From about 1600 to 1800, the Qing empire of China expanded to unprecedented size. Through astute diplomacy, economic investment, and a series of ambitious military campaigns into the heart of Central Eurasia, the Manchu rulers defeated the Zu
From about 1600 to 1800, the Qing empire of China expanded to unprecedented size. Through astute diplomacy, economic investment, and a series of ambitious military campaigns into the heart of Central Eurasia, the Manchu rulers defeated the Zunghar Mongols, and brought all of modern Xinjiang and Mongolia under their control, while gaining dominant influence in Tibet. The China we know is a product of these vast conquests.
Peter C. Perdue chronicles this little-known story of China's expansion into the northwestern frontier. Unlike previous Chinese dynasties, the Qing achieved lasting domination over the eastern half of the Eurasian continent. Rulers used forcible repression when faced with resistance, but also aimed to win over subject peoples by peaceful means. They invested heavily in the economic and administrative development of the frontier, promoted trade networks, and adapted ceremonies to the distinct regional cultures.
Perdue thus illuminates how China came to rule Central Eurasia and how it justifies that control, what holds the Chinese nation together, and how its relations with the Islamic world and Mongolia developed. He offers valuable comparisons to other colonial empires and discusses the legacy left by China's frontier expansion. The Beijing government today faces unrest on its frontiers from peoples who reject its autocratic rule. At the same time, China has launched an ambitious development program in its interior that in many ways echoes the old Qing policies.
China Marches West is a tour de force that will fundamentally alter the way we understand Central Eurasia....Continua
The story of Zunghars, namely Xinjiang after its conquered, should be taken as the scenario under the contending of Manchus, Mongols, Tibetans, and Russians for hegemony in the Central Eurasia. The diplomatic compromises in Nerchinsk between Moscow and Beijing, at last, defined the "Zunghar issue" as the domestic problem of the Qing empire, which means that the Tsar would not intervene in a short period. So that Kangxi could defeated Galdan in 1696.
However, the penetration of Turkestan and Tibet in Zunghar shifted the power balance again after the death of Kangxi. Another round of conflicts happened between Yongzheng, who was a conservative emperor, and Galdan Tseren, who became the most powerful leader of Zunghars. After the military failure, the Qing empire tried to improve the economic relation with Zunghar as a new political strategy. The trade became the most powerful weapon during the war of 1754, which ended the unified Zunghar state. However, the conquered areas of Zunghar and Turkestan had fallen into the restless rebels.
After eliminating the Zunghar state, the Qing empire supported the Han settlement by the military colonization after 1761. The logic of the calculation behind the policy is clear: security and self-sufficiency of the new colony. But the economy of Xinjiang did hardly fulfill the tasks and did lead to the fiscal problems of the empire, which had to extract resources from the interior.
Moreover, the policy also introduce a diversity of groups of population, following different cultures and jurisdictions. Besides, the Muslin, Han and Mongolian settlers could be out of control of the imperial administration when the Manchurian regime was weakened, such as the period of Taiping Rebellion.
The author then turn to the fixing of the imperial territory, and the historical writing of the new frontier. He attacks the four terms: teleology, moral evaluation, natural frontiers, and essentialized identities.
After the page 527, finally, Perdue claims that he sides with Charles Tilly and keep some discontents of Tilly's neglects of China. Perdue does almost agree with that Tilly's coercive-intensive path can adopt the case of China, "Military considerations were primary, but not exclusive, in defining the empire's identity." I guess that Tilly will totally agree with that. OK, my question is that why doesn't Perdue take Tilly's model to analyze the Zunghar state? Can we say that Zunghar state (and the Zheng's pirate-commercial regime in Taiwan before 1683!) followed a failed capital-intensive path?
After the discussion about Zunghar state in a mess, Perdue turn to aim at the hot issue of great divergence. Great, but where is his answer? In the last chapter, the author implies that the end of the Western marches resulted to the passive and corrupted state as an obstacle of economic growth. Also, the "negotiated state" bounded the aggressive penetration of state capacity to the locals and the citizens for tax revenue and manpower. Finally, without the deepening of central state building, the political power balance slipped to the local elites under the pressure of commercialization after the late 18th century....Continua