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huaqiao Post time: 2019-5-23 16:49
That is exactly what I had in mind. However, I see another aspect of the story. Song J ...
I don't want to take a risk because I am going to mention Mao again in this edited post, so I'll just upload it as a new post.
In the case of the character Song Jiang as depicted in the classic "Water Margin" which was a novel based on historical facts, let me give you my two cents -- personally I don't subscribe to the theory that it should take vanquishing Fang La and the rest of the southern rebels (in Zhejiang and Jiangsu today) to demonstrate his loyalty to the nation.
My reasoning is based on the fact that the Jing cavalry was able to march into the capital in 1127 A.D. and seize both Song Hui Zhong and Qing Zhong and their entire palatial entourage as hostages back to their homeland in today's northeast China, thereby spelling the end of the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 A.D.)
These dates pop up right out of my memory because they were vital turning points in our nation's history -- 960 A.D. being the date when China was officially re-unified under Emperor Zhao Kwan-ying after nearly two centuries of disunity, and 1127 A.D. was the date when the capital moved to the south to become the Southern Song Dynasty. Once the withdrawal began that's a sign the nation's spirit had been weakened irreparably, and it set the stage for the Mongolian conquest of China in 1279 A.D. The it took 89 years before they threw the Mongols out in 1368 A.D.
If Song Jiang were really a far-sighted man with commensurate ability to unite men to join his cause, he would have saved the country like Mao did.
Alas, he only had the vista of a small official awaiting the emperor's pacification efforts to 'bring glory to his father." In the process he wasted the talents of so many capable men gathered under one roof at Liang Shan Po. To this day I am wondering what would have happened if he had the foresight and capability of Mao Zedong.
Would the Mongols still be able to enter China as they did if Song Jiang had been able to organize men around him to start a self-strengthening movement?
Remember that the Northern Song Dynasty was the most innovative time in our history -- three of the four great inventions (except paper making) were invented in that era. The Mongols used the cannons invented by Song craftsmen to conquer much of Western Europe and all of Russia, and those guns were invented in 12th-century China during the Northern Song dynasty.
I was lucky enough to see one of those cannons in a Western museum. It wasn't as big as the Portuguese guns four centuries later but those were the first metallic cannons ever used in the history of human warfare, the use of which changed the course of modern human history because they could destroy thick-walled castles and made small city states obsolete, thus paving the way for the eventual establishment of nation states in 1648 at the Treaty of Westphalia after the Thirty-Years War in Europe (1618-1648).
Remember that Germany was nothing more than an amalgamation of 300 city states formed into a union called the "Confederation of the Rhine" which was the preceding political polity that eventually became Germany as we know it today.
The gunpowder invented by the artisans of Northern Song enabled the Mongols to do what they did in nearly conquering the known world at that time -- including both Russia and China and much of Europe including Poland and Hungary -- until Genghis Khan died and by their tradition they had to withdraw and attend his funeral back in Mongolia.
The oddity of history is that China was conquered by a non-Han people for the first time in the second millennium when she was at the height of her innovative power and material civilization. She was doomed by the lack of a fighting spirit.
The crucial point was that the whole society had lost the will to resist the barbarian north because they were too absorbed in their pursuit of material prosperity, and the society at large became so corrupt that someone just needed to kick in the door and the whole rotten edifice would crumble, much like the situation some nations are in today.