AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 715

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Session 715: Chinese Histories I

Revisiting Ideology: Debates on the Meaning of Sun Yatsen's Three People's Principles Following His Death in 1925
John Kenneth Olenik, Montclair State University, USA

Revisiting Ideology: Debates on the Meaning of Sun Yatsen’s Three People’s Principles Following his death in 1925 Sun Yatsen’s death on March 12, 1925 was not totally unexpected. In late life photos one could see signs of exhaustion, the wear and tear of a lifetime of revolutionary struggle. During his final years he expended amazing energy expanding his world network, reorganizing his political organization, creating a new revolutionary army and transforming revolutionary practice into a struggle of the Chinese masses. In the midst of these efforts he rethought and rewrote on his understanding of revolutionary ideology, recasting the Three People’s Principles in light of his changing understanding of China and the world. Sun embraced ideology as a dynamic component of revolution; he left his ideas unfinished with the expectation that they would change in a constant relationship with life and revolution in practice. This process began even before his death as contending factions within the Nationalist movement took sides forming in to left and right wings with multiple variations. This study revisits several strands in this much-studied debate on Sun’s ideology specifically in the context of 1925 and 1926 shortly following his death. The study will trace arguments for ideological legitimacy as they were forming within the left and right wings of the Nationalist movement. Those who were communists, advocates of a “scientific “ Three People’s Principles, and Confucian moralists are included in the analysis. The paper will contextualize the formation of these positions within the history of the 1920s.

Reimagining State Power: A Centralized Government with Limited Involvement in Society in Ma Duanlin’s (1254-ca.1330) Fejian/Junxian Discussion
Tsong-han Lee, National Quemoy University, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

When discussing the fengjian/junxian discourse in the Southern Song (1127-1279), current scholarship tends to put it in the context of centralization/decentralization debate, such as that those who support the fengjian system were supporting a decentralized political power structure that would give local society and literati more power. Using Ma Duanlin’s fengjian/junxian discussion as a case study, this paper argues that a better way to contextualize the fengjian/junxian debate in this period should be the dynastic stability question, which focuses on a proper way to maintain political power rather than to decentralize it. Although both fengjian and junxian systems are legitimate choices for government, Ma Duanlin argues that since fengjian requires the ruler to be public-minded in order for the system to work, a condition that had been lost and could not be recovered after the Three Dynasties, the only choice left for later government was the junxian system. According to Ma, while fengjian requires the local government to have deep control over local society, a junxian government should limit its involvement in local society and let local gentry assume the responsibility, because junxian officials on a rotational basis only have limited ability to control local affairs. In short, Ma supports a centralized government with limited involvement in local society. This view demonstrates the rise of local society, and at the same time also assumes the central role of the government in ordering the world, a mentality that was still widely shared by literati in the 13th and early 14th century.

Insutitutional Dyamics in Chinese Dynastic Regime : 4-14th Centuries
Atsushi Aoki, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

This paper is to clarify the shift from the Nomadic regime in the North China of Toba Empire, the Northern Dynasties, Sui and Tang, to the agricultural one based on the South of the Sung and the beginning of the Ming. Chinese Dynastic regime in these periods is best observed in its legal, and administrative structure, namely the equal field system, coercive duties and military obligations embedded in the Code. This research is to question the traditional view of Tang-Sung, or Sung-Yuan-Ming transition theory which is strongly influenced by cultural history, but to present a new social perspective, with ethnicity and geography taken into account.

Pausing at Stone Gate Pass: Exploring Traces of Imperial Expansion and Local Resistance Along a Spur of the Southwestern Silk Road
James A. Anderson, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA

In the northeast corner of modern-day Yunnan one finds “Stone Gate Pass,” known today as “Red Bean Pass,” in a steep mountain valley along the ancient Southwestern Silk Road. The pass and this trade route, known as the “Five Foot Road” in the Qin period and the “Ancient Bo Road” in the Han, mark the site of imperial expansion and local resistance through the era of Mongol conquest. The first Qin emperor and Han emperor Wudi both fought in vain to conquer the pass and gain control over their empires’ southwestern frontiers. In 794 Tang authorities marked their reentry into the region through an alliance with the Nanzhao kingdom by leaving a cliff face inscription on Stone Gate Pass. Following the fall of the Dali kingdom, Marco Polo reportedly traveled through the pass with his Mongol escorts during his excursion into Southwest China. However, imperial authorities were not alone in viewing Stone Gate Pass as strategically important. When imperial power waned, local leaders rushed in to take advantage of political and economic opportunities. The Cuan, descendents of the indigenous Bo and Yi communities, dominated the region through the 8th century, but other non-Han peoples occupied Stone Gate Pass for a variety of reasons. In this paper I explore the interplay between imperial authorities and local leaders, and argue that material and cultural exchange over time provided the foundation for an interdependent relationship of the type found elsewhere along the better known northern Silk Road network of trade routes.

The Origins of the Post Designation System in Qing Field Administration
Michael H. Chiang, , USA

Field administration during the Qing dynasty (1636-1912) was characterized by a rating system that described each county-, prefectural, and circuit-level unit by the presence or absence of attributes in four categories. The relative assigned importance of each local jurisdiction under this system depended upon various physiographic, military, and economic criteria but also determined the assignment of resources and experienced officials within the empire as a whole. Although these post designations, as they have come to be called, obviously played a central role in the official Qing administrative hierarchy, little is known about the particulars of their creation in the early eighteenth century. This paper seeks to shed light on the origins of the Qing (re-)establishment of the administrative rating system, tracing the vestiges of such practices to early Ming (1368-1644) consolidation efforts. I also aim to examine the process by which post designations were applied to help resolve problems in revenue collection and defense in specific Qing cases in order to demonstrate that the rating system itself was shot through with contradictions.