Treaty-making and treaty-breaking
Transfrontier salt and opium, 1904–11
in Law across imperial borders
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The first chapter traces the establishment of British authority (1899–1911). As the provisions of the treaties were key legal documents, I show how the Tengyue consuls understood the rights of British and Chinese smugglers in two key transfrontier trades: salt and opium. The movement of illicit goods was integral for the frontier economy and local populations. Tengyue consuls reimagined consular rights based on their understanding of these local considerations and imperial policy. The chapter explores two key smuggling cases to show how consuls were mediators amongst a number of different British colonial and consular authorities in London, India, Burma and China on legal rights. The chapter is therefore concerned with how consuls understood the overlapping frameworks and tensions of different layers of law: Sino-British treaties, Burmese territorial law and extraterritoriality

Law across imperial borders

British consuls and colonial connections on China’s western frontiers, 1880–1943


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