Citizenship in Early Modern China. A Commentary to Maarten Prak, Citizens Without Nations:


  • Christine Moll-Murata Ruhr University Bochum



China, citizenship


This article comments on the discussion of pre-modern Chinese citizenship in Maarten Prak’s Citizens without Nations. It confirms the conclusion drawn by Prak that many elements of European citizenship were also present in China, but raises questions about two aspects: the presumed absence of formal citizenship in China and the position of Chinese cities within a national administrative structure. On the first of these points the article shows that formal civilian status implied rights such as the protection of person and property in China as well as in Europe. On the second issue, it demonstrates that the authorities in Chinese cities, especially in periods when state power was relatively weak, depended on cooperation with self-organized local institutions, and that these also included organizations for self-defense.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Christine Moll-Murata, Ruhr University Bochum

Christine Moll-Murata is chair professor at the Department for History of China, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and honorary fellow of the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. Her research focuses on labour history of China, Taiwan, and Japan, the history of crafts and guilds in China, perceptions of the future in East Asia since 1900 and the industrialization of Northeast Asia. Important publications include her monograph, States and Crafts in the Qing Dynasty, (Amsterdam 2018), and Zukunft in Ostasien / Future in East Asia, Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung / Bochum Yearbook of East Asian Studies 41 (2018) (Thema issue 2018, edited with Rüdiger Breuer).




How to Cite

Moll-Murata, C. (2020). Citizenship in Early Modern China. A Commentary to Maarten Prak, Citizens Without Nations:. TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 17(3), 101-108.



Debate Article