1. Merit- In Chinese society, Bing demonstrates that if citizens obeyed the rules and were given the opportunity to prove themselves, and could do so successfully, they would progress in society. In all reality, this sort of meritocracy made sense for the Han dynasty to want the best and brightest helping run the country. Being the younger son of a farming family, his father tells him that his older brother will be inheriting the farm. “When my time comes, your older brother will have the right to take it over. You may very well have to fend for yourself” (2). It is at this point that Bing acknowledges he is not worried and in fact sees this as an opportunity because as he sees it, the farming life is monotonous and not his path. Bing is smart, hardworking, and ambitious and with a little bit of luck, Bing finds himself moving through the ranks of government and becoming quite successful. The Han dynasty can best be characterized as a society based on both merit and luck for it was this blend of chance and aptitude that had allowed Bing to rise from humble beginnings to the honorable government position of Magistrate.
2. Politics- Wu Zhao best demonstrates the intense, volatile, and cunning atmosphere that was Chinese government and politics. Wu Zhao is described as being not only stunning in beauty, but both a clever and cunning politician and a master manipulator. During her involvement in royal affairs, she utilized many tactics to cultivate a climate of loyalty and obedience among ministers and officials alike. Wu Zhao was so politically elegant, that with the aid of her North Gate Scholars, she was able to successfully spin Confucius texts, with its patriarchal structure, to support and endorse her numerous a...
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...stead, the Mongolians relied on their military strategies, reputation, adaptation, and speed to defeat the Chinese armies. Upon taking control, the Mongolians constructed a new dynasty designed to exclude the Chinese from government service. They also made many social changes such as elevating the status of the merchant class and suspended the civil service examinations, creating the beginnings of a gentry society (367). Inflation, damaged both the Chinese economy and their trust in paper money, crippling their economy years after the Yuan dynasty had ended. Although the Mongolians defeated their opponents on the battlefield, conquest of the Chinese society and government proved to be something not even their adaptive behavior and prowess could conquer.
Hansen, Valerie. The open empire: a history of China to 1600. New York: Norton, 2000. Print.
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