Cut loose
The British in China and the aftermath of empire
in The break-up of Greater Britain
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On 11 January 1943 Britain and the Republic of China signed a treaty for ‘The Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China and the Regulation of Related Matters’ that nullified the position the British had secured in China in treaties and through precedence since the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing. Little provision was made for British subjects in China and their interests. This chapter will outline the shape and reach of this presence, stressing its diverse composition, its practical and rhetorical entanglement in the wider ‘Greater British’ world, and its trajectory after January 1943 in the face of Chinese nationalism and revolution. Its legacies include debates that highlight the narrowing of state understandings of rights to British nationality by the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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