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The Chinese Empire, the largest political division of Eastern Asia, extends from 18°10' to 53°45' N. lat., and from 73°47' to 134°25' E. long. It includes China proper or the Eighteen Provinces (Shi-pa-sheng), theoretically a subject territory of Manchuria, the cradle of the present dynasty, and the dependencies: Mongolia, Ili (or Sin-kiang), and Tibet. It boundaries are

  • on the north, Siberia ;
  • west, Russian Turkistan;
  • south, British India ;
  • southeast, Burma and Tong-king;
  • east, the Pacific Ocean;
  • northeast, Korea.
This article is concerned only with China proper.


Roughly speaking, the Eighteen Provinces occupy nearly one-third of the surface of the empire. The area of China proper is estimated in round numbers at 2,000,000 square miles; Père Richard gives 1,532,800. The length is 1860, the breadth 1520, miles. According to the official trade returns for 1906, the estimated population of China was 438,214,000, which includes that of Feng-tien (Manchurian Province, 16,000,000). The "Almanach de Gotha" (1904) and the "Statesman's Yearbook" (1905) give for the Eighteen Provinces 319,510,000 and 407,335,305 respectively but Hon. W.W. Rockhill in a careful study (Smithson, Miscel. Col., quart. issue 27, part III) gives so low a figure as 270,000,000. The population at various epochs is as follows:

  • in 1390, 60,545,812;
  • in 1500, 53,281,153;
  • in 1619, 60,692,856;
  • time of Macartney, 333,000,000;
  • in 1842, 419,600,000;
  • in 1894, 412,800,000.


The Chinese call their empire Chung kwo (Middle Kingdom), a name first applied to Ho-nan, the country of the Chou dynasty; a Chinaman is designated Chung-kwo-jen or man of the Middle Kingdom; in diplomacy China is Ta-ts'ing Kwo (the great empire of Ts'ing, the present dynasty) as it was formerly Ta Ming Kwo (the great empire of Ming). In literature it is called T'ien Hia (Under Heaven ), Sze Hai [the four (surrounding) seas], Chung Hwa Kwo (the Middle Flowery Kingdom); some names refer to celebrated dynasties, Hwa Hia (glorious Hia), Han-jen or Han-tze (men or sons of Han), T'ang-jen or T'ang-shan (men or mountains of T'ang).

The Arabs called China Sin, Chin, Mahachin, Machin . The Sinæ and Seres of Ptolemy and other classic writers probably represent the Chinese. In the Middle Ages, Europeans made a distinction between Northern (Cathay) and Southern (Manzi) China. It is probable that the name China, from the Ts'in dynasty (third century B.C.), reached the West by way of Burma and India.


Coast and Islands The Pacific Ocean bears several names; to the south it is called Nan-Hai, or South (China) Sea, farther up the coast, Tung-hai, or Eastern Sea, and Hwang-Hai, or Yellow Sea. The coast forms a semicircle, the islands of the Che-kiang province (123x E. long. Greenwich), extending farthest east; to the north is the gulf of Chi-li and Shan-tung Peninsula; to the south the gulf of Tong-king, the Island of Hai-nan, and Lei-chou Peninsula. There are also

  • the Gulf of Liao-tung, Miao-tao Islands, the Chusan Archipelago, with Ting-hai and the celebrated pilgrimage of P'u-tu, the islands of Amoy, Sam-sa, Hai-t'an, Kin-men, T'ung-shan, Tai-wan or Formosa (now Japanese );
  • Nan-hai, Mirs bay (Ta'p'ong-hai), Hiang-kiang (Hong Kong), Lappa, and Kwang-chou Bays;
  • the islands of Namoa, Hong-Kong, Lan-tao, Lamma Archipelago, the Ladrones (Lao-wan-chan), the Chw'an Islands (Shang-chw'an, also called San-cian or St. John's, where St. Francis Xavier died in 1552), Hia-ch'wan, and the Parcels (Ta'i-chou).
The first beacon light was kindled at the mouth of the Yang-tze in 1855; the first light-house was erected on the island of Kung-tung, near Che-fu, in 1867. In 1907 the coast and ports of China had:
  • 116 lighthouses,
  • 5 lightships.
  • 24 light boats,
  • 137 buoys,
  • 10 beacons,
392 in all. Rivers

The chief river is the Yang-tze, called simply Ta-Kiang (Great River) or Kiang (River); as far as the Sze-ch'wan bend it is called Kin-sha-kiang; its general course is from west to east and its length about 4000 miles. It is navigable from the ocean to I-cha'ang, and semi-navigable, on account of rapids from I'-cha'ang to P'ing-shan-hien. In the province of Sze-ch'wan its tributaries, on the left, are the Ya-lung-kiang, the Min-kiang (Ch'eng-tu River), and the Kia-ling-kiang; on the right the Ho-kiang and the Wu-kiang; in Hu-pe it receives on the left the Han-kiang; in Kiang-su it crosses the Grand Canal; near its mouth it receives the Hwang-pu or Shanghai River; at its estuary it is divided into two branches by Chung-ming Island; it waters the cities of Ching-kiang, Nan-king, Wu-hu, Ngan-king, Kiu-kiang, Han-kou, I-ch'ang, Ch'ung-king, Sui-fu, and P'ing-shan.

Mention should be made of the following rivers:

  • north of the Yang-tze the Liao-ho which rises in the great K'ingan, north-east of Dolon-nor, and waters Southern Manchuria ;
  • the Pai-ho (Hai-ho), which flows through T'ien-tsin; at its mouth is Taku, formerly with forts at the entrance;
  • the Hwang-Ho (Yellow River) or simply the Ho, which is nearly as long as the Yang-tze, and is the scourge of China on account of its floods; in its middle course it forms a large bend, where it runs down between the provinces of Shen-si and Shan-si, encircling the regions of the Ordos country; it receives on the right its principal tributary, the large river Wei, and on the left the Fen-ho; at one time it ran into the Yellow Sea, south of the Shang-tung Peninsula, but now it follows the course of the Ts'i-ho and runs north of the peninsula; the basin of the Ho is considered the cradle of China.
South of the Yang-tze are:
  • the Ts'ien-tang-kiang;
  • the Hang-chou River, celebrated on account of its bore;
  • the Min-kiang, formed by the Kien-k'i, the Shoa-wu-k'i, and the Ning-hwa-k'i;
  • the Fu-chou River.
  • The Si-kiang (West River) from Yun-nan receives on the right the Yu-kiang, already increased by the influx of the Tso-kiang, the Nan-ning River; on the left of the Liu-kiang, the Pei (North) kiang; just this side of Chao-k'ing-fu, the Si-kiang divides into a number of branches; the north branch which waters Canton is called Chu-kiang or Pearl River and flows into the sea through the Hu-men, called also the Bocca Tigris or the Bogue, into which also empties from the East the Tung-kiang.
  • The Grand or Imperial Canal, called the Yo-ho or the Yun-ho, was begun, it is said, during the sixth century B.C., and was finished only in A.D. 1283 under the Mongol dynasty; it runs from T'ien-tsin to Hang-chou, crossing the Yang-tze at Chin-kiang and is the water-course of the Great Plain.

The chief lakes are the T'ung-ting in the Hunan province and the P'o-yang in the Kiang-si, both south of the Yang-tze by the Yo-chou Canal; the latter is fed by the Kan-kiang. Mention should also be made of the Ta-hu near Su-chou (Kiang-su) and the Si-hu, near Hang-chou (Che-kiang).


The two chief mountain ranges of China, offshoots of the highlands of Tibet, are the Eastern Kwen-lun and the Nan-shan. The Eastern Kwen-lun include the A-la-shan and the Kan-su mountains; the Ts'in-ling, between the Hwang-ho and the Yang-tze; the Min-shan and the Kiu-lun. The Nan-shan or Nan-ling extend from Yun-nan, Kwei-chou and Kwang-si, between the Yang-tze and the Si-kiang, to Kwang-tung and Fu-kien, their last spurs appearing in the Chusan Archipelago. Mention should also be made of the O-mi-shan,i.e., Mount O-mi (in Sze-ch'wan), the Wu-t'ai-shan (north Shan-si), and the Dokerla, near Aten-tze, all celebrated pilgrim resorts. The Great Plain of China extends from T'ien-tsin to Hang-chou, forming part of the provinces of Chi-li, Ho-nan, Ngan-hwei, Kiang-su, and western Shang-tung; it may be considered the valley of the Great Canal. A certain deposit called loess or hwang-t'u (yellow earth) covers a great part of Kan-su, Shen-si, and particularly Shan-si; this tertiary formation is characterized by its tendency to split vertically and by the numerous clefts caused by erosion; the caves in this deposit are easily deepened and often serve as dwelling for the inhabitants; it is exceedingly fertile for which reasons the Shan-si province has been called the "granary of the empire".


The territorial divisions of the Chinese Empire have varied greatly at different times. Under Emperor Yu the Great and the Hia dynasty, the capital was Yang-hia (in Ho-nan), and China was divided into nine chou : K'e, Ts'ing, Yen, Su, Yu, Yung, Leang, King, and Yang. Under the Shang the capital was Po, near modern Kwei-té-fu (Ho-nan), and the division remained the same. Under the Chou (1122-660 B.C.) the capitals were successively Hao (Ch'ang-ngan) and Lo-yang (781 B.C.), and there were still nine chou : You, Ping, Yen, Ch'ing, Ch'e, Yung, Yu, Chin, Yang. During the period covered by the "Spring and Autumn Annals" of Confucius (781-519 B.C.) the capital was Lo-yang and there were the following kingdoms: Chou (1122-249), Loo (1121-248), Wei (1077-413), Ts'ai (1106-446), Tsin (1106-376), Ts'aou (1051-486). Ch'eng (805-374), Woo (1290-472), Yen (863-221), Ch'en (853-478), Sung (1077-285), T'se (1076-220), T'su (1077-222), T' sin (908-245). Under the Ts'in dynasty (220-204 B.C.) China was divided into 36 kiun. Under the Han dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 25) the capital was Ch'ang-ngan; there were 103 principalities, 241 marquisates, 32 tao or provinces, 1314 hien . Under the Eastern Han dynasty (A.D. 25-220), there were 13 chou and the capital was Lo-yang. The capitals of China were in turn or at the same time : Lo-Yang (Wei dynasty), Ch'eng-tu (Shu of Sze-ch'wan), Kien-kang, or Nan-king (Wu), Hang-chou (Southern Sung, 420-477), Ta-tung (Northern Wei, 386-532), Ch'ang-ngan (Sui, 581-618), Lo-yang (T'ang, 618-907), K'ai-feng and Hang-chou (Sung, 960-1126), Peking, called Yen-king under the Kin, and Cambalue under the Yuan. During the Mongol period China was divided into ten sheng or provinces; under the Ming dynasty there were fifteen sheng, Kan-su having been taken from Shen-si, Kiang-nan being divided into Kiang-su and Ngan-hwei, and Hu-kwang into Hu-pe and Hu-nan. There are now eighteen provinces. At one time Formosa formed one province; Kiang-hwai, or Northern kiang-su, was temporarily detached from Kiang-su (1905).

The Eighteen Provinces

The Eighteen Provinces (Shi-pa-sheng) consist of: (1) Chi-li (meaning direct rule), in which is Peking (Shun-t'ien-fu), the capital of the empire. The capital is Pao-ting; principal places Sien-hwa, Chen-te (Shehol), Yung-p'ing, T'ien-tsin, Ho-kien, Chen-ting; mention should also be made of Shang-hai-kwan, the most important pass through the Great Wall, Dolon-nor (Lama-miao), the old summer residence of the Mongol emperors; the population is 29,400,000. (2) Shang-tung (east of the mountain, the Heng-shan); capital, Tsi-nan; principal places: Tsi-ning-chou; Ts'ing-chou-fu, Chou-ts'un, Lai-chou, Teng-chou, the treaty port Che-fu, the British establishment Wei-hei-wei, the German port T'sing-tao (Kiao-chou); the T'ai-shan is a celebrated place of pilgrimage. Confucius and Mencius were born in this province; population 38,000,000 (3) Shang-si (west of the mountain); capital, T'ai-yuan-fu; primcipal products, coal and iron; principal mountain, Wu-t'ai-shan; principal cities: Kwei-hwa-ch'eng (also called Kuku-choto or blue city), Ta-tung, P'ing-yang-fu, P'ing-ting-chou; the population of Shan-si, Shen-si, Kan-su, Ho-nan, and Kwei-chou is estimated at 55,000,000. (4) Ho-nan [south of the river (the Hwang-ho)]; capital, K'ai-feng; near Ho-nan-fu, is the sacred mountain Sung, to the west of which is situated the lung-men defile, whose banks are adorned with ancient sculptures, (5) Kiang-su [first syllables of Kiang-ning (Nan-king) and Su-chou]; capital, Su-chou; principal city Kiang-ning (Nan-king), formerly capital of the empire, and now residence of the viceroy of the Liang-kiang or Two Kiangs; chief cities, Shanghai, the most important trading mart of China, and Yang-chou on the Grand Canal; population 23,980,000. (6) Ngan-hwei (first syllables of Ngan-k'ing and Hwei-chou); capital Ngan-k'ing on the left bank of the Yang-tze; principal places Wu-hu, a treaty port, Hwei-chou, Feng-yang, the birthplace of the Mings; population, 36,000,000. (7) Kiang-si (west of the Kiang); capital Nan-ch'ang, on the Kan-kiang, south of the celebrated P'o-yang lake; principal places Kiu-kiang, a treaty port, Yao-chou, King-te-chen, the centre of the manufacture of porcelain, with 100,000 workmen; population 25,534,000. (8) Che-kiang (crooked river); capital, Hang-chou, on the left bank of the T'sien-tang, near the celebrated Lake Si-hu; principal places: Hu-chou, Shao-hing, Ning-po, Ting-hai, Lan-k'i-hien, Kin-hwa; population 11,800,000. (9) Fu-kien (first syllables of Fu-chou and Kien-ning); capital, Fu-chou on the left bank of the Min; principal places: Ts'ean-chou, Amoy (Hiamen), Chang-chou, T'ung-ngan, Yen-p'ing, Kien-ning, Ch'ung-ngan, Lien-kiang, Fu-ning; population, 20,000,000. (10) Hu-pe (north of the lake, Tung-t'ing); capital, Wu-ch'ang, on the right bank of the Yang-tze at the mouth of the Han-ho; opposite, on the right bank of the Han, is Han-yang, on the left Han-kou; other important places, I-ch'ang, Sha-shi, Siang-yang; population, 34,000,000. (11) Hunan (south of the lake); capital, Ch'ang-sha, on the right bank of the Siang-kiang; principal places, Heng-chou, Siang-t'an, Siang-yin, Yo-Chou, and the great market-city Ch'ang-te; population 22,000,000. (12) Kwang-tung (east of the Kwang); capital, Kwang-chou (Canton) after 1664, when it superseded Chou-k'ing-fu; principal places: Chao-chou, Fa-chan, Swatow, Pak-hoi, Kiung-chou (Hai-nan); population 32,000,000. (13) Kwang-si (west of the Kwang); capital, Kwei-lin, on the Kwei-kiang; principal places, Wu-chou on the Si-kiang, Nan-ning of the Yu-kiang, Lung-chou on the Tso-kiang; Liu-chou on the Liu-kiang, Po-se; population 8,000,000. (14) Yun-nan (south of the clouds); capital, Yun-nan-fu; Principal places: Ta-li-fu, capital of the Mohammedan rebels, Tung-ch'wan, Chao-t'ung, Meng-tze, Sze-mao, Aten-tze, Momein (Teng-yueh); this province has a large foreign population, chiefly Minchia, Lolos, Miao-tze, etc.; population, 8,000,000. (15) Kwai-chou (precious region); capital Kwei-yang; principal places: Tsun-i-fu, Pi-tsieh-hien, Ngan-shun, Hing-i-fu. (16) Shen-si (west of the Shen T'ung-kwan Pass), capital Si-ngan-fu near the Wei-ho where the imperial court repaired during the Boxer rebellion (1900); principal places: Han-chung, Hing-ngan. (17) Kan-su (first syllables of Kan-chou and Su-chou); capital, Lan-chou, on the right bank of the Wang-ho; principal places: Si-ning; to the southwest the celebrated monastery Gum-bum, Ning-hia, Liang-chou, Kan-chou, Su-chou. (18) Sze-ch'wan (four rivers, i.e., Yang-tze, Min, Ch'ung, and Kia-ling); capital, Ch'eng-tu, in a large and rich plain, well-irrigated; principal places: Ta-tsien-lu, Ya-chou, Kia-ting, Su-chou or Sui-fu, Sh'un-king, Wan, Ling-yuen, capital of Kien-ch'ang, the Lolo region, Li-tang, and Ba-tang; population, 79,500,000; estimated in 1904 by A. Hosie at 45,000,000.

The following abbreviations are used in the customs, postal, and telegraphic services:

  • An. Ngan-hwei
  • Che. Che-kiang
  • Chi. Chi-li
  • Fu. Fu-kien
  • Hei. Hei-lung-kiang (Manchuria)
  • Ho. Ho-nan
  • Hun. Hu-nan
  • Hup. Hu-pe
  • Kan. Kan-su
  • Ki. Kiang-si
  • King. Sheng-king
  • Kir. Kirin (Manchuria)
  • Ku. Kiang-su
  • Kwei. Kwei-chou
  • Man. Manchuria
  • Sha. Shan-si
  • Sht. Shan-tung
  • Si. Kwang-si
  • Sin. Sin-kiang
  • Sze. Sze-ch'wan
  • Tung. Kwang-tung
  • Yun. Yun-nan


It would be a great mistake to think that the Chinese people are all of one race. The ordinary Chinaman is of middle size, strongly built, with a round, full face, high cheekbones, a short, depressed nose, thick lips, and fine teeth. His eyes are black and often oblique, his complexion varying between pale white and dark brown; his forehead shaven, and his coarse black hair hanging down his back in a plait; his beard is black and scanty, his feet small. The true Chinaman, that is to say, the native of the central provinces, from the banks of the Hwang-ho and lower Yang-tze, differs greatly from his countrymen of the maritime provinces of Kwang-tung and Fu-kien. Not only are there racial differences between the various types of Chinese, but still further differences arise from the various people living on the borders as well as in the provinces. On the north, the Tatars, Manchus, and Mongols, on the west the Tibetans are important groups. The Chinese call the non-Chinese tribes "barbarians", or Yi, Fan, and Man ; the term Yi was used to designate Europeans and was prohibited by Article 51 of the British Treaty of T'ien tsin (1858); Fan-lao or Fan-jen according to S. W. Williams was used at Canton for foreigners; the general names Man and Mantze are employed more particularly in the West and South and include such non-Chinese as the Yao, Chwang, Tho, Lolo, or Y-kia, Chung-kia, Si-fan, Miao tribes, etc. dispersed through Sze-ch'wan and Yun-nan, while the Hakkas reside in Kwang-tung. There are also savage tribes in Formosa, on the western slope of the central range of mountains.

The queue ( pien-tze ) worn by the Chinese and so characteristic of the race, was imported by Manchu conquerors in 1627. To compress the feet of the females is far from being a universal custom, and has no connection with position or fortune, Manchu ladies (i.e., those of imperial family ) and most of the southern women do not treat their feet in this unnatural way; there are no trustworthy data as to the origin of this torture, which goes back, some say, to A.D. 583. A few years ago some European ladies started an anti foot-binding movement under the name of Tien Tsu Hwei , which seems to have met with a fair amount of success. Some Chinese, especially scholars, wear extraordinarily long nails, which are intended to show their owners are above manual labor. Sometimes they sheath their nails with brass of silver.


Since the beginning of the fifteenth century the seat of government has been Peking (northern court), its name being Shun-tien-fu in the Chi-li province; the southern court (Nan-king) was Kiang-ning in the Kiang-su province, the capital of the empire in the beginning of the Ming dynasty. The emperor is styled Hwang-ti (emperor) or Hwang-sheng, Wan-sui Yeh, Tien-tze (son of heaven ), T'ien-wang (heavenly prince); the empress is styled Hwang-heu or Chung-kung; where there are two empresses they are designated Tung-kung and Si-kung (respectively eastern and western, according to the part of the palace they live in. The heir apparent is the Hwang-t'ai-tze; the hereditary imperial nobility include:

  • T'sin-wang, prince of the first order;
  • Kiun-wang, of the second order;
  • Pei-leh (Bei-leh) of the third order;
  • Pei-tze, of the fourth order;
  • Fung-ngen Chen Kwo-kung, duke of the first order;
  • Fung-ngen Fu Kwo-kung, of the second order;
  • Pu-ju, Pa-fen Chen Kwo-kung, of the third order;
  • Pu-ju, Pa-fen Fu Kwo-kung, of the fourth order;
  • Chen-Kwo Tsaing-kiun,
  • Fu-Kwo Tsaing-kiun,
  • Fung-Kwo Tsaing-kiun, and
  • Fung-ngen Tsiang-kiun, generalissimos of the first, second, third, and fourth clases respectively.
The Tsung-shi are the imperial clansmen, descendants of Hien Tsu (1583-1615), the founder of the Manchu dynasty, and are distinguished by their yellow girdles; all affairs relating to the imperial family are treated by the Tsung-jen-fu, the Imperial Clan Court. There are eight princely families with perpetual inheritance:
  • Li T'sin-wang, Prince of Li;
  • Jui T'sin-wang, Prince of Jui;
  • Yu T'sin-wang, Prince of Yu;
  • Su T'sin-wang, Prince of Su;
  • Cheng T'sin-wang, Prince of Cheng;
  • Chwang T'sin-wang, Prince of Chwang;
  • Shun-ch'éng Kiun-wang, Prince of Shun-ch'éng;
  • K'e-k'in Kiun-wang, Prince of K'e-k'in.
I Ts'in Wang, Prince of I, not included in the eight, is also perpetual.

The central government includes: (1) the Kiun-ki Ch'u, Council of State, created by Yung Chéng in April, 1732, including a few ministers and sixty secretaries, Chang-king; (2) the Nei-ko or Grand Secretariat, including four grand secretaries, Ta-heo-she of Chung T'ang, two Manchus, and two Chinese, each designated by one of the pavilions of the Imperial Palace: Wen Hwa-tien, Wu Ying-tien, T'i Jen-ko, Tung-ko; under the Ming dynasty the Chung T'ang were called Ko-lao; this was the title of the celebrated Paul Siu (Siu K'wang-k'i); two assistant grand secretaries styled Hie-pan Ta-hio-she; (3) the ministerial boards or Liu Pu, which, prior to 1906, numbered six: Li Pu, Board of Civil Appointments; Hu Pu, Board of Review; Li Pu, Board of Rites ; Ping Pu, board of War ; Hing Pu, Board of Justice ; Kung Pu, Board of Public Works. The Yo Pu or Board of State Music is a dependency of the Board of Rites. Some of these boards or ministries have been remodelled, and new ones created since 1906, and they now include, besides the Wai-wu Pu, the following boards: Li Pu, the Board of Civil Office; the Min-cheng Pu, Board of Home Affairs; the Tu-chi Pu, Board of Finance; Hio Pu, Board of Education or of Public Instruction; Fa Pu, Board of Justice ; Lu-kiun Pu, Ministry of War ; Nung-kung-shang Pu, Board of Agriculture, Works, and Commerce; the Yu-chw'an Pu, board of Posts and Communications, including steam navigations, posts, and telegraphs; Li Pu, Board of Rites ; Siun-king Pu, Board of Public Safety. Previous to 1906, each board had two presidents (Shang-su), Manchu and Chinese, two senior vice-presidents, (Tso She-Lang), and two junior vice-presidents, (Yeo She-Lang); there are now one president and two vice-presidents. The Tsung-li Ko Kwo-she-wu Yamen, commonly called Tsung-li Yamen, the Foreign Office, was created by Hien Fung, 20 January, 1861, after the war with France and England ; previously foreign affairs had been dealt with by the Li Fan-yuan, board for the administration of vassal countries, controlling Mongolia, Tibet, etc., and formerly Russia ; the Li Fan-yuan has now become a ministry of colonies; the Tsung-li Yamen was replaced (23 July, 1901) by the Wai-wu Pu. The Court of Censors or Censorate (Tu Ch'a Yuan) has two presidents (Tu Yu-she), four vice-presidents, twenty-four supervising censors (Liu k'o), divided into six boards, and thirty-eight censors (Yu-che) distributed over fifteen Tao or circuits. The Han-lin Yuan, college of academicians, has two presidents (Chang-yuan Hio-she). There are also the Kwo Tze Kien or imperial college, and K'in-t'ien Kien, or board of astronomy, etc.


There are eighteen provinces (Shi-pa-sheng); these sheng are divided into Tao (circuits), Fu (prefectures), T'ing (independent sub-prefectures), Chou, and Hien; independent Chou are called Chi-li Chou. The Eighteen Provinces, together with Sin-kiang, are under eight governors general or viceroys (Tsung-tu or Che-t'ai) and twelve governors, three of whom are independent. The eight viceroyalities are the Chi-li, Liang-kiang (including Kiang-su, Ngan-hwei, and Kiang-si), Min-che (Fu-kien, Che-kiang), Liang-hou (Hu-pe, Hu-nan), Liang-kwang (Kwang-tung, Kwang-si ), Yun-kwei (Yun-nan, Kwei-chou ), Shen-kan (Shen-si, Kan-su), and Sze-ch'wan. Each province is presided over by a governor, (Siun-fu, Fu-t'ai) except Chi-li, Fu-kien, Kan-su, Sze-ch'wan, Kwang-tung, Yun-nan, and Kan-su; there is one in Sin-kiang; the Fu-t'ai of Shang-tung, Shan-si, and Ho-nan are not under a governor-general, but are directly under Peking. Immediately after the governor are the high provincial treasurer (Pu-cheng She-sze or Fan-t'ai), the high provincial judge (Ngan-ch'a She-sze or Nieh-t'ai), the salt controller (Yen-yun She-sze), and the grain intendant (Liang-tao); these various officials constitute each provincial government under the collective name of Tu-fu Sze-tao. Next in order come the Fen-siun Tao ; the intendant of a circuit (Tao-t'ai--98 in all), the prefect of a Fu (Che-fu--181), the T'ung-che (170); the T'ung-p'an (141); the Che-chou (140); the Che Hien, district magnate (1290); there is a Hio-cheng (Hio-yuan, Hio-t'ai), or provincial director of instruction in each province, who presides at the prefectural examinations.

The Chinese functionaries known to Europeans as Mandarin (from mandar , to command) are called Kwan by the Chinese; there are nine ranks of kwan, divided into civil and military officials, who are distinguished by the button worn on the official hat, by the square embroidered badge on the breast and back of official robes (a bird for the civil, a quadruped for the military, and by the clasp of the girdle.

A provincial official down to Tao-t'ai inclusive is styled Ta-jen (great man ); from Che Fu to Che Hien, the name is Ta Lao-ye (great old father); for the rest Lao-ye (old father). Various forms of distinction are awarded for public services; the principle if the Ling-che (the feather) of which there are three grades corresponding to degrees of distinction: the three-eyed, the two-eyed, and the one-eyed peacock feather (K'ung Tsio-ling) and the crow feather (Lan-ling, blue feather). The chief distinction for military men is the Hing-kwa or Hwang-ma-kwa (yellow riding jacket). there are nine degrees of nobility, either transmissible to a certain number of ancestors or descendants (she-si), or hereditary forever (she-si-wang):

  • Kung (duke),
  • Hou (marquis),
  • Pe (earl--together designated as Ch'ao P'in),
  • Tze (viscount),
  • Nan (baron),
  • K'ing-ch'e Tu-yu,
  • K'i-tu-yu,
  • Yun-k'i-yu.
The translations sometimes given the first five titles are indicated in parentheses. The residence of a mandarin holding a seal is called Yamen ; that of a mandarin without a seal, Kung-su .


Formerly Chinese children, after being taught to read and write, had to learn such elementary books as the "San-tze-king" (Three-Character Classic), the "Pe-kia-sing" (Hundred Family Names), and the "T'sien-tze-wen" (One Thousand-Character Classic); later they studied the "Sze Shu" or "Four Classical Books". Memory was developed at the expense of critical faculty, science being almost entirely neglected. A good calligraphy and a thorough knowledge of the Confucian classic were the main requisites for passing an examination, in which an essay on texts selected from these three classic, and called wen-chang , played a considerable part. The wen-chang, suppressed in 1898 during the short period of reform, has been definitely abolished. The civil offices were recruited from those who passed the three examinations: Hiang-she (provincial), held triennially in the autumn; Hwai-she (metropolitan) held at Peking, in the spring; Tien-she, the palace examination. The student (T'ung-sheng) took in succession the three degrees: Siu-ts'ai, Ku-jen, and Tsin-she; at the last examination the first four competitors received the titles of Chwang Yuan, Pang yen, T'an Hwa, and Ch'wan Lu.

After the war with Russia, China felt the necessity of a thorough change; Confucianism was no longer a sufficient weapon against Western enterprise. Elementary, higher primary, middle, higher, and special schools were established on foreign principles. A university and a technical school were opened at Peking, while young students were sent abroad, especially to Japan. It must be admitted that the latter brought back from the Empire of the Rising Sun an entirely new spirit. They have been responsible, to a great extent, for the reorganization of the secret societies , which aim not only at reform, but also at the overthrow of the present dynasty. By an imperial decree which was dated 2 Sept., 1905, and went into effect at the beginning of 1906, the former programme and methods of examination were abolished, and a new system of education inaugurated. This includes the study of the Chinese language, literature, and composition, the various sciences studied in the West, history, geography, foreign languages, especially Japanese, gymnastic exercises and drills, and in the higher grades the study of political economy, and civil and international law. As a natural consequence, new degrees corresponding to B.A., M.A., LL.D., etc. were created. It is evident that the Chinese attitude of mind is undergoing a great change through contact with Western ideas and learning; what is less evident is that deeper layers of the nation have not been reached.


Chinese philosophy, at least in what is fundamental, is embodied in the religious books, or rather in the classical works called "King". Confucius was more of a collector than a creator; he was a moral teacher, imbued with traditions he had studied and mastered, and of which he was the ideal representative, but he was no inventor. The man who stamped Chinese philosophy with his strong personality, or rather his genius, was the philosopher Chu Hi (A.D. 1130-1200), born in Fu-kien during the Sung dynasty. He had a retreat for intervals of meditation at the White Deer Grotto in the hills near P'o-Yang lake. The "Book of Changes" (Y-king) begins with the T'ai-ki , the Great Absolute; according to Chu Hi there was in the beginning the primordial principle, the abstract monad called the "absolute nothing", Wu-ki . When moving, the Great Absolute produced by the congealing of its breath, the Yang , the great male principle; when it finally rested in produced the Yin , or the great female principle; after this great division what was above was heaven, beneath was earth, and during the subsequent evolutions and movement were created in turn, the sun and the moon, the stars and the planets, water and fire, men and animals, vegetables and minerals, etc. Four laws regulate the present movement of the two principles: (1) Hi , the breath of nature, governed not by arbitrary but by fixed, inscrutable laws ; (2) Li , the laws of nature ; (3) So , the numbers or numerical proportions of the universe ; (3) Ying , the appearance of forms of nature.

This philosophical system is represented by diagrams. Sometimes the three powers of nature ( San-t'sai ), i.e., T'ien ( Heaven ), Ti (Earth), Jen (Man), are indicated by a triangle. The two primitive principles are shown, the first by a straight line _____ which corresponds to Yang, the male principle, heaven, light, etc.; the second by a broken line __ __ which corresponds to Yin, the female principle, earth, darkness, etc. Combinations of these lines give the following four figures:


___ ___

___ ___

___ ___
___ ___

(1) T'ai Yang , corresponding to sun, heat, eyes, etc.; (2) The T'ai Yin corresponding to the moon, cold, ears, etc.; (3) The Shao Yang corresponding to the stars, daylight, the nose, etc.; (4) The Shao Yin corresponding to the planets, night, the mouth, etc.

A new combination of these figures was revealed to Fu-hi (2852-2738 B.C.), by a dragon-horse which rose from the Yellow River and presented to the gaze of the emperor a scroll upon its back inscribed with mystic diagrams which, being arranged, consisted of eight trigrams or symbols called Pa-kwa :


__ __

__ __

__ __
__ __

__ __

__ __
__ __

__ __
__ __

__ __
__ __
__ __

(1) Corresponds to Heaven and the pure male principle, being entirely composed of whole lines; (2) vapours, watery exhalations, lakes; (3) fire, heat, light; (4) thunder; (5) wind; (6) water; (7) mountains; (8) earth and pure feminine principle, being entirely composed of broken lines. An octagonal arrangement devised by the philosophers of the Sung dynasty gives the figures called Sien-tien.

Shen-nung, the second of the Five Emperors, is held to have multiplied by eight the original Kwa of Fu-hi, forming sixty-four hexagrams. This number multiplied by six gives 384, the maximum to which the calculations can be carried practically, though it is stated that a series of 16,777,216 different forms can be obtained. The two principles forming the Tai-ki were sometimes represented by two opposite semi-circles in a circle, the two portions of the circle in dark and clear respectively; later on a dark disk was inserted in the clear portion and a clear disk in the dark portions.

The male and female principles may also be represented by a circle and a square; for instance at Peking the Temple of Heaven is circular while the Temple of Earth is square; the common coin called cash being round with a square hole in the centre is a perfect symbol of Heaven and Earth.


The doctrine of Confucius and his school is contained in the classical books called "King". Five of the classics of the highest grade include: (1) The "Y-king" (Book of Changes) with 24,107 characters; (2) the "Shu-king" (Book of History) in fifty-eight chapters with 25,700 characters extends from the Emperors Yao and Shun to Ping Wang of the Chou dynasty (720 B.C.); (3) the "She-king" (Book of Odes) with 39,234 characters, a collection of popular poetry used in the petty states of China, collected and arranged by Confucius ; (4) the "Li-ki" (Book of Rites ) in forty-nine chapters (including the "Ta-hio" and the "Chung-yung",) 99,010 characters; (5) the "Ch'un-ts'ew" (Spring and Autumn), or the annals of Lu, the native state of Confucius, from 722 to 484 B.C. The "Yo-king" (Book of Music) was lost. Next came the lesser "King": (1) the "Sze-shu" (Four Books), "Ta-hio" (Great Study), "Chung-yung" (Invariable Medium), "Lun-yu" (miscellaneous conversations between Confucius and his disciples ), and "Meng-tze", the conversation of the sage Mencius (34,685 characters; with the commentary 209,749); (2) the two rituals, "I-li and "Chou-li" (45,806 characters); (3) the Hiao-king" (Book of Filial Piety with 1903 characters); (4) the three ancient commentators of the "Ch'un-ts'ew": "Tso-shi", "Kung-yang", and "Ku-liang"; (5) the "Eul-ya" (Library Exposition), a dictionary of terms used in the classical writing of the same period. It must be borne in mind that Confucius was an administrator, a statesman, in a word, a practical man, as well as a moralist, but not entirely devoid of originality.

The most distinguished followers of Confucius (b. 551; d. 479 B.C.) were Tsang-shen (506 B.C.) and Meng-tze ( Mencius, 372-289 B.C.). The rival of Confucius was Lao-tze, or Lao-kiun, a far deeper philosopher, author of the "Tao-teh-king" and of the "Kan-ying-pien", with his disciples, Kang-sang-tze (570-43 B.C.), Li-tze (500 B.C.), and Wen-tze (500 B.C.). The heterodox philosophers were Meh-ti (450 B.C.) and Yang-chu (450 B.C.); the Taoists, Chwang-tze (330 B.C.) and Hwai-nan-tze (second century B.C.). Mention should also be made of Wang-ch'ung, author of the "Lun-héng" (first century A.D.), Han-yu, or Han Wen-Kung (A.D. 768-824), and finally, under the Sung, the reformer Wang Ngan-shi (1021-86) and the illustrious Chu-hi (A.D. 1130-1200).


The three state religions of China ( San-kiao or three doctrines), are Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.-- Confucianism or Ju-kiao (a name adopted by the disciples of Chu-hi in in A.D. 1150) is the religion of the literati ; from the moral principles taken from the books arranged by Confucius a state religion has been created ; the Trinity ( San-ts'ai ), Heaven, Earth, and Man is represented by the emperor, T'ien-tze , Son of Heaven, the high-priest of the cult who pays his homage at the winter solstice at midnight and to the earth at the summer solstice. The state worship includes three grades of sacrifices, the victims being things, though persons are not excluded: (1) the great sacrifices offered only to T'ien ( Heaven ), Ti (Earth), Tai Miao (the great temple of ancestors) and Shieh-tsi (gods of the land and grain); (2) the medium sacrifices, an homage to the sun, the moon, the names of emperors and kings of foreign dynasties, Confucius, the ancient patrons of agriculture and silk, the gods of heaven, earth, and the cyclic year; (3) the inferior sacrifices ( Kiun-sze , crowd of sacrifices ) offered to the patron of medicine, the spirits of celebrated men, the clouds, rain, wind, and thunder, the five celebrated mountains, the four seas, four rivers, etc. The supreme ruler of heaven is Shiang-ti. There is no priesthood in Confucianism.

Taoism, or Tao-kiao , was invented by the disciples of Lao-tze, but the lofty theories of this philosopher have denigrated to the grossest superstitions, alchemy, astrology, and a worship of a pantheon of idols, the highest of which is Yu-hwang Shang-ti; the chief of the Taoists resides at Lung-hu-shan (Kiang-si); most of the hierarchy are extremely ignorant.

Buddhism, or Fo-kiao , the religion of Fo (Buddha) comes from India ; it is said to have reached China in 221 or 219 B.C., but this is hardly probable. The first certain fact regarding Chinese Buddhism is that it was orally taught in the year 2 B.C. to an ambassador of the Emperor Ngai by the Ta Yue-chi or Indo-Scythians; it was officially recognized by the emperor Ming-ti (A.D. 61). The search for manuscripts in India led pilgrims like Fa-hian and Sung-yun ( Fo-kwo-ki ), Hwei-shin, the celebrated Hiuan-tsang (seventh century), I-tsing, Wang-Hiuan-ts'e, Wu-k'ung and others to undertake long voyages which have thrown great light on the geography of Northern India and Central Asia. In spite of their exertions and of the numerous manuscripts they brought home, it was not until 1410 that the Chinese procured a complete copy of the Buddhist canon; some of the Buddhist sanctuaries are famous places of pilgrimage : the island of P'u-tu (Chu-san), the Wu T'ai-shan (Shan-si); the Omei-shan (Sze-ch'an), the Dokerla (Yun-nan). The Buddhist priests gather in monasteries ; the superiors of a district or a prefecture are called Seng-lu-tze ; they are selected from the leading abbots ( fang-chang ); besides the superiors ( Seng-kang, Seng-chen, Seng-hwei ), there are preceptors, preachers, expositors, and clerks. Buddhism, with its numerous monks, is the most popular religion of China, though a member of one sect very often borrows practices from the others cults and, if an official, will invariably perform the ceremonies of Confucianism. Whatever be the importance of these three religions, they are insignificant compared to the real, national religion of all Chinese -- ancestor-worship.

Ancestor worship originated in filial piety which, being of paramount importance in the eyes of the Chinese, is the object of a special book, the "Hiao-king". Filial piety, however, is not a natural, spontaneous feeling, but a well-defined duty, embracing the obligations towards the emperor, princes, officials, parents, and these vary according to the classes and people. In every house there is a tablet, if not a room; a rich family has a separate building; this is the hall of ancestors; the tablets are called p'ai-wei and the temples tze-t'ang . During the period called tsing-ming , in the first part of April, a general worship of ancestors takes place in the form of libations, and the burning of candles, paper and incense ; this cult was prohibited the Christians by a Bull of 1742.

Another great and popular superstition is Fung-shui (wind and water). To describe this is impossible, though it is the daily guide in a Chinaman's life. It is a system of geomancy founded on the "Y-king", systematized in the twelfth century; the date of a marriage, the proper place for a burial ground, a lucky site for a building, etc., the settlement of all these questions depends on the laws of Fung-shui laid down by the professors, who besides a knowledge of Buddhist and Taoist doctrines, had some superficial ideas regarding natural science, medicine, and astronomy.


Some commentators have found China in this passage of Isaias (A. V., xlix, 12): "these from the land of Sinim." Ptolemy divides Eastern Asia into the country of Sinæ and Serice, north of Sinæ, with its chief city Sera. Strabo, Virgil, Horace, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and Ammianus, speak of the Seres , and they are mentioned by Florence among the nations which sent special embassies to Rome at the time of Augustus. The Chinese call the eastern part of the Roman Empire (Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor ) Ta Ts'in, Fu-lin during the Middle Ages. The monk Cosmos had a correct idea of the position of China (sixth century. The Byzantine writer, Theophylactus Simocatta (seventh century) gave an account of China under the name Taugas . There is a Chinese record of a Roman embassy in A.D. 166. The sea voyages of Arabs and the pilgrimages of Chinese Buddhists have thrown considerable light on the geography of Asia during the Middle Ages.

The voyage of Vasco da Gama (1497) and the capture of Malacca by Albuquerque opened the Far East to the Portuguese, who arrived in Canton in 1514; Perestrello came in 1516; Fernïo Perez de Andrade followed in 1517 with Thomas Pires, but the misconduct of Simon de Andrade caused the expulsion of the Portuguese from Canton (1521) and the destruction of the fleet of Cautinho (1522); the Portuguese establishment of Liampo (1545) and Chang-chou (1549) were completely destroyed, and the inhabitants massacred. Finally, the Portuguese settled on the island of Hiang-shan at Macao, either in 1553 or 1557. The Dutch commander Cornellus Reyersz took the Pescadore Islands in 1624; but after an agreement made with the Chinese (19 Feb., 1625), Martin Sonk, the governor, transferred the Dutch colony to Tai-wan (Formosa), where it was captured by the Chinese pirate, Koxinga (1661). The capture in 1592 of the Portuguese Carrack, Madre de Dios, gave the English the secret of the East-Indian Trade. In 1596, three ships, the Bear, the Bear's Whelp, and the Benjamin, under the command of Benjamin Wood, were fitted out at the expense of Robert Dudley, and Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter (16 July) to the Emperor of China. The first English vessel that visited China reached there by accident. It was the Unicorn which, going from Bantam to Japan, was cast by a storm on the east coast of Macao, at the end of June, 1620. In 1634 Captain Weddell explored the Canton River. The first English company organized for the purpose of trading with India, commonly called the "Old Company" was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, 31 Dec., 1600, under the title "The Govenour and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies. The "English Company (or General Society ) trading into the East Indies" also called the "New Company" was incorporated by William III, 5 Sept., 1698, and the two were amalgamated in 1708-9 by Queen Anne, under the title of "The United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies", commonly known as the "Honourable East India Company".

The Russians crossed the Ural mountains in the middle of the sixteenth century under Ivan IV and subjugated Siberia ; from the Lena River they passed, in 1642, into the basin of Amur. Stephanof, one of their chiefs, met the Chinese for the first time in 1654, when exploring the Sungari River. After withstanding two sieges of their principal fort, Albasin, the Russians signed a treaty with the Chinese at Nerchinsk (27 Aug., 1689), which destroyed their influence in the region of Amur, and from which they did not recover until the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1727 Count Sava Vladislavitch signed a treaty regulating the inland trade between the two countries.

In 1660 the French organized a "Compagnie de Chine" which in 1664 was amalgamated with the "Compagnie des Indes" which gave up its China privileges in 1697-98 to "Compagnie Jourdan, la Coulange et Cie", which made Canton a trading centre. New companies were organized for the commerce of China in October, 1705, and November, 1712. Finally, in 1719, all the companies were merged into the "Compagnie des Indes", whose privilege was suspended in 1769, and which was finally dissolved, 3 April, 1790. A French consulate was established at Canton 3 Feb., 1776. The Danes had two companies organized in 1612 and 1670. Austria was represented by the Ostend Company, incorporated 17 Dec., 1722, and the Triest Company. Prussia had the Emden Company. In 1627 a Swedish company was organized; in 1655 Nils Matson Kiöping visited China. On 14 June, 1731, a charter was granted by King Frederick of Sweden to a company organized at Gothenburg. The first American commercial expedition to China was undertaken by the Empress of China, a vessel commanded by John Green, which sailed from New York for Canton, 22 Feb., 1784.

Trading was carried on at Canton through privileged merchants called Hong merchants, whose council, called Co-hong , was incorporated in 1720. Their number carried, but never exceeded thirteen. The foreign merchants traded in thirteen hongs , or factories, extending about 300 feet from the banks of the Pearl River, and about 1000 broad. The Hong merchants, hard pressed by the Hoppo , or custom mandarin, ran into debt with the foreign merchants. A visit of Commodore Anson (1742), a special mission of Captain Panton, even a transfer to another part of the empire, did not remedy the numerous grievances of the Europeans, who were not allowed to reside permanently at Canton, but were compelled to retire to Macao when business was done. The English sent an embassy, headed by Lord Macartney, in the Lion and the Hindostan. Macartney reached Peking 21 Aug., 1793, but did not obtain permission for the English to trade at Chusan, Ning-po, and T'ien-tsin, or to have a warehouse at Peking for their goods. Macartney's voyage cost ú80,000 (about $380,000), but was without result. Still less successful was the embassy of Lord Amherst (1816). Lord Napier, who was sent on special mission in 1833-4, died worn out by his negotiations. Grievances continued to increase year after year, until the destruction (June, 1839) of 20,283 chests of opium by Commander Lin brought matters to a climax.

On 9 June, 1840, a blockade of the Canton River was proclaimed by Admiral Sir John Gordon Bremer. Ting-hai (Chusan) was captured, 7 July, 1841. Sir Henry Pottinger was now appointed plenipotentiary, and Sir William Parker commander-in-chief. Amoy was captured 27 August, Ning-po 13 Oct., 1841, Shanghai, 16 June, 1842, and the British squadron entered the Ta-kiang (Yang-tze). Finally a treaty of thirteen articles was signed at Nan-king by Pottinger and Ki-yang, 29 August, 1842, on board the Cornwallis. Canton, Amoy, Fu-chou, Ning-po, and Shanghai were to be opened to trade, and consuls appointed to reside at each of these cities. The island of Hong-Kong was ceded to Great Britain, and indemnities were paid: $6,000,000 for the opium seized, $12,000,000 for the expenses of war, and $3,000,000 for the debts of the Hong merchants, whose guild was abolished. The United States and France followed the example of Great Britain. A treaty was signed with the United States at Wang-hia, near Macao, 3 July, 1844, by Caleb Cushing, and one with France by Théodose de Lagrené at Wham-poa, 24 Oct., 1844. An agreement with Belgium was signed at Canton, 25 July, 1845, and a treaty with Norway and Sweden, 20 March, 1847. The Chusan Archipelago was surrendered to the Chinese in 1847 by Sir John F. Davis, Governor of Hong-Kong. Hong-Kong had been declared a free port, 6 Feb., 1842 to the great damage of Macao.

The advantages, however, obtained through the treaty of Nan-king were soon found insufficient. The murder of the French priest Chapdelaine in Kwang-si (26 Feb., 1856) and the seizure at Canton of the lorcha Arrow (8 Oct., 1856) by the Chinese furnished the pretext for a joint action of England and France against China. The bombardment of Canton (27-29 Oct, 1856), the great rebellion in India (May, 1857), the appointment of Lord Elgin and Baron Gros as envoys to China by the two belligerents, the capture of Canton (29 Dec., 1857) and of the Taku forts (20 May, 1858), are the chief events which preceded the signing of the English (26 June) and French (27 June, 1858) treaties of T'ien-tsin. These treaties permitted the appointment of French and English ambassadors to Peking, and allowed the Chinese a like privilege of appointing ambassadors at the Court of St. James and the court of Paris, provided for the opening of the ports of New-chwang, Tang-chou (Che-fu), Tai-wan (Formosa), Chao-chou (Swatow), and Kiung-chou (Hai-nan), granted an indemnity of 2,000,000 taels for damages to the British and a like sum to both powers for war expenses, besides an indemnity to French subjects for the loss sustained through plunder, when Canton was taken, and guaranteed the punishment of the murderer of Father Chapdelaine.

On the 25th of June, 1859, the plenipotentiaries, Bruce and Bourboulon, who w

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