By Dee McLachlan
In a SMH headline this morning “Malcolm Turnbull sets fire to footy, all the way from China,” the Prime Minister has entered the eternal debate on which football code is the best, and his verdict has ruffled feathers around China.
“I think as we all know, and I say this as a former mediocre rugby player, AFL is the most exciting football code.” Malcom Turnbull, The Age
Mr Turnbull is in China with one thousand Australian businesspeople, but the news this morning is about Australian football.
Dr Richard Day and Sport
In the the famous speech by Dr Richard Day in 1969, he had said that sport would be used a tool for social change and, in part, as a “way of de-emphasising nationalism.” (Dr Day’s speech here.)
Emperor Qian Long’s Letter to King George III, 1793
But back in 1793, England decided to send Lord Macartney as an ambassador to the emperor in the hope of establishing safe and reasonable relations of trade. Qian Long [Ch’ien Lung], (r. 1735-1795) ruled China for much of the 18th century, and this is the letter he sent in response to a request from George III of Britain (r. 1760-1820) as conveyed by Lord Macartney for trade privileges.
“You, O King, live beyond the confines of many seas, nevertheless, impelled by your humble desire to partake of the benefits of our civilisation, you have dispatched a mission respectfully bearing your memorial. Your Envoy has crossed the seas and paid his respects at my Court on the anniversary of my birthday. To show your devotion, you have also sent offerings of your country’s produce….
“Moreover, our Celestial dynasty possesses vast territories, and tribute missions from the dependencies are provided for by the Department for Tributary States, which ministers to their wants and exercises strict control over their movements. It would be quite impossible to leave them to their own devices….
“Swaying the wide world, I have but one aim in view, namely, to maintain a perfect governance and to fulfil the duties of the State: strange and costly objects do not interest me. If I have commanded that the tribute offerings sent by you, O King, are to be accepted, this was solely in consideration for the spirit which prompted you to dispatch them from afar. Our dynasty’s majestic virtue has penetrated unto every country under Heaven, and Kings of all nations have offered their costly tribute by land and sea. As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures. This then is my answer to your request to appoint a representative at my Court, a request contrary to our dynastic usage, which would only result in inconvenience to yourself. I have expounded my wishes in detail and have commanded your tribute Envoys to leave in peace on their homeward journey. It behoves you, O King, to respect my sentiments and to display even greater devotion and loyalty in future, so that, by perpetual submission to our Throne, you may secure peace and prosperity for your country hereafter. Besides making gifts (of which I enclose an inventory) to each member of your Mission, I confer upon you, O King, valuable presents in excess of the number usually bestowed on such occasions, including silks and curios-a list of which is likewise enclosed. Do you reverently receive them and take note of my tender goodwill towards you! A special mandate.”
Sourced from http://academics.wellesley.edu/. Full article here.