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The article investigates the recent (2000–2019) mainland Chinese historiography on the Sinocentric tributary system of the Míng and Qīng periods (1368–1912). The theoretical approach of the article is based on Foucauldian discourse theory, as well as Chinese theoretical scholarship on the evolution of Chinese thought. Its methodology is primarily based on Reiner Keller’s sociological discourse research method. The main body of the article is structured upon the major fields of argumentation of the discourse, identified by the author as “the validity of the term ‘tributary system,’” “the tributary system and pre-modern Chinese culture,” “the tributary system and Míng-Qīng Chinese socio-economic history,” and “the tributary system and the regional political order.” The article argues that the ‘discursive struggle’ in recent historiography on the tributary system is primarily a result of its contested interpretation and evaluation under current dominant framings of an ideal international order—one centred around the principles of national sovereignty and “win-win” economic cooperation.


Both China and Korea face different stages of national income inequality as well as distinctive structures in their income distribution. However, not only do levels and structures of income inequality differ in China and Korea, but their measures to tackle income inequality inherently differ. This article investigates how the Chinese and Korean governments respond to income inequality in their countries by analysing fiscal policy on both the expenditure and taxation fronts. The findings show that both China and Korea have increased their redistributive efforts in the recent past; however, Korea’s commitment to tackling income inequality is stronger than that of China. Moreover, this article finds evidence for distinctive strategies for reducing income inequality in China and Korea. Responding to large income disparities at the bottom of the income distribution spectrum, the Chinese government tackles income inequality by supporting low income earners and reducing the tax burden for low income brackets. In contrast, given Korean income inequality can be largely explained by relatively large top income shares, the redistributive policy incorporates newly introduced social benefits excluding top income earners as well as income taxes aimed at the top of the income spectrum.