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posted on 21 October 2015

The Great Wall and China

Written by

Hello from China!

Most Westerners, especially Americans, know China by two things (1) "communist China" and (2) The Great Wall. Since I have already pointedly addressed (1) ("Communist China", Really?), now let me address (2), revealing the real China inside, as well as outside of, the Great Wall!

1. The Great Wall

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - The Great Wall of China:

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BCE;[3] these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall.[4] Especially famous is the wall built 220 - 206 BCE by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.

2. Where does the Great Wall sit?

The Great Wall sits inside China, as shown below.

3. Why is the Great Wall inside China?

The Great Wall was built by the Han Chinese (more than 90% of all Chinese today) to fend off all barbarian foreigners, including the Mongols (north of the Great Wall) and the Man-folks (Manchuria - northeast of the Great Wall).

Unfortunately for the Han Chinese, the Great Wall was not completely effective over the past two thousand years. For example, both the Mongols (e.g. Gengis Kan) and the Man-folks (e.g. Qing dynasty - 1644-1912) beat the Han Chinese to form their own China! In other words, the invaders were so impressed by the advanced civilization in China, that under their rule, they effectively made their own ruled areas become part of China, instead of the other way around!!

Fortunately for the Han Chinese, they prevailed eventually, inheriting the included "countries" that had become part of China! In business terms, today's China is the result of several "reverse mergers".

4. China

Historically speaking, China is an exceptionally peaceful country. Three examples:

  1. Its borders are largely natural (e.g. by sea on the east side).
  2. The Chinese built the Great Wall to protect themselves (vs. expansion).
  3. For the past 2,000 years, at least, China has largely left all its neighbors (e.g. Vietnam and Korea) alone, avoiding all aggression against them, let alone annexation.

Contrary to popular belief in the West, the Chinese actually started exploring the world's oceans earlier than the Europeans did. Two facts:

  1. China: Zheng He (1371 - 1433), in his 7th and last voyage, reached what's known today as "South Africa". For more, read: The Seven Voyages Of The Treasure Fleet.
  2. Europe: Christopher Columbus (1450/1451 - 1506) "discovered" Americas in 1492.

However, unlike the Europeans who discovered the "new" world and conquered it for exploitation and colonization, the Chinese discoveries (see image below) were left largely alone, having concluded that their own civilization was vastly more advanced than the "new" world they found.

With that, China then chose to ignore the rest of the less cultured world until they themselves became the target of western aggression, being repeatedly defeated by the West in recent centuries. It's more than a little ironic that the Chinese invented gunpowder without proper IP (Intellectual Property) protection - The Europeans not only "stole" it from China but returned to China with more much powerful guns to defeat them!

Very importantly, unlike Japan which believed it had a "divine right" to rule, and its [long-term] prosperity was dependent on conquering the world, militarily (e.g. Tanaka Memorial) or economically, China, also known as the "Middle Kingdom", thought, mostly for the first 16 centuries of our 2015-year-old calendar at least, it was independent and self-reliant enough to be on its own!

Most importantly, there is little imperialism in Chinese history! For more, read:

  1. Human History: the West vs. the East.
  2. Human History: China vs. Europe.
  3. Human History: China vs. Japan.

5. Discussion

Let's talk about two places far away from the Great Wall:

  1. Taiwan: The folks in Taiwan speak Chinese! They embrace China, but not communism!
  2. Tibet: It's much more complicated than Taiwan. So it's another subject for another day.

Here is an excerpt from a previous post (Top-10 American Misconceptions about China):

Neither Taiwan nor Tibet is as big an issue today, since China is so prosperous, as they were 30 years ago when China was dirt poor. They will become non-issues within 20 more years as China continues to prosper. Meanwhile, continued American interventions in affairs that don't concern them are creating a problem where there is none!

Finally, the South China Sea ... Is China's recent activity there imperialistic? Arguably, not! However, like Tibet, it's a big subject for another day. Meanwhile, here is my message to America: do not interfere there! Instead, let the affected people work out their differences, over time, in their own way (China, Vietnam agree to 'properly handle' disputes)!

6. Closing

The Great Wall of China stands tall to speak for China, its culture and its nationality!

Do we need a Great Wall of America on our southern borders? If yes, build it like the Chinese did more than 2,000 years ago! It will stand tall to speak for America, for a long time to come ...

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