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New Perspectives on China’s Late Imperial Period

Why China Slept

Patrick Leung

The book offers new perspectives on the history of China’s late imperial period and presents a much-needed novel explanation for China’s stagnation and decline in recent centuries. It begins by questioning all the conventional wisdom on the factors behind China’s relative lack of progress and subsequent decline since the 15th century and follows with a fresh interpretation of China’s past. The new vantage points provide insights into China’s resurgence in recent decades and its significance for other nations. The book also makes projections on the general direction that China’s future evolution is likely to take with respect to its market economy, rule of law and representative institutions.

The author aims to deepen international understanding of China’s past and present which will hopefully facilitate the development of more productive relationships between China and other nations. The book is written so that it appeals to students, academics as well as the general public and whoever is interested in gaining a better understanding of China’s rapid rise today. The book is relevant to third and fourth year undergraduate courses in history, economics, international relations, law and political science. It can be used as a text book for upper class core or elective courses in history and economics and as a reference book for upper class courses in international relations, law and political science. It can also serve as a reference book for graduate students in the above disciplines.

List of Tables – List of Figures – Preface – Acknowledgments – Part One: Overview – When Did China Fall Behind? – Differences Between the Beliefs and Value Systems of the West and China – What Closed Door Policy? – Almost Everybody Disliked Merchants – Free Markets Without Capitalism? – Why Is the Chinese Population So Large? – Literacy Rates of Ming and Qing China – Why Hadn’t the Chinese Discovered the New World and Australia? – What Happened to Chinese Firearms? – Why China Had No Scientific and Industrial Revolution? – Rule of Law, Rule of Man and Rule by Law – Ruling Class Democracy versus Rule by Mandarins – Part Three: Why China Slept and Implications for the Future – China’s Long Sleep: Imperial Overstretch and Its Consequences – What If Europeans Had Not Come to China in the Early Modern Period? – Implications for China’s Resurgence – Index.