This article examines the efforts of two county instructors (jiaoyu), Xie Jinluan and Zheng Jiancai, to bolster the security of the maritime frontier and stabilize local society in early 19th century Fujian and Taiwan. Occurring during the Jiaqing transition in which Chinese elites increasingly voiced concerns about problems afflicting the empire, Xie and Zheng waged an information campaign to lobby for local issues while embedded in county educational posts. Printing their treatises through their alma mater, the Aofeng Academy, Fuzhou’s premier educational institution that promoted a rigorous Neo-Confucian scholarly orientation, and using well-positioned Aofeng alumni to take their causes to Beijing, the instructors were able to make changes on the local level and provide Qing officials with a new source of “expert” local information that bypassed the regular bureaucracy. By producing information on themes of local governance and manipulating the elite network of the Aofeng Academy that connected Fujian to circles of power in Beijing, Xie and Zheng became models of local political action, influencing new generations of Fujianese scholars over the 19th century.
In a fragmented wartime China (1931–45), the levels of violence, suffering, and resistance varied in different regions. The Anti-Japanese War left people with different experiences and memories. To date, both Chinese- and English-language scholarship have paid insufficient attention to the more than two hundred million common Chinese who stayed in Japanese-occupied areas. To help fill this gap, this study provides a thematic analysis of interviews conducted by the author with six Chinese women of the urban middle-class about their experiences in the Japanese-occupied areas. It adds voices and perspectives of ordinary, middle-class women to the rich tapestry of everyday life of wartime China. The oral narratives of these women are everyday accounts of uncertainty, fear, and survival. More important, they are testimonies to the evolution of their gender consciousness and their determination to pursue an education as a means of resisting gender inequality. In addition, these oral narratives show how these women developed strategies in their marriages, work, and political views to reconcile with the reality of living with the enemy. Their everyday forms of resistance helped them maintain dignity in the face of foreign imperialism.