Qing Officialdom and the Politics of Famine

Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley

in Tears from Iron

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253025
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934221 | DOI:
Qing Officialdom and the Politics of Famine

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During the North China Famine, the Qing court and officialdom repeatedly proclaimed the necessity of rescuing famine victims regardless of cost, thus upholding the faith that local observers had in the Qing government's good intentions. In practice if not in rhetoric, however, Qing officials were deeply divided over the importance of famine relief relative to other crises faced by the embattled state. In the capital, the famine intensified an ongoing debate about whether to strengthen China by using Western military and transport technology. High-level officials stationed in the famine-stricken northern provinces, on the other hand, focused less on the benefits or drawbacks of Western technology than on debates about the state's role in stabilizing the price of grain and prohibiting the cultivation of opium.

Keywords: North China Famine; Qing court; opium cultivation; Western technology; famine relief

Chapter.  10114 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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