1st Edition

The Making of the Modern Chinese State 1600–1950

By Huaiyin Li Copyright 2020
    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Making of the Modern Chinese State: 1600–1950 offers an historical analysis of the formation of the modern Chinese state from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth centuries, providing refreshing and provocative interpretations on almost every major issue regarding the rise of modern China. 

    This book explores the question of why today’s China is unlike any other nation-state in size and structure. It inquires into the reasons behind the striking continuity in China's territorial and ethnic compositions over the past centuries, and explicates the genesis and tenacity of the Chinese state as a highly centralized and unified regime that has been able to survive into the twenty-first century. Its analysis centres on three key variables, namely geopolitical strategy, fiscal constitution, and identity building, and it demonstrates how they worked together to shape the outcome of state transformation in modern China.

    Enhanced by a selection of informative tables and illustrations, The Making of the Modern Chinese State: 1600–1950 is ideal for undergraduates and graduates studying East Asian history, Chinese history, empires in Asia, and state formation.


    1. Introduction

    Part One. The Formation of the Qing State

    2. The Rise of an Early-Modern Territorial State: China in the Early to Mid-Qing Period

    3. Limits to Territorial Expansion: Fiscal Constitution and War-Making under the Qing

    Part Two. The Transition to a Sovereign State

    4. Regionalized Centralism: The Resilience and Fragility of the Late Qing State

    5. Between the Frontier and the Coast: Geopolitical Strategy Reoriented

    6. A Nation-State in the Making: Fiscal Expansion and the New Policies

    Part Three. The Making of a Unified and Centralized State

    7. Centralized Regionalism: The Rise of Regional Fiscal-Military States

    8. In Search of National Unity: Frontier Rebuilding under the Republic

    9. The Fate of Semi-Centralism: The Nationalist State Succeeded and Failed

    10. Total Centralism at Work: The Confluence of Breakthroughs in State-Making

    11. Conclusion

    List of Characters




    Huaiyin Li is Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Village Governance in North China, 1875–1936; Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Microhistory, 1948–2008; and Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing.