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The Six Companies and China’s Policy toward Exclusion
This is a striking, original portrait of the Chinese Six Companies (Zhonghua huiguan), or Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the most prominent support organization for Chinese immigrants in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. As a federation of "native-place associations" (huiguan) in California, the Six Companies responded to racist acts and legislation by organizing immigrant communities and employing effective diplomatic strategies against exclusion. Yucheng Qin substantiates recent arguments that Chinese immigrants were resourceful in fighting for their rights and, more importantly, he argues that through the Six Companies they created a political rhetoric and civic agenda that were then officially adopted by Qing court officials, who at first were unprepared for modern diplomacy. Out of necessity, these officials turned to the Six Companies for assistance and would in time adopt the tone and format of its programs during China’s turbulent transition from a tributary system to that of a modern nation-state.
Eventually the Six Companies and Qing diplomats were defeated by a coalition of anti-Chinese interest groups, but their struggle produced a template for modern Chinese nationalism—a political identity that transcends native place—in nineteenth-century America. By redirecting our gaze beyond China to the Six Companies in California and back again, Yucheng Qin redefines the historical significance of the huiguan. The ingenuity of his approach lies in his close attention to the transnational experience of the Six Companies, which provides a feasible framework for linking its diplomatic activism with Chinese history as well as the history of Chinese Americans and Sino-American relations.
The Diplomacy of Nationalism enlarges our view of the immigrant experience of Chinese in the U.S. by examining early Sino-American relations through the structure of Six Companies diplomacy as well as providing a better understanding of modern Chinese nationalism.
The State, Agitation, and Manipulation during China's Nationalist Revolution, 1922-1929
This study provides a striking new explanation of how China’s Nationalist Party (GMD) defeated its rivals in the revolution of 1922-1929 and helped bring some degree of unification to a country torn by class, regional, and ideological interests. Disarming the Allies of Imperialism argues that inconsistency—more than culture, ideology, or any other factor—gave nationalism its unique edge. Revolutionary leaders manipulated revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries alike to advantage their own positions and seize national power, sometimes seeking to protect foreign lives and property and shield Chinese merchants from agitative disruptions, sometimes voting to do the opposite. Exploiting the symbiotic yet contradictory relationship between state-building, which sought foreign ties and international recognition; and low-level agitators committed to confrontational anti-imperialist objectives, top Guomindang leaders were able to manipulate political circumstances to their own benefit. For example, party leaders stirred up anti-Christian sentiment, pitting popular forces against mission schools, while simultaneously intervening to rescue these same schools from agitative destruction, thus “helping” missionaries to soften their attitudes toward the revolution and eventually embrace the new order.
Government and Politics
This volume analyses the evolution of a unique brand of politics in Hong Kong. It examines how a Crown Colony system responded to the demands made of it by its Chinese and British residents in the shadow of the often volatile politics of modern China.
Architectural Images in Qing China
Qing China (1644–1912) witnessed a resurgence in architectural painting, a traditional subject category known as jiehua, or boundary painting. Drawing Boundaries concerns itself with the symbolic implications of this impressive and little studied reflorescence. Beginning with a concise and well-illustrated history of the evolution of the tradition, this exciting new study reveals how these images were deployed in the Manchu (Qing) imperial court to define political, social, or cultural boundaries. Characterized by grand conception and regal splendor, the paintings served to enhance the imperial authority of rulers and, to a segment of the elite, to advertise social status. Drawing Boundaries thus speaks to both issues of painting and architectural style and the discourse of powerful cultural forms. In addition to the analysis of how the style of image construction suggests these political and social motivations, the book identifies another aspect of traditional architectural representation unique to the Qing: the use of architectural representation to render form and space. Anita Chung makes the fascinating observation that these renderings create an overwhelming sense of “being there,” a characteristic, she argues, that underscores the Qing concern for the substance of things—a sensibility toward the physical world characteristic of the period and emblematic of a new worldview.
Tales from Medieval China
This collection of short stories, anecdotes, and poems was likely compiled during the 13th century. Tales of romantic love—including courtship, marriage, and illicit affairs—unify the collection and make it an essential primary source for literary and social history, since official Chinese history sources did not usually discuss family conflict or sexual matters. This volume, the first complete translation of The Drunken Man’s Talk (Xinbian zuiweng tanlu) in any language, includes an introduction that explores the literary significance of the work as well as annotations explaining the symbolism and allusions found in the stories.
The Role of Hong Kong
In this colourful story of the Hong Kong Observatory, P. Kevin MacKeown takes us through the development of the Observatory in the Crown colony in the period 1882–1912, featuring in particular its nettlesome founding director William Doberck. A Danish astronomer with little interest in meteorology, though eminently qualified for the senior scientific position, Doberck proved to be a very difficult employee — constantly clashing with his superiors, his confreres, and with the commercial community. Despite the antagonism between Doberck and the Jesuit observatories, a successful storm warning system was developed over several years. MacKeown also introduces the earliest efforts of quantitative meteorology in the region, and documents the additional contributions made by Jesuit observatories at Manila and Shanghai. The study of typhoons and their forecasting was of the greatest importance, and MacKeown details the earliest studies of storms in the China Sea. Apart from general readers interested in Hong Kong’s history, this book will attract historians of science, especially those familiar with China and with Western colonialism in Asia.