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Why didn't Vietnam get sinicised after a thousand years of ruling by the Chinese, while Manchuria get Sinicised in 400 years?

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Because it’s Manchus that tried to assimilate Chinese during Quing-dynasty. But they got back-fire and become Sinicized due to the fact Chinese culture is so deep and arguably better than Manchus culture.

For Vietnam, we simply do anything to keep the way of our ancestors, regardless it is superior or inferior to anyone.

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Key difference here.

There was no Yue Dynasty where Vietnamese could go and run China.

There was however a Qing Dynasty where the Manchurians ran China.

Vietnamese did not have to rule over millions of Chinese. The Manchurians did.

Vietnam also wasn't ruled by China. China did invade Vietnam a few times but they never actually ruled Vietnam. So the premise is false.

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The question cannot be simplified in a singled out formulate, I think the answer should be based on two factors of consideration.

This question can be shorten as, why is it the case that, Chinese culture could easily ate up non-Chinese ethnicity in the past?

Before the answer itself, I HAVE TO make a clarity on the ontological definition of “Chinese”, now adays we thinks of it as an ethnic group, a nation in the same way like English , French, Viet Nam kihn and Japanese , but this is a disputable view within the Vietnamese Sinophile, some Vietnamese scholars considers that, an ethnic group is rooted in a myth of sibling-hood among people who are believed to be having a common ancestor in the family blood line sense, based on this theory, some Vietnamese scholars considers that, Chinese isn’t an ethnic group, because it isn’t believed to be a bloodline relatives group, although bloodline could also involves in some people, but rather, it’s requirement of being a Chinese, it is rooted in pledging allegiance to a civil system of “central kingship ruling”, hence, “Chinese” is an umbrella term for a variety of ethnic groups which engages in the belief on a civilized central kingdom; Just that from 19 century on, China had been heavily kicked, and it cannot continue to dreams of itself being the central kingdom, especially the entire globalization heavily hits the head, therefore, the regime of R.O.C’s initiated a step to refine “Chinese” as an ethnic group, just as what Jews do to their identity while seeing the decline of a systematic Judaism in unified way, after R.O.C fell it’s ruling in mainland, P.R.C continues such legend , but yet, they had to follow the footstep of USSR’s propaganda on having diverse ethnic groups being unified for international Communist movement, P.R China then arbitrary divides some ethnic minority, but we can notices that, the members of these minority aren’t aware that they are ethnic minority until they check their residential book lol, how did P.R.C worked on this arbitrary division among people? I don’t know, but there are plenty of options to do so, if you give a strategy online game in simulation to that work, I can divides more than 56 groups.

Whether or not Chinese is an ethnic group or a civil systemic nation likes the case of America nation in the United State nowadays,this is a disputable issue among Vietnamese scholars on this matter. I personally agree with the view that, Chinese is not a unified ethnic group, and it had been leaded by the early generation of people to preached this civil system to outsider, usually via war of course.

Now, begin to answer your question:

1st factor, the long years of China’s invasion toward others within the Far East.

China had a long years of invasion toward others within the Far East, China had been a very barbaric empire ever since it’s first systematic dynasty was formed, it’s initiative of conquering was rooted in their idea of building “unified civil system right below heaven”, as their very conception of considering itself being the central kingdom right below heaven, this is a notion instead of being necessary taken as a doctrinal belief, a Chinese is someone who is either consciously or unconsciously holding this notion about his or her own identity, that being the central kingship person in comparison to the non-Chinese people, they have a duty to civilizes the others, to rules them under their guardianship. Then let’s look at their invasion throughout the history, it was very savage, and it enjoyed a successful invasion to the entire Viet land (south below Yangtze river), in comparison to the other regions which were always targeted by China, such as, Mongolia, Turkistan, Tibet and Manchu, China’s invasion to Viet is in a successful case, Vietnam surely wouldn’t become an exception of sinicization.

Worthy to be kept in mind is though, Viet Nam being the first nation-state in Asia, her unique identity was emerged via a process of SPENDING EFFORT TO COMPLETES de-sinicisation, but yet, she is by result very much sinicised, so, why is that? The reason why, Kihn people were able to keep the Chinese army stayed out from being unified into the direct ruling of China, because some compromises were taken proactively, such as to adopt the Chinese system, as done for responding the Chinese superiority, here is an example to illustrates the motivation of it, during the Indochine era, French proclaimed that, Viet Nam is a “little dragon”, she has no uniqueness on her own, and hence, let French educates her about how to be civilized in a non-Chinese way, so that she can get rid of the Chinese influences, therefore, Viet Nam shall not try to kick the french out, to response such French propaganda, Vietnamese intellectuals would have to presented that, Viet Nam doesn’t need a full guides from France, she is able to forms her civilization, their presentation was mostly mixed with European ideas, to demonstrates that, Viet Nam already can manifests those ideas on her own, similar way that previous rulers of Viet Nam adopt Chinese civilized system to response the Chinese.

2st, the result of Chinese culture being useful for Manchurian ruling over Chinese people, with Manchurian ever being minority during Qing Dynasty.

Chinese civilization in it’s result, it has been very much dominated in the far east, and it is difficult for any ruler to rules the Chinese without exercising Chinese cultural belief, so, we have Yuan which is the major portion of Mongolian Empire, for the sake of ruling the Chinese, they also ran a quasi Confucius system, as majority of citizens at that time came from the Chinese Dynasties, I bet that the Yuan governors faced a struggle which nowadays many of us also partakes, which is, it is very hard to communicates with the Chinese way of thinking, language isn’t even gonna to help, and Chinese people conceals their way of thinking, make it radically isolated from us, unlike for other cultures, we are able to theorizes them, then to builds a mutual platform of understanding, but not the case for Chinese culture. Therefore, when Manchurian established the Qing State to ruled China, I can assure that, they faced the same issue, question of “how to rules these people?”

As Manchurian were actually a minority group during Qing era,they didn’t invaded China with their mass migration, as the Qing regime continued the Chinese ruling, education on Manchuria culture eventually became marginalized, people in general including Manchurian, they simply couldn’t express a interested on Manchurian culture, having examination system which is in Chinese, normal Manchu would rather adopt Chinese education, same for the Emperor himself, in order for him to convinces his fellow Chinese citizen that, he is a rightful ruler assigned by the heaven. As time passed, now Manchurian no longer exist in reality, but a useful label for P.R.C and R.O.C to tags(or you may says to respects in some extend) on some Chinese who can traces their ancestry to Manchurian tribes.

In short, the answer to this question is, it is simply a historical result, not because of the power of Chinese culture, and we can considers a lot of historic alternative which can ruined Chinese out of cultural map, just that it didn’t happened, due to the two factors that I mentioned above, 1st, the long years of China’s invasion toward others within the Far East, 2st, the result of Chinese culture being useful for Manchurian ruling over Chinese people, with Manchurian ever being minority within the land of China.

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Manchu ruled China, thus they can consider themselves full Chinese.

Vietnamese started as a ruled province and when we rebelled, the spirit of rebellion, of secession and independence became a sacred motor in our minds and our culture. If we had a Vietnamese ruling China as Emperor, we would probably claim we are Chinese, and probably dream of getting back into that position or similar again

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For 1,000 years of Vietnam's rule by China, they have actually been sinicized.

The earliest Chinese conqueror of Vietnam was General Zhao Tuo sent by Qin Shihuang. When the Qin Dynasty died, he refused to loyal to the new Han Dynasty, so he declared independence and established Vietnam's first kingdom.

Where is the capital of the Kingdom of Zhao Tuo? In Guangzhou, this is a city in Guangdong, China. This means that in the early days, Vietnamese and Cantonese were people of the same kingdom.

Zhao Tuo's kingdom only existed for decades, and it was soon conquered by the Han Dynasty. For the next 1,000 years, Vietnam was part of China's core territory. Vietnamese (including Cantonese) have become Chinese.

China's history has been repeated unification or division.

After 1000 years, the Chinese Empire split again into many smaller kingdoms. When the new era of reunification came, the new empire failed to conquer the newly independent kingdom of Vietnam. Since then, Vietnam no longer belongs to China.

But northern Vietnam, Guangdong, is still in China, and locals always consider themselves Chinese.

In fact, when Vietnam is part of China, Vietnamese also consider themselves Chinese. When Vietnam became independent for a long time, the Vietnamese began to think that they were not Chinese but Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese are a nation that began to form only 1,000 years ago.

The same thing happened in Korea. At first, the Koreans also considered themselves Chinese, and after independence, they considered themselves Korean.

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Vietnam is already as Sinicized as it could ever be. When the Manchus took over China the Vietnamese emperors even looked down on them as barbarians. However politically Vietnam has never wanted to submit to the Chinese emperor. Also the fact that every time a non-Han people took over China a bunch of loyalists would settle in Vietnam to avoid submission only added to the overall sentiment of death before assimilation.

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In 218 BC, Emperor Qin Shihuang continued to expand the territory by virtue of unifying the six nations, and it was necessary to establish the achievements of the unprecedented people. With his big hand, hundreds of thousands of tigers and wolves of the Qin state went south to Lingnan to conquer the Baiyue tribe.

Although the Baiyue tribe vowed to resist, they were so helpless in the face of the overwhelming superiority of the Qin Kingdom. Eventually they were completely defeated in 214 BC. The land of Lingnan belonged to the Great Qin Empire. The empire divided Guilin County and Nanhai County here. , Elephant County, historically known as "Three Lingnan County".

Today, northern Vietnam is governed by the Elephant County, and the Vietnamese ancestors are the Luoyue people in Baiyue. For more than a thousand years thereafter, northern Vietnam was under the jurisdiction of the Han people, and was also regarded as an inseparable territory by the Han Dynasty's central dynasty.

This situation continued until the end of the Tang Dynasty, the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, when the Vietnamese took advantage of the Central Plains melee and defeated the Southern Han regime in the Southern Han Dynasty, gained independence, and began its days of breaking away from China.

However, even if it is so, the Han central dynasty ruled Vietnam for thousands of years. How could it not be an integral part of China like Fujian and Guangxi? As for the reason, Xiao Yuan thought that Vietnam left Central Plains in one sentence. The dynasty is too long.

Vietnam was independent from China in the late Tang Dynasty of the 10th century, but it was only in the 15th century during the Ming and Yongle years that the Central Plains dynasty reincorporated it into the territory, with a period of 500 years, at least 10 generations. Such a long time is enough for Vietnam Form your own cultural and political system.

Although it is still very similar to the Han dynasty or is in the same line, it is not equal to the Central Plains dynasty, which is similar to the relationship between the United States and Britain. The Vietnamese also defeated the Mongols when the Central Plains collapsed, which enhanced their own national self-confidence.

The Ming Dynasty ’s rule in Vietnam was only 20 years, and the local people greeted the Ming Dynasty as an “aggressor” from the beginning, attacked the Ming army continuously, and finally the Ming Dynasty was overwhelmed by the withdrawal of the army. The dynasty has no sense of belonging.

Since then, they have maintained state-to-state relations with the Central Plains dynasty. Cats and tigers are cats. They have evolved separately for thousands of years. Can we compare them? So how can Vietnam become an indispensable part of China like Guangxi and Fujian, which merged into China in the same period?

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As explained in other answers, Vietnam did become “sinicized”. However, unlike Manchuria, Vietnam eventually became an independent nation, while Manchuria did not.

In the more than 2 centuries of Qing Dynasty rule, Manchurian people migrated from their homeland to every corner of China. Meanwhile, Han Chinese migrated in reverse direction to Manchuria (Northeast China), and became majority there.

When Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, not a single region in China was majority Manchurian. Even in Northeast China, they made up less than 10% of the population. This explains why (the former) Manchuria remains tightly part of China.

By comparison, Vietnamese had always been majority in Red River Delta. They were living at the fringe of the Chinese empire, and were able to retain a distinct identity. When time was right, they simply parted with China and became independent.

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Let’s say, China did not rule Vietnam. The influence is there, but it is still different.

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First of all, thank you very much to Gordon Chao for sending me this question! I would say that after a thousand years of ruling by the Chinese dynasties, Vietnamese people were heavily Sinicized, but not to the extend that losing their own languages and culture.

The main reason was: Under the domination of Chinese dynasties, their administration regimes only appeared at the city and district level, but never extended to the village level . Therefore, the Vietnamese villages were not fully Sinicized, as they still maintained their own autonomy. The Vietnamese village was in fact the cell of the Vietnamese society, where traditional cultures and languages were perfectly preserved for thousand years.


The temple of “Thần Đồng Cổ” or the “God of Bronze Drum” in Hanoi, Vietnam. Only in Vietnam has temples to worship this traditional God of Bronze Drum.

Even after a thousand years under the Chinese dominion, besides the Confucius as well as notable Chinese figures, Vietnamese people still remembered and worshiped their folk heroes and their own Gods. For example, the “God of Bronze Drum” or “ Thần Đồng Cổ” , who represented the spirit of the bronze drum, were still worshiped by Vietnamese people. It should be noticed that bronze drums were in fact the symbol of Vietnamese tribes or the ancient Kingdom of Âu Lạc (甌雒) before the Chinese dominion . On the other hand, ancient Vietnamese Gods such as Tản Viên Sơn Thánh (傘圓山聖) or Sơn Tinh (山精) was also worshiped by Vietnamese people . He was the mythological figure who ruled the Ba Vì mountain range in Northern Vietnam.

On the other hand, it can be seen that the number of Chinese officials and their families in Vietnam were just a small numbers in comparison with the Vietnamese natives. Similarly, the Manchurian people were also outnumbered by Han ethnicity when they occupied China since 1644. Therefore, the unavoidable assimilation processes were happened as they followed the law of the majority.

Once again, I hope this short answer today will clarify why Vietnam was not fully Sinicized, why the Manchurian people were fully adopted the Chinese culture and languages.


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