A General Description of China. 2

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A General Description of China. 2
A general description of China: containing the topography of the fifteen provinces which compose this vast empire; that of Tartary, the Isles, and other tributary countries
J.-B. (Jean-Baptiste) Grosier (1743-1823)
London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson
Translation of Description générale de la Chine (see below).
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The Chinese literati seldom employ their talents in writing for the
stage; and they reap little glory from productions of this kind, because
theatrical entertainments are rather tolerated than authorised in China.
The ancient sages of the nation have constantly decried them, and
considered them as destructive sources of corruption. The first mention
made of theatrical pieces in history, is where an emperor of the dynasty
of the Chang is praised for having forbidden this kind of frivolous and
dangerous amusement. Several remonstrances were presented to Siuen-ti,
of the dynasty of the Tcheou, in which he was intreated to banish from
his court these spectacles, the effects of which could not fail of being
fatal to morality and good order. Another emperor was deprived of his
honours, for having too great a fondness for the theatre, and
frequenting the company of comedians. It is in consequence of this
manner of thinking, which is universal in China, that halls set apart
for the acting of plays, are put upon a level with houses of
prostitution, and intirely confined to the suburbs of those cities where
they are erected.

The Chinese Gazette takes the earliest opportunity of publishing the
name of the most obscure soldier who has displayed courage and
intrepidity in combat; it announces to the whole empire an act of filial
piety, or an example of female modesty, even when exhibited by the
humblest rustic: but the authors of these papers would be exposed to the
severest punishment, did they dare to insult the nation, by entertaining
them with the character and success of a buffoon, with the description
of a new dance, or with the graces and figure of a comedian.