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1421, The Year China Discovered America
Doan Du
post Feb 25 2004, 10:31 AM
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QUOTE (DaMo @ Feb 24 2004, 05:08 PM)
QUOTE (Doan Du @ Feb 23 2004, 02:20 PM)
We know he frequented only Islamic Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Islam influenced southwest African coast.

Hogwash. He also visited Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms of Calicut, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Hindu Majapahit kingdom of Java. As for the Islamic and Islam-influenced places he did visit, it could not be helped since Islam had been spreading explosively for nearly 700 years by then, and since trading routes and ports in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Africa were frequented and even sometimes controlled by Arab traders at the time. It was not a matter of choice, and he wasn't discriminating either for or against Islamic stop-overs and destinations. It is often speculated, for that matter, that the fact that he was Muslim may have even played a part in the Chinese government's decision to have him lead the voyages, since many of his destinations would have been dominated by Arabs and Muslims. I see no proof in favor of him placing Islamist interests above Chinese interests.

QUOTE (Doan Du @ Feb 23 2004, 02:20 PM)
Immediately after his voyages, Chinese Moslems started their pilgrimage to Mecca.  There were no economic exploration and no diplomatic ties established with other countries by China after his trips.

Zheng He brought back many ambassadors to China, and he did what he was ordered to do, which is making Chinese interests and glory known to the rest of the world. The severing of most Chinese ties with the outside world was the decision of the conservative elements in the Chinese administration, not his. The natural fallout of the Ming expeditions would be the expanded knowledge of travel routes into the rest of Asia for everyone including Hajjis. This evidence is purely circumstantial.

QUOTE (Doan Du @ Feb 23 2004, 02:20 PM)
Would you be insulted if there is a suggestion that Admiral Zheng He did that strictly so the Chinese Moslems can go to Mecca or at least to islamic centers like Malaka?  And that other Moslems could come to China to live and work?

There was already a significant number of Muslims living and working in China. Muslims in China had been protected since the very beginning of the Ming Dynasty, and even before, during the Yuan Dynasty. By the end of the Yuan Dynasty, the Hui were the largest minority in CHina. Nothing about his acts of dedication to the Celestial Spouse indicates any disingenuity in his intentions, or that he did it because of fears that Muslims would suffer if he didn't. You are pulling all these accusations out of thin air, or at best, from circumstantial evidence.

By the very phrasing of your question, it appears that your mission on this thread is to swing your cane around as much as possible in the hope that you will hit someone's nose. Would I be insulted? The only thing that insults me is when trolls like you mistake me for a person who is so small-minded and petty as to base his truth system not on logic and evidence but on whether or not an idea is personally insulting.

You have provided false assertions to us twice, and now you ask if these "suggestions", for which you have provided absolutely no proof beyond your own agenda, are insulting. You are trying to make Zheng He look as disingenuous, treacherous and un-Chinese as possible, as though he led the Treasure Fleet voyages as a Uighur mujahid and not a loyal Hui servant and subject of the Chinese empire, based on circumstantial evidence or no evidence. Countering your stubborn "by any means necessary" attempts at detracting from Zheng's loyalty to and roots in China and the crediting of Treasure Fleet voyages to the greatness of the Ming empire is fast becoming a waste of my time.

Easy, Damo. No need to get ticked off over a discussion.

It is a fact that Admiral Zheng He recruited mostly Moslem pilots and navigators in China for the trips, those who had already known the way to the West since they were part of the Arab trade network spreading from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. The Arabs were purveyors of Chinese porcelain, silk and most importantly spices-nutmegs, cinnamon and pepper- to the Europeans and were growing rich rapidly. They had an economic interest to protect. It is very likely that they tried to keep the sources secret, preventing both Chinese suppliers and European consumers from meeting up.

With regards to blaming conservative elements within the Chinese Court at the time for the close door policy, I would have to dispute that as well. There are a lot of evidences that the Emperor was running out of money. The construction cost of Yang jing, the rebellion in Annam, the reemerging threat of the Mongols and other pursuits all contributed to the draining of the Imperial coffer. Something just gotta give and long term investments and big-ticket items like the Admiral's navy naturally had to be on the chopping block.

Will you stop the ranting? No one is judging you. I asked those questions because they at least will give everyone wanting to participate the parameters for discussion, rather than the free floating trivia-thought about the human condition and its "culture" that I often read in these types of threads.

The truth is the hardest thing to discover since it requires the cooperation of so many people who all know what it is and it seems the hardest part is believing what is right in front of one's face.

This post has been edited by Doan Du: Feb 25 2004, 06:25 PM
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DaMo
post Feb 28 2004, 05:25 PM
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QUOTE (Doan Du @ Feb 25 2004, 10:31 AM)
It is a fact that Admiral Zheng He recruited mostly Moslem pilots and navigators in China for the trips, those who had already known the way to the West since they were part of the Arab trade network spreading from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.  The Arabs were purveyors of Chinese porcelain, silk and most importantly spices-nutmegs, cinnamon and pepper- to the Europeans and were growing rich rapidly.  They had an economic interest to protect.  It is very likely that they tried to keep the sources secret, preventing both Chinese suppliers and European consumers from meeting up.

Muslims are not all Arabs. And don't forget that there were also non-Muslim Chinese admirals and officers leading the fleet. China made direct contact with many other nations through the Treasure Fleet. Emissaries and even heads of state were brought to China. There is nothing to suggest that the fleet was holding back from exploration in any way. All the opposition to further exploration came from the partisan officials back in the Imperial capital, not the admiralty. You are painting plain facts of history as circumstantial evidence of some kind of shadowy Arab control over the Treasure Fleet.

QUOTE (Doan Du @ Feb 25 2004, 10:31 AM)
With regards to blaming conservative elements within the Chinese Court at the time for the close door policy, I would have to dispute that as well.  There are a lot of evidences that the Emperor was running out of money.  The construction cost of Yang jing, the rebellion in Annam, the reemerging threat of the Mongols and other pursuits all contributed to the draining of the Imperial coffer. Something just gotta give and long term investments and big-ticket items like the Admiral's navy naturally had to be on the chopping block.

I have no doubt that money played some role in the cancellation of the Treasure Fleet. When you have money to burn, a lot of things can be justified.

But considering how building a trade network around the expeditions (one backed by the might of the Chinese navy, who had already intervened militarily during the expeditions) could have made China wealthier, money should have been a motivation to keep the voyages going. Why didn't the Chinese take advantage of the knowledge they had gained through the expeditions to create new and more accessible markets for Chinese goods? If not through imperially funded expeditions, then at least through the initiative of private traders and entreprenuers?

Do dwindling funds explain why the Ming not only scrapped the voyages, but banned virtually all blue water sailing and even private foreign trade? Or the methodical and near-complete destruction of the records of the Treasure Fleet voyages? I think not.

There were clearly much bigger motivations at work here than simply financial considerations. It is widely accepted that it was mainly the conservative lobby in China who made very concerted and deliberate efforts to end the voyages and wipe out their memory from the pages of history. And since I have not come across any satisfactory answers to the above questions, I have to agree in concluding that this and not dwindling coffers was by far mainly responsible for China's sudden drive towards isolation.
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