Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese

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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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(209 words)

Author(s): Leese, Daniel
AJCA Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ARF ASEAN Regional Forum ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations BCE Before the Common Era CE Common Era C.a. China aktuell CC Central Committee CCP Chinese Communist Party CIS Commonwealth of Independent States CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union CQ China Quarterly DAC Development Assistance Committee EC European Community EU European Union FAO Food and Agriculture Organization FDI Foreign Direct Investment FEER Far Eastern Economic Review FRG Federal Republic of Germany GDP Gross Domes…


(1,431 words)

Author(s): Staiger, Brunhild
Academies ( shuyuan) existed already in pre-modern China. They first appeared in the Tang period, during which the most famous institution of this type, the Hanlin Academy, was established. In the Song and Yuan periods their number steadily increased and reached its zenith during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The traditional academies were run partly on a private basis, partly by local authorities, and served both teaching and research. In the academies scholars were educated, libraries established…

Administrative Law

(3,301 words)

Author(s): Heuser, Robert
1. Concept, Development, and Functions Modern administrative law does not only aim at facilitating administrative tasks, but also at protecting citizens (who are considered as legal persons) from infringements by administrative bodies. For this reason, the organization of the authorities has to be regulated, their tasks to be determined by law, and the legality of their actions have to be made open to judicial review. China's imperial administration was ordered by laws. The state philosopher Shen Buhai (385-337 BCE) associated the fa (laws) with the following functions: "App…

Adult Education

(956 words)

Author(s): Humberg, Carlo
In Chinese the term "adult education" ( chengren jiaoyu) is still a rather new expression. While it was sporadically used in the early 1970s , its significance dates from the mid-1980s, especially the First National Working Conference on Adult Education in December 1986. Before this date, the terms "people's education" and "mass education" were normally used ( tongsu jiaoyu, shehui jiaoyu, pingmin jiaoyu, or minzhong jiaoyu). However, the phenomena summarized under these different terms were very similar and can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th cen…


(1,224 words)

Author(s): Johansson, Perry
There are three distinct periods in the history of modern advertising in China. First, the Republican era, when modern advertising first developed on a larger scale. Second, the Mao era, when advertising almost totally disappeared for political reasons. A third stage was introduced with the economic reforms and the come-back of advertising in 1979. Modern advertising was first introduced by the foreign companies active in the Treaty Ports. In the 19th century, new mass media like newspapers were introduced, and soon Chinese newspapers like the Zhongwai Xinbao (Chinese and Foreig…

Advisory Board (original German edition)

(227 words)

Author(s): Leese, Daniel
Robert Ash, Professor, Dept. of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Marianne Bastid-Bruguière, Senior Research Professor at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris David S. G. Goodman, Professor of Contemporary China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney Thomas Heberer, Professor, Institute of East Asian Studies (Political Science), University of Duisburg-Essen Sebastian Heilmann, Professor, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (Political Science), University of Trier Jürgen Henze, Professor, Institute…


(1,130 words)

Author(s): Kubin, Wolfgang
There has always been aesthetic thinking in China, although not as a philosophical discipline. It was only established as a field under Western influence during the course of the 20th century. Its Chinese name meixue is a foreign word from the Japanese and is deceptive, since aesthetics in China is certainly not at all a matter of the "study of beauty." The cosmic and cosmological always stood at the center of an aesthetic perspective in traditional China, and this is sometimes still the case in modern China (cosmology). Zong Baihua (1897-1986) and Zhu Guangqian (1897-1986) can be…


(1,723 words)

Author(s): Jackson, Steven F.
China's first direct contacts with Africa date back to the Ming dynasty voyages of the Muslim eunuch Zheng He, who led three large maritime expeditions to the east coast of Africa in 1417, 1421, and 1431. Following the return of the last expedition, the Ming dynasty adopted a more introspective policy, and it would not be until 1956 that regular, modern diplomatic relations with independent African nations were established. Africa is a region of moderately high importance in China's modern foreign relations. Although China and Africa are geographically remote, Si…

Agricultural Policy

(2,646 words)

Author(s): Aubert, Claude
During the 20th century, China's agricultural policy faced one basic constant: peasant poverty. During the first half of the 20th century, different reasons were made responsible for this poverty: overpopulation, outdated agricultural techniques, a deficient commercial infrastructure, and the landownership conditions. If disasters struck, such as floods, droughts, or civil war, the heavily indebted peasants, who only produced what they required for their survival, would became beggars. Whereas Sun Yatsen had demanded the distribution of "land to the tiller", th…

Agricultural Zones

(3,113 words)

Author(s): Kolb, Raimund Th.
First attempts to divide the Chinese agricultural space according to modern scientific insights into large-scale regions or zones (not a belt-shaped order) date back to the 1930s. In his book Land Utilization in China (1937) John Lossing Buck divided China into ten "agricultural regions" (arable zones), a division which in the West was considered valid until the early 1980s. From 1953 to 1955 and from 1963 to 1966 the People's Republic made efforts towards a restructuring of the agricultural space, not least in order to be able…


(3,319 words)

Author(s): Ash, Robert
According to both the Western and Chinese understanding, the term agriculture embraces in the broader sense: crop growing, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishing. Since 1992, "sidelines" which were formerly included as separate agricultural activities (such as some handicrafts, animal hunting, plant gathering, etc.), have disappeared from official statistics. In terms of its contribution to farm value-output, crop farming remains the single most important category, although post-1978 reforms have reduced its significance. Within crop farming, food grains dominate. The d…

Agriculture and Forestry, sciences of

(799 words)

Author(s): Kolb, Raimund Th.
In 1990 the Directory of Chinese Learned Organizations listed altogether 375 research institutes, universities, institutions of higher education, societies, and associations which are occupied with the sciences of agriculture and forestry in the PRC today. The reforms of the 1890s (Reform Movement of 1898) led to the first concrete measures towards agricultural modernization in line with Western or Japanese standards of knowledge. In 1899 the state gave permission for the first study-abroad programs in…