The Search for Modern China
Jonathan D. Spence
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"A remarkable achievement...vivid...fluent, graceful.... A publishing event."―Boston Globe
In this widely acclaimed history of modern China, Jonathan Spence achieves a fine blend of narrative richness and efficiency. Praised as "a miracle of readability and scholarly authority," (Jonathan Mirsky) The Search for Modern China offers a matchless introduction to China's history.
perpetuation of a set of "feudal relationships" in the countryside, and that quashed latent "sprouts of capitalism" that had been developing in the cities. This is hard to prove. Although Manchu policies did allow some families to grow far richer, many Chinese gentry reformers— often intellectually linked to those earlier Donglin reformers of the late Ming—protested these policies and sought to gain fairer tax systems in the areas where they held office, even at the expense of their own class.
Consolidation THE T H R E E F E U D A T O R I E S , 1673-1681 ?PlMll Qing emperors had to grow up fast if they were to grow up at all. v ii \l Shunzhi had been thirteen when, taking advantage of Dorgon's sudden death, he put himself in power. Shunzhi's son, Kangxi, was also thirteen when he first moved to oust the regent Oboi; and he was fifteen when, with the help of his grandmother and a group of Manchu guard officers, he managed to arrange for Oboi's arrest in 1669 on charges of arrogance
Kangxi, in 1679, ordered that nominations be sent from the provinces for a special examination—separate from the triennial national exams—to be held for men of outstanding talent. Although some austere scholars still refused to come to Peking for this exam, and others would not permit themselves to be nominated, the venture was a success. Fifty special degrees were awarded, mostly to scholars from the Yangzi delta provinces; and, in a tactful gesture to their past loyalties, these scholars were
century. One major uprising took place not far from Peking, in Shandong province near the city of Linqing, a key point on the north-south grain-transportation axis along the Grand Canal. This was an area near the periphery of the northeast macroregion, where population had been rising sharply and where disaffected peasants mingled easily with the restless barge pullers and coolies who kept the Grand Canal in operation. In 1774 Chinese rebels under the leadership of a martial-arts and
Boulanger, written in 1763 and translated from the French the following year by the English radical John Wilkes: All the remains of her ancient institutions, which China now possesses, will necessarily be lost; they will disappear in the future revolutions; as what she hath already lost of them vanished in former ones; and finally, as she acquires nothing new, she will always be on the losing side.9 Reflecting on these arguments concerning China and the Chinese, some leading European thinkers