Forgery and Impersonation in Imperial China

Popular Deceptions and the High Qing State

Mark P. McNicholas

  • Published: 2016. Paperback August 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History; Law
  • Bibliographic information: 280 pp., 3 bandw illus., 1 map, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Across eighteenth-century China a wide range of common people forged government documents or pretended to be officials or other agents of the state. This examination of case records and law codes traces the legal meanings and social and political contexts of small-time swindles that were punished as grave political transgressions.
Mark McNicholas is associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College.

"Sheds new light on the interstices among state, society, and economy . . . [and] expands the field of Chinese social and legal history."
-Thomas Buoye, author of Manslaughter, Markets, and Moral Economy: Violent Disputes over Property Rights in Eighteenth-Century China

"Richly documented with archival sources, Forgery and Impersonation in Imperial China explores the highly advanced and standardized Qing bureaucracy and the inevitable consequences of its imperfect mastery of advanced technologies of power: forgery, counterfeiting, and impersonation, which stand out as aspects of early modernity itself."
-Par Cassel, author of Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan


"This book is undoubtedly a welcome and significant addition to the scholarship on Qing legal and social history. It will be of great value for anyone interested in late imperial Chinese law, society, culture, and politics."
-Journal of Asian Studies