One of the topics of Chinese history that deserves greater attention is the nature and direction of the expansion of the Chinese people beyond the geographical confines of China. It is a subject which, for want of more information, is still so cloaked in generalities as to present the misleading impression that the Chinese have always been a landbound people oriented towards the land frontier of the north and northwest. A Western scholar, for example, has written: “China has never been a sea-power because nothing has ever induced her people to be otherwise than landmen, and landmen dependent on agriculture with the same habit and ways of thinking drilled into them through forty centuries.” In a recent work we find this statement: “Essentially a land people, the Chinese cannot be considered as having possessed seapower…. The attention of the Chinese through the centuries has been turned inward towards Central Asia rather than outward, and their knowledge of the seas which washed their coast was extremely small.”

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