Between Adoption and Resistance: China’s Efforts of ‘Understanding the West’, the Challenges of Transforming Monarchical Legitimacy and the Rise of Oriental Exceptionalism, 1860–1910

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

Abstract

Qing officials and intellectuals were interested in European concepts of law, statehood, society, and the individual after China’s conflicting encounter with the ‘West’ in the two ‘Opium Wars’. The Marxist narrative of the Qing decline and the new Belt and Road programme ideologically highlight the lost harmonious vision of a Chinese world order facing European imperialism. As both interpretations do not pay adequate attention to Chinese adoptions of the ‘West’, this article argues that Chinese functional adoption of Western concepts served a Western-style ‘modernisation’ as long as it did not undermine the monarchical legitimacy of the Qing dynasty. Active Chinese import of ‘Western’ concepts to further modernise China only encountered official resilience when the concepts could undermine monarchical legitimacy and revolutionise the Empire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational flows in the Belt and Road Initiative
Subtitle of host publicationbusiness, peoples, ideas and history
EditorsDavid O'Brien
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter10
Pages219-252
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9789811531330
ISBN (Print)9789811531323
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies

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