This paper presents a century-long history of the debit-credit method of double-entry bookkeeping in China. Since introduced to China at the turn of this century, debit-credit bookkeeping has gone through many years of turbulence until 1992, when the Chinese government officially designated it as the standard bookkeeping method. Rather than taking a narrow technical perspective, this paper examines many historical events that shaped bookkeeping methods in China from a broad socioeconomic and political viewpoint. The story of debit-credit bookkeeping in China exemplifies how accounting is intertwined with the political and socioeconomic environment in which it exists.

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