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Anglo-Chinese Encounters since 1800
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056260 | ISBN-10: 0511056265)

Chinese encounters with the British were more than merely those between two great powers. There was the larger canvas of the Empire and Commonwealth where the two peoples traded and interacted. In China, officials and merchants had to place the British beside other enterprising foreign peoples who were equally intent on influencing developments there. There were also Chinese who encountered the British in personal ways, and individual British who ventured into a 'vast unknown' with its deep history. Wang Gungwu's 2003 book, based on lectures linking China and the Chinese with imperial Britain, examines the possibilities in, as well as the limits of, their encounters. It takes the story beyond the clichés of opium, fighting, and the diplomatic skills needed to fend off rivals and enemies, and probes some areas of more intimate encounters, not least the beginnings of a wider English-speaking future.

• Penetrating and sophisticated account of the relationship between China and imperial Britain • Author is one of the most distinguished Chinese historians working today • For students and scholars of imperial history


1. Introduction; 2. To fight; 3. To trade; 4. To convert; 5. To rule; 6. Beyond Waley's list.


'Wang is one of East Asia's most distinguished academics, and his book is based on a series of lectures he gave at Cambridge in the year 2000; the fluidity of prose reflects the text's oral origins, making the book a delight to read … Another strength lies in the book's comparison of Anglo-American influences (Wang considers America to be the inheritor of Britain's imperial mantle) with those of Japan, Portugal and other countries that interacted with China in the imperial and immediate post-imperial periods. Asian Review of Books

'Wang's concise but wide-ranging provides new insights into the … many layered interplay between two cultures. He synthesizes vast quantities of material, and even his casual asides will doubtless generate numerous books, doctoral dissertations, and articles by others. Countless students will assuredly be instructed to read this study, while the general reader will find it to be a splendid overview of the convoluted highways and byways of the Anglo-Chinese encounter. The Journal of Asian Studies

' … a very enjoyable read … good introductory text … challenges Chinese historians to pry open the history of imperial exploitation in China and rethinks how the presence of these foreign actors allows certain fractions of the Chinese societies within and outside China proper to consolidate and reshape their identities.' Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

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