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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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The Customs Service During the Self-Strengthening Movement, 1870–1895

The Customs Service During the Self-Strengthening Movement, 1870–1895

(p.103) Chapter Three The Customs Service During the Self-Strengthening Movement, 1870–1895
Breaking with the Past

Hans van de Ven

Columbia University Press

The Self-Strengthening Movement began in the 1860s as a Qing effort to acquire the military means to resist European empires. This chapter considers aspects of the role of the Customs Service that are most suggestive of its general significance to the Self-Strengthening Movement. It begins with an examination of the London Office of the Service, through which the Customs Service gained access to highest reaches of the British government, which gave the Qing a head start in its competition with Japan for naval supremacy in East Asia and caused European and Qing politics to become intertwined. It then examines the trajectory and the consequences of the increased maritime trade that the Service enabled, and discusses the intensifying diplomatic, legal, scholarly, and banking links between China and Britain that the Customs Service fostered.

Keywords:   Self-Strengthening Movement, Qing Dynasty, Chinese Maritime Customs Service, China, maritime trade, naval supremacy, Britain

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