China’s View of the West, A Comparison of the Historical Geographies of Wei Yuan and Xu Jiyu

China’s View of the West, A Comparison of the Historical Geographies of Wei Yuan and Xu Jiyu Wei Yuan and Xu Jiyu, civil servants in mid 19th century China, were deeply disturbed by British expansion into Asia. On the theory that one should know one's enemies, both wrote pioneer historical geographies designed to introduce Chinese officials to the sources of Western power. They both made extensive use of missionary sources; however, there were significant differences between the works of Wei and Xu. Wei never abandoned the Middle Kingdom concept whereas Xu came to realize that the West had developed its own civilization, and he encouraged China's development of trade and commerce, especially in Southeast Asia. Wei and Xu's works circulated among a small number of Chinese officials on China's east coast, but it was not until after China's defeat in the Opium War, 1839-42, and the near over throw of the Qing dynasty by the Taipings that the works were reprinted and served as introductions to the West. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Sciences and Missions (preceeded by Le Fait Missionaire until 2006) Brill

China’s View of the West, A Comparison of the Historical Geographies of Wei Yuan and Xu Jiyu

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2012 by Koninklijke Brill N.V., Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1874-8937
eISSN
1874-8945
D.O.I.
10.1163/187489412X628109
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Wei Yuan and Xu Jiyu, civil servants in mid 19th century China, were deeply disturbed by British expansion into Asia. On the theory that one should know one's enemies, both wrote pioneer historical geographies designed to introduce Chinese officials to the sources of Western power. They both made extensive use of missionary sources; however, there were significant differences between the works of Wei and Xu. Wei never abandoned the Middle Kingdom concept whereas Xu came to realize that the West had developed its own civilization, and he encouraged China's development of trade and commerce, especially in Southeast Asia. Wei and Xu's works circulated among a small number of Chinese officials on China's east coast, but it was not until after China's defeat in the Opium War, 1839-42, and the near over throw of the Qing dynasty by the Taipings that the works were reprinted and served as introductions to the West.

Journal

Social Sciences and Missions (preceeded by Le Fait Missionaire until 2006)Brill

Published: Jan 1, 2012

Keywords: Wei Yuan; Xu Jiyu; Chinese historical geographies; Lin Zexu; Britain's expansion into Asia; revival of tributary system

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