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Thread: Did the NY Times use the word "subjugation" correctly?

  1. #1
    Senior Member BarIII's Avatar
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    Did the NY Times use the word "subjugation" correctly?

    I saw the word "subjugation" here in this sentence:

    China’s history of subjugation to the West in previous centuries reinforced the belief that scientific prowess is essential for any modern power. And studying the heavens was, after all, an area where China excelled in ancient times.
    I looked it up here.

    Full Definition of subjugate

    1: to bring under control and governance as a subject : conquer
    2: to make submissive : subdue
    Is that definition really enough to explain what "subjugation to the west" means in the article? I get the meaning from the context above and a latter part of the article but it shouldn't be necessary to read more than "subjugation to the west" to get the meaning. Without the excess reading, it sounds like it's the west's belief that there's the making of submissiveness. It doesn't explain which side is being made submissive.
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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    I think more conventional style is "subjugation by the West".
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    Utisz's Avatar
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    It's a bit of an obscure usage but there is similiar precedent.

    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    I think more conventional style is "subjugation by the West".
    That does sound more familiar but I think it's also sublty different in that your version implies active subjugation by the West whereas the original version suggests the West being more passive maybe, like "deference to the West"?

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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utisz View Post
    That does sound more familiar but I think it's also sublty different in that your version implies active subjugation by the West whereas the original version suggests the West being more passive maybe, like "deference to the West"?
    There were several Western military interventions in China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Seems pretty active to me.
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    Utisz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    There were several Western military interventions in China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Seems pretty active to me.
    Fair point!

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    Bringer of Jollity MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I'd throw in a 'de facto' before subjugation for accuracy. Large swaths of Qing Dynasty land were gobbled up by the Japanese (definitely not 'the West) and Russia (more western than China but not part of 'the West'). India was literally subjugated by the British, where the British East India Company produced opium in Bengal, to trade for Chinese luxury goods.

    You also had the Taiping Rebellion, led by Jesus Christ's brother Hong Xiuquan (eat your heart out Joseph Smith). The Qing Dynasty was obsolete and was forced into unfavorable treaties because their navy was made of wood and was thus de facto subjugated by the West. I don't read the newspaper of record brought to you by Carlos Slim enough to judge their editorial politics, but I suspect they're inclined to pay as much lip-service to anti-colonialism as possible.
    Last edited by MoneyJungle; 09-25-2016 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Parsing words

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