On China Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. According to Kissinger, the tale of the Yellow Emperor is the beginning of China as an entity. However, in Chinese legend, although no other history exists, the Yellow Emperor appears to have arrived to save China. What is the legend?

When the Yellow Emperor appears in Chinese myth, the civilization has already fallen into chaos. Competing prices are on the verge of destroying the country. The Yellow Emperor has gone down in history as a founding hero; yet he is seen as being the one to reestablish, not create, the great empire. However, no tales of the previous civilization seem to exist.

2. How does the existence and myth of the Yellow Emperor relate to the history of Confucius?

This paradox of Chinese history recurs with the story of the ancient sage Confucius. Confucius is seen as the "founder" of the philosophical culture although he stressed that he had invented nothing. He was merely trying to "reinvigorate the principles of harmony" which had once existed in the golden age but had been lost.

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