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By Tong Lam

During this path-breaking e-book, Tong Lam examines the emergence of the "culture of truth" in sleek China, displaying how elites and intellectuals sought to rework the dynastic empire right into a geographical region, thereby making sure its survival. Lam argues that an epistemological break free from conventional modes of figuring out the observable international all started round the flip of the 20th century. Tracing the Neo-Confucian institution of evidentiary study and the fashionable departure from it, Lam indicates how, throughout the upward push of the social survey, "the truth" turned a uncomplicated conceptual medium and resource of fact. In targeting China's social survey flow, a keenness for proof analyzes how details generated by way of various learn practices--census, sociological research, and ethnography--was mobilized by way of competing political factions to visualize, deal with, and remake the country.

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Additional resources for A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949 (Asia Pacific Modern)

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Mao zedong When Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, wrote about the importance of “seeking truth from facts” in guiding the Communist revolution in 1941, he was describing a brief that was already widely shared by Chinese intellectuals from a broad political spectrum. For them, political and military solutions were insufficient in themselves to address the social dislocation and political breakdown caused by the encroachment of colonial powers, the collapse of the longstanding dynastic order, the bitter power struggles among contending warlords and political parties, and now a total war with Japan.

The discrepancy between our [lowest and highest] estimates alone has already exceeded two hundred million. You can forget about asking questions about such things as population density, gender ratio, or age distribution, for this country has no idea what its exact population is. ” The rest, he lamented, neither had knowledge of their own society nor themselves and were therefore helplessly plagued by superstitious ideas, wicked doctrines, and exploitation. 47 Li’s mockery was not sarcastic, however, but instead conveyed a sense of utmost urgency.

Almost immediately after the founding of the Republic, the dream of building a strong and democratic nation was tarnished by the politics of betrayal, terror, and factionalism. Internally, the nation degenerated into a period of warlordism and militarism without a functioning national gov- Lam, A Passion for Facts 8/18/11 12:58 PM Page 35 The Rise of the Fact / 35 ernment between 1916 and 1928. Externally, the continuous deterioration of sovereignty and the loss of national prestige were exemplified by the Treaty of Versailles (1919), according to which German-occupied Shandong province was handed over to Japan rather than returned to China by the Allied powers, even though China supported the war efforts of the Allies by supplying them with laborers.

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