Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials in Imperial China

A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography

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Pierre-Étienne Will

The 1,165 entries of Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials of Imperial China by Pierre-Étienne Will and collaborators provide a descriptive list of extant manuscript and printed works—mainly from the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties—created with the aim to instruct officials and other administrators of imperial China about the technical and ethical aspects of government, and to provide tools and guides to help with the relevant procedures. Both generalist and specialized texts are considered. Among the latter, such disciplines as the administration of justice, famine relief, and the military receive particular attention. Each entry includes the publishing history of the work considered (including modern editions), an analysis of contents, and a biographical sketch of the author.

The Price and Promise of Specialness

The Political Economy of Overseas Chinese Policy in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1959

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Jin Li Lim

In The Price and Promise of Specialness, Jin Li Lim revises narratives on the overseas Chinese and the People’s Republic of China by analysing the Communist approach to ‘overseas Chinese affairs’ in New China’s first decade as a function of a larger political economy.
Jin Li Lim shows how the party-state centred its approach towards the overseas Chinese on a perception of their financial utility and thus sought to offer them a special identity and place in New China, so as to unlock their riches. Yet, this contradicted the quest for socialist transformation, and as its early pragmatism fell away, the radicalising party-state abandoned its promises to the overseas Chinese, who were left to pay the price for their difference.

Taoism and Self Knowledge

The Chart for the Cultivation of Perfection (Xiuzhen tu)

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Catherine Despeux

Catherine Despeux’s book Taoism and Self Knowledge is a study of the Internal Alchemical text "Chart for the Cultivation of Perfection." It begins with an analysis of pictographic and symbolic representation of the body in early Taoism after which the author examines different extant versions of the "Chart" as it was transmitted among Quanzhen groups in the Qing dynasty. The book is comprised of four main parts: the principal parts of the body and their nomenclature in Internal Alchemy, the spirits in the human body, and the alchemical processes and procedures used in thunder rituals and self-cultivation. This is a revised, expanded edition of the original French edition Taoïsme et connaissance de soi. La carte de la culture de la perfection (Xiuzhen tu) Paris, 2012.

A Question of Intent

Homicide Law and Criminal Justice in Qing and Republican China

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Jennifer M. Neighbors

In A Question of Intent: Homicide Law and Criminal Justice in Qing and Republican China, Jennifer M. Neighbors uses legal cases from the local, provincial and central levels to explore both the complexity with which Qing law addressed abstract concepts and the process of adoption, adaptation, and resistance as late imperial law gave way to criminal law of the Republican period. This study reveals a Chinese justice system, both before and after 1911, that defies assignment to binary categories of modern and pre-modern law that have influenced much of past scholarship.

Violence, Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution

A Case Study of Two Deaths by the Red Guards

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Joshua Zhang and James D. Wright

This book recounts two deaths, the murder of Mr. Wang Jin by 31 Red Guards in the Nanjing Foreign Language School, where the senior author was a young student at the time; and the earlier murder of Mrs. Bian Zhongyun of the Girls School affiliated with the Beijing Normal University in 1966. The book is a history of two small incidents in a massive social injustice and also an attempt to understand the Cultural Revolution (CR) within the framework of modern social movement theory. The book elaborates on the sources of violence in the CR, and the definition and periodization of the CR (that is, what was it, and when did it begin and end?).

Here in 'China' I Dwell

Reconstructing Historical Discourses of China for Our Time

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Zhaoguang Ge

Here in ‘China’ I Dwell is a historiographical account of the formation of Chinese historical narratives in light of outside pressures on China — the view from China’s borders. There is a special discussion of the inf luence of Japanese historians on the concept of China and its borders, including the nature of their sources, cultural and religious and more. In Ge’s comparative account, a new portrait of Chinese historical narratives, along with the views and assumptions implicit in these narrat ives, emerges in the context of East Asia, a similarly constructed concept with its own multitudes of frontiers and peoples.

Shifts of Power

Modern Chinese Thought and Society

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Zhitian Luo

In Shifts of Power: Modern Chinese Thought and Society, Luo Zhitian brings together nine essays to explore the causes and consequences of various shifts of power in modern Chinese society, including the shift from scholars to intellectuals, from the traditional state to the modern state, and from the people to society. Adopting a microhistorical approach, Luo situates these shifts at the intersection of social change and intellectual evolution in the midst of modern China’s culture wars with the West. Those culture wars produced new problems for China, but also provided some new intellectual resources as Chinese scholars and intellectuals grappled with the collisions and convergences of old and new in late Qing and early Republican China.

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Sze Hang Choi

Focusing on the hybrid maritime world of Hong Kong, Pearl River Delta and West River in the last two decades of the late Qing period, this work tells a vivid trading and competition story of previously unknown private Chinese traders and junk masters. This challenges the prevailing view of the domination of China’s maritime trade by modern foreign steamships. Making use of unpublished Kowloon Maritime Customs and British diplomatic records in the late 19th and early 20th century, Henry Sze Hang Choi convincingly shows how these private Chinese traders flexibly adopted to the foreign-dominated maritime customs agencies and treaty port system in defending their Chinese homeland stronghold against the invasion of foreign economic power.

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Michael Dillon

China’s economic development has become a matter of world-wide interest since the boom that began in the 1980s. Key Papers in Chinese Economic History since 1949 offers a selection of outstanding articles that trace the origins of the modern Chinese economy. Topics covered include agriculture and the rural economy; industrialisation and urbanisation; finance and capital; political economy and international connections.

War and Geopolitics in Interwar Manchuria

Zhang Zuolin and the Fengtian Clique during the Northern Expedition

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Chi Man Kwong

In War and Geopolitics in Interwar Manchuria Kwong Chi Man revisits the civil wars in China (1925-1928) from the perspective of the often-overlooked "warlords," who fought against the joint forces of the Nationalist and Communist parties. In particular, this work focuses on Zhang Zuolin, the leader of the "Fengian Clique" who was sometimes seen as the representative of the Japanese interest in Manchuria.
Using primary and secondary sources from China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, this work tries to revisit the wars during the period from international, political, military, and economic-financial perspectives. It sheds new light on Zhang Zuolin's decision to fight against the Nationalists and the Communists and offers an alternative explanation to the Nationalists (temporary) victory by revealing the central importance of geopolitics in the civil wars in China during the interwar period.