The Dehumanizing Effects of the Chinese Army in the Seventeenth Century

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The Dehumanizing Effects of the Chinese Army in the Seventeenth-Century If the conditions within a seventeenth-century Chinese army were to be summed up into various categories, a vast majority of those categories would include almost unbearable qualities to the average human. These soldiers would have to constantly endure the elements of the outside world, fight the feeling of being hungry as food grew scarce throughout their campaign, and would have to regularly deal with being far away from home. In The Dairy of a Manchu Soldier in Seventeenth-Century China: My service in the army, by a seventeenth-century Chinese soldier named Dzengseo, a daily log for two years of service is provided for readers to get a firsthand insight on just how harsh these conditions were in the daily lives for a Manchu soldier in his time period. Through the diary entries, the depletion of both the soldiers’ physical and psychological strength becomes evident, and as a result also unknowingly dehumanizes them, thus transforming them into mere pawns for the Chinese military and inflicts a loss of one’s self. Dzengseo first begins to describe the physical toll the soldiers had to deal with while frequently changing camps. He states that there have been instances when the army would have to walk long distances until their “feet were covered in blisters, and could not go any further” (Dzengseo 61), which indicates that these soldiers would basically be pushed to physical limits and the price would be so severe that the men even suffered painful blisters at times. Dzengseo also goes on to talk about another company of troops that were suffering from a major famine. The company “had nothing to eat, had been struck by foul vapors, and people and horses [became] ill and died in great numbers” (Dzengseo 70). Food shortage was always a big problem in the Chinese army and the
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