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asian study 209 (Essay Sample)


books:1. China's cosmopolitan empire (the tang dynasty) by Mark Edward Lewis 2. Age of Confusion Rule by Dieter Kuhn



The Golden Age of Chinese Culture





Question 1:

It is generally agreed that the “major reforms” led by Wang Anshi in the Northern Song Dynasty led to the downfall of the Northern Song, hence the phrase “Reforming into Collapse” used in The Age of Confucian Rule. Why the well- meaning reforms ended up in such an unwelcome state? Discuss this issue with special reference to the reason for and purpose of the reforms and the downfall of the Northern Song.

Even though, emperor Zhenzong had introduced   successful and long lasting system, the Song policies increased led to the decline of the Song dynasty. From the eleventh century there was push for reforms, but there were unintended consequences (Lewis, 2009. While the Daoist and Buddhist faiths and religious practices had   enriched the spiritual life of the people, which held them together, this could not stop the downfall of the Song dynasty (Lewis, 2009). Wang Mang of the Han dynasty and Wang Anshi of the Northern Song Dynasty were two of the most controversial reforms of traditional China who introduced ideas that would be considered socialist nowadays. Wang Anshi also supported reform of the civil service examination system and better training to improve administration efficiency.  Wang Anshi’s reforms transformed the political and economic landscape of the Northern Song dynasty as this changed administration and the way commerce was carried out.

            Anshi the Grand/ chief Councilor of the Song dynasty tried to revive the economy that had started shrinking, while seeking to protect the dynasty fr

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