The two iniquities—betraying universal cultural norms and joining exclusive ethnic enemies—coincided during foreign invasions of China, when the term hanjian was hung as a crude label of infamy around the necks of collaborators. At the time of the Ming-Qing transition, the greatest traitors in Ming officials' eyes were hanjian who crossed over to the Manchus just before they "entered the pass" in 1644 and occupied the Central Plains. Earlier boundary crossers, or transfrontiersmen, had ambiguous ethnic identities, but their loyalties to the new Qing dynasty were squarely centered on the person of the Manchu khan-emperor to whom they had declared allegiance. It was the later adherents, such as Hong Chengchou and Wu Sangui, who earned historians' opprobrium, though the notion of betraying the Han ethnie was intentionally muffled by the time of the Qianlong literary inquisition, when Confucian treachery was identified with the label of "twice-serving ministers" (er chen) for those who had been Ming officials before joining the Qing. Of course, the tension nonetheless persisted between Qing culturalism, with its universalistic monarchic pretensions, and the ethnic particularisms of both holders and subjects of the throne.
Even prior to Qianlong's reign (1736–95), despite this late-cultural/early-national tension, the term hanjian was widely used within the Qing bureaucracy to designate Chinese who had "gone over" to the tribal peoples of southwestern China. On the part of Qing viceroys and governors there were two impulses along the Miao frontier. One, which was associated with ascriptive officials (Manchu or Han Martial bannermen), was to prevent intermarriage and blame "undependable Han traitors" (wulai hanjian) for bringing about difficulties with the Miao. The second was to acculturate the Miao, not segregate them, even if this meant widespread intermarriage across ethnic boundaries. In the early eighteenth century, the Qing government attempted to enforce a quarantine legislated in 1707. Han residence was forbidden in Miao hamlets, and the Miao were prohibited from travel into the interior. Hanjian were those Chinese who crossed over the
Under the Qianlong emperor, who ruled over a society much more integrated than the formations of the early 1700s, the acculturalists gradually won out. "As the segregationists lost the argument, their tendency to see Han traitors behind every thicket was discredited," and it was not until the Western aggressions of the nineteenth century that the figure of the hanjian widely reappeared.