Covering the period from the establishment of Sui to the fall of Southern Sung, this reference work for the first time gives a full and conveniently arrranged overview of China’s diplomatic and trade relations with its major and minor Asian neighbours: continental South Asia and the islands, Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia, Tibet, Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and the Hsia, Liao, and Chin States. Basing himself on his yearlong research of Chinese offical histories and historical compendia, the author offers a wealth of detailed information - in translation - on matters such as the goods exchanged, the negotiations for peace and alliances, special missions required by diplomatic etiquette, foreign requests for marriage with Chinese princesses, etc. Special emphasis is given to the meaning of the so-called “tribute missions”, in reality a disguised form of trade.
This is a comprehensive and fully documented study of Chinese bureaucracy during the Han period, when many of the basic lines of Chinese government practice were laid down. It is also more detailed and wider in scope than similar works on other periods of Chinese history. The book covers the time from 202 BC to AD 9 and from AD 25 to 189, analysing and describing the central and local administrations, the army, official salaries, civil service recruitment and power in government. Professor Bielenstein translates all Chinese official titles and includes alphabetical lists of these titles with their English and Chinese equivalents. Thus his book will serve both as a description for the names of offices at every level of government. The book will be of interest to all scholars of Chinese history, as well as to experts in other fields of institutional history, government and political science.