英国历史课本:中国印象(4)

1804年,一个在中国的犯人遭打

今天继续前文,记录英国一本新历史教科书里,提到中国的重点。(教科书:History in Progress, 第二册,出版社Heinemann)

课文第一段,用大白话来介绍清帝:“1662年到1795年,清朝共只有三个皇帝。这三个皇帝都非常努力,把国家治理得很好。”(From1662 to1795 the Qing Dynasty was ruled by only three emperors. All three worked hard and ran the country well.)

(这一点,未免说得太草率了吧!)

“清朝:人们遗忘了的帝国?”(The Chinese Qing: a forgotten empire?) 里,介绍了清朝的政治制度。在“清朝的统治”(How was the Qing Dynasty run?)里,记载了清朝設六部(吏、戶、禮、兵、刑、工),每一部,只用一句话概括。例如:

Board of Civil Appointments: promoted and fired staff in the government.(吏:政府内,官员的升降)

有趣的是,课文里只对‘刑’部(The Board of Punishment)感兴趣,深入介绍,还加插了上图。

 课文里引用了两段资料。课文说,第一则取自清朝法之第一法令(Article 1 of the Qing Legal Code):

Five punishments: (五种刑罚)

1)      Beating with a light bamboo stick. 用细竹枝击打

2)      Beating with a heavy bamboo stick.用粗竹枝击打

3)      Penal servitude (slavery). 苦役监禁

4)      Exile. 放逐

5)      Penalty of death. 死刑

课文说,第二则资料取自清朝法之第二法令(Article 2 of the Qing Legal Code):

The ten great wrongs: (十大罪状)

  1. Plotting rebellion. 图谋造反
  2. Plotting to overthrowing the emperor. 图谋推翻皇帝
  3. Plotting treason. 图谋叛国
  4. Killing close family. 杀害近亲
  5. Dismembering a person or making poisons. 肢解他人或生产毒药
  6. Lack of respect (making mistakes while preparing food). 不尊敬(准备食物时犯错)
  7. Cursing one’s parents or grand parents. 诅咒父母或祖父母
  8. Killing relatives. 杀害亲人
  9. Killing your teacher or a superior officer. 杀害老师或上级
  10. Sexual relations with your own family. 血亲相奸

把重点放在‘刑’,可能是因为是中国太遥远了,陌生了,一定要来点儿辛辣刺激的内容,才会激发好奇心。(学生长大后,什么都忘光了,一定会记得中国人的刑罚!)

英国学生要回答这个问题:以上的‘五种刑罚’和‘十大罪状’,这样的司法制度,好处是什么?坏处是什么?

课文还摘录了两段近代文章,要学生做出比较。

近代文章片断一:

“皇帝晚年昏庸。他把权力移交给他偏宠的一个护卫,也没有意识到人口膨胀带来的社会问题。1644年,中国的人口是1亿人,1850年,人口膨胀到4.3亿。但是,公务员人数并没有增加。政府官员把责任交给了缺乏经验的人,或把控制权交给富有的地方乡绅。” (2008年,一个现代的史学家的描写)

(“The emperor’s judgement failed in his later years. Not only did he pass much of his authority to a young bodyguard he favoured, he also failed to recognise social problems caused by overpopulation. The population had grown from 100 million in 1644 to 430 million in 1850. However, the number of government officials was not increased. Government officials gave responsibilities to less experienced members of staff or gave control of works to local rich gentry.” )

“到了18世纪末,在中国的欧洲人,关注被控者的权利未受到重视一事。1773年,在澳门的葡萄牙当局逮捕了一个英国人,指他杀害一个中国男子,最后却判他无罪,将他释放了。中国官员却认为,死者是个中国人,因此中国有权处理这宗案件。中国将这个英国人逮捕了,判他罪名成立,将他处决了。”(1996年,改编自一个现代史学家的作品)

(“By the end of the eighteenth century, Europeans in China worried about a lack of concern for the rights of the accused. In 1773 the Portugese authorities in Macao arrested an Englishman accused of killing a Chinese man but after finding him innocent, they released him. The Chinese officials insisted that since the victim was Chinese they should have jurisdiction. They arrested him again, found him guilty, and executed him. ”)

总结课文:清朝的政府制度看起来非常严谨。但是,这样的制度也有弊端。(A)根据以上两段文字,你认为,这样的统治制度有何弊端?(B)以上两段文字都是现代史学家所写的。你认为,为什么政府官员当时不可能提出这些问题呢? (Why do you think government officials would not have raised the issues at the time?)

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Janet Williams 張玉雲

I am Janet Williams, an academic living in the southeast of England. I blog about culture, history, languages and my community. I created Chandler's Ford Today. During my spare time, I make Origami. Thank you for stopping by.

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