The Chinese army reaching the Ili river without opposition during Qing Dynasty's military campaign against the Dzungars in 1755.
(Inside Science) -- "There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy," once said American journalist Alfred Henry Lewis (1855-1914). A recent study that examined the correlation between thousands of natural disasters and wars in China’s history may prove him right. The paper, published in the journal The Holocene, adds to the growing body of literature on the sociological impact of extreme weather events, a field that researchers argue will be important to understand as the current climate continues to change.
"The essence of Confucianism is about maintaining social order in agrarian society. The king should not be challenged, the young should respect the old, etc.," wrote Harry Lee in an email to Inside Science. Lee is a historian from The University of Hong Kong and author of the paper. "Under Confucianism, the peasants can only use 'the Mandate of Heaven' as an excuse to rebel against their ruler."
The Mandate of Heaven is the ancient Chinese belief that the king, sometimes referred to as "the Son of Heaven," was chosen by the gods. When a drought or an epidemic devastates a region, the people would see it as a sign that the gods are no longer satisfied with the ruler, and they are free to revolt without violating the ideals of Confucianism.