Qing Dynasty

China’s Ghostwriter: The True Story Behind Jackie Chan’s New Movie “Knight of Shadows”

China’s Ghostwriter: The True Story Behind Jackie Chan’s New Movie “Knight of Shadows”

Qing dynasty writer Pu Songling gets the big screen treatment next month with Jackie Chan in the lead role. But who was the Qing era's most famous "ghost writer"?

The Chinese Doctor Who Beat the Plague

The Chinese Doctor Who Beat the Plague

In October 1910, a mysterious illness appeared in the city of Manzhouli, on the Russian and Chinese border. Meet the doctor who stopped a deadly epidemic from spreading to the rest of Asia and possibly beyond.

American Business and Chinese Nationalism: Lessons from 1905

American Business and Chinese Nationalism: Lessons from 1905

US politicians score points with nativists by targeting immigrants. Chinese commercial interests collude with officials to stymie foreign competition. Diplomats try to resolve a trade dispute and avoid a broader conflict. Welcome to the world…in 1905.

Charitable Past: Examples of Goodwill Throughout the Chinese Ages

Charitable Past: Examples of Goodwill Throughout the Chinese Ages

Even centuries ago, the people of Beijing were willing to help those less fortunate, and throughout the city’s recent history, there have been many institutions providing aid to the poor, the sick, and the displaced.

When Ulysses S. Grant met General Li

When Ulysses S. Grant met General Li

Grant’s was a life lived in many acts: Soldier. Drunk. Failed businessman. Drunk. General. Drunk. President. Failed Businessman again. Tomb. He was also the first US president to visit China.

Dangerous Benevolence

Dangerous Benevolence

The Beijing municipal government threatening organizations that assist displaced migrants is bad policy, but official ambivalence toward private charity dates back at least to the imperial era

Imperial-Era Tombs Discovered on Site of New Beijing Mega-Airport

Imperial-Era Tombs Discovered on Site of New Beijing Mega-Airport

Workers building Beijing’s mega-airport of the future have stumbled over a bit of the city’s past.

Above the Law? Extraterritoriality and the Gucci 3

Above the Law? Extraterritoriality and the Gucci 3

A little stroll down Chinese legal history after the detention of the UCLA “Gucci 3” this past week.

Musical Dynasties: A Band-by-Band Guide to Chinese History

Musical Dynasties: A Band-by-Band Guide to Chinese History

Which Chinese dynasty is most like the Sex Pistols? Which rap crew could have soundtracked the Khans? The rogue historian weighs in…

This day in history: The Tianjing Incident, or “Why it’s never a good idea to make all of your subordinates kings”

This day in history: The Tianjing Incident, or “Why it’s never a good idea to make all of your subordinates kings”

A tale of a lunatic populist figurehead given to delusions of grandeur and hallucinations of his messianic nature (sound familiar?)

Kowtow and get out: How I was almost ejected from the Forbidden City

Kowtow and get out: How I was almost ejected from the Forbidden City

Demonstrating an imperial ritual for your guests is a good way to get 86'd from The Forbidden City. It almost happened to me.

Telling “The Story of China” in Six Hours is Futile, But Give BBC Credit for Trying

Telling “The Story of China” in Six Hours is Futile, But Give BBC Credit for Trying

It’s hard to fault the producers of the BBC Two documentary “The Story of China” (being broadcast this summer in the US on PBS, viewable online) for perhaps falling into the trap of the old Chinese saying, “走马看花” — to view flowers while racing a horse — i.e. attaining a superficial understanding through cursory observation.