Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access Subject: Asian Studies
Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese

Help us improve our service

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.

Subscriptions: see

Warlord Era

(1,024 words)

Author(s): McCord, Edward A.
The Warlord period, usually dated from 1916 to 1927, refers to a time of political disunity in China when competing military commanders dominated society and government by virtue of their command of military force. The Warlord period was foreshadowed in the late 19th century by the rise to political influence of regional army commanders who assisted the Qing dynasty in the defeat of the Taiping Rebellion and other major rebellions. Unlike the near political autonomy of 20th century warlords, tho…

Water Management

(2,796 words)

Author(s): Sternfeld, Eva
With its renewable freshwater supply of 2800 km3, China belongs to the countries with the biggest water resources, next to Brazil, Russia and Canada. Per capita, however, China has only one quarter of the world average. In addition, water is not available everywhere in sufficient and steadily reliable quantities. While the north reports precipitation rates that are rather too low, the regions south of the Yangzi not infrequently receive too much. The monsoon climate is characterized by extreme annual rainfall fluctuations, resulting in heavy losses because of droughts and floods. The…


(1,992 words)

Author(s): Lackner, Michael
Following the European expansion since the 16th century, the establishment of a worldwide trade regime largely dominated by European standards, and the imperialistic advances of Western powers, which became increasingly manifest during the second half of the 19th century, each and every non-Western civilization faced the question of how to respond to the globalization of the Western way of life and philosophy. China is no exception to this rule, although - in contrast to India, for example - Chi…