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Heritage of ChinaContemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization$
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Paul Ropp

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064409

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064409.001.0001

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Early Civilization in China: Reflections on How It Became Chinese

Early Civilization in China: Reflections on How It Became Chinese

Chapter:
(p.15) Two Early Civilization in China: Reflections on How It Became Chinese
Source:
Heritage of China
Author(s):

Paul S. Ropp

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520064409.003.0002

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

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