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China: medieval era migrations

Migration A–Z


  1. Angela Schottenhammer

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm125

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Schottenhammer, A. 2013. China: medieval era migrations. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


It is not an easy task to examine migration in medieval China, not only because information is scattered and incomplete, but also because we are confronted with many different forms of migration within, into, and from Chinese territory. More and more specific case studies have only slowly begun to shed more light on the complex issue of migration in Chinese history. This essay can therefore claim to provide only an overview of migrations within the time period under investigation and to draw the reader's attention to certain tendencies. Much more research still has to be done before we have a more thorough insight into all the different forms of migrations in China from around 400 to 1600. We should also be aware that certain forms of migration were, at least to some degree, related to social mobility, clan and elite structures, and the bureaucratic system that appointed officials to places far away from their home prefectures. With this in view, I shall seek to provide a cross-section of various forms of migration, drawing attention to general tendencies as well as providing several concrete examples for illustration.


  • geopolitics;
  • Asia;
  • borders;
  • empire;
  • globalization;
  • archaeology;
  • cross-cultural