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Re: "The Greeks built cities long before the Xia dynasty of China - and many disappeared under volcano"
Some jealous, unsubstantiated claim from the resident racist China-hater seneca as if there were no Chinese cities during the Age of Five Rulers (2700-2200 BC)???
(see "Urbanization -- a historic view" by TheStud http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/forumpost.shtml?toppid=138982 )
Let us talk about some FACTS here.
The most striking fact of China's history is that it has gone on for so long -- for about two and a half thousand years there has been a Chinese nation using a Chinese language. Her government as a single and unified unit has long been taken to be normal despite minor, brief intervals of division.
China has had a sustained and sustaining experience of civilization rivaled in duration only by that of ancient Egypt. This is the key to Chinese historic identity, it is as much cultural as political -- in China, our culture made unified government early and continuing for thousands of years.
The striking continuity and independence of our civilization can be attributed to China's inaccessibility to external disturbances, and more importantly, to our culture's extremely powerful capacity to assimilate and tame alien influences. The latter proved to be crucially important when those alien disturbances were close to home. The Chinese empire was built and maintained by the cultural superiority of the dominant Han nation, and it matters less who the emperor of the day was because they all had to be CHINESE in order to rule this immense country. The mongols were militarily superior during the Yuan dynasty, and therefore they were the ruling class, but through culturally reverse conquering, they, too, became Chinese. In another word, the emperors came and went, but the Chinese identity stayed and flourished.
In my view, the Koreans, Japanese and vietnamese had been sinicized many hundreds of years ago, and our Han culture has been imbedded in their genes. Their very recent estrangement from the Middle Kingdom can be attributed to the temporary, brief weakness of our country, and to the colonial and neocolonial influences of the West. Thus, their idiotic obsession with dyeing hair blonde. In time we are sure they will return to the fold of the Confucian sphere of influences.