Grassroots authority in rural Guangdong during late Qing and early Republican times
Jie Qiu & Yi’na Wang
Abstract：Gongju, or public offices, controlled by the local gentry class, were the grassroots authorities in rural Guangdong during the late Qing. These offices maintained their own armed forces and usually had powers of administration, tax collection, and self-defense, as well as judicial powers. They were considered the extension of prefecture and county governments. With the authorization of the prefecture and county governments, these offices had the power to deal with important legal cases. Although they came under attack during the 1911 Revolution, these offices were able to recover quickly in different forms. In the late Qing era, local gentry with official titles earned in middle-level or lower-level civil service examinations took the leadership roles in such grassroots offices, but they were replaced by people who had direct control over the armed forces during Republican times.
Keywords: Guangdong, late Qing, early Republican times, gongyue (public covenant), gongju (public offices), rural grassroots authorities, grassroots judicial powers
Continuity and transformation: the institutions of the Beijing government, 1912–1928
Abstract：The period of the Beijing government of Republican China (1912–1928) occurred after the 1911 Revolution that toppled the imperial system and before the rule of the Nanjing Nationalist government. For modern China, it was an era of frequent trial and error in implementing political systems, as well as a significant phase of institutional transition following the New Policy reforms of the late Qing. Many twists and turns during this period of historical evolution stemmed from problems of the late Qing political reform. The three major issues occurring during the 1912–1928 era, namely the legitimacy of the government, the relationship between its legislative and executive branches, and the relationship between the central government and the provinces, were all dominated by the profound influence of traditional Chinese political and cultural frameworks. All of this made the 1912–1928 era more complicated than the late Qing period, increased the difference between one stage of institutional change and another, and accelerated the change in political systems while also broadening the choices available. Therefore, we should not only focus on the complex contention among all parties, but also acquire a deeper understanding of the limits imposed upon institutional renovation by tradition and circumstances through examination of the institutional adaptations behind the chaotic partisan politics.
Keywords: Beijing government of Republican China, institutional transformation, central–local relations, imperial system, constitutionalism
Chiang Kai-shek’s faith in Christianity: the trial of the Stilwell Incident
Peter Chen-main Wang
Abstract：Chiang Kai-shek’s faith in Christianity has long been a controversial issue. Some have held that his faith was genuine while others have claimed that it was merely a posture to curry favor with the Americans. Now that the Hoover Institution has released Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries, historians are in a better position to explore this long-ignored part of Chiang’s life. This paper will examine Chiang’s faith as it developed during the Stilwell Incident, the most serious crisis of US–China military cooperation during World War II. While facing American pressure to grant military command to General Joseph W. Stilwell, Chiang reveals in his diaries how he relied on his faith in the Bible, how he interpreted the Bible, and how he applied his understanding of the Bible to his political decision making. An examination of Chiang’s diary during this crisis will help us understand his practical relationship with Christianity, which in turn will provide insight into Chiang’s attitudes and methods in dealing with the Stilwell Incident.
Keywords: Chiang Kai-shek, Christianity, Joseph W. Stilwell, the Stilwell Incident
Tricky business: Swiss perceptions of informal imperialism in China in the 1920s
Abstract：This article analyzes the role that commercial interests played in Swiss perceptions of informal imperialism in China during the 1920s. Commercial interests were the driving force behind the establishment of Swiss relations with China in 1918 and Swiss rejections of Chinese demands to abolish extraterritoriality in the 1920s. Swiss commercial relations with China were deeply rooted in the social, economic, and political institutions and processes developed by informal imperialism in China. During the Chinese antiforeign agitation in the 1920s, the Swiss press criticized the unequal treaties as an example of imperialism in China but ignored Switzerland’s participation in it. This discrepancy between the official and media perceptions of Swiss commercial interests in China was caused by the fact that Switzerland’s dependence on privileges connected to the unequal treaties clashed with Swiss national mythology, which was based on neutrality and anti-imperial narratives. Moreover, the negligible importance attributed to Swiss trade with China and the increasing focus on the nationality of foreign companies in China allowed the Swiss media to ignore Swiss commercial interests in China. As a result, Swiss complicity in informal imperialism was downplayed by the Swiss press, which ignored the importance of Swiss commerce to Sino–Swiss relations.
Keywords: unequal treaties, China, Switzerland, extraterritoriality, informal imperialism, press, commercial interests
The master narratives of modern China: their origins, evolution, and reconstruction – a review of Li Huaiyin’s Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing
Rejuvenation after encounters between different artistic forms: a synopsis of studies of indigenization of Christian art in China
Abstract：Religion and art are symbiotic. The ecumenical propagation of Christianity inherently entails a mission of indigenization. Since it spread to China, Christianity has produced many renovated art forms which combined indigenization and local artistic expression on the one hand, with original religious notions and Western art on the other. This article reviews Chinese scholarship on the indigenization of Christianity in modern China and emphasizes that the renovated Chinese architecture, music, and fine art, after integrating with religious ideas and techniques, largely promoted the modern transformation and rejuvenation of traditional Chinese art.
Keywords: Christianity, art forms, Chinese indigenization
Another perspective on the 1898 reform: interpreting the Zhang Zhidong Archives
Hairong Zhang (张海荣)
The suspension and abolition of the civil service examination system and modern Chinese society
Dongqiang An (安东强)
Ethics and customs in cultural transformation: 1895–1923
Yanjie Zhao (赵妍杰)
The contested body: the anti-footbinding movement in modern China
Yang Chen (陈阳)
The politics of film: research on the film censorship system in Republican China
Yiyun Chai (柴怡赟)
Inevitable “concern”: intellectuals and politics around 1949
Xiaobing Tang (唐小兵)
Reconfiguring the old order: China’s response to international imperialism, 1912–1922
Qinghai Fu (付清海)
Towards unity: a study of the relationship between the southwest local regime and the central government, 1931–1936
Zhiyu Li (李志毓)
The chronology of Wang Ming
Qingqing Sha (沙青青)