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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


An Analysis of the Registered Common People – A Theory of Marco-history

Vol. 24 No. 2   6/1994 


An Analysis of the Registered Common People – A Theory of Marco-history


Tu, Cheng-sheng









Key words

The registered common people


      This article is a supplement to my publication of the Registered Common People as a Socio-Political Foundation of the Chinese Empi re. There are several reasons for writing this article. First, the idea of the regist ered common people which I created is one of the most powerful instruments for interpreting the Chinese socio-political structure of the last two thousand years. But in my aforementioned book, I concentrated on clarifying the enigmas of data in order to reconstruct the historical facts rather than use this idea as a macro-historical theory. Second, in my book, I rarely compared my theory with contemporary ones. I used the idea of the registered common people to interpret the making of the ancient Chinese Empire, which is different from both the mainland Chinese and Japanese historians. Differences are especially apparent in defining the term “Ch’I-min” (the common people). Even though this term has been used by marsao Kimura (Japanese) and Sung-kyu Lee (Korean), I have given different of the term in my book. Third, The Registered Common People contained more than 400 thousand words in Chinese, making it difficult for the reader to discover the main points. This article, I hope, will be a useful guide to my book.

    There are five parts to this article:


Panorama. I divide the Chinese history beginning with the inception of the state into two periods: the city-states and the empire. The social base for the later period is the registered common people.


The meaning of the term of ‘Pien-hu ch’min’ (the registered common people). At first I explain individually the meanings of ‘pien-hu’ (the registered domiciliary) and ‘ch’i-min’ (the common people). And then I explain why I use the combined term ‘pien-hu ch’i-min’ and its uniquesignificance differing from the interpretation of other scholars.


The making of the registered common people. According to my study, from 500B.C. to 200B.C., the registered common people as a social status appeared on the stage of history and became a solid foundation of the society. Its caused were very complex, while the war was one of the important catalytic.


The basic elements of the registered common people.I explain this topic from the military organization, administrative system, and o wnership of cultivated land, the legal system, local community and social status. This article is a summary of the main points of my book, The Registered Common People as a Socio-Political Foundation of the Chinese Empire.


Future advanced study on this topic. In this final section, I try to combine the socio-political structure with the study of everyday life, mentality, religiousness etc. The end of research will be a total history based on the registered common people.



Author: Tu, Cheng-sheng
Genre: Article
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