The impact of China’s Centralization on Chinese Society
Centralization is an ancient system in China. It originated in the Qin Dynasty. At that time, Qin Shi Huang had just ended the Warring States Period and established the Qin Dynasty. During the Warring States Period, the supreme ruler of all countries was called “king.” However, Qin Shi Huang felt that he should have a new title. Moreover, this title is more advanced than “King.” Therefore, Qin Shi Huang began to call himself “Emperor.”
Moreover, he wants to enhance his dominance. He learned the lessons of the previous Zhou Dynasty and abolished Feudalism. He turned his country’s government into Centralization. In addition, he also established a set of local bureaucratic systems at all levels, known as the system of prefectures and counties. Each county has its county magistrate, which is equivalent to having a county government. However, each county must follow the leadership of the central government. The central government is called Three Departments and Six Ministries. Three Departments and Six Ministries are composed of three top administrative agencies and six direct administrative organs of the state under the authority of the Department of State Affairs. These organizations oversaw the country’s military and government affairs and conveyed orders to local governments on behalf of Qin Shi Huang.
This system was very advanced before the Ming and Qing dynasties. First, Centralization is conducive to the establishment, consolidation, and development of a multi-ethnic feudal state and is conducive to maintaining the unity and territorial integrity of the motherland. Because everything is decided by the emperor and the emperor’s cronies, some people with ulterior motives can’t steal rights from the central government. Secondly, for local administrative management, the government can effectively organize human, material, and financial resources to engage in large-scale production activities, economic construction, and disaster relief operations, conducive to social and economic development. Finally, in a unified environment, the system is conducive to integrating various ethnic groups. Moreover, this system provides a stable environment for the regional economy and culture, enabling the national economy to develop leaps and bounds.
However, the flaws of this system have been evident since the Ming and Qing dynasties. Centralization will make the emperor’s power too great. The imperial autocracy is very easy to form tyranny and corruption, which are the factors that hinder the development of history. For example, the Qing and Ming dynasties implemented a maritime ban policy for a period of time. It prevents the country’s growth from closely following the development of the world. Therefore, it led to the weakness of the Chinese regime in modern times. At the end of feudal society, the system hindered the development of the budding capitalist relations of production. It not only hampers the development of productive social forces but also hinders the progress of Chinese society.
All in all, this system can be said to be very advanced in the feudal era. This system not only makes all local powers serve the central government. Moreover, it is also perfect for controlling the local government. It keeps local governments from having too much power and thus betraying the central government. Furthermore, the system provides a stable and safe environment for local cultural and economic exchanges. All aliens who come to China can be assimilated by the local culture. It can also be said that this system is one of the reasons why China has a vast territory.
But the drawbacks of this system are also obvious. It puts all the power in the hands of the emperor. It has resulted in an excessive concentration of power and a dictatorship, which is not conducive to the long-term development and progress of the country. This is also the fundamental reason for the backwardness of the Qing Dynasty.
Wenshu (Kevin) Hou