Dismantling informal empire
in Britain in China
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This chapter explores the problems the British diplomats faced and the resistance they met. It then narrates the slow process of change down to the commencement of the Pacific War in December 1941. The chapter looks at settler resistance and examines the final victory of the diplomats. It also explores the range of tactics employed by British diplomats to reassert control. The Britain in China settler was not a part-time imperialist, but was clearly a part-time member of the British empire. The reform or dismantling of the institutions of British treaty port life was certainly patchily accomplished, but by the end of 1930 the map of Britain in China had been physically and mentally redrawn. While attempting to overhaul its own personnel and their attitudes, the British establishment also attempted to reform its charges.

Britain in China

Community, culture and colonialism 1900-1949

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