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Xie Bizhen

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  • Chinese: 必振 (Xiè Bìzhèn)

Xiè Bìzhèn was a Qing Dynasty official who traveled to the Ryûkyû Kingdom on a number of occasions in the 1640s-1660s, initially seeking to convince the kingdom to submit to Qing authority, and to swear off loyalty to the fallen Ming Dynasty.

Xie's initial journeys to Ryûkyû took place in 1649, 1651, and 1652. On each of these journeys, he traveled alongside Ryukyuan tribute missions to China, serving as escort and interpreter, and not traveling to Ryûkyû separately; he also accompanied Ryukyuan missions within China on a number of occasions. Xie's first two trips were unsuccessful; he presented requests (or demands) that Ryûkyû swear loyalty to the Qing, but the Ryukyuan court delayed, through a variety of excuses and techniques. Finally, however, in 1653, they agreed to send a mission to Beijing, to return the royal seal granted to Ryûkyû by the Ming court, and to make a formal request for royal investiture, and for a new, Qing, royal seal.

The following year, in 1654, Xie made preparations to travel to Ryûkyû once again. He was to accompany a mission led by Zhang Xueli and Wang Gai, along with Ma Zongyi and Cai Zuolong. However, the group only made it as far as Fuzhou before deciding not to risk the crossing, as Ming loyalists led by Zheng Zhilong and his son Zheng Chenggong prowled the East China Sea.

Once Ryûkyû finally declared its submission to Qing authority, Xie accompanied Zhang Xueli and Wang Gai on the 1663 investiture mission which formally marked the re-establishment of tributary/investiture relations between China and Ryûkyû.

References

  • Angela Schottenhammer, "The East Asian maritime world, 1400-1800: Its fabrics of power and dynamics of exchanges - China and her neighbors." in Schottenhammer (ed.) The East Asian maritime world, 1400-1800: Its fabrics of power and dynamics of exchanges. Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007. pp45ff.
  • Angela Schottenhammer, “Empire and Periphery? The Qing Empire’s Relations with Japan and the Ryūkyūs (1644–c. 1800), a Comparison.” The Medieval History Journal 16, no. 1 (April 1, 2013): 139-196.
  • Tomiyama Kazuyuki, Ryûkyû ôkoku no gaikô to ôken, Yoshikawa kôbunkan (2004), 74-75.
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