Making Qin Great

Four centuries B.C., “China” was not a country but a cultural region of competing baronies, a Medieval feudal region. The barony of Qin, China’s Prussia, was a frontier state still possessing little hint that it would eventually achieve a bloody unification of the huge cultural area in which it tenuously grasped a foothold. Then an adviser brought to the Qin court from the court of a neighboring adversary persuaded the arrogant but not very wise baron of Qin that the first step to making Qin great was not hubris, bombast, and the launching of a war of conquest but the consolidation of the barony’s borders and establishment of a solid political, economic, and military base at home.

第二年, 秦国 果然 在 崤 山 被 晋 襄 公 偷袭, 全军覆没, 只有 三位 主将 逃回 来 秦国。 穆 公 身着 素服 迎接 他们, 懊悔 不已:“ 是我 不听 百里奚 和 蹇 叔 的 意见, 才使 你们 受 此 屈辱。” 从此 无心 东 进, 一心 经营 秦国 本地。 从这 件事 可以 看出 百里 奚 的 智慧 与 远见。 百里 奚 死 时, 秦国 人人 流泪 哀哭, 可见 他 实在 深得 民心。 正是 由于 百里 奚 勤 修 内政, 外 树 威信, 辅佐 穆 公 经营 本地, 收 服 戎 狄, 与 晋国 抗衡, 才使 得 秦国 成为 诸国 争霸 中的 一方 强国, 奠定 了 秦国 未来 称霸 与 统一 的 基础。 [大秦帝国 (The Great Qin Empire): 铁血铸就的一统江山 (中国大历史系列) (Kindle Locations 366-369).]

A century later, having made itself great, Qin swept all its adversaries aside and created the new nation of China.

An interesting historical anecdote, this story is significant for the lesson it has taught later generations of Chinese officials, a lesson clearly in the minds of China’s elite today, as China steadily but cautiously concentrates on establishing global economic ties while keeping its growing military forces close to home and slowly pulling its massive population out of poverty, “talking softly while building a bigger stick.”


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