From a Crash Course World History video:

In China, Liang Qichao came up with a different source of reform, the Strong State, after the failure of the Boxer Rebellion in 1901, he wrote his awesomely titled On the New Rules for Destroying Countries.

This was a critique of European imperialism, but it was also a call for a strong, somewhat authoritarian state that could stand up to the west. [joke omitted]

Eventually he came to the conclusion that the Chinese people must now accept authoritarian rule. They cannot enjoy freedom.
Asian Responses to Imperialism: Crash Course World History #213, YouTube (starting 8:00)

I'm interested in tracking down "On the New Rules for Destroying Countries"(published in 1901) but didn't succeed, which I believe is in Chinese and published in a Chinese journal (see a Google Books result indicates a translation).

His name in Chinese is 梁启超 (or 梁啟超 or 梁啓超). I believe this work was reproduced in the collection 饮冰室合集. Beyond that, I'm not sure where to look.

Question: Where can I find the original "On the New Rules for Destroying Countries" (1901) by Liang Qichao?

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    This strikes me as a question for an academic librarian. I suggest that you locate a university or institutional library with related holdings and ask for their help.
    – user18968
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 3:26
  • I voted to close because the OP can find the answer more smoothly and with details at Chinese Language SE.
    – user12387
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 12:08
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    @Kentaro I doubt if there are many people who could provide a better answer than semaphore. Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 12:31
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    I am reluctant to close a question with an upvoted answer.
    – MCW
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 13:21
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    I'm an avid user of Chinese.SE (and a learner of Chinese). In my opinion, this question felt borderline off-topic at Chinese.SE (it's not about learning Chinese). Since it's about tracking down a historical source, it feels like something a historian would be good at. Before asking, I checked meta about resource requests (1, 2), and it seemed appropriate here. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


The essay is indeed originally in Chinese, with the title 滅國新法論, which may aid further searches. It is collected in full in 《飲冰室合集》, as well as the 《梁啟超文集》 in abridged form.

The abridged version is available online from ctext.org, starting from paragraph 125. Wikisource likewise contains the same document. This version apparently excludes detailed summaries on the five examples of imperialism Liang gave, namely against Egypt, Poland, India, and the Boers, but otherwise retains Liang's actual arguments. This should suffice for most purposes.

The full version appears to be in《飲冰室合集》, which is unfortunately only available in snippet form on Google Books


Turns out《飲冰室合集》has been digitalised by the National Central Library of Taiwan. The essay in question can be found on page 32 (pdf page 34) of volume 3. Here's a screenshot:

enter image description here

  • Ugh, can you read Chinese? I was also searching since China and Japan are like a big brother and a small brother so I was trying to make an answer. Yes the work is in 飲冰室合集. It seems he was quite influenced by the fast Japanese modernization.
    – user12387
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 10:20
  • Is there a published full translation?
    – gktscrk
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 18:08
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    @gktscrk Rebecca Karl appears to have published most / all the meat of her translation of the essay in her book Staging the World: Chinese Nationalism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, but it's dispersed through pages of extended discussion.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 13:52

Actually, you can read 滅國新法論 (which Semaphore found) only in Chinese(unfortunately) at this site for free. The full contents is there. I can not read Chinese, so I can not help in anyway so you might need a help may be at Chinese SE.(Well...but nobody would translate the full content and the translation is mostly prohibited in many languages' SEs)

Yet, I would like to make some google translation and copy it here.

The New Law of National Extermination (Excerpt) Author: Liang Qichao July 16-August 24, 1901 July 16, 1901 August 24, 1901 Sister Project Sister Project: Data Items In today ’s world, the new world is also new: new ideas, new learning, new regimes, new laws, new craftsmanship, new armaments, new society, new characters, all the tangible and invisible things in the world, all unprecedented, And don't make a new world. The new law! Sheng Zai new method! Everyone knows it and everyone admires it. What we can't do is to say that there is a new law to destroy the country.

Those who destroy the country, the public law of Tianyan also. In the world, mortals must strive for self-existence, and for self-existence, there are advantages and disadvantages, and there are advantages and disadvantages to victory and defeat. For the inferior and the defeated, their rights must be annexed by the superior and the defeated, which is the principle of destroying the country. Since the beginning of the world, there have been human beings, following this day, fighting against each other, transmuting from generation to generation, only one hundred dozens of those who have been nationwide to this day. There are new ways to destroy the country, which are also caused by the common law of evolution. The former people regard the country as a family of one family, so the country that destroys the country must capture its monarch, ruin its palace, destroy its ancestral temple, and relocate its heavy weapon. Therefore, one person perishes and the country perishes. This is not the case now. The theory is clear. The people who know the country also have the public property of a country. Their relationship with the family is very shallow. Those who really want to destroy the country will destroy the country without embarrassing the family.

Restless, but often use the power of a family to help them destroy the country. In the past, the annihilation of the kingdom of mankind will be destroyed by the tart, while the present annihilation of the kingdom of mankind will be destroyed by the oh ye. The extinction of the people in the past is also sudden, and the extinction of the people is gradually. The extinction of the past is also evident, and the extinction of the present is also slight. The extermination of the past is also prepared for the people to know; the present extermination of the people is also brought by the people. The former annihilators are like tigers and wolves, and the present ones are like foxes. Or destroy it through trade, or use the main debt, or destroy it on behalf of the soldiers, or by setting up a consultant, or by a channel, or by inciting the party to fight, or by peaceful internal chaos, or To help the revolution extinguish. The essence has been exhausted, the opportunity has been cooked, or the name of the country has been changed in one fell swoop, and the color of its map has been changed; the unsatisfied and uncooked, although the name is still the same, it can be hundreds of years. Wow, the Thai and Western powers applied this new method to those who are weak and small. Yu Yu believes, please give an example:

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    The last remark by Chinese says, 这部作品在1925年1月1日以前出版,其作者1929年逝世,在美國以及版權期限是作者終身加80年以下的國家以及地区,屬於公有領域。which if translated by Google, "This work was published before January 1, 1925, and its author died in 1929. It belongs to the public domain in the United States and countries and regions where the copyright term is the author's lifetime plus 80 years or less." So we can confirm this is the whole work(though to me it would be short for native Chinese people).
    – user12387
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 10:40
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    So I see Google translate hasn't gotten any better in the last few years.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 13:50
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    … This looks to be about the same quality of English as that one. I might be getting the very rough gist of the original, or I might be getting it totally wrong. Tough to tell.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 15:38
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    No criticism of the answer, mind you. Nobody else was stepping up to offer a translation, so at the moment this is the best I have, and I owe that to this answer (and Google). The insight on how short it is I found particularly valuable. Ben Franklin wrote a similar satiric screed before the US revolution, and it was indeed considerably longer. (Although not long by the standards of the day really)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 15:40
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    @Kentaro Being able to read Chinese isn’t even enough here – true to the (traditional, conservative) spirit of the time, Liang wrote his essay not in the Mandarin he spoke, but in the highly formalised written language based on Classical Chinese. Most of the vocabulary is recognisable in Modern Chinese, but the grammar is fundamentally different, and if you only know modern-day Mandarin, you’ll be hard pressed to make much sense of large parts of this. That’s also part of the reason why the Google translation is often wrong – it’s translating from the wrong language. Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 19:33

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