Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online is based on the originally a thousand-page reference work on China with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Written by the world’s top scholars, Brill’s Encyclopedia of China is the first place to look for reliable information on the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China.

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(1,693 words)

Author(s): Haberzettl, Peter
Macau (portug.), Aomen (chin.) Macau (Aomen) 500,000 inhabitants 21,45 km² 23,310 inhabitants/km² Macau is located on the coast of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in the western part of the Pearl River Delta, 60 km southwest of Hong Kong and 145 km south of Guangzhou. The overall territory includes the two islands of Taipa and Coloane off the coast of the actual Macau Peninsula, which is identical with the city of the same name. In the north of the peninsula, the Porta do Cerco is - up to now …


(1,328 words)

Author(s): Scherer, Anke
Manchukuo (Manzhouguo) officially existed on the territory of former Manchuria from its establishment on March 1, 1932, until Russian troops marched into its capital Xinjing on August 20, 1945. In Chinese it is usually given the prefix wei (false, bogus) in order to document China's refusal to recognize the Japanese-led puppet regime as a state. At the Peace Treaty of Portsmouth following the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-05, Japan received the regions on the Liaodong peninsula formerly leased by Russia (the Guandong region), as well as the railway l…


(514 words)

Author(s): Scherer, Anke
Manchuria is a large region in northeastern China extending over today's provinces of Heilongjiang , Jilin, and Liaoning . It is named after the Altaic ethnic group of the Manchus who formed the majority of the population until the massive influx of Han Chinese since the early 20th century. The designation " Manzhou" first appeared in Chinese records in 1613, but it describes the totality of the various Altaic peoples living in the region rather than one homogeneous ethnicity. In 916, the Khitan (Qidan) people founded the Liao dynasty, and in 926 they conquered the Bohai E…

Mao Zedong Thought

(3,070 words)

Author(s): Schram, Stuart
The term "Mao Zedong Thought" came into use during the Rectification Campaign of 1942-1943, which constituted the decisive stage in Mao's progress from a position as one among several top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the status of chairman, enjoying unquestioned supremacy. It was common practice in revolutionary movements of Marxist inspiration that the ideas of the leader should constitute the theoretical basis for the work of the party. It was even more firmly established in…

Market and Competition

(2,520 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Doris
The Chinese economy had a mainly agrarian character until after the middle of the 20th century. Besides agriculture, there existed well-developed handicrafts. After the Opium Wars, imported and industrial goods penetrated the market, but their influence remained limited mostly to the Treaty Ports which were opened to foreign traders and investors, to regions along the great rivers, and to Manchuria. Market organization, production, and division of labor in pre-revolution rural China have been characterized by G.W. Skinner with the concept of the standard…


(968 words)

Author(s): Leutner, Mechthild
Traditionally, Chinese marriage is a pre-arrangement between two families (marriage customs). It reflects the economic interests - characterized by agricultural and handicraft concerns - within a patriarchal society (family). In the late 19th century, industrialization efforts led to the development of national-patriotic ideas on the formation of a national state. The quest for social and individual emancipation was expressed in the May Fourth Movement. It also called for a "socialization of marriage" by means of regulating marriage. The state was considered a body indep…

Marriage Customs

(919 words)

Author(s): Davin, Delia
Marriage in traditional Chinese society was arranged by the family. The parents of the bridegroom selected a bride with the help of relatives, friends, or a matchmaker. They negotiated the brideprice and the dowry, and decided when the wedding should be. The brideprice, meant to compensate the bride's family for the loss of their daughter, was usually considerably greater than the dowry. Dressed in red, the bride was brought to the bridegroom's house in a red sedan chair. Her dowry of furniture,…


(2,433 words)

Author(s): Meissner, Werner
The concept of Marxism-Leninism arose in the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s, in connection with Stalin's formulation of Leninism as the further development of Marxism. In 1926 Marxism and Leninism were declared equivalent components of the Soviet philosophy. In the following years, the term became generally accepted as the official designation of the Soviet philosophy and of state orthodoxy. Marxism-Leninism in the former Soviet Union, as well as in today's PRC, comprises the teachings of Karl Ma…

Mass Campaigns

(1,753 words)

Author(s): Duckett, Jane
1. Mass Campaigns 1949-76 Mass campaigns are best defined as organized mobilizations of large numbers of the population by the political elite to intensively tackle an issue or problem. These mass mobilizations were an important feature of political and social life in the Maoist period of the PRC (1949-78), when there were at least eighty nationwide campaigns and many local ones. Mass campaigns have been used in the PRC to achieve a wide range of ends, but can be categorized broadly as having primar…


(1,740 words)

Author(s): Kogelschatz, Hermann
China has a great independent mathematical tradition to look back upon, with its own focus areas, methods and means of expression, and the memory of this heritage plays such an important part in modern China's cultural self-image that discoveries in the realm of mathematical history have repeatedly found their way into the daily press (see for instance the People's Daily of March 25, 1994, on the discovery of the text of Zhangjiashan, by which parts of the mathematical classic Jiu zhang suanshu could be dated back to the 2nd century BCE). The absence of grammatical ties in the Chinese…

May Fourth Movement

(2,811 words)

Author(s): Staiger, Brunhild
In a more limited sense, the May Fourth Movement ( wusi yundong) signifies the patriotic student protests in 1919, which culminated in the May Fourth Incident ( wusi shijian). In a wider sense it refers to the intellectual-cultural reform movement of 1917 to 1921, the so-called New Culture Movement. 1917 marks the year when a group of young intellectuals came together at Beijing University who, with their agenda of enlightenment, almost completely broke with tradition and had a lasting impact on the student youth. In 1921,…

Mechanical Engineering

(861 words)

Author(s): Hannan, Kate
Two decades after the introduction of reform, investment priorities in China have been dramatically altered. They now differ substantially from those that informed the choice of mechanical engineering projects for the first three decades of Communist Party rule. In the 1950s, China's new political leaders adopted the Soviet model of administration and development. This model ensured that fixed asset investment was disproportionately advantaged, a large portion of available investment being direc…


(2,273 words)

Author(s): Unschuld, Paul U.
As in other civilizations, the art of healing has been known in China since prehistorical times. The development of medicine as such has been recognizable in China since about the 3rd century BCE. At the time, there began the acquisition of scientific insights of a systematic correspondence among all phenomena and their transfer to dealing with the human organism and its deviations from an assumed norm, which were interpreted as diseases. This took place within the framework of a dualism called yinyang and a fivefold system called five phases ( wu xing ). In the course of the followin…