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Between Trade and Legitimacy, Maritime and Continent: The Zheng Organization in Seventeenth-Century East Asia

Dissertation
Author: Xing Hang
Abstract:
This study examines the Zheng organization, which flourished from 1625 to 1683, during a time when the Ming-Qing transition in China intersected with the formation of an integrated early modern economy in maritime Asia. This quasi-governmental commercial enterprise reached the apex of its power under Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662), and his son and successor Zheng Jing (1642-1681). From bases along the southeastern Chinese coast and Taiwan, they relied upon overseas commerce to maintain a sustained resistance against the Manchus, who had taken over most of China in 1644 from the collapsing Ming, the ethnic Chinese dynasty to which both men had pledged their support. Like their fiercest competitor, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the organization protected the safety and property of Chinese subjects abroad, engaged in armed trade, and aggressively promoted overseas expansion. Zheng Chenggong and Jing proved far more successful and profitable at these endeavors than the VOC. In 1662, shortly before his death, Chenggong even defeated and expelled the company from its colony of Taiwan, and opened the island for Chinese colonization and settlement. Yet, operating within an imperial world order that looked upon overseas contact of any form as a potential source of political instability, the Zhengs, lacking "native" maritime sources of legitimacy, had to receive recognition for their authority from continental centers of power. Father and son skillfully utilized the ranks and titles from the Ming Yongli pretender to rule over territory, develop a civil bureaucracy, and sign treaties with foreign powers, functioning essentially as an autonomous "state." Moreover, by successfully intermediating between continental and maritime Chinese cultural discourse, they forged a complex social unit of traders, militarists, and Ming imperial descendants and loyalist elites. However, this ambiguous arrangement, which gave the organization maximum autonomy and flexibility, came under threat due to the gradual consolidation of Qing rule. Chenggong's successor, Zheng Jing, turned away from Ming symbols of authority on Taiwan during the 1660s, and tried to institutionalize a new identity based upon Han Chinese customs and Confucian moral values on an island considered by contemporaries to be geographically and culturally outside of "China." In negotiations with the Qing court, he pressed hard for the emperor to recognize Taiwan as a tributary kingdom along the lines of Korea. The talks broke down, however, over ethnic identity, as Zheng insisted upon keeping his Han Chinese long hair and flowing robes, while the Qing ruler ordered him to shave his head and wear tight riding jackets in the Manchu style. Despite the failure of negotiations, Zheng took significant steps toward articulating a distinct Han Chinese state. He traded extensively, signed a commercial treaty with the English East Indies Company, and nearly launched an invasion of the Spanish Philippines. However, his return to China to participate in the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories (1674-1681) ruined his organization and paved the way for the Qing invasion and occupation of Taiwan in 1683, two years after his death. This project moves beyond the standard Confucian trope of the Zhengs as ardent Ming loyalists or the Western narrative of ruthless pirate entrepreneurs, extreme discourses later appropriated to serve different nationalisms. Instead, the two men should be viewed as both the initiators and products of a dynamic and internally generated East Asian modernity within an interdependent economic and cultural region that nonetheless enjoyed significant interactions outside the system. Such an approach imbues maritime China with agency and revises the role commonly attributed to it as a marginalized appendage of its bureaucratic and agrarian continental counterpart. An examination of interstate relations unique to this East Asian world region also allows one to conceive of communities beyond the nation-state, and make sense of their identity formation and change, especially when combined with shifts in spatial settings.

ii TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Dedication ................................................................................................................................. i Table of Contents ...................................................................................................................... ii List of Maps .............................................................................................................................. iii List of Tables ............................................................................................................................ iv List of Illustrations .................................................................................................................... v Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................... ix Note on Characters and Romanization ..................................................................................... xiii Measurement Conversions ........................................................................................................ xiii Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 1 The Grand Stage of Maritime History ...................................................................................... 32 An Autonomous Maritime Commercial State .......................................................................... 67 Caught Between Two Legitimacies .......................................................................................... 112 Brave New World ..................................................................................................................... 151 The Zheng “State” on Taiwan................................................................................................... 195 A Question of Hairdos and Fashion .......................................................................................... 233 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 271 Character List ............................................................................................................................ 283 Works Cited .............................................................................................................................. 293

iii LIST OF MAPS

1. Fujian, Taiwan, and Surrounding Areas (c. 1655) ................................................................ xiv 2. The Eighteen Provinces of the Ming and Qing (c. 1655) ..................................................... xv 3. Maritime East Asia (c. 1655) ................................................................................................ xvi 4. The Netherlands around 1650 ............................................................................................... 36 5. A map of the Dutch settlements, the main targets of Zheng Chenggong’s offensive. .......... 163

iv LIST OF TABLES

1. Comparative value of Chinese and VOC silver exports to Nagasaki, 1648 to 1649 and 1650 to 1662 (p. 87)

2. Comparative value of Chinese and VOC silver exports to Nagasaki, 1648 to 1649 and 1650 to 1662 (p. 103)

3. The number and trading value of Chinese junks sailing from China to Southeast Asia per year, 1650 to 1660 (p. 104)

4. The Zheng organization’s profits from the Japan and Southeast Asian markets, 1650-1662 (p. 107)

5. Graphic representation of the Zheng organization’s profitability, 1650-1662 (p. 108)

6. Zheng revenue structure on Taiwan (p. 205)

7. Annual number of Zheng vessels arriving at Nagasaki, 1663-1673 (p. 216)

8. Comparative value of Chinese and VOC silver exports to Nagasaki, 1663 to 1672 (p. 222)

v LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

1. Idol of Zheng Chenggong at the Zheng Ancestral Shrine in Tainan City, Taiwan. (p. 11)

2. Statue of Zheng Chenggong, erected by the Fujian provincial government in 2004, overlooks the city of Quanzhou from atop Daping Mountain. (p. 14)

3. Signpost of Zheng Chenggong near his birthplace at Kawauchi, on the island of Hirado, in Japan. The words read: “The Hero of Asia born in Hirado. Zheng Chenggong, Lord of the Imperial Surname.” (p. 15)

4. The stunningly beautiful landscape of Fujian is primarily characterized by mountain ranges, very few navigable rivers, and limited land for agriculture. (p. 33)

5. The alluvial plain formed by the Jiulong River near Zhangzhou City. (p. 35)

6. Senrigahama, near the castle town of Hirado. This marker denotes the exact location where Tagawa Matsu supposedly gave birth to Zheng Chenggong in 1624. (p. 43)

7. Rice paddies and pockets of small ponds now cover a flat plain once submerged underwater, beneath a bay separating Fort Zeelandia and the Dutch settlement of Tayouan from the rest of Taiwan. (p. 54)

8. The concentric circle model of tianxia. (p. 58)

9. The interpenetrating social composition of the Zheng organization. (p. 71)

10. Portrait of Zheng Chenggong. Detail from the painting “Zheng Chenggong Playing Chess,” of unknown origin and date. (p. 73)

11. The Zheng organization’s overseas trading strucutre. The highlighted boxes refer to institutions forming part of the official Zheng bureaucracy. (p. 82)

12. Model of a typical Chinese commercial junk in use during the Ming and Qing periods. (p. 85)

13. The Chinese Interpreters’ Office once stood on the grounds of the Nagasaki Prefectural Library. (p. 93)

vi 14. Zheng Chenggong’s seal, which bears his title of “Generalissimo Who Summons and Quells,” bestowed by the Yongli Emperor in 1648. (p. 113)

15. One of Zheng Chenggong’s main military bases at Riguangyan, or Sunshine Cliff, on Gulangyu, a small island next to Xiamen. He would station troops and store his supplies and provisions within these stockades, found mostly in hilly or mountainous areas. (p. 122)

16. One of Zheng Chenggong’s surviving poems, written in his own calligraphy. (p. 123)

17. A tablet bearing the characters for “Military Boundary,” personally written and signed by Zheng Chenggong. Found within a temple near the town of Dongshi, near Quanzhou, it is the only known surviving one out of what must have been many more similar markers that used to dot the southeastern Chinese coast. They strictly delineated the confines of his soldiers’ activities, especially the area where they could legally station and plunder for goods, a testament to his strict control and discipline over his organization. (p. 137)

18. One of the cannons utilized by Zheng Chenggong’s soldiers during his campaigns. (p. 143)

19. A garden on the grounds of He Tingbin’s former mansion in Tainan, Taiwan, which would later become a part of the Tainan Public Meeting Hall under Japanese colonial rule. (p. 152)

20. The narrow Lu’ermen, or Lakjemeuse, Channel, the entry point for Zheng Chenggong’s ships into Taiwan. (p. 162)

21. A sketch of Casteel Zeelandia. A narrow strip of land, seen on the right side of the image, connects the fortress at Tayouan with the main island in the background across from the bay. Shops and residences are found on the left side. (p. 165)

22. The grounds of Fort Provintia, which would later become the provisional Ming imperial palace and seat of Chengtian Prefecture. (p. 172)

23. Casteel Zeelandia, which later became the Zheng family’s headquarters on Taiwan. Today, only the foundations remain of this once-impressive defensive network. On top of it, the Qing maintained a garrison until the late nineteenth century, just before Taiwan was ceded to Japan. The grounds of the fortress then became converted into an observation deck and a dormitory for customs officers. (p. 184)

24. The island of Tongshan, present-day Dongshan, served as a subsidiary base of the Zheng

vii organization. The walls, partly shown here, and the main fortress were built during the sixteenth century to repel piratical attacks. (p. 193)

25. Portrait of Zheng Jing with two attendants. Detail from a painting of unknown origin and date. (p. 197)

26. A shrine dedicated to Chen Yonghua at Tainan. (p. 202)

27. As in the time of Zheng Jing, the small and winding alleyways of Anping continue to bustle with commercial activity. (p. 208)

28. The entrance to the Confucian Shrine at Tainan, built under the supervision of Chen Yonghua in 1666. (p. 210)

29. Altar to the Jade Emperor, the Daoist ruler of Heaven and Earth, at the Shrine to the Supreme Heaven in Tainan. The plaque above bears the calligraphy of Zhu Shugui, Prince of Ningjing. (p. 212)

30. Painting of a Taiwan junk. (p. 213)

31. Qing-era statue of Shi Lang, with two attendants. (p. 246)

32. The young Kangxi Emperor in his study. (p. 248)

33. The Quanzhou Confucian Shrine, where the fateful negotiations between the Zheng envoys and Qing officials took place. (p. 254)

34. Elite and common forms of hairstyle and dress during the Ming. (p. 259)

35. The alteration of hairstyle and fashion after the Manchu occupation. (p. 260)

36. Zheng Jing’s former mansion and pleasure gardens on the outskirts of Tainan. After the occupation of Taiwan in 1683, the Qing authorities converted the grounds into the Kaiyuan Temple. (p. 269)

37. A huge statue of Zheng Chenggong overlooks Xiamen Harbor from the islet of Gulangyu. (p. 280)

viii 38. Xiamen today remains one of the key destinations for Mainland-bound Taiwanese investment. (p. 282)

ix AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many individuals have helped me greatly throughout the long, arduous process of completing this dissertation. The Center for Chinese Studies of Taiwan’s National Central Library provided me a generous grant to do research for six months in Taipei during 2009. Not only did I enjoy the delicious food from the cafeteria and collect volumes after volumes of texts from my little carrel overlooking the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, but I also had the great fortune of mingling with colleagues in Chinese studies from around the world. Many new ideas arose through casual conversations over the phenomenal shaved ice at Xianyuxian or during a weekend hike in the mountains of Maokong. I would also like to thank Keng Li-chun, Jane Liau, and other members of the staff for organizing trips and fun activities, arranging contacts with professors on my behalf, directing me to sources, or simply being there to chat. During this stay in Taiwan, as well as an earlier trip made during the summer of 2006, when I was affiliated with the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica, I benefited from the valuable advice of several professors and researchers. For several months in 2009, I participated in dissertation mentoring sessions with Chen Kuo-tung (Chen Guodong) of the Institute of History and Philology, who opened for me vast new perspectives on the economic networks of the Western Pacific and the activities of overseas Chinese merchants. I further extend my gratitude to Liu Shiuh-feng (Liu Xufeng) of Academia Sinica’s Center for Maritime History and Liao Chao-heng of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy. In conferences and over meals, they introduced me to the early modern relationship between maritime China and Japan, and provided information on valuable Tokugawa-era sources related to the junk trade with Nagasaki. Zhang Qixiong of the Institute of Modern History encouraged me to think carefully about the Zheng organization in terms of the values and ideological structure of the East Asian world order and tributary system. I also had the great honor of visiting Ts’ao Yung-ho (Cao Yonghe), one of the eminent founders of Taiwan studies, at his Taipei home, where he conversed in highly fluent English and took me out for Korean food. During my earlier visit in 2006 and again in 2009, I met and benefited greatly from the advice of Lin Man-houng, head of the Academia Historica, who has, through our lengthy conversations, given me insight into the value of identity as a malleable and functional concept, and its conjunction with trade. Cheung Wing-Sheung (Zheng Yongchang), chairman of the History Department at National Chenggong University in Tainan, first directed my focus toward Zheng Chenggong’s connection to sea power. At his kind invitation, I was further given the wonderful opportunity of speaking about my dissertation in front of an audience of Taiwanese graduate students in February 2009. On a similar note, I would also like to thank Lee Kwong-kin of National Jinan International University in scenic Nantou for inviting me to lecture about my topic at his school in April of the same year. That visit included a tour of a Taiwanese aboriginal village and the iconic Sun-Moon Lake. Su Chun-Wei (Su Junwei), a Political

x Science doctoral student at National Taiwan University, tirelessly referred me to textual and web-based resources related to the Zheng organization, and interpreted for me many complicated literary Chinese passages within the primary documents. I would also like to thank her advisor, Wu Yu-Shan, for encouraging me to apply political theory into my work. In both 2006 and 2009, I did extensive research along the southeastern coast of Mainland China, particularly in Fujian. I owe my gratitude to many remarkable individuals who have made my stay there memorable and exciting. Deng Kongzhao of Xiamen University’s Taiwan Research Institute and Lin Qiquan of the History Department generously invited me into their offices and homes, and given me many of their articles, as well as the edited collections of other Mainland scholars. On the sidelines of a conference in Hong Kong in 2006, Robert Antony thoughtfully provided me the contact of Zheng Guangnan, a retired faculty of Fujian Normal University in Fuzhou and an illustrious descendant of my protagonists. When I went to Fuzhou three years later, Professor Zheng looked after me like my own grandfather, waking me up at my hotel at six in the morning (admittedly a bit early for my habits), buying me breakfast, and giving me small presents. The highlight of the trip occurred when he rode the bus with me down to his hometown in Shijing, the Zheng ancestral village, where I stayed with his nephew, Zheng Chongxin, and family for almost a week. I am truly indebted to these kind-hearted people, who housed and fed me, treated me as one of their own, and took me to numerous historical sites related to the Zheng family. The research trip to Fujian would not have been so fruitful and exciting without their incredible generosity and hospitality, and local expertise. In addition, I had meaningful conversations with other scholars in the area, including Zheng Congming, head of the Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall at Shijing and another descendant Chenggong and Jing; Xu Wenting, director of the Zheng Chenggong Scholarly Research Association of Quanzhou; and Li Yukun, a specialist in Quanzhou local and maritime history. Lin Lianhua of Xiamen University, one of Zheng Guangnan’s students, gave me helpful tips on the different types and constructions of Chinese junks, and their historical evolution over the Qing. He also took me to play pool and watch a village opera during my stay in Shijing, and introduced me to olive juice, a Fuzhou specialty. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the Fujianese motorcycle taxi drivers. Not only did they provide a valuable service, taking me to villages and outposts where public transportation remains irregular or nonexistent, but they also gave me some of the most thrilling and hair-raising adventures of my life, including driving on the opposite side of a national highway. It is truly on account of their remarkable skills and fast reflexes that I made it back safely and remain alive to tell of the experience! Here in the United States, I have likewise accumulated tremendous social debts from many kind and helpful mentors and colleagues. I am thankful to my fellow doctoral students at the History Department of Berkeley for their support and encouragement, as well as the random but always enlightening conversations in the Graduate Student Lounge, computer lab, and the hallways of Dwinelle Hall that often run for hours. In particular, Zhang Zhaoyang helped me

xi interpret difficult literary Chinese passages, read and critiqued samples of my work, and, most importantly, kept in check my antisocial tendencies during the writing phase through weekly gatherings consisting of ethnic food, frozen yogurt, and midnight escapades across the Bay Area. My appreciation also goes out to my cohorts in maritime Asian history, whose scholarship has served as a powerful source of inspiration for my own work. Tonio Andrade persuaded me to publish some of my writing, while John E. Wills, Jr. gave highly penetrating critiques of my first article submission in 2005, which not only bolstered its publication several years later, but also stimulated further ideas that went into this current project. Emma Teng has also been tremendously helpful in elucidating some points of her book and speaking with me about my future direction during a brief meeting over coffee in Cambridge. Berkeley’s Dutch Studies program has put me in touch with the European side of my research. Inez Hollander’s language courses taught me the foundational vocabulary and grammar of the Dutch language, while Jeroen Dewulf introduced me to a wide variety of opportunities and contacts in the Netherlands, many of which I have still yet to pursue. I would like to thank all the members of my dissertation committee for taking the time out of their busy schedules to read and critique my work. Marion Fourcade has encouraged me to learn and apply sociological theory as a means of examining identity, images, and the interaction of government and economy. Jan de Vries went out of his way to hold a tutorial with me on early modern maritime Europe, and work with me in translating several difficult passages from seventeenth-century Dutch. Kenneth Pomeranz’s groundbreaking work, The Great Divergence, has intrigued and inspired me since my undergraduate days. I was highly surprised and honored that he could join my committee, and have greatly benefited from his meticulous comments on my work. I thank Yeh Wen-hsin, the chair of my committee, for her remarkable and cutting insight, and for ceaselessly pushing me to consider my project in terms of broader historiographical problems and questions. Although he sadly left the world in 2006, my former advisor, Frederic Wakeman, continues to motivate me with the example of his life, especially his breadth of historical knowledge, brilliant scholarship, and humorous anecdotes. My appreciation goes out to the important people of my undergraduate institution, the University of Georgia, for their role in launching me upon the career of academia. Eric Dahl guided me through the entire process of scholarship and graduate school applications, and remains a close mentor to whom I frequently turn for advice. Ari Levine and Karl Friday of the History Department, and Karin Myhre of Comparative Literature introduced me to East Asian history and literature for the first time through several survey and upper division courses. As a result, I picked up a second major in East Asian Studies, marginalized my other concentration in Finance, and hoped never to face reality again. In fact, my senior thesis, written under Levine’s direction, on the Qing coastal removal policy and its impact on the Zheng organization, became the basis for my current interest. Finally, I would like to thank the people closest and dearest to my life, including my friends

xii and family, who have always supported and encouraged me and kept me sane throughout the stressful and arduous process of research and writing. In particular, I am grateful to my parents, Hsinwei Hang and Nanchu Li, for the education, opportunities, and good life that their sacrifice and hard work have afforded me, and for being so difficult to please. These are, unfortunately, debts that I may never be able to repay in full. Last but not least, I thank Victoria Miu for her continued advice, care, sense of humor, sharp criticisms, and willingness to remain with me through both moments of great joy and tribulation. Without the help of these and certainly many more individuals whose names I am simply unable to list in this limited space, I would not have been able to finish this project and move toward the next stage of my life in a timely manner. To all of you, then, I once again express my deepest appreciation and gratitude.

Xing Hang July 24, 2010 Waltham, MA

xiii NOTE ON CHARACTERS AND ROMANIZATION

For the transcription of Chinese characters, this work primarily utilizes the Pinyin system, the official Romanization standard of the People’s Republic of China, which has gained increasing acceptance in Taiwan and other Chinese communities outside the Mainland, as well as in the West. Exceptions to this rule include instances of a more popularly accepted spelling in English (Taipei instead of Taibei, Chiang Kai-shek instead of Jiang Jieshi), or when an author utilizes his or her own variant in an article or book published in a foreign language (Wong Young-tsu instead of Wang Rongzu). If the same author also writes in Chinese, both Pinyin and the alternate Romanization would be listed, with the latter in parentheses, and vice versa when citing his or her foreign-language publication. Japanese names and concepts utilize the Revised Hepburn system, while Korean terms follow the Revised Romanization of Korean (RR), introduced by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Korea in 2000. The characters for nearly all Romanized names and terms can be found in the “List of Characters” at the back of this work. Traditional Chinese characters are used when referring to historical place names, individuals, and scholarship from Taiwan. Terms specific to Mainland China after 1949 appear in simplified form. Similarly, Japanese terms relevant to the period after World War II are written according to the modified kanji resulting from the educational reforms of 1946.

MEASUREMENT CONVERSIONS

The following are the primary units of measurement found in this work, and their rates of conversion among one another and with corresponding present-day metric units:

1 chō = .9917 hectares 1 dan (picul) = 100 jin (catties) = 50 kg 1 kan = 100.2 taels = 3.75 kg 1 jia = 1 morgen = 0.96992 hectares 1 li = 150 zhang = 500 m 1 mu = 0.06667 hectares 1 shi = 82.81 kg 1 Zheng tael (liang) = 1 Spanish real = 2.85 guldens = 10 qian = 100 fen = 5 g

xiv

Map 1.  Adapted from Tonio Andrade, How Taiwan became Chinese (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005)

xv

Map 2.  Adapted from Map 2 in G. William Skinner, “Regional Urbanization in Nineteenth­Century China,” in The City in Late  Imperial China, ed. Skinner (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1977), 214­215. 

xvi

Map 3. 

1 INTRODUCTION

A lone fleet of seafaring ships slowly sailed toward the harbor of Quanzhou one sunny afternoon in September 1669, or the eighth month of the eighth year of the reign of Emperor Shengzu (1654-1722), the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661-1722) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). 1

This regional center of southern Fujian Province, on the southeastern Chinese coast, had been a renowned port for international commerce since the Tang Dynasty (618-906). Now, however, its harbor appeared all but abandoned, and its facilities rundown from neglect due to the Qing court’s strict policies prohibiting trade and travel abroad. 2 Amid the sweltering heat and humidity of late summer, two high-ranking officials dispatched from the capital, Beijing, over 1,600 kilometers away to the north, awaited anxiously at the dock. When the vessels arrived and dropped anchor, Mingju (1635-1708), Secretary of the Board of Punishments (Xingbu), and Cai Yurong (1633-1699), an official under the Board of War (Bingbu), ran forward to greet two important-looking men who had emerged from one of the ships. After a brief exchange of formalities, they escorted the guests and their retinue to lodgings in the center of town. Along the way, crowds of curious commoners and soldiers flocked to have a look at the exotic, yet familiar, characters that had set foot on their shores. 3 Similar to the locals, they were born and grew up in southern Fujian and spoke the southern Fujianese, or Minnanese, language, but in terms of their dress and hairstyle, they appeared to be generations apart from their surroundings. As in the rest of the Qing Empire, the residents of Quanzhou wore tight, Manchu-style riding jackets and had their heads shaved, leaving a thin queue hanging in the back. The visitors, on the other hand, sported loose, flowing robes and horsehair caps, and coiled their long hair into a topknot. This fashion, while in vogue during the former Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), had been outlawed among all Han Chinese imperial subjects since the dynasty’s collapse over two decades ago. Nevertheless, the residents of Quanzhou managed to “once again witness the majestic presence of Han officials” from a bygone era. 4

Several days later, within the dark, incense-filled rooms of the Confucian Temple, the two sides sat down for weeks of extremely tense and difficult negotiations. In the end, the visitors finally threw down their cards, saying that “we refuse to shave our heads and would like to follow the precedents of Korea. We want to stay in Taiwan in perpetuity and become your ministers and pay tribute.” 5 Mingju and Cai likewise insisted that, while they had no problem with allowing their ruler to keep his land as a hereditary, autonomous fiefdom, they could not

1 Shengzu forms the most essential part of the honorific title of the Qing ruler bestowed upon him after his death, while Kangxi refers to the name of the period of his reign. Chinese dates are based upon the combination of the years of an emperor’s reign name and the months and dates of the lunar calendar. When referring to them, I use the following format: Kangxi 6.1/25 to stand for the twenty-fifth day of the first month in the sixth year of Kangxi. 2 Yu Yonghe, Pihai jiyou (Small Sea Travels), Taiwan wenxian congkan (Taiwan Historical Documentary Collectanea, henceforth abbreviated as TWWXCK), 44 (Taipei: Taiwan yinhang jingji yanjiushi, 1959), 48. 3 Xia Lin, Haiji jiyao (A Summary of Records of the Sea), TWWXCK, 128 (1960), 37. 4 Ibid., 37. 5 Jiang Risheng, Taiwan waiji (An Unofficial Record of Taiwan), TWWXCK, 60 (1960), 255.

2 accept the example of Korea, the premier Qing vassal kingdom. Just as “father and son cannot wear different caps and gowns, how can rulers and ministers have different institutions and clothing? This matter of shaving the hair is what you must look up and obey with one will.” 6

Tired and frustrated by the fruitless back and forth exchanges, Mingju and Cai decided to dispatch two envoys to accompany the visitors back home to persuade their ruler to submit. After an elaborate farewell ceremony, the four of them sailed away from the harbor of Quanzhou—a frontier outpost of Qing imperial control—into the vast and lawless maritime world beyond. The ships made their way across the treacherous strait and, after a two-day journey, landed on the island of Taiwan, some 170 kilometers to the east of Fujian. 7 In contrast to the rather desolate atmosphere of Quanzhou, the port of Anping, on the outskirts of present-day Tainan, bustled with commercial activity, with junks frequently arriving from and departing for ports across East and Southeast Asia. Here lay the seat of Zheng Jing (1642-1681)—the Hereditary Prince of Yanping (Yanping wang shizi)—ruler of an autonomous political entity and maritime trading enterprise nominally loyal to the fallen Ming Dynasty. He had inherited this territory several years ago, after the death of his father, the legendary sea lord Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662), also known as Koxinga. When they had anchored, Ke Ping and Ye Heng, two of Jing’s top officials, emerged from one of the ships and escorted their Qing counterparts, Mu Tianyan and Ji Quan, to see their ruler and continue the negotiations over the status of Taiwan and the position of its subjects within the Qing-dominated East Asian world order. This small snapshot of negotiations with the Qing court during the summer of 1669 illustrates the deep contradiction faced by the Zheng organization throughout its existence. With roots in the piratical smuggling ring of Zheng Zhilong (c. 1604-1662) during the 1620s, in the waning days of the Ming, it came to dominate the intra-Asian trading lanes until its demise at the hands of the succeeding Qing in 1683. At their height, Zhilong’s main successors—his son, Chenggong, and grandson, Jing—achieved spectacular profits from their role as commercial middlemen, greater than its fiercest competitors: the Netherlands United East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC). Under them, moreover, the organization converted its tremendous economic influence, especially among Fujianese and overseas Chinese, into actual political power. After his meteoric rise to power in 1650, Zheng Chenggong successfully established an informal, autonomous maritime state ruling most of the Mainland coast from bases in southern Fujian. He even expanded overseas, seizing Taiwan from the Dutch in 1662 and opening it for Chinese colonization and exploitation before his death several months later.

Full document contains 328 pages
Abstract: This study examines the Zheng organization, which flourished from 1625 to 1683, during a time when the Ming-Qing transition in China intersected with the formation of an integrated early modern economy in maritime Asia. This quasi-governmental commercial enterprise reached the apex of its power under Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662), and his son and successor Zheng Jing (1642-1681). From bases along the southeastern Chinese coast and Taiwan, they relied upon overseas commerce to maintain a sustained resistance against the Manchus, who had taken over most of China in 1644 from the collapsing Ming, the ethnic Chinese dynasty to which both men had pledged their support. Like their fiercest competitor, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the organization protected the safety and property of Chinese subjects abroad, engaged in armed trade, and aggressively promoted overseas expansion. Zheng Chenggong and Jing proved far more successful and profitable at these endeavors than the VOC. In 1662, shortly before his death, Chenggong even defeated and expelled the company from its colony of Taiwan, and opened the island for Chinese colonization and settlement. Yet, operating within an imperial world order that looked upon overseas contact of any form as a potential source of political instability, the Zhengs, lacking "native" maritime sources of legitimacy, had to receive recognition for their authority from continental centers of power. Father and son skillfully utilized the ranks and titles from the Ming Yongli pretender to rule over territory, develop a civil bureaucracy, and sign treaties with foreign powers, functioning essentially as an autonomous "state." Moreover, by successfully intermediating between continental and maritime Chinese cultural discourse, they forged a complex social unit of traders, militarists, and Ming imperial descendants and loyalist elites. However, this ambiguous arrangement, which gave the organization maximum autonomy and flexibility, came under threat due to the gradual consolidation of Qing rule. Chenggong's successor, Zheng Jing, turned away from Ming symbols of authority on Taiwan during the 1660s, and tried to institutionalize a new identity based upon Han Chinese customs and Confucian moral values on an island considered by contemporaries to be geographically and culturally outside of "China." In negotiations with the Qing court, he pressed hard for the emperor to recognize Taiwan as a tributary kingdom along the lines of Korea. The talks broke down, however, over ethnic identity, as Zheng insisted upon keeping his Han Chinese long hair and flowing robes, while the Qing ruler ordered him to shave his head and wear tight riding jackets in the Manchu style. Despite the failure of negotiations, Zheng took significant steps toward articulating a distinct Han Chinese state. He traded extensively, signed a commercial treaty with the English East Indies Company, and nearly launched an invasion of the Spanish Philippines. However, his return to China to participate in the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories (1674-1681) ruined his organization and paved the way for the Qing invasion and occupation of Taiwan in 1683, two years after his death. This project moves beyond the standard Confucian trope of the Zhengs as ardent Ming loyalists or the Western narrative of ruthless pirate entrepreneurs, extreme discourses later appropriated to serve different nationalisms. Instead, the two men should be viewed as both the initiators and products of a dynamic and internally generated East Asian modernity within an interdependent economic and cultural region that nonetheless enjoyed significant interactions outside the system. Such an approach imbues maritime China with agency and revises the role commonly attributed to it as a marginalized appendage of its bureaucratic and agrarian continental counterpart. An examination of interstate relations unique to this East Asian world region also allows one to conceive of communities beyond the nation-state, and make sense of their identity formation and change, especially when combined with shifts in spatial settings.