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Border Disputes between Lianghuai and Liangguang in the Qing Dynasty

Guoxin HUANG (Sun Yat-sen University)
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In recent years, the theme of the "border" has become a much discussed topic in academic circles. Using a series of border disputes between the Lianghuai and Liangguang salt-districts, the so-called "Huai-Yue zhi zheng", as a case study, this article introduces a historical perspective to the discussion. The disputes broke out between the salt districts of Liangguang (modern day Guangdong-Guangxi) and Lianghuai (modern day Huainan-Huaibei) in the early nineteenth century. The disputes centered on the demarcation of salt district boundaries in the border region between Jiangxi, Hunan and Guangdong. People in Lianghuai believed that salt merchants from Liangguang were smuggling salt in this border region, cutting into the sales volume of Lianghuai salt, and making it impossible for Lianghuai to fulfill its salt tax obligations. In this quarrel, different actors deployed the concept of the border in support of their interests. Lianghuai authorities sought to defend the border, while Liangguang sought to transcend it. Local officials and salt merchants presented complex and different notions of borders. Ultimately the state firmly demarcated the regional borders, expressing yet another view of the meaning of borders in traditional Chinese society.

Journal of History and Anthropology