Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Public Sphere and Public Opinion
(2,366 words)

In the realm of the political culture of China, in which ideals have been preserved in the form of stories about the wise rulers of ancient times, it was a mark of the good ruler that the "path of speech" was open, i.e. that criticism of officials and of the ruler himself could be brought before the court. These stories lead up to the idea that the "Mandate of Heaven" does not come automatically to any dynasty or to any ruler but has to be earned on an ongoing basis, and that its possession shows itse…

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Wagner, Rudolf G., “Public Sphere and Public Opinion”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 05 March 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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