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Every year in the fall, the Qing emperor was to preside over ceremonies during which he was asked to check-mark the names of criminals condemned to capital punishment whom he reckoned were to be executed. This article proposes an understanding not only of these check-marking ceremonies under the Qing dynasty, but also of the judicial rehearing procedure of all capital punishment criminal cases, known as the Court and Autumn Assizes. Based on materials drawn from the Qing central archives and other institutional sources, as well as on the information found in officials’ diaries, this study provides a dynamic and evolutionary analysis of the Assizes and the check-marking ceremonies, highlighting their position as central features of the imperial judicial process. By detailing their successive changes, it seeks to unravel their highly complex and bureaucratic nature and to better assess the exact role played by the various institutional actors they called into play, first and foremost, the sovereign.

In: T'oung Pao
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Abstract

Addressing the perennial problem of forged colophons to Chinese Buddhist scriptures in Dunhuang manuscripts, I suggest some general procedures for identifying such items. Some of these approaches include comparing the date of the colophon with the time when the scripture was translated into Chinese, and comparing the script of a dubious colophon and the scripture title(s) enumerated in this colophon with the other colophons appended to the same set of scriptures. To ground these observations, I investigate the authenticity of three colophons that were composed based on similar templates. They are appended to scriptures in manuscripts BD15076, Nakamura51, and Nakamura65, respectively, which were purportedly found in the Dunhuang area. The colophons of BD15076 and Nakamura65 are probably forged, possibly produced by imitating the colophon of Nakamura51 or other similar colophons that are yet unknown to us. These approaches will help scholars avoid drawing faulty conclusions based on dubious colophons, and thus help to provide a more solid foundation for future research.

In: T'oung Pao
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Résumé

Cet article analyse les évolutions historiques du zhouji 周祭, un cycle sacrificiel Shang dédié à des ancêtres non royaux et royaux, mis en place sous le règne du roi Zu Jia 祖甲. Les références à l’anthropologie permettent alors de faire un certain nombre d’observations portant sur les structures des lignages Shang : ces cycles prenaient en compte à la fois les modes divers de transmission du pouvoir royal et les relations établies par le truchement de mariages entre les différentes branches des plus importants lignages de la dynastie. Nous avons également examiné un autre cycle autour d’un sacrifice (beng 祊) commencé sous le règne de Wen Ding 文丁, de portée plus restreinte et visant à légitimer une transmission père-fils du pouvoir monarchique. La comparaison entre ces deux cycles permet d’entrevoir les tensions existant entre les lignages. En conclusion, nous tentons de relier ces tensions à l’essence du pouvoir monarchique sous les Shang et plus généralement.

In: T'oung Pao

Abstract

Modernist Buddhist movements receptive to new social and intellectual developments have emerged around the globe since the late nineteenth century. This study probes the origins of Chinese modernist Buddhist thought, including its sources, features, and transformations. Through a survey of writings by turn-of-the-century Chinese intellectuals, I show that Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) was, in 1902, the first Chinese person to advocate modernist Buddhism. His ideas drew not only from Japanese modernist Buddhism, but also from Confucian discourse and from Western thought without Japanese mediation. Liang’s Buddhist thought incorporated features such as rationalism, social engagement, egalitarianism, and detraditionalization. He argued that if it were properly understood and practiced, Buddhism would strengthen China’s social order and could even transform the world into a “pure land” (jingtu). Liang’s modernist conception shaped later Chinese Buddhist movements, but only after it was cannibalized and its parts were modified for the purpose of reviving traditional Buddhism.

In: T'oung Pao
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In: T'oung Pao
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Abstract

This paper is a case study of the manuscripts of the Diamond Sūtra completed by an old man who lived in Dunhuang during the early tenth century. It investigates the textual and physical aspects of these manuscripts and reconstructs their production and use in an attempt to offer additional information on local religious life and the reproduction and transmission of the Diamond Sūtra during the medieval period. The first section focuses on a special version of the Diamond Sūtra which survives in the old man’s manuscripts and examines its textual and paratextual characteristics. This version, originating in Xichuan, provides valuable clues regarding the function and use of the Diamond Sūtra during the medieval period. The second section, based on the examination of paleographic and codicological features of the manuscripts, delineates the religious practices and motivations involved in their production and sheds light on medieval Buddhist manuscript culture.

In: T'oung Pao
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In: Journal of Chinese Military History
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Abstract

This essay, based on a 2022 plenary presentation at the International Society for the Study of Overseas Chinese conference, details the state of anti-Asian American racism from 2020 through 2022. First, it describes the nature and extent of the discrimination. While the media presented the issue as one of hate crimes, the vast majority of hate incidents involved verbal harassment and shunning/avoidance. Second, it reviews the sources of the surge in racism. Political rhetoric and social media re-ignited Yellow Peril fears, leading to the scapegoating of Asians in the US for COVID-19. Third, it considers the traumatizing impact of this spate of racism. In particular, Asian Americans have suffered severe economic distress, have borne the disproportionate brunt of exclusionary public policies, and have been traumatized by the violence of the past three years. The essay concludes with how the Asian American community has resisted with the largest panethnic movement in its history.

In: Journal of Chinese Overseas