Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
I am away from my books, but if I had to postulate on why the Chinese pirates were seen as such villians, I would point to several established points.
#1. These pirates preyed upon all shipping, even among those of thier own people. As such, they were seen as a direct challege to the government itself. #2. When the piracy of Europeans was in its heyday, there were an estimated 2000 scalawags in the Carribean. When the pirates were especially active in the South China Sea (as they still are today!) in the early 19th century, they had huge numbers pirates and junks to swarm down on their targets. Actually, from most of my readings, they don't seem as particularly more awful to their victems than any other pirate at the time. If they were unfortunate enough to be captured, it would cost them their heads (perhaps not as gruesome as a dangling hanging like the Western pirates). If I might conjecture yet one more possibility of why they created such derision-
When the "pirate king" was eventually killed in battle, his WIFE took over the pirate hordes and ruled with an iron fist. In China at the time, women were seen as quiet, subserviant types, not the leaders of whole navies! This must have shook the very foundation of the establishment at the time. Yes, I know the Empress Dowager would soon follow on the heels of this powerful woman, but she was far more subtle in her movements, hiding behind a child king.