China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Manchuria was administered differently from any other part of the Qing empire, with regional government institutions unlike those of the provincial system in China Proper and the Eight Banner Garrisons in other regions. The Qing court eventually reformed Manchurian administrative policies to address the influx of Han immigrants in the late nineteenth century. The Qing center contended with two challenges in implementing such changes: how to establish provincial systems in Manchuria, and more importantly, how to fit existing administrative organizations into the new provincial systems, especially those set up for managing bannermen or banner issues.
This paper will examine how the Qing government dealt with these problems during the Xinzheng period and customized reforms for various areas on a gradual basis by investigating three case studies: Fengtian (Mukden) which was mainly populated by Han settlers but remained the center of the Eight Banners System, Hunchun as an example of an inter-state frontier area, and the Jerim League as an example of a Mongol region. All three cases demonstrate that the Qing government tried to strengthen the imperial center’s authority in Manchuria by establishing provincial systems. However, policies were not enacted unilaterally but according to each region’s specific administrative frameworks. This paper furthermore argues that the governance of both Manchu and Mongol populations was never ignored even though the Han immigrant population dwarfed other groups in Manchuria during the reform period. Moreover, new institutions which dealt with banner affairs were established and gradually integrated into the provincial system.