Shaping the World of Scholars

The Soft Power of Emperor Kangxi (1661–1722)


  • Limin Bai Victoria University of Wellington



Kangxi Emperor, jin cheng, Qiu Zhao’ao, Wan Sitong, Li Yong, 進呈, 仇兆鰲, 萬斯同, 李顒


Modern scholarship has noted that the Kangxi emperor’s patronage of scholars is a form of “soft power” that assisted the Qing ruler during the Kangxi reign to achieve success in conquering the minds and hearts of Han Chinese, especially those eminent scholars who remained loyal to the fallen dynasty. This “soft power” emerged after the Kangxi government had decisively quelled the revolt of the Three Feudatories (San fan三藩) (1673–1681). In 1679 the boxue hongru 博學鴻儒 special examination signalled a significant moment in which the Kangxi emperor adopted a more diplomatic and personal approach to scholars under his rule. This paper examines several examples of scholars’ presenting (jin cheng 進呈)their scholarly works to the emperor/government. By analysing the Kangxi emperor’s tactics for fostering this particular scholarly phenomenon, this study reveals the key elements behind his successful use of soft power in shaping the intellectual milieu of the time.

康熙皇帝在平定三藩之亂(1673–1681)有望之時,開博學鴻儒科(1679)以網羅抗清的明末遺儒為清政權服務。此制科之舉標誌著康熙皇帝新文化政策之始,顯示其欲以懷柔與高壓兼施之手段,從學者鴻儒入手而達到其征服漢人民心之目的。如此懷柔政策,套之於今天的術語,即軟實力。本文圍繞康熙朝之初至鼎盛時期學者們向康熙皇帝進呈他們學術著作的現象, 探討此種軟實力之實質及功效。通過以仇兆鰲(1638–1717)、萬斯同(1638–1702)和李顒 (1627–1705)三個案例為中心的考察,本文展示了康熙懷柔策略的諸方面,揭示其如何收攬漢族名儒學者參與清帝國的諸項社會、文化工程,期望在思想文化這個層面上建立清朝統治的合法性,從而進一步在政治上確認、穩固大清帝國的根基。


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How to Cite

Bai, L. (2021). Shaping the World of Scholars: The Soft Power of Emperor Kangxi (1661–1722). The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 1, 19–57.



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