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If modifying a current entry with important changes or an urgent update, please list the date somewhere following the new information. (For example, when noting the change also list the date in parentheses, e.g. (September 2015).)

When adding a new entry, please provide the name of the archive under the appropriate geographic location (or add a new one), a brief annotation about its collections (as you know them), relevant link(s), and any additional pertinent or practical information (e.g., updates from recent field experience, photocopying issues, links to reviews on the web, etc.). Incomplete information can be modified at a later date and/or by other researchers based on their own experiences.

China

Beijing

Beijing Municipal Archives
北京市档案馆
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (November 2011) and an important update (by Charles Kraus, November 2015) on introduction letters and file request limits.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
中华人民共和国外交部档案
website
Two reviews on this archive exist on Dissertation Reviews, one from February 2012 and an urgent update from August 2013. As of September 2015, several scholars had reported that the archive remains indefinitely closed to the public. Update: In January 2017, a scholar received word from a source in China that the archive is now open again as of December 1, 2016, but it appears only two fonds are available to access (the protocol department (117) and the international organizations division (113)). According to the source, other fonds are still undergoing high-level review, and the archive no longer provides any printing services. Furthermore, all visitors are now required to provide letters of introduction, which are then only valid for three months. Although the source noted that foreigners are permitted access, this has yet to be confirmed.

Xicheng (District) Archives
西城区档案馆
A report by a scholar on H-PRC (February 2017), looking at urban communes records, compared the archival environment to functioning more like a DMV than for scholarly research, describing it as such: “The place is basically a room with a large window behind which the archivists sit. Visitors pick a number at the entrance and wait to be called, but usually there is not much of a crowd. I was assigned a spot at the window, at a dedicated computer – all the sources are digitized – so, day after day, I could not but overhear the conversations between district residents and the archivists. Most of the exchanges were quick and terse (“What kind of document do you want?” “Why do you need it?” “Is there a fee?”), but some hinted at personal and collective dramas.” More surprising to this scholar was that, when questioned regarding an observation this scholar made about people not being able to obtain their marriage records, archival staff confirmed that pre-1981 marriage records (from the paichusuo (派出所)) seems to have been “thrown away” for unspecified reasons.

Chongqing

Chongqing Municipal Archives
重庆市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2012)

Fujian

Fujian Provincial Archives
漳州市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews(April 2013)

Zhangzhou Municipal Archives
漳州市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews(May 2015)

Guangdong

Guangdong Provincial Archives
广东档案局
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (January 2014)

Guangzhou Municipal Archives
广州市档案局
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (January 2014)

June 2017 update on both these archives A scholar reported that they were “not allowed to even check the PRC catalog” because their introductory letter was from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, but that if the letter had been a local introductory letter “with more details” that might have sufficed. An MA student from Sun Yat-sen University was also not allowed to see any PRC documents, although not sure whether or not she had a letter at all.There is a fast internet connection at the Guangzhou archives for which you register for with a cell phone number (Guangdong does not have this feature). The building is also much quieter than Guangdong, but it is difficult to travel to and isolated as written in the original review above. There is also now no midday break on either Wednesday or Thursday at GD, while GZ remains closed on Wednesday. More details: “The 30-page reproduction rule still stands at both GD and GZ – the limit is per time you register with them (so if I return next summer, I will get a new 30-page limit)… Another thing to note is that you are allowed to go in and check the paper catalog on weekend days (no calling actual files, though). … in terms of food options, there are at least 2 student cafeterias within a 1/2 mile from the Guangzhou Municipal Archive. I have enjoyed eating pretty good Taiwanese-style shaved ice two days in a row in a small shop among a cluster of other eateries (I also saw a Hunan joint, a cafe, and a Korean place) across from a gate into the residential area of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. There is also reputedly a very nice reservation-only, dinner-only Italian restaurant in the area.”

Guangxi

Liuzhou Archives
桂林市档案馆
Sensitive contents censored, but otherwise more open. No copying service available. (January 2017)

Guilin Municipal Archives
柳档案局
In a request to see ten supposedly open catalogs from the 1970s, only two were fulfilled, while the other eight denied on the grounds that they “should have been deleted” from the open catalog. (January 2017)

Nanning Municipal Archives
南宁市档案
In early 2016, at least one researcher was told that to view archival documents on a topic listed in the catalog required permission from the Nanning party commission.

Hebei

Shijiazhuang Municipal Archives
石家莊市檔案館
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2012)

Hong Kong

Chinese University of Hong Kong, University Services Centre
香港中文大學中國研究服務中心
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (November 2015)

Hubei

Hubei Provincial Archives
湖北省档案馆
Instant Access at Hubei Provincial Archives" (by Charles Kraus, November 2015)

Inner Mongolia

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Archives
内蒙古自治区档案局
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2014)

Jiangsu

In October 2015, several scholars on H-PRC discussed conflicting experiences they've had dealing with various Jiangsu archives over the years.

Changshu Municipal Archives
常熟市档案馆
"If it’s in the catalog...": Off the Beaten Path at Changshu Municipal Archives by Charles Kraus (November 2015)

Changzhou Municipal Archives
常州市档案局
website
One researcher was initially told that all government and municipal documents were not publicly available, but upon pressing found out that a very limited (“several pages”) open catalog does exist. The staff insisted on searching the digitized system themselves. A more senior staff member then needed to approve all documents before providing researcher access. In the end, this researcher was able to print some documents and take notes on a laptop for handwritten documents. There is also a collection of Changzhou gazetteers located at the archives that are easily accessible.

Huaian Municipal Archives
淮安市档案局
website
A researcher in early 2016 found these archives relatively open and accessible, but the staff is responsible for searching keywords in the digitized system. The search system at this archive is organized according to organs (按机构划分) so in order to see documents from different departments you need to tell the staff (otherwise they won't search). Except for a few sensitive documents, they printed everything one researcher wanted from the results and allowed photographs of original documents. Although some files post-1976 were not available, and those between 1966-1975 generally not made public, this researcher recommended that it was worth a visit particularly if working on northern Jiangsu.

Jiangsu Provincial Archives
江苏省档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2013) and more recently Navigating the Jiangsu Provincial Archives (by Charles Kraus, November 2015). From the latter: “I was able to see and read files forwarded from the Central Committee and State Council which I was told I could not see at other archives, including the Hangzhou Municipal Archives.” Another researcher visited in 2016 and found “thousands of open files from 1949 to 1966” but not much on the period after 1976 and that there were no open documents from the provincial committee after 1981. Moreover, it was not possible to print or take photos, so one should plan time accordingly. The archive might move in 2016, so be sure to check the website for updates.

Nanjing Municipal Archives
南京市档案馆
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (February 2013) and urgent update (August 2013)

Suzhou (Sukun) Kunqu Company Archive
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (May 2015)

Suzhou Municipal Archives
苏州市档案馆
Leaving the Suzhou Municipal Archives Empty Handed (by Charles Kraus, November 2015). It seems that much of their post-1949 files are still classified. A researcher in early 2016 found the staff friendly, access to 1970s documents better than at other archives, an open catalog (up until 1983, nothing after was open), and easy access to using the digitized system. However, none of the documents could be printed. Similar experience reported at the end of 2016. NOTE This archive moved in 2016 to 北园路269号, near the Suzhou Museum and Humble Garden(拙政园).

Wuxi Municipal Archives
无锡市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2013) and an update by Charles Kraus (November 2015). Another researcher described a visit in early 2016 as an unpleasant experience characterized by unfriendly staff, no open catalogs, and inability to search through the digitized system. The way to find documents was asking the staff to search on their computers for multiple variations of keywords. However, even after the staff located documents, the researcher was then denied access to most of what was found (“About 90%”) and told that of the remaining set only the first page of a document could be copied.

Xuzhou Municipal Archives
徐州市档案馆
website
In early 2016, a researcher found open, easily accessible catalogs. However, when this researcher mentioned the research topic, a staff member said that this topic was too sensitive and that he wouldn't allow access to all the materials even if the archive had them. As a result, on a follow-up visit, the staff had censored the requested materials and informed the researcher about a new notification from the Central Committee concerning the administration of archives which included censoring even open catalogs for potentially sensitive information (though no specification on what was sensitive and what not). Unfortunately, because this researcher asked to see a set of open materials that fell under this criteria, certain materials have now been reclassified. Even so, of what was finally delivered from the initial request, this researcher found and was able to take photos of many useful documents.

Jilin

Jilin Provincial Archives
吉林省档案馆 "Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (October 2015)

Longjing Municipal Archives
龙井市档案馆
The Increasing Irrelevance of 开放: Tales from Longjing by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Tumen Municipal Archives
图们市档案馆
Surprise, Surprise, Tumen Municipal Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture Archives
延边朝鲜族自治州档案馆
See You Again, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Shaanxi

Shaanxi Provincial Archives
陕西省档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (March 2012)

Xi’an Municipal Archives
西安市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (March 2012)

Shandong

Qingdao Municipal Archives
青岛市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (May 2015)

Shandong Provincial Archives
山东省档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (May 2015)

Shanghai

Baoshan District (Shanghai) Archives
宝山区档案馆
Baoshan District Archives by Charles Kraus (October 2015)

Changning District (Shanghai) Archives
长宁区档案馆
Changning District Archives by Charles Kraus (October 2015)

Huangpu District (Shanghai) Archives
黄浦区档案馆
Huangpu District Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Jing'an District (Shanghai) Archives
Kraus reported on H-PRC (February 2017) that access to Huangpu and Jing'an were better than other districts, but not easy.

Shanghai Municipal Archives
上海市档案馆
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2013), urgent update (August 2013), and another further update (May 2015). Also, some tips on printing at the SMA, by Charles Kraus (October 2015)

Zhabei (District) Archives
Kraus reported on H-PRC (February 2017) that these archives may be defunct.

Sichuan

Sichuan Provincial Archives
四川省档案馆
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (March 2012)

Tianjin

Tianjin Municipal Archives
天津市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (October 2011), update (May 2015), and At the Tianjin Municipal Archives, No Waiting by Charles Kraus (November 2015)

Yunnan

Yunnan Provincial Archives
云南省档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2012)

Xinjiang

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (January 2014)

Zhejiang

Hangzhou Municipal Archives
杭州市档案馆
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (December 2011) and Hangzhou Municipal Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Jiaxing Municipal Archives
嘉兴市档案馆
The Prospect: Jiaxing Municipal Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)

Ningbo Municipal Archives
宁波市档案馆
Ningbo Municipal Archives by Charles Kraus (November 2015)

Wenzhou Municipal Archives
温州市档案馆
Zen and the Art of Archival Research in China; or Don’t let the Wenzhou Municipal Archives Bring You Down by Charles Kraus (November 2015)

Zhejiang Provincial Archives
浙江省档案馆
Zhejiang Provincial Archives by Charles Kraus (September 2015)


Other Asia

U.S./Canada

The Costen Children's Library, Princeton
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (March 2016)
The rare books collection includes children's books from 20th century China, including the early PRC. To find these easily, follow the DR instructions: “To search specifically within Special Collections, click the 'More Limits' button at the bottom right and use the drop down menu for 'Location' to choose 'Rare Books and Special Collections.'” A time period or range can also be specified.

National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) II - College Park, Maryland, USA
website

Rockefeller Foundation - Sleepy Hollow, NY, USA
website
"Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (December 2015)
Their list of China archival collections includes various sets of papers and Foundation records covering the first few decades of the PRC.

Europe

Germany
Bundesarchiv Berlin
website
This archive holds various documents and media related to PRC interactions with the German state, most notably with the former GDR (DDR) in the 1950s-1980s. The website itself also includes a trove of photographs that can be searched by keywords.

Netherlands
International Institute for Social History
website
The IISH holds a variety of materials related to international socialist and communist organizations and movements, such the World Federation of Democratic Youth and World Federation of Trade Unions. It also contains materials specific to the PRC, such as the Chinese People's Movement Collection and the Democratic Opposition in China Collection. Stefan Landsberger's propaganda poster collection also officially resides at this archive. The catalog includes both the library and archives. Access is very easy, all one needs is to provide contact information on a computer in order to have materials called to the Reading Room. There are no restrictions on photography. Specific inquiries and requests can sometimes be made in advance via email.

Other

Australia
The Chinese Rare Book Collection, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne
website "Fresh from the Archives" review on Dissertation Reviews (April 2016) According to the DR review, this collection includes 400 diaries from the Cultural Revolution period, as well as “a large number of primary and secondary school textbooks, children's books, guidebooks, propaganda posters, Red Guard newspapers and other publications produced in the early history of the PRC.” NOTE Many of the links within the DR review are broken, so it's better to start directly from the collection website.

Archival Law

The Archives Law of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国档案法) was adopted in 1987 and amended in 1996. General provisions for the declassification of archives may be found in Chapter IV, which regulates the use and publication of archival holdings. Chapter IV, Article 19 reads:

Archives kept by State archives repositories shall in general be open to the public upon the expiration of 30 years from the date of their formation. Archives in economic, scientific, technological and cultural fields may be open to the public in less than 30 years; archives involving the security or vital interests of the State and other archives which remain unsuitable for accessibility to the public upon the expiration of 30 years may be open to the public after more than 30 years. The specific time limits shall be defined by the national archives administration department and submitted to the State Council for approval before they become effective.

The way the law and subsequent regulations are formulated, there is significant room to restrain access to materials pertinent to the “security or vital interests of the State.”

Access to archives by foreign nationals is regulated by the “Measures for the Implementation of the Archives Law of the People's Republic of China” (中华人民共和国档案法实施办法) from 1990, with further specifications in the “Provisional measures for the use of national archives by foreign organizations and individuals” (外国组织和个人利用我国档案试行办法) issued in 1991. Article 22 of the 1990 “Measures” opens up for foreigners to access declassified archives on the condition that they have “an introduction from the relevant responsible department and the approval by the archive in question” (有关主管部门介绍以及其前往的档案馆的同意). Provincial, municipal, and county regulations may or may not further specify what qualifies as a “responsible department” (e.g. a university department, a CCP office).

China

The Archives Law of the People’s Republic of China
中华人民共和国档案法
English Chinese

Measures for the Implementation of the Archives Law of the People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国档案法实施办法
Text

Provisional Measures for the Use of State Archives by Foreign Organizations and Individuals
外国组织和个人利用我国档案试行办法
Text

Measures for Open Archives in State Archives at Different Levels
各级国家档案馆开放档案办法
Text

Guangxi

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional Archives Administrative Regulation
广西壮族自治区档案管理条例
Text

Jiangsu

Jiangsu Provincial Archives Administrative Regulations
江苏省档案管理条例
Text

Nanjing Municipal Archives Regulations
南京市档案条例
Text

Nanjing Municipal Archives Provisional Measures for Open Archives
南京市档案馆开放档案暂行办法
Text

Suzhou Municipal Archives Regulations
苏州市档案条例
Text

Wuxi Municipal Archives Administrative Regulations
无锡市档案管理条例
Text

Shanghai

Shanghai Municipal Archives Regulations
上海市档案条例
Text

Zhejiang

Ningbo Municipal Archives Provisions for Using Archives
宁波市档案馆档案利用办法
Text

Yunnan

Provisional Measures for Open Archives at Different Level Archives in the Kunming Municipality
昆明市各级档案馆开放档案暂行办法
Text

archives.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/17 07:34 by prcadmin