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China Mission Cover

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China Mission

A Personal History from the Last Imperial Dynasty to the People's Republic

Audrey Ronning Topping

When the Reverend Halvor Ronning, his sister Thea, and fellow missionary Hannah Rorem set out in 1891 to found a Lutheran mission and school in the interior of China, they could not have foreseen the ways in which that decision would ripple across generations of the Ronning family. Halvor and Hannah would marry, and their son Chester, born in Hubei Province in 1894, would spend over half his life in China as a student, teacher, and a Canadian diplomat. Chester's daughter, Audrey, studied at Nanking University during the Chinese Civil War and later spent decades reporting on the People's Republic of China for the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and many other publications. "During the last century," Audrey Topping notes, "a member of our family was there for almost every event of importance." China Mission presents a personal history of her family's ties to their adopted home and the momentous events that radically changed one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The Ronnings found Imperial China at the end of the nineteenth century to be a nation on the cusp of change, and they were swept up as both observers and participants in these dramatic events. During their years as missionaries, the Ronnings witnessed the Boxer Uprising in 1898, the subsequent Palace Coup and the Siege of Peking, the death of the last emperor, and the collapse of China's dynasty system. They also endured personal challenges -- famine, births, deaths, and the almost constant threat of attack -- that were countered with songs, celebrations, friendship, and a deep appreciation for the culture of which they had become a part.

Later, Chester Ronning would return to China, as would his daughter Audrey, bringing their family's story to the end of the twentieth century. This extraordinary account, compiled from the diaries, letters, and photographs of three generations, offers modern readers a rare and remarkable look at a world long gone.

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China Off Center

Susan D. Blum & Lionel Jensen (eds.)

China Off Center takes as its fundamental assumption that contemporary China can only be understood as a complex, decentralized place, where the view from above (Beijing) and from tourist buses is a skewed one. Instead of generalizing about China, it demonstrates that this diverse national terrain is better conceived as it is experienced by Chinese, as a set of many Chinas. To that end, this anthology of interpretive essays and ethnographic reports focuses on the everyday, the particular, the local, and the puzzling. Together with contextualizing introductions, the readings provide students with a compelling look at some little-known but significant aspects of China from the past decade; for those already familiar with China, they furnish an assortment of uncommon viewpoints in a single, convenient volume.

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China Under Mongol Rule

John D. Langlois Jr.

Encompassing history, politics, religion, and art, this collection of essays on Chinese civilization under the Mongols challenges the previously held views that Mongol rule had only negative consequences.

Originally published in 1981.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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China’s Foreign Places

The Foreign Presence in China in the Treaty Port Era, 1840–1943

Robert Nield

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the imperial powers—principally Britain, the United States, Russia, France, Germany and Japan—signed treaties with China to secure trading, residence and other rights in cities on the coast, along important rivers, and in remote places further inland. The largest of them—the great treaty ports of Shanghai and Tientsin—became modern cities of international importance, centres of cultural exchange and safe havens for Chinese who sought to subvert the Qing government. They are also lasting symbols of the uninvited and often violent incursions by foreign powers during China’s century of weakness. The extraterritorial privileges that underpinned the treaty ports were abolished in 1943—a time when much of the treaty port world was under Japanese occupation. China’s Foreign Places provides a historical account of the hundred or more major foreign settlements that appeared in China during the period 1840 to 1943. Most of the entries are about treaty ports, large and small, but the book also includes colonies, leased territories, resorts and illicit centres of trade. Information has been drawn from a wide range of sources and entries are arranged alphabetically with extensive illustrations and maps. China’s Foreign Places is both a unique work of reference, essential for scholars of this period and travellers to modern China. It is also a fascinating account of the people, institutions and businesses that inhabited China’s treaty port world. "Robert Nield’s encyclopaedic coverage of the sites of foreign power in pre-1949 China, and their surviving traces, ranges from Aigun to Yunnan-fu and calls at all ports in between. This is an informative and tellingly detailed guide to a world that is now mainly lost, but which nevertheless continues to haunt modern China." — Robert Bickers, University of Bristol; author of Getting Stuck in for Shanghai and The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832–1914 "A wonderful contribution to understanding the foreign presence in China and the economic push to reach every corner of the massive country. Not only has Robert Nield visited nearly all of his over 80 outposts but his extensive research in newspapers and archives offers an immensely valuable contribution to the subject. It will be enormously useful to researchers and intrepid travellers." — Frances Wood, author of The Blue Guide to China (with Neil Taylor) and No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China 1843–1943

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China’s New Nationalism

Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy

Peter Hays Gries

Three American missiles hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and what Americans view as an appalling and tragic mistake, many Chinese see as a "barbaric" and intentional "criminal act," the latest in a long series of Western aggressions against China. In this book, Peter Hays Gries explores the roles of perception and sentiment in the growth of popular nationalism in China. At a time when the direction of China's foreign and domestic policies have profound ramifications worldwide, Gries offers a rare, in-depth look at the nature of China's new nationalism, particularly as it involves Sino-American and Sino-Japanese relations—two bilateral relations that carry extraordinary implications for peace and stability in the twenty-first century.

Through recent Chinese books and magazines, movies, television shows, posters, and cartoons, Gries traces the emergence of this new nationalism. Anti-Western sentiment, once created and encouraged by China's ruling PRC, has been taken up independently by a new generation of Chinese. Deeply rooted in narratives about past "humiliations" at the hands of the West and impassioned notions of Chinese identity, popular nationalism is now undermining the Communist Party's monopoly on political discourse, threatening the regime's stability. As readable as it is closely researched and reasoned, this timely book analyzes the impact that popular nationalism will have on twenty-first century China and the world.

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China's New Socialist Countryside

Modernity Arrives in the Nu River Valley

by Russell Harwood

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this case study examines the impact of economic development on ethnic minority people living along the upper-middle reaches of the Nu (Salween) River in Yunnan. In this highly mountainous, sparsely populated area live the Lisu, Nu, and Dulong (Drung) people, who until recently lived as subsistence farmers, relying on shifting cultivation, hunting, the collection of medicinal plants from surrounding forests, and small-scale logging to sustain their household economies. China's New Socialist Countryside explores how compulsory education, conservation programs, migration for work, and the expansion of social and economic infrastructure are not only transforming livelihoods, but also intensifying the Chinese Party-state’s capacity to integrate ethnic minorities into its political fabric and the national industrial economy.

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China's Urban Transition

John Friedmann

Though China's urban history reaches back over five thousand years, it is only in the last quarter century that urbanization has emerged as a force of widespread social transformation while a massive population shift from country to city has brought about a dramatic revolution in China's culture, politics, and economy. Employing a historical perspective, John Friedmann presents a succinct, readable account and interpretation of how this transition - one of the most momentous phenomena in contemporary history - has occurred. China's Urban Transition synthesizes a broad array of research to provide the first integrated treatment of the many processes that encompass the multi-layered meaning of urbanization: regional policy, the upsurge of rural industries, migration, expanding spheres of personal autonomy, and the governance of city building. John Friedmann's detailed analysis suggests that the nation's economic development has been driven more by social forces from within than by global capital. This leads directly to the epic story of rural migration to major urban regions, the policies used to restrain and direct this "avalanche" of humanity on the move, and the return of many migrants to their home communities, where the process of urbanization continues. Focusing on everyday life in cities, he also shows how this social transformation extends to the most intimate spheres of people's lives. In conclusion, the author raises the question of a "sustainable" urban development and its relation with China's own past, values, and institutions. Friedmann predicts that within ten years China - already the most powerful country in East Asia - will have become a major power in the world. With historical depth, interpretive insight, and interdisciplinary breadth, this book offers an unparalleled introduction to China's transformation.

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Chinese Aesthetics

The Ordering of Literature, the Arts, and the Universe in the Six Dynasties

Zong-qi Cai

This singular work presents the most comprehensive and nuanced studies available in any Western language of Chinese aesthetic thought and practice during the Six Dynasties (A.D. 220–589). Despite a succession of dynastic and social upheavals, the literati preoccupied themselves with both the sensuous and the transcendent and strove for cultural dominance. By the end of the sixth century, their reflections would evolve into a sophisticated system of aesthetic discourse characterized by its own rhetoric and concepts. A prologue details the historical context in which Six Dynasties aesthetics arose and sketches out its major stages of development. The ten essays that follow bring fresh perspectives to bear on important writings on literature, music, painting, calligraphy, and gardening. Grounded in close readings of primary texts, they reveal the complex, dynamic interplay between life and art, the sensuous and the metaphysical, and the artistic and the philosophicaleligious that lies at the heart of the aesthetic thought and practice of the time. As a whole, the collection demonstrates that Six Dynasties achieved a sophistication in aesthetic thought comparable in many ways to that of the West: The discussion of disinterestedness in art, aesthetic judgment, and how mental images mediate between the supersensible and the sensible are reminiscent of Kant. The findings of various Chinese critics provide much food for thought in the broad fields of comparative literature and aesthetics. Chinese Aesthetics will fill a gap in Western sinological studies of the period. It will appeal to scholars and students in premodern Chinese literary studies, comparative aesthetics, and cultural studies and be a welcome reference to anyone interested in ancient Chinese culture.

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The Chinese and the Japanese

Essays in Political and Cultural Interactions

Akira Iriye

Together these essays tell the story of how two highly self-conscious cultures, with long and proud traditions of their own, have defined themselves both with respect to one another and under the influence of the West.

Originally published in 1980.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order

The Occupied Lower Yangzi, 1937-1945

Parks Coble

In this probing and original study, Parks M. Coble examines the devastating impact of Japan's invasion and occupation of the lower Yangzi on China's emerging modern business community. Arguing that the war gravely weakened Chinese capitalists, Coble demonstrates that in occupied areas the activities of businessmen were closer to collaboration than to heroic resistance. He shows how the war left an important imprint on the structure and culture of Chinese business enterprise by encouraging those traits that had allowed it to survive in uncertain and dangerous times.

Although historical memory emphasizes the entrepreneurs who followed the Nationalists armies to the interior, most Chinese businessmen remained in the lower Yangzi area. If they wished to retain any ownership of their enterprises, they were forced to collaborate with the Japanese and the Wang Jingwei regime in Nanjing. Characteristics of business in the decades prior to the war, including a preference for family firms and reluctance to become public corporations, distrust of government, opaqueness of business practices, and reliance of personal connections (guanxi) were critical to the survival of enterprises during the war and were reinforced by the war experience. Through consideration of the broader implications of the many responses to this complex era, Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order makes a substantial contribution to larger discussions of the dynamics of World War II and of Chinese business culture.

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