Of Manchus and Masks.

Of Submission and Humiliation.

A thread. Image
It is a cognitive error to assume that all directives have a logical reason behind them based on economics, health or other such grounding. Many regulations imposed from above are nothing more than symbols designed to reinforce the power dynamics of the ruling class. Image
The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial Dynasty of China and ruled from 1644 to 1912. However, the Qing were not a Han Chinese Dynasty. They were in fact Manchus from Manchuria which is now northeast China. They were a nomadic people skilled in horseriding. Image
The Qing overthrew the previous native Chinese Dynasty - the Ming - which had ruled from 1368 to 1644. Upon conquering China, the Manchus immediately imposed a rule on their new subjects - all male Chinese had to shave their hair into a pigtail or "queue". Image
The queue was the traditional hairstyle of the nomadic Manchu men. The front part of the head was completely shaved off, while hair on the scalp was grown long and braided into a pigtail. ImageImage
Contrast the queue with the traditional way of styling hair throughout China's long history. Traditionally, Han Chinese wore their hair long, often tying the back into a topknot or proto man bun for practicality. Image
Chinese did not cut their hair as it was believed to make ancestor cry.

According to the Classic of Filial Piety, Confucius said:

"We are given our body, skin and hair from our parents; which we ought not to damage. This idea is the quintessence of filial duty." Image
The Qing ruthlessly enforced their new edict over the Han. The slogan at the time was "Lose your hair, keep your head. Keep your hair, lose your head".

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese were killed for resisting the mandate to adopt the new hairstyle. Image
Any Han who refused to wear the queue was executed. Yet many still rebelled, so strong was their hatred towards the forced hairstyle. Lu Xun wrote: "The Chinese people in those days revolted not because the country was on the verge of ruin, but because they had to wear queues." Image
However, within a few years, resistance to the new law was wiped out and all male subjects of the Qing empire wore the queue. How did the Manchus, relatively small in number compared to the millions and millions of Han they ruled over, successfully impose such an unpopular rule? Image
The answer is: mass-scale Chinese assistance both military and civil.

Manchus were a minority in their own "Banner" army. 75% of the Banner forces were Han Chinese in the late 1640s. Civil administration was also largely run by Han Chinese officials inherited from the Ming. Image
It may have been the Qing who imposed the queue hairstyle on the general population, but it was Han defectors from the Ming who enforced it. Two former Ming generals, Li Chengdong and Hong Chengchou, carried out many massacres against those who refused to shave. Image
After initial resistance subsided, the Chinese took to peacefully wearing their queues for the next 250 years. It became an ingrainable element of everyday life, enforced upon one another by habit, social pressure and peer to peer conformity. Image
Even those Chinese who left China, like the many who emigrated to America to work the railroads, still wore the queue and policed those in their circles to keep wearing it, even though the Qing Emperor was far away.

(Ofc some kept the queue cos they planned to return to China) Image
There was no economic or religious logic to the Manchu imposition of the queue onto the Chinese. It was a symbol of power, pure and simple. It was a highly visible symbol of submission to the new regime. A visual reminder of Qing authority over the Han. Image
What was originally enforced by execution, eventually became habit enforced not by swords but by general docile compliance between people. By the 1800s, the average Zhou was more likely to get funny looks from his neighbours for not wearing a queue before the army ever got to him Image
The title of this thread promised Manchus and Masks. I've talked much of Manchus but so far nothing of masks. Yet there is no need to discuss masks. This thread was always about masks, just as it was always about power, submission and humiliation. Image
Pigtails and masks are very small things. They don't provide too much inconvenience and become commonplace once everybody does it and the initial shock and rebellion dissapates. But submission works in stages. If you submit to this small thing, what next will you submit to? ImageImage
The literal meaning of Islam is "submission". Muslims show their submission to the will of Allah by living every day as an act of faith under Allah's will. They understand that submission to the highest power can be demonstrated by acts both small and large. Image
Finally, remember that social pressure can be a strange old thing. As quickly as it emerges, it can collapse just as rapidly. When the Qing Dynasty fell in 1912, the queue hairstyle disappeared almost overnight. Chinese cut off their queues en masse.
Culture always follows power. ImageImage

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More from @moldbugman

7 Dec
The BBC has just posted its 2021 list of the top 100 women of the year. These women have inspired. They have suffered. They have been so bloody bloody brave. But who are they? They are women, first and foremost, but who are they as individuals? Let's take a look.
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The rise of Zemmour feels very much like a hyperstitional event. Reality merges with fiction as the real 2022 French General Election approaches and provides a reverse image of the one presented by Houellebecq in his 2015 novel Submission.
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My 2021 Halloween gift for all my followers: a long (very long) story in Twitter format that I improvised over the last week. Now completed. I hope you will enjoy.

If you still need more spooky stories, here is a previous corporate horror story by me that was featured in @theamgreatness

If stories are not your thing, you can also try last year's Halloween thread where I explored the horrors of architecture.

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