Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

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mr friendly guy
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Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-02-09 08:15pm

As strange as it may sound, there are Asians who aren't Japanese who viewed Japan liberating Asia from Western Colonialism. For example a quick search will reveal places like here. I suspect they reached such historical revisionism from a Pan-Asianism mindset. The most obvious retort is that they have a strange definition of liberation if you exchange one master for an even worse one. Naturally they will hand wave away Japanese atrocities but you can hammer them in that regards.

The other way that occurred to me is to simply point out that (using China as the primary example) that a lot of Concessions (ie territory that China effectively allowed foreign administration of) were returned to China prior to the Sino-Japanese war (starting 1937) or after the Japanese had already been defeated. Of those that were returned before, examples include those that were returned via negotiation eg Weihai (returned in 1930) or taken by force eg the British concession in Hankou was eventually ceded in 1929 two years after the Guomindang seized it. In effect the Chinese had liberated these territories themselves. Thus its disingenuous to claim Japan did the liberating when they weren't even occupied, and colonialist influence was actually declining.

Now wiki has a good start with a list
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fo ... s_in_China

However a lot of them had dates of when Western powers they gave up the territory, but not in details of why, which is what I am hoping to learn.

Preferably online sources, but any source would be welcomed.
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by PainRack » 2014-02-09 08:35pm

mr friendly guy wrote:As strange as it may sound, there are Asians who aren't Japanese who viewed Japan liberating Asia from Western Colonialism. For example a quick search will reveal places like here. I suspect they reached such historical revisionism from a Pan-Asianism mindset. The most obvious retort is that they have a strange definition of liberation if you exchange one master for an even worse one. Naturally they will hand wave away Japanese atrocities but you can hammer them in that regards.

The other way that occurred to me is to simply point out that (using China as the primary example) that a lot of Concessions (ie territory that China effectively allowed foreign administration of) were returned to China prior to the Sino-Japanese war (starting 1937) or after the Japanese had already been defeated. Of those that were returned before, examples include those that were returned via negotiation eg Weihai (returned in 1930) or taken by force eg the British concession in Hankou was eventually ceded in 1929 two years after the Guomindang seized it. In effect the Chinese had liberated these territories themselves. Thus its disingenuous to claim Japan did the liberating when they weren't even occupied, and colonialist influence was actually declining.

Now wiki has a good start with a list
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fo ... s_in_China

However a lot of them had dates of when Western powers they gave up the territory, but not in details of why, which is what I am hoping to learn.

Preferably online sources, but any source would be welcomed.
Wikipedia actually does explain how a lot of those foreign enclaves were ended.
Its on the same level of depth as a lot of recent Chinese history books in English anyway, such as this one.

http://www.amazon.com/China-Transformat ... tion+China

At least, I think its that book..... I couldn't really recall the title and the cover was different. The problem is that most books, whether Chinese or English seems to focus the attentions of the Northern Expedition on either the Japanese or the warlords, as opposed to the foreign concessions. Its not that surprising either, considering the history of Japan intervention and the Shanghai massacre afterwards, so, most sources would either focus on the Japanese or Communist angles instead.

What kind of details are you looking for?
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-02-09 09:01pm

Mainly how the concession was ended and why did the colonial power gave it up. Was it because of force and diplomacy etc. What motivated them to give it up? Was it because it wasn't generating a lot of revenue (like Belgium concession) or did they have bigger fish to worry about eg other European powers to contend with.
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by PainRack » 2014-02-09 09:27pm

mr friendly guy wrote:Mainly how the concession was ended and why did the colonial power gave it up. Was it because of force and diplomacy etc. What motivated them to give it up? Was it because it wasn't generating a lot of revenue (like Belgium concession) or did they have bigger fish to worry about eg other European powers to contend with.
If you can stomach the anti imperialist, pro KMT propaganda, you could reference republicanchina
http://www.republicanchina.org/Northern_Expedition.pdf

Otherwise, the Imperialist powers main concerns seemed to be the security of their possessions and the increased need of military forces to protect said holdings, amidst the chaos of the civil war. We can see ultimatiums, assembly of military forces and increased guards, for example, the 4th US marines.
http://www.chinamarines.com/ver3/shan.htm
http://chinamarine.org/Tientsin/ButlersExpedition.aspx

After Chiang won the war, Chiang ultimatiums/'diplomatic' overtures to the various powers was rebuffed for the more important cities in Shanghai and Tienstsin, but the Russians withdrew from harbin and they already lost Port Arthur to Japan.

The Austrians and Germans lost their concessions during WW1 to either Japanese or Chinese forces and the post war treaties usually split them up between the various powers.

Some of the concessions were ended as a concession to the Nationalists, in return, the Nationalists guaranteed property rights instead of outright nationalizing them such as the railways in Tientsin/Belgian. They would also take over the security measures.


If I was to 'guess', my answer would be WW1 caused a change in China politics and the lack of interest in entangling themselves in another war in Asia, then the civil war and a recognized Nationalist government gave them the excuse to butt out, while securing their mercantile and property rights.


IF you were referring to the Japanese claims though............. if one squint their eyes, you 'could' see why they said that. Many of the concessions fell within the Japanese sphere of influence and were either abandoned or seized during the war of resistance. Shanghai and its international settlement would be the sole exceptions here. It could be argued that growing Japanese influence made those concessions less desirable to the Western powers, especially if it led to an increased need for military forces and a potential war.


I would also point out that Weihaiwe lease was initially extended because of the Japanese occupation of Port Arthur, before the British increasingly decided to economise and shift out of the China station. If one references through the British documents of the 30s, one could recognize how the British felt that their ability to gurantee the security of their interests in China was increasingly tenuous in lieu of both the civil war and the growing Japanese threat(as opposed to alliance)
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by PainRack » 2014-02-09 09:39pm

Post 1930 and the return of Weihaiwe, but Tientsin showed the increased security weaknesses of remainding in China. Here, the problem was Japan, but in 1926-1928, the problem was with the warlords and the communists.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tientsin_Incident


The British had to deploy a naval and army contingent during 1926 and even bombarded Nanking. I don't know of any documents that discussed the scenario, but if one references the debate of Imperial concerns in Iraq and India, of how the British needed to economise their forces in lieu of budget restraints and etc, its probably a good guess as to why they let go of a more peripheral concession such as Weihaiwe.
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by PainRack » 2014-05-13 12:58pm

First, let me apologize for lousy formatting as I posting from mobile

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabi ... nalism.htm
Austen Chamberlain Dec 18the memo of 1926 highlighted the shift in British policy, in which they would acknowledge KMT grievances and negotiate. At that point in time, one must acknowledge the riots caused when British Chinese constables fired into a crowd and the failure of gunboat diplomacy in Nanking and elsewhere.

The memo would be used to help ensure the safety of British property and citizens

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/comm ... in-chinese

If one parse through the rest of the sitting, the negotiating of concessions and newspaper articles like this

http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers ... .2.39.aspx

It becomes clear that Britain main priority was the safely of her residents and property during the warlords period. Returning the concessions might then be seen as an assessment of the British government inability to project enough force into the region without arousing a disproportionate response. A negotiated handover to a rising KMT government would thus prevent the rise of a new hostile power , help secure KMT assistence with order and the safety of British residents and preventing a scenario where war would erupt, with Western forces fighting off all the Chinese warlords
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-14 04:29am

I wonder why you say 'anti-imperialist propaganda' as if that's something bad, PainRack. The KMT were corrupt, nationalist, hell, anything - but they were anti-imperialist, were they not?
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by Simon_Jester » 2014-05-14 05:16am

Anti-imperialism is often used as a justification for, or excuse for, the corruption and incompetence of an anti-imperialistic regime. If PainRack thinks the regime is contemptible for other reasons, he might not have much patience with its attempts to justify itself by "but look how bad the imperialists we fought were!"
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Re: Sources on Chinese concessions to Western powers

Post by PainRack » 2014-05-28 12:26am

Stas Bush wrote:I wonder why you say 'anti-imperialist propaganda' as if that's something bad, PainRack. The KMT were corrupt, nationalist, hell, anything - but they were anti-imperialist, were they not?
Because of the language involved.

Saying a riot was caused by British imperialists firing into a crowd ignores the context, which is they were firing to defend themselves and property and this incident motivated the Christmas memo on Dec 18, where Britain essentially agreed to the KMT right to renegotiate the unequal treaties.

The language involved also includes hysteria such as how Western capitalists sabotaged the Beiyang fleet by selling them ammunition that didn't work, ignoring the Chinese faults.
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