The first war between China and Britain in the Opium War. The cause of the Opium War was the British dumping of opium in Guangdong, which severely disrupted Guangdong society. The British thus launched the Opium War, with the aim of opening up the Chinese market and dumping goods. The Qing Army fought bravely in the early days of the war, but it ended with a disastrous defeat. The Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the " Nanjing Treaty ", claim land reparations, bereavement of power and humiliation of the country, but at this time the Qing Dynasty was still stupid and indifferent.
Many people think that the failure of the war is a problem of weapons, equipment, and systems. In fact, the general's concealment of military information is also an important reason.
The process of this war is very clear to us. The British army was fighting the Qing army all the way. But in the memorial received by Emperor Daoguang , the early days of the war were all good news for the Qing Army's victory .
For example, in the two armed conflicts before the Opium War, the first conflict, the British army recorded only a few people were injured. In Lin Zexu 's memorial, he said that he sunk a British ship and killed more than 17 British soldiers. In the second conflict, the British army recorded no casualties. Lin Zexu's memorial said: The nearby fishing boat caught 21 hats of the enemy. After identification, two of them were worn by enemy officers, and the rest of the foreigners' items were "uncountable." Such a description makes it difficult for us to believe that Lin Zexu's memorial did not exaggerate the results of the battle.
In fact, this is objective, and the other people's memorials cannot be seen later. For example, in the Battle of Humen, 250 soldiers of the Qing army were killed, more than 100 were injured, and more than 1,000 were captured. Only 5 of the British army were slightly injured. This was a complete one-sided failure, but in the Qing Fang's memorial, he wrote "a total of more than 600 traitors who killed and defeated traitors." In the second Dinghai defense battle, the British army killed 2 people and injured 27 people. Qing's records read "thousands and hundreds of people".
Lower-level officials concealed the facts and deceived the higher-level leaders, leading to a huge difference between the report and the facts. It seemed unthinkable, but it was indeed one of the incurable diseases in ancient Chinese society.
In ancient Chinese society, there were some problems that were always difficult to solve. The more important ones were: local land mergers, tax seizures, and tax concealed population. These dynasties had no way to deal with them, and they got worse as they reached the end of the dynasty.
Maybe you think, why ca n’t these problems be solved? It does n’t sound so difficult. Does n’t the emperor's next order be enough? Do you dare not? Or is it possible to charge him a high punitive tax? As for the problem of tax retention and concealment of the population, the emperor can order the tax collector to conduct a large-scale population inspection.
In fact, these measures have certain effects, and the slightly savvy emperor in Chinese history has done these things. Except for the early days of the founding, all the other emperors failed. Not to mention far, let's talk about Yongzheng and Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty. Such emperors, who were at the peak of imperial power in Chinese history, eventually failed to do this.
If the answer is simple and general, it is: In an authoritarian society, the court lacked sufficient oversight power.
The emperor could of course design various supervision mechanisms, such as setting up supervision officials in various places, or sending eunuchs to serve as supervisors as in the Tang Dynasty , or sending secret agents like the Ming Dynasty , or even adopting a secret memorial system like the Qing Dynasty. But these systems all have the same disadvantage: too few people are in charge of supervision. As long as the number of people is small, there is always a way for the supervised to buy through the supervisor and jointly deceive and hide.
For example, in the late Qing Dynasty, although there was a secret memorial system in the late Qing Dynasty, in the late Qianlong period, officialdom was corrupt, and all the people who went to the memorial were greedy. Who can report it? Even if some people want to make a public report, the emperor received the report You can't trust it, and you have to send commissioners to the area to investigate and obtain evidence. As long as local corrupt officials cover each other, and even buy through the commission, the emperor still has no way.
Another example is land mergers. The emperors knew that land mergers were not good, but their ministers were big landowners, and everyone's property came from land mergers and concealed taxes. Then why do the ministers break their own money?
Therefore, the situation encountered by the emperors was as follows: When the emperor decided to make great efforts to rectify land mergers and conceal tax returns, the court officials on the court applauded, and the long lived emperor was wise. When the decree went to the local area, local officials immediately worked hard and reported the results of the work every 30 minutes, detailing how much work we did today and how much land we checked. Seeing things went smoothly.
But when the investigation results come out, look at the specific cases investigated, you will understand that those who are punished are some small landlords without background. The real landlords are all innocent in the documents. Just looking at the property rights documents, their home also has a courtyard of three acres, which fully complies with the regulations of the court.
At this time, if you are an emperor, what else can you do? You can't go through thousands of counties in the country and open the yard of each landlord's house one by one to see how big their home is.
This problem that the ancient Chinese government could not solve, it seems from the experience of later generations, that the best way to solve the problem of concealment is the supervision of public opinion.
For example, after the parliamentary system was adopted in Europe, the members of the parliament were elected by ordinary people. But how do ordinary people know how this member is and whether they should be elected? It depends on the newspaper.
In a business society, newspapers must also be profitable and face fierce competition from their peers. The people are concerned about what kind of parliamentarians they choose. In order to make more money, newspaper reporters will desperately look for all kinds of news about parliamentarians just like "paparazzi."
Officials in Manqing can buy money from supervisors to lie to the emperor, but lawmakers ca n’t buy journalists: So many newspapers and so many reporters across the country, can you buy them? Take a step back and say that even if a local tyrant is super rich, Journalists across the country bought it. But this means that the industry of journalists is so good that individuals can take a lot of money. Driven by economic benefits, the result is that a large number of people will continue to come in as reporters, and a large number of new newspapers will be established. It means that this bad guy is using his own money to strengthen his power to supervise himself. The bad guy is beating his left hand with his right hand. No matter how rich he is, in the end he must still be unable to control the reporter to expose him, or he cannot deceive him.
We can imagine that if the Opium War turned around and the Qing army invaded Britain, then Liverpool would lose the war today, two hours later, there would be a newsletter in London newspapers, and the first day of detailed interviews would appear in most newspapers. . It is impossible for an officer to talk nonsense in a memorial.
It is a pity that the Manchu government of Daxing Prison obviously cannot allow the people to run newspapers freely, let alone newspapers to report ill-treatment of officials rashly. The agricultural society also does not have a large enough market to stimulate the people to run newspapers, and it is unavoidable for officials to deceive and hide.
Looking back at this war in history, we will find that there was a serious problem of concealment from the top to the bottom of the Qing, which led to a terrible situation: lower officials refused to make the front line real The situation told the emperor that if he did not dare to report the true demands of the British, it would be impossible for the emperor to issue correct orders to the front line. So much that the Opium War fought for a long time, and Emperor Daoguang didn't know why the British fought!
He heard the nonsense of officials in the memorial, always thinking that the whole incident was "some barbaric businessmen, because Lin Zexu did not handle the smoking ban properly, making them feel wronged, and sailing everywhere to find officials crying and grieving over the coast of China". He thought that this was only a local conflict with foreign businessmen, he didn't know it at all, and it was impossible to think that he was already at war with a country.
Of course, under the secret memorial system of the Qing Dynasty, there were occasionally upright officials telling the truth, these truths may also be seen by the emperor, but still, let ’s say that you are replaced by the emperor and face the opinions of the majority. And the occasional voice of a few people, who do you listen to?
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