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We are reading one chapter a week of Guns, Germs and Steel.   This week we are on Chapter 16: How China became Chinese, which is about North America.  No, just seeing if you were paying attention.  It's about China.

I encourage this to be slow blogging.  Post a comment any time during the week.  

The next book will be Ideas: A history of thought from fire to Freud by Peter Watson, starting in a little more than a month

China is the world's most populous country (I think it's still ahead of India) with over 1 billion people.  An amazing proportion of them speak either Mandarin or a closely related language - it's as if all of Europe spoke a Romance language.  This is unique - all other large areas of the world have multiple languages.  In this chapter Diamond traces how that happened, even though it happened long ago.

He notes that China is more homogeneous ethnically than many countries, noting that not one child in his kids' classes had all four grandparents born in the USA

He also shows that China was one of only a few places that definitely started food production on its own - although it isn't clear whether it started here first, or in the fertile crescent first, the difference in time is too short to allow the idea to have come from one place to the other.

China, like Europe, had many domesticable species, and several good crops that were suitable for agriculture.  These vary from north to south and from lowland to highland, but are widely present throughout China. And the north-south barrier was less sharp here than in the Americas or Africa, partly because the distances are not as great, and partly because no desert or mountain range transects China.

He also notes that China plays a dominant role in the history of east Asia; concluding the chapter by noting that the Japanese maintain their method of writing with Chinese characters, even though it is not well suited to Japanese.

A relatively short chapter, but I hope people will have fun in the comments

In today's poll, I ask about how long your family has been in the USA .... feel free to comment about that, too.

Originally posted to plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 03:46 AM PST.

Poll

What generation of your ancestors came to USA

2%4 votes
6%10 votes
20%29 votes
20%30 votes
23%34 votes
21%31 votes
4%6 votes

| 144 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Migrating tips (26+ / 0-)

    As for me, my parents were born here, but two of my grandparents were born in eastern Europe, and all of my great grandparents were.  You've heard of WASPs?  I'm a JEEP - Jewish Eastern European Person :-)

    Which country?  Well, hard to say.  Several of the places have changed country in the last 100 years.  Russia, Ukraine, Austria-Hungary, Poland....

    How about you?

    We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

    by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 03:46:22 AM PST

  •  A wide variety of origins (12+ / 0-)
    I am a veritable melting pot.  I have ALL areas represented. There's Westernmost Europe, slightly less-Western Europe and more North-Western Europe.

    I believe 3 sets of g-grandparents immigrated from Sweden, Germany and Switzerland in the late 19th century.  The other branch had its first birth in the New World about 1618, there is some very good genealogy done on that line.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:04:40 AM PST

  •  Morning and an interesting lecture by (12+ / 0-)

    the author

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:05:52 AM PST

  •  My dad's parents immigrated from Germany (14+ / 0-)

    on the 19thC. My mom's grandparents did the same. I'm married to a guy who descends from the Mayflower.

    I wonder why he gave the Chinese such short shrift? I was looking for more reasons why their culture succeeded so easily in replacing all of the hunter-gatherer peoples throughout what is now China, and the other areas whose peoples are genetically closely related.

    •  I think China makes only tangential (8+ / 0-)

      impact on his central question - that is, Yali's question of why the Eurasians have all the stuff.

      China turned inward a long while ago, and seems to have done RELATIVELY little exploring and exploiting, compared to what the Europeans did; at least recently.

      We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

      by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:16:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then I'd be interested to learn how the Chinese (10+ / 0-)

        'did it' without 'stuff'. I know they invented gunpowder, but was that before or after replacing other peoples? For that matter, they must have held off any attempted eastward expansion by the Indo-European speakers?

        •  They had lots of stuff (11+ / 0-)

          but the central theme of the book is what happens when the people with stuff meet the people without stuff, and why some have stuff and some don't.

          Diamond answers, in this chapter, why the Chinese had stuff .... they had domesticable animals and plants; their geography is favorable.   He doesn't get into why the Chinese stopped exploring.

          We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

          by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:34:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cultural (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, Iberian, koNko, yinn, plf515

            He doesn't get into why the Chinese stopped exploring.

            In the early 1400's China was a great exploring nation. With the fall of one dynasty came a turn inward and a destruction of much of the information related to prior explorations. This could be a case where one person dying changed a continent.

            "CHINESE EXPANSION. The Yuan (Mongol) dynasty was defeated by an antiforeign revolution that established the MING DYNASTY (1368–1644). Early Ming rulers worked to reestablish Chinese dominance in the areas of long-standing Chinese interests and influence, such as Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and central Asia. In addition, in 1405–33, Ming rulers sponsored a series of major commercial expeditions led by CHENG HO (Zheng He).

            Great Chinese fleets sailed as far as East Africa and the Middle East, establishing the potential for regular, Chinese-dominated trade throughout the Indian Ocean. However, the emperor ordered the halt of the expeditions by 1433. Nonofficial Chinese merchant activity continued in Southeast Asia, where Chinese commercial communities became an important force."

            Then again - maybe they had enough stuff already.

            I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

            by taonow on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:40:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks! I've linked Zhèng Hé eleswher (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              88kathy, taonow, yinn, plf515

              Who, Kossacks might be interested to know, made it all the way to the Carribian for a relaxing holiday.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:29:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not true (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                88kathy, koNko, yinn, plf515

                That's a fabrication. His fleet reached south Asia and west Africa, great accomplishments, and that's all we have any proof of. The rest are inventions of a British man with lost of imagination and knack to sell books.

                •  Links? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  88kathy, plf515

                  Im interested.

                  Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                  by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 03:52:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  koNko (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koNko, plf515

                    The link you provide further down to wikipedia talks about Gavin Menzies fabrications in his books particularly the second one 1421: The Year China Discovered the World

                    A couple of links :
                    A Web site that puts down Menzies theories
                    http://www.1421exposed.com/

                    And an interesting BBc discussion about the fleets and trips
                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

                    AS far as I know Chinese scholars have also denunciated all this extensive trips of the fleet as fabrications, but I don't know any Chinese and I can't search for links in it./

                    •  Thanks! Will review later (at office). (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      plf515

                      I think I've seen parts of the BBC information in the form of a documentary in CH version.

                      Acually, I think I got the misinformation from a book review at the time it was published and it just stuck with me. Come to think of it, I cannot recall this coming from any Chinese source and his exploits are very well researched here. Chinese historians are usually sticklers for detial so I'll try searching Menzies on Goggle and Baidu in CH.

                      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                      by koNko on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 12:11:54 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  We explored a lot and were invaded often (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, Fabian, yinn, plf515, Dude1701

            The more you study Chinese history, the more you will understand that:

            (a) The Great Wall wa a gloriously a failed experiment

            (b) The nation grew more by being the object of conquest than as a conqueror. If you sit and wait for vistors to go home they often leave behind negleted posessions.

            (c) Feudal states multiply like rabbits.

            (d) We are significantly less homogenious that we are credited.

            Cheers.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:38:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Easternmost indoeuropean language (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, Halcyon, yinn, plf515

          Tocharian

          They invented gunpowder around IX or X century, China was already a huge Empire but still was wagging war against many surrounding cultures

      •  With that much land (10+ / 0-)

        and those resources, exploring and exploiting wouldn't be so urgent.

        OTOH - population density and competition from other political powers probably had a lot to do with the Europeans heading out into new territories.  Once you've exhausted the available resources in your territory, it's only natural to seek other sources.

        My history isn't great, but I remember fierce competition to claim resources in various places - if only to gain a trade advantage over others.

        Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

        by Fabian on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:30:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  au contrare 1 (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, Iberian, yinn, plf515

        郑和; (Zhèng Hé) is worth knowing ...

        An interesting man with an interesting mission.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:27:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But China is a counter to his main argument(s) (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, koNko, plf515

        The answer the book gives to Yali's question is
        -- Eurasia gave the Europeans a better selection of better grains
        -- Better grains meant larger cities
        -- Larger cities meant nastier germs and faster advancements in knowledge

        Plus some additional advantages that are mostly related to being on a large, contiguous, east-west oriented continent like Eurasia.

        The problem for Diamond's theory is that China (and to a lesser extent India) had all these advantages, but still ended up on the wrong end of colonial/imperialism. He does give an explanation for that a few chapters later, but it seems more speculative than the rest of the book.

        Still, he uses similar arguments in this chapter to explain adequately why China is as homogenous as it is.

        RV

        Al Gore is running for Gray Champion.

        by RanxeroxVox on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 11:17:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How did China wind up on the wrong end? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, koNko, yinn

          Compare with Australia or the Americas or Oceania, where the natives got killed off, and the remainder got forced into horrible situations.

          Or Africa, where huge numbers got dragged into slavery.

          We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

          by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 12:23:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, Fabian, koNko, yinn, plf515

          China was more advanced than any other civilization until the Renaissance, and it was not until maybe the XVIIth century that you can say that Europeans were clearly more advanced (mostly on war faring)than China.

          The difference is that meanwhile China got stuck with a central dominating power, what actually provided for the necessary peace to progress, Europe was in a state of permanent warfare with out an hegemonic power since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It was the competition what lead Europe to improve their war technologies and to explore and colonize. If the Roman Empire had not collapsed Europe would had been in the same situation as China. The borders of the Roman Empire change really little since Augustus the first Emperor.

  •  My children are truly mutts... (14+ / 0-)

    All of my great-grandparents were born in the US except one who came here from Ireland in the 1860's and I have at least one line that goes back to the early 1700's. My wife has similar timelines except for one grandparent who escaped the Holocaust and another line that goes back to... well... the last ice age.

    My kids are German, Irish, French, Swiss, English, Welsh, Scottish, Polish, Jewish, and Cherokee.

    When do we get to be done with all this and just call them "American"?

    Bush is now working as a motivational speaker. Who better to turn to than the guy who invaded the wrong country and started a depression -- David Letterman

    by Jimdotz on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:17:13 AM PST

  •  On language (14+ / 0-)
    I lived in Taiwan for a time and learned something about China and the language.  I was fascinated to learn that all over the region the written language is the same while the spoken language is mutually unintelligible.  On TV they used subtitles so everyone could understand what was going on.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:19:36 AM PST

    •  In Chinatown, in NYC (12+ / 0-)

      electioneering is done with signs, because the speech is not mutually intelligible.

      But I had not known that the various dialects were closely related.

      We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

      by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spoken versus written (7+ / 0-)

        The dialects can be more different than any two western languages. For example Mandarin and Taiwanese are extremely different. I can speak Mandarin, but Taiwanese is totally unintelligible to me, despite being exposed to it for some time.

        What the Chinese did in the 1900's was to try and standardize language according to the Beijing dialect. As a result young people speak Mandarin, but many older people still speak their local dialects. (In fact growing up in Taiwan my wife would have been "disciplined" for speaking Taiwanese at school).

        I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

        by taonow on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:49:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So True! Your wife's story is typical! (8+ / 0-)

          I can imagine the outraged elders rebuking her for disrespecting the clan's proper language. I bet she got her ears boxed more than once.

          As I note below, Wu has so many sub-dielects you really have to be local (very local) to make sense of it and around Wuxi, virtually every village has it's own words and pronoucination. Crazy.

          One point I'd like to add is that Modern Madarian (Putonghua) uses the Anhui pronouciation as official, NOT Beijing (Dongbei) Madarian which has a very distictive (and nice to my ears, thanks Mom) accent.

          Mrs koNko is Anhuiren and never tires of correcting me - "I can't understand you! When will you learn to speak like a human?" says she. Funny and charming girl!

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:12:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Beijing dialect (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WI Deadhead, 88kathy, Fabian, koNko, yinn, plf515

            Probably just me, but I don't like the Beijing dialect (or Beijing for that matter). I guess because I learned the Taiwanese accented Mandarin I find it more pleasing to the ear ... no rrrrrrr.

            I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

            by taonow on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:02:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Acquired Taste (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WI Deadhead, 88kathy, taonow, Fabian, yinn, plf515

              Lots of people say the same of Cantonese, depends greatly on the speaker. The thing with Dongbei is you really have to drink at least 10 cups of wine and fall off your chair before you get the hang of it.

              But I will agree, nothing sounds sweeter to my ears than Mandarian spoken by ladies from Suzhou (as Mrs koNko beat him senseless), and some Taiwanese singers are very popular in China and quite enjoyed by yours truely. In fact, Sandy Lam is an old fave and I think shes very cute too, which proves my "odd" taste in women (he said as Mrs koNko beat him again).

              I better stop here, while I still have my hands attached.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:38:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I certainly am in no position to argue with you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WI Deadhead, 88kathy, yinn

          What you say seems counter to what Diamond says - perhaps he's wrong, or perhaps I am misinterpreting what he said, or maybe Taiwanese is an exception.

          We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

          by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 12:24:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I've posted elesewhere .. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, 88kathy, Iberian, Fabian, yinn, plf515

        "Chinese Language"

        I speak more or less (maybe less) 4 dialects; Putonghua (Guānhuà 官), Shanghani & Wuxi (Wúyǔ 吴), Cantonese (Yuèyǔ 粵) <Very poorly! Too complicated!>, and a bit of Taiwanese (Mǐnyǔ 閩) but I would never claim to be fluent in more than Putonghua and Wu, and the latter has so many sub-dielects one often encounters unknown words when crossing a river (really).

        I lived in Chinatown NYC and tended to hang with the Shangahise who are a minority group. Damned Cantonese own the place.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:57:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think Chinatown is changing (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WI Deadhead, 88kathy, koNko, yinn

          and becoming more diversely representative of China.

          We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

          by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 12:25:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes it is. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WI Deadhead, 88kathy, plf515

            It went through a big change from the mid 1980s onward which is OK with me because I visit once every couple of years and the food has improved!

            There are also a lot more Koreans and SE Asians about town, NYC is a great place to eat live.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:09:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I love to eat and live here (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WI Deadhead, 88kathy, Fabian, koNko

              I think my favorite cuisine is Thai, but I also like many Chinese cuisines, and Korean.  And Japanese.  And Indian.  Oh, and even some that aren't Asian! :-)

              We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

              by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:23:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I Love NYC Itallian ! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                plf515

                Difficult to live in Chinaown and avoid it. For awhile I lived on Lafayette near Canal, short walk to Mulerry St and some great I-tallian resturants. And DiPalo's grocery store, the greatest, I could drop a thousand bucks I haven't got in there in an hour. Maybe that wouldn't be so difficult, those places are really pricy now.

                Yep, NYC is a great place to live. Fun City much. Enjoy it.

                Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                by koNko on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 12:33:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Long ago, Chinatown was a little part of (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koNko

                  the big neighborhood that was little Italy.

                  But nowadays, I think the best Italian restaurants are elsewhere - not only the Bronx little Italy, but around town.

                  We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

                  by plf515 on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 03:03:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds like Italy. My mother spoke both (10+ / 0-)

      Tuscan Italian and the dialect of her parents. Traveling around Italy, she had a hard time in the south and far north, the dialects were too disparate to make much sense of them. (They don't need subtitles on TV however.)

      "Misery's the river of the world. Everybody Row!" - Tom Waits

      by the fan man on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:35:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you ever met someone from NE Scotland? (10+ / 0-)

      When I did, they swore they were speaking English but I couldn't understand a damn thing they were saying.

      Bush is now working as a motivational speaker. Who better to turn to than the guy who invaded the wrong country and started a depression -- David Letterman

      by Jimdotz on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:50:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  True, everyone could read Mao's little red book (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, 88kathy, koNko, yinn, plf515

      since it was the shared written language....but most Chinese could not understand him when he spoke in his native dialect. And this is only possible when the written language is in ideograms... So, you could in theory read Chinese in English... even possibly prove it in an experiment:  bring up kids who spoke English to learn the Chinese written language as the written form of English which seems doable with not a lot of changes....

      (in theory only... since it would be perhaps wrong to use that many people, especially kids in a controlled environment for an experiment)

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:31:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Korean friend told me that she taught herself (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, koNko, yinn, plf515

      to read Chinese.  Well I guess that was a little on the BS side and not as big of a deal as I thought at the time.

      FOX potatoes watching their snooze NuZZZZ. Shhhh. They think its news.

      by 88kathy on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:50:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  WASP, Totally (13+ / 0-)

    Most recent immigrant for me is great grandfather immigrated from Ireland about 1865. Earliest is from England to Maryland in 1652. All are English, Irish, Scottish. Whatever a WASP is, I'm it.

    WWTD: What Would Teddy Do?

    by JG in MD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:20:50 AM PST

  •  Very mixed (13+ / 0-)

    Consistent with Southeastern Michigan:

    Latest immigration was Italy (father's mother's parents, although one was born here in the US, the other in Italy), Germany (grandfather, family came over in 1850 or so), and the rest is some sort of mix of English, Scottish and Polish, for the most part.  (paternal grandfather [and surname-Scottish, purportedly] and maternal grandmother].

    The maternal grandmother's side was Southern, so who knows?

    But I'm pretty sure I owe my existence to Henry Ford.  

     

  •  A new view of the origin of chinese agriculture (15+ / 0-)

    The Neolithic age in China can be traced back as early as 10,000 BCE[6] Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is carbon-dated to about 7,000 BCE.[7] The Peiligang culture of Xinzheng county, Henan was excavated in 1977.[8] With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and to support specialist craftsmen and administrators.[9] In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a cultural center, where the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of those was found at Banpo, Xi'an.[10] The Yellow River was so named because of the loess that would build up on the bank and down in the earth then sink, creating a yellowish tint to the water.[1

    wiki

    As for homogeneous ethnicity, even the dominant Han are a mixture of tribes.

    From the dawn of time, China's history is a story of an immense land with several diverse tribes. It is also one of migrations and conflict, and separation and fusion of cultures. The product of the intermingling of many tribes, the Han people were among the first to settle down and develop an agrarian society. As their culture flourished, the more contempt they felt for the migrant hunter-gatherers that lay just beyond the horizon.

    Today, the government recognizes 55 or 56 (the number and the peoples included in it change from time to time) different minorities:

    China is a large country noted for its dense population and vast territory. There are 55 minority ethnic groups in addition to the Han who represent 92% of the population. The defining elements of an ethnic group are language, homeland, and social values. 53 minority ethnic groups use spoken languages of their own; 23 minority ethnic groups have their own written languages.
    http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/...

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:23:31 AM PST

    •  I am not expert in any of this (9+ / 0-)

      I guess the people who wrote what you quote would take issue with some of what Jared Diamond says.

      We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

      by plf515 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:36:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would add that (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, Iberian, Fabian, yinn, plf515, Alec82

      "Han" Chinese figures are inflated since the method of census is self-identification with no option to choe mixed heritige, and a majority of mixed people will chose Han.

      However, in the last census the figues of minorities spiked because there are an increasing number of incentives for minority people so more are identifying their minority roots.

      A good example is Manchu people. The last (Ching) dynasty was Manchu and Manchu people greatly assimilated into nothern Han populations to the point that the Manchu dielect is nearly a dead language.

      Well, did all those people dissapear? Hardly, hey mere self-identified as Han for the practical advantage, and now this is no longer the case, people take more pride in their heritage.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:38:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  German to Russian (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, koNko, plf515

        Some of my family were in a group of Germans who went to Russia in the 1700s.  They left Russia in the 1900s.  When WW11 happened they were more Russian.  When the Cold War happened they went back to being German.

        FOX potatoes watching their snooze NuZZZZ. Shhhh. They think its news.

        by 88kathy on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:39:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder whether China's current devotion to (10+ / 0-)

    a one-party state, generally intolerant of significant dissent, will substantially hamper its people's ability to achieve the level of economic prosperity, even domination, of which they appear capable.  OTOH, may it actually benefit them in some way?  That probably strikes most Americans as unlikely, but of course we have our own deeply held biases, particularly our First Amendment principles, and few non-Asian Americans can claim to have more than a shallow understanding of Chinese culture and/or politics.  BTW, my dad's parents both came on the boat from Poland, and while my mom's parents were born here, their parents were all Polish immigrants.  I have a copy of GG&S from the library and am just a little beyond this chapter.

    •  Certainly one advantage they have.. (9+ / 0-)

      ...is a lack of internal pressures and lobbies that might hinder their ability to work with, ahem, questionable governments.  There was a pretty good article in Dissent a few months ago, over the summer, about the potential threat of China's authoritarian governance to democratization efforts elsewhere.  

      Let me see if I can find it.

      •  Most of the struggle (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, yinn, plf515, Alec82

        Is between the Central and Provincial governments, which is substantial, and a very complex subject.

        Personally, I think most (not all) western observers miss the boat on analizing the degree to which the Chinese Central government is asserting itself for the the good of the country and progress; I don't see cleaning-up corruption in provincial governments as a regressive trend.

        It's rather interesting that the benchmark of the Hu-Wen government is on rule of law, economic reform directed toward social issues and the environment, and in cleaning up corruption.

        I suggest you poll wall street bankers and ask themif they would prefer to work in China with it's so-called business-friendly bias. Whenever big corruption cases arise in China and some officials or bakers get out into the dock, I can ganurentee the Wall Street Journal will publish more stories about how heavy handed and authoritarian the Hu " Regime" is. Tut-Tut.

        Seems a bit self-serving to me, and judging by the popular opinion on this blog, kossacks would be pretty happy applying the same legal measures to Wall Street.

        May I ask how many of the architects of the financial crisis are behind bars? Seems to me they just got big bonuses.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:08:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually that raises a very good point (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, koNko, yinn, plf515

          Personally, I think most (not all) western observers miss the boat on analizing the degree to which the Chinese Central government is asserting itself for the the good of the country and progress; I don't see cleaning-up corruption in provincial governments as a regressive trend.

          I completely agree with this.  I do think that if you pay attention that issue is addressed in some Anglosphere publications.  Certainly The Economist has addressed it in past issues.  It's not a regular feature of American reporting, though.  

          Seems a bit self-serving to me, and judging by the popular opinion on this blog, kossacks would be pretty happy applying the same legal measures to Wall Street.

          Certainly.  I would add that I don't think the Wall Street Journal is the most healthy barometer of opinion on the matter; its ideological slant is about as grotesquely neoclassical as one could imagine.  

          There are several problems with criminal economic law reform in this country.  A major problem is the court system, but even beyond that is the issue of funding and prioritization.  The FBI warned of market fraud in the mortgage industry back in 2004, complaining that too many resources had been shifted from white collar criminal law enforcement to terrorism.  Additionally, while I'm not familiar with Chinese criminal law, our scienter requirements make offers of proof extremely difficult in complex accounting and securities cases, leaving the SEC and other agencies with civil as opposed to criminal remedies.

          •  .... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, yinn, plf515, Alec82

            I read the Economist and would say what is often applied to the WSJ, good reporting, strongly biased editorial viewpoint, although I would add the WSJ is really slipping on the former now that Murdouch has taken over. BTW, The Far Eastern Economic Review, a worthy Dow Jones publication will cease publication with the December issue, unfortunate since they have tended to publish some exceptional commentators of various political stripes on Asian affairs.

            Chinese law is in the middle of a big reform. Generally the system is poor due to a lack of uniform judical practice, too many unqualified judges and an insufficient number of lawyers (unlike the US who has too many). High profile cases are somewhat different, generally handled or reviewed by the superior court in BJ. The system favors prosecutors so in the case someone is (actually) guilty the system works.

            Chinese law in general leaves much room for interpretation but most financial law has benifited from intensive reform over the past few years driven by chanages in the economic system that have more clearly defined white collar crime so the number of cases has increased greatly, also driven by anti-corruption drives. This is a good thing because corruption in some provincial governments is really terrible and public outrage is justified.

            One point I would add is white collar criminals do hard time or worse - several cases of extreme embezzlement by government officials have met with capital sentances, something I don't quite recommend but having some positive effect.

            There is presently a big series of corruption trials ongoing in Chongqing a city that has had huge growth in the past few years and this is the biggist trial in years. These guys are done.

            A more typical case.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 03:38:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  My hunch is that Mao had a 100 year plan... (6+ / 0-)

      for transforming China from an agricultural poverty-sticken monarchical society into a democratic global  superpower, but the Tiananmen Square Protests were inconveniently timed as far as the plan was concerned.

      Could Nixon have been shown this plan secretly by Mao? And is this why all Presidents since then have been so willing to give so much of our wealth to China? And why the Chinese have been so willing to bankroll our debt-driven consumer demand for Chinese goods?

      In short, did Nixon and Mao secretly cut the deal that will mold the entire 3rd Millenium?

      Bush is now working as a motivational speaker. Who better to turn to than the guy who invaded the wrong country and started a depression -- David Letterman

      by Jimdotz on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:45:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder about the millions of men without women (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tomhodukavich, koNko, yinn, plf515

      China grapples with legacy of its missing girls  What are those men going to do?  

      I remember a science fiction book.  The mad scientist's family was killed in a terrorist attack.  He isolated a virus that killed only women.  The premise being that the men would then kill each other.

      FOX potatoes watching their snooze NuZZZZ. Shhhh. They think its news.

      by 88kathy on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:34:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Astute observation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, tomhodukavich, plf515, Alec82

      And my reply is that China is migrating toward multi-pluralism step by step, and in my opinion, the driver is economic (as you state) and the constrait is how quickly China can achieve a level of economic and educational parity where multi-pluralism can work. In my estimation, 1-20 years is a reasonable expectation.

      In fact, today, the legislative process is increasingly open and driven by the need to open-up the governing process.

      Chinas leaders are a lot more self-aware than western observers tend to credit them, and I would point out the consultave congress now includes a very high percentage on non-party members who have been acively recruited by the cebtral government.

      As long as western observers persist in promoting the meme that the "Regime" is "struggling for legitimacy" they will blind themselves to the change happening before thier eyes.

      It's rather interesting to me that when the Chinese government responds to public opinion it is offered-up as evidance of "weakness" and a sign of immenent demise, verses just good government.

      Methinks this might revel more about the weakness of the party-line towed by the western media.

      In any case, I agree with your basic thesis, beyond a certian point economic development depends on a degree of liberalization and openess, and this is not lost on the Chinese leadership.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:53:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Japan vs China (9+ / 0-)
    From a cursory knowledge of history, I have wondered some about the differences between China and Japan.  

    China seems to have been a giant entity with huge momentum that was not interested in changing.  Because of the weight of history, even when they had outside contact it was not sufficient to turn them internally towards something else.

    It appears to me that China treated the "outside" as a minor annoyance or fleeting curiosity but took the  attitude of "We're CHINA!  What could you possibly offer us?  Why would we ever fear you or treat you as an equal?"

    Japan on the other hand was much more vulnerable and more willing to engage.  Looking at photos of the late 1800s I seem to see Japanese dressing in "Western" clothing while China looked inward.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:31:02 AM PST

    •  In the 1880s (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, 88kathy, Fabian, plf515

      China was in the last throes of the Ching Dynasty and and beseiged by western colonial powers that were stealing it blind while addicting it's population to opium.

      I suggest you study modern Chinese history and you could statrt with the Boxer Rebellion.

      Meanwhile, Japanese were in the midst of the Meiji Restoration ultimately leading to their own colonialization of their neighbors (particularly Korea, China, SE Asia) in what became the "Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" which aligned with Nazi Germany is WWII, or as it is known in China, "The Anti-Japanese War" which aligned China and the USA for the duration.

      General George Stillwell is possibly the most well-known American in China save Nixon and Obama, and a hero to Chinese.

      Study history, it's interesting and matters. Obama is spot-on in visiting China at this time, we are partners and need to do better. He will be well-received, if not uncritically.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:18:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BTW (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, 88kathy, plf515

      You might want to look at a photo of Sūn Yìxiān (aka Sun Yet-sen) the founder of the modern Republic of China.

      Dr Sun was eduated in Hawaii and Japan and assisted by Japanese radicals who were agaist their own nation's imperial system.

      The Wiki page is a reasonably decent if breif introduction.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:24:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  re-reading (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, plf515, mayim, palantir

    popular novel sci-fi thriller 'Dante's Equation' core premise based on  assertion of the 'objective reality of the wavefunction'; I'll have to re-read it to find if it examines wavefunction collapse and quantum decoherence at this moment details read three years ago are fuzzy

    --------------

    Dante’s Equation by Jane Jensen published 2006

    "In this thriller, wave mechanics and hidden codes give way to the fundamental nature of space - time. The novel is a force of speculative imagination grounded in science both credible and cutting edge."

    The physicist tests her equations with pulse wave interference experiments. The experiments influence the main characters journeys as they cross the boundary of space - time.

    She confirms everything is energy waves in space / time and that her equation and the wave mechanics experiment to test it, are not just about time but about momentum from order to chaos.

    Her findings brought on by events interacting with a billion other waves, the waves of all people involved, of the location where actions occur, show that any of those waves have the power to influence the original wave of an event. Her experiments with negative pulse and positive pulse wave interference at 75-90 percent effect for good or ill not only physical matter but behavior and parallel universe outcomes.

    Goldman Sachs bonuses: $23 billion this year same size as California's budget shortfall. The gutting of CA's public sector is no coincidence. - Naomi Klein

    by anyname on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:10:44 AM PST

  •  The Chinese are very inventive, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, plf515

        but they couldn't have invented this

  •  Wow, a geneological mix, as it were (8+ / 0-)

    Two of my maternal grandparents came from northern Lithuania in the early 1900's.  I suspect (although cannot prove) that my maternal grandmother may have had some Tatar relations.  This is solely based on her looks that were passed on to my mother.  

    My father's one grandfather was from western Lithuania and arrived in around the same time frame.  My father's one grandmother arrived here from Germany but her lineage turned out to be Czech when I looked.  

    The rest of my father's family have been here since before this land mass was a "country".  Not Mayflower folks just people who migrated.  They were Scots but their origin may have been either western Scotland or northern Ireland (I know it sounds screwy but King James did some screwy things.)

    How many folks came across the pond that really WANTED to stay?  I know my mom's mom didn't.  It was circumstances.  You know, a couple of small historical blips known as the Russian Revolution and The Great War.  

    November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. I like mine with dates. How 'bout you?

    by Powered Grace on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:26:28 AM PST

  •  I am a descendent of the Colonial population. (9+ / 0-)

    One of my four grandparents (surname Adams) is the descendent of a Virginia colonist who settled on this continent in the early 1600's, though he was not a Jamestown settler.

    Another grandparent (surname Estes) stemmed from people who came to America in the Scotch-Irish immigration, but I don't know exactly when. The Esteses were the racial mongrels of the family. There is a Native American woman (Creek or Cherokee) in their family tree, and possibly a Jewish man (surname Marks).

    Another grandparent (surname Cook, originally Koch) was from a Hessian soldier who according to family tradition deserted and changed sides during the Revolution.

    Another grandparent (surname Cross) cannot trace his ancestry earlier than the Civil War. The earliest documented member of the family was a noncom in Forrest's Cavalry, from one of the Alabama regiments. A surviving letter, in the possession of the El Paso Texas branch of the family, shows he was an educated man.

    The Adamses and Cooks owned slaves.

    It's common in the South to encounter people with early American ancestry.

    It is a strange background for a Jewish lady, I know. None of them were Jewish. I converted.

    i can't watch [Obama] speak on tv for more than 5 minutes or else what he's saying starts to make sense to me. It's very scary.

    by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:28:51 AM PST

  •  I am all Northern European (7+ / 0-)

    with some alleged long roots in the US... 3 US born grandparents... my maternal grandmother was born in Australia... which was just a detour from Europe... she, her sister and Norfolk England born mother emigrated to the US by the time she was 18 or 20. (@ 1900)

    Great grandparents are another story Norfolk, Luxemburg, Belgium, Ireland (that was a surprise, the family did not know) and 2 from Germany (Bremen but they had an odd name for Germans... sounds more Dutch...)

    That leaves only 2 US born Great-grandparents... and they at least do seem to go back in one branch or another to early colonial times... (If the links are correct... there may be some errors...) Delaware, Maryland on one side and New Jersey, and then later to Ohio, Missouri etc. on the other.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:13:51 AM PST

  •  I've got a split.... (6+ / 0-)

    Mum's family were all here by the mid 1600's, pretty much, except for a couple Yorkshire farmers who straggled over in the mid/late 1700s. Mostly New England, but a couple Dutch lines (so I'm traceably related to FDR through both the Plymouth Delanos and the NY Roosevelts) and one line that makes me eligible for First Families of VA as well as all the other lines to the Mayflower.

    My father's parents were born in Scotland. Unless the US completely closed its borders, they would have been admitted: native English speaking, educated (grandfather had studied theology, grandmother was a nurse), and with extended family already here.

    However, my grandfather's grandfather had been an Irish famine emigrant -- but too poor to make it to the US, so he only made it as far as Scotland ;-) His son, my great-grandfather, was orphaned young and placed with a good Scottish Protestant family, instead of with Irish Catholic relatives (who likely would not have had the resources to support another child).

  •  We had a tradition that my g-g-grandfather (6+ / 0-)

    Josef Heiden, decided to go to America because he had tall sons, and was a pacifist. Tall sons would have been drafted into the army. So he and his sons came to America.

    One of them sired my grandfather, and three siblings, before dying in his late thirties of influenza. My grandfather had three daughters. I am the eldest daughter of his youngest daughter.

    One of Josef's sons had a son, whose son was a very good skater. In fact, he won an Olympic medal or two. His name was Eric Heiden. When I watched him as a young woman, my jaw dropped, because I recognized the face, the gestures, even the cowlick from home movies of my grandfather as a young man.

  •  Now that I know what a wheelbarrow is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, plf515, justiceputnam

    I would run a hole though a coconut shell and make a little one of my own.   It's easy once you know.

    FOX potatoes watching their snooze NuZZZZ. Shhhh. They think its news.

    by 88kathy on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:20:36 AM PST

  •  Mom's side of the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, tomhodukavich, koNko, plf515, Alec82

    family traces its roots all the way back to the Spaniards who settled New Mexico in the 1600's. Not sure about dad's side of the family, but around here, it wouldn't be to much of a stretch to assume the same.

    I finished the book this morning as DH is itching to get his hands on it. Now I need to find something fluffy to read before we start the next book!

    Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart - Michael Weston, Burn Notice (-4.75, -3.69)

    by awnm on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:42:44 AM PST

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, tomhodukavich, plf515

    We've traced dad's side of the family back to the Jamestown colony. Not sure about mum's side.

    Visit the #DailyKos IRC channel on irc.sorcery.net! If you don't know how, don't be afraid to ask me about it! Also, THE GAME. (-10.00, -8.87)

    by Texas Revolutionary on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 11:35:02 AM PST

  •  Descendent of Revolutionary War General... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

    by justiceputnam on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:54:26 PM PST

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