China - Norms, Ideas, Practices

New translation series

German-speaking audiences can now learn about the Chinese state and its government almost daily in the media. However, the fact that China is also a country with a lively intellectual debate tends to fade into the background. Although this debate cannot always unfold itself freely on the mainland, there are a many independent minds in China who think about their country and the world and find ways to publish their theories. If one wants to understand China, one should not limit oneself to the daily press, but rather try to get to grips with China's intellectual scene.

Against this background, the translation project "China - Norms, Ideas, Practices", carried out in co-operation with the Werner Reimers Foundation and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, has set itself the goal of publishing a series of selected texts by contemporary Chinese authors in German. The focus is on texts that make an important contribution to current issues. The texts address fundamental questions of law and politics in China, preferably from a historical perspective. They are intended to help develop an understanding of China's traditions of self-interpretation. The introductory commentaries make it easier for German readers to place the texts in their contexts.

The following three monographs were selected for the first translation cycle and are published in the series "China - Norms, Ideas, Practices" edited by Sabine Dabringhaus, Thomas Duve, Hans van Ess and Albrecht Graf von Kalnein:

Volume 1: 葛兆光: 历史中国的内与外:有关"中国 " " "概念的再澄清
(Ge Zhaoguang: The Inside and Outside of Historical China: A Reclarification of the Concept of "China" and Its "Borders")

The original Chinese edition was published in 2017 by The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.

German translation, published on 17/05/2023:

„Zentrum und Peripherien in der chinesischen Geschichte. Dynamische Grundlagen des heutigen China“ by Ge Zhaoguang. Translated from the Chinese by Maja Linnemann, with an introduction by Sabine Dabringshaus.

About the book:

Inside and outside, centre and peripheries have always been dialectically interrelated in China's history. Drawing on sources and specialised literature from leading Chinese as well as Japanese and Korean archives and libraries, the author opens up new perspectives on how the people of the multi-ethnic empire located themselves in their respective regions and cultures across time, space and ruling dynasties. Vivid descriptions of the correspondence at the court of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), for example, make it possible to understand how differently questions about the understanding of empire, cultural profile and affiliation(s) were negotiated a thousand years ago. The book by the author, who lives in China, helps us to understand how self-image and images of others still meet, delimit and intertwine in China today.

Volume 2: 汪晖: 东西之间的 "西藏问题
(Wang Hui: The ‘Tibet Question’ between East and West)

The original Chinese edition was published in 2014 by SDX Joint Publishing.

German translation, published on 29/11/2023::

„Nachdenken über Tibet. Chinesische Ansichten zur Orientalismus-Debatte“ by Wang Hui, translated from the Chinese by Carsten Schäfer, with an introduction by Hans van Ess and Carsten Schäfer.

About the book:

The question of whether Tibet belongs to the Chinese cultural area has long been the subject of debate. After the Tibetan plateau was incorporated into China in the 18th century, the British colonial power advanced into Tibet from India at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Why is it that Western and Chinese views on the "Tibet question" diverge so strongly? In his analysis, Wang Hui discusses problems that go far beyond the individual case of Tibet: What constitutes a nation state today? Can this Western concept be applied to the case of East Asia, where the relationship between the political centre and regions with little state definition has developed quite differently over time? Is the nation-state principle still relevant or does it fuel religious, social and ethnic conflicts? The book offers well-founded insights into a key region of the world and invites informed and theses-rich joint debate.


Volume 3: 梁治平: 论法治与德治:对中国法律现代化运动的内在观察

(Liang Zhiping: On the Rule of Law and the Rule of Virtue: An Inner Observation of China’s Legal Modernization Movement. Beijing: Jiuzhou, 2020).

This monograph is currently being translated.