“Li did not derive these views from Marxism, but he could have found considerable support in Marxist historical writings for an emphasis upon geographical and climatic factors in history. Marxists have been quick to deny that geography, which is unchanging, can account or historical change, but the geographical environment is in fact the starting point of the Marxist analysis of history. Marx himself attached considerable importance to “the natural conditions in which man finds himself – geological, orohydrographical, climatic and so on”. “All historiography”, he wrote, “must begin from these natural bases and their modification in the course of history by men’s activities.” (Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (1939) p. 7). It is well known, moreover, that Marx believed that capitalism could only have developed in the temperate zone (Marx, Capital, II, 176). The importance of geographic factors had been emphasized by many of the successors of Marx. Plekhanov, for example, wrote, evolution of the forces of production, and this, in its turn, determines the development of economic forces, and therefore the development of all the other social relations” (Plekhanov, Fundamental Problems of Marxism, p. 34). The influence of the geographic enrivonment was also the basis of Marx’s theory of the “Asiatic mode of production”. This theory purported to explain the peculiarities in historical development of at least a part of the non-Western world on the basis of the economic need for large-scale irrigation works managed by the state. The theory appeared in various writing of Marx, including ‘Capital’, as a general sociohistorical concept, which Marx employed to describe traditional Indian and other societies (1) but which he did not apply to China and Japan (2). However, in one case – the well-known Preface to ‘The Critique of Political Economy’ – Marx mentioned the “Asiatic mode of production” as one stage (the one preceding slavery) in his general scheme for the periodization of Western history (3). Despite his rejection of a unilinear scheme of historical development, and despite his emphasis on geography as the main factor determining the differences between East and West, Li Ta-chao did not employ the concept of the “Asiatic mode of production” to explain these differences. Although he had read ‘Capital’, Li chose to treat the “Asiatic mode”, as Marx had in the Preface, simply as an ancient antecedent of modern Europe (4). It played no part in his view of traditional China” [Maurice Meisner, Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism, 1967] [note: “(1) Marx’s most complete statement of the theory of the “Asiatic mode of production” appeared in his essay “The British Rule in India”, which was published originally in ‘The New York Tribune, June 25, 1853; (2) For some of the reasons why Marx failed to apply the concept to China, see my article “The Despotism of Concepts: Wittfogel and Marx on China”, ‘The China Quarterly, N° 16: 99-111 (Octorber-December 1963); (3) Marx and Engels, Selected Works, I, 363; (4) Li Ta-chao, “Wo ti Ma-k’o-ssu chu-i kuan”, Pt. I, p. 532″]