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To know China was to offend it

To know me is to love me, means only as we begin to know something — or someone — can we truly begin to love it, Huff Post explained.

2017.8.11 Central Park: a turtle 

To know China was to offend it is from Jon Rothschild who translated Alain Peyrefitte’s 1989 book, L’empire Immobile, intoThe Immobile Empire, in 1992. Peyrefitte (1925-99) was a French scholar and politician. This is book is about Lord George Macartney’s trip to China in 1793. It’s nothing but excellent.

This saying or translation came when Macartney paid compliment to the Chengde Mountain Resort by saying “worthy of the genius of the great Kangxi.”

Now, Heshen who had been accompanying him, looked surprised, asking just did an English know this?

Oh well, it seemed they themselves didn’t want to learn, they expected others did the same. But unfortunately, the world moved on.

Another telling story: when Macartney invited Fukang’an (福康安 1753-96)to review his guards’ exercise, “with the latest European improvements.”

Fukang’an declined, “… that nothing of that kind could be a novelty to me.”

Macartney took that as ‘coldness tinged with unreasonable vanity.’ He “doubts whether he ever saw a firelock in his life; at least, I am sure I have never seen anything above a matchlock among all the troops in China.”

Unfortunately again, this was true in the Opium War, some half a century down the road.

Published inTrade War

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