Instructions for using the encyclopedia
1. Access to the content of the encyclopedia can be gained in three ways. Users are recommended initially to consult the systematic overview of entries at the beginning, in order to acquaint themselves with the inner structure of the work. These headwords can also be directly searched in the alphabetical text section. There is a glossary of Chinese personal names giving Chinese characters and birth and death dates, where known. Keywords within the articles indicate related encyclopedia lemmata. Bibliographies for the individual entries follow the articles.
2. Transcriptions: The official transcription system of the People's Republic of China, Hanyu Pinyin, is used throughout for the transcription of Chinese characters. This applies in principle also to names and terms associated with Taiwan.
3. Personal names: As a rule, all Chinese personal names are given in pinyin transcription. Only a few names, such as Sun Yatsen and Chiang Kaishek, are given in forms that are familiar in the West. Where a person is primarily known by a pseudonym, this is used.
4. Geographical names: With a few exceptions (e.g. Tibet, Inner Mongolia), all Chinese geographical names are given in Chinese in the form that is in use today (i.e. Guangzhou for Canton, Shenyang for Mukden). Only in historical articles do old names appear. The standard transcription system of the People's Republic of China, pinyin, has been used for the reproduction of geographical names, as laid down in Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Diminglu (Register of Geographical Names of the People's Republic of China, Beijing 1994). The pinyin system has also been chosen for place-names on Taiwan with the exception of Taipei (Taibei).
5. Dates: The years before the Common Era are indicated by the abbreviation BCE; the years after the start of the Common Era are referred to with the abbreviation CE. The latter has been omitted where the context makes the date unambiguously clear.
6. Information in brief on provincial data: An information box precedes each province article. This contains the following information: short name of the province, capital, number of counties and cities, number of inhabitants (million abbreviated to m), land area (km2) and inhabitants per km2 (inh./km2). As the number of administrative divisions often changes, this may in some cases differ from the current situation. The information given here is based on the situation at the end of 2006 as reported in the China Statistical Yearbook 2007 (p.3). Please note that the counties (xian) also include the county-level cities (xianji shi), and that cities include cities on all levels except townships (zhen). The source for land areas is the Chūgoku Nenkan 2000 (Tokyo 2000).
7. Book and article titles: The titles of books and articles in the short lemma bibliographies mostly refer to English language research works. However, a considerable number of scholarly works in other languages, especially Chinese, French and German, are also included, indicating the international background of the encyclopedia. Foreign-language titles have not been translated into English. References to classical Chinese book titles within the articles have been standardized according to common English usage unless the author himself chose a specific translation, e.g. the Zuozhuan is in some articles translated as Zuo's Commentary, others refer to it as Zuo's Tradition. Similarly, to convey the meaning of the Chinese expression shenshi the authors used a variety of expressions ranging from "gentry" and "literati-officials" to "educated landowners".
8. Newspapers and journals: Chinese newspapers and journals are generally referred to by their original titles; the translated title is given in brackets afterwards. Where a Chinese newspaper runs an English-language subtitle, this is retained.
9. Institutions: The same procedure is used with the names of institutions: the Chinese name is generally given with an English translation. If an institution also has an official Western name, this is used.
10. Plates: References to plates in the text refer to the color plates in the mid-section.
11. Abbreviations: A list of abbreviations explains frequently encountered terms. Within certain articles, however, the authors have introduced specific abbreviations as well that are explained at first appearance. Unless stated otherwise the sign "$" refers to US dollar.