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Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary

The First Chinese Technology Encyclopaedia


Edited by Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

In Kao Gong Ji: A Translation and Commentary, Guan Zengjian and Konrad Herrmann offer an English translation and commentary of the first technological encyclopaedia in China. This work came into being around the 5th century C.E. and contains descriptions of thirty technologies used at the time. Most prominent are bronze casting, the manufacture of carriages and weapons, a metrological standard, the making of musical instruments, and the planning of cities. The technologies, including the manufacturing process and quality assurance, are based on standardization and modularization. In several commentaries, the editors show to which degree the descriptions of Kao Gong Ji correspond to archaeological findings.

The Language of the Old-Okinawan Omoro Sōshi

Reference Grammar, with Textual Selections


Leon A. Serafim and Rumiko Shinzato

The Omoro Sōshi (1531–1623) is an indispensable resource for historical linguistic comparison of Old Okinawan with other Ryukyuan languages and Old Japanese. Leon A Serafim and Rumiko Shinzato offer a reference grammar, including detailed phonological analyses, of the otherwise opaque and dense poetic/religious language of the Omoro Sōshi.

Meshing Western linguistic insight with existing literary/linguistic work in Ryukyuan studies, and incorporating their own research on Modern Okinawan, the authors offer a grammar and phonology of the Omoro language, with selected (excerpts of) songs grammatically analyzed, phonologically reconstructed, translated, and annotated.


Jinbo Shi

This book is the first comprehensive introduction to the Tangut script and grammar, materials and manuscripts, and the historiography of Western Xia in any language. Five of the fifteen chapters survey the history of the Tangut Empire, the historiography of Tangut Studies, as well as new advancements in the field, notably research on the recently decoded Tangut cursive writings found in Khara-Khoto social, economic and military documents. The other ten chapters formally introduce the Tangut language: its linguistic origins, characters, grammars, translations, textual and contextual readings. In this synthesis of historical narratives and linguistic analysis, renowned Tangutologist Shi Jinbo offers specialists and general audience alike a guided access to the mysterious civilisation of the ‘Great State White and High’.

Buddhist Apologetics in East Asia

Countering the Neo-Confucian Critiques in the Hufa lun and the Yusŏk chirŭi non


Uri Kaplan

While the Neo-Confucian critique of Buddhism is fairly well-known, little attention has been given to the Buddhist reactions to this harangue. The fact is, however, that over a dozen apologetic essays have been written by Buddhists in China, Korea, and Japan in response to the Neo-Confucians. Buddhist Apologetics in East Asia offers an introduction to this Buddhist literary genre. It centers on full translations of two dominant apologetic works—the Hufa lun (護法論), written by a Buddhist politician in twelfth-century China, and the Yusŏk chirŭi non (儒釋質疑論), authored by an anonymous monk in fifteenth-century Korea. Put together, these two texts demonstrate the wide variety of polemical strategies and the cross-national intertextuality of East Asian Buddhist apologetics.

Philippe Régnier and Pietro P. Masina

Gregory Coutaz


The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) engagement in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) enables China to reassure the international community and change perceptions of its global intentions. Natural disasters are expected to increase worldwide, requiring greater PLA involvement in international HA/DR missions. However, maximising the public relations benefits of participating in such missions will require leadership to avoid short-term irritations and political speculation that often accompany China’s foreign intervention, hampering Beijing’s soft-power initiatives.

Takdir Ali Mukti, Tulus Warsito, Surwandono, Idham Badruzaman and Ulung Pribadi


This article focuses on paradiplomatic management in Aceh, Indonesia, and Catalonia, Spain, as a comparative study. The two different regions have at least two similar characteristics: both are recognised by central government as widely autonomous provinces compared to other provinces, and both obtained the wider autonomy in the same period, 2006; they also have same problems with revolutionary groups that attempt to withdraw from central government. This qualitative research aims to examine paradiplomatic management in both local governments. The main objective is to identify similarities and differences in paradiplomatic patterns and to scrutinise paradiplomatic activism pertaining to the instrument of political movements in both regions. The findings confirm that patterns of paradiplomacy management are typically similar, and influenced by the dynamic of local political movements, and that paradiplomatic activism is an instrument in political movements. It is argued that paradiplomatic management by secessionist regions performs the same pattern both in federal and unitary systems, and is reflected in the changes of regional laws on paradiplomatic affairs.

The ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’ of Vietnam and China

How (Mis)trust Could Make or Break It

Quan-Hoang Vuong, Thu-Trang Vuong, Manh-Tung Ho and Hong-Kong T. Nguyen


Vietnam–China relations could be captured in the Chinese expression ‘同床异梦’, ‘same bed, different dreams’. Analysing Vietnam–China’s asymmetric relationship, cultural and political similarities, divergences in global ambition and the involvement of foreign powers, this study shows how the relationship is increasingly interdependent but is equally fragile. One possible cause is the low level of trust on both sides, evidenced by repeated calls to ‘consolidate political trust’ or ‘enhance mutual trust’ in their high-level bilateral dialogues.

Understanding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

An Initiative to Make China Great Again?

Y.-Y. Chang


This article re-examines China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) taking into account historical and philosophical narratives. It assumes that the BRI has crucial strategic implications; in particular, that it is not as altruistic as claimed but rather a self-interested proposal aiming to restore China’s grandeur and influence. The Chinese Dream (中國夢) and the concept of Tianxia (天下), ‘all under heaven’) are discussed to illustrate how the initiative is ‘marketed’. It ends with an interpretation of the impacts that the BRI might have on other parts of the world.