By William T. Rowe
In a brisk revisionist heritage, William Rowe demanding situations the traditional narrative of Qing China as a decadent, inward-looking country that didn't continue speed with the fashionable West. the good Qing was once the second one significant chinese language empire governed by means of foreigners. 3 robust Manchu emperors labored diligently to safe an alliance with the conquered Ming gentry, even though a lot of their social edicts—especially the requirement that ethnic Han males put on queues—were fiercely resisted. As advocates of a “universal” empire, Qing rulers additionally completed an immense growth of the chinese language realm over the process 3 centuries, together with the conquest and incorporation of Turkic and Tibetan peoples within the west, colossal migration into the southwest, and the colonization of Taiwan. regardless of this geographic diversity and the accompanying social and monetary complexity, the Qing excellent of “small executive” labored good while outdoors threats have been minimum. however the nineteenth-century Opium Wars compelled China to turn into a participant in a predatory foreign contest related to Western powers, whereas the devastating uprisings of the Taiping and Boxer rebellions signaled an pressing desire for inner reform. finished state-mandated adjustments in the course of the early 20th century weren't sufficient to carry again the nationalist tide of 1911, yet they supplied a brand new origin for the Republican and Communist states that may stick to. This unique, thought-provoking background of China’s final empire is a must-read for realizing the demanding situations dealing with China at the present time. (20091204)
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Additional info for China's Last Empire: The Great Qing (History of Imperial China)
Although ofﬁcials were, almost of necessity, wealthy landholders and lineage leaders in their own right, their economic and social power centered on their distant native place, not on the jurisdiction where they served at the pleasure of their imperial master. A ﬁeld ofﬁcial was never allowed to serve in his home district or even province, and in the system of checks and balances he was never governance 39 paired with or adjacent to a relative or even a fellow provincial. An ofﬁcial of registered Chinese ethnicity would most often ﬁnd himself serving with others of Manchu or Mongol registry, and vice versa.
These brokers charged a commission to merchants for their service in regulating the local market and then paid a percentage of their take to the state for their license. The state also received revenue from its monopoly on the production and distribution of salt—the one essential consumer item—and derived further income from the mining sector, especially the monetary metals silver and copper. Other irregular, miscellaneous sources of revenue included conﬁscations of property in the form of ﬁnes, “contributions” solicited from wealthy individuals to ﬁnance various public projects, and sales of civil service degrees and ofﬁcial posts (most often nominal ones) to ﬁnance the state’s impressive system of relief granaries in each locality.
2 governance w h i l e the Great Qing was an empire encompassing many disparate peoples, it was also a dynasty (guo) in the Chinese imperial tradition, and its ruling house confronted many of the same problems faced by its predecessors. , had demonstrated throughout its long history that it could be conquered but not permanently fragmented. Some self-righting mechanism seemed to dictate that periods of breakdown would be followed by longer eras of reintegration. The empire had been able to sustain its enormous size in the area known as “China proper” or “Inner China” for over two millennia.