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Thread: Jin Yong's depiction of the Juchen Jin Empire in LOCH

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Jin Yong's depiction of the Juchen Jin Empire in LOCH

    How did Jin Yong depict the soldiers of the Juchen Jin Empire in LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES? Based on what I saw in TVB's LOCH '82 series, the Jin really weren't that bad. They were no worse than the Sung and Mongol troops that appeared in the CONDOR HEROES TRILOGY and in fact, there was only *one* incident in LOCH (the series) of Jin soldiers going on an unprovoked massacre of civilians (i.e. when Prince Yeun Nan Hung Lit tried to murder Yeung Teet Sum after Yeung had been reunited with Pau Sik Yerk). By comparison, there were *many* more scenes of Mongol troops slaughtering civilians in LOCH, ROCH, and HSDS... and there were many scenes in LOCH that depicted the Sung soldiers as being more despicable than the Jin. The Jin were supposed to be Gwok Jing and Wong Yung's main antagonists in LOCH, but it's hard to work up alot of hatred against them.

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    In the beginning of ROCH, a storyteller told of a refugee family that was caught up with some Jurchen troops. The Jin officer took a liking to the daughter and tried to take her by force. She resisted and the officer put her family to the knife. And she killed herself. So yeah the Hans' hatred of the Jurchen runs pretty deep.

    All Han Chinese under the Jurchen were second-class or worse. Basically any foreign domination is hell to the Hans. Just remember that China under the Sung dynasty(especially the southern Sung) was a golden age and the Mongols ruined it.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Looking back on this topic after several years, it still seems to me that in LOCH, the threat of the Jin Empire to the Sung Kingdom was oversold. According to history, by the year 1200 (around the time LOCH began), the Jin Empire was far too tapped-out and exhausted to seriously consider mounting an invasion of the Sung-controlled southern half of China. The Jin had, in fact, stopped in 1127 when it drove the Sung out of the north because it lacked the resources to expand itself any farther. By the early 1200s, the Jin had the additional problem of having the Mongols breathing down its neck in the northwest, meaning that any military strength the Jin still had needed to be concentrated on defense of the northwestern border, not towards invading the Sung-held territories to the south.

    As it was, the Jin had found itself in a stalemate with the Sung even without the Mongol threat looming. As soon as the Mongols began to raid outside of the steppes, the Jin were in big trouble.

    All through LOCH, however, we keep hearing the Han characters go on and on about the threat of Jin invasion. *What* threat? The Jin might have had ambitions to invade the south, but never really had the power to do so. The threat was a pretty hollow one compared to the *real* threat the Mongols posed to both Jin and Sung.

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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    our wuxia heroes were great fighters, but most of them weren't involved with politics. they hardly could've expected the mongols to be attacking them. they're cared only so much to fend for honor and patriotism. the Song were most likely still very bitter about their teritorry being occupied by foreign forces in the north.

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    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    All through LOCH, however, we keep hearing the Han characters go and and on about the threat of Jin invasion. *What* threat? The Jin might have had ambitions to invade the south, but never really had the power to do so. The threat was a pretty hollow one compared to the *real* threat the Mongols posed to both Jin and Sung.
    Well, they wanted the northen part of Song land back.

    As for the 'threat', it makes sense for your guy-on-the-street. In the real world, those people wouldn't know the real strategic balance-of-forces. Just like in 1940/41, the British had Home Guards/Civilians watching the beaches with suspicion 24/7 even though the Germans had zero chance of pulling off an invasion of the Home Islands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC View Post
    Well, they wanted the northen part of Song land back.
    I think it casts a shadow on the heroism of our LOCH patriots, especially Gwok Jing, because in light of historical reality, they weren't fighting for anything that their people absolutely needed for survival (the people of the southern Sung weren't doing any worse in their daily lives for NOT having the northern half of China too). In the north, the Hans were somewhat oppressed by the Juchen Jin government, but not really more so than their brothers in the south by the Southern Sung government. It just seems to me that in LOCH, the heroes were fighting for issues of pride and glory rather than protecting lives, and to me, that casts a dubious pall over their heroism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    I think it casts a shadow on the heroism of our LOCH patriots, especially Gwok Jing, because in light of historical reality, they weren't fighting for anything that their people absolutely needed for survival (the people of the southern Sung weren't doing any worse in their daily lives for NOT having the northern half of China too). In the north, the Hans were somewhat oppressed by the Juchen Jin government, but not really more so than their brothers in the south by the Southern Sung government. It just seems to me that in LOCH, the heroes were fighting for issues of pride and glory rather than protecting lives, and to me, that casts a dubious pall over their heroism.
    isn't that really the core of patriotism?

    "this is our land, and no one is going to take it from us..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixdays View Post
    isn't that really the core of patriotism?

    "this is our land, and no one is going to take it from us..."
    Maybe I'm being affected by what I've seen the U.S. do in Iraq the past few years. Certain wars have this vibe of being unnecessary, and the anti-Jin war in LOCH kind of strikes me that way. No civilian in LOCH was begging his or her government or wulin heroes to fight the Jin and take back the north from them. Quite the opposite: they seemed to want to let sleeping dogs lie, go on with their lives, and not bring disaster upon themselves by provoking the Jin into an unnecessary conflict.

    Maybe if Jin Yong had included more scenes in LOCH of the Jin doing cruel and evil things to the Han (like he did with the Mongols in ROCH and HSDS), I'd feel differently, but it seems to me that Gwok Jing and his mentors/allies in LOCH were fighting, as George Lucas might call it, a "phantom menace."

    There's just something about the LOCH patriotism that seems more "crusade" than "upholding justice" to me.

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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Maybe I'm being affected by what I've seen the U.S. do in Iraq the past few years. Certain wars have this vibe of being unnecessary, and the anti-Jin war in LOCH kind of strikes me that way. No civilian in LOCH was begging his or her government or wulin heroes to fight the Jin and take back the north from them. Quite the opposite: they seemed to want to let sleeping dogs lie, go on with their lives, and not bring disaster upon themselves by provoking the Jin into an unnecessary conflict.

    Maybe if Jin Yong had included more scenes in LOCH of the Jin doing cruel and evil things to the Han (like he did with the Mongols in ROCH and HSDS), I'd feel differently, but it seems to me that Gwok Jing and his mentors/allies in LOCH were fighting, as George Lucas might call it, a "phantom menace."

    There's just something about the LOCH patriotism that seems more "crusade" than "upholding justice" to me.
    to me, it seemed that LOCH civilians were quite unset with the Jin's taking over the north, as shown in the first scene in the story, where the story teller tells about the family who were murdered by the Jin. then, we see the passionate "patriotism" of Guo Xiaotian & Yang Tiexin. Those two surely arn't "wulin heroes" and probably represent the sentiments of simple civilians. Just because they go on living their lives doesn't mean they don't want their land back.

    patriotism is related to the nation's pride, and loyalty to one's nation no matter what circumstance. To the Han (esp our "wuxia heroes"), pride may sometimes be even more important than life. some citizens prefer to live under opressive "Han" rule rather than "foreign" rule. it's like living under your own roof vs. living under someone else's. Same thought that propelled the anti-Yuan and anti-Qing sentiments.

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    This is an interesting topic in my opinion. I mentioned pretty much the same point to my wife who is a Chinese studies scholar and she said that Lu Xun had done an essay on the point: the contradictions of Chinese nationalism; an example: it's ironic that an emperor like Kangxi is now considered a "good" emperor because, surprise, surprise, he was a "good" ruler and China enjoyed relative peace and prosperity under his rule. Yet, the only reason he could become emperor in his first place was because his ancestors conquered the Han.

    I guess at least by the time of "The Deer and the Cauldron", Jin Yong had come to realize the same point as well: patriotism / national pride / nationalism doesn't mean much, the only thing that really matters is whether or not the rule of a particular government is good for its citizens.

    And another parallel point: in LOCH, Guo Jing was raised amongst the Mongols and came to admire their honorable ways, their discipline and the fair way that they treated enemies. By contrast, Guo Jing felt that the Jin were corrupt, and as their campaign to conquer the Song had stalled, become more and more complacent and luxury-loving, much like the Song themselves. It would have been good for all the Han that the Mongols overthrow both the Jin and the Song to establish an honorable government that rewarded merit and discipline!

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    I don't think Guo Jing would agree with you there; that point was attempted to be made by Kublai Khan, and this was Guo Jing's response:

    Khubilai couldn’t stop himself from admiring Guo Jing. When he saw Guo Jing’s lofty air and thought that if he could convince him to join his command, it would be better than taking down ten Xiangyang cities. So he said, “Uncle Guo, the Song are in disarray. You have an Emperor who is blind to the people’s plight, you have scoundrels in your courts and those who are loyal are punished, am I right?”

    Guo Jing said, “Correct, Emperor Li Zhonghuang is a blind man and the Prime Minister Jia Sidao is the biggest crook of them all.” No one guessed that he would actually insult his own emperor and leaders. Everyone was startled.

    Khubilai said, “Yes. Uncle Guo is a great man and a hero of our time so why do you work for such men?”

    Guo Jing stood up and said clearly, “Even if the one named Guo is unworthy, why would I allow myself to let those people use me? When I see you violent Mongols invading our land and killing my people, my blood boils. I’m doing this for my people; the angry blood that flows through me is because of them.”
    Khubilai said, “I once heard an old man say, ‘It’s the people of the land that are important, not the Khan.’ What a truthful phrase. The land of Mongolia is in a state of peace; my people live happily and have what they need. My Khan could not bear to see the people of the Song suffer and when he saw that no one was doing anything about it, he sent his troops south to help end the troubles of the people. This thought is the same as Uncle Guo’s, we both have the same heroic view. Come, let’s toast again.”

    Fawang and the others all raised their bowls to their lips. Guo Jing swept his sleeve and sent a gust of wind over. There was a bout of ‘qiang lang lang’ noises as everyone’s bowls fell to pieces on the floor.

    Guo Jing angrily shouted, “Stop! Ever since you Mongols invaded our land, you have killed and slaughtered; corpses and bones mount up while blood flows like rivers. My citizens have lost their homes and countless have died by your army’s sabers and arrows. What troubles of my people are you ridding them of?”
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 07-03-07 at 08:47 PM.
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    Re: The above 6 posts.

    Thats why Jin Yong went on to write about XF and anti-war in DGSD!
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    The Jin and the Mongols were different. The Mongols were a *real* threat. They had the power to really threaten the lives and property of the people of the Southern Sung Kingdom, and the will to act upon it. Hence, there was a legitimate, imminent threat that Gwok Jing and his allies had to defend against in ROCH.

    In LOCH, however, the so-called "threat" of the Jin seemed academic. The Jin hadn't really been a threat for over fifty years. The Jin had more or less shot their wad after the Jing Hong incident. After General Ngok Fei's brilliant counterattacks against them, the Jin threat diminished even further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    The Jin and the Mongols were different. The Mongols were a *real* threat. They had the power to really threaten the lives and property of the people of the Southern Sung Kingdom, and the will to act upon it. Hence, there was a legitimate, imminent threat that Gwok Jing and his allies had to defend against in ROCH.

    In LOCH, however, the so-called "threat" of the Jin seemed academic. The Jin hadn't really been a threat for over fifty years. The Jin had more or less shot their wad after the Jing Hong incident. After General Ngok Fei's brilliant counterattacks against them, the Jin threat diminished even further.
    21st Century people know that. People living back then would not have such perfect knowledge of strategic and tactical balances. e.g. The Imperial Japanese Forces in the 30s/40s did not have the strength to take the whole of China, but everyone still viewed them as a threat.

    In addition, the Jin might be weak, but that was because they had decadent princes. What if a new leader who was a military genius took over?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC View Post
    21st Century people know that. People living back then would not have such perfect knowledge of strategic and tactical balances. e.g. The Imperial Japanese Forces in the 30s/40s did not have the strength to take the whole of China, but everyone still viewed them as a threat.

    In addition, the Jin might be weak, but that was because they had decadent princes. What if a new leader who was a military genius took over?
    My view is that LOCH and the war against the Jin was not really Gwok Jing and his generation of heroes' true calling. Instead, the Jin War was something like an extended preparation/education/training for the *real* fight of their lives, which would be against the Mongols in ROCH. Make no mistake: it was training with real dangers (like training maneuvers in a military wargame would be), but nevertheless...just training and preparation. I suppose Gwok Jing's struggles against the Jin in LOCH was just part of his education and his real, professional career as a patriotic wulin hero got underway in ROCH when he fought against the Mongols.

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    My view is that if JY did not have to worry about historical accuracy too much, he should have Guo Jing put those Dragon Subduing Palms to their literal use and dispose of the goon sitting on the Dragon Throne and have Huang Rong clean up the corrupt officals.

    By tolerating the corrupt court, he is not addressing the real problem, just fighting the convenient enemy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC View Post
    My view is that if JY did not have to worry about historical accuracy too much, he should have Guo Jing put those Dragon Subduing Palms to their literal use and dispose of the goon sitting on the Dragon Throne and have Huang Rong clean up the corrupt officals.

    By tolerating the corrupt court, he is not addressing the real problem, just fighting the convenient enemy.
    Yes, this would be the best solution and the true acting of a real hero. But JY couldnt not change history that much. He did make some changes, but the changes never affected the flow of history.

    If he let GJ kill off the Sung emperor, then GJ might be hailed as the new emperor, or at least there would be a honest/military genius on the throne. The mongols would have even more difficulties.
    You do know that it is just fiction, dont you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnhHung View Post
    Yes, this would be the best solution and the true acting of a real hero. But JY couldnt not change history that much. He did make some changes, but the changes never affected the flow of history.

    If he let GJ kill off the Sung emperor, then GJ might be hailed as the new emperor, or at least there would be a honest/military genius on the throne. The mongols would have even more difficulties.
    Ironically, in a last ditch effort to regain Gwok Jing's loyalty, Genghis Khan offered him the title of "Sung Emperor" if Gwok Jing would help him lead the military campaign against the Sung. Of course, Gwok Jing refused.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deccan
    This is an interesting topic in my opinion...
    I agree: and not just the depiction of the Jins in She Diao, but how Jinyong depicts 'the foreign' in general (and in particular, how he juxtaposes it with 'the local'). He himself was writing from an outside perspective about an idealised China that never really existed. On top of that, there's a foreignness about most of his main heroes. Guo Jing articulates a typical 'diaspora fantasy' of being a foreign-born person who returns to the motherland, gets over his status as a half-foreign 'cultural retard' (which GJ's so-called dumbness is really just a metaphor for), and is eventually counted among the most local of his countrymen - a fantasy which is surely deeply appealing to many of the posters here. Zhang Wuji was born and bred on a remote island, and chose a Mongolian girl as his mate; Duan Yu and Xiao Feng had foreign allegiances. Even Yang Guo was the son of a Jin prince, and Xuzhu not only "left society" (the literal translation of "chu jia", usually translated as "becoming a monk/nun") but also married foreign royalty.

    You can see, by the time of Xiao Ao Jiang Hu, that JY had perhaps played out this foreign/local theme (in the context of wuxia). Linghu Chong has the distinction of being the only main hero who doesn't articulate all the cliched, over-earnest 'for the people' rhetoric that JY so tediously puts in the mouths of everyone else. But you can see the fault lines even in She Diao: GJ finds favour in Mongolia - where life in Genghis's tribe is depicted as honourable and meritocratic - but when he returns to China, he finds he has to start all over again among his 'countrymen', who are frequently depicted as morally inferior to the straight-up likes of Tuolei.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    The Jin and the Mongols were different. The Mongols were a *real* threat. They had the power to really threaten the lives and property of the people of the Southern Sung Kingdom, and the will to act upon it. Hence, there was a legitimate, imminent threat that Gwok Jing and his allies had to defend against in ROCH.

    In LOCH, however, the so-called "threat" of the Jin seemed academic. The Jin hadn't really been a threat for over fifty years. The Jin had more or less shot their wad after the Jing Hong incident. After General Ngok Fei's brilliant counterattacks against them, the Jin threat diminished even further.
    Hey Ken, it's been a while since I've posted.

    I personally agree with you to some degree, but I wouldn't say the Jin were completely harmless idiots.

    If you had read DGSD, you would have known the prowess of the Jurchens. In most of JY's historical novels, he would describe to some degree of a highly successful ruler (Genghis Khan in LOCH, Kublai Khan in ROCH, Zhu Yuanzhang in HSDS, Huang Taji in Bi Xue Jian, Kangxi in DOMD, etc). And in DGSD, that guy was Wanyan Aguda who created the Jin Empire. JY hinted several times the Jurchens would be highly deadly in the future which became true in history. A few scenes include when Wanyan Aguda led his troops to save XF from the prison. When XF was retreating, the Beggar Sect leaders thought in their mind, "Thank god these nomads are XF's friend, for they would become deadly if angered." At a scene earlier, XF saw the Jurchens military skills and thought "Even the Liao army is no match for them, not to mention the Song army." XF mainly admired the archery skills of the Jurchens. In a way, all these scenes were hints of the rise of the Jurchens.

    In real history, Wanyan Aguda's calvary group has been unstoppable at its peak. At the Battle of Hubudagan, Wanyan led his 20,000 calvary against Liao's 700,000 army and still won.

    Overall, sure the Jin Empire is a legit threat, defitnitely not useless. If the Song were really that capable, they wouldn't have been vassalized by the Jin Empire.

    The only reason the Jin Empire eventually declined was because of the heroics of Yue Fei and Han Shi Zhong both whom are rated among the best generals in chinese history. If there hadn't been those 2, I'm pretty sure the Jin Empire would have unified China.
    Last edited by Whsie; 07-04-07 at 01:14 PM.
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