Working Paper 139

Lifanyuan and the Management of Population Diversity in Early Qing (1636–1795)

Chia Ning

Department ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’

Year of publication

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Working Paper 139

A Lifanyuan-centered inquiry into Qing history raises statecraft-focused questions: which workings of the Qing statecraft actually accomplished the integration of the Inner Asian people? How were the tensions in the relationship between Inner Asia and the long-lasting dynastic center overcome? This paper presents an analysis of Lifanyuan governance through 'social systems', on which the center-periphery relations were built, and of Lifanyuan management of 'social entities', in which the local Inner Asian communities were organized following their own conventions but under Qing supervision. The banner system for the Mongols, the Dalai-amban system for the Tibetans inside heartland Tibet, the tusi system for the Amdo Tibetans in Qinghai, and the beg system for the Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang preserved and sustained four types of social entities centered on each people’s culture and identity. Considering the growing studies of borders and frontiers in relation to concepts of nation, state, and empire-state, this study treats Lifanyuan as a historical "agent" in the Qing Empire formation during the 17th and 18th centuries and discusses its long-term impact on China reaching up to the 21st century.

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