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I wouldn't agree with your description on Qin history.|
First of all, Qin Shihuang never take the word of "unification", instead, he used the word of "霸业" (ba yie). I don't know how to translate it into English, but it is not unification, not exactly imperialism. The word of unification was used by historians after Qin Shihuang to describ such a history that Qing Shihuang actually unified those states by force so that the people in those states got ride of the sufering of war and starvation.
I can't agree "was actually met with resistance and resulted in the "unification" of peoples who were not ethnically or culturally Chinese" either.
What make you believe they were not culturely Chinese? Way before Qin dynasty, all those states used the same written language. Have you heard of Oracle bones? Confucius, Mencius travelling around those states to setup Confucius phylosophy system, the other phylosophers were doing the same thing that the boundary of the states were not the boudary of culture at all. Please refer to thestud's posts, some good descriptions on China language before Qin dynasty.
Why they were not ethnically Chinese? Can you name any one of the states were not ethnic Chinese?
Your analogy on Qin to American killed natives, and Hiltler invaded Poland etc are technically incorrect. First of all, Qin didn't do mass killing, didn't eliminate other cultures. Actually there were no such a thing of race, better race, worse race in Qin Shihuang's and the people's mind. It was not the history such as English and French believe they are better race so they should kill and slave other race, or such as Hiltler believed German is something and all others are not, so they should kill and slave others.
In many aspects, Qin Shihuang saved many people's life from hundred years of wars between those states, speeded up the spread of civilization, speeded up economy development. Also Qin Shihuang did many wrong things but those are not what you mentioned.
In many cases, knowing half of the knowledge is more dengerous than knowing nothing. Unification is the word used in China history to describ the historian events that the China empire was on cycles from strong to weak then strong again, and from a unified empire to separated few states, and then became a unified empire again. It is nothing similar to the western imperialism/colony history.