- 页码：第10页 2014-11-19 12:32:05
The 19th century saw a profound change in Chinese self-perception. For centuries, the empire had been termed tianxia, literally and poetically rendered as ‘all under heaven’. This did not mean that premodern Chinese did not recognize that there were lands or peoples that were not their own – they certainly did – but that the empire contained all those who mattered, and its border was fl exible, although not infi nitely elastic. (The Treaty of Nerchinsk, signed in 1689, drew up the border which still exists today between China and Russia; clearly Qing China did not lack a sense of territoriality.) But the arrival of Western imperialism forced China, for the first time, to think of itself as part of an international system. The arrival of European political thought brought to China the idea of the nation-state, and many Chinese came to terms with the fact that the old China was gone, and that the new one would need to assert its place in the hierarchy of nations. That struggle is still with us today.
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