Chinese and Americans: A Shared History by Guoqi Xu

By Guoqi Xu

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

Xu starts 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 US, inaugurating a application of chinese language foreign examine that maintains this day. Such academic crosscurrents moved either methods, as is obvious in Xu’s profile of the awesome Ge Kunhua, the chinese language poet who helped spearhead chinese educating 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 pupil at Peking college and in different places. Xu additionally indicates that it used to be american citizens who first brought to China the fashionable Olympic circulate, and that China has used activities ever considering the fact that to show off its upward push as a world energy. those astounding shared traditions among international locations, Xu argues, give you the top roadmap for the way forward for Sino-American relations.

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The interests of this country in China, so far as I understand them, are identical with those of the two other nations I have mentioned. There is no reason to doubt that the British and French minister are acting in such a manner as will best promote the interests of all the Western nations. 16 In another turnaround, these disadvantages—lack of preparation, lack of interest by each country in the other, and lack of established policy for dealing with each other—in the end gave Burlingame a certain degree of 32 Messengers of the Nineteenth Century leverage.

You will perceive that we are making an effort to substitute fair diplomatic action in China for force,” Burlingame told them. 35 Perhaps another aspect of Burlingame’s charm for Chinese officials was his Chinese name, Pu Anchen. ” In China at the time, people could get into trouble simply because of the characters used in their names. Burlingame’s tendency to use shining and promising language with his Chinese hosts Anson Burlingame 37 also explains why the usually stiff Chinese trusted and liked him, especially compared to the British and French ministers, who tended to use threatening or impersonal, businesslike terms.

Dong had been in charge of negotiating the Lay-Osborne flotilla case with the British, a precarious assignment. He wrote in his diary that he spent more than five extremely frustrating months arguing and debating with the British and getting nowhere. 30 In the custom of Chinese elites, presenting a personal poem is a gesture of friendship and trust. When Burlingame was about to leave China, Dong Xun composed a farewell poem: As you sail away on your guest-laden craft Thousands of miles far off to the east, Bearing with you from the flowery land The tokens of Imperial regard Your virtuous desires, no longer confined Will, I hope, soon see the world as one house.

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