6) Ideals and System of Democracy in ancient China.
Let me start this discussion by asking and answering a few direct but very important questions. What is Democracy? It is a form of government existed very briefly in the so called City State of ancient Greece about 2 and half thousand years ago. Because such a State was more or less just a town and had a total population of usually just few thousands people altogether. So when women and slaves were excluded, the rest of men left were not too many. But it was only those few numbers of men who got together to formed the entire legislature, in other words, they ruled the State. Therefore the system was called "Demo Kratos", or "Democracy", meaning 'Peoples' Rule". Actually, it appears that most probably many ancient tribal people would have done the same, because in ancient tribal societies more than often women and slaves had no say and no power at all! Anyway, this type of government is revered by modern politics as fair, just, righteous, equal rights and equal chance, because those few men in charge represented the whole population (of men in charge) or all of the people (that really counts!), hence it is to be acclaimed, venerated and glorified! So, nowadays, everybody is proud to be a part of "Democracy"....
However, we must ask not only what a government is, but also what is a government for? What's the purpose of having a government at all? Is it important that a government's first duty is to try to make sure that people's livelihood is protected, ensured and improved, and the government's own quality and performance is at its best, in order that the nation and society may be harmonious and righteous as well as successful and prosperous, so that people inside and outside the nation may be ardent and proud of it? In fact, what is the ultimate aim of government, e.g.., Is it to ensure the quality of nationhood and people's livelihood? Or is it to achieve the rights for a free for all situation? Because if the priority is on the later (free for all), then the national attention should be directed to the equality for all men and women, as well as the rich and the poor, but if the priority is on the former, then what do you do to achieve quality or improvement? Then there are yet other question, e.g., Is there really equality in nature? Does nature allow or afford exact equality? Will equality or free for all be achievable ever? Or is it just politics and slogans? Or how has it got to the present state of inequality?
So, why not put all the energy on improvement of quality, because an ounce of energy should yield an ounce of results. For instance, why not use the energy and resources to setup a system of exams and give everyone the same equal chance and equal rights to be qualified by exams to be the head and leader of a nation, instead of wasting those equal rights and chance on electoral voting? Voting never includes 100% or every single one in the nation anyway! Is examinations not just and fair, or something everyone can respect and accept? If not, then what are all those exams in colleges and university for? Besides, isn't it better that a national head even members of whole government, should possess the best qualities and facilities as qualified by exams? Or is it better that a highly important national leader, charged with responsibility of life and death, or people's livelihood, be chosen by all kinds of voters who have no experience in running a nation and even have no ideas what quality a leader or President should have in order to run a nation, especially in hours of great needs or impending disasters, such as wars, famines and economic mess. So, if people don't even know what quality to vote, then how can you blame the person elected?
Too many modern democracies have so far proven themselves to be the essential cause for political disputes, power struggles, violent brawls, election cheating, party clash, delay or obstruction to vital national issues and decisions to move forwards, or tribal strong men's grab of power, people's constant complaints, bloodshed, civil wars as well as temporary or permanent splits of nations, and lots, lots more that give not a single day of national peace and harmony in some or most countries! True or false? In the one last century alone, how many peaceful, stable and tradition of governments have been turned into chaos and unrest? China was split with millions of bloodshed, only because of quest for Democracy and still split even today! It had even terminated China's own system of democracy that have proven valued existence through millenniums of years, where every citizens had had the undisputed equal chance and equal rights to participate in written exams to be qualified to serve or to govern the Chinese nation. Written exams were quite unlike voting by by people who have little idea what qualities a candidate must have to vote for, in exam systems questions or whatever qualities under exam may be specifically designed for any levels of knowledge or moral integrity. For instance, in case of science, or arts, exams may be designed for B.Sc., B.A,, M.Sc., or Ph.D., or in case of politics or government, questions may be designed for various responsibilities and qualifications of each Ministry, or even a President, or a prime Minister. Unfortunately such millennium proven Chinese democracy by exams was destroyed by constant demand for Western democracy in the early day of last century! Please be patient with me and read through the entire page before you curse me for what I say!
The following sounds like fairy tale, but it is truly recorded history! The earliest ancient ancestral rulers in China (roughly 3000 BC) was a breed of honest, unselfish and considerate emperors who would abdicate from power in favour of popularly acclaimed men who were known to have good intelligent and moral qualities. These popularly recommended younger men would be taken to the palace to be further observed, and if proven satisfactory, they would be groomed to become future leaders (emperors). That mentality and tradition would leave strong influence on later efforts of forming government when intelligence and morality became the essential qualifications of government servants or imperial leader's assistances. By the time about 600 BC, in the Chau dynasty, already an experimental 3-yearly examination was recorded to select government and military officers, although nature of this early system was different to those later ones (also 3-yearly exams) because it was strictly applied to feudal lords and nobilities only. Then in the year 140 BC emperor Liu Che of Western Han dynasty decreed that a detailed system of written exams be established to build the government using Confucius' philosophy as guidance. Then by the year 606 AD Emperor Sui Yang Di of Sui Dynasty had made the 3-yearly national exams a permanent fixture of historic importance as qualifying criterion in the acquisition of all government servants, but this time the exams allowed all citizens to participate without any discrimination. The system then continued and lasted through the next 1300 years until 1905 despite so many changes in dynasties. Imagine the will power and efforts needed to stage such nation-wide exams, including Local exams, Provincial exams and Palace exams, in a country as big as China and had lasted for so long.
Because this exam system gave all citizens in imperial China equal opportunity and equal rights to enter the exams and become a hands-on qualified member of the government, something every scholar, even everybody in China desired and dreamt to participate! Therefore it fulfilled the true meaning and aspiration of hands-on "People's rule" or real and effective "Democracy" without any discrimination, simply because there was no need and no possibility for discriminations whatsoever! But what enabled the system to last through the millenniums was the fact that on-spot written exams were fair and reliable, which is also why all modern educational systems depend on to measure intelligence and merits. One of the most precious bonus of the system was that it truly produced really better quality of government and its servants. Also because exam candidates were required to express their ideas and aspiration of governing, their written exam papers became records and testimonies of their written promises when they later became various grades of governors or rulers! In short, the system measured not only intelligence but also ideology and morality, and it contained incorruptible elements of aspiration and inspiration in the system itself! It is also the reason why modern educational institutions also depend on exams as a measurement of qualification!....
This Chinese system grew until all government servants, ranging from the highest office of Prime Minister all the way down to every official in little prefectures and villages, were qualified only by exams. Also because there were such a huge numbers of exam candidates wising to join and to find success in life and in society, there was such an abundant supply and reserve of quality exam candidates. Also because of the strict exam rules and proven success, the exams became an undisputed, highly respected, dependable and fully established nation wide system for on and off well over 2000 years! Once it was deployed no government could afford to halt it, because if it was interrupted the quality of government and national order would immediately decline noticeably. At any rate, there were no better ways to recruit quality government servants.. That's why exams are still important today!.
Now you can understand why, even it was ancient China, there were no daily political disputes, inflammatory rhetoric, power struggles, violent brawls, election cheating, party clash, delay or obstruction of vital national issues or decisions. There were no brutal tribal or party strong men trying to grab national power, nor people's constant complaints, violence, street demonstrations, riots, clashes as well as temporary or permanent split of the nation, only peaceful development of social life and intellectual culture, because the system was fundamentally fair, democratic and well respected! Also because the exam system was based on competition of intelligence, it had led, encouraged and directed the entire nation towards development of rationality, wisdom and innovation. As a result, China was once the leading nation of philosophical and ideological culture, as well as of all kinds innovations and inventions of science, philosophy and products necessary for all aspects of life. It's not difficult to imagine that when ancient Chinese intercontinental ships arrived at some remotely underdeveloped tribal places, it would have been highly pointless, uninteresting, even impractical to take advantage of under developed people, as a result, China never attacked or conquered any foreign land, Yet the Chinese territory grew because of foreign invasion, and because the invaders chose to remain in China and became part of the Chinese family.
Of course, that's provided the country was at peace and in peaceful economic development, but even in extraordinary times, such as times of floods, droughts, famines and foreign invasions, etc. ( it's a natural thing for a nation to go through cycles of ups and downs ) still China was in better hands, not only because exam raised government servants were better qualified, they were also more morally orientated.... The historic Chinese exam raised government inspired strong competitions of wisdom and morality, and in turn they inspired the building of a rational and moral society. As the government servants worked hard to provide every important daily advices to the emperor, the emperor was left with little to do, except executing the decisions suggested and agreed by the senior ministers, because the country was already run by only highly qualified, experienced and inspired officials, usually far more knowledgeable than the emperor. Beside, imperial China was full of classical moral rules and traditions, a wise emperor had little reason to act illogically or with random desires. Although an emperor was born with absolute authority, it was absolutely necessary, because without a final authority or decision maker the country would be chaotic! (In ancient societies the life and death decisions were made by the a king or an emperor, and in modern societies those final decisions are left to judges of Supreme Court to make, supported by detailed and comprehensively written and established laws. But still laws are made by law makers, and judges still must judge with a human heart and educated wisdom!)...
Now, since a Chinese emperors who was born in the palace and did not even live in the reality that he was supposed to rule. Then one day he would ascend the throne and be surrounded by highly qualified aids or ministers, by far better informed and equipped than the emperor himself, in fact only the best in the country chosen by strict and extremely competitive exams, the difference in capacity was imaginable compared with a less knowledgeable emperor. What that really boiled down to was that the emperor had only chance to listen to advices and decisions made by others. Actually, in times of peace the emperors were forced to enjoy enduring holidays, with all the best foods, toys, services, security guards and nothing but time and freedom that any one could have. But, he had little else to do! Unfortunately he can't even do that in front of the public as it would be silly and disrespectful, or even disastrous. So the emperor, I mean the Chinese emperor, were reduced to hiding and enjoyed all his privileges in his own huge palace with only his closely trusted eunuchs and be as silly as he liked (still his training did not allow it!). Gradually he became the most luxurious and authoritative prisoner of the palace and no common citizen in the capital city had ever seen him in person. Therefore unlike Western emperors or monarchs who would make speeches or commands and ruled his people in public, the Chinese emperor only hid from people. In time, it became a tradition and he stay put.
If he had wanted to see what his country or his Capital city looked like or if he wanted to enjoy those exciting festivities during New Year or Lantern Festivals he had to dress up and disguise himself as a commoner in the so called "insignificant clothing" ( )and then secretly slipped out of the palace with his own servants... Many colourful tales about certain (Ching dynasty ) Emperor Chin-Long's ( ) secret visits to the south of Yangtze River had been written and passed down as romantic dramas and folklores for entertainment, because imperial presence was an extreme rarity....
I have taken time here to describe the above, because I am showing you that the system in old imperial China was in certain effects similar to the present day democratic nations in Europe with a traditional monarch. Because for too many long centuries China was already in the hands of fully exam qualified democratic government established by a system of strict academic exams with over 2000 years of experience and tradition, and the Chinese emperor was just a figure head, locked up in his place. As a result, the Chinese emperor, unlike European monarchs in earlier centuries, never spoke in public, nor made commands in public, nor appeared in public to rule. His rule was done in the palace and under consultation with his ministers. Since the exam system was applied to the entire nation with equal rights and equal opportunity to sit for exams, and the government was entirely made of exam qualified members only, the Chinese system was intrinsically democratic in nature (Peoples Rule). Therefore, it was in effect a truly democratic government with a figure head emperor, because the emperor never appear in public to rule. Hence the system resembled those modern European democratic nations with a figure head monarch. However, the Chinese system had a huge and invaluable bonuses, because the entire government was selected from highly competitive academic exams, which retained candidates' records and testimonials of political conscience as well as ideal, aspirations and personal promises in exam papers, which could have much added effect on the man's official performance. In other words, exam qualifications are infinitely better than without exams!
But this so called "Exam-Raised" true democracy was thoroughly destroyed by two reasons. Firstly, at the time of its demise China was undergoing through a era totally poisoned by opium invasion, drugs, chaos, foreign invasion and finally civil wars and revolution, at the time (end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century) that had forced the last imperial government to call it a day! Secondly, the great and popular calls for freedom at the time (French revolution), as well as the overwhelming broadcast an glorification of Democracy from the western world had reached the sicken China towards the end of 19th century! Thanks to Western style of democracy, the Chinese system seems to have been permanently destroyed beyond repair because it had taken thousands of years to gradually evolve such a complex exam system which required enormous work and the effort of an entire nation to prepare and achieve, but now seems impossible to resurrect. I can only remind readers of its 2 millennium existence to show that even in ancient civilization humans have thought of "People's Rule" and how they had faithfully executed it! ... But let us leave the past and return to present reality and make a timely impartial observation as well as conclusion! .
Today we have to open our eyes and make thanks to modern Western democracy. We see presently those powerful political parties in some of the most democratic nations are practically unable to reach agreement. Such government are being driven by democratic disputes to resolve the un-resolvable national and international debts. Powerful political parties, not people, take turns to rule or ruin their country with their own will and desire, not people's, by dictating other nations with demands for democratic changes, or starting wars to make things even more disruptive to democratic approach, leaving debts of blood, hatred and economic ills to the next political party, which then go on to leave its own blood and money debts behind. Modern people slave to support arguments, wars and insurmountable national debts under the slogan of democracy. Millions of peoples under democratic rule are out of jobs. For the last 10 years Iraq and Afghanistan have been invaded by military and political forces to install Western style democracy under the highly democratic dictate of military powers. Meanwhile, democratically inexperience people in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and other Middle Eastern nations are rising amidst bloodshed to initiate more democracy without experiencing how it's like, while planes are dropping bombs blindly from high up in the air to install democracy and of course to ensure human rights while flesh, blood and broken building all mingled in the process.
It is only reservedly said that almost every month, if not every week, somewhere in the world of democratic nations there are reports of failures and corruptions in democratic elections. It seems every election is a power struggle with disputes, even some with bloodshed. Because it is the power of parties, not will of citizens, that rules the outcome of elections, and because there is no way to prove the quality of elected leaders, except by luck or coincidence. Besides there are only two parties that would end up ruling the land for ever, and the same old two parties of different desires and party politics would for ever to turns to tear the nation apart, and more nations of democracy means more of the world would be torn apart, giving more power struggles to the whole human civilization, generating more fear and embargo on nuclear energies required for future living. Of course if there were only one party to choose from, then it would mean there is no choice, and with two parties, that would mean it's next to no choice, but next to no choice plus a split nation, or split world, is worse than no choice! Democracy should mean people's rule, which implies that each and every ordinary people has the rights and given chance to participate hands on in governing the nation, just like it was in ancient Greece or in ancient China, but today the power has fallen into the hands of hugely organized political parties. It's the party that decides who would be the candidate in national election to be chosen to rule the vast nation. So, in the end the entire nation is given usually just two choices of electoral candidates, even if there are two hundreds, out of hundreds of millions citizens, to have the sole chance and rights to rule the rest of the people. Even that is is next to no choice!
Then it comes to the final process of election. Modern election is left to the inexperienced men and women from 16 or 18 year onwards who have no idea how a nation is governed, or even what kind of quality a chosen leader would require to govern.. So how do they know who is better to vote for governing the land? At least in ancient China there was an exam to find out whether the candidate has the intellectual and moral capacity, and the exam process extended not just to one leader, but to the members of entire government. With today's level of intelligence it should not be difficult to set up the system and contents of exams. That's how a nationhood and livelihood of men, women and children may be protected and looked after. Ancient Chinese rulers made sure that every town and village had proper quality of leadership. Its no wonder that the Chinese emperor left the governing of nation entirely to an Exam Raised government and stay put in his beautiful palace. That too can be improved by simply changing the need for existence of emperor to some certain improvements in the formation of 21st century government.
Indeed, without the system of examinations even our modern educational system will be rendered in chaos! So chaos is our modern politics, and in chaos any strong men or tribal leaders would seize chance to grab power. Clearly it's not the inexperience or immaturity of nations, or tribes, or even people, because even thousands of years ago some ancient leaders were willing to step down from power for the better future of the nation. It is the faults, defects and fundamental misconception of democracy that result the world's present failures and future destructions. In fact, it's the system of today's democracy, which allows the faults, the disputes, the struggles, the wars and the economical mess to rise, to flourish and to promulgate! This leaves us with one remaining question here, that is where has "democracy for the people, by the people and of the people" gone to? Because all we can see is "democracy for the party, by the party and of the party".
In the up-coming passages I shall relate to my readers how and why ancient Chinese rulers had come to the ideas of an exam raised government, also how the system of exam was developed through over 2000 years as well as how it got started (Some Chinese scholar view it to have 1300 years history, because it was about 1300 years ago (606 AD) when the system had become a matured fixture in Chinese imperial history with a 3- yearly interval of nation wide exams ever since). In fact, it has a 5000 years story to tell, because history is a nonstop human story that always relates a cause to a consequence.. So, please read on!
The following is an extension of the above, but I am making some extra efforts to describe how, why and when ancient China had initiated and developed the idea of selecting members government by nation wide indiscriminate exams, known as "Exam Raised government". It all started as far back as 5000 years ago with the aspiration that a nation should be governed by the best available quality of leadership. However, I must be very brief because I have to extract and condense from huge volumes of history to just those information directly related to the development of the system. So please excuse me if I have jumped in occasions, especially towards the end of this page. Now I will begin from the start...
The term "Democracy" or "Demos-Kratos" has its origin in certain "City States" in ancient Greece, roughly the time of Confucius. "Demo" means People and "Kratos" means to rule, or "Peoples' Rule" because in such ancient City States the whole citizen body formed the legislature. Such a system was possible only because a City State's population rarely exceeded 10,000 people in total, and even then women and slaves had no right to participate in politics. Therefore those who did participate had a hands-on experience in ruling the nation. Such a system of government is said to respect equal rights to all nationals, and above all, one that provided equal opportunity for all nationals to participate in the rule or in the making of national decisions. This Greek system is highly published through out the world, while rarely many people are aware that a similar, even more elaborated system had existed in ancient China, which also gave equal rights and equal opportunity for all citizens to personally participate in the government. The only difference was that the Chinese population, unlike the Greek City State, was much larger, therefore China used a system of exams to select the best quality of men, which gave not only the same democratic aspiration but also a better quality of government. Those who proved able to qualify would have also hands-on opportunity to be a member of government and rule the land without discretion.
Chinese exam selected or exam raised system of government considered that equal right and equal chance are barely minimum of conditions, beyond these basic requirements there are other important factors to be considered in order to create a desirable, successful and harmonious national order. For instance, a moral and righteous leadership could result in a more peaceful and humane communal life An intelligent and knowledgeable leader could bring about a more rational and productive society. Simply said, the qualities of leadership is vital to the quality of a nation, because the ultimate aim of governance is not to lead to a free-for-all community, but to develop an intelligent, purposeful, harmonious, national life, even a righteous and prosperous society, which is not only enjoyed by people inside it, but also truly respected (not self claimed) by all people outside it! Such essential principles, for some miraculous reasons, was already understood by ancient leaders right at the very dawn of Chinese civilization, because approximately 5000 years ago, a leader of colossal quality and capacity had emerged in Chinese history and started a great civilization. This was the man hailed as the "Yellow Emperor" ( ) of the Xuan Yuan tribal family ( ), whose achievements and influences have been venerated by Chinese people down the entire history with undiminished pride and acclaim. In the following lines I shall try to describe the part of Chinese history, which was directly related to the system from its earliest development, together with its reasons and aspirations behind...
5000 years ago Chinese society had already acquired some remarkable degrees of know how for a comparatively controlled and secure living as well as some important knowledge about nature. For instance, textiles for clothing were already available, pottery wares were widely used, and certain extents of phenomena about the solar system were already known. Because already for centuries, perhaps millenniums, knowledge and information had been handed down the generations by means of verbal instructions and legends, although systematic and popularly organized and systemized written language was still unavailable.... When the Yellow Emperor came upon the historical scene, he was credited with the invention of compass, with which he defeated his strong opponent named, Chi-Yiu ( ) in war during thick fog in Zuk Luk (Hebei Province today) and unified the different tribal communities. Having achieved the overall peace in tribal unity, he proceeded to effect series of major developments, e.g. He was said to have popularized the use of fire for cooking and eating safe meals. His wife Lui Zoo had taught people the art of domesticating and breeding silkworm and weaving of silk for clothing. He directed officer Da-Nao to compile the system of calendar from already known phenomena of the solar system.
Yellow Emperor also ordered Chang Jie ( ) to develop the system of Chinese written scripts. He also started the tradition that choice of leadership was based on quality and merits with public support, and so on... The reason that China is said to have 5000 years of civilization, it's because organized written scripts were begun in the rein of the Yellow Emperor. It's no wonder that his impact on civilization have been so momentous and colossal that Chinese people had venerated him down the entire history with undiminished pride and acclaim. That's also why the impact of quality leadership have been regarded as absolutely essential ever since! It's also why I should spend a few extra words on the development and significance of the Chinese written scripts.
The earliest Chinese scripts created by Chang Jie were actually symbolic representation of objects and numbers, etc., and were carved on animal bones or turtle shells, known today as the "Bone Scripts" or "Turtle Shell Scripts". The early creations by Chang Jie had been subsequently mixed with much larger quantities of similar words or scripts created in the same way at later dates. Hundreds of thousand pieces of such early bone and shell relics have been unearthed and dated by carbon-14 dating, and continued to be unearthed, which serve to confirm and validate the majority of various ancient records passed down through legendary tales. Please read page 3) Story of Yin-Yang and the earliest correlation to cosmology However, detailed knowledge of historical events were mostly recorded and available from the Hsia Dynasty ( ) (about 2183 B.C.) onwards, whilst fully authentic texts of history were officially compiled and edited in details much later when the use of written language was fully developed, authenticated and recognized by people and historians, which occurred mainly between Chou Dynasty and Han Dynasty (or roughly between 1000 BC to about zero year BC in Western Calendar). However, there have been general concords amongst both ancient and modern historians about information passed down from both legendary tales as well as confirmation by archaeological findings.
Combined record from legends and archaeological findings have so far revealed that Yellow Emperor's influence and commands had been passed down peacefully and successfully through another 5 successive generations of tribal rules although details of historic information are still scanty and vague today. This was because the invention of written language needed a lengthy process of invention, creation, organization, checking, recording, then learning, accepting and recognizing, before the system could be effectively used by the majority. Also the process of learning and recognizing required some means of organized teaching and learning, in other words, some kinds of primitive schools must have immediately followed and existed, and the creation of entire language required more than one single man's efforts. Therefore, after Chang Jie's creation of scripts still some generations were required before the system could be used to record historical events. That's why details of history about the first 4 succession of rule directly after Yellow Emperor are still scanty and vague. However, historic evidences show that the ancient society was a tribal community, and the passing of leadership in those ancient days was based on selection of a joint tribal chief with qualities approved and supported by tribesmen.
The Chinese written scripts are different to any other languages that use spelling of alphabets, the Chinese words are made with symbolic image of things, symbolic depiction of sounds, of numbers and of ideas as well as the combination between any or all of them. So when one reads a Chinese word, ones brain is immediately connected the image of things, sounds, numbers, ideas or any of them. For instance, the word ( ) consists of 3 horizontal strokes, therefore it conveys the number 3, but also the ideas of Heaven, Men and Earth. Then the vertical stroke connecting the 3 horizontal is used to symbolize "Ruler" of Heaven, Men and Earth, or "King", which is what the word meant to be. Then as the word reads phonetically "Wong", because each Chinese word has its own single "pronunciation and tone level, so it in fact is also the surname or family name of say, Mr. Wong. At times " " can also be used as part of word, or Alphabet, e.g., " " (meaning "much water" with 3 drops of water, same pronunciation as "Wong" but with a lower tone level), or " " (meaning "booming" with a sun on the left to symbolize heat, same pronunciation as "Wong" but higher tone level). It can also be used as a so called "word-head" e.g., , , , , etc, or even other more complex usages, a.s.o.. Then as the word evolved through ages from complex strokes to a more simplified form, one can almost visualize the whole history of evolution of that one word. In short, a Chinese word is created with a reason in its making, and the reasons or intelligence within the word helps to memorizing its structure and meaning. When a young child learns the language, he or she is unconsciously being trained to exercise the reason, logic, imagination and intelligence all within a word.
In other words, each Chinese word has its reason and history of being what it is, then a string of more words can be lined up to denote a sentence or just new things or meanings, even idioms and proverbs. Thus not only each word but also the entire language is built with reasons, designs and purposes. Now, because prehistoric things were always passed down first with spoken legends, it was so much easier to record legends with a couple of dozen phonetic alphabets than to design each of the numerous words with reasons and meanings in its own structure. That's why Chinese legend claims that an early version of I-Ching , the classical "Book of Change" (cosmological science of the Solar System) was already known to ancient Chinese some 6 to 7 thousand years ago, but was only written down after the usage of the written language was fully completed. In other words the Chinese system is so large and complex, it needed much more time to built and exercised until it could be used to record complex knowledge. So the planning of the Chinese scripts system could only be successfully organized under the command and genius of Yellow Emperor about 5000 years ago. That also means that some forms of communal teaching and learning of the entire early scripts (invented and compiled by Chang Jie) was absolutely necessary in order to pass on the entire language and recognized by all people. In other words some forms of schools must have already existed in China roughly 5000 years ago! This derivation could be vital and I believe it could be confirmed by archeological finds someday!
Then it came to the time of rule under emperor Yau ( ), the 5th successor as joint chief of tribes when a well known feat of history was recorded in more details! Despite ancient rulers had many wives and multitude off-springs, Emperor Yau, like his other predecessors, did not consider any of his own children was equipped enough to take over the responsibility of rule! Instead, he had heard of a young man, named Soon , who was much praised by tribal people for his extraordinary qualities and conducts, especially for his filial piety and devotion towards his parents. So Emperor Yau brought this young man to the palace to test and train him. After extensive trials and assessments, Yau was fully satisfied with the qualities of Soon So subsequently he abdicated from his rule in favour of Soon, thus continuing the great tradition of seeking leadership by quality in China, initiated by Yellow Emperor. This was the beginning of the tradition, which would later evolve to become a system that selected all members of government by quality and by open, democratic and impartial written examinations as qualification, and passed such democratic process down the entire Chinese history until very recent times, in fact, until 1905, or just about a century ago when it was replaced by a modern Chinese Republic under the overwhelming influence of Western democracy.
Anyway, Emperor Soon did not disappoint Emperor Yau. He did rule with great care and love for his people. However, unfortunately soon his ancient China was inundated by incessant great floods. One young officer, named Yue ( ) was called upon to curb the floods. Yue worked with extreme dedication for 13 years. Even though 3 times his work had brought him pass the front of his house, he did not stop to enter it. Eventually Yue successfully curtailed the floods by channeling many rivers down to sea. So, because of such great achievements, Emperor Yau duly followed the great tradition of abdication and passed his power onto Yue. Then years later, as Emperor Yue was ready to abdicate to another young man of his choice, named Hip Tao, unfortunately Nip Tao died prematurely. Yue then chose another good man, named Yit to succeed him, but Emperor Yue died on his tour of inspection to the district named Yih Chuan (today's Honan Prvince) and also because Emperor Yue's own son, named Chi ( ), was a very capable man, those leading officials and people at the time got together to choose Chi and install him as the successor of the Emperor Yue. This very act in fact had put an end to that long and noble tradition of imperial abdication to men of proven qualities, and started the subsequent feudal system of family rule ever since. This happened on about 2183 BC. (incidentally this author is a distant blood descendant of Emperor Yue).
Up to this point, I have given some efforts to illustrate that, 1), Very ancient China was consisted of a community of tribes, and a joint chef of tribes would be chosen to rule. 2), After Yellow Emperor's rule 5 more generation of joint tribal lords ruled 3), Because each Chinese script is created individually, unlike spelling of a few alphabets, the Chinese written language took much longer time to create, to organize, to teach and to learn. before it could be used by the majority. 4), Although system of written language was not yet organized and popularized, ancient tribal communities had already acquired a remarkable degree of knowledge and skill as well as communal intelligence. 5), Yellow Emperor had unified the community of tribes and become the joint leader because of his tremendous qualities and achievements. 6), Yellow Emperor's influence and commands had started a great tradition of abdication for many subsequent generations, in which choice of leaders was based on popular support of personal qualities 7), Yellow Emperor had started the making of written script, which enabled history to be recorded ever since. 8), Great respect for leadership qualities laid path for a great civilization in which countless scientific inventions in ancient China, such as, explosives, printing press, calendar and compass, textile weaving, etc. etc.. as well as timeless principles of philosophy, such as the teachings of Confucius. 9), Ancient respect for quality of leadership and impartial transaction of political power had inspired the advance in education and eventually the truly democratic choice of entire government by open, free, impartial and nation-wide written exams, which lasted thousand of years. However, in order to relate the important stages of historic development within the confine of this page, I have to jump and condense huge volumes of history down to just few essential lines in the followings.
Although the change from the ancient tradition of abdication to the system of family rule was a great set back in the democratic ideals, but it had in fact simplified matters considerably, because the tradition of abdication required the process of searching or introduction of candidates, then the lengthy need of test, training and verification of quality, and finally the approval by tribal communities, even if the approval and transition was free and smooth. So the system of family rule became somewhat highly convenient and had continued. However, in order to govern a people orderly, peacefully, humanely, and harmoniously as well as with an aim of material progress, the education of social behaviors, conducts, laws and orders, even moral qualities became indispensable. So, not long after Hsia Dynasty ( ) (2183-1751 BC) came into being, an early system of school education was known to have established to teach the ruling class the function and nature of governing structures, as well as the knowledge and skills needed in social life as practiced between the Hsia Dynasty, and the Hsiang Dynasty (1751-1111 BC), and chosen graduates were used to serve in the feudal government of the time. Of course the aim was in building and pursuing the qualities of rulers... .
Schools were already known and established in Hsia Dynasty (2183-1751 BC) for ruling class only, and subjects taught in early schools included:-
1), Six qualities to achieve = Wisdom, Kindness, Faith, Righteousness, Loyalty and Tolerance.
2), Six behaviors to perform = Filial Piety, Friendship, Love, Trust, Understanding and Sympathy.
3), Six arts (skills) to learn = Etiquettes, Music, Archery, Riding, Reading and Mathematics
The above descriptions may be regarded as the very ancient stage of Chinese civilization. This early stage was important because it related how and why the search of quality of leadership owed its origin to the ancient tradition of abdicating power to qualified successors. In the following I shall try to relate an intermediate stage, but I have to be brief, because the purpose of this page is not to describe the entire history of China, but to illustrate only the time and development of those ancient ideals and efforts towards government by equal rights and equal chance with open exams. Besides, the historical conditions were becoming much more complex, and I can only concentrate on those essential and directly related developments. At any rate, as conditions grew complex it was natural that a method of selecting quality men using exams became apparent, so that democratic means or fairness could be realized (but of course in China the term "democracy" was not used) and aspiration for the best quality and performance of government was ensured, although up to this time the conditions were exclusively applied to a relatively small class of ancient rulers. In the time that followed they would gradually change to apply to the entire society in order to maximized the odds to extract the best men from it. The result was the development of the fully fledged Exam Raised ( ) system that served as the tools to recruit the entire government in Chinese history.
O.K. After Hsiang Dynasty, Chinese history descended to the lengthy rule of the Chou Dynasty ( ) (1111-221 BC), including the Western Chou, Eastern Chou, the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods (401-221 BC). During this well over 8 century long period under the rule of Chou,, China grew and evolved in a most drastic fashion and ruling class grew into a highly developed but complex feudal society because according to known records, ever since the Hsia Dynasty ( ) (2183-1751 BC) school system had been built exclusively to educate family of the ruling class. Now one thousand years had passed and China was loaded with highly educated abundance of privileged class. In the early days of this dynasty, Chou emperors decided that nobilities and privileged families were to be given their own estate domains as well as political power to govern by themselves, whilst the emperor remain as their over lord (still called the Joint Tribal Chief) of those autonomous domains (receiving only annual loyalties from them). But then those domains slowly grew to become well over 100 small autonomous political states, and as time passed on, this privileged class itself had its on problems of over grown families. So China found herself in a situation of over grown autonomous States loaded with over grown educated individuals. Now even many members of such families had become poor, yet highly competitive and talented. They now had to search for opportunities and employment outside their own State. These men were well equipped and eager to make it to the top.
Of course gradually but inevitably the central government lost power over the small States, yet retained its name without effect for many more centuries. During this process China was plunged into massive competitions between the states, first diplomatically, then alliances were formed, then civil wars ensued. Once wars had started, extreme ideas took over. Imagine there were over 100 of States, every single one must try to exists or be put down and absorbed. That's why this period in history was called the Warring States, which alone lasted 182 years. The situation gave grounds to a fantastic rise in ideological and technological growth as well as a great need for men of intelligence and innovations to be employed by different competitive States. It was followed by a boom in creating numerous clever diplomats, politicians, philosophers, theoreticians, famous administrators, legal experts, reformists, inventors, scientists, military strategists, even great patriots and men of great loyalty and faith, etc., etc.. Yet all these highly talented intellectuals still faithfully carried beliefs and qualities inherited from the tradition and impact of influence generated by the legacy of Yellow Emperor, and much of that was because many of these talents were actually direct descendants of this great ancestral leader who had over 40 sons, although by this time they have already adopted their new family names with the names of States their family had ruled, or the place they lived.
Ancient human societies were highly immobile and enclosed societies. This class of men still retained their loyalty, pride and faith of ancestral traditions because there were no other outside influence. The rise in talents had also its origin from those ancient beliefs and quests for personal and social quality, i.e., intellectual and moral leadership, therefore despite the great rise in competitions and rapid advances, men of this era remained conscientious and faithful to their belief and commitments. They were not only examples of human qualities, they also built further grounds for the respect and demand of quality.
Competitions between the states and individual achievement over long centuries caused China to reach an unprecedented peak in civilization. By this time, already all sorts of schools were available in all separate states' cities, towns and villages with different grades of seniorities, such as primary schools, junior schools and senior schools, or higher institutes with different names for different levels of education, and education was no longer privileged only to ruling class. Male children reaching 8 years old were taught in junior schools, and youths reaching 15 years old would enter higher institutes (ancient equivalent of modern universities) to learn logics, judgments, self refinements and knowledge of governing, etc., etc.. During early period of Chou, even private schools were common, such as that established by Confucius. However, the energy and course of education were still forcefully and faithfully driven by the ancient tradition of mutual respect as well as pursuit of wisdom and personal qualities, with influence since the days of abdication..
One of Confucius' immortal theme of teaching was 1), Analysis of matters ; 2), Acquisition for knowledge ; 3), progress through self refinement 4), Alignment of family bonds 5), Governing the nation ; and 6), Achievement for peace and equality of the world .. Confucius was the first, if not the only, ancient sage to teach and aspire world peace that I know of.
The explosion of competitive growth and wars in the Chou Dynasty (845 years in total) finally merged and settled into 6 remaining States, which were then conquered by the amazingly powerful emperor of Chin Dynasty (in power 221-206 BC) who re-unified China and built the Great Walls, which can still be seen from space with naked eyes, and whose tomb was decorated with over 8000 man sized pottery soldiers, horses, etc. . However, as always extreme powers never last! The establishment of Chin Dynasty only lasted 15 years, and was taken over by a peasant revolt, which brought forth the dynasty of Han ( 206 BC to 220 AD). Han Dynasty practiced milder administration and more humane rule, but the effort to pursuit cultural wisdom, personal qualities remained undiminished, together with the traditional esteem for great ancestral figures, such as the Yellow Emperor , Great Yue (who curbed floods) and Confucius , etc.. Here again, the pursuit for quality in leadership was not only traditional, but also imperative and necessary in daily reality, as a result the dynasty of Han Dynasty prospered and ruled for 426 years. During this dynasty Chinese civilization continued to grow with the knowledge and momentum gained from the great advance in the period of the Warring States...
The first emperor of Han, Liu-Bun, a born peasant and leader of revolution, was a resourceful man who broke the tradition of rule by class and heredity. In year 197 BC he issued a command, ordering that district officials across the nation should recommend local people of high quality, i.e., knowledge ability and moral conducts, regardless of family background or heritage, and introduce them to capital central for consideration as potential members of government. This was the first historic incident that nation wide selection for men of quality was requested by a government This imperial command required that all grades of officials should personally visit and investigate men of reported quality, also personally invite them to join the selection, and the government would provide free horse carriages to transport the targeted men to the capital city. This promise later evolved to become official transport for all more advanced candidates for imperial exams through subsequent dynasties. The imperial decree also required that detailed records of age, looks and personal peculiarities, if any, should be given for all chosen candidates as identification. The selection process included on spot interviews with state examiners, and questions asked included matters regarding prevailing politics, economic problems, military affairs, etc., etc.. Then the candidates would reply the questions by writing answers on bamboo scrolls.
One incident was recorded in the Book of Han that a man named Yau-Cho was asked sensitive questions and Yau-Cho answered with honesty and bluntness, even with criticism against the ruling emperor Wen-Di (of Han dynasty), but was selected into the government, in fact, he received the highest mark amidst over 100 candidates. This system was referred to as "Promotion by recommendation and interview". It greatly advanced the quality and performance of Han's government. Quite a few men of quality had been promoted into the government and become historically renown ministers of Han. During the course of repeated interviews and inquiries, it was also found that the school of "Yue" philosophy, i.e., teachings of Confucius, was recommended and regarded as the best and most respected.
Unfortunately after more than 400 years of rule towards the end of Eastern Han (220 AD) the country plunged into protracted unrest, and during tumult the use of large number of district officers to recommend choice of important government members invited serious briberies, corruption, and disputes, which made things worst. Eventually the country was rendered into uncontrollable power struggles and civil wars. Finally an unscrupulous but resourceful minister, name Tsao-Chao, maneuvered himself into position of power and took over control. Eventually he even ousted the weak emperor and proclaimed the establishment of Wee Dynasty. By the time Tsao-Chao's son, Tsao-Pi, inherited the empire, he decided to return the power of choosing government officers under the central control again. He and his advisers devised an improved system that classified the hitherto undefined qualities of recommended candidates into 9 grades, i.e., Top-Top, Top-Middle, Top-Low, Middle-Top, Middle-Middle, Middle-Low, Low-Top, Low-Middle and Low-Low, in order to make quality easier for judgment when the selections reached capital for decisions. Then he setup various additional district judges and witnesses to verify and ensure the grades, which were then further scrutinized and approved by a specialized ministry in the central government in order to control the process..
However, this Wee emperor had chosen those powerful judges from members of privileged and powerful clans, then he also allowed those acting provincial governors to assumed the role of judges too. Thus he had in fact created new parties of powerful men and groups to choose and decide the fate of government. Slowly but surely only candidates of none-quality or wrong kinds of quality took over the rule of the country. The situation continued to evolved and split the China into 16 parts, then further evolved into the period of Northern Dynasty and Southern Dynasty, altogether lasting a length of about 150 years. In fact, imperial China had by then already sunk into some 5 and half centuries of protracted chaos since the success of the early Han Dynasty, all because of the fatal trials and failures of feudal system of rule, as well as the changes and troubles in the formation of a healthy and harmonious government, or rather, in the aspiration for those proper qualities of national leadership. Then finally and fortunately a change for the better was impending and urgently needed too! Because a firry tempered and impatient but visionary leader came to the troubled scenario, he was Yang Gwang, or Yang-Di ( ), the 5th emperor of Sui Dynasty.
In year 606 AD, emperor Yang-Di cancelled out all the previous systems of recommendation and introduction that had plagued the formation of government for centuries, and instead, he initiated a brand new system that required all candidates, indiscriminately, to send in their own applications directly for written exams in different subjects to qualify for various governmental positions. Different grades of qualification were produced, including the so called "Siu-Zai , ( ), meaning Excellence Material " (initial grade), and "Jue-Ren", the "Raised or Qualified Members ( )" (intermediate grade) and also "Zin-Se", the so called the " Advanced Scholars ()" (the advanced grade). The most essential and effective selection was the advanced grade because those who qualified would be promoted to important position in central or provincial governments. This was the beginning of the Chinese democratically "Exam Raised" government ( ), because it gave all Chinese people the equal rights and opportunities regardless of backgrounds to enter the exams and to be qualified. The system set a precedence for the next 1300 years of Exam Raised government until it was terminated by the last imperial dynasty in 1905. Emperor Yang-Di of Sui had also greatly expanded the school system by establishing country schools, provincial schools and capital city school, and also initiated the employment of the modern equivalent of school Principles as well as Deputy Principles to specialize in school administrations.
During 15 years of his rule, Yang-Di also mobilized millions of man power to built Eastern Capital in LoYang city, also repaired the old Great Walls and constructed huge net-works of roads and highways. One of his greatest contribution to history was the digging of hundreds of miles of Great Canal to connect the Yangtze River and the Chin-Tong River. Yang-Di's bad tempered and cruel demands on his people might have expedited the early demise of his own life and empire, but his accomplishments, e.g., the improved educational systems, the true aspiration of a democratically Exam Raised government that had upgraded the quality of life, people and government, and his new roads and highways as well as the great canals have greatly facilitated transports and benefited generations of developments immeasurably. In fact, he had directly path the way for the subsequent growth and prosperity of the Tang Dynasty ( ) that immediately followed. Therefore, it may be fair to say that for about 3 and half millenniums since the ancient time and tradition of abdication Chinese peoples' efforts and aspiration to build democratic rule with best available quality of leadership had at last found a reliable way to do it, and to express it! Because even in modern days democratic system have existed with non-interfering traditional monarch on its top (such as some nations in Europe), as long as the entire government is democratically elected or selected through nation-wide impartial exams under equal rights and equal chance! It is not the name, nor the label, that makes true democracy, but the substance and the performance. The quality of living for the majority and success of a nation or a civilization depend on the quality of men who make it and govern it, not just the, name, the claim or the rhetoric! .
Anyway, having inherited the young system of constructing government by examinations the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) greatly expanded it and brought it to a stable form with great varieties of sizes and shapes, but I can only very briefly describe it here. In year 612 AD Tang emperor Lee-Yin officially began acquisition of talents with fixed period exams. Every year in the 10th month of Chinese lunar calendar (approximately around September) exams were held in the capital, but exam candidates were first qualified by passing local exams and provincial exams. Apart from the fixed date "Usual Range" of exams, there was also a "Special Range" of exams, which were called to take place from time to time when the empire required the services of special type of talents. Under the Usual Range there were a large variety of qualifications, e.g., other than the 3 usual grades mentioned above, there were qualifications for also various levels of Classical Literature, Law and legislation, Science and Mathematics, also General Knowledge and Assorted Subjects, etc.. Approval for entry of exam may be obtained from various schools, e.g. county schools, city schools, provincial schools, capital schools, private schools, schools established by the government and special educational institutions, or equivalent of universities, etc. as well as those who present in their private applications for approval without certification or introduction by schools, regardless of family backgrounds. In fact, even foreigners had been approved to enter exams and passed them, even served in the government.
The exam system continued to improve and evolve. The most important qualification thus evolved was the above mentioned "advanced scholars ( )" inherited from the previous Sui Dynasty, and continued to retain its importance down later dynasties. The exam subjects for this class of qualification included 3 sittings for the following topics, i.e., 1) Knowledge of classic literatures;- This measured the scope, the depth and the reach of understanding for classical literatures and philosophy in Chinese civilization. Classical philosophy had important influence on social values. 2), Current Subjects;- This sitting allowed the candidates to discuss the current politics, economy, legal and social problems, etc., whilst exposing their own opinions, suggestions and personal aspirations or promise, if they should become a member of government. Exam papers could even be kept and served as records by the authority. 3), Assorted literature:- This test allowed the candidate to show his writing skills in literatures, compositions, poetries, and general expressions, etc., etc.. It was also a test in personal skill and ability of expression and application of knowledge. However, later poetical skill dominated because it was much more touching and had made some candidates famous.
The above mentioned "Special Range" of Exams without fixed dates had many varieties too. People of all walks had been allowed to participate by special considerations, including government officials as well as people who had already acquired different qualifications in other exams. There were some nearly 60 kinds of specially designed exams, even including one that specialized in "Criticism and Suggestion" to the government. There was also a special exam for foreign students who had attended Chinese schools, because by Tang dynasty trade and human traffic had already boomed through the Silk Road. Many successfully awarded foreign exam candidates from Vietnam, Arabia, especially Korea had been given same privilege and admitted into the Chinese government. In fact in year 958 AD Korea nation also started her own system of exam raised government. At any rate, Special Range exams were effective means for the the Tang government to net all kinds of desired talents. Then in year 702 AD, Empress Wu-Jek-Tien (the only female ruler in Chinese history) initiated the Martial Art exams for military officers and even took efforts to attend and oversee the exams, which gave precedence to the tradition of Palace Exams.. Empress Wu also initiated the strict exam rules to prevent corruption by covering up the names of candidates on the finished exam papers, before giving them to the examiners to judge the merits. Both her initiative measures were also passed on down the subsequent dynasties. Here I have to be brief and condense hundreds of years of developments in just a few words.
Then came Sung Dynasty ( 960-1279 AD). Both Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and Sung Dynasty had been the combined golden era of the Chinese history. At the time influence of Chinese culture had already spread to neighbouring nations, and thousands of popular Chinese goods, such as silk products, porcelains wares, artistic goods, even technical products, e.g., explosive, paper wares, even compass, etc., had begun to be passed through the Silk Road to the Middle East for many nations. Upon entry of Sung Dynasty, emperor Tai Ju (first emperor) took great personal interests to promote education and the Exam-Raise system. In year 977 AD, he personally organized a large and successful season of exams. In fact, he had effected series of improvements and installed strict rules to prevent frauds. e. g,
Exam candidates were searched on entry to exam hall, although there were inspectors patrolling the hall during exams. A group of 10 candidates were arranged to sit in such a way to watch over each other, if anyone should be found to cheat or acted against rules, the whole group could be punished. Having written the exam papers, the name and identity of candidates were covered or sealed before the finished papers were given to examiners for judgment of merits. In some cases examinees and examiner might have been friends or relatives, in order to prevent candidate's handwriting being recognized by the examiner, or secret marks being put in exam papers, a whole group of special copiers were engaged to make exact copies of exam papers, and checked by another checker. Only such copied exam papers were given to examiner for judgment. Further more, to stop any contacts or undesirable requests, and to show absolutely fairness the examiners would even lock himself in and live inside the exam hall during the entire season of exams for as long as two months.
Emperor Tai Ju also took part and acted as examiner himself. In fact he had personally passed and qualified over 100 Advanced Grade candidates as well as some 200 candidates of other grades in various exam occasions. Tai Ju also initiated the tradition that promoted successful candidates immediately into the ranks of government without further ado Although the exam rules were strict, the emperor's other measures towards the educated and scholars were particularly encouraging and lenient... Then, in 1066 AD in order to facilitate the preparations for the exam organizers, and the educational institutes as well as the exam candidates, Tai Ju reiterated that nation wide exams would open to all citizens without any kinds of discretion, even foreign students in China, would be held in 3 yearly intervals. Sung's new fixed schedule also set the precedence for all the dynasties that followed. In a nut shell, during Sung Dynasty, the standard of education and acquisition of government servants with exams boomed and well over 40,000 highly educated Advance Grade scholars were raised into the government service, which was about 7 times as many as in the previous Tang Dynasty. This great boom plunged the entire country into a exited trend of academic interests, including the emperor and royal family. Many dozens of great scholars, educators, theoreticians, philosophers, administrators, judges, patriots as well as historically famous writers, poets and intellectuals were produced during early and middle periods of Sung Dynasty, signifying an age of peace and prosperity. An ancestors of this author Zeng Kong was regarded in history as one of the 8 greatest scholars during the epoch between Tang and Sung dynasties.
At this point let me pause a moment to make a brief but useful summary. Up to the time of Sung, Chinese civilization had been developing for some 4000 years since the great momentum initiated by Yellow Emperor with the aspiration that Chinese society should be governed by the best quality of men, and quality meant both ability and moral leadership. This aspiration was gradually manifested through the following stages of political and cultural developments. It was begun with a powerful tradition of abdicating power to younger leaders with qualities supported by popular approval. This stage lasted through quite a considerable number of generations, and its highly noble aim went on to influence the early dynasties and had even achieved philosophical maturity. That was when a number of sagely philosophers, such as Confucius, emerged to teach and guide social, political and persona conducts, Then systems of education as well as strict and impartial examinations were invented to prove and demonstrate the different levels of quality or attainment (which are still deployed by modern educational institutes world-wide as criterions of qualification). These stages of development were carried out affording equal opportunity and equal rights to all members of society, hence it was a process of true democracy, because entire government except the emperor was raised by indiscriminate exams and the nation was effectively ruled by people! And because best leadership renders best performance and best results, hence it was also a democracy of best quality, and indeed, up to the time of Sung Dynasty it did produce an undisputed growth in Chinese civilization. However, it could only happen because from the time of Yellow Emperor till Sung Dynasty ancient China was practically untouched and undisturbed by outside influence, although its territory at that time was merely less than half of modern China.
However, gradually from Han Dynasty, especially Tang Dynasty, onwards, trades, contacts and sporadic skirmishes in the borders slowly passed on those comparatively advanced know how from China into neighboring areas. In fact, although the Great Walls was built to ward off the northern neighbors, by the time of Sung, contacts and skirmishes had begun to pass on Chinese influence northwards. Some northern neighbors had already learned and used the Chinese scripts and copied the Chinese Exam-Raise system, and some capable Chinese scholars, despite having failed exams in China, were employed by next door nations in their important government positions. In short the northern neighbors were developing fast but more or less without much notice to China. In the meantime, Chinese society was gradually approaching the peak of development in her own academic culture Unfortunately that overwhelming energy in academic and cultural devotion was spent at the cost of interest in national defense. As the national attention was centered only in studies, there was even a general atmosphere of disrespect for the military. For instance, a popular slogan was heard in the streets, which said "Decent boys won't want to make soldiers, and good metals won't want to make bells! (meaning big noise!)".
Unfortunately, as the whole nation indulged in literature, great storms were already looming! The reason was the rise of Genghis Khan (born 1162 AD)! Although the Mongolian neighbor had only barely a scanty and un-alarming population. she had somehow quietly developed until the emergence of a military genius Genghis Khan appeared with strength, knowledge and determination. Genghis Khan burst onto the sleeping world like an explosion, (as his time was still many centuries before the European Renascence). Within a short time, quite unaware to the Sung scholars who were deep in dream of poetical verses The Khan's army had already broken through many nations, even continents, and had reached the European Donau River (almost within sight of Rome and Vienna). When the Khan had acquired enough confidence and momentum he decided to attack China and withdrew his soldiers from all other territories (to concentrate on China (he had only a tiny population anyway!) Even today Mongolia has only 2.8 millions people). His winning military took the dormant China by surprise. However he immediately fell for the riches of China's cultural and material prosperity. Genghis and his sons decided to make China their home and enjoyed their stay in China. They even brought into China all of their conquered lands at that time, such as Tibet and most of today's Chinese northern and western provinces, even Vietnam, and even their own home, the Mongolia. He and his sons called their rule of China, the Yuen Dynasty ( 1279-1368 AD), and became people of China all by their own choice until 1921 when they desired independence and modern Chinese regime agreed. Thus Mongolian people had been also Chinese for nearly 800 years!
During the early years Mongolian Dynasty (Yuen Dynasty, totally 88 years) ), obviously that highly developed and democratic method of acquiring quality government members by exams could not be used by the foreign rulers. The system was discontinued for many long decades in that great upheavals, and China fell into sudden darkness and nightmares. Imagine the chaos, destructions, and the mess that took place, then finally the Yuen dynasty government decided to restore the Exam Raised system, but it was far too late! Yuen Dynasty collapsed in disorder and was taken over by peasant revolution, and yet China now was enlarged with more than twice its original territories in the Sung Dynasty, thanks to the great Genghis Khan who had brought them to China! However, the next new dynasty, brought on by the peasant revolt, was now called Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and despite the great efforts of the new emperor who in fact had quickly restored the exam system only months after his new rule, but China was never the same any more! Other than those 88 years of disruption and destruction of Mongolian rule, there were other reasons! Already since the 10th century during Tang dynasty, transports and trade through the Silk Road with goods, ideas and know-how were spreading westwards. Now not only the Mongolians had changed China, but also for some 5 centuries of rapid contact with outside world had changed not only China, but also the world as well! nothing was the same any more! By the middle of Ming Dynasty (15th century) already some one thousand foreigners were living in the Southern seaport Chuang Chow, in Fukien Province. Even two relatives of the Holy Prophet Mohammed had lived and died in this town, whose indoor tombs are still well kept and attended by the Muslim church. .
In the following passages I will barely spend a few words to relate the closing phase of the Exam Raised system, because the purpose of this page is not to relate the details of history, but to illustrate the democratic nature of open exams and the qualities of government it produced as a result. Besides, the story of its ending period is highly uninteresting! Anyway, towards the end but still during Ming Dynasty somehow a strange format of exam rules was introduced with obvious intention to deter the quality intellectuals from taking posts in the government. The true reasons for introducing such senseless measure as well as the true origin and its authors or designers of the system are still untraceable and unknown today. But somehow the feudal imperial rulers at that time had made a suicidal decision! The system introduced was called "8-Legs Literature" ( ). It restricted free writing and thinking, and limited exam compositions to a fixed format with exact numbers of words and sentences arranged in 8 opposite passages, called 8-legs. In reality, it demanded exam candidates not to express their ideas normally but to conjugate word puzzles instead. Despite scholars and decent officials continuously asked the imperial rulers to stop the system but was always refused. So finally the Ming empire, deprived of a good government, fell into chaos and also wars broke out with northern neighbors, the Manchurians. During the chaos, one rotten military general, who was guarding the northern frontier, betrayed, allowing the Manchurian army marching into China. .
So, once again the highly civilized and refined, even tamed Chinese society was ruled by a foreign people who also brought along their own home land to merge into China and to fall in love with the Chinese civilization. This was the last imperial dynasty, the Ching Dynasty ( 1644-1911). Unfortunately the Ching rulers also chose to continue the "8- Legs Literature" in the Exam-Raised system, despite continued requests to stop it.. But, by then, many intellectuals already rather preferred to make their living by teaching or writing novels, instead of joining the government, and once again without true leadership quality very soon imperial China under Ching Dynasty was invaded by joined Western forces and then immersed herself into opium smoking, with unknown millions of tons of opium over a whole century. Then one-day suddenly a Governor of GuangDong (Canton) Province couldn't bear it any more. He burned some 120,000 kilos of opium one day, which resulted in Opium-Wars with Britain and the giving away of Hong Kong. Then finally, in days of drugs and chaos Ching Dynasty was put down in the Republican Revolution of 1911, but just before it happened, the dying Ching government cancelled the entire Exam-Raised system altogether on Sept 2nd of 1905.
It had thus temporarily ended 5000 years of aspiration and efforts to build a nation and government with quality democracy through intelligent, impartial and indiscriminate exams, which all educationists across the world value greatly! But because of the overwhelming constant broadcasts as well as the glorification of Western democracy, many Chinese have fallen into a limbo of indecision as to how to proceed (other than just working and thinking hard for the time being) and react to the call for modern democracy, which has already caused China to split (China and Taiwan), and how to undo that unwanted split for over 60 long years. Imagine after 5000 years of dedication and the intimate knowledge of both success and failure as well as the reason why, the descendants of Chinese civilization are now reduced to be unwilling bystanders, watching over endless daily rhetoric, politics, arguments, power struggles, blames of economy, civil wars, revolutions, air bombardments, etc., etc., all are but the cause and consequence of a certain idea or name, not fact, that the modern world believe, value and venerate...
In my Encyclopedia Britannica (1964 edition) the following remarks are printed:- "Formal examinations, involving written answers to a series of prepared questions, were used by the Chinese in the 2nd century B.C. to select recruits for the civil service. Candidates were required to pass written examinations in literature and history and also to demonstrate their proficiency in writing poetry, in music and in archery. Those who were successful had to take examinations afresh every 9 years to retain their posts and the highest official, the Prime Minister, was expected to prove that he was entitled to his superior rank by competing regularly and winning the highest place....." Encyclopedia Britannica (11th and 14th edition) also mentioned that the earliest known academic examination for qualifying Chinese government servants was that of 1115 BC and a trial fixed schedule examination was already given at 2200 BC... Other publication have also suggested that the 3 levels official exams in ancient China, giving 3 levels of awards, i.e. "Siu-Chai ", meaning "Excellent Material" (the initial grade), "Jue-Ren ", the Qualified Members, (intermediate grade) and "Zhin-Se " or the "Advanced Scholars" (the advanced grade) had inspired the creation of the 3 grades of academic awards in Western Universities, which are namely the Bachelor of Art or Science (B.A. or .B.Sc. etc.,) and Master of Art or Science (M.A. or M.Sc, etc..) as well as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Conclusion:- I think it is reasonable to make a brief conclusion at this point:-
1), About 5000 years ago ancient Chinese rulers had realized that best quality of leadership was best for the land and people, and so they had no hesitation to abdicate from power to men of best known quality, do you think our advanced modern people and politicians might yet come to similar ideas someday, and device some strict measures to make quite sure of the qualities of leaders before putting one man or one party into great power, and built blood debts to be paid by coming generations. All things have cause and consequence, and may be improved as long as people care and discuss!
2), Ancient Chinese people did not leave the rule of land to the entire nation of common folks, or to any one of them, to decide and rule the land, and instead they select the best quality of men, or man, to do it by setting up strictly indiscriminate nation-wide exams. Supposing China did not do that, but instead had decided to be led or governed by any person, or all the people who had no special or proven qualifications, nor experience, nor prior trainings in governing, nor any idea what quality was needed to assume the highest responsibility of the nation. What kind of China do you think she would have become?
3), I have shown in this page that up to the time of Sung Dynast (10th century), China (or central China) was an undisturbed land, and strongly under the influence of legacy and tradition initiated by Yellow Emperor (about 5000 years ago), and during all those earlier 4000 years, due to the will and persistent efforts to build government from quality leadership, China had become the ancient world leader in culture, trade, education, science, technology and living standard, because at that time Europe was still a few hundred years from her own Renaissance. But immediately when that Exam Raised government system was broken down or ruin after Sung Dynasty, China had never regained her world standing until her very recent revival! It therefore clearly demonstrates that the fate of China and her people depended vitally on the qualities of their governments. But of course, China has had the luck and opportunity to know it by experience.
4), Is it possible that history might teach us a few things? For instance, how to encourage the creation of quality national leadership and discourage the spread of those systems that splits nations apart from within as well as beyond their own doors? Or to discourage the global rise of military expansion and military dictatorship, because even school kids understand that indulgence in militarism will finally lead to mutual suicides either in bloodshed or in economy!
5), Please read the page 28) A few words on Aquarian Age because this page explains what is Aquarian Age and Capricorn Age, and that if nuclear wars should break out, then a chance does exist that nuclear pollution would ruin our world for the next 4000 years, i.e., from the present Aquarian Age to the oncoming Capricorn Age [i.e. As the Vernal Equinox of Earth recedes from Constellation of Aquarius to Constellation of Capricorn at a rate 72 years per degree or 2160 years for each Constellation (30 degrees)]..
6), What is the greatest honour a leader can achieve and be remembered for millenniums? The answer is, when massive power or political leadership is expressed positively and beneficial to all mankind. What then is the worst and should be cursed for ever? The answer is also political power but executed in the hands of wrong kind of leadership, which, in minor cases, corrupts and oppresses, but in major cases, causes massive bloodshed between nations! The difference is in the quality of the political leadership!
7), What is the greatest temptation there can be? Or what is the greatest desire some humans do crave for? Selfishness, greed, voracity, avarice, gluttony, lust for power, but all cloaked in political rhetoric or smooth talks. You put any or all of that in the measure and treat it as hidden bait, and call it "election", then spread that around the world, what do you think the outcome would turn out to be? In those heated debates, curses for the opposition and fights for votes, how many voters are thinking of the real humane quality to vote for?
8), In finding out the best or better student out of a whole class of classmates, or when choosing the best or better leader out of the entire population, what is the best or better means to judge merits, through proper written examination, or only by personal opinions? If the whole world can trust and depend on university or college exams to recognize qualification and effect employments, especially government employments, why can't an entire government be raised and qualified by recognized and proven impartial exams? (Instead of blind party loyalty or party interests?) Especially when ancient China had shown it could be done and proved it successful for so many millenniums! Why can't modern nations use exams to build even better and more advanced democracy than ancient China, e.g., aided by much better modern facilities, such as detailed legal systems. Instead of splitting up the nation in daily power struggles as well as endless mutual accusations?
9), What is the ultimate aim for a nation to create its government? a), To create a government of better or best quality, so that it can perform best or better for the interests of nation and people? b), Or to create a state of free for all and equal rights for all, so that each person may be faithful to his or her own interest and ideas as to who or how the nation should be ruled, (since it is said to be people' rule)? c), Or to split up the nation into parties of different policies and party interests, so that the parties may fight every day for their own interests to rule? In our age of possible nuclear wars what kinds of government could serve the nation, the people and the world better? A government of exam proven quality? Or a government free for all or one made of unlimited individual ideas and desires? Or just two nation splitting parties? If it is righteous to make all governments or all nations split, then what kind of world would it become in the end? A split world with arms race (or arms threat) heading for total nuclear destruction?
10), Ancient China was ruled by an entire government (every member of government from Prime Ministers downwards) chosen (or raised) by impartial open and nation-wide written exams. Chinese emperors by tradition had rarely or never appeared in public, nor had spoken officially to the nation about policies, nor had made direct commands to the masses without going through the Ministries. Such ancient Chinese system was in many ways quite equivalent to some modern European democratic nations with a traditional monarch as national head?
... (Added Dec 31st 2011)
Important Removal Notes:-
I have decided to remove all my writings under the title "3 ticking time bombs of the 21st century" including its sub-pages, namely "Political Religion", "Democracy" and "Nuclear Bomb", which have been appearing in this web section for many years. However, I shall only remove these pages before the end of this year (2011) in case some readers and friends might want to take a last glance. I had written those pages as a necessary reminder that we are all living in a great momentous time of history, called "The Aquarian Age". This Age was begun when our planet Earth's motion of wobble had caused the Vernal Equinox to move backwards with a rate of one degree per 72 years from the Constellation of Pisces to the Constellation of Aquarius, hence the change from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age! This new age has already brought new influence in the solar energy environment as well as new and rapid changes in social energies and developments on earth ever since roughly the 1830s. For instance, Michael Faraday started experiments on electricity around 1836, and today, our everyday life, in fact, every walk or aspect of our modern life can do nothing without the use of electricity, and in all activities or endeavours of modern science electromagnetism energy is always involved. Please read the page 28) A few words on Aquarian Age
Therefore, the Aquarian Age is also an Age of Energy, or rather Electromagnetic Energy, because our entire world is now involved and engaged in the production of electromagnetic energy by converting it from oil, gas and nuclear energies, or from solar, wind and hydraulic powers. We can hardly walk, talk or think, not even argue or make wars without energy, or such converted energies. It also means and shows that this is an Age of Science, of Invention, and therefore, also the Age of Great Revelations, because every single minute someone somewhere is inventing or revealing something new and important! There is a great tidal wave of Time, or of Age, or force of nature, rushing upon the living world like tsunamis! Any ineffective political rhetoric and systems, in fact, anything old, rotten over test of time, especially some old supernatural belief, which demands blind faith and loyalty without proof, nor science, nor philosophical wisdom, not even common sense, would be swept away in due time! In other words, to live the momentous new age, one has to come face to face with the past, and to believe in values no longer valuable is a ticking time bomb... For instance, in view of the present economic, political and social conditions with many years of unemployment, if a nation is truly run by the will of its people, or by true democracy, then there wouldn't be so many wars, nor so many millions of unemployment. Yet, still solutions are nowhere in sight, which could take another decade before some real essentials are changed, and yet, there also lies the possibility of more enlarged conflicts and wars arising from much greater demands of economic resources and energies, and also considering the magnitude of momentum involved if and when greater tsunamis should arrive, I have neither personal reasons, nor inclinations to be involved. So, I have decided to cancel my previous written reminders and warnings here and make my web writings purely accountable to science, cosmology and history only.
Further note:- When I cancel out all the above mentioned pages towards end of this month, I will however retain the original part of writing, which describes how ancient Chinese rulers had taken great efforts and measures to create and maintain a truly democratic rule of the nation through fixed periods of nationwide written exams to qualify and certify every single high and low civil and military officers in the land (from Prime Ministers to village officers), thus giving truly equal chance to all able nationals in ancient time to participate in the government and the rule. The system is known as "Exam Raised " government, which had started well over 2000 years ago and was terminated only in 1905. I shall also try to improve the previous writings by giving more information and more details as well as conversion of dates and years to Western Calendar
(Added 6th Nov 2011)
Suggestion for converting sea tides to electric energy
In the meantime, since we are talking about energy conversion above, let me take this opportunity to suggest the following method of energy conversion from ocean tides (I have no idea if the method has been already deployed or not, although I did suggest the same method to a Chinese university a few years back!) It is a well known fact that the combined gravitation from the sun and the moon causes the tides in the ocean to rise and fall, giving two high tides and two low tides every day. The amplitude between the high and low level of tides depends on the geographic shape of the sea sides or bay sides in different places, because sea water can freely accumulate together to give much greater amplitudes depending on shape and sizes of geography, as well as the depth and amount of water. Although the average amplitude is only usually less than a meter, it is quite common to find places with tide amplitude of say 2 meters high. The largest known tides occur in the Bay of Fundy, where spring tidal ranges up to 15 meters have been measured.
It would be rather simple to allow, say 450 tons of water (450 cubic meters of water) or more to flow in and out of a container (say a square open tank of 15 meters x 15 meters x 2 meters) with an automatic timing device to open and close a simple valve at the base of tank in order to match automatically the timing of rising and falling of tides. Supposing the amplitude between two tide levels is 2 meters, then during the cycle from low tide to high tide, the rising tide would force the closed empty container to float upwards by 2 meters with 450 tons pressure, and then at high tide the valve would be opened to allow water filling the container before the valve is closed again. Meanwhile during the cycle from high tide to low tide the closed full container with 450 tons water would force the weight to sink 2 meters downwards, then the automatic timing device would open the valve to allow emptying the tank (by using small amount of air from beneath to float the tank and let water run out through the open valve, then close the valve when tank empties, so that the rising water pressure may force the closed empty tank to move upwards, and repeat the cycle). Thus, such a simple system would gain a total daily energy of 4 x 450 = 1800 tons of water weight moving through a distance of 2 meters.
The energy from weight and motion of the tank may be connected by devices (cables, chains, gears, etc) and translated into angular momentum to drive an electrical generator and the resultant converted electrical energy may be stored in batteries. It is unlike solar or wind systems, which depend largely on changing availabilities of sunshine and winds. This system is simple, automatic, relatively constant, dependable, punctual and predictable in daily operation, and also relatively independent of ambient conditions. It costs little to build and is cheap to operate and maintain. Of course a larger numbers or size of such containers or tanks may be deployed depending on the geographical shape and characteristics of the place. Besides, tide amplitudes of less than 2 meters may also be used effectively...
(Added 6th Nov 2011)