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.
|Title of host publication||International flows in the Belt and Road Initiative|
|Subtitle of host publication||business, peoples, ideas and history|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Number of pages||34|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
|Name||Palgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies|