Early Civilization in China: Reflections on How It Became Chinese

Paul S. Ropp

in Heritage of China

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1990 | ISBN: 9780520064409
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520908932 | DOI:
Early Civilization in China: Reflections on How It Became Chinese

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This chapter discusses the Western perceptions of China from the late sixteenth century to the present. To sixteenth-century Westerners, China was large, tough, and well-ordered. They never ceased to wonder at the size of the country and the diversity of its products. Western imperialism and colonization would have a positive role in the Chinese case as they battered down the barriers of isolation that made China a holdout against the spread of capitalism across the world. The chapter briefly describes how the most influential purveyors of perceptions in fictional form have chosen to present the relationships of their protagonists to the Chinese themselves. There have been so many twists and turns along the way to depicting China during the last four hundred years that no broad generalizations can hold.

Keywords: China; Western perceptions; sixteenth century; Western imperialism; Western colonization

Chapter.  14854 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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