It all began with a casual browse on the www.chineseguqin.com forums to see if anything is new, and upon a little link surfing, I have stumbled a seemingly harmless and typical Sinology forum: http://bbs.gxsd.com.cn. However, discussion is fairly quiet and mostly consist of thanks from people who upload ENTIRE COMPLETE SCANS of EVERY KIND OF BOOK about China you can possibly think of – with a little digging, I am now downloading the ENTIRE Daoist Canon, the EXTENDED Daoist Canon, and the REVISED Daoist Canon, along with a slew of books by authors in the 19th to 20th century commenting on Daoism, 21 hours of Daoist music, and several videos of related lectures.
Not to mention, for free!
Looking upon the gross amount of free information there is (not to mention that delightful CADAL system that allows anyone to freely access almost ANY Chinese book older than 10 years), it is no surprise that Hanist forums are digging up and spewing out large amounts of essays online!
If there is anything special about Chinese net essays today, is that many of them are on professional and high academic standards, with plenty of proof and citations. It almost makes one wonder: Where does one find the time to search through all these old, string-bound books?
The answer is: They don’t. Digitization of almost EVERY surviving Chinese book before 1911 allows security of it from being lost to damage, as well widespread access to knowledge. If you feel overwhelmed by the immense research, don’t worry, for there are probably others like you researching the same topic. Just type a post in the request section asking more ideas on a subject, and most likely others will give you a good response on what they’re reading. The perfect harmony of man and machine? (As the request section boasts: Power is strong when we have many heads. Ask when you are lacking books)
Often an anti-Hanfu or anti-Hanist passerby would question or attack a Hanist statement they find online, but are usually returned with an rebuttal at least 2 to 3 letter-size pages, chock-full of cross-referenced sources and reasoning. The intertwining of forum activity in the Chinese internet scape is the very basis of the Hanist resurgence, and a display of the very original power of what the Han Chinese were known for – the power of rationality, knowledge, and the people’s ingenuity plus dedication in its propagation.
Therefore, the next time you see a net-based Chinese essay, just because it wasn’t published in some magazine or publication, don’t just dismiss it like yesterday’s tabloid article – these things are painstakingly forged, and should not be taken lightly.