1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/China

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CHINA, a country of eastern Asia, the principal division of the Chinese empire. In addition to China proper the Chinese Empire includes Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet and Sin-kiang (East Turkestan, Kulja, Dzungaria, &c., i.e. all the Chinese dependencies lying between Mongolia on the north and Tibet on the south). Its most southern point is in 18° 50′ N.; its most northern in 53° 25′ N.; its most western in 74° E., and its most eastern in 135° E. It lies, however, mainly between 20° and 50° N. and 80° and 130° E. It is considerably larger than the whole of Europe. Though its area has not been exactly ascertained the various estimates closely approximate, varying between 4,277,000 and 4,300,000 sq. m. It is bounded N.W., N. and N.E. by Asiatic Russia, along a frontier extending some 6000 m.; E. by Korea and those parts of the Pacific known as the Yellow Sea and China Sea; S. and S.W. by the China Sea, French Indo-China, Upper Burma and the Himalayan states. It is narrowest in the extreme west. Chinese Turkestan along the meridian of Kashgar (76° E.) has a breadth of but 250 m. It rapidly broadens and for the greater part of its area is over 1800 m. across in a direct N. and S. line. Its greatest length is from the N.E. corner of Manchuria to the S.W. confines of Tibet, a distance of 3100 m. in a direct line. Its seaboard, about 5000 m. following the indentations of the coast, is almost, wholly in China proper, but the peninsula of Liao-tung and also the western shores of the Gulf of Liao-tung are in Manchuria.

China[1] proper or the Eighteen Provinces (Shih-pa-shêng) occupies the south-eastern part of the empire. It is bounded N. by Mongolia, W. by Turkestan and Tibet, S.W. by Burma, S. by Tongking and the gulf of that name, S.E. by the South China Sea, E. by the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, Gulf of Chih-li and Manchuria. Its area is approximately 1,500,000 sq. m.

This vast country is separated from the rest of continental Asia by lofty tablelands and rugged mountain ranges, which determine the general course—west to east—of its principal rivers. On the north and west the Mongolian and Tibetan tablelands present towards China steep escarpments across which are very few passes. On the S.W. and S., on the borders of Yun-nan, high mountains and deep valleys separate China from Burma and Tongking. On the narrow N.E. frontier the transition from the Manchurian plateau to the alluvial plain of northern China is not abrupt, but, before the advent of railways, Manchuria afforded few and difficult means of access to other regions. Thus China was almost cut off from the rest of the world save by sea routes.

I. The Country

Western China consists of highlands often sparsely, and eastern China of lowlands densely peopled. Western China contains the only provinces where the population is under 100 per sq. m. From the Tibetan and Mongolian tablelands project mountain ranges which, ramifying over the western region, enclose elevated level tracts and lower basins and valleys. East of this mountainous region, which extends into central China and covers probably fully half of the kingdom, are, in the north a great alluvial plain and in the south a vast calcareous tableland traversed by hill ranges of moderate elevation (see §§ Mountains and Geology). In north-eastern China there is only one mountain system, the group of hills—highest peak 5060 ft.—forming the Shan-tung peninsula. This peninsula was formerly an island, but has been attached to the mainland by the growth of the alluvial plain. Besides the broad division of the country into western and eastern China it may also be considered as divided into three regions by the basins of its chief rivers, the Hwang-ho (Yellow river) in the north, the Yangtsze-kiang in the centre, and the Si-kiang (West river) in the south. In the northern provinces of Kan-suh and Shen-si the basins of the Hwang-ho and Yangtsze-kiang are separated by a mountain chain with various names— the eastern termination of the Kuen-lun range of central Asia. These mountains, in China, attain, in the Tsing-ling Shan, a maximum elevation of 13,000 ft. East of Shen-si, in Ho-nan the Fu-niu-shan continue the range, but with decreasing elevation, and beyond this the deltaic plain is entered.

The watershed between the Yangtsze-kiang and that of the Si-kiang is less clearly marked. It traverses the immense tableland which occupies a great part of the south-west provinces of Yun-nan and Kwei-chow and is continued eastward by the lower tableland of Kwang-si and the Nanshan hills (whose elevation seldom exceeds 6000 ft.). The basin of the Yangtsze-kiang forms the whole of central China. Its western border, in Sze-ch‛uen and Yun-nan, is wholly mountainous, with heights exceeding 19,000 ft. Central Sze-ch‛uen, which is shut in by these mountains on the west, by the Yun-nan and Kwei-chow plateau on the south, by the Kiu-lung range on the north, and by highlands eastward (save for the narrow valley through which the Yangtsze-kiang forces its way), is a vast red sandstone tableland of about 1600 ft. elevation. It is exceedingly fertile and supports a dense population. Eastward of Sze-ch‛uen the Yangtsze valley is studded with lakes. Finally it enters the deltaic plain. The basin of the Si-kiang fills the two southern provinces of Kwang-si and Kwang-tung and contains no very striking orographic features. It may be added that in the extreme S.W. portion of China is part of a fourth drainage area. Here the Mekong, Salween, Song-koi (Red river), &c. flow south to Indo-China.

The Coast.—The coast-line, following all the minor indentations, is reckoned at over 4500 m.; if only the larger inlets and promontories be regarded, the coast-line is about 2150 m. in length. Its shape is that of a semicircle, with its most easterly point midway (30° N.) between its northern and southern extremities. At either end of this semicircular sweep lies a peninsula, and beyond the peninsula a gulf. In the north are the peninsula of Shan-tung and the gulf of Chih-li; in the south the Lien-chow peninsula and the gulf of Tongking. Due south of Lien-chow peninsula, separated rom it by a narrow strait, is Hai-nan, the only considerable island of China. From the northern point of the gulf of Chih-li to 30° N., where is Hang-chow bay, the shores are flat and alluvial save where the Shan-tung peninsula juts out. Along this stretch there are few good natural harbours, except at the mouths of rivers and in the Shan-tung promontory; the sea is shallow and has many shoals. The waters bordering the coast of Chih-li are partly frozen in winter; at 10 m. from the shore the water is only 20 ft. deep. The proximity of Peking gives its few ports importance; that of Taku is at the mouth of the Peiho. In Shan-tung, deeply indented on its southern coast, are the ports of Chi-fu, Wei-hai-wei and Tsing-tao (the last in Kiao-chow bay). South of Shan-tung and north of the mouth of the Yangtsze huge sandbanks border the coast, with narrow channels between them and the shore. The estuary of the Yangtsze is 60 m. across; it contains islands and sandbanks, but there is easy access to Wusung (Shanghai) and other river ports. The bay of Hangchow, as broad at its entrance as the Yangtsze estuary, forms the mouth of the Tsien-tang-kiang. The Chusan and other groups of islands lie across the entrance of the bay.

South of Hang-chow bay the character of the coast alters. In place of the alluvial plain, with flat, sandy and often marshy shores, the coast is generally hilly, often rocky and abrupt; it abounds in small indentations and possesses numerous excellent harbours; in this region are Fu-chow, Amoy, Swatow, Hongkong, Macao, Canton and other well-known ports. The whole of this coast is bordered by small islands. Formosa lies opposite the S.E. coast, the channel between it and Fu-kien province being about 100 m. wide. Formosa protects the neighbouring regions of China from the typhoons experienced farther north and farther south.

Surface.—As already indicated, one of the most noticeable features in the surface of China is the immense deltaic plain in the north-eastern portion of the country, which, curving round the mountainous districts of Shan-tung, extends for about 700 m. in a southerly direction from the neighbourhood of Peking and variesDeltaic Plain. from 150 to 500 m. in breadth. This plain is the delta of the Yellow river and, to some extent, that of the Yangtsze-kiang also. Beginning in the prefecture of Yung-p‛ing Fu, in the province of Chih-li, its outer limit passes in a westerly direction as far as Ch‛ang-p‛ing Chow, north-west of Peking. Thence running a south-south-westerly course it passes westward of Chêng-ting Fu and Kwang-p‛ing Fu till it reaches the upper waters of the Wei river in Ho-nan. From this point it turns westward and crosses the Hwang-ho or Yellow river in the prefecture of Hwai-k‛ing. Leaving this river it takes a course a little to the east of south, and passing west of Ju-ning Fu, in the province of Ho-nan, it turns in a more easterly direction as far as Luchow Fu. From this prefecture an arm of the plain, in which lies the Chao Lake, stretches southward from the Hwai river to the Yangtsze-kiang, and trending eastward occupies the region between that river and Hangchow Bay. To the north of this arm rises a hilly district, in the centre of which stands Nanking. The greater part of this vast plain descends very gently towards the sea, and is generally below the level of the Yellow river, hence the disastrous inundations which so often accompany the rise of that river. Owing to the great quantity of soil which is brought down by the waters of the Yellow river, and to the absence of oceanic currents, this delta is rapidly increasing and the adjoining seas are as rapidly becoming shallower. As an instance, it is said that the town of P‛utai was one Chinese mile[2] west of the seashore in the year 200 b.c., and in 1730 it was 140 m. inland, thus giving a yearly encroachment upon the sea of about 100 ft. Again, Sien-shwuy-kow on the Peiho was on the seashore in a.d. 500, and it is now about 18 m. inland.

Some of the ranges connected with the mountain system of central Asia which enter the western provinces of China have been mentioned above, others may be indicated here. In the eastern portion of Tibet the Kuen-lun range throws offMountains. a number of branches, which spread first of all in a south-easterly direction and eventually take a north and south course, partly in the provinces of Sze-ch‛uen and Yun-nan, where they divide the beds of the rivers which flow into Siam and French Indo-China, as well as the principal northern tributaries of the Yangtsze-kiang. In the north-west, traversing the western portion of the province of Kan-suh, are parallel ranges running N.W. and S.E. and forming a prolongation of the northern Tibetan mountains. They are known as the Lung-shan, Richthofen and Nan-shan, and join on the south-east the Kuen-lun range. The Richthofen range (locally called Tien-shan, or Celestial Mountains) attains elevations of over 20,000 ft. Several of its peaks are snowclad, and there are many glaciers. Forming the northern frontier of the province of Sze-ch‛uen run the Min-shan and the Kiu-lung (or Po-mêng) ranges, which, entering China in 102° E., extend in a general easterly course as far as 112° E. in the province of Hu-peh. These ranges have an average elevation of 8000 and 11,000 ft. respectively. In the south a number of parallel ranges spread from the Yun-nan plateau in an easterly direction as far as the province of Kwang-tung. Then turning north-eastward they run in lines often parallel with the coast, and cover large areas of the provinces of Fu-kien, Kiang-si, Cheh-kiang, Hu-nan and southern Ngan-hui, until they reach the Yangtsze-kiang; the valley of that river from the Tung-ting Lake to Chin-kiang Fu forming their northern boundary. In Fu-kien these hills attain the character of a true mountain range with heights of from 6500 to nearly 10,000 ft. Besides the chief ranges there are the Tai-hang Mountains in Shan-si, and many others, among which may be mentioned the ranges—part of the escarpment of the Mongolian plateau—which form the northern frontier of Chih-li. Here the highest peak is Ta-kuang-ting-tzu (6500 ft.), about 300 m. N.N.E. of Peking and immediately north of Wei Ch‛ang (the imperial hunting grounds).

Rivers and Canals.—The rivers of China are very numerous and there are many canals. In the north the rivers are only navigable by small craft; elsewhere they form some of the most frequented highways in the country. The two largest rivers,The Yellow River. the Yangtsze-kiang and the Hwang-ho (Yellow river), are separately noticed. The Hwang-ho (length about 2400 m.) has only one important tributary in China, the Wei-ho, which rises in Kan-suh and flows through the centre of Shen-si. Below the confluence the Hwang-ho enters the plains. According to the Chinese records this portion of the river has changed its course nine times during 2500 years, and has emptied itself into the sea at different mouths, the most northerly of which is represented as having been in about 39° N., or in the neighbourhood of the present mouth of the Peiho, and the most southerly being that which existed before the change in 1851–1853, in 34° N. Owing to its small value as a navigable highway and to its propensity to inundate the regions in its neighbourhood, there are no considerable towns on its lower course.

The Yangtsze-kiang is the chief waterway of China. The river, flowing through the centre of the country, after a course of 2900 m., empties itself into the Yellow Sea in about 31° N. Unlike the Yellow river, the Yangtsze-kiang is dotted along its navigable portions with many rich and populous cities, among which are Nanking, An-ch‛ing (Ngank‛ing), Kiu-kiang, Hankow and I-ch‛ang. From its mouth to I-ch‘ang, about 1000 m., the river is navigable by large steamers. Above this last-named city the navigation becomes The Yangtsze-kiang. impossible for any but light native craft or foreign vessels specially constructed for the navigation, by reason of the rapids which occur at frequent intervals in the deep mountain gorges through which the river runs between Kwei-chow and I-ch‘ang. Above Kwei-chow it receives from the north many tributaries, notably the Min, which water the low table-land of central Sze-ch‘uen. The main river itself has in this province a considerable navigable stretch, while below I-ch‘ang it receives the waters of numerous navigable affluents. The Yangtsze system is thus all important in the economic and commercial development of China.

Perhaps the most remarkable of the affluents of the Yangtsze is the Han-kiang or Han river. It rises in the Po-mêng mountains to the north of the city of Ning-kiang Chow in Shen-si. Taking a generally easterly course from its source as far as Fan-cheng, it from that point takes a more southerly direction and empties itself into the Yangtsze-kiang at Han-kow, “the mouth of the Han.” Here it is only 200 ft. wide, while higher up it widens to 2600 ft. It is navigable by steamers for 300 m. The summer high-water line is for a great part of its course, from I-ch‘eng Hien to Han-kow, above the level of its banks. Near Sien-t‘ao-chên the elevation of the plain above low water is no more than 1 ft., and in summer the river rises about 26 ft. above its lowest level. To protect themselves against inundations the natives have here, as elsewhere, thrown up high embankments on both sides of the river, but at a distance from the natural banks of about 50 to 100 ft. This intervening space is flooded every year, and by the action of the water new layers of sand and soil are deposited every summer, thus strengthening the embankments from season to season.

The Hwai-ho is a large river of east central China flowing between the Hwang-ho and the Yangtsze-kiang. The Hwai-ho and its numerous affluents (it is said to have 72 tributaries) rise in Ho-nan. The main river flows through the centre of Ngan-hui, in which province it receives from the N.W. the Sha-ho, Fei-ho and other important affluents. Formerly it received through the Sha-ho part of the waters of the Hwang-ho. The Hwai-ho flows into the Hungtso lake, through which it feeds the Grand Canal, not far from the old course of the Hwang-ho, and probably at one time joined that river not far from its mouth. It has a length of about 800 m. and is navigable from the point where it leaves the hill country of Ho-nan to Lake Hungtso. It is subject to violent floods, which inundate the surrounding country for a distance of 10 to 20 m. Many of its tributaries are also navigable for considerable distances.

Next in importance to the Yangtsze-kiang as a water highway is the Yun-ho, or, as it is generally known in Europe, the Grand Canal. This magnificent artificial river reaches from Hang-chow Fu in the province of Cheh-kiang to Tientsin in Chih-li, Grand Canal. where it unites with the Peiho, and thus may be said to extend to Tung-chow in the neighbourhood of Peking. According to the itineraries published by Père Gandar, the total length of the canal is 3630 li, or about 1200 m. A rough measurement, taking account only of the main bends of the canal, makes its length 850 m. After leaving Hang-chow the canal passes round the eastern border of the Tai-hu or Great Lake, surrounding in its course the beautiful city of Su-chow, and then trends in a generally north-westerly direction through the fertile districts of Kiang-su as far as Chin-kiang on the Yangtsze-kiang. In this, the southern section, the slope is gentle and water is plentiful (from 7 ft. at low water to 11 ft., and occasionally 13 ft. at high water). Between Su-chow and Chin-kiang the canal is often over 100 ft. wide, and its sides are in many places faced with stone. It is spanned by fine stone bridges, and near its banks are many memorial arches and lofty pagodas. In the central portion of the canal, that is between Chin-kiang and Tsing-kiang-pu, at which latter place it crosses the dry channel which marks the course of the Yellow river before 1852, the current is strong and difficult to ascend in the upward (northern) journey. This part of the canal skirts several lakes and is fed by the Hwai-ho as it issues from the Hungtso lake. The country lying west of the canal is higher than its bed; while the country east is lower than the canal. The two regions are known respectively as Shang-ho (above the river) and Ssia-ho (below the river). Waste weirs opening on the Ssia-ho (one of the great rice-producing areas of China) discharge the surplus water in flood seasons. The northern and considerably the longest section of the canal extends from the old bed of the Yellow river to Tientsin. It largely utilizes existing rivers and follows their original windings. Between Tsing-kiang-pu and the present course of the Yellow river the canal trends N.N.W., skirting the highlands of Shan-tung. In this region it passes through a series of lagoons, which in summer form one lake—Chow-yang. North of that lake on the east bank of the canal, is the city of Tsi-ning-chow. About 25 m. N. of that city the highest level of the canal is reached at the town of Nan Wang. Here the river Wen enters the canal from the east, and about 30 m. farther N. the Yellow river is reached. On the west side of the canal, at the point where the Yellow river now cuts across it, there is laid down in Chinese maps of the 18th century a dry channel which is described as being that once followed by the Yellow river, i.e. before it took the channel it abandoned in 1851-1853. The passage of the Yellow river to the part of the canal lying north of that stream is difficult, and can only be effected at certain levels of the river. Frequently the waters of the river are either too low or the current is too strong to permit a passage. Leaving this point the canal passes through a well-wooded and hilly country west of Tung-p‘ing Chow and east of Tung-ch‘ang Fu. At Lin-ching Chow it is joined at right angles by the Wei river in the midst of the city. Up to this point, i.e. from Tsing-kiang-pu to Lin-ching Chow, a distance of over 300 m., navigation is difficult and the water-supply often insufficient. The differences of level, 20 to 30 ft., are provided for by barrages over which the boats—having discharged their cargo—are hauled by windlasses. Below the junction with the Wei the canal borrows the channel of the river and again becomes easily navigable. Crossing the frontier into Chih-li, between Te Chow and Tsang Chow, which it passes to the west, it joins the Peiho at Tientsin, after having received the waters of the Keto river in the neighbourhood of Tsing Hien.[3]

The most ancient part of the canal is the section between the Yangtsze and the Hwai-ho. This part is thought, on the strength of a passage in one of the books of Confucius, to have been built c. 486 B.C. It was repaired and enlarged in the 3rd century A.D. The southern part, between the Yangtsze and Hang-chow, was built early in the 7th century A.D. The northern part is stated to have been constructed in the three years 1280-1283. The northern portion of the canal is now of little use as a means of communication between north and south.[4] It is badly built, neglected and charged with the mud-laden waters of the Yellow river. The “tribute fleet” bearing rice to Peking still uses this route; but the rice is now largely forwarded by sea. The central and southern portions of the canal are very largely used.

The Peiho (length about 350 m.) is of importance as being the high waterway to Peking. Taking its rise in the Si-shan, or Western Mountains, beyond Peking, it passes the city of T‘sung-chow, the port of Peking, and Tientsin, where it meets the waters of the Hun-ho and empties itself into the gulf of Chih-li at the village of Taku. The Peiho is navigable for small steamers as far as Tientsin during the greater part of the year, but from the end of November to the beginning of March it is frozen up.

In the southern provinces the Si-kiang, or Western river, is the most considerable. It has a length of over 1000 m. This river takes its rise in the prefecture of Kwang-nan Fu in Yun-nan, whence it reaches the frontier of Kwang-si at a distance The Si-kiang. of about 90 li from its source. Then trending in a north-easterly direction it forms the boundary between the two provinces for about 150 li. From this point it takes a generally south-easterly course, passing the cities of Tsien Chow, Fung-e Chow, Shang-lin Hien, Lung-ngan Hien, Yung-kang Chow and Nan-ning Fu to Yung-shan Hien. Here it makes a bend to the north-east, and continues this general direction as far as Sin-chow Fu, a distance of 800 li, where it meets and joins the waters of the Kien-kiang from the north. Its course is then easterly, and after passing Wu-chow Fu it crosses the frontier into Kwang-tung. In this part of its course it flows through a gorge 3 m. long and in places but 270 yds. in width. Both above and below this gorge it is 1 m. wide. Some 30 m. above Canton it divides into two main and several small branches. The northern branch, called Chu-kiang, or Pearl river, flows past Fat-shan and Canton and reaches the sea through the estuary called the Bocca Tigris or Bogue, at the mouth of which is the island of Hong-Kong. The southern branch, which retains the name of Si-kiang, reaches the sea west of Macao. Near the head of its delta the Si-kiang receives the Pei-kiang, a considerable river which flows through Kwang-tung in a general N. to S. direction. Like the Yangtsze-kiang the Si-kiang is known by various names in different parts of its course. From its source to Nan-ning Fu in Kwang-si it is called the Si-yang-kiang, or river of the Western Ocean; from Nan-ning Fu to Sin-chow Fu it is known as the Yu-kiang, or the Bending river; and over the remainder of its course it is recognized by the name of the Si-kiang, or Western river. The Si-kiang is navigable as far as Shao-king, 130 m., for vessels not drawing more than 15 ft. of water, and vessels of a light draught may easily reach Wu-chow Fu, in Kwang-si, which is situated 75 m. farther up. In winter the navigation is difficult above Wu-chow Fu. Above that place there is a rapid at low water, but navigation is possible to beyond Nan-ning Fu.

Lakes.—There are numerous lakes in the central provinces of China. The largest of these is the Tung-t‘ing in Hu-nan, which, according to the Chinese geographers, is upwards of 800 li, or 266 m., in circumference. In native gazetteers its various portions are known under distinct names; thus it is said to include the Ts‘ing-ts‘ao, or Green Grass Lake; the Ung, or Venerable Lake; the Chih-sha, or Red Sand Lake; the Hwang-yih, or Imperial Post-house Lake; the Ngan-nan, or Peaceful Southern Lake; and the Ta-tung, or Great Deep Lake. In ancient times it went by the name of the Kiu-kiang Hu, or Lake of the Nine Rivers, from the fact that nine rivers flowed into it. Its chief affluents are the Siang-kiang, which rises in the highlands in the north of Kwang-si and flows in a general N.N.E. direction, and the Yuen-kiang, which flows N. and then E. from the eastern border of Kwei-chow. The lake is connected with the Yangtsze-kiang by two canals, the Taping and the Yochow Fu. In summer it is fed by the overflow from the Yangtsze-kiang; in winter it pours its waters into that river through the Yochow Fu canal. During the winter and spring the water of the lake is so low that the shallow portions become islands, separated by rivers such as the Siang and Yuen, and numberless streams; but in summer, owing to the rise in the waters of the Yangtsze-kiang, the whole basin of the lake is filled. It is then about 75 m. long and 60 m. broad. About 180 m. E. of the Tung-t‘ing lake is the Poyang lake, which occupies the low-lying part of the province of Kiang-si, and is connected with the Yangtsze by the Hu-kow canal. The Poyang lake is also subject to a wide difference between high and low water, but not quite to the same extent as the Tung-t‘ing lake, and its landmarks are more distinctly defined. It is about 90 m. long by 20 broad. The T‘ai lake, in the neighbourhood of Su-chow Fu, is also celebrated for its size and the beauty of its surroundings. It is about 150 m. in circumference, and is dotted over with islands, on which are built temples for the devotees of religion, and summer-houses for the votaries of pleasure from the rich and voluptuous cities of Hang-chow and Su-chow. The boundary line between the provinces of Cheh-kiang and Kiang-su crosses its blue waters, and its shores are divided among thirteen prefectures. Besides these lakes there are, among others, two in Yun-nan, the Kun-yang-hai (Tien-chi) near Yun-nan Fu, which is 40 m. long and is connected with the Yangtsze-kiang by the Pu-to river, and the Erh-hai (Urh-hai) to the east of the city of Tali.

The Great Wall.—Along the northern provinces of Chih-li, Shan-si, Shen-si and Kan-suh, over 22° of longitude (98° to 120° E.), stretches the Great Wall of China, built to defend the country against foreign aggression. It was begun in the 3rd century b.c., was repaired in the 15th century, and in the 16th century was extended by 300 m. Following the windings the wall is 1500 m. long. Starting near the seashore[5] at Shan-hai-kwan on the gulf of Liao-tung, where the Chinese and Manchurian frontiers meet, it goes eastward past Peking (which is about 35 m. to the south) and then trends S. and E. across Shan-si to the Hwang-ho. From the neighbourhood of Peking to the Hwang-ho there is an inner and an outer wall. The outer (northern) wall passes through Kalgan, thus guarding the pass into Mongolia. A branch wall separates the greater part of the western frontier of Chih-li from Shan-si. West of the Hwang-ho the Great Wall forms the northern frontier of Shen-si, and west of Shen-si it keeps near the northern frontier of Kan-suh, following for some distance in that province the north bank of the Hwang-ho. It ends at Kiayu-kwan (98° 14′ E.) just west of Su-chow. This part of the wall was built to protect the one main artery leading from central Asia to China through Kan-suh and Shen-si by the valley of the Wei-ho, tributary of the Hwang-ho. There is a branch wall in Kan-suh running west and south to protect the Tibetan frontier. The height of the wall is generally from 20 to 30 ft., and at intervals of some 200 yds. are towers about 40 ft. high. Its base is from 15 to 25 ft. thick and its summit 12 ft. wide. The wall is carried over valleys and mountains, and in places is over 4000 ft. above sea-level. Military posts are still maintained at the chief gates or passes—at Shan-hai-kwan, the Kalgan pass, the Yenmun pass (at the N. of Shan-si) and the Kaiyu pass in the extreme west, through which runs the caravan route to Barkal in Turkestan. Colonel A. W. S. Wingate, who in the opening years of the 20th century visited the Great Wall at over twenty places widely apart and gathered many descriptions of it in other places, states that its position is wrongly shown “on the maps of the day” (1907) in a number of places; while in others it had ceased to exist, “the only places where it forms a substantial boundary being in the valley bottoms, on the passes and where it crosses main routes. These remarks apply with particular force to the branch running south-west from the Nan-k‘ow pass and forming the boundary of Chih-li and Shan-si provinces.” In Colonel Wingate’s opinion the wall was originally built by degrees and in sections, not of hewn stone, but of round boulders and earth, the different sections being repaired as they fell into ruin. “Only in the valley bottoms and on the passes was it composed of masonry or brickwork. The Mings rebuilt of solid masonry all those sections through which led a likely road for invading Tatars to follow, or where it could be seen at a distance from the sky-line.” The building of the wall “was a sufficiently simple affair,” not to be compared with the task of building the pyramids of Egypt.[6]

Climate.—The climate over so vast an area as China necessarily varies greatly. The southern parts of Yun-nan, Kwang-si and Kwang-tung (including the city of Canton) lie within the tropics. The northern zone (in which lies Peking) by contrast has a climate which resembles that of northern Europe, with winters of Arctic severity. The central zone (in which Shanghai is situated) has a generally temperate climate. But over both northern and central China the influence of the great plateau of Mongolia tends to establish uniform conditions unusual in so large an area. The prevailing winds during summer—the rainy season—are south-easterly, caused by heat and the ascending current of air over the sandy deserts of central Asia, thus drawing in a current from the Pacific Ocean. In the winter the converse takes place, and the prevailing winds, descending from the Mongolian plateau, are north and north-west, and are cold and dry. From October to May the climate of central China is bracing and enjoyable. The rainfall is moderate and regular.

In northern China the inequalities both of temperature and rainfall are greater than in the central provinces. In the province of Chih-li, for example, the heat of summer is as intense as is the cold of winter. In summer the rains often render the plain swampy, while the dry persistent westerly winds of spring create dust storms (experienced in Peking from March to June). The rainfall is, however, uncertain, and thus the harvests are precarious. The provinces of Shan-tung and Shan-si are peculiarly liable to prolonged periods of drought, with consequent severe famines such as that of 1877-1878, when many millions died. In these regions the air is generally extremely dry, and the daily variations of temperature consequent on excessive radiation are much greater than farther south.

Accurate statistics both of heat and rainfall are available from a few stations only. The rainfall on the southern coasts is said to be about 100 in. yearly; at Peking the rainfall is about 24 in. a year. In the coast regions the temperatures of Peking, Shanghai and Canton may be taken as typical of those of the northern, central and southern zones. In Peking (39° N.) the mean annual temperature is about 53° F., the mean for January 23°, for July 79°. In Shanghai (31° 11′ N.)[7] the mean annual temperature is 59°, the mean for January 36.2°, for July 80.4°. In Canton (23° 15′ N.) the mean annual temperature is 70°, the mean for January 54°, for July 82°. The range of temperature, even within the tropics, is noteworthy. At Peking and Tientsin the thermometer in winter falls sometimes to 5° below zero and rises in summer to 105° (at Taku 107° has been recorded); in Shanghai in winter the thermometer falls to 18° and in summer rises to 102°. In Canton frost is said to have been recorded, but according to the China Sea Directory the extreme range is from 38° to 100°.[8] The climate of Shanghai, which resembles, but is not so good as, that of the Yangtsze-kiang valley generally, is fairly healthy, but there is an almost constant excess of moisture. The summer months, July to September, are very hot, while snow usually falls in December and January.

At Canton and along the south coast the hot season corresponds with the S.W. monsoon; the cool season—mid October to end of April—with the N.E. monsoon. Farther north, at Shanghai, the S.W. monsoon is sufficiently felt to make the prevailing wind in summer southerly.

Provinces.—China proper is divided into the following provinces: Cheh-kiang, Chih-li, Fu-kien, Ngan-hui (An-hui), Ho-nan, Hu-nan, Hu-peh, Kan-suh, Kiang-si, Kiang-su, Kwang-si, Kwang-tung, Kwei-chow, Shan-si, Shan-tung, Shen-si, Sze-ch‘uen and Yun-nan. See the separate notices of each province and the article on Shêng-king, the southern province of Manchuria. X. 


The Palaeozoic formations of China, excepting only the upper part of the Carboniferous system, are marine, while the Mesozoic and Tertiary deposits are estuarine and freshwater or else of terrestrial origin. From the close of the Palaeozoic period down to the present day the greater part of the empire has been dry land, and it is only in the southern portion of Tibet and in the western Tian Shan that any evidence of a Mesozoic sea has yet been found. The geological sequence may be summarized as follows:—

Archean.—Gneiss, crystalline schists, phyllites, crystalline limestones. Exposed in Liao-tung, Shan-tung, Shan-si, northern Chih-li and in the axis of the mountain ranges, e.g. the Kuen-lun and the ranges of southern China.

Sinian.—Sandstones, quartzites, limestones. Sometimes rests unconformably upon the folded rocks of the Archaen system; but sometimes, according to Lóczy, there is no unconformity. Covers a large area in the northern part of China proper; absent in the eastern Kuen-lun; occurs again in the ranges of S.E. China. In Liao-tung Cambrian fossils have been found near the summit of the series; they belong to the oldest fauna known upon the earth, the fauna of the Olenellus zone. It is, however, not improbable that in many places beds of considerably later date have been included in the Sinian system.

EB1911 China.jpg
H. W. Cribb, F.R.G.S., del. Emery Walker sc.

Ordovician.—Ordovician fossils have been found in the Lung-shan, Kiang-su (about 50 m. east of Nan-king), in the south-west of Cheh-kiang and in the south-east of Yun-nan. Ordovician beds probably occur also in the Kuen-lun.

Silurian.—Limestones and slates with Silurian corals and other fossils have been found in Sze-ch‘uen.

Devonian.—Found in Kan-suh and in the Tsing-ling-shan, but becomes much more important in southern China. Occurs also on the south of the Tian-shan, in the Altyn-tagh, the Nan-shan and the western Kuen-lun.

Carboniferous.—Covers a large area in northern China, in the plateau of Shen-si and Shan-si, extending westwards in tongues between the folds of the Kuen-lun. In this region it consists of a lower series of limestones and an upper series of sandstones with seams of coal, which may perhaps be in part of Permian age. This is probably the most extensive coalfield in the world.

In south China the whole series consists chiefly of limestones, and the coal seams are comparatively unimportant. Carboniferous beds are also found in the Tian-shan, the Nan-shan, Kan-suh, on the southern borders of the Gobi, &c.

Mesozoic.—Marine Triassic beds containing fossils similar to those of the German Muschelkalk have been found by Lóczy near Chung-tien, on the eastern border of the Tibetan plateau. Elsewhere, however, the Mesozoic is represented chiefly by a red sandstone, which covers the greater part of Sze-ch‘uen and fills also a number of troughs amongst the older beds of southern China. No marine fossils are found in this sandstone, but remains of plants are numerous, and these belong to the Rhaetic, Lias and Lower Oolite. No Cretaceous beds are known in China excepting in S. Tibet (on the shores of the Tengri-nor) and in the western portion of the Tian-shan.

Cainozoic and Recent.—No marine deposits of this age are known. Although the loess of the great plain and the sand of the desert are still in process of formation, the accumulation of these deposits probably began in the Tertiary period.

Volcanic Rocks.—Amongst the Archean rocks granitic and other intrusions are abundant, but of more modern volcanic activity the remains are comparatively scanty. In south China there is no evidence of Tertiary or Post-Tertiary volcanoes, but groups of volcanic cones occur in the great plain of north China. In the Liao-tung and Shan-tung peninsulas there are basaltic plateaus, and similar outpourings occur upon the borders of Mongolia. All these outbursts appear to be of Tertiary or later data.

Loess.—One of the most characteristic deposits of China is the loess, which not merely imparts to north China the physical character of the scenery, but also determines the agricultural products, the transport, and general economic life of the people of that part of the country. It is peculiar to north China and it is not found south of the Yangtsze. The loess is a solid but friable earth of brownish-yellow colour, and when triturated with water is not unlike loam, but differs from the latter by its highly porous and tubular structure. The loess soil is extremely favourable to agriculture. (See Loess and infra, § Agriculture.)

The loess is called by the Chinese Hwang-t‘u, or yellow earth, and it has been suggested that the imperial title Hwang-ti, Yellow Emperor or Ruler of the Yellow, had its origin in the fact that the emperor is lord of the loess or yellow earth.

Structurally, China proper may be divided into two regions, separated from each other by the folded range of the Tsing-ling-shan, which is a continuation of the folded belt of the Kuen-lun. North of this chain the Palaeozoic beds are Structure. in general nearly horizontal, and the limestones and sandstones of the Sinian and Carboniferous systems form an extensive plateau which rises abruptly from the western margin of the great plain of northern China. The plateau is deeply carved by the rivers which flow through it; and the strata are often faulted, but they are never sharply folded. South of the Tsing-ling-shan, on the other hand, the Palaeozoic beds are thrown into a series of folds running from W. 30° S. to E. 30° N., which form the hilly region of southern China. Towards Tongking these folds probably bend southwards and join the folds of Further India. Amongst these folded beds lie trough-like depressions filled with the Mesozoic red sandstone which lies unconformably upon the Palaeozoic rocks.

The present configuration of China is due, in a very considerable degree, to faulting. The abrupt eastern edge of the Shan-si plateau, where it overlooks the great plain, is a line of fault, or rather a series of step faults, with the downthrow on the east; and von Richthofen has shown reason to believe that this line of faulting is continued far to the south and to the north. He believed also that the present coast-line of China has to a large extent been determined by similar faults with their downthrow on the east.

Concerning the structure of the central Asian plateau our knowledge is still incomplete. The great mountain chains, the Kuen-lun, the Nan-shan and the Tian-shan, are belts of folding; but the Mongolian Altai is a horst—a strip of ancient rock lying between two faults and with a depressed area upon each side. In the whole of this northern region faulting, as distinct from folding, seems to have played an important part. Along the southern margin of the Tian-shan there is a remarkable trough-like depression which appears to lie between two approximately parallel faults.  (P. La.) 


China lies within two zoological provinces or regions, its southern portion forming a part of the Oriental or Indian region and having a fauna close akin to that of the western Himalaya, Burma and Siam, whereas the districts to the north of Fu-chow and south of the Yangtsze-kiang lie within the eastern Holarctic (Palaearctic) region, or rather the southern fringe of the latter, which has been separated as the Mediterranean transitional region. Of these two divisions of the Chinese fauna, the northern one is the more interesting, since it forms the chief home of a number of peculiar generic types, and also includes types represented elsewhere at the present day (exclusive in one case of Japan) only in North America. The occurrence in China of these types common to the eastern and western hemispheres is important in regard to the former existence of a land-bridge between Eastern Asia and North America by way of Bering Strait.

Of the types peculiar to China and North America the alligator of the Yangtsze-kiang is generically identical with its Mississippi relative. The spoon-beaked sturgeon of the Yangtsze and Hwang-ho is, however, now separated, as Psephurus, from the closely allied American Polyodon. Among insectivorous mammals the Chinese and Japanese shrew-moles, respectively forming the genera Uropsilus and Urotrichus, are represented in America by Neurotrichus. The giant salamander of the rivers of China and Japan and the Chinese mandarin duck are by some included in the same genera as their American representatives, while by others they are referred to genera apart. Whichever view we take does not alter their close relationship. One wapiti occurs on the Tibetan frontier, and others in Manchuria and Amurland.

As regards mammals and birds, the largest number of generic and specific types peculiar to China are met with in Sze-ch‘uen. Foremost among these is the great panda (Aeluropus melanoleucus), representing a genus by itself, probably related to bears and to the true panda (Aelurus), the latter of which has a local race in Sze-ch‘uen. Next come the snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus), of which the typical species is a native of Sze-ch‘uen, while a second is found on the upper Mekong, and a third in the mountains of central China. In the Insectivora the swimming-shrew (Nectogale) forms another generic type peculiar to Sze-ch‘uen, which is also the sole habitat of the mole-like Scaptochirus, of Uropsilus, near akin to the Japanese Urotrichus, of Scaptonyx, which connects the latter with the moles (Talpa), and of Neotetracus, a relative of the Malay rat-shrews (Gymnura). Here also may be mentioned the raccoon-dog, forming the subgenus Nyctereutes, common to China and Japan. The Himalayan black and the Malay bear have each a local race in Sze-ch‘uen, where the long-haired Fontanier’s cat (Felis tristis) and the Tibet cat (F. scripta) connect Indo-Malay species with the American ocelots, while the bay cat (F. temmincki), a Malay type, is represented by local forms in Sze-ch‘uen and Fu-chow. The Amurland leopard and Manchurian tiger likewise constitute local races of their respective species.

Among ruminants, the Sze-ch‘uen takin represents a genus (Budorcas) found elsewhere in the Mishmi Hills and Bhutan, while serows (Nemorhaedus) and gorals (Urotragus), allied to Himalayan and Burmo-Malay types, abound. The Himalayan fauna is also represented by a race of the Kashmir hangul deer. Of other deer, the original habitat of Père David’s milu (Elaphurus), formerly kept in the Peking park, is unknown. The sika group, which is peculiar to China, Japan and Formosa, is represented by Cervus hortulorum in Manchuria and the smaller C. manchuricus and sika in that province and the Yangtsze valley; while musk-deer (Moschus) abound in Kan-suh and Sze-ch‘uen. The small water-deer (Hydropotes or Hydrelaphus) of the Yangtsze valley represents a genus peculiar to the country, as do the three species of tufted deer (Elaphodus), whose united range extends from Sze-ch‘uen to Ning-po and I-ch‘ang. Muntjacs (Cervulus) are likewise very characteristic of the country, to which the white-tailed, plum-coloured species, like the Tenasserim C. crinifrons, are peculiar. The occurrence of races of the wapiti in Manchuria and Amurland has been already mentioned.

To refer in detail to the numerous forms of rodents inhabiting China is impossible here, and it must suffice to mention that the flying-squirrels (Pteromys) are represented by a large and handsome species in Sze-ch‘uen, where is also found the largest kind of bamboo-rat (Rhizomys), the other species of which are natives of the western Himalaya and the Malay countries. Dwarf hamsters of the genus Cricetulus are natives of the northern provinces. In the extreme south, in Hai-nan, is found a gibbon ape (Hylobates), while langur (Semnopithecus) and macaque monkeys (Macacus) likewise occur in the south, one of the latter also inhabiting Sze-ch‘uen.

To give an adequate account of Chinese ornithology would require space many times the length of this article. The gorgeous mandarin duck (Aix galerita) has already been mentioned among generic types common to America. In marked distinction to this is the number of species of pheasants inhabiting north-western China, whence the group ranges into the eastern Himalaya. Among Chinese species are two of the three species of blood-pheasants (Ithagenes), two tragopans (Ceriornis or Tragopan), a monal (Lophophorus), three out of the five species of Crossoptilum, the other two being Tibetan, two kinds of Pucrasia, the gorgeous golden and Amherst’s pheasants alone representing the genus Chrysolophus, together with several species of the typical genus Phasianus, among which it will suffice to mention the long-tailed P. reevesi. The Himalayan bamboo-partridges (Bambusicola) have also a Chinese representative. The only other large bird that can be mentioned is the Manchurian crane, misnamed Grus japonensis. Pigeons include the peculiar subgenus Dendroteron; while among smaller birds, warblers, tits and finches, all of an Eastern Holarctic type, constitute the common element in the avifauna. Little would be gained by naming the genera, peculiar or otherwise.

China has a few peculiar types of freshwater tortoises, among which Ocadia sinensis represents a genus unknown elsewhere, while there is also a species of the otherwise Indian genus Damonia. The Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis, has been already mentioned. Among lizards, the genera Plestiodon, Mabuia, Tachydromus and Gecko, of which the two latter are very characteristic of the Oriental region, range through China to Japan; and among snakes, the Malay python (Python reticulatus) is likewise Chinese. The giant salamander (Cryptobranchus, or Megalobatrachus, maximus) represents, as mentioned above, a type found elsewhere only in North America, while Hynobius and Onychodactylus are peculiar generic types of salamanders. Among fishes, it must suffice to refer to the spoon-beaked sturgeon (Psephurus) of the Yangtsze-kiang, and the numerous members of the carp family to be found in the rivers of China. From these native carp the Chinese have produced two highly coloured breeds, the goldfish and the telescope-eyed carp.

Among the invertebrates special mention may be made of the great ailanthus silk-moth (Attacus cynthia) of northern China and Japan, and also of its Manchurian relative A. pernyi; while it may be added that the domesticated “silkworm” (Bombyx mori) is generally believed to be of Chinese origin, although this is not certain. Very characteristic of China is the abundance of handsomely coloured swallow-tailed butterflies of the family Papilionidae. The Chinese kermes (Coccus sinensis) is also worth mention, on account of it yielding wax. As regards land and freshwater snails, China exhibits a marked similarity to Siam and India; the two groups in which the Chinese province displays decided peculiarities of its own being Helix (in the wider sense) and Clausilia. There are, for instance, nearly half a score of subgenera of Helix whose headquarters are Chinese, while among these, forms with sinistral shells are relatively common. The genus Clausilia is remarkable on account of attaining a second centre of development in China, where its finest species, referable to several subgenera, occur. Carnivorous molluscs include a peculiar slug (Rathouisia) and the shelled genera Ennea and Streptaxis. In the western provinces species of Buliminus are abundant, and in the operculate group Heudeia forms a peculiar type akin to Helicina, but with internal foldings to the shell.

Lastly, it has to be mentioned that the waters of the Yangtsze-kiang are inhabited by a small jelly-fish, or medusa (Limnocodium kawaii), near akin to L. sowerbii, which was discovered in the hot-house tanks in the Botanical Gardens in the Regent’s Park, London, but whose real home is probably the Amazon.  (R. L.*) 


The vegetation of China is extremely rich, no fewer than 9000 species of flowering plants having been already enumerated, of which nearly a half are endemic or not known to occur elsewhere. Whole provinces are as yet only partially explored; and the total flora is estimated to comprise ultimately 12,000 species. China is the continuation eastward of the great Himalayan mass, numerous chains of mountains running irregularly to the sea-board. Thousands of deep narrow valleys form isolated areas, where peculiar species have been evolved. Though the greater part of the country has long ago been cleared of its primeval forest and submitted to agriculture, there still remain some extensive forests and countless small woods in which the original flora is well preserved. Towards the north the vegetation is palaearctic, and differs little in its composition from that of Germany, Russia and Siberia. The flora of the western and central provinces is closely allied to that of the Himalayas and of Japan; while towards the south this element mingles with species derived from Indo-China, Burma and the plain of Hindostan. Above a certain elevation, decreasing with the latitude, but approximately 6000 ft. in the Yangtsze basin, there exist in districts remote from the traffic of the great rivers, extensive forests of conifers, like those of Central Europe in character, but with different species of silver fir, larch, spruce and Cembran pine. Below this altitude the woods are composed of deciduous and evergreen broad-leafed trees and shrubs, mingled together in a profusion of species. Pure broad-leafed forests of one or two species are rare, though small woods of oak, of alder and of birch are occasionally seen. There is nothing comparable to the extensive beech forests of Europe, the two species of Chinese beech being sporadic and rare trees. The heaths, Calluna and Erica, which cover great tracts of barren sandy land in Europe, are absent from China, where the Ericaceous vegetation is made up of numerous species of Rhododendron, which often cover vast areas on the mountain slopes. Pine forests occur at low levels, but are always small in extent.

The appearance of the vegetation is very different from that of the United States, which is comparable to China in situation and in extent. Though there are 60 species of oak in China, many with magnificent foliage and remarkable cupules, the red oaks, so characteristic of North America, with their bristle-pointed leaves, turning beautiful colours in autumn, are quite unknown. The great coniferous forest west of the Rocky Mountains has no analogue in China, the gigantic and preponderant Douglas fir being absent, while the giant Sequoias are represented only on a small scale by Cryptomeria, which attains half their height.

Certain remnants of the Miocene flora which have disappeared from Europe are still conspicuous and similar in North America and China. In both regions there are several species of Magnolia; one species each of Liriodendron, Liquidambar and Sassafras; and curious genera like Nyssa, Hamamelis, Decumaria and Gymnocladus. The swamps of the south-eastern states, in which still survive the once widely spread Taxodium or deciduous cypress, are imitated on a small scale by the marshy banks of rivers near Canton, which are clad with Glyptostrobus, the “water-pine” of the Chinese. Pseudolarix, Cunninghamia and Keteleeria are coniferous genera peculiar to China, which have become extinct elsewhere. The most remarkable tree in China, the only surviving link between ferns and conifers, Ginkgo biloba, has only been seen in temple gardens, but may occur wild in some of the unexplored provinces. Its leaves have been found in the tertiary beds of the Isle of Mull.

Most of the European genera occur in China, though there are curious exceptions like the plane tree, and the whole family of the Cistaceae, which characterize the peculiar maquis of the Mediterranean region. The rhododendrons, of which only four species are European, have their headquarters in China, numbering 130 species, varying in size from miniature shrubs 6 in. high to tall trees. Lysimachia, Primula, Clematis, Rubus and Gentiana have each a hundred species, extraordinary variable in habit, in size and in colour of the flowers. The ferns are equally polymorphic, numbering 400 species, and including strange genera like Archangiopteris and Cheiropteris, unknown elsewhere. About 40 species of bamboos have been distinguished; the one with a square stem from Fu-kien is the most curious.

With a great wealth of beautiful flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants, the Chinese at an early period became skilled horticulturists. The emperor Wu Ti established in 111 B.C. a botanic garden at Ch‘ang-an, into which rare plants were introduced from the west and south. Many garden varieties originated in China. The chrysanthemum, perhaps the most variable of cultivated flowers, is derived from two wild species (small and inconspicuous plants), and is mentioned in the ancient Chinese classics. We owe to the skill of the Chinese many kinds of roses, lilies, camellias and peonies; and have introduced from China some of the most ornamental plants in our gardens, as Wistaria, Diervilla, Kerria, Incarvillea, Deutzia, Primula sinensis, Hemerocallis, &c. The peach and several oranges are natives of China. The varnish tree (Rhus vernicifera), from which lacquer is obtained; the tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum); the white mulberry, on which silkworms are fed; and the tea plant were all first utilized by the Chinese. The Chinese have also numerous medicinal plants, of which ginseng and rhubarb are best known. Nearly all our vegetables and cereals have their counterpart in China, where there are numerous varieties not yet introduced into Europe, though some, like the Soy bean, are now attracting great attention.  (A. He.*) 

Authorities.—L. Richard (S.J.), Géographie de l’empire de Chine (Shanghai, 1905)—the first systematic account of China as a whole in modern times. The work, enlarged, revised and translated into English by M. Kennelly (S.J.), was reissued in 1908 as Richard’s Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire and Dependencies. This is the standard authority for the country and gives for each section bibliographical notes. It has been used in the revision of the present article. Valuable information on northern, central and western China is furnished by Col. C.C. Manifold and Col. A.W.S. Wingate in the Geog. Journ. vol. xxiii. (1904) and vol. xxix. (1907). Consult also Marshall Broomhall (ed.), The Chinese Empire: a General and Missionary Survey (London, 1907); B. Willis, E. Blackwelder and others, Research in China, vol. i. part i. “Descriptive Topography and Geology,” part ii. “Petrography and Zoology,” and Atlas (Washington, Carnegie Institution, 1906-1907); Forbes and Hemsley, “Enumeration of Chinese Plants,” in Journ. Linnean Soc. (Bot.), vols. xxiii. and xxxvi.; Bretschneider, History of European Botanical Discoveries in China; E. Tiessen, China das Reich der achtzehn Provinzen, Teil i. “Die allgemeine Geographie des Landes” (Berlin, 1902); and The China Sea Directory (published by the British Admiralty), a valuable guide to the coasts: vol. ii. (5th ed., 1906) deals with Hong-Kong and places south thereof, vol. iii. (4th ed., 1906, supp. 1907) with the rest of the Chinese coast; vol. i. (5th ed., 1906) treats of the islands and straits in the S.W. approach to the China Sea. Much of China has not been surveyed, but considerable progress has been made since 1900. The Atlas of the Chinese Empire (London, 1908), a good general atlas, which, however, has no hill shading, gives maps of each province on the scale of 1:3,000,000. The preface contains a list of the best regional maps.

The Journal af the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society contains papers on all subjects relating to China.

II. The People

China is noted for the density of its population, but no accurate statistics are forthcoming. The province of Shan-tung is reputed to have a population of 680 per sq. m. The provinces of central China, in the basin of the Yangtsze-kiang—namely Sze-ch‘uen, Hu-peh, Ngan-hui, Kiang-su and Cheh-kiang—contain Population. probably a third of thes total population, the density of the people in these provinces being represented as from 490 to 310 per sq. m. Ho-nan, which belongs partly to the basin of the Hwang-ho and partly to that of the Yangtsze-kiang, as well as the S.E. coast provinces of Fu-kien and Kwang-tung, are also densely peopled, Ho-nan being credited with 520 persons per sq. m., Fu-kien with 490 and Kwang-tung with about 320.

The Chinese government prints from time to time in the Peking Gazette returns of the population made by the various provincial authorities. The method of numeration is to count the households, and from that to make a return of the total inhabitants of each province. There would be no great difficulty in obtaining fairly accurate returns if sufficient care were taken. It does not appear, however, that much care is taken. Mr E.H. Parker published in the Statistical Society’s Journal for March 1899 tables translated from Chinese records, giving the population from year to year between 1651 and 1860. These tables show a gradual rise, though with many fluctuations, up till 1851, when the total population is stated to be 432 millions. From that point it decreases till 1860, when it is put down at only 261 millions. The Chinese Imperial Customs put the total population of the empire in 1906 at 438,214,000 and that of China proper at 407,253,000. It has been held by several inquirers that these figures are gross over-estimates. Mr Rockhill, American minister at Peking (1905-1909), after careful inquiry[9] concluded that the inhabitants of China proper did not exceed, in 1904, 270,000,000. Other competent authorities are inclined to accept the round figure of 400,000,000 as nearer the accurate number. Eleven cities were credited in 1908 with between 500,000 and 1,000,000 inhabitants each, and smaller cities are very numerous, but the population is predominantly rural. In addition to the Chinese the population includes a number of aboriginal races such as the Lolos (q.v.), the Miaotsze (q.v.), the Ikias of Kwei-chow and Kwang-si, the Hakka, found in the south-east provinces, and the Hoklos of Kwang-tung province.[10] The Manchus resident in China are estimated to number 4,000,000. According to the Imperial Customs authorities, the number of foreigners resident in China in 1908 was 69,852. Of these 44,143 were Japanese, 9520 Russian, 9043 British, 3637 German, 3545 American, 3353 Portuguese, 2029 French, 554 Italian and 282 Belgian.

The Chinese are a colonizing race, and in Manchuria, Mongolia and Turkestan they have brought several districts under cultivation. In the regions where they settle they become the dominant race—thus southern Manchuria now differs little from a Emigration. province of China proper. In Indo-China, the Malay Peninsula and throughout the Far East Chinese are numerous as farmers, labourers and traders; in some places, such as Singapore, Chinese are among the principal merchants. This colonizing spirit is probably due more to the enterprise of the people than to the density of the population. There were Chinese settlements at places on the east coast of Africa before the 10th century A.D. Following the discovery of gold in California there was from 1850 onwards a large emigration of Chinese to that state and to other parts of America. But in 1879 Chinese exclusion acts were passed by the United States, an example followed by Australia, where Chinese immigration was also held to be a public danger. Canada also adopted the policy of excluding Chinese, but not before there had been a considerable immigration into British Columbia. Two factors, a racial and an economic, are at work to bring about these measures of exclusion. As indentured labourers Chinese have been employed in the West Indies, South America and other places (see Coolie).

In addition to several million Chinese settlers in Manchuria, and smaller numbers in Mongolia, Turkestan and Tibet, it was estimated in 1908 that there were over 9,000,000 Chinese resident beyond the empire. Of these 2,250,000 were in Formosa, which for long formed a part of the empire, and over 6,000,000 in neighbouring regions of Asia and in Pacific Islands. In the West Indies (chiefly Cuba) the number of Chinese was estimated at 100,000, in South America (Brazil, Peru and Chile) at 72,000, in the United States at 150,000, in Canada at 12,000, and in Australia and New Zealand at 35,000. There are comparatively few Chinese in Japan (if Formosa be excepted) and Korea. The number is given in 1908 as 17,000 in Japan and 11,000 in Korea.

Social Life.

The awakening of the East which has followed the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 has affected China also. It is too soon to say how far the influx of European ideas will be able to modify the immemorial customs and traditions of perhaps the most conservative people in the world; but the process has begun, and this fact makes it difficult to give a picture of Chinese habits and customs which shall be more than historical or provisional. Moreover, the difficulty of presenting a picture which shall be true of China as a whole is enhanced by the different characteristics observable in various regions of so vast a country. The Chinese themselves, until the material superiority of Western civilization forced them to a certain degree to conform to its standards, looked down from the height of their superior culture with contempt on the “Western barbarians.” Nor was their attitude wholly without justification. Their civilization was already old at a time when Britain and Germany were peopled by half-naked barbarians, and the philosophical and ethical principles on which it was based remain, to all appearances, as firmly rooted as ever. That these principles have, on the whole, helped to create a national type of a very high order few Europeans who know the Chinese well would deny. The Chinese are naturally reserved, earnest and good-natured; for the occasional outbursts of ferocious violence, notably against foreign settlements, are no index to the national character. There is a national proverb that “the men of the Four Seas are all brothers,” and even strangers can travel through the country without meeting with rudeness, much less outrage. If the Chinese character is inferior to the European, this inferiority lies in the fact that the Chinaman’s whole philosophy of life disinclines him to change or to energetic action. He is industrious; but his industry is normally along the lines marked out by authority and tradition. He is brave; but his courage does not naturally seek an outlet in war. The jealously exclusive empire, into which in the 19th century the nations of the West forced an entrance, was organized for peace; the arts of war had been all but forgotten, and soldiers were of all classes the most despised.

The whole social and political organization of the Chinese is based, in a far more real sense than in the West, on the family. The supreme duty is that of the child to its parent; on this the whole Chinese moral system is built up. Filial piety, according to the teaching of Confucius, is the very foundation of society; the nation itself is but one great family, and the authority of the government itself is but an extension of the paternal authority, to which all its children are bound to yield implicit obedience. The western idea of the liberty and dignity of the individual, as distinct from the community to which he belongs, is wholly alien to the Chinese mind. The political unit in China is not the individual but the family, and the father of the family is supposed to be responsible for the qualities and views of all his kin. He is rewarded for their virtues, punished for their faults; the deserts of a son ennoble the father and all his ancestors, and conversely his crimes disgrace them.

An outcome of this principle is the extraordinary importance in China of funeral rites, especially in the case of the father. The eldest son, now head of the family, or, failing him, his first-born or adopted son, fixes one of the three souls of the dead in the tablet commemorating his virtues, burns incense to his shade, and supplies him with paper money and paper representations of everything (clothes, servants, horses) that he may require in his journey to the other world. Mourning lasts for three years, during which the mourners wear white garments and abstain from meat, wine and public gatherings. Custom, too, dictates that wherever the Chinaman may die he must be brought back for burial to the place of his birth; one of the objects of the friendly societies is to provide funds to charter ships to transport home the bodies of those who have died abroad. Annually, in May, the white-clad people stream to the graves and mortuary temples with flowers, fruit and other offerings for the dead. Christian missionaries have found in this ancestor worship the most serious obstacle to the spread of a religion which teaches that the convert must, if need be, despise his father and his mother and follow Christ.

The same elaborate ceremonialism that characterizes the Chinese funeral customs is found also in their marriage rites and the rules of their social intercourse generally. Confucius is reported to have said that “all virtues have their source in etiquette,” and the due observance of the “ceremonial” (li) in the fulfilling of social duties is that which, in Chinese opinion, distinguishes civilized from barbarous peoples. The Board of Rites, one of the departments of the central government, exists for the purpose of giving decisions in matters of etiquette and ceremony. As to marriage, the rule that the individual counts for nothing obtains here in its fullest significance. The breeding of sons to carry on the ancestral cult is a matter of prime importance, and the marriage of a young man is arranged at the earliest possible age. The bride and bridegroom have little voice in the matter, the match being arranged by the parents of the parties; the lifting of the bride’s veil, so that the bridegroom may see her face, is the very last act of the long and complicated ceremony.

In the traditional Chinese social system four classes are distinguished: the literary, the agricultural, the artisan and the trading class. Hereditary nobility, in the European sense, scarcely exists, and the possession of an hereditary title gives in itself no special privileges. Official position is more highly esteemed than birth and the bureaucracy takes the place of the aristocracy in the west. There are, nevertheless, besides personal decorations for merit, such as the yellow jacket, five hereditary rewards for merit; these last only for a fixed number of lives. A few Chinese families, however, enjoy hereditary titles in the full sense, the chief among them being the Holy Duke of Yen (the descendant of Confucius). The Imperial Clansmen consist of those who trace their descent direct from the founder of the Manchu dynasty, and are distinguished by the privilege of wearing a yellow girdle; collateral relatives of the imperial house wear a red girdle. Twelve degrees of nobility (in a descending scale as one generation succeeds another) are conferred on the descendants of every emperor; in the thirteenth generation the descendants of emperors are merged in the general population, save that they retain the yellow girdle. The heads of eight houses, the “Iron-capped” (or helmeted) princes, maintain their titles in perpetuity by rule of primogeniture in virtue of having helped the Manchu in the conquest of China. Imperial princes apart, the highest class is that forming the civil service. (See also § Government and Administration.) The peasant class forms the bulk of the population. The majority of Chinese are small landowners; their standard of living is very low in comparison with European standards. This is in part due to the system of land tenure. A parent cannot, even if he wished to do so, leave all his land to one son. There must be substantially an equal division, the will of the father notwithstanding. As early marriages and large families are the rule, this process of continual division and subdivision has brought things down to the irreducible minimum in many places. Small patches of one-tenth or even one-twentieth of an acre are to be found as the estate of an individual landowner, and the vast majority of holdings run between one and three acres. With three acres a family is deemed very comfortable, and the possession of ten acres means luxury.

The only class which at all resembles the territorial magnates of other countries is the class of retired officials. The wealth of an official is not infrequently invested in land, and consequently there are in most provinces several families with a country seat and the usual insignia of local rank and influence. On the decease of the heads or founders of such families it is considered dignified for the sons to live together, sharing the rents and profits in common. This is sometimes continued for several generations, until the country seat becomes an agglomeration of households and the family a sort of clan. A family of this kind, with literary traditions, and with the means to educate the young men, is constantly sending its scions into the public service. These in turn bring their earnings to swell the common funds, while the rank and dignity which they may earn add to the importance and standing of the group as a whole. The members of this class are usually termed the literati or gentry.

The complex character of the Chinese is shown in various ways. Side by side with the reverence of ancestors the law recognizes the right of the parent to sell his offspring into slavery and among the poor this is not an uncommon practice, though in comparison with the total population the number of slaves is few. The kidnapping of children for sale as slaves is carried on, but there is no slave raiding. There are more female than male slaves; the descendants of male slaves acquire freedom in the fifth generation. While every Chinese man is anxious to have male children, girls are often considered superfluous.

The position of women is one of distinct inferiority; a woman is always subject to the men of her family—before marriage to her father, during marriage to her husband, in widowhood to her son; these states being known as “the three obediences.” Sons who do not, however, honour their mothers outrage public opinion. Polygamy is tolerated, secondary wives being sometimes provided by the first wife when she is growing old. Secondary wives are subordinate to first wives. A wife may be divorced for any one of seven reasons. The sale of wives is practised, but is not recognized by law. Women of the upper classes are treated with much respect. The home of a Chinese man is often in reality ruled by his mother, or by his wife as she approaches old age, a state held in veneration. Chinese women frequently prove of excellent business capacity, and those of high rank—as the recent history of China has conspicuously proved—exercise considerable influence on public affairs.

Deforming the feet of girls by binding and stopping their growth has been common for centuries. The tottering walk of the Chinese lady resulting from this deformation of the feet is the admiration of her husband and friends. Foot-binding is practised by rich and poor in all parts of the country, but is not universal. In southern and western China Hakka women and certain others never have their feet bound. It has been noted that officials (who all serve on the itinerary system) take for secondary wives natural-footed women, who are frequently slaves.[11] Every child is one at birth, and two on what Europeans call its first birthday, the period of gestation counting as one year.

In their social intercourse the Chinese are polite and ceremonious; they do not shake hands or kiss, but prostrations (kotowing), salutations with joined hands and congratulations are common. They have no weekly day of rest, but keep many festivals, the most important being that of New Year’s Day. Debts are supposed to be paid before New Year’s Day begins and for the occasion new clothes are bought. Other notable holidays are the Festival of the First Full Moon, the Feast of Lanterns and the Festival of the Dragon Boat. A feature of the festivals is the employment of thousands of lanterns made of paper, covered with landscapes and other scenes in gorgeous colours. Of outdoor sports kite-flying is the most popular and is engaged in by adults; shuttle-cock is also a favourite game, while cards and dominoes are indoor amusements. The theatre and marionette shows are largely patronized. The habit of opium smoking is referred to elsewhere; tobacco smoking is general among both sexes.

Except in their head-dress and their shoes little distinction is made between the costumes of men and women.[12] Both sexes wear a long loose jacket or robe which fits closely round the neck and has wide sleeves, and wide short trousers. Over the robe shorter jackets—often sleeveless—are worn, according to the weather. For winter wear the jackets are wadded, and a Chinaman will speak of “a three, four or six coat cold day.” A man’s robe is generally longer than that of a woman. Petticoats are worn by ladies on ceremonial occasions and the long robe is removed when in the house. “It is considered very unwomanly not to wear trousers, and very indelicate for a man not to have skirts to his coat.” No Chinese woman ever bares any part of her body in public—even the hands are concealed in the large sleeves—and the evening dress of European ladies is considered indelicate; but Hakka women move about freely without shoes or stockings. A Chinese man will, however, in warm weather often strip naked to the waist. Coolies frequently go bare-legged; they use sandals made of rope and possess rain-coats made of palm leaves. The garments of the poorer classes are made of cotton, generally dyed blue. Wealthy people have their clothes made of silk. Skirts and jackets are elaborately embroidered. Costly furs and fur-lined clothes are much prized, and many wealthy Chinese have fine collections of furs. Certain colours may only be used with official permission as denoting a definite rank or distinction, e.g. the yellow jacket. The colours used harmonize—the contrasts in colour seen in the clothes of Europeans is avoided. Dark purple over blue are usual colour combinations. The mourning colour is white. Common shoes are made of cotton or silk and have thick felt soles; all officials wear boots of satin into which is thrust the pipe or the fan—the latter carried equally by men and women. The fan is otherwise stuck at the back of the neck, or attached to the girdle, which may also hold the purse, watch, snuff-box and a pair of chop-sticks.

Formerly Chinese men let their hair grow sufficiently long to gather it in a knot at the top; on the conquest of the country by the Manchu they were compelled to adopt the queue or pigtail, which is often artificially lengthened by the employment of silk thread, usually black in colour. The front part of the head is shaved. As no Chinese dress their own hair, barbers are numerous and do a thriving trade. Women do not shave the head nor adopt the queue. Men wear in general a close-fitting cap, and the peasants large straw hats. Circular caps, larger at the crown than round the head and with an outward slope are worn in winter by mandarins, conical straw hats in summer. Women have elaborate head ornaments, decking their hair with artificial flowers, butterflies made of jade, gold pins and pearls. The faces of Chinese ladies are habitually rouged, their eyebrows painted. Pearl or bead necklaces are worn both by men and women. Officials and men of leisure let one or two finger nails grow long and protect them with a metal case.

The staple food of the majority of the Chinese in the south and central provinces is rice; in the northern provinces millet as well as rice is much eaten. In separate bowls are placed morsels of pork, fish, chicken, vegetables and other relishes. Rice-flour, bean-meal, macaroni, and shell fish are all largely used. Flour balls cooked in sugar are esteemed. Beef is never eaten, but Mahommedans eat mutton, and there is hardly any limit to the things the Chinese use as food. In Canton dogs which have been specially fed are an article of diet. Eggs are preserved for years in a solution of salt, lime and wood-ash, or in spirits made from rice. Condiments are highly prized, as are also preserved fruits. Special Chinese dishes are soups made from sea-slugs and a glutinous substance found in certain birds’ nests, ducks’ tongues, sharks’ fins, the brains of chickens and of fish, the sinews of deer and of whales, fish with pickled fir-tree cones, and roots of the lotus lily. A kind of beer brewed from rice is a usual drink; samshu is a spirit distilled from the same grain and at dinners is served hot in small bowls. Excellent native wines are made. The Chinese are, however, abstemious with regard to alcoholic liquors. Water is drunk hot by the very poor, as a substitute for tea. Tea is drunk before and after meals in cups without handle or saucer; the cups are always provided with a cover. Two substantial meals are taken during the day—luncheon and dinner; the last named at varying hours from four till seven o’clock. At dinner a rich man will offer his guest twenty-four or more dishes (always a multiple of 4), four to six dishes being served at a time. Food is eaten from bowls and with chop-sticks (q.v.) and little porcelain spoons. Men dine by themselves when any guests are present; dinner parties are sometimes given by ladies to ladies. Chinese cookery is excellent; in the culinary art the Chinese are reputed to be second only to the French.

Ethnologically the Chinese are classed among the Mongolian races (in which division the Manchus are also included), although they present many marked contrasts to the Mongols. The Tatars, Tibetans, Burmese, Shans, Manchu and other races—including the Arab and Japanese—have mingled with the indigenous population to form the Chinese type, while aboriginal tribes still resist the pressure of absorption by the dominant race (see ante, Population). The Chinese are in fact ethnically a very mixed people, and the pure Mongol type is uncommon among them. Moreover, natives of different provinces still present striking contrasts one to another, and their common culture is probably the strongest national link. By some authorities it is held that the parent stock of the Chinese came from the north-west, beyond the alluvial plain; others hold that it was indigenous in eastern China. Notwithstanding the marked differences between the inhabitants of different provinces and even between those living in the same province, certain features are common to the race. “The stature is below the average and seldom exceeds 5 ft. 4 in., except in the North. The head is normally brachycephalic or round horizontally, and the forehead low and narrow. The face is round, the mouth large, and the chin small and receding. The cheek-bones are prominent, the eyes almond-shaped, oblique upwards and outwards, and the hair coarse, lank and invariably black. The beard appears late in life, and remains generally scanty. The eyebrows are straight and the iris of the eye is black. The nose is generally short, broad and flat. The hands and feet are disproportionately small, and the body early inclines to obesity. The complexion varies from an almost pale-yellow to a dark-brown, without any red or ruddy tinge. Yellow, however, predominates.”[13]

A few words may be added concerning the Manchus, who are the ruling race in China. Their ethnic affinities are not precisely known, but they may be classed among the Ural-Altaic tribes, although the term Ural-Altaic (q.v.) denotes a linguistic rather than a racial group. By some authorities they are called Tung-tatze, i.e. Eastern Tatars—the Tatars of to-day being of true Mongol descent. Manchu is the name adopted in the 13th century by one of several tribes which led a nomadic life in Manchuria and were known collectively in the 11th century as Nüchihs. Some authorities regard the Khitans (whence the European form Cathay), who in the 9th and 10th centuries dwelt in the upper Liao region, as the ancestors of this race. It was not until the 16th century that the people became known generally as Manchus and obtained possession of the whole of the country now bearing their name (see Manchuria). They had then a considerable mixture of Chinese and Korean blood, but had developed a distinct nationality and kept their ancient Ural-Altaic language. In China the Manchus retained their separate nationality and semi-military organization. It was not until the early years of the 20th century that steps were officially taken to obliterate the distinction between the two races. The Manchus are a more robust race than the inhabitants of central and southern China, but resemble those of northern China save that their eyes are horizontally set. They are a lively and enterprising people, but have not in general the intellectual or business ability of the Chinese. They are courteous in their relations with strangers. The common people are frugal and industrious. The Manchu family is generally large. The women’s feet are unbound; they twist their hair round a silver bangle placed cross-wise on the top of the head. The Manchus have no literature of their own, but as the language of the court Manchu has been extensively studied in China.

Authorities.—Sir John F. Davies, China (2 vols., London, 1857); É. Réclus, The Universal Geography, vol. vii. (Eng. trans. ed. by E.G. Ravenstein and A.H. Keane); É. and O. Réclus, L’Empire du milieu (Paris, 1902); Sir R.K. Douglas, Society in China (London, 1895); J. Doolittle, Social Life of the Chinese (2 vols., New York, 1867); H.A. Giles, China and the Chinese (1902); E. Bard, Les Chinois chez eux (Paris, 1900); A.G. Jones, Desultory Notes on Chinese Etiquette (Shanghai, 1906); Mrs Archibald Little, Intimate China (London, 1899) and The Land of the Blue Gown (London, 1902); E.H. Parker, John Chinaman and a Few Others (London, 1901); J. Dyer-Ball, Things Chinese (Shanghai, 1903); Cheng Kitung, The Chinese Painted by Themselves (Eng. trans. by J. Millington, London, 1885); L. Richard, Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire (Shanghai, 1908).



The earliest traces of religious thought and practice in China point to a simple monotheism. There was a Divine Ruler of the universe, abiding on high, beyond the ken of man. This Power was not regarded as the Creator of the The ancient faith. human race, but as a Supreme Being to whom wickedness was abhorrent and virtuous conduct a source of joy, and who dealt out rewards and punishments with unerring justice, claiming neither love nor reverence from mankind. If a man did his duty towards his neighbour, he might pass his whole time on earth oblivious of the fact that such a Power was in existence; unless perchance he wished to obtain some good or attain some end, in which case he might seek to propitiate Him by sacrifice and prayer. There was no Devil to tempt man astray, and to rejoice in his fall; neither was there any belief that righteous behaviour in this world would lead at death to absorption in the Deity. To God, understood in this sense, the people gave the name Tien, which in the colloquial language was used of the sky; and when, in the first stages of the written character, it became necessary to express the idea of Tien, they did not attempt any vague picture of the heavens, but set down the rude outline of a man. Perhaps about this period the title Shang Ti, or Supreme Ruler, came into vogue as synonymous with Tien. But although the two terms were synonyms, and both may be equally rendered by “God,” there is nevertheless an important distinction to be observed, much as though Tien and Shang Ti were two Persons in one substance. Tien is far more an abstract Being, while Shang Ti partakes rather of the nature of a personal God, whose anthropomorphic nature is much more strongly accentuated. Shang Ti is described as walking and talking, as enjoying the flavour of sacrifices, as pleased with music and dancing in his honour, and even as taking sides in warfare; whereas Tien holds aloof, wrapped in an impenetrable majesty, an ignotum pro mirifico. So much for religion in primeval days, gathered scrap by scrap from many sources; for nothing like a history of religion is to be found in Chinese literature.

Gradually to this monotheistic conception was added a worship of the sun, moon and constellations, of the five planets, and of such noticeable individual stars as (e.g.) Canopus, which is now looked upon as the home of the God of Longevity. Earth, too—Mother Earth—came in for her share of worship, indicated especially by the God of the Soil, and further distributed among rivers and hills. Wind, rain, heat, cold, thunder and lightning, as each became objects of desire or aversion, were invested with the attributes of deities. The various parts of the house—door, kitchen-stove, courtyard, &c.—were also conceived of as sheltering some spirit whose influence might be benign or the reverse. The spirits of the land and of grain came to mean one’s country, the commonwealth, the state; and the sacrifices of these spirits by the emperor formed a public announcement of his accession, or of his continued right to the throne. Side by side with such sacrificial rites was the worship of ancestors, stretching so far back that its origin is not discernible in such historical documents as we possess. In early times only the emperor, or the feudal nobles, or certain high officials, could sacrifice to the spirits of nature; the common people sacrificed to their own ancestors and to the spirits of their own homes. For three days before performing such sacrifices, a strict vigil with purification was maintained; and by the expiration of that time, from sheer concentration of thought, the mourner was able to see the spirits of the departed, and at the sacrifice next day seemed to hear their movements and even the murmur of their sighs. Ancestral worship in China has always been, and still is, worship in the strict sense of the term. It is not a memorial service in simple honour of the dead; but sacrifices are offered, and the whole ceremonial is performed that the spirits of former ancestors may be induced to extend their protection to the living and secure to them as many as possible of the good things of this world.

For Confucianism, which cannot, strictly speaking, be classed as a religion, see Confucius.

Around the scanty utterances of Lao Tzŭ or Lao-tsze (q.v.; see also § Chinese Literature, §§ Philosophy) an attempt was made by later writers to weave a scheme of thought which should serve to satisfy the cravings of mortals for some definite Taoism. solution of the puzzle of life. Lao Tzŭ himself had enunciated a criterion which he called Tao, or the Way, from which is derived the word Taoism; and in his usual paradoxical style he had asserted that the secret of this Way, which was at the beginning apparently nothing more than a line of right conduct, could not possibly be imparted, even by those who understood it. His disciples, however, of later days proceeded to interpret the term in the sense of the Absolute, the First Cause, and finally as One, in whose obliterating unity all seemingly opposed conditions of time and space were indistinguishably blended. This One, the source of human life, was placed beyond the limits of the visible universe; and for human life to return thither at death and to enjoy immortality, it was only necessary to refine away all corporeal grossness by following the doctrines of Lao Tzŭ. By and by, this One came to be regarded as a fixed point of dazzling luminosity in remote ether, around which circled for ever and ever, in the supremest glory of motion, the souls of those who had left the slough of humanity behind them. These transcendental notions were entirely corrupted at a very early date by the introduction of belief in an elixir of life, and later still by the practice of alchemistic experiments. Opposed by Buddhism, which next laid a claim for a share in the profits of popular patronage, Taoism rapidly underwent a radical transformation. It became a religion, borrowing certain ceremonial, vestments, liturgies, the idea of a hell, arrangement of temples, &c., from its rival; which rival was not slow in returning the compliment. As Chu Hsi said, “Buddhism stole the best features of Taoism; Taoism stole the worst features of Buddhism. It is as though one took a jewel from the other, and the loser recouped the loss with a stone.” At the present day there is not much to choose between the two religions, which flourish peaceably together. As to their temples, priests and ceremonial, it takes an expert to distinguish one from the other.

There is no trustworthy information as to the exact date at which Buddhism first reached China. It is related that the emperor Ming Ti (A.D. 58-76) had a dream in which a golden man appeared to him, and this mysterious visitant was interpreted Buddhism. by the emperor’s brother to be none other than Shākyamuni Buddha, the far-famed divinity of the West. This shows that Buddhism must then have been known to the Chinese, at any rate by hearsay. The earliest alleged appearance of Buddhism in China dates from 217 B.C., when certain Shamans who came to proselytize were seized and thrown into prison. They escaped through the miraculous intervention of a golden man, who came to them in the middle of the night and opened their prison doors. Hsü Kuan, a writer of the Sung dynasty, quotes in his Tung Chai Chi passages to support the view that Buddhism was known in China some centuries before the reign of Ming Ti; among others, the following from the Sui Shu Ching Chi Chih: “These Buddhist writings had long been circulated far and wide, but disappeared with the advent of the Ch‘in dynasty,” under which (see § Chinese Literature, §§ History) occurred the Burning of the Books. It is, however, convenient to begin with the alleged dream of Ming Ti, as it was only subsequent to that date that Buddhism became a recognized religion of the people. It is certain that in A.D. 65 a mission of eighteen members was despatched to Khotan to make inquiries on the subject, and that in 67 the mission returned, bringing Buddhist writings and images, and accompanied by an Indian priest, Kashiapmadanga, who was followed shortly afterwards by another priest, Gobharana. A temple was built for these two at Lo-yang, then the capital of China, and they settled down to the work of translating portions of the Buddhist scriptures into Chinese; but all that now remains of their work is the Sūtra of Forty-two Sections, translated by Kashiapmadanga. During the next two hundred and fifty years an unbroken line of foreign priests came to China to continue the task of translation, and to assist in spreading the faith. Such work was indeed entirely in their hands, for until the 4th century the Chinese people were prohibited from taking orders as priests; but by that date Buddhism had taken a firm hold upon the masses, and many Chinese priests were attracted towards India, despite the long and dangerous journey, partly to visit the birthplace of the creed and to see with their own eyes the scenes which had so fired their imaginations, and partly in the hope of adding to the store of books and images already available in China (see § Chinese Literature, §§ Geography and Travel). Still, the train of Indian missionaries, moving in the opposite direction, did not cease. In 401, Kumarajiva, the nineteenth of the Western Patriarchs and translator of the Diamond Sūtra, finally took up his residence at the court of the soi-disant emperor, Yao Hsing. In 405 he became State Preceptor and dictated his commentaries on the sacred books of Buddhism to some eight hundred priests, besides composing a shāstra on Reality and Semblance. Dying in 417, his body was cremated, as is still usual with priests, but his tongue, which had done such eminent service during life, remained unharmed in the midst of the flames. In the year 520 Bōdhidharma, or Ta-mo, as he is affectionately known to the Chinese, being also called the White Buddha, reached Canton, bringing with him the sacred bowl of the Buddhist Patriarchate, of which he was the last representative in the west and the first to hold office in the east. Summoned to Nanking, he offended the emperor by asserting that real merit lay, not in works, but solely in purity and wisdom combined. He therefore retired to Lo-yang, crossing the swollen waters of the Yangtsze on a reed, a feat which has ever since had a great fascination for Chinese painters and poets. There he spent the rest of his life, teaching that religion was not to be learnt from books, but that man should seek and find the Buddha in his own heart. Thus Buddhism gradually made its way. It had to meet first of all the bitter hostility of the Taoists; and secondly, the fitful patronage and opposition of the court. Several emperors and empresses were infatuated supporters of the faith; one even went so far as to take vows and lead the life of an ascetic, further insisting that to render full obedience to the Buddhist commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” the sacrificial animals were to be made of dough. Other emperors, instigated by Confucian advisers, went to the opposite extreme of persecution, closed all religious houses, confiscated their property, and forced the priests and nuns to return to the world. From about the 11th century onwards Buddhism has enjoyed comparative immunity from attack or restriction, and it now covers the Chinese empire from end to end. The form under which it appears in China is to some extent of local growth; that is to say, the Chinese have added and subtracted not a little to and from the parent stock. The cleavage which took place under Kanishka, ruler of the Indo-Scythian empire, about the 1st century A.D., divided Buddhism into the Mahāyāna, or Greater Vehicle, and the Hināyāna, as it is somewhat contemptuously styled, or Lesser Vehicle. The latter was the nearer of the two to the Buddhism of Shākyamuni, and exhibits rather the mystic and esoteric sides of the faith. The former, which spread northwards and on to Nepaul, Tibet, China, Mongolia and Japan, leaving southern India, Burma and Siam to its rival, began early to lean towards the deification of Buddha as a personal Saviour. New Buddhas and Bōdhisatvas were added, and new worlds were provided for them to live in; in China, especially, there was an enormous extension of the mythological element. In fact, the Mahāyāna system of Buddhism, inspired, as has been observed, by a progressive spirit, but without contradicting the inner significance of the teachings of Buddha, broadened its scope and assimilated other religio-philosophical beliefs, whenever this could be done to the advantage of those who came within its influence. Such is the form of this religion which prevails in China, of which, however, the Chinese layman understands nothing. He goes to a temple, worships the gods with prostrations, lighted candles, incense, &c., to secure his particular ends at the moment; he may even listen to a service chanted in a foreign tongue and just as incomprehensible to the priests as to himself. He pays his fees and departs, absolutely ignorant of the history or dogmas of the religion to which he looks for salvation in a future state. All such knowledge, and there is now not much of it, is confined to a few of the more cultured priests.

The 7th century seems to have been notable in the religious history of China. Early in that century, Mazdaism, or the religion of Zoroaster, based upon the worship of fire, was introduced Mardaism. into China, and in 621 the first temple under that denomination was built at Ch‘ang-an in Shensi, then the capital. But the harvest of converts was insignificant; the religion failed to hold its ground, and in the 9th century disappeared altogether.

Mahommedans first settled in China in the Year of the Mission, A.D. 628, under Wahb-Abi-Kabḥa, a maternal uncle of Mahomet, who was sent with presents to the emperor. Wahb-Abi-Kabḥa travelled by sea to Canton, and thence overland Mahommedanism. to Ch‘ang-an, the capital, where he was well received. The first mosque was built at Canton, where after several restorations, it still exists. Another mosque was erected in 742; but many of the Mahommedans went to China merely as traders, and afterwards returned to their own country. The true stock of the present Chinese Mahommedans was a small army of 4000 Arab soldiers sent by the caliph Abu Giafar[14] in 755 to aid in putting down a rebellion. These soldiers had permission to settle in China, where they married native wives; and four centuries later, with the conquests of Jenghiz Khan, large numbers of Arabs penetrated into the empire and swelled the Mahommedan community. Its members are now indistinguishable from the general population; they are under no civic disabilities, and are free to open mosques wherever they please, so long as, in common with Buddhists and Taoists, they exhibit the tablet of the emperor’s sovereignty in some conspicuous position.

In A.D. 631 the Nestorians sent a mission to China and introduced Christianity under the name of the Luminous Doctrine. In 636 they were allowed to settle at Ch‘ang-an; and in 638 an Imperial Decree was issued, stating that Olopun, Nestorianism. a Nestorian priest who is casually mentioned as a Persian, had presented a form of religion which his Majesty had carefully examined and had found to be in every way satisfactory, and that it would henceforth be permissible to preach this new doctrine within the boundaries of the empire. Further, the establishment of a monastery was authorized, to be served by twenty-one priests. For more than a century after this, Nestorian Christianity seems to have flourished in China. In 781 the famous Nestorian Tablet, giving a rough outline of the object and scope of the faith, was set up at Ch‘ang-an (the modern Si-gan Fu), disappearing soon afterwards in the political troubles which laid the city in ruins, to be brought to light again in 1625 by Father Semedo, S.J. The genuineness of this tablet was for many years in dispute, Voltaire, Renan, and others of lesser fame regarding it as a pious Jesuit fraud; but all doubts on the subject have now been dispelled by the exhaustive monograph of Père Havret, S.J., entitled La Stèle de Si-ngan. The date of the tablet seems to mark the zenith of Nestorian Christianity in China; after this date it began to decay. Marco Polo refers to it as existing in the 13th century; but then it fades out of sight, leaving scant traces in Chinese literature of ever having existed.

The Manichaeans, worshippers of the Chaldaean Mani or Manēs, who died about A.D. 274, appear to have found their way to China in the year 694. In 719 an envoy from Tokharestan reached Ch‘ang-an, bringing a letter to the emperor, in Manichaeism. which a request was made that an astronomer who accompanied the mission might be permitted to establish places of worship for persons of the Manichaean faith. Subsequently, a number of such chapels were opened at various centres; but little is known of the history of this religion, which is often confounded by Chinese writers with Mazdeism, the fate of which it seems to have shared, also disappearing about the middle of the 9th century.

By “the sect of those who take out the sinew,” the Chinese refer to the Jews and their peculiar method of preparing meat in order to make it kosher. Wild stories have been told of their arrival in China seven centuries before the Christian era, Judaism. after one of the numerous upheavals mentioned in the Old Testament; and again, of their having carried the Pentateuch to China shortly after the Babylonish captivity, and having founded a colony in Ho-nan in A.D. 72. The Jews really reached China for the first time in the year A.D. 1163, and were permitted to open a synagogue at the modern K‘ai-fêng Fu in 1164. There they seem to have lived peaceably, enjoying the protection of the authorities and making some slight efforts to spread their tenets. There their descendants were found, a dwindling community, by the Jesuit Fathers of the 17th century; and there again they were visited in 1850 by a Protestant mission, which succeeded in obtaining from them Hebrew rolls of parts of the Pentateuch in the square character, with vowel points. After this, it was generally believed that the few remaining stragglers, who seemed to be entirely ignorant of everything connected with their faith, had become merged in the ordinary population. A recent traveller, however, asserts that in 1909 he found at K‘ai-fêng Fu a Jewish community, the members of which keep as much as possible to themselves, worshipping in secret, and preserving their ancient ritual and formulary.

See H. Hackmann, Buddhism as a Religion (1910); H.A. Giles, Religions of Ancient China (1905); G. Smith, The Jews at K‘ae-fung-foo (1851); Dabry de Thiersant, Le Mahométisme en Chine (1878); P. Havret. S.J., La Stèle chrétienne de Si-ngan-fou (1895).  (H. A. Gi.) 

[Christian missions, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, are established in every province in China. Freedom to embrace the Christian faith has been guaranteed by the Chinese government since 1860, and as a rule the missionaries have free Christian missions. scope in teaching and preaching, though local disturbances are not infrequent. The number of members of the Roman Catholic Church in China was reckoned by the Jesuit fathers at Shanghai to be, in 1907, “about one million”; in the same year the Protestant societies reckoned in all 250,000 church members. By the Chinese, Roman Catholicism is called the “Religion of the Lord of Heaven”; Protestantism the “Religion of Jesus.” For the progress and effects of Christianity in China see § History, and Missions, § China. Ed.]

Education and the Press.

The educational system of China till nearly the close of the 19th century was confined in its scope to the study of Chinese classics. Elementary instruction was not provided by the state. The well-to-do engaged private tutors for their sons; the poorer boys were taught in small schools on a voluntary basis. No curriculum was compulsory, but the books used and the programme pursued followed a traditional rule. The boys (there were no schools for girls) began by memorizing the classics for four or five years. Then followed letter-writing and easy composition. This completed the education of the vast majority of the boys not intended for the public service. The chief merit of the system was that it developed the memory and the imitative faculty. For secondary education somewhat better provision was made, practically the only method of attaining eminence in the state being through the schools (see § Civil Service). At prefectural cities and provincial capitals colleges were maintained at the public expense, and at these institutions a more or less thorough knowledge of the classics might be obtained. At the public examinations held periodically the exercises proposed were original poems and literary essays. Three degrees were conferred, Siu-ts‘ai (budding talent), Chû-jên (promoted scholar) and Chin-shih (entered scholar). The last degree was given to those who passed the final examination at Peking, and the successful candidates were also called metropolitan graduates.

The first education on western lines was given by the Roman Catholic missionaries. In 1852 they founded a college for the education of native priests; they also founded and maintained many primary and some higher schools—mainly if not exclusively for the benefit of their converts. The Protestant missions followed the example of the Roman Catholics, but a new departure, which has had a wide success, was initiated by the American Protestant missionary societies in founding schools—primary and higher—and colleges in which western education was given equally to all comers, Christian or non-Christian. Universities and medical schools have also been established by the missionary societies. They also initiated a movement for the education of girls and opened special schools for their instruction.

Missionary effort apart, the first step towards western education was the establishment of two colleges in 1861, one at Peking, the other at Canton in connexion with the imperial maritime customs. These institutions were known as T‘ung Wen Kwan, and were provided with a staff of foreign professors and teachers. These colleges were mainly schools of languages to enable young Chinese to qualify as interpreters in English, French, &c. Similar schools were established at Canton, Fuchow and one or two other places, with but indifferent results. A more promising plan was conceived in 1880, or thereabouts, by the then viceroy of Nanking, who sent a batch of thirty or forty students to America to receive a regular training on the understanding that on their return they would receive official appointments. The promise was not kept. A report was spread that these students were becoming too much Americanized. They were hastily recalled, and when they returned they were left in obscurity. The next step was taken by the viceroy Chang Chih-tung after the Chino-Japanese War of 1894-95. The viceroy wrote a book, China’s Only Hope, which he circulated throughout the empire, and in which he strongly advocated a reform of the traditional educational system. His scheme was to make Chinese learning the foundation on which a western education should be imparted.[15] The book was one of the factors in the 1898 reform movement, and Chang Chih-tung’s proposals were condemned when that movement was suppressed. But after the Boxer rising the Peking government adopted his views, and in 1902 regulations were issued for the reform of the old system of public instruction. A university on western lines was established in that year at Peking, the T‘ung Wen Kwan at the capital being incorporated in it. The new educational movement gained enormously in strength as the result of the Russo-Japanese War, and in 1906 a new system, theoretically almost perfect, was established. The new system comprises the study of the Chinese language, literature and composition, modern sciences, history and geography, foreign languages,[16] gymnastics, drill and, in the higher grades, political economy, and civil and international law.

By 1910 primary and secondary government schools and schools for special subjects (such as agriculture and engineering) had been established in considerable numbers. In every province an Imperial University was also established. The Imperial University at Peking now teaches not only languages and Chinese subjects but also law, chemistry, mathematics, &c. A medical school was founded at Peking in 1906 through the energy of British Protestant missionaries, and is called the Union Medical College. When in 1908, the United States, finding that the indemnity for the Boxer outrages awarded her was excessive, agreed to forgo the payment of £2,500,000, China undertook to spend an equal amount in sending students to America.

The general verdict of foreign observers on the working of the new system up to 1910 was that in many instances the teaching was ineffective, but there were notable exceptions. The best teachers, next to Europeans, were foreign or mission-trained Chinese. The Japanese employed as teachers were often ignorant of Chinese and were not as a rule very successful. (See further § History.) A remarkable indication of the thirst for western learning and culture was the translation into Chinese and their diffusion throughout the country of numerous foreign standard and other works, including modern fiction.

The Peking Gazette, which is sometimes called the oldest paper in the world, is not a newspaper in the ordinary sense, but merely a court gazette for publishing imperial decrees and such public documents as the government may wish to give out. It never contains original articles nor any discussion of public affairs. The first genuine native newspaper was published at Shanghai about 1870. It was termed the Shen Pao or Shanghai News, and was a Native press. Chinese speculation under foreign protection, the first editor being an Englishman. It was some years before it made much headway, but success came, and it was followed by various imitators, some published at Shanghai, some at other treaty ports and at Hong-Kong. In 1910 there were over 200 daily, weekly or monthly journals in China. The effect of this mass of literature on the public mind of China is of first-rate importance.

The attitude of the central government towards the native press is somewhat undefined. Official registration of a newspaper is required before postal facilities are given. There are no press laws, but as every official is a law unto himself in these matters, there is nothing to prevent him from summarily suppressing an obnoxious newspaper and putting the editor in prison. The emperor, among other reform edicts which provoked the coup d’état of 1898, declared that newspapers were a boon to the public and appointed one of them a government organ. The empress-dowager revoked this decree, and declared that the public discussion of affairs of state in the newspapers was an impertinence, and ought to be suppressed. Nevertheless the newspapers continued to flourish, and their outspoken criticism had a salutary effect on the public and on the government. The official classes seem to have become alarmed at the independent attitude of the newspapers, but instead of a campaign of suppression the method was adopted, about 1908, of bringing the vernacular press under official control. This was accomplished chiefly by the purchase of the newspapers by the mandarins, with the result that at the beginning of 1910 there was said to be hardly an independent native daily newspaper left in China. The use of government funds to subsidize or to purchase newspapers and thus to stifle or mislead public opinion provoked strong protests from members of the Nanking provincial council at its first sitting in the autumn of 1909. The appropriation by the Shanghai Taot‘ai of moneys belonging to the Huangpu conservancy fund for subsidizing papers led to his impeachment by a censor and to the return of the moneys.[17])


III. Economics

Agriculture and Industry.

China is pre-eminently an agricultural country. The great majority of its inhabitants are cultivators of the soil. The holdings are in general very small, and the methods of farming primitive. Water is abundant and irrigation common over large areas. Stock-raising, except in Sze-ch‘uen and Kwang-tung, is only practised to a small extent; there are few large herds of cattle or flocks of sheep, nor are there any large meadows, natural or cultivated. In Sze-ch‘uen yaks, sheep and goats are reared in the mountains, and buffaloes and a fine breed of ponies on the plateau. Cattle are extensively reared in the mountainous districts of Kwang-tung. The camel, horse and donkey are reared in Chih-li. Forestry is likewise neglected. While the existing forests, found mainly in high regions in the provinces of Hu-nan, Fu-kien and Kwei-chow, are disappearing and timber has to be imported, few trees are planted. This does not apply to fruit trees, which are grown in great variety, while horticulture is also a favourite pursuit.

The Chinese farmer, if his methods be primitive, is diligent and persevering. In the richer and most thickly populated districts terraces are raised on the mountain sides, and even the tops of lofty hills are cultivated. The nature of the soil and means of irrigation as well as climate are determining factors in the nature of the crops grown; rice and cotton, for example, are grown in the most northern as well as the most southern districts of China. This is, however, exceptional and each climatic region has its characteristic cultures.

The loess soil (see § Geology) is the chief element in determining the agricultural products of north China. Loess soil bears excellent crops, and not merely on the lower grounds, but at altitudes of 6000 and 8000 ft. Wherever loess is found the Soils. peasant can live and thrive. Only one thing is essential, and that is the annual rainfall. As, owing to the porous nature of loess, no artificial irrigation is possible, if the rain fails the crops must necessarily fail. Thus seasons of great famine alternate with seasons of great plenty. It appears, also, that the soil needs little or no manuring and very little tillage. From its extremely friable nature it is easily broken up, and thus a less amount of labour is required than in other parts. The extreme porosity of the soil probably also accounts for the length of time it will go on bearing crops without becoming exhausted. The rainfall, penetrating deeply into the soil in the absence of stratification, comes into contact with the moisture retained below, which holds in solution whatever inorganic salts the soil may contain, and thus the vegetation has an indefinite store to draw upon.[18]

There is no one dominant deposit in south China, where red sandstone and limestone formations are frequent. Cultivation here is not possible on the high elevations as in the north, but in the plains and river valleys the soil is exceedingly fertile, while the lower slopes of the mountains are also cultivated. In the north, moreover, but one crop, in general, can be raised in the year. In the centre two and sometimes three crops are raised yearly, and in the south, especially in the lower basin of the Si-kiang, three crops are normally gathered. In the north, too, the farmer has frequently to contend with drought or with rain or floods; in the central and southern regions the weather is more settled.

In the north of China wheat, barley, millet, buckwheat and maize are the staple crops. Beans and peas are also cultivated. Rice thrives in north-east Kan-suh, in some districts of Shan-si, in the extreme south of Shan-tung and in parts of Distribution of crops. the Wei-ho plain in Shen-si. Cotton is grown in Shen-si and Shan-tung. In Kan-suh and Shen-si two crops are raised in favoured localities, cereals in spring and cotton or rice in summer. Tobacco and the poppy are also grown in several of the northern provinces. Rhubarb and fruit trees are largely cultivated in the western part of north China.

In the central provinces tea, cotton, rice and ramie fibre are the chief crops. Tea is most largely cultivated in Ngan-hui, Kiang-si, Hu-peh, Hu-nan, Sze-ch‘uen and Yun-nan. Cotton is chiefly grown in Kiang-su, Ngan-hui and Hu-peh. The seed is sown in May and the crops gathered in September. The cotton is known as white and yellow, the white variety being the better and the most cultivated. The poppy is largely cultivated and, in connexion with the silk industry, the mulberry tree. The mulberry is found principally in the provinces of Sze-ch‘uen, Kiang-su and Cheh-kiang. The central provinces are also noted for their gum-lac, varnish and tallow trees.

The crops of the south-eastern provinces are much the same as those of the central provinces, but are predominantly rice, the sugar-cane, ground-nuts and cinnamon. Tea is the chief crop in Fu-kien. The sugar-cane is principally cultivated in Kwang-tung, Fu-kien and Sze-ch‘uen. In the south-western provinces the poppy, tea, tobacco and rice are the chief crops. Wheat, maize and barley are also largely raised.

While rice does not, unlike tea and cotton, form the principal crop of any one province it is more universally cultivated than any other plant and forms an important item in the products of all the central and southern provinces. Regarding China as a whole it forms the staple product and food of the country. Two chief varieties are grown, that suited only to low-lying regions requiring ample water and the red rice cultivated in the uplands. Next to rice the most extensively cultivated plants are tea and cotton, the sugar-cane, poppy and bamboo. Besides the infinite variety of uses to which the wood of the bamboo is applied, its tender shoots and its fruit are articles of diet.

Fruit is extensively cultivated throughout China. In the northern provinces the chief fruits grown are pears, plums, apples, apricots, peaches, medlars, walnuts and chestnuts, and in Kan-suh and Shan-tung the jujube (q.v.). Strawberries are an Fruits. important crop in Kan-suh. In Shan-si, S.W. Chih-li and Shan-tung the vine is cultivated; the grapes of Shan-si are reputed to produce the best wine of China. Oranges are also grown in favoured localities in the north. The chief fruits of the central and southern provinces are the orange, lichi, mango, persimmon, banana, vine and pineapple, but the fruits of the northern regions are also grown. The coco-nut and other palms flourish on the southern coast.

As shown above, the poppy has been grown in almost every district of China. In 1906 it was chiefly cultivated in the following provinces: Yun-nan, Kwei-chow, Sze-ch‘uen, Kan-suh, Shen-si, Shan-si, Shan-tung, Ho-nan, Kiang-su (northern The poppy. part) and Cheh-kiang. The poppy is first mentioned in Chinese literature in a book written in the first half of the 8th century A.D., and its medicinal qualities are referred to in the Herbalist’s Treasury of 973. It was not then nor for centuries later grown in China for the preparation of opium.[19] There is no evidence to show that the Chinese ever took opium in the shape of pills (otherwise than medicinally). The cultivation of the poppy for the manufacture of opium began in China in the 17th century, but it was not until after 1796, when the importation of foreign opium was declared illegal, that the plant was cultivated on an extensive scale. After 1906 large areas which had been devoted to the poppy were given over to other crops, in consequence of the imperial edict aimed at the suppression of opium-smoking (see § History).

Mining.—The mineral resources of China are great, but the government has shown a marked repugnance to allow foreigners to work mines, and the mineral wealth has been very inadequately exploited. Mining operations are controlled by the Board of Commerce. In 1907 this board drew up regulations respecting the constitution of mining and other companies. They contained many features against which foreign powers protested.

Coal, iron, copper and tin are the principal minerals found in China; there are also extensive deposits of coal and other minerals in Manchuria. In China proper the largest coal measures are found in Shan-si, Hu-nan, Kwei-chow and Sze-ch‘uen. Coal. There are also important coalfields in Chih-li, Shan-tung, Shen-si, Ho-nan, Yun-nan, Hu-peh and Kwang-tung—and almost all of the seven other provinces have also coal measures of more or less value. The lack of transport facilities as well as the aversion from the employment of foreign capital has greatly hindered the development of mining. Numerous small mines have been worked for a long period by the natives in the province of Hu-nan. There are two principal local fields in this province, one lying in the basin of the Lei river and yielding anthracite, and the other in the basin of the Siang river yielding bituminous coal. Both rivers drain into the Yangtsze, and there is thus an easy outlet by water to Hankow. The quality of the coal, however, is inferior, as the stratification has been much disturbed, and the coal-seams have been in consequence crushed and broken. The largest coalfield in China lies in the province of Shan-si. Coal and iron have here been worked by the natives from time immemorial, but owing to the difficulty of transport they have attained only a limited local circulation. The whole of southern Shan-si, extending over 30,000 sq. m., is one vast coalfield, and contains, according to the estimate of Baron von Richthofen, enough coal to last the world at the present rate of consumption for several thousand years. The coal-seams, which are from 20 to 36 ft. in thickness, rest conformably on a substructure of limestone. The stratification is throughout undisturbed and practically horizontal. As the limestone bed is raised some 2000 ft. above the neighbouring plain the coal-seams crop out in all directions. Mining is thus carried on by adits driven into the face of the formation, rendering the mining of the coal extremely easy. The coalfield is divided into two by a mountain range of ancient granitic formation running north-east and south-west, termed the Ho-shan. It is of anterior date to the limestone and coal formations, and has not affected the uniformity of the stratification, but it has this peculiarity, that the coal on the east side is anthracite, and that on the west side is bituminous. A concession to work coal and iron in certain specified districts in this area was granted to a British company, the Peking Syndicate, together with the right to connect the mines by railway with water navigation. The syndicate built a railway in Shan-si from P‘ingyang to Tsi-chow-fu, the centre of a vast coalfield, and connected with the main Peking-Hankow line; lines to serve coal mines have also been built in Hu-nan and other provinces. The earliest in date was that to the K‘aip‘ing collieries in the east of the province of Chih-li, the railway connecting the mines with the seaport of Taku. The coal at K‘aip‘ing is a soft bituminous coal with a large proportion of dust. The output is about 1,500,000 tons per annum. A mine has also been opened in the province of Hu-peh, about 60 m. below Hankow, and near the Yangtsze, in connexion with iron-works.

Iron ore of various qualities is found almost as widely diffused as coal. The districts where it is most worked at present lie within the coalfield of Shan-si, viz. at Tsi-chow-fu and P‘ing-ting-chow. The ore is a mixture of clay iron ore and Iron. spathic ore, together with limonite and hematite. It is found abundantly in irregular deposits in the Coal Measures, and is easily smelted by the natives in crucibles laid in open furnaces. This region supplies nearly the whole of north China with the iron required for agricultural and domestic use. The out-turn must be very considerable, but no data are available for forming an accurate estimate. The province of Sze-ch‘uen also yields an abundance of iron ores of various kinds. They are worked by the natives in numerous places, but always on a small scale and for local consumption only. The ores occur in the Coal Measures, predominant among them being a clay iron ore. Hu-nan, Fu-kien, Cheh-kiang and Shan-tung all furnish iron ores. Iron (found in conjunction with coal) is worked in Manchuria.

Copper is found chiefly in the provinces of Kwei-chow and Yun-nan, where a rich belt of copper-bearing ores runs east and west across both provinces, and including south Sze-ch‘uen. The chief centres of production are at the cities of Tung-ch‘uen-fu, Copper, tin, &c. Chow-t‘ung and Ning-yuen. The mines are worked as a government monopoly, private mining being nominally prohibited. The output is considerable, but no statistics are published by government. Rich veins of copper ore are also worked near Kiu-kiang. Tin is mined in Yun-nan, the headquarters of the industry being the city of Meng-tsze, which since 1909 has been connected with Hanoi by railway. This is an important industry, the value of tin exported in 1908 being £600,000. Tin is also mined in Hai-nan and lead in Yun-nan. Antimony ore is exported from Hu-nan; petroleum is found in the upper Yangtsze region. Quicksilver is obtained in Kwei-chow. Salt is obtained from brine wells in Shan-si and Sze-ch‘uen, and by evaporation from sea water. Excellent kaolin abounds in the north-eastern part of Kiang-si, and is largely used in the manufacture of porcelain.

The Chinese government has opened small gold mines at Hai-nan, in which island silver is also found. A little gold-washing is done in the sandy beds of certain rivers, for instance, the Han river and the upper Yangtsze, above Su-chow (Suifu), Precious metals. which here goes by the name of the “Goldsand” river. The amount so extracted is extremely small and hardly pays the labour of washing, but the existence of gold grains points to a matrix higher up. The whole of south-western China has the reputation of being highly metalliferous. Gold is obtained in some quantities on the upper waters of the Amur river, on the frontier between China and Siberia. The washings are carried on by Chinese. Gold has also been found in quartz veins at P‘ing-tu, in Shan-tung, but hardly in paying quantities. There are silver mines in Yun-nan.

Manufactures.—The principal native manufactures before the competition of western nations made itself felt were—apart from the preparation of tea and other produce for the market—those of porcelain and silk. The silks and gauzes of Su-chow Silk and porcelain. and Nanking in the province of Kiang-su, and those of Hang-chow in Cheh-kiang, are highly esteemed throughout China. Silk-weaving is still carried on solely in native looms and chiefly in the cities named. The greater part of the silk spun is used in China, but a considerable export trade has grown up and 27% of the world’s supply of raw silk is from China. The reeling of silk cocoons by steam-machinery is supplanting native methods. There are filatures for winding silk at Shanghai, Canton, Chifu and other cities.

The most famous porcelain came from the province of Kiang-si, the seat of the industry being the city of King-te-chen. Imperial works were established here about the year A.D. 1000, and the finest porcelain is sent to Peking for the use of the emperor. At one time 1,000,000 work-people were said to be employed, and the kilns numbered 600. The Taiping rebels destroyed the kilns in 1850. Some of them have been rebuilt. “Activity begins to reign anew, but the porcelain turned out is far from equalling in colour and finish that of former times. At the present day King-te-chen has but 160 furnaces and employs 160,000 workmen.”[20] The common rice bowls sold throughout China are manufactured here. The value of the export sales is said to be about £500,000 yearly.

The spinning and weaving of cotton on hand-looms is carried on almost universally. Besides that locally manufactured, the whole of the large import of Indian yarn is worked up into cloth by the women of the household. Four-fifths of the clothing Cotton, &c. of the lower classes is supplied by this domestic industry. Of minor industries Indian ink is manufactured in Ngan-hui and Sze-ch‘uen, fans, furniture, lacquer ware and matting in Kwang-tung, dyes in Cheh-kiang and Chih-li, and varnished tiles in Hu-nan. Paper, bricks and earthenware are made in almost all the provinces.

Of industries on a large scale—other than those indicated—the most important are cotton-spinning and weaving mills established by foreign companies at Shanghai. Permission to carry on this industry was refused to foreigners until the right was secured by the Japanese treaty following the war of 1894-95. Some native-owned mills had been working before that date, and were reported to have made large profits. Nine mills, with an aggregate of 400,000 spindles, were working in 1906, five of them under foreign management. There are also four or five mills at one or other of the ports working 80,000 spindles more. These mills are all engaged in the manufacture of yarn for the Chinese market, very little weaving being done. Chinese-grown cotton is used, the staple of which is short; only the coarser counts can be spun.

At certain large centres flour and rice mills have been erected and are superseding native methods of treating wheat and rice; at Canton there are sugar refineries. At Hanyang near Hankow are large iron-works owned by Chinese. They are supplied with ore from the mines at Ta-ye, 60 m. distant, and turn out (1909) about 300 steel rails a day.


The foreign trade of China is conducted through the “treaty ports,” i.e. sea and river ports and a few inland cities which by the treaty of Nanking (1842) that of Tientsin (1860) and subsequent treaties have been thrown open to foreigners for purposes of trade. (The Nanking treaty recognized five ports only as open to foreigners—Canton,[21] Amoy, Fu-chow, Ning-po and Shanghai.) These places are as follows, treaty ports in Manchuria being included: Amoy, Antung, Canton, Chang-sha, Dairen, Chin-kiang, Chinwantao, Ch‘ungk‘ing, Chifu, Fu-chow, Funing (Santuao), Hang-chow, Hankow, I-ch‘ang, Kang-moon, Kiao-chow, Kiu-kiang, K‘iung-chow, Kow-loon, Lappa, Lung-chow, Mengtsze, Mukden, Nanking, Nanning, Ning-po, Niu-chwang, Pakhoi, Sanshui, Shanghai, Shasi, Su-chow, Swatow, Szemao, Tatungkow, Tientsin, Teng-yueh, Wen-chow, Wu-chow, Wuhu, Yo-chow.

The progress of the foreign trade of China is set out in the following table. The values are given both in currency and sterling, but it is to be remarked that during the period when silver was falling, that is, from 1875 to 1893, the silver valuation represents much more accurately variations in the volume of trade than does the gold valuation. Gold prices fell continuously during this period, while silver prices were nearly constant. Since 1893 silver prices have tended to rise, and the gold valuation is then more accurate. The conversion from silver to gold is made at the rate of exchange of the day, and therefore varies from year to year.

Table of Imports and Exports, exclusive of Bullion.

 Year.  Imports. Exports.

Value in
 Equivalent in 
Value in
 Equivalent in 

1875  66,344,000   £19,903,000  77,308,000   £23,193,000 
1885  84,803,000  22,618,000  73,899,000  19,206,000 
1890  113,082,000  29,213,000  96,695,000  24,980,000 
1895  154,685,000  25,136,000  154,964,000  25,181,000 
1898  189,991,000  28,498,000  170,743,000  25,612,000 
*1904  344,060,000  49,315,000  239,486,000  34,326,000 
*1905   447,100,791  67,065,118   227,888,19 7 34,183,229 

* This marked increase is partly owing to a more complete presentation of statistics; in 1903 an additional number of vessels were placed under the control of the imperial maritime customs.

In 1907 the net imports were valued at £67,664,222 and the exports at £42,961,863. In 1908 China suffered from the general depression in trade. In that year the imports were valued at £52,600,730, the exports at £36,888,050. The distribution of the trade among the various countries of the world is shown in the table which is given below. Hong-Kong is a port for trans-shipment. The imports into China from it come originally from Great Britain, India, Germany, France, America, Australia, the Straits Settlements, &c., and the exports from China to it go ultimately to the same countries.

Imports into China. (000’s omitted.)

Imports from 1875. 1880. 1885. 1890. 1895. 1905. 1908.

 United Kingdom  £6340   £6382   £6396   £6,357   £5,518   £1,971   £9,647 
 Hong-Kong 8282  8829  9404  18,615  14,331  22,240  20,033 
 India 4451  6039  4306  2,661  2,753  5,220  4,066 
 Other British possessions 396  346  542  571  732  963  . .
 United States 304  351  884  949  827  11,538  5,499 
 Continent of Europe (except Russia)  230  671  671  638  1,227  4,295  †3,332 
 Russian Empire . .  . .  . .  231  309  302  422 
 Japan 746  1021  1404  1,909  2,794  9,197  7,000 

Exports from China. (000’s omitted.)

Imports from 1875. 1880. 1885. 1890. 1895. 1905. 1908.

 United Kingdom  £8749   £8125   £5864   £3383   £1718   £2,710   £1,673 
 Hong-Kong 3824  4844  4232  8507  5651  12,218  12,281 
 India 72  323  157  273  449  408  545 
 Other British possessions 948  874  818  886  586  647  . . 
 United States 2302  2906  2213  2109  2499  4,055  3,176 
 Continent of Europe (except Russia)  2524  3760  1948  3004  3440  4,697  †7,128 
 Russian Empire 1339  1260  1293  2288  2535  1,419  1,123 
 Japan 586  642  398  1248  2408  5,320  4,949 

† Germany, France, Belgium and Italy only.

The chief imports are cotton goods, opium, rice and sugar, metals, oil, coal and coke, woollen goods and raw cotton, and fish. Cotton goods are by far the most important of the imports. They come chiefly from the United Kingdom, which also exports to China woollen manufactures, metals and machinery. China is next to India the greatest consumer of Manchester goods. The export of plain cotton cloths to China and Hong-Kong has for some years averaged 500,000,000 yds. per annum. The only competitor which Great Britain has in this particular branch of trade is the United States of America, which has been supplying China with increasing quantities of cotton goods. The value in sterling of the total imports into China from the United Kingdom long remained nearly constant, but inasmuch as the gold prices were falling the volume of the export was in reality steadily growing. The imports into England, however, of Chinese produce have fallen off, mainly because China tea has been driven out of the English market by the growth of the India and Ceylon tea trade, and also because the bulk of the China silk is now shipped directly to Lyons and other continental ports instead of to London, as formerly was the rule. The growth of the import of Indian yarn into China has been very rapid. In 1884 the import was 35,000,000 ℔ and in 1904 it reached 217,171,066 ℔. The imports into China from all countries for 1908 were as follows:—

Opium £4,563,000
Cotton goods 14,786,000
Raw cotton 232,000
Woollen goods  717,000
Metals 2,956,000
Coal and coke  1,124,000
Oil, kerosene 2,666,000
Rice 3,543,000
Sugar 3,514,000
Fish, &c. 1,028,000

The principal exports from China are silk and tea. These two articles, indeed, up to 1880 constituted more than 80% of the whole export. Owing, however, mainly to the fall in silver, and partly also to cheap ocean freights, it has become profitable to place on the European market a vast number of miscellaneous articles of Chinese produce which formerly found no place in the returns of trade. The silver prices in China did not change materially with the fall in silver, and Chinese produce was thus able to compete favourably with the produce of other countries. The following table shows the relative condition of the export trade in 1880 and 1908:—

Exports of 1880. 1908.

 Silk £9,750,000  £11,055,000 
 Tea 11,774,000  4,384,000 
 Miscellaneous  4,058,000  21,448,000 

Total   £25,582,000   £36,888,000 

In the miscellaneous class the chief items of exports in 1908 were beans and beancake, £3,142,000; raw cotton, £1,379,000; hides, £1,028,000; straw braid, £1,002,000; furs and skin rugs, £760,000; paper, £458,000; and clothing, £177,000. Sugar, tobacco, mats and matting are also exported. The export of all cereals except pulse is forbidden. Of the tea exported in 1908 the greater part went to Russia and Siberia, the United States and Great Britain. There is a regular export of gold amounting on an average to about a million sterling per annum. A part of it would seem to be the hoardings of the nation brought out by the high price of gold in terms of silver, but a part is virgin gold derived from gold workings in Manchuria on the upper waters of the Amur river.

Customs duty is levied on exports as well as imports, both being assessed at rates based on a nominal 5% ad val.

Shipping and Navigation.—Besides the over-sea trade China has a large coasting and river trade which is largely carried on by British and other foreign vessels. During the year 1908, 207,605 vessels, of 83,991,289 tons (86,600 being steamers of 77,955,525 tons), entered and cleared Chinese ports.[22] Of these 28,445 vessels of 34,405,761 tons were British; 33,539 of 11,998,588 tons, Chinese vessels of foreign type; 103,124 of 4,947,272 tons, Chinese junks; 5496 vessels of 6,585,671 tons, German; 30,708 of 18,055,138 tons, Japanese; 653 of 998,775 tons, American; 3901 of 5,071,689 tons, French; 1033 of 980,635 tons, Norwegian.

Of vessels engaged in the foreign trade only the entrances during the year numbered 38,556 of 12,187,140 tons, and the clearances 36,602 of 12,057,126 tons. The nationality of the vessels (direct foreign trade) was mainly as follows:—

Entrances. Clearances.

No. Tons. No. Tons.

 British 4,569  4,678,094  4,614   4,754,087 
 German 891  1,195,775  928  1,124,872 
 Norwegian  255  254,211  259  255,295 
 French 468  629,680  468  616,883 
 American 136  440,602  131  439,947 
 Japanese 2,187  2,587,818  2,046  2,461,132 
 Chinese  29,775   2,001,872   27,888  1,915,258 

The tonnage of the Dutch, Austrian and Russian vessels cleared and entered was in each case between 102,000 and 127,000.


External communication is carried on by ancient caravan routes crossing Central Asia, by the trans-Siberian railway, which is increasingly used for passenger traffic, but chiefly by steamship, the steamers being almost entirely owned by foreign companies. There is regular and rapid communication with Europe (via the Suez canal route) and with Japan and the Pacific coast of America. Other lines serve the African and the Australasian trade. The only important Chinese-owned steamers are those of the Chinese Merchants’ Steam Navigation Company, which has its headquarters at Shanghai.

Internal communications are by river, canal, road and railway, the railways since the beginning of the 20th century having become a very important factor. In 1898 the Chinese government agreed that all internal waterways should be open to foreign and native steamers, and in 1907 there were on the registers of the river ports for inland water traffic 609 steamers under the Chinese flag and 255 under foreign flags.

Railways.—A short line of railway between Shanghai and Wusung was opened in 1875. The fate of this pioneer railway may be mentioned as an introduction to what follows. The railway was really built without any regular permission from the Chinese government, but it was hoped that, once finished and working, the irregularity would be overlooked in view of the manifest The Pioneer Line destroyed. benefit to the people. This might have been accomplished but for an unfortunate accident which happened on the line a few months after it was opened. A Chinaman was run over and killed, and this event, of course, intensified the official opposition, and indeed threatened to bring about a riot. The working of the line was stopped by order of the British minister, and thereupon negotiations were entered into with a view to selling the line to the Chinese government. A bargain was struck sufficiently favourable to the foreign promoters of the line, and it was further agreed that, pending payment of the instalments which were spread over a year, the line should continue to be worked by the company. The expectation was that when the officials once got the line into their own hands, and found it a paying concern, they would continue to run it in their own interest. Not so, however, did things fall out. The very day that the twelve months were up the line was closed; the engines were dismantled, the rails and sleepers were torn up, and the whole concern was shipped off to the distant island of Formosa, where carriages, axles and all the rest of the gear were dumped on the shore and left for the most part to disappear in the mud. The spacious area of the Shanghai station was cleared of its buildings, and thereon was erected a temple to the queen of heaven by way of purifying the sacred soil of China from such abomination. This put a stop for nearly twenty years to all efforts on the part of foreigners to introduce railways into China. The next step in railway construction was taken by the Chinese themselves, and on the initiative of Li Hung-chang. China’s first efforts. In 1886 a company was formed under official patronage, and it built a short line, to connect the coal-mines of K‘aip‘ing in Chih-li with the mouth of the Peiho river at Taku. The government next authorized the formation of a Native Merchants’ Company, under official control, to build a line from Taku to Tientsin, which was opened to traffic in 1888. It was not, however, till nine years later, viz. in 1897, that the line was completed as far as Peking. A British engineer, Mr Kinder, was responsible for the construction of the railway. Meantime, however, the extension had been continued north-east along the coast as far as Shanhai-Kwan, and a farther extension subsequently connected with the treaty port of Niu-chwang. The money for these extensions was mostly found by the government, and the whole line is now known as the Imperial Northern railway. The length of the line is 600 m. Meanwhile the high officials of the empire had gradually been brought round to the idea that railway development was in itself a good thing. Chang Chih-tung, then viceroy of the Canton provinces, memorialized strongly in this sense, with the condition, however, that the railways should be built with Chinese capital and of Chinese materials. In particular, he urged the making of a line to connect Peking with Hankow for The era of concessions. strategic purposes. The government took him at his word, and he was transferred from Canton to Hankow, with authority to proceed forthwith with his railway. True to his purpose, he at once set to work to construct iron-works at Hankow. Smelting furnaces, rolling mills, and all the machinery necessary for turning out steel rails, locomotives, &c., were erected. Several years were wasted over this preliminary work, and over £1,000,000 sterling was spent, only to find that the works after all were a practical failure. Steel rails could be made, but at a cost two or three times what they could be procured for in Europe. After the Japanese War the hope of building railways with Chinese capital was abandoned. A prominent official named Sheng Hsuan-hwai was appointed director-general of railways, and empowered to enter into negotiations with foreign financiers for the purpose of raising loans. It was still hoped that at least the main control would remain in Chinese hands, but the diplomatic pressure of France and Russia caused even that to be given up, and Great Britain insisting on equal privileges for her subjects, the future of railways in China remained in the hands of the various concessionaires. But after the defeat of Russia by Japan (1904-1905) the theory of the undivided Chinese control of railways was resuscitated. The new spirit was exemplified in the contracts for the financing and construction of three railways—the Canton-Kowloon line in 1907, and the Tientsin-Yangtsze and the Shanghai-Hangchow-Ning-po lines in 1908. In the first of these instances the railway was mortgaged as security for the loan raised for its construction, and its finance and working were to be modelled on the arrangements obtaining in the case of the Imperial Northern railway, under which the administration, while vested in the Chinese government, was supervised by a British accountant and chief engineer. In the other two instances, however, no such security was offered; the Chinese government undertook the unfettered administration of the foreign capital invested in the lines, and the Europeans connected with these works became simply Chinese employés. Moreover, in 1908 the Peking-Hankow line was redeemed from Belgian concessionaires, a 5% loan of £5,000,000 being raised for the purpose in London and Paris. In that year there was much popular outcry against foreign concessionaires being allowed to carry out the terms of their contract, and the British and Chinese corporation in consequence parted with their concession for the Su-chow, Ning-po and Hang-chow railway, making instead a loan of £1,500,000 to the ministry of communications for the provinces through which the line would run. A double difficulty was encountered in the construction and management of the railways; the reconciliation of the privileges accorded to foreign syndicates and governments with the “Recovery of Rights” campaign, and the reconciliation of the claims of the central government at Peking with the demands of the Administration. provincial authorities. As to the foreigners, Great Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and Japan, all had claims and concessions, many of them conflicting; while as between Peking and the provinces there was a quarrel mainly concerned with the spoils and “squeezes” to be obtained by railway construction; in some instances the provinces proved more powerful than the central government, as in the case of the Su-chow-Ning-po line, and notably in the matter of the Tientsin-Pukau (Nanking) railway. In that case the provincial authorities overrode the central government, with the result that “for wholesale jobbery, waste and mismanagement the enterprise acquired unenviable notoriety in a land where these things are generally condoned.” The good record of one or two lines notwithstanding, the management of the railways under Chinese control had proved, up to 1910, inefficient and corrupt.[23] Nevertheless, so great was the economic development following the opening of the line, that in Chinese hands the Peking-Hankow railway yielded a profit.

The main scheme of the railway systems of China is simple. It consists of lines, more or less parallel, running roughly north and south, linked by cross lines with coast ports, or abutting on navigable rivers. One great east and west line will The Railway systems. run through central China, from Hankow to Sze-ch‘uen. Connexion with Europe is afforded by the Manchuria-trans-Siberia main line, which has a general east and west direction. From Harbin on this railway a branch runs south to Mukden, which since 1908 has become an important railway centre. Thence one line goes due south to Port Arthur; another south-east to An-tung (on the Yalu) and Korea; a third south and west to Tientsin and Peking. A branch from the Mukden-Tientsin line goes round the head of the Gulf of Liao-tung and connects Niu-chwang with the Mukden-Port Arthur line. By this route it is 470 m. from Peking to Niu-chwang.

From Peking the trunk line (completed in 1905) runs south through the heart of China to Hankow on the Yangtsze-kiang. This section (754 m. long) is popularly known as “the Lu-Han line,” from the first part of the names of the terminal stations. The continuation south of this line from Hankow to Canton was in 1910 under construction. Thus a great north and south connexion nearly 2000 m. long is established from Canton to Harbin. From Mukden southward the line is owned and worked by China.

A railway (German concession) starts from Kiao-chow and runs westward through Shan-tung to Chinan Fu, whence an extension farther west to join the main Lu-Han line at Cheng-ting Fu in Chih-li was undertaken. Westward from Cheng-ting Fu a line financed by the Russo-Chinese Bank runs to T‘ai-yuen Fu in Shan-si.

Another main north and south railway parallel to, but east of, the Lu-Han line and following more or less the route of the Grand Canal, is designed to connect Tientsin, Su-chow (in Kiang-su), Chin-kiang, Nanking, Shanghai, Hang-chow and Ning-po. The southern section (Nanking, Shanghai, &c.) was open in 1909. This Tientsin-Ning-po railway connects at Chinan-Fu with the Shan-tung lines.

A third north and south line starts from Kiu-Kiang on the Yangtsze below Hankow and traversing the centre of Kiang-si province will join the Canton-Hankow line at Shao-Chow in Kwang-tung province. The construction of the first section, Kiu-Kiang to Nanchang (76 m.), began in 1910.

In southern China besides the main Canton to Hankow railway (under construction) a line (120 m. long) runs from Canton to Kowloon (opposite Hong-Kong), and there are local lines running inland from Swatow and Fuchow. The French completed in 1909 a trunk line (500 m. long) from Haiphong in Tong King to Yun-nan Fu, the capital of Yun-nan, some 200 m. being in Chinese territory. The French hold concessions for railways in Kwang-si and Kwang-tung. The British government has the right to extend the Burma railway system through Yun-nan and north to the Yangtsze.

There are local lines in Hu-nan and Ho-nan which connect with the trunk line from Canton to Peking. The Peking-Kalgan line (122 m. long) is a distinct undertaking. The Chinese propose to continue it another 530 m. north-westward to Urga in Mongolia, and an eventual junction with the trans-Siberian railway in the neighbourhood of Lake Baikal is contemplated. This line would greatly shorten the distance between Moscow and Peking.

In 1910 there were open for traffic in China (not reckoning the Russian and Japanese systems in Manchuria, q.v.) over 3000 m. of railway, and 1500 m. of trunk lines were under construction.

China is traversed in all directions by roads. Very few are paved of metalled and nearly all are badly kept; speaking generally, the government spends nothing in keeping either the roads Roads, rivers, and canals. or canals in repair. The roads in several instances are subsidiary to the canals and navigable rivers as a means of communication. The ancient trade routes were twelve in number, viz.[24]:—

1.  The West river route (W. from Canton).
2. The Cheling Pass route (N.W. from Canton).
3. The Meiling Pass route (N. from Canton).
4. The Min river route (N.W. from Fu-chow).
5. The Lower Yangtsze route (as far W. as Hu-peh and Hu-nan).
6. The Upper Yangtsze route (from I‘chang to Sze-ch‘uen).
7. The Kwei-chow route.
8. The Han river route (Hankow to Shen-si).
9. The Grand Canal (already described).
10. The Shan-si route.
11. The Kiakhta route.
12. The Manchurian route.

Of the routes named, that by the West river commands the trade of Kwang-si and penetrates to Yun-nan (where it now has to meet the competition of the French railway from Tong King) and Kwei-chow. The Cheling Pass route from Canton is so named as it crosses that pass (1500 ft. high) to reach the water-ways of Hu-nan at Chen-chow on an affluent of the Siang, and thus connects with the Yangtsze. The trade of this route—whence in former times the teas of Hu-nan (Oonam) and Hu-peh (Oopaek) reached Canton—has been largely diverted via Shanghai and up the Yangtsze. The Canton-Hankow railway also supersedes it for through traffic. The route by the Meiling Pass (1000 ft. High) links Canton and Kiu-kiang. This route is used by the King-te Chen porcelain works to send, to Canton the commoner ware, there to be painted with florid and multicoloured designs. The Min river route serves mainly the province of Fu-kien. The Lower Yangtsze is a river route, now mainly served by steamers (though the salt is still carried by junks), and the Upper Yangtsze is a river route also, but much more difficult of navigation. The Kwei-chow route is up the river Yuen from Changte and the Tung-t‘ing lake. The Han river route becomes beyong Sing-nagn Fu a land route over the Tsingling mountains to the capital of Shen-si, and thence on to Kan-suh, Mongolia and Siberia. The Shan-si route from Peking, wholly by road, calls for no detailed account; the Manchurian route is now adequately served by railways. There remains the important Kiakhta route. From Peking it goes to Kalgan (this section is now served by a railway), whence the main route traverses Mongolia, while branches serve Shan-si, Shen-si, Kan-suh, Turkestan, &c. By this route go the caravans bearing tea to Siberia and Russia. Other routes are from Yun-nan to Burma and from Sze-ch‘uen province to Tibet.

The government maintains a number of courier roads, which, like the main trade roads, keep approximately to a straight line. These courier roads are sometimes cut in the steep sides of mountains or run through them in tunnels. They are, in the plains, 20 to 25 ft. wide and are occasionally paved. The chief courier roads starting from Peking go to Sze-chu‘en, Yun-nan, Kweilin (in Kwang-si), Canton and Fu-chow. Canals are numerous, especially in the deltas of the Yangtsze and Si-kiang.

In the centre and south of China the roads are rarely more than 5 ft. broad and wheeled traffic is seldom possible. Bridges are generally of stone, sometimes of wood; large rivers are crossed by bridges of boats. In the north carts drawn by ponies, mules or oxen are employed; in the centre and south passengers travel in sedan-chairs or in wheelbarrows, or ride on ponies. Occasionally the local authorities employ the corvée system to dig out the bed of a canal, but as a rule roads are left to take care of themselves.

Posts and Telegraphs.—Every important city is now connected by telegraph with the capital, and the service is reasonably efficient. In 1907 there were 25,913 m. of telegraph lines. Connexion is also established with the British lines in Burma and the Russian lines in Siberia. The Great Northern Telegraph Company (Danish) and the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company (British) connect Shanghai by cable with Hong-Kong, Japan, Singapore and Europe. An imperial postal service was established in 1896 under the general control of the maritime customs.[25] By an edict of November 1906 the control of the postal services was transferred to the Board of Communication. The Post Office serves all the open ports, and every important city in the interior. There were in 1910 some 4000 native post-offices, employing 15,000 persons, of whom about 200 only were foreigners. The treaty powers however, still maintain their separate post offices at Shanghai, and several other treaty ports for the despatch and receipt of mails from Europe. During the years 1901-1908 mail matters increased from ten millions to two hundred and fifty-two millions of items; and the 250 tons of parcels handled to 27,155 tons. In postal matters China has adopted a most progressive attitude. The imperial post conforms in all respects to the universal Postal Union regulations.

(G. J.; X.)

IV. Government and Administration

Changes in the traditional form of government in China—an autocracy based on parental rule—were initiated in 1905 when a commission was appointed to study the forms of government in other countries.[26] On the 1st of September 1906 an imperial edict was issued in which the establishment of parliamentary institutions in China was foreshadowed. In 1907 an advisory council—as a sort of stepping-stone to representative government—was established by another edict. On the 27th of August 1908 an edict announced the convocation of a parliament in the ninth year from that date. An edict of the 3rd of December 1908 reaffirmed that of the 27th of August. An edict of the 31st of October 1909 fixed the classes from which an Imperial Assembly (or Senate) was to be selected, and an edict of the 9th of May 1910 gave the names of the senators, all of whom had been nominated by the throne. The assembly as thus constituted consisted of 200 members drawn from eight classes: (1) princes and nobles of the imperial house—16 members; (2) Manchu and Chinese nobles—12 members; (3) princes and nobles of dependencies—14 members; (4) imperial clansmen other than those mentioned—6 members; (5) Peking officials—32 members; (6) eminent scholars—10 members; (7) exceptional property owners—10 members; (8) representatives of provincial assemblies—100 members. The national assembly, which was opened by the regent on the 3rd of October 1910, thus contained the elements of a two-chambered parliament. The edict summoning the assembly contained the following exhortations:—

The members should understand that this assemblage of the senate is an unprecedented undertaking in China and will be the forerunner of the creation of a parliament. They are earnestly desired to devote to it their patriotism and sincerity, to observe proper order, and to fulfil their duties in representing public opinion. Thus it is hoped that our sincere wish to effect constitutional reforms in their proper order and to aim at success may be duly satisfied.

Concurrently with these steps towards a fundamental alteration in the method of government, changes were made in many departments of the state, and an elective element was introduced into the provincial administrations. The old conception of government with such modifications as had been made up to 1910 are set forth below.

The laws of the state prescribe the government of the country to be based on the government of the family.[27] The emperor is the sole and supreme head of the state, his will being absolute alike in the highest affairs and in the humblest details of The Chinese conception of government. private life. The highest form of legislation was an imperial decree, whether promulgated in general terms or to meet a special case. In either form it was the law of the land, and no privilege or prescriptive right could be pleaded against it. All officers of state, all judges and magistrates, hold their offices entirely at the imperial pleasure. They can be dismissed, degraded, punished, without reason assigned and without form of trial—even without knowing by whom or of what they are accused. The monarch has an advisory council, but he is not bound by its advice, nor need he pretend that he is acting by and with its advice and concurrence. This condition of affairs dates back to a primitive state of society, which probably existed among the Chinese who first developed a civilized form of government. That this system should have been maintained in China through many centuries is a fact into the causes of which it is worth while to inquire. We find it pictured in the records which make up the Book of History, and we find it enforced in the writings of the great apostle of patriarchal institutions, Confucius, and in all the other works which go to make up the Confucian Canon. The reverence with which these scriptures are viewed was the principal means of perpetuating the primitive form of Chinese imperialism. The contents of their pages formed the study of every schoolboy, and supplied the themes at the competitive examinations through which every one had to pass who sought an official career. Thus the mind of the nation was constantly and almost exclusively turned towards them, and their dogmas became part and parcel of the national training. The whole theory of government is the embodiment of parental love and filial piety. As the people are the children of the emperor, so is he the T‘ien-tsze or the Son of Heaven.

In practice the arbitrary power of the emperor is tempered in several ways. Firstly, although the constitution conferred this absolute and unchecked power on the emperor, it was not for his gratification but that he might exercise it for the The emperor. good of his people. He rules by divine authority, and as the vicegerent of heaven upon earth. If he rules corruptly or unjustly, heaven will send disasters and calamity on the people as a reproof; if the rule becomes tyrannical, heaven may withdraw its favour entirely, and then rebellion may be justified. The Manchu dynasty came to the throne as foreign conquerors, nevertheless they base their right to rule, not on the power of the sword, but on divine approval. On this moral ground they claim the obedience of their subjects, and submit themselves to the corresponding obligations. The emperor, unless he has gained the throne by conquest, is selected by his predecessor or by the imperial family in conclave. He is usually a son (but seldom the eldest son) of his predecessor, and need not be the child of the empress-consort,[28] though (other things being equal) a son of the empress is preferred. Failing a son another prince of the imperial house is chosen, the choice being properly among the princes of a generation below that of the preceding emperor, so that the new emperor may be adopted as the son of his predecessor, and perform for him the due ceremonies at the ancestral tablets. Apart from this ancestor-worship the emperor worships only at the Altar of Heaven, leaving Buddhism, Taoism, and any other form of worship to his subjects. The emperor’s sacrifices and prayers to heaven are conducted with great parade and ceremony. The chief of these state observances is the sacrifice at the winter solstice, which is performed before sunrise on the morning of the 21st of December at the Temple of Heaven. The form of the altar is peculiar.

“It consists of a triple circular terrace, 210 ft. wide at the base, 150 in the middle, and 90 at the top.... The emperor, with his immediate suite, kneels in front of the tablet of Shang-ti (The Supreme Being, or Heaven), and faces the north. The platform is laid with marble stones, forming nine concentric circles; the inner circle consists of nine stones, cut so as to fit with close edges round the central stone, which is a perfect circle. Here the emperor kneels, and is surrounded first by the circles of the terraces and their enclosing walls, and then by the circle of the horizon. He then seems to himself and to his court to be in the centre of the universe, and turning to the north, assuming the attitude of a subject, he acknowledges in prayer and by his position that he is inferior to heaven, and to heaven alone. Round him on the pavement are the nine circles of as many heavens, consisting of nine stones, then eighteen, then twenty-seven, and so on in successive multiples of nine till the square of nine, the favourite number of Chinese philosophy, is reached in the outermost circle of eighty-one stones.”

On this occasion, also, a bullock of two years old, and without blemish, is offered as a whole burnt-offering in a green porcelain furnace which stands close beside the altar. The emperor’s life is largely occupied with ceremonial observances, and custom ordains that except on state occasions he should not leave the walls of the palace.

For his knowledge of public affairs the emperor is thus largely dependent upon such information as courtiers and high officers of state permit to reach him.[29] The palace eunuchs have often exercised great power, though their influence has been less under the Manchus than was the case during previous dynasties. Though in theory the throne commands the services and money of all its subjects yet the crown as such has no revenues peculiarly its own. It is dependent on contributions levied through the high officials on the several provinces, subject always to the will of the people, and without their concurrence and co-operation nothing can be done.[30] The power of the purse and the power of the sword are thus exercised mediately, and the autocratic power is in practice transferred to the general body of high functionaries, or to that clique which for the time being has the ear of the emperor, and is united enough and powerful enough to impose its will on the others.

The functionaries who thus really wield the supreme power are almost without exception civil officials. Naturally the court has shown an inclination to choose Manchu rather than Chinese, but of late years this preference has become less marked, China governed by its civil service. and in the imperial appointments to provincial administrations the proportion of Manchus chosen was at the beginning of the 20th century not more than one-fifth of the whole number. The real reason for this change is the marked superiority of the Chinese, in whose hands the administration is stated to be safer for the Manchu dynasty. Practically all the high Chinese officials have risen through the junior ranks of the civil service, and obtained their high position as the reward—so it must be presumed—of long and distinguished public service.

Through the weakness of some of the emperors the functions of the central government gradually came to be to check the action of the provincial governments rather than assume a direct initiative in the conduct of affairs. “The central Functions of the central government. government may be said to criticize rather than to control the action of the provincial administrations, wielding, however, at all times the power of immediate removal from his post of any official whose conduct may be found irregular or considered dangerous to the stability of the state.”[31] This was written in 1877, and since then the pressure of foreign nations has compelled the central government to assume greater responsibilities, and the empire is now ruled from Peking in a much more effective manner than was the case when Lord Napier in 1834 could find no representative of the central government with whom to transact business.

If the central authorities take the initiative, and issue orders to the provincial authorities, it, however, does not follow that they will be carried out. The orders, if unwelcome, are not directly disobeyed, but rather ignored, or specious pleas are put forward, showing the difficulty or impossibility of carrying them out at that particular juncture. The central government always wields the power of removing or degrading a recalcitrant governor, and no case has been known where such an order was not promptly obeyed. But the central government, being composed of officials, stand by their order, and are extremely reluctant to issue such a command, especially at the bidding of a foreign power. Generally the opinion of the governors and viceroys has great weight with the central government.

Under the Ming dynasty the Nuiko or Grand Secretariat formed the supreme council of the empire. It is now of more honorific than actual importance. Active membership is limited to six persons, namely, four grand secretaries and two Departments of the central administration. assistant grand secretaries, half of whom, according to a general rule formerly applicable to nearly all the high offices in Peking, must be Manchu and half Chinese. It constitutes the imperial chancery or court of archives, and admission to its ranks confers the highest distinction attainable by Chinese officials, though with functions that are almost purely nominal. Members of the grand secretariat are distinguished by the honorary title of Chung-t‘ang. The most distinguished viceroys are usually advanced to the dignity of grand secretary while continuing to occupy their posts in the provinces. The best known of recent grand secretaries was Li Hung-chang.

Under the Manchu dynasty the Grand Council (Chün Chi Ch‘u) became the actual privy council of the sovereign, in whose presence its members daily transacted the business of the state. This council is composed of a small knot of men holding various high offices in the government boards at Peking. The literal meaning of Chün Chi Ch‘u is “place of plans for the army,” and the institution derives its name from the practice established by the early emperors of the Manchu dynasty of treating public affairs on the footing of a military council. The usual time of transacting business is from 4 to 6 a.m. In addition to the grand council and the grand secretariat there were boards to supervise particular departments. By a decree of the 6th of November 1906 the central administration was remodelled, subsequent decrees making other changes. The administration in 1910 was carried on by the following agencies:—

A. Councils.—(1)The grand council. Its title was modified in 1906 and it is now known as the Grand Council of State Affairs or Privy Council. It has no special function, but deals with all matters of general administration and is presided over by the emperor (or regent). (2) The Grand Secretariat. This body gained no increase of power in 1906. (3) The advisory council or senate (Tu Chêng Yuen) created in 1907 and containing representatives of each province. It includes all members of the grand council and the grand secretariat and the heads of all the executive departments.[32] The members of these three bodies form advisory cabinets to the emperor.

B. Boards.—Besides boards concerned with the affairs of the court there were, before the pressure of foreign nations and the movement for reform caused changes to be made, six boards charged with the conduct of public affairs. They were: (1) Li Pu, the Board of Civil Appointments, controlling all appointments in the civil service from the rank of district magistrate upwards. (2) Hu Pu, the Board of Revenue, dealing with all revenues which reached the central government. (3) Li Pu, the Board of Ceremonies. (4) Ping Pu, the Board of War. It controlled the provincial forces. The Manchu forces were an independent organization attached to the palace. (5) Hsing Pu, the Board of Punishments. It dealt with the criminal law only, especially the punishment of officials guilty of malpractices. (6) Kung Pu, the Board of Works. Its work was limited to the control of the construction and repair of official residences.

As rearranged and enlarged there are now the following boards, given in order of precedence:—

1. Wai-wu Pu.—This was established in 1901 in succession to the Tsung-li Yamên,[33] which was created in 1861 after the Anglo-Chinese War in 1860 as a board for foreign affairs. Previous to that war, which established the right of foreign powers to have their representatives in Peking, all business with Western nations was transacted by provincial authorities, chiefly the viceroy at Canton. The only department at Peking which dealt specially with foreign affairs was the Li Fan Yuen, or board of control for the dependencies, which regulated the affairs of Mongolia, Tibet and the tributary states generally. With the advent of formally accredited ambassadors from the European powers something more than this was required, and a special board was appointed to discuss all questions with the foreign envoys. The number was originally four, with Prince Kung, a brother of the emperor Hien Fêng, at their head. It was subsequently raised to ten, another prince of the blood, Prince Ching, becoming president. The members were spoken of collectively as the prince and ministers. For a long time the board had no real power, and was looked on rather as a buffer between the foreign envoys and the real government. The importance of foreign affairs, however, especially since the Japanese War, identified the Yamên more with the grand council, several of the most prominent men being members of both. At the same time that the Tsung-li Yamên was created, two important offices were established in the provinces for dealing with foreign commercial questions, viz. the superintendencies of trade for the northern and southern ports. The negotiations connected with the Boxer outbreak proved so conclusively that the machinery to the Tsung-li Yamên was of too antiquated a nature to serve the new requirements, that it was determined to abolish the Yamên and to substitute for it a board (Pu) to be styled the Wai-wu Pu, or “board of foreign affairs.”

2. Board of Civil Appointments.

3. Board of Home Affairs.

4. Board of Finance and Paymaster General’s Department.

5. Board of Ceremonies.

6. Army Board or Ministry of War (instituted 1906).[34]

7. Board of Judicature.

8. Board of Agriculture, Works and Commerce (instituted 1903).

9. Board of dependencies.

10. Board of Education (instituted 1903).

11. Board of Communications (instituted 1906).

Each board has one president and two vice-presidents, with the exception of the Wai-wu Pu, which has a comptroller-general and two presidents, and the Boards of War and Education, each of which has a comptroller-general in addition to the president. According to the decree of 1906 no distinction, in filling up the various boards, is to be made between Manchu and Chinese.

Besides the boards named there are other departments of state, some of them not limited to any one branch of the public service. The more important are those that folllow:—

The Censorate (Tu Ch‘a Yuen).—An institution peculiar to China. The constitution provides a paid body of men whose duty it is to inform the emperor of all facts affecting the welfare of the people and the conduct of government, and in particular to keep an eye on the malfeasance of his officers. These men are termed Yü shih (imperial recorder), generally translated censors. Their office has existed since the 3rd century B.C. The body consists of two presidents, a Chinese and a Manchu, 24 supervising censors attached to the ministries at Peking, and 56 censors, divided into fifteen divisions, each division taking a particular province or area, so as to embrace the whole eighteen provinces, besides one metropolitan division. The censors are privileged to animadvert on the conduct even of the emperor himself; to censure the manner in which all other officials perform or neglect their duties and to denounce them to the throne. They receive appeals made to the emperor, either by the people against the officials or by subordinate officials against their superiors. They exercise, in accord with the Board of Justice, an oversight over all criminal cases and give their opinion whenever the death penalty is to be pronounced. They superintend the working of the different boards and are sometimes sent to various places as imperial inspectors, hence they are called êrh mu kuan (the eyes and ears of the emperor). The censors exercise their office at times with great boldness;[35] their advice if unpalatable may be disregarded and the censor in question degraded. The system of the censorate lends itself to espionage and to bribery, and it is said to be more powerful for mischief than for good. With the growth in influence of the native press the institution appears to lose its raison d’être.

The grand court of revision (Ta-li sze) or Court of Cassation exercises, in conjunction with the Board of Justice and the Censorate, a general supervision over the administration of the criminal law. These bodies are styled collectively San-fah sze (the Three High Justices).

The Hanlin College (Hanlin Yuen, literally Forest of Pencils) is composed of all the literate who have passed the palace examination and obtained the title of Hanlin or imperial academist. It has two chancellors—a Manchu and a Chinese. Its functions are of a purely literary character and it is of importance chiefly because the heads of the college, who are presumably the most eminent scholars of the empire, have the right of advising the throne on all public affairs, and are eligible as members of the grand council or of the Wai-wu Pu. The Chinese set fire to it during the fighting in Peking in June 1900 in the hope of burning out the adjoining British legation. The whole of the library, containing some of the most valuable manuscripts in the world, was destroyed.

Each of the eighteen provinces of China proper, the three provinces of Manchuria and the province of Sin-kiang are ruled by a viceroy placed over one, two and in one instance three provinces, or by a governor over a single province either under a Provincial government. viceroy or depending directly on the central government, the viceroy or the governor being held responsible to the emperor for the entire administration, political, judicial, military and fiscal. The most important viceroyalties are those of Chih-li, Liang-kiang and Liang-kwang. The viceroyalty of Liang-kiang comprises the provinces of Kiang-su, Ngan-hui and Kiang-si. The viceroy resides at Nanking and hence is sometimes called the viceroy of Nanking. Similarly the viceroy of Liang-kwang (comprising the provinces of Kwang-tung and Kwang-si) through having his residence at Canton is sometimes styled the viceroy of Canton. The three provinces adjoining the metropolitan province of Chih-li—Shan-tung, Shan-si and Hon-nan—have no viceroys over them; seven provinces—including Chih-li—have no governors, the viceroy officiating as governor. In provinces where there are both a viceroy and a governor they act conjointly, but special departments are administered by the one rather than the other. The viceroy controls the military and the salt tax; the governor the civil service generally.

The viceroy or governor is assisted by various other high officials, all of whom down to the district magistrate are nominated from Peking. The chief officials are the treasurer, the judicial commissioner or provincial judge, and the commissioner of education (this last post being created in 1903). The treasurer controls the finances of the whole province, receiving the taxes and paying the salaries of the officials. The judge, the salt commissioner, and the grain collector are the only other officials whose authority extends over the whole province. Each province is subdivided into prefectures ruled by prefects, and each prefecture into districts ruled by a district magistrate, Chih-hsien, the official through whom the people in general receive the orders of the government. Two or more prefectures are united into a tao or circuit, the official at the head of which is called a Taot‘ai. Each town and village has also its unofficial governing body of “gentry.”[36] The officials appointed from Peking hold office for three years, but they may be re-appointed once, and in the case of powerful viceroys they may hold office for a prolonged period. Another rule is that no official is ever appointed to a post in the province of his birth; a rule which, however, did not apply to Manchuria. The Peking authorities take care also in making the high appointments to send men of different political parties to posts in the same province.

The edict of the 6th of November 1906 initiating changes in the central administration was accompanied by another edict outlining changes in the provincial government, and an edict of the 22nd of July 1908 ordered the election of provincial assemblies. The edict made it clear that the functions of the assemblies were to be purely consultative. The elections took place according to the regulations, the number of members allotted to each province varying from 30 (Kirin province, Manchuria, and two others) to 140 in Chih-li. The franchise was restricted, but the returns for the first elections showed nearly 1000 voters for each representative. The first meetings of the assemblies were held in October 1909.

The Civil Service.—The bureaucratic element is a vital feature in the government of China, the holding of office being almost the only road to distinction. Officials are by the Chinese called collectively Kwan (rulers or magistrates) but are known to foreigners as mandarins (q.v.). The mandarins are divided into nine degrees, distinguished by the buttons worn on the top of their caps. These are as follows:—first and highest, a plain red button; second, a flowered red button; third, a transparent blue button; fourth, an opaque blue button; fifth, an uncoloured glass button; sixth, an opaque white shell button; seventh, a plain gilt button; eighth, a gilt button with flowers in relief; ninth, a gilt button with engraved flowers. The buttons indicate simply rank, not office. The peacock feathers worn in their hats are an order granted as reward of merit, and indicate neither rank nor office. The Yellow Jacket similarly is a decoration, the most important in China.

The ranks of the civil service are recruited by means of examinations. Up to the beginning of 1906 the subjects in which candidates were examined were purely Chinese and literary with a smattering of history. In 1906 this system was modified and an official career was opened to candidates who had obtained honours in an examination in western subjects (see § Education). The old system is so closely identified with the life of China that some space must be devoted to a description of it.

As a general rule students preparing for the public examination read with private tutors. There were neither high schools nor universities where a regular training could be got. In most of the provincial capitals, and at some other places, there were indeed institutions termed colleges, supported to some extent from public funds, where advanced students could prosecute their studies; but before the movement initiated by the viceroy Chang Chih-tung after the China-Japan War of 1894, they hardly counted as factors in the national education. The private tutors, on the other hand, were plentiful and cheap. After a series of preliminary trials the student obtained his first qualification by examination held before the literary chancellor in the prefecture to which he belonged. This was termed the Siuts‘ai, or licentiate’s degree, and was merely a qualification to enter for the higher examinations. The number of licentiate degrees to be given was, however, strictly limited; those who failed to get in were set back to try again, which they might do as often as they pleased. There was no limit of age. Those selected next proceeded to the great examination held at the capital of each province, once in three years, before examiners sent from Peking for the purpose. Here again the number who passed was strictly limited. Out of 10,000 or 12,000 competitors only some 300 or 350 could obtain degrees. The others, as before, must go back and try again. This degree, termed Chü jên, or provincial graduate, was the first substantial reward of the student’s ambition, and of itself qualified for the public service, though it did not immediately nor necessarily lead to active employment. The third and final examination took place at Peking, and was open to provincial graduates from all parts of the empire. Out of 6000 competitors entering for this final test, which was held triennially, some 325 to 350 succeeded in obtaining the degree of Chin shih, or metropolitan graduate. These were the finally selected men who became the officials of the empire.

Several other doors were, however, open by which admission to the ranks of bureaucracy could be obtained. In the first place, to encourage scholars to persevere, a certain number of those who failed to reach the chü jên, or second degree, were allowed, as a reward of repeated efforts, to get into a special class from which selection for office might be made. Further, the government reserved to itself the right to nominate the sons and grandsons of distinguished deceased public servants without examination. And, lastly, by a system of “recommendation,” young men from favoured institutions or men who had served as clerks in the boards, might be put on the roster for substantive appointment. The necessities of the Chinese government also from time to time compelled it to throw open a still wider door of entry into the civil service, namely, admission by purchase. During the T‘aip‘ing rebellion, when the government was at its wits’ end for money, formal sanction was given to what had previously been only intermittently resorted to, and since then immense sums of money have been received by the sale of patents of rank, to secure either admission to office or more rapid promotion of those already employed. As a result of this policy, the country has been saddled with thousands of titular officials far in excess of the number of appointments to be given away. Deserving men were kept waiting for years, while inferior and less capable officials were pushed ahead, because they had money wherewith to bribe their way. Nevertheless the purchase system admitted into the service a number of men free from that bigoted adherence to Confucian doctrine which characterizes the literary classes, and more in touch with modern progress.

All candidates who succeed in entering the official ranks are eligible for active employment, but as the number of candidates is far in excess of the number of appointments a period of weary waiting ensues. A few of the best scholars get admitted at once into the Hanlin college or into one or other of the boards at Peking. The rest are drafted off in batches to the various provinces to await their turn for appointment as vacancies occur. During this period of waiting they are termed “expectants” and draw no regular pay. Occasional service, however, falls in their way, as when they are commissioned for special duty in outlying districts, which they perform as Wei yuens, or deputies of the regular officials. The period of expectancy may be abridged by recommendation or purchase, and it is generally supposed that this last lever must invariably be resorted to to secure any lucrative local appointment. A poor but promising official is often, it is said, financed by a syndicate of relations and friends, who look to recoup themselves out of the customary perquisites which attach to the post. Appointments to the junior provincial posts are usually left to the provincial government, but the central government can always interfere directly. Appointments to the lucrative posts of customs, taot‘ai, at the treaty ports are usually made direct from Peking, and the officer selected is neither necessarily nor usually from the provincial staff. It would perhaps be safe to say that this appointment has hitherto always been the result of a pecuniary arrangement of greater or less magnitude.

During the first five years (1906-1910) of the new method, by which candidates for the civil service were required, in addition to Chinese classics, to have a knowledge of western science, great efforts were made in several provinces to train up Bribery and torture. a better class of public official. The old system of administration had many theoretical excellencies, and there had been notable instances of upright administration, but the regulation which forbade a mandarin to hold any office for more than three years made it the selfish interest of every office-holder to get as much out of the people within his jurisdiction as he possibly could in that time. This corruption in high places had a thoroughly demoralizing effect. While among the better commercial classes Chinese probity in business relations with foreigners is proverbial, the people generally set little or no value upon truth, and this has led to the use of torture in their courts of justice; for it is argued that where the value of an oath is not understood, some other means must be resorted to to extract evidence.

Justice.—The Chih-Hsien or district magistrate decides ordinary police cases; he is also coroner and sheriff, he hears suits for divorce and breach of promise, and is a court of first instance in all civil cases; “the penalty for taking a case first to a higher court is fifty blows with the bamboo on the naked thigh.”[37] Appeal from the Hsien court lies to the Fu, or prefectural court, and thence cases may be taken to the provincial judge, who signs death warrants, while there are final courts of appeal at Peking. Civil cases are usually settled by trade gilds in towns and by village elders, or by arbitration in rural districts. Reference has been made to the use of torture. Flogging is the only form of torture which has been allowed under the Manchus. The obdurate witness is laid on his face, and the executioner delivers his blows on the upper part of the thighs with the concave side of a split bamboo, the sharp edges of which mutilate the sufferer terribly. The punishment is continued until the man either supplies the evidence required or becomes insensible. Punishment by bamboo was formally abolished by imperial edict in 1905, and other judicial reforms were instituted. They remained largely inoperative, and even in Shanghai, under the eyes of foreign residents, gross cases of the infliction of torture occurred in 1909.[38]

For capital offences the usual modes of inflicting the extreme penalty of the law are—in bad cases, such as parricides, “cutting to pieces,” and for less aggravated crimes either strangulation or decapitation. The culprit who is condemned to be “cut to pieces” is fastened to a cross, and while thus suspended cuts are made by the executioner on the fleshy parts of the body; and he is then beheaded. Strangulation is reserved for lesser degrees of guilt, it being considered a privilege to pass out of life with a whole body. When it has been granted to a criminal of rank thus to meet his end, a silken cord is sent to him at his own home. No explanatory message is considered necessary, and he is left to consummate his own doom. Popular sentiment regards decapitation as a peculiarly disgraceful mode of death. Constant practice makes the executioners wonderfully expert in the performance of their office. No block or resting-place for the head is used. The neck is simply outstretched to its full length by the aid of an assistant, and one blow invariably leaves the body headless.

The laws are in accord with the principle which regards the family as a unit. Thus there is no bankruptcy law—if a debtor’s own estate will not suffice to pay his debts the deficiency must be made good by his relatives; if a debtor absconds his Consular jurisdiction. immediate family are imprisoned. By analogy if one member of a party commits an offence and the guilty person cannot be detected, the whole party must suffer. Foreigners residing in China resented the application of this principle of law to themselves. As a result extra-territorial rights were sought by European powers. They were secured by Russia as early as 1689, but it was not until 1843 that any other nation acquired them. In that year Great Britain obtained the right to try British subjects by its own consuls, a right secured in more explicit terms by the United States and France in 1844. Now eighteen powers, including Japan, have consular courts for the trial of their own subjects according to the laws of their native lands. Mixed courts have also been established, that is, a defendant is tried in the court of his own nationality, the court giving its decision under the supervision of a representative of the plaintiff’s nationality. In practice the Chinese have seldom sent representatives to sit on the bench of consular courts, but, as the Europeans lack confidence in the administration of Chinese justice, no suit brought by a foreigner against a Chinese is decided without the presence of an assessor of the plaintiff’s nationality.

Defence.—The Chinese constitution in the period before the reform edicts of 1905-1906 provided for two independent sets of military organizations—namely, the Manchu army and the several provincial armies. On the establishment Army. of the dynasty in 1644 the victorious troops, composed mainly of Manchus, but including also Mongols and Chinese, were permanently quartered in Peking, and constituted a hereditary national army. The force was divided into eight banners, and under one or other of these all Manchus and all the descendants of the members of other nationalities were enrolled. They form the bulk of the population of the “Tatar city” of Peking. Each adult male was by birth entitled to be enrolled as a soldier, and by virtue of his enrolment had a right to draw rations—i.e. his allowance of the tribute rice, whether on active service or not. Detachments from one or other of the banners were stationed as garrisons in the chief provincial centres, as at Canton, Fuchow and Hang-chow, &c., and their descendants still occupy the same position. As a fighting force the Manchu garrisons both in the capital and in the provinces had long become quite effete. In the capital, however, the élite of the Manchu soldiery were formed into a special corps termed the Peking Field Force. Its nominal strength was 20,000, the men were armed and drilled after the European fashion, and fairly well paid. There were other corps of picked Manchus better paid and better armed than the ordinary soldier, and it was computed that in 1901 the Manchu army in or near Peking could muster 40,000, all more or less efficient.

The second organization was termed the army of the Green Standard, being the Chinese provincial forces. The nominal strength was from 20,000 to 30,000 for each province, or about 500,000 in all; the actual strength was about one-third of this. They were enrolled to keep the peace within their own province, and resembled a militia or local constabulary rather than a national army. They were generally poorly paid and equally badly drilled and armed.

The only real fighting force which China possessed at the beginning of the 20th century was made up of certain special corps which were not provided for in the constitution, and consequently used to be termed yung, “braves,” or irregulars, but had acquired various distinctive names. They were enlisted by provincial governors, and all had some smattering of foreign drill. They were also fairly well paid and armed. After the Chino-Japanese War of 1894-95 some of these corps were quartered near Peking and Tientsin, and came generally to be spoken of as the Army of the North.

An imperial decree issued in 1901 after the Boxer rising ordered the reorganization of the military forces of the empire, and on provincial lines something was accomplished—especially in Chih-li under Yuan Shih-k‘ai, who practically created “the Army of the North.” It was not, however, until after the Russo-Japanese War that determined efforts were made to organize a national army on western lines; an army which should be responsible to the central government and not dependent upon the provincial administrations. A decree of 1905 provided (on paper) for training schools for officers in each of the provinces, middle grade military schools in selected provinces, and a training college and military high school in Peking. The Army Board was reorganized and steps taken to form a general staff. Considerable progress had been made by 1910 in the evolution of a body of efficient officers. In practice the administration remained largely provincial—for instance the armament of the troops was provided by the provincial governors and was far from uniform. The scheme[39] contemplated the creation of a force about 400,000 strong in 36 divisions and in two armies, the northern and the southern. Recruitment is on the voluntary principle, except in the case of the Manchus, who apparently enter the new army instead of the “eight banners.” The terms of service are three years with the colours, three in the reserve and four in the territorial army. The Japanese system of training is followed. Reservists are called out for 30 days every year and the territorialists for 30 days every other year.

Up to 1909 six divisions and one mixed brigade of the northern army had been organized in Shan-tung, Chih-li and Ho-nan; elsewhere three divisions and six mixed brigades; total strength about 60,000 with 350 guns. (These figures do not include all the provincial foreign trained troops.) The efficiency of the troops varied; the northern army was superior to the others in training and armament. About a third of the 60,000 men of the new army were in 1909 stationed in Manchuria (See also § History.)

An imperial edict of the 15th of September 1907 reorganized the army of the Green Standard. It was placed under the control of the minister of war and formed in battalions and squadrons. The duty of the troops in peace time remained much as previously. In war they pass under the control of regular officers, though their use outside their own provinces does not seem to be contemplated.

The Chinese navy in 1909 consisted of the 4300 ton cruiser “Hai Chi” (two 8-in., ten 4.7-in. guns) of 24 knot original speed, three 3000 ton cruisers, “Hai Yung,” “Hai Schew” and “Hai Shen” (three 6-in., eight 4-in. guns) of 19.5 knot Navy. original speed, some modern gunboats built in Japan, a few miscellaneous vessels and some old torpedo boats. With the destruction of the northern fleet by the Japanese at the capture of Wei-hai-wei in 1895, the Chinese navy may be said to have ceased to exist. Previously it consisted of two divisions, the northern and southern, of which the former was by far the more formidable. The southern was under the control of the viceroy of Nanking, and took no part in the Chino-Japanese War. While the northern fleet was grappling in a death-struggle, the southern was lying snugly in the Yangtsze waters, the viceroy of Nanking apparently thinking that as the Japanese had not attacked him there was no reason why he should risk his ships.

The New Scheme.—An edict of the 15th of July 1909 created a naval and military advisory board. Nimrod Sound, centrally situated on the coast of Cheh-kiang, was chosen as naval base, and four naval schools were ordered to be established; a navigation school at Chifu, an engineering school at Whampoa, a school for naval artificers at Fuchow, and a gunnery and musketry school at Nimrod Sound. A superior naval college was founded at Peking. The coast defences were placed under the control of the naval department, and the reorganization of the dockyards undertaken. During 1910 orders for cruisers were placed abroad.

Arsenals and Dockyards.—After the loss of Port Arthur, China possessed no dockyard which could dock vessels over 3000 tons. Many years ago the Chinese government established at Fuchow a shipbuilding yard, placing it in the hands of French engineers. Training schools both for languages and practical navigation were at the same time organized, and a training ship was procured and put under the command of a British naval officer. Some twenty-five or thirty small vessels were built in the course of as many years, but gradually the whole organization was allowed to fall into decay. Except for petty repairs this establishment was in 1909 valueless to the Chinese government. There were also small dockyards at Kiang-nan (near Shanghai), Whampoa and Taku. There are well-equipped arsenals at Shanghai and at Tientsin, but as they are both placed up shallow rivers they are useless for naval repairs. Both are capable of turning out heavy guns, and also rifles and ammunition in large quantities. There are also military arsenals at Nanking, Wuchang, Canton and Chêngtu.

Forts.—A great number of forts and batteries have been erected along the coast and at the entrance to the principal rivers. Chief among these, now that the Taku forts formerly commanding the entrance to Tientsin have been demolished, are the Kiangyin forts commanding the entrance to the Yangtsze, the Min forts at the entrance of the Fuchow river, and the Bogue forts at the entrance to the Canton river. These are supplied with heavy armament from the Krupp and Armstrong factories.


In fiscal matters, as for many other purposes, the Chinese empire is an agglomeration of a number of quasi-independent units. Each province has a complete administrative staff, collects its own revenue, pays its own civil service, and other charges placed upon it, and out of the surplus contributes towards the expenses of the imperial government a sum which varies with the imperiousness of the needs of the latter and with its own comparative wealth or poverty. The imperial government does not collect directly any part of the revenues, unless the imperial maritime customs be excepted, though these, too, pass through the books of the provincial authorities.[40]

It has hitherto been extremely difficult to obtain anything like trustworthy figures for the whole revenue of China, for the reason that no complete statistics are published by the central government at Peking.[41] The only available data are, first, the returns published by the imperial maritime customs for the duties levied on foreign trade; and, secondly, the memorials sent to Peking by the provincial authorities on revenue matters, certain of which are published from time to time in the Peking Gazette. These are usually fragmentary, being merely reports which the governor has received from his subordinates, detailing, as the case may be, the yield of the land tax or the likin for his particular district, with a dissertation on the causes which have made it more or less than for the previous period. Or the return may be one detailing the expenditure of such and such a department, or reporting the transmission of a sum in reply to a requisition of the board of revenue, with a statement of the source from which it has been met. It is only by collating these returns over a long period that anything like a complete statement can be made up. And even then these returns do not represent anything like the total of taxation paid by the people, but, as far as they go, they may be taken to represent the volume of taxation on which the Peking government can draw revenue.

The following table, taken from a memorandum by Sir Robert Hart, dated the 25th of March 1901, shows the latest official estimate (up to 1910) of the revenue and expenditure of China:—

Land tax 26,500,000
Provincial duties 1,600,000
Provincial receipts (various) 1,000,000
Grain commutation 3,100,000
Salt gabelle 13,500,000
Li-kin 16,000,000
Native customs 2,700,000
Maritime customs:—  
 General cargo 17,000,000
 Foreign opium 5,000,000
 Native opium 1,800,000
  Total 88,200,000
Provincial 20,000,000
Military and naval 35,000,000
Metropolitan 10,000,000
Bannermen (Manchu “soldiers”)  1,380,000
Palace 1,100,000
Customs 3,600,000
Legations 1,000,000
River works 940,000
Railways 800,000
Loans 24,000,000
Contingent reserve 3,300,000
  Total 101,120,000

A calculation of revenue from all sources published by the Shanghai Shen Pao in 1908, apparently derived from official sources, gave a total revenue of 105,000,000 taels, or about 15 million sterling. This sum is obviously less than the actual figures. In 1907 Mr H.B. Morse, commissioner of customs and statistical secretary in the inspectorate general of customs, drew up the following table based on the amounts presumed to be paid by the tax payer:—


  Taels. Taels. Taels.
I.  Land Tax
II.  Tribute
III.  Native Customs 
IV.  Salt Gabelle
V.  Miscellaneous
VI.  Foreign Customs 
 VII.  Li-kin
25,887,000  67,060,000  9,315,000 
7,420,000  15,582,000  2,300,000 
3,790,000  1,290,000  249,000 
13,050,000  26,000,000  25,000,000 
3,856,000  5,998,000  985,000 
31,169,000  3,942,000  1,230,000 
13,890,000  22,502,000  3,639,000 

  Total 99,062,000  142,374,000  42,718,000 

Mr Morse adds that the grand total shown, taels 284,150,000[43] “is an obviously insufficient sum on which to maintain the fabric of government in an empire like China, but it has been reached by calculations based on a few known facts and ... is offered as throwing some light on a subject veiled in obscurity.”[44]

The service of the foreign debt, together with the pressure of other needs—such as the cost of education and the army—made more manifest than previously the chaos of the Chinese fiscal system. A scheme to reform the national finances was promulgated under an edict of the 11th of January 1909, but it did not appear to be of a practical character.

Sources of Revenue. I. Land Tax.—In China, as in most oriental countries, the land has from time immemorial been the mainstay of the revenue. In the early years of the present dynasty there was levied along with the land tax a poll tax on all adult males, but in 1712 the two were amalgamated, and the whole burden was thrown upon land, families not possessing land being thereafter exempted from taxation. At the same time it was decreed that the amount of the land tax as then fixed should be permanent and settled for all time coming. It would appear from the records that this promise has been kept as far as the central government has been concerned. In all its many financial difficulties it does not seem ever to have tried to increase the revenue by raising the land tax. The amount of tax leviable on each plot is entered on the title deed, and, once entered, it cannot be changed.[45] The tax on almost all lands is thus stated to be so much in silver and so much in rice, wheat or whatever the principal crop may be. Except in two provinces, however, the grain tax is now commuted and paid in silver. The exceptions are Kiang-su and Cheh-kiang, which still send forward their taxes in grain. The value of the grain forwarded (generally called tribute rice) is estimated at taels 6,500,000. The total collection in silver, as reported by the responsible officials, amounts in round numbers to taels 25,000,000. The total yield of the land tax, therefore, is taels 31,500,000, or say £4,725,000. It will readily be granted that for such a large country as China this is a very insignificant one. In India the land tax yields about £20,000,000, and China has undoubtedly a larger cultivated area, a larger population, and soil that is on the whole more fertile; but it is certain that this sum by no means represents the amounts actually paid by the cultivators. It is the sum which the various magistrates and collectors have to account for and remit in hard cash. But as nothing is allowed them for the costs of collection, they add on a percentage beforehand to cover the cost. This they usually do by declaring the taxes leviable not in silver, but in copper “cash”, which indeed is the only currency that circulates in country places, and by fixing the rate of exchange to suit themselves. Thus while the market rate is, say, 1500 cash to the tael, they declare by general proclamation that for tax-paying purposes cash will be received at the rate of 3500 or 4000 to the tael. Thus while the nominal land tax in silver remains the same it is in effect doubled or trebled, and, what is worse, no return is made or account required of the extra sums thus levied. Each magistrate or collector is in effect a farmer. The sum standing opposite the name of his district is the sum which he is bound to return under penalty of dismissal, but all sums which he can scrape together over and above are the perquisites of office less his necessary expenses. Custom, no doubt, sets bounds to his rapacity. If he went too far he would provoke a riot; but one may safely say there never is any reduction, what change can be effected being in the upward direction. According to the best information obtainable a moderate estimate of the sums actually paid by the cultivators would give two shillings per acre. This on an estimate of the area under cultivation should give for the eighteen provinces £19,000,000 as being actually levied, or more than four times what is returned.

2. The Salt Duty.—The trade in salt is a government monopoly. Only licensed merchants are allowed to deal in it, and the import of foreign salt is forbidden by the treaties. For the purpose of salt administration China is divided into seven or eight main circuits, each of which has its own sources of production. Each circuit has carefully defined boundaries, and salt produced in one circuit is not allowed to be consigned into or sold in another. There are great differences in price between the several circuits, but the consumer is not allowed to buy in the cheapest market. He can only buy from the licensed merchants in his own circuit, who in turn are debarred from procuring supplies except at the depot to which they belong. Conveyance from one circuit to another is deemed smuggling, and subjects the article to confiscation.

Duty is levied under two heads, the first being a duty proper, payable on the issue of salt from the depot, and the second being likin levied on transit or at the place of destination. The two together amount on an average to about taels 1.50 per picul of 133½ ℔ or 3s. 9d. per cwt. The total collection returned by the various salt collectorates amounts to taels 13,500,000 (£2,025,000) per annum. The total consumption of salt for all China is estimated at 25 million piculs, or nearly 1½ million tons, which is at the rate of 9 ℔ per annum per head of the population. If the above amount of taels 1.50 were uniformly levied and returned, the revenue would be 37½ million taels instead of 13½. In this calculation, however, no allowance is made for the cost of collection.

3. Likin on General Merchandise.—By the term likin is meant a tax on inland trade levied while in transit from one district to another. It was originally a war tax imposed as a temporary measure to meet the military expenditure required by the T‘aip‘ing and Mahommedan rebellions of 1850-1870. It is now one of the permanent sources of income, but at the same time it is in form as objectionable as a tax can be, and is equally obnoxious to the native and to the foreign merchant. Tolls or barriers are erected at frequent intervals along all the principal routes of trade, whether by land or water, and a small levy is made at each on every conceivable article of commerce. The individual levy is small, but over a long transit it may amount to 15 or 20%. The objectionable feature is the frequent stoppages with overhauling of cargo and consequent delays. By treaty, foreign goods may commute all transit dues for a single payment of one-half the import tariff duty, but this stipulation is but indifferently observed. It must also be remembered, per contra, that dishonest foreign merchants will take out passes to cover native-owned goods. The difficulty in securing due observance of treaty rights lies in the fact that the likin revenue is claimed by the provincial authorities, and the transit dues when commuted belong to the central government, so that the former are interested in opposing the commutation by every means in their power. As a further means of neutralizing the commutation they have devised a new form of impost, viz. a terminal tax which is levied on the goods after the termination of the transit. The amount and frequency of likin taxation are fixed by provincial legislation—that is, by a proclamation of the governor. The levy is authorized in general terms by an imperial decree, but all details are left to the local authorities. The yield of this tax is estimated at taels 13,000,000 (£l,950,000), a sum which probably represents one-third of what is actually paid by the merchants, the balance being costs of collection.

4. Imperial Maritime Customs.—The maritime customs is the one department of finance in China which is managed with probity and honesty, and this it owes to the fact that it is worked under foreign control. It collects all the duties leviable under the treaties on the foreign trade of China, and also all duties on the coasting trade so far as carried on by vessels of foreign build, whether Chinese or foreign owned. It does not control the trade in native craft, the so-called junk trade, the duties on which are still levied by the native custom-house officials. By arrangement between the British and Chinese governments the foreign customs levy at the port of entry a likin on Indian opium of taels 80 per chest, in addition to the tariff duty of taels 30. This levy frees the opium from any further duty on transit into the interior. The revenue of the maritime customs rose from taels 8,200,000 in 1865 to taels 35,111,000 in 1905.

5. Native Customs,—The administration of the native customs continues to be similar to what prevailed in the maritime customs before the introduction of foreign supervision. Each collector is constituted a farmer, bound to account for a fixed minimum sum, but practically at liberty to retain all he may collect over and above. If he returns more he may claim certain honorary rewards as for extra diligence, but he generally manages to make out his accounts so as to show a small surplus, and no more. Only imperfect and fragmentary returns of the native collectorates have been published, but the total revenue accruing to the Chinese government from this source did not appear up to 1900 much to exceed two million taels (£300,000). In November 1901 native customs offices within 15 m. of a treaty port were placed under the control of the maritime customs, their revenues having been hypothecated for the service of the Boxer indemnity. The result was that the amount of the native customs collected by the commissioners of customs increased from taels 2,206,000 in 1902 to taels 3,699,000 in 1906.

6. Duty on Native Opium.—The collection of the duty on opium is in the hands of the provincial officials, but they are required to rendera separate account of duty and likin collected on the drug, and to hold the sum at the disposal of the board of revenue at Peking. The annual import into China of Indian opium used to amount to about 50,000 chests, the exact amount of opium imported in 1904 being 54,750 piculs, on which the Chinese government received from duty and likin combined about 5½ million taels (£825,000). The total amount of native-grown opium was estimated in 1901 at about 400,000 chests (53,000,000 ℔), and if this were taxed at taels 60 per chest, which in proportion to its price was a similar rate to that levied on Indian opium, it should give a revenue of 24 million taels. Compared with this the sums actually levied, or at least returned by the local officials as levied, were insignificant. The returns gave a total levy for all the eighteen provinces of only taels 2,200,000 (£330,000). The anti-opium smoking campaign initiated by the Chinese government in 1905 affected the revenue both by the decreased importation of the drug and the decrease in the area under poppy cultivation in China. In 1908 the opium likin revenue had fallen to taels 3,800,000.

7. Miscellaneous.—Besides the main and regular sources of income, the provincial officials levy sums which must in the aggregate amount to a very large figure, but which hardly find a place in the returns. The principal are land transfer fees, pawnbrokers’ and other licences, duties on reed flats, commutation of corvée and personal services, &c. The fee on land transfers is 3%, and it could be shown, from a calculation based on the extent and value of the arable land and the probable number of sales, that this item alone ought to yield an annual return of between one and two millions sterling. Practically the whole of this is absorbed in office expenses. Under this heading should also be included certain items which though not deemed part of the regular revenue, have been so often resorted to that they cannot be left out of account. These are the sums derived from sale of office or of brevet rank, and the subscriptions and benevolences which under one plea or another the government succeeds in levying from the wealthy. Excluding these, the government is always ready to receive subscriptions, rewarding the donor with a grant of official rank entitling him to wear the appropriate “button.” The right is much sought after, and indeed there are very few Chinamen of any standing that are not thus decorated, for not only does the button confer social standing, but it gives the wearer certain very substantial advantages in case he should come into contact with the law courts. The minimum price for the lowest grade is taels 120 (£18), and more of course for higher grades. The proceeds of these sales go directly to the Peking government, and do not as a rule figure in the provincial returns. The total of the miscellaneous items accruing for the benefit of the government is estimated at taels 5,500,000.

Expenditure.—In regard to expenditure a distinction has to be drawn between that portion of the revenue which is controlled by the central government, and that controlled by the several provincial authorities. As the provinces collect the revenue, and as the authorities there are held responsible for the peace, order and good government of their respective territories, it follows that the necessary expenses of the provinces form a sort of first charge on the revenue. (As the tables given show, the provinces spend the greater part of the revenue collected.) The board of revenue at Peking, which is charged with a general supervision of finance matters all over the empire, makes up at the end of the year a general estimate of the funds that will be required for imperial purposes during the ensuing year, and apportions the amount among the several provinces and the several collectorates in each province. The estimate is submitted to the emperor, and, when sanctioned, instructions are sent to all the viceroys and governors in that sense, who, in turn, pass them on to their subordinate officers. In ordinary times these demands do not materially vary from year to year, and long practice has created a sort of equilibrium between imperial and provincial demands. The remittances to the capital are, as a rule, forwarded with reasonable regularity, mostly in the form of hard cash. There is, however, a constant pull going on between Peking and the provinces—the former always asking for more, the latter resisting and pleading impecuniosity, yet generally able to find the amounts required. The expenses which the central government has to meet are:—(1) Imperial household; (2) pay of the Manchu garrison in and about Peking; (3) costs of the civil administration in the capital; (4) cost of the army so far as the expenses are not borne by the provinces; (5) naval expenses;[46] (6) foreign loans—interest and sinking fund. To meet all these charges the Peking government for several years up to 1900 drew on the provinces for about taels 20,000,000 (£3,000,000), including the value of the tribute rice, which goes to the support of the Manchu bannermen.[47] No estimates are furnished of the sums allowed under such heading. The imperial household appears to receive in silver about taels 1,500,000 (£225,000) but it draws besides large supplies in kind from the provinces, e.g. silks and satins from the imperial factories at Su-chow and Hangchow, porcelain from the Kiang-si potteries, &c., the cost of which is defrayed by the provinces. The imperial government has also at its disposal the revenue of the foreign customs. Prior to the Chino-Japanese war of 1894-95 this revenue, which, after allowing for the costs of collection, amounted to about 20,000,000 taels (£3,000,000), was nominally shared with the provinces in the proportion of four-tenths and six-tenths. The whole of the customs revenue is now pledged to foreign bondholders and absorbed by the service of the several loans. Besides supplying its own wants the imperial government has to provide for outlying portions of the empire which are unable to maintain themselves—(1) Manchuria, (2) Kan-suh and the central Asian dominion, (3) the south-western provinces of Yun-nan, Kwei-chow and Kwang-si. Manchuria, or, as it is termed, the north-east frontier defence, costs about taels 2,000,000 over and above its own resources. The central Asian territories constitute a drain on the imperial government of about taels 4,000,000 a year. This is met by subsidies from Sze-ch‘uen, Shan-si, Ho-nan and other wealthy provinces. Yun-nan, Kwei-chow and Kwang-si require aids aggregating taels 2,000,000 to keep things going.

External Debt.—Prior to the war with Japan in 1894 the foreign debt of China was almost nil. A few trifling loans had been contracted at 7 and 8%, but they had been punctually paid off, and only a fraction of one remained. The expenses of the war, however, and the large indemnity of taels 230,000,000 (£34,500,000) which Japan exacted, forced China for the first time into the European market as a serious borrower. The sum of £6,635,000 was raised in 1894-1895 in four small loans at 6 or 7% interest. In 1895 a Franco-Russian loan of fr. 440,000,000 (£15,820,000) was raised in Paris. Two Anglo-German loans, each of £16,000,000 (one in 1896, the other in 1898) were raised through the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. The Franco-Russian loan bears 4% interest, the first Anglo-German 5%, the second 4½%. The foreign loans contracted up to 1900 amounted altogether to £54,455,000. The charges for interest and sinking fund, which amounted to over £3,000,000, were secured on the revenue of the maritime customs, and on the likin taxes of certain specified provinces. The net income from these two sources amounted to over taels 24,000,000, equivalent at existing rate of exchange to £3,400,000, which was amply sufficient.

Between 1899 and 1907 (both years inclusive) £12,200,000 was raised on loan for railway purposes. The charges on the first loan—for £2,300,000—were secured on the revenue of the Imperial Northern railway, the interest being 5%. The same interest was secured on the other loans, save one for £1,000,000 in which the Hong Kong government was concerned, which bears 4% interest.

The foreign debt also includes the indemnities exacted in 1901 by the powers for the Boxer outrages. These indemnities, secured on imperial revenue, are divided into five series amounting altogether to £67,500,000, the amount payable on these indemnities (at 4% interest) in 1907 being £2,824,425. The burden of meeting this amount was apportioned between the eighteen provinces—the sums allocated ranging from taels 2,500,000 for Kiang-su to taels 300,000 for Kwei-chow. In 1909 the grand total of China’s indebtedness exceeded £140,000,000 and the interest called for the payment of £7,427,450 in gold.

Banks and Banking.—Native banks for purposes of inland exchange are to be found in most large cities. They are private banks using their own capital, and seldom receiving deposits from the public. The best known are the Shan-si banks, which have branches all over the empire. They work on a small capital, seldom over £50,000 each, and do a small but profitable business by selling their drafts on distant places. None of them issues notes, although they are not debarred from doing so by law. They lend money on personal security, but do not advance against shipments of goods. In some places there are small local banks, usually called cash shops, which issue paper notes for small sums and lend money out on personal security. The notes never reach more than a very limited local circulation, and pass current merely on the credit of the institution. There is no law regulating the formation of banks or the issue of notes. Pawnshops occupy a prominent position in the internal economy of China. They lend on deposit of personality at very high rates, 18 and 24%, and they receive deposits of money from the public, usually allowing 6 to 10%. They are the real banks of deposit of the country, and the better class enjoy good credit. Foreign Banks do a large business at Shanghai and other treaty ports, and a Government Bank has been established at Peking.

Currency.—In the commercial treaty between Great Britain and China of 1902 China agreed to provide a uniform national coinage. An imperial decree of October 1908 commanded the introduction of a uniform tael currency; but another decree of May 1910 established a standard currency dollar weighing 72 candareens (a candareen is the 100th part of the tael ounce) and subsidiary coins of fixed values in decimal ratio. This decree properly enforced would introduce a much needed stability into the monetary system of China.

The actual currency (1910) consists of (1) Silver, which may be either uncoined ingots passing current by weight, or imported coins, Mexican dollars and British dollars; and (2) Copper “cash,” which has no fixed relation to silver. The standard is silver, the unit being the Chinese ounce or tael, containing 565 grains. The tael is not a coin, but a weight. Its value in sterling consequently fluctuates with the value of silver; in 1870 it was worth about 6s. 8d., in 1907 it was worth 3s. 3d.[48] The name given in China to uncoined silver in current use is “sycee.” It is cast for convenience sake into ingots weighing one to 50 taels. Its average fineness is 916.66 per 1000. When foreign silver is imported, say into Shanghai, it can be converted into currency by a very simple process. The bars of silver are sent to a quasi-public office termed the “Kung K‘u,” or public valuers, and by them melted down and cast into ingots of the customary size. The fineness is estimated, and the premium or betterness, together with the exact weight, is marked in ink on each ingot. The whole process only occupies a few hours, and the silver is then ready to be put into use. The Kung K‘u is simply a local office appointed by the bankers of the place, and the weight and fineness are only good for that locality. The government takes no responsibility in the matter, but leaves merchants and bankers to adjust the currency as they please. For purposes of taxation and payment of duties there is a standard or treasury tael, which is about 10% heavier than the tael of commerce in use at Shanghai. Every large commercial centre has its own customary tael, the weight and therefore the value of which differ from that of every other. Silver dollars coined in Mexico, and British dollars coined in Bombay, also circulate freely at the open ports of trade and for some distance inland, passing at a little above their intrinsic value. Carolus dollars, introduced long ago and no longer coined, are retained in current use in several parts of the interior, chiefly the tea-growing districts. Being preferred by the people, and as the supply cannot be added to, they have reached a considerable premium above their intrinsic value. Provincial mints in Canton, Wuchang, and other places have issued silver coins of the same weight and touch as the Mexican dollar, but very few have gone into use. As they possess no privilege in debt-paying power over imported Mexican dollars there is no inducement for the people to take them up unless they can be had at a cheaper rate than the latter, and these are laid down at so small a cost above the intrinsic value that no profit is left to the mint. The coinage has in consequence been almost discontinued. Subsidiary coins, however, came largely into use, being issued by the local mints. One coin “the hundredth part of a dollar” proved very popular (the issue to the end of 1906 being computed at 12,500,000,000), but at rates corresponding closely to the intrinsic value of the metal in it. The only coin officially issued by the government—up to 1910—was the so-called copper cash. It is a small coin which by regulation should weigh 116 of a tael, and should contain 50 parts of copper, 40 of zinc, and 10 of lead or tin, and it should bear a fixed ratio to silver of 1000 cash to one tael of silver. In practice none of these conditions was observed. Being issued from a number of mints, mostly provincial, the standard was never uniform, and in many cases debased. Excessive issues lowered the value of the coins, and for many years the average exchange was 1600 or more per tael. The rise in copper led to the melting down of all the older and superior coins, and as for the same reason coining was suspended, the result was an appreciation of the “cash,” so that a tael in 1909 exchanged for about 1220 cash or about 35 to a penny English. Inasmuch as the “cash” bore no fixed relation to silver, and was, moreover, of no uniform composition, it formed a sort of mongrel standard of its own, varying with the volume in circulation.

(G.J.; X.)

V. History

(A)—European Knowledge of China up to 1615.

China as known to the Ancients.—The spacious seat of ancient civilization which we call China has been distinguished by different appellations, according as it was reached by the southern sea-route or by the northern land-route traversing the longitude of Asia. In the former aspect the name has nearly always been some form of the name Sin, Chin, Sinoe, China. In the latter point of view the region in question was known to the ancients as the land of the Seres, to the middle ages as the empire of Cathay. The name of Chin has been supposed (doubtfully) to be derived from the dynasty of Ts‘in, which a little more than two centuries before the Christian era enjoyed a vigorous existence, uniting all the Chinese provinces under its authority, and extending its conquests far beyond those limits to the south and the west. The mention of the Chinas in ancient Sanskrit literature, both in the laws of Manu and in the Mahābhārata, has often been supposed to prove the application of the name long before the predominance of the Ts‘in dynasty. But the coupling of that name with the Daradas, still surviving as the people of Dardistan, on the Indus, suggests it as more probable that those Chinas were a kindred race of mountaineers, whose name as Shinas in fact likewise remains applied to a branch of the Dard races. Whether the Sinim of the prophet Isaiah should be interpreted of the Chinese is probably not susceptible of any decision; by the context it appears certainly to indicate a people of the extreme east or south. The name probably came to Europe through the Arabs, who made the China of the farther east into Sîn, and perhaps sometimes into Thîn. Hence the Thîn of the author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, who appears to be the first extant writer to employ the name in this form (i.e. assuming Max Müller’s view that he belongs to the 1st century); hence also the Sinae and Thinae of Ptolemy.

It has often indeed been denied that the Sinae of Ptolemy really represented the Chinese. But if we compare the statement of Marcianus of Heraclea (a mere condenser of Ptolemy), when he tells us that the “nations of the Sinae lie at the extremity of the habitable world, and adjoin the eastern Terra Incognita,” with that of Cosmas, who says, in speaking of Tzinista, a name of which no one can question the application to China, that “beyond this there is neither habitation nor navigation”—we cannot doubt the same region to be meant by both. The fundamental error of Ptolemy’s conception of the Indian Sea as a closed basin rendered it impossible but that he should misplace the Chinese coast. But considering that the name of Sin has come down among the Arabs from time immemorial as applied to the Chinese, considering that in the work of Ptolemy this name certainly represented the farthest known East, and considering how inaccurate are Ptolemy’s configurations and longitudes much nearer home, it seems almost as reasonable to deny the identity of his India with ours as to deny that his Sinae were Chinese.

If we now turn to the Seres we find this name mentioned by classic authors much more frequently and at an earlier date, for the passages of Eratosthenes (in Strabo), formerly supposed to speak of a parallel passing through Thinaeδιά Θινῶν—are now known to read correctly δι᾽Αθηνῶν. The name Seres indeed is familiar to the Latin poets of the Augustan age, but always in a vague way, and usually with a general reference to Central Asia and the farther East. We find, however, that the first endeavours to assign more accurately the position of this people, which are those of Mela and Pliny, gravitate distinctly towards China in its northern aspect as the true ideal involved. Thus Mela describes the remotest east of Asia as occupied by the three races (proceeding from south to north), Indians, Seres and Scyths; just as in a general way we might still say that eastern Asia is occupied by the Indies, China and Tartary.

Ptolemy first uses the names of Sera and Serice, the former for the chief city, the latter for the country of the Seres, and as usual defines their position with a precision far beyond what his knowledge justified—the necessary result of his system. Yet even his definition of Serice is most consistent with the view that this name indicated the Chinese empire in its northern aspect, for he carries it eastward to the 180th degree of longitude, which is also, according to his calculation, in a lower latitude the eastern boundary of the Sinae.

Ammianus Marcellinus devotes some paragraphs to a description of the Seres and their country, one passage of which is startling at first sight in its seeming allusion to the Great Wall, and in this sense it has been rashly interpreted by Lassen and by Reinaud. But Ammianus is merely converting Ptolemy’s dry tables into fine writing, and speaks only of an encircling rampart of mountains within which the spacious and happy valley of the Seres lies. It is true that Ptolemy makes his Serice extend westward to Imaus, i.e. to Pamir. But the Chinese empire did so extend at that epoch, and we find Lieut. John Wood in 1838 speaking of “China” as lying immediately beyond Pamir, just as the Arabs of the 8th century spoke of the country beyond the Jaxartes as “Sin,” and as Ptolemy spoke of “Serice” as immediately beyond Imaus.

If we fuse into one the ancient notices of the Seres and their country, omitting anomalous statements and manifest fables, the result will be somewhat as follows: “The region of the Seres is a vast and populous country, touching on the east the ocean and the limits of the habitable world, and extending west to Imaus and the confines of Bactria. The people are civilized, mild, just and frugal, eschewing collisions with their neighbours, and even shy of close intercourse, but not averse to dispose of their own products, of which raw silk is the staple, but which included also silk-stuffs, fine furs, and iron of remarkable quality.” That is manifestly a definition of the Chinese.

That Greek and Roman knowledge of the true position of so remote a nation should at best have been somewhat hazy is nothing wonderful. And it is worthy of note that the view entertained by the ancient Chinese of the Roman empire and its inhabitants, under the name of Ta-thsin, had some striking points of analogy to those views of the Chinese which are indicated in the classical descriptions of the Seres. There can be no mistaking the fact that in this case also the great object was within the horizon of vision, yet the details ascribed to it are often far from being true characteristics, being only the accidents of its outer borders.

The Medieval Cathay.—“Cathay” is the name by which the Chinese empire was known to medieval Europe, and it is in its original form (Kitai) that China is still known in Russia and to most of the nations of Central Asia. West of Russia this name has long ceased to be a geographical expression, but it is associated with a remarkable phase in the history of geography and commerce. The name first became known to Europe in the 13th century, when the vast conquests of Jenghiz Khan and his house drew a new and vivid attention to Asia. For some three centuries previously the northern provinces of China had been detached from indigenous rule, and subject to northern conquerors. The first of these foreign dynasties was of a race called Khitán issuing from the basin of the Sungari river, and supposed (but doubtfully) to have been of the blood of the modern Tunguses. The rule of this race endured for two centuries and originated the application of the name Khitât or Khitâï to northern China. The dynasty itself, known in Chinese history as Liao, or “Iron,” disappeared from China 1123, but the name remained attached to the territory which they had ruled.

The Khitán were displaced by the Nüchih (Nyûché or Chûrché) race, akin to the modern Manchus. These reigned, under the title of Kin, or “Golden,” till Jenghiz and his Mongols invaded them in turn. In 1234 the conquest of the Kin empire was completed, and the dynasty extinguished under Ogdai (Ogotai), the son and successor of Jenghiz Khan. Forty years later, in the reign of Kublai, grandson and ablest successor of Jenghiz, the Mongol rule was extended over southern China (1276), which till then had remained under a native dynasty, the Sung, holding its royal residence in a vast and splendid city, now known as Hang-chow, but then as Ling-nan, or more commonly as King-sze, i.e. the court. The southern empire was usually called by the conquerors Mantzi (or as some of the old travellers write, Mangi), a name which western Asiatics seem to have identified with Mâchîn (from the Sanskrit Mahâchîn), one of the names by which China was known to the traders from Persian and Arabian ports.

The conquests of Jenghiz and his successors had spread not only over China and the adjoining East, but westward also over all northern Asia, Persia, Armenia, part of Asia Minor and Russia, threatening to deluge Christendom. Though the Mongol wave retired, as it seemed almost by an immediate act of Providence, when Europe lay at its feet, it had levelled or covered all political barriers from the frontier of Poland to the Yellow Sea, and when western Europe recovered from its alarm, Asia lay open, as never before or since, to the inspection of Christendom. Princes, envoys, priests—half-missionary, half-envoy—visited the court of the great khan in Mongolia; and besides these, the accidents of war, commerce or opportunity carried a variety of persons from various classes of human life into the depths of Asia. “’Tis worthy of the grateful remembrance of all Christian people,” says an able missionary friar of the next age (Ricold of Monte Croce), “that just at the time when God sent forth into the Eastern parts of the world the Tatars to slay and to be slain, He also sent into the West his faithful and blessed servants, Dominic and Francis, to enlighten, instruct and build up in the faith.” Whatever on the whole may be thought of the world’s debt to Dominic, it is to the two mendicant orders, but especially to the Franciscans, that we owe a vast amount of information about medieval Asia, and, among other things, the first mention of Cathay. Among the many strangers who reached Mongolia were (1245-1247) John de Plano Carpini and (1253) William of Rubruk (Rubruquis) in French Flanders, both Franciscan friars of high intelligence, who happily have left behind them reports of their observations.

Carpini, after mentioning the wars of Jenghiz against the Kitai, goes on to speak of that people as follows: “Now these Kitai are heathen men, and have a written character of their own . . . They seem, indeed, to be kindly and polished folks enough. They have no beard, and in character of countenance have a considerable resemblance to the Mongols” [are Mongoloid, as our ethnologists would say], “but are not so broad in the face. They have a peculiar language. Their betters as craftsmen in every art practised by man are not to be found in the whole world. Their country is very rich in corn, in wine, in gold and silver, in silk, and in every kind of produce tending to the support of mankind.” The notice of Rubruk, shrewder and more graphic, runs thus: “Farther on is Great Cathay, which I take to be the country which was anciently called the Land of the Seres. For the best silk stuffs are still got from them . . . The sea lies between it and India. Those Cathayans are little fellows, speaking much through the nose, and, as is general with all those eastern people, their eyes are very narrow. They are first-rate artists in every kind, and their physicians have a thorough knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and an admirable skill in diagnosis by the pulse . . . The common money of Cathay consists of pieces of cotton-paper, about a palm in length and breadth, upon which certain lines are printed, resembling the seal of Mangu Khan. They do their writing with a pencil, such as painters paint with, and a single character of theirs comprehends several letters, so as to form a whole word.”

Here we have not only what is probably the first European notice of paper-money, but a partial recognition of the peculiarity of Chinese writing, and a perception that puts to shame the perverse boggling of later critics over the identity of these Cathayans with the Seres of classic fame.

But though these travellers saw Cathayans in the bazaars in the great khan’s camps, the first actual visitors of Cathay itself were the Polo family, and it is to the book of Marco Polo’s recollections mainly that Cathay owed the growing familiarity of its name in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is, however, a great mistake to suppose, as has often been assumed, that the residence of the Polos in that country remained an isolated fact. They were but the pioneers of a very considerable intercourse, which endured till the decay of the Mongol dynasty in Cathay, i.e. for about half a century.

We have no evidence that either in the 13th or 14th century Cathayans, i.e. Chinese, ever reached Europe, but it is possible that some did, at least in the former century. For, during the campaigns of Hulagu in Persia (1256-1265), and the reigns of his successors, Chinese engineers were employed on the banks of the Tigris, and Chinese astrologers and physicians could be consulted at Tabriz. Many diplomatic communications passed between the Hulaguid Ilkhans and the princes of Christendom. The former, as the great khan’s liegemen, still received from him their seals of state; and two of their letters which survive in the archives of France exhibit the vermilion impressions of those seals in Chinese characters—perhaps affording the earliest specimen of that character which reached western Europe.

Just as the Polos were reaching their native city (1295), after an absence of a quarter of a century, the forerunner of a new series of travellers was entering southern China by way of the Indian seas. This was John of Monte Corvino, another Franciscan who, already some fifty years of age, was plunging single-handed into that great ocean of paganism to preach the gospel according to his lights. After years of uphill and solitary toil converts began to multiply; coadjutors joined him. The Papal See became cognizant of the harvest that was being reaped in the far East. It made Friar John archbishop in Cambaluc (or Peking), with patriarchal authority, and sent him batches of suffragan bishops and preachers of his own order. The Roman Church spread; churches and Minorite houses were established at Cambaluc, at Zayton or Tsuan-chow in Fu-kien, at Yang-chow and elsewhere; and the missions flourished under the smile of the great khan, as the Jesuit missions did for a time under the Manchu emperors three centuries and a half later. Archbishop John was followed to the grave, about 1328, by mourning multitudes of pagans and Christians alike. Several of the bishops and friars who served under him have left letters or other memoranda of their experience, e.g. Andrew, bishop of Zayton, John of Cora, afterwards archbishop of Sultania in Persia, and Odoric of Pordenone, whose fame as a pious traveller won from the vox populi at his funeral a beatification which the church was fain to seal. The only ecclesiastical narrative regarding Cathay, of which we are aware, subsequent to the time of Archbishop John, is that which has been gathered from the recollections of Giovanni de’ Marignolli, a Florentine Franciscan, who was sent by Pope Benedict XII. with a mission to the great khan, in return for one from that potentate which arrived at Avignon from Cathay in 1338, and who spent four years (1342-1346) at the court of Cambaluc as legate of the Holy See. These recollections are found dispersed incoherently over a chronicle of Bohemia which the traveller wrote by order of the emperor Charles IV., whose chaplain he was after his return.

But intercourse during the period in question was not confined to ecclesiastical channels. Commerce also grew up, and flourished for a time even along the vast line that stretches from Genoa and Florence to the marts of Cheh-kiang and Fu-kien. The record is very fragmentary and imperfect, but many circumstances and incidental notices show how frequently the remote East was reached by European traders in the first half of the 14th century—a state of things which it is very difficult to realize when we see how all those regions, when reopened to knowledge two centuries later, seemed to be discoveries as new as the empires which, about the same time, Cortes and Pizarro were conquering in the West.

This commercial intercourse probably began about 1310-1320. John of Monte Corvino, writing in 1305, says it was twelve years since he had heard any news from Europe; the only Western stranger who had arrived in all that time being a certain Lombard chirurgeon (probably one of the Patarini who got hard measure at home in those days), who had spread the most incredible blasphemies, about the Roman Curia and the order of St Francis. Yet even on his first entrance to Cathay Friar John had been accompanied by one Master Peter of Lucolongo, whom he describes as a faithful Christian man and a great merchant, and who seems to have remained many years at Peking. The letter of Andrew, bishop of Zayton (1326), quotes the opinion of Genoese merchants at that port regarding a question of exchanges. Odoric, who was in Cathay about 1323-1327, refers for confirmation of the wonders which he related of the great city of Cansay (i.e. King-sze, or Hang-chow) to the many persons whom he had met at Venice since his return, who had themselves been witnesses of those marvels. And Marignolli, some twenty years later, found attached to one of the convents at Zayton, in Fu-kien, a fondaco or factory for the accommodation of the Christian merchants.

But by far the most distinct and notable evidence of the importance and frequency of European trade with Cathay, of which silk and silk goods formed the staple, is to be found in the commercial hand-book (c. 1340) of Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, a clerk and factor of the great Florentine house of the Bardi, which was brought to the ground about that time by its dealings with Edward III. of England. This book, called by its author Libro di divisamenti di Paesi, is a sort of trade-guide, devoting successive chapters to the various ports and markets of his time, detailing the nature of imports and exports at each, the duties and exactions, the local customs of business, weights, measures and money. The first two chapters of this work contain instructions for the merchant proceeding to Cathay; and it is evident, from the terms used, that the road thither was not unfrequently travelled by European merchants, from whom Pegolotti had derived his information. The route which he describes lay by Azov, Astrakhan, Khiva, Otrar (on the Jaxartes), Almálik (Gulja in Ili), Kan-chow (in Kan-suh), and so to Hang-chow and Peking. Particulars are given as to the silver ingots which formed the currency of Tatary, and the paper-money of Cathay. That the ventures on this trade were not insignificant is plain from the example taken by the author to illustrate the question of expenses on the journey, which is that of a merchant investing in goods there to the amount of some £12,000 (i.e. in actual gold value, not as calculated by any fanciful and fallacious equation of values).

Of the same remarkable phase of history that we are here considering we have also a number of notices by Mahommedan writers. The establishment of the Mongol dynasty in Persia, by which the great khan was acknowledged as lord paramount, led (as we have already noticed in part) to a good deal of intercourse. And some of the Persian historians, writing at Tabriz, under the patronage of the Mongol princes, have told us much about Cathay, especially Rashiduddin, the great minister and historian of the dynasty (died 1318). We have also in the book of the Moorish traveller Ibn Batuta, who visited China about 1347-1348, very many curious and in great part true notices, though it is not possible to give credence to the whole of this episode in his extensive travels.

About the time of the traveller first named the throne of the degenerate descendants of Jenghiz began to totter to its fall, and we have no knowledge of any Frank visitor to Cathay in that age later than Marignolli; missions and merchants alike disappear from the field. We hear, indeed, once and again of ecclesiastics despatched from Avignon, but they go forth into the darkness, and are heard of no more. Islam, with all its jealousy and exclusiveness, had recovered its grasp over Central Asia; the Nestorian Christianity which once had prevailed so widely was vanishing, and the new rulers of China reverted to the old national policy, and held the foreigner at arm’s length. Night descended upon the farther East, covering Cathay with those cities of which the old travellers had told such marvels, Cambaluc and Cansay, Zayton and Chinkalan. And when the veil rose before the Portuguese and Spanish explorers of the 16th century, those names are heard no more. In their stead we have China, Peking, Hangchow, Chinchew, Canton. Not only were the old names forgotten, but the fact that those places had ever been known before was forgotten also. Gradually new missionaries went forth from Rome—Jesuits and Dominicans now; new converts were made, and new vicariates constituted; but the old Franciscan churches, and the Nestorianism with which they had battled, had alike been swallowed up in the ocean of pagan indifference. In time a wreck or two floated to the surface—a MS. Latin Bible or a piece of Catholic sculpture; and when the intelligent missionaries called Marco Polo to mind, and studied his story, one and another became convinced that Cathay and China were one.

But for a long time all but a sagacious few continued to regard Cathay as a region distinct from any of the new-found Indies; whilst map-makers, well on into the 17th century, continued to represent it as a great country lying entirely to the north of China, and stretching to the Arctic Sea.

It was Cathay, with its outlying island of Zipangu (Japan), that Columbus sought to reach by sailing westward, penetrated as he was by his intense conviction of the smallness of the earth, and of the vast extension of Asia eastward; and to the day of his death he was full of the imagination of the proximity of the domain of the great khan to the islands and coasts which he had discovered. And such imaginations are curiously embodied in some of the maps of the early 16th century, which intermingle on the same coast-line the new discoveries from Labrador to Brazil with the provinces and rivers of Marco Polo’s Cathay.

Cathay had been the aim of the first voyage of the Cabots in 1496, and it continued to be the object of many adventurous voyages by English and Hollanders to the N.W. and N.E. till far on in the 16th century. At least one memorable land-journey also was made by Englishmen, of which the exploration of a trade-route to Cathay was a chief object—that in which Anthony Jenkinson and the two Johnsons reached Bokhara by way of Russia in 1558-1559. The country of which they collected notices at that city was still known to them only as Cathay, and its great capital only as Cambaluc.

Cathay as a supposed separate entity may be considered to come to an end with the journey of Benedict Goës, the lay-Jesuit. This admirable person was, in 1603, despatched through Central Asia by his superiors in India with the specific object of determining whether the Cathay of old European writers and of modern Mahommedans was or was not a distinct region from that China of which parallel marvels had now for some time been recounted. Benedict, as one of his brethren pronounced his epitaph, “seeking Cathay found Heaven.” He died at Suchow, the frontier city of China, but not before he had ascertained that China and Cathay were the same. After the publication of the narrative of his journey (in the Expeditio Christiana apud Sinas of Trigault, 1615) inexcusable ignorance alone could continue to distinguish between them, but such ignorance lingered many years longer.  (H. Y.) 

(B)—Chinese Origins.

Chinese literature contains no record of any kind which might justify us in assuming that the nucleus of the nation may have immigrated from some other part of the world; and the several ingenious theories pointing to Babylonia, Egypt, India, Khotan, and other seats of ancient civilization as the starting-points of ethnical wanderings must be dismissed as untenable. Whether the Chinese were seated in their later homes from times immemorial, as their own historians assume, or whether they arrived there from abroad, as some foreign scholars have pretended, cannot be proved to the satisfaction of historical critics. Indeed, anthropological arguments seem to contradict the idea of any connexion with Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, or Indians. The earliest hieroglyphics of the Chinese, ascribed by them to the Shang dynasty (second millennium B.C.), betray the Mongol character of the nation that invented them by the decided obliquity of the human eye wherever it appears in an ideograph. In a pair of eyes as shown in the most ancient pictorial or sculptural representations in the west, the four corners may be connected by a horizontal straight line; whereas lines drawn through the eyes of one of the oldest Chinese hieroglyphics cross each other at a sharp angle, as shown in the accompanying diagrams:—

EB1911 China - Egyptian hieroglyph - eyes.jpg
EB1911 China - ancient glyph - eyes.jpg

This does not seem to speak for racial consanguinity any more than the well-known curled heads and bearded faces of Assyrian sculptures as compared to the straight-haired and almost beardless Chinese. Similarities in the creation of cultural elements may, it is true, be shown to exist on either side, even at periods when mutual intercourse was probably out of the question; but this may be due to uniformity in the construction of the human brain, which leads man in different parts of the world to arrive at similar ideas under similar conditions, or to prehistoric connexions which it is as impossible for us to trace now as is the origin of mankind itself. Our standpoint as regards the origin of the Chinese race is, therefore, that of the agnostic. All we can do is to reproduce the tradition as it is found in Chinese literature. This tradition, as applying to the very earliest periods, may be nothing more than historical superstition, yet it has its historical importance. Supposing it were possible to prove that none of the persons mentioned in the Bible from Adam down to the Apostles ever lived, even the most sceptical critic would still have to admit that the history of a great portion of the human race has been materially affected by the belief in the examples of their alleged lives. Something similar may be said of the alleged earliest history of the Chinese with its model emperors and detestable tyrants, the accounts of which, whether based on reality or not, have exercised much influence on the development of the nation.

The Chinese have developed their theories of prehistoric life. Speculation as to the origin and gradual evolution of their civilization has resulted in the expression of views by authors who may have reconstructed their systems from remnants of ancestral life revealed by excavations, or from observation of neighbouring nations living in a state of barbarism. This may account for a good deal of the repetition found in the Chinese mythological and legendary narratives, the personal and chronological part of which may have been invented merely as a framework for illustrating social and cultural progress. The scene of action of all the prehistoric figures from P‘an-ku, the first human being, down to the beginning of real history has been laid in a part of the world which has never been anything but Chinese territory. P‘an-ku’s epoch, millions of years ago, was followed by ten distinct periods of sovereigns, including the “Heavenly emperors,” the “Terrestrial emperors,” and the “Human emperors,” the Yu-ch‘au or “Nest-builders,” and Sui-jön, the “Fire Producer,” the Prometheus of the Chinese, who borrowed fire from the stars for the benefit of man. Several of the characteristic phases of cultural progress and social organization have been ascribed to this mythological period. Authors of less fertile imagination refer them to later times, when the heroes of their accounts appear in shapes somewhat resembling human beings rather than as gods and demigods.

The Chinese themselves look upon Fu-hi as their first historical emperor; and they place his lifetime in the years 2852-2738 B.C. Some accounts represent him as a supernatural being; and we see him depicted as a human figure with a fish tail something like a mermaid. He is credited with having established social order among his people, who, before him, had lived like animals in the wilds. The social chaos out of which Chinese society arose is described as being characterized by the absence of family life; for “children knew only their mothers and not their fathers.” Fu-hi introduced matrimony; and in so doing he placed man as the husband at the head of the family and abolished the original matriarchate. This quite corresponds with his views on the dualism in natural philosophy, of which he is supposed to have laid the germs by the invention of the so-called pa-kua, eight symbols, each consisting of three parallel lines, broken or continuous. The continuous lines represented the male element in nature; the broken ones, the female. It is characteristic that the same ruler who assigned to man his position as the head of the family is also credited with the invention of that natural philosophy of the “male and female principles,” according to which all good things and qualities were held to be male, while their less sympathetic opposites were female, such as heaven and earth, sun and moon, day and night, south and north. If these traditions really represent the oldest prehistoric creations of the popular mind, it would almost seem that the most ancient Chinese shared that naïve sentiment which caused our own forefathers to invent gender. The difference is that, with us, the conception survives merely in the language, where the article or suffixes mark gender, whereas with the Chinese, whose language does not express gender, it survives in their system of metaphysics. For all their attempts at fathoming the secrets of nature are based on the idea that male or female powers are inherent in all matter.

To the same Emperor Fu-hi are ascribed many of the elementary inventions which raise man from the life of a brute to that of a social being. He taught his people to hunt, to fish, and to keep flocks; he constructed musical instruments, and replaced a kind of knot-writing previously in use by a system of hieroglyphics. All this cannot of course be considered as history; but it shows that the authors of later centuries who credited Fu-hi with certain inventions were not quite illogical in starting from the matriarchal chaos, after which he is said to have organized society with occupations corresponding to those of a period of hunting, fishing and herding. This period was bound to be followed by a further step towards the final development of the nation’s social condition; and we find it quite logically succeeded by a period of agricultural life, personified in the Emperor, Shön-nung, supposed to have lived in the twenty-eighth century B.C. His name may be freely translated as “Divine Labourer”; and to him the Chinese ascribe the invention of agricultural implements, and the discovery of the medicinal properties of numerous plants.

The third historical emperor was Huang-ti, the “Yellow emperor,” according to the literal translation. Ssï-ma Ts‘ién, the Herodotus of the Chinese, begins his history with him; but Fu-hi and Shön-nung are referred to in texts much older than this historian, though many details relating to their alleged reigns have been added in later times. Huang-ti extended the boundaries of the empire, described as being originally confined to a limited territory near the banks of the Yellow river and the present city of Si-an-fu. Here were the sites of cities used as capitals of the empire under various names during long periods since remote antiquity. To Huang-ti, whose reign is said to have commenced in 2704 according to one source and in 2491 according to another, are ascribed most of the cultural innovations which historians were not able otherwise to locate within historical times. Under Huang-ti we find the first mention of a nation called the Hun-yü, who occupied the north of his empire and with whom he is represented to have engaged in warfare. The Chinese identify this name with that of the Hiung-nu, their old hereditary enemy and the ancestors of Attila’s Huns. Even though the details of these legendary accounts may deserve little confidence, there must have been an old tradition that a nation called the Hun-yü, occupying the northern confines of China, were the ancestors of the Hiung-nu tribes, well known in historical times, a scion of whose great khans settled in territory belonging to the king of Sogdiana during the first century B.C., levied tribute from his neighbours, the Alans, and with his small but warlike horde initiated that era of migrations which led to the overrunning of Europe with Central-Asiatic Tatars.

Fu-hi, Shön-nung and Huang-ti represent a group of rulers comprised by the Chinese under the name of San-huang, i.e. “The Three Emperors.” Although we have no reason to deny their existence, the details recorded concerning them contain enough in the way of improbabilities to justify us in considering them as mythical creations. The chronology, too, is apparently quite fictitious; for the time allotted to their reigns is much too long as a term of government for a single human life, and, on the other hand, much too short, if we measure it by the cultural progress said to have been brought about in it. Fu-hi’s period of hunting life must have lasted many generations before it led to the agricultural period represented by the name Shön-nung; and this period in turn could not possibly have led within a little more than one hundred years to the enormous progress ascribed to Huang-ti. Under the latter ruler a regular board of historians is said to have been organized with Ts‘ang-kié as president, who is known also as Shi-huang, i.e. “the Emperor of Historians,” the reputed inventor of hieroglyphic writing placed by some authors into the Fu-hi period and worshipped as Tz‘ï-shön, i.e. “God of writing,” to the present day. Huang-ti is supposed to have been the first builder of temples, houses and cities; to have regulated the calendar, to which he added the intercalary month; and to have devised means of traffic by cars drawn by oxen and by boats to ply on the lakes and rivers of his empire. His wife, known as “the lady of Si-ling,” is credited with the invention of the several manipulations in the rearing of silkworms and the manufacture of silk. The invention of certain flutes, combined to form a kind of reed organ, led to a deeper study of music; and in order to construct these instruments with the necessary accuracy a system of weights and measures had to be devised. Huang-ti’s successors, Shau-hau, Chuan-hü, and Ti-k‘u, were less prominent, though each of them had their particular merits.

The Model Emperors.—Most of the stories regarding the “Three Emperors” are told in comparatively late records. The Shu-king, sometimes described as the “Canon of History,” our oldest source of pre-Confucian history, supposed to have been edited by Confucius himself, knows nothing of Fu-hi, Shön-nung and Huang-ti; but it begins by extolling the virtues of the emperor Yau and his successor Shun. Yau and Shun are probably the most popular names in Chinese history as taught in China. Whatever good qualities may be imagined of the rulers of a great nation have been heaped upon their heads; and the example of their lives has at all times been held up by Confucianists as the height of perfection in a sovereign’s character. Yau, whose reign has been placed by the fictitious standard chronology of the Chinese in the years 2357-2258, and about 200 years later by the less extravagant “Annals of the Bamboo Books,” is represented as the patron of certain astronomers who had to watch the heavenly bodies; and much has been written about the reputed astronomical knowledge of the Chinese in this remote period. Names like Deguignes, Gaubil, Biot and Schlegel are among those of the investigators. On the other side are the sceptics, who maintain that later editors interpolated statements which could have been made only with the astronomical knowledge possessed by their own contemporaries. According to an old legend, Shun banished “the four wicked ones” to distant territories. One of these bore the name T‘au-t‘ié, i.e. “Glutton”; called also San-miau. T‘au-t‘ié is also the name of an ornament, very common on the surface of the most ancient bronze vessels, showing the distorted face of some ravenous animal. The San-miau as a tribe are said to have been the forefathers of the Tangutans, the Tibetans and the Miau-tz‘ï in the south-west of China. This legend may be interpreted as indicating that the non-Chinese races in the south-west have come to their present seats by migration from Central China in remote antiquity. During Yau’s reign a catastrophe reminding one of the biblical deluge threatened the Chinese world. The emperor held his minister of works, Kun, responsible for this misfortune, probably an inundation of the Yellow river such as has been witnessed by the present generation. Its horrors are described with poetical exaggeration in the Shu-king. When the efforts to stop the floods had proved futile for nine years, Yau wished to abdicate, and he selected a virtuous young man of the name of Shun as his successor. Among the legends told about this second model emperor is the story that he had a board before his palace on which every subject was permitted to note whatever faults he had to find with his government, and that by means of a drum suspended at his palace gate attention might be drawn to any complaint that was to be made to him. Since Kun had not succeeded in stopping the floods, he was dismissed and his son Yü was appointed in his stead. Probably the waters began to subside of their own accord, but Yü has been praised up as the national hero who, by his engineering works, saved his people from utter destruction. His labours in this direction are described in a special section of the Confucian account known as Yü-kung, i.e. “Tribute of Yü.” Yü’s merit has in the sequel been exaggerated so as to credit him with more than human powers. He is supposed to have cut canals through the hills, in order to furnish outlets to the floods, and to have performed feats of engineering compared to which, according to Von Richthofen, the construction of the St Gotthard tunnel without blasting materials would be child’s play, and all this within a few years.

The Hia Dynasty.—As a reward for his services Yü was selected to succeed Shun as emperor. He divided the empire into nine provinces, the description of which in the Yü-kung chapter of the “Canon of History” bears a suspicious resemblance to later accounts. Yü’s reign has been assigned to the years 2205-2198, and the Hia Dynasty, of which he became the head, has been made to extend to the overthrow in 1766 B.C. of Kié, its eighteenth and last emperor, a cruel tyrant of the most vicious and contemptible character. Among the Hia emperors we find Chung-k‘ang (2159-2147), whose reign has attracted the attention of European scholars by the mention of an eclipse of the sun, which his court astronomers had failed to predict. European astronomers and sinologues have brought much acumen to bear on the problem involved in the Shu-king account in trying to decide which of the several eclipses known to have occurred about that time was identical with the one observed in China under Chung-k‘ang.

The Shang, or Yin, Dynasty.—This period, which preceded the classical Chóu dynasty, is made to extend from 1766 to 1122 B.C. We must now be prepared to see an energetic or virtuous ruler at the head of a dynasty and either a cruel tyrant or a contemptible weakling at the end of it. It seems natural that this should be so; but Chinese historians, like the writers of Roman history, have a tendency to exaggerate both good and bad qualities. Ch‘öng-tang, its first sovereign, is represented as a model of goodness and of humane feeling towards his subjects. Even the animal world benefited by his kindness, inasmuch as he abolished all useless torture in the chase. His great minister I Yin, who had greatly assisted him in securing the throne, served two of his successors. P‘an-köng (1401) and Wu-ting (1324) are described as good rulers among a somewhat indifferent set of monarchs. The Shang dynasty, like the Hia, came to an end through the reckless vice and cruelty of a tyrant (Chóu-sin with his consort Ta-ki). China had even in those days to maintain her position as a civilized nation by keeping at bay the barbarous nations by which she was surrounded. Chief among these were the ancestors of the Hiung-nu tribes, or Huns, on the northern and western boundaries. To fight them, to make pacts and compromises with them, and to befriend them with gifts so as to keep them out of the Imperial territories, had been the rôle of a palatinate on the western frontier, the duchy of Chóu, while the court of China with its vicious emperor gave itself up to effeminate luxury. Chóu-sin’s evil practices had aroused the indignation of the palatine, subsequently known as Wön-wang, who in vain remonstrated with the emperor’s criminal treatment of his subjects. The strength and integrity of Wön-wang’s character had made him the corner-stone of that important epoch; and his name is one of the best known both in history and in literature. The courage with which he spoke his mind in rebuking his unworthy liege lord caused the emperor to imprison him, his great popularity alone saving his life. During his incarceration, extending over three years, he compiled the I-king, or “Canon of Changes,” supposed to be the oldest book of Chinese literature, and certainly the one most extensively studied by the nation. Wön-wang’s son, known as Wu-wang, was destined to avenge his father and the many victims of Chóu-sin’s cruelty. Under his leadership the people rose against the emperor and, with the assistance of his allies, “men of the west,” possibly ancestors of the Huns, overthrew the Shang dynasty after a decisive battle, whereupon Chóu-sin committed suicide by setting fire to his palace.

Chóu Dynasty.—Wu-wang, the first emperor of the new dynasty, named after his duchy of Chóu on the western frontier, was greatly assisted in consolidating the empire by his brother, Chóu-kung, i.e. “Duke of Chóu.” As the loyal prime-minister of Wu-wang and his successor the duke of Chóu laid the foundation of the government institutions of the dynasty, which became the prototype of most of the characteristic features in Chinese public and social life down to recent times. The brothers and adherents of the new sovereign were rewarded with fiefs which in the sequel grew into as many states. China thus developed into a confederation, resembling that of the German empire, inasmuch as a number of independent states, each having its own sovereign, were united under one liege lord, the emperor, styled “The Son of Heaven,” who as high priest of the nation reigned in the name of Heaven. The emperor represented the nation in sacrificing and praying to God. His relations with his vassals and government officials, and those of the heads of the vassal states with their subjects as well as of the people among themselves were regulated by the most rigid ceremonial. The dress to be worn, the speeches to be made, and the postures to be assumed on all possible occasions, whether at court or in private life, were subject to regulations. The duke of Chóu, or whoever may have been the creator of this system, showed deep wisdom in his speculations, if he based that immutability of government which in the sequel became a Chinese characteristic, on the physical and moral immutability of individuals by depriving them of all spontaneous action in public and private life. Originally and nominally the emperor’s power as the ruler over his vassals, who again ruled in his name, was unquestionable; and the first few generations of the dynasty saw no decline of the original strength of central power. A certain loyalty based on the traditional ancestral worship counteracted the desire to revolt. The rightful heir to the throne was responsible to his ancestors as his subjects were to theirs. “We have to do as our ancestors did,” the people argued; “and since they obeyed the ancestors of our present sovereign, we have to be loyal to him.” Interference with this time-honoured belief would have amounted to a rupture, as it were, in the nation’s religious relations, and as long as the people looked upon the emperor as the Son of Heaven, his moral power would outweigh strong armies sent against him in rebellion. The time came soon enough when central power depended merely on this spontaneous loyalty.

Not all the successors of Wu-wang profited by the lessons given them by past history. Incapacity, excessive severity and undue weakness had created discontent and loosened the relations between the emperor and his vassals. Increase in the extent of the empire greatly added to this decline of central power. For the emperor’s own dominion was centrally situated and surrounded by the several confederate states; its geographical position prevented it from participating in the general aggrandisement of China, and increase in territory, population and prestige had become the privilege of boundary states. Tatar tribes in the north and west and the aboriginal Man barbarians in the south were forced by warfare to yield land, or enticed to exchange it for goods, or induced to mingle with their Chinese neighbours, thus producing a mixed population combining the superior intelligence of the Chinese race with the energetic and warlike spirit of barbarians. These may be the main reasons which gradually undermined the Imperial authority and brought some of the confederate states to the front, so as to overshadow the authority of the Son of Heaven himself, whose military and financial resources were inferior to those of several of his vassals. A few out of the thirty-five sovereigns of the Chóu dynasty were distinguished by extraordinary qualities. Mu-wang of the 10th century performed journeys far beyond the western frontier of his empire, and was successful in warfare against the Dog Barbarians, described as the ancestors of the Hiung-nu, or Huns. The reign of Süan-wang (827-782 B.C.) was filled with warfare against the Tangutans and the Huns, called Hién-yün in a contemporaneous poem of the “Book of Odes”; but the most noteworthy reign in this century is that of the lascivious Yu-wang, the oppressiveness of whose government had caused a bard represented in the “Book of Odes” to complain about the emperor’s evil ways. The writer of this poem refers to certain signs showing that Heaven itself is indignant at Yu-wang’s crimes. One of these signs was an eclipse of the sun which had recently occurred, the date and month being clearly stated. This date corresponds exactly with August 29, 776 B.C.; and astronomers have calculated that on that precise date an eclipse of the sun was visible in North China. This, of course, cannot be a mere accident; and since the date falls into the sixth year of Yu-wang’s reign, the coincidence is bound to increase our confidence in that part of Chinese history. Our knowledge of it, however, is due to mere chance; for the record of the eclipse would probably not have been preserved until our days had it not been interpreted as a kind of tekel upharsin owing to the peculiarity of the political situation. It does not follow, therefore, as some foreign critics assume, that the historical period begins as late as Yu-wang’s reign. China has no architectural witnesses to testify to her antiquity as Egypt has in her pyramids and temple ruins; but the sacrificial bronze vessels of the Shang and Chóu dynasties, with their characteristic ornaments and hieroglyphic inscriptions, seem to support the historical tradition inasmuch as natural development may be traced by the analysis of their artistic and paleographic phases. Counterfeiters, say a thousand years later, could not have resisted the temptation to introduce patterns and hieroglyphic shapes of later periods; and whatever bronzes have been assigned to the Shang dynasty, i.e. some time in the second millennium B.C., exhibit the Shang characteristics. The words occurring in their inscriptions, carefully collected, may be shown to be confined to ideas peculiar to primitive states of cultural life, not one of them pointing to an invention we may suspect to be of later origin. But, apart from this, it seems a matter of individual judgment how far back beyond that indisputable year 776 B.C. a student will date the beginning of real history.

In the 7th century central authority had declined to such an extent that the emperor was merely the nominal head of the confederation, the hegemony in the empire falling in turn to one of the five principal states, for which reason the Chinese speak of a period of the “Five Leaders.” The state of Ts‘i, corresponding to North Shan-tung, had begun to overshadow the other states by unprecedented success in economic enterprise, due to the prudent advice of its prime minister, the philosopher Kuan-tzï. Other states attained leadership by success in warfare. Among these leaders we see duke Mu of T‘sin (659 B.C.), a state on the western boundary which was so much influenced by amalgamation with its Hunnic neighbours that the purely Chinese states regarded it as a barbarian country. The emperor was in those days a mere shadow; several of his vassals had grown strong enough to claim and be granted the title “king,” and they all tried to annihilate their neighbours by ruse in diplomacy and by force of arms, without referring to their common ruler for arbitration, as they were in duty bound. In this bellum omnium contra omnes the state of Ts‛in, in spite of repeated reverses, remained in possession of the field.

The period of this general struggle is spoken of by Chinese historians as that of “The Contending States.” Like that of the “Five Leaders” it is full of romance; and the examples of heroism, cowardice, diplomatic skill and philosophical equanimity which fill the pages of its history have become the subject of elegant literature in prose and poetry. The political development of the Chóu dynasty is the exact counterpart of that of its spiritual life as shown in the contemporaneous literature. The orthodox conservative spirit which reflects the ethical views of the emperor and his royal partisans is represented by the name Confucius (551–479 b.c.). The great sage had collected old traditions and formulated the moral principles which had been dormant in the Chinese nation for centuries. His doctrines tended to support the maintenance of central power; so did those of other members of his school, especially Mencius. Filial love showed itself as obedience to the parents in the family and as loyalty to the emperor and his government in public life. It was the highest virtue, according to the Confucian school. The history of the nation as taught in the Shu-king was in its early part merely an illustration of Confucianist ideas about good and bad government. The perpetual advice to rulers was: “Be like Yau, Shun and Yü, and you will be right.” Confucianism was dominant during the earlier centuries of the Chóu dynasty, whose lucky star began to wane when doctrines opposed to it got the upper hand. The philosophical schools built up on the doctrines of Lau-tzï had in the course of generations become antagonistic, and found favour with those who did not endorse that loyalty to the emperor demanded by Mencius; so had other thinkers, some of whom had preached morals which were bound to break up all social relations, like the philosopher of egotism, Yang Chu, according to Mencius disloyalty personified and the very reverse of his ideal, the duke of Chóu. The egotism recommended by Yang Chu to the individual had begun to be practised on a large scale by the contending states, their governments and sovereigns, some of whom had long discarded Confucian rites under the influence of Tatar neighbours. It appears that the anti-Confucian spirit which paved the way towards the final extinction of Wu-wang’s dynasty received its chief nourishment from the Tatar element in the population of the northern and western boundary states. Among these Ts‛in was the most prominent. Having placed itself in the possession of the territories of nearly all of the remaining states, Ts‛in made war against the last shadow emperor, Nan-wang who had attempted to form an alliance against the powerful usurper, with the result that the western part of the Chóu dominion was lost to the aggressor.

Nan-wang died soon after (256 b.c.), and a relative whom he had appointed regent was captured in 249 b.c., when the king of Ts‛in put an end to this last remnant of the once glorious Chóu dynasty by annexing its territory. The king had already secured the possession of the Nine Tripods, huge bronze vases said to have been cast by the emperor Yü as representing the nine divisions of his empire and since preseryed in the treasuries of all the various emperors as a symbol of Imperial power. With the loss of these tripods Nan-wang had forfeited the right to call himself “Son of Heaven.” Another prerogative was the offering of sacrifice to Shang-ti, the Supreme Ruler, or God, with whom only the emperor was supposed to communicate. The king of Ts‛in had performed the ceremony as early as 253 b.c. (F. H.*) 

(C)—From the Ts‛in Dynasty to 1875.

After the fall of the Chóu dynasty a kind of interregnum followed during which China was practically without an emperor. This was the time when the state of Ts‛in asserted itself as the leader and finally as the master of all the Ts‛in dynasty 249–210 B.C. contending states. Its king, Chau-siang, who died in 251 b.c., though virtually emperor, abstained from adopting the imperial title. He was succeeded by his son, Hiao-wên Wang, who died after a three days’ reign. Chwan-siang Wang, his son and successor, was a man of no mark. He died in 246 b.c. giving place to Shi Hwang-ti, “the first universal emperor.” This sovereign was then only thirteen, but he speedily made his influence felt everywhere. He chose Hien-yang, the modern Si-gan Fu, as his capital, and built there a Shi Hwang-ti. magnificent palace, which was the wonder and admiration of his contemporaries. He abolished the feudal system, and divided the country into provinces over whom he set officers directly responsible to himself. He constructed roads through the empire, he formed canals, and erected numerous and handsome public buildings.

Having settled the internal affairs of his kingdom, he turned his attention to the enemies beyond his frontier. Chief among these were the Hiung-nu Tatars, whose attacks had for years disquieted the Chinese and neighbouring principalities. Against these foes he marched with an army of 300,000 men, exterminating those in the neighbourhood of China, and driving the rest into Mongolia. On his return from this campaign he was called upon to face a formidable rebellion in Ho-nan, which had been set on foot by the adherents of the feudal princes whom he had dispossessed. Having crushed the rebellion, he marched southwards and subdued the tribes on the south of the Nan-shan ranges, i.e. the inhabitants of the modern provinces of Fu-kien, Kwang-tung and Kwang-si. The limits of his empire were thus as nearly as possible those of modern China proper. One monument remains to bear witness to his energy. Finding that the northern states of Ts‛in, Chao and Yen were building lines of fortification along their northern frontier for protection against the Hiung-nu, he conceived the idea of building one gigantic wall, which was to stretch across the whole northern limit of the huge empire from the sea to the farthest western corner of the modern province of Kan-suh. This work was begun under his immediate supervision in 214 b.c. His reforming zeal made him unpopular with the upper classes. Schoolmen and pedants held up to the admiration of the people the heroes of the feudal times and the advantages of the system they administered. Seeing in this propaganda danger to the state Shi Hwang-ti determined to break once and for all with the past. To this end he ordered the destruction of all books having reference to the past history of the empire, and many scholars were put to death for failing in obedience to it. (See infra § Chinese Literature, §§ History.) The measure was unpopular and on his death (210 b.c.) rebellion broke out. His son and successor Erh-shi, a weak and debauched youth, was murdered after having offered a feeble resistance to his enemies. His son Tsze-yung surrendered to Liu Pang, the prince of Han, one of the two generals who were the leaders of the rebellion. He afterwards fell into the hands of Hiang Yu, the other chieftain, who put him and his family and associates to death. Hiang Yu aspiring to imperial honours, war broke out between him and Liu Pang. After five years’ conflict Hiang Yu was killed in a decisive battle before Wu-kiang. Liu Pang was then proclaimed emperor (206 b.c.) under the title of Kao-ti, and the new line was styled the Han dynasty.

Kao-ti established his capital at Lo-yang in Ho-nan, and afterwards removed it to Chang-an in Shen-si. Having founded his right to rebel on the oppressive nature of the laws promulgated by Shi Hwang-ti, he abolished the Han
206 B.C.
ordinances of Ts‛in, except that referring to the destruction of the books—for, like his great predecessor, he dreaded the influence exercised by the literati—and he exchanged the worship of the gods of the soil of Ts‛in for that of those of Han, his native state. His successor Hwei-ti (194–179 b.c.), however, gave every encouragement to literature, and appointed a commission to restore as far as possible the texts which had been destroyed by Shi Hwang-ti. In this the commission was very successful. It was discovered that in many cases the law had been evaded, while in numerous instances scholars were found to write down from memory the text of books of which all copies had been destroyed, though in some cases the purity of the text is doubtful and in other cases there were undoubted forgeries. A period of repose was now enjoyed by the empire. There was peace within its borders, and its frontiers remained unchallenged, except by the Hiung-nu, who suffered many severe defeats. Thwarted in their attacks on China, these marauders attacked the kingdom of the Yueh-chi, which had grown up in the western extremity of Kan-suh, and after much fighting drove their victims along the T‛ien-shan-nan-lu to the territory between Turkestan and the Caspian Sea. This position of affairs suggested to the emperor the idea of forming an offensive and defensive alliance with the Yueh-chi against the Hiung-nu. With this object the general Chang K‛ien was sent as an ambassador to western Tatary. After having been twice imprisoned by the Hiung-nu he returned to China. Chang K‛ien had actually reached the court of the Yueh-chi, or Indo-Scythians as they were called owing to their having become masters of India later on, and paid a visit to the kingdom of Bactria, recently conquered by the Yueh-chi. His report on the several kingdoms of western Asia opened up a new world to the Chinese, and numerous elements of culture, plants and animals were then imported for the first time from the west into China. While in Bactria Chan K‛ien’s attention was first drawn to the existence of India, and attempts to send expeditions, though at first fruitless, finally led to its discovery. Under Wu-ti (140-86 b.c.) the power of the Hiung-nu was broken and eastern Turkestan changed into a Chinese colony, through which caravans could safely pass to bring back merchandise and art treasures from Persia and the Roman market. By the Hans the feudal system was restored in a modified form; 103 feudal principalities were created, but they were more or less under the jurisdiction of civil governors appointed to administer the thirteen chows (provinces) into which the country was divided. About the beginning of the Christian era Wang Mang rose in revolt against the infant successor of P‛ing-ti (a.d. 1), and in a.d. 9 proclaimed himself emperor. He, however, only gained the suffrages of a portion of the nation, and before long his oppressive acts estranged his supporters. In a.d. 23 Liu Siu, one of the princes of Han, completely defeated him. His head was cut off, and his body was torn in pieces by his own soldiery.

Liu Siu, was proclaimed emperor under the title of Kwang-wu-ti, reigned from a.d. 58 to 76. Having fixed on Lo-yang in Ho-nan as his capital, the line of which he was the first emperor became known as the Eastern Han Eastern Han dynasty, A.D. 23. dynasty. It is also known as the Later Han dynasty. During the reign of his successor Ming-ti, a.d. 65, Buddhism was introduced from India into China (see ante § Religion). About the same time the celebrated general Pan Ch‛ao was sent on an embassy to the king of Shen-shen, a small state of Turkestan, near the modern Pidjan. Before long he added the states of Shen-shen, Khotan, Kucha and Kashgar as apanages to the Chinese crown, and for a considerable period the country enjoyed prosperity. The Han dynasty (including in the term the Eastern Han dynasty) has been considered the first national dynasty and is one of the most famous in China; nor has any ruling family been more popular. The Chinese, especially the northern Chinese, still call themselves “the sons of Han.” The wealth and trade as well as the culture of the country was greatly developed, and the competitive examinations for literary degrees instituted. The homogeneity of the nation was so firmly established that subsequent dissensions and conquests could not alter fundamentally the character of the nation.

Towards the end of the 2nd century the power of the Eastern Hans declined. In 173 a virulent pestilence, which continued for eleven years, broke out. A magical cure for this plague was said to have been discovered by a Taoist priest named Chang Chio, who in a single month won a sufficiently large following to enable him to gain possession of the northern provinces of the empire. He was, however, defeated by Ts‛aou Ts‛aou, another aspirant to imperial honours, whose son, Ts‛aou P‛ei, on the death of Hien-ti (a.d. 220), proclaimed himself emperor, adopting the title of Wei as the appellation Wei dynasty. of his dynasty. There were then, however, two other claimants to the throne, Liu Pei and Sun Ch‛üan, and the three adventurers agreed to divide the empire between them. Ts‛aou P‛ei, under the title of Wên-ti, ruled over the kingdom of Wei (220), which occupied the whole of the central and northern portion of China. Liu Pei established the Shuh Han dynasty in the modern province of Sze-ch‛uen (221), and called himself Chao-lieh-ti; and to Sun Ch‛üan fell the southern provinces of the empire, from the Yangtsze-kiang southwards, including the modern Tongking, which he formed into the kingdom of Wu with Nan-king for his capital, adopting for himself the imperial style of Ta-tê (a.d. 222).

China during the period of the “Three Kingdoms” was a house divided against itself. Liu Pei, as a descendant of the house of Han, looked upon himself as the rightful sovereign of the whole empire, and he despatched an army under “Three kingdom” period. Chu-ko Liang to support his claims. This army was met by an Oppossing force under the Wei commander Sze-ma I, of whom Chinese historians say that “he led armies like a god,” and who, by adopting a Fabian policy, completely discomfited his adversary. But the close of this campaign brought no peace to the country. Wars became chronic, and the reins of power slipped out of the hands of emperors into those of their generals. Foremost among these were the members of the Sze-ma family of Wei. Sze-ma I left a son, Sze-ma Chao, scarcely less distinguished than himself, and when Sze-ma Chao died his honours descended to Sze-ma Yen, who deposed the ruling sovereign of Wei, and proclaimed himself emperor of China (a.d. 265). His dynasty he styled the Western Tsin dynasty, and he adopted for himself the title of Wu-ti. The most noticeable event in this reign was the advent of the ambassadors of the emperor Diocletian in 284. For some years the neighbouring states appear to have transferred their allegiance from the house of Wei to that of Tsin. Wu-ti’s successors proving, however, weak and incapable, the country soon fell again into disorder. The Hiung-nu renewed incursions into the empire at the beginning of the 4th Western Tsin dynasty. century, and in the confusion which followed, an adventurer named Liu Yuen established himself (in 311) as emperor, first at P‛ing-yang in Shan-si and afterwards in Lo-yang and Chang-an. The history of this period is very chaotic. Numerous states sprang into existence, some founded by the Hiung-nu and others by the Sien-pi tribe, a Tungusic clan, inhabiting a territory to the north of China, which afterwards established the Liao dynasty in China. In 419 the Eastern Tsin dynasty came to an end, and with it disappeared for nearly two hundred years all semblance of united authority. The country became divided into two parts, the north and the south. In the north four families reigned successively, two of which were of Sien-pi origin, viz. the Wei and the How Chow, the other two, the Pih Ts‛i and the How Liang, being Chinese. In the south five different houses supplied rulers, who were all of Chinese descent.

This period of disorder was brought to a close by the establishment of the Suy dynasty (590). Among the officials of the ephemeral dynasty of Chow was one Yang Kien, who on his daughter becoming empress (578) was created duke of Suy. Two Suy dynasty. years later Yang Kien proclaimed himself emperor. The country, weary of contention, was glad to acknowledge his undivided authority; and during the sixteen years of his reign the internal affairs of China were comparatively peaceably administered. The emperor instituted an improved code of laws, and added 5000 volumes to the 10,000 which composed the imperial library. Abroad, his policy was equally successful. He defeated the Tatars and chastised the Koreans, who had for a long period recognized Chinese suzerainty, but were torn by civil wars and were disposed to reject her authority. After his death in 604 his second son forced the heir to the throne to strangle himself, and then seized the throne. This usurper, Yang-ti, sent expeditions against the Tatars, and himself headed an expedition against the Uighurs, while one of his generals annexed the Lu-chu Islands to the imperial crown. During his reign the volumes in the imperial library were increased to 54,000, and he spent vast sums in erecting a magnificent palace at Lo-yang, and in constructing unprofitable canals. These and other extravagances laid so heavy a burden on the country that discontent began again to prevail, and on the emperor’s return from a successful expedition against the Koreans, he found the empire divided into rebellious factions. In the troubles which followed General Li Yuen became prominent. On the death of the emperor by assassination this man set Kung-ti, the rightful heir, on the throne (617) until such time as he should have matured his schemes.

Kung-ti was poisoned in the following year and Li Yuen proclaimed himself as Kao-tsu, the first emperor of the T‛ang dynasty. At this time the Turks were at the height of their power in Asia (see Turks: History), and Kao-tsu Tang dynasty. was glad to purchase their alliance with money. But divisions weakened the power of the Turks, and T‛ai-tsung (reigned 627-650), Kao-tsu’s son and successor, regained much of the position in Central Asia which had formerly been held by China. In 640 Hami, Turfan and the rest of the Turkish territory were again included within the Chinese empire, and four military governorships were appointed in Central Asia, viz. at Kucha, Khotan, Kharastan and Kashgar. At the same time the frontier was extended as far as eastern Persia and the Caspian Sea. So great was now the fame of China, that ambassadors from Nepal, Magadha, Persia and Constantinople (643) came to pay their court to the emperor. Under T‛ai-tsung there was national unity and peace, and in consequence agriculture and commerce as well as literature flourished. The emperor gave direct encouragements to the Nestorians, and gave a favourable reception to an embassy from Mahommed (see ante § Religion). On the accession of Kao-tsung (650) his wife, Wu How, gained supreme influence, and on the death of her husband in 683 she set aside his lawful successor, Chung-tsung, and took possession of the throne. This was the first occasion the country was ruled by a dowager empress. She governed with discretion, and her armies defeated the Khitán in the north-east and also the Tibetans, who had latterly gained possession of Kucha, Khotan and Kashgar. On her death, in 705, Chung-tsung partially left the obscurity in which he had lived during his mother’s reign. But his wife, desiring to play a similar rôle to that enjoyed by her mother-in-law, poisoned him and set his son, Jui-tsung (710), on the throne. This monarch, who was weak and vicious, was succeeded by Yuen-tsung (713), who introduced reform into the administration and encouraged literature and learning. The king of Khokand applied for aid against the Tibetans and Arabs, and Yuen-tsung sent an army to his succour, but his general was completely defeated. During the disorder which arose in consequence of the invasion of the northern provinces by the Khitán, General An Lu-shan, an officer of Turkish descent, placed himself at the head of a revolt, and having secured Tung-kwan on the Yellow river, advanced on Chang-an. Thereupon the emperor fled, and placed his son, Su-tsung (756–762), on the throne. This sovereign, with the help of the forces of Khotan, Khokand and Bokhara, of the Uighurs and of some 4000 Arabs sent by the caliph Mansur, completely defeated An Lu-shan. During the following reigns the Tibetans made constant incursions into the western provinces of the empire, and T‛ai-tsung (763–780) purchased the assistance of the Turks against those intruders by giving a Chinese princess as wife to the khan.

At this epoch the eunuchs of the palace gained an unwonted degree of power, and several of the subsequent emperors fell victims to their plots. The T‛ang dynasty, which for over a hundred years had governed firmly and for the good of the nation, began to decline. The history of the 8th and 9th centuries is for the most part a monotonous record of feeble governments, oppressions and rebellions. Almost the only event worth chronicling is the iconoclastic policy of the emperor Wu-tsung (841–847). Viewing the increase of monasteries and ecclesiastical establishments as an evil, he abolished all temples, closed the monasteries and nunneries, and sent the inmates back to their families. Foreign priests were subjected to the same repressive legislation, and Christians, Buddhists and Magi were bidden to return whence they came. Buddhism again revived during the reign of the emperor I-tsung (860–874), who, having discovered a bone of Buddha, brought it to the capital in great state. By internal dissensions the empire became so weakened that the prince of Liang found no difficulty in gaining possession of the throne (907). He took the title of T‛ai-tsu, being the first emperor of the Later Liang dynasty. Thus ended the T‛ang dynasty, which is regarded as being the golden age of Chinese literature.

Five dynasties, viz. the Later Liang, the Later T‛ang, the Later Tsin, the Later Han and the Later Chow, followed each other between the years 907 and 960. Though the monarchs of these lines nominally held sway over the empire, their real power was confined to very narrow limits. The disorders which were rife during the time when the T‛ang dynasty was tottering to its fall fostered the development of independent states, and so arose Liang in Ho-nan and Shan-tung, Ki in Shen-si, Hwai-nan in Kiang-nan, Chow in Sze-ch‛uen and parts of Shen-si and Hu-kwang, Wu-yuĕ in Cheh-kiang, Tsu and King-nan in Hu-kwang, Ling-nan in Kwang-tung and the Uighurs in Tangut.

A partial end was made to this recognized disorganization when, in 960, General Chao Kw‛ang-yin was proclaimed by the army emperor in succession to the youthful Kung-ti, who was compelled to abdicate. The circumstances Sung dynasty. of the time justified the change. It required a strong hand to weld the empire together again, and to resist the attacks of the Khitán Tatars, whose rule at this period extended over the whole of Manchuria and Liao-tung. Against these aggressive neighbours T‛ai-tsu ( Chao Kw‛ang-yin) directed his efforts with varying success, and he died in 976, while the war was still being waged. His son T‛ai-tsung (976–997) entered on the campaign with energy, but in the end was compelled to conclude a peace with the Khitán. His successor, Chên-tsung (997–1022), paid them tribute to abstain from further incursions. Probably this tribute was not sent regularly; at all events, under Jên-tsung (1023–1064), the Khitán again threatened to invade the empire, and were only bought off by the promise of an annual tribute of taels 200,000 of silver, besides a great quantity of silken piece goods. Neither was this arrangement long binding, and so formidable were the advances made by the Tatars in the following reigns, that Hwei-tsung (1101–1126) invited the Nüchih Tatars to expel the Khitán from Liao-tung. This they did, but having once possessed themselves of the country they declined to yield it to the Chinese, and the result was that a still more aggressive neighbour was established on the north-eastern frontier of China. The Nüchih or Kin, as they now styled themselves, overran the provinces of Chih-li, Shen-si, Shan-si and Ho-nan, and during the reign of Kao-tsung (1127–1163) they advanced their conquests to the line of the Yangtsze-kiang. From this time the Sung ruled only over southern China; while the Kin or “Golden” dynasty reigned in the north. The Kin made Chung-tu, which occupied in part the site of the modern Peking, their usual residence. The Sung fixed their capital at Nanking and afterwards at Hangchow. Between them and the Kin there was almost constant war.

During this period the Mongols began to acquire power in eastern Asia, and about the beginning of the 12th century the forces of Jenghiz Khan (q.v.) invaded the north-western frontier of China and the principality of Hia, which Mongol invasion: 12th century. at that time consisted of the modern provinces of Shen-si and Kan-suh. To purchase the good-will of the Mongols the king of Hia agreed to pay them a tribute, and gave a princess in marriage to their ruler. In consequence of a dispute with the Kin emperor Wei-shao Wang, Jenghiz Khan determined to invade Liao-tung. He was aided by the followers of the Khitán leader Yeh-lü Ts‛u-ts‛ai, and in alliance with this general he captured Liao-yang, the capital city.

After an unsuccessful invasion of China in 1212, Jenghiz Khan renewed the attack in 1213. He divided his armies into four divisions, and made a general advance southwards. His soldiers swept over Ho-nan, Chih-li and Shan-tung, destroying upwards of ninety cities. It was their boast that a horseman might ride without stumbling over the sites where those cities had stood. Panic-stricken, the emperor moved his court from Chung-tu to K‛ai-fêng Fu, much against the advice of his ministers, who foresaw the disastrous effect this retreat would have on the fortunes of Kin. The state of Sung, which up to this time had paid tribute, now declined to recognize Kin as its feudal chief, and a short time afterwards declared war against its quondam ally. Meanwhile, in 1215, Yeh-lü Ts‛u-ts‛ai advanced into China by the Shan-hai Kwan, and made himself master of Peking, one of the few cities in Chih-li which remained to Kin. After this victory his nobles wished him to proclaim himself emperor, but he refused, being mindful of an oath which he had sworn to Jenghiz Khan. In 1216 Tung-kwan, a mountain pass on the frontiers of Ho-nan and Shen-si, and the scene of numerous dynastic battles (as it is the only gateway between north-eastern and north-western China), was taken by the invaders. As the war dragged on the resistance offered by the Kin grew weaker and weaker. In 1220 Chi-nan Fu, the capital of Shan-tung, was taken, and five years later Jenghiz Khan marched an army westward into Hia and conquered the forces of the king. Two years later (1227) Jenghiz Khan died.

With the view to the complete conquest of China by the Mongols, Jenghiz declined to nominate either of the eldest two sons who had been born to his Chinese wives as his heir, but chose his third son Ogdai, whose mother was a Tatar. On hearing of the death of Jenghiz Khan the Kin sent an embassy to his successor desiring peace, but Ogdai told them there would be no peace for them until their dynasty should be overthrown. Hitherto the Mongols had been without any code of laws. But the consolidation of the nation by the conquests of Jenghiz Khan made it necessary to establish a recognized code of laws, and one of the first acts of Ogdai was to form such a code. With the help also of Yeh-lü Ts‛u-ts‛ai, he established custom-houses in Chih-li, Shan-tung, Shan-si and Liao-tung; and for this purpose divided these provinces into ten departments. Meanwhile the war with the Kin was carried on with energy. In 1230 Si-gan Fu was taken, and sixty important posts were captured. Two years later, Tu-lé, brother of Ogdai, took Fêng-siang Fu and Han-chung Fu, in the flight from which last-named place 100,000 persons are said to have perished. Following the course of the river Han in his victorious career, this general destroyed 140 towns and fortresses, and defeated the army of Kin at Mount San-fêng.

In 1232 the Mongols made an alliance with the state of Sung, by which, on condition of Sung helping to destroy Kin, Ho-nan was to be the property of Sung for ever. The effect of this coalition soon became apparent. Barely had the Kin The Kin dynasty overthrown. emperor retreated from K‛ai-fêng Fu to Ju-ning Fu in Ho-nan when the former place fell into the hands of the allies. Next fell Loyang, and the victorious generals then marched on to besiege Ju-ning Fu. The presence of the emperor gave energy to the defenders, and they held out until every animal in the city had been killed for food, until every old and useless person had suffered death to lessen the number of hungry mouths, until so many able-bodied men had fallen that the women manned the ramparts, and then the allies stormed the walls. The emperor burned himself to death in his palace, that his body might not fall into the hands of his enemies. For a few days the shadow of the imperial crown rested on the head of his heir Chang-lin, but in a tumult which broke out amongst his followers he lost his life, and with him ended the “Golden” dynasty.

Notwithstanding the treaty between Ogdai and Sung, no sooner were the spoils of Kin to be divided than war broke out again between them, in prosecuting which the Mongol armies swept over the provinces of Sze-ch‛uen, Hu-kwang, Kiang-nan and Ho-nan, and were checked only when they reached the walls of Lu-chow Fu in Ngan-hui. Ogdai died in 1241, and was nominally succeeded by his grandson Cheliemên. But one of his widows, Tolickona, took possession of the throne, and after exercising rule for four years, established her son Kwei-yew as great khan. In 1248 his life was cut short, and the nobles, disregarding the claims of Cheliemên, proclaimed as emperor Mangu, the eldest son of Tu-lé. Under this monarch the war against Sung was carried on with energy, and Kublai, outstripping the bounds of Sung territory, made his way into the province of Yun-nan, at that time divided into a number of independent states, and having attached them to his brother’s crown he passed on into Tibet, Tongking and Cochin-China, and thence striking northwards entered the province of Kwang-si.

On the death of Mangu in 1259 Kublai (q.v.) ascended the throne. Never in the history of China was the nation more illustrious, nor its power more widely felt, than under his sovereignty. During the first twenty years of Kublai
his reign Sung kept up a resistance against his authority. Their last emperor Ping-ti, seeing his cause lost, drowned himself in the sea. The Sung dynasty, which had ruled southern China 320 years, despite its misfortunes is accounted one of the great dynasties of China. During its sway arts and literature were cultivated and many eminent writers flourished. His enemies subdued, Kublai Khan in 1280 assumed complete jurisdiction as emperor of China. He took the title of Shit-su and founded what is known as the Yuen dynasty. He built a new capital close to Chung-tu, which became known as Kaanbaligh (city of the khan), in medieval European chronicles, Cambaluc, and later as Peking. At this time his authority was acknowledged “from the Frozen Sea, almost to the Straits of Malacca. With the exception of Hindustan, Arabia and the westernmost parts of Asia, all the Mongol princes as far as the Dnieper declared themselves his vassals, and brought regularly their tribute.” It was during this reign that Marco Polo visited China, and he describes in glowing colours the virtues and glories of the “great khan.” His rule was characterized by discretion and munificence. He undertook public works, he patronized literature, and relieved the distress of the poor, but the Chinese never forgot that he was an alien and regarded him as a barbarian. He died unregretted in 1294. His son had died during his lifetime, and after some contention his grandson Timur ascended the throne under the title of Yuen-chêng. This monarch died in 1307 after an uneventful reign, and, as he left no son, Wu-tsung, a Mongol prince, became emperor. To him succeeded Jên-tsung in 1312, who made himself conspicuous by the honour he showed to the memory of Confucius, and by distributing offices more equally between Mongols and Chinese than had hitherto been done. This act of justice gave great satisfaction to the Chinese, and his death ended a peaceful and prosperous reign in 1320. At this time there appears to have been a considerable commercial intercourse between Europe and China. But after Jên-tsung’s death the dynasty fell on evil days. The Mongols in adopting Chinese civilization had lost much of their martial spirit. They were still regarded as alien by the Chinese and numerous secret societies were formed to achieve their overthrow. Jên-tsung’s successors were weak and incapable rulers, and in the person of Shun-ti (1333–1368) were summed up the vices and faults of his predecessors. Revolts broke out, and finally this descendant of Jenghiz Khan was compelled to fly before Chu Yüen-chang, the son of a Chinese labouring man. Deserted by his followers, he sought refuge in Ying-chang Fu, and there the last of the Yüen dynasty died. These Mongol emperors, whatever their faults, had shown tolerance to Christian missionaries and Papal legates (see ante § The Medieval Cathay).

Chu Yüen-chang met with little opposition, more especially as his first care on becoming possessed of a district was to suppress lawlessness and to establish a settled government. In 1355 he captured Nanking, and proclaimed Ming dynasty. himself duke of Wu, but carefully avoided adopting any of the insignia of royalty. Even when master of the empire, thirteen years later, he still professed to dislike the idea of assuming the imperial title. His scruples were overcome, and he declared himself emperor in 1368. He carried his arms into Tatary, where he subdued the last semblance of Mongol power in that direction, and then bent his steps towards Liao-tung. Here the Mongols defended themselves with the bravery of despair, but unavailingly, and the conquest of this province left Hung-wu, as the founder of the new or Ming (“Bright”) dynasty styled himself, without a foe in the empire.

All intercourse with Europe seems now to have ceased until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century, but Hung-wu cultivated friendly relations with the neighbouring states. As a quondam Buddhist priest he lent his countenance to that religion to the exclusion of Taoism, whose priests had for centuries earned the contempt of all but the most ignorant by their pretended magical arts and their search after the philosopher’s stone. Hung-wu died in 1398 and was succeeded by his grandson Kien-Wên. Aware that the appointment of this youth—his father was dead—would give offence to the young emperor’s uncles, Hung-wu had dismissed them to their respective governments. However, the prince of Yen, his eldest surviving son, rose in revolt as soon as the news reached him of his nephew’s accession, and after gaining several victories over the armies of Kien-wên he presented himself before the gates of Nanking, the capital. Treachery opened the gates to him, and the emperor having fled in the disguise of a monk, the victorious prince became emperor and took the title of Yung-lo (1403). At home Yung-lo devoted himself to the encouragement of literature and the fine arts, and, possibly from a knowledge that Kien-wên was among the Buddhist priests, he renewed the law prohibiting Buddhism. Abroad he swept Cochin-China and Tongking within the folds of his empire and carried his arms into Tatary, where he made new conquests of waste regions, and erected a monument of his victories. He died in 1425, and was succeeded by his son Hung-hi.

Hung-hi’s reign was short and uneventful. He strove to promote only such mandarins as had proved themselves to be able and honest, and to further the welfare of the people. During the reign of his successor, Süen-tê (1426–1436), the empire suffered the first loss of territory since the commencement of the dynasty. Cochin-China rebelled and gained her independence. The next emperor, Chêng-t‛ung (1436), was taken prisoner by a Tatar chieftain, a descendant of the Yüen family named Yi-sien, who had invaded the northern Erovinces. Having been completely defeated by a Chinese force from Liao-tung, Yi-sien liberated his captive, who reoccupied the throne, which during his imprisonment (1450–1457) had been held by his brother King-ti. The two following reigns, those of Chêng-hwa (1465–1488) and of Hung-chi (1488–1506), were quiet and peaceful.

The most notable event in the reign of the next monarch, Chêng-te (1506–1522), was the arrival of the Portuguese at Canton (1517). From this time dates modern European intercourse with China. Chêng-te suppressed a formidable insurrection headed by the prince of Ning, but disorder caused by this civil war encouraged the foreign enemies of China. From the north came a Tatar army under Yen-ta in 1542, during the reign of Kia-tsing, which laid waste the province of Shen-si, and even threatened the capital, and a little later a Japanese fleet ravaged the littoral provinces. Ill-blood had arisen between the two peoples before this, and a Japanese colony had been driven out of Ningpo by force and not without bloodshed a few years previously. Kia-tsing (d. 1567) was not equal to such emergencies, and his son Lung-king (1567–1573)sought to placate the Tatar Yen-ta by making him a prince of the empire and giving him commercial privileges, which were supplemented by the succeeding emperor Wan-li (1573–1620) by the grant of land in Shen-si. During the reign of this sovereign, in the year 1592, the Japanese successfully invaded Korea, and Taikosarna, the regent of Japan, was on the point of proclaiming himself king of the peninsula, when a large Chinese force, answering to the invitation of the king, appeared and completely routed the Japanese army, at the same time that the Chinese fleet cut off their retreat by sea. In this extremity the Japanese sued for peace, and sent an embassy to Peking to arrange terms. Struggle with Japan for Korea. But the peace was of short duration. In 1597 the Japanese again invaded Korea, defeated the Chinese army, destroyed the Chinese fleet and ravaged the coast. Suddenly, however, when in the full tide of conquest, they evacuated Korea, which again fell under the direction of China. Four years later the missionary Matteo Ricci (q.v.) arrived at the Chinese court; and though at first the emperor was inclined to send him out of the country, his abilities gradually won for him the esteem of the sovereign and his ministers, and he remained the scientific adviser of the court until his death in 1610.

About this time the Manchu Tatars, goaded into war by the injustice they were constantly receiving at the hands of the Chinese, led an army into China (in 1616) and completely defeated the force which was sent against them. Three years later they gained possession of the province of Liao-tung. These disasters overwhelmed the emperor, and he died of a broken heart in 1620.

In the same year T‛ien-ming, the Manchu sovereign, having declared himself independent, moved the court to San-ku, to the east of Mukden, which, five years later, he made his capital. In 1627 Ts‛ung-chêng, the last emperor of Manchu invasion: 17th century. the Ming dynasty, ascended the Chinese throne. In his reign English merchants first made their appearance at Canton. The empire was now torn by internal dissensions. Rebel bands, enriched by plunder, and grown bold by success, began to assume the proportion of armies. Two rebels, Li Tsze-ch‛êng and Shang K‛o-hi, decided to divide the empire between them. Li besieged K‛ai-fêng Fu, the capital of Ho-nan, and so long and closely did he beleaguer it that in the consequent famine human flesh was regularly sold in the markets. At length an imperial force came to raise the siege, but fearful of meeting Li’s army, they cut through the dykes of the Yellow River, “China’s Sorrow,” and flooded the whole country, including the city. The rebels escaped to the mountains, but upwards of 200,000 inhabitants perished in the flood, and the city became a heap of ruins (1642). From K‛ai-fêng Fu Li marched against the other strongholds of Ho-nan and Shen-si, and was so completely successful that he determined to attack Peking. A treacherous eunuch opened the gates to him, on being informed of which the emperor committed suicide. When the news of this disaster reached the general-commanding on the frontier of Manchu Tatary, he, in an unguarded moment, concluded a peace with the Manchus, and invited them to dispossess Li Tsze-ch‛êng. The Manchus entered China, and after defeating a rebel army sent against them, they marched towards Peking. On hearing of the approach of the invaders, Li Tsze-ch‛êng, after having set fire to the imperial palace, evacuated the city, but was overtaken, and his force was completely routed.

The Chinese now wished the Manchus to retire, but, having taken possession of Peking, they proclaimed the ninth son of T‛ien-ming emperor of China under the title of Shun-chi, and adopted the name of Ta-ts‛ing, or “Great Pure,” Ta-ts‛ing dynasty. for the dynasty (1644). Meanwhile the mandarins at Nanking had chosen an imperial prince to ascend the throne. At this most inopportune moment “a claimant” to the throne, in the person of a pretended son of the last emperor, appeared at court. While this contention prevailed inside Nanking the Tatar army appeared at the walls. There was no need for them to use force. The gates were thrown open, and they took possession of the city without bloodshed. Following the conciliatory policy they had everywhere pursued, they confirmed the mandarins in their offices and granted a general amnesty to all who would lay down their arms. As the Tatars entered the city the emperor left it, and after wandering about for some days in great misery, he drowned himself in the Yangtsze-kiang. Thus ended the Ming dynasty, and the empire passed again under a foreign yoke. By the Mings, who partly revived the feudal system by making large territorial grants to members of the reigning house, China was divided into fifteen provinces; the existing division into eighteen provinces was made by the Manchus.

All accounts agree in stating that the Manchu conquerors are descendants of a branch of the family which gave the Kin dynasty to the north of China; and in lieu of any authentic account of their early history, native writers have thrown a cloud of fable over their origin (see Manchuria). In the 16th century they were strong enough to cope with their Chinese neighbours. Doubtless the Mings tried to check their ambition by cruel reprisals, but against this must be put numerous Manchu raids into Liao-tung.

The accession to the throne of the emperor Shun-chi did not restore peace to the country. In Kiang-si, Fu-kien, Kwang-tung and Kwang-si the adherents of the Ming dynasty defended themselves vigorously but unsuccessfully against the invaders, while the pirate Chêng Chi-lung, the father of the celebrated Coxinga, kept up a predatory warfare against them on the coast. Eventually he was induced to visit Peking, where he was thrown into prison and died. Coxinga, warned by his father’s example, determined to leave the mainland and to seek an empire elsewhere. His choice fell on Formosa, and having driven out the Dutch, who had established themselves in the island in 1624, he held possession until the reign of K‛ang-hi, when (1682) he resigned in favour of the imperial government. Meanwhile a prince of the house of Ming was proclaimed emperor in Kwang-si, under the title of Yung-li. The Tatars having reduced Fu-kien and Kiang-si, and having taken Canton after a siege of eight months, completely routed his followers, and Yung-li was compelled to fly to Pegu. Some years later, with the help of adherents in Yun-nan and Kwei-chow, he tried to regain the throne, but his army was scattered, and he was taken prisoner and strangled. Gradually opposition to the new régime became weaker and weaker, and the shaved head with the pig-tail—the symbol of Tatar sovereignty—became more and more adopted. In 1651 died Ama Wang, the uncle of Shun-chi, who had acted as regent during his nephew’s minority, and the emperor then assumed the government of the state. He appears to have taken a great interest in science, and to have patronized Adam Schaal, a German Jesuit, who was at that time resident at Peking. It was during his reign (1656) that the first Russian embassy arrived at the capital, but as the envoy declined to kowtow before the emperor he was sent back without having been admitted to an audience.

After an unquiet reign of seventeen years Shun-chi died (1661). and was succeeded by his son K‛ang-hi. He came into collision with the Russians, who had reached the Amur regions about 1640 and had built a fort on the upper Amur; but by the Treaty of Nerchinsk, concluded in 1689 (the first treaty made between China and a European power), the dispute was settled, the Amur being taken as the frontier. K‛ang-hi was indefatigable in administering the affairs of the empire, and he devoted much of his time to literary and scientific studies under the guidance of the Jesuits. The dictionary of the Chinese language, published under his superintendence, proves him to have been as great a scholar as his conquests over the Eleuths show him to have been famous as a general. During one of his hunting expeditions to Mongolia he caught a fatal cold, and he died in 1721. Under his rule Tibet was added to the empire, which extended from the Siberian frontier to Cochin-China, and from the China Sea to Turkestan. During his reign there was a great earthquake at Peking, in which 400,000 people are said to have perished.

K‛ien-lung, who began to reign in 1735, was ambitious and warlike. He marched an army into Hi, which he converted into a Chinese province, and he afterwards added eastern Turkestan to the empire. Twice he invaded Burma, and once he penetrated into Cochin-China, but in neither country were his arms successful. He is accused of great cruelty towards his subjects, which they repaid by rebelling against him. During his reign the Mahommedan standard was first raised in Kan-suh. (Since the Mongol conquest in the 13th century there had been a considerable immigration of Moslems into western China; and numbers of Chinese had become converts). But the Mussulmans were unable to stand against the imperial troops; their armies were dispersed; ten thousand of them were exiled; and an order was issued that every Mahommedan in Kan-suh above the age of fifteen should be put to death (1784).

K‛ien-lung wrote incessantly, both poetry and prose, collected libraries and republished works of value. His campaigns furnished him with themes for his verses, and in the Summer Palace was found a handsome manuscript copy of a laudatory poem he composed on the occasion of his war against the Gurkhas. This was one of the most successful of his military undertakings. His generals marched 70,000 men into Nepal to within 60 miles of the British frontiers, and having subjugated the Gurkhas they received the submission of the Nepalese, and acquired an additional hold over Tibet (1792). In other directions his arms were not so successful. There is no poem commemorating the campaign against the rebellious Formosans, nor lament over the loss of 100,000 men in that island, and the last few years of his reign were disturbed by outbreaks among the Miao-tsze, hill tribes living in the mountains in the provinces of Kwei-chow and Kwang-si. In 1795, after a reign of sixty years, K‛ien-lung abdicated in favour of his fifteenth son, who adopted the title of Kia-k‛ing as the style of his reign. K‛ien-lung died at the age of eighty-eight in 1798.

During the reign of K‛ien-lung commerce between Europe and Canton—the only Chinese port then open to foreign trade—had attained important dimensions. It was mainly in the hands of the Portuguese, the British and the Trade with Europe. Dutch. The British trade was then a monopoly of the East India Company. The trade, largely in opium, tea and silk, was subject to many exactions and restrictions,[49] and many acts of gross injustice were committed on the persons of Englishmen. To obtain some redress the British government at length sent an embassy to Peking (1793) and Lord Macartney was chosen to represent George III. on the occasion. The mission was treated as showing that Great Britain was a state tributary to China, and Lord Macartney was received with every courtesy. But the concessions he sought were not accorded, and in this sense his mission was a failure.

Kia-k‛ing’s reign was disturbed and disastrous. In the northern and western provinces, rebellion after rebellion broke out, due in a great measure to the carelessness, incompetency and obstinacy of the emperor, and the coasts were infested with pirates, whose number and organization enabled them for a long time to hold the imperial fleet in check. Meanwhile the condition of the foreign merchants at Canton had not improved, and to set matters on a better footing the British government despatched a second ambassador in the person of Lord Amherst to Peking in 1816. As he declined to kowtow before the emperor, he was not admitted to the imperial presence and the mission proved abortive. Destitute of all royal qualities, a slave to his passions, and the servant of caprice, Kia-k‛ing died in 1820. The event fraught with the greatest consequences to China which occurred in his reign (though at the time it attracted little attention) was the arrival of the first Protestant missionary, Dr R. Morrison (q.v.), who reached Canton in 1807.

Tao-kwang (1820–1850), the new emperor, though possessed in his early years of considerable energy, had no sooner ascended the throne than he gave himself up to the pursuit of pleasure. The reforms which his first manifestoes foreshadowed never seriously occupied his attention. Insurrection occurred in Formosa, Kwang-si, Ho-nan and other parts of the empire, and the Triad Society, which had originated during the reign of K‛ang-hi, again became formidable.

More important to the future of the country than the internal disturbances was the new attitude taken at this time towards China by the nations of Europe. Hitherto the European missionaries and traders in China had been dependent upon the goodwill of the Chinese. The Portuguese had been allowed to settle at Macao (q.v.) for some centuries; Roman Catholic missionaries since the time of Ricci had been alternately patronized and persecuted; Protestant missionaries had scarcely gained a foothold; the Europeans allowed to trade at Canton continued to suffer under vexatious regulations—the Chinese in general regarded Europeans as barbarians, “foreign devils.” Of the armed strength of Europe they were ignorant. They were now to be undeceived, Great Britain being the first power to take action. The hardships inflicted on the British merchants at Canton became so unbearable that when, in 1834, the monopoly of the East India Company ceased, the British government sent Lord Napier as minister to superintend the foreign trade at that port. Lord Napier was inadequately supported, and the anxieties of his position brought on an attack of fever, from which he died at Macao after a few months’ residence in China. The chief cause of complaint adduced by the mandarins was the introduction of opium by the merchants, and for years they attempted by every means in their power to put a stop to its importation. At length Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir Charles) Elliot, the superintendent of trade, in 1839 agreed that all the opium in the hands of Englishmen should be given up to the native authorities, and he exacted a pledge from the merchants that they would no longer deal in the drug. On the 3rd of April 20,283 chests of opium were handed over to the mandarins and were by them destroyed. The surrender of the War with Great Britain, 1840. opium led to further demands by Lin Tze-su, the Chinese imperial commissioner, demands which were considered by the British government to amount to a casus belli, and in 1840 war was declared. In the same year the fleet captured Chusan, and in the following year the Bogue Forts fell, in consequence of which operations the Chinese agreed to cede Hong-Kong to the victors and to pay them an indemnity of 6,000,000 dollars. As soon as this news reached Peking, Ki Shen, who had succeeded Commissioner Lin, was dismissed from his post and degraded, and Yi Shen, another Tatar, was appointed in his room. Before the new commissioner reached his post Canton had fallen into the hands of Sir Hugh Gough, and shortly afterwards Amoy, Ning-po, Tinghai in Chusan, Chapu, Shanghai and Chin-kiang Fu shared the same fate. Nanking would also have been captured had not the imperial government, dreading the loss of the “Southern Capital,” proposed terms of peace. Sir Henry Pottinger, who had succeeded Captain Elliot, concluded, in 1842, a treaty with the imperial commissioners, by which the four additional ports of Amoy, Fu-chow, Ningpo and Shanghai were declared open to foreign trade, and an indemnity of 21,000,000 dollars was to be paid to the British.

On the accession of Hien-fêng in 1850, a demand was raised for the reforms which had been hoped for under Tao-kwang, but Hien-fêng possessed in an exaggerated form the selfish and tyrannical nature of his father, together with a voluptuary’s Hien-fêng emperor. craving for every kind of sensual pleasure. For some time Kwang-si had been in a very disturbed state, and when the people found that there was no hope of relief from the oppression they endured, they proclaimed a youth, who was said to be the representative of the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, as emperor, under the title of T‛ien-tê or “Heavenly Virtue.” From Kwang-si the revolt spread into Hu-peh and Hu-nan, and then languished from want of a leader and a definite political cry. When, however, there appeared to be a possibility that, by force of arms and the persuasive influence of money, the imperialists would re-establish their supremacy, a leader presented himself in Kwang-si, whose energy of character, combined with great political and religious enthusiasm, speedily gained for him the suffrages of the discontented. This was Hung Siu-ts‛üan. He proclaimed himself as sent by heaven to drive out the Tatars, and to restore in his own person the succession to China. At the same time, having been converted to Christianity and professing to abhor the vices and sins of the age, he called on all the virtuous of the land to extirpate rulers who were standing examples of all that was base and vile in human nature. Crowds soon flocked to his standard. T‛ien-tê was deserted; and putting himself at the head of his followers (who abandoned the practice of shaving the head), Hung Siu-ts‛üan marched northwards and captured Wu-ch‛ang on the Yangtsze-kiang, the capital of Hu-peh. Then, moving down the river, he proceeded to the attack of Nanking. Without much difficulty Hung Siu-ts‛üan in 1853 established himself within its walls, and proclaimed the inauguration of the T‛ai-p‛ing dynasty, of which he nominated himself the first emperor under the title of T‛ien Wang or “Heavenly king.” During the next few years his armies penetrated victoriously as far north as Tientsin and as far east as Chin-kiang and Su-chow, while bands of sympathizers with his T‛ai-p‛ing rebellion. cause appeared in the neighbourhood of Amoy. As if still further to aid him in his schemes, Great Britain declared war against the Tatar dynasty in 1857, in consequence of an outrage known as the “Arrow” affair (see Parkes, Sir Harry Smith). In December 1857 Canton was taken by the British, and a further blow was struck against the prestige of the Manchu dynasty by the determination of Lord Elgin, who had been sent as special ambassador, to go to Peking and communicate directly with the emperor. In May 1858 the Taku Forts were taken, and Lord Elgin went up the Peiho to Tientsin en route for the capital. At Tientsin, however, imperial commissioners persuaded him to conclude a treaty with them on the spot, which treaty it was agreed should be ratified at Peking in the following year. When, however, Sir Frederick Bruce, who had been appointed minister to the court of Peking, attempted to pass Taku to carry out this arrangement, the vessels escorting him were treacherously fired on from the forts and he was compelled to return. Thereupon Lord Elgin was again sent out with full powers, accompanied by a large force under the command of Sir Hope Grant. The French (to seek reparation for the murder of a missionary in Kwang-si) took part in the campaign, and on the 1st of August 1860 the allies landed without meeting with any opposition at Pei-tang, a village 12 m. north of Taku. A few days later the forts at that place were taken, and thence the allies marched to Peking. Finding further resistance to be hopeless, the Chinese opened negotiations, and as a guarantee of their good faith surrendered the An-ting gate of the capital to the allies. On the 24th of October 1860 the treaty of 1858 was ratified by Prince Kung and Lord Elgin, and a convention was signed under the terms of which the Chinese agreed to pay a war indemnity of 8,000,000 taels. The right of Europeans to travel in the interior was granted and freedom guaranteed to the preaching of Christianity. The customs tariff then agreed upon legalized the import of opium, though the treaty of 1858, like that of 1842, was silent on the subject.

Great Britain and France were not the only powers of Europe with whom Hien-fêng was called to deal. On the northern border of the empire Russia began to exercise pressure. Russia had begun to colonize the lower Amur region, and was pressing towards the Pacific. This was a remote region, only part of the Chinese empire since the Manchu conquest, and by treaties of 1858 and 1860 China ceded to Russia all its territory north of the Amur and between the Ussuri and the Pacific (see Amur, province). The Russians in their newly acquired land founded the port of Vladivostok (q.v.).

Hien-fêng died in the summer of the year 1861, leaving the throne to his son T‛ung-chi (1861–1875), a child of five years old, whose mother, Tsz‛e Hsi (1834–1908), had been raised from the place of favourite concubine to that of Imperial T‛ung-chi emperor; dowager empress regent. Consort. The legitimate empress, Tsz‛e An, was childless, and the two dowagers became joint regents. The conclusion of peace with the allies was the signal for a renewal of the campaign against the T‛ai-p‛ings, and, benefiting by the friendly feelings of the British authorities engendered by the return of amicable relations, the Chinese government succeeded in enlisting Major Charles George Gordon (q.v.) of the Royal Engineers in their service. In a suprisingly short space of time this officer formed the troops, which had formerly been under the command of an American named Ward, into a formidable army, and without delay took the field against the rebels. From that day the fortunes of the T‛ai-p‛ings declined. They lost city after city, and, finally in July 1864, the imperialists, after an interval of twelve years, once more gained possession of Nanking. T‛ien Wang committed suicide on the capture of his capital, and with him fell his cause. Those of his followers who escaped the sword dispersed throughout the country, and the T‛ai-p‛ings ceased to be.

With the measure of peace which was then restored to the country trade rapidly revived, except in Yun-nan, where the Mahommedan rebels, known as Panthays, under Suleiman, still kept the imperial forces at bay. Against these foes the government was careless to take active measures, until in 1872 Prince Hassan, the adopted son of Suleiman, was sent to England to gain the recognition of the queen for his father’s government. This step aroused the susceptibilities of the imperial government, and a large force was despatched to the scene of the rebellion. Before the year was out the Mahommedan capital Ta-li Fu fell into the hands of the imperialists, and the followers of Suleiman were mercilessly exterminated. In February 1873 the two dowager empresses resigned their powers as regents. This long-expected time was seized upon by the foreign ministers to urge their right of audience with the emperor, and on the 29th of June 1873 tne privilege of gazing on the “sacred countenance” was accorded them.

The emperor T‛ung-chi died without issue, and the succession to the throne, for the first time in the annals of the Ts‛ing dynasty, passed out of the direct line. As already stated, the first emperor of the Ts‛ing dynasty, Shih-tsu Hwangti, on Accession of Kwang-su, 1875. gaining possession of the throne on the fall of the Ming, or “Great Bright” dynasty, adopted the title of Shun-chi for his reign, which began in the year 1644. The legendary progenitor of these Manchu rulers was Aisin Gioro, whose name is said to point to the fact of his having been related to the race of Nü-chih, or Kin, i.e. Golden Tatars, who reigned in northern China during the 12th and 13th centuries. K‛ang-hi (1661–1722) was the third son of Shun-chi; Yung-chêng (1722–1735) was the fourth son of K‛ang-hi; K‛ien-lung (1736–1795) was the fourth son of Yung-chêng; Kia-k‛ing (1796–1820) was the fifteenth son of K‛ien-lung; Tao-Kwang (1821–1850) was the second son of Kia-k‛ing; Hien-fêng (1851–1861) was the fourth of the nine sons who were born to the emperor Tao-kwang; and T‛ung-chi (1862–1875) was the only son of Hien-fêng. The choice now fell upon Tsai-t‛ien (as he was called at birth), the infant son (born August 2, 1872) of Yi-huan, Prince Chun, the seventh son of the emperor Tao-kwang and brother of the emperor Hien-fêng; his mother was a sister of the empress Tsz‛e Hsi, who, with the aid of Li Hung-chang, obtained his adoption and proclamation as emperor, under the title of Kwang-su, “Succession of Glory.”

In order to prevent the confusion which would arise among the princes of the imperial house were they each to adopt an arbitrary name, the emperor K‛ang-hi decreed that each of his twenty-four sons should have a personal name consisting Imperial family nomencla-
ture and rank.
of two characters, the first of which should be Yung, and the second should be compounded with the determinative shih, “to manifest,” an arrangement which would, as has been remarked, find an exact parallel in a system by which the sons in an English family might be called Louis Edward, Louis Edwin, Louis Edwy, Louis Edgar and so on. This device obtained also in the next generation, all the princes of which had Hung for their first name, and the emperor K‛ien-lung (1736–1795) extended it into a system, and directed that the succeeding generations should take the four characters Yung, Mien, Yih and Tsai respectively, as the first part of their names. Eight other characters, namely, P ‛u, Yu, Hêng, K ‛i, Tao, K ‛ai, Tsêng, Ki, were subsequently added, thus providing generic names for twelve generations. With the generation represented by Kwang-su the first four characters were exhausted, and any sons of the emperor Kwang-su would therefore have been called P‛u. By the ceremonial law of the “Great Pure” dynasty, twelve degrees of rank are distributed among the princes of the imperial house, and are as follows: (1) Ho-shih Tsin Wang, prince of the first order; (2) To-lo Keun Wang, prince of the second order; (3) To-lo Beileh, prince of the third order; (4) Ku-shan Beitsze, prince of the fourth order; 5 to 8, Kung, or duke (with distinctive designations); 9 to 12, Tsiang-keun, general (with distinctive designations). The sons of emperors usually receive patents of the first or second order on their reaching manhood, and on their sons is bestowed the title of Beileh. A Beilehs sons become Beitsze; a Beitsze’s sons become Kung, and so on. (R. K. D.; X.) 

(D)—From 1875 to 1901.

The accession to the throne of Kwang-su in January 1875 attracted little notice outside China, as the supreme power continued to be vested in the two dowager-empresses—the empress Tsz‛e An, principal wife of the emperor The two dowager-empresses. Hien-fêng, and the empress Tsz‛e Hsi, secondary wife of the same emperor, and mother of the emperor T‛ung-chi. Yet there were circumstances connected with the emperor Kwang-su’s accession which might well have arrested attention. The emperor T‛ung-chi, who had himself succumbed to an ominously brief and mysterious illness, left a young widow in an advanced state of pregnancy, and had she given birth to a male child her son would have been the rightful heir to the throne. But even before she sickened and died—of grief, it was officially stated, at the loss of her imperial spouse—the dowager-empresses had solved the question of the succession by placing Kwang-su on the throne, a measure which was not only in itself arbitrary, but also in direct conflict with one of the most sacred of Chinese traditions. The solemn rites of ancestor-worship, incumbent on every Chinaman, and, above all, upon the emperor, can only be properly performed by a member of a younger generation than those whom it is his duty to honour. The emperor Kwang-su, being a first cousin to the emperor T‛ung-chi, was not therefore qualified to offer up the customary sacrifices before the ancestral tablets of his predecessor. The accession of an infant in the place of T‛ung-Tchi achieved, however, for the time being what was doubtless the paramount object of the policy of the two empresses, namely, their undisturbed tenure of the regency, in which the junior empress Tsz‛e Hsi, a woman of unquestionable ability and boundless ambition, had gradually become the predominant partner.

The first question that occupied the attention of the government under the new reign was one of the gravest importance, and nearly led to a war with Great Britain. The Indian government was desirous of seeing the old trade relations between Burma and the south-west provinces, which had been interrupted by the Yun-nan rebellion, re-established, and for that purpose proposed to send a mission across the frontier into China. The Peking government assented and issued passports Murder of Mr Margary. for the party, which was under the command of Colonel Browne. Mr A. R. Margary, a young and promising member of the China consular service, who was told off to accompany the expedition as interpreter, was treacherously murdered by Chinese at the small town of Manwyne and almost simultaneously an attack was made on the expedition by armed forces wearing Chinese uniform (January 1875). Colonel Browne with difficulty made his way back to Bhamo and the expedition was abandoned.

Tedious negotiations followed, and, more than eighteen months after the outrage, an arrangement was come to on the basis of guarantees for the future, rather than vengeance for the past. The arrangement was embodied in the Chifu convention 1876. Chifu convention, dated 13th September 1876. The terms of the settlement comprised (1) a mission of apology from China to the British court; (2) the promulgation throughout the length and breadth of the empire of an imperial proclamation, setting out the right of foreigners to travel under passport, and the obligation of the authorities to protect them; and (3) the payment of indemnity. Additional articles were subsequently signed in London relative to the collection of likin on Indian opium and other matters.

Simultaneously with the outbreak of the Mahommedan rebellion in Yun-nan, a similar disturbance had arisen in the north-west provinces of Shen-si and Kan-suh. This was followed by a revolt of the whole of the Revolt in Central Asia. Central Asian tribes, which for two thousand years had more or less acknowledged the imperial sway. In Kashgaria a nomad chief named Yakub Beg, otherwise known as the Atalik Ghāzi, had made himself amir, and seemed likely to establish a strong rule. The fertile province of Kulja or Ili, lying to the north of the T‛ianshan range, was taken possession of by Russia in 1871 in order to put a stop to the prevailing anarchy, but with a promise that when China should have succeeded in re-establishing order in her Central Asian dominions it should be given back. The interest which was taken in the rebellion in Central Asia by the European powers, notably by the sultan of Turkey and the British government, aroused the Chinese to renewed efforts to recover their lost territories, and, as in the case of the similar crisis in Yun-nan, they undertook the task with sturdy deliberation. They borrowed money—£1,600,000—for the expenses of the expedition, this being the first appearance of China as a borrower in the foreign markets, and appointed the viceroy, Tso Tsung-t‛ang, commander-in-chief. By degrees the emperor’s authority was established from the confines of Kan-suh to Kashgar and Yarkand, and Chinese garrisons were stationed in touch with the Russian outpost in the region of the Pamirs (December 1877). Russia was now called upon to restore Kulja, China being in a position to maintain order. China despatched Chung-how, a Manchu of the highest rank, who had been notoriously concerned in the Tientsin massacre of 1870, to St Petersburg to negotiate a settlement. After some months of discussion a document was signed (September 1879), termed Imperial consolida-
the treaty of Livadia, whereby China recovered, not indeed the whole, but a considerable portion of the territory, on her paying to Russia five million roubles as the cost of occupation. The treaty was, however, received with a storm of indignation in China. Memorials poured in from all sides denouncing the treaty and its author. Foremost among these was one by Chang Chih-tung, who afterwards became the most distinguished of the viceroys, and governor-general of Hu-peh and Hu-nan provinces. Prince Chun, the emperor’s father, came into prominence at this juncture as an advocate for war, and under these combined influences the unfortunate Chung-how was tried and condemned to death (3rd of March 1880). For some months warlike preparations went on, and the outbreak of hostilities was imminent. In the end, however, calmer counsels prevailed. It was decided to send the Marquis Tseng, who in the meantime had become minister in London, to Russia to negotiate. A new treaty which still left Russia in possession of part of the Ili valley was ratified on the 19th of August 1881. The Chinese government could now contemplate the almost complete recovery of the whole extensive dominions which had at any time owned the imperial sway. The regions directly administered by the officers of the emperor extended from the borders of Siberia on the north to Annam and Burma on the south, and from the Pacific Ocean on the east to Kashgar and Yarkand on the west. There was also a fringe of tributary nations which still kept up the ancient forms of allegiance, and which more or less acknowledged the dominioi of the central kingdom. The principal tributary nations then were Korea, Lu-chu, Annam, Burma and Nepal.

Korea was the first of the dependencies to come into notice. In 1866 some Roman Catholic missionaries were murdered, and about the same time an American vessel was burnt in one of the rivers and her crew murdered. China refused satisfaction; both to France and America, and suffered reprisals to be made on Korea without protest. America and Japan both desired to conclude commercial treaties for the opening up of Korea, and proposed to negotiate with China. China refused and Korea and Japan. referred them to the Korean government direct, saying she was not wont to interfere in the affairs of her vassal states. As a result Japan concluded a treaty in 1876, in which the independence of Korea was expressly recognized. This was allowed to pass without protest, but as other nations proceeded to conclude treaties on the same terms China began to perceive her mistake, and endeavoured to tack on to each a declaration by the king that he was in fact a tributary—a declaration, however, which was quietly ignored. Japan, however, was the only power with which controversy immediately arose. In 1882 a faction fight, which had long been smouldering, broke out, headed by the king’s father, the Tai Won Kun, in the course of which the Japanese legation was attacked and the whole Japanese colony had to flee for their lives. China sent troops, and by adroitly kidnapping the Tai Won Kun, order was for a time restored. The Japanese legation was replaced, but under the protection of a strong body of Japanese troops. Further revolutions and riots followed, in which the troops of the two countries took sides, and there was imminent danger of war. To obviate this risk, it was agreed in 1885 between Count Ito and Li Hung-Chang that both sides should withdraw their troops, the king being advised to engage officers of a third state to put his army on such a footing as would maintain order, and each undertook to give the other notice should it be found necessary to send troops again. In this way a modus vivendi was established which lasted till 1894.

We can only glance briefly at the domestic affairs of China during the period 1875–1882. The years 1877–1878 were marked by a famine in Shan-si and Shan-tung, which for duration and intensity has probably never been equalled. It was computed that 12 or 13 millions perished. It was vainly hoped Domestic affairs, 1875–1882. that this loss of life, due mainly to defective commumcations, would induce the Chinese government to listen to proposals for railway construction. The Russian scare had, however, taught the Chinese the value of telegraphs, and in 1881 the first line was laid from Tientsin to Shanghai. Further construction was continued without intermission from this date. A beginning also was made in naval affairs. The arsenal at Fuchow was turning out small composite gunboats, a training ship was bought and put under the command of a British officer. Several armoured cruisers were ordered from England, and some progress was made with the fortifications of Port Arthur and Wei-hai-wei. Forts were also built and guns mounted at Fuchow, Shanghai, Canton and other vulnerable points. Money for these purposes was abundantly supplied by the customs duties on foreign trade, and China had learnt that at need she could borrow from the foreign banks on the security of this revenue.

In 1881 the senior regent, the empress Tsz‛e An, was carried off by a sudden attack of heart disease, and the empress Tsz‛e Hsi remained in undivided possession of the supreme power during the remainder of the emperor Kwang-su’s minority. Li Hung-Chang, firmly established at Tientsin, within easy reach of the capital, as viceroy of the home province of Chih-li and superintendent of northern trade, enjoyed a larger share of his imperial mistress’s favour than was often granted by the ruling Manchus to officials of Chinese birth, and in all the graver questions of foreign policy his advice was generally decisive.

While the dispute with Japan was still going on regarding Korea, China found herself involved in a more serious quarrel in respect of another tributary state which lay on the southern frontier. By a treaty made between France Tongking and Hanoi. and Annam in 1874, the Red river or Songkoi, which rising in-south-western China, flows through Tongking, was opened to trade, together with the cities of Haiphong and Hanoi situated on the delta. The object of the French was to find a trade route to Yun-nan and Sze-ch‛uen from a base of their own, and it was hoped the Red river would furnish such a route. Tongking at this time, however, was infested with bands of pirates and cut-throats, many of whom were Chinese rebels or ex-rebels who had been driven across the frontier by the suppression of the Yun-nan and Taiping rebellions, conspicuous among them being an organization called the Black Flags. And when in 1882 France sent troops to Tongking to restore order (the Annamese government having failed to fulfil its promises in that respect) China began to protest, claiming that Annam was a vassal state and under her protection.

France took no notice of the protest, declaring that the claim had merely an archaeological interest, and that, in any case, China in military affairs was a quantité négligeable. France found, however, that she had undertaken a very serious task in Troubles
trying to put down the forces of disorder (see Tongking). The Black Flags were, it was believed, being aided by money and arms from China, and as time went on, the French were more and more being confronted with regular Chinese soldiers. Several forts, well within the Tongking frontier, were known to be garrisoned by Chinese troops. Operations continued with more or less success during the winter and spring of 1883–1884. Both sides, however, were desirous of an arrangement, and in May 1884 a convention was signed between Li Hung-Chang and a Captain Fournier, who had been commissioned ad hoc, whereby China agreed to withdraw her garrisons and to open her frontiers to trade, France agreeing, on her part, to respect the fiction of Chinese suzerainty, and guarantee the frontier from attack by brigands. No date had been fixed in the convention for the evacuation of the Chinese garrisons, and Fournier endeavoured to supplement this by a memorandum to Li Hung-Chang, at the same time announcing the fact to his government. In pursuance of this arrangement the French troops proceeded to occupy Langson on the date fixed (21st June 1884). The Chinese commandant refused to evacuate, alleging, in a despatch which no one in the French camp was competent to translate, that he had received no orders, and begged for a short delay to enable him to communicate with his superiors. The French commandant ordered an attack, which was repulsed with severe loss. Mutual recriminations ensued. From Paris there came a demand for a huge indemnity as reparation for the insult. The Peking government offered to carry out the convention, and to pay a small indemnity for the lives lost through the misunderstanding. This was refused, and hostilities recommenced, or, as the French preferred to call them, reprisals, for the fiction was still kept up that the two countries were not at war. Under cover of this fiction the French fleet peaceably entered the harbour of Fuchow, having passed the forts at the entrance to the river without hindrance. Once inside, they attacked and destroyed the much inferior Chinese fleet which was then quietly at anchor, destroying at the same time a large part of the arsenal which adjoins the anchorage (23rd August 1884). Retracing its steps, the French fleet attacked and destroyed with impunity the forts which were built to guard the entrance to the Min river, and could offer no resistance to a force coming from the rear. After this exploit the French fleet left the mainland and continued its reprisals on the coast of Formosa. Kelung, a treaty port, was bombarded and taken, October 4th. A similar attempt, however, on the neighbouring port of Tamsui was unsuccessful, the landing party having been driven back to their ships with severe loss. The attempt was not renewed, and the fleet thereafter confined itself to a semi-blockade of the island, which was prolonged into 1885 but led to no practical results. Negotiations for peace, however, which had been for some time in progress through the mediation of Sir Robert Hart, were at this juncture happily concluded (April 1885). The terms were practically those of the Fournier convention of the year before, the demand for an indemnity having been quietly dropped.

China, on the whole, came out of the struggle with greatly increased prestige. She had tried conclusions with a first-class European power and had held her own. Incorrect conclusions as to the military strength of China were Increased prestige of China. consequently drawn, not merely by the Chinese themselves—which was excusable—but by European and even British authorities, who ought to have been better informed. War vessels were ordered by China both from England and Germany, and Admiral Lang, who had withdrawn his services while the war was going on, was re-engaged together with a number of British officers and instructors. The completion of the works at Port Arthur was taken in hand, and a beginning was made in the construction of forts at Wei-hai-wei as a second naval base. A new department was created for the control of naval affairs, at the head of which was placed Prince Chun, father of the emperor, who since the downfall of Prince Kung in 1884 had been taking a more and more prominent part in public affairs.

From 1885 to 1894 the political history of China does not call for extended notice. Two incidents, however, must be recorded, (1) the conclusion in 1886 of a convention with Great Britain, in which the Chinese government undertook to recognize British sovereignty in Burma, and (2) the temporary occupation of Port Hamilton by the British fleet (May 1885–February 1887). 1885–
In 1890 Admiral Lang resigned his command of the Chinese fleet. During a temporary absence of Lang’s colleague, Admiral Ting, the Chinese second in command, claimed the right to take charge—a claim which Admiral Lang naturally resented. The question was referred to Li Hung-Chang, who decided against Lang, whereupon the latter threw up his commission. From this point the fleet on which so much depended began to deteriorate. Superior officers again began to steal the men’s pays, the ships were starved, shells filled with charcoal instead of powder were supplied, accounts were cooked, and all the corruption and malfeasance that were rampant in the army crept back into the navy.

The year 1894 witnessed the outbreak of the war with Japan. In the spring, complications again arose with Japan over Korea, and hostilities began in July. The story of the war is told elsewhere (see Chino-Japanese War), and it is War with Japan,
unnecessary here to recount the details of the decisive victory of Japan. A new power had arisen in the Far East, and when peace was signed by Li Hung-Chang at Shimonoseki on the 17th of April 1895 it meant the beginning of a new epoch. The terms included the cession of Liao-tung peninsula, then in actual occupation by the Japanese troops, the cession of Formosa, an indemnity of H. taels 200,000,000 (about £30,000,000) and various commercial privileges.

The signature of this treaty brought the European powers on the scene. It had been for some time the avowed ambition of Russia to obtain an ice-free port as an outlet to her Siberian possessions—an ambition which was considered by British statesmen as not unreasonable. It did not, therefore, at all suit her purposes to see the rising power of Japan commanding European inter-
the whole of the coast-line of Korea. Accordingly in the interval between the signature and the ratification of the treaty, invitations were addressed by Russia to the great powers to intervene with a view to its modification on the ground of the disturbance of the balance of power, and the menace to China which the occupation of Port Arthur by the Japanese would involve. France and Germany accepted the invitation, Great Britain declined. In the end the three powers brought such pressure to bear on Japan that she gave up the whole of her continental acquisitions, retaining only the island of Formosa. The indemnity was on the other hand increased by H. taels 30,000,000. For the time the integrity of China seemed to be preserved, and Russia, France and Germany could pose as her friends. Evidence was, however, soon forthcoming that Russia and France had not been disinterested in rescuing Chinese territory from the Japanese grasp. Russia now obtained the right to carry the Siberian railway across Chinese territory from Stryetensk to Vladivostok, thus avoiding a long détour, besides giving a grasp on northern Manchuria. France obtained, by a convention dated the 20th of June 1895, a rectification of frontier in the Mekong valley and certain railway and mining rights in Kiang-si and Yun-nan. Both powers obtained concessions of land at Hankow for the purposes of a settlement. Russia was also said to have negotiated a secret treaty, frequently described as the “Cassini Convention,” but more probably signed by Li Hung-Chang at Moscow, giving her the right in certain contingencies to Port Arthur, which was to be refortified with Russian assistance. And by way of further securing her hold, Russia guaranteed a 4% loan of £15,000,000 issued in Paris to enable China to pay off the first instalment of the Japanese indemnity.

The convention between France and China of the 20th of June 1895 brought China into sharp conflict with Great Britain. China, having by the Burma convention of 1886 agreed to recognize British sovereignty over Mekong valley dispute, 1895. Burma, her quondam feudatory, also agreed to a delimitation of boundaries at the proper time. Effect was given to this last stipulation by a subsequent convention concluded in London (1st of March 1894), which traced the boundary line from the Shan states on the west as far as the Mekong river on the east. In the Mekong valley there were two semi-independent native territories over which suzerainty had been claimed in times gone by both by the kings of Ava and by the Chinese emperors. These territories were named Meng Lun and Kiang Hung—the latter lying partly on one side and partly on the other of the Mekong river, south of the point where it issues from Chinese territory. The boundary line was so drawn as to leave both these territories to China, but it was stipulated that China should not alienate any portion of these territories to any other power without the previous consent of Great Britain. Yielding to French pressure, and regardless of the undertaking she had entered into with Great Britain, China, in the convention with France in June 1895, so drew the boundary line as to cede to France that portion of the territory of Kiang Hung which lay on the left bank of the Mekong. Compensation was demanded by Great Britain from China for this breach of faith, and at the same time negotiations were entered into with France. These resulted in a joint declaration by the governments of France and Great Britain, dated the 15th of January 1896, by which it was agreed as regards boundary that the Mekong from the point of its confluence with the Nam Huk northwards as far as the Chinese frontier should be the dividing line between the possessions or spheres of influence of the two powers. It was also agreed that any commercial privileges obtained by either power in Yun-nan or Sze-ch‛uen should be open to the subjects of the other. The negotiations with China resulted in a further agreement, dated the 4th of February 1897, whereby considerable modifications in favour of Great Britain were made in the Burma boundary drawn by the 1894 convention.

While Russia and France were profiting by what they were pleased to call the generosity of China, Germany alone had so far received no reward for her share in compelling the retrocession of Liao-tung; but, in November 1897, she Kiaochow, Port Arthur, Wei-hai-wei. proceeded to help herself by seizing the Bay of Kiaochow in the province of Shan-tung. The act was done ostensibly in order to compel satisfaction for the murder of two German missionaries. A cession was ultimately made by way of a lease for a term of ninety-nine years—Germany to have full territorial jurisdiction during the continuance of the lease, with liberty to erect fortifications, build docks, and exercise all the rights of sovereignty. In December the Russian fleet was sent to winter in Port Arthur, and though this was at first described as a temporary measure, its object was speedily disclosed by a request made, in January 1898, by the Russian ambassador in London that two British cruisers, then also anchored at Port Arthur, should be withdrawn “in order to avoid friction in the Russian sphere of influence.” They left shortly afterwards, and their departure in the circumstances was regarded as a blow to Great Britain’s prestige in the Far East. In March the Russian government peremptorily demanded a lease of Port Arthur and the adjoining anchorage of Talienwan—a demand which China could not resist without foreign support. After an acrimonious correspondence with the Russian government Great Britain acquiesced in the fait accompli. The Russian occupation of Port Arthur was immediately followed by a concession to build a line of railway from that point northwards to connect with the Siberian trunk line in north Manchuria. As a counterpoise to the growth of Russian influence in the north, Great Britain obtained a lease of Wei-hai-wei, and formally took possession of it on its evacuation by the Japanese troops in May 1898.

After much hesitation the Chinese government had at last resolved to permit the construction of railways with foreign capital. An influential official named Sheng Hsuan-hwai was appointed director-general of railways, and empowered to enter into negotiations with foreign capitalists for that purpose. A keen competition thereupon ensued between syndicates of different nationalities, and their claims being espoused by their various governments, an equally keen international rivalry was set up. Great Britain, though intimating her preference for the “open door” policy, meaning equal opportunity for “Open door,” and “spheres of influence.” all, yet found herself compelled to fall in with the general movement towards what became known as the “spheres of influence” policy, and claimed the Yangtsze valley as her particular sphere. This she did by the somewhat negative method of obtaining from the Chinese government a declaration that no part of the Yangtsze valley should be alienated to any foreign power. A more formal recognition of the claim, as far as railway enterprise was concerned, was embodied in an agreement (28th of April 1899) between Great Britain and Russia, and communicated to the Chinese government, whereby the Russian government agreed not to seek for any concessions within the Yangtsze valley, including all the provinces bordering on the great river, together with Cheh-kiang and Ho-nan, the British government entering into a similar undertaking in regard to the Chinese dominions north of the Great Wall.[50]

In 1899 Talienwan and Kiaochow were respectively thrown open by Russia and Germany to foreign trade, and, encouraged by these measures, the United States government initiated in September of the same year a correspondence with the great European powers and Japan, with a view to securing their definite adhesion to the “open door” policy. The British government gave an unqualified approval to the American proposal, and the replies of the other powers, though more guarded, were accepted at Washington as satisfactory. A further and more definite step towards securing the maintenance of the “open door” in China was the agreement concluded in October 1900 between the British and German governments. The signatories, by the first two articles, agreed to endeavour to keep the ports on the rivers and littoral free and open to international trade and economic activity, and to uphold this rule for all Chinese territory as far as (wo in the German counterpart) they could exercise influence; not to use the existing complications to obtain territorial advantages in Chinese dominions, and to seek to maintain undiminished the territorial condition of the Chinese empire. By a third article they reserved their right to come to a preliminary understanding for the protection of their interests in China, should any other power use those complications to obtain such territorial advantages under any form whatever. On the submission of the agreement to the powers interested, Austria, France, Italy and Japan accepted its principles without express reservation—Japan first obtaining assurances that she signed on the same footing as an original signatory. The United States accepted the first two articles, but expressed no opinion on the third. Russia construed the first as limited to ports actually open in regions where the two signatories exercise “their” influence, and favourably entertained it in that sense, ignoring the reference to other forms of economic activity. She fully accepted the second, and observed that in the contingency contemplated by the third, she would modify her attitude according to circumstances.

Meanwhile, negotiations carried on by the British minister at Peking during 1898 resulted in the grant of very important privileges to foreign commerce. The payment of the second instalment of the Japanese indemnity was becoming due, and it was much discussed how and on what terms China would be able to raise the amount. The Russian government, as has been stated, had made China a loan of the sum required for the first portion of the indemnity, viz. £15,000,000, taking a charge on the customs revenue as security. The British government was urged to make a like loan of £16,000,000 both as a matter of friendship to China and as a counterpoise to the Russian influence. An arrangement was come to accordingly, on very favourable terms financially to the Chinese, but at the last moment they drew back, being overawed, as they said, by the threatening attitude of Russia. Taking advantage of the position which this refusal gave him, the British minister obtained from the Tsung-Li-Yamen, besides the declaration as to the non-alienation of the Yangtsze valley above mentioned, an undertaking to throw the whole of the inland waterways open to steam traffic. The Chinese government at the same time undertook that the post of inspector-general of customs (then held by Sir Robert Hart) should always be held by an Englishman so long as the trade of Great Britain was greater than that of any other nation. Minor concessions were also made, but the opening of the waterways was by far the greatest advance that had been made since 1860.

Of still greater importance were the railway and mining concessions granted during the same year (1898). The Chinese government had been generally disposed to railway construction since the conclusion of the Japanese War, but hoped to be able to retain the control in their own hands. The masterful methods of Russia and Germany had obliged them to surrender this control so far as concerned Manchuria and Shan-tung. In the Yangtsze valley, Sheng, the director-general of railways, had been negotiating with several competing syndicates. One of these was a Franco-Belgian syndicate, which was endeavouring to obtain the trunk line from Hankow to Peking. A British company was tendering for the same work, and as the line lay mainly within the British sphere it was considered not unreasonable to expect it should be given to the latter. At a critical moment, however, the French and Russian ministers intervened, and practically forced the Yamen to grant a contract in favour of the Franco-Belgian company. The Yamen had a few days before explicitly promised the British minister that the contract should not be ratified without his having an opportunity of seeing it. As a penalty for this breach of faith, and as a set-off to the Franco-Belgian line, the British minister required the immediate grant of all the railway concessions for which British syndicates were then negotiating, and on terms not inferior to those granted to the Belgian line. In this way all the lines in the lower Yangtsze, as also the Shan-si Mining Companies’ lines, were secured. A contract for a trunk line from Canton to Hankow was negotiated in the latter part of 1898 by an American company.

There can be little doubt that the powers, engrossed in the diplomatic conflicts of which Peking was the centre, had entirely underrated the reactionary forces gradually mustering for a struggle against the aggressive spirit of Western civilization. The lamentable consequences of administrative corruption and incompetence, and the superiority of foreign methods which had been amply illustrated by the Japanese War, had at first produced a considerable impression, not only upon the more enlightened commercial classes, but even upon many of the younger members of the official classes in China. The dowager-empress, who, in spite of the emperor Kwang-su having nominally attained his majority, had retained practical control of the supreme power until the conflict with Japan, had been held, not unjustly, to blame for the disasters of the war, and even before its conclusion the young emperor was adjured by some of the most responsible among his own subjects to shake himself free from the baneful restraint of “petticoat government,” and himself take the helm. In the following years a reform movement, undoubtedly genuine, though opinions differ as to the value of the popular support which it claimed, The reform movement, 1898. spread throughout the central and southern provinces of the empire. One of the most significant symptoms was the relatively large demand which suddenly arose for the translations of foreign works and similar publications in the Chinese language which philanthropic societies, such as that “for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge amongst the Chinese,” had been trying for some time past to popularize, though hitherto with scant success. Chinese newspapers published in the treaty ports spread the ferment of new ideas far into the interior. Fifteen hundred young men of good family applied to enter the foreign university at Peking, and in some of the provincial towns the Chinese themselves subscribed towards the opening of foreign schools. Reform societies, which not infrequently enjoyed official countenance, sprang up in many of the large towns, and found numerous adherents amongst the younger literati. Early in 1898 the emperor, who had gradually emancipated himself from the dowager-empress’s control, summoned several of the reform leaders to Peking, and requested their advice with regard to the progressive measures which should be introduced into the government of the empire. Chief amongst these reformers was Kang Yu-wei, a Cantonese, whose scholarly attainments, combined with novel teachings, earned for him from his followers the title of the “Modern Sage.” Of his more or less active sympathizers who had subsequently to suffer with him in the cause of reform, the most prominent were Chang Yin-huan, a member of the grand council and of the Tsung-Li-Yamen, who had represented his sovereign at Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1897; Chin Pao-chen, governor of Hu-nan; Liang Chichao, the editor of the reformers’ organ, Chinese Progress; Su Chiching, a reader of the Hanlin College, the educational stronghold of Chinese conservatism; and his son Su In-chi, also a Hanlin man, and provincial chancellor of public instruction in Hu-nan.

It soon became evident, that there was no more enthusiastic advocate of the new ideas than the emperor himself. Within a few months the vermilion pencil gave the imperial sanction to a succession of edicts which, had they been carried into effect, would have amounted to a revolution as far-reaching as that which had transformed Japan thirty years previously. The fossilized system of examinations for the public service was to be altogether superseded by a new schedule based on foreign learning, for the better promotion of which a number of temples were to be converted into schools for Western education; a state department was to be created for the translation and dissemination of the standard works of Western literature and science; even the scions of the ruling Manchu race were to be compelled to study foreign languages and travel abroad; and last, but not least, all useless offices both in Peking and in the provinces were to be abolished. A further edict was even reported to be in contemplation, doing away with the queue or pigtail, which, originally imposed upon the Chinese by their Manchu conquerors as a badge of subjection, had gradually become the most characteristic and most cherished feature of the national dress. But the bureaucracy of China, which had battened for centuries on corruption and ignorance, had no taste for self-sacrifice. Other vested interests felt themselves equally threatened, and behind them stood the whole latent force of popular superstition and unreasoning conservatism.

The dowager-empress saw her opportunity. The Summer Palace, to which she had retired, had been for some time the centre of resistance to the new movement, and in the middle of September 1898 a report became current that, in order to put an end to the obstruction which hampered his reform policy, the emperor intended to seize the person of the dowager-empress and have her deported into the interior. Some colour was given to this report by an official announcement that the emperor would hold a review of the foreign-drilled troops at Tientsin, and had summoned Yuan Shihkai, their general, to Peking in order to confer with him on the necessary arrangements. But the reformers had neglected to secure the goodwill of the army, which was still entirely in the hands of the reactionaries. During the night of the 20th of September the palace of the emperor The Empress’s coup d‘état. was occupied by the soldiers, and on the following day Kwang-su, who was henceforth virtually a prisoner in the hands of the empress, was made to issue an edict restoring her regency. Kang Yu-wei, warned at the last moment by an urgent message from the emperor, succeeded in escaping, but many of the most prominent reformers were arrested, and six of them were promptly executed. The Peking Gazette announced a few days later that the emperor himself was dangerously ill, and his life might well have been despaired of had not the British minister represented in very emphatic terms the serious consequences which might ensue if anything happened to him. Drastic measures were, however, adopted to stamp out the reform movement in the provinces as well as in the capital. The reform edicts were cancelled, the reformers’ associations were dissolved, their newspapers suppressed, and those who did not care to save themselves by a hasty recantation of their errors were imprisoned, proscribed or exiled. In October the reaction had already been accompanied by such a recrudescence of anti-foreign feeling that the foreign ministers at Peking had to bring up guards from the fleet for the protection of the legations, and to demand the removal from the capital of the disorderly Kan-suh soldiery which subsequently played so sinister a part in the troubles of June 1900. But the unpleasant impression produced by these incidents was in a great measure removed by the demonstrative reception which the empress Tsz‛e Hsi gave on the 15th of October to the wives of the foreign representatives—an act of courtesy unprecedented in the annals of the Chinese court.

The reactionary tide continued to rise throughout the year 1899, but it did not appear materially to affect the foreign relations of China. Towards the end of the year the brutal murder of Mr Brooks, an English missionary, The Boxer movement, 1900. in Shan-tung, had compelled attention to a popular movement which had been spreading rapidly throughout that province and the adjoining one of Chih-li with the connivance of certain high officials, if not under their direct patronage. The origin of the “Boxer” movement is obscure. Its name is derived from a literal translation of the Chinese designation, “the fist of righteous harmony.” Like the kindred “Big Sword” Society, it appears to have been in the first instance merely a secret association of malcontents chiefly drawn from the lower classes. Whether the empress Tsz‛e Hsi and her Manchu advisers had deliberately set themselves from the beginning to avert the danger by deflecting what might have been a revolutionary movement into anti-foreign channels, or whether with Oriental heedlessness they had allowed it to grow until they were powerless to control it, they had unquestionably resolved to take it under their protection before the foreign representatives at Peking had realized its gravity. The outrages upon native Christians and the threats against foreigners generally went on increasing. The Boxers openly displayed on their banners the device: “Exterminate the foreigners and save the dynasty,” yet the representatives of the powers were unable to obtain any effective measures against the so-called “rebels,” or even a definite condemnation of their methods.[51]

Four months (January–April 1900) were spent in futile interviews with the Tsung-Li-Yamen. In May a number of Christian villages were destroyed and native converts massacred near the capital. On the 2nd of June two English missionaries, Mr Robinson and Mr Norman, were murdered at Yung Ching, 40 m. from Peking. The whole country was overrun with bands of Boxers, who tore up the railway and set fire to the stations at different points on the Peking-Tientsin line. Fortunately a mixed body of marines and bluejackets of various nationalities, numbering 18 officers and 389 men, had reached Peking on the 1st of June for the protection of the legations. The whole city was in a state of turmoil. Murder and pillage were of daily occurrence. The reactionary Prince Tuan (grandson of the emperor Tao-kwang) and the Manchus generally, together with the Kan-suh soldiery under the notorious Tung-fu-hsiang, openly sided with the Boxers. The European residents and a large number of native converts took refuge in the British legation, where preparations were hastily made in view of a threatened attack. On the 11th the chancellor of the Japanese legation, Mr Sugiyama, was murdered by Chinese soldiers. On the night of the 13th most of the foreign buildings, churches and mission houses in the eastern part of the Tatar city were pillaged and burnt, and hundreds of native Christians massacred. On the 20th of June the German minister, Baron von Ketteler, was murdered whilst on his way to the Tsung-Li-Yamen. At 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 20th the Chinese troops opened fire upon the legations. The general direction of the defence was undertaken by Sir Claude Macdonald, the British minister.

Meanwhile Peking had been completely cut off since the 14th from all communication with the outside world, and in view of the gravity of the situation, naval and military forces were being hurried up by all the powers to the Gulf Inter-
national expedition.
of Chih-li. On the 10th of June Admiral Sir E. Seymour had already left Tientsin with a mixed force of 2000 British, Russian, French, Germans, Austrians, Italians, Americans and Japanese, to repair the railway and restore communications with Peking. But his expedition met with unexpectedly severe resistance, and it had great difficulty in making good its retreat after suffering heavy losses. When it reached Tientsin again on the 26th of June, the British contingent of 915 men had alone lost 124 killed and wounded out of a total casualty list of 62 killed and 218 wounded. The Chinese had in the meantime made a determined attack upon the foreign settlements at Tientsin, and communication between the city and the sea being also threatened, the Taku forts at the mouth of the Pei-ho were captured by the allied admirals on the 17th. The situation at Tientsin nevertheless continued precarious, and it was not till the arrival of considerable reinforcements that the troops of the allied powers were able to assume the offensive, taking the native city by storm on July 14th, at a cost, however, of over 700 killed and wounded. Even in this emergency international jealousy had grievously delayed the necessary concentration of forces. No power was so favourably situated to take immediate action as Japan, and the British government, who had strongly urged her to act speedily and energetically, undertook at her request to sound the other powers with regard to her intervention. No definite objection was raised, but the replies of Germany and Russia barely disguised their ill-humour. Great Britain herself went so far as to offer Japan the assistance of the British treasury, in case financial difficulties stood in the way, but on the same day on which this proposal was telegraphed to Tokyo (6th of July), the Japanese government had decided to embark forthwith the two divisions which it had already mobilized. By the beginning of August one of the Indian brigades had also reached Tientsin together with smaller reinforcements sent by the other powers, and thanks chiefly to the energetic counsels of the British commander, General Sir Alfred Gaselee, a relief column, numbering 20,000 men, at last set out for Peking on the 4th of August, a British naval brigade having started up river the previous afternoon. After a series of small engagements and very trying marches it arrived within striking distance of Peking on the evening of the 13th. The Russians tried to steal a march upon the allies during the night, but were checked at the walls and suffered heavy losses. The Japanese attacked another point of the walls the next morning, but met with fierce opposition, whilst the Americans were delayed by getting entangled in the Russian line of advance. The British contingent was more fortunate, and skilfully guided to an unguarded water-gate, General Gaselee and a party of Sikhs were the first to force their way through to the British legation. About 2 p.m. on the afternoon of the 14th of August, the long siege was raised.

For nearly six weeks after the first interruption of communications, no news reached the outside world from Peking except a few belated messages, smuggled through the Chinese lines by native runners, urging the imperative necessity Siege of
the Peking legations.
of prompt relief. During the greater part of that period the foreign quarter was subjected to heavy rifle and artillery fire, and the continuous fighting at close quarters with the hordes of Chinese regulars, as well as Boxers, decimated the scanty ranks of the defenders. The supply of both ammunition and food was slender. But the heroism displayed by civilians and professional combatants alike was inexhaustible. In their anxiety to burn out the British legation, the Chinese did not hesitate to set fire to the adjoining buildings of the Hanlin, the ancient seat of Chinese classical learning, and the storehouse of priceless literary treasures and state archives. The Fu, or palace, of Prince Su, separated only by a canal from the British legation, formed the centre of the international position, and was held with indomitable valour by a small Japanese force under Colonel Sheba, assisted by a few Italian marines and volunteers of other nationalities and a number of Christian Chinese. The French legation on the extreme right, and the section of the city wall held chiefly by Germans and Americans, were also points of vital importance which had to bear the brunt of the Chinese attack.

Little is known as to what passed in the councils of the Chinese court during the siege.[52] But there is reason to believe that throughout that period grave divergences of opinion existed amongst the highest officials. The attack upon the legations appears to have received the sanction of the dowager-empress, acting upon the advice of Prince Tuan and the extreme Manchu party, at a grand council held during the night of the 18th/19th June, upon receipt of the news of the capture of the Taku forts by the international forces. The emperor himself, as well as Prince Ching and a few other influential mandarins, strongly protested against the empress’s decision, but it was acclaimed by the vast majority of those present. Three members of the Tsung-Li-Yamen were publicly executed for attempting to modify the terms of an imperial edict ordering the massacre of all foreigners throughout the provinces, and most of the Manchu nobles and high officials, and the eunuchs of the palace, who played an important part in Chinese politics throughout the dowager-empress’s tenure of power, were heart and soul with the Boxers. But it was noted by the defenders of the legations that Prince Ching’s troops seldom took part, or only in a half-hearted way, in the fighting, which was chiefly conducted by Tung-fu-hsiang’s soldiery and the Boxer levies. The modern artillery which the Chinese possessed was only spasmodically brought into play. Nor did any of the attacking parties ever show the fearlessness and determination which the Chinese had somewhat unexpectedly displayed on several occasions during the fighting at and around Tientsin. Nevertheless, the position of the defenders at the end of the first four weeks of the siege had grown well-nigh desperate. Mining and incendiarism proved far greater dangers than shot and shell. Suddenly, just when things were looking blackest, on the 17th of July the Chinese ceased firing, and a sort of informal armistice secured a period of respite for the beleaguered Europeans. The capture of the native city of Tientsin by the allied forces had shaken the self-confidence of the Chinese authorities, who had hitherto not only countenanced, but themselves directed the hostilities.[53] Desultory fighting, nevertheless, continued, and grave fears were entertained that the approach of the relief column would prove the signal for a desperate attempt to rush the legations. The attempt was made, but failed. The relief, however, came not a day too soon. Of the small band of defenders which, including civilian volunteers, had never mustered 500, 65 had been killed and 131 wounded. Ammunition and provisions were almost at an end. Even more desperate was the situation at the Pei-tang, the Roman Catholic northern cathedral and mission house, where, with the help of a small body of French and Italian marines, Mgr Favier had organized an independent centre of resistance for his community of over 3000 souls. Their rations were absolutely exhausted when, on the 15th of August, a relief party was despatched to their assistance from the legations.

The ruin wrought in Peking during the two months’ fighting was appalling. Apart from the wholesale destruction of foreign property in the Tatar city, and of Chinese as well as European buildings in the vicinity of the legations, the Looting of Peking. wealthiest part of the Chinese city had been laid in ashes. The flames from a foreign drug store fired by the Boxers had spread to the adjoining buildings, and finally consumed the whole of the business quarter with all its invaluable stores of silks, curiosities, furs, &c. The retribution which overtook Peking after its capture by the international forces was scarcely less terrible. Looting was for some days almost universal. Order was, however, gradually restored, first in the Japanese and then in the British and American quarters, though several months elapsed before there was any real revival of native confidence.

So unexpected had been the rapid and victorious advance of the allies, that the dowager-empress with the emperor and the rest of the court did not actually leave Peking until the day after the legations had been relieved. But Flight of
the Chinese court.
the northern and western portions of the Tatar city had not yet been occupied, and the fugitives made good their escape on the 15th. When the allies some days later marched through the Forbidden City, they only found a few eunuchs and subordinate officials in charge of the imperial apartments. At the end of September, Field Marshal Count von Waldersee, with a German expeditionary force of over 20,000 men, arrived to assume the supreme command conferred upon him with the more or less willing assent of the other powers.

The political task which confronted the powers after the occupation of Peking was far more arduous than the military one. The action of the Russians in Manchuria, even in a treaty port like Niu-chwang, the seizure of the railway Restoration of order. line not only to the north of the Great Wall, but also from Shan-hai-kwan to Peking, by the Russian military authorities, and the appropriation of an extensive line of river frontage at Tientsin as a Russian “settlement,” were difficult to reconcile with the pacific assurances of disinterestedness which Russia, like the rest of the powers, had officially given. Great anxiety prevailed as to the effect of the flight of the Chinese court in other parts of the empire. The anti-foreign movement had not spread much beyond the northern provinces, in which it had had the open support of the throne and of the highest provincial officials. But among British and Americans alone, over 200 defenceless foreigners, men, women and children, chiefly missionaries, had fallen victims to the treachery of high-placed mandarins like Yü Hsien, and hundreds of others had had to fly for their lives, many of them owing their escape to the courageous protection of petty officials and of the local gentry and peasantry. In the Yangtsze valley order had been maintained by the energy of the viceroys of Nanking and Wu-chang, who had acted throughout the critical period in loyal co-operation with the British consuls and naval commanders, and had courageously disregarded the imperial edicts issued during the ascendancy of the Boxers. After some hesitation, an Indian brigade, followed by French, German and Japanese contingents, had been landed at Shanghai for the protection of the settlements, and though the viceroy, Liu Kun-yi, had welcomed British support, and even invited the joint occupation of the Yangtsze forts by British and Chinese troops, the appearance of other European forces in the Yangtsze valley was viewed with great suspicion. In the south there were serious symptoms of unrest, especially after Li Hung-Chang had left Canton for the north, in obedience, as he alleged at the time, to an imperial edict which, there is reason to believe, he invented for the occasion. The Chinese court, after one or two intermediate halts, had retired to Si-gan-fu, one of the ancient capitals of the empire, situated in the inaccessible province of Shen-si, over 600 m. S.W. of Peking. The influence of the ultra-reactionaries, headed by Prince Tuan and General Tung-fu-hsiang, still dominated its councils, although credentials were sent to Prince Ching and to Li Hung-Chang, who, after waiting upon events at Shanghai, had proceeded to Peking, authorizing them to treat with the powers for the re-establishment of friendly relations.

The harmony of the powers, which had been maintained with some difficulty up to the relief of the legations, was subjected to a severe strain as soon as the basis of negotiations with the Chinese government came to be discussed. Measures of reparation. While for various reasons Russia, Japan and the United States were inclined to treat China with great indulgence, Germany insisted upon the signal punishment of the guilty officials as a conditio sine qua non, and in this she had the support not only of the other members of the Triple Alliance, but also of Great Britain, and to some extent even of France, who, as protector of the Roman Catholic Church in Eastern countries, could not allow the authors of the atrocities committed upon its followers to escape effectual punishment. It was not until after months of laborious negotiations that the demands to be formally made upon the Chinese government were embodied in a joint note signed by all the foreign ministers on the 20th and 21st of December 1900. The demands were substantially as follows:

Honourable reparation for the murder of von Ketteler and of Mr Sugiyama, to be made in a specified form, and expiatory monuments to be erected in cemeteries where foreign tombs had been desecrated. “The most severe punishment befitting their crimes” was to be inflicted on the personages designated by the decree of the 21st of September, and also upon others to be designated later by the foreign ministers, and the official examinations were to be suspended in the cities where foreigners had been murdered or ill-treated. An equitable indemnity, guaranteed by financial measures acceptable to the powers, was to be paid to states, societies and individuals, including Chinese who had suffered because of their employment by foreigners, but not including Chinese Christians who had suffered only on account of their faith. The importation or manufacture of arms or matériel was to be forbidden; permanent legation guards were to be maintained at Peking, and the diplomatic quarter was to be fortified, while communication with the sea was to be secured by a foreign military occupation of the strategic points and by the demolition of the Chinese forts, including the Taku forts, between the capital and the coast. Proclamations were to be posted throughout China for two years, threatening death to the members of anti-foreign societies, and recording the punishment of the ringleaders in the late outrages: and the viceroys, governors and provincial officials were to be declared by imperial edict responsible, on pain of immediate dismissal and perpetual disability to hold office, for anti-foreign outbreaks or violations of treaty within their jurisdictions. China was to facilitate commercial relations by negotiating a revision of the commercial treaties. The Tsung-Li-Yamen was to be reformed and the ceremonial for the reception of foreign ministers modified as the powers should demand. Compliance with these terms was declared to be a condition precedent to the arrangement of a time limit to the occupation of Peking and of the provinces by foreign troops.

Under instructions from the court, the Chinese plenipotentiaries affixed their signatures on the 14th of January 1901 to a protocol, by which China pledged herself to accept these terms in principle, and the conference of ministers then proceeded to discuss the definite form in which compliance with them was to be exacted. This further stage of the negotiations proved even more laborious and protracted than the preliminary proceedings. No attempt was made to raise the question of the dowager-empress’s responsibility for the anti-foreign movement, as Russia had from the first set her face against the introduction of what she euphemistically termed “the dynastic question.” But even with regard to the punishment of officials whose guilt was beyond dispute, grave divergences arose between the powers. The death penalty was ultimately waived in the case even of such conspicuous offenders as Prince Tuan and Tung-fu-hsiang, but the notorious Yü Hsien and two others were decapitated by the Chinese, and three other metropolitan officials were ordered to commit suicide, whilst upon others sentences of banishment, imprisonment and degradation were passed, in accordance with a list drawn up by the foreign representatives. The question of the punishment of provincial officials responsible for the massacre of scores of defenceless men, women and children was unfortunately reserved for separate treatment, and when it came up for discussion it became impossible to preserve even the semblance of unanimity, the Russian minister at once taking issue with his colleagues, although he had originally pledged himself as formally as the others to the principle. Count Lamsdorff frankly told the British ambassador at St Petersburg that Russia took no interest in missionaries, and as the foreigners massacred in the provinces belonged mostly to that class, she declined to join in the action of the other powers.

The real explanation of Russia’s cynical secession from the concert of powers on this important issue must be sought in her anxiety to conciliate the Chinese in view of the separate negotiations in which she was at the same time engaged Russia and Manchuria. with China in respect of Manchuria. When the Boxer movement was at its height at the end of June 1900, the Chinese authorities in Manchuria had wantonly “declared war” against Russia, and for a moment a great wave of panic seems to have swept over the Russian administration, civil and military, in the adjoining provinces. The reprisals exercised by the Russians were proportionately fierce. The massacre at Blagovyeshchensk, where 5000 Chinese—men, women and children—were flung into the Amur by the Cossacks, was only one incident in the reign of terror by which the Russians sought to restore their power and their prestige. The resistance of the Chinese troops was soon overcome, and Russian forces overran the whole province, occupying even the treaty port of Niu-chwang. The Russian government officially repudiated all responsibility for the proclamations issued by General Gribsky and others, foreshadowing, if not actually proclaiming, the annexation of Chinese territory to the Russian empire. But Russia was clearly bent on seizing the opportunity for securing a permanent hold upon Manchuria. In December 1900 a preliminary agreement was made between M. Korostovetz, the Russian administrator-general, and Tseng, the Tatar general at Mukden, by which the civil and military administration of the whole province was virtually placed under Russian control. In February 1901 negotiations were opened between the Russian government and the Chinese minister at St Petersburg for the conclusion of a formal convention of a still more comprehensive character. In return for the restoration to China of a certain measure of civil authority in Manchuria, Russia was to be confirmed in the possession of exclusive military, civil and commercial rights, constituting in all but name a protectorate, and she was also to acquire preferential rights over all the outlying provinces of the Chinese empire bordering on the Russian dominions in Asia. The clauses relating to Chinese Turkestan, Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan and Mongolia were subsequently stated to have been dropped, but the convention nevertheless provoked considerable opposition both in foreign countries and amongst the Chinese themselves. Most of the powers, including Germany, who, however, denied that the Anglo-German agreement of the 16th of October 1900 applied to Manchuria,[54] advised the Chinese government not to pursue separate negotiations with one power whilst collective negotiations were in progress at Peking, and both Japan and Great Britain pressed for definite information at St Petersburg with regard to the precise tenor of the proposed convention. At the same time the two viceroys of the lower Yangtsze memorialized the throne in the strongest terms against the convention, and these protests were endorsed not only by the great majority of Chinese officials of high rank throughout the provinces, but by popular meetings and influential guilds and associations. Ultimately the two viceroys, Chang Chih-tung and Liu Kun-yi,[55] took the extreme step of warning the throne that they would be unable to recognize the convention, even if it were ratified, and notwithstanding the pressure exercised in favour of Russia by Li Hung-Chang, the court finally instructed the Chinese minister at St Petersburg to decline his signature. The attitude of Japan, where public feeling ran high, was equally significant, and on the 3rd of April the Russian government issued a circular note to the powers, stating that, as the generous intentions of Russia had been misconstrued, she withdrew the proposed convention.

The work of the conference at Peking, which had been temporarily disturbed by these complications, was then resumed. Friction between European troops of different nationalities and an Anglo-Russian dispute over the construction The peace protocol, 1901. of certain roads and railway sidings at Tientsin showed that an international occupation was fraught with manifold dangers. The question of indemnities, however, gave rise to renewed friction. Each power drew up its own claim, and whilst Great Britain, the United States and Japan displayed great moderation, other powers, especially Germany and Italy, put in claims which were strangely out of proportion to the services rendered by their military and naval forces. It was at last settled that China should pay altogether an indemnity of 450 million taels, to be secured (1) on the unhypothecated balance of the customs revenue administered by the imperial maritime customs, the import duties being raised forthwith to an effective 5% basis; (2) on the revenues of the “native” customs in the treaty ports; (3) on the total revenues of the salt gabelle. Finally the peace protocol was drawn up in a form which satisfied all the powers as well as the Chinese court. The formal signature was, however, delayed at the last moment by a fresh difficulty concerning Prince Chun’s penitential mission to Berlin. This prince, an amiable and enlightened youth,[56] son of the Prince Chun who was the emperor Hien-fêng’s brother, and thus himself half-brother to the emperor Kwang-su, had reached Basel towards the end of August on his way to Germany, when he was suddenly informed that he and his suite would be expected to perform kowtow before the German emperor. The prince resented this unexpected demand, and referred home for instructions. The Chinese court appear to have remained obdurate, and the German government perceived the mistake that had been made in exacting from the Chinese prince a form of homage which Western diplomacy had for more than a century refused to yield to the Son of Heaven, on the ground that it was barbarous and degrading. The point was waived, and Prince Chun was received in solemn audience by the emperor William at Potsdam on the 4th of September. Three days later, on the 7th of September, the peace protocol was signed at Peking.

The articles recorded the steps to be taken to satisfy the demands of the powers as to commerce. Article 11 provided for the amendment of existing treaties of commerce and navigation, and for river conservancy measures at Tientsin and Shanghai. The British government appointed a special commission, with Sir J. Mackay, member of the council of India, as chief commissioner, to proceed to Shanghai to carry on the negotiations, and a commercial treaty was signed at Shanghai on the 6th of September 1902, by which existing obstacles to foreign trade, such as likin, &c., were removed, regulations were made for facilitating steamer navigation on inland waters, and several new ports were opened to foreign commerce.

In accordance with the terms of the protocol, all the foreign troops, except the legation guards, were withdrawn from Peking on the 17th of September, and from the rest of Chih-li, except the garrisons at the different points specified along the line of communications, by the 22nd of September. On the 7th of October it was announced that the Chinese court had left Si-gan-fu on its way back to the northern capital. A month later (7th of November) the death of Li Hung-Chang at Peking removed, if not the greatest of Chinese statesmen, at any rate the one who had enjoyed the largest share of the empress-dowager’s confidence.  (V. C.) 

(E)—From 1901 to 1910.

The events connected with the Boxer rising and its suppression demonstrated even more forcibly than had the war with Japan in 1894-1895 the necessity for the adoption of Western methods in many departments of life and administration if China was to maintain the position of a great power. “Awakening of China.” The necessity for a thorough reform of the administration was widely recognized in 1901, and among the progressive classes of the community much disappointment was manifested because the powers had failed to insist, in the conditions of peace, on a reorganization of the machinery of government. The Yangtsze viceroys, the viceroy at Canton, Yuan Shih-kai and other high mandarins repeatedly memorialized the throne to grant effective reforms. While at Si-gan-fu the court did in fact issue several reform decrees, but at the same time all authority remained in the hands of reactionaries. There had been an awakening in China, but another lesson—afforded a few years later by the Russo-Japanese War—was needed before the reform party was able to gain real power.

For three or four years following the signing of the peace protocol of 1901 it seemed indeed that there would be little change in the system of government, though in some directions a return to the old state of affairs was neither possible nor desired. On the 7th of January 1902 the court returned to Peking—a step which marked the restoration, more or less, of normal conditions. The failure of the Boxer movement, in which, as has been shown, she was deeply implicated, had impressed upon the dowager empress the need for living on better terms with foreign powers, but the reform edicts issued from Si-gan-fu remained largely inoperative, though some steps were taken to promote education on Western lines, to readjust the land tax, and especially to reorganize the military forces (though on provincial rather than on a national basis). The building of railways was also pushed on, but the dowager empress was probably at heart as reactionary as she had proved in 1898. The emperor himself from his return to Peking until the day of his death appeared to have little influence on public affairs. The most disquieting feature of the situation in the years immediately following the return of the court to Peking was the continued efforts of Russia to obtain full control of Manchuria and a predominant influence in north China. The Chinese government was powerless to stem the advance of Russia, and the dowager empress herself was credited with indifference to the fate of Manchuria. It was the menace to other powers, notably Japan, involved in Russia’s action which precipitated an issue in which the destinies of China were involved. Before considering the results of that struggle (the Russo-Japanese War) the chief events of the years 1902-1905 may be outlined.

The dowager empress from the day of her return from Si-gan-fu set herself to conciliate the foreign residents in Peking. Many foreign onlookers were gathered on the wall of the Tatar city to witness the return of the court, and to Relations with Europeans. these the dowager empress made a deep bow twice, an apparently trivial incident which made a lasting impression. On the 1st of February following the dowager empress received the ladies of the various embassies, when she bewailed the attack on the legations, entertained her guests to tea and presented each with articles of jewelry, and from that time onward, as occasion offered, Tsz‘e Hsi exchanged compliments and civilities with the foreign ladies in Peking. Moreover, Sir Robert Hart—after having been nearly forty years in China—was now presented at court, as well as Bishop Favier and others. Henceforth attacks on foreigners received no direct encouragement at court. Tung Fu-hsiang,[57] who had been banished to the remote province of Kan-suh, had at his command there his old Boxer troops, and his attitude caused anxiety at the end of 1902. He was said to have received support from Prince Tuan—who had been obliged to retire to Mongolia—but events proved that the power or the intention of these reactionaries to create trouble had been miscalculated. There were indeed serious Boxer disturbances in Sze-ch‘uen in 1902, but they were put down by a new viceroy sent from Peking. Notwithstanding the murder of fifteen missionaries during 1902-1905, there was in general a marked improvement in the relations between the missionaries, the official classes and the bulk of the people, and an eagerness was shown in several provinces to take advantage of their educational work. This was specially marked in Hu-nan, a province which had been for long hostile to missionary endeavours. Illustrative of the attitude of numbers of high officials was the attendance of the viceroy of Sze-ch‘uen, with the whole of his staff, at the opening in 1905 at Cheng-tu of new buildings of the Canadian Methodist Mission. This friendly attitude towards the missions was due in part to the influence of Chinese educated abroad and also, to a large extent, to the desire to take advantage of Western culture. The spread of this new spirit was coincident with an agitation for independence of foreign control and the determination of the Chinese to use modern methods to attain their ends. Thus in 1905 there was an extensive boycott of American goods throughout China, as a retaliatory measure for the exclusion of Chinese from the United States. Regarding China as a whole the attitude of the people towards Europeans was held to indicate that the general view was, not that the Boxer teaching was false, but that the spirits behind Western religion were more powerful than those behind Boxer-dom. The spiritual prestige of Christianity and respect for the power of the foreigner were direct outcomes of the failure of the Boxers.[58] The British expedition to Tibet in 1904, the occupation of Lhassa in August of that year, the flight of the Dalai Lama to Mongolia, gave grave concern to the Chinese government—which showed much persistence in enforcing its suzerain rights in Tibet—but did not, apparently, cause any ill-feeling towards Great Britain among the Chinese people—who viewed with seeming equanimity the flight of the head of the Buddhist religion from the headquarters of that faith. The country generally was peaceful, a rebellion in Kwang-si—where a terrible famine occurred in 1903—being suppressed in 1904 by the forces of the viceroy at Canton.

The expiatory measures required of China in connexion with the Boxer rising were carried through. China during 1902 recovered possession of the Peking-Tientsin railway and of the city of Tientsin, which was evacuated by the Commercial and railway progress. foreign troops in August of that year. The foreign troops were also all withdrawn from Shanghai by January 1903. The conclusion of a new commercial treaty between Great Britain and China in September 1902 has already been recorded. The payment of the indemnity instalments occasioned some dispute owing to the fall in silver in 1902, but the rise in the value of the tael in subsequent years led China to agree to the payment of the indemnity on a gold basis. The increase in revenue was a notable feature of the maritime customs in 1903-1905. This result was in part due to the new arrangements under the commercial treaty of 1902, and in part to the opening up of the country by railways. In especial the great trunk line from Peking to Hankow was pushed on. The line, including a bridge nearly 2 m. long over the Yellow river was completed and opened for traffic in 1905. The first section of the Shanghai-Nanking railway was opened in the same year. At this time the Chinese showed a strong desire to obtain the control of the various lines. During 1905, for instance, the Canton-Hankow railway concession was repurchased by the Chinese government from an American company, while the Pekin Syndicate, a British concern, also sold their railway in Ho-nan to the Chinese government.

Russia’s action regarding Manchuria overshadowed, however, all other concerns during this period. The withdrawal of the proposed Russo-Chinese agreement of 1901 has been chronicled. The Russian government had, however, no intention of abandoning its hold on Manchuria. It aimed not only at effective military control but the reservation to Russian subjects of mining, railway and commercial rights. Both the sovereignty of China and the commercial interests of other nations were menaced. This led to action by various powers. The preamble of the Anglo-Japanese treaty of the 30th of January 1902 declared the main motives of the contracting parties to be the maintenance of the independence and territorial integrity of China and Korea, and Manchuria. the securing of equal opportunities in those countries for the commerce and industry of all nations, i.e. the policy of the “open door.” Protests were lodged by Great Britain, Japan and the United States against the grant of exclusive rights to Russian subjects in Manchuria. Russia asserted her intention to respect the commercial rights of other nations, and on the 8th of April 1902 an agreement was signed at Peking which appeared to show the good faith of the Russian government, as it provided for the withdrawal of the Russian troops in Manchuria within eighteen months from that date. In accordance with this agreement the Shan-hai-kwan-Niu-chwang railway was transferred to China in October 1902 and the district between Shan-hai-kwan and the Liao river evacuated by Russia. But it soon appeared that Russia’s hold on the country had not relaxed. Advantage was taken of the terms of concession granted in August 1896 to the Russo-Chinese Bank[59] to erect towns for Russian colonists and to plant garrisons along the line of railway, and to exclude Chinese jurisdiction altogether from the railway zone. The so-called evacuation became in fact the concentration of the Russian forces along the line of railway. Moreover, the maritime customs at Niu-chwang were retained by the Russo-Chinese Bank despite protests from the Chinese imperial authorities, and a Russian civil administration was established at that port. The evacuation of southern Manchuria should have taken place in April 1903, but in that month, instead of fulfilling the conditions of the 1902 agreement, the Russian chargé d’affaires in Peking made a series of further demands upon China, including the virtual reservation of the commerce of Manchuria for Russian subjects. Though Russia officially denied to the British and American governments that she had made these demands, it was demonstrated that they had been made. The United States and Japan thereupon insisted that China should conclude with them commercial treaties throwing open Mukden and two ports on the Yalu river to foreign trade. The American treaty was signed on the 8th of October 1903—the day fixed for the complete evacuation of Manchuria by Russia—and the Japanese treaty on the day following. Both treaties provided that the ports should be opened after ratifications had been exchanged. From fear of Russia China, however, delayed the ratification of the treaties. Meantime, in August 1903, a regular through railway service between Moscow and Port Arthur was established. In the same month a Russian Viceroyalty of the Far East was created which in effect claimed Manchuria as a Russian province. In September Russia withdrew some of the demands she had made in April, but her concessions proved illusory. When the 8th of October passed and it was seen that the Russians had not withdrawn their troops[60] there issued for a time threats of war from Peking. Yuan Shih-kai, the viceroy of Chih-li, who had at his command some 65,000 troops trained by Japanese officers, pressed on the government the necessity of action. At this point Japan intervened. Her interests were vitally affected by Russia’s action not only in Manchuria, but in Korea, and seeing that China was powerless the Japanese government negotiated directly with St Petersburg. In these negotiations Russia showed that she would not yield her position in either country except to force. Japan chose the issue of war and proved successful.

The Russo-Japanese War did not very greatly alter China’s position in Manchuria. In the southern part of that country Japan succeeded to the special privileges Russia had wrung from China (including the lease of Port Arthur); in the north Russia remained in possession of the railway zone. For Japan’s position as at once the legatee of special privileges Lessons of the Russo-Japanese War. and the champion of China’s territorial integrity and “the open door” see Japan, § History. However, the attitude of Japan was more conciliatory than that of Russia had been; Mukden and other places were thrown open to foreign trade and Chinese civil administration was re-established. The important results of the war, so far as China was concerned, were not to be looked for in Manchuria, but in the new spirit generated in the Chinese. They had been deeply humiliated by the fact that in the struggle between Russia and Japan China had been treated as a negligible quantity, and that the war had been fought on Chinese territory. The lesson which the loot of Peking and the fall of the Boxers in 1900 had half taught was now thoroughly mastered; the awakening of China was complete. The war had shown that when an Eastern race adopted Western methods it was capable of defeating a European nation.

It was fortunate that among the influential advisers of the throne at this time (1905-1908) were Prince Chun (the prince who had visited Germany in 1901), Yuan Shih-kai, the viceroy of Chih-li, and Chang Chih-tung, the viceroy of Hu-kwang (i.e. the provinces of Hu-peh and Hu-nan), all men of enlightened and strong character. In 1907 both the viceroys named were summoned to Peking and made members of the grand council, of which Prince Ching, a man of moderate views, was president. Yuan Shih-kai was an open advocate of a reform of the civil service, of the abolition of Manchu privileges, of education and other matters. He had specially advocated the reconstitution of the military forces of the empire, and in Chih-li in 1905 he demonstrated before a number of foreign military attachés the high efficiency attained by the forces of the metropolitan province. The success achieved by Yuan Shih-kai in this direction incited Chang Chih-tung to follow his example, while a decree from the throne called upon the princes and nobles of China to give their sons a military education. The formerly despised military profession was thus made honourable, and with salutary effects. The imperial princes sought high commands, officers were awarded ranks and dignities comparable with those of civil servants, and the pay of the troops was increased. The new Army reform. foreign drilled northern army was called upon to furnish a large proportion of a force sent under Prince Su into Mongolia—a country which had been on the point of falling into the hands of Russia, but over which, as one result of the Russo-Japanese War, China recovered control. In 1906 a step was taken towards the formation of a national army by withdrawing portions of the troops from provincial control and placing them under officers responsible to the central government, which also took over the charge of the provincial arsenals. In the years which followed further evidence was given of the earnestness and success with which the military forces were being reorganized. Less attention was given to naval affairs, but in the autumn of 1909 a naval commission under Tsai Hsün, a brother of the emperor Kwang-su, was sent to Europe to report on the steps necessary for the re-establishment of a fleet. Previously (in 1907) societies had been started in several provinces to collect funds for naval purposes.

The most striking evidence of the change which had occurred was, however, the appointment (in 1905) of an Imperial Commission, headed by Prince Tsai Tse, to study the administrative systems of foreign countries with a view to the possible establishment of a representative government in China. The revolutionary nature of this proposal excited indignation among the adherents to the old order, and a bomb was thrown among the commissioners as they were preparing to leave Peking.[61] After visiting Japan, America and Europe the commission returned to Peking in July 1906.[62] A committee over which Prince Ching presided was appointed to study the commission’s report, and A parliamentary constitution promised. on the 1st of September following an edict was issued in which the establishment of a parliamentary form of government was announced, at a date not fixed. To fit the country for this new form of government (the edict went on to declare) the administration must be reformed, the laws revised, education promoted and the finances regulated. This edict, moreover, was but one of many edicts issued in 1906 and following years which showed how great a break with the past was contemplated. In November 1906 two edicts were issued with the object of reorganizing the central administrative offices. Their effect was to simplify the conduct of business, many useless posts being abolished, while an audit board was created to examine the national accounts. In November 1907 another edict was promulgated stating that for the present the formation of Houses of Lords and of Commons to determine all public questions was not practicable, but that it was proposed, as a preliminary measure, to create an Imperial Assembly. At the same time a scheme of provincial councils was ordered to be prepared. A more definite step followed in 1908 when a decree (dated the 27th of August) announced the convocation of a parliament in the ninth year from that date.

One of the changes made in the public offices brought China into conflict with Great Britain. On the 9th of May 1906 a decree appointed Chinese commissioners to control the Imperial Maritime Customs.[63] This was the only The control of the Maritime Customs. department of the government under European (British) control, and the only department also against which no charge of inefficiency or corruption could be brought. The change decreed by China was in accord with the new national sentiment, but by all the foreign powers interested it was felt that it would be a retrograde step if the customs were taken out of the control of Sir Robert Hart (q.v.), who had been since 1863 inspector-general of the customs. The British secretary of state for foreign affairs (Sir Edward Grey) at once protested against the decree of the 6th of May, pointing out that the continuation of the established system had been stipulated for in the loan agreements of 1896 and 1898. As a result of this and other representations the Board of Control of the Customs was late in 1906 made a department of the Board of Finance. The Chinese controllers-general continued in office, and despite the assurances given to Great Britain by China (in a note of the 6th of June 1906) that the appointment of the controllers-general was not intended to interfere with the established system of administration, the absolute authority of Sir Robert Hart was weakened.[64] Sir Robert Hart returned to England in 1908 “on leave of absence,” Sir Robert Bredon, the deputy inspector-general, being placed in charge of the service under the authority of the Board of Control, of which on the 5th of April 1910 it was announced that he had been appointed a member. This step was viewed with disfavour by the British government, for, unless Sir Robert Bredon’s post was to be merely a sinecure, it imposed two masters on the maritime customs. On the 20th of April Sir Robert Bredon severed his connexion with the Board of Control. At the same time Mr F.A. Aglen (the Commissioner of Customs at Hankow) became acting Inspector General (Sir Robert Hart being still nominally head of the service). The attempt on the part of the Chinese to control the customs was evidence of the strength of the “young China” or Recovery of Rights party—the party which aspired to break all the chains, such as extra-territoriality, which stamped the country as not the equal of the other great nations.[65]

In the steps taken to suppress opium smoking evidence was forthcoming of the earnestness with which the governing body in China sought to better the condition of the people. Opium smoking followed, in China, the introduction of The anti-opium agitation. tobacco smoking, and is stated to have been introduced from Java and Formosa in the early part of the 17th century. The first edict against the habit was issued in 1729. At that time the only foreign opium introduced was by the Portuguese from Goa, who exported about 200 chests[66] a year. In 1773 English merchants in India entered into the trade, which in 1781 was taken over by the East India Company—the import in 1790 being over 4000 chests. In 1796 the importation of foreign opium was declared contraband, and between 1839 and 1860 the central government attempted, without success, to suppress the trade. It was legalized in 1858 after the second “opium war” with Great Britain. At that time the poppy was extensively grown in China, and the bulk of the opium smoked was, and continued to be, of home manufacture. But after 1860 the importation of opium from India greatly increased. Opium was also imported from Persia (chiefly to Formosa, which in 1895 passed into the possession of Japan). The total foreign import in 1863 was some 70,000 piculs,[67] in 1879 it was 102,000 piculs, but in 1905 had fallen to 56,000 piculs. The number of opium smokers in China in the early years of the 20th century was estimated at from 25 to 30 millions. The evil effects of opium smoking were fully recognized, and Chang Chih-tung, one of the most powerful of the opponents of the habit, was high in the councils of the dowager-empress. On the 20th of September 1906 an edict was issued directing that the growth, sale and consumption of opium should cease in China within ten years, and ordering the officials to take measures to execute the imperial will. The measures promulgated, in November following, made the following provisions:—

(1) The cultivation of the poppy to be restricted annually by one-tenth of its existing area; (2) all persons using opium to be registered; (3) all shops selling opium to be gradually closed, and all places where opium is smoked to discontinue the practice within six months; (4) anti-opium societies to be officially encouraged, and medicines distributed to cure the opium-smoking habit; (5) all officials were requested to set an example to the people, and all officials under sixty were required to abandon opium smoking within six months or to withdraw from the service of the state.

It was estimated that the suppression of opium smoking would entail a yearly loss of revenue of over £1,600,000, a loss about equally divided between the central and provincial governments. The first step taken to enforce the edict was the closing of the opium dens in Peking on the last day of 1906.

During 1907 the opium dens in Shanghai, Canton, Fu-chow and many other large cities were closed, and restrictions on the issue of licences were introduced in the foreign settlements; even the eunuchs of the palace were prohibited from smoking opium under severe penalties. The central government continued during 1908 and 1909 to display considerable energy in the suppression of the use of opium, but the provincial authorities were not all equally energetic. It was noted in 1908 that while in some provinces—even in Yun-nan, where its importance tc trade and commerce and its use as currency seemed to render it very difficult to do anything effective—the governor and officials were whole-hearted in carrying out the imperial regulations, in other provinces—notably in Kwei-chow and in the provinces of the lower Yangtsze valley—great supineness was exhibited in dealing with the subject. Lord William Cecil, however, stated that travelling in 1909 between Peking and Hankow, through country which in 1907 he had seen covered with the poppy, he could not then see a single poppy flower, and that going up the Yangtsze he found only one small patch of poppy cultivation.[68] The Peking correspondent of The Times, in a journey to Turkestan in the early part of 1910, found that in Shen-si province the people’s desire to suppress the opium trade was in advance of the views of the government. Every day trains of opium carts were passed travelling under official protection. But in the adjoining province of Shan-si there had been complete suppression of poppy cultivation and in Kan-suh the officials were conducting a very vigorous campaign against the growth of the poppy.[69]

In their endeavours to suppress opium smoking the Chinese government appealed to the Indian government for help, and in 1907 received a promise that India would decrease the production of opium annually by one-tenth for four years and subsequently if China did likewise. The Indian government also assented to Indian opium being taxed equally with Chinese opium, but China did not raise the duty on foreign opium. In 1908 the Indian government undertook to reduce the amount of opium exported by 5100 chests yearly. In the same year the opium dens in Hong-Kong were closed. In February 1909, on the initiative of the United States, an international conference was held at Shanghai to consider the opium trade and habit. At this conference the Chinese representative claimed that the consumption of opium had already been reduced by one-half—a claim not borne out by the ascertained facts. The conference was unable to suggest any heroic measures, but a number of proposals were agreed to (including the closing of opium dens in the foreign settlements), tending to the restriction of the opium trade. The conference also dealt with another and growing habit in China—the use of morphia.[70] Japan agreed to prohibit the export of morphia to China, a prohibition to which the other powers had previously agreed.

The attempts to reform the educational system of China on a comprehensive scale date from the year of the return of the court to Peking after the Boxer troubles. In 1902 regulations were sanctioned by the emperor which Education. aimed at remodelling the methods of public instruction. These regulations provided among other things for the establishment at Peking of a university giving instruction in Western learning, a technical college, and a special department for training officials and teachers. A much more revolutionary step was taken in September 1905 when a decree appeared announcing as from the beginning of 1906 the abolition of the existing method of examinations. The new system was to include the study of modern sciences, history, geography and foreign languages, and in the higher grades political economy and civil and international law. Thousands of temples were converted to educational purposes. In Canton, in 1907, the old examination hall was demolished to make way for a college with every appliance on Western lines. Equal zeal was noticeable in such conservative cities as Si-gan-fu, and in remote provinces like Kan-suh. By May 1906 fifteen so-called universities had been founded. Moreover, many young Chinese went abroad to acquire education—in Japan alone in 1906 there were 13,000 students. In the same year primary schools for girls were established.[71] Perhaps the most striking evidence of the new spirit regarding education was the tenour of a communication to the throne from the head of the Confucian family. On the 31st of December 1906 an imperial edict had appeared raising Confucius to the same rank as Heaven and Earth—an action taken to indicate the desire of the government to emphasize the value of ethical training. In thanking the throne for the honour conferred on his ancestor the head of the family urged that at the new college founded at the birth-place of Confucius the teaching should include foreign languages, physical culture, political science and military drill.[72]

While China, with the consent of the emperor and the empress-dowager, and under the guidance of Prince Ching, Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung, was endeavouring to bring about internal reforms, her attitude to foreign powers was one of reserve and distrust. This was especially marked in the negotiations with Japan and with Russia concerning Manchuria, and was seen also in the negotiations with Great Britain concerning Tibet. It was not until April 1908, after four years’ negotiations, that a convention with Great Britain respecting Tibet was signed, Chinese suzerain rights being respected. In September the Dalai Lama arrived in Peking from Mongolia and was received by the emperor, who also gave audience to a Nepalese mission.[73]

The emperor Kwang-su had witnessed, without being able to guide, the new reform movement. In August 1908 an edict was issued in his name announcing the convocation of a parliament in nine years’ time. In November he Death of the emperor and of the dowager empress. died. His death occasioned no surprise, as disquieting reports about his health had been current since July, but the announcement that the dowager empress died on the 15th of November (the day after that on which the emperor was officially stated to have died) was totally unexpected. She had celebrated her birthday on the 3rd of November and appeared then to be in good health. The empress dowager had taken part in the choice of a successor to the throne, Kwang-su’s valedictory edict had been drawn up under her supervision, and it is believed that the emperor died some days previous to the date officially given for his death. Kwang-su died childless and was succeeded by his infant nephew Pu-Yi (born on the 8th of February 1906), a son of Prince Chun, who was appointed regent. Prince Chun—himself then only twenty-six years old—had exercised considerable influence at court since his mission to Germany in 1901, and was one of the most enlightened of the Manchu princes. The death of the dowager empress removed a powerful obstacle to a reformed regime, and with her passed away the last prominent representative of the old era in China.

The accession to the throne of Pu-Yi, who was given as reigning title Hsuan Tung (“promulgating universally”), was unaccompanied by disturbances, save for an outbreak at Ngan-king, easily suppressed. Prince Chun had Accession of Hsuan Tung. the support of Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung,[74] the two most prominent Chinese members of the government at Peking—and thus a division between the Manchus and Chinese was avoided. On the 2nd of December 1908 the young emperor was enthroned with the usual rites. On the day following another edict, which, it was stated, had had the approval of the late dowager empress, was issued, reaffirming that of the 27th of August regarding the grant of a parliamentary constitution in nine years’ time, and urging the people to prepare themselves for the change. Other edicts sought to strengthen the position of the regent as de facto emperor. Yuan Shih-kai and Chang Chih-tung received the title of Grand Guardians of the Heir, and the year 1908 closed with the chief Chinese members of the government working, apparently, in complete harmony with the regent.

On the 1st of January 1909, however, the political situation was rudely disturbed by the dismissal from office of Yuan Shih-kai. This step led to representations by the British and American ministers to Prince Ching, the head of Dismissal of Yuan Shih-kai. the foreign office, by whom assurances were given that no change of policy was contemplated by China, while the regent in a letter to President Taft reiterated the determination of his government to carry through its reform policy. The dismissal of Yuan Shih-kai was believed by the Chinese to be due to his “betrayal” of the emperor Kwang-su in the 1898 reform movement. He had nevertheless refused to go to extremes on the reactionary side, and in 1900, as governor of Shan-tung, he preserved a neutrality which greatly facilitated the relief of the Peking legations. During the last years of the life of the dowager empress it was his influence which largely reconciled her to the new reform movement. Yet Kwang-su had not forgotten the coup d’état of 1898, and it is alleged that he left a testament calling upon his brother the prince regent to avenge the wrongs he had suffered.[75] During the Agreement with Japan. greater part of the year there was serious estrangement between China and Japan, but on the 4th of September a convention was signed which settled most of the points in dispute respecting Manchuria and Korea. In Korea the boundary was adjusted so that Chientao, a mountainous district in eastern Manchuria regarded as the ancestral home of the reigning families of China and Korea, was definitely assigned to China; while in Manchuria, both as to railways and mines, a policy of co-operation was substituted for one of opposition.[76] Although Japan had made substantial concessions, those made by China in return provoked loud complaints from the southern provinces—the self-government society calling for the dismissal of Prince Ching. In northern Manchuria the Russian authorities had assumed territorial jurisdiction at Harbin, but on the 4th of May an agreement was signed recognizing Chinese jurisdiction.[77]

The spirit typified by the cry of “China for the Chinese” was seen actively at work in the determined efforts made to exclude foreign capital from railway affairs. The completion in October 1909 of the Peking-Kalgan railway was The control of railways. the cause of much patriotic rejoicing. The railway, a purely Chinese undertaking, is 122 m. long and took four years to build. It traversed difficult country, piercing the Nan K‘ow Pass by four tunnels, one under the Great Wall being 3580 ft. long. There was much controversy between foreign financiers, generally backed by their respective governments, as to the construction of other lines. In March 1909 the Deutschasiatische Bank secured a loan of £3,000,000 for the construction of the Canton-Hankow railway. This concession was contrary to an undertaking given in 1905 to British firms and was withdrawn, but only in return for the admittance of German capital in the Sze-ch‘uen railway. After prolonged negotiations an agreement was signed in Paris on the 24th of May 1910 for a loan of £6,000,000 for the construction of the railway from Hankow to Sze-ch‘uen, in which British, French, German and American interests were equally represented. In January 1910 the French line from Hanoi to Yunnan-fu was opened;[78] the railway from Shanghai to Nanking was opened for through traffic in 1909.

The progress of the anti-opium movement and the dispute over the control of the Imperial Maritime Customs have already been chronicled. A notable step was taken in 1909 by the institution of elected assemblies in each of the Provincial Assemblies constituted. A senate formed. provinces. The franchise on which the members were elected was very limited, and the assemblies were given consultative powers only. They were opened on the 14th of October (the 1st day of the 9th moon). The businesslike manner in which these assemblies conducted their work was a matter of general comment among foreign observers in China.[79] In February 1910 decrees appeared approving schemes drawn up by the Commission for Constitutional Reforms, providing for local government in prefectures and departments and for the reform of the judiciary. This was followed on the 9th of May by another decree summoning the senate to meet for the first time on the 1st day of the 9th moon (the 3rd of October 1910). All the members of the senate were nominated, and the majority were Manchus. Neither to the provincial assemblies nor to the senate was any power of the purse given, and the drawing up of a budget was postponed until 1915.[80]

The efforts of the central government to increase the efficiency of the army and to re-create a navy were continued in 1910. China was credited with the intention of spending £40,000,000 on the rehabilitation of its naval and military forces. It was estimated in March 1910 that there were about 200,000 foreign-trained men, but their independent spirit and disaffection constituted a danger to internal peace. The danger was accentuated by the mutual jealousy of the central and provincial governments. The anti-dynastic agitation, moreover, again seemed to be growing in strength. In April 1910 there was serious rioting at Changsha, Hu-nan, a town whence a few years previously had issued a quantity of anti-foreign literature of a vile kind. The immediate causes of the riots seem to have been many: rumours of the intention of the foreign powers to dismember China, the establishment of foreign firms at Changsha Anti-dynastic movements. Riots in Hu-nan. competing with native firms and exporting rice and salt at a time when the province was suffering from famine, and the approach of Halley’s comet. Probably famine precipitated the outbreak, which was easily crushed, as was also a rising in May at Yung chow, a town in the south of Hu-nan. Much mission and mercantile property was wrecked at Changsha, but the only loss of life was the accidental drowning of three Roman Catholic priests.

An edict of the 17th of August 1910 effected considerable and unexpected changes in the personnel of the central government. Tang Shao-yi, a former lieutenant of Yuan Shih-kai, was appointed president of the Board of Communications, and to him fell the difficult task of reconciling Chinese and foreign interests in the development of the railway system. Sheng Kung-pao regarded as the chief Chinese authority on currency questions, and an advocate of the adoption of a gold standard, was attached to the Board of Finance to help in the reforms decreed The regent’s policy. by an edict of May of the same year (see ante, Currency). The issue of the edict was attributed to the influence with the regent of Prince Tsai-tao, who had recently returned from a tour in Europe, where he had specially studied questions of national defence. The changes made among the high officials tended greatly to strengthen the central administration. The government had viewed with some disquiet the Russo-Japanese agreement of the 4th of July concerning Manchuria (which was generally interpreted as in fact lessening the authority of China in that country); it had become involved in another dispute with Great Britain, which regarded some of the measures taken to suppress opium smoking as a violation of the terms of the Chifu convention, and its action in Tibet had caused alarm in India. Thus the appointment to high office of men of enlightenment, pledged to a reform policy, was calculated to restore confidence in the policy of the Peking authorities. This confidence would have been greater had not the changes indicated a struggle for supreme power between the regent and the dowager empress Lung Yu, widow of Kwang-su.

The strength of the various movements at work throughout China was at this time extremely difficult to gauge; the intensity of the desire for the acquisition of Western knowledge was equalled by the desire to secure the independence of the country from foreign control. The second of these desires gave the force it possessed to the anti-dynastic movement. At the same time some of the firmest supporters of reform were found among the Manchus, nor did there seem to be any reason to doubt the intention of the regent—if he retained power—to guide the nation through the troubled period of transition into an era of constitutional government and the full development of the resources of the empire.


Bibliographical Note.—Knowledge of the ancient history of China is necessarily derived from the native writers on the subject. Fortunately, the Chinese have always regarded the preservation of the national records as a matter of supreme importance. Confucius set an example in this respect, and has preserved for us in the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Shu-king, or Book of History, records of his country’s progress during the past and then present centuries. The celebrated emperor Shih Hwang-ti, in establishing the empire, attempted to strengthen his cause by destroying all works on the national history. But so strongly was the historical sense inculcated in the people that immediately on the death of the tyrant the nation’s records were again brought to light, and have been carefully preserved and edited since that time. Prof. Legge’s translation of the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Shu-king, or Book of History, in the “Sacred Books of the East” series, have opened for students the stores of historical knowledge which were at the command of Confucius, and European writers on Chinese history have found in the dynastic annals a never-failing source of valuable information. It was from these works and epitomes of these that de Maillac gathered the facts for his celebrated Histoire générale de la Chine, and it is from similar sources that all other writers on Chinese history have drawn their inspiration.

The following works on ancient and modern Chinese history may be specially mentioned: J.A. de Moyria de Maillac, Histoire générale de la Chine (1777), &c.; J B. du Halde, General History of China (4 vols., 1736); M. de Guignes, Voyages à Péking . . . (3 vols., 1808); D. Boulger, A History of China (3 vols., 1881); Valentine Chirol, The Far Eastern Question (1896); E.R. Huc, The Chinese Empire (2 vols., 1855); T.T. Meadows, The Chinese and their Rebellions (1856); G. Pauthier, Histoire des relations politiques de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales depuis les temps les plus anciens jusqu’à nos jours . . . (1859); Sir George Staunton, Notes of Proceedings and Occurrences during the British Embassy to Peking in 1816 (1824); Chinese Expansion historically reviewed, a paper read before the Central Asian Society by Baron Suyematsu on January 11, 1905; F. Hirth, Ancient History of China (New York, 1908); Prof. Herbert A. Giles’s Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1897) is a storehouse of biographical detail and anecdote.

For Chinese relations with foreign powers see H. Cordier, Histoire des relations de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales, 1860-1902 (3 vols., Paris, 1901-1902); Hertslet’s China Treaties. Treaties, &c., between Great Britain and China, and between China and Foreign Powers, and Orders in Council, &c., affecting British Interests in China (3rd ed., revised by G.G.P. Hertslet and E. Parkes, London, 1908); J.O. Bland and E. Backhouse, China under the Empress Dowager (London, 1910). More general works are Sir R.K. Douglas, China, history since the time of Marco Polo (London, 1899); E.H. Parker, China; Her History, Diplomacy and Commerce (London, 1901); China, Past and Present (London, 1903); A.J. Sargent, Anglo-Chinese Commerce and Diplomacy—mainly in the 19th century (Oxford, 1907). For current affairs see the authorities cited in the footnotes.

VI. Chinese Art

1. Painting.—Painting is the pre-eminent art of China, which can boast of a succession of great painters for at least twelve centuries. Though the Chinese have an instinctive gift for harmonious colour, their painting is above all an art of line. It is intimately connected with writing, itself a fine art demanding the same skill and supple power in the wielding of the brush. The most typical expression of the Chinese genius in painting is the ink sketch, such as the masters of the Sung dynasty most preferred and the Japanese from the 15th century adopted for an abiding model. Utmost vigour of stroke was here combined with utmost delicacy of modulation. Rich colour and the use of gold are an integral part of the Buddhist pictures, though in the masterpieces of the religious painters a grand rhythm of linear design gives the fundamental character. Exquisite subdued colour is also found in the “flower and bird pieces” and still-life subjects of the Sung artists, and becomes more emphatic and variegated in the decorative artists of the Ming period.

Not to represent facts, but to suggest a poetic idea (often perfumed, so to speak, with reminiscence of some actual poem), has ever been the Chinese artist’s aim. “A picture is a voiceless poem” is an old saying in China, where very frequently the artist was a literary man by profession. Oriental critics lay more stress on loftiness of sentiment and tone than on technical qualities. This idealist temper helps to explain the deliberate avoidance of all emphasis on appearances of material solidity by means of chiaroscuro, &c., and the exclusive use of the light medium of water-colour. The Chinese express actual dislike for the representation of relief. Whoever compares the painting of Europe with that of Asia (and Chinese painting is the central type for the one continent, as Italian may claim to be for the other) must first understand this contrast of aim. The limitations of the Chinese are great, but these limitations save them from mistaking advances in science for advances in art, and from petty imitation of fact. Their religious painting has great affinity with the early religious art of Italy (e.g. that of Siena). But the ideas of the Renaissance, its scientific curiosity, its materialism, its glorification of human personality, are wholly missing in China. For Europe, Man is ever the hero and the foreground—hence the dominant study of the nude, and the tendency to thronged compositions, with dramatic motives of effort and conflict. The Chinese artists, weak in the plastic, weak in the architectural sense, paint mostly in a lyric mood, with a contemplative ideal. Hence the value given to space in their designs, the semi-religious passion for nature, and the supremacy of landscape. Beauty is found not only in pleasant prospects, but in wild solitudes, rain, snow and storm. The life of things is contemplated and portrayed for its own sake, not for its uses in the life of men. From this point of view the body of Chinese painting is much more modern in conception than that of Western art. Landscape was a mature and free art in China more than a thousand years ago, and her school of landscape is the loftiest yet known to the world. Nor was man ever dissociated from nature. As early as the 4th century Ku K‘ai-chih says that in painting a certain noble character he must give him a fit background of great peaks and deep ravines. Chinese painting, in sum, finely complements rather than poorly supplements that of Europe; where the latter is strong, it is weak; but in certain chosen provinces it long ago found consummate expression for thoughts and feelings scarcely yet expressed with us.

The origin of Chinese painting is lost in legend, though there is no reason to doubt its great antiquity. References in literature prove that by the 3rd century B.C. it was a developed art. To this period is ascribed the invention History: Early periods (to A.D. 618). of the hair-brush, in the use of which as an instrument both for writing and drawing the Chinese have attained marvellous skill; the usual material for the picture being woven silk, or, less often and since the 1st century A.D., paper. In early times wood panels were employed; and large compositions were painted on walls prepared with white lime. These mural decorations have all disappeared. History and portraiture seem to have been the prevailing subjects; a secular art corresponding to the social ideals of Confucianism. Yet long before the introduction of Buddhism (A.D. 67) with its images and pictures, we find that the two great symbolic figures of the Chinese imagination, the Tiger and the Dragon—typifying the forces of Nature and the power of the Spirit—had been evolved in art; and to imaginative minds the mystic ideas of Lao Tzü and the legends of his hermit followers proved a fruitful field for artistic motives of a kind which Buddhism was still more to enrich and multiply. Early classifications rank Buddhist and Taoist subjects together as one class.

With the 2nd century A.D. we come to individual names of artists and to the beginnings of landscape. Ku K‘ai-chih (4th century) ranks as one of the greatest names of Chinese art. A painting by him now in the British Museum (Plate I. fig. 1) shows a maturity which has nothing tentative about it. The dignified and elegant types are rendered with a mastery of sensitive brush-line which is not surpassed in later art. Ku K‘ai-chih painted all kinds of subjects, but excelled in portraiture. During the next century the criticism of painting was formulated in six canons by Hsieh Ho. Rhythm, organic or structural beauty, is the supreme quality insisted on.

During the T‘ang dynasty the empire expanded to its utmost limits, stretching as far as the Persian Gulf. India was invaded; Buddhism, taught by numbers of Indian missionaries, became firmly established, and controlled T‘ang dynasty (A.D. 618-907). the ideals and imaginations of the time. The vigorous style of a great era was impressed upon the T‘ang art, which culminated in Wu Taotzü, universally acknowledged as the greatest of all Chinese painters. It is doubtful if any of his work remains. The picture reproduced (Plate I. fig. 2) was long attributed to him, but is now thought to be of later date, like the two landscapes well known under his name in Japan. Wu Taotzü seems to have given supreme expression to the central subject of Buddhist art, the Nirvana of Buddha, who lies serenely asleep, with all creation, from saints and kings to birds and beasts, passionately bewailing him. The composition is known from Japanese copies; and it is in fact from the early religious schools of Japan that we can best conjecture the grandeur of the T‘ang style. Wu Taotzü excelled in all subjects: other

masters are best known for some particular one. Han Kan was famous for his horses, the models for succeeding generations of painters, both Chinese and Japanese. A specimen of his brush is in the British Museum; and in the same collection is a long roll which gives a glimpse of the landscape of this age. It is a copy by a great master of the Yuen dynasty, Chao Mêng-fu, from a famous painting by Wang Wei, representing scenes on the Wang Ch‘uan, the latter’s home (Plate I. fig. 3 shows a fragment). With the T‘ang age landscape matured, and two schools arose, one headed by Wang Wei, the other by Li Ssü-hsün. The style of Wang Wei, who was equally famous as a poet, had a romantic idealist character—disdainful of mere fact—which in later developments created the “literary man’s picture” of the Southern school, as opposed to the vigorous naturalism of the North.

Next come five brief dynasties, memorable less for any corporate style or tradition, than for some fine painters like Hsü Hsi, famous for his flowers, and Huang Five dynasties (A.D. 907-960). Ch‘uan, a great master in a delicate style. Two pictures by him, fowls and peonies, of extraordinary beauty, are in the British Museum.

The empire, which had been broken up, was reunited, though shorn of its outer dependencies, under the house of Sung. This was an age of culture in which the freedom of Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1280). the individual was proclaimed anew; glorious in art as in poetry and philosophy; the period which for Asia stands in history as the Periclean age for Europe.

The religious paintings of Li Lung-mien, the grandest of Sung masters, if less forcible than those of T‘ang, were unsurpassed in harmonious rhythm of design and colour. But the most characteristic painting of this period is in landscape and nature-subjects. With a passion unmatched in Europe till Wordsworth’s day, the Sung artists portrayed their delight in mountains, mists, plunging torrents, the flight of the wild geese from the reed-beds, the moonlit reveries of sages in forest solitudes, the fisherman in his boat on lake or stream. To them also, steeped in the Zen philosophy of contemplation, a flowering branch was no mere subject for a decorative study, but a symbol of the infinite life of nature. A mere hint to the spectator’s imagination is often all that they rely on; proof of the singular fulness and reality of the culture of the time. The art of suggestion has never been carried farther. Such traditional subjects as “Curfew from a Distant Temple” and “The Moon over Raging Waves” indicate the poetic atmosphere of this art. Ma Yuan, Hsia Kuei and the emperor Hwei-tsung are among the greatest landscape artists of this period. They belong to the South Sung school, which loved to paint the gorges and towering rock-pinnacles of the Yangtsze. The sterner, less romantic scenery of the Hwang-Ho inspired the Northern school, of which Kuo Hsi and Li Ch‘eng were famous among many others. Muh Ki was one of the greatest masters of the ink sketch; Chao Tan Lin was famed for his tigers; Li Ti for his flowers as for his landscapes; Mao I for still-life: to name a few among a host.

The Mongol dynasty continues in art the Sung tradition. Chao Mêng-fu, the greatest master of his time, belongs to both periods, and ranks with the highest names in Chinese painting. A landscape by him, copied from Wang Yuen dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368). Wei, has been already mentioned as in the British Museum, which also has two specimens of Yen Hui, a painter less known in his own country than in Japan. He painted especially figures of Taoist legend. The portrait by Ch‘ien Shun-chü (Plate I. fig. 5) is a fine example of purity of line and lovely colour, reminding us of Greek art.

The simplicity of motive and directness of execution which had been the strength of the Sung art gradually gave way during the Ming era to complicated conceptions and elaborate effects. The high glow of life faded; the lyrical temper Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). and impassioned work of the Sung time were replaced by love of ornament and elegance. In this respect Kiu Ying is typical of the period, with his richly coloured scenes from court life (Plate I. fig. 6). None the less, there were a number of painters who still upheld the grander style of earlier ages. The greatest of these was Lin Liang (Plate I. fig. 7), whose brush work, if somewhat coarser, is as powerful as that of the Sung masters. But though individual painters of the first rank preserved the Ming age from absolute decline, it cannot be said that any new development of importance took place in a vitalizing direction.

The present dynasty prolongs the history of Ming art. The literary school of the South became more prominent, sending out offshoots in Japan. There has been no movement Tsing dynasty (from A.D. 1644). of national life to be reflected in art, though a great body of admirable painting has been produced, down to the present day. The four landscape masters known as the “four Wangs,” Yün Shou-p‘ing and Wu Li are pre-eminent names.

Sources and Authorities.—While the designs on porcelain, screens, &c., have long been admired in the West, the paintings of which these are merely reproductions have been utterly ignored. Ignorance has gained authority with time, till the very existence of a great school of Chinese painting has been denied. Materials for study are scanty. Fires, wars and the recent armed ravages of Western civilization have left but little. The profound indifference of the Chinese to European admiration has prevented their collections from being known. The Japanese, always enthusiastic students and collectors of the continental art, claim (whether justly or not, is hard to ascertain) that the finest specimens are now in their country. Many of these are reproduced in the invaluable Tokyo publications, the Kokka, Mr Tajima’s Select Relics, &c., with Japanese criticisms in English. Of actual paintings the British Museum possesses a fair number, and the Louvre a few, of real importance. Copies and forgeries abound.

See H.A. Giles, Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art (1905); F. Hirth, Scraps from a Collector’s Note-Book (1905), (supplements Giles’s work and especially valuable for the art of the Ch‘ing dynasty); S.W. Bushell, Chinese Art, vol. ii. (1906); K. Okakura, Ideals of the East (1903); M. Paléologue, L‘Art chinois (1887); W. Anderson, Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Paintings (1886); Sei-ichi Taki, “Chinese Landscape Painting,” The Kokka, Nos. 191, &c. (1906); Chinesische Malereien aus der Sammlung Hirth (Catalogue of an exhibition held at Dresden) (1897); W. von Seidlitz, article in Kunstchronik (1896-1897), No. 16.

2. Engraving.—According to native historians, the art of printing from wooden blocks was invented in China in the 6th century A.D., when it was employed for the publication of texts. The earliest evidence we have for the existence of woodcuts made to reproduce pictures or drawings is a passage in a work by Chang Yen-yüan, from which it appears that these were not made before the beginning of the T‘ang dynasty, under which that author lived. The method employed was to cut the design with a knife on the plank of the wood, in the manner followed by European artists till the end of the 18th century, when engraving with a burin on boxwood ousted the older process. The Japanese borrowed the art from China; and in Japan a whole school of artists arose who worked specially for the woodcutters and adapted their designs to the limitations of the material employed. In China the art has remained merely reproductive, and its history is therefore of less interest. Printing in colours was known to the Chinese in the 17th century, and probably earlier. In the British Museum is a set of prints brought from the East by Kaempfer in 1693, in which eight colours and elaborate gauffrage are used. Some fine albums of colour prints have been issued in China, but nothing equal in beauty to the prints produced in Japan by the co-operation of woodcutter and designer. Engraving on copper was introduced to China by the Jesuits, and some well-known sets of prints illustrating campaigns in Mongolia were made in the 18th century. But the method has never proved congenial to the artists of the Far East.

See Sir R.K. Douglas, Guide to the Chinese and Japanese Illustrated Books (British Museum, 1887); W. Anderson, Japanese Wood Engraving (1895).

3. Architecture.—In architecture the Chinese genius has found but limited and uncongenial expression. A nation of painters has built picturesquely, but this picturesqueness has fought against the attainment of the finest architectural qualities. There has been little development; the arch, for instance, though known to the Chinese from very early times, has been scarcely used as a principle of design, and the cupola has been undiscovered or ignored; and though foreign architectural ideas were introduced under the influence of the Buddhist and Mahommedan religions, these were more or less assimilated and subdued to the dominant Chinese design. Ruins scarcely exist and no building earlier than the 11th century A.D. is known; but we know from records that the forms of architecture still prevalent imitate in essentials those of the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. and doubtless represent an immemorial tradition.

The grand characteristic of Chinese architecture is the pre-eminent importance of the roof. The t‘ing is the commonest model of building. The roof is the main feature; in fact the t‘ing consists of this roof, massive and immense, with recurved edges, and the numerous short columns on which the roof rests. The columns are of wood, the straight stems of the nanmu being specially used for this purpose. The walls are not supports, but merely fill in, with stone or brickwork, the spaces between the columns. The scheme of construction is thus curiously like that of the modern American steel-framed building, though the external form may be derived from the tent of primitive nomads. The roof, being the preponderant feature, is that on which the art of the architect has been concentrated. A double or a triple roof may be devised; the ridges and eaves may be decorated with dragons and other fantastic animals, and the eaves underlaid with carved and lacquered woodwork; the roof itself is often covered with glazed tiles of brilliant hue. In spite of efforts, sometimes desperate, to give variety and individual character by ornament and detail, the general impression is one of poverty of design. “Chinese buildings are usually one-storeyed and are developed horizontally as they are increased in size or number. The principle which determines the plan of projection is that of symmetry” (Bushell). All important buildings must face the south, and this uniform orientation increases the general architectural monotony produced by a preponderance of horizontal lines.

A special characteristic of Chinese architecture is the pai-lou, an archway erected only by special authority, usually to commemorate famous persons. The pai-lou is commonly made of wood with a tiled roof, but sometimes is built entirely of stone, as is the gateway at the avenue of the Ming tombs. A magnificent example of the pai-lou is that on the avenue leading to Wo Fo Ssü, the temple of the Sleeping Buddha, near Peking. This is built of marble and glazed terra-cotta. The pai-lou, like the Japanese torii, derives its origin from the toran of Indian stupas. Lofty towers called t‘ai, usually square and of stone, seem to have been a common type of important building in early times. They are described in old books as erected by the ancient kings and used for various purposes. The towers of the Great Wall are of the same character, and are made of stone, with arched doors and windows. Stone, though plentiful in most provinces of the empire, has been singularly little used by the Chinese, who prefer wood or brick. M. Paléologue attributes this preference of light and destructible materials to the national indifference of the Chinese to posterity and the future, their enthusiasm being wholly devoted to their ancestors and the past.

Temples are designed on the general t‘ing model. The Temple of Heaven is the most imposing of the Confucian temples, conspicuous with its covering of deep-blue tiles and its triple roof. Near this is the great Altar of Heaven, consisting of three circular terraces with marble balustrades. Buddhist temples are built on the general plan of secular residences, and consist of a series of rectangular courts with the principal building in the centre, the lesser at the sides. Lama temples differ little from these except in the interior decorations and symbolism. Mahommedan mosques are far simpler and severer in internal arrangement, but outwardly these also are in the Chinese style.

The pagoda (Chinese taa), the type of Chinese architecture most familiar to the West, probably owes its peculiar form to Buddhist influence. In the pagoda alone may be found some trace of a religious imagination such as in Europe made Gothic architecture so full and splendid an expression of the aspiring spirit. The most famous pagoda was the Porcelain Tower of Nanking, destroyed by the T‘aip‘ing rebels in 1854. This was covered with slabs of faience coated with coloured glazes. The ordinary pagoda is built of brick on a stone foundation; it is octagonal with thirteen storeys.

No Chinese buildings show more beauty than some of the graceful stone bridges for which the neighbourhood of Peking has been famous for centuries.

See M. Paléologue, L’Art chinois (1887): S.W. Bushell, Chinese Art, vol. i. (1904); J. Fergusson, History of Architecture; Professor Chûta Itô, articles in The Kokka, Nos. 197, 198.  (L.B.) 

4. Sculpture.—Except in the casting and decoration of bronze vessels the Chinese have not obtained distinction as sculptors. They have practised sculpture in stone from an early period, but the incised reliefs of the 2nd century B.C., a number of which are figured in Professor E. Chavannes’s standard work,[81] while they display a certain spirit, lack the true plastic sense, and though the power of the Chinese draughtsmen increased rapidly under the T‘ang and Sung dynasties, their work in stone showed no parallel progress. The feeling for solidity, which in Japan was a natural growth, was always somewhat exotic in China. With the impulse given to the arts by Buddhism a school of sculpture arose. The pilgrim Fa Hsien records sculpture of distinctive Chinese type in the 5th century. But Indian models dominated the art. Colossal Buddhas of stone were typical of the T‘ang era. Little, however, remains of these earlier times, and such true sculpture in stone, wood or ivory as we know dates from the 14th and succeeding centuries. The well-known sculptures on the arch at Chu Yung Kuan (A.D. 1345) are Hindu in style, though not without elements of breadth and strength, which seem to promise a greater development than actually took place. The colossal figures guarding the approach to the Ming tombs (15th century) show that the national taste rapidly became conventional and petrified so far as monumental sculpture was concerned, though occasional examples of devotional or portrait sculpture on a smaller scale in wood and ivory are found, which in power, grace, sincerity and restraint can rank with the work of more gifted nations. Such pieces, however, are extremely rare, and at South Kensington the ivory “Kwanyin and Child” (274. 1898) is a solitary example. As a rule the Chinese sculptor valued his art in proportion to the technical difficulties it conquered. He thus either preferred intractable materials like jade or rock-crystal, or, if he wrought in wood, horn or ivory, sought to make his work curious or intricate rather than beautiful. There is, nevertheless, beauty of a kind in Chinese bowls of jade, and there is dignity in some of the pieces of rock-crystal, but the bulk of the carving done in wood, horn and ivory does not deserve a moment’s serious thought from the aesthetic point of view. The few fine specimens may be referred to the earlier part of the Ming dynasty when Chinese art in general was sincere and simple. After the middle of the 15th century there set in the taste for profuse ornament which injured all subsequent Chinese work, and wholly ruined Chinese sculpture.

Bronzes.—In Chinese bronzes we have a more consistent and exceptional form of plastic art, which can be traced continuously for some three thousand years. These bronzes take the form of ritual or honorific vessels, and the archaic shapes used in the service of the prehistoric religion of the country are repeated and copied with slight changes in decoration or detail to the present day.

The oldest extant specimens, chiefly derived from the sack of the Summer Palace at Peking, may be referred to the Shang and Chow dynasties (1766-255 B.C.). These ancient pieces have a certain savage monumental grandeur of design, are usually covered with a rich and thick patina of red, green and brown, and are decorated with simple patterns—scrolls, zigzag lines and a form of what is known as the Greek key-pattern symbolizing respectively waves, mountains and storm clouds. The animal forms used are those of the tao-tieh (glutton), a fabulous monster (possibly a conventionalized tiger) representing the powers of the earth, the serpent and the bull. These two last in later pieces combine to form the dragon, representing the power of the air. In the Chow dynasty libation vessels were also made in the form of a deer, a ram or a rhinoceros. These characteristics are shown in figures 9-17, Plate II. Fig. 9 is a temple vessel of a shape still in use, but which must date from before 1000 B.C. With this massive piece may be contrasted the flower-like wine vase shown in fig. 10, a favourite shape which is the prototype of some of the most graceful forms of Chinese porcelain and Japanese bronze. Its date is about 1000 B.C. The large wine vase shown in fig. 11 is some 400 years later. On the body appears the head of the tao-tieh, on the handles are superbly modelled serpents. The technique, which in the previous pieces was somewhat rude, has now become perfect, yet the menacing majestic feeling remains. We see it no less clearly in fig. 12, a marvellous vessel richly inlaid with gold and silver and covered with an emerald-green patina. It may date from about 500 B.C., and indicates that even in this remote epoch the Chinese were not only daring and powerful artists but also master-craftsmen in metal.

It is indeed at this period that the art reaches its climax. The monumental grandeur of the Shang specimens is often allied to clumsiness; the later work, if more elaborate, is always less powerful. Nevertheless, it is to a later period that ninety-nine out of a hundred Chinese bronzes must be referred, and the great majority belong either to the Han and succeeding dynasties (220 B.C.-A.D. 400), or to the Renaissance of the arts which culminated under the Ming dynasty a thousand years later.

The characteristics of the first of these periods is the free use of small solid figures of animals as decoration—the phoenix, the elephant, the frog, the ox, the tortoise, and occasionally men; shapes grow less austere and less significant, as a comparison between figures 11 and 13 will indicate; then towards the end of the 2nd century A.D. the influence of Buddhism is felt in the general tendency towards suavity of form (fig. 14). This vase is most delicately though sparingly inlaid with silver and a few touches of gold. Some small pieces, very richly and delicately inlaid and covered with a magnificent emerald-green patina, belonging to this period, form a connecting link between the inlaid work of the Chow dynasty and that of the Sung and Ming dynasties. The mirrors with Graeco-Bactrian designs, a conclusive proof of the external influences brought to bear upon Chinese art, are also attributed to the Han epoch.

The troubled period between A.D. 400 and A.D. 960, in spite of the interval of activity under the T‘ang dynasty, produced, it would seem, but few bronzes, and those few were of no distinct or noteworthy style. Under the Sung dynasty the arts revived, and to this time some of the most splendid specimens of inlaid work belong—pieces of workmanship and taste no less perfect than that of the Japanese, in which the gold and silver of the earlier work are occasionally reinforced with malachite and lapis-lazuli. The coming of Kublai Khan and the Yuen dynasty (1280-1367) once more brought the East into contact with the West, and to this time we may assign certain fine pieces of Persian form such as pilgrim bottles. The vessels bearing Arabic inscriptions belong to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), with which the modern history of Chinese art begins.

The work done while the Ming dynasty was still young provides the student of Chinese art with many problems, and in one or two cases even the South Kensington authorities assign to pre-Christian times pieces that are clearly of Ming workmanship. The tendency of the period was eclectic and archaistic. The products of earlier days were reproduced with perfect technical command of materials, and with admirable taste; it is indeed by an excess of these qualities that archaistic Ming work may be distinguished from the true archaic. In fig. 15 we see how the Ming bronze worker took an earlier Buddhistic form of vase and gave it a new grace that amounted almost to artifice. A parallel might be found among the products of the so-called art nouveau of to-day, in which old designs are revived with just that added suavity or profusion of curvature that robs them of character. Fig. 16 again might be mistaken almost for a piece of the Chow dynasty, were not the grandeur of its form modified by just so much harmony in the curvature of the body and neck, and by just so much finish in the details as to rob the design of the old majestic vigour and to mark it as the splendid effort of an age of culture, and not the natural product of a period of strength.

It is, however, in the inlaid pieces that the difference tells most clearly. Here we find the monstrous forms of the Shang and Chow dynasties revived by men who appreciated their spirit but could not help making the revival an excuse for the display of their own superior skill. The monstrous vases and incense-burners of the past thus appear once more, but are now decorated with a delicate embroidery of inlay, are polished and finished to perfection, but lose therewith just the rudeness of edge and outline which made the older work so gravely significant. At times even some grandly planned vessel will appear with such a festoon of pretty tracery wreathed about it that the incongruity is little short of ridiculous, and we recognize we have passed the turning-point to decline.

Decline indeed came rapidly, and to the latter part of the Ming epoch we must assign those countless bronzes where dragons and flowers and the stock symbols of happiness, good luck and longevity sprawl together in interminable convolutions. When once we reach this stage of contortion, of elaborate pierced and relief work, we come to the place in history of Chinese bronzes where serious study may cease, except in so far as the study of the symbols themselves throws light upon the history of Chinese procelain (see Ceramics). One class of bronze alone needs a word of notice, namely, the profusely decorated pieces which have a Tibetan origin, and are obviously no older than the end of the Ming period. Of these fig. 17 will serve as a specimen, and a comparison with fig. 9 will show how the softer rounded forms and jewelled festoons of Hindu-Greek taste enervated the grand primitive force of the earlier age, and that neither the added delicacy of texture and substance nor the vastly increased dexterity of workmanship can compensate for the vanished majesty.  (C. J. H.) 

VII. The Chinese Language

Colloquial.—In treating of Chinese, it will be found convenient to distinguish, broadly, the spoken from the written language and to deal with each separately. This is a distinction which would be out of place if we had to do with any European, or indeed most Oriental languages. Writing, in its origin, is merely a symbolic representation of speech. But in Chinese, as we shall see, for reasons connected with the peculiar nature ot the script, the two soon began to move along independent and largely divergent lines. This division, moreover, will enable us to employ different methods of inquiry more suited to each. With regard to the colloquial, it is hardly possible to do more than consider it in the form or forms in which it exists at the present day throughout the empire of China. Although Chinese, like other living languages, must have undergone gradual changes in the past, so little can be stated with certainty about these changes that an accurate survey of its evolution is quite out of the question. Obviously a different method is required when we come to the written characters. The familiar line, “Litera scripta manet, volat irrevocabile verbum,” is truer perhaps of Chinese than of any other tongue. We have hardly any clue as to how Chinese was spoken or pronounced in any given district 2000 years ago, although there are written remains dating from long before that time; and in order to gain an insight into the structure of the characters now existing, it is necessary to trace their origin and development.

Beginning with the colloquial, then, and taking a linguistic survey of China, we find not one spoken language but a number of dialects, all clearly of a common stock, yet differing from one another as widely as the various Romance The dialects. languages in southern Europe—say, French, Italian and Spanish. Most of these dialects are found fringing the coast-line of China, and penetrating but a comparatively short way into the interior. Starting from the province of Kwang-tung in the south, where the Cantonese and farther inland the Hakka dialects are spoken, and proceeding northwards, we pass in succession the following dialects: Swatow, Amoy—these two may almost be regarded as one—Foochow, Wenchow and Ningpo. Farther north we come into the range of the great dialect popularly known as Mandarin (Kuan hua or “official language”), which sweeps round behind the narrow strip of coast occupied by the various dialects above-mentioned, and dominates a hinterland constituting nearly four-fifths of China proper. Mandarin, of which the dialect of Peking, the capital since 1421, is now the standard form, comprises a considerable number of sub-dialects, some of them so closely allied that the speakers of one are wholly intelligible to the speakers of another, while others (e.g. the vernaculars of Yangchow, Hankow or Mid-China and Ssŭ-ch‘uan) may almost be considered as separate dialects. Among all these, Cantonese is supposed to approximate most nearly to the primitive language of antiquity, whereas Pekingese perhaps has receded farthest from it. But although philologically and historically speaking Cantonese and certain other dialects may be of greater interest, for all practical purposes Mandarin, in the widest sense of the term, is by far the most important. Not only can it claim to be the native speech of the majority of Chinamen, but it is the recognized vehicle of oral communication between all Chinese officials, even in cases where they come from the same part of the country and speak the same patois. For these reasons, all examples of phraseology in this article will be given in Pekingese.

So far, stress has been laid chiefly on the dissimilarity of the dialects. On the other hand, it must be remembered that they proceed from the same parent stem, are spoken by members of the same race, and are united by the bond of writing which is the common possession of all, and cannot be regarded as derived from one more than from another. They also share alike in the two most salient features of Chinese as a whole: (1) they are all monosyllabic, that is, each individual word consists of only one syllable; and (2) they are strikingly poor in vocables, or separate sounds for the conveyance of speech. The number of these vocables varies from between 800 and 900 in Cantonese to no more than 420 in the vernacular of Peking. This scanty number, however, is eked out by interposing an aspirate between certain initial consonants and the vowel, so that for instance p‘u is distinguished from pu. The latter is pronounced with little or no emission of breath, the “p” approximating the farther north one goes (e.g. at Niuchwang) more closely to a “b.” The aspirated p‘u is pronounced more like our interjection “Pooh!” To the Chinese ear, the difference between the two is very marked. It will be found, as a rule, that an Englishman imparts a slight aspirate to his p’s, t’s, k’s and ch’s, and therefore has greater difficulty with the unaspirated words in Chinese. The aspirates are better learned by the ear than by the eye, but in one way or another it is essential that they be mastered by any one who wishes to make himself intelligible to the native.

The influence of the Mongolian population, assisted by the progress of time, has slowly but surely diminished the number of vocables in Pekingese. Thus the initials ts and k, when followed by the vowel i (with its continental value) have gradually become softer and more assimilated to each other, and are now all pronounced ch. Again, all consonantal endings in t and k, such as survive in Cantonese and other dialects, have entirely disappeared from Pekingese, and n and ng are the only final consonants remaining. Vowel sounds, on the other hand, have been proportionately developed, such compounds as ao, ia, iao, iu, ie, ua occurring with especial frequency. (It must be understood, of course, that the above are only equivalents, not in all cases very exact, for the sounds of a non-alphabetic language.)

An immediate consequence of this paucity of vocables is that one and the same sound has to do duty for different words. Reckoning the number of words that an educated man would want to use in conversation at something over four thousand, it is obvious that there will be an average of ten meanings to each sound employed. Some sounds may have fewer meanings attached to them, but others will have many more. Thus the following represent only a fraction of the total number of words pronounced shih (something like the “shi” in shirt): 史 “history,” 使 “to employ,” 屍 “a corpse,” 市 “a market,” 師 “an army,” 獅 “a lion,” 恃 “to rely on,” 侍 “to wait on,” 詩 “poetry,” 時 “time,” 識 “to know,” 施 “to bestow,” 是 “to be,” 實 “solid,” 失 “to lose,” 示 “to proclaim,” 視 “to look at,” 十 “ten,” 拾 “to pick up,” 石 “stone,” 世 “generation,” 食 “to eat,” 室 “a house,” 氏 “a clan,” 始 “beginning,” 釋 “to let go,” 試 “to test,” 事 “affair,” 勢 “power,” 士 “officer,” 誓 “to swear,” 逝 “to pass away,” 適 “to happen.” It would be manifestly impossible to speak without ambiguity, or indeed to make oneself intelligible at all, unless there were some means of supplementing this deficiency of sounds. As a matter of fact, several devices are employed through the combination of which confusion is avoided. One of these devices is the coupling of words in pairs in order to express a single idea. There is a word 哥 ko which means “elder brother.” But in speaking, the sound ko alone would not always be easily understood in this sense. One must either reduplicate it and say ko-ko, or prefix 大 (ta, “great”) and say ta-ko. Simple reduplication is mostly confined to family appellations and such adverbial phrases as 慢 慢 man-man, “slowly.” But there is a much larger class of pairs, in which each of the two components has the same meaning. Examples are: 恐 怕 k‘ung-p‘a, “to be afraid,” 告 訴 kao-su, “to tell,” 樹 木 shu-mu, “tree,” 皮 膚 p‘i-fu, “skin,” 滿 盈 man-ying, “full,” 孤 獨 ku-tu, “solitary.” Sometimes the two parts are not exactly synonymous, but together make up the sense required. Thus in 衣 裳 i-shang, “clothes,” i denotes more particularly clothes worn on the upper part of the body, and shang those on the lower part. 鳳 凰 fêng-huang is the name of a fabulous bird, fêng being the male, and huang the female. In another very large class of expressions, the first word serves to limit and determine the special meaning of the second: 奶 皮 “milk-skin,” “cream”; 火 腿 “fire-leg,” “ham”; 燈 籠 “lamp-cage,” “lantern”; 海 腰 “sea-waist,” “strait.” There are, besides, a number of phrases which are harder to classify. Thus, 虎 hu means “tiger.” But in any case where ambiguity might arise, lao-hu, “old tiger,” is used instead of the monosyllable. 狐 (another hu) is “fox,” and 狸 li, an animal belonging to the smaller cat tribe. Together, hu-li, they form the usual term for fox. 知 道 chih tao is literally “to know the way,” but has come to be used simply for the verb “to know.” These pairs or two-word phrases are of such frequent occurrence, that the Chinese spoken language might almost be described as bi-syllabic. Something similar is seen in the extensive use of suffixes or enclitics, attached to many of the commonest nouns. 女 is the word for “girl,” but in speech 女 子 nü-tzŭ or 女 兒 nü-‘rh is the form used. 子 and 兒 both mean child, and must originally have been diminutives. A fairly close parallel is afforded by the German suffix chen, as in Mädchen. The suffix 兒, it may be remarked, belongs especially to the Peking vernacular. Then, the use of so-called numeratives will often give some sort of clue as to the class of objects in which a substantive may be found. When in pidgin English we speak of “one piecee man” or “three piecee dollar,” the word piecee is simply a Chinese numerative in English dress. Even in ordinary English, people do not say “four cattle” but “four head of cattle.” But in Chinese the use of numeratives is quite a distinctive feature of the language. The commonest of them, 個 ko, can be used indifferently in connexion with almost any class of things, animal, vegetable or mineral. But there are other numeratives—at least 20 or 30 in everyday use—which are strictly reserved for limited classes of things with specific attributes. 枚 mei, for instance, is the numerative of circular objects such as coins and rings; 顆 k‘o of small globular objects—pearls, grains of rice, &c.; 口 k‘ou classifies things which have a mouth—bags, boxes and so forth; 件 chien is used of all kinds of affairs; 張 chang of chairs and sheets of paper; 隻 chih (literally half a pair) is the numerative for various animals, parts of the body, articles of clothing and ships; 把 pa for things which are grasped by a handle, such as fans and knives.

This by no means exhausts the list of devices by which the difficulties of a monosyllabic language are successfully overcome. Mention need only be made, however, of the system of “tones,” which, as the most curious and important of all, has been kept for the last.

The tones may be defined as regular modulations of the voice by means of which different inflections can be imparted to the same sound. They may be compared with the half-involuntary modulations which express emotional The tones. feeling in our words. To the foreign ear, a Chinese sentence spoken slowly with the tones clearly brought out has a certain sing-song effect. If we speak of the tones as a “device” adopted in order to increase the number of vocables, this must be understood rather as a convenient way of explaining their practical function than as a scientific account of their origin. It is absurd to suppose the tones were deliberately invented in order to fit each written character with a separate sound. A tone may be said to be as much an integral part of the word to which it belongs as the sound itself; like the sound, too, it is not fixed once and for all, but is in a constant, though very gradual, state of evolution. This fact is proved by the great differences of intonation in the dialects. Theoretically, four tones have been distinguished—the even, the rising, the sinking and the entering—each of which falls again into an upper and a lower series. But only the Cantonese dialect possesses all these eight varieties of tone (to which a ninth has been added), while Pekingese, with which we are especially concerned here, has no more than four: the even upper, the even lower, the rising and the sinking. The history of the tones has yet to be written, but it appears that down to the 3rd century B.C. the only tones distinguished were the 平 “even,” 上 “rising” and 入 “entering.” Between that date and the 4th century A.D. the 去 sinking tone was developed. In the 11th century the even tone was divided into upper and lower, and a little later the entering tone finally disappeared from Pekingese. The following monosyllabic dialogue gives a very fair idea of the quality of the four Pekingese tones—1st tone: Dead (spoken in a raised monotone, with slightly plaintive inflection); 2nd tone: Dead? (simple query); 3rd tone: Dead? (an incredulous query long drawn out); 4th tone: Dead! (a sharp and decisive answer). The native learns the tones unconsciously and by ear alone. For centuries their existence was unsuspected, the first systematic classification of them being associated with the name of Shên Yo, a scholar who lived A.D. 441-513. The Emperor Wu Ti was inclined to be sceptical, and one day said to him: “Come, tell me, what are these famous four tones?” “They are 天 子 聖 哲 whatever your Majesty pleases to make them,” replied Shên Yo, skilfully selecting for his answer four words which illustrated, and in the usual order, the four tones in question. Although no native is ever taught the tones separately, they are none the less present in the words he utters, and must be acquired consciously or unconsciously by any European who wishes to be understood. It is a mistake, however, to imagine that every single word in a sentence must necessarily be given its full tonic force. Quite a number of words, such as the enclitics mentioned above, are not intonated at all. In others the degree of emphasis depends partly on the tone itself, partly on its position in the sentence. In Pekingese the 3rd tone (which is really the second in the ordinary series, the 1st being subdivided into upper and lower) is particularly important, and next to it in this respect comes the 2nd (that is, the lower even, or 2nd division of the 1st). It may be said, roughly, that any speaker whose second and third tones are correct will at any rate be understood, even if the 1st and 4th are slurred over.

It is chiefly, however, on its marvellous script and the rich treasures of its literature that the Chinese language depends for its unique fascination and charm. If we take a page of printed Chinese or carefully written manuscript The characters. and compare it with a page, say, of Arabic or Sanskrit, the Chinese is seen at once to possess a marked characteristic of its own. It consists of a number of wholly independent units, each of which would fit into a small square, and is called a character. These characters are arranged in columns, beginning on the right-hand side of the page and running from top to bottom. They are words, inasmuch as they stand for articulate sounds expressing root-ideas, but they are unlike our words in that they are not composed of alphabetical elements or letters. Clearly, if each character were a distinct and arbitrarily constructed symbol, only those gifted with exceptional powers of memory could ever hope to read or write with fluency. This, however, is far from being the case. If we go to work synthetically and first see how the language is built up, it will soon appear that most Chinese characters are susceptible of some kind of analysis. We may accept as substantially true the account of native writers who tell us that means of communication other than oral began with the use of knotted cords, similar to the quippus of ancient Mexico and Peru, and that these were displaced later on by the practice of notching or scoring rude marks on wood, bamboo and stone. It is beyond question that the first four numerals, as written with simple horizontal strokes, date from this early period. Notching, however, carries us but a little way on the road to a system of writing, which in China, as elsewhere, must have sprung originally from pictures. In Chinese writing, especially, the indications of such an origin are unmistakable, a few characters, indeed, even in Pictorial characters. their present form, being perfectly recognizable as pictures of objects pure and simple. Thus, for “sun” the ancient Chinese drew a circle with a dot in it: MarkeRingSchwarz.svg, now modified into 日; for “moon” 月-oracle.svg, now 月; for “God” they drew the anthropomorphic figure EB1911 天-ancient.jpg, which in its modern form appears as 天; for “mountains” 山-oracle.svg, now 山; for “child” EB1911 子-ancient.jpg, now 子; for “fish” EB1911 魚-ancient.jpg, now 魚; for “mouth” a round hole, now 口; for “hand” EB1911 手-ancient.jpg, now 手; for “well” EB1911 井-ancient.jpg, now written without the dot. Hence we see that while the origin of all writing is pictographic, in Chinese alone of living languages certain pictures have survived, and still denote what they had denoted in the beginning. In the script of other countries they were gradually transformed into hieroglyphic symbols, after which they either disappeared altogether or became further conventionalized into the letters of an alphabet. These picture-characters, then, accumulated little by little, until they comprised all the common objects which could be easily and rapidly delineated—sun, moon, stars, various animals, certain parts of the body, tree, grass and so forth, to the number of two or three hundred. The next step was to a few compound pictograms which would naturally suggest themselves to primitive man: 旦 the sun just above the horizon = “dawn”; 林 trees side by side = “a forest”; 舌 a mouth with something solid coming out of it = “the tongue”; 言 a mouth with vapor or breath coming out of it = “words.”

But a purely pictographic script has its limitations. The more complex natural objects hardly come within its scope; still less the whole body of abstract ideas. While writing was still in its infancy, it must have occurred to the Chinese Suggestive compounds. to join together two or more pictorial characters in order that their association might suggest to the mind some third thing or idea. “Sun” and “moon” combined in this way make the character 明, which means “bright”; woman and child make 好 “good”; “fields” and “strength” (that is, labour in the fields) produce the character 男 “male”; two “men” on “earth” 坐 signifies “to sit”—before chairs were known; the “sun” seen through “trees” 東 designates the east; 家 has been explained as (1) a “pig” under a “roof,” the Chinese idea, common to the Irish peasant, of home, and also (2) as “several persons” under “a roof,” in the same sense; a “woman” under a “roof” makes the character 安 “peace”; “words” and “tongue” 話 naturally suggest “speech”; two hands (友, in the old form EB1911 友-ancient.jpg) indicate friendship; “woman” and “birth” 姓 = “born of a woman,” means “clan-name,” showing that the ancient Chinese traced through the mother and not through the father. Interesting and ingenious as many of these combinations are, it is clear that their number, too, must in any practical system of writing be severely limited. Hence it is not surprising that this class of characters, correctly called ideograms, as representing ideas and not objects, should be a comparatively small one. Up to this point there seemed to be but little chance of the written language reaching a free field for expansion. It had run so far on lines sharply distinct from those of ordinary speech. There was nothing in the character per se which gave the slightest clue to the sound of the word it represented. Each character, therefore, had to be learned and recognized by a separate effort of memory. Phonetic characters. The first step in a new, and, as it ultimately proved, the right direction, was the borrowing of a character already in use to represent another word identical in sound, though different in meaning. Owing to the scarcity of vocables noted above, there might be as many as ten different words in common use, each pronounced fang. Out of those ten only one, we will suppose, had a character assigned to it—namely 方 “square” (originally said to be a picture of two boats joined together). But among the other nine was fang, meaning “street” or “locality,” in such common use that it became necessary to have some means of writing it. Instead of inventing an altogether new character, as they might have done, the Chinese took 方 “square” and used it also in the sense of “locality.” This was a simple expedient, no doubt, but one that, applied on a large scale, could not but lead to confusion. The corresponding difficulty which presented itself in speech was overcome, as we saw, by many devices, one of which consisted in prefixing to the word in question another which served to determine its special meaning. A native does not say fang simply when he wishes to speak of a place, but li-fang “earth-place.” Exactly the same device was now adopted in writing the character. To fang “square” was added another part meaning “earth,” in order to show that the fang in question had to do with location on the earth’s surface. The whole character thus appeared as 坊. Once this phonetic principle had been introduced, all was smooth sailing, and writing progressed by leaps and bounds. Nothing was easier now than to provide signs for the other words pronounced fang. “A room” was 房 door-fang; “to spin” was 紡 silk-fang; “fragrant” was 芳 herbs-fang; “to inquire” was 訪 words-fang; “an embankment,” and hence “to guard against,” was 防 mound-fang; “to hinder” was 妨 woman-fang. This last example may seem a little strange until we remember that man must have played the principal part in the development of writing, and that from the masculine point of view there is something essentially obstructive and unmanageable in woman’s nature. It may be remarked, by the way, that the element “woman” is often the determinative in characters that stand for unamiable qualities, e.g. 妒 “jealous,” 奸 “treacherous,” 妄 “false” and 妖 “uncanny.” This class of characters, which constitutes at least nine-tenths of the language, has received the convenient name of phonograms. It must be added that the formation of the phonogram or phonetic compound did not always proceed along such simple lines as in the examples given above, where both parts are pictorial characters, one the “phonetic,” representing the sound, and the other, commonly known as the “radical,” giving a clue to the sense. In the first place, most of the phonetics now existing are not simple pictograms, but themselves more or less complex characters made up in a variety of ways. On analysing, for instance, the word 遜 hsün, “to withdraw,” we find it is composed of the phonetic 孫 combined with the radical 辶, an abbreviated form of 辵 “to walk.” But 孫 sun means “grandson,” and is itself a suggestive compound made up of the two characters 子 “a son” and 系 “connect.” The former character is a simple pictogram, but the latter is again resolvable into the two elements 丿 “a down stroke to the left” and 糸 “a strand of silk,” which is here understood to be the radical and appears in its ancient form as Shuowen Seal Radical 467.svg, a picture of cocoons spun by the silkworm. Again, the sound is in most cases given by no means exactly by the so-called phonetic, a fact chiefly due to the pronunciation having undergone changes which the written character was incapable of recording. Thus, we have just seen that the phonetic of 遜 is not hsün but sun. There are extreme cases in which a phonetic provides hardly any clue at all as to the sound of its derivatives. The character 欠, for example, which by itself is pronounced ch‘ien, appears in combination as the modern phonetic of 坎 k‘an, 軟 juan, 飮 yin and 吹 ch‘ui; though in the last instance it was not originally the phonetic but the radical of a character which was analysed as 欠 ch‘ien, “to emit breath” from 口 “the mouth,” the whole character being a suggestive compound rather than an illustration of radical and phonetic combined. In general, however, it may be said that the “final” or rhyme is pretty accurately indicated, while in not a few cases the phonetic does give the exact sound for all its derivatives. Thus, the characters in which the element 僉 enters are pronounced chien, ch‘ien, hsien and lien; but 意 and its derivatives are all i. A considerable number of phonetics are nearly or entirely obsolete as separate characters, although their family of derivatives may be a very large one. 臤, for instance, is never seen by itself, yet 堅, 緊, and 賢 are among the most important characters in the language. Objections have been raised in some quarters to this account of the phonetic development of Chinese. It is argued that the primitives and sub-primitives, whereby is meant any character which is capable of entering into combination with another, have really had some influence on the meaning, and do not merely possess a phonetic value. But insufficient evidence has hitherto been advanced in support of this view.

The whole body of Chinese characters, then, may conveniently be divided up, for philological purposes, into pictograms, ideograms and phonograms. The first are pictures of objects, the second are composite symbols standing for abstract ideas, the third are compound characters of which the more important element simply represents a spoken sound. Of course, in a strict sense, even the first two classes do not directly represent either objects or ideas, but rather stand for sounds by which these objects and ideas have previously been expressed. It may, in fact, be said that Chinese characters are “nothing but a number of more or less ingenious devices for suggesting spoken words to a reader.” This definition exposes the inaccuracy of the popular notion that Chinese is a language of ideographs, a mistake which even the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary have not avoided. Considering that all the earliest characters are pictorial, and that the vast majority of the remainder are constructed on phonetic principles, it is absurd to speak of Chinese characters as “symbolizing the idea of a thing, without expressing the name of it.”

The Chinese themselves have always been diligent students of their written language, and at a very early date (probably many centuries B.C.) evolved a sixfold classification of characters, The “Six Scripts.” the so-called 六 書 liu shu, very inaccurately translated by the Six Scripts, which may be briefly noticed:—

1. 指 事 chih shih, indicative or self-explanatory characters. This is a very small class, including only the simplest numerals and a few others such as 上 “above” and 下 “below.”

2. 象 形 hsiang hsing, pictographic characters.

3. 形 聲 hsing shêng or 諧 聲 hsieh shêng, phonetic compounds.

4. 會 意 hui i, suggestive compounds based on a natural association of ideas. To this class alone can the term “ideographs” be properly applied.

5. 轉 注 chuan chu. The meaning of the name has been much disputed, some saying that it means “turned round”; e.g. EB1911 目-ancient.jpg mu “eye” is now written 目. Others understand it as comprising a few groups of characters nearly related in sense, each character consisting of an element common to the group, together with a specific and detachable part; e.g. 老, 考, and 耉, all of which have the meaning “old.” This class may be ignored altogether, seeing that it is concerned not with the origin of characters but only with peculiarities in their use.

6. 假 借 chia chieh, borrowed characters, as explained above, that is, characters adopted for different words simply because of the identity of sound.

The order of this native classification is not to be taken as in any sense chronological. Roughly, it may be said that the development of writing followed the course previously traced—that is, beginning with indicative signs, and going on with pictograms and ideograms, until finally the discovery of the phonetic principle did away with all necessity for other devices in enlarging the written language. But we have no direct evidence that this was so. There can be little doubt that phonetic compounds made their appearance at a very early date, probably prior to the invention of a large number of suggestive compounds, and perhaps even before the whole existing stock of pictograms had been fashioned. It is significant that numerous words of daily occurrence, which must have had a place in the earliest stages of human thought, are expressed by phonetic characters. We can be fairly certain, at any rate, that the period of “borrowed characters” did not last very long, though it is thought that traces of it are to be seen in the habit of writing several characters, especially those for certain plants and animals, indifferently with or without their radicals. Thus 蝌 蚪 “a tadpole” is frequently written 科 斗, without the part meaning “insect” or “reptile.”

In the very earliest inscriptions that have come down to us, the so-called 古 文 ku-wên or “ancient figures,” all the above-mentioned forms occur. None are wholly pictorial, with one or two unimportant exceptions. These early inscriptions are Styles of writing. found on bronzes dating from the half-legendary period extending from the beginning of the Shang dynasty in the 18th century B.C., or possibly earlier, down to a point in the reign of King Hsüan of the Chou dynasty, generally fixed at 827 B.C. They have been carefully reproduced and for the most part deciphered by painstaking Chinese archaeologists, and form the subject of many voluminous works. The following may be taken as a specimen, in which it will be noticed that only the last character is unmistakably pictorial:

EB1911 China - early bronze inscription.jpg

This is read: 申 作 寶 鼎—”Shên made [this] precious ting.” These ancient bronzes, which mainly take the shape of bells, cauldrons and sacrificial utensils, were until within the last decade our sole source of information concerning the origin and early history of Chinese writing. But recently a large number of inscribed bone fragments have been excavated in the north of China, providing new and unexpected matter for investigation. The inscriptions on these bones have already furnished a list of nearly 2500 separate characters, of which not more than about 600 have been so far identified. They appear to be responses given by professional soothsayers to private individuals who came to them seeking the aid of divination in the affairs of their daily life. It is difficult to fix their date with much exactitude. The script, though less archaic than that of the earlier bronzes, is nevertheless of an exceedingly free and irregular type. Judging by the style of the inscriptions alone, one would be inclined to assign them to the early years of the Chou dynasty, say 1100 B.C. But Mr L.C. Hopkins thinks that they represent a mode of writing already obsolete at the time of their production, and retained of set purpose by the diviners from obscurantist motives, much as the ancient hieroglyphics were employed by the Egyptian priesthood. He would therefore date them about 500 years later, or only half a century before the birth of Confucius. If that is so, they are merely late specimens of the “ancient figures” appearing long after the latter had made way for a new and more conventionalized form of writing. This new writing is called in Chinese 篆 chuan, which is commonly rendered by the word Seal, for the somewhat unscientific reason that many ages afterwards it was generally adopted for use on seals. Under the Chou dynasty, however, as well as the two succeeding it, the meaning of the word was not “seal,” but “sinuous curves,” as made in writing. It has accordingly been suggested that this epoch marks the first introduction into China of the brush in place of the bamboo or wooden pencil with frayed end which was used with some kind of colouring matter or varnish. There are many arguments both for and against this view; but it is unquestionable, at any rate, that the introduction of a supple implement like the brush at the very time when the forms of characters were fast becoming crystallized and fixed, would be sufficient to account for a great revolution in the style of writing. Authentic specimens of the 大 篆 ta chuan, older or Greater Seal writing, are exceedingly rare. But it is generally believed that the inscriptions on the famous stone drums, now at Peking, date from the reign of King Hsüan, and they may therefore with practical certainty be cited as examples of the Greater Seal in its original form. These “drums” are really ten roughly chiselled mountain boulders, which were discovered in the early part of the 7th century, lying half buried in the ground near Fêng-hsiang Fu in the province of Shensi. On them are engraved ten odes, a complete ode being cut on each drum, celebrating an Imperial hunting and fishing expedition in that part of the country. A facsimile of one of these, taken from an old rubbing and reproduced in Dr Bushell’s Handbook of Chinese Art, shows that great strides had been made in this writing towards symmetry, compactness and conventionalism. The vogue of the Greater Seal appears to have lasted until the reign of the First Emperor, 221-210 B.C. (see History), when a further modification took place. For many centuries China had been split up into a number of practically independent states, and this circumstance seems to have led to considerable variations in the styles of writing. Having succeeded in unifying the empire, the First Emperor proceeded, on the advice of his minister Li Ssŭ, to standardize its script by ordaining that only the style in use in his own state of Ch‘in should henceforward be employed throughout China. It is clear, then, that this new style of writing was nothing more than the Greater Seal characters in the form they had assumed after several centuries of evolution, with numerous abbreviations and modifications. It was afterwards known as the 小 篆 hsiao chuan, or Lesser Seal, and is familiar to us from the Shuo Wên dictionary (see Literature). Though a decided improvement on what had gone before, the Lesser Seal was destined to have but a short career of undisputed supremacy. Reform was in the air; and something less cumbrous was soon felt to be necessary by the clerks who had to supply the immense quantity of written reports demanded by the First Emperor. Thus it came about that a yet simpler and certainly more artistic form of writing was already in use, though not universally so, not long after the decree abolishing the Greater Seal. This 隸 書 li shu, or “official script,” as it is called, shows a great advance on the Seal character; so much so that one cannot help suspecting the traditional account of its invention. It is perhaps more likely to have been directly evolved from the Greater Seal. If the Lesser Seal was the script of the semi-barbarous state of Ch‘in, we should certainly expect to find a more highly developed system of writing in some of the other states. Unlike the Seal, the li shu is perfectly legible to one acquainted only with the modern character, from which indeed it differs but in minor details. How long the Lesser Seal continued to exist side by side with the li shu is a question which cannot be answered with certainty. It was evidently quite obsolete, however, at the time of the compilation of the Shuo Wên, about a hundred years after the Christian era. As for the Greater Seal and still earlier forms of writing, they were not merely obsolete but had fallen into utter oblivion before the Han Dynasty was fifty years old. When a number of classical texts were discovered bricked up in old houses about 150 B.C., the style of writing was considered so singular by the literati of the period that they refused to believe it was the ordinary ancient character at all, and nicknamed it k‘o-t‘ou shu, “tadpole character,” from some fancied resemblance in shape. The theory that these tadpole characters were not Chinese but a species of cuneiform script, in which the wedges might possibly suggest tadpoles, must be dismissed as too wildly improbable for serious consideration; but we may advert for a moment to a famous inscription in which the real tadpole characters of antiquity are said to appear. This is on a stone tablet alleged to have been erected on Mount Hêng in the modern Hupeh by the legendary Emperor Yü, as a record of his labours in draining away the great flood which submerged part of China in the 23rd century B.C. After more than one fruitless search, the actual monument is said to have been discovered on a peak of the mountain in A.D. 1212, and a transcription was made, which may be seen reproduced as a curiosity in Legge’s Classics, vol. iii. For several reasons, however, the whole affair must be regarded as a gross imposture.

Out of the “official script” two other forms were soon developed, namely the 草 書 ts‘ao shu, or “grass character,” which so curtails the usual strokes as to be comparable to a species of shorthand, requiring special study, and the 行 書 hsing shu or running hand, used in ordinary correspondence. Some form of grass character is mentioned as in use as early as 200 B.C. or thereabouts, though how nearly it approximated to the modern grass hand it is hard to say; the running hand seems to have come several centuries later. The final standardization of Chinese writing was due to the great calligraphist Wang Hsi-chih of the 4th century, who gave currency to the graceful style of character known as 楷 書 k‘ai shu, sometimes referred to as the “clerkly hand.” When block-printing was invented some centuries later, the characters were cut on this model, which still survives at the present day. It is no doubt owing to the early introduction of printing that the script of China has remained practically unchanged ever since. The manuscript rolls of the T‘ang and preceding dynasties, recently discovered by Dr Stein in Turkestan, furnish direct evidence of this fact, showing as they do a style of writing not only clear and legible but remarkably modern in appearance.

The whole history of Chinese writing, then, is characterized by a slow progressive development which precludes the idea of sharply-marked divisions between one period and another. The Chinese themselves, however, have canonized quite a series of alleged inventors, starting from Fu Hsi, a mythical emperor of the third millennium B.C., who is said to have developed a complete system of written characters from the markings on the back of a dragon-horse; hence, by the way, the origin of the dragon as an Imperial emblem. As a rule, the credit of the invention of the art of writing is given to Ts‘ang Chieh, a being with fabulous attributes, who conceived the idea of a written language from the markings of birds’ claws upon the sand. The diffusion of the Greater Seal script is traced to a work in fifteen chapters published by Shih Chou, historiographer in the reign of King Hsüan. The Lesser Seal, again, is often ascribed to Li Ssŭ himself, whereas the utmost he can have done in the matter was to urge its introduction into common use. Likewise, Ch‘êng Mo, of the 3rd century B.C., is supposed to have invented the li shu while in prison, and one account attributes the Lesser Seal to him as well; but the fact is that the whole history of writing, as it stands in Chinese authors, is in hopeless confusion.

Grammar.—When about to embark on the study of a foreign language, the student’s first thought is to provide himself with two indispensable aids—a dictionary and a grammar. The Chinese have found no difficulty in producing the former (see Literature). Now what as to the grammar? He might reasonably expect a people so industrious in the cultivation of their language to have evolved some system of grammar which to a certain degree would help to smooth his path. And yet the contrary is the case. No set of rules governing the mutual relations of words has ever been formulated by the Chinese, apparently because the need of such rules has never been felt. The most that native writers have done is to draw a distinction between 實 字 and 虚 字 “full” and “empty words,” respectively, the former being subdivided into 活 字 “living words” or verbs, and 死 字 “dead words” or noun-substantives. By “empty words” particles are meant, though sometimes the expression is loosely applied to abstract terms, including verbs. The above meagre classification is their nearest approach to a conception of grammar in our sense. This in itself does not prove that a Chinese grammar is impossible, nor that, if constructed, it might not be helpful to the student. As a matter of fact, several attempts have been made by foreigners to deduce a grammatical system which should prove as rigid and binding as those of Western languages, though it cannot be said that any as yet has stood the test of time or criticism. Other writers have gone to the other extreme, and maintained that Chinese has no grammar at all. In this dictum, exaggerated as it sounds, there is a very substantial amount of truth. Every Chinese character is an indivisible unit, representing a sound and standing for a root-idea. Being free from inflection or agglutination of any kind, it is incapable of indicating in itself either gender, number or case, voice, mood, tense or person. Of European languages, English stands nearest to Chinese in this respect, whence it follows that the construction of a hybrid jargon like pidgin English presents fewer difficulties than would be the case, for instance, with pidgin German. For pidgin English simply consists in taking English words and treating them like Chinese characters, that is, divesting them of all troublesome inflections and reducing them to a set of root-ideas arranged in logical sequence. “You wantchee my no wantchee” is nothing more nor less than literally rendered Chinese: 你 要 我 不 要 “Do you want me or not?” But we may go further, and say that no Chinese character can be definitely regarded as being any particular part of speech or possessing any particular function absolutely, apart from the general tenor of its context. Thus, taken singly, the character 上 conveys only the general idea “above” as opposed to “below.” According to its place in the sentence and the requirements of common sense, it may be a noun meaning “upper person” (that is, a ruler); an adjective meaning “upper,” “topmost” or “best”; an adverb meaning “above”; a preposition meaning “upon”; and finally a verb meaning “to mount upon,” or “to go to.” 入 is a character that may usually be translated “to enter” as in 入 門 “to enter a door”; yet in the locution 入 木 “enter wood,” the verb becomes causative, and the meaning is “to put into a coffin.” It would puzzle grammarians to determine the precise grammatical function of any of the words in the following sentence, with the exception of 何 (an interrogative, by the way, which here happens to mean “why” but in other contexts is equivalent to “how,” “which” or “what”): 事 何 必 古 “Affair why must ancient,” or in more idiomatic English, “Why necessarily stick to the ways of the ancients in such matters?” Or take a proverbial saying like 少 所 見 多 所 怪, which may be correctly rendered “The less a man has seen, the more he has to wonder at.” It is one thing, however, to translate it correctly, and another to explain how this translation can be inferred from the individual words, of which the bald equivalents might be given as: “Few what see, many what Strange.” To say that “strange” is the literal equivalent of 怪 does not mean that 怪 can be definitely classed as an adjective. On the other hand, it would be dangerous even to assert that the word here plays the part of an active verb, because it would be equally permissible to translate the above “Many things are strange to one who has seen but little.”

Chinese grammar, then, so far as it deals with the classification of separate words, may well be given up as a bad job. But there still remains the art of syntax, the due arrangement of words to form sentences according to certain established rules. Here, at any rate, we are on somewhat firmer ground; and for many years the dictum that “the whole of Chinese grammar depends upon position” was regarded as a golden key to the written language of China. It is perfectly true that there are certain positions and collocations of words which tend to recur, but when one sits down to formulate a set of hard-and-fast rules governing these positions, it is soon found to be a thankless task, for the number of qualifications and exceptions which will have to be added is so great as to render the rule itself valueless. 馬 上 means “on a horse,” 上 馬 “to get on a horse.” But it will not do to say that a preposition becomes a verb when placed before the substantive, as many other prepositions come before and not after the words they govern. If we meet such a phrase as 警 宼, literally “warn rebels,” we must not mentally label 警 as a verb and 宼 as a substantive, and say to ourselves that in Chinese the verb is followed immediately by its object. Otherwise, we might be tempted to translate, “to warn the rebels,” whereas a little reflection would show us that the conjunction of “warning” and “rebels” naturally leads to the meaning “to warn (the populace or whoever it may be) against the rebels.” After all our adventurous incursions into the domain of syntax, we are soon brought back to the starting-point and are obliged to confess that each particular passage is best interpreted on its own merits, by the logic of the context and the application of common sense. There is no reason why Chinese sentences should not be dissected, by those who take pleasure in such operations, into subject, copula and predicate, but it should be early impressed upon the beginner that the profit likely to accrue to him therefrom is infinitesimal. As for fixed rules of grammatical construction, so far from being a help, he will find them a positive hindrance. It should rather be his aim to free his mind from such trammels, and to accustom himself to look upon each character as a root-idea, not a definite part of speech.

The Book Language.—Turning now to some of the more salient characteristics of the book language, with the object of explaining how it came to be so widely separated from common speech, we might reasonably suppose that in primitive times the two stood in much closer relation to each other than now. But it is certainly a striking fact that the earliest literary remains of any magnitude that have come down to us should exhibit a style very far removed from any possible colloquial idiom. The speeches of the Book of History (see Literature) are more manifestly fictitious, by many degrees, than the elaborate orations in Thucydides and Livy. If we cannot believe that Socrates actually spoke the words attributed to him in the dialogues of Plato, much less can we expect to find the ipsissima verba of Confucius in any of his recorded sayings. In the beginning, all characters doubtless represented spoken words, but it must very soon have dawned on the practical Chinese mind that there was no need to reproduce in writing the bisyllabic compounds of common speech. Chien “to see,” in its written form 見, could not possibly be confused with any other chien, and it was therefore unnecessary to go to the trouble of writing 看 見 k‘an-chien “look-see,” as in colloquial. There was a wonderful outburst of literary activity in the Confucian era, when it would seem that the older and more cumbrous form of Seal character was still in vogue. If the mere manual labour of writing was so great, we cannot wonder that all superfluous particles or other words that could be dispensed with were ruthlessly cut away. So it came about that all the old classical works were composed in the tersest of language, as remote as can be imagined from the speech of the people. The passion for brevity and conciseness was pushed to an extreme, and resulted more often than not in such obscurity that detailed commentaries on the classics were found to be necessary, and have always constituted an important branch of Chinese literature. After the introduction of the improved style of script, and when the mechanical means of writing had been simplified, it may be supposed that literary diction also became freer and more expansive. This did happen to some extent, but the classics were held in such veneration as to exercise the profoundest influence over all succeeding schools of writers, and the divorce between literature and pooular speech became permanent and irreconcilable. The book language absorbed all the interest and energy of scholars, and it was inevitable that this elevation of the written should be accompanied by a corresponding degradation of the spoken word. This must largely account for the somewhat remarkable fact that the art of oratory and public speaking has never been deemed worthy of cultivation in China, while the comparatively low position occupied by the drama may also be referred to the same cause. At the same time, the term “book language,” in its widest sense, covers a multitude of styles, some of which differ from each other nearly as much as from ordinary speech. The department of fiction (see Literature), which the lettered Chinaman affects to despise and will not readily admit within the charmed circle of “literature,” really constitutes a bridge spanning the gulf between the severer classical style and the colloquial; while an elegant terseness characterises the higher-class novel, there are others in which the style is loose and shambling. Still, it remains true that no book of any first-rate literary pretensions would be easily intelligible to any class of Chinamen, educated or otherwise, if read aloud exactly as printed. The public reader of stories is obliged to translate, so to speak, into the colloquial of his audience as he goes along. There is no inherent reason why the conversation of everyday life should not be rendered into characters, as is done in foreign handbooks for teaching elementary Chinese; one can only say that the Chinese do not think it worth while. There are a few words, indeed, which, though common enough in the mouths of genteel and vulgar alike, have positively no characters to represent them. On the other hand, there is a vast store of purely book words which would never be used or understood in conversation.

The book language is not only nice in its choice of words, it also has to obey special rules of construction. Of these, perhaps the most apparent is the carefully marked antithesis between characters in different clauses of a sentence, which results in a kind of parallelism or rhythmic balance. This parallelism is a noticeable feature in ordinary poetical composition, and may be well illustrated by the following four-line stanza:

“ 白 日 依 山 盡 The bright sun completes its course behind the mountains; 黄 河 入 海 流 The yellow river flows away into the sea. 欲 窮 千 里 目 Would you command a prospect of a thousand li? 更 上 一 層 樓 Climb yet one storey higher.” In the first line of this piece, every single character is balanced by a corresponding one in the second: 白 white by 黄 yellow, 日 sun by 河 river, and so on. In the 3rd and 4th lines, where more laxity is generally allowed, every word again has its counterpart, with the sole exception of 欲 “wish” and 更 “further.”

The question is often asked: What sort of instrument is Chinese for the expression of thought? As a medium for the conveyance of historical facts, subtle emotions or abstruse philosophical conceptions, can it compare with the languages of the Western world? The answers given to this question have varied considerably. But it is noteworthy that those who most depreciate the qualities of Chinese are, generally speaking, theorists rather than persons possessing a profound first-hand knowledge of the language itself. Such writers argue that want of inflection in the characters must tend to make Chinese hard and inelastic, and therefore incapable of bringing out the finer shades of thought and emotion. Answering one a priori argument with another, one might fairly retort that, if anything, flexibility is the precise quality to be predicated of a language in which any character may, according to the requirements of the context, be interpreted either as noun, verb or adjective. But all such reasoning is somewhat futile. It will scarcely be contended that German, being highly inflected, is therefore superior in range and power to English, from which inflections have largely disappeared. Some of the early Jesuit missionaries, men of great natural ability who steeped themselves in Oriental learning, have left very different opinions on record. Chinese appeared to them as admirable for the superabundant richness of its vocabulary as for the conciseness of its literary style. And among modern scholars there is a decided tendency to accept this view as embodying a great deal more truth than the other.

Another question, much debated years ago, which time itself is now satisfactorily answering, was whether the Chinese language would be able to assimilate the vast stock of new terminology which closer contact with the West would necessarily carry with it. Two possible courses, it seemed, were open: either fresh characters would be formed on the radical-phonetic principle, or the new idea might be expressed by the conjunction of two or more characters already existing. The former expedient had been tried on a limited scale in Japan, where in the course of time new characters were formed on the same principle as of old, which were yet purely Japanese and find no place in a Chinese dictionary. But although the field for such additions was boundless, the Chinese have all along been chary of extending the language in this way, probably because these modern terms had no Chinese sound which might have suggested some particular phonetic. They have preferred to adopt the other method, of which 昇 降 機 (rise-descend-machine) for “lift,” and 議 政 國 會 (discuss-govern-country-assembly) for “parliament” are examples. Even a metaphysical abstraction like The Absolute has been tentatively expressed by 絕 對 (exclude-opposite); but in this case an equivalent was already existing in the Chinese language.

A very drastic measure, strongly advocated in some quarters, is the entire abolition of all characters, to be replaced by their equivalent sounds in letters of the alphabet. Under this scheme 人 would figure as jên or ren, 馬 as ma, and so on. But the proposal has fallen extremely flat. The vocables, as we have seen, are so few in number that only the colloquial, if even that, could possibly be transcribed in this manner. Any attempt to transliterate classical Chinese would result in a mere jumble of sounds, utterly unintelligible, even with the addition of tone-marks. There is another aspect of the case. The characters are a potent bond of union between the different parts of the Empire with their various dialects. If they should ever fall into disuse, China will have taken a first and most fatal step towards internal disruption. Even the Japanese, whose language is not only free from dialects, but polysyllabic and therefore more suitable for romanization, have utterly refused to abandon the Chinese script, which in spite of certain disadvantages has hitherto triumphantly adapted itself to the needs of civilized intercourse.

See P. Premare, Notitiae Linguae Sinicae (1831); Ma Kien-chung, Ma shih wên t‘ung (1899); L.C. Hopkins, The Six Scripts (1881) and The Development of Chinese Writing (1910); H.A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary (2nd ed., 1910).  (H. A. Gi.; L. Gi.) 

VIII. Chinese Literature

The literature of China is remarkable (1) for its antiquity, coupled with an unbroken continuity down to the present day; (2) for the variety of subjects presented, and for the exhaustive treatment which, not only each subject, but also each subdivision, each separate item, has received, as well as for the colossal scale on which so many literary monuments have been conceived and carried out; (3) for the accuracy of its historical statements, so far as it has been possible to test them; and further (4) for its ennobling standards and lofty ideals, as well as for its wholesome purity and an almost total absence of coarseness and obscenity.

No history of Chinese literature in the Chinese language has yet been produced; native scholars, however, have adopted, for bibliographical purposes, a rough division into four great classes. Under the first of these, we find the Confucian Canon, together with lexicographical, philological, and other works dealing with the elucidation of words. Under the second, histories of various kinds, officially compiled, privately written, constitutional, &c.; also biography, geography and bibliography. Under the third, philosophy, religion, e.g. Buddhism; the arts and sciences, e.g. war, law, agriculture, medicine, astronomy, painting, music and archery; also a host of general works, monographs, and treatises on a number of topics, as well as encyclopaedias. The fourth class is confined to poetry of all descriptions, poetical critiques, and works dealing with the all-important rhymes.

Poetry.—Proceeding chronologically, without reference to Chinese classification, we have to begin, as would naturally be expected, with the last of the above four classes. Man’s first literary utterances in China, as elsewhere, took the form of verse; and the earliest Chinese records in our possession are the national lyrics, the songs and ballads, chiefly of the feudal age, which reaches back to over a thousand years before Christ. Some pieces are indeed attributed to the 18th century B.C.; the latest bring us down to the 6th century B.C. Such is the collection entitled Shih Ching (or She King), popularly known as the Odes, which was brought together and edited by Confucius, 551-479 B.C., and is now included among the Sacred Books, forming as it does an important portion of the Confucian Canon. These Odes, once over three thousand in number, were reduced by Confucius to three hundred and eleven; hence they are frequently spoken of as “the Three Hundred.” They treat of war and love, of eating and drinking and dancing, of the virtues and vices of rulers, and of the misery and happiness of the people. They are in rhyme. Rhyme is essential to Chinese poetry; there is no such thing as blank verse. Further, the rhymes of the Odes have always been, and are still, the only recognized rhymes which can be used by a Chinese poet, anything else being regarded as mere jingle. Poetical licence, however, is tolerated; and great masters have availed themselves freely of its aid. One curious result of this is that whereas in many instances two given words may have rhymed, as no doubt they did, in the speech of three thousand years ago, they no longer rhyme to the ear in the colloquial of to-day, although still accepted as true and proper rhymes in the composition of verse.

It is noticeable at once that the Odes are mostly written in lines of four words, examples of lines consisting of any length from a single word to eight, though such do exist, being comparatively rare. These lines of four words, generally recognized as the oldest measure in Chinese poetry, are frequently grouped as quatrains, in which the first, second and fourth lines rhyme; but very often only the second and fourth lines rhyme, and sometimes there are groups of a larger number of lines in which occasional lines are found without any rhyme at all. A few stray pieces, as old as many of those found among the Odes, have been handed down and preserved, in which the metre consists of two lines of three words followed by one line of seven words. These three lines all rhyme, but the rhyme changes with each succeeding triplet. It would be difficult to persuade the English reader that this is a very effective measure, and one in which many a gloomy or pathetic tale has been told. In order to realise how a few Chinese monosyllables in juxtaposition can stir the human heart to its lowest depths, it is necessary to devote some years to the study of the language.

At the close of the 4th century B.C., a dithyrambic measure, irregular and wild, was introduced and enjoyed considerable vogue. It has indeed been freely adopted by numerous poets from that early date down to the present day; but since the 2nd century B.C. it has been displaced from pre-eminence by the seven-word and five-word measures which are now, after much refinement, the accepted standards for Chinese poetry. The origin of the seven-word metre is lost in remote antiquity; the five-word metre was elaborated under the master-hand of Mei Shêng, who died 140 B.C. Passing over seven centuries of growth, we reach the T‘ang dynasty, A.D. 618-905, the most brilliant epoch in the history of Chinese poetry. These three hundred years produced an extraordinarily large number of great poets, and an output of verse of almost incredible extent. In 1707 an anthology of the T‘ang poets was published by Imperial order; it ran to nine hundred books or sections, and contained over forty-eight thousand nine hundred separate poems. A copy of this work is in the Chinese department of the University Library at Cambridge.

It was under the T‘ang dynasty that a certain finality was reached in regard to the strict application of the tones to Chinese verse. For the purposes of poetry, all words in the language were ranged under one or the other of two tones, the even and the oblique, the former now including the two even tones, of which prior to the 11th century there was only one, and the latter including the rising, sinking and entering tones of ordinary speech. The incidence of these tones, which may be roughly described as sharps and flats, finally became fixed, just as the incidence of certain feet in Latin metres came to be governed by fixed rules. Thus, reading downward from right to left, as in Chinese, a five-word stanza may run:

Sharp Flat Flat Sharp
sharp   flat flat sharp  
flat sharp   flat sharp
 °  °  °  °
flat sharp sharp   flat
sharp flat sharp flat

A seven-word stanza may run:

Flat Sharp Sharp  
flat sharp   sharp   flat
sharp   flat flat sharp  
sharp flat flat sharp
 °  °  °  °
flat sharp flat flat
flat sharp sharp flat
sharp flat sharp sharp

The above are only two metres out of many, but enough perhaps to give to any one who will read them with a pause or quasi-caesura, as marked by ° in each specimen, a fair idea of the rhythmic lilt of Chinese poetry. To the trained ear, the effect is most pleasing; and when this scansion, so to speak, is united with rhyme and choice diction, the result is a vehicle for verse, artificial no doubt, and elaborate, but admirably adapted to the genius of the Chinese language. Moreover, in the hands of the great poets this artificiality disappears altogether. Each word seems to slip naturally into its place; and so far from having been introduced by violence for the ends of prosody, it appears to be the very best word that could have been chosen, even had there been no trammels of any kind, so effectually is the art of the poet concealed by art. From the long string of names which have shed lustre upon this glorious age of Chinese poetry, it may suffice for the present purpose to mention the following, all of the very first rank.

Mêng Hao-jan, A.D. 689-740, failed to succeed at the public competitive examinations, and retired to the mountains where he led the life of a recluse. Later on, he obtained an official post; but he was of a timid disposition, and once when the emperor, attracted by his fame, came to visit him, he hid himself under the bed. His hiding-place was revealed by Wang Wei, a brother poet who was present. The latter, A.D. 699-759, in addition to being a first-rank poet, was also a landscape-painter of great distinction. He was further a firm believer in Buddhism; and after losing his wife and mother, he turned his mountain home into a Buddhist monastery. Of all poets, not one has made his name more widely known than Li Po, or Li T‘ai-po, A.D. 705-762, popularly known as the Banished Angel, so heavenly were the poems he dashed off, always under the influence of wine. He is said to have met his death, after a tipsy frolic, by leaning out of a boat to embrace the reflection of the moon. Tu Fu, A.D. 712-770, is generally ranked with Li Po, the two being jointly spoken of as the chief poets of their age. The former had indeed such a high opinion of his own poetry that he prescribed it for malarial fever. He led a chequered and wandering life, and died from the effects of eating roast beef and drinking white wine to excess, immediately after a long fast. Po Chü-i, A.D. 772-846, was a very prolific poet. He held several high official posts, but found time for a considerable output of some of the finest poetry in the language. His poems were collected by Imperial command, and engraved upon tablets of stone. In one of them he anticipates by eight centuries the famous ode by Malherbe, À Du Perrier, sur la mort de sa fille.

The T‘ang dynasty with all its glories had not long passed away before another imperial house arose, under which poetry flourished again in full vigour. The poets of the Sung dynasty, A.D. 960-1260, were many and varied in style; but their work, much of it of the very highest order, was becoming perhaps a trifle more formal and precise. Life seemed to be taken more seriously than under the gay and pleasure-loving T‘angs. The long list of Sung poets includes such names as Ssŭ-ma Kuang, Ou-yang Hsiu and Wang An-shih, to be mentioned by and by, the first two as historians and the last as political reformer. A still more familiar name in popular estimation is that of Su Tung-p‘o, A.D. 103-1101, partly known for his romantic career, now in court favour, now banished to the wilds, but still more renowned as a brilliant poet and writer of fascinating essays.

The Mongols, A.D. 1260-1368, who succeeded the Sungs, and the Mings who followed the Sungs and bring us down to the year 1644, helped indeed, especially the Mings, to swell the volume of Chinese verse, but without reaching the high level of the two great poetical periods above-mentioned. Then came the present dynasty of Manchu Tatars, of whom the same tale must be told, in spite of two highly-cultured emperors, K‘ang Hsi and Ch‘ien Lung, both of them poets and one of them author of a collection containing no fewer than 33,950 pieces, most of which, it must be said, are but four-line stanzas, of no literary value whatever. It may be stated in this connexion that whereas China has never produced an epic in verse, it is not true that all Chinese poems are quite short, running only to ten or a dozen lines at the most. Many pieces run to several hundred lines, though the Chinese poet does not usually affect length, one of his highest efforts being the four-line stanza, known as the “stop-short,” in which “the words stop while the sense goes on,” expanding in the mind of the reader by the suggestive art of the poet. The “stop-short” is the converse of the epigram, which ends in a satisfying turn of thought to which the rest of the composition is intended to lead up; it aims at producing an impression which, so far from being final, is merely the prelude to a long series of visions and of feelings. The last of the four lines is called the “surprise line”; but the revelation it gives is never a complete one: the words stop, but the sense goes on. Just as in the pictorial art of China, so in her poetic art is suggestiveness the great end and aim of the artist. Beginners are taught that the three canons of verse composition are lucidity, simplicity and correctness of diction. Yet some critics have boldly declared for obscurity of expression, alleging that the piquancy of a thought is enhanced by its skilful concealment. For the foreign student, it is not necessary to accentuate the obscurity and difficulty even of poems in which the motive is simple enough. The constant introduction of classical allusions, often in the vaguest terms, and the almost unlimited licence as to the order of words, offer quite sufficient obstacles to easy and rapid comprehension. Poetry has been defined by one Chinese writer as “clothing with words the emotions which surge through the heart.” The chief moods of the Chinese poet are a pure delight in the varying phenomena of nature, and a boundless sympathy with the woes and sufferings of humanity. Erotic poetry is not absent, but it is not a feature proportionate in extent to the great body of Chinese verse; it is always restrained, and never lapses from a high level of purity and decorum. In his love for hill and stream which he peoples with genii, and for tree and flower which he endows with sentient souls, the Chinese poet is perhaps seen at his very best; his views of life are somewhat too deeply tinged with melancholy, and often loaded with an overwhelming sadness “at the doubtful doom of human kind.” In his lighter moods he draws inspiration, and in his darker moods consolation from the wine-cup. Hard-drinking, not to say drunkenness, seems to have been universal among Chinese poets, and a considerable amount of talent has been expended upon the glorification of wine. From Taoist, and especially from Buddhist sources, many poets have obtained glimpses to make them less forlorn; but it cannot be said that there is any definitely religious poetry in the Chinese language.

History.—One of the labours undertaken by Confucius was connected with a series of ancient documents—that is, ancient in his day—now passing under a collective title as Shu Ching (or Shoo King), and popularly known as the Canon, or Book, of History. Mere fragments as some of these documents are, it is from their pages of unknown date that we can supplement the pictures drawn for us in the Odes, of the early civilization of China. The work opens with an account of the legendary emperor Yao, who reigned 2357-2255 B.C., and was able by virtue of an elevated personality to give peace and happiness to his “black-haired” subjects. With the aid of capable astronomers, he determined the summer and winter solstices, and calculated approximately the length of the year, availing himself, as required, of the aid of an intercalary month. Finally, after a glorious reign, he ceded the throne to a man of the people, whose only claim to distinction was his unwavering practice of filial piety. Chapter ii. deals with the reign, 2255-2205 B.C., of this said man, known in history as the emperor Shun. In accordance with the monotheism of the day, he worshipped God in heaven with prayer and burnt offerings; he travelled on tours of inspection all over his then comparatively narrow empire; he established punishments, to be tempered with mercy; he appointed officials to superintend forestry, care of animals, religious observances, and music; and he organized a system of periodical examinations for public servants. Chapter iii. is devoted to details about the Great Yü, who reigned 2205-2197 B.C., having been called to the throne for his engineering success in draining the empire of a mighty inundation which early western writers sought to identify with Noah’s Flood. Another interesting chapter gives various geographical details, and enumerates the articles, gold, silver, copper, iron, steel, silken fabrics, feathers, ivory, hides, &c., &c., brought in under the reign of the Great Yü, as tribute from neighbouring countries. Other chapters include royal proclamations, speeches to troops, announcements of campaigns victoriously concluded, and similar subjects. One peculiarly interesting document is the Announcement against Drunkenness, which seems to have been for so many centuries a national vice, and then to have practically disappeared as such. For the past two or three hundred years, drunkenness has always been the exception rather than the rule. The Announcement, delivered in the 12th century B.C., points out that King Wên, the founder of the Chou dynasty, had wished for wine to be used only in connexion with sacrifices, and that divine favours had always been liberally showered upon the people when such a restriction had been observed. On the other hand, indulgence in strong drink had invariably attracted divine vengeance, and the fall and disruption of states had often been traceable to that cause. Even on sacrificial occasions, drunkenness is to be condemned. “When, however, you high officials and others have done your duty in ministering to the aged and to your sovereign, you may then eat to satiety and drink to elevation.” The Announcement winds up with an ancient maxim, “Do not seek to see yourself reflected in water, but in others,”—whose base actions should warn you not to commit the same; adding that those who after a due interval should be unable to give up intemperate habits would be put to death. It is worth noting, in concluding this brief notice of China’s earliest records, that from first to last there is no mention whatever of any distant country from which the “black-haired people” may have originally come; no vestige of any allusion to any other form of civilization, such as that of Babylonia, with its cuneiform script and baked-clay tablets, from which an attempt has been made to derive the native-born civilization of China. A few odd coincidences sum up the chief argument in favour of this now discredited theory.

The next step lands us on the confines, though scarcely in the domain, of history properly so called. Among his other literary labours, Confucius undertook to produce the annals of Lu, his native state; and beginning with the year 722 Annals of the Lu state. B.C., he carried the record down to his death in 479, after which it was continued for a few years, presumably by Tso-ch‘iu Ming, the shadowy author of the famous Commentary, to which the text is so deeply indebted for vitality and illumination. The work of Confucius is known as the Ch‘un Ch‘iu, the Springs and Autumns, q.d. Annals. It consists of a varying number of brief entries under each year of the reign of each successive ruler of Lu. The feudal system, initiated more than four centuries previously, and consisting of a number of vassal states owning allegiance to a central suzerain state, had already broken hopelessly down, so far as allegiance was concerned. For some time, the object of each vassal ruler had been the aggrandizement of his own state, with a view either to independence or to the hegemony, and the result was a state of almost constant warfare. Accordingly, the entries in the Ch‘un Ch‘iu refer largely to covenants entered into between contracting rulers, official visits from one to another of these rulers, their births and deaths, marriages, invasions of territory, battles, religious ceremonies, &c., interspersed with notices of striking natural phenomena such as eclipses, comets and earthquakes, and of important national calamities, such as floods, drought and famine. For instance, Duke Wên became ruler of Lu in 625 B.C., and under his 14th year, 612 B.C., we find twelve entries, of which the following are specimens:—

2.  In spring, in the first month, the men of the Chu State invaded our southern border.
3.  In summer, on the I-hai day of the fifth month, P‘an, Marquis of the Ch‘i State, died.
5. In autumn, in the seventh month, there was a comet, which entered Pei-ton (αβγδ in Ursa Major).
9. In the ninth month, a son of the Duke of Ch‘i murdered his ruler.

Entry 5 affords the earliest trustworthy instance of a comet in China. A still earlier comet is recorded in what is known as The Bamboo Annals, but the genuineness of that work is disputed.

It will be readily admitted that the Ch‘un Ch‘iu, written throughout in the same style as the quotations given, would scarcely enable one to reconstruct in any detail the age it professes to record. Happily we are in possession of the Tso Chuan, a so-called commentary, presumably by some one named Tso, in which the bald entries in the work of Confucius are separately enlarged upon to such an extent and with such dramatic brilliancy that our commentary reads more like a prose epic than “a treatise consisting of a systematic series of comments or annotations on the text of a literary work.” Under its guidance we can follow the intrigues, the alliances, the treacheries, the ruptures of the jealous states which constituted feudal China; in its picture pages we can see, as it were with our own eyes, assassinations, battles, heroic deeds, flights, pursuits and the sufferings of the vanquished from the retribution exacted by the victors. Numerous wise and witty sayings are scattered throughout the work, many of which are in current use at the present day.

History as understood in Europe and the west began in China with the appearance of a remarkable man. Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien, who flourished 145-87 B.C., was the son of an hereditary grand astrologer, also an eager student of history and the actual planner of The Historical Record. the great work so successfully carried out after his death. By the time he was ten years of age, Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien was already well advanced with his studies; and at twenty he set forth on a round of travel which carried him to all parts of the empire. Entering the public service, he was employed upon a mission of inspection to the newly-conquered regions of Ssŭch‘uan and Yünnan; in 110 B.C. his father died, and he stepped into the post of grand astrologer. After devoting some time and energy to the reformation of the calendar, he took up the work which had been begun by his father and which was ultimately given to the world as the Shih Chi, or Historical Record. This was arranged under five great headings, namely, (l) Annals of Imperial Reigns, (2) Chronological Tables, (3) Monographs, (4) Annals of Vassal Princes, and (5) Biographies.

The Historical Record begins with the so-called Yellow Emperor, who is said to have come to the throne 2698 B.C. and to have reigned a hundred years. Four other emperors are given, as belonging to this period, among whom we find Yao and Shun, already mentioned. It was China’s Golden Age, when rulers and ruled were virtuous alike, and all was peace and prosperity. It is discreetly handled in a few pages by Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien, who passes on to the somewhat firmer but still doubtful ground of the early dynasties. Not, however, until the Chou dynasty, 1122-255 B.C., had held sway for some three hundred years can we be said to have reached a point at which history begins to separate itself definitely from legend. In fact, it is only from the 8th century before Christ that any trustworthy record can be safely dated. With the 3rd century before Christ, we are introduced to one of the feudal princes whose military genius enabled him to destroy beyond hope of revival the feudal system which had endured for eight hundred years, and to make himself master of the whole of the China of those days. In 221 B.C. he proclaimed himself the “First Burning of the Books. Emperor,” a title by which he has ever since been known. Everything, including literature, was to begin with his reign; and acting on the advice of his prime minister, he issued an order for the burning of all books, with the exception only of works relating to medicine, divination and agriculture. Those who wished to study law were referred for oral teaching to such as had already qualified in that profession. To carry out the scheme effectively, the First Emperor made a point of examining every day about 120 ℔ weight of books, in order to get rid of such as he considered to be useless; and he further appointed a number of inspectors to see that his orders were carried out. The result was that about four hundred and sixty scholars were put to death for having disobeyed the imperial command, while many others were banished for life. This incident is known as the Burning of the Books; and there is little doubt that, but for the devotion of the literati, Chinese literature would have had to make a fresh start in 212 B.C. As it was, books were bricked up in walls and otherwise widely concealed in the hope that the storm would blow over; and this was actually the case when the Ch‘in (Ts‘in) dynasty collapsed and the House of Han took its place in 206 B.C. The Confucian books were subsequently recovered from their hiding-places, together with many other works, the loss of which it is difficult now to contemplate. Unfortunately, however, a stimulus was provided, not for the recovery, but for the manufacture of writings, the previous existence of which could be gathered either from tradition or from notices in the various works which had survived. Forgery became the order of the day; and the modern student is confronted with a considerable volume of literature which has to be classified as genuine, doubtful, or spurious, according to the merits of each case. To the first class belongs the bulk, but not all, of the Confucian Canon; to the third must be relegated such books as the Tao Tê Ching, to be mentioned later on.

Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien, dying in 87 B.C., deals of course only with the opening reigns of the Han dynasty, with which he brings to a close the first great division of his history. The second division consists of chronological tables; the third, of eight monographs on the following topics: (1) Rites and Ceremonies, (2) Music, (3) Natural Philosophy, (4) The Calendar, (5) Astronomy, (6) Religion, (7) Water-ways, and (8) Commerce. On these eight a few remarks may not be out of place, (1) The Chinese seem to have been in possession, from very early ages, of a systematic code of ceremonial observances, so that it is no surprise to find the subject included, and taking an important place, in Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien’s work. The Li Chi, or Book of Rites, which now forms part of the Confucian Canon, is however a comparatively modern compilation, dating only from the 1st century B.C. (2) The extraordinary similarities between the Chinese and Pythagorean systems of music force the conclusion that one of these must necessarily have been derived from the other. The Jesuit Fathers jumped to the conclusion that the Greeks borrowed their art from the Chinese; but it is now common knowledge that the Chinese scale did not exist in China until two centuries after its appearance in Greece. The fact is that the ancient Chinese works on music perished at the Burning of the Books; and we are told that by the middle of the 2nd century B.C. the hereditary Court music-master was altogether ignorant of his art. What we may call modern Chinese music reached China through Bactria, a Greek kingdom, founded by Diodotus in 256 B.C., with which intercourse had been established by the Chinese at an early date. (3) The term Natural Philosophy can only be applied by courtesy to this essay, which deals with twelve bamboo tubes of varying lengths, by means of which, coupled with the twenty-eight zodiacal constellations and with certain calendaric accords, divine communication is established with the influences of the five elements and the points of the compass corresponding with the eight winds. (4) In this connexion, it is worth noting that in 104 B.C. the Chinese first adopted a cycle of nineteen years, a period which exactly brings together the solar and the lunar years; and further that this very cycle is said to have been introduced by Meton, 5th century B.C., and was adopted at Athens about 330 B.C., probably reaching China, via Bactria, some two centuries afterwards. (5) This chapter deals specially with the sun, moon and five planets, which are supposed to aid in the divine government of mankind. (6) Refers to the solemn sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, as performed by the emperor upon the summit of Mt. T‘ai in Shan-tung. (7) Refers to the management of the Hoang Ho, or Yellow river, so often spoken of as “China’s Sorrow,” and also of the numerous canals with which the empire is intersected. (8) This chapter, which treats of the circulation of money, and its function in the Chinese theory of political economy, is based upon the establishment in 110 B.C. of certain officials whose business it was to regularize commerce. It was their duty to buy up the chief necessaries of life when abundant and when prices were in consequence low, and to offer these for sale when there was a shortage and when prices would otherwise have risen unduly. Thus it was hoped that a stability in commercial transactions would be attained, to the great advantage of the people. The fourth division of the Shih Chi is devoted to the annals of the reigns of vassal princes, to be read in connexion with the imperial annals of the first division. The final division, which is in many ways the most interesting of all, gives biographical notices of eminent or notorious men and women, from the earliest ages downwards, and enables us to draw conclusions at which otherwise it would have been impossible to arrive. Confucius and Mencius, for instance, stand out as real personages who actually played a part in China’s history; while all we can gather from the short life of Lao Tzŭ, a part of which reads like an interpolation by another hand, is that he was a more or less legendary individual, whose very existence at the date usually assigned to him, 7th and 6th centuries B.C., is altogether doubtful. Scattered among these biographies are a few notices of frontier nations; e.g. of the terrible nomads known as the Hsiung-nu, whose identity with the Huns has now been placed beyond a doubt.

Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien’s great work, on which he laboured for so many vears and which ran to five hundred and twenty-six thousand five hundred words, has been described somewhat at length for the following reason. It has been accepted as the model for all subsequent dynastic histories, of which twenty-four have now been published, the whole being produced in 1747 in a uniform edition, bound up (in the Cambridge Library) in two hundred and nineteen large volumes. Each dynasty has found its historian in the dynasty which supplanted it; and each dynastic history is notable for the extreme fairness with which the conquerors have dealt with the vanquished, accepting without demur such records of their predecessors as were available from official sources. The T‘ang dynasty, A.D. 618-906, offers in one sense a curious exception to the general rule. It possesses two histories, both included in the above series. The first of these, now known as the Old T‘ang History, was ultimately set aside as inaccurate and inadequate, and a New T‘ang History was compiled by Ou-yang Hsiu, a distinguished scholar, poet and statesman of the 11th century. Nevertheless, in all cases, the scheme of the dynastic history has, with certain modifications, been that which was initiated in the 1st century B.C. by Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien.

The output of history, however, does not begin and end with the voluminous records above referred to, one of which, it should be mentioned, was in great part the work of a woman. History has always been a favourite study with the Chinese, The Mirror of History. and innumerable histories of a non-official character, long and short, complete and partial, political and constitutional, have been showered from age to age upon the Chinese reading world. Space would fail for the mere mention of a tithe of such works; but there is one which stands out among the rest and is especially enshrined in the hearts of the Chinese people. This is the T‘ung Chien, or Mirror of History, so called because “to view antiquity as though in a mirror is an aid in the administration of government.” It was the work of a statesman of the 11th century, whose name, by a coincidence, was Ssŭ-ma Kuang. He had been forced to retire from office, and spent nearly all the last sixteen years of his life in historical research. The Mirror of History embraces a period from the 5th century B.C. down to A.D. 960. It is written in a picturesque style; but the arrangement was found to be unsuited to the systematic study of history. Accordingly, it was subjected to revision, and was to a great extent reconstructed by Chu Hsi, the famous commentator, who flourished A.D. 1130-1200, and whose work is now regarded as the standard history of China.

Biography.—In regard to biography, the student is by no means limited to the dynastic histories. Many huge biographical collections have been compiled and published by private individuals, and many lives of the same personages have often been written from different points of view. There is nothing very much by which a Chinese biography can be distinguished from biographies produced in other parts of the world. The Chinese writer always begins with the place of birth, but he is not so particular about the year, sometimes leaving that to be gathered from the date of death taken in connexion with the age which the person may have attained. Some allusion is usually made to ancestry, and the steps of an official career, upward by promotion or downward by disgrace, are also carefully noted.

Geography and Travel.—There is a considerable volume of Chinese literature which comes under this head; but if we exclude certain brief notices of foreign countries, there remains nothing in the way of general geography which had been produced prior to the arrival of the Jesuit Fathers at the close of the 16th century. Up to that period geography meant the topography of the Chinese empire; and of topographical records there is a very large and valuable collection. Every prefecture and department, some eighteen hundred in all, has each its own particular topography, compiled from records and from tradition with a fullness that leaves nothing to be desired. The buildings, bridges, monuments of archaeological interest, &c., in each district, are all carefully inserted, side by side with biographical and other local details, always of interest to residents and often to the outside public. An extensive general geography of the empire was last published in 1745; and this was followed by a chronological geography in 1794.

The Chinese have always been fond of travel, and hosts of travellers have published notices, more or less extensive, of the different parts of the empire, and even of adjacent nations, which they visited either as private individuals Fa Hsien. or, in the former case, as officials proceeding to distant posts. With Buddhism came the desire to see the country which was the home of the Buddha; and several important pilgrimages were undertaken with a view to bring back images and sacred writings to China. On such a journey the Buddhist priest, Fa Hsien, started in A.D. 399; and after practically walking the whole way from central China, across the desert of Gobi, on to Khoten, and across the Hindu Kush into India, he visited many of the chief cities of India, until at length reaching Calcutta he took ship, and after a most adventurous voyage, in the course of which he remained two years in Ceylon, he finally arrived safely, in A.D. 414, with all his books, pictures, and images, at a spot on the coast of Shantung, near the modern German port of Kiao-chow.

Another of these adventurous priests was Hsüan Tsang (wrongly, Yüan Chwang), who left China on a similar mission in 629, and returned in 645, bringing with him six Hsüan Tsang. hundred and fifty-seven Buddhist books, besides many images and pictures, and one hundred and fifty relics. He spent the rest of his life in translating, with the help of other learned priests, these books into Chinese, and completed in 648 the important record of his own travels, known as the Record of Western Countries.

Philosophy.—Even the briefest résumé of Chinese philosophical literature must necessarily include the name of Lao Tzŭ, although his era, as seen above, and his personality are both matters of the vaguest conjecture. A number of Lao Tzŭ. his sayings, scattered over the works of early writers, have been pieced together, with the addition of much incomprehensible jargon, and the whole has been given to the world as the work of Lao Tzŭ himself, said to be of the 6th century B.C., under the title of the Tao Tê Ching. The internal evidence against this book is overwhelming; e.g. one quotation had been detached from the writer who preserved it, with part of that writer’s text clinging to it—of course by an oversight. Further, such a treatise is never mentioned in Chinese literature until some time after the Burning of the Books, that is, about four centuries after its alleged first appearance. Still, after due expurgation, it forms an almost complete collection of such apophthegms of Lao Tzŭ as have come down to us, from which the reader can learn that the author taught the great doctrine of Inaction—Do nothing, and all things will be done. Also, that Lao Tzŭ anticipated the Christian doctrine of returning good for evil, a sentiment which was highly reprobated by the practical mind of Confucius, who declared that evil should be met by justice. Among the more picturesque of his utterances are such paradoxes as, “He who knows how to shut, uses no bolts; yet you cannot open. He who knows how to bind uses no ropes; yet you cannot untie”; “The weak overcomes the strong; the soft overcomes the hard,” &c.

These, and many similar subtleties of speech, seem to have fired the imagination of Chuang Tzŭ, 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., with the result that he put much time and energy into the glorification of Lao Tzŭ and his doctrines. Possessed of a brilliant style and a master of Chuang Tzŭ. irony, Chuang Tzŭ attacked the schools of Confucius and Mo Ti (see below) with so much dialectic skill that the ablest scholars of the age were unable to refute his destructive criticisms. His pages abound in quaint anecdotes and allegorical instances, arising as it were spontaneously out of the questions handled, and imparting a lively interest to points which might otherwise have seemed dusty and dull. He was an idealist with all the idealist’s hatred of a utilitarian system, and a mystic with all the mystic’s contempt for a life of mere external activity. Only thirty-three chapters of his work now remain, though so many as fifty-three are known to have been still extant in the 3rd century; and even of these, several complete chapters are spurious, while in others it is comparatively easy to detect here and there the hand of the interpolator. What remains, however, after all reductions, has been enough to secure a lasting place for Chuang Tzŭ as the most original of China’s philosophical writers. His book is of course under the ban of heterodoxy, in common with all thought opposed to the Confucian teachings. His views as mystic, idealist, moralist and social reformer have no weight with the aspirant who has his way to make in official life; but they are a delight, and even a consolation, to many of the older men, who have no longer anything to gain or to lose.

Confucius, 551-479 B.C., who imagined that his Annals of the Lu State would give him immortality, has always been much more widely appreciated as a moralist than as an historian. His talks with his disciples and with others have been Confucius. preserved for us, together with some details of his personal and private life; and the volume in which these are collected forms one of the Four Books of the Confucian Canon. Starting from the axiomatic declaration that man is born good and only becomes evil by his environment, he takes filial piety and duty to one’s neighbour as his chief themes, often illustrating his arguments with almost Johnsonian emphasis. He cherished a shadowy belief in a God, but not in a future state of reward or punishment for good or evil actions in this world. He rather taught men to be virtuous for virtue’s sake.

The discourses of Mencius, who followed Confucius after an interval of a hundred years, 372-289 B.C., form another of the Four Books, the remaining two of which are short philosophical treatises, usually ascribed to a grandson of Confucius. Mencius. Mencius devoted his life to elucidating and expanding the teachings of the Master; and it is no doubt due to him that the Confucian doctrines obtained so wide a vogue. But he himself was more a politician and an economist (see below) than a simple preacher of morality; and hence it is that the Chinese people have accorded to him the title of The Second Sage. He is considered to have Mo Ti. effectually “snuffed out” the heterodox school of Mo Ti, a philosopher of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. who propounded a doctrine of “universal love” as the proper foundation for organized society, arguing that under such a system all the calamities that men bring upon one another would altogether disappear, and the Golden Age would be renewed. At the same time Mencius exposed Yang Chu. the fallacies of the speculations of Yang Chu, 4th century B.C., who founded a school of ethical egoism as opposed to the exaggerated altruism of Mo Ti. According to Mencius, Yang Chu would not have parted with one hair of his body to save the whole world, whereas Mo Ti would have sacrificed all. Another early Hsün Tzŭ. philosopher is Hsün Tzŭ, 3rd century B.C. He maintained, in opposition to Mencius, who upheld the Confucian dogma, and in conformity with Christian doctrine, that the nature of man at his birth is evil, and that this condition can only be changed Yang Hsiung. by efficient moral training. Then came Yang Hsiung, 53-18 B.C., who propounded an ethical criterion midway between the rival positions insisted on by Mencius and Hsün Tzŭ, teaching that the nature of man at birth is neither good nor evil, but a mixture of both, and that development in either direction depends wholly upon circumstances.

There is a voluminous and interesting work, of doubtful age, which passes under the title of Huai-nan Tzŭ, or the Philosopher of Huai-nan. It is attributed to Liu An, prince of Huai-nan, who died 122 B.C., and who is further said to have written on Huai-nan Tzŭ. alchemy; but alchemy was scarcely known in China at the date of his death, being introduced about that time from Greece. The author, whoever he may have been, poses as a disciple of Lao Tzŭ; but the speculations of Lao Tzŭ, as glorified by Chuang Tzŭ, were then rapidly sinking into vulgar efforts to discover the elixir of life. It is very difficult in many cases of this kind to decide what books are, and what books are not, partial or complete forgeries. In the present instance, the aid of the Shuo Wên, a dictionary of the 1st century A.D. (see below), may be invoked, but not in quite so satisfactory a sense as that in which it will be seen lower down to have been applied to the Tao Tê Ching. The Shuo Wên contains a quotation said to be taken from Huai-nan Tzŭ; but that quotation cannot be found in the work under consideration. It may be argued that the words in question may have been taken from another work by the same author; but if so, it becomes difficult to believe that a book, more than two hundred years old, from which the author of the Shuo Wên quoted, should have been allowed to perish without leaving any trace behind. China has produced its Bentleys in considerable numbers; but almost all of them have given their attention to textual criticism of the Confucian Canon, and few have condescended to examine critically the works of heterodox writers. The foreign student therefore finds himself faced with many knotty points he is entirely unable to solve.

Of Wang Ch‘ung, a speculative and materialistic philosopher, A.D. 27-97, banned by the orthodox for his attacks on Confucius and Mencius, only one work has survived. it consists of eighty-four essays on such topics as the nature of Wang Ch‘ung. things, destiny, divination, death, ghosts, poisons, miracles, criticisms of Confucius and Mencius, exaggeration, sacrifice and exorcism. According to Wang Ch‘ung, man, endowed at birth sometimes with a good and sometimes with an evil nature, is informed with a vital fluid, which resides in the blood and is nourished by eating and drinking, its two functions being to animate the body and keep in order the mind. It is the source of all sensation, passing through the blood like a wave. When it reaches the eyes, ears and mouth, the result is sight, hearing and speech respectively. Disturbance of the vital fluid leads to insanity. Without the fluid, the body cannot be maintained; without the body, the fluid loses its vitality. Therefore, argues Wang Ch‘ung, when the body perishes and the fluid loses its vitality, each being dependent on the other, there remains nothing for immortality in a life beyond the grave. Ghosts he held to be the hallucinations of disordered minds, and miracles to be natural phenomena capable of simple explanations. His indictments of Confucius and Mencius are not of a serious character; though, as regards the former, it must be borne in mind that the Chinese people will not suffer the faintest aspersion on the fair fame of their great Sage. It is related in the Lun Yü that Confucius paid a visit to the notoriously immoral wife of one of the feudal nobles, and that a certain disciple was “displeased” in consequence, whereupon the Master swore, saying, “If I have done any wrong, may the sky fall and crush me!” Wang Ch‘ung points out that the form of oath adopted by Confucius is unsatisfactory and fails to carry conviction. Had he said, “May I be struck dead by lightning!” his sincerity would have been more powerfully attested, because people are often struck dead by lightning; whereas the fall of the sky is too remote a contingency, such a thing never having been known to happen within the memory of man. As to Mencius, there is a passage in his works which states that a thread of predestination runs through all human life, and that those who accommodate themselves will come off better in the end than those who try to oppose; it is in fact a statement of the οὐκ ὑπὲρ μόρον principle. On this Wang Ch‘ung remarks that the will of God is consequently made to depend on human actions; and he further strengthens his objection by showing that the best men have often fared worst. For instance, Confucius never became emperor; Pi Kan, the patriot, was disembowelled; the bold and faithful disciple, Tzŭ Lu, was chopped into small pieces.

But the tale of Chinese philosophers is a long one. It is a department of literature in which the leading scholars of all ages have mostly had something to say. The great Chu Hsi, A.D. 1130-1200, whose fame is chiefly perhaps that of a Book of Changes. commentator and whose monument is his uniform exegesis of the Confucian Canon, was also a voluminous writer on philosophy. He took a hand in the mystery which surrounds the I Ching (or Yih King), generally known as the Book of Changes, which is held by some to be the oldest Chinese work and which forms part of the Confucian Canon. It is ascribed to King Wên, the virtual founder of the Chou dynasty, 1122-249 B.C., whose son became the first sovereign and posthumously raised his father to kingly rank. It contains a fanciful system of divination, deduced originally from eight diagrams consisting of triplet combinations of a line and a broken line, either one of which is necessarily repeated twice, and in two cases three times, in the same combination. Thus there may be three lines ☰, or three broken lines ☷, and other such combinations as ☲ and ☴. Confucius declared that he would like to give another fifty years to the elucidation of this puzzling text. Shao Yung, A.D. 1011-1077, sought the key in numbers: Ch‘êng I., A.D. 1033-1107, in the eternal fitness of things. “But Chu Hsi alone,” says a writer of the 17th century, “was able to pierce through the meaning and appropriate the thoughts of the inspired man who composed it.” No foreigner, however, has been able quite to understand what Chu Hsi did make of it, and several have gone so far as to set all native interpretations aside in favour of their own. Thus, the I Ching has been discovered by one to be a calendar of the lunar year; by another, to contain a system of phallic worship; and by a third, to be a vocabulary of the language of a tribe, whose very existence had to be postulated for the purpose.

Political Economy.—This department of literature has been by no means neglected by Chinese writers. So early as the 7th century B.C. we find Kuan Chung, the prime minister of the Ch‘i state, devoting his attention to economic problems, and thereby Kuan Chung. making that state the wealthiest and the strongest of all the feudal kingdoms. Beginning life as a merchant, he passed into the public service, and left behind him at death a large work, parts of which, as we now possess it, may possibly have come direct from his own hand, the remainder being written up at a later date in accordance with the principles he inculcated. His ideal State was divided into twenty-one parts, fifteen of which were allotted to officials and agriculturists, and six to manufacturers and traders. His great idea was to make his own state self-contained; and accordingly he fostered agriculture in order to be independent in time of war, and manufactures in order to increase his country’s wealth in time of peace. He held that a purely agricultural population would always remain poor; while a purely manufacturing population would risk having its supplies of raw material cut off in time of war. He warmly encouraged free imports as a means of enriching his countrymen, trusting to their ability, under these conditions, to hold their own against foreign competition. He protected capital, in the sense that he considered capitalists to be necessary for the development of commerce in time of peace, and for the protection of the state in time of war.

Mencius (see above) was in favour of heavily taxing merchants who tried to engross for the purpose of regrating, that is, to buy up wholesale for the purpose of retailing at monopoly prices; he was in fact opposed to all trusts and corners in trade. He was in favour of a tax to be imposed upon such persons as were mere consumers, living upon property which had been amassed by others and doing no work themselves. No tax, however, was to be exacted from property-owners who contributed by their personal efforts to the general welfare of the community. The object of the tax was not revenue, but the prevention of idleness with its attendant evil consequences to the state.

Wang An-shih, the Reformer, or Innovator, as he has been called, flourished A.D. 1021-1086. In 1069 he was appointed state councillor, and forthwith entered upon a series of startling reforms which have given him a unique position in the annals of Wang An-shih. China. He established a state monopoly in commerce, under which the produce of a district was to be used first for the payment of taxes, then for the direct use of the district itself, and the remainder was to be purchased by the government at a cheap rate, either to be held until there was a rise in price, or to be transported to some other district in need of it. The people were to profit by fixity of prices and escape from further taxation; and the government, by the revenue accruing in the process of administration. There was also to be a system of state advances to cultivators of land; not merely to the needy, but to all alike. The loan was to be compulsory, and interest was to be paid on it at the rate of 2% per month. The soil was to be divided into equal areas and taxed according to its fertility in each case, without reference to the number of inhabitants contained in each area. All these, and other important reforms, failed to find favour with a rigidly conservative people, and Wang An-shih lived long enough to see the whole of his policy reversed.

Military Writers.—Not much, relatively speaking, has been written by the Chinese on war in general, strategy or tactics. There is, however, one very remarkable work which has come down to us from the 6th century B.C., as to the genuineness of Sun-Tzŭ. which there now seems to be no reasonable doubt. A biographical notice of the author, Sun Wu, is given in the Shih Chi (see above), from which we learn that “he knew how to handle an army, and was finally appointed General.” His work, entitled the Art of War, is a short treatise in thirteen chapters, under the following headings: “Laying Plans,” “Waging War,” “Attack by Stratagem,” “Tactical Dispositions,” “Energy,” “Weak Points and Strong,” “Manœuvring,” “Variation of Tactics,” “The Army on the March,” “Terrain,” “The Nine Situations,” “The Attack by Fire,” and “The Use of Spies.” Although the warfare of Sun Wu’s day was the warfare of bow and arrow, of armoured chariots and push of pike, certain principles inseparably associated with successful issue will be found enunciated in his work. Professor Mackail, in his Latin Literature (p. 86), declares that Varro’s Imagines was “the first instance in history of the publication of an illustrated book.” But reference to the Art Section of the history of the Western Han dynasty, 206 B.C.-A.D. 25, will disclose the title of fifteen or sixteen illustrated books, one of which is Sun Wu’s Art of War.

Agriculture.—In spite of the high place accorded to agriculturists, who rank second only to officials and before artisans and traders, and in spite of the assiduity with which agriculture has been practised in all ages, securing immunity from slaughter for the ploughing ox—what agricultural literature the Chinese possess may be said to belong entirely to modern times. Ch‘ên Fu of the 12th century A.D. was the author of a small work in three parts, dealing with agriculture, cattle-breeding and silkworms respectively. There is also a well-known work by an artist of the early 13th century, with forty-six woodcuts illustrating the various operations of agriculture and weaving. This book was reprinted under the emperor K‘ang Hsi, 1662-1723, and new illustrations with excellent perspective were provided by Chiao Ping-chên, an artist who had adopted foreign methods as introduced by the famous Jesuit, Matteo Ricci. The standard work on agriculture, Hsü Kuang-ch‘i. entitled Nung Chêng Ch‘üan Shu, was compiled by Hsü Kuang-ch‘i, 1562-1634, generally regarded as the only influential member of the mandarinate who has ever become a convert to Christianity. It is in sixty sections, the first three of which are devoted to classical references. Then follow two sections on the division of land, six on the processes of husbandry, none on hydraulics, four on agricultural implements, six on planting, six on rearing silkworms, four on trees, one on breeding animals, one on food and eighteen on provision against a time of scarcity.

Medicine and Therapeutics.—The oldest of the innumerable medical works of all descriptions with which China has been flooded from time immemorial is a treatise which has been credited to the Yellow Emperor (see above), 2698-2598 B.C. It is entitled Plain Questions of the Yellow Emperor, or Su Wên for short, and takes the form of questions put by the emperor and answered by Earl Ch‘i, a minister, who was himself author of the Nei Ching, a medical work no longer in existence. Without accepting the popular attribution of the Su Wên, it is most probable that it is a very old book, dating back to several centuries before Christ, and containing traditional lore of a still more remote period. The same may be said of certain works on cautery and acupuncture, both of which are still practised by Chinese doctors; and also of works on the pulse, the variations of which have been classified and allocated with a minuteness hardly credible. Special treatises on fevers, skin-diseases, diseases of the feet, eyes, heart, &c., are to be found in great quantities, as well as veterinary treatises on the treatment of diseases of the horse and the domestic buffalo. But in the whole range of Chinese medical literature there is nothing which can approach the Pên Ts‘ao, or Pên Ts‘no. Materia Medica, sometimes called the Herbal, a title (i.e. Pên Ts‘ao) which seems to have belonged to some book of the kind in pre-historic ages. The work under consideration was compiled by Li Shih-chên, who completed his task in 1578 after twenty-six years’ labour. No fewer than eighteen hundred and ninety-two species of drugs, animal, vegetable and mineral, are dealt with, arranged under sixty-two classes in sixteen divisions; and eight thousand one hundred and sixty prescriptions are given in connexion with the various entries. The author professes to quote from the original Pên Ts‘ao, above mentioned; and we obtain from his extracts an insight into some curious details. It appears that formerly the number of recognized drugs was three hundred and sixty-five in all, corresponding with the days of the year. One hundred and twenty of these were called sovereigns (cf. a sovereign prescription); and were regarded as entirely beneficial to health, taken in any quantity or for any time. Another similar number were called ministers; some of these were poisonous, and all had to be used with discretion. The remaining one hundred and twenty-five were agents; all very poisonous, but able to cure diseases if not taken in over-doses. The modern Pên Ts‘ao, in its sixteen divisions, deals with drugs classed under water, fire, earth, minerals, herbs, grain, vegetables, fruit, trees, clothes and utensils, insects, fishes, crustacea, birds, beasts and man. In each case the proper name of the drug is first given, followed by its explanation, solution of doubtful points, correction of errors, means of identification by taste, use in prescriptions, &c. The work is fully illustrated, and there is an index to the various medicines, classed according to the complaints for which they are used.

Divination, &c.—The practice of divination is of very ancient date in China, traceable, it has been suggested, back to the Canon of Changes (see above), which is commonly used by the lettered classes for that purpose. A variety of other methods, the chief of which is astrology, have also been adopted, and have yielded a considerable bulk of literature. Even the officially-published almanacs still mark certain days as suitable for certain undertakings, while other days are marked in the opposite sense. The spirit of Zadkiel pervades the Chinese empire. In like manner, geomancy is a subject on which many volumes have been written; and the same applies to the pseudo sciences of palmistry, physiognomy, alchemy (introduced from Greek sources) and others.

Painting.—Calligraphy, in the eyes of the Chinese, is just as much a fine art as painting; the two are, in fact, considered to have come into existence together, but as might be expected the latter occupies the larger space in Chinese literature, and forms the subject of numerous extensive works. One of the most important of these is the Hsüan Ho Hua P‘u, the author of which is unknown. It contains information concerning two hundred and thirty-one painters and the titles of six thousand one hundred and ninety-two of their pictures, all in the imperial collection during the dynastic period Hsüan Ho, A.D. 1119-1126, from which the title is derived. The artists are classified under one of the following ten headings, supposed to represent the line in which each particularly excelled: Religion, Human Figures, Buildings, Barbarians (including their Animals), Dragons and Fishes, Landscape, Animals, Flowers and Birds, The Bamboo, Vegetables and Fruits.

Music.—The literature of music does not go back to a remote period. The Canon of Music, which was formerly included in the Confucian Canon, has been lost for many centuries; and the works now available, exclusive of entries in the dynastic histories, are not older than the 9th century A.D., to which date may be assigned the Chieh Ku Lu, a treatise on the deerskin drum, said to have been introduced into China from central Asia, and evidently of Scythian origin. There are several important works of the 16th and 17th centuries, in which the history and theory of music are fully discussed, and illustrations of instruments are given, with measurements in each case, and the special notation required.

Miscellaneous.—Under this head may be grouped a vast number of works, many of them exhaustive, on such topics as archaeology, seals (engraved), numismatics, pottery, ink (the miscalled “Indian”), mirrors, precious stones, tea, wine, chess, wit and humour, even cookery, &c. There is, indeed, hardly any subject, within reasonable limits, which does not find some corner in Chinese literature.

Collections.—Reprints of miscellaneous books and pamphlets in a uniform edition, the whole forming a “library,” has long been a favourite means of disseminating useful (and other) information. Of these, the Lung Wei Pi Shu may be taken Lung Wei Pi Shu. as a specimen. In bulk it would be about the equivalent of twenty volumes, 8vo, of four hundred pages to each. Among its contents we find the following. A handbook of phraseology, with explanations; a short account of fabulous regions to the N., S., E. and W.; notes on the plants and trees of southern countries; biographical sketches of ninety-two wonderful personages; an account of the choice of an empress, with standard measurements of the height, length of limb, &c., of the ideal woman; “Pillow Notes” (a term borrowed by the Japanese), or jottings on various subjects, ranging from the Creation to an account of Fusang, a country where the trees are thousands of feet high and of vast girth, thus supporting the California, as opposed to the Mexico, identification of Fusang; critiques on the style of various poets, and on the indebtedness of each to earlier writers; a list of the most famous bronze vessels cast by early emperors, with their dimensions, inscriptions, &c.; a treatise on the bamboo; a list of famous swords, with dates of forging and inscriptions; an account of the old Mongol palace, previous to its destruction by the first Ming emperor; notes on the wild tribes of China; historical episodes; biographical notices of one hundred and four poets of the present dynasty; notes on archaeological, supernatural and other topics, first published in the 9th century; notes for bibliophiles on the care of books, and on paper, ink, pictures and bric-à-brac; a collection of famous criminal cases; night thoughts suggested by a meteor. Add to the above, numerous short stories relating to magic, dreams, bilocation, and to almost every possible phase of supernatural manifestation, and the reader will have some idea of what he may expect in an ordinary “library” of a popular character. It must always be remembered that with the Chinese, style is of paramount importance. Documents, the subject-matter of which would be recognized to be of no educative value, would still be included, if written in a pleasing style, such as might be serviceable as a model.

Individual Authors.—In a similar manner it has always been customary for relatives or friends, sometimes for the trade, to publish the “complete works” of important and often unimportant writers; usually, soon after death. And as literary distinction has hitherto almost invariably led to high office under the state, the collected works of the great majority of authors open with selected Memorials to the Throne and other documents of an official character. The public interest in these may have long since passed away; but they are valued by the Chinese as models of a style to be imitated, and the foreign student occasionally comes across papers on once burning questions arising out of commercial or diplomatic intercourse with western nations. Then may follow—the order is not always the same—the prefaces which the author contributed from time to time to the literary undertakings of his friends. Preface-writing is almost a department of Chinese literature. No one ever thinks of publishing a book without getting one or more of his capable associates to provide prefaces, which are naturally of a laudatory character, and always couched in highly-polished and obscure terms, the difficulty of the text being often aggravated by a fanciful and almost illegible script. Prefaces written by emperors, many examples of which may be seen, are of course highly esteemed, and are generally printed in coloured ink. The next section may comprise biographical notices of eminent men and women, or of mere local celebrities, who happened to die in the author’s day. Then will follow Records, a title which covers inscriptions carved on the walls of new buildings, or on memorial tablets, and also notes on pictures which the author may have seen, places which he may have visited, or allegorical incidents which he may have imagined. Then come disquisitions, or essays on various subjects; researches, being short articles of archaeological interest; studies or monographs; birthday congratulations to friends or to official colleagues; announcements, as to deities, a cessation of whose worship is threatened if the necessary rain or fair weather be not forthcoming; funeral orations, letters of condolence, &c. The above items will perhaps fill half a dozen volumes; the remaining volumes, running to twenty or thirty in all, as the case may be, will contain the author’s poetry, together with his longer and more serious works. The essential of such a collection is, in Chinese eyes, its completeness.

Fiction.—Although novels are not regarded as an integral part of literature proper, it is generally conceded that some novels may be profitably studied, if for no other reason, from the point of view of style. With the San Kuo Chih. novel, however, we are no longer on perfectly safe ground in regard to that decency which characterizes, as has been above stated, the vast mass of Chinese literature. Chinese novels range, in this sense, from the simplest and most unaffected tale of daily life, down to low—not the lowest—depths of objectionable pornography. The San Kuo Chih, an historical romance based upon a period of disruption at the close of the 2nd century A.D., is a delightful book, packed with episodes of battle, heroism, self-sacrifice, skilful strategy, and all that goes to make up a stirring picture of strenuous times. Its author, who might almost have been Walter Scott, cannot be named for certain; but the work itself probably belongs to the 13th century, a date at which the novel begins to make its appearance in China. Previous to that time, there had been current an immense quantity of stories of various kinds, but nothing like a novel, as we understand the term. From the 13th century onwards, the growth of the novel was continuous; and finally, in the 17th century, a point was reached which is not likely to be surpassed.The Hung Lou Mêng, the author of which took Hung Lou Mêng. pains, for political reasons, to conceal his identity, is a creation of a very high order. Its plot is intricate and original, and the dénouement startlingly tragic. In the course of the story, the chief clue of which is love, woven in with intrigue, ambition, wealth, poverty, and other threads of human life, there occur no fewer than over four hundred characters, each one possessed of a distinctive personality drawn with marvellous skill. It contains incidents which recall the licence tolerated in Fielding; but the coarseness, like that of Fielding, is always on the surface, and devoid of the ulterior suggestiveness of the modern psychological novel. But perhaps Liao Chai. no work of fiction has ever enjoyed such vogue among literary men as a collection of stories, some graceful, some weird, written in 1679 by P‘u Sungling, a disappointed candidate at the public examinations. This collection, known as the Liao Chai, is exceedingly interesting to the foreign student for its sidelights on folklore and family life; to the native scholar, who professes to smile at the subject-matter as beyond the pale of genuine literature, it is simply invaluable as an expression of the most masterly style of which his language is capable.

Drama.—Simultaneously with the appearance of the novel, stage-plays seem to have come into existence in China. In the earliest ages there were set dances by trained performers, to the accompaniment of music and singing; and something of the kind, more or less ornate as regards the setting, has always been associated with solemn and festive occasions. But not until the days of the Mongol rule, A.D. 1260-1368, can the drama proper be said to have taken root and flourished in Chinese soil. The probability is that both the drama and the novel were introduced from Central Asia in the wake of the Mongol conquerors; the former is now specially essential to the everyday happiness of the Chinese people, who are perhaps the most confirmed playgoers in the world. There is an excellent collection of one hundred plays of the Mongol dynasty, with an illustration to each, first published in 1615; there is also a further large collection, issued in 1845, which contains a great number of plays arranged under sixty headings, according to the style and purport of each, besides many others. Hsi Hsiang Chi. There is one famous play of the Mongol period which deals largely in plot and passion, and is a great favourite with the educated classes. It is entitled Hsi Hsiang Chi, or the Story of the Western Pavilion; and as if there was a doubt as to the reception which would be accorded to the work, a minatory sentence was inserted in the prolegomena: “If any one ventures to call this book indecent, he will certainly have his tongue torn out in hell.” So far as the written play is concerned, its language is altogether unobjectionable; on the stage, by means of gag and gesture, its presentation is often unseemly and coarse. What the Chinese playgoer delights in, as an evening’s amusement, is a succession of plays which are more of the nature of sketches, slight in construction and generally weak in plot, some of them based upon striking historical episodes, and others dealing with a single humorous incident.

Dictionaries.—The Erh Ya, or Nearing the Standard, is commonly classed as a dictionary, and is referred by native scholars generally to the 12th century B.C. The entries are arranged under nineteen heads, to facilitate reference, and explain a large number of words and phrases, including names of beasts, birds, plants and fishes. The work is well illustrated in the large modern edition; but the actual date of composition is an entirely open question, and the insertion of woodcuts must necessarily belong to a comparatively late age (see Military Writers).

With the Shuo Wên, or Explanation of Written Words, we begin the long list of lexicographical works which constitute such a notable feature in Chinese literature. A scholar, named Hsü Shên, who died about A.D. 120, made an effort to bring together and Shuo Wên. analyse all the characters it was possible to gather from the written language as it existed in his own day. He then proceeded to arrange these characters—about ten thousand in all—on a system which would enable a student to find a given word without having possibly to search through the whole book. To do this, he simply grouped together all such as had a common part, more or less indicative of the meaning of each, much as though an English dictionary were to consist of such groups as


and so on.


and so on.

Hsü Shên selected five hundred and forty of these common parts, or Radicals (see Language), a number which, as will be seen later on, was found to be cumbrously large; and under each Radical he inserted all the characters belonging to it, but with no particular order or arrangement, so that search was still, in many cases, quite a laborious task. The explanations given were chiefly intended to establish the pictorial origin of the language; but whereas no one now disputes this as a general conclusion, the steps by which Hsü Shên attempted to prove his theory must in a large number of instances be dismissed as often inadequate and sometimes ridiculous. Nevertheless, it was a great achievement; and the Shuo Wên is still indispensable to the student of the particular script in vogue a century or two before Christ. It is also of value in another sense. It may be used, with discretion, in testing the genuineness of an alleged ancient document, which, if an important or well-known document before the age of Hsü Shên, would not be likely to contain characters not given in his work. Under this test the Tao Tê Ching, for instance, breaks down (see Huai-nan Tzŭ).

Passing over a long series of dictionaries and vocabularies which appeared at various dates, some constructed on Hsü Shên’s plan, with modifications and improvements, and others, known as phonetic dictionaries, arranged under the finals according to the Tones, we come to the great standard lexicon produced under the auspices, and now bearing the name of the emperor K‘ang Hsi, A.D. 1662-1723.

But before proceeding, a rough attempt may be made to exhibit in English terms the principle of the phonetic as compared with the radical dictionary described above. In the spoken language there would occur the word light, the opposite of dark, Phonetic dictionaries. and this would be expressed in writing by a certain symbol. Then, when it became necessary to write down light, the opposite of heavy, the result would be precisely what we see in English. But as written words increased, always with a limited number of vocables (see Language), this system was found to be impracticable, and Radicals were inserted as a means of distinguishing one kind of light from another, but without altering the original sound. Now, in the phonetic dictionary the words are no longer arranged in such groups as

Sun-god, &c.

according to the Radicals, but in such groups as

Gas-light, &c.

according to the phonetics, all the above four being pronounced simply light, without reference to the radical portion which guides towards the limited sense of the term. So, in a phonetic dictionary, we should have such a group as


and so on, all the above six being pronounced simply bound. To return to “K‘ang Hsi,” as the lexicon in question is familiarly styled, the total number of characters given therein amounts to over forty-four thousand, grouped no longer K‘ang Hsi. under the five hundred and forty Radicals of Hsü Shên, but under the much more manageable number of two hundred and fourteen, as already used in earlier dictionaries. Further, as the groups of characters would now be more than four times as large as in the Shuo Wên, they were subdivided under each Radical according to the number of strokes in the other, or phonetic part of the character. Thus, adopting letters as strokes, for the purpose of illustration, we should have “dog-nap” in the group of Radical “dog” and three strokes, while “dog-days” and “dog-meat” would both be found under Radical “dog” with four strokes, and so on. The two hundred and fourteen Radicals are themselves arranged in groups according to the number of strokes; so that it is not a very arduous task to turn up ordinary characters in a Chinese dictionary. Finally, although Chinese is a monosyllabic and non-alphabetic language, a method has been devised, and has been in use since the 3rd century a.d., by which the sound of any word can be indicated in a dictionary otherwise than by simply quoting a word of similar sound, which of course may be equally unknown to the searcher. Thus, the sound of a word pronounced ching can be exhibited by selecting two words, one having the initial ch, and the other a final ing. E.g. the sound ching is given as chien ling; that is ch[ien l]ing = ching.

The Concordance.—Considering the long unbroken series of years during which Chinese literature has always, in spite of many losses, been steadily gaining in bulk, it is not astonishing to find that classical, historical, mythological and other allusions to personages or events of past times have also grown out of all proportion to the brain capacity even of the most brilliant student. Designed especially to meet this difficulty, there are several well-known handbooks, elementary and advanced, which trace such allusions to their source and provide full and lucid explanations; but even the most extensive of these is on a scale incommensurate with the requirements of the scholar. Again, it is due to the emperor K‛ang Hsi that we possess one of the most elaborate compilations of the kind ever planned and carried to completion. The P‛ei Wên Yün Fu, or Concordance to Literature, is a key, not only to allusions in general, but to all phraseology, including allusions, idiomatic expressions and other obscure combinations of words, to be found in the classics, in the dynastic histories, and in all poets, historians, essayists, and writers of recognized eminence in their own lines. No attempt at explanation is given; but enough of the passage, or passages, in which the phrase occurs, is cited to enable the reader to gather the meaning required. The trouble, of course, lies with the arrangement of these phrases in a non-alphabetic language. Recourse has been had to the Rhymes and the five Tones (see Language); and all phrases which end with the same word form one of a number of groups which appear under the same Rhyme, the Rhymes themselves being distributed over five Tones. Thus, to find any phrase, the first point is to discover what is its normal Rhyme; the next is to ascertain the Tone of that Rhyme. Then, under this Tone-group the Rhyme-word will be found, and under the Rhyme-word group will be found the final word of the phrase in question. It will now only remain to run through this last group of phrases, all of which have this same final word, and the search—so vast is the collection—will usually yield a satisfactory result. The P‛ei Wên Yün Fu runs of course to many volumes; a rough estimate shows it to contain over fifteen million words.

Encyclopaedias.—In their desire to bring together condensed, yet precise, information on a large variety of subjects, the Chinese may be said to have invented the encyclopaedia. Though not the earliest work of this kind, the T‛ai P‛ing Yü Lan is the first of any great importance. It was produced towards the close of the 10th century a.d., under the direct supervision of the emperor, who is said to have examined three sections every day for about a year, the total number of sections being one thousand in all, arranged under fifty-five headings. Another similar work, dealing with topics drawn from the lighter literature of China, is the T‛ai P‛ing Kuang Chi, which was issued at about the same date as the last-mentioned. Both of these, and especially the former, have passed through several editions. They help to inaugurate the great Sung dynasty, which for three centuries to follow effected so much in the cause of literature. Other encyclopaedias, differing in scope and in plan, appeared from time to time, but it will be necessary to concentrate attention upon two only. The third emperor of the Ming dynasty, known Yuan Lo Ta Tien. as Yung Lo, a.d. 1403–1425, issued a commission for the production of a work on a scale which was colossal even for China. His idea was to collect together all that had ever been written in the four departments of (1) the Confucian Canon, (2) History, (3) Philosophy and (4) General Literature, including astronomy, geography, cosmogony, medicine, divination, Buddhism, Taoism, arts and handicrafts; and in 1408 such an encyclopaedia was laid before the Throne, received the imperial approval and was named Yung Lo Ta Tien, or The Great Standard of Yung Lo. To achieve this, 3 commissioners, with 5 directors, 20 sub-directors and a staff of 2141 assistants, had laboured for the space of five years. Its contents ran to no fewer than 22,877 separate sections, to which must be added an index filling 60 sections. Each section contained about 20 leaves, making a total of 917,480 pages for the whole work. Each page consisted of sixteen columns of characters averaging twenty-five to each column, or a total of 366,992,000 characters, to which, in order to bring the amount into terms of English words, about another third would have to be added. This extraordinary work was never printed, as the expense would have been too great, although it was actually transcribed for that purpose; and later on, two more copies were made, one of which was finally stored in Peking and the other, with the original, in Nanking. Both the Nanking copies perished at the fall of the Ming dynasty; and a similar fate overtook the Peking copy, with the exception of a few odd volumes, at the siege of the legations in 1900. The latter was bound up in 11,100 volumes, covered with yellow silk, each volume being 1 ft. 8 in. in length by 1 ft. in breadth, and averaging over ½ in. in thickness. This would perhaps be a fitting point to conclude any notice of Chinese encyclopaedias, but for the fact that the work of Yung Lo is gone while another encyclopaedia, also on a huge scale, designed and carried out some centuries later, is still an important work of reference.

The T‛u Shu Chi Ch‛êng was planned, and to a great extent made ready, under instructions from the emperor K‛ang Hsi (see above), and was finally brought out by his successor, Yung Chêng, 1723–1736. Intended to embrace all departments of T‛u Shu. knowledge, its contents were distributed over six leading categories, which for want of better equivalents may be roughly rendered by (l) Heaven, (2) Earth, (3) Man, (4) Arts and Sciences, (5) Philosophy and (6) Political Science. These were subdivided into thirty-two classes; and in the voluminous index which accompanies the work a further attempt was made to bring the searcher into still closer touch with the individual items treated. Thus, the category Heaven is subdivided into four classes, namely—again, for want of better terms—(a) The Sky and its Manifestations, (b) The Seasons, (c) Astronomy and Mathematics and (d) Natural Phenomena. Under these classes come the individual items; and here it is that the foreign student is often at a loss. For instance, class a includes Earth, in its cosmogonic sense, as the mother of mankind; Heaven, in its original sense of God; the Dual Principle in nature; the Sun, Moon and Stars; Wind; Clouds; Rainbow; Thunder and Lightning; Rain; Fire, &c. But Earth is itself a geographical category; and all strange phenomena relating to many of the items under class a are recorded under class d. Category No. 6, marked as Political Science, contains such classes as Ceremonial, Music and Administration of Justice, alongside of Handicrafts, making it essential to study the arrangement carefully before it is possible to consult the work with ease. Such preliminary trouble is, however, well repaid, the amount of information given on any particular subject being practically coextensive with what is known about that subject. The method of presenting such information, with variations to suit the nature of the topics handled, is to begin with historical excerpts, chronologically arranged. These are usually followed by sometimes lengthy essays dealing with the subject as a theme, taken from the writings of qualified authors, and like all the other entries, also chronologically arranged. Then come elegant extracts in prose and verse, in all of which the subject may be simply mentioned and not treated as in the essays. After these follow minor notices of incidents, historical and otherwise, and all kinds of anecdotes, derived from a great variety of sources. Occasionally, single poetical lines are brought together, each contributing, some thought or statement germane to the subject, expressed in elegant or forcible terms; and also, wherever practicable, biographies of men and women are inserted.

Chronological and other tables are supplied where necessary, as well as a very large number of illustrations, many of these being reproductions of woodcuts from earlier works. It is said that the T‛u Shu Chi Ch‛êng was printed from movable copper type cast by the Jesuit Fathers employed by the emperor K‛ang Hsi at Peking; also that only a hundred copies were struck off, the type being then destroyed. An 8vo edition of the whole encyclopaedia was issued at Shanghai in 1889; this is bound up in sixteen hundred and twenty-eight handy volumes of about two hundred pages each. A copy of the original edition stands on the shelves of the British Museum, and a translation of the Index has recently been completed.

Manuscripts and Printing.—At the conclusion of this brief survey of Chinese literature it may well be asked how such an enormous and ever-increasing mass has been handed down from generation to generation. According to the views put forth by early Chinese antiquarians, the first written records were engraved with a special knife upon bamboo slips and wooden tablets. The impracticability of such a process, as applied to books, never seems to have dawned upon those writers; and this snowball of error, started in the 7th century, long after the knife and the tablet had disappeared as implements of writing, continued to gather strength as time went on. Recent researches, however, have placed it beyond doubt that when the Chinese began to write in a literary sense, as opposed to mere scratchings on bones, they traced their characters on slips of bamboo and tablets of wood with a bamboo pencil, frayed at one end to carry the coloured liquid which stood in the place of ink. The knife was used only to erase. So things went on until about 200 b.c., when it would appear that a brush of hair was substituted for the bamboo pencil; after which, silk was called into requisition as an appropriate vehicle in connexion with the more delicate brush. But silk was expensive and difficult to handle, so that the invention of paper in a.d. 105 by a eunuch, named Ts‛ai Lun, came as a great boon, although it seems clear that a certain kind of paper, made from silk floss, was in use before his date. However that may be, from the 1st century onwards the Chinese have been in possession of the same writing materials that are in use at the present day.

In a.d. 170, Ts‛ai Yung, who rose subsequently to the highest offices of state, wrote out on stone in red ink the authorized text of the Five Classics, to be engraved by workmen, and thus handed down to posterity. The work covered forty-six huge tablets, of which a few fragments are said to be still in existence. A similar undertaking was carried out in 837, and the later tablets are still standing at a temple in the city of Hsi-an Fu, Shensi. With the T‛ang dynasty, rubbings of famous inscriptions, wherein the germ of printing may be detected, whether for the style of the composition or for the calligraphic excellence of the script, came very much into vogue with scholars and collectors. It is also from about the same date that the idea of multiplying on paper impressions taken from wooden blocks seems to have arisen, chiefly in connexion with religious pictures and prayers. The process was not widely applied to the production of books until the 10th century, when in a.d. 932 the Confucian Canon was printed for the first time. In 981 orders were issued for the T‛ai P‛ing Kuang Chi, an encyclopaedia extending to many volumes (see above) to be cut on blocks for printing. Movable types of baked clay are said to have been invented by an alchemist, named Pi Shêng, about a.d. 1043; and under the Ming dynasty, 1368–1644, these were made first of wood, and later of copper or lead, but movable types have never gained the favour accorded to block-printing, by means of which most of China’s great typographical triumphs have been achieved. The process is, and always has been, the same all over China. Two consecutive pages of a book, separated by a column containing the title, number of section, and number of leaf, are written out and pasted face downwards on a block of wood (Lindera tzŭ-mu, Hemsl.). This paper, where not written upon, is cut away with sharp tools, leaving the characters in relief, and of course backwards, as in the case of European type. The block is then inked, and an impression is taken off, on one side of the paper only. This sheet is then folded down the middle of the separating column above mentioned, so that the blank halves come together, leaving two pages of printed matter outside; and when enough sheets have been brought together, they are stabbed at the open ends and form a volume, to be further wrapped in paper or pasteboard, and labelled with title, &c. It is almost superfluous to say that the pages of a Chinese book must not be cut. There is nothing inside, and, moreover, the column bearing the title and leaf-number would be cut through. The Chinese newspapers of modern times are all printed from movable types, an ordinary fount consisting of about six to seven thousand characters.

See J. Legge, The Chinese Classics (1861–1872); A. Wylie, Notes on Chinese Literature (1867); E. Chavannes, Mémoires historiques (1895–1905); H.A. Giles, Chuang Tzŭ (1889), A Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1898), and A History of Chinese Literature (1901); A. Forke, Lun-Hêng (1907); F. Hirth, The Ancient History of China (1908); L. Giles, Sun Tzŭ (1910).  (H. A. Gi.) 

EB1911 China - Ku K‘ai-chih- Toilet Scene.jpg
(British Museum. 4th Cent. A.D.).
EB1911 China - Chao Mêng-fu - Scene on the Wang Ch‘uan.jpg
(Dated 1309. British Museum.)
EB1911 China - Kiu Ying - Court Ladies.jpg
(British Museum. 15th Cent.)
EB1911 China - Hsü Hsi - Bird on Apple-bough.jpg
(10th Cent.)
EB1911 China - Wu Taotzü- Sakyamuni.jpg EB1911 China - Chien Shun-chü - Emperor Huan-yeh.jpg EB1911 China - Lin Liang - Eagle.jpg
SAKYAMUNI. (8th Cent.)
(15th Cent. British Museum.)

Figs. 2, 4, and 5 are reproduced by permission of the Kokka Company, Tokyo.

EB1911 China - Temple Vase.jpg EB1911 China - Wine Vase.jpg EB1911 China - Wine Vase (2).jpg
Fig. 9.—TEMPLE VASE (c. 1200 B.C.). Fig. 10.—WINE VASE (c. 1000 B.C.). Fig. 11—WINE VASE (c. 600 B.C.).
EB1911 China - Inlaid Vessel.jpg EB1911 China - Wine Vessel.jpg EB1911 China - Inlaid Vase.jpg
(c. 500 B.C.).
Fig. 13.—WINE VESSEL (c. 100 B.C.). Fig. 14.—INLAID VASE (c. 200 A.D.).
In possession of C.J. Holmes.
EB1911 China - Vase.jpg EB1911 China - Wine Vessel (2).jpg EB1911 China - Temple Vase (2).jpg
Fig. 15.—VASE (c. 1450 A.D.). Fig. 16.—WINE VESSEL (c. 1450 A.D.). Fig. 17.—TEMPLE VASE (c. 1700 A.D.).
Figs. 9-13 and 15-17 are from originals in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington.

  1. As to the origin of the names China and Cathay (the medieval name) see below § History. According to one theory the name China is of Malay origin, designating originally the region now called Indo-China, but transferred in early times to China proper. By the Chinese the country is often called Shih-pa-shêng, “the Eighteen Provinces,” from the number of its great territorial divisions. It is also called Chung-kwo, “the Middle Kingdom,” properly used of the central part of China, and Hwa-kwo, “the Flowery Kingdom.”
  2. A Chinese mile, li, or le = 0.36 English mile.
  3. For the Grand Canal the chief authority is Dominique Gandar, S.J., “Le Canal Impérial. Étude historique et descriptive,” Variétés sinologiques No. 4 (Shanghai, 1903); see also Stenz, “Der Kaiserkanal,” in Beiträgen zur Kolonialpolitik, Band v. (Berlin, 1903-1904), and the works of Ney Elias, Sir J.F. Davis, A. Williamson, E.H. Parker and W.R. Carles.
  4. Nevertheless there is considerable local traffic. The transit trade with Shan-tung, passing the Chin-kiang customs and using some 250 m. of the worst part of the canal, was valued in 1905 at 3,331,000 taels.
  5. The portion of the wall which abutted on to the sea has been destroyed.
  6. See the Geog. Jnl. (Feb. and March 1907). For a popular account of the wall, with numerous photographs, see The Great Wall of China (London, 1909), by W. E. Giel, who in 1908 followed its course from east to west. Consult also A. Williamson, Journey in North China (London, 1870); Martin, “La Grande Muraille de la Chine,” Revue scientifique (1891).
  7. For Shanghai the figures are compiled from twenty-six years’ observations. See China Sea Directory, vol. iii. (4th ed., 1904) p. 660.
  8. The thermometer registered 23° F. in January 1893, on the river 28 m. below Canton. This is the lowest reading known. Ibid., pp. 104-105.
  9. See W.W. Rockhill, Inquiry into the Population of China (Washington, 1904).
  10. For a bibliography of works relating to the aboriginal races of China see Richard’s Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire (1908 ed.), pp. 371-373.
  11. Evidences of the social changes taking place in China are to be found in the strong movement for the education of girls, and in the formation of societies, under official patronage, to prevent the binding of women’s feet.
  12. It must be remembered that there is great variety in the costumes worn in the various provinces. The particulars here given are of the most general styles of dress.
  13. Richard’s Comprehensive Geography, &c. (1908 edition), pp. 340-341.
  14. Otherwise Abū Ja‘far Ibn Mahommed al-Mansūr (see Caliphate, C. § 2).
  15. For a summary of Chang Chih-tung’s treatise, see Changing China (1910 edition), chap. xxii.
  16. It was announced in June 1910 that the throne had approved a recommendation of the Board of Education that English should be the official language for scientific and technical education, and that the study of English should be compulsory in all provincial scientific and technical schools.
  17. See The Times of the 19th of February and the 3rd of May 1910.
  18. Another peculiarity of loess in China is that it lends itself readily to the excavation of dwellings for the people. In many places whole villages live in cave dwellings dug out in the vertical wall of loess. They construct spiral staircases, selecting places where the ground is firm, and excavate endless chambers and recesses which are said to be very comfortable and salubrious.
  19. See J. Edkins, The Poppy in China, and H.B. Morse, The Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, chap. xi.
  20. Richard’s Comprehensive Geography, &c. (1908 edition), p. 144.
  21. In the 18th century foreign trade was restricted to Canton. In the 17th century, however, the Dutch traded to Formosa and Amoy, and the English to Amoy also. The Portuguese traded with Canton as early as 1517. For the early intercourse between Portugal and China see the introductory chapter in Donald Ferguson’s Letters from Portuguese Captives in Canton (Bombay, 1902).
  22. From The Statesman’s Year Book, 1910 edition.
  23. See The Times of the 28th of March 1910.
  24. See Morse, op. cit. chap. x.
  25. The maritime customs had established a postal service for its own convenience in 1861, and it first gave facilities to the general public in 1876. An organized service for the conveyance of government despatches has existed in China for many centuries, and the commercial classes maintain at their own expense a system (“letter hongs”) for the transmission of correspondence.
  26. For the causes leading to this movement and the progress of reform see § History.
  27. For recent authoritative accounts of the government of China see H.B. Morse, The Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, chap. iii.; Richard’s Comprehensive Geography, &c., Bk. I. § v., and The Statesman’s Year Book.
  28. The empress-consort is chosen by the emperor from a number of girls selected by his ministers from the families of Manchu nobles. From the same candidates the emperor also selects secondary-empresses (usually not more than four). Concubines, not limited in number, are chosen from the daughters of Manchu nobles and free-men. All the children are equally legitimate.
  29. Recent emperors have been children at accession and have been kept in seclusion.
  30. See “Democratic China” in H.A. Giles, China and the Chinese.
  31. W.F. Mayers, The Chinese Government (1878).
  32. This body is superseded by the Imperial Senate summoned to meet for the first time on the 3rd of October 1910.
  33. Yamên is the name given to the residences of all high officials. Tsung-li Yamên = the bureau for managing each (foreign) kingdom’s affairs.
  34. An edict of the 15th of July 1909 created a naval and military advisory board. Up to that time the navy was controlled by the viceroys at Canton, Nanking, Fu-chow and Tientsin; the viceroys at Canton and Tientsin being ministers superintendent of the southern and northern ports respectively.
  35. Thus in 1910 Prince Ching, president of the grand council, was, for the third time, impeached by censors, being denounced as an “old treacherous minister,” who filled the public service with a crowd of men as unworthy as himself. The censor who made the charge was stripped of his office (see The Times of the 30th of March 1910).
  36. For details of local government see Richard’s Comprehensive Geography, 1908 edition, pp. 301 et seq.
  37. Morse, op. cit., 1908 edition, p. 76.
  38. See The Times of the 28th of February 1910.
  39. See The Statesman’s Year-Book (1910 edition).
  40. A few of the old native customs stations, which are deemed perquisites of the imperial court, may also be excepted, as, for instance, the native custom-house at Canton, Hwei Kwan on the Grand Canal, and various stations in the neighbourhood of Peking.
  41. The production of a budget in 1915 was promised in one of the reform edicts of 1908.
  42. In this article the tael used as a standard is the Haikwan (i.e. customs) tael, worth about 3s. It fluctuates with the value of silver.
  43. Roughly £43,000,000.
  44. Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire (1910), p. 118.
  45. Temporary reductions are granted in provinces affected by rebellion, drought or flood.
  46. Information as to what extent the expenses of the new army and navy are met by the central government is lacking.
  47. To meet the expenditure on interest and redemption of the indemnities for the Boxer outrages the Peking government required the provincial authorities to increase their annual remittances by taels 18,700,000 during the years 1902-1910.
  48. It must be remembered that the Haikwan tael is here indicated.
  49. See Morse’s Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, chap. ix.
  50. A supplementary exchange of notes of the same date excepted from the scope of this agreement the Shan-hai-kwan-Niu-chwang extension which had already been conceded to the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank.
  51. The religious aspect of the Boxer movement gave it strength. Its disciples believed that the spirits which defended China were incensed by the introduction of Western methods and ideals. Many of them believed themselves to be invulnerable to any Western weapon. (See Lord W. Cecil, Changing China, 1910, ch. i.)
  52. The diary of a Manchu noble printed in China under the Empress Dowager (1910) by J. O. Bland and E. Backhouse throws light on the subject. It was to Jung-Lu, father-in-law of Prince Chin, that the legations owed their escape from extermination.
  53. It was at this time (July 17th) that the intense anxiety of the civilized world with regard to the fate of the besieged reached its culminating point. Circumstantial accounts of the fall of the legations and the massacre of their inmates were circulated in Shanghai and found general credence. It was not till near the end of the month that an authentic message from the American minister proved these fears to be premature.
  54. In negotiating this agreement Lord Salisbury appears to have been largely influenced by the aggressive features of Russia’s action in North China, while Germany appears to have been actuated by a desire to forestall isolated action by Great Britain in the Yangtsze basin. In Germany the agreement was known as the Yangtsze Agreement. Great Britain held, however, that it applied equally to Manchuria.
  55. Liu Kun-yi died in 1902. In the same year died Tao-mu, the viceroy of Canton. In these men China lost two of her most capable and enlightened officials.
  56. Prince Chun was born in 1882. He was the first member of the imperial family to be sent on a foreign mission.
  57. Tung Fu-hsiang died in 1908. A sum of some £80,000 belonging to him, and left in the provincial treasury, was appropriated for works of public utility (see The Times, April 9th, 1910).
  58. Lord W. Cecil, op. cit. p. 9.
  59. This institution was nominally a private concern which financed the Manchurian railway, but it acted as part of the Russian government machinery. The existence of the contract of the 27th of August 1896 was frequently denied until expressly admitted by the Russo-Chinese agreement of the 8th of April 1902.
  60. On the 8th of October the Russian troops had been withdrawn from Mukden, but they reoccupied the town on the 28th of the same month, Admiral Alexeiev, the viceroy of the Far East, alleging that the inertia of the Chinese officials seriously hindered the work of extending civilization in Manchuria.
  61. The form of outrage, probably the first of its kind in China, was itself a symptom of the changed times. The bomb injured Prince Tsai Tse and another commissioner, and the departure of the commission was consequently delayed some months.
  62. In 1907 further commissions were appointed, on the initiative of Yuan Shih-kai, to study specifically the constitutions of Great Britain, Germany and Japan.
  63. This department was organized at Shanghai in 1854. The Taiping rebels being in possession of the native city, the collection of customs dues, especially on foreign ships, was placed in the hands of foreigners. This developed into a permanent institution, the European staff being mainly British.
  64. The British official view, as stated in parliament on the 27th of April 1910, was that the changes resulting from the creation of the Board of Control had, so far, been purely departmental changes of form, and that the position of the inspector-general remained unaltered.
  65. See The Times of the 21st of April and 11th of May 1910.
  66. A chest contained from 135 ℔ to 160 ℔.
  67. A picul = 133½ ℔.
  68. Changing China, p. 118.
  69. See The Times of 7th and 8th of March and 8th of April 1910.
  70. The first recorded importation of morphia into China was in 1892, and it is suggested that it was first used as an anti-opium medicine. Morphia-taking, however, speedily became a vice, and in 1902 over 195,000 oz. of morphia were imported (enough for some 300,000,000 injections). To check the evil the Chinese government during 1903 imposed a tax of about 200% ad valorem, with the result that the imports declared to the customs fell in 1905 to 54 oz. only. The falling off was explained “not by a diminished demand, but by smuggling” (Morse’s Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire, p. 351).
  71. A regulation by the ministry of education, dated the 14th of January 1910, ordered that no girl should be admitted to school dressed in foreign clothes or with unnatural (i.e. bound) feet.
  72. For the growth of the education movement see The Times, 4th of September 1909.
  73. The Dalai Lama left Peking in December 1908 on his return to Lhassa, which he reached in November 1909. Differences had arisen between him and the Chinese government, which sought to make the spiritual as well as the temporal power of the Dalai Lama dependent on his recognition by the emperor of China. Early in 1910 the Dalai Lama, in consequence of the action of the Chinese amban in Lhassa, fled from that city and sought refuge in India.
  74. Chang Chih-tung died in October 1909. He was a man of considerable ability, and one whose honesty and loyalty had never been doubted. He was noted as an opponent of opium smoking, and for over thirty years had addressed memorials to the throne against the use of the drug.
  75. See The Times of the 7th of September 1909.
  76. Proposals made early in 1910 by the American secretary of state for the neutralization of the Manchurian railway received no support.
  77. By a convention signed on July 4th, 1910, Russia and Japan agreed to “maintain and respect” the status quo in Manchuria.
  78. See the Quinzaine coloniale of the 10th of December 1909.
  79. See The Times of the 20th of January 1910.
  80. See for the prospects of reform The Times of 30th May 1910.
  81. La Sculpture sur pierre en Chine ait temps des deux dynasties Han (Paris, 1893).