History of China

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Tiananmen gate of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City used to be the palace of the emperor of China, it is now a tourist attraction.

The origin of Chinese civilization is shrouded in myth and conflicting tales. Documented history begins with the Shang dynasty, founded about 1600 BC. China has long been the most populous country in the world. It's warring states were united into a single nation by Qin Shi Huang, the king of Qin, in 221 BC. For the next two thousand years, the country was ruled by a series of dynasties that followed the principles of Confucianism. Officials were selected by an examination system which tested their knowledge of classic works of literature. The Qing (1644-1911), the last of these dynasties, was founded by the Manchu, a nomadic people from the northeast.

Publications established by Christian missionaries introduced reformist ideas in the late 19th century, culminating in the Chinese Revolution of 1911. The May Fourth Movement of the 1920s was characterized by language reform, campaigns against footbinding and other abusive practices toward women, and a reverent attitude toward "science." At this time, the country was divided among various warlord factions. It was reunited in 1927 by the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek. In 1937, most of China was occupied by Japan. Fighting between Nationalist China and Japan continued until 1945, when Japan was defeated by the United States.

After the war, China was ensnared in Cold War rivalries. In the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), Soviet-backed communists led by Mao Zedong defeated the U.S.-backed Nationalists. Although impoverished by many years of war and upheaval, China entered the Korean War (1950-1953) with Soviet backing. Loses were heavy, but U.S. forces did retreat before the Chinese offensive. During the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), the communists starved the nation's peasants to maximize rice exports. The money raised was used to build a nuclear bomb, which was tested in 1964.

Market-oriented reforms have allowed the country to experience rapid economic growth since 1978. China's economy is now has the world's second largest, surpassing that of Japan in 2010. However, the Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power. In 1989, the army killed thousands of anti-Communist demonstrators in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Contents

Origins

Mythological

A map of China

Traditional history begins with Pangu, the first living being. When Pangu died, his left eye became the Sun. Various parts of his body became different parts of the Earth. There followed a succession of Three Sovereigns, or demigod rulers. The first and best known of these was Fuxi (2852–2737 BC). Fuxi and his sister Nüwa survived a worldwide flood by retreating to the Kunlun Mountains. After the Three Sovereigns, China was ruled by the Five Emperors. The Yellow Emperor (r. 2698–2598 BC) is given credit for numerous inventions and is considered the founder of Chinese civilization.

During the reign of Emperor Yao (2356 - 2255 BC), a great and terrible flood began.[1] The waters overtopped hills and mountains, threatening heaven itself. Yao appointed Gun to control the food. To build dikes, Gun stole soil that expanded magically from the Supreme Deity. This angered the Supreme Deity, and the flood raged on. Yao consulted the Four Mountains, who advised him to appoint Shun as his successor. Shun (r. 2255 – 2195 BC) was only a distant relative of Yao, but he was known throughout the kingdom as a dutiful son. Shun's father had repeatedly tried to murder him, so being a dutiful son was not as easy as it might sound. Shun was later singled out by Confucius as an example of outstanding filial piety. Yet he too proved helpless before the flood. Shun's successor, Yu the Great (c. 2200 - 2100 BC), was finally able to control the raging waters by building embankments made of non-magical soil. Yu's son succeeded him, making Yu the founder of the legendary Xia dynasty (2070 – c. 1600 BC).

Archaeological

The neolithic site of Yangshao in Henan Province was excavated by Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson in 1921. The Yangshao culture thrived along Yellow River and cultivated millet from about 4900 to 3000 BC. Silk was produced and pottery was fired in kilns dug into the ground. The bones of domesticated dogs, cattle, sheep and goats have been found.[2] As of 1999, a total of 31 Yangshao sites have been located.[3] The remains of a second neolithic culture were uncovered by C.T. Wu at Longshan in Shandong in 1928. Black pottery is a characteristic find at Longshan archaeological sites. Longshan is now considered an example of the second phase of a Yangshao-Longshan culture, one that lasted from 3000 to 2000 BC. Copper was introduced around 2000 BC, and China entered the Bronze Age around 1700 BC. China's first significant state was the Erlitou culture (1900–1350 BC). This was a Bronze Age state whose capital in Henan Province was excavated in 1959.

Historical

History of China
Ancient
Xia (legendary) 2070–c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou c. 1045–256 BC
Imperial
Qin 221–206 BC
Han 206 BC – 220 AD
Three Kingdoms 220–280
Jin 265–420
  16 Kingdoms
304–439
 
Northern and Southern
Dynasties
420–589
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–960
Liao
907–1125
Song
960–1279
Jin
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1644–1911
Modern
Republic 1912–1949
People's Republic 1949–present

The traditional view of ancient Chinese history, still promoted by the Chinese government, is of a succession of dynasties from Xia to Shang to Zhou going back 5,000 years. Historians working in China identify Erlitou with the Xia dynasty.[4] Other states and cultures existed at the same time, and the focus on the traditional dynastic sequence may reflect the basis of dynasty-oriented historians. Among the first historians to carefully separate myth from history was Sima Qian. His history begins with the exile of King Li of the Zhou dynasty in 841 BC, still the earliest securely dated event in Chinese history.

Xia dynasty: 2070–c. 1600 BC

The Xia dynasty is the first dynasty in traditional history. The legend of this dynasty was used by the Zhou to justify their conquest of the Shang. It can be compared to the King Arthur legend in England, which Medieval writers developed to justify the Norman conquest. The fourteen Xia rulers on the traditional dynasty list were descended from Yu the Great. Jie, the last king of the dynasty, is said to have fallen in love with a beautiful but cruel woman. In response, Zi Lü led a revolt, overthrew the Xia, and founded the Shang dynasty.

Shang dynasty: 1600-c. 1046 BC

The Shang, found in 1600 BC, was China's first fully historical dynasty. It was a Bronze Age culture.

Zhou dynasty: c. 1045–256 BC

Iron replaced bronze around 600 BC, during the Zhou dynasty.

Imperial China

Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened by the development of a Confucian state ideology and a common written language that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects. Whenever China was conquered by nomadic tribes, as it was by the Mongols in the 13th century, the conquerors sooner or later adopted the ways of the "higher" Chinese civilization and staffed the bureaucracy with Chinese.

When the Chinese discovered gunpowder they had no intention of using it as a weapon. Instead, it was developed in the Tang dynasty as a formula for immortality by religious Daoist alchemists. It was discovered to be a powerful explosive, and when lit, gunpowder in a bamboo stick made a colorful explosion. This loud explosion was used to chase away evil spirits and to celebrate weddings, victories in battles, and religious ceremonies. However, contrary to popular belief, the first depiction of gunpowder in pictorial form shows it in military use. Similarly, it is also known that before the arrival of Westerners in China, Chinese troops were equipped with firearms.

Great Wall

The Great Wall of China was designed to keep enemies out and protect their country. Construction took centuries, and was begun during the Qin dynasty, 221-206 BC. In 246 BC the emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, whose original name was Ying Zheng, came to power in the state of Qin. By 221 BC, he had unified China using the Legalistic philosophy of his state to encourage colonization and to build up the military in what was previously a minor desert state.

The Great Wall winds some 2,400 km (1,500 mi) along the edge of the Mongolian plateau from Gansu Province in the west to the Yellow Sea in the east. Its width ranges from 4 to 12 m (12 to 40 ft) and its height from 6 to 15 m (20 to 50 ft). It makes possible much more effective military defense of China from invaders.

It was perhaps the greatest and largest thing ever created by man by that point. Unlike the wall we see today, it was originally an earthen and wooden rampart structure, and had earlier precedents, walls built by the various states of the Warring States period to keep out nomads in the north. There was a huge human cost involved; it is believed over a million people died in the construction. The wall that is visible today dates from the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), begun after the expulsion of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1276 - 1368) and nearly a thousand years of nomad rule in China under various dynastic titles. It did not, however, prevent a final nomadic group from conquering China at the end of the Ming dynasty in 1368 - the Manchus. The Shanhaiguan pass, the main route into and out of Manchuria, was not protected by the wall, and in 1644, Manchus, Buddhist descendants of the Jurchen tribes who had fought the Han Chinese for centuries, invaded the north of China, exploiting the weak late-Ming government and infrastructure. This resulted in the formation of the Qing dynasty, which lasted until the revolution of 1911.

Ming dynasty: 1368-1644

The Ming period is the only era of later imperial history during which all of China was ruled by a native, or Han dynasty. The success of the Chinese in regaining control over their own government is an important event in history, and the Ming dynasty thus has been regarded, both in Ming times and even more so in the 21st century, as an era of Chinese resurgence.

A map of Asia during the Ming dynasty

All the counties in China had a county government, a Confucian school, and the standard Chinese family system. Typically the dominant local elite comprised high status families comprised of the gentry owners and managers of land and of other forms of wealth, as well as smaller groups that were subject to elite domination and protection. Much attention was paid to genealogy to prove that high status was inherited from generations back. Substantial land holdings were directly managed by the owning families in the early Ming period, but toward the end of the era marketing and ownership were depersonalized by the increased circulation of silver as money, and estate management gravitated into the hands of hired bailiffs. Together with the departure of the most talented youth into the imperial service, the result was direct contacts between the elite and subject groups were disrupted, and romantic images of country life disappeared from the literature. In villages across China elite families participated in the life of the empire by sending their sons into the very high status imperial civil service. Most of the successful sons had a common education in the county and prefecture schools, had been recruited by competitive examination, and were posted to offices that might be anywhere in the empire, including the imperial capital. At first the recommendation of an elite local sponsor was important; increasing the imperial government relied more on merit exams, and thus entry into the national ruling class became more difficult. Downward social mobility into the peasantry was possible for less successful sons; upward mobility from the peasant class was unheard of.[5]

Qing dynasty: 1644-1911

Chinese had an advanced artistic culture and well-developed science and technology. However, its science and technology stood still after 1700 and in the 21st century very little survives outside museums and remote villages, except in for the ever-popular forms of traditional medicine like acupuncture.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by large-scale civil wars, major famines, military defeats by Britain and Japan, regional control by powerful warlords and foreign intervention such as the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. In the 1860s, electrotype technology was applied to allow newspapers in the Chinese language to be mass produced and widely circulated. Christian missionaries were at the forefront in taking advantage of this technology. The reformers of the 1890s were educated concerning modern approaches and ideologies by their publications, particularly Wanguo Gongbao (A Review of the Times).

Reforms: 1901-1908

The humiliation of the Boxer Rebellion stimulated a second reform movement--this time sanctioned by Empress Dowager Cixi. From 1901 to 1908, the dynasty announced a series of educational, military, and administrative reforms, many reminiscent of the "one hundreds days" of 1898. The imperial examinations of 1902 and 1904 included questions on the politics, science and technology of all countries, requiring some 50,000 students to study such subjects, most of whom would not otherwise be interested.[6] Unfortunately, the examination system was abolished in 1905.

Armies were raised and trained in European (and Japanese) fashion and plans for a national army were laid. The creation of the "new army" reflected rising esteem for the military profession and the emergence of a new national elite that dominated China for much of the 20th century. More officers and men were now literate, while patriotism and better pay served as an inducement for service.

Japan's victory over Russia in 1905 electrified nationalists across Asia. The adoption of a constitutional monarchy in Russia following the war created a model for action. In 1908, the court issued a timetable: Consultative provincial assemblies by 1909, a consultative national assembly by 1910, and both a constitution and a parliament by 1917. Cixi's death in 1908 left the dynasty practically leaderless. The new emperor was a child and the regent incompetent. The army leaders felt little loyalty to either. They yearned for the return of Yuan Shikai, a Cixi favorite dismissed in 1909.

Revolution planned

While the reformers of the 1890s sought to modernize China by working within the dynasty, the following generation was fed up with the Qing. It was the age of racism, and many Chinese were influenced by anti-Manchu racial theories.[7] The old crimes of the Manchu, such as the Yangzhou Massacre of 1645, were dug up and used against them. Anti-Manchu revolutionary groups were formed in the Yangtze cities by 1903, and those in Tokyo banded together to form the "Revolutionary Alliance" in 1905, led by Sun Yat-sen. By 1910, even Liang Qichao, the most prominent Chinese intellectual at the time and once a prominent advocate of constitutional monarchy, had joined Sun as a revolutionary.

Republic: 1912-1949

Yuan Shikai: 1911-1916

By 1911 China had 400 million people and the beginnings of a railroad system. The old dynasty collapsed in 1911 as soldiers mutinied, and the emperor abdicated in early 1912. A republic was proclaimed on January 1, 1912, but power was held by army leader Yuan Shikai (1859-1916). The army officers felt loyalty to Yuan as a former commander who reorganized the army. Most owed their positions to him. The Nationalist Party won parliamentary elections in 1913, but Yuan had the parliamentary leader assassinated, crushed republican uprisings, shut down parliament, and ruled as a dictator. Yuan proclaimed himself emperor in 1915. This triggered an uprising based in the South. Few army officers appreciated the prospect of serving Yuan's playboy son, who was now heir to the throne. Faced with unanimous opposition, Yuan renounced the throne. He died suddenly of natural causes in June 1916.[8]

Age of warlords: 1916-1930

After Yuan's death, the Beiyang clique at first backed Prime Minister Duan Qirui. By 1919, army leadership had devolved into three rival factions: Anhui, Zhili, and Fengtian.[9] Zhang Zuolin, warlord of Manchuria and head of the Fengtian clique, was backed by Japan. He gained control of Beijing in 1926. The reactionary character of the Zhang regime provoked a backlash in the more reform-minded South. Sun Yat-sen and the Nationalist Party, backed by the Soviets, established a rival government in Guangzhou in 1925. Whampoa Academy trained a new generation of army officers who would be loyal to the party, not affiliated with any of the Beiyang cliques.

The Nanjing decade: 1927-1937

Chiang Kai-shek, who become Nationalist leader following Sun's death, defeated the Beiyang warlords and moved to central government to Nanjing in 1927. A warlord revolt was defeated in a brief but bloody war in 1930. Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, and in 1937 invaded all of China, defeating the government armies, seizing the coast, the major cities, and setting up a puppet government that controlled most of the population. China's resistance was ineffective.[10]

Communist Party

The Chinese Communist Party was founded in Shanghai, China's largest city, in 1921. It was allied with the KMT but in classical Marxist style its goal was initially to foment revolution among urban workers. It was controlled by Stalin in Moscow through the Comintern. In 1927, however, a bloody anti-communist coup by the Nationalist, destroyed the CCP in the cities. Forced into the countryside, the CCP broke with Russian guidance and developed a new strategy based on agrarian revolution, mobilizing poor peasants by promising to confiscate and redistribute the lands held by landlords. Mao Zedong took the lead.[11]

The Long March: 1934-36

In 1934-35, the CCP fled the KMT with over 100,000 men and women.They divided into several armies, marched 6,000 miles inland through a brutal terrain of frigid mountain passes, freezing rivers and marshes in search of a sanctuary to continue their revolution. Only 7000 survived the march.[12]

The Long March became the heroic memory of the CCP, and virtually all the Communist leaders of the next 70 years were marchers or their children.[13]

World War II: 1937-1945

China suffered millions of deaths in the long war, even though battles were few. The Japanese killed tens of thousands of civilians in the occupied territories. Tens of thousands more died when Nationalist troops broke the levees of the Yangtze to stop the Japanese advance after the loss of the capital, Nanking. Millions more Chinese died because of famine during the war.

Millions of Chinese moved to the western regions of China to avoid Japanese invasion. Cities like Kunming ballooned with new arrivals. Entire factories and universities were often taken along for the journey. Japan captured major coastal cities like Shanghai early in the war; cutting the rest of China off from its chief source of finance and industry.

The city of Chongqing became the most frequently bombed city in history.[14]

Though China received Lend Lease economic and military aid from the United States, China did not have sufficient infrastructure to properly arm or even feed its military forces. Much of the aid was lost to corruption and extreme inefficiency.

Civil War: 1946-1949

China was allied with the U.S. and Britain against Japan, and at war's end joined the United Nations as a permanent member of the 5-nation Security Council, with a veto. The Americans attempted to force a negotiated settlement between the KMT and the Communists, but failed.

People's Republic: 1949 - present

Mao Zedong proclaims the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949.

In the face of economic collapse the Communists won the civil war in 1949 under Mao Zedong (1893-1976). Mao established a dictatorship, driving the KMT to Taiwan. Taiwan is recognized as an integral part of China in theory, but in practice has been independent since 1949. Mao liquidated millions of opponents, fought the United States in the bloody Korean War (1950-53), and broke with the Soviet Union over the issue of who best represented the Marxist orthodoxy.

Great Leap Forward

The Great Leap Forward (1958-60) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) were the two worst periods of leftist domination in the history of China. Beginning in 1958, Mao imposed unrealistic targets on Chinese grain production to extract funds from agriculture for rapid industrial growth. Maoists placed relentless pressure on Communist cadres for ruthless implementation of the Great Leap Forward. Contrary to Maoist plans, China's grain output in 1959-60 declined sharply from 1957 levels and rural per capita grain retention decreased dramatically. Throughout China, party cadres' mismanagement of agricultural production was responsible for the decline in grain output, and the Communist state's excessive requisition of grain caused food shortages for the peasants.[15]

The Cultural Revolution

Painting by Yun Xin, born in 1944

Mao was discredit by the failure of the Great Leap Forward, and power shifted the party boss Liu Shaoqi and his protégé, Deng Xiaoping. Dissatisfied with China's new direction and his own reduced authority, Mao launched a massive political attack on Liu, Deng, and other pragmatists in the spring of 1966.

In the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, Mao and Lin Biao charged Liu, Deng, and other top party leaders with dragging China back toward capitalism. In 1971, Lin Biao was accused of plotting against Mao. He fled Beijing and died in a plane crash in Mongolia.

The ideological struggle between more pragmatic, veteran party officials and the radicals re-emerged with a vengeance in late 1975. Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, and three close Cultural Revolution associates (later dubbed the "Gang of Four") launched a campaign against Deng, who was stripped of all official positions.

Nixon

In 1972 the world was stunned when American President Richard Nixon visited Beijing, ending the cold war between the two countries and opening an era of détente and friendship that continues into the 21st century.[16]

The post-Mao era

After Mao's death in September 1976 Hua Guofeng was quickly confirmed as party chairman and premier. A month later, Hua, backed by the army, arrested Jiang Qing and other members of the "Gang of Four" that organized the Cultural Revolution.

In December 1978, the Third Plenum (of the 11th Party Congress Central Committee) adopted economic reform policies aimed at expanding rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing central planning, and attracting foreign direct investment into China. Hua was force to resign at this time, leaving Deng as top leader.

Deng focused on market-oriented economic development. By 2000, output had quadrupled, population growth ended (by imposing a one-child policy), and good relations were secured with the West.

Massacre at Tiananmen Square

The death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, coupled with growing economic hardship caused by high inflation, triggered protests by students, intellectuals, and others. The protesters camped out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu's death and to protest against those who would slow reform.

Martial law was declared on May 20, 1989. Late on June 3 and early on the morning of June 4, military units were brought into Beijing. They used armed force to clear demonstrators from the streets. There are no official estimates of deaths in Beijing, but most observers believe that casualties numbered in the hundreds.

Post-Deng China

Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death in 1997. Jiang Zemin gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. In November 2002, Hu Jintao was selected leader. In 1992, he had been designated by Deng Xiaoping as the "core" of the fourth generation leaders. On March 14, 2013 Xi Jinping was "elected" as new president.[17]

References

  1. The Biblical flood may be dated as 2304 BC.("The Date of Noah’s Flood" by Dr John Osgood)
  2. Vasey, Daniel E., An Ecological History of Agriculture 10,000 BD to AD 10,000, p. 157 (2002)
  3. Xiaolin Ma, "Emergent Social Complexity in the Yangshao Culture: Analyses of Settlement Patterns and Faunal Remains from Lingbao, Western Henan, China C. 4900-3000 BC
  4. The official view of ancient chronology is given by the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project (2001), which refines the traditional timeline.
  5. Dardess, A Ming Society (1996)
  6. Iwo Amelung, "The Examination System and the Dissemination of Western Knowledge during the Late Qing"
  7. Ishikawa Yoshihiro, "Anti-Manchu racism and the rise of anthropology in early 20th century China"
  8. Hsü, (1999) ch 20
  9. Hsü, (1999) ch 20
  10. Spence, Search for Modern China (1990) ch 14-16
  11. Spence, Search for Modern China (1990) ch 14
  12. John M. Glionna, "China's reality check on Long March," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 16, 2008
  13. Sun Shuyun, The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth (2007)
  14. Chóngqìng.
  15. Yixin Chen, "Cold War Competition and Food Production in China, 1957-1962," Agricultural History 2009 83(1): 51-78,
  16. For primary sources and details see "Record of Historic Richard Nixon-Zhou Enlai Talks in February 1972 Now Declassified"
  17. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9929619/Xi-Jinping-elected-Chinas-president-Telegraph-dispatch.html

See also

External links

Further reading

For a more detailed guide go to the Bibliography below

Detailed Bibliography

For a long scholarly bibliography through 2001 see "Modern Chinese History: A Basic Bibliography".

surveys

  • Eberharad, Wolfram. A History of China (2005), 380 pages' full text online free
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, and Kwang-ching Liu. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1999) 352 pages excerpt and text search
  • Fairbank, John King and Goldman, Merle. China: A New History. 2nd ed. Harvard U. Press, (2006). 640 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Gernet, Jacques, J. R. Foster, and Charles Hartman. A History of Chinese Civilization (1996), called the best one-volume survey; excerpt and text search
  • Hsü, Immanuel Chung-yueh. The Rise of Modern China, 6th ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999), highly detailed coverage of 1644-1999, in 1136pp. excerpt and text search
  • Huang, Ray. China, a Macro History (1997) 335pp, an idiosyncratic approach, not for beginners; online edition from Questia
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. The Development of China (1917) 273 pages; full text online
  • Michael, Franz. China through the Ages: History of a Civilization. (1986). 278pp; online edition from Questia
  • Mote, Frederick W. Imperial China, 900–1800 Harvard University Press, 1999, 1,136 pages, the authoritative treatment of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties; excerpt and text search
  • Perkins, Dorothy. Encyclopedia of China: The Essential Reference to China, Its History and Culture. Facts on File, 1999. 662 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Roberts, J. A. G. A Concise History of China. Harvard U. Press, 1999. 341 pp.
  • Schoppa, R. Keith. The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History. Columbia U. Press, 2000. 356 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China (1991), 876pp; well written survey from 1644 to 1980s excerpt and text search; complete edition online at Questia
  • Ven, Hans van de, ed. Warfare in Chinese History. E. J. Brill, 2000. 456 pp. online edition
  • Wang, Ke-wen, ed. Modern China: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. Garland, 1998. 442 pp.
  • Wright, David Curtis. History of China (2001) 257pp; online edition
  • full text of older histories (pre 1923)

Prehistory and early history

  • Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China, Yale University Press, 1986.

Intellectual, social and cultural history

  • de Bary, William Theodore, et al., Sources of Chinese Tradition (1960), primary sources
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. Women and the Family in Chinese History (2002) online edition from Questia
  • Fung, Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy, (2d ed. 2 vol., University Press, 1963)
  • Goldman, Merle and Lee, Leo Ou-fan, ed. An Intellectual History of Modern China. Cambridge U. Press, 2002. 607 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Mair, Victor H., ed. The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. Columbia U. Press, 2001. 800 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Mote, Frederick W. Intellectual Foundations of China, (2d ed. 1989)
  • Needham, Joseph; Robinson, Kenneth Girdwood; and Huang, Ray. Science and Civilisation in China: V. 7, Part 2: General Conclusions and Reflections. (2004). 283 pp. the last volume of a monumental series
  • Schwartz, Benjamin. The World of Thought in Ancient China (1985)
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution (1982), 560pp' intellectual history of politics, 1895-1930s excerpt and text search
  • Temple, Robert, and Joseph Needham. The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention, (2007), summarizes Needham's massive multivolume history
  • Watson, William. The Arts of China, 900-1620. (2000). 304 pp.
  • Watson, William. The Arts of China to A.D. 900 2000. excerpt and text search
  • Xinian, Fu, Guo Daiheng, Liu Xujie, and Pan Guxi. Chinese Architecture (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Xu, Guoqi, and William C. Kirby. Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008 (2008)

Religion

  • Charbonnier, Jean, David Notley, and M. N. L. Couve de Murville. Christians in China: A.D. 600 to 2000 (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Seiwert, Hubert. Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History. Brill, 2003. 548 pp.

Historiography

  • Braester, Yomi. Witness against History: Literature, Film, and Public Discourse in Twentieth-Century China. Stanford U. Press, 2003. 264 pp.
  • Crossley, Pamela Kyle. A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology (2002) complete text online free
  • Duara, Prasenjit. Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China. U. of Chicago Press, 1995. 275 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Huang, Ray. Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History: Discourses, Syntheses and Comparisons. M. E. Sharpe, 1999. 274 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Huters, Theodore; Wong, R. Bin; and Yu, Pauline, eds. Culture and State in Chinese History: Convention, Accommodations, and Critiques. Stanford U. Press, 1997. 500 pp.
  • Johnston, Alastair Iain. Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. Princeton U. Press, 1995. 307 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Lach, Donald F. "China in Western Thought and Culture," in Philip P. Wiener, ed. The Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1974) online edition
  • Ng, On-Cho and Wang, Q. Edward. Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China. U. of Hawai`i Press, 2005. 306 pp.
  • Van Kley, Edwin J. "Europe's 'Discovery' of China and the Writing of World History," The American Historical Review, 76 (1971), 358-85. in JSTOR
  • Wang, Ben. Illuminations from the Past: Trauma, Memory, and History in Modern China. Stanford U. Press, 2004. 311 pp.
  • Wang, David Der-wei. The Monster That Is History: History, Violence, and Fictional Writing in Twentieth-Century China. U. of California Press, 2004. 402 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Wang, Q. Edward. Inventing China Through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography. State U. of New York Press, 2001. 304 pp.
  • Wilkinson, Endymion. Chinese History, A Manual, Revised and Enlarged. Harvard U. Asia Center, 2000. 1181 pp. Standard research guide to 4300 books and sources (most in Chinese) covering all major topics; for advanced users only
  • Xia, Yafeng. "The Study of Cold War International History in China: A Review of the Last Twenty Years," Journal of Cold War Studies10#1 Winter 2008, pp. 81-115 in Project Muse
  • Studies of Modern Chinese History: Reviews and Historiographical Essays
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