Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

On China’s Improbable Take on History

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 4, 2013

This great quote is from Wolfram Eberhard ‘A History of China’.

“Until recently we were dependent for the beginnings of Chinese history on the written Chinese tradition. According to these sources China’s history began either about 4000 B.C. or about 2700 B.C. with a succession of wise emperors who “invented” the elements of a civilization, such as clothing, the preparation of food, marriage, and a state system; they instructed their people in these things, and so brought China, as early as in the third millennium B.C., to an astonishingly high cultural level. However, all we know of the origin of civilizations makes this of itself entirely improbable; no other civilization in the world originated in any such way. As time went on, Chinese historians found more and more to say about primeval times. All these narratives were collected in the great imperial history that appeared at the beginning of the Manchu epoch. That book was translated into French, and all the works written in Western languages until recent years on Chinese history and civilization have been based in the last resort on that translation.”

4 Responses to “On China’s Improbable Take on History”

  1. Reyno said

    Read this book online or download it here for free (lots of formats to choose from):


  2. Reyno said

    A History of China by Wolfram Eberhard (text version):


    (it’s in english)

  3. Me Ruv you rong time said

    The Chinese rewrite history, a thing they knock the Japanese for. Take Mao, the murderer, for instance. They do not tell about how he raped 12 year olds in order to maintain his youth. Nor do they discuss the cultural revolution and its atrocities.

    The people from China are bereft of civility, humanity and openness.

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