Tag Archives: Chinese history

Chinese culture and history



Collector’s 400 years of China maps and nautical charts up for sale – there’s not a nine-dash line to be seen

Pearl River Delta depth charts, Macau street maps from Lord Macartney’s embassy to post-war era, the first map showing Singapore – collection has it all. For Robert Nield, past president of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong, the sale, brought on by he and his wife moving to a smaller flat, is bittersweet

11 AUGUST 2019

Street photography reveals China in the 1980s

British photographer Adrian Bradshaw arrived in Beijing in 1984, going on to spend three decades documenting China’s changing culture

4 AUGUST 2019

Wounds that fester: Histories of Chinese Islamophobia

The Great Northwestern Muslim Rebellion was complex, messy and extremely violent. It began with a series of local feuds that mostly were not about religion but which escalated when Qing officials took the side of Han disputants against the Muslims and garrisons across the two provinces mutinied, producing a domino effect. Rumour, banditry and socioeconomic distress did the rest: by the end of the rebellion, the populations of Shaanxi and Gansu had fallen by half, with millions dead or having fled to make new lives elsewhere

12 JUNE 2019

Oldest evidence of marijuana use discovered in 2500-year-old cemetery in peaks of western China

A team led by archaeologists Yang Yimin and Ren Meng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing reports clear physical evidence that mourners burned cannabis for its intoxicating fumes on a remote mountain plateau in Central Asia some 2500 years ago

16 MAY 2019

Architect I.M. Pei dies at age 102

I.M. Pei, whose modern designs and high-profile projects made him one of the best-known and most prolific architects of the 20th century, has died at the age of 102

18 APRIL 2019

A new online database launched in February 2019 offers a glimpse of life under the wartime occupation of northeast China by Japan

The North China Railway Archive, which organizes the 39,775 photographs into a searchable catalogue, is a collaboration between several Japanese research institutes and the University of Kyoto, which came into possession of the photographs at the end of the Second World War

14 APRIL 2019

From Mao to Tiananmen, Hu Yaobang is an icon of China’s reform – and a reminder of how little has changed

If the Chinese saying, “a person’s merits or demerits can only be judged rightly after death”, carries any truth then the late former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang should be known as one of the country’s most reform-minded top officials.

7 MARCH 2019

The last king of Xinjiang: how Bertram Sheldrake went from condiment heir to Muslim monarch

You may never have heard of Islamestan, in Chinese Turkestan, or its one-time “king”, Bertram Sheldrake. Islamestan is long gone, swallowed up in the historical shifts of a turbulent region, but for a brief and unlikely moment, an English pickle-factory heir ruled, with his wife, Sybil, over the newly independent Muslim country, to the far west of China

16 JANUARY 2019

Singapore’s Relations with China before Decolonization

Singapore’s relations with China can be traced back to this precolonial period. Archeological excavations at Fort Canning Hill and along the Singapore River of sites associated with the fourteenth century Singaporean kingdom of Temasek — later known as Singapura — have uncovered “Chinese glass beads and vessels, as well as the fragment of a rare porcelain pillow and a unique compass bowl,” suggesting “an exceptionally close relationship with China

12 JANUARY 2018

British Foreign Office was told to size up the risk of Chinese takeover of Hong Kong ahead of 1997, archives show

The British Foreign Office was told to assess the risk of a possible military intervention by Beijing to retake Hong Kong before 1997, newly declassified British files have revealed

30 DECEMBER 2018

Cavalry in Ancient Chinese Warfare

The use of cavalry in Chinese warfare was a significant development which was largely responsible for the abandonment of chariots, that vehicle being much slower and more cumbersome to manoeuvre in battle conditions. The greater speed and mobility of cavalry not only changed battlefield dynamics and troop deployments but also necessitated a far greater investment in fixed defences than previously. An enemy which could attack at any time, on any terrain, and without warning became a disconcerting feature of Chinese warfare from the 4th century BCE onwards

Chinese historical fiction Ling Jiefang known as Eryuehe passes away in Beijing at the age of 73

Chinese historical fiction writer and historian Ling Jiefang, better know by his pen name Eryuehe, passed away on Saturday morning in Beijing at the age of 73

12 DECEMBER 2018

Newly discovered archives reveal China’s Zhiyuan sunken ship in Jiawu War

NEWCASTLE, Britain — Newly discovered plans in a British archive reveal details of a legendary Chinese warship destroyed more than 120 years ago during the First Sino-Japanese War


How George H.W. Bush became Beijing’s ‘old friend’ in the White House

17 NOVEMBER 2018

On the trail of Deng Xiaoping in the French town where he embraced Communism

Deng and a group of students from Sichuan were among them. After a year of preparatory schooling in Chongqing, the 16-year-old had boarded a steamer at the Yangtze River port of Wanxian on August 27, 1920. Once in Shanghai, he boarded a French liner bound for Marseilles. The sea voyage took 39 day

13 NOVEMBER 2018

Chinese Labour Corps: the first world war’s forgotten army, all but airbrushed out of history

Overlooked for almost a century, China’s human contribution to the Great War is finally getting the recognition it deserves


Kissinger’s historic China policy – A retrospective – VIDEO

Henry Kissinger continues to amaze. Now 95, the former secretary of State under President Richard Nixon was recently interviewed for the 50th anniversary of the Wilson International Center for Scholars



Modern China and the legacy of the Opium Wars

Experts say that to really understand modern China, you have to start 180 years ago with the Opium Wars. The legacy of the wars continues to influence China’s foreign policies, and its desire to reunite all former Chinese territories, including Taiwan

12 AUGUST 2018

Sun Yat-sen to Mao Zedong, I watched the birth of a new China: the Wang Gungwu memoir

In an extract from his memoir ‘Home is Not Here’, one of the world’s foremost scholars on Chinese civilisation recalls visiting the country as a student – and witnessing the birth of Mao Zedong’s China

21 JULY 2018

The Chinese volunteers who fought in the Spanish civil war – their amazing courage and obscure fates

Illiterate farmers, manual labourers, civil servants – some 100 Chinese joined the International Brigades helping fight General Franco’s fascists 80 years ago. Despite being few in number, they left a lasting impression

17 JULY 2018

The Party thanks Protestant missionaries who saved Chinese lives during the Nanjing massacre

China’s Communist Party has come to recognise the role played by Protestant missionaries during the 1937 massacre. During the weeks of horrors perpetrated by the Japanese army, Christians saved thousands of people in security zones organised by Westerners. For Xi Jinping, “what missionaries sacrificed for the city was publicly recognized by Communist China.”

13 JULY 2018

Fei Mu, director of China’s greatest film

Fei Mu was a director whose life coincided with huge upheavals in the history of China. A man of deep intellect and a love of his country, he would spearhead many innovations in Chinese cinema and endure untold difficulties only to die as a refugee at the age of 44

2 JUNE 2018

The US-China trade war: can Trump learn from history and resolve it?

China’s inexorable rise has seen an inconsequential trade gap with the US balloon into a multitrillion-dollar chasm. But how and why did it happen, and can it be settled?

10 JUNE 2018

‘The week that changed the world’: How China prepared for Nixon

As is the case with China then and now, once the objectives were set, various mechanisms of state power began working to ensure the success of the trip, including the propaganda machine, the security apparatus and efforts to mobilise the masses

20 APRIL 2018

Five ways China’s past has shaped its present

To understand today’s headlines about China’s approach to issues such as trade, foreign policy or internet censorship, turn to its past

11 APRIL 2018

Chinese protests fail to stop ‘illegal’ water vessel sale

 A rare sacred Chinese bronze water vessel made between 2,200 and 3,600 years ago has been sold despite protests by the Chinese government


6 APRIL 2018

Anna Chennault, Behind-the-Scenes Force in Washington, Dies at 94

Anna Chennault, a Chinese-born Republican fund-raiser and anti-Communist lobbyist who dabbled in foreign intrigue after the death of her husband, the renowned leader of the Flying Tigers in China and Burma in World War II, died on Friday at her home in Washington. She was 94

2 APRIL 2018

Archaeologists confident they have found body of fabled Chinese warlord Cao Cao

Experts at the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology recently concluded that the remains of an adult male in his sixties found at a burial site in central China was Cao Cao, the news portal Red Star News reported on Sunday

 21 MARCH 2018

What happened to China’s early Christians and why did the Nestorian doctrine die out?

Arriving in 635 at Changan, the capital of the Tang Empire, Alopen Abraham was granted an audience with Emperor Taizong, who permitted him to propagate his religion and build “temples of the cross” in China

15 MARCH 2018

Images of Chinese during World War I in France

A dragon day celebrated by the Chinese in France and Chinese students at the Western Front

16 FEBRUARY 2018

Chinese New Year explained: the zodiac, animals, traditions, myths, foods and superstitions

Find out everything you ever needed to know about the Lunar New Year in China and Hong Kong as we welcome in the Year of the Dog

12 DECEMBER 2018

Zhou Youguang: Why Google honours him today

Described as “the father of Pinyin”, or Chinese phonetic language, and hailed as the man who simplified Chinese, Zhou Youguang would have been 112 this Saturday

30 DECEMBER 2017

American War Posters: United China Relief

United China Relief, Inc. was an organization chartered in 1941 to raise money for humanitarian aid to China, and to educate Americans about China and its people

21 DECEMBER 2017

Declassified: Chinese official said at least 10,000 civilians died in 1989 Tiananmen massacre, documents show

A member of the Chinese State Council estimated that at least 10,000 civilians were killed in the Tiananmen massacre of June 4, 1989, declassified files reveal


The jesuits in China – A Franciscan mission settled in China in the thirteenth century, during the Mongolian Yuan dynasty


26 NOVEMBER 2017

The July 751 Battle of Talas

Few people today have even heard of the Battle of Talas River.  Yet this little-known skirmish between the army of Imperial Tang China and the Abbasid Arabs had important consequences, not just for China and Central Asia, but for the entire world



22 NOVEMBER 2017

 Rare 19th century photographs of Shanghai

 Rare 19th century photographs of Shanghai by English photographer William Saunders go on show in London in first public exhibition devoted to his work


Historic photos of China by Jack Birns (1947-1949)

Seen through the lens of hindsight, Birns’ photographs give us a sense not only of what China was like more than fifty years ago, but also of why the warfare, weariness, and desperation of the time proved such fertile soil for communist revolution


Hunt for Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He’s lost treasure ship heats up in Indian Ocean

Study off coast of Sri Lanka, where massive vessel that was part of Chinese adventurer’s fleet sank 600 years ago, has delivered ‘positive results’

24 OCTOBER 2017

HKFP History: A brief visual history of the Hong Kong Peak Tram

It has been over 126 years since the Peak Tram opened in Hong Kong though, technically, it is not even a tram but a cable-hauled funicular railway. Below is a brief, visual history of one of the city’s most iconic treasures


Hoover Acquires The Personal Papers Of General Bai Chongxi, A Prominent Military Leader In Republican China

 The personal papers of Bai Chongxi include official files at different stage of his military and political careers, correspondence between Bai and important Nationalist Chinese government officials, family letters and correspondence, personal diaries and documentaries recording his family activities, an inspection tour he took to Taiwan in the spring of 1947

5 AUGUST 2017

How Mao and Khrushchev fought over China-India border dispute

Following is a transcript of a meeting attended by Khrushchev, Mao Zedong (毛澤東), M.A. Suslov, A.A. Gromyko, Liu Shaoqi (劉少奇), Zhou Enlai (周恩來), Lin Biao (林彪), Peng Zhen (彭真), Chen Yi and Wan Xia Sang

24 JULY 2017

Saving Harbin: Chinese city struggles to preserve Russian legacy

The city of Harbin, founded by colonialists during the height of the Russian empire, has a very distinct Tsarist character

28 JUNE 2917

The last Hong Kong governor: Chris Patten on 20 years after the handover – video

Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor, handed the former colony back to China on 1 July 1997 to be ruled with a degree of autonomy under a system called “one country, two systems”. Here he reflects on leaving Hong Kong and what the game plan should be going forward

16 JUNE 2017

Scapegoats or traitors? The tale of the British radio propagandists in wartime Shanghai who were convicted in Hong Kong

Seventy years ago, two broadcasters for a German radio station were found guilty of assisting the enemy. Collaboration was rife, so why were these Britons singled out while so many others went unpunished?http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2098418/scapegoats-or-traitors-tale-british-radio

8 JUNE 2017

Echoes of 1950s persecution in China’s crackdown on liberal voices

On the 60th anniversary of the start of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s campaign against intellectuals that saw some half a million people persecuted by the Communist Party, some present-day scholars say there is again growing pressure from the authorities to silence liberal voices

28 MAY 2017

160 years on, apology for a racist tax on Chinese in Australia

The Chinese community in ­Australia has applauded an apology by the government of Victoria for a racist tax levied on immigrants more than a century ago, calling it a step towards eliminating the discrimination that continues to this day

22 MAY 2017

The secret agents who spied on the US for China

Behind the warming relations between the world’s two leading economies, a hidden and often brutal war continues for valuable intelligence about military technology and other classified information

16 APRIL 2017

Chinese experts name 10 most amazing archaeological sites

Chinese archaeologists worked at more than 2,000 sites in 2016, and experts have selected the 10 best ones

4 APRIL 2017

Meet the Gurkhas, fearsome fighters with a 200-year history

A former serviceman in Hong Kong explains what binds him and his fellow Nepalese to a proud military tradition

20 MARCH 2017

Sunken treasure discovered in SW China

After more than 10,000 items of gold and silver were recovered from the bottom of Minjiang River in Sichuan Province, archeo

logists confirmed Monday the tale of Zhang Xianzhong and his sunken treasure, dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

13 MARCH 2017

Hong Kong documentary uncovers lost history

They are called Hong Kong’s darkest days, but there’s little evidence the 1967 riots ever took place


Tomb of ancient general and princess discovered in China

Archaeologists have discovered the tomb of an ancient Chinese general and his princess who were buried 1,500 years ago with more than 100 mysterious figurines

7 JANUARY 2017

Struggle to get documentary on Hong Kong’s 1967 riots on screen

Film, including story of plan to import lethal weapons into British colony, held up by lack of funding, scant archives, and harassment

4 JANUARY 2017

260,000 Chiang Kai-shek papers to go public

More than 260,000 documents related to Chiang Kai-shek will be made available to the public online later this year, Wu Mi-cha, Curator of Taiwan’s Academia Historica, said on Tuesday afternoon

In her series Modern Girl, artist Dina Goldstein updates 1930s Chinese adverts to lampoon our quest for the perfect lifestyle

According to Ms Goldstein, her “Modern Girl gallery” is inspired by Chinese tradition and the evolution of international commercialism. With a photographic/design sleight-of-hand (and in a tongue-in-cheek manner), she reworks the iconic advertising posters of 1930s Shanghai, China

16 DECEMBER 2016

The Battle of Hong Kong through the eyes of people who lived through it

There was little festive cheer 75 years ago, as the Battle of Hong Kong raged to a bloody conclusion. Some of the people who lived through the invasion recall how they suddenly found themselves in a war zone

12 DECEMBER 2016

Chinese archaeologists begin excavation of mysterious 2,600-year-old city that was wiped out by floods

Bairen, located in central China, dates back more than 2,600 years to China’s Spring and Autumn period. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4025054/Chinese-archaeologists-begin-excavation-mysterious-2-600-year-old-city-wiped-floods.html#ixzz4TSC6zXz7

20 NOVEMBER 2016

Culture Insider: How did the ancient Chinese keep food warm in winter?

According to historical records and archaeological discoveries, ancient Chinese people were using their own methods of heat preservation as early as the Shang and Zhou dynasties

Lamu archipelago last Chinese

It is said that some of Admiral Zheng He’s sailors were shipwrecked on this island off the Kenyan coast centuries ago. Meet 6 residents of the Lamu archipelago believed to be the last descendants of those Chinese sailors

Hong Kong scenes shot by an early 20th century tourist