How did the Chinese veiw the leaders, as gods, semi divines, or something different?
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The Chinese history has been a history of dynastic rule. The first real dynasty was the Shang which lasted from about 1500 B.C. to about 1100 B.C. At that time, the Zhou (Chou) overthrew the Shang and set up a new dynasty. The Zhou rulers developed the idea that they received the right to rule, or a mandate to rule, from heaven. This began the belief of the Chinese that their rulers governed according to the principle of the Mandate of Heaven. If rulers did not govern properly, they would lose this mandate to others who would begin a new dynasty. So, Chinese rulers were not seen as gods, but receiving the right to rule from heaven.
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