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#1 DavidSchmavid

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 05:40 AM

I have been reading the penguin history of modern china recently and hoped I could join this forum to supplement my learns. It stretches from 1860s Ė present, and Iím currently around the era of cixi and taiping rebellions.
The book is quite vague at a few points, throwing in sackloads of trivia that is hard to memorise about battles / social movements which makes it difficult to really discern what is considered significant., and itís sense of chronological linearity is quite askew, I keep reading pieces where it appears that, for instance, a rebellion has occurred after Cixi left the throne to her teenage successor live in her Summer palace, then it occurs that Cixi was still ruling at that timeÖ
Anyway, my first question is to try and discern the historical difference between Manchu and Han Chinese. Thereís a lot of talk of Ďanti-manchuí sentiment, but itís not clear exactly whom this comes from and why. Is one classically a gentry class and the other workers??

thanks for your help.

David

#2 madalibi

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 08:04 AM

Hi David,

The imperial family in 19th-century China was ethnically Manchu. The Manchus originally came from what Westerners call "Manchuria," a region that the Chinese simply call the "northeast" because of its location. The term Manchu appeared in the early 17th century. At that time, the Manchus were an association of local tribes under the leadership of a family called Aisin Gioro. That family and its troops eventually defeated the Ming dynasty and in 1644 became emperors of China, where they ruled as the "Qing [Ch'ing] dynasty." They ruled over a population that was mostly "Han Chinese." Soon after the Qing conquest, there was a vocal anti-Manchu sentiment among intellectuals and part of the population, bu it quickly went underground and became marginal in Chinese politics until about the end of the 18th century, when it started to resurface (more below).

After their conquest of China was solidified, the Manchus installed garrisons in important cities like Nanjing and Chengdu. Manchu soldiers were members of the "Eight Banners," the Qing's main army. They lived in segregated parts of the cities where they were stationed, with relatively little contact with the surrounding Han population. They were supposedly forbidden to intermarry with the Han, so that in the 19th century they were still distinct from the surrounding urban population. After from around the capital Beijing, the Manchus were not landlords: they were soldiers who lived mostly in cities with their families.

By the 19th century, for a number of very complex reasons, Chinese society had became noticeably poorer than in the more prosperous and stable 18th century. Starting in the 1840s, the Qing also kept losing wars against foreign powers (first England, then France, then Japan, etc.) and had to sign very disadvantageous treatises that forced them to pay large monetary compensations to the powers that had defeated them. Because of increased poverty and international weakness, the anti-Manchu sentiment that had never entirely disappeared from Chinese society started to re-emerge. The Taiping rebellion (1851-1864) showed a good example of this resentment: the Taiping massacred all the Banner garrisons they could find (notably in Nanjing) and claimed they wanted to restore Han rule (more on the Taiping here and here). Those who eventually overthrew the Qing in 1911 also massacred the Manchu garrisons in cities like Wuhan and Chengdu.

Let us know if you any more specific information!

Cheers,
Madalibi

#3 DavidSchmavid

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 09:33 AM

Hi David,

The imperial family in 19th-century China was ethnically Manchu. The Manchus originally came from what Westerners call "Manchuria," a region that the Chinese simply call the "northeast" because of its location. The term Manchu appeared in the early 17th century. At that time, the Manchus were an association of local tribes under the leadership of a family called Aisin Gioro. That family and its troops eventually defeated the Ming dynasty and in 1644 became emperors of China, where they ruled as the "Qing [Ch'ing] dynasty." They ruled over a population that was mostly "Han Chinese." Soon after the Qing conquest, there was a vocal anti-Manchu sentiment among intellectuals and part of the population, bu it quickly went underground and became marginal in Chinese politics until about the end of the 18th century, when it started to resurface (more below).

After their conquest of China was solidified, the Manchus installed garrisons in important cities like Nanjing and Chengdu. Manchu soldiers were members of the "Eight Banners," the Qing's main army. They lived in segregated parts of the cities where they were stationed, with relatively little contact with the surrounding Han population. They were supposedly forbidden to intermarry with the Han, so that in the 19th century they were still distinct from the surrounding urban population. After from around the capital Beijing, the Manchus were not landlords: they were soldiers who lived mostly in cities with their families.

By the 19th century, for a number of very complex reasons, Chinese society had became noticeably poorer than in the more prosperous and stable 18th century. Starting in the 1840s, the Qing also kept losing wars against foreign powers (first England, then France, then Japan, etc.) and had to sign very disadvantageous treatises that forced them to pay large monetary compensations to the powers that had defeated them. Because of increased poverty and international weakness, the anti-Manchu sentiment that had never entirely disappeared from Chinese society started to re-emerge. The Taiping rebellion (1851-1864) showed a good example of this resentment: the Taiping massacred all the Banner garrisons they could find (notably in Nanjing) and claimed they wanted to restore Han rule (more on the Taiping here and here). Those who eventually overthrew the Qing in 1911 also massacred the Manchu garrisons in cities like Wuhan and Chengdu.

Let us know if you any more specific information!

Cheers,
Madalibi


thanks for the incredible level of detail here. I wonder specifically:
* can you explain the perceived differences between manchu and han? is there what westerners would see as subtle racial differences (pardon me if this sounds ignorant) at the genetic level? is there a cultural difference? is it similar to the anti-british sentiment that led to the scottish wars of independence in 13th/14th century?
- were there religious differences? i read that taiping was a christian movement and that their leader considered himself jesus' brother (i haven't checked your link yet!)

* was there much fewer Manchu than Han?

#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 11:04 AM

thanks for the incredible level of detail here. I wonder specifically:
* can you explain the perceived differences between manchu and han? is there what westerners would see as subtle racial differences (pardon me if this sounds ignorant) at the genetic level? is there a cultural difference? is it similar to the anti-british sentiment that led to the scottish wars of independence in 13th/14th century?


Hi David,

If you're from the UK, you can probably try to understand Manchu and Han as like "Scots" and "English" respectively (taking it as a simple cultural difference). Of course, it's not as simple as that because there were alot more ethnic groups or peoples in China and studying them can be quite complex!!

There are perceived differences between manchu and han in "history", not just genetically, but also culturally. In history, the Manchu had their own distinctive language, writing, living style and culture, which was entirely different from that of the Han. The Manchu were considered to be tungusic people (who are closer to natives of Eastern Siberia/Manchuria) , while the Han were considered to be sinitic people (who are closer to natives of central plain of China).

However, today's Manchu had largely been assimilated to be like the Han. They look no different from the Han. See looks of Manchu Chinese Celebrities . Most adopt Han Surnames and no longer speak Manchu. See Why did Manchu adopt Han surnames ? In fact, there is only a small village in Manchuria today that still speak some form of Manchu, but other than that, Manchu is an almost dying language in China (understood only by academics), even though China is trying to save it.

In general, the central core of chinese history/culture was largely influenced by the Han, which is the largest ethnic group in China. The official chinese language in China today is actually based on the spoken language of the Han. The han only became a 'name' for a "mixed group of people" living in central plain of China as a result of the creation of Han Empire (dynasty) from 202 BC-220 AD, whereby the people took their name from the nation's name "han". From then on, people who lived in central plain of China were generally known as "han". The Han Empire generally expanded outwards from central plain of China to form a large part of what's called in the West as "China Proper" and Western Region, which excludes Manchuria, Tibet and Mongolia. The central plain of China is generally regarded as the heart of chinese civilization.

For a large part of chinese history, you will see central plain of China being constantly invaded by various northern nomadic tribes from Mongolia and Manchuria, while the Han fought to defend their homeland or migrated southwards to escape from the war in the north. Thus, in short, chinese history was often characterized by a struggle between the Han majority and various other ethnic minorities who tried to rule China. There were also alot of fighting between the Hans themselves.

- were there religious differences? i read that taiping was a christian movement and that their leader considered himself jesus' brother (i haven't checked your link yet!)


The leader was called Hong Xiuquan. He proclaimed himself to be younger brother of Jesus. He sought to establish a christian kingdom (known as "Taiping Heavenly Kingdom") through the Taiping rebellion.


* was there much fewer Manchu than Han?


Yes, during Qing dynasty, there were fewer Manchu than Han. But alot of Qing bureaucrats and ruling class were Manchu.
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#5 madalibi

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 09:52 PM

thanks for the incredible level of detail here. I wonder specifically:
* can you explain the perceived differences between manchu and han? is there what westerners would see as subtle racial differences (pardon me if this sounds ignorant) at the genetic level? is there a cultural difference? is it similar to the anti-british sentiment that led to the scottish wars of independence in 13th/14th century?
- were there religious differences? i read that taiping was a christian movement and that their leader considered himself jesus' brother (i haven't checked your link yet!)


Hi David,

These are good and important questions, and not all of them are easy to answer. Let me give you answers that will complement GZ's. To start with the easiest question:

* was there much fewer Manchu than Han?


Yes. A few hundred thousand Manchus managed to conquer all of China (which counted about 100 million people; this figure is controversial, but you see the enormous difference in number) and to retain power over their empire for over 200 years. Of course the Manchus had help from Chinese people: surrendered Ming armies, important officials, and eventually most of the educated elite, who either embraced Manchu rule willingly or because they had no alternative political center to support.

can you explain the perceived differences between manchu and han? is there what westerners would see as subtle racial differences (pardon me if this sounds ignorant) at the genetic level? is there a cultural difference? is it similar to the anti-british sentiment that led to the scottish wars of independence in 13th/14th century?


This is a more difficult question. If you wanted to compare the Han/Manchus with the Scots/English, you would have to imagine a situation in which the Scots (in numbers even smaller than they were then) had ruled over all of England for more than 200 years (with the help of the English elite), and after 150 years of relatively stable rule, had eventually fallen behind in relative military strength and engaged in many losing wars against continental powers. The English population would have blamed the Scots, just as many Han blamed the Manchus for this decline, and especially for the impoverishment that followed.

On ethnic differences... All ethnic groups are to some extent "imagined," in that they never coincide perfectly with genetic traits or "racial characteristics." The so-called "Han" were a complex group of people that had come to call itself Han for various historical reasons, but the Han population spoke different languages, ate different things, worshiped (somewhat) different gods, and even looked different depending on regions. "Han" was a perceived identity that became relevant mostly when non-Han people like the Manchus appeared. To simplify, "Han" referred to people who spoke a variant of Chinese and who lived in the "culturally Chinese" sphere that is sometimes called "China proper." (See this long thread on Han ethnicity [Yun's posts express a position similar to mine] and this shorter one on the term "China proper").

This being said, there were differences between Manchus and the Chinese population they governed. The most obvious one was language, both spoken and written. The Chinese officials who served at he court rarely knew Manchu, and a lot of secret communication between emperors and their Manchu took place in Manchu. By the 19th century, however, the Manchu language had become marginal both at court and in the local garrisons. Probably in the 18th century aleady, Manchu families started giving their children Chinese names as well as Manchu names. Eventually (I am not sure when, but the situation must have varied from place to place and family to family), they gave their children only Chinese names. They also stopped practicing the military arts and progressively stopped speaking Manchu. So to some extent, the Manchus were assimilated in language, but with a funny twist: wherever they lived, they kept speaking the Beijing dialect of Chinese instead of, say, Cantonese or the Xi'an dialect that was more common in the cities where they were stationed. A Western journalist noticed this phenomenon in Xi'an as late as the 1920s, and a Chinese survey made in 1959 found that Manchus who had lived in Guangzhou since the late seventeenth century understood but usually did not speak Cantonese!

In the 17th century, the most important marker of ethnic difference between Manchus and Chinese (in my view) was the Manchu hairstyle: a shaved forehead and a long queue hanging in the back. Soon after the conquest was stabilized, the Manchus managed to impose this hairstyle to the entire Chinese male population. By the 19th century everyone in China except monks and rebels wore their hair that way. (We also have a thread on this topic here.) The Taiping (and eventually Chinese activists who lived abroad, like Sun Yat-sen) let their hair grow naturally, so that the Qing court called them "the long hair" or the "hairy rebels."

- were there religious differences? i read that taiping was a christian movement and that their leader considered himself jesus' brother (i haven't checked your link yet!)


I don't think religious differences had much of a role to play in the re-emergence of anti-Manchu sentiment in the 19th century. The traditional Manchu religion was shamanistic, but the imperial family had long tried to project all kinds of religious images: Taoist, Buddhist (especially Tibetan Buddhism, which was embraced by the Manchus' allies the Mongols), and even "Confucian" (as imperial sacrifices can be loosely called). Manchu nobles (often wome) also went to pilgrimage sites near the capital, where they must have met large numbers of Han commoners. In other words they often worshiped the same deities as the surrounding population. Manchus who lived in garrisons in southern China probably still held shamanistic ceremonies, but I doubt they were very visible to outsiders.

The Taiping leader Hong Xiuquan [pronounced something like "Hoong Sioh-chŁenn"] claimed he had received a divine revelation (through dreams) saying that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Hong knew of Christianity through missionaries who had been active in his area, but he soon developed his own theology, which centered on his own role. There were already small groups of Christians in China at the time (either new converts by missionaries, or descendents of people who had been converted, in some cases as early as the 17th century), but they were the minority. The Taiping movement was massive, but I have found no reason to believe that all the Taiping followers were Christian. (You can find more about the intriguing Hong Xiuquan here.)

Cheers,
Madalibi

EDIT: I think this thread contains enough information to be moved to the forum on Chinese Ethnicities.

#6 zhutx

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:45 AM

Hi, I'm an overseas chinese. I'm very interested in this topic for many reasons. I'm a history buff, I get identity crises but mostly I'm curious about my heritage. Last night, I watched this programme The Forbidden City on cable and it re-ignited my interest about being Chinese so I Wikipedia-ed China and came across the part about the Manchus. To cut the long story short, the part that interests me most always about human history is the relationship between ethnicities and tribes and that is the part where it's always grey to me. I find it both fascinating and strange at the same time that how two geographically close people can look similar but have different cultures and languages. So reading about the Manchus reminded me of what my Dad always told me. He had this notion that the Han Chinese were tall, had high cheekbones and double eye-lids and he said that the Manchus had slit eyes (no offense). And i've read all the posts above about how the Manchus assimiliated into the Han culture and look no different than any other Chinese but I still wonder is there any physical traits particular to different Chinese ethnicities even though we are part of the same stock. In that way, I'm curious. Especially living in the 21st century and having descended from a people having one of the world's oldest civilisation, I often wonder about my lineage, who my forebears were, how they came to China etc...How much Han, Mongol, Manchu am I? Even among people of the same stock, we don't look that alike. Like the Koreans and Japanese somehow look different to me. Personal opinion. However, I knew this Kazakh in school and he looked completely Chinese to me. It's fascinating and bewildering at the same time.

So forgive my long post, but is there any truth to a Han Chinese having features different from a Manchu if u disregard the shaved heads and ponytails in movies) before they assimiliated into the Han Chinese culture?

#7 AiRen

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:15 AM

I hear a lot of confusion about Man/Han ethno-cultural differences.  Although today Manchu culture and language is diminished, especially in todays youth, the grandparents of today's generation still have some cultural habits that rub off on younger generations, as I have observed in the few Manchu families I've encountered.  Women tend to be more independent.  As far as ethnic differences, I've noticed, especially on official Chinese media, that people tend to bluntly state that there are no differences.  This is falacious; sometimes intentionally because of politics, and sometimes simply because most people haven't met many Manchus and don't know what to look for.  Manchus tend to be somewhat taller, have a thick nose, generally pale skin, and a large face with large, high cheek bones.  Actor Hu Jun has a very difinitively Manchurian nose.  Among the Manchus I've met, they seem to have very, very thick, wirey hair.  I hope this cleared things up.



#8 xng

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:21 PM

Due to intermarriage, Manchu and Han are related genetically via the yellow colored gene.

 

Manchu has more yellow colored gene ratio than Mongolian to which both Manchu and Mongolian are also related via the red colored gene.

 

 

 

2dv97y9.jpg


Edited by xng, 19 February 2013 - 12:24 PM.


#9 Cao Huan

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:26 AM

Due to intermarriage, Manchu and Han are related genetically via the yellow colored gene.

 

Manchu has more yellow colored gene ratio than Mongolian to which both Manchu and Mongolian are also related via the red colored gene.

 

 

 

2dv97y9.jpg

The above aren't "genes" per se found in individuals of each group. They're samples of male Y DNA haplogroup lineages, so one group would have different proportions of different lineages from another group. The more similar the distribution of lineages between two groups, the more likely the two groups are closely related or have intermarried in the past.



#10 xng

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:47 AM

8

The above aren't "genes" per se found in individuals of each group. They're samples of male Y DNA haplogroup lineages, so one group would have different proportions of different lineages from another group. The more similar the distribution of lineages between two groups, the more likely the two groups are closely related or have intermarried in the past.

 

 

Let's not get too technical here. I am using genes as a layman term for easier understanding to denote the DNA Y or X or whatever haplogroup. A lot of forummers here including me don't take much genetic courses.

 

Is it necessary to define each technical term as below ?

 

genetic code definition 

The sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that determines the specific amino acid sequence in the synthesis of proteins. It is the biochemical basis of heredity and nearly universal in all organisms.
 
 

Edited by xng, 23 February 2013 - 10:51 AM.


#11 qrasy

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:47 AM

Let's not get too technical here. I am using genes as a layman term for easier understanding to denote the DNA Y or X or whatever haplogroup. A lot of forummers here including me don't take much genetic courses.

I think one still needs to mention that each male human individual can only have one Y-chromosome haplogroup.
The Pie Chart is basically "Statistics".

Anyway, Y-chromosome is only one among 23 chromosomes. And it tends to be distorted in proportion as compared to Somatic genes due to it only tracing one side.
e.g. If the grand-grand-grand-father is "European", a "1/8 European 7/8 Asian" male could have "100% European" Y-chromosome, even when the Somatic genes is only around 1/8 "European".

I would prefer to leave it to the experts with their sophisticated tools/methodology, lest I mislead the other forummers.


Edited by qrasy, 24 February 2013 - 06:49 AM.

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#12 Zhou-ist

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:56 PM


thanks for the incredible level of detail here. I wonder specifically:
* can you explain the perceived differences between manchu and han? is there what westerners would see as subtle racial differences (pardon me if this sounds ignorant) at the genetic level? is there a cultural difference? is it similar to the anti-british sentiment that led to the scottish wars of independence in 13th/14th century?
- were there religious differences? i read that taiping was a christian movement and that their leader considered himself jesus' brother (i haven't checked your link yet!)

* was there much fewer Manchu than Han?

 

 

A better analogy between Han / Manchus would be English / Norman after AD1066 and the battle of Hastings. But unlike the Normans, who influenced the English language, institutions, history and ruled for far longer under the Plantegenets, the Manchus had relatively little influence on the Han outside of fashion. And as the Normans eventually assimilated into the English population, so to did the Manchus.



#13 guest_type89951

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 02:31 AM

Manchurians have deep set eyes,or the visible slightly deep socket above their eyes.

 

Mongols, not central asians, have very tiny eyes, flat nose, and tan skin. There is a myth they originated from China and moved to what they call Mongolia.

 

http://s1.zetaboards...opic/4933455/1/



#14 ahxiang

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 07:42 PM

Manchurians have deep set eyes,or the visible slightly deep socket above their eyes.

 

Mongols, not central asians, have very tiny eyes, flat nose, and tan skin. There is a myth they originated from China and moved to what they call Mongolia.

 

http://s1.zetaboards...opic/4933455/1/

 

where did you get that?

 

Manchu and Mongols are all C-haplogroup people. They had a difference in the degree: cooked barbarians versus raw barbarians.

 

At http://www.chinahist...-focused-on-it/

we talked about the origin of them.

 

The book "蒙鞑备录" (The Notes on the Black Dadan) basicaly recorded that the Manchus and Mongols, whose C gene was validated today, were of the same family, their appearance was that of hairlessness, except for Genghis Khan and his immediate circle, and that the distinction made for the Mongols was due to their civilized levels, with those near the Chinese called by cooked, those faraway called raw, and among the raw, there were two groups 'black and white, black meaning extreme uncivilized and the white meaning somewhat civilized.

 

Certainly, the Turks, who had brought the non-Mongoloid genes over from Central Asia, such as the Shatuo Turks, had merged into the Mongol/Manchu barbarian groups in history, and that's why we had at one time the so-called Yellow Hair Jurchen Governor-general. But it was an exception. The majority of the gang were C-haplogroup barbarians.



#15 Shiang

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:59 PM

Manchurians have deep set eyes,or the visible slightly deep socket above their eyes.
 
Mongols, not central asians, have very tiny eyes, flat nose, and tan skin. There is a myth they originated from China and moved to what they call Mongolia.
 
http://s1.zetaboards...opic/4933455/1/


Manchus do not have deep set eyes. Tungus peoples like Manchu have small eyes and flat faces.




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