Traditional China History Essay A1


TraditionalChina History Essay


Duringthe pre-modern times, the foreign relations theory of China saw Chinaas the center of the world civilization, where the emperor of Chinawas seen as the leader of the civilized world. During this time,China referred to the foreigners as barbarians (Zhao, 2014). Therewere different periods when the China’s foreign policy tookisolationist tones since there was the perception that the rest ofthe world was poor as well as backward having little to offer.However, China became a center of trade early in its history (Zhao,2014). Most of the Chinese interaction with other foreign countrieswas through the Silk Road. The foreign policy of China aimed atcontaining the threat of the barbarian invaders from the north, whichwas done through the use of military.

Indefining the Chinese relation with the barbarians, culturalism hadadopted a view of China-centric universalism. This view initiallyimagined a hierarchical world system where China sat at the center.Being the highest developed culture within the system, China did notsee other entities claiming equal status with her. The institutionalexpression of the China-dominated system entailed the tributarysystem, which became established during the Han Dynasty. In thehierarchical system depicted by China, neighboring barbarian kingdomsand tribes had political submission to the Chinese emperors, andreceived material rewards from the emperors in return. Because theline drawn amid the Chinese and others was chiefly a culturalconstruction, intercultural association constituted the heart of thisChinese world order. It was through this Chinese world order thatbarbarians became categorized into two the familiar barbarians andthe raw barbarians. The familiar barbarians entailed those foreignersthat familiarized and adapted to the Chinese culture, while the rawbarbarians entailed those foreigners that were not influenced by theculture of the Chinese (Zhao, 2014). The relationship with thebarbarians was that of conversion of the barbarians in accepting theuniversal Chinese culture. The politics of conversion worked chieflythrough China’s moral example however, it seldom used force.

Theperiod of Han dynasty was a revolutionary period in the China’sforeign relations history. The travels of Zhang, a diplomat, openedup relations of China with different Asian countries for the firsttime. In most of the periods, the relationship of China with thebarbarians was especially assertive.

Therelationship of China with the barbarians was not without someadvantages. One of the advantages that emanated from the relationshipof China with the barbarians was trade (Zhao, 2014). Throughinteracting with the barbarians, China benefited from the trade thatemerged amid the Chinese and the foreigners. Through the trade, itwas possible for China to get commodities that it was not capable ofproducing. This made China to become more productive since it couldobtain resources for growth from the foreigners.

Anotheradvantage that China obtained from the relationship with thebarbarians was opening up of the Chinese territory. As Chinainteracted with the foreigners, she was capable of discovering moreland that helped in opening up of the Chinese territory. With thenewly discovered land, it was easy for China to expand its territory.For example, during the Han dynasty, Zhang was capable of providingdetailed reports concerning lands which had been initially unknown tothe Chinese. Also, through the relationship with the barbarians,China had the advantage of spreading her culture. It was possible forChina to make her culture known to the foreigners through therelationships that she established with the barbarians.


Therole as well as experience of women during the Tang dynasty and Sungdynasty can be compared and contrasted. During the Tang dynasty, theChinese women engaged in social life with a lot of freedom comparedto the Sung dynasty. This was greatly influenced by the emergence andspread of Buddhism. During the Sung dynasty, the rapid economicgrowth in the epoch and the resurgence of Confucianism led topatriarchal restrictions of women especially foot binding. In theTang dynasty, the Chinese government made an exceptional move, whereit allowed women to sit for the imperial scrutiny and serve asgovernment officials. This was particularly influenced by having afemale emperor, Zetian Wu (Benn,2002).During the two dynasties, the roles of the rural women becamereplaced by the introduction of textile industry and state factories.Also, the roles of women changed during both dynasties emanating fromthe growing prosperity of the elite families. This increased thenumber of women doing the role of entertainers and courtesans.Furthermore, although women were accorded some respect, it wasdifficult for women to claim equality with their husbands so, womenwere still inferior to men during the two dynasties. In addition,during the Sung dynasty and Tang dynasty, there was more emphasis oneducation compared to other dynasties that appeared earlier.

Inthe Sung dynasty, women were still on an inferior social standingcompared to men, but just like men, they were usually vested withlegal and societal rights that permitted them to manage theirhouseholds as well as establish businesses (Grayson,2007).When it came to the acquisition of property, women were offered vastdowries and legal rights. Also, when it came to inheritance, womenhad equal footing as men.

Inthe Tang dynasty, women were given the voice that they much needed.During the epoch, women enjoyed the same rights just like men. Womenalso had the enjoyment of marriage, education, work, and all otherprivileges that were exclusive to men. Apart from these, women wereprovided with favorable law that guided their owning of land and thefreedom of conducting businesses.

Differentadvantages can be associated with the Tang and Sung dynasties. One ofthe advantages that women were in a position to enjoy during the Tangdynasty entails enjoying the freedom that male counterpart enjoyed(Benn,2002).For example, during the dynasty, it was possible for women to enjoythe same rights enjoyed by men in inheritance, work, and running ofbusinesses. Also, during the Tang dynasty, women enjoyed theadvantage of having the opportunity to learn economics, politics,history, as well as military skills that made them to qualifyparticipating in battles. Of immense importance that women enjoyed inthis dynasty was the free expression that they had during thisdynasty.

Alternatively,during the Sung dynasty, women had the advantage of enjoying a lot oflegal rights especially in the acquisition of property (Grayson,2007).Just like their male counterparts, women were allowed to enjoy thesame legal rights in the acquisition of property. Also, when it cameto inheritance, women were offered equal footing as men. During thisdynasty, women had the advantage of enjoying a diverse ad richculture.


Benn,C. D. (2002). DailyLife in Traditional China: The Tang Dynasty.Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Grayson,N.F. (2007). CliffsAPWorld History.New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Zhao,S. (2014). Constructionof Chinese Nationalism in the Early 21st Century: Domestic Sourcesand International Implications.New York: Routledge.