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Qing Dynasty
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Although the Manchus (mǎn zú 满族) were not Han Chinese and were strongly resisted, especially in the south, they had assimilated a great deal of Chinese culture before conquering China Proper, and set up the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝). Realizing that to dominate the empire they would have to do things the Chinese way, the Manchus retained many institutions of Ming (míng cháo 明朝) and earlier Chinese derivation. They continued the Confucian court practices and temple rituals, over which the emperors had traditionally presided.

The Manchus continued the Confucian civil service system. Although Chinese were barred from the highest offices, Chinese officials predominated over Manchu officeholders outside the capital, except in military positions. The Neo-Confucian philosophy, emphasizing the obedience of subject to ruler, was enforced as the state creed. The Manchu emperors also supported Chinese literary and historical projects of enormous scope; the survival of much of China’s ancient literature is attributed to these projects.

Ever suspicious of Han Chinese, the Qing rulers put into effect measures aimed at preventing the absorption of the Manchus into the dominant Han Chinese population. Han Chinese were prohibited from migrating into the Manchu homeland, and Manchus were forbidden to engage in trade or manual labor. Intermarriage between the two groups was forbidden. In many government positions a system of dual appointments was used–the Chinese appointee was required to do the substantive work and the Manchu to ensure Han loyalty to Qing rule.

The Qing regime was determined to protect itself not only from internal rebellion but also from foreign invasion. After China Proper had been subdued, the Manchus conquered Outer Mongolia (now the Mongolian People’s Republic) in the late seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century they gained control of Central Asia as far as the Pamir Mountains and established a protectorate over the area the Chinese call Tibet (xī zàng 西藏) but commonly known in the West as Tibet. The Qing thus became the first dynasty to eliminate successfully all danger to China Proper from across its land borders. Under Manchu rule the empire grew to include a larger area than before or since; Taiwan (tái wān 台湾), the last outpost of anti-Manchu resistance, was also incorporated into China for the first time. In addition, Qing emperors received tribute from the various border states.

The chief threat to China’s integrity did not come overland, as it had so often in the past, but by sea, reaching the southern coastal area first. Western traders, missionaries, and soldiers of fortune began to arrive in large numbers even before the Qing, in the sixteenth century. The empire’s inability to evaluate correctly the nature of the new challenge or to respond flexibly to it resulted in the demise of the Qing and the collapse of the entire millennia-old framework of dynastic rule.


清朝 
  
   
      清朝是由中国满族建立的封建王朝,是中国历史上统一全国的大王朝之一。清朝的人口数也是历代封建王朝最高,清末时达到四亿以上。清朝开疆拓土,鼎盛时领土达1300多万平方公里。

      清初为缓和阶级矛盾,实行奖励垦荒、减免捐税的政策,内地和边疆的社会经济都有所发展。至十八世纪中叶,封建经济发展到一个新的高峰,史称“康乾盛世”。于是中央集权专制体制更加严密,国力强大,秩序稳定,清代人口至十八世纪后期,已达到三亿左右。

      康熙年间,统一了台湾,并与俄国签订《尼布楚条约》,划定了中俄东段边界;乾隆中叶,平定准噶尔、回部,统一了新疆。这不仅一举解决了中国历史上游牧民族和农耕民族之间旷日持久的冲突,而具采取了一系列政策,发展边疆地区的经济、文化和交通,巩固了中国多民族国家的统一,奠定了现代中国的版图,增强了中华民族的团结力和凝聚力。

      在文化上,康乾时期编纂了几部集大成之作,像《四库全书》、《古今图书集成》等,对清理和总结中国历史文化遗产作出了重大贡献。

  清朝也有很多弊病。明代后期的君权有一定的松懈,而清朝又把封建专制推向了最高峰。清朝初期大力推行圈地投充等恶政,极大破坏了中原地区的经济;重农抑商,制约资本主义萌芽的发展。制造了多起文字狱,加强对文人思想控制,导致思想上“万马齐喑”;在编撰古籍时又大肆销毁古籍。剃发易服,一定程度上割裂了汉族的文化传统;给旗人寄养的特权,使其迅速腐化。

      统治者轻视科技和闭关锁国,导致中国的科技极大落后西方。1840年后帝国主义的入侵,使清廷与侵略者分别缔结了大量不平等条约,割地赔款,开放通商口岸,中国的主权受到严重损害,逐步沦为半封建半殖民地社会,人民负担更为沉重,处于水深火热之中。

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 January 2010 09:08
 

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