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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Chinese State at the Borders

The People’s Republic of China claims to have 22,000 kilometres of land borders and 18,000 kilometres of coast line. How did this vast country come into being? The state credo describes an ancient process of cultural expansion: border peoples gratefully accept high culture in China and become inalienable parts of the country. And yet, the “centre” had to fight against manifestations of discontent in the border regions, not only to maintain control over the regions themselves, but also to prevent a loss of power at the edges from triggering a general process of regional devolution in the Han Chinese provinces. The essays in this volume look at these issues over a long span of time, questioning whether the process of expansion was a benevolent civilizing mission.

Table of Contents



1 The Borderlands in Chinese Political Theory, Past and Present / Alexander Woodside

2 Ming-Qing Border Defense, the Inward Turn of Chinese Cartography, and Qing Expansion in Central Asia in the Eighteenth Century / Benjamin Elman

3 Marital Politics on the Manchu-Mongol Frontier in the Early Seventeenth Century / Nicola Di Cosmo

4 What Happens When Wang Yangming Crosses the Border / Timothy Brook

5 Wang Yangming and the Problem of "Non-Chinese" / Leo Shin

6 Embracing Victory, Effacing Defeat: Rewriting the Qing Frontier Campaigns / Peter Purdue

7 The Qing-Choson Frontier on Mount Paektu / Andre Schmid

8 The Amur, as River, as Border / Victor Zatsepine

9 The Ethics of Benevolence in French Colonial Vietnam: A Sino-Franco-Vietnamese Cultural Borderland / Van Nguyen-Marshall

10 A zone of nebulous menace: the Guangxi/Indochina border in the Republican period / Diana Lary

11 Border Banishment: Political Exile in the Army Farms of Beidahuang / Wang Ning

12 L’état, c’est nous? or We have met the oppressor and he is us? The predicament of minority cadres in the PRC / Stevan Harrell

13 Theoretical and Conceptual Perspectives on the Periphery in Contemporary China / Pitman Potter



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