What made the Chinese people to always reunite after the periods of disunity and political fragmentation?

Jun 2017
12
The Old Continent
I always find intriguing that over the history the Chinese state disintegrated in warring states but always reuniting for a time, then fragmented again then reunited again.
What made the Chinese people to always reunite after the periods of disunity and political fragmentation?
 
Aug 2019
48
India
Interestingly india with similar size and population only united very few times for short amount of period.
 
May 2017
114
Hong Kong
A united China means peace for all under the Chinese heaven.
A fragmented China is not short of war of confrontations among different sections like the period of "the Warring States".
 
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Feb 2018
244
US
Brilliant generals who had the opportunity to rise to command, the world's finest military tradition largely preserved, the bureaucracy largely being preserved and thus often sustaining a sophisticated logistics system, and a belief in the mandate of heaven that led lieutenants of a defeated warlord to join the victorious warlord (i,e Li Shiji joining Li Yuan after his master was defeated). The Qin and Han established fast unification as normal, which seriously matters.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,107
Slovenia, EU
Complete social degradation and misery of majority united Chinese after such periods.
 
Sep 2012
1,121
Taiwan
It's just a trick of the light, or a sleight of the hand. The cycle of fragmentation and unification is a cute narrative and its easy to employ (even I do it when its convenient), but to really consider Chinese history in such a way is to fundamentally misunderstand it. It supposes that there was always (or, more to the point, will always be) a 'China' to be reunified, which isn't strictly true, and it retroactively ascribes a very loaded Chinese identity to peoples of 'fragmented' states, which doesn't always accurately represent their own views, and arguably robs them of their historical agency. The cycle of fragmentation and unification, in historiographical terms, is part of the great myth of Chinese history, which is very much a modern political construct. That throughout the history of China there have been periods of dynastic division is not in question, but the fragmentation and (re)unification of a singular and overarching political entity known as China, or a singular and overarching ethno-cultural group known as the Chinese, is a different beast entirely, and one which should be handled with care.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,798
United States
It's just a trick of the light, or a sleight of the hand. The cycle of fragmentation and unification is a cute narrative and its easy to employ (even I do it when its convenient), but to really consider Chinese history in such a way is to fundamentally misunderstand it. It supposes that there was always (or, more to the point, will always be) a 'China' to be reunified, which isn't strictly true, and it retroactively ascribes a very loaded Chinese identity to peoples of 'fragmented' states, which doesn't always accurately represent their own views, and arguably robs them of their historical agency. The cycle of fragmentation and unification, in historiographical terms, is part of the great myth of Chinese history, which is very much a modern political construct. That throughout the history of China there have been periods of dynastic division is not in question, but the fragmentation and (re)unification of a singular and overarching political entity known as China, or a singular and overarching ethno-cultural group known as the Chinese, is a different beast entirely, and one which should be handled with care.
How do you define zhonghua and zhongguo?
 
Sep 2012
1,121
Taiwan
How do you define zhonghua and zhongguo?
In what context? Depends on what topic one is looking at, and how deep one goes into it. In the context of fragmentation and unification, there is certainly a discourse on both that we might examine, but they are fluid terms spanning over two thousand years of intellectual thinking: is the Zhongguo that people were talking about in the Han dynasty the same as in the Song, or the Qing? How far was the concept of Zhongguo just a rhetorical or political tool? How far did people ascribe to a Zhongguo identity at any given point, and did it supersede their dynastic, regional or interpersonal identities? A fellow in the Southern Qi dynasty might say that everything north of the Huai River is part of Zhongguo, that everyone there is a Zhongguoren and that Zhongguo must be reunified, but the folks across the border in the Northern Wei might not have given a flying toss about what he thought, and might have been quite happy getting on with their day. The discourse on and the conceptualisation of Zhongguo is worthy of discussion, but it doesn't necessarily demonstrate that Zhongguo itself was actually a tangible thing that we can trace through the pages of history from Xia to Xi Jinping, any more than we can say that because people have believed in God for thousands of years that God must exist.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,798
United States
In what context? Depends on what topic one is looking at, and how deep one goes into it. In the context of fragmentation and unification, there is certainly a discourse on both that we might examine, but they are fluid terms spanning over two thousand years of intellectual thinking: is the Zhongguo that people were talking about in the Han dynasty the same as in the Song, or the Qing? How far was the concept of Zhongguo just a rhetorical or political tool? How far did people ascribe to a Zhongguo identity at any given point, and did it supersede their dynastic, regional or interpersonal identities? A fellow in the Southern Qi dynasty might say that everything north of the Huai River is part of Zhongguo, that everyone there is a Zhongguoren and that Zhongguo must be reunified, but the folks across the border in the Northern Wei might not have given a flying toss about what he thought, and might have been quite happy getting on with their day. The discourse on and the conceptualisation of Zhongguo is worthy of discussion, but it doesn't necessarily demonstrate that Zhongguo itself was actually a tangible thing that we can trace through the pages of history from Xia to Xi Jinping, any more than we can say that because people have believed in God for thousands of years that God must exist.
That's exactly my point based on my (admittedly limited) study of the topic. It meant different things in different times of history to different people. If I remember correctly in some cases multiple states (including non-Sinitic ones) called themselves zhongguo. It can't be used as some sort of unifying concept of "China" or "Chinese" which in my opinion, are modern concepts. However no one can deny the rich and long cultural and civilizational history of the Central Plains and adjacent regions, it was just poorly integrated across the ages ethnically and identity-wise.
 
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Nov 2019
15
New Jersey, USA
"The geography of China influenced the history and culture of the people living there. China borders the Gobi Desert in the north, the China Sea in the east, Plateau of Tibet in the west, and jungles in the south of Southeast Asia. These obstacles encouraged isolationism and protected a large area and population from foreign invasions creating a single culture. However, there are noticeable cultural differences within these borders such as the most significant one being that of north and south created by the distinct climate differences of the Yellow Huang He River and Yangzi River valleys. The Chinese referred to their land as the ‘Middle Kingdom’ by the time of the Zhou dynasty. This resembles their belief that China was the center of the world and all the innovation created in China was imitated by other barbarian cultures." - quote from a dissertation I am writing on Chinese history.