An Introduction to the Peking Gazette at the British Library

Billet d’Emily Mokros (University of Kentucky), paru sur le Asian and African Studies Blog de la British Library . URL : http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2017/12/an-introduction-to-the-peking-gazette-at-the-british-library.html (consulté le 11 décembre 2017)

Today’s post is by Emily Mokros, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley. She wishes to thank the China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies for funding a trip to the British Library in summer 2017. This post draws on research from her 2016 doctoral dissertation on the Peking Gazette and for her book on the same subject.

Pages from a manuscript gazette, 10 January 1841 (Daoguang 20). From collection of Dr. James Art Sinclair, surgeon in the Bombay Army (BL Add 14333)

Pages from a manuscript gazette, 10 January 1841 (Daoguang 20). From collection of Dr. James Art Sinclair, surgeon in the Bombay Army (BL Add 14333)

In January 1808, the missionary Robert Morrison recorded some musings on news and politics in south China, where he had recently arrived under the auspices of the London Missionary Society. He wrote:

A court gazette from Pekin falls into the hands of some, & the loquacious Chinese, who spend much of their time in chatting parties, soon diffuse reports, and as is general, with considerable additions. I have called the Chinese loquacious, it is however only to be understood of them when by themselves. To foreigners they are reserved on every topic that regards the internal affairs of the Empire.
(Robert Morrison, Journal, January 1808, in CWM/LMS Collection, SOAS, University of London)
By early 1809, Morrison had begun to translate the court gazette (jingbao) for his new employers, the East India Company (EIC). Confined to posts in Macao and Canton, English traders yearned for access to Beijing, the nerve-center of the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1911. The “Peking Gazette” promised a glimpse at the activities of the imperial court and bureaucracy. Soon, translations of the Peking Gazette by Morrison and his students became common in London newspapers and journals. Meanwhile, the EIC, the British Superintendency of Trade (established in 1842), and the Chinese Secretary’s Office (established in 1860) began to collect, transcribe, and translate the gazettes. European and American visitors to China sought out copies of the gazette as souvenirs of their encounters with the Qing state.

Lire le billet

Voir aussi

  • Communication, Empire, and Authority in the Qing Gazette. Thèse de doctorat (Ph.D. dissertation) d’Emily Mokros, déposée électroniquement sur les archives ouvertes de l’université Johns Hopkins : https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/40303 (consulté le 11 décembre 2017)

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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