Graphic Novel Review : FAMOUS CHINESE DIPLOMAT: Through The Ages

Available at AsiaPac Books SGD $8.50
ISBN : 981-229-147-1
Written by : Asiapac Editorial Board
Illustrated by : Ren Changhong
Translated by : Geraldine Goh

DIPLOMATS abound throughout the history of China. From as early as the Eastern Zhou Dynasty to the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Chinese diplomats had played a pivotal role in maintaining peace and prosperity for their homeland.

Twelve stories have been specially selected to demonstrate the eloquence, wit and courage of Chinese diplomats living in turbulent times.

Jiang Ziya and Zhuge Liang were astute negotiators and war strategists. Zhang Qian, the adventurous ambassador to the West, opened up the Silk Road. Feng Liao, the first female Chinese diplomat, averted war for the Han Imperial Court. Lin Zexu launched a furious campaign against the use of opium.

These stories and many more - full of charm and appeal, wit and wisdom - serve as an excellent introduction to the history and development of Chinese diplomacy.

Diplomacy is the art of conducting negotiations between representatives of nations, normally used to gain strategic advantage in a social manner. In the olden days, diplomacy is one of the best ways to prevent a country from hemegony and colonisation as official diplomatic ties can help a country to foster good relationships with its neighbours, ensuring peace and harmony.

FAMOUS CHINESE DIPLOMAT: Through The Ages contains 12 stories in total, and I'm going to write a brief review for a few of my favourite stories:

Ziya Defeats Lord Hu by Diplomatic Tactics
Jiang Ziya was a famous sage and military strategist in ancient China. In this story, Jiang Ziya helped Lord Xibo to avenge his son's terrible death caused by Lord Hu. Lord Hu, a treacherous man, accused Lord Xibo of being disloyal. As a result, Lord Xibo's eldest son was make mincemeat and cooked in soup, and later forced down the throat of Lord Xibo himself per the orders of King Zhou. Jiang Ziya's wit in dealing with this matter helped Lord Xibo to triumph in the battle against Lord Hu.

Zhang Qian Opens Up the Silk Road
Zhang Qian was an imperial envoy to the world outside of China during the time of the Han Dynasty. Zhang Qian spent a huge part of his life on his mission - to make contact and build an alliance with the Yuezhi against the Xiongnu. During his travels, he was captured by the Xiongnu and married a Xiongnu wife, who bore him a son. Eventually, he escaped and arrived at Yuezhi after much hardship. On his return trip he was again captured by the Xiongnu who again spared his life because they valued his sense of duty and composure in the face of death. When the Xiongnu leader died and internal strife occurred, he managed to escape and return to China. He never gave up throughout the journey even though he faced a lot of troubles and difficulties. His indomitable spirit initiated the development of the famous Silk Road.

Zhuge Liang Thrashes Cao Troops at Chibi
Zhuge Liang was a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He is often recognised as the greatest and most accomplished strategist of his era. In this story, Zhuge Liang convinced Sun Quan to join forces with Liu Bei's army to fight against Cao Cao. The allied armies of Liu Bei and Sun Quan scored a decisive victory over Cao Cao's forces at Chibi. Zhuge Liang's wisdom and intelligence was well-shown in this story.

Zheng He Outwits and Captures the Ceylonese King
Zheng He was an outstanding mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral during the Ming dynasty. In this story, Zheng He showed his ability to stay calm in times of stress and successfully regained his fleet of ships from the greedy hands of the Ceylonese King. His wit ensures the safety of his goods and also the lives of his men.

Huang Zunxian Stands Up for the Overseas Chinese
Huang Zunxian's brilliant verbal-counterattack regarding the sanitary conditions of the slums and prisons successfully helps to reverse the unfortunate fates of overseas Chinese. His words were powerful and to the point, he totally threw the officer-in-charge of Chinese affairs off balance.

FAMOUS CHINESE DIPLOMAT: Through The Ages is the perfect book for youngsters to learn about diplomacy and the advantages of forming diplomatic ties with other countries. With easy-to-follow descriptions and attractive illustrations, this book is both enlightening and fun to read.

Rating: 5

A Note of Thanks
Many thanks to Jane from Asia Pac Books for sending me a paperback copy of FAMOUS CHINESE DIPLOMAT: Through The Ages for this review. FAMOUS CHINESE DIPLOMAT is available at AsiaPac Books for SGD $8.50.

0 creative remarks: