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« The Mundanity of Chinese Modernization: Air Pollution, Press Freedom, Political Reform | Main | More on Sunzi, Torture, and Political Leadership »

January 16, 2013


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Minor typo? I assume that "bride them to serve you" should read "bribe them to serve you."

fixed. thanks.

Of course, Sunzi's approach to envoys has been the norm in China until recent times, when Western ideas of permanent missions in other people's territory and diplomatic immunity took hold. I was recently reading (I can't remember where) of the realisation among late Qing reformers that they were being greatly hampered politically and diplomatically by the lack of missions in foreign countries who could tell them what the situation was in those countries. This led to the gradual acceptance of Western diplomatic rules.

Lack of trust in envoys was not confined to the Chinese, however. Envoys in many places were routinely killed. Chinggis Khan also routinely used the execution of his envoys as a pretext for attack and invasion.

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