During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the imperial powers—principally Britain, the United States, Russia, France, Germany and Japan—signed treaties with China to secure trading, residence and other rights in cities on the coast, along important rivers, and in remote places further inland. The largest of them—the great treaty ports of Shanghai and Tientsin—became modern cities of international importance, centres of cultural exchange and safe havens for Chinese who sought to subvert the Qing government. They are also lasting symbols of the uninvited and often violent incursions by foreign powers during China’s century of weakness. The extraterritorial privileges that underpinned the treaty ports were abolished in 1943—a time when much of the treaty port world was under Japanese occupation.
China’s Foreign Places provides a historical account of the hundred or more major foreign settlements that appeared in China during the period 1840 to 1943. Most of the entries are about treaty ports, large and small, but the book also includes colonies, leased territories, resorts and illicit centres of trade. Information has been drawn from a wide range of sources and entries are arranged alphabetically with extensive illustrations and maps. China’s Foreign Places is both a unique work of reference, essential for scholars of this period and travellers to modern China. It is also a fascinating account of the people, institutions and businesses that inhabited China’s treaty port world.
Robert Nield is the author of The China Coast: Trade and the First Treaty Ports.
"Robert Nield’s encyclopaedic coverage of the sites of foreign power in pre-1949 China, and their surviving traces, ranges from Aigun to Yunnan-fu and calls at all ports in between. This is an informative and tellingly detailed guide to a world that is now mainly lost, but which nevertheless continues to haunt modern China." — Robert Bickers, University of Bristol; author of Getting Stuck in for Shanghai and The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832–1914
"A wonderful contribution to understanding the foreign presence in China and the economic push to reach every corner of the massive country. Not only has Robert Nield visited nearly all of his over 80 outposts but his extensive research in newspapers and archives offers an immensely valuable contribution to the subject. It will be enormously useful to researchers and intrepid travellers." — Frances Wood, author of The Blue Guide to China (with Neil Taylor) and No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China 1843–1943
"It's a pleasure to note that China's Foreign Places is a handsome volume. Care was taken over the layout, and the production values are high. It deserves a place on the shelves of both personal and formal libraries." — Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books