Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access Subject: Asian Studies
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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(505 words)

Author(s): Schüller, Margot
Dalian is located at the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula in the province of Liaoning. After the provincial capital of Shenyang , Dalian is the second largest (2006: 5.72 million inhabitants) and economically most important city (share of provincial GDP in 1998: 24%). During the 1970s, the cities of Lüshun (also known as Port Arthur) and Dalian were merged. Initially the new city was named Lüda, but renamed Dalian in 1981. Today, Lüshun is an urban district of Dalian. Under different nam…

Danwei (Work Unit)

(966 words)

Author(s): Hebel, Jutta
Danwei constitute the basic organizational units in the economic, political, social and administrative spheres of China's urban areas. Despite general agreement on their importance as the basic unit of Chinese society, their origin, function, and development are controversial. Danwei literally means "unit," in the sense of a unit of measurement or a unit of organization. As units of social organization, danwei can be classified according to their function and their hierarchical status. With regard to the former, danwei are legal persons which employ workers ( yongren danwei). The…


(5,410 words)

Author(s): Schipper, Kristofer
1. Origin and Definition Daoism can be said to be China's own authentic religion. In spite of its long history and great influence on all aspects of China's culture and society, Daoism remains relatively little known and even less understood. The name Daoism comes from dao (written tao in the Wade-Giles transliteration) , a word that means "Way", and hence: a way to follow, a way of thought, a method, and a principle. Dao is seen as the everlasting principle at the origin of the universe; it permeates and also transcends all beings; it is at the …


(899 words)

Author(s): Thompson, Stuart
Death rites have long been the most complex and expensive of Chinese life-cycle ceremonies. Chinese mortuary practices (funeral customs) have been traced back to the Neolithic and Early Bronze ages. The imperial Chinese state made it legally compulsory for those kin related to the deceased according to the wu fu (five grades of mourning attire) to mourn in a manner prescribed by Confucian orthodoxy; failure was punishable by severe corporal punishment or worse. The structure and sequence of funeral rites has displayed impressive uniformity bot…

Defense Industry

(1,740 words)

Author(s): Frankenstein, John
The military-industrial complex (MIC) is a microcosm within the Chinese industry: an amalgamation of the modern and the outdated. The Chinese leadership has been attempting to reform this complex since the 1980s. The MIC has had substantial industrial success. China is capable of producing a full range of modern weapons systems, from small arms to intercontinental missiles carrying hydrogen bombs. Nonetheless, the MIC suffers from the usual problems caused by China's degenerating command economy…


(1,028 words)

Author(s): Sandschneider, Eberhard | Gottwald, Jörn C.
The progress which the economic and social development of China is experiencing almost inevitably raises the question of how the political institutions of the socialist system will be able to remain in accordance with rapid economic and social changes. During the controversy over the universality of human rights, which scholarly circles as well as the public discussed as the "debate on Asian values" in the 1990s, social values were time and again related to the possibilities of realizing a democ…

Deng Xiaoping Theory

(975 words)

Author(s): Breslin, Shaun
Defining Deng Xiaoping Theory succinctly is a difficult task. This is partly because Deng changed his opinion, or at least his political alliances, on a number of occasions during his political career. For example, Deng was one of Mao's strongest supporters in the 1950s, and helped promote the radicalism of the Great Leap Forward. Yet he also did much to overturn this radicalism after the failure of the Great Leap in the 1960s. Even after he rejected radicalism and embraced economic reform, Deng…

Development Aid

(1,591 words)

Author(s): Schüller, Margot
Development aid or, more generally, development cooperation is understood as a transfer of financial and technical aid from industrial to developing countries, which generally takes the form of loans at reduced interest rates and non-repayable services to reach certain development targets. The development cooperation between China and most Western industrial countries began at a bilateral level with the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in the 1970s. Only in the early 1950s did China recei…