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Breaking with the Past
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Breaking with the Past: The Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China

Hans van de Ven


This book describes the role of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, assesses the influence it had on Chinese history and society, and shows how it transformed China's relationship with the world. It explains how, between its founding in 1854 and its collapse in 1952, the Service delivered one-third to one-half of all revenue collected by China's central authorities. The book shows that the service was much more than a tax collector—it also managed China's harbours, erected lighthouses, surveyed the Chinese coast, and pioneered China's modern postal system. The book also follows the activitie ... More

Keywords: Chinese Maritime Customs Service, Sino-French War, Boxer Rebellion, 1911 Revolution, Chinese history, Chinese society

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231137386
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231137386.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Hans van de Ven, author
St Catharine's College