The Qing Empire as China: an Anatomy of Historical Myth

Vostok/Oriens '2014, №1

It is often considered that China is a unique state that has been several times won by foreigners but never became a part of any other state, thus retaining continuity of its history and statehood based on consecutive row of ruling dynasties. This view is based on ancient Sinocentric model which does not satisfy testing by comparative historical approach. Our analysis revealed that the Qing Empire cannot be equaled to China. Although the latter term has been broadly used, it had different meaning at different times. Actually, China was only a part of the Qing Empire. Manchu declarations that their state is China (i.e. Middle State, most important in the world), are similar to those by German, Ottoman, Russian and other monarchs on their states' continuity from the Roman Empire. These declarations have only historical value and cannot be used for modern international law. The Qing and other “conquest dynasties of China” were actually different empires created by non-Chinese peoples. The Han nation-state: Republic of China and People's Republic of China (PRC) had acquired almost whole territory of the Qing Empire as a result of occupation of weaker neighbors, instead of continuity of one state. Modern concept of PRC as a multinational state of “one Chinese nation”, that included “minority nationalities” at least from the Middle Ages, is a historical myth.

Keywords: China, Middle State, Qing, dynasties, Mongolia, Tibet, Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, Tibetans, Han, Chinese nation, minority nationalities, nation-state, continuity of states, revolution, empire, republic

Pages: С. 5–17

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