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Christopher A. Reed

Books and their production were a key part of the late imperial commodity economy and of the gentry lifestyle that eventually extended into the Republican (1912-1949) era. Liulichang, the capital’s bookselling district, was positioned from the mid-eighteenth century onward as the empire’s premier book emporium. It remained well known to intellectuals and book merchants during late Qing and Republican China as well. In the first three sections of the essay, I show how this important commodity marketplace reflected and influenced late imperial Chinese society on cultural, commercial, and manufacturing levels. Liulichang is seen to have been a cultural center whose essential conservatism can be found in its approach to the commerce and publishing at its core. Both book commerce and publishing are shown to have been enhanced, but not transformed, by the technological options at hand. In the article’s fourth section, I suggest not only how Liulichang’s book dealers had a direct and personal influence on the development of Shanghai’s antiquarian book market, but also that Liulichang served as a cultural prototype for Republican Shanghai’s Wenhuajie (Culture-and-Education Streets, or simply Booksellers’ District). Just as each district functioned as a kind of bellwether for literate, educated consumers of the period in which it was prominent, so too, I argue, Beijing’s booksellers, printers, and publishers paved the way for those who emerged at Shanghai at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Christopher A. Reed

The Nationalist Party (GMD) had been writing and issuing documents of many types for some years before Nanjing was established as the capital of the Republic of China in 1927/1928. From its earliest days, doctrines were advanced via cause-oriented newspapers and journals. Even more important, the Soviet-sponsored reorganization of the GMD in the early 1920s had yielded a far-reaching party propaganda operation tied to Sun Yat-sen’s notion of political tutelage. But how was propaganda to work in practice? And at whom was it to be aimed? This article seeks to address aspects of these questions by assessing a textbook for propaganda workers that was issued in the name of the GMD’s Zhejiang Provincial Executive Committee’s Propaganda Department in October 1929, half a year after the GMD’s foundational right-wing Third Party Congress. Although Essentials for Propaganda Workers does not fully operationalize Sun’s version of political tutelage, it can nonetheless be seen to reflect the central party’s efforts to implement tutelage and supervision, not only of the Chinese masses suggested by Sun’s program, but also of party propaganda workers in Zhejiang. In that regard, it reveals the astonishingly rapid ideological realignment of the GMD into an anti-Communist party, not only at the national level, which is well known, but also on the provincial and lower levels. Drawing on material from the GMD Archives in Taipei, this article addresses issues of party organization, control, mobilization, inner party dynamics, and message content in the GMD’s propaganda activities in Zhejiang province in the late 1920s. “Propaganda by the Book” adds to our knowledge of the organizational practices of both the central GMD in Nanjing and the Zhejiang provincial GMD as well as to the social history of Republican China’s official print culture.

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From Woodblocks to the Internet

Chinese Publishing and Print Culture in Transition, circa 1800 to 2008

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The thirteen essays in this volume narrate and analyze the reciprocal influences of technological, intellectual, and
sociopolitical changes on the structure of modern China's book (and print) trade; more specifically, they treat the rise of new genres of print, changes in writing practices, the dissemination of ideas and texts (both paper and electronic), the organization of knowledge, and the relationship between the state and print culture. The essays range chronologically from the late eighteenth century to the present, an over two-century transition period that allows authors to draw comparisons between the largely woodblock print culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the mechanized publishing of the late-nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries; and the global internet culture of today.