An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末 "Foreign affairs in their entirety" (literally: "The management of barbarian affairs in its entirety") is a collection of documents on foreign affairs of a half century of the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911). Before the imperial court of the Qing dynasty set up a Foreign Office (zongli yamen 總理衙門) in 1862 the ambassadors or rather representatives of foreign countries were dealt with as tributary missionaries of "barbarians" (yi 夷) via the Court of Colonial Affairs (lifanyuan 理藩袁).

In a large collection of archival material countless details of foreign affairs from the Daoguang reign 道光 (1821-1850) on are presented, describing how the Qing court dealt with the problems of foreign intrusion from the prohibition of selling opium in 1799 on until 1874. The first part, covering the years from 1836 until 1850 (Daoguang reign), in 80 juan, was compiled by Wencing 文慶 (d. 1856). The second part, from 1851 until 1861 (Xianfeng reign 咸豐), in 80 juan, was compiled under the direction of Jia Zhen 賈禎 (1798-1874). The third part, covering the years from 1861 until 1874 (Tongzhi reign 同治), in 100 juan, was compiled by Booyun 寶鋆 (1807 – 1891).

The collection Chouban yiwu shimo contains imperial edicts (shangyu 上諭), court directions (tingji 廷寄), court discussions (zhaohui 照會) and palace memorials (zouzhe 奏摺), all in all more than 3,600 documents. It is therefore a highly important primary source for the history of the two Anglo-Chinese wars, the role of foreign countries during the Taiping rebellion 太平, and for the question of dealing with Christian missionaries as well as the problem of territorial concessions to the foreign colonial powers.

The "Foreign Affairs" were first published in 1930 by the National Palace Museum (Gugong Bowuyuan 故宮博物院). In 1964 the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 published a version with an index.

Table 1. Parts of the Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末
I 道光朝籌辦夷務始末 八十卷 Daoguang chao chouban yiwu shimo (Qing) 文慶 Wencing (comp.)
II 咸豐朝籌辦夷務始末 八十卷 Xianfeng chao chouban yiwu shimo (Qing) 賈禎 Jia Zhen (comp.)
III 同治朝籌辦夷務始末 百卷 Tongzhi chao chouban yiwu shimo (Qing) 寶鋆 Booyun (comp.)
Duan Chantong 段昌同 (1992), "Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 108.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 919, 920, 922.
Liu Gengsheng 劉耿生 (1993). "Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Tushuguanxue qingbaoxue dang'anxue 圖書館學•情報學•檔案學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 31.
Wang Yifang 王一方 (1993). "Chouban yiwu shimo (Xianfeng chao) 籌辦夷務始末(咸豐朝)", in Fang Ming 方鳴 et al., ed. Ershi shiji Zhongguo xueshu yaoji da cidian 二十世紀中國學術要籍大辭典 (Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe), 509.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhonggu guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 617, 870.
Zhang Ronghua 張榮華 (1994). "Chouban yiwu shimo 籌辦夷務始末", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 471.