The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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BA (CUHK), M.St., D.Phil. (Oxon)
Department Chairman ; Professor, Department of History, CUHK;
Director, Centre for Chinese History, CUHK ;
Director, Centre for Comparative and Public History, CUHK

Room 122, 1/F, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
(852) 3943 7115

The history of mankind develops from human desires. My research interests cover three basic human desires – food, money and land. In 2008, I published The Price of Rice. The book points out that China was in its primordial stage in market development in the eighteenth century. The market of rice, the single most important commodity, was sporadically integrated. In my another article, “A Desire to Eat Well,” further argued that it was the rise of living standard, instead of the population growth, that stimulated the development of long-distance trade of rice in the Ming-Qing period. My second research interest is money. I have published several articles on the Ming coinage. They showed that Ming merchants used silver bullion, instead of copper coins, to settle the balance of long-distance trade because the bullion was not issued by the state, and therefore its prices in relation to commodities was beyond state control. My third research interest is land management on which I published the book on the land history on Kowloon in 2013, and an edited volume titled Colonial Administration and Land Reform in East Asia in 2017. I believe that the introduction of Western property law of succession as well as the use of triangulation in land survey greatly enhanced the state power over landlords, and thus reshaped the social structure of many parts of Asia.

Research Interests
  • Food History
  • Money History
  • Land History
Selected Publications


  • 2017. Colonial Administration and Land Reform in East Asia, Oxon: Routledge. (edited by Sui-Wai Cheung with an introduction and two chapters)
  • 2013. 《拆村:消逝的九龍村落》, 香港:三聯書店(香港)。
  • 2008. The Price of Rice: Market Integration in Eighteenth-Century China, Washington: Center for East Asian Studies, Western Washington University.



  • 2021. <清代糧船水手的組織與巢穴>,《運河學研究》,第5輯,頁165-186。
  • 2020. <19世紀江北的漕政與漕亂>,《區域史研究》,第3輯,頁68-87。
  • 2019. <清朝建置九龍寨城過程中的收地拆屋賠償問題>,《區域史研究》,第1輯,頁112-127。
  • 2017. “Landlords, Squatters, and Tenants: Fundamental Concepts of Land Administration in Early Colonial Hong Kong,” in Sui-Wai Cheung (ed.), Colonial Administration and Land Reform in East Asia, pp. 21-36.
  • 2017. “Trigonometrical Survey and the Land Maps in China, 1368-1950,” in Sui-Wai Cheung (ed.), Colonial Administration and Land Reform in East Asia, pp. 117-41.
  • 2015. “A Desire to Eat Well: Rice and the Market in Eighteenth-Century China,” in Francesca Bray et al. (ed.), Rice: Global Networks and New Histories, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp, 84-98.
  • 2015. 〈論法定貨幣的兩個條件:明嘉靖朝銅錢政策的探討〉,《中國文化研究所學報》,第60期,頁183-96。
  • 2013 “Copper, Silver, and Tea: The Question of Eighteenth-Century Inflation in the Lower Yangzi Delta,” Billy K. L. So ed., The Economy of Lower Yangzi Delta in Late Imperial China: Connecting Money, Markets, and Institutions (Abingdon; New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 118-32.
  • 2011. <皇帝的錢包-明中葉宮廷消費與銅錢鑄造的關係>,《新史學》第22卷第4期,頁109-147。
  • 2008. <一條鞭的開端﹕論明憲宗一朝的貨幣政策>,《明代研究》第10期,台北:中國明代研究學會, 2007.12,頁123-139。


Book Review

  • 2015. Review on Jane Kate Leonard and Ulrich Theobald (eds.), Money in Asia (1200-1900): Small Currencies in Social and Political Context, in Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, vol. 45, pp. 417-19.
Research Projects
Year Research Project
2022-2024 “Whose Land? Owning, Selling, and Leasing Houses in an Imperial City: Guangzhou Prefecture in the Qing Dynasty”
General Research Fund Project (Research Grants Council)
2018-2020 Principal Investigator, “Juggling Money: Tribute-grain Riots in the Qing Dynasty”
General Research Fund Project (Research Grants Council)
2017-2018 Principal Investigator, “Navigation Technology and Changes of Trading Networks in the Seas of Asia from Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century”
France/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme (Research Grants Council)
2013-2015 Principal Investigator, “Debased Copper Coin Circulation and Monetary Policy in the Late Ming, 1500-1644”
General Research Fund Project (Research Grants Council)
2013-2017 Co-investigator, “The Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society”
Areas of Excellence (University Grants Committee)
Awards and Honors
  • Vice Chairman, Committee for University History Education in Guangdong Province, 2019-2023
  • Adjunct Professor of the Institute of Cultural Heritage, Shandong University, 2015-18
  • External Module Examiner of the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, 2015-18
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Centre of Hong Kong History and Cultural Studies, Chu Hai College of Higher Education, 2012-20
  • Research Fellow, CUHK-SYSU Centre for Historical Anthropology, 2012-20.
  • Research Fellow, Centre for Hong Kong History Studies, Jockey Club Lei Yue Mun Plus Museum, 2012-20.
  • Received a Research Excellent Award, CUHK, 2012-13
  • Elected President of the South China Research Circle, 2001-05
  • Awarded the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange Dissertation Fellowship in 1998
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