarians to keep assaulting each other by sending gold and silk to them to support their hostilities."34 Records of this sort can be collected endlessly from Chinese sources. However, when the Hsiung-nu were the rivals of the Han, the policy of creating dissension in the Hsiung-nu power center was impracticable for the Han, and Wang Mang's policy of simultaneously supporting many shan-yü failed completely. At this time the most powerfully promoted Han policy was the attempt to create dissenters among the lower strata of Hsiung-nu society who, it was hoped, could be attracted to the Han side and used as troops in the battle against the Hsiung-nu. Generally speaking, however, the results of such policies were disastrous for China, particularly when she was weak. For example, in the closing years of the Later Han era China's frontier system was destroyed by the continual hostilities among the foreign peoples that were stimulated by the Han policy; and in fact, as is shown in Chinggis Khan's emergence as leader of a major power, widespread unity was sometimes brought about among the border nations as a reaction to the Chinese feud-making policy. Nonetheless, this policy remained the predominant means of controlling the neighboring barbarians throughout China's history. Since our attention has been focused primarily on China's relations with her northern and western neighbors, our observation may not cover all the complexities in China's contact with foreign countries. But, as Yang Hsiung of the Han period remarked: "Very different from the barbarians


Chusei Suzuki / C H I N A ' S R E L A T I O N S of the three [eastern, southern, and western] frontiers, the northern barbarians are truly the stoutest enemy of China," and "While northern barbarians are not obedient, China cannot sleep in peace." 35 Her confrontations with the northern nations had long constituted a life-and-death struggle, which influenced the formation of Chinese concepts of foreign relations and world order to a much greater degree than did her relations with other neighbors.

Ch'ing-Tibetan Relations before the Mid-nineteenth Century Ch'ing-Tibetan relations, in a sense, had begun even before the formation of the Ch'ing dynasty, for the Manchus, prior to their conquest of China, had already been in touch with Tibet through the Mongols. 38 In and after the 1570's the Yellow sect of Lamaism was spreading rapidly among the Mongols, and there was friendly contact between the center of Lamaism in Tibet and the early Manchu rulers, who were endeavoring to bring the Mongols under their power. The aim of the Manchus was to win Mongol cooperation in the conquest of China through friendly treatment of lamas and of Lamaism, since it had become the universal religion of the Mongols. This situation remained unchanged after the Manchu entrance into Peking. Ch'ing-Tibetan relations reached a new intimacy with the fifth Dalai Lama's visit to Peking in 1652, but it is by no means true that the Dalai Lama thereby became merely the chief of a vassal state subject to China. Tibet had its own distinct culture. The Ch'ing had had no experience in interfering militarily in Tibetan politics and had no confidence that they could do so successfully. Although Tibet had no military power, its geographical isolation was probably enough to convince the Tibetans that their country was independent from faraway China. The only factor binding the two partners was the bhikshu-dänapati or priest-patron relationship, in which the Buddhist dignitaries and their secular devotees exchanged, respectively, the teachings of Buddha (or dharma) and alms or other material assistance. It may well be that the two partners in this relationship were unequal in status, but it is certain that no clear-cut superiorinferior relationship was implied. In order to maintain this relationship, it was necessary for the Ch'ing emperors to act as Buddhist or chakravartin monarchs, not as Confucian ones. The situation changed drastically in 1717 when Cewang Arabtan, the ruler of the Oyirad Mongols in Zungharia, dared to undertake an expedition




to Tibet in order to gain control over the Lamaist leaders and thereby to reinforce his claim to rule over the Mongols. Such a situation could not be tolerated by the Peking court, not only because of its repercussions in Tibet itself but also because of its even more important effect on the Mongols. Therefore, the Ch'ing sent a counterexpeditionary army to Tibet and in 1720 successfully expelled the Zunghar invaders. After 1720 there were two anti-Ch'ing, pro-Zungharian uprisings in Tibet. In these events, however, the Ch'ing had only to make a show of force, without actually exercising their power, to prevent the success of the anti-Ch'ing movement. Subsequently the Gurkha regime in Nepal invaded Tibet twice, in 1788-1789 and 1791-1792; and in 1792 a Ch'ing army marched upon Nepal to expel the aggressors and to protect Tibet. During this period, when Ch'ing power was actually or potentially exercised in Tibet, there understandably developed, as a tradition of Tibetan politics, a reluctance to behave independently in defiance of pressure exerted upon them by the Ch'ing. At this stage, where the stronger could intervene and dominate the politics of the weaker, a superior-inferior relationship existed; yet the bhikshu-dänapati relationship of the former period did not disappear but was preserved, intertwined with the new superior-inferior relationship. Let us now turn to Nepal. The Peking court regarded its expedition of 1792 as having reduced Nepal to the status of a tributary vassal state. The Gurkha did not accept this interpretation because they did not regard themselves as completely defeated on the battlefield, although they were psychologically shocked by the Ch'ing army's unexpected attack. The Gurkha, in fact, looked upon the Ch'ing as allies to be used effectively in international affairs. In other words, the Gurkha expected and actually announced that the Ch'ing would assist them in case of a dispute with another country, meaning by implication, the British in India. However, it proved impossible for the Ch'ing to comply with this expectation. The Ch'ing dynasty, at the time of its unprecedented expedition to Nepal in 1792, had been still at its zenith in military and financial power, but after the White Lotus Rebellion of 1796-1804, which marked the watershed between the golden era of Ch'ien-lung and the period of dynastic decline, the Ch'ing were unable to send any sizable army to Tibet, to say nothing of more distant Nepal. Clearly, a discrepancy now existed between the two countries' interpretations of their mutual relationship, and this discrepancy emerged at the time of the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814-1816. The Gurkha eagerly and


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confidently applied to the Ch'ing court for assistance. In refusing, the Peking court was obliged to make an extremely unreasonable excuse. As a result of the war the Gurkha were brought under British influence; although they continued proforma to maintain tributary relations with the Ch'ing down to 1908, this relationship had lost all substantial meaning. The same thing was to happen to Tibet. At the time of the Opium War two incidents involving Tibet occurred: Tibet was invaded by the north Indian state of Jammu, and the Gurkha proposed the formation of an anti-British common front with China. The rajah of Jammu, Gulab Singh, sent his general to conquer Ladakh in 1834, and the latter invaded Tibet in 1841. The main purpose of this military action was to recapture the shawl-wool trade, which the British had diverted from the normal route that led from Tibet to Kashmir via Ladakh. At the end of 1841 the invading Jammu army was defeated in western Tibet, but the next year the Tibetan army, which had pursued the fleeing enemy to Ladakh, was itself defeated. Because the war ended with one victory and one defeat for each side, peace was restored on the condition that the prewar boundaries and trade relations also be restored. At the time of the Jammu invasion the Ch'ing were fighting the Opium War and could not send reinforcements to Tibet. Thus the Tibetans had an opportunity to repulse the invaders on their own, and this experience subsequently became a source of national confidence. Four years later, in 1846, the first Anglo-Chinese diplomatic discussion concerning Tibet took place. As a result of the first Sikh war, the British had gained some territories adjacent to western Tibet. They thought it necessary to confer with the representatives from Jammu-Kashmir and Tibet, both to prevent future border disputes and to have the diversion of the shawl-wool trade recognized by Jammu-Kashmir and Tibet as a fait accompli. Since the Tibetans showed no sign of complying with these aims, the British thought they might get the Peking court to press the Tibetans to agree to them. The then imperial commissioner at Canton, Ch'i-ying, first declared the British aims were unacceptable, but a little later he memorialized to the effect that the court had better comply. This advice was adopted and conveyed as an order from Peking to the imperial resident in Tibet, Ch'i-shan. Meanwhile, in 1847, the British commissioner in Ladakh reported to India that a Tibetan kalun (bka-blon), or minister, Shakchu by name, had come from Lhasa to Gartok, but had no intention of joining the British for talks. It may be gathered from these developments that Ch'i-




shan found himself caught between two irreconcilable foreign policies: on the one hand, the Tibetans refused to meet with the British; on the other, the Peking court insisted that a commissioner be sent from Tibet to do so. Eventually the plan was devised of sending a kalun to the west, not to meet the British, but under the pretext of collecting information on the western borders. This compromise was proposed either by Ch'i-shan himself or by the Tibetans, who probably thought it impolitic to reject the Peking court's proposal totally. It is clear that the Ch'ing court could not dictate the foreign policy of Tibet. In Nepal, meanwhile, the political situation had been extremely unstable during the fourteen years after 1832, when Bhim Sen Thapa's position as premier began to deteriorate. The Pandi faction which then rose to power tried to maintain its position by promoting an anti-British foreign policy; proposing an anti-British common front, they asked the Peking court for aid in money and weapons. But the Ch'ing, preoccupied with the Opium War, could not comply. At the time of the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-1816, the Gurkha had awaited the arrival of aid from the Ch'ing in vain, and they had the same experience, as we have noted, in 1840-1842. Thus the powerlessness of the Ch'ing became clear to the Gurkha rulers, who soon thereafter pressed the Ch'ing with unreasonable and threatening demands concerning border problems. We must not overlook these frustrations of Gurkha expectations. They lay behind Nepal's shift to a pro-British foreign policy, which was finally brought about by Jang Bahadur after he became premier in 1846. In 1854-1856 the Gurkha dared to undertake another invasion of Tibet. This move was perhaps inspired by their realization that the Ch'ing, beset by the Taiping Rebellion, once again could not aiford to spare a single soldier for Tibet. This time the Tibetans could not expel the aggressors as effectively as they had in 1841, and by the peace treaty of 1856 the Gurkha gained a great many privileges in Tibet, which now appeared to have two suzerains, the Ch'ing and the Gurkha. The eighteenth century in Tibet was marked by frequent internal strife; the single civil disturbance that occurred in the early nineteenth century was a coup d'etat in Lhasa in 1844. The leader of the incident was the regent, the Galdan Siretu Samadhi Bakshi Nomenkhan. The rumor spread that he had killed the Dalai Lama, and this aroused antipathy against him among the Tibetans. A rival faction succeeded in expelling him from power by securing the Peking court's intervention. This incident, however, does not imply that the Ch'ing had or could exercise any legitimate power to


Chusei Suzuki I



eliminate an inadequate ruler in Tibet; the Peking court was successful in this case simply because its intentions coincided with those of the rivals of the Nomenkhan. Even in the eighteenth century Ch'ing supervision over Tibet had been effective only during a few years after particular events; normally, Ch'ing power was in what might be called a state of hibernation. In the nineteenth century Ch'ing influence declined steadily, mainly because the Ch'ing became too weak to extend effective protection against foreign invaders. Also, Ch'ing officials in Tibet, from the imperial resident down to minor officials, indulged in bribery and other scandalous actions. When exposed before Tibetan eyes, these could spur dislike and distrust of the Ch'ing. Finally, the Ch'ing garrison in Tibet atrophied and lost its fighting power. Needless to say, these developments had their roots in the general dynastic decline. To see the fluctuations of power between China and Tibet, we need only examine the various shifts in Ch'ing power, because Tibet itself was almost powerless. Until 1683 the Ch'ing government had been fully occupied with suppressing domestic disorders and could not afford to spend its strength in peripheral areas. From then until 1795 there was a period of stability when, with no disturbances in the interior of China, the Ch'ing could wield its power externally. The period from 1796 to the end of the dynasty was one of decline when successive rebellions, themselves expressions of political and socioeconomic weakness, prevented the Ch'ing from using force against foreign opponents. These three divisions of Ch'ing history correspond roughly to the three stages of Ch'ing-Tibetan relations, which were divided by the years 1720 and 1792. In the first stage to 1720, the bhikshu-dänapati relationship was not one of superior and inferior, and the so-called tributary missions sent from Tibet formed only one part of friendly missions exchanged between the two rulers on an equal footing. In the second stage to 1792, as Ch'ing power was gradually extended to Tibet, the Peking government was more or less able to restrict and supervise Tibetan politics and foreign affairs. In the third stage, thereafter, Ch'ing power ebbed, and Tibetan dependency on the Ch'ing disappeared. For Tibet, the spiritual influence of the Lamaist dignitaries was their only exploitable resource in foreign relations. To surrender Lamaism and to yield to Chinese culture would have been suicidal for them. The dänapati or patron relationship, because it does not belong to the category of monarch-subject hierarchical ties, may be classed with those fictional





family ties that had appeared in China's foreign relations in the pre-Sung period. The problem arises whether these two varieties of political relationship are historically connected. M y interpretation is as follows: The Mongols, who were strong rivals of China in Yiian and Ming times, ceased to be an anti-Ch'ing power during the Ch'ing period. The most important cause of this transition was the social effect achieved by the Ch'ing policy of reorganizing Mongolian society through the ch'i or banner system. By this method the Ch'ing were able to control the Mongols, and the Mongolian princes were brought into monarch-subject relationships. N o w if we view the situation from a different angle, we must realize that the Ch'ing could not do this without paying a price, and the price was adoption of a policy of friendliness toward Lamaism. The Ch'ing could conquer the Mongols on the secular political level, but not on the spiritual level as well. In other words, their conquest was incomplete, as was reflected in the dänapati relationship that they maintained with the Lamaist dignitaries. In the same way, the family ties in the pre-Sung period, which reflected China's unsatisfactory power situation vis-ä-vis the northern peoples, can also be understood as having resulted from incomplete conquest. Thus we are led to conclude that these types of alternative to the monarch-subject relationship in China's foreign contacts were due to similar historical developments.




Foreigners have always found it extraordinarily difficult to govern the Mongol people in any direct fashion. Until the Ch'ing dynasty none had succeeded in doing so, with the possible exception of certain other nomadic peoples like the Turks and the Khitans in the pre-Cinggis Qan* epoch, when the Mongols were still a numerically insignificant people. That the Manchus were successful is attested to by the change in attitude toward the Mongols in the course of the Ch'ing dynasty: in the beginning they had been a foreign problem, but by 1911 they had become a domestic problem, albeit a special one. To explain this success it seems worth while to examine some of the political preconceptions and institutions of the Manchus at the time of Nurhaci (1559-1626) and Abahai (d. 1643), the founders of the Manchu state—most of the precedents for the Ch'ing dynasty's Mongolian policy were established in those decades before the Manchus entered China in 1644. In 1619 Nurhaci was extremely annoyed with Ming China: the Chinese had been interfering in the affairs of the tribes that constituted Manchuria and had succeeded in attracting the Yehe tribe away from him. He had made a vow to Heaven and Earth to chastise China with raids and regain the Yehe. But he would need help for such a large undertaking, and he sought it from the princes of a confederation of Mongols called the Five Tribes of Qalqa living to the southwest.1 He had good reasons for this choice. The Five Qalqas were rich and powerful and Nurhaci had had good relations with them ever since 1594, when one of their princes, Luusa,2 had begun to dispatch messengers to him regularly;3 he sent girls * Also transliterated Genghiz Khan, Chinggis Khan, etc.


O R I G I N S OF THE M A N C H U S ' MONGOLIAN POLICY to them and received girls in return as wives and concubines—the indispensable means of diplomacy in Inner Asia; in 1605 another Five-Qalqa prince, Darqan-bayatur noyan of the Bayud tribe, had sent his son, Enggeder tayiji, to perform the kotow and offer twenty horses to Nurhaci. 4 A still more compelling reason was that Nurhaci owed his title of emperor (Manchu, han; Mongolian, qayan, qan) to the Five Qalqas; in 16076 the same Enggeder had led a party of emissaries from each of the princes of the confederation to offer a tribute of geldings and camels, to perform the kotow, and to proclaim Nurhaci Kündelen Qayan," the respected emperor " (Manchu, Kundulen Han). 6 Until this time he had been known simply as Sure beile, "the wise prince," in the Manchu records, but thereafter, until 1616, he employed his new title, Sure Kundulen Han. 7 These acts of the Five-Qalqa princes should be interpreted as acts of diplomacy, not acts of political submission; Nurhaci still had to persuade them to undertake a military campaign with him against China. His letter to the Five Qalqas adduces the following argument: "The two countries (jtiwe gurun) of China and Korea are different in language to be sure, but they are exactly the same in the clothes they wear and the kind of life they lead. Our two countries (juwe gurun), the Mongols and the Jiirched, are different in language to be sure, but in the clothes we wear and the kind of life we lead we are all the same." 8 This argument, with its emphasis on cultural identities and distinctions, has a distinctly East Asian ring which would be quite as meaningful to the Ming Chinese as to the Mongols or the Manchus. But it also contains elements characteristic only of Inner Asia, elements that can serve as the starting point for a discussion of early Manchu political ideas. First, China, Korea, Mongolia, and Manchuria are all gurun, "countries" (Chinese, kuo). The suggestion that, except for wealth, size and customs, they are essentially equal is borne out by all the early Manchu documents. No different terminology is ever used for any of these countries: Mongolia (which existed only ethnically and as a political ideal at this time) is always called Monggo gurun (the Mongol country); China is called Nikan gurun (the Chinese country), Daiming gurun (the Tai Ming country), or Amba gurun (the great country)—the last referring to size, or as a polite form, "your country," in letters to the Ming emperor.9 Manchuria is called Jusen gurun (the Jiirched country), Manju gurun (the Manchu country), Aisin gurun (the golden country; after their ancestors of the Jiirched Chin dynasty), or Jusen gisun i gurun (the country of the Jiirched language).10 The Chinese idea of "all-under-Heaven" (fien-hsia)


David Μ. Farquhar

/ O R I G I N S OF


is sometimes employed by the early Manchus in the form abkai fejile but in a very different sense from its Chinese meaning of a universal empire ruled by a Chinese emperor. Note what Nurhaci wrote to the king of Korea in 1619: "There are all sorts of countries under Heaven; is only the great country [China] to flourish, while all the small countries are destroyed?" 11 This document and others suggest very clearly that the only ruler of all the countries under Heaven is Heaven itself. This meaning of gurun—"country" in the political-science sense— by no means exhausts the usages of the word. 12 It can refer to the people of a country alone 13 or to the territory alone; 14 it can mean dynasty.15 Gurun can also refer to subordinate parts of a larger gurun; thus in the earliest parts of the chronicle, Man-chou shih-lu, the various Manchu tribes, the Hada, Yehe, and others are all called gurun, whether Nurhaci had subdued them or not. 16 Later, when Nurhaci's control over them was greater, other terms were sometimes employed: aiman (tribe), tatan (territory [of a tribe]), or golo (province).17 These terms were applied to the Mongols in exactly the same manner. 18 If countries were not distinguished from one another in their terminology, what about their rulers? Here too we find the principle of equality in operation, but with some consideration given to legitimacy. The Chinese emperor is spoken of simply as Nikan han (the Chinese emperor), or more specifically, Wan-lii han (the Wan-li Emperor), Cin el si han (Emperor Erh-shih of the Ch'in dynasty), etc.19 The king (Chinese wang) of Korea is called Solho han (the emperor of Korea), 20 although by Abahai's time (1627-1643), we find Solho gurun i wang (the wang of the Korean country) used in letters addressed to that sovereign, probably because the Korean king called himself wang.21 With respect to the Mongols the situation was more complicated: because at the time there was no Mongolian sovereign recognized by all Mongols, the Manchus simply adopted the practice of addressing as han all Mongolian rulers who styled themselves qayan (emperor).22 Other Mongolian rulers were called beile (prince; Mongolian, noyari), as indeed Nurhaci was himself called until the Mongols gave him the imperial title. A few passages in the early Manchu documents describe the ideal emperor, the prince. Here too we find simply han23 (emperor), but more often a special expression, han niyalma (the emperor-person). In a wonderfully prating letter to the Chinese, Nurhaci remarks, "They say that the sufferings of the emperors {han niyalma) of various countries [or dynasties] do not come from abroad but arise from their own persons." 24 It is only later,


M A N C H U S ' MONGOLIAN POLICY in Shun-chih and K'ang-hsi times, that Manchu texts begin to use the word huwangdi (from the Chinese huang-ti) or abkaijui (Son of Heaven), a literal translation of the Chinese t'ien-tzu, for the Manchu emperor of China. 25 If it be admitted that the early Manchu views of nation and ruler described above are different from those of Ming China, and further, that the Manchus, a late-developing people, formulated them under the influence of a more advanced culture, from where did they come? The only nearby people with a similar political terminology are the Mongols. The Mongolian word ulus precisely translates Manchu gurun in all its usages and would have done so even in the thirteenth century.26 Ulus, like gurun, could refer to a population, but the Mongols had another more precise term for this idea, irgen, which was sometimes combined with ulus to form a word pair, ulus-irgen; this useful term (irgen) was borrowed by the Manchus, and a similar word pair was coined, gurun-irgen, which was half-translation and half transliteration.27 The use of the Mongolian qayan or qan, "emperor," also parallels the Manchu usage of han. In Yiian times the Mongols always translated the Chinese huang-ti by this term; it was used both for the emperor of the Mongolian empire (yeke Mongyol ulus) and simultaneously for the heads of the great appanages (also called ulus) into which that empire was divided. 28 It was applied equally to Mongolian and foreign emperors.29 Because of the phenomenal conquests of Cinggis Qan and his descendants, it is not surprising that the Mongols developed the idea of a universal world monarch, which was expressed by special terms: giir qan (universal emperor) or dalai-yin qayan (emperor as vast as the ocean).30 With the spread of Buddhist knowledge among the Mongols in the sixteenth century the Indian idea of the universal Buddhist sovereign, the chakravartin, became familiar, and chakravartin or its various cognomens was added as an epithet to the names of the Mongolian emperors, and most exuberantly by the contemporary of Nurhaci and Abahai, Legdan Qan (1592-1634).31 Such pretensions to universality seem to have been rare among the Manchus before 1616 (although Nurhaci was undoubtedly familiar with Chinese claims to universal kingship), but in that year Nurhaci was himself proclaimed "Emperor Genggiyen, whom Heaven has designated to nourish the many countries" and so assumed the mantle of a multinational ruler.32 One idea about kingship the Manchus clearly shared with the Chinese— the notion that their sovereign ruled by virtue of a heavenly destiny (Chinese t'ien-ming; Manchu, abkai fulingga). Here again, the immediate


David Μ. Farquhar


source seems not to have been China, but Mongolia, for one of the most common epithets for Cinggis Qan from the thirteenth century on was tengri-yin jayayatu (destined by Heaven). 33 The Manchus employed their equivalent in much the same way—as an epithet for their rulers, and particularly for Nurhaci. 34 Among the Mongols any person who ruled a territory and its people by hereditary right and who was not a qayan was a noyan (pi. noyad), "prince, noble." From the time of Cinggis until the fifteenth century, noyan had meant official or officer and had referred to an appointive post or status, but under the aristocratic tendencies of the Mongols the noyad gradually became a hereditary ruling class. 35 The Manchu title beile not only translates precisely the meaning of noyan in its later sense (noble, prince, ruler of a tribe), but it has a parallel evolution: beile also meant official until late Ming times. 36 An early Manchu formulation of the "nature of the state" is contained in the expression doro sajin (the administration and the law). 37 Doro, in addition to meaning (correct) government, administration, 38 also means the way, the correct path (in which sense it was used to translate the Chinese too)3® and ceremony, ritual (in which sense it was used to translate the Chinese li, "the rules of proper behavior, the rites"). 40 Sajin (the law) seems to refer to the laws ordained by Heaven, prohibitory and immutable, and thus to religious law, for example, fucihi sajin (the Buddhist Law). For the ruler to violate it or to allow his subjects to do so would make Heaven hate him or "regard him as wrong" (wakalambi) and might even upset the cosmological order. By extension, the fundamental principles established by the emperor were also called sajin.*1 This expression doro sajin is a direct borrowing from the Mongolian törö sasin or törö sajin (the secular administration and the religious law), which was the famous dual principle of the state (qoyar yosun or qoyar asay) so widespread among Mongolian writers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 42 This concept may have been known among the Mongols as early as the time of Qubilai in the thirteenth century, and it is probably Tibetan in origin; it sees the state (and indeed the world) as divided into secular and religious spheres; 43 "the lama is the root of the sublime religion (sasin) and the lord of the Doctrine, while the emperor is supreme in the great [secular] administration (törö) and powerful over the [secular] world." 44 Törö, like its Manchu descendant doro, was also used to translate the Chinese tao and li even in Yüan times. 45 Sasin or sajin (the law) has referred in Mongolia to the Buddhist religion since at least the fourteenth





century.46 Although Buddhism was well known to the Manchus by Nurhaci's time—indeed there is good evidence that Nurhaci was himself a believer in Buddhism47—its influence was by no means so pervasive as it was among the Mongols, and hence the Manchu term Safin does not carry with it the strong and automatic Buddhist overtones of the Mongolian original. It seems to refer instead to the ordinances of Heaven (or Heaven and Earth, abka na) which are central to the Manchu shamanist religion. To advocate a Mongolian origin for early Manchu political ideas is not to advocate an absence of Chinese ideas, and the view contained in the example just given, that government48 is a function of ethical conduct and the rules of proper behavior, is surely of Chinese origin ultimately. But these Chinese ideas seem to have come to the Manchus primarily through a Mongolian strainer; they are recognizably Chinese but modified and reformulated as a result of 300 years of Mongolian handling. Indeed the antique flavor of a number of these ultimately Chinese notions (the role of Heaven and Earth, the emperor as a cog in the cosmic machine, and so forth) suggests that they are remnants of ancient Chinese cultural influences in Inner Asia, old and widespread before Cinggis Qan was even born. It is only reasonable to expect a large number of more homely Mongolian cultural borrowings to underlie these somewhat exalted ideas of state and ruler, and in fact we find them on virtually every page of early Manchu documents like those in the Man-wen lao-tang. Nurhaci gave Mongolian titles to his princes and officials;49 Mongolian legal50 and tax terms were widely used.61 The Mongolian written language, itself a very important cultural loan, was probably the greatest supplier of these new terms and ideas, for Mongolian was the only written language the Manchus had before Nurhaci's famous order of 1599 instituting the Manchu written language by the adaptation of the Mongolian script.52 (The use of the Jürched script seems to have disappeared early, and Mongolian had been the normal means of written communication among most Jürched peoples since at least 1444.)63 A warning is in order here: the presence of a Mongolian word in an early Manchu text is no proof that the thing it represents was borrowed from the Mongols; the prestige of the Mongolian written language was undoubtedly sufficient so that the Manchu names of some quite indigenous institutions were replaced with Mongolian equivalents. By the same token, many genuine borrowings from the Mongols were borrowed "in translation," like the system of reckoning time by combining the names of colors and animals,54 or the Mongolian custom of


David Μ. Farquhar / O R I G I N S OF T H E dividing officials into two distinct classes: great ministers (Mongolian, sayid; Manchu, amban) and officials (Mongolian, tiisimel·, Manchu, hafan).55 The Mongols of the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries would appear to bear much the same relation to the development of the early Manchu state as the Uighur Turks of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries bore to that of the early Mongols: they were transmitters of a great deal of higher culture, some of which was Chinese culture in foreign dress.56 Many other striking resemblances between the early Manchus and the Mongols of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (and also of much earlier times) may be the result of borrowings or may stem from the fact that Mongols and Manchus shared somewhat similar modes of life. Some of these common features may be enumerated: Both Manchus and Mongols (particularly in pre-Yiian times) had a strong belief in an intelligent Heaven, who had destined their rulers to govern and to whom they were personally responsible.57 Both employed the solemn oath to Heaven (or Heaven and Earth), accompanied often by religious sacrifices and symbolic ceremonies, as a method of forming political alliances.68 Both saw participation in the formal tribal hunt and military service in the army as essentially identical activities using identical units of organization, and regarded soldiers and civilians as one.59 For both, a diet or assembly of all princes and officials was an indispensable political institution for very important decisions like the making of emperors or the planning of military campaigns.60 The most famous of all Manchu institutions is the banner system. This was a political-military organization of the population based, in its mature form, on units of 7,500 able-bodied men (güs'a), subdivided into smaller groups of 1,500 (jalan), 300 (niru), and 10 men (juwan). The system seems to have been a combination of several quite separate institutions, which in their primitive forms lacked this numerical regularity.61 Developed as a tool for the Manchus' own administration and mobilization, the banner system also came to be applied to all parts of the Mongolian world which submitted to the Manchu ruler. The Manchu banner (güsa)62 cannot be shown to be a borrowing from the Mongols on either linguistic or other grounds,83 and attempts to derive it from the Ming dynasty's commandery system (wei-so) have been less than satisfactory. But it is a fact that both Mongols and Manchus saw in the Mongolian qosiyun—the tribe (otoy) considered as a military force—an institution virtually identical to the Manchu banner, for the one was used to translate the other in all Manchu and Mongolian texts throughout the Manchu epoch.64 The various Mongo-




lian groups varied greatly in the willingness with which they submitted to Manchu authority, but however and whenever this submission was accomplished, there seems to have been virtually no difficulty in establishing the banner system of government among them, and at no time does Mongolian dissatisfaction with Manchu control seem to have derived from this system itself. It was no strange and foreign order that was imposed on the Mongols by the Manchus, but one greatly resembling traditional Mongolian institutions because it was to some extent a system of the Mongols' own making; it was implemented by a people who spoke much the same political language and shared many of the same customs. Direct Chinese influences were not lacking in Nurhaci's Manchuria 65 or in the administrative machinery of Mongolia as it evolved over the two centuries after Nurhaci's death, but they contributed little to Manchu methods of handling Mongolian problems down to 1691, by which time a majority of all Mongols had submitted to the Manchu throne.


Joseph F. Fletcher / C H I N A A N D ASIA,



On May 9, 1421, lightning from Heaven struck the Yung-lo Emperor's new palace. Five days later, in public penance, the emperor solemnly pronounced the duties in his charge: "Reverently we hold the mandate of Heaven to rule both China and foreigners." 1 The fulfillment of these duties had been and would remain the basic policy objective of imperial China's throne. Benign guidance over an obedient world was an emperor's cherished ambition and the basis of his self-image.

"Tribute" from Central Asia On the distant fringes of the world that China knew and sought to lead lay Central Asia, sprawling and diverse. Mountains divided it, and deserts made much of it unfit to sustain a sedentary population. Central Asia's people, concentrated in the river valleys, lived by oasis farming and trade. Outside the river valleys only the nomad could live off the land, grazing his animals on the sparse vegetation of the semidesert. The recorded history of China's relations with Central Asia goes back Note·. This paper has profited from the suggestions of all members of the Conference, and I should like especially to thank John K. Fairbank for constant help, criticism, and encouragement. I should also like to express my gratitude for helpful suggestions from Gunnar Jarring (presently Swedish ambassador to Moscow), Saguchi Töru (of Kanazawa University, Japan), Nikolaos G. Mavris (of Athens, Greece), Francis W. Cleaves, Edward L. Dreyer, Elling O. Eide, Richard N. Frye, William Hung, Edward L. Keenan, Jr., Evro Layton, Thomas Metzger, Manutscher Mohandessi, Francis M. Rogers and Yii Ying-shih (all of Harvard University). All errors of fact and interpretation are mine.



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to 126 B.c., when Chang Ch'ien returned from a mission that had been sent to form an alliance against the Huns. 2 There had been times, as in the Han (206 b.c.—A.D. 220) and T'ang (618-907) dynasties, when China's actual military control had extended into Central Asia, but more recently, during the Yiian dynasty (1234-1368, the period of Mongolian rule), the current had flowed in the other direction, and Central Asian administrators, merchants, technicians, and craftsmen had flooded into the Middle Kingdom under the aegis of the Mongols. In 1368 the Ming dynasty drove the alien Mongols out of China, and their Central Asian officials went with them, but the international character of the Yiian left its mark on early Ming China, and for more than sixty years after the founding of the new dynasty the Chinese court carried on some of the most extensive foreign explorations the world had ever seen. The maritime expeditions of the famous eunuch Cheng Ho are well known, but in Central Asia, too, Chinese missions traveled overland to such distant cities as Samarkand, Bukhara, Andkhui, Herat—and beyond to Shiraz and Isfahan in Persia. The official history of the Ming gives as the reason for these missions to Central Asia the Yung-lo Emperor's desire "that none of the ten thousand countries in distant lands should not be his subject." 3 The emperor may in other words have been trying " t o bring all the known world within the Chinese tributary scheme of things." 4 If so, it is interesting, as I shall show farther on, that the Yung-lo Emperor was willing in 1418 to compromise even the very cornerstone of the Chinese conception of world order: his suzerainty in the world. No doubt numerous motives and interests lay behind the costly expeditions to Central Asia: prestige, military intelligence, and the profits of trade. Mixed in with these and other motives, which are still very much open to speculation, was the Ming court's specific interest in certain Central Asian commodities—in particular, horses. In any case, Chinese interest in intercourse with Central Asia was more than matched by Central Asian interest in intercourse with China. It has long been known in the West that Chinese custom insisted upon an official footing for foreign trade. The Ming generally prevented private individuals from going to Central Asia for commerce,5 although outlaw Chinese merchants did carry on some illicit private trade of their own during periods of upheaval (when official missions could not travel freely)8 and, one suspects, during times of peace as well. By and large, however, foreign trade seems to have proceeded through the proper channels, that is to say, in accordance with the "tributary scheme of things." Since Ming China, within its own borders, recognized foreign states only as vassals,


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Central Asian merchants who wanted to trade inside the Middle Kingdom had to come as part of a diplomatic mission from a vassal state bringing "tribute" to the emperor. "Tribute" (kung) was a vague term that could mean anything given to the Chinese emperor, irrespective of the relationship between the emperor and the giver. Kung covered everything from tribute and taxes required on a regular basis from the emperor's confirmed subjects to diplomatic gifts presented by distant rulers who in no way recognized the Chinese emperor's authority. One must always bear in mind in reading Chinese history that gifts received as tribute were not necessarily given as such. It was not in the interest of imperial claims to preserve any nice distinctions. Rulers of the petty oasis states on Ming China's Central Asian periphery gladly complied with the tributary formalities. Tribute missions were a lucrative business, and there was always the hope (usually unfounded) that Ming overlordship would carry with it some degree of protection as well. The profits of trade also attracted other, more distant states. Yarkand, for example, served as an entrepöt where, according to the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci," the caravan of Kabul merchants is ended, and from there a new one is formed for China, the leadership of which caravan the king [of Yarkand] sells at a high price, and he imparts to the leader [of the caravan] a royal authority over all the merchants throughout the whole journey." 7 Businessmen from Western Turkestan and yet remoter lands were drawn into the trade, and since it was well known that ambassadorial status was the prerequisite for entry into China, 8 as well as the ticket to Chinese subsidy of the trip, ambassadorial status was readily forthcoming. The Chinese authorities were happy to be deceived. The emperor's prestige was not enhanced if his ministers exposed the real nature of his "vassals," and the court had surer pick of the merchandise if traders, instead of selling their wares at frontier markets, brought them along to the capital. As a result, counterfeit embassies bearing counterfeit credentials rode back and forth regularly to the Chinese court. Merchants and ministers alike were parties to what could only have been an open secret,9 and indeed the trade motives of these embassies could have been no secret at all, since the very "tribute" memorials often specified the gifts wanted in exchange. 10 According to Ricci, "the Chinese themselves (who are by no means ignorant of the deception) delude their king, fawning with devotion, as if truly the whole world paid taxes to the Chinese kingdom, whereas on the contrary tribute is more truly paid to those kingdoms by China." 11


AND CENTRAL ASIA And if Ricci was in any way mistaken, it was only in believing that the emperor himself was not in on the game as well. The "tribute system" left Central Asian trade in Central Asian hands but kept it under imperial control. Private Chinese merchants had to stay in China, and because the system gave entry only to "vassals" of the empire, Chinese subjects met no foreigners who were not also "subjects" of the realm: no living challenge to the ruler's claims walked the streets of the Middle Kingdom. Foreign envoys returning home glorified China's name abroad (since the system admitted only those foreigners whom the court was prepared to impress on a lavish scale), and the court could adjust tribute intervals to fit its own demand. For Central Asia, relations with China meant trade; for China, the basis of trade was tribute. 12

Chu Ti and Shährukh Bahadur Sultan Shährukh Bahadur was no vassal of the Ming, nor indeed was his father Temiir the Lame, "Lord of the Happy Conjunction," but both are enrolled as tributaries in the Ming official history.13 These two Central Asian monarchs' relations with Chu Ti of the Ming (the celebrated Yunglo Emperor) challenge the widespread belief that "whoever wished to enter into relations with China must do so as China's vassal, acknowledging the supremacy of the Chinese emperor and obeying his commands," and that this neo-Confucian dogma ruled out "all possibility of international intercourse on terms of equality." 14 It was in the first place the Hung-wu Emperor Chu Yiian-chang himself, founder of the Ming, who initiated diplomatic relations with Temiir.16 After some time, on October 4, 1394, according to the Ming annals, the Chinese court received from Temiir a tribute of two hundred horses and a letter of submission. The letter said all the obsequious things that Chinese rulers liked to hear, acknowledged the Hung-wu Emperor's mandate of Heaven to rule the world, and expressed gratitude that he had facilitated trade with foreign lands. 18 The emperor commended Temiir's literary style,17 but the wrong man certainly received the credit, since there is nothing in the Muslim conqueror's character to make one suppose that Temiir would have acquiesced knowingly in any infidel's "mandate of Heaven" to rule the world.18 Whether a real letter from Temiir was "translated" into Chinese by a merchant, or by a Ming official too frightened or too servile to render the original, or whether, as is less likely, the letter is a


Joseph F. Fletcher / CHINA total fiction remains unknown, but Temiir's "submission" is in all probability an example of how the "tributary scheme of things" transformed reality to fit its own image. The attempt to put Temür into the role of vassal within the Chinese world order, whoever may have been responsible, could well have cost China her freedom, because in 1395 the Ming emperor sent a return embassy to thank the conqueror for his letter of submission.19 Previously Temiir's relations (that is to say, trade) with King Pig 20 of China had been amicable, and the traffic had been profitable enough for Temiir's annual "tribute" to have reached 1,000 horses, 21 but now with the arrival of the Chinese embassy of 1395 the Muslim ruler changed his attitude—infidel China considered him a vassal, and the insult must some day be avenged.22 Temür detained the embassy and in time began gathering military intelligence about China, 23 but meanwhile he had business elsewhere in India and in western Asia. In 1398 the Hung-wu Emperor died, and in 1402 after a struggle for the throne Chu Ti, the Yung-lo Emperor, succeeded. The new Ming ruler, apparently unaware of Temür's determination to invade China and annihilate the "idolators," sent out a new embassy to ask why he had let seven years go by without paying his annual tribute. 24 This embassy was no show of force like the mighty armadas of Cheng Ho which had their way with coastal principalities: it was a normal embassy, at the mercy of the countries through which it passed, accompanied by a Chinese trade caravan of 800 camels laden with merchandise. 25 That China regarded Temiir's gifts as tribute was now a matter of general knowledge. Scornfully the conqueror promised to deliver the tribute in person, seized the entire caravan of 800 camels, publicly insulted the Chinese emperor and his ambassadors, and even ordered that the latter should be hanged, so that no Chinese might ever dare bring such an embassy again.2® When Temür died in 1405 he was on his way to destroy the Ming. His death ended the campaign, but it was clear that he was no tributary of China. With the accession of Shährukh Bahadur, the "Happy Khäqän" (ruled 1405-1447), the hostility of Sino-Central Asian relations faded away. On July 25, 1407, the detained Chinese embassy of 1395 returned to the Ming court and reported the Muslim conqueror's death. 27 On April 29, 1408, Chu Ti sent ambassadors back to Central Asia 28 to offer his condolences and, presumably, to promote good relations. When the embassy arrived in Herat with gifts during January of 1409, the Timurid emperor Shährukh


AND CENTRAL ASIA received it warmly28 and sent a return embassy which was received at the Ming court on August 9 of the same year. The Chinese emperor responded with another embassy to the Timurids.30 On March 14 of the following year, 1410, Chu Ti received still another embassy from Herat, which prompted him to dispatch ambassadors to Shährukh once again, this time carrying the usual kind of document sent by Chinese emperors to foreign rulers.31 In his letter, which arrived during April of 1412,32 Chu Ti proclaimed himself "lord of the realms of the face of the earth" 33 who "makes no distinction between far and near and regards all equally and impartially."34 Using the royal "we," he addressed Shährukh in the second person singular and in condescending terms commended him for being a good ruler and for sending an ambassador to do the Chinese emperor homage (khidmat), as he claimed Shährukh's father Temiir had done before him. In concluding, Chu Ti spoke of keeping communications open for the sake of trade and advised Shährukh to make peace with his nephew Khalil Sultan. The only concession, if it can be regarded as such, that the Ming emperor made to the sensibilities of his Muslim correspondent was to ascribe to God the authorship of all things in heaven and earth—Chu Ti did not blush, however, to make the point that it was by God's command 35 that he, Chu Ti, was "lord of the realms of the face of the earth." 36 Shährukh responded in kind to this haughty document. He sent the Ming emperor a letter in Arabic and another in Persian advising Chu Ti to put aside his infidel ways and adopt Islam. He patronized him by naming off a list of other princes who had adopted the religion and reminded him that since "sovereignty and power" (saltanat wa dawlat) are brought about by faith (imän), submission to the will of God (isläm), and God's favor, he " should live injustice, equity and fairness toward [his] subjects." Shährukh called for friendly relations in continuation of "the affection and friendship which existed between [our] fathers," and counseled an open road to commerce, since this would result in "the prosperity of kingdoms and good repute in [this] world and [in the world] to come." 37 Shährukh's response produced a kind of diplomatic stalemate but did not lead to a break in relations as the similar (and famous) Japanese refusal to recognize Chinese suzerainty had done three decades earlier. Both emperors, Ming and Timurid, moderated their imperious tone and continued to exchange embassies. The official Ming annals (shih-lu) of course make no mention of Shährukh's patronizing letter and report only that the Ming ambassador returned from Herat and other places on July



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23, 1413, with a Timurid embassy which had come to present "tribute." 3 8 The Timurid ambassadors were honored with an imperial feast on July 29,39 and on October 12 they were sent back to Central Asia along with a Ming embassy.40 On November 30, 1415, this same Ming embassy returned to the Chinese court with more "tribute"-bearers from the Timurids. 41 The court feasted the Central Asian ambassadors on December 4 42 and again on December 3143 and sent them back to Central Asia on July 13, 1416, with still another Chinese embassy.44 This embassy reached Shährukh in the spring of the following year 45 with a letter from Chu Ti cordially urging that "from both sides [they] should lift the veil of difference and disunity and order the opening of the door of agreement and unity, so that subjects and merchants may come and go at will and the roads may be secure." 46 Shährukh responded with an embassy whose advance party reached the Ming court on January 21, 1418, and is duly recorded in the Ming annals as a mission coming to present "tribute." 47 The Timurid ambassador, who did not himself arrive until September 19, was entertained by the Board of Rites 48 and then on the thirtieth of the month was sent back to Central Asia. 49 With him went another Chinese embassy bearing a letter from the Ming emperor which affords us a rare glimpse of the discrepancy between myth and reality in traditional Chinese foreign relations. Chu Ti's letter of 1418 to Shährukh Bahadur is written as a message to a fellow monarch. The Ming emperor is not guilty of humility, but in addressing his Timurid counterpart he abandons the condescending second person singular, dispenses with the customary imperial claims to world suzerainty, and accepts Shährukh's gifts as gifts rather than tribute. At the same time, to keep up appearances in China, Chu Ti's letter also complies with the Chinese practice of honorific elevation, so that the Ming emperor's title at the beginning of the letter extends farther into the margin than Shährukh's title of "sultan." This subtle device allows Chu Ti to maintain two postures at once: political equality in Central Asia and world supremacy in China. The letter reads as follows: The Grand Däyming Pädshäh sends [this] letter to Sultan Shährukh. We reflect [that] the Lord Most High has created him knowing, wise, and mature [of judgment] so that he may hold the realm of Islam. Because of this, the men of that realm have grown rich. The




Sultan [is] enlightened, perceptive, knowing, mature, sensible, and greater than all the Muslims, and to the command of the Lord Most High has done homage and obedience, and in His work has been diligent, because it is in keeping with [His] Heavenly assistance. We formerly sent as envoys Amir-i Saräy Lldä with his retinue. They reached the Sultan. According to the rules of etiquette he commanded much pomp and ceremony [for their reception]. Lldä and his retinue have returned and have reported. Everything has become right, clear, and evident to us, and [the Sultan's] envoys, Beg Büqä and the rest, have returned together with Lldä and his retinue. They have brought along for us as gifts (hadäyä) a lion, Arabian (Täzl) horses, leopards (yüzän), and other things. To this court they have brought [them] all. We have viewed them all. They have made manifest the sincerity of [the Sultan's] affection. We are extremely grateful. [In] the Western Regions, which are the place of Islam, of the wise men and good men of old, no one has been greater than the Sultan, and he is well able to give security and comfort to the men of that realm, which is in accordance with the will of God, may His Glory be exalted! How should the Lord Most High not be pleased and glad? In manly fashion men have befriended one another. [Our friendship] is heart to heart [reflecting] like a mirror, although there be [such a] distance [between us]. From the [point of] view of friendship it seems that good will and compassion are more precious than anything, but in the spirit of those [virtues] something precious [that is, a gift or two] is also [sent]. Now Lidä and Jängqwä with their retinue have been specially sent along with the envoys Beg Büqä and the rest to deliver seven falcons (süngqür) as gifts {hadäyä) to the Sultan: all these falcons we have flown with our own hand. And also gifts of embroidered silk (kimkhä) and other things as well have been sent. Although [these] falcons are not [indigenous] to our Chinese realm, nevertheless [people] are continually bringing [them] from the seacoast for us as rarities. Because of this there is no scarcity. In that land of yours they have been difficult to find. They have been sent specially that they may be tokens of [our] gratitude worthy of the Sultan's great generosity. Although [these] things are of no account, since they are nevertheless the [only] means [we have in which to express] our affection, may they be acceptable to the



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Sultan. Hereafter the sincerity of [our] affection should increase, and envoys and merchants should constantly come and go, and there should be no interruption, so that men may all enjoy the riches of safety, security, and ease. Surely the Lord Most High will [then] increase [His] goodness and mercy [toward us]. This is what [we] have had to say. Finis. 60 Needless to say, the text of Chu Ti's letter is not recorded in the Ming annals; still, there can be little doubt about its authenticity. The phraseology of the letter is the odd language of literal translation, and the Timurid chronicler himself remarks upon the curious Chinese practice of honorific elevation. In this letter Chu Ti abandons all pretense that he is Shährukh's suzerain and addresses him as a political equal. In so doing, the Ming ruler violates the neo-Confucian myth that as emperor of China he is suzerain of the world. 51 The embassy bearing Chu Ti's letter arrived in Samarkand about August 22, 1419,52 and reached Herat in October. 53 Shährukh soon dismissed the Chinese embassy, and it returned to China by way of Samarkand. 54 On December 4 a Timurid return embassy left Herat with instructions that one of the envoys, a certain Ghiyäth al-Din Naqqäsh, was to keep a detailed record of the embassy's journey. 65 The embassy record that Ghiyäth al-DIn kept shows plainly that the Ming emperor's willingness to communicate as an equal at a distance is not to be construed as a symptom of any such fraternal attitude on his own ground in China. In the early morning of December 14, 1420, while it was still dark, 56 the Timurid embassy arrived at the gates of Peking and was at length received in audience by the emperor. Ghiyäth al-DIn's account describes the sumptuous Ming court 57 and the ambassadors' reception: first, an official read aloud a statement in Chinese to the effect that "from a long distance away, from the presence of his Majesty Shährukh and his children, the envoys have come, and [they] have brought gifts (tabarrukät) for the padshah and have come to knock their heads at the foot of the throne." Next, some of the emperor's Muslim officials approached the ambassadors and said, " First bow down and after that put your heads on the floor three times." Accordingly, the ambassadors put down their heads, but, if we are to believe Ghiyäth al-DIn's account, they "did not let their foreheads reach the floor."58 The ambassadors' claim not to have performed the full kotow in formal audience shows that they understood the implications of the act. The Ming ruler was not treating the Timurid emperor as his


AND CENTRAL ASIA political equal in Peking, regardless of what he may have said in his letter to faraway Herat. What is more, the ambassadors' fear of compromising their sovereign's honor is doubly clear, because on other occasions, when it was simply a question of abasing themselves and not their ruler, the ambassadors were quite willing to perform the kotow, however distasteful this Chinese custom may have been to them.59 Ghiyäth al-Din describes the rest of the audience: the letters from the Timurids were presented to Chu Ti, who asked the ambassadors several questions about their country and about the Turkmen chief Qara Yüsuf. The emperor also expressed an interest in acquiring good horses.60 The embassy was feasted on the following day®1 and again three days later, 62 and on the Chinese New Year (February 2, 1421) the ambassadors were included in the ceremonies officially inaugurating Peking as capital of the Ming empire.63 The embassy was present at court on February 1764 and had further audiences with Chu Ti on March 6 and 7.6S On the thirteenth, Chu Ti granted special gifts to Ulugh Beg's ambassadors and their ladies (,khätünän), perhaps because these envoys had brought better horses than the other Timurid ambassadors.66 The embassy also saw the emperor again on March 18,67 and April 6 68 and April 8,69 before obtaining leave from the ailing emperor's son in May and departing from the capital.70 Chu Ti's relations with Temür and Shährukh Bahadur reveal the inconsistency between Ming doctrine and practice and challenge some widely held notions about Chinese foreign relations. Neo-Confucian myth asserted the emperor's world supremacy by the will of Heaven. That is to say, whether he ruled, or reigned, or (as some prefer) gave order to the world, the emperor of China, by the very nature of things, had a moral authority over all mankind. It has been claimed that this Chinese doctrine was not " a dogma . . . of universal dominion," 71 but we have Chu Ti's own words that as emperor of China he held "the mandate of Heaven to rule both China and foreigners." Chu Ti had launched his fleets to the Western Seas and sent his missions overland to Shiraz and Isfahan, but he had also fostered the examination system based on neo-Confucian orthodoxy and ordered definitive editions of the neo-Confucian scriptures. Later the emperor's desire for world dominion was given as the principal explanation for his grandiose expeditions.72 According to the official myth, foreigners could trade with China only by petition to the Son of Heaven and recognition of his authority. In practice, however, the early Ming court took Chinese commerce to the


Joseph F. Fletcher / CHINA foreigners. To say that in Ming times "All who wished to enter into relations with China . . . must acknowledge the suzerainty of the Chinese emperor," or that "Any violation of the elaborate code governing tribute mission[s] and trade was penalized by the breaking of relations," or that such irregularities could be overlooked only "so long as the emperor did not get wind of them" 7 3 is to ignore the early Ming experience with Central Asia. "Irregularities," when they were in the imperial interest, could be and were initiated by the emperor himself. The court not only winked at counterfeit "tribute" embassies and dealt with rulers who, with the court's full knowledge, did not recognize the emperor's authority; it even took the initiative and promoted commerce. 74 When a foreign ruler would not acquiesce in the language of the Chinese myth, the Chinese emperor could and did abandon his posture of world supremacy to address that ruler on equal terms. The contrast between Chu Ti's letter of 1410 and his letter of 1418 is striking and inescapable. It is well known that the Manchus later dealt with the encroaching Russians on an equal basis at a time of military emergency, but the letter of 1418 is of even greater institutional interest because it was sent by a Chinese emperor at a time of great Chinese power to a ruler thousands of miles away. In other words, to preserve desirable relations the Ming court was flexible enough to use a double standard, and, except for a few officials in the chancellery and the embassies concerned, the Chinese court and populace were none the wiser. The Ming emperor could suppress his mandate to suit his own convenience so long as his dealings were conducted at a distance and so long as the necessary appearances were preserved in China. Within China's borders such concessions were impossible, and when the Timurid envoys arrived in 1420 they were told to knock their heads upon the floor.

Tribute and Trade: Traditional Relations to 1755 On September 7, 1424, shortly after his accession to the Ming throne, the Yung-lo Emperor's son Chu Kao-chih abolished overland missions "to buy horses" in Central Asia. 75 To be sure, he died after reigning less than a year, and his successors did occasionally send ambassadors abroad, 76 but in time the substance of Chu Kao-chih's policy prevailed and the Ming court gradually gave up its active international role. From Chu Kao-chih to the end of the dynasty, China's relations with


AND CENTRAL ASIA Central Asia remained essentially the "tributary" relations that have come to be regarded as traditional. China let Central Asian traders come to her.77 Eventually the court even began to accept "tribute" less readily than it had before. Horses, which had been the most important concrete item of Chinese interest in the Western Regions,78 and also jade and other luxury goods, had to be balanced against the terrible expense of the "tribute" missions and the trouble they caused.79 "Rare birds and strange beasts" were curiosities that had no real use80 and, although emperors liked to receive such exotic presents, the literati, upholders of Confucian values, disapproved.81 Too much interest in frivolous luxuries on the part of the emperor was unseemly, and when in 1487 a mission from Samarkand asked to ship a lion to the court by sea the emperor refused the request so that neighboring countries would not laugh at China. 82 As border threats grew more dangerous from the direction of Mongolia, as Ming vitality weakened, and as the neo-Confucian revival took hold in official thinking, trade grew less respectable in official eyes and came to be regarded largely as a concession that the court could use to buy peace with the Mongols.83 Accordingly, during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries Central Asian merchants carried on much of their commerce via Mongolian "tributary" trade. Mongolian chieftains either sold the leadership of their "tribute" missions to Central Asian merchants outright or included them in their embassies to Peking.84 The wider geographical aspirations which Chu Yüan-chang and Chu Ti had inherited from the Mongolian empire had proved impracticable, and the Ming emperors now began to fulfill their mandate more passively. More and more, China stood aloof, disdained trade, and viewed the acceptance of Central Asian tribute as a concession; nevertheless, it would be a distortion to regard the early Ming explorations simply as the events of an isolated episode. That the Ming tried to draw the world closer during the early years of the dynasty and not afterward reflects the Ming's early strength and its later weakness. It does not reflect a change of doctrine or an abdication of the emperor's world supremacy. The early initiative and the later withdrawal occurred within the context of the same institutions and imperial claims. The foreign expeditions and diplomatic concessions of the Hung-wu and Yung-lo periods represent Ming values in a period of strength, while the antiforeignism and anticommercialism of the later Ming are their expression in a period of weakness. In its declining years the Ming court, principally alert to dangers from Mongolia, focused its attention on developments north of the Great Wall


Joseph F. Fletcher / CHINA and was not much concerned with the "Western Regions." Central Asia likewise remained little concerned with China, and by the end of the Ming dynasty Central Asians saw China mostly as a distant empire, a market partly dependent on Central Asian commerce, 85 and an enormous body of heathen whom Muslims would some day convert. 86 Central Asians considered China's culture developed but inferior to their own, and they found the Chinese ignorant of the world. 87 China's emperor was a great potentate, but seen from Central Asia he was not necessarily foremost among such figures as the Crimean, Russian, Indian Moghul, and Ottoman rulers. 88 Many Central Asians believed the emperor of China to be a Muslim in private life; some even thought him a Christian. 89 By the time of the Manchu invasion of China in 1644 and the establishment of the Manchu Ch'ing empire, the Timurid and Moghul 90 realms of Central Asia had disintegrated into numerous smaller kingdoms and principalities. Because most of Central Asia was cut off" from China by mountains, deserts, and considerable distance, that region seemed to present no immediate threat to China's security, and from 1646, when Turfan established "tributary" relations with the new dynasty, 91 to 1696, when Hami formally submitted to the K'ang-hsi Emperor, 92 Ch'ing relations with Central Asia remained essentially commercial. During this time, however, with the rise of the Oyirad (or Kalmuk) empire in Zungharia, the Ch'ing court gradually began to regard Central Asia as a potential source of danger, especially after the Oyirad ruler Galdan invaded Eastern Turkestan in the late 1670's and incorporated it into the Oyirad empire. 93 Eastern Turkestan was by now divided among a profusion of citystates. 94 The inhabitants of these city-states spoke closely related Turkic languages and shared a common Islamic culture and sedentary mode of life, but they had no sense of belonging to a single nationality, and their cities were not united by any common political structure other than that provided by the Oyirad conquest. The southwestern cities, known variously as Kashgaria, or the Six, Seven, or Eight Cities,95 were largely a cultural extension of Western Turkestan, whereas the northeastern cities of Uighuristan, 96 because of their small size, mixed ethnological composition, 97 and proximity to China, had long been part of the Chinese orbit. For Kashgarians, Turfan (the center of Uighuristan) was Gharibäna Turfan, a city "of foreigners." 98 In 1688 the Oyirad invaded Outer Mongolia, and by 1690 they were openly at war with the Ch'ing. Six years later the Manchu forces succeeded


A N D CENTRAL ASIA in driving the Oyirad out of Mongolia, but the fighting recommenced in 1715, and it took another forty years of intermittent warfare for the Manchu forces to eliminate the Oyirad menace. During this time Ch'ing relations with Central Asia proper (Eastern and Western Turkestan) were restricted to the traditional blend of "tribute" and trade, with merchants sometimes coming directly from Central Asia and sometimes coming as part of Oyirad "tribute" embassies.

The Manchus and the Khojas: China Takes a Piece of Central Asia When the Ch'ing army finally entered the Oyirad capital in 1755, among the prisoners who fell into their hands were two brothers of a family of khojas whom the Oyirad had held as hostages. These khojas belonged to a dynasty of Muslim holy men whom the inhabitants of Kashgaria regarded as their legitimate rulers. The khojas had all the symbols of legitimation that one could have wanted in the Central Asia of that time. They claimed genealogical descent from Muhammad, religious succession as heads of a sufi order that went back to the Prophet, and some of them claimed genealogical descent from the imperial house of Chinggis K h a n . " The Oyirad had held the khojas as hostages in order to ensure Kashgaria's obedience, and now, in 1755, with the defeat of the Oyirad, the two khoja brothers were captured by the Ch'ing. From the Ch'ing point of view, their capture made them vassals of the emperor and made a vassal state of their domain, Kashgaria. It was on this understanding that the Manchus sent the socalled Elder Khoja back to govern Kashgaria, while they continued to hold the Younger Khoja as a hostage. In the spring of 1756 the ambitious Younger Khoja escaped and joined his brother in Kashgaria. In the autumn of that year, when the Manchus sent an envoy to establish the tribute that the "vassal" khojas would have to pay, the two brothers did not respond, and in the spring of 1757, when the Ch'ing court sent a mission to impose its demands, the khojas, claiming their independence, massacred the mission. 100 To the Manchus, who were at the height of their military power, rebellion from a vassal was intolerable, and if they allowed the offense to go unpunished it might encourage rebellion in other quarters. Accordingly, on February 10, 1758, the Ch'ienlung Emperor dispatched an army against the khojas in Kashgaria, 101 and on December 12 of the following year he received formal notification that his army had destroyed them. 102 In this way the Ch'ing empire encum-


Joseph F. Fletcher /CHINA bered itself with Kashgaria, a Central Asia territory which from then on it would have to defend. News of the Ch'ing victory in Kashgaria spread fear throughout Central Asia and brought to life the prophecy of Central Asian folklore that a Chinese conquest would foreshadow the end of the world. 103 In the face of the Ch'ing threat many Central Asian rulers sent conciliatory letters to the Ch'ing emperor so as to win time while they strove to marshal a united force to roll the Manchus back into China. Here the Afghan Ahmad Shäh Durrani played the leading role. He sent an army in 1762 to stand between Kokand and Tashkent while he tried to arrange a Central Asian embargo on Chinese trade and raise enough military support to expel the invaders. In the same year the Afghan shah also sent an embassy to Peking to enter a plea on behalf of the khoja house, but the Ch'ien-lung Emperor, true to his inherited ideal of world supremacy, received the embassy as a tribute mission and a sign of surrender, so that the embassy did not achieve its purpose. 104 In the end, the united Central Asian force failed to materialize because of the mutual suspicions of its would-be participants and the seeming hopelessness of its objective, but by this time it was 1764 and the Ch'ing court was satisfied with its conquests, largely because of the submissive letters it had received from Central Asia west of the Pamirs. When the Manchus took over Kashgaria, they ran it essentially as it had been organized under the Oyirad empire. They tolerated the local customs and religion and maintained the scale of taxation that the Oyirad had imposed, and by and large the sixty-year period of Ch'ing control from 1759 until 1820 was marked by order and greater material prosperity than the region had known for at least a century.105 Three principal factors contributed to Eastern Turkestan's sixty years of peace under Manchu rule. First, the enormous military might of the Ch'ing empire inspired the Kashgarians with fear and prevented the states of western Central Asia from committing any overt act of aggression. Second, in destroying the two khoja brothers the Manchus had eliminated the most effective rallying point for Kashgarian opposition. Third, the Manchus had found collaborators among the local elites of Eastern Turkestan, and to these collaborators, known by their Turkish official titles as "begs," the Ch'ing government delegated all local authority, even permitting them to govern by Islamic law. Because the begs derived their power from the Ch'ing empire, they and their kinsmen, officers, and retainers had a vested interest in Ch'ing rule.


AND CENTRAL ASIA By 1820 the basis of stable Ch'ing rule in Kashgaria was gone. In China, the White Lotus Rebellion had questioned the dynasty's power; the Miao tribes had revolted; and in 1813 the Heavenly Reason rebels had even stormed the walls of the imperial palace. Shortages of food plagued the expanded Chinese population, and the Ch'ing army had grown weak. In the khanate of Kokand, west of Kashgar, three surviving khoja grandsons had established a base from which to launch a khoja restoration in Kashgaria, and in Kashgaria itself the begs had begun to squeeze the landowning classes so severely that by 1820 the growing numbers of the dispossessed presented an internal threat to Ch'ing authority. 106 Accordingly, in the summer of 1820, Jahänglr Khoja, grandson of the defeated Elder Khoja of 1759, left his base in Kokand and began to harry the borders of the Ch'ing empire. His first allies were freebooting Kirghiz from the mountains north of Kashgaria. These unruly nomads had always been ready for plunder, but as the khoja successfully continued his raids, other more stable elements began to join him, and since by 1827 the Ch'ing army still had not yet managed to destroy the khoja, the Ch'ing field commanders urged the throne to compromise. The suggestion of compromise greatly displeased the emperor, who stripped these officers of their rank. 107 By its very ideology the Ch'ing dynasty was committed to an uncompromising defense of its empire. As a consequence of his claim to be master of the world by the mandate of Heaven, the emperor could not tolerate denial of his authority or the alienation of any of his domains; moreover, the dangerous connection between external attacks and internal rebellions had always been a cardinal point in Chinese statecraft. As a result, although distant Kashgaria was a nuisance, it had to be defended. The emperor was a prisoner of his own possessions. Forced to continue their campaign, the Ch'ing generals circulated a false rumor that the army had withdrawn from Kashgaria, and Jahänglr Khoja, misled by this ruse, left his hiding place among the Kirghiz and advanced on Kashgar with a small force, only to be seized by the Ch'ing army on February 14, 1828.108 The captured khoja was then sent to Peking, where he was ceremonially offered to the imperial ancestors, then hacked into pieces and thrown ingloriously to the dogs.109 The Manchus had no sooner destroyed Jahänglr Khoja than they found themselves face to face with a new enemy in Central Asia: the khanate of Kokand 110 adjoining the Ch'ing empire on its Kashgarian frontier. Ever since 1759 the Ch'ing court had been dealing with Kokand on a basis of quasi-equality while maintaining the pretense in China that the Central


Joseph F. Fletcher / CHINA Asian state was simply a Manchu vassal. Outwardly, Kokandian ambassadors had been received in Peking as tribute-bearers, but when the emperor had addressed the ambassadors through his Turki interpreters he had referred to the Kokandian ruler as "my son," 111 a phrase which (as the Manchus well knew) was altogether different in Inner Asia from "my subject." 112 The emperor's use of the phrase "my son" converted thehumbling court ritual from an act of submission into just another Chinese custom and in so doing facilitated relations with Kokand, but the price the emperor had paid was a covert renunciation of his suzerain claims. By the 1820's Kokand, straddling the caravan route, clearly dominated Kashgaria's Russian and Central Asian trade. In Kashgaria itself, Kokandian merchants had acquired a growing influence by intermarriage and the purchase of Kashgarian lands, 113 and throughout Jahängir Khoja's rebellion Kokand had given open aid to the khoja forces. Now, with Jahängir's defeat, the Ch'ing court resolved to punish the Kokandian government, which still harbored other khojas and still threatened the peace in Kashgaria. Not feeling strong enough to humble the khanate with an armed invasion, the Ch'ing authorities arrested all Kokandian merchants in Eastern Turkestan, sealed the Kashgarian border to Kokandian commerce, and made special trade arrangements with other Central Asian countries so as to bypass Kokand altogether. 114 The results of this stratagem were not long in coming, but they were different from what the Ch'ing court had expected. The stoppage of trade deprived Kokand of its profits and tax revenues, but the khanate, now at the height of its power, did not come to terms. Instead, seeing the weakness of the Ch'ing position in Kashgaria, Kokand declared a Muslim holy war in the name of the khojas and in the early autumn of 1830 invaded Kashgaria with an army of about 40,000 men. 115 Roughly three months later, laden with booty, the Kokandian forces voluntarily withdrew, but by then it was clear that Kashgaria's peace was no longer within Ch'ing control. Having failed with punishments, the Manchus now tried to buy the Kokandian government, and in 1832 the court offered Kokand a resumption of trade, the right to station political agents in Kashgaria, political and administrative control over all foreigners in Kashgaria, and receipt of all duties that might be collected in Kashgaria from Kokandian merchants. In return Kokand was supposed to respect the peace and keep the khojas out of Eastern Turkestan. 118 Kokand agreed but, conscious of its ability to dictate terms, soon pressed the Ch'ing for the right to tax all foreign mer-


A N D CENTRAL ASIA chants in Kashgaria as well. Because such a concession meant a virtual Kokandian monopoly of Kashgaria's trade, the Manchus refused, only to have Kokand raid the Kashgarian borderlands regularly for the next five years 117 and impose its monopoly anyway. Until 1864 the Manchu empire tried to keep order in Eastern Turkestan at the price of its Central Asian trade. At first Kokand found its monopoly too profitable to risk and kept the khojas confined, giving the Ch'ing government an opportunity to concentrate on a program of land reclamation, while it tried at the same time to incorporate Kashgaria more fully into China by settling Chinese colonists on Kashgarian lands. 118 After about a decade, however, Kokand began to take further advantage of the Ch'ing government's precarious hold over Kashgaria, and in 1847, 1855, 1857, and 1862, khoja forces entered Kashgaria from Kokand to take booty and stir up Kashgarian revolt. 118 Each time, the Ch'ing army found the strength to drive them out again, but the army was not strong enough to follow the khojas across the mountains and destroy their base or to punish Kokand, their protector. As a result, the Manchus felt constrained to perpetuate Kokandian trade rights after each khoja attack in the futile hope that Kokand would eventually find stability to its commercial advantage. The troubled state of peace lasted until 1862, when the great Tungan (Chinese Muslim) rebellion flared up in Shensi and Kansu and cut Kashgaria off from Ch'ing control for a period of about twelve years. 120 While the Tungans were challenging the Manchu emperor's authority in northwest China, in Eastern Turkestan a Kokandian adventurer and khoja partisan named Ya'qüb Beg reconquered Kashgaria for Islam and established an independent emirate. With the dynasty's prestige at stake, the Ch'ing government outwardly assumed an uncompromising posture, but, as in the case of the Ming relations with Shährukh Bahadur and the Ch'ing court's own relations with Kokand, the government was free unofficially to follow the dictates of the situation. Accordingly, the Manchus established contact with Ya'qüb Beg's "rebel" regime. The full extent of this contact is unknown, but the memoirs of a contemporary Greek traveler to Eastern Turkestan reveal that the Ch'ing at least sent an embassy to the Kokandian "rebel" in 1871 and that the Ch'ing authorities in Hami honored a passport that the outlaw emir had issued. 121 Not until 1876 did the Ch'ing forces extinguish the Tungan rebellion, and by the time they had managed to destroy Ya'qüb Beg and recover Kashgaria two years later, in 1878, Central Asia had a very different face: the expanding Russian empire had annexed Kokand and was now swiftly


Joseph F. Fletcher


subjugating the rest of Western Turkestan, while the dynasty of the oncedangerous khojas had finally disappeared. Again the Manchus felt it necessary to change their policy, and on November 18, 1884, wary of the Russian threat and determined to eliminate Kashgaria's constant disorders, the Ch'ing court abolished the rule of the begs and integrated Eastern Turkestan into the administration of China proper by incorporating it into a new province called Sinkiang, the "New Dominion." 122 With the formation of Sinkiang as a province Ch'ing relations with Central Asia came to an end. Eastern Turkestan was now part of China. Western Turkestan was part of Russia, and with the single exception of Afghanistan the independent states of Central Asia had ceased to exist. The era of traditional China was also swiftly drawing to a close. The emperor's claim to rule the world was empty. Even in China the imperial government ruled only with difficulty and only for a few more years. It has been widely supposed that from the beginning of the Ming dynasty to the second half of the nineteenth century Chinese emperors recognized foreign rulers only as "tributaries," or vassals. Manchu relations with Tibet in the middle of the seventeenth century, the equal Russo-Manchu Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689), and the fact that Manchu envoys performed the kotow in Moscow (1731) and Saint Petersburg (1732) have been seen as deviations from the rule, but only as partial deviations, because the early Ch'ing emperors had not^et been assimilated by Chinese culture. In other words, they were not yet "Chinese" emperors. More serious exceptions appear in the history of Sino-Central Asian relations. The Yung-lo Emperor of the Ming, a full-blooded Chinese monarch, dealt with the Timurid emperor Shährukh Bahadur on an equal footing, and the Ch'ien-lung Emperor of the mid-Ch'ing conceded the political equality of the Kokandian king. Other examples can surely be found, but the flexible approach of China's emperors to the problems of international relations is already clear. Within the empire, the myth of world suzerainty was a useful ideological instrument for ruling China, and, as Shährukh's ambassadors and the khojas found, it was not to be compromised. But in foreign affairs the myth often proved a hindrance. Then, quietly, the emperor practiced what he pleased, not what he preached. Relations on an equal basis with Herat, Lhasa, Kokand, or Moscow were not exceptions to Chinese practice at all. They were customary dealings on the unseen side of a long-established tradition.


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / C H ' I N G WITH THE D U T C H ,



In our varied studies of traditional Chinese foreign relations, we can see the outlines of a fairly coherent Chinese diplomatic tradition—a set of values, expectations, and habits. 1 One aspect of this tradition that deserves more study is its effect on communication, negotiation, and mutual commitment between China and foreign powers. Unfortunately, such study requires detailed information on Chinese official behavior in day-today negotiation with foreigners, and information on this is scarce for periods before 1800.2 For the relations between the Dutch East India Company and the Ch'ing empire between 1662 and 1690, however, there is an abundance of such information. It is particularly valuable because it concerns the attempts of Chinese officials to deal with people of whom they knew little, in situations that could not be handled by simply applying bureaucratic precedents and stereotyped attitudes. Thus we can see more clearly certain Chinese values, habits, and expectations that were related to, but not exclusively determined by, the well-known dogmas and institutions of the tribute system. Especially interesting is the important part played in the Chinese handling of foreign affairs, especially in communication and negotiation, by certain general characteristics of the Chinese bureaucracy, characteristics whose influence on foreign affairs has been little emphasized in previous studies. It is primarily the Dutch documentation that makes this study possible. The Archives of the Dutch East India Company constitute one of the truly great sources for Asian history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and one that has been very little exploited so far. These documents testify to the diligence (and occasionally to the weariness and befuddlement) of generations of clerks, steaming in the fetid Batavia climate, making and sending home to Holland copies of the transactions of


John Ε. Wills, Jr.j CH'ING RELATIONS WITH THE D U T C H the Council of the Indies at Batavia, which supervised all company affairs in Asia: its resolutions, its letters to subordinate stations and commanders and to Asian princes, together with many letters, day-to-day records, translations of native documents, and the like, sent in by those subordinates. The letters, reports, day-registers, translations, and so on sent from China are the primary sources for this study; for this period they total over 2,500 large folio sheets with writing on both sides. The Chinese sources are far less satisfactory. The T'ai-wan wen-hsien ts ung-k,an (Collection' of sources on the history of Taiwan) series has reprinted a remarkable variety of first- and second-hand accounts of the wars on the Fukien coast in this period, and for a few events remarkably close corroboration is possible between Chinese and Dutch sources. The Chinese official record is quite disappointing; there are a number of important imperial edicts of which I have full Dutch translations but of which I have found no trace in the Shih-lu (Veritable records) and other compilations. ,

Comparison of Dutch translations with Chinese texts, where available,3 indicates that the Dutch usually got the general sense of a document but understood little of its passage through the bureaucracy or of the implications of imperial turns of phrase that might reveal preconceptions and attitudes of the Chinese officials. The danger of bias resulting from my reliance on the great mass of Dutch documentation is mitigated by the fact that the Dutch usually kept a fairly full record of what they heard and saw and of their conversations with the Chinese officials and confined their interpretations (which were often biased or wrong) to their letters to the Batavia authorities summarizing the fuller record. Approaching these fuller records with a better understanding of the Chinese bureaucracy and of the contemporary Chinese situation, we can usually allow for the biases or errors in the Dutch summaries. The twenty-eight years between 1662 and 1690 form a distinct period in the long story of relations between the Dutch East India Company and China. It begins with the fall of Casteel Zeelandia, the Dutch fortressjnear modern Tainan on Taiwan, to Cheng Ch'eng-kung, the Ming loyalist corsair and merchant-prince known to his European contemporaries as Coxinga. It ends with the departure of the last company ships that traded with China before 1729. During this period the Dutch sought to compensate for the Cheng conquest by wreaking vengeance on the Cheng forces and by establishing trade with the Ch'ing empire, but they got no satisfactory


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / C H ' I N G RELATIONS results. This paper begins with a chronological summary of events and then pursues an analytic discussion of certain problems.

A Chronicle of Sino-Dutch Contact The Cheng conquest of Taiwan cannot be detailed here, but a few points are important to an understanding of later events. First, the Dutch company had valued its position on Taiwan primarily because it provided an entrepöt for Sino-Dutch trade, and civil war in China and turmoil in Taiwan in the 1650's had disrupted this trade and made Taiwan less profitable to the Dutch. At the same time, demands on the company's limited resources of capital and military power were increasing in India and Indonesia. The company had therefore considered abandoning Taiwan when it was besieged but not yet lost, and after 1662 the reconquest of Taiwan did not have high priority in Dutch relations with China. On the Cheng side, the conquest of Taiwan had been motivated by the growing insecurity of the Cheng strongholds at Amoy, Quemoy, Tung-shan, and Nan-ao (see map); once Taiwan was conquered these posts could be abandoned if necessary. Taiwan could be used either as a refuge, to avoid joining in resistance to the Ch'ing, or as a new base for such resistance, and there is some evidence that after Cheng Ch'eng-kung's death in 1662, his son and successor Cheng Ching and the latter's advisers were willing to consider both possibilities.4 Batavia's response to the fall of Taiwan was to send twelve ships to the China coast in June 1662 to attack Cheng's outposts and shipping, if possible in cooperation with the Ch'ing forces. Vengeance was an important motive here because Christian blood had been shed ruthlessly on Taiwan and one of the company's few promising missionary enterprises wiped out. In seeking vengeance Batavia also sought to "restore the company's reputation," fearing that if the Cheng forces were not punished the company's enemies all over Asia and the overseas Chinese in Siam and at Batavia would be convinced that they too could attack the Dutch or interfere with Dutch trade without fear of retaliation. Moreover, a Cheng war-junk had been sighted near the Moluccas, and a threat to that key area was thought likely if Cheng power was not checked. The Dutch also hoped to compensate for the large quantity of goods and silver that had been taken by the Cheng in Casteel Zeelandia by seizing some of the rich Cheng junks that sailed in the China-Japan trade. They saw that military


W I T H THE D U T C H cooperation with the Ch'ing might lead to stable trade relations with the mainland and thus establish a channel for Sino-Dutch trade to replace the one lost with Taiwan. But relations with the Ch'ing were viewed mainly as instrumental to the war on the Cheng forces. Nor were the Dutch much interested in retaking Taiwan.6 In the fall of 1662, Dutch negotiations with the Ch'ing officials in Fukien proved inconclusive; authorization for trade or for military cooperation against the Cheng would have to come from Peking, and it seemed possible that defection and dissension in the Cheng camp might make military action unnecessary. The Dutch also sounded out the Ch'ing officials about a possible Dutch attack on Macao but dropped the idea when the officials made it clear that Macao was Chinese territory. The officials also advised the Dutch not to proceed independently in attacking Cheng outposts, but they did not press the issue and evidently were not offended when the Dutch attacked Cheng outposts at Ting-hai, Hsiao-ch'eng, Pei-chiao, and Sha-ch'eng north of Foochow. In Peking a decision on the Fukien officials' proposal for cooperation with the Dutch was delayed by consideration of a Cheng proposal of terms of submission, and also perhaps by the intrigues of the Cheng envoy who brought this proposal. The Fukien officials pleaded with the Dutch to remain until the imperial decision should arrive, but the Dutch feared being caught by the change of monsoon, and their fleet left on March 1, 1663. They suspected that the Ch'ing officials had been deliberately making delays, but on March 13 the edict arrived in Foochow. 6 Some members of the Dutch party had stayed behind in Foochow when the fleet left, and they were disappointed to learn that the edict granted permission only for the sale of the goods brought by their 1662 fleet; it seems likely that the Fukien officials had not transmitted the more farreaching Dutch requests for annual trade and possession of a harbor on the coast, but if this is true there is no evidence that they informed the Dutch of these omissions. The edict was delivered by two imperial envoys who were also authorized to discuss a joint Sino-Dutch attack on the Cheng forces and were disappointed to find that the fleet had left. They promised to take back to Peking a fuller statement of the Dutch requests. Later in the spring other imperial envoys brought an edict of commendation, gifts, and an imperial stipend for the Dutch who had stayed in Foochow. When the original pair of imperial envoys returned from Peking in July 1663, they told the Dutch that they had been authorized to plan a joint naval campaign against the Cheng without further reference to Peking, and


John Ε. Wills,

Jr. j C H ' I N G


that the Dutch would be allowed to trade every year and to build a trading station at Foochow, but that formal approval of the commercial privileges would have to be requested after a Dutch fleet had arrived. Probably they had also been authorized to allow the Dutch to trade that year without reference to Peking, but they did not mention this to the Dutch. 7 The Dutch company sent a fleet of seventeen ships in 1663, probably the strongest fleet it ever sent to Chinese waters. Opening of trade with China was now its main goal, but it was also interested in continuing the hunt for the rich Cheng trading junks and in continuing the war against the Cheng forces in order to restore the company's reputation in Asia. In an inexplicable about-face, the Dutch now thought the reconquest of Taiwan very important for the company's prestige, although they recognized that Taiwan would be less useful for commercial purposes than a fortified post closer to the coast. When the fleet arrived off Foochow its commanders learned that the Ch'ing were ready to cooperate in an attack on Amoy and Quemoy and that the balance of forces had been altered by defections from the Cheng cause. A devious and involved struggle for power, many details of which can be learned only from Dutch records, had begun after Cheng Ch'eng-kung's death in June 1662 and had ended with Cheng Ching in control, Ching's uncle Cheng T'ai dead, and T'ai's heirs and followers on the Ch'ing side and adding greatly to Ch'ing naval strength. 8 Arriving at Ch'üan-chou in October 1663 to join the Ch'ing forces, the Dutch tried to get a clear answer as to the compensation they would receive for their cooperation against Amoy and Quemoy; their principal demands were for permission to trade every year, a fortified trading post in the Amoy-Quemoy area, and a joint expedition against Taiwan. The Dutch wanted all these settled in a formal and mutually binding contract; the Ch'ing officials were probably willing to recommend to the court that these demands be met and were apparently authorized to permit trade that year, but evidently they would do so only to reward the Dutch for cooperation already received, not as part of a binding agreement made in advance. When the Dutch drew up a contract embodying their proposals, Keng Chi-mao, the Prince Pacifier of the South (Ching-nan wang) who had wide powers in Fukien and was then at Ch'üan-chou, told them that they would be allowed to trade after the attack on Amoy and Quemoy. But the Dutch insisted on a contract granting all their demands as a precondition of their cooperation and made it clear that they were impatient to attack Amoy and Quemoy as soon as possible. Keng knew these demands


W I T H THE D U T C H could not be met without imperial approval, but apparently he hoped that the Dutch would decide to cooperate anyway if only he could string them along until the imperial fleet was ready to sail. He told them that such an agreement would surely be signed, but that first he had to obtain the concurrence of Governor-General Li Shuai-t'ai, who was at Chang-chou. When Li's reply arrived, Keng told them that imperial permission would be required for their other demands. Keng also said they would be allowed to trade at once (at Foochow, where they had left a ship full of goods), but this was vetoed by Li because of honest disagreement or by prearrangement with Keng. In any case, Keng had strung the Dutch along until the imperial fleet was ready to sail, and the Dutch felt that they had no choice but to cooperate and hope for the best. 9 The many defections in Fukien and unrest in Taiwan had made Amoy and Quemoy untenable for the Cheng forces and in November 1663 they were apparently already preparing to withdraw. The Dutch were anxious to attack quickly to prevent their withdrawing to reinforce the Taiwan garrisons. The Ch'ing naval commanders, mostly Cheng turncoats, were not so eager, and half the Dutch fleet attacked Quemoy without their cooperation and without success. After several preliminary skirmishes a major naval engagement took place on November 19, 1663; the Dutch trapped an important part of the Cheng fleet and sank five or six vessels, while the Cheng turncoats hung back. The next day the Ch'ing troops overran Amoy, with peripheral assistance from the Dutch fleet. The size and firepower of the Dutch ships made a great impression on the high officials watching from the hilltops and on other eye-witnesses whose impressions survive in Chinese works, and there is some evidence that court officials who saw these battles came to regard the masters of these ships as very dangerous allies.10 The Ch'ing and the Dutch took the small island of Wu-hsu on November 23, and the Ch'ing forces devastated Quemoy on November 25. The Ch'ing and Dutch commanders had prepared for these attacks by exchanging detailed information on plans, formations, flags and signals, and so on. Cooperation was by no means smooth, and both sides seem to have violated details of their agreements; but in view of their divergent goals and the cultural and linguistic obstacles to cooperation, it is remarkable that it was possible at all. The differences in conceptions of military tactics do not seem to have been as wide as those in conceptions affecting trade and diplomacy. In these negotiations and others, the Ch'ing officials showed something of their well-known skill in using cour-


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS tesy, dissimulation, and personal relations with foreign "headmen" as means of controlling them. The Dutch negotiators occasionally gave way to exasperation and choler, but at other times were polite, firm, and subtle. After the battles, the issues of the earlier negotiations were quickly settled. All the necessary officials now gave permission to trade. A provisional agreement, dependent upon imperial approval, for a Macao-style Dutch trading post on Wu-hsu fell apart because the Dutch refused to garrison it immediately and the Ch'ing feared the Cheng forces would return to it if it was left unoccupied. The Ch'ing could not undertake a major expedition against Taiwan without imperial approval, and in any case their next objectives were the Cheng outposts at Tung-shan and Nan-ao. But the Dutch had orders from Batavia to try to conquer Taiwan, and the Ch'ing officials finally agreed to token cooperation: two ships, 200 men, and some officials who were to try to persuade the Taiwan commanders to surrender. In January 1664 the Dutch landed on the Taiwan coast in the vicinity of modern Kaohsiung and negotiated for almost a month with the Cheng commanders at the old Casteel Zeelandia and with a commander in the Kaohsiung area who may or may not have been sincere in offering to surrender to the Ch'ing if the Dutch would pay him 5,000 taels. The Dutch refused and, when they saw that there was no basis for negotiation with the higher officials and Cheng Ching and that their forces were inadequate for an attack on the castle, they sailed for Batavia. 11 After the fleet had left, the Dutchmen who had been left behind in Foochow to complete the year's trading were told that the Chinese court had rewarded the Dutch for their assistance by granting them permission to trade every other year. The Dutch seem to have been chronically suspicious of "heathen treachery," and they put little faith in reports of this concession, since it had been announced in an edict to the provincial officials, not to them. Later they received imperial gifts of silk and silver and an edict of praise for Balthasar Bort, the admiral of the 1663 fleet, but they were disappointed to find that the emperor still had not "confirmed their privileges in sealed letters" as they expected him to do. 12 A Dutch expedition to China in 1664 was not equipped for a major offensive against the Cheng forces. Trade was its main goal, despite Dutch suspicions of "Tatar perfidy" in the previous negotiations for trading rights. No embassy was sent to Peking; the Fukien officials had orally warned the Dutch that they must send one. The Dutch had sent an embassy to Peking in 1656, which had been accepted as a tributary em-


W I T H THE D U T C H bassy, and the emperor had decreed that the Dutch should fulfill their tributary obligations every eight years. However, the Fukien officials failed to mention this requirement in their letters to Batavia; apparently they thought their oral reminders would be sufficient and probably they did not understand how little the Dutch understood of the tribute system. The Batavia authorities took this omission for an indication that the Chinese were not really very serious about this warning. They were little interested in Chinese conceptions of the nature and function of an embassy and saw no reason to send one unless there were important negotiations to be concluded or the favor of court officials to be gained by giving them valuable presents. They were also interested in continuing their efforts to plunder Cheng trading junks and so established a garrison at Keelung on the northern end of Taiwan, outside the area of Cheng control, as a base for these efforts and as a center free of Ch'ing control for their trade with China. They were no longer much interested in reconquering the rest of Taiwan. But now the Ch'ing were interested in Taiwan; the Cheng forces had evacuated Tung-shan and Nan-ao and by the time the Dutch arrived the court had authorized a joint attack on Taiwan. 13 Apparently the court and the Fukien officials were willing to allow the Dutch to reoccupy Taiwan, which had never been part of the Chinese empire and would be very hard to govern. Despite their inadequate preparations, the Dutch were willing to take part in a joint attack to please the Ch'ing but only after most of their goods had been sold under satisfactory conditions. The Fukien officials were willing to let them trade immediately, on the grounds that they had to sell their goods in order to buy provisions and supplies before sailing for Taiwan; the imperial order for a joint expedition may have included this provision. The Dutch had been granted permission to trade every second year, but this was not the basis of their trade in 1664; either 1663 was counted as the first year of this permission, or it was not to take effect until the Dutch sent an embassy. The Fukien officials were disappointed by the Dutch failure to send an embassy, but they did not make a major issue of it. Their suspicions had been aroused, however, by the garrison at Keelung; they feared that it might be part of a Dutch plot with Cheng Ching and insisted that the Dutch leave some of their people and goods behind in Fukien to guarantee Dutch good behavior on the Taiwan expedition. Trade got under way and the Dutch ships sailed in November to rendezvous with the Ch'ing fleet under Admiral Shih Lang at Quemoy. The fleets


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS set out together on December 24, but the Ch'ing fleet soon turned back, apparently at a prearranged signal; the Ch'ing commanders claimed that the wind had been too dangerous, but the Dutch were not convinced, and it is possible that the whole thing was an elaborate sham, planned to give Shih an excuse to keep his naval power concentrated in his own hands for a few months more without risking a battle. Shih wanted the Dutch to try again with him in the spring, but the Dutch considered any approach to the Taiwan coast during the south monsoon very dangerous. After a few scouting expeditions had revealed improved defenses on the Formosa coast, they sailed for Batavia.14 Shih Lang did try to send another fleet against Taiwan in May 1665 but was again frustrated by " bad weather," possibly more genuine than that in December 1664. Thereafter the other Fukien officials reportedly rejected Shih's demand that they risk their forces as well as his in the next attempt, and the court gradually lost interest in the conquest of Taiwan and shifted to a combination of diplomatic overtures to the Cheng forces and efforts to cut off their trade with the mainland by strict prohibition of Chinese maritime trade and total evacuation of coastal areas. 15 Even before this, Ch'ing desires for military cooperation with the Dutch had probably been declining because of the daunting impression made by the Dutch ships in November 1663 and perhaps because of a growing wariness of all relations with Europeans as the court began to take harshly represssive measures against the Roman Catholic missionaries, the bestknown Europeans in the empire.16 Shih's turning back had confirmed Dutch pessimism about military cooperation with the Ch'ing. Trade was now their only goal. In 1665 trade at Foochow was resumed and an attempt was made to open trade in the Chang-chou area, where the Dutch had received trading overtures from associates of Huang Wu and Shih Lang, the leading military commanders there. 17 The Dutch did not send a war fleet, nor, for the same reasons as in 1664, did they send an embassy. When they arrived at Foochow in July the Ch'ing officials were furious at both these failures. The Foochow officials had not yet received any decision from the court postponing or abandoning efforts to conquer Taiwan, and they insisted that if another expedition was ordered the Dutch would at least have to make their ships available for troop transport. They soon allowed the Dutch to sell enough to pay a large debt to Keng Chi-mao's son, contracted in trade early in 1665, without any imperial authorization, and apparently recommended to the court that the Dutch be allowed to trade


W I T H THE D U T C H under the terms of the biennial permission despite their failure to send an embassy. Peking approved and legal trade began. New difficulties were caused by the arrival in September of a Dutch ship in the Chang-chou area and three ships bringing more goods to Foochow. Li Shuai-t'ai, probably unwilling to share the profits of trade with the Chang-chou officials, insisted that the Dutch at Foochow order the ship at Chang-chou to come there. They finally did so, but adverse winds forced the ship to return to Batavia. The imperial permission for trade at Foochow had been only for the first two ships, and Li insisted that the new arrivals at Foochow be kept separate from the others and their cargoes not be sold until a new permission had been obtained from Peking.18 However, by the time Li's report reached Peking, reports had probably arrived also from Chekiang of a Dutch offense that ended all prospect of granting them any unusual favor. In the summer of 1665 Dutch ships cruising from Keelung in search of Cheng shipping had reached the great Buddhist sanctuary island of P'u-t'o-shan, and Dutch soldiers and sailors had gotten out of hand and looted and desecrated some of the monasteries. These incidents seem to have made a widespread impression. Taiwan wai-chi (Unofficial record of Taiwan) by Chiang Jih-sheng includes a hair-raising story of supernatural vengeance on the Dutch. When the reports reached Foochow Li Shuai-t'ai seemed to accept the Dutch explanation that they thought all island-dwellers were Cheng adherents; P'u-t'o-shan was in fact a rare exception to the coastal evacuation policy and was sometimes a center for Cheng trade and piracy. But the court apparently reacted much more sharply to these desecrations; it would not allow the later Dutch arrivals to trade and later sent orders to all coastal officials that no more Dutch ships were to be allowed in Chinese ports until an embassy was sent. The court also seemed suspicious of the Dutch settlement at Keelung and ordered the provincial officials to learn more about it and to forbid ships from there to anchor in Chinese waters. Early in 1666 the court received a deathbed memorial from Li Shuai-t'ai, stating that the Dutch had left but would probably return to make more trouble. Late in 1666 their biennial trade privilege was revoked, probably as a result of these accumulated irritations.19 The Dutch had viewed the biennial trade concession as part of an implicit bargain in which they had received trading rights in return for naval assistance, and they saw its revocation as a betrayal. They seem to have had no idea how serious their offense had been at P'u-t'o-shan. Apparently no Ch'ing official made any attempt to explain the revocation to them, and it


John Ε. Wills, Jr.



was not even mentioned in the edicts that the embassy took back to their governor-general at Batavia. This "betrayal" was to color all the rest of their relations with the Ch'ing in this period, increasing their already sharp suspicions of Tatar perfidy. A Dutch embassy in 1666 under Pieter van Hoorn was a last attempt to obtain satisfactory trading rights. Since 1663 profits from the Chinese trade had been sometimes adequate but never more, and they had to be balanced against the hazards of Chinese harbors and of storms in Chinese waters. Supplies of silk and gold, the goods most wanted by the Dutch, were irregular. Chinese trade was becoming less essential to the Dutch company's whole commercial system as it developed in Japan a more reliable source of gold for its trade in Coromandel and other parts of India, and in Bengal a more reliable source of silk for the Japanese market. 20 But it was thought that profits might be more satisfactory if some relief could be obtained from the informal restriction of the trade to a few big merchants who were under the protection of the high officials and sometimes acted as their agents; securing this relief was one of the embassy's most important goals. It seems likely that similar Dutch complaints in the 1670's and 1680's were sometimes exaggerated, referring to nothing more than the normal Chinese practices of mutual guarantee by groups of merchants or guarantee of lesser merchants by a few substantial ones. But in the 1660's, on the few occasions when they were allowed to sell to all comers, the Dutch did get better prices, and there is considerable evidence that the high officials took a personal interest in the trade that the merchants were conducting as their agents. The Dutch hoped to negotiate a binding agreement with the emperor in Peking, as they might have with the Susuhanan of Mataram or the Mogul emperor; they did not realize that embassies were primarily ceremonial and that the court did not ordinarily make substantive decisions about foreign affairs except on the recommendation of the provincial officials involved. By sending rich presents and a distinguished ambassador, the Batavia Council sought to convey to the Ch'ing the earnestness with which they sought an agreement. Pieter van Hoorn was a member of the Council of the Indies at Batavia, a man of considerable culture, who collected commercial and political information with unusual care and published a long didactic poem about Confucius after his return to Batavia. 21 The Dutch assumed that the trading ships on which the van Hoorn embassy came would be allowed to depart when their trade was completed and that another group of trading ships could be sent to bring the am-


W I T H THE D U T C H bassador home. But apparently the normal Chinese procedure was for all ships that brought an ambassador to wait to take him home. The Dutch ships could not do this because they would become unsafe if they did not return to Batavia for extensive overhauling (they may have been unsound to begin with, and worm damage to hulls was exceptionally severe in Chinese waters) and because they did not have enough supplies and provisions. In January 1667, after many delays resulting from difficulties in unloading the ships and negotiating trade conditions, the Foochow officials were still asking the Dutch not to send any ships away until they could report to Peking and get imperial permission, but the Dutch were insisting that at least one ship had to leave at once because the monsoon might change before permission was received from Peking. The officials feared that if the Dutch were not allowed to send their ships away van Hoorn might delay his departure for Peking, and the court was already asking why he had been delayed so long. They finally agreed not to cause any trouble if the Dutch ships left as quietly as possible. Peking's reaction to these departures was astonishingly severe: GovernorGeneral Chang Ch'ao-lin was dismissed, or forced to retire, and Keng Chi-mao was fined 2,000 taels. The Dutch heard a rumor that Chang's dismissal was due in fact to an earlier dispute with a private agent of the Dowager Empress Hsiao-chuang, and that the departure of the Dutch ships was simply a convenient pretext. Even if this is true, it is interesting that the court thought it an adequate pretext. When the Dutch tried to trade at Canton in 1668, the officials there apparently took this precedent very seriously as an indication of what would happen to them if they allowed the Dutch to leave before a decision concerning them had been received from the court. 22 The Dutch embassy arrived in Peking on June 20, 1667. The next day members of the embassy were summoned to the Imperial Palace so that the emperor could see the four dwarf horses from Persia and four dwarf oxen from Bengal which were the most unusual of their presents. The emperor asked a few questions; this was the only time the embassy members spoke to him, and they never spoke to any of the regents. They were received in formal audience on June 25; their account does not mention the kotow, but the preparations for the audience and the audience itself could hardly have proceeded so quickly and smoothly if the Dutch had not been willing to comply with the custom of the court. They tried to give presents to the regents and councillors, but these were refused, and they sold the goods they had brought for this purpose; they were not interested in trade


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS in Peking and had brought no goods for it. Their account indicates that this trade was closely and honestly regulated but that most of the sales were to agents of the princes and court officials, at very low prices. The letter brought by the embassy from Batavia to the emperor was purely complimentary, and so van Hoorn submitted a more substantial request soon after his audience, asking among other things that the Dutch be allowed to trade every year with as many ships as they wished, at Canton, Chang-chou, Foochow, Ningpo, or Hangchow and that they be allowed to trade with all merchants. The Dutch repeatedly asked to be informed on this additional request well in advance of their departure, so that they might have time to negotiate further or make additional requests, but on the day of their departure they were given sealed letters to the governor-general in Batavia and told that they might not open them or have them translated in China. In fact the letters contained no concessions of substance, and the biennial trade permission had already been revoked. Moreover, explicit orders were sent that the Dutch were to be permitted no further trade at Foochow in 1667. Batavia had sent another large cargo to Foochow in 1667, and it all went back unsold with van Hoorn. 23 The Batavia authorities had no more hope for trade at Foochow, but they thought they might have better luck at Canton; they did not fully appreciate the bureaucratic centralization and uniformity of the empire, and the imperial edicts to the Dutch had never mentioned the fact that the biennial trade permission had been revoked. A voyage to Canton in 1668 was a complete failure; the authorities held out some hope of trade and kept the Dutch waiting until the end of March 1669, but Peking forbade trade, and only a very small quantity of goods was sold clandestinely.24 Also in 1668 the Dutch garrison at Keelung was finally withdrawn. Keelung had proved useless as a warehouse for Dutch trade to China, and not a single Chinese junk had come there to trade, thanks to the strict Ch'ing prohibitions. The garrison had survived despite the climate, food shortages, bad relations with the aborigines, endless internal dissension, and an attack in May 1666 by a formidable Cheng force, which withdrew after nine days, far from beaten but apparently daunted by the vigor of the Dutch resistance.25 From 1669 through 1675 a diminished total of trade between Batavia and China was carried on by Chinese residents of Batavia and Dutch free burghers from Batavia, both of whom traded in the islands near Macao, and by a few Macao Portuguese who came to Batavia. In 1675 the Ch'ing were facing a rebellion of their great Chinese generals in the


W I T H THE D U T C H south, led by Wu San-kuei in Yunnan. In that year two of these generals, Keng Ching-chung in Foochow, who had already joined the rebellion, and Shang Chih-hsin in Canton, who was hovering on the brink of rebellion, sent invitations to the Dutch company to resume trade, and the Dutch responded in 1676. At first Shang Chih-hsin, by this time openly allied with Wu San-kuei, was very wary, fearing that relations with foreigners might disturb his relations with his father, Shang K'o-hsi, who was ostensibly retired from his military commands but still had great influence, and with the new governor whom Wu had sent to Canton. But in October and November 1676 Shang felt more secure in his relations with his father and the governor and allowed some of his client-merchants to trade with the Dutch in the islands. But the Dutch sold only half their cargo and made inadequate profits on that; they did not try to trade in Kwangtung again until 1681.26 At Foochow Keng Ching-chung welcomed the Dutch and quickly contracted for the stocks of lead, sulphur, and saltpeter they had brought at his request. But Keng's forces split; he surrendered to the Ch'ing forces without a fight,27 and the Dutch had to wait without trading while the suspicious Ch'ing conquerors asked the emperor what should be done about them. The imperial decision seems to have been that the Dutch might come to trade or present tribute as often as they wished. This surprising concession may have been motivated by a desire to get Dutch naval help again, and the Foochow authorities soon sent requests (or orders) to Batavia to send a fleet to help drive the Cheng forces out of the Changchou-Ch'üan-chou area. The Dutch company's military commitments in Indonesia were mounting steadily, however, and it had no ships to spare. And having been disappointed by trade conditions and finally betrayed by the revocation of the biennial privilege in the 1660's, it remained unwilling even to consider such a venture except in return for a firm imperial commitment as to satisfactory trade conditions and evidence of adherence to these commitments by the provincial officials. In 1677 a smaller trading mission was sent. Imperial permission apparently had to be secured for each season's trade, and when the emperor sent permission late in 1677 he ordered the Fukien officials to ask (or order) the "Dutch king" at Batavia to send a fleet. But trade at Foochow was still largely in the hands of the officials' client-merchants and profits were far from satisfactory. 28 In 1678 Batavia sent to Foochow a responsible and prestigious envoy, Martinus Caesar, to try to secure some relaxation of the officials' monopoly. He was not authorized even to discuss naval help, for reports that the


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS Fukien officials permitted and profited from an extensive smuggling trade with the Cheng forces on Amoy and Quemoy had convinced the Batavia authorities that the Fukien officials did not really want naval help. This was a serious mistake, all the more so because a new governor-general and governor were appointed in the summer of 1678 and apparently were expected to press the campaign against the Cheng forces more vigorously.29 Caesar quickly found himself in a very tight spot: he presented to the officials a statement of trade conditions that the Dutch would find satisfactory and was promptly asked if the Dutch would be willing to send a fleet if these conditions were met. Caesar could make no such promise, but he did add a statement that if the emperor desired Dutch help he should inform the Batavia governor-general and council by special letter and should not doubt that they would comply "according to their ability." At no time does he seem to have mentioned that the company simply did not have the ships available at Batavia to send a fleet like those sent in 16621664; such a confession certainly would have ended at once his efforts to improve trade conditions. In reply to the officials' report of Caesar's proposals the emperor granted the single concession that the Dutch might arrive, trade, and depart without awaiting permission from Peking, and he ordered the provincial officials then to ask Caesar if the Dutch would send a fleet, supposing the rest of their demands were met. Caesar managed to satisfy them somehow, and when the emperor received their report he granted the Dutch requests, including permission to build a permanent trading station in Foochow, and ordered the Dutch to send a fleet of twenty stout warships on the next south monsoon. 30 Caesar's party had waited until almost the end of the monsoon but had had to leave before the edict arrived. The imperial prince and commander-inchief in Fukien, Giyesu, 31 had promised that the Dutch would not be forced to send their remaining small ship against the winds to take the edict to Batavia, but when the edict arrived he was overruled by GovernorGeneral Yao Ch'i-sheng. The Dutch set out, but they found the way to the open sea blocked by a substantial Cheng fleet and turned back. 32 When more Dutch ships arrived in September 1679 it was decided to add extra emphasis to the edict by having it carried to Batavia by imperial envoys. The envoys were apparently selected by the Fukien officials with the approval of the emperor and were not of very high rank; one of them, Lin Ch'i-feng, later turned up as a prominent client-merchant in trade with the Dutch in Kwangtung. 33 They left for Batavia on a Dutch ship in November. Despite the very general imperial order that the Dutch should




be allowed to trade without hindrance, the Dutch were still convinced that their trade was limited to "creatures of the officials." Some of their trade may have been with small merchants who had no more to do with the officials than to pay some kind of fee or secure the guarantee of a prominent merchant, but the Dutch reports of continued " m o n o p o l y " strengthened the Batavia officials' conviction that nothing was to be gained by negotiating with the Chinese envoys. The envoys, for their part, soon learned that there simply were not twenty ships available; they pleaded with the Dutch to send whatever help they could. But the Dutch said that if any help was sent ships would have to be hired and sent from Holland, that they would do this only if the emperor agreed in advance to pay all the expenses of the fleet and paid one year's expenses in advance, and that they planned to send an envoy to Peking to learn if the emperor wished to conclude such an agreement. It was obvious to them and also to the Chinese envoys that this was a ridiculous proposal and that the main purpose of such a mission would be to complain to the emperor about the Foochow officials' mismanagement of trade and their failure to warn the emperor that the Dutch might not be able to send help. The Batavia Council had little hope that their envoys would be allowed to go to Peking; the whole venture seems to have been planned largely to prove conclusively to the Gentlemen Seventeen, the ruling council of the company in the Netherlands, who had remained optimistic about the China trade, that satisfactory relations were impossible. The Ch'ing envoys warned that the provincial officials would have to see any communications from Batavia to the emperor, and suggested that they themselves carry any letter to the emperor, but finally they had to settle for a copy of the Dutch letter. 34 When the Dutch envoys arrived in Foochow they refused to show the officials their letter to the emperor, but the officials learned its contents from the Ch'ing envoys' copy and probably reported to the throne that the Dutch envoys had come on a trivial errand and were not regular tributary envoys (they had no presents), and suggested that the letter to the emperor could be forwarded through normal bureaucratic channels. The emperor approved this suggestion but the Dutch had orders from Batavia to bring the letter back undelivered if they could not deliver it to Peking themselves. The officials said that if the letter was not turned over the Dutch would have to wait without trading while this was reported to Peking, and the Dutch, worried about the financial losses this might entail, felt obliged to give in. For some reason the Dutch were shown the letter a few days later, before it was sent off", and it was obvious that it


John Ε. Wills, Jr. [ CH'ING RELATIONS had been opened and edited. A small Dutch party stayed over until the fall of 1681, when the Dutch left Foochow after five years of continuous residence (a small party had been left behind to complete trade when the ships left each year). A last imperial edict in the spring of 1681 had made it clear that the privileges granted to the Dutch had been based on the expectation that they would send a fleet, and thus they had now lapsed. 35 From 1681 to 1690 the Dutch company continued to trade in the islands near Macao, at Amoy, and, in connection with a last hopeless embassy, at Foochow. The Dutch encountered English competition at Amoy and competed with Portuguese, English, and Chinese, including Batavia Chinese, in the islands off Macao. The Bento Pereira de Faria embassy of the Portuguese went to Peking in 1678 and seems to have obtained an edict granting to the Portuguese alone some kind of exemption from the prohibition of maritime trade in Kwangtung. The Portuguese tried to use this edict to persuade the provincial officials not to allow the Dutch to trade, but with varying success.36 Dutch trade in the Macao islands began by accident in 1681: the Dutch sent three small ships to get the party left in Foochow and sent some goods "in order not to send the ships empty." The smallest of the ships reached Foochow and brought the Dutch away, but the other two were damaged in a storm and had to put in to the Macao islands, where the group from Foochow joined them. The captain-general of Macao tried to keep the Dutch from trading, saying that the Canton officials were trying to blame the Portuguese for all the illicit trade going on in the islands. At first he posted watchboats that kept Chinese merchants away, but later he apparently decided not to risk an open conflict with the Dutch, and the latter carried on a satisfactory trade with client-merchants from Canton. In 1682, when the Dutch sent a larger cargo, the Portuguese had more success. A new Canton governor-general, reportedly unaware of the profits of the illicit trade and worried that reports of it would reach Peking through the Jesuits and his rivals in the bureaucracy, cut it off completely, and the Dutch got almost no trade. This setback led to an exploration of other possible trading areas in 1683. P'u-t'o-shan, Shach'eng (see map), and Foochow were visited with no success, but the Dutch did manage to trade in islands a little farther from Macao than their previous anchorage, selling about half their cargo at good profit. Another expedition to this area in 1684 proved even more satisfactory. 37 A small exploratory expedition to Amoy in 1684 brought the Dutch into direct contact with the Chinese bureaucracy, including new toll collectors with new regulations to enforce now that maritime trade was open to




Chinese merchants. The arrival of the Dutch was reported to the emperor. The Board of Rites first recommended that the Dutch not be allowed to trade until they sent an embassy, but in December 1684 the emperor decided that trade should be thrown open to all foreigners and specified that the Dutch would be allowed to trade that year, but not again until they sent an embassy. They completed their trade but it was too late in the season to take news of the imperial decision to Batavia. 38 In any case, the Batavia authorities had already decided to send an embassy in 1685, in order to get more permanent and satisfactory trading rights and forestall the danger of the English or French getting an advantage by sending an embassy first. The ambassador was Vincent Paets, a young man who had just arrived in Batavia from the Netherlands the year before and had been given high offices, probably because of his family connections. 39 The Dutch letter to the emperor asked for much the same trading privileges as had been requested and for the most part had been granted in the late 1670's and had been granted to all traders by the imperial decision mentioned above. Furthermore, the presence of the imperial toll collectors in the ports had hampered or broken the provincial officials' control of trade. In Foochow the embassy had a great deal of trouble; the presents for the emperor had to be unloaded from the ships and shown to the officials before anything else could be done; there were various new reporting and record-keeping requirements now that trade was legally open; and the provincial officials and imperial toll collectors were scarcely speaking to each other. The Dutch were allowed to sell their small cargo under excellent conditions, the officials insisting that all merchants pay cash at once. Records of the trip to Peking are disappointingly meager. The Dutch were received in audience on August 3,1686, and left on September 14. There was some discussion of the possibility of granting the Dutch a permanent residence in Foochow, and Paets gave presents to some officials who said they could obtain the emperor's consent to this proposal, but it was finally refused. Paets also requested and received exemption from tolls for two of the ships that had come to Foochow to take him away. 40 Neither these meager results nor the profits of trade in 1685 and 1686 were encouraging. In addition to the small cargo sent with Paets, the Dutch had sent large cargoes to the Canton islands in 1685 and to Foochow in 1686. Profits on these cargoes were lower than in the years before. Trade in Foochow was no longer limited to a few client-merchants, but the Dutch thought the officials were still getting some of the best goods, and


John Ε. Wills, Jr.



in the Canton islands the power of the client-merchants was still great. Moreover, Dutch interest in China in the 1680's had been motivated partly by a temporary boom in the market for Chinese silks in the Netherlands and by a temporary desire to push pepper sales in Asian markets, and both these motives were now disappearing. The Dutch traded in the Canton islands from 1687 to 1689 and at Amoy from 1687 to 1690, but their profits showed no signs of improvement. Chinese junks were coming to Batavia to trade in increasing numbers. In 1690 the Batavia authorities were worried about a possible attack by a French fleet and it was decided that no ships could be spared for a China voyage. The French threat passed, but company trade to China was not revived until 1729.41

Motivation and Conflict in Sino-Dutch


By 1690 both Chinese and Dutch had lost interest in maintaining their relations because of a decline of strategic and commercial incentives. Strategically, the Ch'ing had sought to use the Dutch against the Cheng forces until 1680, but in 1683 they had disposed of that menace unaided. Until 1665 the Dutch had sought Ch'ing support for revenge on the Cheng regime and more tentatively for action against the Portuguese at Macao, but thereafter they had lost interest. In commerce, as Chinese overseas trade expanded, the empire was less dependent on trade with Europeans for its supplies of spices and other Southeast Asian goods. The development of other sources of supply also made the Dutch less dependent on Chinese exports of silk and gold. By 1690 Chinese overseas trade furnished all the Chinese goods the Dutch wanted for European markets, and the intra-Asian carrying trades, especially the China-Japan trade, became less attractive to the Dutch as Chinese competition grew.42 Organization and exploitation of trade by both Chinese and Dutch authorities posed further obstacles to satisfactory trade. Until 1685 Ch'ing officials' efforts to corner trade led to many Sino-Dutch disputes and apparently reduced Dutch profits. On the Dutch side, it might have been possible to develop a profitable trade with China in more bulky goods, but because controlling interests in the Netherlands held the prevailing mercantilist ideas the Dutch company emphasized goods with high value and high profit per volume. Also, the company never developed a satisfactory cost-accounting system, especially for depreciation on ships, so that it


W I T H THE D U T C H could not judge real profits accurately and was excessively wary of high costs and especially of the danger to ships in the hazardous Chinese seas. Moreover, I suspect that the company officers engaged in the China trade played down its advantages, for it offered them no really first-class item for smuggling comparable to Japanese gold and copper or Bengal opium. 43 We can see in the years covered by this chapter, and especially in the Ch'ing opening of trade in 1684-1685 and its consequences, changes of great importance for the history of Chinese international relations, but these changes were little affected by relations with the Dutch. In 1685 the Ch'ing abandoned the link between international politics and international trade that had been implicit in the Ming and early Ch'ing tribute system and set out to regulate maritime trade for fiscal ends, without reference to the political allegiance of the traders or the tributary status of their rulers. This change was facilitated by an analogous change in the nature of European involvement in the Far East. Until the Dutch-Portuguese peace of 1664, the European involvement had been part of the ProtestantCatholic world war. Both sides had sought strategic as well as commercial advantages in the area, and this competition had contributed to the fitful Portuguese-Dutch rivalry for influence in Peking. After 1664, however, the Europeans sought only commercial advantages in China, and after the opening of trade in 1684-1685 and the failure of the Paets embassy, it was obvious that such advantages could not be gained by political relations with the court. The Anglo-French conflicts of the eighteenth century, so important in India, hardly touched the Far East. The rapid growth of tea exports from China in that century fitted into a worldwide pattern of expanding largescale production of certain products for export (this pattern was visible also in Indian textiles, West Indian sugar, and Javanese coffee and sugar). Both sides in the Sino-Western trade were thus reasonably content with their profits, and the eighteenth century passed with very little political contact between Europeans and Chinese. When changes in commerce and its organization eventually led to Sino-Western political relations, in the 1790's and more importantly in the 1830's, the Europeans were aware of the deep conflict between the two diplomatic traditions only in a vague and general way, and the Chinese were not aware of them at all.44 I am inclined to doubt that this eighteenth-century situation would have been significantly altered by a different development in Dutch trade and diplomacy on the China coast before 1690, in view of the K'ang-hsi Emperor's appreciation of the fiscal value of trade and his desire to control


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS it in a centralized, uniform, and fiscally rational manner. 45 If the Dutch had retained a fortified post on Taiwan into the eighteenth century, they would have had under their rule a growing Chinese population of dubious loyalty to the Ch'ing 46 and a base from which all Ch'ing efforts to control foreign trade could have been evaded. Ch'ing efforts to deal with the resulting problems would probably have led to political relations more involved than the Ch'ing-Portuguese relations over Macao and perhaps as involved as those of Peking with the Russians. But all this is very speculative; the disappearance of strategic motives and the decline of commercial motives on both sides would have made continuing Sino-Dutch relations unlikely in any case. However, even when these motives were strongest, SinoDutch relations were marked by frequent conflicts and by disappointments and accusations of betrayal on both sides. An examination of these difficulties can shed a good deal of light on the problems inherent in relations between powers representing two cultures and two diplomatic traditions. Let us note first certain minor and rather normal sources of conflict. The small groups of Dutchmen ashore at Foochow and Amoy managed to avoid the scrapes with Chinese criminal law that plagued the more numerous English in the eighteenth century. More trouble was caused by Chinese stealing Dutch goods, from boats bringing goods up-river, from warehouses, even from the backs of coolies in the city streets. This led to innumerable Dutch protests to local officials and to at least two riots. There were rude or incompetent officials on both sides, although we have no record of a Ch'ing official comparable to one Dutch chief at Foochow, who always took a dram of courage before going to meet with the Chinese officials and once rolled off a bench at a banquet. 47 Both sides broke some agreements, most notably in the heat of battle in November 1663. Both sides had their tentative understandings overruled by their own central authorities, often as a result of the central authorities' lack of understanding of the local situation. Both seem to have told some downright lies, though perhaps no more than in most diplomatic negotiations. The Dutch were also annoyed by a recurrent kind of Chinese white lie: the Ch'ing officials assured the Dutch that a long-awaited edict would arrive from Peking within two or three days or that an imperial decision would be favorable to them, when they actually had no basis for such assurance, and of course every failure of one of these promises reinforced Dutch suspicions of heathen treachery. Conflict was aggravated by language difficulties and by each side's lack of coherent information about the other. Only a few Dutchmen learned


W I T H THE D U T C H enough Chinese to carry on a conversation and still fewer enough to make an educated guess at the meaning of an edict. More often than not, the Dutch were dependent on Batavia Chinese interpreters, whose command of bureaucratic Chinese was rather dubious, and who, speaking only Amoy or Hokkien, must have had considerable difficulty communicating with officials from North China or Manchuria. Moreover, most of these Batavia Chinese apparently spoke not Dutch but Portuguese or Malay, the linguae francae of Batavia, in which the Dutch might be less than perfectly fluent. The possibilities for misunderstanding were obviously manifold, and there seem also to have been a few instances where the Batavia Chinese engaged in deliberate misrepresentation in order to line their own pockets. Thus a conclusion based on a Dutch translation of a single document or a Dutch record of a single conversation must be very tenuous indeed, especially when there is an assertion that the Chinese broke a promise or were not completely frank. Each side showed an astonishing lack of curiosity about the other. The Dutch conscientiously wrote down their observations and the rumors they heard, but few of them even tried to collect commercial information systematically. The Ch'ing officials were largely dependent on Batavia Chinese as informants. The officials do not seem to have profited even from the limited sources of information they had. Their questions to the Dutch were perfunctory; few of them ever inspected a Dutch ship; and the 1680 envoys to Batavia said they had not even known that Java and Holland were two different places. Chinese curiosity seems to have been inhibited both by the Sinocentric idea that foreigners weren't worth that much attention and by the general lack of systematic empirical curiosity in neoConfucian culture.48 Conflicts usually arose between the two diplomatic traditions because of the misapplication by each side of expectations and habits previously developed in relations with other areas. Ch'ing officials assumed that the Dutch would understand the tribute system and their obligation to send an embassy and that they would be suitably impressed by presents and praise from the Son of Heaven, as would almost all other foreigners with whom the Ch'ing had had contact. They seem to have expected that the Dutch would keep on hand the ships that had brought an ambassador until his departure, as the Siamese appear to have done. 49 The P'u-t'o-shan incident and the Dutch settlement at Keelung, both of which contributed so much to the court's aversion to the Dutch, were in part misapplications of strategies that had worked in South and South-


John Ε. Wills, Jr. / CH'ING RELATIONS east Asia. The Dutch had often made good use of a fortified post from which they could intervene in local politics, blockade unfriendly ports, and try to force trade into their own port; they did not see that these tactics were largely irrelevant to their relations with China, and they did not expect anything like the court's suspicious reaction. The Dutch had committed other outrages as bad as that at P'u-t'o-shan with as dubious justification and generally had been little concerned about heathen resentment. Some of these were probably inevitable in view of the low caliber of the company's ordinary soldiers and sailors. But the company had probably done little to curb such excesses because few South and Southeast Asian rulers could translate their resentment into action as effectively as the Ch'ing did. Also, the Dutch expected that any agreements reached or concessions granted would be confirmed by "sealed letters" to them from the emperor, as they would have been in South and Southeast Asia; in one instance they showed their reliance on their experience with the Mogul court by using the word "firman" in their discussions of China. They expected negotiation instead of, or at least in addition to, ceremony when they sent an embassy to Peking, but they showed a surprising lack of interest in the commercial aspect of an embassy. In this and in their insistence on such points as the immunity of envoys from detention or arrest, they were also drawing on European custom and international law, and in their discussions with Chinese officials they often referred to the "law of all nations" and "the custom of all princes," which were of course quite unknown to the Chinese. Even in these relatively limited and practical expections we can see the influence of contrasting values and world views: on the Ch'ing side, the strict limitation and bureaucratic control of foreign contact in order to preserve order and culture within the empire, and the great importance of the ritual relationship between the emperor and a tributary prince; on the Dutch side, the concept of a community of equal states adhering to a common code for intercourse, a code increasingly formalized in international law. 50 In the events discussed in this paper these values did not come into explicit conflict but remained implicit in assumptions about the rational means to achieve limited practical ends, such as trade and military cooperation. The Ch'ing officials contributed to misunderstanding less by clinging to their own customs when they were openly challenged than by assuming that the Dutch would know and understand Chinese customs. The Dutch might have been able to adjust to Chinese ignorance


W I T H THE D U T C H of the values and norms of international law if they had not assumed that these were known to all peoples and that Chinese divergence from them was due to treachery. There is no indication that Chinese acceptance of international law and equality among nations was a conscious goal of Dutch policy. In fact, it was Dutch acceptance of Chinese forms of inequality that was primarily responsible for the avoidance of more explicit conflicts. By the 1680's the Dutch seem to have understood quite clearly that the ceremonies of a tribute embassy implied submission, but they did not balk at them any more than they balked at ceremonies with similar implications at the court of Mataram. 51 Apparently they did not worry very much about what an embassy meant to the "heathen," so long as they knew what i t " really" meant in Western international law. Also, since they were servants of a trading company and citizens of a republic, they did not have to worry about the personal honor of a sovereign. Dutch acquiescence in Chinese forms of documents and address, which caused so much trouble with the British in the 1830's, was no doubt facilitated by inadequate translation; even imperial edicts in Dutch translation became almost communications between equals. Also, the Dutch submitted to Chinese restrictions on their freedom of movement and trade. Profit, not "freedom of trade," was their goal, as can be seen from their acceptance of closely regulated but very profitable trade at Nagasaki.52 They objected to Chinese restrictions primarily because they thought that they caused their inadequate profits. Although the Dutch accepted restrictions and disappointments in their relations with the Chinese, they did not forget them, and their records are full of recitals, both among themselves and in their communications with the Chinese officials, of their growing catalogue of Tatar perfidy and unreasonable restriction. Although the Chinese record is far less complete I know of no evidence that the Ch'ing officials in Foochow cherished their grievances against the Dutch or alluded to them repeatedly in their reports to the court; certainly in their conversations with the Dutch they usually seemed ready to forgive and forget. The court's eagerness for naval aid in the late 1670's seems to have overcome rather quickly the effects of the disputes and depredations of the 1660's. Interesting contrasts are involved here. First, the Dutch tended to take every disappointment or setback personally, as a slight to themselves, the company, and the Dutch nation; traits common to many Europeans in Asia were accentuated by seventeenth-century pride and choler and by


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the deep Dutch patriotism and love of freedom developed during the long war against Spain. Dutch indignation was also fed by an a priori dislike and suspicion of all things heathen. Like so many other Europeans in Asia before and since, the Dutch tended to view European customs, especially those relating to international law, as dictated by natural reason, and all deviation from them as irrational, perverse, or motivated by treachery and greed. The Ch'ing officials were naturally convinced of the superiority of Chinese culture, institutions, and diplomatic practices and insisted that the Dutch would have to accept them if they wished to deal with China, but they showed little surprise or indignation at the fact that these foreigners had different ideas and customs. In short, the particularism of Chinese culture made possible an easier acceptance of the fact of cultural differences than did the universal pretensions of Western culture. Also, Chinese officials were not much worried about loss of face through frustration, slights, and even insults from the foreigners but were disturbed when relations with the foreigners led to trouble or loss of face in their relations with the court or other bureaucrats. For example, in 1665 Keng and Li were very angry about the Dutch failure to send an embassy because they had assured the court that an embassy would come. Also, relations between foreigners and provincial officials apparently were not as central in the imperial Confucian ritual order as those between the emperor and a tributary prince or between the emperor and his officials, so that locally a wider range of unconventional and discourteous behavior could be tolerated for practical ends without loss of face. Despite this contrast between Dutch choler and Chinese tolerance, there was some substance to Dutch accusations of betrayal in the unilateral revocation of the biennial trade privilege in 1666 and in a number of less important incidents. But a very interesting point emerges from a closer examination of these "betrayals." Almost none of them appear to have been deliberate; almost all resulted from the checks and balances of the Chinese bureaucracy. Provincial officials often found their desire to make an agreement or maintain amicable relations frustrated by a veto or later revocation by the court. It was the court, not the Fukien officials that reacted so sharply to the Dutch looting on P'u-t'o-shan. Early in 1667 a governor-general was dismissed for allowing the Dutch ships to leave without their ambassador. And in 1667 at Foochow, 1668 at Canton, and 1683 at Foochow, the provincial officials' eagerness to trade was completely frustrated by imperial prohibitions. Even when provincial officials were authorized to negotiate


W I T H THE D U T C H or to execute a policy, the concurrence and cooperation of several officials was usually required, limiting the effectiveness of any one of them. Cooperation in a Taiwan expedition in 1664 was apparently frustrated by Shih Lang's devious efforts to maintain his own power. Keng Chi-mao approved immediate Dutch trade in October 1663 but was overruled by Li Shuai-t'ai. In 1679 Giyesu's promise that the Dutch would not have to take an edict to Batavia against the monsoon was overruled by Yao Ch'i-sheng. On the other hand, the emperor could not conduct diplomacy without the cooperation of the provincial officials. He depended on them for information and even for knowledge of the proposals made by envoys. Apparently he was not informed of all the Dutch requests in 1662, 1678, and 1680 and could not have granted all of them if he had wanted to. His power to challenge the interests of powerful local officials, like those involved in the exploitation of maritime trade, was by no means unlimited, especially as long as their allegiance and efforts were required for the final consummation of the Manchu conquest. Having only limited knowledge of the local situation and limited power to enforce a specific decision, the emperor usually decided only the broad outlines of policy, leaving the details to the provincial officials; he would communicate his decision to them, leaving it to them to communicate it to the foreigners in the most politic manner or not to communicate it at all. Thus the Dutch sometimes had difficulty even in learning what had been granted or revoked, let alone in securing full compliance from the provincial officials. The Dutch remained suspicious of concessions granted in edicts to provincial officials and convinced that they were legally and morally less binding than concessions granted in "sealed letters" to the Dutch themselves. The legal distinction probably would have been meaningless to a Ch'ing official, but the moral difference in the seriousness of the emperor's commitment might not have been. Of course the emperor could cut through these obstacles by sending an imperial commissioner with special instructions and authority to negotiate, to commit himself, and to supervise execution of an agreement without the concurrence of the provincial officials; and agreements of exceptional importance might be confirmed in detail by an imperial edict. But these were exceptional measures, apparently undertaken only when normal measures had failed. Foreigners visiting the court as tributary envoys found that ritual obligations and restrictions made formal negotiation difficult and that they did not have enough time to build up contacts for informal negotiation. But friendly foreigners with more permanent


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positions at the court might be much more effective in informal negotiation; the Jesuits often served the Portuguese very well in this way.

The Chinese Diplomatic Tradition This tradition can be seen as fundamentally oriented to the maintenance of a boundary between the bureaucratic state and everything outside it, first of all by means of ritual. All foreign relations with the court included the ritual of presentation of tribute and performance of the kotow by the foreign prince or his envoy. This ritual expressed the correct relationship between the emperor and the foreign prince and distinguished it from the relationship between the emperor and his officials within the empire. The officials might come to the court and kotow before the emperor and might send presents or regular tribute of regional products, but only foreign princes, and, as far as I can tell, all foreign princes, sent envoys with tribute. Thus the tributary ritual expressed both the foreign prince's partial relatedness to the world of full imperial rule and his partial separation from it. The Chinese bureaucracy was usually quite zealous in its efforts to prevent any open challenge to this ritual order, and this zeal sometimes inhibited its efforts to deal with what we would call the practical aspects of foreign relations. But as long as this ritual order was not openly challenged, a variety of "practical" arrangements could be tolerated, in which tributary obligations might be relaxed (as for the Dutch in the 1670's) or completely ignored (as for the Portuguese at Macao under the Ming, the English at Canton in the eighteenth century, or most Russian trade at Khiakhta and Peking). Little effort was made to force or persuade tributaries to maintain their relationship; the system was not explicitly challenged by their failure to send tribute, and it was assumed that in time the civilizing influence of the empire would once again cause them to come. Little effort was made to spread Chinese culture into areas where it did not already have a foothold. 53 In the second place, the Chinese diplomatic tradition in its more practical aspects was oriented toward the prevention of conflict, toward the maintenance of the status quo, toward "boundary maintenance" in a sense distinct from but related to its ritualistic boundary maintenance. Contact with foreigners was restricted: most of it was limited to border areas, and all contact and trade were kept under close bureaucratic control. External


W I T H THE D U T C H threats to the security of the empire might also be nipped in the bud by diplomatic efforts to prevent the rise of unified powers on China's borders or to use one foreign power against another. Boundary maintenance of this kind was important for several reasons. Foreigners very often did not understand the correct human relationships, and their influence must not be allowed to disturb those relations within China. They presented a general danger of cultural contamination. Also, there was no place in the Chinese ritual order for residents of the empire who were subjects of another prince. 51 The bias of the Chinese state toward passivity and system maintenance reinforced the desire to maintain a rather rigid boundary. The thinness, passivity, and formality of the state's control over Chinese society increased the danger that foreigners, if not strictly controlled, would be able to spy out routes for invasion, stir up trouble among the people, and intrigue with the officials. Moreover, the passivity and inefficiency of Chinese military power in many periods made it imperative to exclude possible troublemakers ahead of time rather than reacting to and suppressing trouble after it started. More active or positive goals of foreign policy were sometimes pursued, but usually these were subordinated to defensive boundary maintenance. Conquest and plunder, perhaps the most common such goals in other societies, were usually little esteemed; here the general status quo orientation of the Chinese state was reinforced by the dominance of a ruling class with no interest in proving itself in warfare. Early Ming expansion was the result of a thoroughly exceptional situation in which strong Chinese despots had both practical and ideological reasons for seeking to impose some measure of China-centered order on the chaotic aftermath of the Mongol collapse. Ch'ing expansion to the north and west was a continuation of Manchu involvement in that direction that had begun before 1644; it was also the best strategy ever worked out for the defense of China's land frontiers. Other subsidiary benefits could be sought in relations with foreigners. The value of foreign trade as a source of revenue, of livelihood for the people, and of bullion imports was recognized at least sporadically. Foreign military and naval auxiliaries sometimes had their uses, and a foreign settlement in a troublesome border area, like Macao, could help keep order and distract the hostile attention of outlaws who might otherwise disturb the empire.65 The concentration on boundary maintenance and defense of ritual supremacy was reinforced by China's geographical position of solitary


John Ε. Wills, Jr. [ CH'ING RELATIONS eminence, which was also economic, political, and cultural. For most Chinese rulers the profits of foreign conquest were unimportant compared to the riches obtainable within China. Because most needs were supplied by internal trade, foreign trade was relatively unimportant. Militarily and politically, China had had only sporadic contact with states of comparable power, rivalry with which might have necessitated more involved negotiation and stimulated interest in foreign affairs. Because of China's own size, bureaucratic unity, and defensive military strength, she seldom needed foreign alliances to defend herself. Culturally, neither the Chinese nor most of the peoples with whom they had regular relations had much direct knowledge of any other comparable center of civilization. Japan, Korea, and Vietnam had indeed been deeply influenced by Chinese culture with little or no active missionary effort by the Chinese. The Chinese view of their empire as the sole center of civilization and the belief that they had nothing to learn or gain from foreigners were largely confirmed by experience and seldom challenged by foreign visitors to China. Furthermore, because of this solitary eminence, the Chinese could exert considerable influence on their neighbors even when they used inefficient methods. Because the trade with China was more vital to many of these peoples than it was to China, they would be willing to trade on terms set by the Chinese, and their fear of antagonizing the Chinese and losing their trade would keep them from causing trouble. An imperial subsidy, miniscule in terms of the imperial budget, might be quite attractive to a minor khan or lama. Nor could China's neighbors ignore completely the possibility of China's sluggish but immense military power being mobilized against them if they should not stay on good terms. And China's prestige as a center of power and culture made many foreign rulers susceptible to the flattery of a title, a gift, or an edict of praise from the emperor. The Chinese bureaucracy generally showed considerable strength and competence in the boundary-maintenance aspects of foreign relations but far less ability in pursuit of more positive goals because its checks and balances inhibited the making of positive decisions. They were more effective in preventing actions than in causing them. Thus, when the government decided to limit relations with some foreign group, there was a good chance that the limitation would be effective because each official would fear that another would reveal his violation of it. Similarly, alliances between foreigners and dissident elements in the provinces were rather effectively prevented. And because of the centralization of the bureaucracy,


W I T H THE D U T C H a foreign misdeed anywhere, such as the Dutch depredations at P'u-t'oshan, would lead to uniform sanction all along the frontiers of the empire. Chinese management of foreigners was often most effective when most nearly assimilated to the patterns of internal bureaucratic politics. Chinese officials' talents for courtesy, dissimulation, and manipulation of personal contact, so important in intrabureaucratic relations, were of course important assets in foreign relations. Divide-and-rule tactics were also effective, as exemplified in some of the Ming border commanderies and in the Ch'ing Mongolian and Tibetan policy. The effectiveness of bureaucratic control can also be seen at Macao and in the limitation of trade and communication to licensed merchants, such as the Canton hong merchants and the Chinese who traded with the Dutch on Taiwan and the Spanish at Manila. But continuity in policy making and execution was limited by the lack of specialization in foreign affairs. Bureaucratic politics, as well as Confucian ideology, discouraged specialization of any kind; fluidity in personal alignments and the adjustment of interests would diminish if specialists were allowed to become indispensable in administration. Career specialization could be allowed in fields where the general run of officials might be assumed to have some knowledge—finance, defense, or public works—but this was emphatically not the case in foreign affairs. The only bodies specializing in foreign contact under the Ming were lowlevel interpreters; at the Board level foreign affairs were part of a peculiar jumble of functions under the Board of Rites. Two other boards, Finance and War, also made policy recommendations that affected foreign relations, though their vested interests (revenue and border pacification, for example) might be in conflict. The Ch'ing did better than the Ming by establishing in the Li-fan yuan a high-ranking body of specialists in Inner Asian affairs, who could make coherent and realistic policies toward the Russians, the Mongolians, and the Tibetans. This gain was due largely to the Manchus themselves, since they were not limited to bureaucratic channels and had a specific interest in Inner Asia antedating the conquest. Sino-Dutch relations between 1662 and 1690 illustrate many aspects of the Chinese diplomatic tradition, in particular the important role of communication and decision making within the bureaucracy. For example, in the Confucian ritual order the minister remained completely dependent on the ruler for his authority and direction, but he was a moral agent in a moral situation, not a mere tool of an arbitrary despot.56 The emperor relied heavily on his advice and proposals and so would give him


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only the general guidelines of policy, leaving the details to his judgment. To communicate decisions concerning foreigners to the official and not directly to the foreigners was a corollary of this; as he was not a tool, neither was he a mouthpiece or a messenger. The practical reason for this was that in such a vast empire, with premodern communications, the emperor was dependent on the provincial official for his information and for detailed execution of his decisions, and he could not anticipate measures that might be necessary by the time a decision reached the provinces. This picture of the Chinese diplomatic tradition is considerably less tightly systematic than some earlier pictures of the tribute system. The parts of this tradition were only loosely interrelated. The eighteenth-century Canton system, for example, expressed the general tendency to control foreign contact and limit it to border areas, but it had no explicit relation to the institution of the tribute embassy. Bureaucratic systematization at a very routine level, such as the elaborate regulations for Korea's various kinds of embassies,57 rather quickly became less important in dealing with complex situations like the relations with the Dutch discussed above. Chinese foreign relations show less bureaucratic systematization than, for example, the examination system or the salt monopoly. Nor do these relations fit the model of an international system of mutually reinforcing practices, means, and ends shaping the behavior of a number of political units as closely as, say, eighteenth-century Europe or late-nineteenthcentury European imperialism.58


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A New Look at the Mid-century China entered the modern world not by abandoning her imperial tradition but by adapting it to meet the problems of the mid-nineteenth century. This adaptation made the "treaty system" in its early stages an outgrowth of the "tribute system." History as hindsight, of course, involves a large amount of interpretation—almost more than historians can admit and still stay in business. Interpretation is perpetrated less by explicit theorizing than by making assumptions, especially by asking "obvious" questions. Thus we ask, What was the Western impact on China after 1840? (British gunboats must have had some impact. To ask, What was their non-impact? would be a non-question. As we seek, we find. So our evidence, carefully scavenged, soon proves their impact.) And so the Opium War and the first treaties, in Peking today and around the world, are viewed as the dawn of the New. This essay, per contra, suggests that they only began the twilight of the Old. The concept asserted here is that of transition, continuity with tradition, no sharp break. Thus I would attack that greatest of all distortions due to historical generalizing, the distortion of periodization. History cannot be discussed without it, but the result is necessarily misleading. The OpiumWar of 1840 is commonly used to divide the tribute era from the treaty era, A French version of this chapter was presented as a lecture at the Sorbonne in June 1966.


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Chinese dominance from Western dominance. Yet in fact 1840 was only the beginning of a twenty-year process, the opening of China by treaty as a basis for Western contact after 1860. And it was still another twenty years before the Chinese Empire entered the Europocentric family of nations diplomatically1 and began to show symptoms of modern nationalism. For a modern generation interested in tracing its own origins, it is natural to view these forty years from 1840 to about 1880 as the beginning of a new era which led to modernization, nationalism, and revolution. But this period of forty years came after a tradition of two thousand years; and its temper in many respects was actually more traditional than modern. The Westernizers of China down to 1880 were a small minority, acting on sufferance in the midst of conservatives who were still making their last stand in defense of the Chinese world.2 Their great tradition still had vitality. Thus the treaty system in its early decades from the 1840's to the 1880's was not merely a Western device for bringing China into the Western world; it may equally well be viewed as a Ch'ing device for accommodating the West and giving it a place within the Chinese world. In the traditional Chinese view, the treaties were a means of "bridling and reining in" (chi-mi) the powerful sea "barbarians"; the early treaty period down to the 1880's was seen as only the latest phase in this tradition of "management" {ch'ou-pan) of barbarian affairs.3 The new beginnings of the mid-century decades were a small leaven amid the continuation of the old order. The tribute system petered out slowly as the treaties gradually took hold. In day-to-day practice at the early treaty ports the Ch'ing government and the Chinese people both helped in creating the treaty system. This Chinese contribution was an essential ingredient. Indeed, the new system grew up within a China so accustomed to handling barbarians that the Chinese contribution was in many respects the major ingredient. The Western powers, coming from outside the tradition, intent on their own aims, did not realize how closely the treaty system was built within the framework of Chinese tradition. Modern Chinese patriots have not realized it either. Their nationalism has led them to look back upon the origin of the unequal treaties and see mainly the Opium War, focusing upon Western aggression as the evil though creative element in Sino-foreign relations. In the eyes of Young China of the 1900's the Manchu record in foreign relations had been a dismal humiliation. Historians of Republican China since 1911, assimilating an outside, Western-nationalist view, have generally contemned the




Ch'ing as foes of progress. Marxist-Leninists of the 1920's and after, using the same factual record distilled from the British Blue Books by historians like Η. B. Morse, recounted the Westerners' depredations as imperialism and saw the response of the Ch'ing rulers as simple treachery. As usual, the victors, either Kuomintang or Communist in turn, have written the history of the ancien regime. No one speaks up for the defunct dynasty. Few study its sophisticated tradition. Yet this conventional picture of Ch'ing passivity and collapse in the face of Western vigor and expansion fits the end of the century better than its middle decades. The Western impact had begun small and grown gradually. It was not overwhelming in the early period. China came to be abjectly victimized only after 1894. Thus our " subperiodization," focusing on 1840-1880, aims to correct the distortion natural to reformers and revolutionists since the 1890's. Foreignized Shanghai, for example, in the twentieth century has been China's metropolis; but it was not so in the 1850's and 1860's. Some observers have concluded that in the nineteenth century the external stimuli from the West, whether small or large, could rouse no competent response from the moribund Celestial Empire. The thesis of this chapter, however, is just the opposite—that the Ch'ing regime responded to the West in terms of its own tradition; it did not Westernize its foreign relations because it saw no need to do so; it seemed to outsiders to be responding slowly precisely because its traditional institutions in fact continued at first to function so well. In short, Westernization was not the only response available to it. The institutions for handling China's foreign relations had been developed through the ages to survive the shocks both of domestic rebellion and of barbarian conquest. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century they could be adapted to handle the Western barbarians. In this period, moreover, the Western powers, reaching the Far East over the long routes by sea or across Siberia, had limited aims; until the end of the century they lacked both the will and the capacity to dominate the Chinese continental land mass. In short, the great size and even greater inertia of China, compared with the modest degree of Western encroachment down to the 1880's, favored the continued use of traditional methods in Sino-foreign relations. The result was that the treaty system, which gleamed so new in the eyes of British consuls, was actually from the Chinese point of view little more than a refurbishing of the traditional tribute system, a variation on ancient and well-tested themes.


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The Treaties' Continuity with Chinese Tradition The Westerners saw in the early treaty system a new order—legally designated treaty ports for foreign residence and trade, where foreign nationals could live and work under the protection of foreign consular jurisdiction, thanks to extraterritoriality; a nonprotective treaty tariff equally enforced upon every merchant; and all the foreign privileges in the various treaties tied together by the most-favored-nation clause. Yet it takes only a moment's reflection to see that the substance of these features were all well within the Chinese tradition. The residential and trading areas to which Westerners, like other foreigners in earlier times, had been restricted at Macao and outside the walls of Canton were simply extended to four more ports. The consuls merely represented the ancient principle that a community of foreign merchants in China should be superintended by a head man who would take responsibility for his countrymen. The Ch'ing tariff, taxing exports as well as imports, had never aimed to be protective. The most-favored-nation clause originated in the imperial desire to show a superior impartiality to all non-Chinese (see Mr. Wang's study above, page 50), the better to play off one barbarian against another while treating them all with the same condescending benevolence. The treaty system emerged from a long transitional order in SinoWestern relations which may be called the Canton system (c. 1760-1834). Canton had seen a gradual decline of the original Ming and Ch'ing tribute arrangements. Under them originally the tribute missions had come at stated intervals on the diplomatic level, whereas trade had been conducted at the designated port of entry and at the capital on the commercial level; and these had been interdependent activities. At Canton, however, tribute missions from the Western trading powers had ceased to come—the last genuine one was the Dutch mission of 1794-1795. First the British and then the Americans had begun to exercise a unilateral type of extraterritoriality, not surrendering to Chinese jurisdiction their nationals who were accused in homicide cases. Meanwhile the foreign trade had grown enormously at the port but not at the capital (except for revenues remitted there by the Hoppo). The traditional model of tribute-and-trade was already considerably distorted. In the first phase of the treaty system after 1842 there were no envoys arriving at the capital on the diplomatic level and trade grew only slowly at the four new ports, until the disorders of domestic rebellion energized trade at Shanghai and (from 1854) at Foochow. The extra-territorial




privileges of treaty-power foreigners became more explicit and formal but, like the treaty tariff, remained an essentially local problem. Foreign officials were dealt with on the frontier at the ports, but their problems were regularly referred to Canton, not Peking, for settlement. The Ch'ing rationale in accepting the treaties had been an application of the hoary concept of chi-mi (see Mr. Yang's analysis of this on page 31). By this the materialistic foreigners were granted certain benefits and privileges that would grow into vested interests, for which they would depend upon the emperor and by which he might therefore control them. Foreigners viewed the treaties as a charter of privileges; kinetic consuls like Harry Parkes strove to add to the charter. But Ch'ing officials took the treaties as a charter of limitations that set boundaries which the foreigners could not overstep without endangering their commercial profits. From ancient times powerful barbarians had been led to keep the peace and even accept tributary status by their greed for the emperor's gifts. 4 Now the Western trading powers, with their uncouth avidity for trade, were assured of their profits when the emperor confirmed their treaties. By these material interests they would be motivated, it was hoped, to keep the peace. The principal growth in the treaty system after 1844 occurred at Shanghai in 1854 when rebellion had all but destroyed the Ch'ing authority there. The arrangements then worked out for the Shanghai foreign settlement and the Foreign Inspectorate of Customs were possible only because of imperialist weakness and local Western dominance. 5 Even so, they gave the foreigners control over the Shanghai settlement only by virtue of authority given to foreign consuls through the treaties granted by imperial edict. Similarly the foreign inspectors gained control over the operation of the Shanghai customs only by putting themselves nominally under the jurisdiction of the Chinese bureaucracy responsible for revenue collection. Even the most aggressive Westerners had to acknowledge that the emperor's "sovereignty" over Shanghai still continued. It never became a free port. The next step came when the treaties of 1858 permitted foreign envoys to visit the capital without performing the kotow, but not to reside there permanently. This privilege of residence conflicted with the "basic structure" of the Chinese state-and-society (t'i-chih) and was granted only under duress in I860.6 But by 1861 the emperor was a minor; and the question of his giving audience without requiring the kotow could be avoided. So it remained until 1873, when the young T'ung-chih Emperor received


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the Western envoys in audience for the first and only time. The Ch'ing success in stalling off Western egalitarian relations was well illustrated in this incident, which has to be seen in its Chinese, not its Western context. The way was prepared by an edict of June 14, 1873, stating that the foreign envoys (shih-ch'en, a term equally applicable to tributary envoys) implored an audience to present their credentials (kuo-shu, likewise an ancient term). "Since there are now envoys of the various countries stationed at the capital with credentials,"7 read the edict, "let them be permitted to have audience." The Ch'ing dynastic records then note that on June 20 the tributary envoys (shih-ch'en) of Korea, three persons in all, had audience outside the north gate of the Forbidden City. This audience undoubtedly preserved the tradition of the kotow. Finally on June 29 it is recorded that the emperor issued an edict concerning the campaign in the Northwest (in twenty lines), that he took certain personnel actions (in three lines) and that he held audience (in four lines). In this report of audience no distinction was made between ministers (shih-ch'en) of the Western powers and the Japanese ambassador, although the latter was listed first. The five Western envoys "in front of the Tzu-kuang-ko looked up at the emperor in audience." The Tzu-kuang-ko (Pavilion of Imperial Light or Throne Hall of Purple Effulgence), built in the Ming to receive Mongol princes, had an imposing approach and high-ceilinged audience hall. It had been used regularly for the reception of tribute. Banquets had been recorded as given there for envoys of Korea, Liu-ch'iu, Laos, Siam, or Vietnam at least in 1839-1843, 1845-1848, and 1864." Now the foreign envoys convened at 5.30 A.M., were received by successively higher officials, and by a little after nine o'clock stood before the emperor, whose responses were relayed to them by Prince Kung on his knees. A Chinese account in one of the "Peking gazettes" described the terror of the Western ministers when they confronted the Son of Heaven—they could neither read their addresses nor answer the emperor's kindly questions. Dropping their papers, they were overcome with trembling.9 Thus the early treaties in themselves did not remake the Chinese view of the world. To China they represented the supremacy of Western power, but this did not convey the Western idea of the supremacy of law. When Western diplomats extolled the sanctity of the treaties, their Chinese listeners could see the treaty documents as written compacts, but not the institution of law that underlay them. Partly for this reason, I suggest, the Ch'ing regime never really launched


SYSTEM IN THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER a movement for treaty revision and rights recovery, like those of Meiji Japan and Kuomintang China. After the fiasco of the Alcock Convention of 1869, it saw no way to make use of the fact that treaties as law were legally revisable and foreign treaty privileges might thereby be reduced. This point could not impress culture-bound " realists" who saw the growing wealth and power of the West and thought only how to foster the wealth and power of China. In any case it could not be pursued until reforms were under way after 1901. Until then, "treaty revision" continued to mean foreign encroachment, not rights recovery. Suppose we could put ourselves in the place of Chinese scholars of a century ago, mindful how imperial Confucianism had survived the Manchu conquest of the seventeenth century as well as the other barbarian conquests preceding it. We might well view the rising Western treaty system in China as the possible beginning of a "Western conquest" of the empire. The Western sea barbarians had assumed a place in the power structure but had not yet taken it over. They had not become dependencies or vassals (fan), yet they had been generally pacified, and the Ch'ing dynasty still ruled. From "outer barbarians" they had become "inside barbarians," fitting into certain traditional institutions to a considerable degree. After making raids on the coastal frontier, they had been induced to cease hostilities. Their officials now took responsibility for controlling their fellow countrymen. Foreign merchants and missionaries went further and became patrons of their Chinese collaborators. In the new ports they enlisted the aid of Chinese followers drawn mainly from frontier areas such as the Canton delta. Only gradually had Canton and the early treaty ports changed from being ghettos, where the barbarians could be quarantined, into privileged sanctuaries or centers of infection, whence they could spread their evil influence. The tribute system had not as yet been entirely overturned. The Westerners had refused to accept Ch'ing supremacy in the old forms, but the kotow was still being performed in the case of East Asian tribute missions.

The Long Twilight of the Tribute System The persistence of tribute in its established channels bulks large in the Ch'ing record. This is evident first of all in formal ideological expressions, flights of prose which have the same flamboyance and yet representative significance as American convention oratory. Two examples of this


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extensive genre of literary compositions may suffice, one from 1839 and one from 1880. These statements assume a Sinocentric world in which the Son of Heaven at the apex treats the rulers of peripheral peoples with an overwhelming benevolence (Jen) and thereby ensures their allegiance and subordination. 10 The first statement, of November 1839, is by a geographer who had compiled works on the countries overseas but who here describes how the early Ch'ing emperors had brought peace and order to the numerous Mongol tribes: "All were enrolled under [newly] established squadron commanders (tso-ling), and listed according to banners. In his handling of the various dependent tribes, [the emperor] encompassed them like Heaven and Earth. He nourished them like their father and mother. He gave them illumination like the sun and moon. He overawed them like the lightning and thunder. When they were starving, he fed them. When they were cold, he clothed them. When they came to him, he took them to his bosom. When they were weary, he encouraged them. When they were in trouble, he saved them. He estimated their abilities and appointed them to official posts. He differentiated them by means of noble ranks and lands. He assigned people to them. He taught them through literacy and cultivation. He extended [his control] over them by means of regulations. From a single commoner's tiny plot of land the Son of Heaven got no profit. In bestowing small rewards and little penalties, the Son of Heaven had no private [considerations]. He improved their teaching but did not change their customs. He regulated their polity, but did not change their values (i). He carried out enormous innovations without alarming them. By going with the imperial fashion like grass in the wind, they have of themselves been transformed. Even if they turned their backs on the [imperial] benevolence and rebelled against the right [here examples are cited],—if they rebelled, [the emperor] reduced them to submission; if they absconded, he forgave them; if they returned to their allegiance, he overlooked [their shortcomings]."11 This pre-treaty encomium of the imperial paternalism may be compared with the following preface dated in the autumn of 1880 when the documentary record of foreign relations in the T'ung-chih period (1862-1874) was presented to the emperor. Although intended to be a secret, not a public, document, this preface casts all the disastrous changes of the T'ungchih reign in traditional terms of imperial condescension. The audience question, delimitation of boundaries, treaty revision, the Interpreters' College (T'ung-wen kuan), legations abroad, arsenals, the Imperial Mari-


SYSTEM IN THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER time Customs Service—all the major efforts of Ch'ing defense against the West are referred to by indirection in this curiously face-saving fashion. "We respectfully consider that after the T'ung-chih Emperor came to the throne and stabilized the policy, its warp being civil and its woof military, the amphibious monsters were quickly driven away and His Majesty's awful dignity vastly overawed [everything] within the imperial domain. Oxen and horses slept in peace. His Majesty's virtue flowed out to foreign places. For this reason the various barbarians [Huang-chih and Wu-i], [over a distance requiring] several stages of translation, came to be ruled (lai wang), while others [Ch'ang-ku and Kuan-hsiung] knocked at the closed door and offered up ceremonial presents. There were none who were not saturated with [his] righteousness. They disclosed their sincerity and wholly submitted to him. Once they entered [the gates], they requested to have audience [lit., "see the Dragon's Splendor"], no different from the Hsiung-nu king [Hu-han] coming to the court of Han. When they departed they wanted to join up as auxiliaries on the wings (flanks) of the imperial guard, just as the Uighurs assisted the T'ang. They relied on the [emperor's] jade axe to mark off the rivers, confer their borders, and settle their boundaries. They presented cinnabar and turned toward civilization. They made covenants and renewed their alliances with us. How could they be aware that the control-by-a-light-rein (chi-mi) of the imperial order [or pattern] was entirely carried out according to the emperor's design ? "As a means by which speech might penetrate to all countries, the [Interpreters'] College began to instruct in common languages. The fame of our classic books was spread everywhere. [His Majesty] proclaimed his orders to dispatch envoys abroad. In order to assist the training of soldiers, the troops adjusted to firearms. In order to make fast ships, the arsenals started machinery. The merchants' customs duties were fixed and, scaling mountains and sailing across [seas], they all gathered [in China]. With the emperor's grace and rewards extended to them, they became cultivated and learned elegance and etiquette. Inner [Chinese] and outer [foreigners] formed one family. The distant and the near were treated the same. Excellent indeed was the imperial rule . . ." 12 Such affirmations of the imperial Confucian faith might no doubt be expected to survive as long as their authors. But the record is also full of operational documents that show the practical persistence of tribute missions in the four decades from the Opium War to the 1880's. This is indicated first in the number of missions. If we begin counting in 1840, we find tribute missions recorded from Korea in 46 different years down to


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1894—that is, missing in only 9 years, mainly toward the end of the period. Missions from Liu-ch'iu are recorded in 22 years ending in 1877; from Vietnam in 9 years ending in 1883; from Siam in 5 years ending in 1853; from Nepal in 5 years to 1880 plus a final mission in 1908; from Burma in 3 years to 1875; from Laos in 2 years to 1853; and from Japan once (1871). This rate of activity is about the same as in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the 41 years from 1840 to 1880 inclusive, 83 missions were recorded. This compares with an equal total of 83 missions in the equal period 1662-1702; 93 missions in the period 1703-1743; and 92 in the period 1744-1784. The rate of tribute activity recorded from the Opium War down to the 1880's suffers only by comparison with the last years of Ch'ien-lung (48 missions in 14 years, 1785-1798) and the early nineteenth century (118 missions recorded in 41 years, 1799-1839); in the latter period, missions from Liu-ch'iu and Siam grew more frequent.13 Year by year the record continued to accumulate in the "cases" or "precedents" (shih-li) that were appended to the Collected Statutes of the dynasty (Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien).14 These cases were summarized in chronological order under the following categories (dates of last entries are in parentheses): imperial appointments (or "investiture," last entry 1875), periodicity of missions (1864), routes (1875), tribute objects (1886), tribute ceremonies (1869), imperial gifts (1887), receiving and escorting envoys (1875), tributary trade (1882), prohibitions (1881), imperial charity and relief (1872), saving envoys from danger (1870), retinue (1803), official students (1873), accommodations (1880), and interpreters (1846). All this documentation reflected actual transactions and the many problems involved in the coming and going of tribute envoys in the established channels. The British and Dutch form part of the record up to 1840 including principally the embassies of 1793,1794, and 1816, and the coastal voyage of the East India Company ship Lord Amherst in 1832. Institutional vitality, and its decline, are evident in the recorded efforts to maintain the regulations. The commercial interest behind tribute missions shows through in 1836 when a censor reports that thousands of porters, carrying Chinese smuggled goods, have accompanied the last Vietnamese mission over the routes from Kwangsi to Hupei at the expense of the official post. Although this was denied, it turned out that the escort officer had been a Manchu colonel over seventy years of age, "debilitated and decrepit," on whom the imperial wrath could be vented.15 Underlying the efforts at reform and enforcement of regulations was a lively concern for the preservation of the fi-chih or fundamental structure


SYSTEM IN THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER of the imperial order. In May 1850, for example, a censor pointed out that when the outer dependencies sent tribute there should be respect for the t'i-chih and an emphasis on comforting and encouraging the tribute missions. "When the dependencies submissively send envoys to present tribute, all established regulations concerning their arrival at the frontier, crossing the border, arrival at the capital, and all the preparations for dealing with and supplying them, are extremely comprehensive and detailed." The censor therefore urged a "reverent adherence to the customary ways . . . to make manifest the established system {t'i-chih)." Yet the censor found that tribute missions en route suffered a lack of grooms and horses, that at the capital their supplies were reduced, and that the escorting officials were not carefully selected. The emperor agreed: "This certainly is not the way to pacify and control men from afar." 16 Domestic disorder of course upset the system. During the rebellions of the 1850's the Li-fan yuan repeatedly countermanded the tribute missions of Mongol princes "so as to show imperial compassion." A prince at court was reprimanded for suggesting that the Mongol princes should be asked to contribute further funds. In 1857 and 1858 they were specifically asked not to come to court except as they might be on duty there.17 With the East Asian tributaries communicating by sea there was a similar preservation of the system in form even when its operation was faulty or deferred. Trouble arose first in the case of Liu-ch'iu. In February 1845 the Fukien officials reported the complaint of the king of Liu-ch'iu, " a subordinate subject of the Celestial Court commonly spoken of as respectful and submissive," who objected to a Frenchman having been left there in 1844. In 1847 he complained again that a British medical missionary (Bettelheim) had become established there as well. The court opined that "France and England ought not to annoy our dependent countries." Soon a Liu-ch'iu tribute envoy came to Peking to press this complaint. The court agreed that if this foreign annoyance could not be stopped on behalf of Liu-ch'iu, "we certainly would be neglecting the grand idea of soothing and managing the outer dependencies"; yet it was manifestly inconvenient to coerce the French and British: Peking already faced the impossibility of acting as the dominant authority in so-called tributary areas. The court therefore expressed the hope that the Fukien officials could persuade the French and British. In 1849 the Liu-ch'iu complaint against Bettelheim was referred to the imperial commissioner at Canton: he should instruct the British to remove the missionary at once "which would then be enough to show our compassion for a dependent


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tributary and prevent alarm and annoyance." In February 1851 the Liuch'iu envoy in presenting that regime's congratulations to the new Hsienfeng Emperor requested and was given an exemption from some of the customary payments.18 As the rebellion made the customary tribute route by land from Foochow to Peking unsafe in 1854, the court postponed the Liu-ch'iu mission to the capital. But repeated requests that the envoy be allowed to come to Peking with a special memorial of thanks and congratulations could not be refused lest it "discourage distant peoples to incline respectfully toward us," and hence was permitted for the following year. Similar delays were necessary in 1856, 1858 and later, and again in 1865 and 1867. As late as May 1867 the court acceded to a Liu-ch'iu request that it be allowed to send four men to study under the National Academy of Learning (Kuo-tzu chien) at Peking.10 The Ch'ing investiture mission to Liu-ch'iu in 1866 has been noted in Mr. Ch'en's paper above, page 159. Sea trade with Siam and Vietnam, though evidently growing rapidly, continued formally in tributary channels after 1842 much as before. The interval for tribute missions from Siam, Vietnam, and Liu-ch'iu in 1839 had been changed to four years in each case, although for Liu-ch'iu it was restored to every second year in 1840.20 This was part of a general effort to extend the interval between tribute missions, perhaps a symptom of the weakening of the institution. In any case, the official trading vessels from Siam, as from Liu-ch'iu, continued to receive special duty exemptions. In 1852 the new king of Siam requested investiture. His envoy was ordered to be escorted to Peking for the New Year when a new patent would be conferred upon him, and meanwhile his tribute vessel would be exempt from duties.21 Toward the ruler of Vietnam the imperial compassion was similarly demonstrated in 1843-1844 when the Vietnamese ruler sent back to Canton a shipwrecked Chinese crew. Vietnam was "far off, cut off by many seas, but commonly said to be respectful and submissive"; the emperor rewarded the ruler by exempting his tribute vessels from duties. Special rewards were sent to him.22 Similar responses were made in 1854 and 1855 when the Vietnam ruler succored and returned other Chinese official vessels. His respectful conduct was much admired and rewarded with gifts of silks and exemptions from duty.23 The private trade or corruption underlying these curiously repetitive phenomena deserves further study. Evidently return-of-castaways was developed as a cloak for trade by provincial authorities in charge of tribute relations. The desire of the Vietnamese ruler Juan Fu-shih (Emperor Tu-Duc),




expressed in a memorial received in August 1850, to send a tribute envoy with gifts to congratulate the new Hsien-feng Emperor was similarly greeted with great approval." The country of Vietnam is prepared to follow the rules of dependencies and act as a regular t r i b u t a r y . . . an expression of the greatest sincerity." However, because of the lack of time before the ceremony at Peking, the Vietnamese king was told he need not send an envoy or gifts—a concession which it was believed would "show our perfect concern for the compassionate cherishing of submissive dependencies." 24 Vietnamese tribute relations in 1852 and 1853 were scheduled as usual but in 1854, 1856, 1860, and 1864 they were deferred because of China's domestic disorder. In 1853 tribute from Laos and Burma was deferred for the same reason. 25 The end of the Taiping Rebellion saw a revival of tribute missions on routes now reopened, 28 and an edict of 1865 hastened to reassert the doctrine of the imperial benevolence and compassion for the "outer dependencies": the regulations were comprehensive, they must be followed, there must be no backsliding, offenders must be impeached. 27 The complex trading interests that supported such affirmations of faith have yet to be studied. As early as 1829 a Vietnamese request to send tribute by sea instead of by land had been vigorously rebuffed. 28 Although the tribute route from Vietnam to Peking had been modified in 1853 and later because of rebellion, it had still been by land. Only in 1875 were the Vietnamese missions allowed to come by sea to Canton and thence by Tientsin in ships of the official China Merchants' Steamship Navigation Company, " a s a temporary accommodation to demonstrate Our compassionate concern for dependencies." Even so, all aspects of these missions were to follow the old rules once they reached the capital. 29 Evidently old custom was reinforced by vested interests.

Tradition in the Use of Western Warriors The application of traditional ideas and practices to new circumstances can be studied in the Ch'ing relations with foreign mercenaries and with military officers of foreign governments, particularly in the lower Yangtze region in the early 1860's. The record concerning individual mercenaries like Frederick Townsend Ward conforms to the following pattern: first, the foreign adventurer displays his bravery and devotion to the imperial cause by fighting the rebels with great ardor and daring, even to the point


John Κ. Fairbank j T H E E A R L Y T R E A T Y of being seriously wounded. Secondly, he seeks the equivalent of "Chinese citizenship," that is, to be enrolled in a Chinese population register, forgoing the jurisdiction of his own foreign consul. In addition, he adopts Chinese customs—for example, Chinese dress—and may even marry a Chinese wife. Finally, he is given Chinese military rank and assimilated into the command of troops. Similarly, the British and French officers of the period who are nominated by their governments are recorded in the Chinese record as having proved their military prowess as fighters and as therefore being worthy of Chinese rank in the military hierarchy. Their devotion to the imperial cause is carefully and repeatedly noted. The first reference to Ward in the I-wu shih-mo documents is in February 1862: the Kiangsu governor reports that "Ward is an American tribesman (Mei-li-chia pu-lo jen)... Heretofore the foreign merchants who are not under the control of a consul have all reverted to the control of the Chinese officials. Ward has already petitioned at the taotai's yamen and the American consulate, wanting to be enrolled as a Chinese national (ch'en min) and to change to Chinese ways {fu-se). It seems inconvenient to repress the sincerity of his wholehearted turning toward civilization." The emperor in reply carries on the theme: Ward "has turned out of admiration toward Chinese customs and with a sincere heart is helpful and obedient, surely worthy of admiration and esteem." Accordingly he is given the fourth military rank and put in command of the Ever Victorious Army jointly with the merchant-backer of that force, Yang Fang ("Takee"). 30 Soon Ward's second in command, Burgevine, is reported in March 1862 to be a similarly brave warrior, wont to break through the enemy's lines, slaying them with his sword and suffering serious wounds. Like Ward he is an excellent trainer of troops as well as a combat leader. Burgevine is a native of New York (Niu-yao), an American state which " has heretofore had no consul at Shanghai," and so he ought to revert to the jurisdiction of the Chinese authorities. He has petitioned at the yamen of the taotai to be enrolled among the Chinese people. He is guaranteed by Yang Fang, and Ward earnestly entreats for him. These men from abroad have sincerely submitted and attached themselves to China, exerting themselves in warfare. At this time of using talented men, should they not be liberally encouraged ? The edict in reply notes with approval Burgevine's petition to become a registered member of the Chinese populace. His fighting is sufficient proof of his sincerity and he is rewarded therefore with the fourth military rank and a peacock feather. 31


SYSTEM IN THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER The death of Ward from combat in September 1862 elicits a further statement of the same philosophy: Ward was a foreigner from across the sea who turned sincerely toward the Middle Kingdom. Though at first a bit arrogant and ruthless, still he indeed devoted his life to the cause of the dynasty and should be rewarded accordingly so that the foreign countries may see it and be moved thereby. The crucial problem, who shall command the Ever Victorious Army, leads to the thought that if the dynasty orders British or French officers to lead it, they must follow Ward's example and seek to be considered as joining the Chinese populace and come under Ch'ing control, whereupon they may be given military authority. In Ward's day all orders to the Ever Victorious Army, "so as to accord with the t'i-chih," had been sent through Yang Fang, who had the rank of grain taotai. The Chinese authorities again point out that Ward had petitioned the taotai to be enrolled as a Chinese subject, and the edict repeats that "Ward, since he was a man of an American tribe [or state, pu-lo], petitioned, wanting to be enrolled among the Chinese populace"; and similarly Burgevine had wanted to be registered as a Chinese. Again the imperial edict makes the point that if a British officer is to be given the command he must, like Ward, become enrolled as a Chinese subject and accept Ch'ing control. 32 While Ward is canonized with an imperially ordained tombstone and mound and while Burgevine becomes rebellious and meets an unhappy end, a third foreigner appears in the record in similar terms. The Frenchman, Prosper Giquel, a one-time naval officer now employed as Maritime Customs commissioner at Ningpo, enters the fray against the rebels in late 1862. In one battle he breaks down fourteen rebel strong points with explosives, killing over a thousand. He leads the front rank on horseback and is suddenly wounded and carried back to camp. It is recorded that he fights without regard for self and thoroughly understands the grand design of the t'i-chih (t'ung-ta ta-t'i).33 (Later, of course, he helps create the Foochow Arsenal.) Frenchmen also provide examples of the second type of foreign military servant, the foreign officers. In defense of Ningpo, A. E. LeBrethon de Caligny, a colonel in the French forces, leads his own troops and trains Chinese troops. In October after the death of Ward it is considered most urgent that official orders be passed down from Peking to the Chekiang officials and thence to the Ningpo taotai so that LeBrethon may be brought into the Chinese command structure, at least in the form of a joint command. He is accordingly appointed tsmg-ping or brigade general. From the


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time when the imperial rescript is received permitting him to have Chinese official rank, he is moved by gratitude to seek how to reciprocate. Indeed he dies fighting in the imperial cause in January 1863. LeBrethon's successor at Ningpo is another French officer, Tardif de Moidrey, who fights with courage, is given military rank in Kiangsu and proves himself most respectful and submissive, certainly extraordinarily loyal and brave. He is killed in February 1863 and therefore receives the dynasty's recognition and honors. His successor, Aiguebelle, on taking over the command of the Franco-Chinese force in February 1863, is similarly appointed to Chinese military command. 34 After the mercenary Burgevine became a problem at Shanghai, Ch'ing opinion finally accepted the British recommendation of regular army officers to command the Ever Victorious Army. The first commander, Holland, was given the rank of brigade general, taking over in January 1863, but was soon defeated. C. G. Gordon was appointed in March and subsequently given brigade-general rank. He led the Ever Victorious Army during the rest of that year and up to May of 1864, when it was disbanded. In June 1864 Gordon was promoted to fi-tu or provincial commander-in-chief, the highest provincial military rank next to that of chiang-chiin or Tatar general. The rationale behind this appointment was to note his value as a disciplinarian and trainer of troops and his respectful manner and to argue that he should be given Chinese military rank according to the established precedent to facilitate Ch'ing control over him until his return to his own country. 35 Gordon's personal relationship with the Kiangsu governor, Li Hung-chang, was one of loyalty, Chinesestyle, and later made a small chapter of history.3® In all these dealings with foreign military figures, the Ch'ing officials follow principles that may also be seen in their relations with the leaders of local corps in the same era. They feel it essential that if a foreigner is to lead a force of Chinese troops he must have imperial military status. This is conferred upon him personally from the emperor, as on any Ch'ing official. In return the foreigner is reported to be respectful, submissive, grateful, and loyal. As far as possible he is taken into the Chinese cultural order, parallel to his entrance into the Chinese power structure. When Ward and Burgevine are considered to have "turned toward civilization," seemingly forsaking their allegiance to their homeland, it is a serious and important point. Their opportunism must be watched and their sincerity kept under inspection, but the fact that they, almost alone among the foreign community of the time, have made a gesture of seeking registration




as Chinese subjects makes it possible for them to lead a strategic military force in a vital sector of China. The Ch'ing officials control them through a personal relationship, which is the essence of control in the Chinese bureaucracy.

An Interpretation: Power Structure and Culture We may analyze the role of the Western barbarians in the tribute system in the mid-nineteenth century by making a distinction between power structure and culture, as two aspects of government. The power structure was based on military capacity, force held in reserve, and included the administrative capacity of emperor, magistrates, censors, and officialdom generally to maintain control of the functions of government. The culture, on the other hand, included the ideology of imperial Confucianism, the underlying classical philosophy of social order, and the ritual observances and ceremonial forms which all together legitimized and sanctioned the ruling authority. This distinction, like the usual one between power and authority, is of course our own abstraction, warranted only by its utility as an analytic device. Our analysis is that the culture was Sinocentric whereas the power structure was synarchic; and the invading Westerners could and did participate in the Ch'ing power structure but were quite incapable of taking on Chinese culture as previous barbarian invaders had done. 37 The underlying assumption here is that traditional China could be ruled only as a combined state-and-culture. To put it another way, political power was maintained, in larger part than usual, by cultural means; the socio-political order relied heavily on ideological props—such as the teachings of imperial Confucianism inculcated through the examinations that produced the local elite or "gentry." As a result, non-Chinese emperors had to rule in Chinese style using, or functioning in, both the Chinese state and the Chinese culture. The non-Chinese Manchus had conquered the Ming state and taken on Chinese ways. In ruling they used Chinese cultural forms and Manchu, Mongol, and Chinese personnel. To this structure additional non-Chinese could now be added. The introduction of the Western barbarians into the late Ch'ing power structure has usually been viewed as the entering wedge (unhappily) of semicolonial exploitation or (more positively) of incipient modernization. From the rather neglected Ch'ing point of view, on the other hand, this letting


John Κ. Fairbank



in of the foreigner was a way of prolonging the dynasty. The Western adage, "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em," had its Peking counterpart: barbarians too strong to defeat can be pacified by concessions, letting them participate in Chinese life. The result was a late-nineteenth-century growth of a Sino-foreign (Ch'ingWestern) establishment on many levels—military, administrative, commercial, educational, medical, and so on. First, on the military plane, the Opium War had humbled the Ch'ing dynasty on its sea frontier, but after the second war and the allied expedition to Peking in 1860 the Western cooperative policy gave support to the dynasty and eventually even helped it suppress rebellion. The French war, the Japanese war, and the international expedition of 1900 marked a rising tide of foreign coercion. Yet all the time Western firms had been selling arms to China and Western military technicians working for China. After 1900, as after 1860, Western support helped prolong the dynasty's existence. Meantime in the treaty ports there grew up Western-dominated administrations of major cities, not only at Shanghai, the modern metropolis, but also in the foreign concessions at Canton, Amoy, Hankow, and Tientsin, to name only the most obvious (Amoy was actually an international settlement like Shanghai). Accompanying these municipal administrations was the phenomenal expansion of the Imperial Maritime Customs and Post Office with its joint Sino-foreign bureaucracy, providing a principal source of new revenue, the principal administrative arm to deal with the foreign merchant community, a statistical and fiscal service, training of new civil servants, government publications, assistance in diplomacy both locally and internationally, and much more besides. Growth of the Sino-foreign economy is only now being intensively studied. The comprador figured in both foreign and domestic trade. Chinese capital was used by foreign firms, and the international trade of China became a thoroughly Sino-foreign enterprise. Meanwhile missionary endeavors in education, medicine, and famine relief led the way in the growth of other public services, the spread of technology, and the beginnings of the reform movement. The power structure, the establishment, by any definition came to include a large Western element. All the time, however, the Westerners in China, clinging to their own centers and protected by their extraterritoriality, failed to sustain or participate in the traditional culture. Their main difficulty was the language barrier. The Legge translations of the classics appeared only in the 1870's. Although many missionaries and servants of foreign governments


SYSTEM IN THE CHINESE W O R L D ORDER or of the Customs learned to use Chinese for practical purposes, the corps of those "versed in the Chinese language" remained meager, marked out as "sinologues." Thus the "Western conquest" proved abortive. Instead of being taken over by the new invaders, the Chinese world order finally disintegrated.


Benjamin I. Schwartz / T H E





Is there a persistent Chinese perception of world order? If one can speak of such a perception in the past, to what extent does it persist in the present and to what extent may it continue to affect Chinese political behavior in the future? The phrase "Chinese perception" is used advisedly. What is involved is not the existence of a Sinocentric world order as an "objective" political fact, that is, as an order accepted by all who became involved in it. How the Huns, Turks, Tibetans, Mongols, and others responded to this Chinese perception is a question that remains to be explored. No doubt investigation will reveal that many of these peoples by no means accepted Chinese claims and that even where they used the language of the Chinese world order they may have done so with total mental reservations. In fact, only the Koreans seem to provide a fairly convincing example of wholehearted acceptance of the Chinese perception by a non-Chinese ethnic group outside the Chinese heartland. There remains the undeniable fact—perhaps overstressed in the past— that the "barbarian" dynasties did come in the end to accept the Chinese perception of world order even if their original motivation may have been merely that of using Chinese conceptions in order to control their Chinese subjects. The famous cliche that China absorbed all its conquerors and was thus able to imbue its conquerors with its own perception of world order has been subject to much critical examination. It has been shown


THE CHINESE P E R C E P T I O N OF W O R L D ORDER that the foreign ruling classes were quite anxious to preserve their own identities and often attempted to preserve their own ways of life. The Mongol dynasty is often cited as the most striking case of resistance to absorption. Yet even here can one maintain that the Yüan dynasty did not in the end come to accept the Chinese perception of world order? Can one state that the Ch'ing dynasty did not become totally committed in the end to this perception of world order in spite of the peculiar Manchu institutions which it had preserved ? Without possessing even a fraction of the erudition required to answer this question in any definitive way, I would suggest that after all the qualifications and corrections have been made, the notion of a Chinese perception of world order will still prove generally valid in the sense in which all general propositions about entities such as Chinese society or Chinese culture are valid. All general statements dealing with categories that embrace vast expanses of time and the lives of millions upon millions of men are at best crude, statistical statements that describe nothing more than predominant tendencies and by no means preclude the existence of contrary phenomena. Before discussing some of the obvious objections that can be raised to the notion of a persistent Chinese perception of world order, something should be said about the image itself. At its heart we find a notion of universal kingship linked to a widely shared sense of participation in a high culture. Now it is precisely this aspect of the Chinese perception that traditional Chinese civilization shares with many of the higher civilizations of the ancient world. In all these cultures—Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indian, Central American—there had occurred a degree of military-political consolidation over large areas which made it possible for the leading contenders for power to claim some kind of unique universal authority in what was plausibly regarded as the whole of the civilized world. Such universal authority had its religio-cosmic basis. In none of this is ancient China unique. The whole apparatus of the tribute system, which is so fully treated in many of the contributions to this volume, presupposes a hierarchic conception in which the universal king stands at the apex of the civilized oikumene. Something like a tribute system can be found in all the ancient universal monarchies. The more specifically Chinese aspect is the later linkage of the concept of universal kingship and t'ien-hsia with concretely Confucian criteria of higher culture, particularly after the Han. A random perusal of discussions of barbarians in the various encyclopedias and other sources reveals again and again the degree of emphasis on the five relation-


Benjamin I. Schwartz / THE ships, the "three bonds" (san-kang) and the whole body of li as providing the absolute criteria dividing barbarians from the men of the Middle Kingdom. Although the notion of universal kingship itself was pre-Confucian and was indeed taken for granted by most of the "hundred schools" of thought during the late Chou period, it does seem to become linked almost indissolubly over the course of time with an absolutization of the Confucian moral order. One of the first objections that can be raised to the notion of a Chinese perception of world order is that even if it existed as such it had no practical consequences. When Chinese power prevailed, the empire was able to force its tribute system and its language of diplomatic discourse on surrounding peoples. When the empire was weak, the Chinese perception of the world had little effect on the course of events. The ultimate fact is the fact of power. (The same order of objection incidentally can be raised against the more normative aspects of the modern Western perception of international order, with its underlying assumption of presumably equal sovereign states.) It can be argued, nevertheless, that at various points in Chinese history the operational consequences of this perception can, in fact, be discerned. Thus, where the Chinese were able to impose their perception of world order on ethnic groups that were not capable of appreciable resistance, as in their steady southward advance, they carried out the "Confucianization" of these peoples in a spirit of total cultural absolutism.1 The most widely observed case of the negative effect of this perception on actual policy occurs in the nineteenth century when it strongly inhibited the acceptance on the part of the Chinese ruling class of the Western multistate system. Although the writings of Banno2 and others have indicated that the mid-century Chinese were cannier diplomats than has often been supposed (there was, after all, nothing in the traditional perception of world order that prevented the practice of the diplomatic arts), our general picture of resistance to the Western multistate system remains fairly well intact. Other objections and reservations have been raised on the basis of analysis of given periods in Chinese history. During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (c. 800-200 B.C.) the Chinese world, for all practical purposes, was made up of a conglomeration of separate states and principalities that, in some ways, resembled the emerging multistate system of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe (more, in fact, than did the polis of ancient Greece). We even find the emergence of many of the concomitants of a multistate system—including a rudimentary science of




international politics and efforts to achieve collective security. Yen Fu, at the end of the nineteenth century, lingers lovingly on the immense dynamic possibilities latent in the competitive aspects of this multistate system. The premature triumph of the Ch'in universal state, in his view, put an end to these possibilities. Yet, when we examine the writings of the "hundred schools" of the Chou period we are forcefully struck by the ongoing tenacious hold of the ancient idea of universal kingship even during this period of division. No outlook emerges that is prepared to treat the multistate system as normative or normal, even though the "realists" or Legalists, the military "experts" and "international affairs experts" {tsung-heng-chia, lit., "experts in horizontal-vertical relations") happily operated within its frame of reference. No Chinese Grotius or Pufendorff emerges. The image of the universal kingship, occupying a certain locus in the field of forces making up the universe, linking the cosmos to mankind, seems already to have become part of an established and universally accepted cosmology, however much the conception of the role of the universal king may have differed from school to school. If Mencius is constantly lecturing the princes of his time on the requirement of universal kingship (wang), it is because his audience is genuinely interested in the subject—although not necessarily in his high-flown prescriptions for the attainment of the desired goal. The period of Chinese history that raises most doubts concerning the Chinese image of world order is, of course, the period of Buddhist dominance. The fact that millions of Chinese looked to a source outside the Chinese cultural orbit for salvation and for highest wisdom must certainly have shaken the general cosmology on which the Chinese perception of world order rested. Whether Fa Hsien (who traveled to India, 399-414) and Hsuan Tsang (traveled 629-645) really regarded Chinese kingship as occupying an ontological status in the universe different from that of the other princes they encountered on their travels is a question well worth pursuing. Hui Yuan (334-416), in his famous essay on why monks do not perform obeisance, 3 is quite willing to grant Chinese kingship a special status within the world of the chain of being (samsara) just as he sincerely lends his support to Confucian lay morality as a lay morality. The question of whether the emperor occupies a unique status relative to other princes or whether Confucian lay morality is absolutely superior to the householder's lay morality of Buddhist India is left in discreet silence. The fact that emperors themselves attempted to bolster imperial authority by claiming "bodhisattvaship" or the position of chakravartin argues further


Benjamin I. Schwartz / THE for the uncertain position of the Chinese universal kingship in a Buddhist world. On the other hand, anti-Buddhist polemic is marked by a most vehement and absolutist reassertion of the Chinese image of world order. Whereas the Buddhists were by no means anxious to spell out the possibly subversive implications of their doctrines, their opponents were most anxious to make them explicit. In the end, the decisive fact is that Chinese Buddhism never carried out the sustained and aggressive assault on the claims of the Chinese world order on its own ground that papal Christianity carried on against the claims of the Holy Roman Emperor. It delivered the world of samsara to Caesar in a much more decisive way than was ever true of Catholic Christianity, which tended to relativize the claims of the universal emperor vis-ä-vis the claims of other secular rulers. Given the long thrust of tradition behind it—a tradition that probably lived on in the minds of the Chinese Buddhists themselves—the Chinese perception of world order managed to survive the Buddhist challenge. Another period of Chinese history that raises interesting questions concerning the Chinese image of world order is the Sung period, when the Liao and Chin dynasties in the north and the Hsi-hsia in the west challenged the Sung claim to the universal kingship and were able to support their challenge with considerable force. Chao I, in his "Notes on the Twentytwo Histories," cites some interesting encounters among the Sung, Liao, and Chin on matters of ceremonial protocol. When the Chin ambassador Chang T'ung-ku appeared at the Sung court, the Sung emperor insisted on facing south and putting the Chin envoy in a position facing north. The ambassador refused to accept this arrangement and was about to return home when the Sung emperor compromised by arranging an east-west confrontation because these points of the compass have no hierarchic connotations. Here we seem to have something like diplomatic parity. Actually, neither side accepted the notion of parity and what we have is simply a statement of contending claims to hierarchic supremacy that are hardly touched by the principles underlying the Chinese perception. As Chao I himself sagely remarks, "The teachings of true principle (i li) cannot always be reconciled with the circumstances of the times. If one cannot entirely maintain the demands of true principle, then true principle must be adjusted to the circumstance of the time, and only then do we have the practice of true principle." 4 Chao I, as against the purists of the Sung "war party," suggests here a prudential view that pays true deference to the mysterious workings of historic fate, but he shares thoroughly their con-




ception of the normative world order, which demanded the existence of only one legitimate emperor under the sun. It has also been suggested that the early Manchu emperors, in spite of their wholehearted adoption of Chinese culture, were more prepared in their capacity as a non-Chinese ruling group to think in terms of a kind of international statecraft of the European variety. The K'ang-hsi Emperor's keen interest in European international politics is a case in point, as is perhaps the dynasty's flexibility in dealing with Russians and Mongols. In the end, however, the need to accept the Chinese perception of world order as part of the general over-all Chinese " w a y " overrode this flexibility, so that the dynasty confronted the Europeans in the nineteenth century with all the immemorial maxims. I would thus urge—at least tentatively—that when all of the qualifications and corrections have been made, one is nevertheless struck by the relative strength and persistence of the Chinese perception of world order before the end of the nineteenth century. Again, of course, one may raise many interesting questions about the degree to which this perception affected the self-images of the non-Chinese peoples on the periphery of the empire. It should also be pointed out that even if one can speak of an overriding Chinese perception of world order, one must add that this perception encompassed a wide range of possible attitudes toward the foreign barbarians and widely differing views on foreign policy. Attitudes toward foreign ethnic groups ranged from an idealistic "Mencian" view that barbarians could be easily "transformed" (hua) by simple exposure to Confucian culture to views that compared the barbarians to beasts and birds doomed to eternal inferiority by their ill-favored geographic environment. One finds views on foreign policy ranging from the pacifism of the Confucian party in the Discourses on Salt and Iron to the Yung-lo Emperor's aggressive determination to bring the whole known world into the framework of the Chinese system. Having established the existence of a Chinese perception of world order, one has not begun to account for the complex history of Chinese attitudes toward barbarians or the actual history of Chinese foreign policy. If the overarching perception did remain strong and durable, how are we to account for its potency ? We are struck in the first instance by a kind of historic accident, by a brute contingency by no means of Chinese making. Throughout the course of its history China was not challenged in its immediate vicinity by the emergence of any universal state whose claims it felt obliged to take seriously in cultural terms. Here, of course, we are in


Benjamin I. Schwartz / THE the treacherous area of cultural evaluation. Whatever one may think in an absolute way of the cultural values of the nomadic states of Central Asia, the Chinese did not differ from other sedentary agrarian cultures in regarding their own culture as superior. Hence their failure to consider the universalistic claims of the Hun shan-yii or Turkic khans does not argue for a peculiar Chinese arrogance. India, the home of Buddhism, was of course far off and the relationship of Buddhism to the Indian claim of universal kingship is extraordinarily tenuous to begin with. Furthermore, during the centuries when Buddhism was establishing itself in China there was no universal Buddhist state in existence in India. The fact that barbarian dynasties either usurped or adopted (according to one's point of view) the Chinese perception of world order may have led to conflicting claims to the kingship but hardly shook the absolute Chinese faith in the cosmic status of the institution itself. If we look to the ancient Middle East we find that the two great centers of universal kingship—Mesopotamia and Egypt—were soon in contact with each other. Although this may or may not have shaken the confidence of these cultures in the universality of their claims, it did help to make possible the emergence in the interstices between these empires of welldefined outlooks that negated these claims. A cursory survey of the literature would seem to indicate that the Egyptians remained, on the whole, supremely confident of their superiority but only at the price of selfisolation—an isolation finally broken down by the Hellenistic conquest. The Mesopotamian universal kingship does pass on through Assyria, Persia, Alexander's empire, and the Roman emperorship, but its religiocosmic base seems to have been both weaker and consistently shifting in nature. The great invasions to which India was subject—Aryan, Hellenistic, and Moslem—seem to have had irreversible effects on the course of Indian socio-political history. The Moslem conquest was carried out by a group with a highly articulated religion, culture, and even its own concept of world order, to which it was fanatically committed. Hindu resistance did emerge in the course of time but it is highly significant that it focused on the religious-communitarian sphere rather than on the Indian concept of universal kingship. The foregoing comparisons lead to speculations that in addition to external factors of historic contingency the Chinese conception of universal kingship and of world order may have had a much firmer religio-cosmological foundation than was the case in other cultures. The religious de-





velopment of the Middle East was marked by the emergence of the gods as strongly anthropomorphized divine beings with well-marked personalities. Whatever order existed in the world was a resultant of transactions among the gods, and the universal kings in Mesopotamia (at least according to Frankfort and Labat) were simply agents of various ascendant deities such as Marduk or Ashur. 5 In Egypt, Frankfort maintains, the pharaoh's position was infinitely stronger because he was himself the incarnation of various gods. In China, during the Chou period, something like the concept of an impersonal order, a tao had already emerged; this was a cosmicsocial order within which the kingship occupied a well-established, permanent, and pivotal locus. Within its Confucian interpretation the universal kingship is, of course, associated with and supported by a moral system which is itself part of the ultimate fabric of the cosmos. In the Middle East one could never be absolutely sure of the relative weight within the universe of one's own gods and the deities of other ethnic groups. Ashur could prevail over Baal, yet Baal's reality could not be negated. Furthermore, between these empires and on their periphery there emerged views of reality among Jews and Greeks which either negated or greatly devalued the role of universal kingships. T o the Greeks, the Persians and Egyptians were themselves barbaroi, while the polis represented the highest form of human association. The Hebrew prophets treat the rulers of Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria as the merest instruments in the hands of Jehovah. Their ontic status in the universe is not higher than that of the various princes and kings of Syria, Transjordan, and so on. Certainly the kings of Judah and Israel were decidedly frail and mortal, and the prophets were able to develop a kind of doctrine of international affairs in which none of the states of the Middle East occupies any particularly advantageous status in the cosmic order. The great empires might have ignored Greek and Judaic ideas just as the Chinese were quite successful in ignoring the ideas of surrounding barbarians. In fact, they did not and, as we know, the Roman Catholic Church in some ways became the heir of ideas that diminished or even negated the role of universal kingship. It may be maintained, of course, that the medieval papacy was a kind of universal kingship in itself. On the whole, however, it acknowledged the distinction between ecclesiastical and secular jurisdictions, even though the question of the boundary between the two spheres becomes a central question of medieval political thought. In its attitude toward secular power the long-range tendency of the Church was


Benjamin I. Schwartz j THE to diminish the wraithlike authority of the Holy Roman Emperor and to place the claims of other secular rulers on an equal footing with his. Although many other factors are undoubtedly involved, the Church itself was a great force in preparing the ground for the multistate world order of the modern West. In China, the cosmic status of the universal kingship varied from school to school but was not fundamentally challenged by any. The power of the Chinese perception of world order may thus have been maintained both by contingent external factors and by the strength of its inner cosmological foundations. Most foreign scholars have, in fact, been overwhelmingly impressed by the stubborn persistence of this perception during the greater part of the nineteenth century when the Chinese state faced the new and unprecedented challenge of a Western international system with its own absolutistic claims. In fact, there are many who would argue that this perception has run so deep, has become so much a part of the very marrow of Chinese life, that it continues to live on behind all the shifting ideologies and commitments of twentieth-century China. Thus Mao Tse-tung's dream of a world Communist movement centered on Peking is simply the latest version of the concept of a barbarian world "transformed" (hua) by Chinese culture. I should like to argue here that however real the Chinese perception of world order may have been in the past, it was fundamentally undermined in the twentieth century; we should be extremely skeptical of assertions that assign it great causal weight in explaining present or future Chinese policies. It would be exceedingly foolish to maintain that the older Chinese image of world order has totally disappeared. There may be millions of Chinese living in villages who still think—to the extent that they think of these matters—in terms of China as t'ien-hsia and the surrounding world as the habitat of barbarians; who may assimilate Mao to the imperial tradition and interpret China's role in the world in traditional terms. The average Chinese villager lives in a world that remains profoundly Chinese. I would, nevertheless, maintain that the intellectually and politically articulate elements have in the main come to accept the fact of the disintegration of the older image of world order. Both the internal and external bases of this order have decidedly crumbled. Although it is quite conceivable that many elements of Confucianism as a total philosophy may live on into the twentieth century, the specific cosmology on the basis of which the Chinese universal kingship occupied a unique ontological status has, it seems to me, irrevocably collapsed. On the other hand, the external situa-


CHINESE P E R C E P T I O N OF W O R L D ORDER tion that made it quite plausible for the Chinese to regard their state as unique has also disappeared beyond recall. It may be maintained, of course, that deep-laid habits of thought continue long after the conditions that give rise to their existence have disappeared. I would suggest that this might be least true in the area of international political behavior where survival may depend on adjustment to new realities. Although it is true that the Chinese image of world order was stubbornly maintained right up until the 1890's, it is precisely in that decade that we discern among some a sharp and revolutionary break with it. Yen Fu, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, and even K'ang Yu-wei accepted the Western multistate system with an astonishing lack of reservation. They were all willing to see the emperor reduced from his unique, cosmic status to the position of national monarch. K'ang Yu-wei, it is true, had a vision of a universal world order in the future but it would, after all, be entirely different in nature from the Chinese traditional world order. For the period of "lesser peace" (hsiao k'ang), he was quite willing to accept the multistate system as normal. The constitutional monarchists after 1900 were on the whole quite willing to accept this revolution. Their effort to convert the universal king into a national monarch may have been futile, as Professor Levenson6 has suggested, but one can hardly doubt its sincerity. The Manchu reform movement took measures (although some of the participants may hardly have realized it) which in fact presupposed the acceptance of the Western multistate system. The revolutionaries, on the whole, were quite willing to exchange the Chinese universal world order for a strong Chinese nation, and Sun Yatsen's ideology was presented, for the most part, as a Chinese nationalist ideology. It is true that he occasionally suggests that it has universal implications, but in this he does not differ from nationalists elsewhere who believe that French culture or deutsche Kultur are of universal relevance. The Nationalist government after 1927 acted in terms of the nation-state system and, whatever the elements of traditionalism in Chiang Kai-shek's outlook, there is certainly no overt suggestion anywhere in China's Destiny of a return to the traditional perception of world order. His discussions of the requirements of national sovereignty seem to stem from the tradition of Bodin rather than that of Confucius. Communism, of course, introduces new complications. MarxismLeninism proclaimed a new world order that would break out of the integuments of the nation-state system. In 1917 communism did not yet imply the notion of a fixed politico-spiritual center. In fact, the Utopian


Benjamin I. Schwartz j T H E assumption was that after the consummation of world revolution such a center would be unnecessary. In fact, the Soviet Union did emerge as the political center of a presumably transnational movement. It thus becomes possible to assert that one of the appeals of communism to those Chinese who accepted it in the early twenties was that the Soviet image of world order corresponded more closely to certain unconscious hierarchic Chinese habits of thought than did the multinational system of the West, with its assumptions of international equality. It seems to me, however, that if this was one of the appeals of communism it was a very minor one. Paradoxically, one can actually assert that one of the main appeals of MarxismLeninism to young Chinese was its appeal to nationalist resentments. The Leninist theory of nationalism provided a plausible explanation for China's failure to achieve its rightful place in the world of nations. Although Lenin conceived of bourgeois nationalism as playing an important but transient role in the revolutionary process, it is not uncommon for converts to be most attracted by aspects of doctrine which are secondary to the founders. Nor should one underestimate the facts that the center of world order now lay outside of China, that the doctrine of world order was entirely different from the traditionally Chinese doctrine, and that China actually occupied, at least until recently, an inferior status within this world order. The traditional Chinese perception of world order was not based simply on a devotion to the abstract doctrine that the world ought to be organized hierarchically about some one higher center of civilization but on the concrete belief that Chinese civilization was that civilization. Again, it was based on a very specific Chinese cosmology. Given the pervasive sense of humiliation and ressentiment in modern China, one would think that a world order based on the notion of equal sovereignties would be relatively more acceptable than an international world order which placed China in an inferior historical position. In retrospect, it would indeed appear that this aspect of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism has proven most difficult for the Chinese Communists to accept in spite of their earlier acceptance of the role of "younger brother." It may be claimed, however, that precisely since the overt outbreak of the Sino-Soviet conflict it has finally become possible for the Chinese to reassert the conception of a world order centered in Peking. Precisely now we have a resurfacing of the old Chinese perception of world order with Mao in the position of emperor "teaching and transforming" (chiao-hua) the whole of errant mankind. Although Mao Tse-tung may display—perhaps even consciously—some




of the style and mannerisms of the emperors of old and although China's present posture may "resonate" to a limited degree with habits of thought derived from the traditional perception of world order, I would submit that fundamentally the lines of continuity within this problem area have been broken and that it will not be helpful to attempt to explain the international policies of the Chinese leadership in terms of the traditional image. It must again be emphasized that, as of the present, the Chinese Communist movement continues to profess that the ultimate source of the truths to which it is committed lies outside of China. One of its main contentions in the polemic with Moscow is that true Marxism-Leninism has found its haven in Peking. Neither Marx nor Lenin can be claimed as Chinese. One can, if one will, speculatively project the possibility of a Maoism that rejects its Marxist-Leninist origins, but this does not seem likely in any immediate future. After all, Mao has deeply implicated himself with the foreign ideology. Furthermore, the Chinese leadership probably realizes that its claims to be in possession of universal truths will be greatly diminished in the eyes of potential foreign adherents if its ideology becomes exclusively Chinese. Indeed the Chinese polemics with the Soviets place as much emphasis on the Chinese possession of the authentic universal truths of Marxism-Leninism as they do on the unique contributions of Mao's thought. Again, the Chinese Communist movement has itself been deeply implicated in the enormously complex and constantly shifting relationship between the world Communist movement and the forces of nationalism. One way of describing the secular drift of affairs in the Communist world is in terms of the triumph of the multistate system over the transnational claims of communism. The CCP has itself played an enormous role in this process. One of the major contributions of Maoism since Yenan days has been to provide even more space within the Marxist-Leninist structure for populist-nationalist sentiments. At the very present moment, the Chinese find it to their advantage to stir up a maximum of nationalist sentiment within the Communist bloc against the claims of Soviet hegemony. Within this context they find it to their interest to advocate the most orthodox doctrine of national sovereignty and to preach the most extreme economic nationalism. All this development, to be sure, is extremely dialectical. The weapon of nationalism is to be turned against Moscow while a new and genuinely internationalist communism will arise centered on Peking. Peking may be profoundly deceiving itself. In destroying the transnational authority of the world Communist movement, Peking may be destroying it


Benjamin I. Schwartz just as much for itself as for Moscow. China itself is involved in the triumph of the multistate system. To the extent that the Chinese government must live within the confines of an ongoing multistate world, it has gradually come to adjust itself on a day-to-day basis to this world, whatever may be its optimum transnational hopes. What is more, even these transnational hopes can hardly be identified with the traditional perception of world order. The government appeals to international law wherever it finds it to its advantage to do so. It often employs conventional national power politics. It has accepted the whole machinery of international diplomacy often in a highly literal and extremely formalistic way. The Maoist leadership may regard all this as in some ultimate sense provisional. If the world continues to be a multistate world for some time to come—and barring a nuclear world war, this seems likely—the provisional may easily slip over into the category of the normal. In the end, of course, the Western system of international order may prove as transient as the Chinese traditional perception of world order. As of the present, however, it seems to conform more closely to the realities of world politics than anything derived out of the Chinese past.




CHARACTERS for authors and

titles of works in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese are given in these Notes. Characters for other transliterations used anywhere in the book appear in the Glossary. In the notes to each chapter, works cited frequently are represented by alphabetical abbreviations, a list of which therefore precedes the notes to the chapter. Because certain compendia are cited in abbreviated form in several chapters, the abbreviations for them have been standardized throughout the book. The authors of three chapters—Mr. Farquhar, Mr. Fletcher, and Mr. Wills—have provided bibliographical information as well as notes. In these instances, the bibliography precedes the notes, and characters are given in the bibliography, rather than in the notes. Observant readers who notice that the aspirates in our romanizations point backward (') in the text and foreward (') in the backmatter, need not cavil: the text was set in London and the backmatter in Tokyo; thus at the time of composition all the aspirates pointed in the same sidereal direction.

Notes to A Preliminary Framework

J O H N K. F A I R B A N K

1. A version of this chapter appeared in Encounter for December 1966. Writings and source materials on China's premodern foreign relations are, of course, extremely ramified. The best introduction to the origins and early history of China's foreign trade and tributary relations is Ying-shih Yü, Trade and Expansion in Han China: A Study in the Structure ofSino-Barbarian Economic Relations (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967). Twenty-five years ago a bibliography of some fifty-five studies of aspects of China's tributary relations was published in J. K. Fairbank and S. Y. Teng, "On the Ch'ing Tributary System," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 6:238-243 (1941) (reprinted in the same authors' Ch'ing Administration: Three Studies [Cambridge, Mass., 1960], pp. 210-215), as well as a selected list of some thirty-four Ch'ing works (1644— 1860) on maritime relations (pp. 206-219; reprint, pp. 178-191). In the years since then research and publication on this subject have been very extensive. An entire bibliographic volume would now be of value. On the whole, Japanese scholarship has led the way in


NOTES TO P A G E S 3 - 2 4 analyzing China's traditional world view and foreign relations. For a general approach, see Abe Takeo gcgßjH^, Chügokujin no tenka katmen Φ ^ Λ Ο ^ Τ ϋ ^ ("T'ienhsia idea of the Chinese"; Kyoto: Doshisha University, 1956). 2. This theme has been developed in several studies by Tamura Jitsuzö EQttÄU; see for example his survey lectures, Kita Ajia ni okeru rekishi sekai no keisei itV ic ί ί id" K ^ t i t ( " T h e making of Ά North Asian World'"; Kyoto: Doshisha University, 19S6). 3. Interstate relations under the Chou, mainly in the Ch'un-ch'iu period 722-481 B.c., are analyzed according to categories of international law most recently in Iriye Keishirö A'ZE^EßP, Chügoku koten to kokusaihö φ ϋ ^ Λ £ ΙΙΙΙκίίέ (International law in the Chinese classics; Tokyo: Seibundo, 1966). 4. See H. G. Creel, "The Beginnings of Bureaucracy in China: The Origin of the Hsien," Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2 (February 1964). 5. Kurihara Tomonobu JSUEJIfil. Shin Kan shi no kenkyü (Studies on the history of the Ch'in and Han dynasties; Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1960), pp. 125-286. 6. See Wang Yü-ch'uan EEffiS, "Ming-tai ti wang-fu chuang-t'ien" SfjftEftEE/fr ttEB (Princely estates of the Ming period), Li-shih lun-ts'ung (Collected historical essays), 1:219-305 (1964); see table, p. 297. 7. Cf. the regulations translated in Fairbank and Teng, pp. 163-173 (reprint, pp. 135145). 8. Ibid., pp. 174-176 (reprint, pp. 146-148).

Notes to Historical Notes on the Chinese World Order


YANG Lien-sheng Yang is Harvard-Yenching Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University. He holds a B.A. from Tsing Hua University (1937), and an M.A. (1942) and Ph.D. (1946) from Harvard. He has been a member of Academia Sinica since 1958 and his publications include A Concise Dictionary of Spoken Chinese (1947; with Y. R. Chao), Money and Credit in China: A Short History (1952), Studies in Chinese Institutional History (1961), and Les aspects economiques des travaux publics dans la Chine imperiale (1964). 1. Shang-shu chu-su jj-fi;, Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., 5:6b, 6:17b-19; Chou li cheng-i Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., 55 7-10; 71 :i5b-igb; Kuo-yü Mm, Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., 1:3a-b. See Professor Fairbank's chapter, p. 9 above. 2. Shang-shu chu-su, 14:1b, 11; 15:2b; Ch'en Meng-chia W-^f-'M, Yin-hsii pu-tz'u tsung-shu g$jg f - M S i t (1956), pp. 319-332; Abe Takeo ίξ^ΜΙζ, Chügokujin no tenka kannen (1956), pp. 14-37. 3. Ming hui-tien Wan-yu wen-k'u ed., 105: 2281. 4. Yang-chih shu-mu wen-chi j t £ f l Ü l i 3 £ Ä . 3:15b-17b. 5. According to Kuo's epitaph (shen-tao-pei ming ΐφϋϋ$ΐ£ίί) by Wang Hsien-ch'ien included as front matter in Kuo's Yu-ch'ih lao-jen tzu-hsü ΞΕ^ϊ^ίΛ iä ΙΧ· 6. On Kuo Sung-tao, see A. W. Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1943), I, 438-439 (by Tu Lien-che); S. Y. Teng and J. K. Fairbank, China's Response





to the West: A Documentary Survey, 1839-1923 (1954), pp. 99-102; and David Hamilton, " K u o Sung-tao: A Maverick Confucian," in Papers on China, 15 :l-29 (1961). None of these three works refers to Kuo's "Sui-pien cheng-shih." Hamilton, p. 18, identifies the term kuo-t'i with the Confucian Order, which is not wrong but is philologically misleading. Strictly speaking, the term merely refers to the dignity (t'i-t'ung or t'i-mien%§M) of the state, which in turn may base itself on the institutions (t'i-chih f§®J). Similarly, cheng-t'i jgtfff merely refers to the "dignity of government." At least this was the standard usage in Kuo's time. T h e use of kuo-t'i or cheng-t'i to refer to the political structure or system appeared only later toward the end of the dynasty, when the constitutional problem of monarchy or democracy had arisen. 7. Translations from all the classics are those of James Legge but with romanization changed to the Wade-Giles system. For the following quotations from the Tso-chuan see James Legge, tr. The Chinese Classics, Vol. 5, The Ch'un Ts'em with the Tso Chuen (London: Henry Frowde, 1872; reprinted Hong Kong University Press, 1961); Vol. 1, Confucian Analects, The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean; Vol. 2, The Works ofMencius, 2nd ed. rev. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893 and 1895; reprinted Hong Kong University Press, 1961). 8. Ch'un-ch'iu Kung-yang chuan ^ l A Ä ^ f t i Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., 1: lb-2,7-8; 5:3b; 12:3; 18:lb, 5b. Ch'enChu Kung-yang chia che-hsueh (1929), "Tsunwang shuo" l ^ i t S , pp. lb-2b. 9. Han shu, Han-fen lou ed., 74:2. 10. Ibid., 94B:12-13b. 11. Chia I, Η sin shu 0 τ β > Ssu-pu pei-yao ed., 4:2-5. 12. Han shu, 48:13. 13. Chu tzuyii-lei 135:17b. 14. Han shu, 94B:10a-b. 15. T'ung tien, T'u-shu chi-ch'eng chü ed., 200:5-6b. 16. Chang Wen-chungkung ch'üan-chi ä g ^ ^ Ä i i i Ä i Wan-yu wen-k'u ed., "Shu-tu" β » , 2:248-249. 17. Ibid., 8:362-363. 18. T'ung tien, 195:lb-3b. 19. Hou Han shu, Han-fen lou ed., 119:3b. 20. Hou Han shu, 70B:5b-6. 21. Han shu, 49:5; Hou Han shu, 77:3; 119:6; Kuan tzu, Ssu-pu ts'ung-k'an ed., 9:8. 22. Han shu, 94A:7b. 23. Yang-chih shu-n>u wen-chi, 11:10b—11.

N o t e s t o Early

Ming Relations

with Southeast



Wang Gungwu is Professor of History, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He studied at the National Central University, Nanking, and at the University of Malaya, Singapore, before going on to obtain his Ph.D. at the University of London in 1957. He is President of the International Association of the Historians of Asia, 1964-1968, and Hon. Editor of the Journal of the Malaysian Branch Royal Asiatic Society. He has written A Short History of the Nanyang Chinese (1959), The Nanhai Trade: A Study




of the Early History of Chinese Trade in the South China Sea (1958), The Structure of Pomer in North China during the Five Dynasties (1963), and edited a volume of essays, Malaysia (1964). Abbreviations used in the notes: HWSL: Ming T'ai-tsu shih-lu, or Hung-wu shih-lu MS: Ming-shih HJj^ YLSL: Yung-lo shih-lu

(ÄSO Ä 3 I

1. MingT'ai-tsu shih-lu (or Hung-wu shih-lu H^^ffl, jä; J t ^ ) , photolithographic ed. (Taipei, 1962), 26:10-1 lb. 2. Notably Liu Chi and Sung Lien both of Chekiang, recruited in 1360; Ming shih Hfj^t, 128:1-13. The above November message was written by Sung Lien. Other worthy Confucians were T'ao An recruited in 1355, and Chan T'ung in 1364; MS, 136:1-5. Most of the Confucians worked under Li Shan-ch'ang who had joined the Ming founder in 1354 and was known to have favored Legalist methods; MS, 127:l-5b. 3. MS, 128:9-10b, and 136:3b-4b. For the first three years of Hung-wu, 1368-1370, HWSL, chüan 29-59; Kuo-chüeh g f i g (Peking, 1958), Vol. 1, chüan 3-4, pp. 352-436; Ming t'ung-chien (Peking, 1959), 1-3:168-263. 4. Yuan shih TCjiL, chüan 208-210 on foreign countries, and chüan 1-9 on the background of Mongol military successes. 5. It is interesting to note that Emperor Hung-wu was conscious of the central place of Chou, the Chinese states of Lu, Chin, and Ch'i and the non-Chinese states of Ch'u and Wu and asked that the order be maintained in the new compilation of the history of the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 B . C . ) , Ch'un-ch'iu fen-mo compiled by Fu Tsao in 1379. This was done so as to make clear that China was Inner and the barbarians Outer (so-inei Chung-kuo er wai i-ti JJf HWSL, 125:3b-4. The work has not survived, but is listed in slightly different ways in Ming-shih i-wen chih,pu-pien,fu-pien M S , WiM, 2 vols. (Peking, 1959), pp. 22, 153, 383,787, 1201. The author is also given as K'ung K'o-chien J L j S H , direct descendant of Confucius, but MS, 284:l-2b, says he died in 1370, whereas HWSL is quite clear the work was completed in 1379. 6. Shang shu, chüan 6, Yii-kung iSjft (The tribute of Yü), passim; see n. 59. Also numerous references to ch'ao, kung, and hsien and other terms in Tso chuan but rarely elaborated upon except to emphasize the proper relationship between large states (ta-kuo ^ p j ) and small states (hsiao-kuo ' h ü D ; for example, Tso chuan, 2 vols, in Shih-san ching chu-shu +ΞίβϊΞΕ!>ίί (1815 ed.), 18:18b;20:9;29:4; 30:14,15; 34:3b, 4b; 40:23b. 7. The T'ang historiographer, Liu Chih-chi S l j f t ] ^ , described the origins of lun and tsan and discussed how they had been used; Shih t'ung t'ung-shih S & j I j I ^ , ed. P'u Ch'i-lung ffiigfl, Kuo-hsueh chi-pen ts'ung-shu S I p J j E ^ j S i j t ed., 2 vols., I, 52-54. He criticized several historians for having been long-winded and repetitive and having indulged in literary embellishment. I recognize the limitations of these lun-tsan but will show that they are useful in indicating changes in attitudes over the centuries. A recent discussion of this subject by Sung Hsi and his collection




of all the lun-tsan in one work, Cheng-shih lun-tsan l E ^ ä r a l f , 4 vols. (Taipei, 1954— 1956), is most helpful. 8. Shihchi, chüan 110,113,114, 115, 116, on the Hsiung-nu north of the Great Wall, on South China and North Vietnam, on Southeast China (Chekiang and Fukien), on Korea and Manchuria and on Southwestern China (Szechwan, Kweichow and Yunnan). Chüan 123 concerned Ta-yüan (Ferghana) and other states of Central Asia. 9. These are a sample of the common terms found in the six relevant chapters of Shih chi and also elsewhere throughout the work. Other important terms for foreign relations were pitt-fu j f / j g ί fu-shu, chi-shu, ch'en-shu Ig, Ü , |gJÜ; nei-hsiang, ttei-shu, nei-ch'en |g, na-kung-chih wai-ch'en 10. Shih chi, 110:12b-21b; cf. Ssu-ma Ch'ien's tacit approval of aggressive policies against Nan Yüeh and Tung Yüeh, ibid., 113:9b; 114:5. See Professor Suzuki's chapter. 11. Shih cht, chüan 123, passim. 12. Han shu, 94B:3a-b, 31a-b. 13. Ibid., 94B:28b-32b. This is a superbly written tsan which deserves closer study. I merely wish to draw attention to Pan Ku's criticism of Tung Chung-shu j^ftj'gf and his agreement with the proposals of Hsiao Wang-chih 5 ϋ ϋ έ a n d Hou Ying f ^ l g . He also had a pointed note about those who favored peace (ho-ch'in) being the scholar officials (chin-shen chihju $jf|$,ilffi) and those who favored war (cheng-fa) being the military men (chieh-chou chih shih and criticized them both for "merely seeing the gains and dangers of the moment and not investigating the Hsiung-nu [problem's] beginning and end" (p'ien-chien i-shih chih li-hai, er wei-chiu Hsiung-nu chih chung-shih m^-'mZ.nm, M ^ f ä J t e f ^ ) · As to Pan Ku's long-term view, he quoted the Classic of Documents, the Kung-yang commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals, and concluded that the gulf between Chinese and barbarians was unbridgeable and no relations could be useful. He also recommended "loose-rein control" (chi-mi Hgpjf) when the foreign country itself sought relations with China. 14. Several earlier attempts to write the history of the Later Han dynasty had been made during the third and fourth centuries and the materials were well known. There is no reason to doubt, however, that both his lun and tsan reflected his personal views or the views of his age and were not derived from his predecessors. Hou Han shu, chüan 85-90, esp. 87:40-42b; 89:33b-38; 90:20a-b. 15. Sung shu, 95:51-54; chüan 95-98, passim. 16. Ibid., chüan 97, esp. pp. 29-30. 17. Sui shu, 81:16a-b; 83:17b-18; 84:21b-23. 18. Chin shu, 97:12-13; preface to tsai-chi chüan 101; 103:13b-14b; 107:11b12b; 111:10-11; 115:10a-b; 119:8a-b; 121:9a-b; 122:13a-b; 124:lla-b; 125:14a-b; 126:llb-12; 128:8b; 129:7a-b; 130:9. The Chin shu editors defined barbarians as those who did not follow the paths of "humanity and righteous conduct" (jen-i £2$%) and were cut off from the wisdom of the sages (ming-chiao Jfjt.). They "rebelled" (p'an when Chinese te was weak or slack (shih jftti). 19. Nan shih, 80:18b. 20. Chou shu, 50:17b-18b. 21. Chiu T'angshu, 194B:8b-9; 195:14b-15; 196B:16a-b; 197:10b; 198:18; 199B:14b. Hsin T'ang shu, preface to chüan on foreign peoples, 215A:l-3, has a long historical




analysis of Chinese policy toward non-Chinese peoples; also 215B:10; 216B :9b; 217B: 13a-b; 219:11; 222B:7b; 222C:22. 22. Chiu T'ang shu, 197:10b. 23. Hsin Wu-taishih, 72:1, preface to three chiian on foreign peoples. 24. Yuan shih, 41:1b, 7a-b; 139:12b-13. Also memorials presenting Sung shih and Chin shih by A-lu-t'u and that presenting Liao shih by T'o-t'o Jjftfjft. 25. Sung shih, 485:1-2; 486:25-26; Liao shih, 115:10b-ll; Chin shih, 134:12-13; 135:8b. 26. MS, chiian 320-332 on foreign peoples. They did not have even the prefaces which were provided for the collective chapters (chiian 281-309) on honest and loyal officials, scholars, literary men, hermits, women, eunuchs and rebels and those (chiian 310-319) on the t'u-ssu i e ] of Szechwan, Yunnan, Kweichow, and Kwangsi. 27. From the "empires" of Min and Nan Han in South China at the beginning of the tenth century through the Northern and Southern Sung to the Yuan and Ming empires, there was a noticeable growth in Chinese trading relations with Southeast Asia. This is brought out clearly by the works of Chou Ch'ü-fei fSiJx-j'f (Ling-wai tai-ta i j M ^ f f t S ) , Chao Ju-kua i i g c i f i (Chu-fan chih and Wang Ta-yuan (Tao-i chih-lüeh ÄUSg). 28. Sung shih, 485:1. 29. Ibid., chiian 488-489; 45:10; 488:18b. 30. See F. Hirth and W. W. Rockhill's translation of Chu-fan chih and accompanying notes; Chau Ju-kua (St. Petersburg, 1912). 31. Yuan shih, 209:1b-19b. 32. Ibid., 209:9b-18b; 210:6b-14,16-18; 162:10-17b. 33. For a few examples of this statement, see HWSL, 37:22a-b; 44:5b; 47:5; 71:3; 126:5; 134:3. 34. Shih chi jils2> chiian 110 and 123. 35. Sung shu J^U, chiian 95; Wei shu chiian 97-98. Nan Ch'i shu chiian 57, uses the term Wei-nu Ugff, "Wei barbarians." 36. Sung shih chiian 485-487; Liao shih jgji;, chiian 115; Chin shih chiian 134-135. 37. HWSL, 37:22a-b; 43:3a-b; 44:5b-6; 46:1-2; 47:3b-4; 51:8b-9; 67:4b-5; 128: 5a-b; 133:6b-7. See discussion on how often tribute should be sent, MS, 324:15a-b. 38. HWSL, 39:2-3; 50:7a-b; 68:5b-6. MS, 324:21, 25b-26b; 325:lb-2; Ming-shih kao (Taipei, 1962), Vol. 7, lieh-chuan 199:1b. 39. HWSL, 129:l-2b; 202:3-5; MS, 308:2b-4; 322:4b; 324:26; Kuo-chüeh, 7:581583; 9:708-710; Ming t'ung-chien, 7:369-372; 10:480-482. 40. Ming-shih kao, Vol. 7, lieh-chuan, 199:1b; HWSL, 67:6b; MS, 325:lb-5. 41. HWSL, 134:3; MS, 324:21, 25b. 42. HWSL, 254:6-7; MS, 324:25b-26b. The Ming court argued that since Srivijaya was under Java's control (t'ung-shu M:JÜ)> it would listen to the Javanese. This suggests that the Ming officials were projecting their own view of loose suzerain-vassal relationships to Southeast Asia. They had no difficulty in believing that a vassal state could be strong enough to obstruct sea communications while still being a vassal; they probably thought that Java's suzerainty was based on a traditional status relationship and not necessarily on strength.




43. HWSL, 68:4a-b; the list of countries is in Mao Jui-cheng J f ^ S t , Huang-Ming hsiang-hsü lu Peiping National Library ed., list of contents, p. 4. 44. HWSL, chüan 246-257; Kuo-chüeh, I, 766-783. 45. HWSL, 68:4b. 46. For the great voyages, Western-language studies by P. Pelliot and J. J. L. Duyvendak in T'oungpao, Vols. 30-32,34,38, and 42, are authoritative. E. O. Reischauer and J. K. Fairbank, East Asia: The Great Tradition (Boston, 1960), pp. 321-325, and L. Carrington Goodrich, A Short History of the Chinese People (London, 1957), pp. 190195, sum up the material clearly. A thorough Chinese study is Cheng Ho-sheng ϋ β ϋ ΐ ? , Cheng Ho i-shih hui-pien Ü J f d ä U i l f e Ü (Shanghai, 1948). There have been several more recent books and articles published in Taiwan. 47. There was one preliminary "expedition" to the Indian Ocean in 1403-1405, when Yung-lo ordered missions on August 25, October 1, and October 28, 1403, to go to India (YLSL, 22:2b; 23:3; 24:5b). They probably set out together via Java and Malacca. This could not, however, be regarded as a precursor of the seven that followed. 48. YLSL, 12A:7; 47:4. In YLSL, 86:1b, the wording is more explicit:'"without separation into inner and outer, all are regarded as of one" (wu-chien nei-wai, chiin-shih i-t'i|S|?f) p^^f, } έ ) ϋ — f a ) ; see also MS, 325:3b. The phrase wu-chien in Hua-i wu-chien HHS&PbT ( n o separation of Chinese and non-Chinese), is used by Hung-wu; HWSL, 53:8b. 49. HWSL, 47:5b; 48:4b; 49:2a-b; also the list of countries by 1375, HWSL, 97: la-b (see n. 51, below). 50. HWSL, 51:7a-b; 52:5-6; 53:l-2b; 53:6b-7. 51. By 1375 mountains and rivers in foreign areas were listed according to proximity to Chinese provinces, as follows. CHINESE PROVINCE


Kwangsi Annam, Champa, Cambodia, Siam and Chola Kwangtung Srivijaya, Java Fukien Japan, Ryukyu, Brunei Liaotung (Manchuria) Korea Shensi Tibet It is interesting that Brunei and Java were placed on different lists; HWSL, 97:la-b; also M S , 325:2. 52. YLSL is the main source for this information. Other notable records are MS, chiian 6-7 and 323-326; Mingshih-kao, lieh-chuan, chiian 197-200; Huang-ming hsianghsü lu, chiian 4-5; Kuo-chüeh, chüan 13-18. 53. Cambodia, YLSL, 22:2b; 44:5; 149:2b. For the others, YLSL, 22:2b; MS, 325:1b; 324:26b. 54. MS, 304:2b-5b; Cheng Ho-sheng, pp. 79-111; YLSL, 24:5b; MS, 325:6. 55. Wang Gungwu, " T h e Opening of Relations between China and Malacca, 14031405," in J. S. Bastin and R. Roolvink, eds., Malayan and Indonesian Studies (Oxford, 1964), pp. 87-104. 56. YLSL, 47:4a-b. 57. Japan, YLSL, 50:4-5b; Brunei, YLSL, 86:l-2b, and MS, 325:3-5; Cochin, YLSL, 183:1-2, and MS, 326:3b-4b. 58. YLSL, 47:4b; 192:4a-b.




59. Chou liMWk, in Shih-sati ching chu-shu, 29: 5a-b and 33:1 Sa-b; in Taipei reprint (1955), V, 441 and 501. Also known as the Nine Domains (Chiu-chi and therefore tien-chi and fan-chi (in this case fan is written ^ and not In pre-Chou times, the Shang shu 1nj=|} speaks of the Five Submissions (wu-fu 2 l ® 0 where tien-fu is listed as the first; Shang shu, in SUh-san ching chu-shu, 6:30-33b, and 5:11 (in 1955 reprint, II, 91-93 and 71). 60. YLSL, 192:1. 61. Wu-pei chih S^H/fe m a P ) reproduced in Chou Yü-sen /UfiäS, Cheng Ho hang-lu k'ao (Taipei, 1959); Chang I - s h a n ^ g ^ ^ , Ming-tai Chung-kuo yu Ma-laiya ti kuan-hsi Ι Ι ^ Φ ^ ^ . Ι ^ Μ ^ Β Α ^ (Taipei, 1964), p. 37. 62. YLSL, 143:1b; MS, 324:22. 63. See note 52 above and notes 64-70 below. There are discrepancies in the various sources, and there are a number of missions which are uncertain because they are grouped together as having come with Cheng Ho's fleets. As far as I can judge, the numbers in the table are correct. 64. MS, chiian 6 and 7; 324:3b-4b. More details of Sino-Cham relations in YLSL, esp. 21:12b; 22:2b; 26:7b; 27:2b; 33:4b-5, 6; 58:2b-3,4b; 60:3b; 71:7; 84:1; 149:2b, 4b-5; 170:3b-4. 65. MS, Man 6 and 7; 325:2-5; also YLSL, 86:l-2b. 66. MS, Man 6 and 7; 324:13a-b; YLSL, 149:2a-b. 67. MS, chiian 6 and 7. Siam, MS, 324:16b-17b; and almost yearly in YLSL. Java, MS, 324:21b-22b; on Cheng Ho's itinerary in 1408 and 1412, YLSL, 83:3b, 134:3. 68. Cheng Ho-sheng, pp. 41-58,69-77,79-111. In 1412 Kan Ch'üan was sent specially to accompany the Malacca ruler's nephew home; MS, 325:7; YLSL, 132:2. Hou Hsien's mission to Bengal was in 1415; YLSL, 166:1. 69. It is clear the Malacca mission of July 1412 came together with the Bengal mission; their arrival was announced and they were specially met, together, at Chen-chiang fu i g ü / f j ; YLSL, 129:1. Similarly, the Samudra mission of January 1411 arrived with the Bengal mission; YLSL, 111 :3b. The Samudra and Lambri i g j f i f ü (also missions of October 1412 may have come on their own, but, considering their arrival three months after Malacca and Bengal, it is not unlikely that the three traveled in one fleet and the Samudra and Lambri missions were slightly delayed; YLSL, 132:2. Another Malacca mission, that of February 1409, may also have come with that of Bengal, since Cheng Ho's second expedition probably did not return till September 1409 (Cheng Ho's expeditions always returned during the second half of the year). YLSL is unreliable about Cheng Ho's second and third expeditions and the dates 1407-1409 and 1409-1411 have been reconstructed by Cheng Ho-sheng, and by Pelliot and Duyvendak. The errors may have arisen because Emperor Yung-lo was away from Nanking and in Peking from February 23, 1409, to December 7, 1410; YLSL, 88:5b; 110:1b. For the February missions of Malacca and Bengal, YLSL, 88:2, 4b. For signs of Cheng Ho's return in September 1409, YLSL, 94:5b. 70. The ruler of Malacca came personally in 1411,1419, and 1424, and also in 1414 with the visit of the "heir apparent," reporting the death of his father and being made the successor; YLSL, 155:2b-3. 71. This is a most complex subject with a vast literature, and outside the scope of this




paper. I shall limit myself to some of the better known material, which I list below. For the Hindu-Buddhist period, the best general account is G. Coedes, Les Etats Hindouises d'Indochine et d'Indonesie, rev. ed. (Paris, 1964). Other important works are B. Schrieke, Indonesian Sociological Studies, 2 vols. (The Hague, 1955 and 1957); L. P. Briggs, The Ancient Khmer Empire (Philadelphia, 1951);H. G. Quaritch Wales, Ancient Siamese Government and Administration (London, 1934). For Samudra and Malacca, we can glean something from the Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai, tr. A. H. Hill; and the Sejarah Melayu, tr. C. C. Brown, both published in the Journal of the Malayan Branch, Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 25, Pts. 2 and 3, pp. 1-278 (1953) and Vol. 33, Pt. 2, pp. 7215 (1960).

Notes to The Ch'ing Tribute System: An Interpretive Essay MARK MANCALL

Mark Mancall, Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University, received his B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles (1953), and his M.A. (1955) and Ph.D. (1963) from Harvard University. His special interest is Sino-Russian relations and his study, "Russia and China: Their Early Relations to 1728," is in process of publication by the Harvard University Press. Abbreviations used in the notes : KHSL: Ch'ing Sheng-tsujen Huang-ti shih-lu (K'ang-hsi) TTSL: Ch'ing T'ai-tsung Wen Huang-ti shih-lu ^ ^ C ^ i Ä ^ Ä Ä (Abahai) 1. Vadime Elisseeff, " T h e Middle Empire, a Distant Empire, an Empire without Neighbors," Diogenes, 42:60-64 (Summer 1963). 2. For examples of Sino-Western disagreements on procedural matters in diplomacy, see Alastair Lamb, "British Missions to Cochin China, 1778-1822," Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 34.3-4 (Nos. 195 and 196), pp. 124ff, 191-192; J. L. Cranmer-Byng, An Embassy to China: Lord Macartney's Journal, 17931794 (London, 1962), passim. 3. Kham-dinh Viet-su thong-giam cuong-muc (Texte et commentaire du miroir complet de l'histoire du Viet), tr. Maurice Durand (Hanoi, 1950). 4. Ibid., pp. 64-65. 5. Kieu-Oanh-Mau, Ban trieu ban nghich liet truyen (Biographies of rebels against the present dynasty; Saigon, 1963), pp. 20-21. Note that this work is misnamed; it is a chronology of rebellions, not a collection of biographies. See ibid., pp. xvii-xvm. 6. M. R. Seni Pramoj and M. R. Kukrit Pramoj, King of Siam Speaks (n.p., n.d.), p. 123. For examples of the use of Chinese seals by Mongkut, see ibid., pp. 104, 107. 7. John F. Cady, Southeast Asia: Its Historical Development (New York, 1964), p. 594. 8. H. G. Quaritch Wales, Siamese State Ceremonies: Their History and Function (London, 1931), p. 84. 9. Ibid., pp. 86-87,90. For the Singhalese titles of the Chakri kings, see ibid., pp. 104105. 10. Charles Drekmeier, Kingship and Community in Early India (Stanford, 1962),






pp. 157,162-163. See also John W. Spellman, Political Theory of Ancient India: A Study of Kingship from the Earliest Times to circa A.D. 300 (Oxford, England, 1964), Chap. 2. 11. Drekmeier, pp. 162-163. 12. Wales, p. 186. 13. Ta-Ch'ing Man-chou shih-lu ^ f ® jüflÄÄ (Taipei, 1964), p. 287.1 am indebted to Professors Francis W. Cleaves and Joseph Fletcher for the original translation upon which this version is based. 14. S. E. Malov, Pamiatnikidrevnetiurskoipis'mennosti: Teksty iissledovaniia (Moscow, 1951), pp. 34-35. 15. John King Fairbank and Ssu-yu Teng, Cli'ing Administration: Three Studies (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), p. 149. On the tribute system in general, see also Chusei Suzuki ί ί ^ ί φ Ι Ε , Chibetto 0 meguru Chü-In kankei shi S- 7 I- t^ 'ib 1964), pp. 27-28. 7. Amami shitan, p. 28; Kagoshima kenshi ÜLj^lUfiiii (Prefectural history of Kagoshima; Tokyo: Kagoshima ken ΜΆΒΪΜ, 1940), II, 621-623. 8. Ibid., pp. 624-625. 9. Ibid., pp. 627-628.




10. Ibid., pp. 626-627. 11. Ibid., pp. 631-633. 12. For translations of treaties of 1611 see George H. Kerr, Okinawa: The History of an Island People (Rutland, Vt., and Tokyo, 1958), pp. 160-162. 13. Shidehara Hiroshi, "Shimazu-shi chi-Ryü saku" (Ryukyu policies of the Shimazu family), SZ, 8.6:527-528 (June 1897). According to Sakamaki, in 1636 Satsuma ordered the use of the title kokushi (administrator of the country) in official documents instead of Ryükyü-koku Chuzan-o (king of Chuzan, country of Ryukyu). The use of 0 (king) was restored in 1712. Shunzö Sakamaki, Ryukyu: A Bibliographical Guide to Okimwan Studies (Honolulu, 1963), pp. 283-284. 14. Kenshi, II, 4. 15. "Ryükyü hörei," in "SRZ," No. 23, regulations of 1790, began with a reminder of the invasion of 1609 and warned that "Any attempt to separate the Ryukyuans from Japan would only cause trouble without profit" and that "Ryukyuans should not forget their miserable experience of defeat and their king's captivity." 16. "Toryüsha buki kinsei" (Prohibition of weapons to travelers to Ryukyu), "SRZ," No. 25. Kerr, pp. 178-179, states that the swordsmithy of Shuri was destroyed in 1669. 17. Kenshi, II, 672. 18. Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.7:625. See also, "Ryükyü shoryö no gairyaku: Gokirokusho jöshin" : ffllfSif^f-ti (Summary on the Ryukyu territory: Submission of notes from the daimyo's records office), "SRZ," No. 8. 19. Ibid.\ see also Amami shitan, p. 31. 20. Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.6:530-531; cf. memorandum of 1688, "Ryüri kokoroe kunji, oboe" (Instructions for the Ryukyu officials to bear in mind, a memorandum), in "SRZ," No. 25. 21. "Ryükyü koku-ö yöchi ni tsuki wakete mikiki no shidai sajö no töri möshitsuke sörö" (Instructions concerning the king of the Ryukyus, who is very young), in ibid. 22. "Ryüri kokoroe kunji, oboe," ibid. 23. "Zaiban bugyö kokoroe sho" $ϊ#^ίτ'·ί#|| (Instructions for the resident magistrate), in ibid. See also "Totösen itomono kaiire unnun tassho" A 5 * i i U (Instructions on the purchasing of thread from the ships to China, etc.), in ibid. 24. "Yamato yokome kakugonoösewatashi" ^^Ofj^ g Ι&Κέ,Ίίρ® (Rulesgoverning the conduct of Yamato [Satsuma] yokome), in ibid. 25. "Sho sendö kakugo no jö-jö" WiiaM^'fuT^L^. * (Various resolutions for ships' captains), in ibid. 26. "Ryükyü shoryö no gairyaku," ibid, No. 8. 27. "Ryükyü hörei," ordinance of 1786, ibid., No. 23. 28. Ibid. 29. Ibid., ordinance of 1787. 30. Kenshi, II, 669-670. In descending order, the four ranks below the king were: oji (prince), anji (regional lord), oyakata (elder), and pekumi otpechin (junior elder, lit., "close to the court"). See Sakamaki's glossary in Ryukyu: A Bibliographical Guide, pp. 280 and 284.




31. Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.7:625; for ranking of titles see Kerr, pp. 188-189. According to Professor Ta-tuan Ch'en, the Chinese listing of rants differed from that of the Japanese, so that comparison is difficult. 32. "Ienori-kö kökyo ni tsuite shisha" l ^ j l L & H Ä K - f ( E m i s s a r i e s related to the death of Lord Ienori), in "SRZ," No. 25. Note that the memorandum prepared by the Ryukyu-kan at Kagoshima used the Chinese calendar. The second date, using the Japanese system, is a later entry, perhaps by the Satsuma zaiban bugyö in Ryukyu. 33. "Ryüshi jökoku kigen tassho" (Instructions on the time limit for Ryukyu ambassadors to come to Japan), in ibid. 34. "Gozen tamawari" iHHtHj f (On the bestowal of food), in ibid. 35. "Ryükyü shoryö no gairyaku," in ibid., No. 8. According to Kerr, p. 201, the mission of 1710 was the largest with 168 men and the next largest was that of 1714 with 138 men. 36. "Ryükyü sambutsu" (Ryukyu products), in "SRZ," No. 8. 37. For a description of the procession see Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.7:625627. See also Shunzö Sakamaki, Ryukyu: A Bibliographical Guide, pp. 90-97. 38. "Ryükyüjin tojö michisuji" tftMAWMiBffi (Routes ofRyukyuans to the castle), in "SRZ," No. 23; also "Ryükyü hörei," in ibid. 39. Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.7:627. 40. "Ryükyü sambutsu," in "SRZ," No. 8. 41. "Ryükyü hörei," ibid. 42. Kerr, p. 201. The interest of Edo scholars in the intellectual and cultural traditions of Kume-mura in Okinawa can be seen in a bakufu request for a poem to be written in three styles of calligraphy by one of the Kume residents. See "Bakufu Ryüjin no sho ο motomeru" J S f t & (The bakufu requests the calligraphy of a Ryukyuan), in "SRZ," No. 25. 43. "Arai Hakuseki shibun ο Shinkoku ni'tsukawasu" ^f (Arai Hakuseki sends his literary piece to China), ibid. 44. "Töshimoseino tame kanseki Ryüjin" j i £ f t l l i ! i © g £ > g i f l i i f t A (Name registration of Ryukyuan changed in order to manufacture Chinese-type paper), ibid. Niigaki had learned to manufacture paper from his father in Fukien, and when he returned to the Ryukyus his fame had reached the ear of Lord Shigehide, who secured his services to manufacture Chinese-type paper. He was appointed go-nando shihai okobito Ρ ί Β Ε ί ϊ Φ A (okobito in charge of the storage room). 45. Shunzö Sakamaki, ed., Ryukyuan Names (Honolulu, 1964), pp. 34, 38. 46. Ibid., p. 34. 47. Amami shitan, p. 33. 48. Ibid., pp. 35-36. 49. Kerr, p. 194. 50. Amami shitan, p. 53. Professor Haraguchi Torao J^ ρ University of Kagoshima, informs me that Satsuma's oppressive measures were directly related to her sugar monopoly in öshima. Prior to the Kyöhö period Satsuma daikan married Oshima women and made their daughters noro. After the Kyöhö period the policy was to suppress the noro and strong measures were adopted for this, especially in the An'ei period (1772-1781). 51. Ibid., pp. 53-54.




52. "Sankö: Ryükyükokuköfuku iraishiseiippan" : UMMV&ifcWJlifälk—M (Reference: A section of administration in the Ryukyu kingdom after the surrender), in "SRZ," No. 25; Kenshi, II, 679-681. 53. Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.6:532, gives the amount of payments for each product. 54. Ibid., pp. 533-534. Kenshi, II, 618; "Kokudaka ni kakaru sho dashimai" (Various taxes based on land yield), dated 1725, in "SRZ," No. 25. 55. Kenshi, II, 681-682. 56. The mission of 1719 had stayed for 252 days, a length of time indicative of the volume of goods brought and the difficulty of disposing of them. Sakamaki, Ryukyu: A Bibliographical Guide, p. 84; Kerr, pp. 203-204. 57. "Kokudaka ni kakaru sho dashimai"; Shidehara, "Shimazu-shi," SZ, 8.6:535; Kenshi, II, 682-683; "Dai go shihai go-uke" ^ f ä S B E i W Ä (Application of the great control), in "SRZ," No. 25; "Ryükyü koku kokudaka ni kakaru mashidaka narabi uekidaka" ^ Μ Μ Έ ^ ( I n c r e a s e d taxes and taxes on plants based on the land yield of the Ryukyu kingdom), ibid. 58. According to Higuchi Hiroshi §§ ρ Honpö tögyö shi φ ^ ϋ ϋ ί (The sugar industry of this country; Tokyo, 1943), p. 60, sugar was regularly submitted by the Ryukyus to Satsuma from 1623 until 1647. See also Kenshi, II, 683-684. 59. Ta-tuan Ch'en, "Sino-Liu-ch'iuan Relations in the Nineteenth Century" (Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University, 1963) has a detailed account of Ryukyu-China relations. For Satsuma's involvement in the trade, see Robert K. Sakai, "The Satsuma-Ryukyu Trade and the Tokugawa Seclusion Policy," Journal of Asian Studies, 23.3:391-403 (May 1964). 60. It is notable that the Satsuma invasion of the Ryukyu Islands coincided with the end of a red seal trade. In 1605 Shimazu Iehisa received the red seal from Edo to trade in the Western Ocean, specifically with Luzon. Requests for a similar red seal for trade with Luzon, Cambodia, and Siam were denied in 1608 and 1609. See Kenshi, II, 605-608. 61. "Ryükyüjin bakufu [sic, error of copyist] e ötö kokoroe kunji, oboe" 5 f t A S i f f ^ i f i ^ ' l j i f l l l l ^ f t (Memorandum: Instructions for Ryukyuans on how to reply to the bakufu), in "SRZ," No. 25. The contents of this document indicate that the prepared replies were intended to meet questions by Chinese scholars, not by the bakufu. 62. There are numerous documents on the regulation of trade to be found in "SRZ." The description given here is based on instructions of 1693. "Totösen mae kakugo no oboe" ttJlFISfiJiill®t (Instructions on preparing ships voyaging to China), in "SRZ," No. 25. 63. "Totösen kihan no setsu kakugo oboe" (Instructions for handling ships returning from China), ibid. 64. "Shosho bansho" (Various watch posts), in "Rekidai seido" K f t i f r J S : (Administration under the successive daimyo), No. 7. "Rekidai seido" is a collection of manuscript documents in the Shiryo Hensanjo, University of Tokyo.



Notes to Investiture of Liu-cKiu Kings in the Ch'ing Period




Ta-tuan Ch'en is Associate Professor of Oriental Studies at Princeton University and has recently been Visiting Lecturer on Chinese at Harvard. He received his B.A. from the University of Nanking (1948), an M.A. from National Taiwan University (1954), and a Ph.D. from Indiana University (1963) with a dissertation on relations between China and Liu-ch'iu in the nineteenth century. Acknowledgments: This paper is a revised and enlarged version of a chapter in my doctoral dissertation for Indiana University (1963). I wish to thank Professors John K. Fairbank, Robert H. Ferrell, James T . C. Liu, Frederick W. Mote, Ssu-yu Teng, and Lien-sheng Yang for suggestions and corrections. I am also grateful to Professor Shunzö Sakamaki for his generosity in giving me all the facilities to use the rich Ryukyuan collection at the University of Hawaii. Abbreviations used in the notes: HTSL: Ch'in-ting Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien shih-li, Kuang-hsii ed. LTPA: Li-taipao-an RSS: Ry&kyü shiryö sösho 1. Tu Mu i ß Ü , Shih hsijih-chi {sggj 0 fg (Diary of an envoy to the west [i.e., sent by the Ming court to Ninghsia in 1513 to confer investiture on a'consort of an imperial prince]); photographic reprint of Chia-ching Jjjfijf ed. (Peking, 1959), p. 1, preface by Shao Pao H|3f|. Immanuel C. Y. Hsü, China's Entrance into the Family of Nations: The Diplomatic Phase, 1858-1880 (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), pp. 149-150. 2. John K. Fairbank and S. Y. Teng, Ch'ing Administration: Three Studies (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), p. 142. 3. See Shun2ö Sakamaki, "Ryukyu and Southeast Asia," Journal of Asian Studies, 23.3:383-389 (May 1964). 4. See tables in Majikina Ankd M i B ^ S r J S , Okinawa issen-nen shi ? φ ϋ — ψ ^ μ ξ ί ί (Okinawan history of the last millennium; Fukuoka, 1952), pp. 108-111, Appendix, pp. 1-3. 5. Kobata Jun /J\ij| 03 gi, "Kinsei shoki no Ryü-Min kankei: Sei-Jö-eki go ni okeru" iSür^SHogEKIS^: (Liu-ch'iu-Ming relations after the Satsuma invasion), Taihoku daigaku shigakka kenkyü nempö JE^fc^H^'PÄi'Pf-^ST ^gip^jt (Annual bulletin of the Department of History, Taihoku Imperial University), 7:191-192(1943). 6. Li-tai pao-anggf^f|:g (Precious archives of successive generations), a collection of Liu-ch'iuan diplomatic documents, three series and a separate collection, in 249 ts'e (National Taiwan University, MS), Ser. 2, chiian 101, pp. 2-3. For a discussion of LTPA, see Shunzö Sakamaki, "The Rekidai Höan," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 83.1:107-113(1963). 7. "Chüzan seifu" φ |i lift IS (Liu-ch'iu's chronicle of successive generations), in Ryükyü shiryö sösho ifcM'iiP^ts (Collection ofRyukyu historical materials), 5 vols.




(Tokyo, 1941), IV, 48-49, 77; Ming-shih B q f c Po-na ed., 323:3b, 6. 8. LTPA, 2.101:10-16; i.e., "tuan-chung chin-hou, jen-hsiao tu-shih, ch'en-shu kueihsin, i ssu wang-wei, i kuang fan-fu" SÄÜt)¥> fSfflff'Ci, HHZEffc, ΪΧ ft». _ 9. Li Ting-yüan Shift Liu-ch'iu cht BJ? (Account of an embassy to Liuch'iu [in 1800]; preface 1802), 1:1. 10. It was Ming policy to select as envoys learned and scrupulous officials. Emperor T'ai-tsu made the chin-shih degree a requirement for the office of hsing-jen f f In the later periods when certain eunuchs heading a foreign mission brought disgrace to the court, censors repeatedly appealed to the emperor to send only those holding a chin-shih degree as envoys. See Kuo-ch'ao tien-hui PPijfU^'ifc (Collected institutions of the Ming dynasty), comp. Hsü Hsüeh-chü (preface 1601), I I I , 1089-90,1093-95, as reprinted in Chung-kuo shih-hsueh ts'ung-shu Φ^Μ^ί^Μ'Μ (Collection of Chinese historical works), No. 7 (Taipei, 1965). 11. For a complete list of names and titles of the envoys sent in the Ch'ing period, see table in Majikina, pp. 110-111. 12. Li Ting-yüan, 4:17. U . C h ' i n - t i n g T a - C h ' i n g h u i - t i e n s h i h - l i ^ ^ i z ^ ^ ß : ^ M ( ^ ^ S - ^ s ü ed.),97:5b-6. 14. Hsü Pao-kuang fäCfMJt, Chung-shan ch'uatt-hsin lu (Memoirs of Liu-ch'iu; preface 1721, Japanese ed., 1840), 3:53. 15. Li Ting-yüan, 1:3. 16. This monk, Chi-ch'en ^ ^ (also known as Pa-chiu shan-jen A i l l - U A ) w a s a great poet-calligrapher-painter, who was invited by Li Ting-yüan to accompany the 1800 mission. See Li Ting-yüan, 2:22; Chung-kuo hua-chia jen-ming ta tz'u-tien ψ||| Hcä^A^SAfBÄ (Biographical dictionary of Chinese painters; Shanghai, 1944), p.373. Allegedly associated with this mission was another writer-painter, Shen Fu i t ® , author of Fu-sheng liu-chi f-^^y^fB (Six chapters of a floating life). Of the six chapters only four are extant. One of the two missing chapters, entitled "Chung-shan chi-li" Φ ΐ Ι ΐ Ι Β Μ is an account of Shen's voyage to Liu-ch'iu. In 1935 a complete edition of six chapters was published, and there, in "Chung-shan chi-li," it was stated that Shen was the secretary to Chao Wen-k'ai, chief envoy of the 1800 mission. This chapter, however, turns out to be spurious, copied mostly from Li Ting-yüan's Shih Liu-ch'iu chi. Shen did serve as a secretary to an investiture mission to Liu-ch'iu, but in 18G7, not 1800. See biography of Shen Fu by Fang Chao-ying, in A. W. Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (Washington, 1944), pp. 641-642; and Liu Fan gljgij, "Fu-sheng liu-chi i-kao pien-wei" f f Λ f 3 ft fiS Iff (On the authenticity of the publication of the two lost chapters of Fu-sheng liu-chi), Kuo-wen chou-pao |H|p(|jlI#U 14. 6:43-49 (February 1937). 17. Hsü Pao-kuang, 1:8b-9. 18. Majikina, p. 101, gives the following figures on the size of different missions: 459 (1756 mission), 504 (1800), 519 (1808), and 417 (1838). 19. LTPA, ser. 2,106:10. 20. Ch'en K'an ßjlfjjl, Shih Liu-ch'iu lu {gfiEgc^(Shanghai: Ts'ung-shuchi-ch'eng ed., 1937), I, 50. 21. Wang Chi öEfl?, Shih Liu-ch'iu tsa lu (Accounts of the 1683 mission; preface 1684), 1:2b.




22. Ch'en K'an, II, 71. 23. A biography of Wang Wen-chih by T u Lien-che is in Hummel, p. 840. 24. Wang Wen-chih Ξ Ε ί ί π , preface to a collection of sixty-five poems written during the Liu-ch'iu mission entitled "Hai-t'ien yu ts'ao" 'M^-M^·, in Meng-lou shih-chi ^ Ä f i f Ä (Collected poems of Wang Wen-chih; 1795), 2:1. 25. Yao Nai MIS}, preface dated 1777 to Wang Wen-chih, Meng-lou shih-chi. 26. A collection of Chao's poems during the Liu-ch'iu mission entitled Ch'a shang ts'uti-kao M-t-feWi was published in 1818. A postface to this work by his student T'ang Chin-chao contains some biographical information about Chao. This work is rare. There is a Japanese translation of the postface in Majikina, pp. 531-532. 27. Ch'en K'an, I, 50; Hsia Tzu-yang M ^ - g , "Shih Liu-ch'iu lu" Manshühikikö (A study of Manchurianinscriptions; Tokyo: Meguro shoten, 1943), pp. 66, 70; see also the eighteenthcentury dictionary, Wu-t'i Ch'ing-men-chien, I, 252. Manchu han and Mongolian qayan continued to be used throughout the Ch'ing period to translate Chinese chiin (ruler). On a possible early occurrence of Mongolian tngri-yin köbegün (son of Heaven), see note 31. 26. Most of these meanings can be found in a single thirteenth-century work, The Secret History of the Mongols ( Yüan-ch'aopi-shih jt %$_Mongyol-un nijuca tobciyan), where it is used as (1) people, (2) tribe, (3) country, (4) population. See Erich Haenisch, Wörterbuch zu Manghol un Niuca Tobca'an (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1962), p. 163. For ulus as "empire" and "dynasty," see Dai Ön yeke Mongyol ulus (The great Mongolian empire, Ta Yüan) in Francis Woodman Cleaves, "The Sino-Mongolian Inscription of 1362 in Memory of Prince Hindu," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 12: 62,83,94-95 n6 (1949); Ming ulus (the Ming dynasty) in Lomi, Mongyol Borjigid oboj-un teüke (1732), ed. Walther Heissig and Charles R. Bawden (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1957), p. 52. 27. Haenisch, Wörterbuch, p. 163; Mambun rötö, IV, 47 and passim. Note that ulus irgen may also mean "land and people." See Erich Haenisch, Sino-Mongolische Dokumente vom Ende des 14. Jahrhunderts (Abhandlungen d. deutschen Akademie d. Wissenschaften zu Berlin; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1952), p. 45, where the expression is given the Chinese gloss kuo-t'u pai-hsing. In Mongolian documents of the Ch'ing period, however, irgen (pi. irged) usually means "Chinese," and translates Chinese min (people). See [ Jarliy-iyar toytayaysan] Γadayadu Mongyol-un törö-yi jasaqu yabudal-un yamun-u qauli jüil-ün bilig (The regulations of the Li-fan yüan), "bügüde-yin qauli, degedii,"/$Y2:43b: irgen kijayar (the Chinese frontier); ibid., p. 44: irged tnongyolcudun tariyan (the agricultural lands of Chinese and Mongols). 28. Haenisch, Wörterbuch, p. 54; Cleaves, p. 62, where both qan and qayan are used of the Mongolian emperors; Haenisch, Sino-Mongolische Dokumente, pp. 14, 24, where Caj-adai qaj-an, the son of Cinggis, is mentioned. 29. Haenisch, Wörterbuch, p. 56, where we find Alt an qayan (the Chin emperor). In Ming times the Mongols continued to have their own emperor but also addressed the Ming emperor as qayan. See Haenisch, Sino-Mongolische Dokumente, pp. 13-17, 24-26; see also the seventeenth-century writer Sa^ang Secen, Erdeni-yin tobli (ed. I . J . Schmidt, Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen; St. Petersburg, 1829), pp. 254-255. 30. These terms appear already in the Secret History (par. 141,280; Haenisch, Wörterbuch, pp. 56, 59). 31. A most impressive list of epithets, applied to Cinggis Qan, is contained in an anonymous poem of undetermined date entitled "Cinggis qaj-an-u yeke öcig" (The great testimony of Cinggis Qaj-an), found in C. Damdinsürüng, Mongyol uran Jokiyal-un degeji jayun bilig orosiba (A chrestomathy of Mongolian literature with one hundred choice examples) (Corpus Scriptorum Mongolorum, Vol. 14; Ulanbator, 1959), pp. 7387, esp. pp. 73-76. Many of these epithets are very ancient. Legdan's fulsome epithets include: god of gods, holy chakravartin, lord of men, having knowledge and wisdom as great as Manjusri, T'ang T'ai-tsung, Cinggis, etc. See Raghu Vira, Mongol-Sanskrit Dictionary (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1958), pp. 17-27.




See also note 23 above. There is a possiblility that the term Son of Heaven may have been used as an epithet of Cinggis if not of other emperors of the Mongols in pre-Ch'ing times. In another undated poem, "Bo;-da Cinggis-un ma?-tan suiya/san sastira" (The sastra which was the teaching and eulogizing of the holy Cinggis), in Damdinsürüng, p. 48, there occurs the expression Tngri-yin käbegün sutu bojda Cinggis qayan (the fortunate holy Cinggis qa/an, the Son of Heaven). However, the phrase tngri-yin käbegün can also mean "son of a god." 32. Abka geren gurun be ujikini seme sindaha Genggiyen Han, see Mambun rötö, I, 67. (This title has been incorrectly cited in Arthur W. Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period [Washington: The Government Printing Office, 1943], I, 597). It may have a Mongolian antecedent, but I have been unable to find one. 33. The Secret History often speaks of persons or things being "destined" (jayayatu) or "born with a destiny from Heaven and Earth" (tngri yajar-aca Jayayatu törögsen) ; see Haenisch, Wörterbuch, pp. 87-88. For later times there are abundant examples: the sixteenth-century Gay an teiike (The white history; folio 3r in Heissig's reproduction, Familien, p. 5), "Cinggis Qayan. . . originating by virtue of a destiny from high Heaven" (degere tngri-yin jayayabar egüdcü. . . Cinggis qayati) ; the Altan tobci of Blo-bzang bstan-'dzin of ca. 1650 (Scripta Mongolica, Vol. 1; Cambridge, Mass., 1952), pp. 2728: "Cinggis qaj-an... by a destiny from high Heaven" (degere tengri-dece jayayabar... Cinggis qayan). 34. Mambun rötö, 1,161: "Nurhaci, who was born by a destiny from Heaven, said . . . (abkai fulinggai banjiha Genggiyen Han hendume. . .). It is worth noting that Abkai Fulingga (Chinese T'ien-ming) was not a reign-title (nien-hao) during Nurhaci's life, despite what is said in the T'ai-tsu Kao-huang-ti shih-lu^-^^ fjJ J5i$(Taipei: Huawen shu-chü, 5: 2). No authentic document from Nurhaci's reign (or Abahai's for that matter) dates the years of that reign with a reign-title. Using T'ien-ming (Abkai Fulingga) as an era-name for Nurhaci seems to have been a convenient device adopted by Chinese writers in Shun-chih times or later. 35. E.g., see Haenisch, Wörterbuch, p. 119. All Sino-Mongolian documents of Yüan and early Ming date with which I am familiar treat noyan and the Chinese kuan (official) as synonyms. 36. For Manchurian &