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Chinese social bandits and their role in history : some possible Sino-Western parallels May, Louise-Anne

Abstract

The Chinese social bandit (yu-hsia) tradition is a time- honoured and vital element of Chinese cultural expression. It has been present from the earliest Chinese written works and continues to appear in the contemporary Chinese cinema and paperback novel. Nevertheless, the subject has been virtually untouched by social historians. The present discussion is, therefore, an attempt to establish the value of this tradition for the student of Chinese social history and to suggest particular problems in the study of the yu-hsia which appear to warrant future investigations. Specifically, this thesis suggests that the yu-hsia may be seen as the Chinese equivalents of Western social bandits such as Robin Hood and that the female yu-hsia (nu-hsia) may be seen as equivalent to the amazonian figure in European culture.

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