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(2,579 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
Elites are the groups in a society who for a prolonged period of time play a leading role in the bureaucracy, economy, and cultural life. They are aware of this role and interact through internal networks. "Elites" is a modern Western term without a traditional Chinese equivalent. During the development phase of the Chinese state the elite functions lay with the clan of the ruler of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, who gave self-administered feudal tenures to male relatives. As these tenures became more independent and autonomous and increasing…

Literature and Politics

(3,316 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
Literature and politics have traditionally had a very close relationship in China. During the 20th century this relationship has grown even closer through the nationalist activism of many writers. The ideological and institutional integration of literature into the propaganda efforts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), modeled on the Soviet example, marked the far-reaching conflation of literature and politics in the PRC, which has led to the reader always paying attention to the political implications of literature. 1. Traditional Attitudes: Literature as Praise and R…

Public Sphere and Public Opinion

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
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 show…

Taiping Rebellion

(3,545 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace ( taiping tianguo) was a state which was inspired by Christian millenarianism, existed in central and southern China between 1851 and 1864, and for quite a few years appeared to be able and ready to overthrow the Qing dynasty. It was initiated by Hong Xiuquan, who in a vision had learnt that he was God's second son and that he would have the task of initiating the Millennium of Heavenly Peace. After a civil war of almost 15 years (whose death toll of about 30 million …