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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(1,789 words)

Author(s): Vermeer, Eduard B.
Shaan, Qin Xi'an 107 counties, 13 cities 37.35 million inhabitants 205,600 km2 182 inhabitants/km2 Shaanxi province lies in the transition zone between north and northwest China. Neighboring provinces include Inner Mongolia in the north, Shanxi and Henan in the east, Hubei in the southeast, Sichuan in the south, and Gansu as well as Ningxia in the west. The province consists of three different parts: the Loess Plateau in the north, which is cut by deep gullies and occupies almost half of the province; the We…


(1,870 words)

Author(s): Matzat, Wilhelm
Lu Jinan 140 counties, 48 cities 93.09 million inhabitants 156,700 km² 594 inhabitants per km² The province of Shandong is located on the north Chinese shore. The province's territory is visibly divided into two segments: the western section is part of the North China Plain; the eastern section forms the Shandong peninsula, which separates the Bohai Gulf in the north from the Yellow Sea in the south. The province stretches 420 km from north to south, and 720 km from east to west. The peninsula has an average w…


(2,303 words)

Author(s): Eberstein, Bernd
Hu 19 counties 18.15 million inhabitants 6340 km² 2863 inhabitants/km² The municipality of Shanghai is the largest city in China and the most important port aside from Hong Kong. It is also China's biggest industrial and trade center. The city is situated along the Huangpu River, which flows into the Yangzi 10 km to the north. Shanghai is therefore set in a central location between the vast and rich Yangzi River delta and the highly developed Chinese coastal regions. The climate is dominated by the wet,…


(1,377 words)

Author(s): Goodman, David S.G.
Jin Taiyuan 119 counties, 22 cities 33.75 million inhabitants 156,300 km2 216 inhabitants/km2 Shanxi province is situated in north China, bounded on the south and west by the Yellow River . In the east, the Taihang Mountain Range separates Shanxi from Hebei. In the north, the Great Wall of the Ming dynasty marks the border to Inner Mongolia. The province is divided into the eastern mountainous region (Wutai Shan, which reaches an altitude of 3058 m), the Loess Plateau in the west, and the central basin in …


(479 words)

Author(s): Schüller, Margot
Shenyang is the capital of the province of Liaoning , as well as the economic and cultural center of northeastern China. The city is eminent both as a regional transport hub and as a center for banking. Situated along the northern banks of the river Hun He in the Liao He plain. The administrative territory of the city comprises nine urban districts and two rural counties, in which 9 percent of Shenyang's 6.75 million inhabitants (2006: 7.04 million) were registered in 1998. In its 2000 years of history, Shenyang gained particular significance when the northern nomad peoples s…


(1,558 words)

Author(s): Calanca, Paola
Shipping has existed in China since antiquity. It has its own history, which is, however, difficult to trace in its individual aspects and seeming contradictions. Our knowledge about civil shipping up to the last centuries of the 1st millennium is limited, and it is extraordinarily difficult to piece together the development of the merchant marine and fisheries in its entirety. The important nautical innovations achieved up to the Song era, and even until to the beginning of the Ming era, stand …


(1,891 words)

Author(s): Lijian, Hong
Chuan Chengdu 181 counties, 32 cities 81.69 million inhabitants 488,000 km² 167 inhabitants/km² The province of Sichuan is situated in China's southwest. It borders on Tibet to the west, Qinghai, Gansu, and Shaanxi to the north, Chongqing to the east, and Guizhou and Yunnan to the south. Geographically, culturally, and historically, Sichuan forms a unit with Chongqing, which was separated from it in 1997. The following descriptions refer to the greater Sichuan area, as it existed before 1997. Today's smaller province (excluding Chongqing) will be discussed subsequently. Geographic…


(957 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter
True Chinese silk ( cansi) consists of the semi-transparent double thread of fibroin which is produced by the caterpillar of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori L. (sericaria) ) through gland secretion and enclosed by silken glue (sericin). The mulberry silkworm moth belongs to the family of Bombycidae in the class of the nocturnal butterfly (Lepidoptera nocturno). Its caterpillars are fed exclusively with leaves from the white mulberry tree (Morus alba). In addition, there is also tussah silk, which is produced by silkworms living in the wild, for example by oak silkworms (Antheraea p…

Sino-French War of 1883-85

(1,100 words)

Author(s): Bastid-Bruguière, Marianne
When the Sino-French War took place, it was in a new situation of political pressure and, in particular, territorial annexation which had been carried out by the Foreign Powers from 1870 to 1880 at the expense of China and its tributary states from Burma to Korea, and from the Ryukyu Islands to the Yili area. For the first time since 1839, this development, which presaged a division of China into zones of influence, prompted China to take the initiative and use military force against imperialism when France attacked Tonkin. Vietnam was one of China's oldest tributary states. For two…

Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95

(1,237 words)

Author(s): Wippich, Rolf-Harald
The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 is a turning point in the modern history of East Asia, with Korea being the cause for conflict. While for the Qing Empire, Korea was part of the Chinese tributary system, Japan insisted on Korea's political independence. The confrontation first culminated when Japan opened up Korea (1876). Since then Japan referred to Korea as an independent state with the same sovereign rights as Japan. When Japan systematically expanded its influence in Korea in the following y…

Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45

(1,869 words)

Author(s): Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Susanne
1. The Outbreak and the First Few Years of the War It is generally accepted that the Sino-Japanese War began on July 7, 1937. On this day, Chinese and Japanese soldiers clashed at the Marco Polo Bridge ( Lugouqiao) near Beijing, an event which constituted the culmination of a number of military advances by the Japanese army from Manchuria , which had been occupied since 1931, into northeastern China (Manchukuo). A gun fight which, according to the Japanese version, had been provoked by Chinese soldiers had taken place in the dark. …