China Beat Archive



Date of this Version


Document Type



October 12, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright October 12, 2009. Used by permission.


A hodgepodge of historically or (historian-) relevant readings from the last few weeks…

1. Of greatest interest to the historians around here (particularly those of us who don’t make it to Cambridge regularly), Harvard and the National Library of China have signed a deal to digitize Harvard’s collection of 51,000 rare Chinese books:

Once completed, these images dating as far back as the Song ynasty in 960 AD, will be publicly available for free on the Web to scholars in China and elsewhere.

“We need to change the mindset that rare materials must be kept behind closed doors,’’ said James Cheng, the head librarian at Harvard-Yenching, a separate building just outside Harvard Yard. “A library is not a museum.’’

Furui Zhan, who oversees his country’s national library in Beijing, said this is China’s first major digitization project of rare-book collections outside China. Depending on how it goes, he said, his library may join with other institutions on similar projects. He said the goal of this venture is to enable scholars everywhere to have access to the richness of China’s history through access to its documents.

2. Last month, Shanghaiist noted Melissa Chan’s clip at Al Jazeera on the Long March.

3. Danwei excerpts from Carl Crow’s wartime diaries, newly edited by Paul French.

4. China Daily has a fabulous photo essay on marriage in Communist China.

5. Feministing links to China Global Times’ list of “60 Most Influential Foreigners Shaping the Last 60 Years of Chinese Development,” noting that Margaret Thatcher is the only woman to make the list (for returning Hong Kong to China).