Chinese and Americans: A Shared History by Guoqi Xu

By Guoqi Xu

Chinese-American relatives are frequently seen during the prism of strength contention and civilization conflict. yet China and America’s shared background is way greater than a catalog of conflicts. Using tradition instead of politics or economics as a reference element, Xu Guoqi highlights major but ignored cultural exchanges during which China and the United States have contributed to every other’s nationwide improvement, construction the root of what Zhou Enlai referred to as a dating of “equality and mutual benefit.”

Xu starts off with the tale of Anson Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln’s ambassador to China, and the a hundred and twenty chinese language scholars he performed an important function in bringing to the USA, inaugurating a application of chinese language foreign examine that maintains at the present time. Such academic crosscurrents moved either methods, as is obvious in Xu’s profile of the amazing Ge Kunhua, the chinese language poet who helped spearhead chinese instructing in Boston within the 1870s. Xu examines the contributions of 2 American students to chinese language political and academic reform within the 20th century: the legislation professor Frank Goodnow, who took half in making the Yuan Shikai government’s structure; and the thinker John Dewey, who helped advertise chinese language modernization as a traveling student at Peking college and somewhere else. Xu additionally indicates that it was once american citizens who first brought to China the fashionable Olympic move, and that China has used activities ever when you consider that to show off its upward thrust as an international strength. those fantastic shared traditions among international locations, Xu argues, give you the most sensible roadmap for the way forward for Sino-American relations.

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38 As Western economies shrink and the balance of power tilts toward China, if the West, especially Americans, have mishandled their relations with the Chinese, Fairbank might be right. ” As Americans have tried to hustle China, with or without good reason, the Chinese hustle them right back. The problem seems obvious: if Americans treat the Chinese as an enemy, they surely will become one. Yet we can easily see other possibilities. As Kishore Mahbubani, a Singapore scholar, wrote, “Only one country can provide the leadership to integrate, modernize, and sustain China.

In the spring of 1864, Burlingame learned that the Confederate cruiser Alabama was preying on Union commercial shipping near the China coast. He immediately requested that the Zongli Yamen issue a public proclamation to provincial authorities denying the Alabama or any other Confederate cruisers access to the territorial waters and ports of China. ” This was perhaps the first time that a Chinese government had taken action that affected a Western country’s domestic affairs. China’s goodwill gesture attracted American attention.

Only in 1861 did China first allow foreign ministers to settle in Peking on a permanent basis. Before Burlingame became minister and took up residence in Peking, the American legation to China was based in the rented house of its chargé d’affaires and secretary, Samuel Wells Williams, in the Portuguese settlement of Macao. This happenstance made Burlingame the fi rst American minister to reside in Peking. On October 24, 1861, Burlingame arrived in Hong Kong from Paris. It then took him six more months to reach Peking due to a lack of transportation in the winter season and the dangerous military situation.

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