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The gentry refers to a social class of landowners.

In Chinese history, the gentry has a specific meaning and refers to the shen-shi or the class of landowners which had passed the bureaucratic examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasty.

In recent years, some historians have questioned the usefullness of gentry as a description and have pointed out that many landowners did not have bureaucratic degrees and that many with degrees were not wealthy or powerful.

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