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Southern Shaanxi Offcials in Early Nineteeth-Century China

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This essay examines an influential group of lower and middle level Qing administrators who served in southern Shaanxi in the early nineteenth century. These officials distinguished themselves pacifying the 1796-1804 White Lotus revolt, were promoted during the 1799-1805 Jiaqing reforms, and then were retained up to two decades in southern Shaanxi on the basis of their local expertise and effective administration. Accounts of rebel pacification, water management, and temple construction show that this cadre of field officials possessed considerable bureaucratic backing, regional prestige, and exibility in local action. These assets strengthened their ability to mobilize, supervise, restrain, and instruct increasingly self-managed local communities and aided the post-war restoration of southern Shaanxi. Their long tenure and regional authority likewise foreshadowed the rise of provincial "strongmen" in mid-nineteenth century China. Cet article est consacré à un groupe influent d'administrateurs Qing de rang inférieur ou moyen en poste dans le sud du Shaanxi au début du xixe siècle. Ces fonctionnaires s'étaient distingués pendant la pacification de la révolte du Lotus Blanc (1796-1804) et avaient bénéficié de promotions au moment des réformes de Jiaqing (1799-1805); ils furent maintenus en fonctions dans la même région, jusqu'à deux décennies durant, sur la base de leur expertise locale et de l'effcacité de leur administration. Comme on verra à partir d'épisodes concernant la répression des mouvements de rébellion, la gestion de l'irrigation et la construction de temples, ce cadre d'administrateurs locaux pouvait se prévaloir de considérables appuis bureaucratiques, d'un indéniable prestige régional et d'une grande souplesse d'initiative. Ils n'en étaient que mieux placés pour mobiliser, superviser et éduquer des communautés locales de plus en plus autonomes dans leur gestion et pour contribuer à la reconstruction du Sud-Shaanxi après la guerre. La durée de leurs périodes de service et leur autorité régionale pré gurent l'émergence des "hommes forts" provinciaux au milieu du xixe siècle.

Affiliations: 1: Ching Yun University, Graduate Institute of Central Asia Studies


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