Since World War II scholars, Chinese and others, have shown a growing interest in Ch'ing history, results of which have paved the way for the study of contemporary China. They are fortunately afforded facilities for research by a large number of sources housed in various libraries in this country. Of these sources a considerable number consist of records from the Ch'ing imperial archives. Naturally historians and political scientists explore these official documents for details of different aspects of the Ch'ing dynasty. Considering the importance of these official accounts, a critical study of their nature and uses will be helpful to scholars. Although it is almost impossible to thoroughly examine all of these official sources, it is practicable to bring into focus the material for a certain period of that dynasty. The present paper represents such a discussion of the five principal sources for the Yung-chêng period (1723–35), reign of Emperor Shih-tsung, who was the third ruler of the Ch'ing.

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