Controlling the physical movement of people was a well-established tradition throughout imperial China. Scholars have argued that the Qin (221–206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE–220 CE) empires required their subjects to register personal information, including their place of residence, with local governments, and both empires exerted strict control over the flows of officials and those who traveled for personal reasons within the territory, mainly through checkpoints and travel documents. Recent studies have also shown that forced resettlement was a common means of mobility regulation. Ancient states, from the Qin to the Mongol empire, achieved their imperial goals through a variety of measures, one of the most important of which was the relocation of subjects and conquered peoples whenever and wherever they saw fit.

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