I think I am going a bit too far with all the emotional outbreak these days with the minorities in China, especially the Uighur. Today while browsing Ortu Kan’s blog all of sudden I was struck by a piece of very old memory of mine that has been kept in the bottom of my heart for years.
Story goes back to my high school years in China. I remember it was an ordinary day in an ordinary city. I was going back home from school with a few friends of mine. On a crowded intersection, I saw a little kid, roughly 4~5 years old by appearance, on the street wandering behind a woman, flustered and scared, in attempt to steal the purpose from the woman’s bag from behind. He followed closely to the woman, then stiffly paused, flustered, scared, then followed up back again…Again and again, he was wandering like that on that intersection for at least 20 minutes, just couldn’t make the move to reach his little hands to… He seemed to literally have no clue how to steal and apparently don’t want to do it. But he was too scared to walk away. The little boy couldn’t help constantly glaring back to an adult who was hiding at the corner. It seemed he knew he had to do it for that man. There was a sense of immense trill and fear that continuously prompted him to stretch his hand into the bag… We couldn’t stop watching him and were overwhelmingly shocked by the disturbing scene we just witnessed. I could never forget his eyes, that pair of little innocent eyes full of fear, despair and pity. He was frequently rubbing his little hands when he glared back to offset his nervous and frightening emotion towards the the man in the corner, who was viciously staring back with pure maliciousness and apathy. To this day the boy’s image is still so clear and profound. It’s rather painful every time I thought of it; the image is still goddamn crystal-clear just like it happened yesterday… Anyhow, I called the police immediately but police said they couldn’t do nothing about it since they are minors who are actual stealing. they would send them back home but smugglers could bring them back anyway. I, with a few friends of mine, were about to stop that little kid from doing what he wasn’t supposed to do and then the adult dashed up from nowhere and showed us the big machete he had in his jacket… Many years later I am still wondering what happened to that little boy later that day…
That was the only personal experience with the Uighur of mine. My anger over Urumqi riot in 2009 and Hotan in 2011 have clouded my mind with prejudice and to some extent, resentment, against the Uighur recently. But the truth is I am in no position to carelessly generalize those peaceful ones who are living their day-by-day life and those radical extreme Islam fundamentalists. As a Chinese in the foreign land, I should have known better about the stupidity and irresponsibility of simple generalization and accusation based on the rash generalization. After all, it was my strong prejudice emotion that blocked my rational judgement. I feel rather bad and could only resolve consolation through writing this article to pacify some kind of peace in my heart.
Either way, I would be as objective, rational, and logic as possible from now on. There are already so many prejudice around the world, no need for one more from me. From now on, I will double, triple and even four times check the objectivity and rationality of my future articles, so as it could reflect the truth as close as possible.
A few days ago I was engaged into an online extemporaneous polemic with a highly respectable Chinese professor in Hong Kong that has tremendous accomplishments in the field of life science. Aside from his great achievement in science, this professor also exerts great interest in politics and has always been a firm advocate for democracy in Hong Kong. Like most of strong liberals in Hong Kong, their view of democracy has specifically meanings, that is to vote and to be voted, more precisely, the universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. They have always been the forefront in waging populist protests and decrying most of policies and measures from the Hong Kong SAR government, a puppet of totalitarian Beijing authority and local capitalist moguls as they perceive. It is unsurprising that a strong liberal like this professor would also be very critical and even bigoted towards the mainland Chinese society and government in particular. Long story short, the debate started when he was accusing China with an unverified seemingly highly unreliable viral message regarding the current bullet train collision in China on the internet. In the beginning we were only focusing on the authenticity of the information and the responsibility and credibility of information propagation. It all of sudden escalated into a very intensive argument on the subject of democracy itself and of course, China. In order to stay strictly objective and fair in this article, and most important to make my article as authentic and genuine as possible,I will not give any further arguments in this article to analyze who’s right or wrong or who’s making more sense than the other. Instead, I am simply posting the original dialogue between me and him. I believe you as objective observers definitely have enough commonsense to make the judgement yourselves, and could reflect on why I chose this title for this article.
Here is the original conversation log:
starting with the professor posting the demagogic viral message that claimed “a riot after they found 300+ corpses from the train collision” (with all major Chinese and Western media reporting the casualties of 39) with the comment that “Chinese government is way too cold-blooded and anti-humane”
ME: it’s better to go through triangulation to confirm the authenticity of such viral message
Prof:. t.s.e (my real name, replaced as t.s.e. here), in mainland, there is no TRUTH under the one party leadership…rather believe no riot because the govt can crack it down immediately !!False is real and real is false in mainland and so i dont want to debate with you..it really does not matter. …if you don’t think there is a riot that’s fine, do you think by my spreading of such message a riot would happen?/ Who cares? In mainland, a human live is like an ant !!
ME: I absolutely understand your infuriation over the train crash and the reactions of the government. The same here. Freedom of press is always a mirage in China, that’s why I never read from Mainland news sites. I always try to rationalize my opinions based on confirmed facts and logic speculations. That’s why I disapprove such sketchy hearsay around the internet. One thing we could see is that the government is improving its publicity skills and reactions to such impromptu societal events, but that’s nowhere near acceptable level still. Riot or not, one could only speculate at this point, I’d rather wait for more solid proof to exert my opinions on it later. Right now what I care the most is how to prevent such incidents from happening again in China rather than how government repress people of free will. I don’t think there’s a strong ideology that drives the gov’t to ferociously confine its people other than retaining in power. However, it is the means this gov’t adopts to retain its authority is out-of-fashion and clumsy. In mainland, as mentioned in the article I provided above, the society is highly impetuous, wherein money is placed the highest value over all other matters. I deem that as the ultimate cause for such horrible tragedies in China. For the very same reason, people in China are way more pragmatic than others, therefore giving a possible space for such lousy governance. Hong Kong should not be unfamiliar with that. Functional democracy (ones in the West) is based on the existence of a well educated and enlightened majority, not by a democratic political system itself. I don’t think China is anywhere remotely near democracy.
Prof: T.S.E, this is totally wrong to think that only educated people can have democracy !! In 1930′s, communist party in CHina had full democracy…Democracy is a human right !!
ME: by educated people I am referring to a well-enlightened majority that could support a well-functioning democracy. Flaws emerge when democracy implies on people who have little sense of its basic doctrines. The situation in India is the best example. in 1930 communist party appears to have democracy on a small group of communists and its supporters, and CCP was NOT in power that time. To them democracy would be a new fancy tool to attract intellectuals frustrated by KMT’s totalitarianism and peasants in poverty. Freedom is a human right, democracy needs societal and mental pre-conditions to enforce and reinforce. Projecting a political system that’s highly developed based on a much higher level society will not bring prosperity for a society that is nowhere near ready for it. The only way to ensure a functional democracy system is through education and natural accumulation of economic and technological capital itself.
Prof: is this a good excuse to ignore basic human needs and become dictatorship?? No way. Your mind set is basically a dictator’s mind set. Hopeless.
ME: This is not excuse, it’s a piece of inconvenient fact. One brutal example: elections have been tried in selected villages in more developed region in China. It was deemed an experiment by the gov’t, but brutally failed when vote buying stepped in and screwed up everything, exactly what happened to democracy in Thailand. Truth is, a suitable political system is determined objectively the socio-economic development of the society itself. There is no good or bad in political system, only the fit or unfit ones. This is exactly the argument when modern democracy was first created in Europe. Read the The Social Contract by Rousseau. I am simply reflecting the reasonable facts. Free election will only become a basic human needs when people truly realize the value of democracy. My mindset is based on logic reasoning, and I am not bashing democracy, I do think it’s a much more sophisticated and effective political system, but it has its preconditions and limitations that determine it is not desirable at least in nowadays China
Prof: I have heard many easy reasons not to have democracy in china, none of them is a good reasons except to let communist party rule and keep the hard liner’ ruling such that their power and benefits or advantages over regular citizens forever!
ME: I’d like to see the downfall of communists in China as well. Regular citizens seem to woo that idea for sure. But then I will never be back to China again, coz I could feel what regular citizens feel and once seemingly defend for the CCP one time by accident on facebook. Oh wait, I wasn’t planning to go back anyway, CCP would still bust my ass for I have criticized them over many times. Democracy? Nah, I want my freedom but politicians are all hideous clowns. I’d go to Singapore probably…
Prof: In your blood, you liked to be controlled and so I am speechless
ME: Let’s blame it on the blood. I am indeed very submissive, I could never challenge the international standards and universal principles, I’d rather be Kunlun Nu than a deriding heretic, If that’s the price of being a realist. I was engaging a pure political discussion with logic reasoning and rational analysis. Your sentimental trajectory really upsets me. I do not deserve such outcry. I was simply questioning the essential logic of your contention “democracy is the basic human needs”. I would rather be willing be convinced with rational reasoning with objective facts than emotional response of right or wrong. I am just a person who likes to question a bit more than many others. I don’t think I am hopeless.
Prof: Your concept is totally wrong, democracy is a human right by international standard! Like it or not, it is a basic right to vote and to be voted.
ME: That doesn’t sound a logic explanation to me. Democracy is definitely not an international standard. As far I concern it’s a political system that works on some places and doesn’t seem to work much on other places. Why is democracy a basic human right then? To the same argument I should tell you “like it or not China is never going to get democracy, ‘international standard’ never applies on China..”, but it doesn’t sound convincing, does it? Either way, I will drop the discussion for the time being, as apparently you are unable to rationalize behind “Democracy as universal standard and human rights” at the moment. If you found my comments too shallow and ignorant, enlighten me, or maybe you could provide me with some good articles that I could get convinced by that idea.
Prof: simple, in your mind, you are superior than others and so some people’s rights could be ignored. your mind set is like a dictator’ s mind set and perhaps over the years you grew up in mainland you have already got those idea that democracy is not good for china, looking over all other countries, even they have democracy they can do manage themselve, democracy may not be the best political system but at leadt it is a fair system and i have to keep sying that democracy is basic human right.
ME: First of all, I was never putting myself in the realm of democracy discussion. I am purely regarding it as a political concept and philosophical treatise for logic argumentation. There’s no black and white here. I could give you tons of examples that democracy might have negative impacts on people that are imposed upon instead of embracing themselves. I am a realist that listen to rational reasoning and logic analysis. I left China when I was 17 and frankly I developed most of my cognitive system based on years of exploring different countries one after another and tons of intellectual reading. I care way more about the humanity than myself. However, the same argument I could impose on you: how do you know China is suitable for democracy when you never have the experience of everyday life there? As far as I concern, vote or to be voted are not the basic needs for the people in China at the moment. Political chaos is what it could bring and anyone with common sense would foresee that happening. And there would be absolutely no benefits to the normal people at all. Personal freedom is what normal Chinese deserves at the moment. People are not born equal, and exactly because of that, the best political system must be customized according to the variety of different society. The only difference is that you religiously believe in democracy as a divine doctrine whereas I see it as a mortal conception. If you really think people’s rights are the most important things in a society, you’d be more socialist than a democrat. Of course my arguments would not be strong enough shake your faith, as I mentioned before, everyone has certain level of cognitive bias. But I see rational reasoning as a possible bridge to at least ignite some intellectual discussion here. That would be the attitude for such debate rather than projecting philosophical contentions as if it were physical theorem. Having said, I still have high level of respect for you, since you are even willing to exchange ideas to me in the first place. However, I have to say, personal attack and emotional outcry are for politics, not political discussion between two intellectual individuals.
Prof: I do not have any emotional outcry , still an intellectual debate and i believe that all humans are created equal and thus democracy is a basic human right. In China, there is no personal freedom at al, no justice, people are not born equal but it does not mean than we cannot be treated equal. Mainland chinese officials are doing everything against the ideology as a socialist and they are just dictators, that is my conclusion. And they are using all the excuses like you have to say that democracy does not fit Chinese.
ME: You are being unreasonable here. “All humans are created equal and thus democracy is a basic human right” is a not a mere assertion that is not even a logic cause-effect. You still try to label me as mainland Chinese over anything else, and therefore uncompromisingly link my realistic and logic point of view to the Chinese government’s propaganda. I take as you have never personally challenged the concept of democracy in the first place and questioned the rationale behind the statement such as “democracy is basic human need and people are created equally”. My hope is that you could read more about the concept of democracy and develop an absolute logic explanation to justify your position. We need to be convinced with reasoning based on facts and logic, not emotional attachment. This is NOT a “now-or-never” “good-or-wrong” moral discussion. It would be pointless to argue if one denies the logic despite it reaches the commonsense ground. You assertion is fine. But it needs a lot more theoretical support which you couldn’t provide with. This is no different than the church claimed geocentrism is the truth and that’s final in the medieval age, then using this mere assertion as a divine dogma to accuse anyone else who tried to challenge the contention. As a result, it would be pointless for me to argue the conceptual standing ground of democracy with you. Then let’s switch the topic down from abstract logic to a specific case China. As I mentioned before, Chinese government was merely making efforts to retain its power and authority, as far as they see having democracy in China would impose great risk to their power. Hence they tend to also create “unquestionable” assertions such as China is China and democracy deems not fit for China is unique. It is true they often cite the instability and chaos democracy associates in non-Western countries to scare Chinese away from the idea, the same logic to use ethic argument to deter people from challenge a philosophical thesis. I do not like their obscurantism, either. In a fair conclusion, I think you need to be better informed about China to see it is really as you claim there’s no personal freedom, no justice and people live like ants in China. Those are very absolute and specific claims that are usually based on either an extremely well-informed observer (rare cases a political system could still survive after so much wrongdoing) or a ill-informed opinionated outsider who could choose only to look at one facade with their own prism. Though I have way more legitimacy to talk about those specific issues you mentioned for I have a more thorough sense of mainland Chinese society than you do, I won’t use that as an argument to convince you anything. I honestly hope you are more open-minded to know more about China other than those subjective news reporting. I got the feeling that it is rather you that are speaking from a superior position to me. I would advise you to stay for a period of time in Mainland to talk to the normal people, the group of people you are defending for in this conversation, and then let’s talk if government is evil and people live in no freedom and justice like ants. That does sound fair to you, doesn’t it?
Prof: Fact and logic is that all humans are created equal and thus to vote and to be voted are basic human right, very simple and fair. I know China very well since i was a kid from cultural revolution until today !! I never speak from any superior position, just that you have such “Class Struggle” concept in your mind and I went to mainland very often until I am not allowed to enter anymore. Because of many people with your idea and concept of democracy in China and thus the dictators can rule CHina forever, or perhaps you were brain wahed since you were young and hence I am not surprised to see you wrote such a long paragraphy to debate with me. Poor you.
ME: Your pre-assumptions and accusations don’t really make yourself a better argument here. “Fact and logic is that all humans are created equal and thus to vote and to be voted are basic human right” is a simple statement that needs logic justification and operationalization. People have spent generations and generations in Europe to devise the idea. How can you say “humans are born equal and that’s logic” without further reasonable explanations? That sounds no difference than “Allah is the only god so shut up!” I don’t know what a “class struggle” is, and I probably was brainwashed, that’s why I could organize my arguments structurally and logically. Your cognitive bias will simply satisfy what you want to believe, you are constantly dodging from my logic arguments all the time and emphasizing on a fraction part of my life experience and assume my way of thinking is solely built on the empirical cognition I received at that stage and attack your imaginary stereotype in your imagination which is itself incoherent and simply don’t make any sense. How can you attack my well-structure rational argumentation with “brain-washing by the communists when I was young”? With all due respect, I was very well polite to you all through the debate. But at this point, it looks like you are just hysterically insulting my rationality and intelligence. Unlike you, I will not toss the emotional derisive personal attack back to you. Instead, I have saved all our conversation and post it on my blog. theslittyeye.wordpress.com Let’s let others to judge who is making sense here, or maybe in the future when you calm down from your emotional blockage, your rationality could be enlightened by reading our conversation again.
Prof: Sorry, I do not have any emotional blockage. You just want to use your so called logical thinking to justify your right over others .Actually you should not have posted our personal discussion up on to your own blog. Anyway, it does not matter.Again, this posting of our discussion shows that you have no concept of what is basic human right.
Excuse us for our broken English and especially my verbose arguments. Aside from that, this pretty much tells you what the level of cognitive bias is like for a strong liberal in Hong Kong.
Finally I decided to screen out all the buzz that is going on in the everyday news and spend a few days to focus on the good old topic about history. Recalling that a few weeks ago I was able to have a thorough discussion with an intelligent person from Tajikistan, who is very much aware of Persian history and especially pre-Islamic Persian history (which I like very much as well). However, I was shocked how little she knew about the history of Central Asia before large-scale of islamization of the Turkics and Persians in medieval age, especially regarding the role of China in this dynamic region. Therefore I thought it’s better to write an article on the history of China’s role in Central Asia, which is largely omitted not only by the West, Turks and Persians, but majority Chinese as well (barely mentioned in history textbook).
China appeared as a strong political and military power in central Asia first from the expansion of early Han dynasty (around 100BC), when Emperor Wu of Han defeated the Xiongnu nomads (allegedly the origin of Huns in Europe 400 hundred years later), stationed regular army base in Quli (渠犁, around modern Korla, Xinjiang) and opened the silk road. Chinese political hegemony in Central Asia (Western Region 西域 in Chinese) has thus been established with the projection of Chinese military force in the region. Han’s control over eastern Central Asia marked the beginning of silk road and opening of China-West exchange, but it was during Tang dynasty (618-907AD) that China had affirmed and expanded its firm and effective control over the whole Central Asia region. Tang’s presence in Central Asia (effectively controlled central Asia from 658AD to circa 800AD) is going to be the main issue to be discussed in this article (like it or not, it’s history).
This is going to be a loooong article, I will break the whole article into a tetralogy consisting of four episodes: 1. The outreach of the empire, focusing mainly on the graduation military and territory expansion of Tang in the Central Asia; 2. the hegemony of the empire, focusing mainly on the political, military, cultural and social structures under the Tang’s central Asia; 3. the maneuver of the empire, targeting the interactions between Tang and other major players in the Central Asian region, notably Sassanid Persia and later Abbasid Caliphate Arabs; 4. The demise of the empire, consisting of a thorough explanation of the causes and factors behind the rapid shrink of Tang’s power and control over the Central Asia.
Tang’s campaign to dismantle the immediate North and Western border threat and secure the safety of Hexi Corridor
To speak of Tang’s rise in the Central Asia, it is necessary to mention Emperor Taizong of Tang (Reign 626-649AD), who first helped his father to unify the whole China proper after the short-lived Sui dynasty in 618AD. Prior to Taizong took over the reign in an almost bloodless coup d’état in 626AD, China proper was in very weak in the recovery session from years of internal warfare and natural disasters, the emerging Turkic tribes (突厥) from the Mongolian steppe were one of the biggest threat for the safety of Chinese Northern and Western borders at the same (Changan, the then-capital was directly exposed and vulnerable to the threat from Northern nomads for enormous times in the history due to its geographical proximity to the Northwestern steppes). After suffering years of the barbaric raiding and looting in its Northern and Western borders from those tribesmen riders, in 629AD Taizong ordered General Li Jing (李靖) to eradicate the Eastern Turkic confederation (split out of Göktürks from Turkic internecine wars in 583AD). After the decisive victory of Yinshan Battle (陰山之戰) in 630AD Tang successfully destroyed the Eastern Turkics and swept them away from modern central Inner Mongolia all the way to the Gobi desert in the west. After defeating the fearful Eastern Turkic steppe riders with sharp military prowess, Tang received vast number of submissions from various nomad groups that were used to be controlled by the Eastern Turkic Khaganate from Yinshan mountains to the Gobi desert. Taizong was the crowned with the title of “Celestial Khagan” (天可汗) from all the Northern steppe nomadic tribes. This title was hereditary and lasted until Emperor Daizong of Tang (Reign 762-779AD), even after the destructive Anshi Rebellion (安史之亂) in 755AD that force Tang to give up the control of Central Asia and initiated the demise of the magnificent Tang Empire (though the final collapse of Tang took place in 907AD).
After initial victory with the Eastern Turkics, Tang gradually took control of the vast land of steppes east of the Gobi desert by crushing each foreign threats one by one: crushing Tuyuhun (吐谷渾) in modern eastern Qinghai steppe in 634AD under the General Li Jing; annexing Gaochang Kingdom (高昌) in modern eastern Xinjiang Turpan valley in 640AD under the General Hou Junji; defeating Tufan invasion in Songzhou (松州之戰) in modern Northern Sichuan in 638AD by General Niu Jinda (牛進達), which consequently initiated the significant marriage of state between Princess Wencheng and Tibetan king of Songtsän Gampo in 641AD that kept friendly relations with the Tibetan kingdom for nearly 30 years (during which Tufan recognized the superiority of Tang and offered tributes annually).
By 641AD, Tang had effectively cleared all potential threats from Northern Mongolian steppe to western Qingzang plateau, securing the firm control of Hexi corridor (modern Gansu), the pivotal path connecting China and the West. The eastern part of the silk road was therefore completely under the protection from any sabotage and harassment (No more attacks from the Eastern Turkics in the north and the east, Tuyuhun and Tufan in the southwest, and Gaochang in the northwest). However, Tang’s appetite was way bigger than holding the vast land east of the Gobi desert. Taizong’s ambition was to re-gain the control of the whole Western Region that Han dynasty once possessed 300 years ago (Han’s on and off control over Western Region lasted from 1st century BC to 4th century AD). In order to start the military campaign further Westward across the Gobi desert, Taizong established the first Chinese outpost in Jiaohe (交河, west of modern Turpan) in the annexed former Gaochang kingdom: Protectorate General to Pacify the West (安西都護府) in 640AD. This marked the first major and systematic military projection across the Gobi desert, stretching westwards all the way to the Central Asia plain.
Tang’s campaign to regain Han’s Western Region
Around that time, the vast land of Certain Asia (磧西 in Tang Chinese) west of Gobi desert consists of various Turkic and Iranic steppe nomadic groups, most of which were subordinating to the Western Turkic Khaganate that and move westwards from the split of Göktürks. Western Turkic Khaganate controlled this vast plain in the middle of the old continent and constantly seeking opportunities to expand their territories. Since they split out of Inner Asia they were gaining stronger by quickly absorbing the power of other central Asian nomadic tribes. Their tudun reached as far as Eastern Slavic tribes and Volga Bulgars in the northwest; their riders crushed Bactria of Sassanid Empire; they had even allied with the Byzantine Empire to invade South Caucasus. Of course it was just a matter of time for the two expanding military power clashed when Chinese riders and infantry crossed over the harsh Gobi Desert. In 642AD, the first direct military between the Turkic and the Chinese broke out in Yizhou (伊州, modern Kumul, Xinjiang), the westernmost territory of Tang after its annexation of former-Gaochang kingdom two years ago. The military conflict was inevitable as both sides were planning to move further at the time (Tang expected to stretch its control further westwards to regain the Han’s Western Region that lays as far as Tianshan mountains, whereas Turkics were focusing on their military campaign on Tochari, modern Tarim Basin, just far from Tang’s westernmost border). The Turkic ambush was however quickly defeated by Tang general Guo Xiaoke (郭孝恪). This soon started Tang’s series of successful military campaign over several oasis states along the silk road south of Tianshan: two years later, 644AD, Karashahr kingdom (焉耆, next to the former Gaochang kingdom in modern central-south Xinjiang) was captured also by general Guo Xiaoke when Karashahr became submissive to Western Turkic Khaganate for protection. However, Karashahr soon after rebelled again against Tang. Finally in 648AD General Guo Xiaoke and Tang’s incorporated Turkic general Ashinasher (阿史那社爾, from submissive Eastern Turkic confederation) defeated again the rebelling Karashahr and its western neighbor Kucha (龜茲, modern Aksu, Xinjiang). The successful campaign over Karashahr and Kucha effectively deterred further western oasis Tocharian states, namely Khotan (于闐), Yarkand (莎車), and Kashgar (疏勒), from defying Tang’s dominion and superiority. Tang subsequently moved its Protectorate General to Pacify the West further to Kucha in 648AD. Western Turkic Khaganate was gradually expelled from Tochari, along with the establishment of Chinese outposts and fortresses in all controlled oasis states South of Tianshan, with the westernmost outpost in the city of Suyab (碎葉, west of modern Tomok, Kyrgyzstan). Tang’s effective control in the south of Tianshan had therefore largely been solidly created and reinforced in the following 100 years.
While the military campaign in south of Tianshan was largely effective and successful, Tang’s actions in north of Tianshan had also been quite fruitful. While Tang’s army was busy penetrating the Gobi desert in the west, Xueyantuo (薛延陀), a tribal confederation that was rapidly getting stronger after Tang’s crush on Eastern Turkics in Mongolian steppe and Alta mountains north of Gobi desert, started to defy Tang’s authority and harass Tang’s established new Eastern Turkic vassal state frequently. The battle between Tang and Xueyantuo erupted in 641AD with Tang’s decisive victory by General Li Shiji (李世勣) and again in 646AD when Taizhong was shifting the military force nearby for a Korean campaign. But Xueyantuo underestimated Tang’s military power (with the help of Uighur from the north) and got annihilated as a punishment for its betrayal under the command of General Li Daozong (李道宗). The split Uighur tribes (with their bey granted with Chinese military prefect) soon join Tang’s massive tribute system. From then on Tang became the effective suzerain all over the Mongolian steppe and managed to exert its supreme power over the vast area north of Gobi desert. Intimidated by Tang’s invincible military power, the then great General of Western Turkic Khagnate Ishbara Qaghan (阿史那賀魯, he later betrayed Tang after Taizong’s death and re-unified Western Turkic Khaganate as the last Khagan), fled from the internal split and surrendered voluntarily to Tang for protection in 646AD. Taizong gladly accepted his submission and ordered him to assist Tang’s campaign again Kucha at the time. Consequently Tang established Tingzhou (庭州) administration to exert effective control over the large Western Region north of Tainshan mountains, covering most of modern North Xinjiang area (Tianshan in the south, Altai mountain in the north, Xizhou in the east, Zunghar gate in the west).
By 648AD, Taizong was not only proclaimed but literally the heaven Khagan for all the Göktürks and other steppe riders in the Western Region. All steppe riders in the region started to be absorbed into Tang’s army for its frequent military campaigns all over the place. Overall, Tang’s power has overwhelmed the whole Han’s Western Region and even reached further to Pamir Mountains (葱嶺).
Tang’s power trajectory over Central Asia
Unfortunately, Taizong’s sudden death at the ago of 50 in 649AD has created a massive turbulence all over China and Chinese tributary states. However, it was only Western Turkic Khagnate who publicly rebelled against Tang’s rule and attacked Tingzhou in 651AD (Ishbara Qaghan had defied Tang’s rule and managed to reunify Western Turkic Khagnate). Emperor Gaozong of Tang, didn’t hesitate to wage a further westward military campaign against the Western Turkic rebels in 651AD, 655AD, and 657AD, and finally in 658AD, Tang army was able completely smashed the whote Turkic Khagnate and captured the last Khagan Ishbara Qaghan near modern Tashkent, Uzbekistan and sent back to Chang’an (長安, the then-capital of Tang) as a captive under the command of General Su Dingfang (蘇定方). By 658AD, Tang has completely overrun the whole territory of former-Western Turkic Khagnate in the whole central Asia. Sporadic rebellion from Tiele tribes and Kashgar were soon repressed by General Su Dingfang again in 659AD.
By 659AD Tang replaced the Göktürks and started to rule over the whole central Asia and Inner Asia, making the latter steppe riders to carry Chinese titles to fight along with the Tang army in the whole central Asian plain. Turkics had completely under the submission of Tang’s emperor.In 659 the Gaozong claimed to rule the entire Silk Road as far as Persia in the west. Tang soon upgraded the Protectorate General to Pacify the West to the Grand Protectorate General to Pacify the West and reinforced military presence and administrative control over all the oasis cities in Xinjiang and military outposts in central Asia, setting up the a well-established military system that is based on the Four Garrisons of Anxi (安西四鎮) in Kucha, Khotan, Yarkand, Kashgar, and Suyab (in the early stage up to 719AD when Suyab was handled over to Turgesh for their loyalty to Tang and later retaken back in Chinese in 738AD along with the famous Talas). In 660AD, all Turkic tribes west of Pamir Mountains and east of Persia submitted to Tang, who further established the direct 16 minor military outpost and administrative systems in central Asia for the first time. The Grand Protectorate General to Pacify the West at that time started to gain control of the present day Xinjiang, five central Asian states, and part of Afghanistan (Tang Imperial Court established the Protectorate General to Pacify Persia in 661AD in order to help the last king of Sassanid Persia Peroz III to expel Arab invasion at the time, though not practically enforced due to the absence of military project in Persia; Tang created a new major outpost system in Tingzhou to highlight the administration north of Tianshan mountains in 702AD). Overall, Tang’s hegemony in central Asia was created based on a series of successful military campaign. The ongoing one and half century’s management in Central Asia had been gradually reinforced over the time with enormous minor military campaigns, notably constant military conflicts with the Tufan from Tibet from 670AD to 693AD.
Since then, Tang’s hegemony gradually reached its peak in 755AD (4 years even after the Battle of Talas with the Arabs) and rapidly contracted and diminished after Anshi Rebellion in 755AD that stirred a huge internal chaos in China. Next episode I would be focusing on the analysis of why Tang could establish the hegemony among all central Asian nomadic riders as well as the cultural, administrative, and economic structure of the then-Central Asia under Tang’s hegemony.
We just can not get enough of it. After talking days and days about whoremonger DSK, starving Marvin, crappy train collision, and lunatic shooting rampage, I am having a directed attention fatigue. Let’s talk about something else.
What about a Kosovo pljeskavica? I am not sure if the Albanians eat giant grilled burgers, but definitely the Serbs love it.
Well, let’s hypothesize that’s the reason why Serbs beef with the Albanians in Kosovo. Pljeskavicaloving Serbs all of sudden were told they could not go to Kosovo to enjoy their favor pljeskavica anymore, for Kosovo used to produce the best quality among all Serbia since they lost Slovenia, Macedonia (oops, THE Macedonia), Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. It was of course, the Albanian’s deliberate plan. After pretending to eat vegetables for years to please the NATO veggie-lovers of carrot sticks and broccoli bullets, Kosovo was finally at the hand of Albanians, for they could once for all finally smash the disgusting pljeskavica and toss them away to the deepest valley of the Šar Mountains. It’s nothing personal, Albanians just thought pljeskavica is an awful invention in the first place.
Of course Serbs were not happy about it. But after tasting NATO’s veggie arms for some years, they knew the herbivores are in fact raging bulls with big balls. So Serbia backed off, tearfully waving bye-bye to the best pljeskavica that would only stays in their memories (and pictures in the Serbian gourmet museum) forever. It was harsh for the Serbs. Can you imagine Americans without cheese burger, Dutch without cheese, and English without fish and chips? The scar never heals. However, there is still a tiny little part up in the Northern Kosovo where people are openly defying the anti-pljeskavica outcry. They thought if the rest of Kosovo doesn’t want to make pljeskavica they will make pljeskavica and sell it to all the pljeskavica loving Serbs and make big bucks! So they took up their Kalashnikov and fought for their rights to make the pljeskavica and transport them to Serbia. Meantime, Albanians were extremely upset by those little dissidents up in the North, so they turned to the NATOs, “Hey divine NATOs, those carnivore Serbs are making that disgusting big meat dish again, by killing animals and eat them!” It is NATOs’ sacred obligation to defend for the animals’right. Of course NATOs responded immediately in their cozy Humvee and intimidated all the barbaric pljeskavica-eater up in the North and made them all stay nicely and firmly at home. Then Albanians seized the opportunity behind the NATOs and handsomely took over the last pljeskavica-making restaurant in all of the Kosovo. There goes the hope to get rich for those remaining Serbs, but they swore they would one day get their pljeskavica back…
There ends the story. Oh, I forgot to mention? It turned out Albanians also happen to be digging the meat-dish pljeskavica very much after all (after I secretly googled on “Albanian pljeskavica“). So they have been planning to take over Kosovo to get the best pljeskavica for ages. As long as the NATOs gets a bit absent minded, they are going to make the best pljeskavica again and sell it to the double headed eagle kingdom of Albania for even bigger bucks. Everyone has the master plan, but Serbs were served first by the vegetarians for their obvious carnivorousness. The Albanians seem to be getting the best pljeskavica after all, or is it? Then how come their polices often got ambushed in the Northern border, every time when NATOs went to take a leak?
Best solution, let’s all switch to veggies, screw the barbaric meat eating habits.
Not sure about who did the bombing in Olso yesterday (he suspected to be in charge of that as well), but it has been confirmed that the massacre in youth camp was done by this dude, Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing Christian fundamentalist (who expressed his right-wing thoughts from his facebook and comments on various blogs but nowhere near a Christian fundamentalist).
By the time I am writing this article the death toll has already risen up to 92 The death toll has risen up to 93 been confirmed to be 76, the highest death toll in a single day after WWII in Norway, not to mention that out of these 91 93 innocent lives most of them were poor young fellas in that camp.
What a tragedy! If confirmed that indeed this dude was behind all these savage barbarism, then he is no different than those Jihadists and violent leftist protesters either.
I usually consider myself a logicist, a pragmatist, and a eugenicist. I do share a lot of concern with the conservative rightist about Islam, illegal immigration, and failed attempt of multi-culturalism. However, there are always a lot of low-IQ and ignorant epsilon proles, who oversimplify the reality to mere love and hate, mostly hate, appearing to be in the same block with the conservative right-wing . I am of course talking about those true racists, white nationalists, and jingoists. At the same time, though disagreeing with most of their arguments, I do recognize few of the good points made by the liberal and leftists, such as the idea of liberty and human rights, though they have been largely distorted by modern populists and abused by many who don’t deserve such nobility. But of course, there are way more widespread violent reactions to dissidence from the extreme leftist/liberals than extreme conservative rightists (see the graph).
I don’t think there’s much difference among extreme conservative rightists, violent liberal leftists, and those uncivilized barbaric who calls for jihad. They all tend to easily get influenced by simple opinions and start to build stark emotional attachment upon it. To them those philosophies, ideologies are simply RELIGION to them. After unconditionally and wholeheartedly taking those religious doctrines they see themselves as the ultimate defenders. So in the end of day they would not mind pouring every single profane word they know on you and viciously and ferociously attack you verbally and physically with full emotion as if they were fighting a holy war against infidels, if you somehow unfortunately project a different opinion or a simple unacceptable fact that they couldn’t handle rationally. A perfect example is the inexorably slandering comments by this fellow who thinks I am a disgusting chink who likes picking up others. Those breeds turn to assume that every other people are the same like them, highly emotional, religiously devout to a rigid ideology , and resenting dissidence wholeheartedly.
However, having said that, conservative rightism do have the tendency to appeal more messed-up sociopath who misinterpret the ideology and dress himself as a medieval crusader to justify his anti-social behaviors. Such is the case with this horrible tragedy in Norway.
So he is not happy with the labor party youth camp preaching around liberalism and leftism to those kids. Then why not start exerting your own influence? I doubt if he ever got the intelligence to start such work anyway If he was largely driven by his anti-Islam sentiments, why didn’t he choose Mosques or Muslim community for his targets rather than Norwegian kids in a central-left political party camp? What on earth happened to him that made him commit such horrible terrorism is still a myth, given from all the internet traces (see comments below). The bottom line is: there’s no any reasonable justification for such mass killing anywhere. The only explanation I could speculate is that this dude somehow unleashed his antisocial darkness that blended with too much blindness and inhumanity. And only a devoted religious fundamentalists or a total sociopath could condone such disgrace (reminds me the lunatic who conducted the mass shooting in Tucson).
Let’s wait for a thorough investigation of who he is and why he was doing so in a few days.
May those innocent souls in this Norwegian tragedy rest in peace.