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The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy

While dynasties rose and fell in the geographical area now called “China,” in this book Yuri Pines treats the Chinese empire since the Qin dynasty as a whole and inquires into its longevity.

 

While dynasties rose and fell in the geographical area now called “China,” in this book Yuri Pines treats the Chinese empire since the Qin dynasty as a whole and inquires into its longevity. This inquiry is justified by Pines’ in-depth discussion on several continuous characteristics of Chinese imperial system and political culture: the persistent belief in the “Great Unity” and in absolute monarchism; the theoretical omnipotent monarchs and the practical “checks and balances” of the imperial bureaucrats; the literati class as the locus of both political and moral/cultural authority; and the exclusion of commoners from actual political processes. Focusing on the intellectual aspect,

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