. 4
( 6)


national greatness than was represented by Britain of the
early twentieth century. No one could have predicted
then that, when the Bolshevik revolution burst upon
the scene, it would quickly become, for the majority
of the young patriots of the day, the main rival to an
Anglo-American solution for China.
Rather like the navy the Chinese had failed to build,
British ideals of government did not take during the
half-century that marked the peak of Victorian imperial
power. These ideals were quickly overtaken by events.
By the 1920s, they were overwhelmed by the grow-
ing literature of anti-imperialism drawn from Marx and
Lenin that was all the more potent when intermin-
gled with the outpourings of nationalism against foreign
dominance. As a result, other political alternatives were
steadily drowned out, including the modi¬ed British
heritage represented by the United States. The swift
success of Soviet power was greatly appealing to impa-
tient and radicalised youth that had found the warlords,
the constitutionalists and the older nationalists ineffec-
tual and corrupt. The appeal was, on the one hand,
dominated more by emotion and utopianism than sub-
stance and, on the other, highlighted by the promise
to a small band of dedicated revolutionaries of a more
ef¬cient way to gain popular power.10
Unlike the older elites in their approach to British,
French and American political ideals, and re¬‚ecting the
visceral response to nationalism and xenophobia among
the populace, the young revolutionaries made no critical
118 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

examination of what the Marxist doctrines had to offer
to preindustrial agrarian China. Indeed, little attention
was paid to whether their principles could be adapted to
Chinese political culture. Where was the class struggle?
Where was the feudalism that had led to capitalism
and the industrial revolution in Britain? Hasty attempts
were made to ¬t Chinese history into the ¬ve stages of
economic and systemic transition, failing which ready
explanations were found in Marx™s “Asiatic Mode of
Production”.11 A nihilist urge to destroy, comparable to
a sudden Zen-like enlightenment or a road-to-Damascus
act of conversion, was supported by the opportunity to
establish a new basis of power.
The turning away from both liberal democratic ways
and their intellectual content was best captured by the
discomfort the Chinese felt with the visit of Bertrand
Russell in 1920. His young audience expected the
most modern wisdom from this great philosopher of
mathematics, science and society. They were, therefore,
puzzled and disappointed when he seemed not to under-
stand why they were so excited by a mix of nationalism,
socialism and communism. He embodied a moderate
British progressivism and was unsympathetic with Soviet
power and the kinds of social experiments introduced in
Russia.12 In comparison, the Chinese made much more
of the relatively successful tour of the American philoso-
pher of education, John Dewey (1859“1952), who vis-
ited China soon after Russell. My father recalled his ex-
perience of the enlightenment that Dewey had brought
to his generation of students when Dewey addressed
them at the Nanjing Higher Normal College at the
Dongnan (Southeastern) University. He and his contem-
poraries were taught by Dewey™s Chinese students and
To rule 119

were convinced that a new philosophical approach was
needed for freeing the Chinese mind prior to rebuild-
ing a new system of governance. For example, traditional
methods of teaching should be replaced by methods that
systematically opened young minds to modern ideas.13
Although my father was to become an admirer of elitist
British administration, he never lost his respect for the
values that Dewey thought were fundamental to a con-
structive and transformative future for China.
In any case, perhaps the renowned and aristocratic
Russell was not the best ambassador for British ideas.
Dewey, although older, was much less famous, but his
students who had invited him to China were heads of
the university departments where he gave most of his
lectures. He was thus better attuned to the mood of
the ardent young Chinese who came to hear him. All
the same, Dewey™s gradualist political views had little
impact beyond the schools in which his students taught,
and he was no more successful than Russell in diverting
the fervent young from their revolutionary paths. By
the time Russell left China, the Englishman who left
the strongest impression of British values was someone
who had much less claim to wisdom. He was Charles
Dickens (1812“1870), whose ¬ctional portrayal of the
consequences of the industrial revolution on Victorian
England moved many Chinese to tears. Whenever he
was quoted in that context, young Chinese saw him as
having put ¬‚esh on to the cry against William Blake™s
“dark Satanic mills”.14
The intense and growing rivalry between Anglo
ideals on the one hand, and an internationalist anti-
imperialism on the other, predated the Cold War
rhetoric that the world lived with for more than four
120 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

decades after the Second World War. In China, through
the 1920s to 1940s, there was never a fair contest be-
tween the two sets of ideas. The rivalry was also com-
plicated and distracted by a late imperialism led by Japan
that took advantage of Britain™s problems in Europe with
an emergent German national socialist empire. The ex-
treme confusion as to how the modern world should be
ruled was further aggravated in China by the Japanese
invasion and, after that, a vicious civil war between mil-
itarist nationalism and peasant communism. There was,
therefore, no longer any question of what the Chinese
might have chosen from the alternative systems of gover-
nance available to them. The issue, as it has always been
throughout thousands of years of Chinese history, was a
matter of who won on the battle¬eld and in whose hands
that power would rest. And, as the Chinese have under-
stood in their realm of Man, ideals “ whether moral
or political “ were always shaped by the victors. In their
eyes, the possibility of British ideas of how to rule was no
exception. British, or for that matter Anglo-American,
rule would have been a credible model only when it
could prove its ef¬cacy in helping new leaders win po-
litical power. In 1949, the Chinese knew who and what
had won in China. Since the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991, however, they are less sure. Should they
in time come to believe that Anglo-American principles
of governance have really won out, some of them may
well consider having them revalued afresh.
This brings me to my second question: What sort
of British rule did the Chinese actually experience?
The right to rule after acquiring power by military vic-
tory was also con¬rmed by the experience of all those
Chinese who actually lived under British rule. This right
To rule 121

always came after the British had captured territory and
put their governing system in place. Although these
Chinese, as well as those living in Treaty Ports, did have
direct experience of British rule, they were such a small
percentage of the Chinese population that their experi-
ence must be described as peripheral. I mentioned earlier
that the ¬rst Chinese who lived under some kind of
British rule were those who ¬‚ocked to Francis Light™s
Penang after 1788. They were the people in Penang
whom George Leith described in 1805 as most useful
for British trading interests in the region.15 This was
of course not a British discovery. The Portuguese and
the Spanish had thought of the Chinese in the same
way, when they found Chinese traders already active in
East and Southeast Asia when they arrived in the six-
teenth century. Soon afterwards, the Dutch in Batavia
were similarly appreciative and skillfully used Chinese in-
termediaries to build up their empire in the East Indies.
The English East India Company had known of these
local trading networks for more than a century before
the foundation of Penang. But their attention was fo-
cused on India and the Chinese were not important for
them until they were ready to expand their trade to
China. That very act of expansion brought them their
¬rst sizable number of Chinese “subjects”.
We do not have any direct record of what these
Chinese living on the periphery thought of British rule
at this early phase. That they voted with their feet,
especially from Malacca, various Sumatran ports, and
other ports on the West Coast of the Malay Peninsula
to British-ruled territories, suggests that they found the
British welcoming. This was even more true of Singa-
pore after its foundation in 1819. The speed at which
122 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

Chinese from the surrounding areas moved to the free
trade and entrepot facilities that Singapore offered was
astonishing. We have ample evidence to show that most
Chinese traders found British rule congenial for the next
150 years.16 In addition, Singapore became a major tran-
sit point for all Chinese going on to the Malay Peninsula,
to all the major centres of development in the south,
central and western parts of the Netherlands East Indies,
and even further beyond to Indian Ocean ports. Thus
the numbers of Chinese on the peripheries who knew
something about British rule grew throughout the nine-
teenth century and the ¬rst half of the twentieth. But
these were not people who could in¬‚uence ideas and
institutions in China itself.
It was not until the late nineteenth century that we
begin to ¬nd Chinese comments on actual British ad-
ministrative practices. By that time, the Chinese in Hong
Kong and the Treaty Ports were familiar with how the
British ran their affairs. There appeared a variety of
sources for their comments. We have of¬cial mandarin
reports on how the foreigners ran the concession areas,
especially the unusual dominance of British merchants in
the administration of Shanghai. These reports included
the way the Chinese who were British subjects from
the Straits Settlements exercised their acquired “British”
rights on Chinese territory, notably places like Xiamen
(Amoy) and Shantou (Swatow). There were also private
notes on how, and how not, to deal with the British. The
most vocal comments were found in Chinese newspa-
pers, the earliest appearing late in the nineteenth century
in Hong Kong, followed by those in Shanghai and then,
at the turn of the century, also those in Singapore and
To rule 123

It is interesting to note that the Chinese in the Straits
Settlements who were the ¬rst to know the British as ad-
ministrators were local-born Chinese, called “Babas” or
“Straits Chinese”, who recorded their favourable com-
ments in the English language. Later, their writings in
The Straits Chinese Magazine (1897“1907) and the ¬nest
work of history written by a Baba Chinese, Song Ong
Siang™s One Hundred Years of the Chinese in Singapore, cap-
tured the range of feelings they had for British rule. They
were followed by writings in the press and speeches in
the legislature that varied from gratitude for its bene¬ts
to increasing frustration at British unwillingness to let
more of them partake in the tasks of governance.18 As
these writings were not available to those who did not
know English and could read only Chinese, we do not
know what China-born Chinese thought of them. But
we can usefully compare the works in English with what
was published in contemporary Chinese newspapers and
appreciate the differences in outlook. In English, the
stress was on respect for British law and order and, in
Chinese, there was considerable appreciation of the rel-
ative freedom to trade and the autonomy to organise
themselves socially.
Signi¬cantly, because the Chinese in Hong Kong
wrote in Chinese from the start, it is there that the ¬rst
accounts of direct Chinese experiences of the advantages
of British rule are to be found. For example, we have
a speci¬c example of what politically minded Chinese
thought of the government of Hong Kong in the writ-
ings of Hong Rengan (1822“1864), the cousin of Hong
Xiuquan, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom™s only em-
peror. Too late to be of much use to his cousin, Hong
Rengan™s many ideas about law, banking and insurance,
124 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

roads and transportation, and matters of practical admin-
istration, as well as his views against slavery and infanti-
cide, had been stimulated by his stay in Hong Kong.19
Many prominent Chinese had detailed knowledge of the
practical ways the British had found to solve problems
of modern urban living in an alien land, ways which
the British were prepared to share selectively with some
of their Chinese subjects. These included some of the
compradores who worked for the larger British compa-
nies as well as the earliest Chinese members appointed
to the Legislative Council. The more articulate among
them wrote regularly for the Chinese newspapers, and
men like Hu Liyuan (1847“1916) (together with some-
one like Ho Kai who knew the British well) and Zheng
Guanying (1842“1921) drew on their knowledge of
British rule in some of the articles collected in their
books like Xinzheng zhenquan (The True Meaning of
New Governance) and Shengshi weiyan (Warnings to a
Prosperous Age).20
In particular, British ideas of medicine, hygiene and
public health attracted attention and young Chinese
were quick to look to the medical profession, as in
the example of Ho Kai himself, and the ¬rst Queen™s
Scholar of Singapore, Lim Boon Keng (Lin Wenqing).
It is not surprising that the ¬rst tertiary institutions in
both Hong Kong and Singapore were medical colleges.
Less obviously, the Chinese were impressed by the uses of
common law. Mysterious though the legal system has re-
mained for most Chinese down to the present day, many
recognised very early that it was far more equitable and
justly administered than anything that the Chinese them-
selves had devised. Someone like Ho Kai was moved to
take a law degree as well as his earlier medical one. His
To rule 125

brother-in-law, Ng Choy (Wu Tingfang, 1842“1922),
with his background in British colonies, was able to use
the legal knowledge from his training in London to be-
come a senior of¬cial and diplomat in both imperial and
republican China.21 Later, others from Hong Kong and
China who trained as law students in Britain also served
China as jurists and diplomats well into the 1940s. Al-
though their numbers were small when compared with
those who studied in the United States, these suggest
that the appreciation of British rule in the medical and
legal areas was widespread and pervaded the practical
handbooks of government produced during the decades
of the Republic of China.
Less noticed at the time was the British work on har-
bours and roads. For those who understood this, British
contributions in these areas were truly impressive. Al-
though literati Chinese were not attracted nor encour-
aged to get into engineering professions, it is striking
that the ¬rst British colonial university established east
of India, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 1911,
started with a Faculty of Engineering. Various Chi-
nese provincial governments sent scholarship students
to Hong Kong to study civil engineering and return to
work in China. The best known of a very distinguished
group of engineers, Liu Xianzhou (1890“1975), ended
his career in the 1950s as vice-president of what had
become the best engineering university in China, the
famous Tsing Hua University in Beijing. The surviv-
ing HKU alumni in various parts of China down to the
present are mostly engineers and most of them remem-
ber the university and their British teachers fondly.22
In short, British direct rule in Hong Kong at the end
of the nineteenth and the ¬rst half of the twentieth served
126 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

as a positive example of good management of urban and
mercantile affairs, notably public health, roads and the
rule of law. The impact could be found even in the po-
litical doctrines of someone like Sun Yat-sen, who even-
tually turned away from what he saw as a conservative
British model to a revolutionary Soviet type of political
party-state. In his lecture at HKU in 1923, he speci¬cally
mentioned his debt to what he learnt from British rule
in Hong Kong. Indeed, although less directly, many of
his speeches throughout his political career, as well as his
outlines and plans for China™s development programs,
displayed his admiration for what he saw in Britain. It
was not always clear how Sun Yat-sen and his follow-
ers would have translated all that for the development
of agrarian China, but in the plans for railways, mines
and hydraulic projects can be found many ideas which
derived directly or indirectly from Sun Yat-sen™s travels
around the British Empire.23
Herein lies an apparent dif¬culty in assessing the
impact of British rule for the Chinese. There seemed to
be a contradiction between Chinese merchants and po-
litically conscious patriots. The merchants who experi-
enced direct British rule learnt to respect conditions that
they had not enjoyed under anyone else, notably some
of the laws protecting property, patents and contracts
and the relative fairness in administrative decisions. The
patriots who could be found in all classes, however, iden-
ti¬ed much that the British had done, and were doing,
in China and elsewhere with colonial exploitation. This
was true even when, as on the Chinese mainland, the
British had never exercised colonial rule but were pri-
marily symbols of imperialism. For the merchant class,
the British taught them that stability, legal predictability
To rule 127

and relative freedom were desirable no matter who the
rulers were. For the patriots, national sovereignty, cul-
tural respect and ethnic identity were uppermost and
there could be no compromise with alien rule.
But the contradiction is more apparent than real if
we look at the last decades of two examples of British
rule in eastern Asia: that in Malaya (now West Malaysia
and Singapore) and Hong Kong. I shall not go into the
complex triangular relations of the British, the Malays
and the Chinese in the Malay States, but focus only
on how British rule appeared to the divided Chinese
communities and how the British managed the various
divisions. The Chinese were initially divided by their
native-place origins and by the mutually incomprehen-
sible dialects they spoke. They formed clan and district
associations that drew together members of the same
dialect or surname group. The British saw these asso-
ciations as contributing on the whole to social stability
and tolerated and supervised their exclusive organisa-
tions. With the advent of Chinese nationalism, there
were new divisions among the Chinese, between those
who responded to politics imported from China and
those who emphasised a local loyalty, especially between
those who went to Chinese schools and learnt a common
Mandarin language and those who studied in English-
medium schools. Here the British clearly favoured the
latter and did not hesitate to deport anyone not born in
their colonies and protectorates who went beyond the
de¬ned limits to their political activities.24
Then came newer divisions among the nationalists
themselves, between those who supported the Nation-
alist regime and those who were won over by Mao
Zedong™s Communist Party. The British constrained the
128 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

activities of both groups carefully but then recruited
some of them, including communists and left-wing na-
tionalists, to ¬ght the common Japanese enemy during
the Second World War.25 The most notable contri-
butions came from those who joined British forces
against the occupation of Malaya in 1942“1945. The
best known of them, Lim Bo Seng (Lin Mousheng,
1909“1944), studied in Singapore and then at the Uni-
versity of Hong Kong. He then joined “Force 136”,
the Anglo-Chinese military unit that sent him back
to Malaya, where he was caught and executed by the
Japanese. Thereafter, the Malayan Communist Party,
which claimed to be nationalist as well as anti-imperialist
but was largely led by Chinese cadres, turned itself into
a local party seeking independence for Malaya.
To deal with this threat in the post-war anti-colonial
atmosphere, the British encouraged both an ideological
divide among the Chinese and a racial divide between
the Malays and the Chinese. Thus the various Chinese
communities faced a new reality in which they had to
choose between two courses. They could ¬ght for a local
communist victory as in China, or support the British
plan for a multiracial society in which loyal Chinese
would be accepted as citizens in an eventual Malayan
state. In that context, the majority of Chinese voted for
the law and order, racial harmony, relative freedom and
the ethnic autonomy that the British promised. There
was much talk about British cunning in looking after
their own long-term interest in independent Malaya, but
surprisingly little doubt among most local Chinese that
the British could, and would, deliver on their promises.26
In the case of Singapore, three-quarters of the popula-
tion of this British colony was of Chinese descent by the
To rule 129

second half of the nineteenth century, and this remains
so after over forty years of self-rule and independence.
Although it was never intended that there would be an
independent republic of Singapore, that Chinese ele-
ment in the population has become the bene¬ciaries of
the British administrative and legal heritage left to them
after its separation from Malaysia in 1965. Their lead-
ers after independence have fought off the challenge of
British-type democratic politics in favour of the bureau-
cratic status quo of the multiracial commercial metropo-
lis that the British left behind. How this was done has
been succinctly described in Lee Kuan Yew™s memoirs.27
He has made it clear that he saw no contradiction be-
tween the needs of an international market economy
and the nation-building that he set out to shape. Having
a largely Chinese electorate, he devised a party system
to ensure that a clear majority would be satis¬ed with an
honest and ef¬cient bureaucracy, one that conformed to
a post-Confucian ideal that he believes British democ-
racy could not have provided. The governing People™s
Action Party has calculated that, for most Chinese, the
weighting given to economic over political freedoms was
something they could live with. How well this amalgam
of two different ideals will survive is yet unknown. The
experiment reminds us, however, that Chinese who have
lived under the British have found ways not only to adapt
themselves to British rule but also, when appropriate or
necessary, to appropriate some of the methods of gover-
nance for their particular needs.
The Hong Kong story is more complicated but even
more illuminating. British rule there since the end of the
Second World War, and particularly since the process of
global decolonisation of the 1950s, had been changing
130 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

over several decades to ¬t the environment of revolu-
tionary China.28 The Chinese who experienced that
rule from 1949 to 1984 could not but have noted how
adaptable the British were in the face of continuous un-
certainty. The post-war generation of local British colo-
nial of¬cials endured and survived many kinds of threat
to the colony™s stability. Hong Kong™s population more
than trebled during that period because of the unend-
ing ¬‚ood of immigrants from the mainland. Throughout
that time, there were passionate supporters of both the
People™s Republic of China and the Republic of China
in Taiwan plotting to outdo each other in gaining in-
¬‚uence over the Hong Kong government. In addition,
there was a growing number of Hong Kongers who
wanted either a British status quo or some kind of inde-
pendence. Their comments about what they thought of
British rule, increasingly expressed in one of the freest
presses in the world, ranged from tolerance to resigned
acceptance and even open admiration.
The civil service was steadily localised as more and
more Hong Kong Chinese were recruited and trained
to take over when their British seniors retired and to run
Hong Kong after they all left. All of them, whether of
British or Hong Kong origins, struggled to be humane
and responsive, draconian and legalistic, diplomatic and
evasive, reasonably honest and ef¬cient, all at the same
time and not always successfully. They were sensitive to
the fact that they were serving on the frontline of the
Cold War in Asia, and were mostly providing support to
one side against the other. Despite the exhortations to
be alert and grasp the opportunities to be knowledgeable
about developments in the PRC, they were often taken
To rule 131

by surprise. In particular, they had to scramble to cope
when millions across the border faced starvation in the
early 1960s and when the Cultural Revolution turned
murderous and spilled over into the territory at the end
of the sixties. Understandably, they could not meet all the
needs of the political refugees who were allowed to stay.
But they did provide something that was nothing short
of miraculous. They sustained faith among the colony™s
Chinese population in a system of modern urban gov-
ernment that kept trade open and freedom sacrosanct. It
is a paradox that while there was no democracy in Hong
Kong, and it has only a very limited democracy today, it
remains one of the freest societies in Asia.29
After weathering the storms from Mao Zedong™s
China for thirty years, Hong Kong reaped the rich har-
vest of Deng Xiaoping™s economic reforms. For two
years between 1982 and 1984, all was uncertain while
British and Chinese of¬cials debated the terms of the
return of Hong Kong to China. Once again, the gov-
erning system stood up to the strain and prepared care-
fully for the uncharted autonomy that had been devised
for Hong Kong through a newly invented Basic Law.
Although there remains skepticism about the long-term
impact of that Law on the fate of Hong Kong within
the PRC, the negotiations between Hong Kong and
PRC representatives were conducted broadly along lines
determined in the Sino-British Declaration of 1984.
In short, the Hong Kong representatives kept their
eyes ¬rmly on the British-inspired institutions that they
wanted to preserve and the PRC representatives were
prepared to accommodate as many of these as they could.
Underlying the extended discussions on both sides were
132 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

pragmatic attitudes that set out to ensure that an admin-
istrative structure that would support a stable trading and
¬nancial environment would be retained.
From 1984 until the actual handover in 1997, we
have a much more self-conscious record of how British
rule appeared to a variety of Chinese both inside and
outside China. The details of that story still need to be
told, but we know enough to conclude that the system
of executive-led government that evolved under British
management in Hong Kong has evoked admiration on
the mainland. The framework that had been re¬ned to
meet the needs of a global market economy was just
what the Chinese leaders needed to prepare their own
reformist transitions so that China could safely open itself
to the world.
I said earlier that British rule for the Chinese was ei-
ther indirect or peripheral. It is surprising how either,
or both, could still be in¬‚uential. This brings me to my
last question: What did the Chinese learn from British
rule? Let me not suggest that the Chinese learnt a great
deal from Britain. In my opening chapter, I made a
brief comparison between Anglo-Indian encounters and
Anglo-Chinese ones and said I would not try to ex-
plain why the former seemed more fruitful than the
latter. Mahatma Gandhi had rejected the ideas behind
the words “to convert, trade, rule and ¬ght”, whereas
Chinese leaders responded to all four of them. But one
obvious point from the examples of British rule I have
just given needs to be mentioned. Where the Chinese
have lived for long periods under British rule, as in
Malaya and Hong Kong, they have not only been willing
to accept that rule but even shown a readiness to emulate,
or continue with, British ideals of modern government.
To rule 133

This was particularly obvious when it was clearly in their
interest to do so. And when this happened, most British
laws and institutions have survived remarkably well, in-
cluding those pertaining to education, transport, health,
drainage, prisons, and even emergency regulations and
internal security acts, which were in the main refur-
bished after British departure. If the factor of time was
decisive, it may help explain why the British in India have
left a fuller legacy. In China, except for some peripheral
areas, the British were not there for anywhere as long
and were never in charge. What had begun as ¬ghting
in a most aggressive way was soon diverted into exten-
sive and pro¬table trading, and the remaining energy was
dispersed in trying to convert some rather intransigent
Yet it would be premature to dismiss the indirect and
peripheral in¬‚uences in the larger context of an Anglo-
American political heritage in the new global market
economy. An early indication of this development may
be found in the cooperation between Britain and the
United States over Hong Kong since the 1950s. This
was very discreetly managed for the ¬rst thirty years of
the People™s Republic of China, with China accepting
the mutual bene¬ts of a controlled but porous border at
Shenzhen. The story of the non-hostile and parallel de-
velopment that both sides managed during that period
will make fascinating reading when it is fully told. In
time, it may well be seen as the most sustained period
of Anglo-Chinese understanding in the 155 years of a
wary relationship, a set of encounters that engendered
valuable lessons about governance on both sides of that
border. What the British in Hong Kong learnt to do
may never have relevance in Britain itself, but that the
134 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

politically sensitive and administratively fruitful connec-
tions of 1949“1997 laid new foundations for Hong Kong
governance cannot be denied. Once it was clear by the
1960s that Hong Kong would never be an indepen-
dent country but would eventually return to Chinese
sovereignty, there was a coming together of ends and
means among all concerned. That was inevitable once
it became necessary to have a realistic timetable for the
British to leave.30 On both sides, for some thirty years,
of¬cials strained to learn about one another in order
to prepare for a special administration that Hong Kong
would be allowed to have one day within the People™s
Republic of China. That would also enable the central
of¬cials in Beijing to accustom themselves to what was
not immediately digestible in Hong Kong™s system of
But no one could have predicted the turnaround in
the PRC following the death of Mao Zedong. The
Hong Kong issue became more urgent and open when
Deng Xiaoping decided on a series of radical economic
reforms and in 1982 took up the delicate negotiations
over Hong Kong™s eventual return to China. Once
those negotiations began, the pressure on both sides to
understand the divergent principles of government that
had to be reconciled before Hong Kong™s handover in
1997 became increasingly strong. The political lessons
of the 1982“1984 Sino-British meetings were followed
by equally thorough discussions about how Hong Kong
should be ruled between Chinese on both sides of
the border. In the talks between the representatives of
Beijing and those of the Hong Kong communities,
drawing up the Basic Law for the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region involved a delving into the
To rule 135

relevant detailed workings of the Hong Kong and PRC
governments that neither side had ever done before. It is
not yet clear precisely what bene¬ts each side had gained
from such detailed debates. Certainly, each had begun
with many prejudices and misunderstandings about the
workings of government on the other side. But there is
evidence that both sides learnt a great deal from the years
of give and take. However unequal that process might
have appeared to the people of Hong Kong, the ¬nal
shape of the Basic Law shows that the Chinese of¬cials
have learnt something of the art of British colonial rule
and administration well. They have found most of the
institutions acceptable to the future Hong Kong they will
have within China. The British Foreign Of¬ce, moni-
toring and trying to guide the Hong Kong side, seemed
to have also been content that the essentials of their heri-
tage would stay. The last-minute calls for democracy
simply re¬‚ected a deeper unease that really emerged with
dramatic events in China itself.
The change came in 1989, after the Tiananmen
tragedy and particularly after the end of the Soviet sys-
tem and the end of the Cold War when the United
States and, by extension, Western Europe, no longer
needed a “China card” to play against Soviet power.
That meant that they stopped tolerating the illiberal poli-
cies that they had been willing to overlook when they
needed to have China on side. There followed a major
change of direction when China™s increasingly radical
economic reforms provided new opportunities to
introduce Anglo-American political ideals more directly
into the territory. The last years of Christopher Patten™s
governorship brought this to the surface for Hong Kong
Chinese. They led to a high degree of discomfort for all
136 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

the Chinese involved and alerted the elites in Beijing
to a new political offensive that they saw as potentially
destabilising for them.31 This is a story that is still un-
folding and this is not the place to speculate about its
outcome. But it is likely that British rule in Asia through
a highly dedicated professional bureaucracy, as modi¬ed
for Chinese subjects in Hong Kong, could offer useful
examples for an evolving Chinese system of government
for the future. It is interesting that British political ideals
about parliamentary democracy had never been consid-
ered on their own merits, but British governing prac-
tices have attracted respect. Chinese experiences of these
practices may still have an in¬‚uence beyond expecta-
tions, especially with examples like Singapore and Hong
Kong where the in¬‚uences are better appreciated after
the British themselves have left. Success on the ground
is still the best teacher for pragmatic Chinese leaders.
Indirect and peripheral it may have been, but British
rule as introduced in modernising cities seems to have
life in East Asia yet.
6 Beyond Waley™s list
“For many years past Chinese students had been coming
to England for technical education. Those at Cambridge
came chie¬‚y from Singapore, and many of them could
not speak, still less read, Chinese.” With these few words,
Arthur Waley™s 1942 essay dismissed the Chinese of the
British Commonwealth.1 This had been true of Ku
Hung-ming and Song Ong Siang, partially true of Lim
Boon Keng and Wu Lien-teh, and then only too true
again of those who went to study in Britain during
the 1930s. The Chinese students who came from Hong
Kong were better in Chinese, but not those who came
from the Dominions or the West Indies. The paradox
is that many of the Chinese of that period found them-
selves after graduation in the service of China, where
they would have to learn the Chinese language on the
Thus, until the 1950s, when we speak of the Chinese
in the Commonwealth, we would ¬nd notable traces
of their relations with China. That trend was reversed
after Mao Zedong™s Great Leap Forward, and even more
decisively after the Cultural Revolution of 1966“1976.
Then, during the years 1984“1997, preparations were
made for some six million Chinese in Hong Kong to
leave the Commonwealth and become part of the PRC
138 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

on Mainland China. By the beginning of the twenty-¬rst
century, about thirteen million people of Chinese de-
scent remain in the Commonwealth, four-¬fths of them
in Malaysia and Singapore and the rest in the former
Dominions. If we include the whole of the English-
speaking world, the ¬gure would be closer to ¬fteen
million, somewhat more than half of the Chinese out-
side China (the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau).
Apart from some of the most recent immigrants, hardly
any of these Chinese now look to China as home.2
But Waley had grasped a larger reality. “A great
turning-point in our relations with China had come”,
he said of the 1900s and 1910s. The fact was that, when
he wrote these words in 1942, an even greater turning
point was on the horizon, one that was accompanied
by a reassessment of the Commonwealth™s place in Asia.
Hong Kong had become its eastern edge, Malaysia and
Singapore the key links with Australia, New Zealand and
the South Paci¬c. The deep involvement with China,
begun with the Opium War, had reached the ¬nal act.
There may be appearing a new story of Anglo encoun-
ters with Chinese who have settled outside China, one
that is quite separate from those with the Chinese in
China. But, with the former, the story is not yet ready
to be told. This is, therefore, a good time to look over
the asymmetrical earlier encounters where, as Waley™s
four words show, it was not so much what he had called
“A Debt to China”, but more like the debt to Britain
that many Chinese elites, whether they liked it or not,
had to live with.3
I promised to offer a longer view of Anglo-Chinese
encounters. Clearly the threat that the British had ¬rst
brought from the sea has transformed China™s strategic
Beyond Waley™s list 139

thinking. If the Chinese leaders still perceive that the
threat remains, now coming from the Asia-Paci¬c re-
gion itself, they would have learnt some lessons from
their earlier efforts to build up their naval forces. This
has already had a considerable impact on the region. The
British had helped greatly in modernising the ports and
harbours if not the navy itself, and the Americans have
given the most sophisticated training to the Chinese in
Taiwan to ¬ght at sea and in the air. This will challenge
the Mainland Chinese to greater efforts to secure their
maritime interests. This may well be Britain™s most last-
ing impact on Chinese history.
But the lesson learnt goes well beyond the navy. What
was all the earlier ¬ghting about and what kind of ¬ght-
ing lies ahead? The Chinese have stressed again and again
that, in building up their forces, they want no more
than to defend their lands and their sovereignty. Draw-
ing upon the recent histories of militarist Germany and
Japan, foreign strategic thinkers have found it dif¬cult to
believe this. They fear that the century of humiliation
and grievance will not allow the new Chinese leaders
to stop at defence. Also, China™s years of exposure to
an internationalist communism would have whetted the
country™s appetite for a larger global role. The Chinese
leaders, on their part, refuse to see any analogy between
their limited concerns and German and Japanese am-
bitions during the ¬rst half of the twentieth century. If
anything, they feel insulted by the comparisons. They
point to the tradition of restraint whenever the Chinese
empire was strong and to their defensive policies when
China was threatened by alien conquest. They argue
that their land borders remain as vulnerable as ever, even
though Russia is weaker now, the Central Asian Muslim
140 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

powers are disunited, and India only just beginning to
be ¬ercely nationalistic. Also, the threat of an Anglo-
American cordon allied to a potentially powerful Japan
remains alive, even though the British role may now be
much reduced in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Contemporary historians draw attention to the land
wars that the PRC has been involved in since 1949 as
evidence of China™s readiness to ¬ght outside its own
borders against its neighbours. In particular, they refer
to the Chinese role in the Korean and Vietnam wars
against what were in effect alliances led by the United
States. And they point to the 1962 war over the Indian
borders that the British had left so ill-de¬ned, the skir-
mishes with Soviet Russia in the 1960s and 1970s, and
the pre-emptive attack on Vietnam in 1979. There have
also been fears of China™s long-term expansion plans
for domination of the South China Sea on the basis of
questionable historical claims extended to the Spratly
Islands. Certainly the animosity in Sino-Vietnamese re-
lations over the islands that each side controls suggests
that these claims are unlikely to be resolved easily. The
Chinese continue to deny any aggressive designs, assert-
ing only their right to secure their borders, not just on
land but also now at sea. The overland dangers to China™s
security they have always known how to handle, but the
efforts to build naval forces to deal with enemies along
China™s coasts have caused the Chinese great dif¬cul-
ties and also aroused much anxiety among neighbours
who have not seen a credible Chinese navy reaching out
beyond China™s shores for over 500 years.
The full weight of the latter experience cannot, of
course, be laid at the door of the British. The French, the
Russians and the Japanese all made major contributions
Beyond Waley™s list 141

to China™s sense of insecurity before 1945, while Russian
and American pressures grew more oppressive from the
1950s. It is clear that the in¬‚uence of the latter two
powers on Chinese strategic thinking has been great. It
might even be said that these pressures have dramati-
cally improved China™s capacity to ¬ght since then, and
that the bene¬ts for a modern military force have been
incalculable. The total impact on China may be com-
pared to the heritage of the British military tradition in
India and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. That heri-
tage has made a difference to the armed forces of both
China and India, albeit in different ways. How longer-
term Chinese ideas about security and defence, as well
as about global strategic thinking, have changed will call
for close examination for decades to come.
What the Chinese learnt from the British about meth-
ods of trading and how much it is now understood that
business enterprises should be protected by law is still
controversial. If the historians in China continue to be-
lieve that the ¬rst breach of China™s coastal defences in
the 1840s was only about unscrupulous traders selling
opium, and dismiss the underlying concepts of the free-
dom to trade as one of the main reasons for the war,
it is unlikely that trade will ever occupy the same im-
portant position in China as in the Anglo world. But
there is no doubting that changes in the role of Chinese
merchants have been profound. Even if Chinese gov-
ernments may never protect their merchants in the same
way, the recognition that entrepreneurs deserve a higher
social status is now well recognised. In 2001, the Com-
munist Party™s secretary-general suggested that the Party
consider admitting successful businessmen as members.4
That some of these entrepreneurs now have a place in
142 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

politics and may be entrusted with a share of power is
another shift in cultural values that followed the British
encounters. The Chinese both within the PRC and out-
side have been studying the current Anglo-American
models with great care. These models have already trans-
formed business organisations and practices among the
Chinese outside, and are bound to in¬‚uence the future
of private enterprise on the mainland.
The ongoing debates about public versus private
management of both domestic and foreign trade have
gone through many twists and turns. They are likely
to go on providing lessons both in merchant control
and participation. What is intriguing is how the po-
litical language is adapting to economic realities. Will
China move away from variants of state or welfare capi-
talism with Chinese characteristics so that they meet and
blend with the forms of “Chinese capitalism” said to be
taking shape among the Chinese overseas? What inno-
vations are possible when a state run by a communist
party adapts more thoroughly to the dictates of a global
market economy? The evidence of hard-nosed pragma-
tism behind decision-making on the mainland is stronger
than ever. While this is familiar in the larger context of
Chinese history and culture, never before have Chinese
leaders recognised a connection between trading suc-
cess and higher standards of living for all Chinese. Nor
have so many of them been so alert about the changing
conditions of the world outside, not least the commu-
nity leaders among the Chinese who have chosen to
settle there. Does this mean that China™s worldview is
about to be transformed? It is probably not enough that
trading practices conform to the global standards now
dominated by English-speaking businessmen. A change
Beyond Waley™s list 143

in the Chinese cast of mind is needed and the conversion
to new faiths so far is still incomplete.
The British had, from the beginning, offered
Christianity accompanied by better gunboats and en-
gineering, and the Chinese chose the latter to defend
Chinese civilisation against the former. The decision led
them to modern science, the force of which has shaken
Chinese faith in older methods of technical innovation
and ultimately in the older morality that supported their
lives. Anglo modes of scienti¬c thought have brought a
genuine liberation for most Chinese. Although the im-
pact on their spiritual life has been uneven, the systematic
removal of barriers to nation-wide communication has
had revolutionary consequences on the contemporary
common language. The extensive use of that language
in all modern schools and all sections of the media has
laid new foundations for a distinctive national identity.
But the traditional spirit of “Confucianist” orthodoxy
and “Taoistic” dissent, if not de¬ance, still resists the
allures of science. It provides an undertow that chan-
nels contemporary political behaviour, but this remains
far from the liberal secular ideals that the British have
cultivated for the past two hundred years.
The scienti¬c conversion and the consequences for
Chinese education have had a profound impact. How
far this will go in transforming all aspects of Chinese
thought and action is yet unclear, but there are signs that
more doors to fresh rethinking about every aspect of re-
ceived wisdom are being opened wide. One test of the
extent of this change would be to ask whether it could
translate into scienti¬c attitudes in the social sciences in
the new universities. If the universities in Taiwan and
Hong Kong are anything to go by, further in¬‚uences in
144 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

the Chinese realm of Man are bound to occur. Recent
changes in the respective academies, the Academy of
Science and Academy of Social Sciences on the main-
land and the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, suggest that
new kinds of social science professionals will join the
scientists and engineers as a respectable class before
long.5 Thus, although there was no direct impact of the
Christian faith that many British missionaries had hoped
for, the secular conversions have kept open the question
of intellectual freedom and that may yet, however in-
directly, extend the religious freedoms that the Chinese
people wish to enjoy.
British rule as an experience has obviously not run
its course. The Chinese leaders in the PRC have shown
appreciation of the executive-led governments that the
British evolved in their plural-society colonies. Those
that have been successful in offering stability to multi-
racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual societies and have
now become nation-states, like Malaysia and Singapore,
are particularly impressive. The governance of Hong
Kong, however, would be the most familiar to them.
It has fed their reservations about multi-party politics
and encouraged them to experiment with and extend
their one-party state system. Eventually, if they can stave
off the pressures there for multi-party democracy, this
may lead them to a kind of “no-party” state, embrac-
ing all people, that is closer to their own political tradi-
tions.6 If that happens, it will be a system modernised
to be essentially an integrated military, civil and party
“mandarinate”, that is, something comparable to what
used to prevail in British colonies but now adapted and
restructured for Chinese rule.
Beyond Waley™s list 145

Beyond that, it is clear that what has underlined
Chinese responses to governance during the past cen-
tury is the Chinese discovery of the power of the mod-
ern sovereign nation-state. They have been forced to
reassess their identity as a state, whether based on an an-
cient but revitalised civilisation or on borders established
by a past empire. They recognise that any system that
offers them maximum security both within and with-
out after a century of humiliation would greatly help
them create a modern nation. Such a system would in-
clude lessons from the British rule that many Chinese
have experienced, whether directly or indirectly. Not all
Chinese leaders will appreciate the full rami¬cations of
the British principles of governance, but their encoun-
ters with practices that respect the law, and produce the
framework for civic discipline and general orderliness,
will not be easily forgotten.
The Chinese, including all those who have lived, and
still live, in Commonwealth countries, have not and can-
not now be expected to produce men like Jan Christiaan
Smuts and his generation of leaders who came out of
the crucible of the British Empire and devoted them-
selves to perpetuating the Commonwealth. That time
has passed. But there have been examples in Malaysia
and Singapore of leaders of Chinese descent who have
appreciated the virtues of that body. And there may be
others in former Dominions like Australia and Canada
who are ready to do their bit to strengthen the historic
ties that bind them to Britain. The greater potential,
however, is to be found among those Chinese who now
use English as their “mother tongue” and write their
poetry, ¬ction, scienti¬c and scholarly treatises in the
146 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

language as well as any Englishman would. Waley was
fascinated with Xu Zhimo™s infatuation with things
English and described the appointment in 1941 of Chen
Yinke (Ch™en Yin-k™o, 1890“1969) to the Chair of
Chinese at Oxford as “the most important event that
has ever occurred in the history of Chinese-European
relations”.7 Waley was right in that, for that time, it really
would have been a new kind of encounter. Since then,
in the literary and academic areas, such examples have
been multiplied many times over. While not all would
illuminate Anglo-Chinese encounters equally, their cu-
mulative impact throughout the Commonwealth as well
as the Anglo world of the United States is impressive. It
reminds us that, when the terms of respect are right, the
broader experience beyond colonies and dominions can
be much more enriching.
More relevant to the speci¬c relations between the
British and the Chinese are the other words in Arthur
Waley™s list of 1942, which I have not dealt with in this
series of lectures. Waley noted “a turning-point” when
the British who visited China were not only “missionar-
ies, soldiers, sailors, merchants or of¬cials”, but included
men of leisure, poets, professors, thinkers who began to
go to China simply “to make friends and learn”. He may
have been prescient about a new generation of sinologists
and future professors who emerged after the end of the
Second World War, but was still well ahead of his times.
Where the men of leisure, poets and thinkers were con-
cerned, the people he had in mind were far from typ-
ical. Certainly Lowes Dickinson was impressed by the
China that Waley himself had drawn from past glories.
E. M. Forster obviously had a soft spot for Xiao Qian,
and was probably not aware how unusual it was for a
Beyond Waley™s list 147

Chinese to appreciate modern English literature as much
as he did. In addition, there were other English men
and women, like Kingsley Martin (1897“1969), George
Orwell (1903“1950), the leaders of the Quaker move-
ment, who joined Bertrand Russell in urging Britain
and other Western powers to prevent China from being
conquered by the Japanese. It is telling that the great
names of “Our Age”, recorded by someone knowledge-
able, and in the British cultural mainstream, like Noel
Annan, do not include anyone who had much interest
in China. After all, even Waley did not see ¬t to visit
China but was content to learn from afar. This meant
leaving it, with a few remarkable exceptions, mainly to
of¬cials and merchants for at least another generation.8
Anglo-Chinese encounters did not produce a Rud-
yard Kipling (1865“1936) for China, or an E. M. Forster,
if we con¬ne ourselves to Commonwealth writers. The
only one who may be said to have come close was Pearl
S. Buck (1892“1973), daughter of American mission-
aries and the ¬rst person to succeed in gaining popu-
lar concern in the West for ordinary Chinese people.9
More recently, there have been popular British novel-
ists whose ¬ctional protagonists have skillfully used the
Chinese stage for their exploits, but the quality of what
they have written cannot compare with those writings
that have been inspired by the countries of the Com-
monwealth itself.
The British have used China to draw their own
lessons, as suggested in the stylised books by G. Lowes
Dickinson (Letters from John Chinaman) and Ernest
Bramah (1868“1942) (Kai Lung unrolls his mat), but these
works were little known, even among the best-educated
Chinese.10 By the 1930s, Harold Acton (1904“1994)
148 Anglo-Chinese Encounters

had become a new kind of literary friend for China,
but he cannot adequately represent Waley™s words about
making friends and learning.11 I have mentioned James
Legge and Joseph Needham as one kind of friend, and
one kind of learning. Arthur Waley himself would stand
for another. But I cannot do justice to the topic here
and will have to leave that to another day.
Waley™s reference to a “turning point” during the ¬rst
half of the twentieth century was probably premature.
As long as the empire still seemed to be in the ascen-
dant, there was no point turning away from the sym-
bols of power. Where the Chinese were concerned, the
endgame in Hong Kong in 1984“1997 might have been
a more telling point of a terminal change. Chinese all
over the world watched the last performances for signs
that there might be a new beginning for Anglo-Chinese
encounters when the British will mainly go to China to
make friends and to learn. But the picture has not been
clear. The deeper involvement of the United States as
the Anglo successor since the end of the Second World
War seemed to have blurred the American image among
the Chinese. There had not been, before the Second
World War, many American soldiers, sailors and of¬cials,
mainly traders and missionaries. Among the missionar-
ies were many who were professors, teachers and doctors
who had gone to China “to make friends”, and some
even “to learn”. Today, professors and teachers are still
going. Instead of men of leisure, there are large numbers
of tourists whom the Chinese welcome. Instead of poets
and thinkers, there are many more scientists, engineers
and social scientists and indeed most of them make good
friends. But, as long as the United States seems to have
shouldered the Anglo imperial heritage, some of those
Beyond Waley™s list 149

who go to China may be seen as acting on behalf of the
“soldiers, sailors and of¬cials” of empire never before
associated with the United States. This is, of course, not
Waley™s story. His profound understanding of a China
long gone by had led him to a happy ending. Following
an outline of 200 years of Anglo-Chinese encounters,
from Penang and Singapore to the departure from Hong
Kong, makes it possible to see that such an ending is still
a realistic one.

1 Introduction

1 W. K. Hancock, Smuts, Volume 1: The Sanguine Years,
1870“1919; and Smuts, Volume 2: The Fields of Force,
1919“1950. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1962; 1968.
2 Malaya, or British Malaya, refers to the Straits
Settlements, the Federated Malay States and Unfeder-
ated Malay States before 1948, and the Federation of
Malaya and the colony of Singapore until the formation
of Malaysia in 1963.
3 My father was Wang Fo-wen (1903“1972). He gradu-
ated from Southeastern University, later called National
Central, and now Nanjing, University. He taught in
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca before going to
Surabaya. When he started working in Perak in 1932, the
Great Depression had come upon Malaya and there was
much labour unrest among the unemployed Chinese.
Governor Cecil Clementi (1930“1934) had begun to
crack down on the bitter struggle between supporters
of the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party
in China which he thought could only bring trouble
to Malaya. The use of Chinese schools as part of that
battle¬eld was unacceptable in multi-communal Malaya,
and a school inspector™s job was unavoidably politicised.
As something of a “Chinese expatriate”, my father kept
his conscience clear by giving his ¬rst loyalty to the cause
of Chinese education and teaching his only child that
China was his country. He was truly a huaqiao, a Chi-
nese sojourner or “Overseas Chinese”. For the post-War
152 Notes (pages 3“6)

period, I use Chinese overseas. This indicates that they
are no longer only temporarily away from China and fo-
cuses on the fact that they have become ethnic Chinese
who have settled abroad.
The depth of his commitment to Chinese literary
and artistic traditions may be seen in his collected writ-
ings, Wang Fo-wen jinianji (Wang Fo-wen, 1903“1972:
a memorial collection of poems, essays and calligraphy).
Edited by Wang Gungwu. River Edge, N.J.: Global
Publishing, 2002.
4 Three of my four teachers at the University of Malaya
in Singapore from 1949 to 1954 were Cambridge men:
Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909“1993), Eric T. Stokes
(1924“1981) and Ian McGregor. My ¬rst teacher, Brian
Harrison (1909“1995), left to take the Chair of History
at the University of Hong Kong.
5 University of Malaya, Singapore (as student, 1949“54,
as lecturer, 1957“59); School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London (as PhD
student, 1954“1957); University of Malaya, Kuala
Lumpur (1959“1968); Australian National University
(1968“1986); University of Hong Kong (1986“1995);
National University of Singapore (since 1997).
6 Gillian Beer, Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 2. Her caution that
encounters do not “guarantee understanding”, and may
only emphasise “what™s incommensurate”, captures my
efforts here rather well.
7 I am familiar with references to a diary Ghalib had
kept at the time of the Indian Mutiny and a few of
the ghazals translated in the volume on his life and
letters edited by Ralph Russell and Khurshidul Islam,
Ghalib, 1797“1869. Volume One: Life and Letters
(UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, Indian
series). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
Notes (pages 6“15) 153

1969. He was a close friend of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan
and his family.
8 Ghalib wrote this as part of a verse introduction to Sir
Sayyid Ahmad Khan™s edition of Ain i Akbari, which
describes the system of administration under the great
Mughal emperor Akbar (1556“1605). Ghalib was not
impressed by the Mughal system and thought the edition
pointless. Understandably, Sayyid Ahmad Khan did not
use the introduction; Russell and Islam eds, Ghalib, pp.
90“91. The lines here are quoted in Rajmohan Gandhi,
Revenge and Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian His-
tory. Delhi and London: Penguin Books India, 1999,
p. 136, which quotes from Hafeez Malik, Sir Sayyid Ah-
mad Kahn and Muslim Modernisation in India and Pakistan.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, p. 58.
9 Hsiao Ch™ien (Xiao Qian, compiler), A Harp with a
Thousand Strings: a Chinese anthology in six parts. London:
Pilot Press, 1944, pp. 381“383.
10 Ivan Morris, “The genius of Arthur Waley”, in Madly
Singing in the Mountains: an Appreciation and Anthology of
Arthur Waley. Edited by Ivan Morris. London: George
Allen & Unwin, 1970, p. 80.
11 Hancock, Smuts, vol. 2, p. 283.
12 Hancock, Smuts, vol. 2, p. 473.

2 “To ¬ght”

1 Lo Jung-pang, “The emergence of China as a sea-power
during the late Sung and early Yuan periods”, Far Eastern
Quarterly, 1955, vol. 14, pp. 489“503.
2 The Muslim eunuch, Admiral Zheng He, and his col-
leagues were sent on six major expeditions, followed
by the seventh and last sent by Yongle™s grandson, the
Emperor Xuande (1424“1435), before the decision was
made to stop these expeditions altogether. Ma Huan,
154 Notes (page 16)

Ying-yai sheng-lan (The overall survey of the ocean™s
shores) [1433]. Translated from the Chinese by J. V. G.
Mills. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, for the
Hakluyt Society, 1970; J. J. L. Duyvendak, “Ma Huan
re-examined”, Verhandelingen d. Koninklijke Akademie v.
Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, 32, no. 3, 1933. A recent
account is Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas:
the treasure ¬‚eet of the Dragon Throne 1405“1433. New
York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
For the 16th and 17th centuries, the following make in-
teresting reading: So Kwan-wai, Japanese Piracy in Ming
China during the 16 th Century. East Lansing: Michigan
State University Press, 1975; Bruce Swanson, Eighth
Voyage of the Dragon: a history of China™s quest for seapower.
Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1982; and Ralph
C. Croizier, Koxinga and Chinese Nationalism: history,
myth, and the hero. Cambridge: East Asian Research
Center, Harvard, 1977.
3 The bicentenary of the Macartney Mission aroused re-
newed attention for this particular moment in Anglo-
Chinese relations. The approach focusing on cultural
con¬‚ict was followed by Alain Peyre¬tte in The Immobile
Empire (translated from the French by Jon Rothschild).
New York: Knopf and Random House, 1992. A more
unconventional study offering fresh perspectives was
James L. Hevia, Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest
Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793. Durham, N.C.:
Duke University Press, 1995.
4 Chang, Hsin-pao, Commissioner Lin and the Opium War.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964.
A collection of documents on the hostility towards
the British troops at Sanyuanli illustrates contemporary
attitudes and subsequent interpretations; Guangdong
sheng wenshi yanjiuguan, ed. Sanyuanli renmin kangYing
douzheng shiliao (Documents on the anti-British struggle
Notes (pages 17“18) 155

by the people of Sanyuanli). Beijing: Zhonghua
Publishing, 1978.
5 Frederic Wakeman, Jr, Strangers at the Gate: Social Disorder
in South China, 1839“1861. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1966. Philip A. Kuhn provides a larger
background in “The Taiping Rebellion”, in John K.
Fairbank, ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol-
ume 10, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1978, pp. 264“317; and Rebellion and its Enemies
in Late Imperial China, militarization and social struc-
ture, 1796“1864. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 1964.
6 Liu Kwang-ching, “The Ch™ing Restoration”. In
Fairbank, ed. Cambridge History, pp. 409“434, 456“477;
Andrew Wilson, The “Ever-victorious Army”: a history of
the Chinese campaign under Lt.-Col. C. G. Gordon and
of the Suppression of the Tai-ping Rebellion. Edinburgh:
William Blackwood, 1868; William Hail, Tseng Kuo-fan
and the Taiping Rebellion, with a short sketch of his later career.
New York: Paragon Book Reprint Corp., 1964. Second
7 Jane Kate Leonard, Wei Yuan and China™s Rediscovery of
the Maritime World. Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East
Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1984.
8 The fullest documentation may be found in the six-
volume Yapian zhanzheng (The Opium War). Edited by
Qi Sihe, et al. for the Chinese Historical Society, Shang-
hai: Shenzhou guoguang she, 1954. A much-admired
¬lm about Lin Zexu was made in Shanghai and the ¬lm
script published in 1961. The fullest biography published
in Taiwan was that by Lin Chong-yong in 1968 (Taipei:
Commercial Press) and that by Lin™s fellow-Fujianese,
the historian Yang Guozhen of Xiamen University, in
1981 (Beijing: People™s Publishing House). In addition,
Lin™s poetry, calligraphy, letters, diary were collected and
156 Notes (pages 19“20)

published in his complete works in 1962. He is the one
mandarin hero of the nineteenth century admired on
both sides of the Straits of Taiwan till this day.
9 Mao Haijian, Tianchao de bengkui: yapian zhanzheng zai
yanjiu (The Collapse of the Heavenly Dynasty: a re-
examination of the Opium War). Beijing: Sanlian (Joint
Publishing), 1995. In the 1930s, under the Guomin-
dang regime in Nanjing, Jiang Tingfu (Chiang T™ing-
fu) had thrown doubt about Lin Zexu™s understand-
ing of the British in his Zhongguo jindai shi (History
of Modern China. Shanghai: Yiwen Research Soci-
ety, 1938). This drew on his reading of British Foreign
Of¬ce sources which he published in two volumes in
1931“1934 (Shanghai: Commercial Press). Mao Haijian
read even more widely, drawing also on Jiang™s work,
together with many others who had combed Chinese
and Western sources, and asked more sensitive questions.
Thus his views went much further by pursuing the ex-
tent and depth of Lin Zexu™s awareness of the military
realities of the time. He concluded that there was no
evidence, even afterwards, that Lin had learnt anything
from his defeat by British naval forces. Mao™s views, and
especially his aggressive writing style, did not win him
any favours with the authorities in the Academy. He
was advised to revise some of the strong criticisms in
the book. But he persisted and the book was eventu-
ally selected by a distinguished panel of historians who
recommended its publication in the Harvard-Yenching
Academic Library Series published by Joint Publishing
in Beijing.
10 David Pong, Shen Pao-chen and China™s Modernization in
the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
sity Press, 1994, pp. 134“244. Compare with Robert
Hart™s own words, “I want to make China strong, and
Notes (pages 21“24) 157

I want to make England her best friend”. In Fairbank,
ed. Cambridge History, p. 516.
11 Pong, Shen Pao-chen, p. 224.
12 Chi Zhonghu, “Haijun dashiji” (Major events con-
cerning the Navy), compiled in 1918 and collected in
Zhongguo jinbainianshi ziliao xubian (Documents of the
recent Hundred Years of Chinese History, Second vol-
ume), a selection of documents edited by Zuo Shun-
sheng. First published in Shanghai by Chung Hua Book
company in 1933. The edition used here is the Shanghai
reprint of 1996, in the series, Books of the Republican
Period. Shanghai: Shanghai Book Company. Fifth series,
volume 66, pp. 323“363. This and other contemporary
documents are examined in John L. Rawlinson, China™s
Struggle for Naval Development, 1839“1895. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967.
13 Rawlinson, China™s Struggle, pp. 167“197; Swanson,
Eighth Voyage of the Dragon, pp. 103“112. Also Pao Tsun-
peng, Zhongguo haijun (China™s Navy). Taipei: Hai ch¨ n u
chu pan she, 1951.
14 Yan Fu™s preface to the ¬rst publication of Chi Zonghu™s
“Haijun dashiji”, reproduced in Zuo Shunsheng™s col-
lection, pp. 323“324.
15 Two contrasting approaches are the contemporary work
of A. H. Smith, China in Convulsion. New York: Revell,
1901, and the recent analytical studies by Joseph W.
Esherick, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1987, and Paul A. Cohen.
History in Three Keys: the Boxers as event, experience, and
myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. For
the lessons of not having a strong navy, see Swanson,
Eighth Voyage of the Dragon, pp. 113“125.
16 The original research for this development was done by
Saneto Keishu before the Second World War. The best
158 Notes (pages 25“28)

known is his Nippon bunka no Shina e no eikyo (Japanese
cultural in¬‚uences on China). Tokyo: Keisetsu Shoin,
1940, pp. 3“39.
17 Jerome Ch™en, Yuan Shih-kai. Stanford: Stanford Uni-
versity Press, 1972. Second Edition; James E. Sheridan,
China in Disintegration: the Republican era in Chinese his-
tory, 1912“1949. New York: Free Press, 1975; Lucian
Pye, Warlord Politics: con¬‚ict and coalition in the moderniza-
tion of republican China. New York: Praeger, 1971.
18 Harold Z. Schrif¬n, Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the
Chinese Revolution. Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1968; C. Martin Wilbur, Sun Yat-sen: frustrated
patriot. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976;
J. Y. Wong. The Origins of an Heroic Image: Sun Yatsen


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