Beijing’s Bannermen and Old Xuanwu District
In recent years, Beijing Publishing Group has published a series of books on Beijing’s history, presenting different aspects of the capital to readers in the oral tradition.
Since Beijing became China's capital, a multitude of academic articles, publications, literary works and folklore has been spoken and written. In recent years, Beijing Publishing Group has published a series of books on Beijing's history. These books have tried to document how Beijingers come to live in the city, how they feel and their reflections on their ancestors. By uncovering in- depth observations of the city, scholars have come to provide a more comprehensive understanding of its history through Beijing's residents.
To leave Beijing with as many records as possible, scholars have searched every corner of the city, found rare materials, valuable files, carried out field investigations, and made full use of historical materials and oral records and folk literature to conduct further research. Zhaoxun jingjiao qiren shehui (“to find the community of bannermen in suburban Beijing,” bannermen refer to men who belonged to the Eight Banners of the Qing Dynasty) focuses on the manors and property of the royal family and nobility, and zhuangtou (country estate managers) responsible for supervision and production for the Eight Banners of the Qing Dynasty (1644– 1911). Xuanwuqu xiaoshi zhiqian (“before the disappearance of Xuanwu District”) reviews the historical changes of Xuanwu District (now integrated with Xicheng District), Beijing since 1949. Xueyuanlu shang (“on Xueyuan Road”) narrates the development and changes of Beihang University (BUAA) during the past 60 years and more since its establishment. No doubt these books are a delight for readers fond of Beijing's history.
Zhaoxun Jingjiao Qiren Shehui
Zhaoxun jingjiao qiren shehui is a book on the research of the marginal population in suburban Beijing from the dual perspectives of narration and literature, written by Qiu Yuanyuan. Qiu is an associate researcher at the Institute of History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She studies Qing Dynasty and Manchu history, and has written Qing qianqi gongting liyue yanjiu ( The Court Rites and Music during the Early Qing). She turns to Beijing's suburban villages, and focuses on the marginal population hiding there almost forgotten by many—the bannermen.
Ancestors of the bannermen were zhuangtou of the Eight Banners of the Qing Dynasty. Zhuangtou was different from the Han landlord, or inner city bannerman, or soldier of the Eight Banners. They operated the manors and lands, pressed for payment of rental and supervised production for the royal family and nobility, becoming an essential
part of the Eight Banners system. They might be extremely rich but worked as servants for generations. Nowadays, their history is gradually fading from memory.
In the book, Qiu investigates the community of bannermen and the living conditions of their descendants in suburban Beijing through interviews, field investigations and literary research. The book illustrates zhuangtou to show off details and unlock the memories of previous descendants. It also combs through records of zhuangtou who received salaries from the feudal government, represents the history of enclosure and construction of manors during the early Qing Dynasty, and allows readers to learn more about the scope and scale of royal manors during the late Qing Dynasty. In the meantime, taking the Shang family in Xiapotun Village, Shunyi District and the Yu family as examples, both whose ancestors were zhuangtou, the book introduces their family sources, family lineage, and life of zhuangtou’s descendants.
Qiu has in-depth reflection on bannermen and civilians in the book. Articles in the book, such as “Extremely Rich as a Servant: The Dual Identities of Zhuangtou as Bannermen,” “Living Apart without Dividing up Family Property: The Particularity of the Property in Land of Zhuangtou” and “Ignorance and Oblivion: The Historical Memory of Bannermen,” guide readers to learn more about the bannermen in suburban Beijing.
Xuanwuqu Xiaoshi Zhiqian
Xuanwuqu xiaoshi zhiqian records the interview with Huang Zonghan, and reviews the historical changes of Beijing's original Xuanwu District since 1949. It combs through Huang's personal experience as an official of Xuanwu, his contributions to the district's industry and culture, and the narrations of several other officials on relevant events and figures. On this basis, the book sketches Xuanwu's historical events from the perspective of witnesses, such as taking over the place and transforming the handicraft industry in 1949, large-scale steel-making in 1958, as well as building the Grand View Garden, and studying southern Xuanwu culture after the new reforms and opening-up policies in 1978.
The book also has bibliography supplements, the administrative division and evolution of Beijing's outer city, working institutions of the Beijing Xuanwu District Committee of the CPC (1950–1967) and other materials. Articles in the book, including “On the Civilian Culture of Tianqiao, Beijing” and “Tentative Ideas on Restoring and Utilising Xicheng's Guild Halls and Landmarks,” have become a proper ending to the book.
The book seemingly brings old Xuanwu District back to life again for readers, thanks to its three authors. Among them, Ding Yizhuang is a history doctorate who has researched Beijing's history and Manchu studies. In recent years, she has been committed to the practice and research of oral history. With a wealth of experience on oral history, Ding has published several monographs, such as Shiliuming qiren funü de koushu lishi (“oral history by sixteen bannerwomen”), Lao beijingren de koushushi (“oral history by Beijing locals”) and Koushushi duben ( Readings in History: Oral History, cocompiled with Wang Run). Ruan Danqing and Yang Yuan, co-authors of the book Xuanwuqu xiaoshi zhiqian, have also uncovered a lot in their research findings.
BUAA is one of the eight major universities after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Its development reflects the capital's development during the more than past 60 years from the perspective of a science and engineering university. After more than 60 years of development, BUAA succeeds in standing out from the eight universities on Xueyuan Road. Just as a human's survival depends on psychology and physiology, a university also needs the coordination and cooperation of various disciplines, majors and talent of all levels, to maintain sound development, with human factors as critical elements.
The author of this book is Hu Maoren, professor of the School of Marxism of BUAA.
Hu is committed to Marxist studies, Mao Zedong Thought and socialism with Chinese characteristics. To uncover deep-rooted reasons, Hu interviewed over ten faculty and staff members of BUAA, including both academics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and younger teachers. They spoke about the history, management theory, value orientation, spiritual pursuit and work style of BUAA with simple wording based on their own experience. These interviews showcased BUAA'S development and change over the past more than 60 years, guiding leaders to in-depth thought and inspiration.
Zhaoxun jingjiao qiren shehui (“to find the community of bannermen in suburban Beijing”)
Xuanwuqu xiaoshi zhiqian (“before the disappearance of Xuanwu District”)
Xueyuanlu Shang (“on Xueyuan Road”)