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Britain's Imperial Retreat from China, 1900-1931





ISBN 9780367596323
Published June 29, 2020 by Routledge
262 Pages

 
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Book Description

Britain’s relationship with China in the nineteenth and early twentieth century is often viewed in terms of gunboat diplomacy, unequal treaties, and the unrelenting pursuit of Britain’s own commercial interests. This book, however, based on extensive original research, demonstrates that in Britain after the First World War a combination of liberal, Labour party, pacifist, missionary and some business opinion began to argue for imperial retreat from China, and that this movement gathered sufficient momentum for a sympathetic attitude to Chinese demands becoming official Foreign Office policy in 1926. The book considers the various strands of this movement, relates developments in Britain to the changing situation in China, especially the rise of nationalism and the Guomindang, and argues that, contrary to what many people think, the reassertion of China’s national rights was begun successfully in this period rather than after the Communist takeover in 1949.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Past British Thought about China to 1900



‘So Well Conceited of Themselves’: Early Jesuit and British Accounts



‘Fifty years of Europe’ vs. ‘A Cycle of Cathay’: Imperialism and China



Christianity, Compassion and Modernity: Missionary Views



The Moral Burden: Victorian Travel Writings



British Policy, 1895-1900



2. 1900-1910



The Boxer Uprising, 1900



The Boxer Uprising and Chinese ‘Awakening’



Sir Robert Hart and Chinese ‘Awakening’



Official policy, 1901-1904



Chinese Nationalism, 1905



G.E. Morrison’s Opinions and Influence



Official Policy, 1905-1910



3. 1911-1918



Assessments of the 1911 Revolution



British policy towards China, 1911-1918



4. 1919 to early 1925



The First World War and Empire



The Paris Peace Conference



The Creation of a New Order in East Asia



Chinese Issues, 1922-1924



The Bolshevik Threat and the Yellow Peril



The Boxer Indemnity and Chinese Educational Exchange



5. 1925



Unrest in China: 30 May and its Aftermath



The View from Whitehall



Government Advisors and Lobbyists



Public Responses



The Government Response



Conclusion



6. 1926



The Hong Kong Boycott and the Business Lobby



The Tariff Conference in Beijing



Finding Consensus



Changing Perceptions of the GMD



Challenging Conciliation



The Move Towards a Pro-GMD Policy



The New China Policy: Creating the December Memorandum



7. 1927



The Hankou Incident, the Shanghai Defence Force and the Public Response



The Chen-O’Malley Agreement



The Nanjing ‘Outrages’



Conclusion

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Author(s)

Biography

Phoebe Chow is in the International History Department at the London School of Economics, UK.