No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China, 1843-1943 Paperback – 11 May 2000
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`A first-rate account of one of the more shameful (but never boring) episodes in our imperial history, balanced, superbly written and entertaining.' Sual David, The Times; `An excellent study of the old treaty ports, Hong Kong and Shanghai.' Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times; `Vivid, highly enjoyable and witty . . . Frances Wood has caught the authentic and often pungent flavour of life in the lost world of the treaty ports.' Lawrence James, Daily Mail; `A factual narrative that combines a colourful description of daily life, based on intimate sources such as memoirs and letters, set against a background of diplomatic and military events of the time . . . a superb book.' George Walden, Evening Standard
In the first Chinese treaty ports, opened in 1843, foreign traders ruled their own settlements. The last inhabitants of the treaty ports are still alive: through their reminiscences and the accounts of their predecessors Frances Wood recalls a foreign life lived in a foreign land.See all Product Description
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The flavours and tastes of Empire are there to be tasted though, throw in little Somerset Maugham and you have some good escapist reading.
All of these 'treaty ports' were opened for one reason and that was to supply opium to the Chinese masses. True that other commodities were later brought in and large banks and such established (but not for use by most Chinese) but this wasn't done with an eye at turning these over to the Chinese in the near future. What the Europeans wanted was to be able to sell to the 400,000,000 Chinese, what was being manufactured in Europe whether the Chinese needed it or not. So how benevolent were these 'Treaty Ports'? Not Very. Even the Europeans looked down on the half-caste and those Chinese who 'made it' were never looked at as equals.
Wood seems to feel that the Chinese weren't thankful enough for all the 'civilization' that Europeans brought to China. As if China didn't have enough problems with their current civilization, they needed the 'garbage' that Europe wanted to unload on them. Drugs and prostitution, the 'voluntary' emigration of 'coolies' who were exploited like Africans in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, these were all things that the average Chinese was waiting for.
Once again, who asked the Brits to establish their 'culture' in China? And what was so superior about that culture to any other? Nothing (or less that was lost of the Chinese culture) that couldn't be done without.
Nowhere in the book is there an alternate view by any European much less an Asiatic point of view.