Author: Hang Lin 1
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  • 1 Hangzhou Normal University, 2318 Yuhangtang Rd. Hangzhou 311121, China
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In the 10th century, the nomadic Khitan, with their Liao dynasty, became the most dominant power in East Asia, posing enormous threats to the Chinese Song dynasty in the south. Based on an analysis of the traditional Chinese world view, this paper examines the two opposing views of the Song Chinese about their Khitan neighbours in the north. The Song Chinese acknowledged the military prowess of the Khitan and thus advocated flexible diplomatic policies based on realistic observation and careful assessment, demonstrated by the diplomatic parity set by the Treaty of Chanyuan in 1005. In the meantime, many held firm belief in their cultural superiority over the “barbarians”, which derived from the tradition of a cultural sino-centrism. The Song looked for Confucian sources to justify their concession by turning their attention to the cultivation of virtue and were confident that they were the centre of culture and civilisation.

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