How credible is their claim that China imposed the culture on Vietnam in the past?

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With great admiration for Chinese culture, economy, and politics, Vietnam has modeled itself after China in many aspects and still does today.

How credible is their claim that China imposed the culture on Vietnam in the past?

Why do they claim that?
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China's Han Dynasty conquered Vietnam in 111 BC.

From that time until today, of those 2100 years, Vietnam has literally been a territory of China, completely under the control of the emperor of China, for more than 1,000 of them. For right half of the past two millennia, Vietnam didn't even exist except as a Chinese province.

Emperors of China have never been shy about actively asserting the supremacy of Chinese culture to everyone they encountered.

And since 1949, when the Communists took China, the government in Beijing has harbored imperialesque ambitions about restoring China to the global dominance it enjoyed back in the Ming and Tang dynasties, beginning with its neighbors in Asia.

How credible is their claim? I don't think you'll meet any Vietnamese or Chinese person who would disagree with it (though their feelings about it will obviously differ greatly.)

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China controlled part of the north Vietnam started from Qin-Han era and totally lost it after Tang Dynasty. Ming Dynasty shortly occupied part of the north Vietnam and soon withdrew since that it cannot last the garrsion with the behind logistic ability.

If China did imposed the culture on Vietnam in the past. Like Imperial Japan once carried out Japanese education in Taiwan region. At least, I do believe some of Vietnamese will still think they are bundle with China just like now some brain dead Taiwanese wish to beautify Imperial Japan’s invasion and colonization.

The real situation is that China’s control of Vietnam in the ancient time is very loose. Even the time before Tang, central government set administrative unit and appointed officials at north of Vietnam, such control is still more like a autonomy. (In Chinese it called “羁縻制度”).

Anti China (Central dynasty) is just a nationalism way to form Vietnam the country and also granted legal basis of those ancient Vietnam kings to rule the country. Like, I protect the land and people of Vietnam from north gaint’s invasion and threat, thus it is my right to rule the country and people. And unfortunatelly, it lasts till the modern age. Considering what happened between the two countries even in modern age, such theory will still have market.

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First of all, some history. As you might know, imperial China, before Qing, was very strong and no doubt one of the leading countries/kingdoms of the world. Although it has gone through multiple dynasties, it’s culture has endured, and still remain one of the world’s most known and important cultures.

During the Tang and the Ming dynasties, when China was at its peak, people, traders and delegates from countries as far as in Africa came to the Chinese court, to learn their customs, ways and technology. This was further enhanced by the Silk Road and Zheng He’s voyages. Two of the most notable country that learned from China was Japan and what is now Vietnam.

So, yes. Vietnam learned from China.

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Look at the temple designs. Yes, there is a sign of their own cultures, but the roofs, the stairs, all of it are of Chinese culture.

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For one to have an understanding of this topic, you need to look into how the ancient Chinese empires/dynasties affected the region around them.

How much influence can be applied depended on the military might and some circumstances. Another big thing to take note of is proximity to the Chinese empire of the day and how the kingdom was founded, why it would pay tribute and what sort of influence China exerted over it.

The Nanyue kingdom which have ruled much of modern day northern Vietnam was founded by a Qin dynasty general after the fall of the Qin dynasty. Nanyue’s power center would remain within the confines of what is modern day China and it would pay tribute to the Han who overthrew the Qin. The legacy of Nanyue can be quite polarizing in the context of Vietnam’s history.

For China’s neighbors like Vietnamese kingdoms, the Korean kingdoms and Japan. They have in many ways had to accept the writing, language and religion(s) that came with the relationship.

A similar situation can be found further south in Asia where the trading needs with Arabia eventually saw many rulers convert to Islam.

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