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Breaking with the PastThe Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China$
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Hans van de Ven

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231137386

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231137386.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Breaking with the Past
Author(s):

Hans van de Ven

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231137386.003.0001

This introductory chapter begins with a background on the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. The Customs Service was an agency of the Chinese state, headed by the Inspector General. It was one of the most, if not the most, powerful bureaucracies operating in China between the Taiping Rebellion from 1850 to 1864 and the Communist Revolution of 1949; it was the only one that did so uninterruptedly and across most of China. It facilitated trade and helped give rise to modern cities like Shanghai, where people and commodities from diverse origins were brought together into a new configuration. The chapter then sets out the book's purpose, which is to analyze and narrate the long history of Chinese Maritime Customs Service. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   Chinese Maritime Customs Service, China, bureaucracy, history, Inspector General

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