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East WindChina and the British Left, 1925-1976$
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Tom Buchanan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570331.001.0001

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Introduction: Distance, narrative,and perception

Introduction: Distance, narrative,and perception

(p.1) Introduction: Distance, narrative,and perception
East Wind

Tom Buchanan

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter provides background and context for the remainder of the text, which is arranged by chronological chapters. There are three parts; the first examines the question of China's ‘distance’ from Britain, both geographically and in terms of cultural difference; the second focuses on three intellectuals (Bertrand Russell, RH Tawney and Joseph Needham) whose engagement with ‘The problem of China’ helped to shape the attitudes of the British left; the third section examines the pre-history of radical interest in China since the first Opium War of 1839–42. Although this was never a major feature of the politics of the left before the mid-1920s, left-wingers in the twentieth century were still able to ‘salvage’ a past from these earlier campaigns.

Keywords:   Needham, Russell, Tawney, Opium Wars, Hong Kong, Boxer Rebellion, Sun Yat-sen

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