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The Art of Being GovernedEveryday Politics in Late Imperial China$
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Michael Szonyi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197241

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197241.001.0001

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An Officer in Cahoots with Pirates

An Officer in Cahoots with Pirates

Coastal Garrisons and Maritime Smuggling

(p.83) Chapter Three An Officer in Cahoots with Pirates
The Art of Being Governed

Michael Szonyi

Princeton University Press

This chapter introduces the Jiang family, hereditary commanders of the garrison at Fuquan. At least one of their members was both an officer and also a smuggler and pirate. This story shows how families took advantage of their special position in the military system to gain advantage in illicit commerce. Their proximity to the state and their ability to negotiate the differences between the military and commercial realms using their special position gave them a competitive advantage in overseas trade. Families strategizing about how to work within military institutions, working the system to their advantage, making decisions about the degree to which they would or would not be incorporated by the Chinese state, played an important role in the development of China's diaspora and its global trade linkages. The chapter also talks about soldiers stationed in the garrison that had to adapt to the new contexts in which they found themselves and build new communities.

Keywords:   Jiang family, Fuquan, smuggler, pirate, military system, overseas trade, Chinese state, global trade, soldier

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