China as a Nation

Bas van Leeuwen, Jan Luiten van Zanden

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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With its unification in 221 BC, China is one of the oldest states still in existence today. The features of its unification were the creation of a transport network connecting all regions of the empire; a form of legalism, later incorporated in Confucianism, in which the people were required to support the state; and an education system geared towards maintaining state rule. These ties held an otherwise fragile empire together over the subsequent millennia, and were used at the end of each dynasty by the incoming rulers to obtain support (via taxes, obedient civil servants, and a pacified population). This led to a pattern of the rising dynasty making full use of these features, before weakening over time and ceding power to market forces. Although this pattern declined from the Qing Dynasty onwards, it has continued to the present day, still combining faster economic development with dynastic change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChina in the Local and Global Economy
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Geography, Politics and Sustainability
EditorsSteven Brakman, Charles van Marrewijk, Peter J. Morgan, Nimesh Salike
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781315142739
ISBN (Print)9781138307988
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRegions and Cities


  • China
  • development


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