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The Dissemination of Chinese in Siam from Ming to Qing Dynasties

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DOI: 10.25236/iceesr.2021.022


Ruyue Zhang, Kaiying Yang, Haitao Lin

Corresponding Author

Haitao Lin


During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the spread of Chinese in Siam was mainly through government and nongovernment channels. The official dissemination revolved around tributary trade activities. The demand for exchanges prompted Siamese officials to study Chinese at the Imperial College of China. Chinese books and ink stones appeared on tributary items. The Siamese envoys who came to China for tribute took the initiative to learn Chinese poetry. This kind of dissemination is of characteristics like single mode, narrow scope and fixed content; under the influence of multiple waves of Chinese immigrants, dissemination at the non-governmental level has resulted in multiple dissemination channels such as oral and written dissemination of Chinese novels and family Chinese education. This mode of dissemination is of spontaneous and flexible and long-term characteristics. On the whole, the spread of Chinese in Siam is not ideal, the reasons are as follows: first, ancient Thailand had little contact with China, but was deeply influenced by Indian civilization. Based on Indian characters, Chinese characters lost the possibility of entering the Thai writing system. Second, Siam’s strategic position to China is not as important as Vietnam. Therefore, Siam does not have the high language, cultural education and communication costs to “transform foreigners in Chinese”. Only after meeting the exchange needs of tributary trade, there will be no official measures to promote the spread of Chinese.


Ming and qing dynasties, Chinese, Siam, Dissemination