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

Aug 2015
1,951
Los Angeles
The English word and concept of "China" are modern. The concept of zhongguo changed throughout history, so can't be equated with "China" until the modern era, or maybe in the Qing period not too sure.
What kind of nonsense is this?
Do you think identity doesn't evolve?
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,798
United States
What kind of nonsense is this?
Do you think identity doesn't evolve?
Uh that's kind of my point. The identity of zhonghua and zhongguo changed over time and meant different things to different people (and through most of history what now constitutes China/Zhongguo was poorly integrated into a single identity or cultural unit). The modern terms zhongguo and China are roughly equivalent, but they didn't mean the same thing in the past so we should use them carefully in that context. Anyway I think I've made my point clear.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2019
15
New Jersey, USA
To challenge people who make claims about how this unification is more or less a modern concept or even a myth, let me make the following argument for you to challenge.

The idea of Grand Unification was clearly established by Dong Zhongshu on his discussion on a writing called the Annals.

The Annals are a record for the Duchy of Lu, between the years of 722 B.C to 481B.C. While the Annals itself was a dry record of events, there are many writers since then who tried to fill in and provide context, we call these the Interpretation According to _____.

For example, 春秋左氏传 is the Annals According to Master Zuo , 春秋公羊传 is the Annals According to Master Gongyang, and 春秋谷梁传 is the Annals According to Master Guliang. These three interpretations are writings that held real political implications to future scholars and provide meaning to Chinese politicians since. Master Gongyang's writings were probably done in the Warring State period. It was said Bu Shang was a student of Confucius, and Gongyang Gao was a student to Master Bu, Gao passed it down to his son Ping, who passed it to his son Gan, who passed it to his son Shou, who during the time of Emperor Jing write it down. [子夏传于公羊高,高传于其子平,平传于其子地,地传于其子敢,敢传于其子寿,至汉景帝时,寿乃与齐人胡毋子都著于竹帛 ]

This is writing generally respected to be reflective of the Confucian idea of the Writing Of Chunqiu.

The thoughts of Gongyang were made the key school of thought under Dong Zhongshu, who took it and was able to convince Emperor Wu to make it the official ideology of the Han Empire. In Dong's many arguments he made one thing called the Grand Unification or 大一统. The justification came from the Gongyang interpretation.

The Annals said '元年正月' In the Prime Year Spring King First Month or In the First Year of Spring, the King has set the First Month.

The Master Gongyang writing further added 元年者何?君之始年。春者何?岁之始也。王者孰谓?谓文王也, 曷为先言王而后言正月?王正月也。何言乎王正月?大一统也 or

元年者何?君之始年。What does Prime Year mean? It is the King's first year.
者何?岁之始也。What does spring mean? It means the beginning of the year.
者孰谓?谓文王也, what does King mean? That is King Wen.
曷为先言王而后言正月?王正月也。Why does it say put King before it did the First month? Because only King can set the first month.
何言乎王正月?大一统也 Why can the King set the first month? For it is the Grand Unification [or for there is only one king for one land]

The idea of Grand Unification is one of the most central theme in the Confucian ideology of the Han dynasty, and one would probably rightfully argue a CORE Chinese ethos.

He further wrote
春秋大一统者,天地之常经,古今之通谊

In Annals' [ 春秋] Grand Unification [大一统], it is the same theory of Heaven and Earth, the same concept from antiquity till now.

Reinforcing his claim was the Book of Odes, 普天之下,莫非王土。率土之滨,莫非王臣 , all that is beneath heaven, is it not the king's land? If you trace all the land all the way to the sea, are they not the King's subject?

The idea of some kind of unification in the sense that there is one proper ruler went far before Dong, but Dong probably was the first to so clearly stake out the concept of Grand Unification, that there is one kingdom, one king, one time, one order, one rule.

The idea of 'mythical' or the ambiguous start of the Grand Unification is nonsense. It was clearly stated 2000 years ago, in writing, and very much respected throughout Chinese history.

Any challenge to that MUST be able to present a reasonable explanation to why this core ethos of the Chinese people is some kind of manufactured modern concept.
How would you explain China's unification under the Xia, Shang, Zhou, and Qin dynasties without Confucianism? You are saying China's tendency to unify is embedded in its culture if I understand correctly. I am not saying you are wrong as you have pointed out many sources, I am just skeptical because as you said my theory was vague and I would like to have a more concrete understanding of this topic. Would you say the idea of the Mandate of Heaven created during the Zhou dynasty explains unification prior to Confucianism?
 

heavenlykaghan

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,447
Confucianism is merely a school which emphasized and re-interpreted the mainstream Zhou Rites. The word Confucianism in Chinese; Ru school 儒家, is not even necessarily considered to have been founded by Confucius. Although Confucius was the creator of the school, the doctrines and values associated with it has long being traced to the sage kings and the legendary Fuxi. The idea of Grand Unification and Confucianism is hence both rooted in mainstream Zhou values.
 
Aug 2015
1,951
Los Angeles
How would you explain China's unification under the Xia, Shang, Zhou, and Qin dynasties without Confucianism?
Please don't be offended but apparently you are not aware that the Confucianism is based on the Rites of Zhou? In fact, one could trace vast majorities of these philosophical thoughts to the Rites, including Legalism, they each pick up from a different aspect.

On the other hand, we aren't talking about the event of unification, but the RE-unification.

And the theory of RE-unification is a recurring theme after the establishment of Han. No one tried to unify all authorities during the Spring & Autumn, people's goal was to be first amongst equals of the marquises.




You are saying China's tendency to unify is embedded in its culture if I understand correctly. I am not saying you are wrong as you have pointed out many sources, I am just skeptical because as you said my theory was vague and I would like to have a more concrete understanding of this topic. Would you say the idea of the Mandate of Heaven created during the Zhou dynasty explains unification prior to Confucianism?
Confucianism is an elaboration of the Zhou. The collection of writings and theories presented by the Zhou were further elaborated explained and pondered upon by Confucius and those who followed him, and NOT TO MENTION Confucius, Mencius, etc, all lived during the Zhou period.

And the Zhou was not a 'unification' any more than a conquest. The justification of conquest was the mandate of heaven. Zhou's act was not one of unification but of replacement.
 
Aug 2015
1,951
Los Angeles
Uh that's kind of my point. The identity of zhonghua and zhongguo changed over time and meant different things to different people (and through most of history what now constitutes China/Zhongguo was poorly integrated into a single identity or cultural unit). The modern terms zhongguo and China are roughly equivalent, but they didn't mean the same thing in the past so we should use them carefully in that context. Anyway I think I've made my point clear.
No. Your point was they are different, not that we should be careful in differentiation in the two. I would have been fine had you say that.

"

The English word and concept of "China" are modern. The concept of zhongguo changed throughout history, so can't be equated with "China" until the modern era, or maybe in the Qing period not too sure.

"

That's what you said, and the problem is obvious. You aren't saying you don't know or you aren't sure, but you know and IT CAN'T BE.

And also with this
"
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.
"
Again, the claim is that it is a MODERN invention.
 
Jul 2019
44
hongkong
Simply speaking, it is because of war.

In China, division means war.

For example, a large number of civilians in the Warring States, the Three Kingdoms and the Republic of China died in war.

so the Chinese do not like separatism. This is not determined by the Chinese government. the ordinary Chinese do not want war.