The Han-ness of Ming China

Authored by: Leo K. Shin

The Ming World

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138190986
eBook ISBN: 9780429318719
Adobe ISBN:


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In a proclamation issued just shortly before the launch of a crucial northern expedition, Zhu Yuanzhang (1328–98), the future founder of the Ming dynasty, sought to assure the already-distraught population in the North China plain that he was a reluctant warrior, a commoner-turned-rebel whose goals were simply to “expel the hu and the lu” and to “avenge the humiliation that had been thrust upon the Central Dominion [Zhongguo].” According to Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisors, it was the Mandate of Heaven that the subjects of the Central Dominion (Zhongguo zhi min) be ruled not by the yi and the di but by the people of the Central Dominion (Zhongguo zhi ren). Mindful that there were still a large number of Mongols, Semu (that is, Western and Central Asians), and people “not of the Hua-Xia stock” active in the North China plain, the soon-to-be emperor promised that those who were willing to become subjects or serve as ministers of the new dynasty would be treated as if they were “people of Zhong-Xia.” 2

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