The Peking Gazette in Late Imperial China
State News and Political Authority
- PUBLISHED: May 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 280 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 11 b&w illus., 2 maps
- ISBN: 9780295748795
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
In the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), China experienced far greater access to political information than suggested by the blunt measures of control and censorship employed by modern Chinese regimes. A tenuous partnership between the court and the dynamic commercial publishing enterprises of late imperial China enabled the publication of gazettes in a wide range of print and manuscript formats. For both domestic and foreign readers these official gazettes offered vital information about the Qing state and its activities, transmitting state news across a vast empire and beyond. And the most essential window onto Qing politics was the Peking Gazette, a genre that circulated globally over the course of the dynasty.
This illuminating study presents a comprehensive history of the Peking Gazette and frames it as the cornerstone of a Qing information policy that, paradoxically, prized both transparency and secrecy. Gazettes gave readers a glimpse into the state’s inner workings but also served as a carefully curated form of public relations. Historian Emily Mokros draws from international archives to reconstruct who read the gazette and how they used it to guide their interactions with the Chinese state. Her research into the Peking Gazette’s evolution over more than two centuries is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the relationship between media, information, and state power.
Authors & Contributors
Emily Mokros is assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky.
Emily Mokros’s remarkable book considers changes to gazette publication in the early Qing, the gazette’s place as a vehicle for publicizing information alongside parallel policies of secrecy and censorship, its complex publication history, its varied uses for readers, and its global circulation once excerpted or translated in newspapers in treaty ports and around the world.- Journal of Asian Studies
Qing historians today have long known of the gazettes, but we've not known enough. This solid monograph fills the gaps in our knowledge and contributes to understanding of Qing political culture, its enduring institutions, and the origins of western sinological studies.- Journal of Chinese History
An important and original contribution to our understanding of the dissemination of state information in the Qing dynasty, which in turn illuminates the changing nature of the relationship between the state and a broader reading public.- Cynthia Brokaw, Brown University
A technical tour-de-force and a work of real scholarship from start to finish. It describes the Peking Gazette in detail and from every angle: government policy, production, readership, circulation, and impact.- Henrietta Harrison, Harvard University