Echoes and Shadows
This chapter presents reflects on the historical significance of the Customs Service. The history of the Customs Service brings out the enormous importance of finance and banking, especially in the history of Republican China. China's hoarding of vast reserves today is in line with the behavior of past dynasties, but it may also be based on the wish never again to be indebted to bankers and Western countries. The chapter further claims that the history of the Service was written largely as a way to bring the international back into China's modern history, while pointing out its mixed nature and its European entanglements. Once we broaden our perspective, its history can also be understood as part of the history of the growth of China's maritime commodity trade.
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