From Marco Polo to Richard Nixon, narratives of the encounter between Chinese and Westerners have been defining texts of European cultures and their descendants. Successive but sporadic reports from travellers, missionaries, diplomats, traders and others have provided a model of an alternative way of arranging people, of organizing their lives, of thinking about the state of being human; one that described a government that was, or at least was represented as being, as authoritative as anything at home, with military power that could challenge any other, and with cultural achievements as profound. Traditionally labelled ï¿½inscrutableï¿½, China nonetheless possessed a written literature, an esteemed bureaucracy, technological achievements, complex financial systems, codes and courts of law, and religions that had texts, buildings and hierarchies of priests. In other words, though not like us at all, they were exactly like us.
|Publication status||Published - 2007|