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Tang Studies 25 (2007) CHINESE "QAGHANS" APPOINTED BYTHE TURKS MICHAEL R. DROMPp RHODES COLLEGE Students of Chinas traditional foreign relations are well acquainted with the Chinese phrase yi yi zhi yi j;)~mU~, usually translated as "using 'barbarians' to control 'barbarians.'" Rather than defining a single specific policy, this phrase came to encompass a set of policies, which can be grouped into three basic categories: (1) employing submitted foreigners as troops within Chinas military establishment to assist with a dynasty's defense against foreign powers; (2) creating or exploiting divisions within a single foreign polity in order to weaken it; and (3) pitting one foreign power against another in order to weaken one or both of them. The first of these was proposed as a specific policy by Chao Cuo il~!(d. 154 B.C.E.), an official of Chinas Han dynasty (202 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) who sought to find methods through which China could cope with the threat of its powerful northern neighbors, the nomadic Xiong-nu {gjJ~X.l Later, the term was expanded to include the two additional approaches.2 In the case of the second and third categories, a common method of creating divisions among China's enemies was for an emperor in China to show favor to one foreign leader or polity over another. Such favor could take many forms, including political alliances (some of which were affirmed through marital connections), preferential trade arrangements, and the granting of titles. While by no means always successful, this set of techniques remained an important component of imperial China's foreign policy repertoire. The frequent use of the term yi yi zhi yi and the regular study of its application have tended to focus on Chinese actions, and this has often obscured the other side of the coin: policies employed by Chinas neighbors to manipulate the "Middle Kingdom" by using sometimes surprisingly similar techniques. This essay seeks 1 Ying-shih Yii, Trade and Expansion in Han China: A Study in the Structure of Sino-Barbarian Economic Relations (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), 14-15. See also Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 202-4. For an account of Chao Cuo's life, see Michael Loewe, A Biographical Dictionary of the Qjn, Former Han and Xin Periods (221 BC-AD 24) (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 27-29. Note that I have employed hyphens (not normally used in pinyin Romanization) as a sort of "shorthand" to indicate non-Chinese names in Chinese transcription and thereby distinguish them from native Chinese (and native Turkic) names and terms. 2 Yii, Trade and Expansion in Han China, 15-16. Yii refers to the second policy as a form of "divide and rule," but, in many instances at least, this gives too much agency to the Chinese. It was more typical for Chinese strategists to exploit an existing division than to create a new one. 183 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1759-7633
Print ISSN
0737-5034
Pages
p. 183
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-08
Open Access
No
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