“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

October 1920 – Warlord Chang Tso-Lin’s Troops Arrive in Peking by Train

Posted: June 7th, 2017 | No Comments »

In October 1920 Chang Tso-lin’s (Zhang Zuolin) troops were advancing on Peking. These interesting photos show how they used the Mukden (Shenyang)-Peking train line to speed their arrival…

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Unlikely Connections – Brooke Shields, a Peking Market and the Year of the Rabbit

Posted: June 6th, 2017 | 3 Comments »

A curio of a story from 1987 – it’s a Chinese New Year, Janurary – the Year of the Rabbit is being ushered in. Among the many wonders Pekingers can now buy is a rather elaborately framed picture of Brooke Shields – and just $2.45 (though I suspect this canny lady wasn’t taking FEC) – it is just about within the realms of possibility that this still adorns a hutong wall somewhere….

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Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria

Posted: June 5th, 2017 | No Comments »

Norman Smith edits this fascinating deep dive into the notion of Manchuria as China’s great adventurous expanse….Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria

This unique and compelling analysis of Manchuria’s environmental history demonstrates how the region’s geography shaped China’s past. Since the seventeenth century, the call of the Manchurian wilderness, with its abundant wildlife, timber, and mining deposits, has led some of the greatest empires in the world to do battle for its riches. Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, Russian, and other imperial forces have defied unrelenting summers and unforgiving winters as they fought for sovereignty over this vast “frontier.”

Until now, historians have focused on rivalries between Manchuria’s colonizing forces. Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria examines the interplay of climate and competing imperial interests in the region’s vibrant – and violent – cultural narrative. Families that settled this borderland reaped its riches while at the mercy of an unforgiving and hotly contested landscape.

As China’s strength as a world leader continues to grow, this volume invites further exploration of the indelible links between empire and environment. The role of Manchuria in China’s social and political evolution provides context for understanding how the geopolitical future of this global economic powerhouse is rooted in its past.

Norman Smith is a professor of history at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Intoxicating Manchuria: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China’s Northeast and Resisting Manchukuo: Chinese Women Writers and the Japanese Occupation, which was awarded the Canadian Women’s Studies Association 2008 Book Prize.

Contributors: David A. Bello, Blaine Chiasson, Annika A. Culver, Loretta E. Kim, Diana Lary, Kathryn Meyer, Wang Ning, Norman Smith, Ronald Suleski, and Sun Xiaoping.

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The Shanghai Project – Gathering of Chinese & Jewish Residents of Shanghai in WW2 – 6/6/17 New York City

Posted: June 4th, 2017 | No Comments »

Sorry I’m so late blogging this but if you’re in New York it should be of interest…..

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Tiananmen Square Massacre – 4 June 1989

Posted: June 4th, 2017 | No Comments »

As ever, remembering….

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Hong Kong on the Brink: An American diplomat relives 1967’s darkest days

Posted: June 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

Syd Goldsmith’s great memoir of the dark days of 1967 in Hong Kong and an encroaching Red China

Syd Goldsmith’s first taste of China’s Cultural Revolution is blood on his tongue. It’s 1967. Hong Kong is simmering, plagued by communist-led riots and strikes, crippled transport, punishing water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing and roadside bombs. And Syd — the only Caucasian Foreign Service Officer at the American Consulate General who speaks Cantonese — is made responsible for reporting and analysis of the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive.

The CIA station chief and the head of Macau’s gold syndicate play major roles in Syd’s story, along with Newsweeks Sydney Liu and Maynard Parker, and a steady stream of inquiring foreign correspondents and China-watchers. Richard Nixon makes a cameo appearance — to talk football with Syd since the consul general won’t see him — in this riveting memoir of a year when Hong Kong’s “borrowed time” seemed about to expire.

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Across the Pacific – from Seattle to Shanghai, 1925

Posted: June 2nd, 2017 | No Comments »

An illustration of an ocean liner towering over a Chinese junk – from a 1925 advert in the American press for the American Oriental Mail Line (which was effectively the Dollar Line after 1922) – their route was: Seattle, Victoria (BC), Yokohama, Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila. All their ships were named after American presidents – McKinley, Grant, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson etc….

 

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A Possible Reading List – New Books on China 1912….

Posted: June 1st, 2017 | No Comments »

1912 was a bumper year for China books…a new republic, the death of the Dowager Empress, just over a decade since the Boxers….the China Hands got scribbling and here are some of the new entrants in the (now very long lasting…) China books competition….

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