February 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment
This week marks the 36th anniversary of the signing of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué, the world-startling diplomatic letter that marked the beginning of the rapprochement between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. The communiqué was signed at the end of a week-long visit to China by President Richard M. Nixon, his wife, and a large entourage, including Secretary of State William Rogers and Dr. Henry S. Kissinger (who served as Secretary of State in the second, abortive Nixon administration, and also in the subsequent Ford administration).
The Nixons arrived in Beijing on February 21 and together with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai) toured historic sites in the capital and Hangzhou before arriving in Shanghai on February 26. They stayed at the Xijiao State Guesthouse in Hongqiao, but the communiqué was signed in a building on the grounds of the Jinjiang Hotel, one of only a handful of hotels in the city where foreigners could stay at that time. The Jinjiang was conveniently located across the street from another state guesthouse, a stately neo-Baroque building that was until 1953 the Cercle Sportif Francais – the French Club. Even more convenient, Chinese negotiators could avail themselves of the tunnels that linked the Jinjiang and the guesthouse – part of a bomb-proof bunker installed in the 1960s to ensure the safety of top government officials in the event of a Soviet-launched nuclear attack.
From left: former French Club; Cathay Mansions; New Jin Jiang Hotel; and Grosvenor House
Before 1949, of course, the north and south buildings of the Jinjiang Hotel had been the Sassoon-owned Cathay Mansions (1928) and Grosvenor House (1930). These magnificent structures were two of the most desirable addresses in the French Concession in the 1930s, with all the modern conveniences, the French Club (1926) right across the street, and the country’s most fashionable shopping district just steps away on Avenue Joffre (today’s Huaihai Road).
The main achievement of the communiqué was a commitment by both nations to work toward normal diplomatic relations. But it is the letter’s delicate finessing of the Taiwan issue that has enabled the bilateral relationship to develop – with ups and downs – during the past three and half decades.
Normally, diplomatic notes catalog areas of agreement. But because of the vast differences between the two countries in 1972, the parties agreed to allow each side to make separate statements within the Shanghai Communiqué. The Chinese section stated plainly that “the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China.” The Americans merely pronounced, “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position.”
Upon the establishment of full diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, the United States went further and recognized the PRC government as the sole legal government of China. At the same time, it maintained its parsing of the Taiwan question by “acknowledging” the Chinese position that “there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” Further complexity was added in the Taiwan Relations Act, effective on the same day, wherein the U.S. declared that “Whenever the application of the laws of the United States depends upon the law that is or was applicable on Taiwan or compliance therewith, the law applied by the people on Taiwan shall be considered the applicable law for that purpose.”
This “creative ambiquity” remains the foundation upon which the relationship has developed from mutual hostility to one of “multiple intimacies.” **
** These descriptive words were used by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. in his address, “The Promise of Sino-American Relations,” delivered at the Jinjiang Hotel on 21 February as the 2008 Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture. Ambassador Freeman was the principal American interpreter on Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China.
Tags: communist shanghai · french concession · general · post-1949 Shanghai · what's hot
February 19th, 2008 · 3 Comments
Yes, the British led the imperialist charge into China in the mid-1800s, and yes, they were at the forefront in economics, politics and horse-racing in old Shanghai. But the Americans were never far behind, and in the field of journalism, the Yankees more than held their own.
Or at least that is how J.B. Powell reported it in his chapter, “The Journalistic Field.” in the limited edition book American University Men in China 1936. Powell (University of Missouri, B.S.J. 1886) came to China in 1917 to take up the post of Managing Editor of The China Weekly Review, a position he held for three decades. He also complied the original Who’s Who of China. The following is a summary of the publications in China mentioned in Powell’s chapter that were founded, edited or contributed to by American writers.
Wood, W.W., founder and editor
“We are told that he wrote most of the news, set the type and printed the paper himself on a hand press which was lent him by a British merchant named Alexander Matheson.”
The Chinese Repository (Canton)
Bridgman, Elijah Coleman, editor
Williams, Samuel Wells, editor
Bridgman, James Grainger, editor 1847-48
“The circulation for some years was around 1,000 and a London magazine in 1837 referred to it as a periodical ‘which would be considered good even in England.’”
“…the chief organ of Protestant missions in China.”
Doolittle, Rev. Justus, editor 1870-1872
Wylie, A. (British), editor 1874-1878
Baldwin, Rev. S.L., editor 1878-1880
Happer, Rev. A.P., editor 1880-1884
Gulick, Dr. L.H., editor 1885-1890
Wheeler, Dr. L.N., editor 1890-1895
Fitch, Dr. G.F., editor 1895-1914
Rawlinson, Dr. Frank, editor
Sin Wan Bao
“…one of the two leading Chinese newspapers published at Shanghai.”
Ferguson, Dr. John C., editor and owner 1900-1927. Ferguson had been President of Nanking University 1888-1897, then President of Nanyang College [now Jiaotong University] 1897-1902. We was also editor of the Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1902-1911)
The Shanghai Times
Gray, Willis, founder
The paper was purchased in 1911 by Dr. John C. Ferguson (see Sin Wan Bao, above).
The China Press
Millard, Thomas Franklin, founder and editor
est. 1917 – later renamed The China Weekly Review and edited by J.B. Powell
Millard “probably has had a greater influence on contemporary newspaper journalism than any other American journalist in China.”
Shanghai Evening Post
est. c. 1920
Crow, Carl, editor and publisher
Later sold to C.V. Starr and renamed Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury
Crow authored many books and published a travel magazine called The Shanghailander.
North China Star (Tianjin)
Fox, Dr. Charles J., editor and publisher
“…the largest circulation of any English language newspaper in North China.”
Far Eastern Review
est. c. 1905
Rea, George Bronson, founder and editor
“As a result of differences between Mr. Rea and Chinese officialdom at the time of the Paris Peace Conference, Mr. Rea transferred his interests to Japan and since that time his magazine has followed the Japanese point of view on Far Eastern questions. He represented the Japanese protected state of ‘Manchukuo’ at Washington for three years and since that time has resided in Japan although his magazine is still published in Shanghai.”
South China Morning Post, est. 1902
Hongkong Telegraph, est. 1914
Noble, Dr. J.W., publisher
“…two of Hongkong’s leading newspapers… both of which are, as far as the public is concerned, 100% British, but the controlling owner in both papers, as well as the publishing company, has been the American dentist, Dr. Noble…” Sir Robert Ho Tung “sold a controlling interest in the Telegraph to Dr. Noble and in 1916 or 1917, the paper was merged with the South China Morning Post…”
Schwartz, Bruno, owner and editor
The Harbin Daily News
Vesey, H. Custis, owner and editor
Tags: 19th century shanghai · economic history · social history
February 15th, 2008 · 9 Comments
The 1907 Garden Bridge (in Chinese, the Waibaidu Qiao) is one of those rarest of historic treasures in Shanghai: an original structure that is still being used for the same purpose for which it was built. Imagine our shock, then, when we read recently that the Garden Bridge was to “vanish.”
No need to panic. It turns out that the bridge will disappear for one year for repairs. In fact, this is an urban renewal project that Shanghai preservationists can support wholeheartedly. The entire structure is to be dismantled, repaired and reassembled beam by beam. While the bridge is in drydock, a tunnel will be constructed along its route to take through traffic underneath the Bund and the Suzhou Creek.
Not only will the tunnel relieve congestion in this historic and much-visited district, but it will allow the modern bridge that now stands just to the west of Garden Bridge to be dismantled, revealing once again the beautiful grounds of the former British Consulate and resuscitating views of the stately General Post Office to the west.
The only disappointing part of the February 6 Shanghai Daily article reporting the Garden Bridge project was the following statement:
The word ‘baidu’ means ‘free ferry’ - a name dating from a time of discrimination when only Chinese people had to pay a toll to use an earlier bridge built in 1856 by a British businessman on practically the same site.
As is too often the case, the Shanghai Daily incorrectly reported the facts, and gave the impression of imperialist exploitation where none existed.
Foreigners forced their way into China with imperialist designs, no doubt, but the Garden Bridge is not evidence of imperialist exploitation. According to noted Shanghai chronicler F.L. Hawks Pott, the first bridge across Suzhou Creek was built in 1856 by an entrepreneur named Wills who brought capital into China and invested in infrastructure that benefited Chinese and foreigner alike. He invested $12,000 dollars in the 450-foot span (complete with drawbridge), and naturally charged a crossing fee. Both Chinese and foreigners paid this toll, but as with many goods and services in Shanghai, foreigners paid on credit – thus the impression on the part of many Chinese that foreigners passed free.
The Shanghai Municipal Council bought out Wills in the 1870s and eliminated the toll. Thus should have ended the errant complaints of discrimination against locals. Indeed, complaints might have been aimed in the opposite direction. The local governor (taotai in Wade-Giles) declined the SMC’s request for Chinese government investment in the construction of the new Garden Bridge, which replaced Wills Bridge in 1907. So residents of the Chinese municipality enjoyed free crossing of the Suzhou Creek from the 1870s thanks to the ratepayers of the International Settlement (a majority of whom, it should be noted, were wealthy Chinese, who were taxed but did not have the right to representation on the SMC until the 1920s).
We would ask the Shanghai Daily for a clarification on this point, but similar requests in the past have received no response, so this post will act as testament to the editorial error.
Tags: 19th century shanghai · architecture · economic history · international settlement · shanghai today · the bund
Shanghai is associated with Jazz mostly because “Big Band” dance music was the international style of preference during the city’s romanticized “golden age” in the 1920s and 30s. But Jazz had a relatively short and limited impact in China’s City that Never Sleeps. The recent resurgence of interest in Jazz in Shanghai, while in part inspired by that distant time, is almost entirely disconnected from the old days. But interestingly, the genre’s contemporary evolution in Shanghai is following a trajectory similar to that which it took eight decades ago.
The earliest Jazz in Shanghai was imported along with musicians from the United States, like Whitey Smith, whose band played at the legendary Metropole Club. To attract and retain the market without which the nightclubs could not succeed - Chinese nightowls - the band leaders soon learned to adapt to local tastes and created a distinct sub-genre: Shanghai Jazz.
The Canidrome Band, Shanghai
One change was from performing covers of tunes popular in the West to “jazzed-up” versions of Chinese songs popular in Shanghai. Another adaptation was to simplify up-tempo and complex jazz rhythms for local tastes. And finally, lyrics of some imported tunes were transcripted into Chinese, and often sung in Shanghai dialect. Retained were the instrumentation, fashion and showmanship of American Jazz, but without that “swing” without which, well, you ain’t got a thing.
At the end of the day, Shanghai Jazz resembled Chinese pop music more than the fast, frolicking and experimental style heard “Stateside” (and if you think about it, pop, rock, rap and alternative music have all followed similar evolutions in China during the past three decades).
Shanghai also inspired a sub-strain of “Orientalized Jazz” in the West, which used exoticized stereotypes of China as inspiration for such tunes as “Sing Song Girl” by the Victor Hollywood Orchestra in 1930, which you can listen to here. [Warning to the gangsta rap generation: use parental discretion, as the lyric may be offensive (it refers to the eponymous sing-song girl as “My little yella Cinderella”)].
Today, Jazz is back in Shanghai, but it has a distinctly “cult” following. The center of the Jazz scene is the JZ Club on Fuxing Lu west of Huaihai Lu (Rue Lafayette near Avenue Joffre, for you older Shanghailanders). Shanghai Jazz lovers are also favored with an excellent website, shanghaijazzscene.com.
And now, as the slow-on-the-uptake folks at the Shanghai Tourism Bureau are waking up that it’s a good idea to package the city a little bit for World Expo 2010, an “official Shanghai Big Jazz Band” has been formed. Be forewarned, this nine-piece ensemble does NOT play anything resembling Count Basie or Benny Goodman: it is a straight-up fusion outfit. Which is fine if that’s your thing. But what is “Shanghai” about it? While they must occasionally play to the demand for nostalgic covers of 1930s Shanghai tunes, we are glad to report that some of their work follows in the Shanghai Jazz tradition of localizing contemporary imported influences. They do a wonderful fusion version of the 1930s classic Ye Shanghai, for instance, with a wild drum solo and a scat-rap section sung entirely in Shanghainese.
Now that’s pushing in the right direction! But we would still like to hear some real Big Bands in Shanghai…
Shanghai Big Jazz Band
Tags: music · shanghai today · social history
February 7th, 2008 · 4 Comments
THE WORST-PRESERVED HISTORIC BUILDINGS IN SHANGHAI
Historic Shanghai hereby announces the establishment of “The Black List” of the worst-preserved historic buildings in Shanghai. Yes, the Black List is an effort to shame the voracious destroyers of this great city’s heritage, but it is also meant to educate the public about what proper historic renovation is – by showing them what it definitely is not. The Black List is important because architectural heritage is a finite cultural resource, and time is running out for many of Shanghai’s remaining heritage buildings.
From the 1950s to the 1990s, Shanghai’s architectural history was preserved through neglect. There wasn’t money for maintenance, and besides, these buildings were considered symbols of China’s humiliation at the hands of Western imperialists, not worthy of special treatment. Their gradual decline wasn’t pretty, but at least the buildings were left whole. All that would have been needed was cleanup and gentle restoration.
But that is not what happened. The 1990s brought prosperity and urban renewal to Shanghai, and change on a scale and at a speed that is now legendary. The new century also saw an increase of interest in historic buildings, but this interest was twisted and exploited by developers. They presented “preservation” as the Xintiandi formula: keep the exteriors, but rip out the guts and install characterless interiors. Because historic preservation is not well understood in China, the general public accepted this formula. The public did not know – and the developers did not care – that without a properly preserved interior, the historic value of a heritage building is almost nil.
Interiors are an integral part of the aesthetics of any building, old or new. When the wooden floors, hand-laid tile and decorative ironwork are removed from an historic Shanghai house, it no longer tells the same story. Those who argue against restoration say that old buildings aren’t equipped for the 21st century – but around the world, buildings much older than Shanghai’s are properly restored for modern use. Yes, proper restoration is expensive, but what is the value of a city’s heritage? Priceless.
Remember: there’s no excuse for ruining historic buildings.
The Black List below is just a start. Historic Shanghai fans are encouraged to send in their nominations for The Black List: email email@example.com.
THE HISTORIC SHANGHAI BLACK LIST
1. Three on the Bund No. 3, The Bund
Since its opening in 2001, our poster child for “How not to preserve a building.” Just eight years ago, the ground floor space facing the Bund had soaring ceilings and beautiful ornamental plaster. The low-ceiling, contemporary interior of the luxury clothing store that now occupies that space has no relationship to the historic building at all. None. The same can be said of the hospital-like interior of the restaurant on the sixth floor. Some hard-core preservationists we know won’t even set foot in this building.
2. Lan Guangdong Road at Jiangxi Road
The first thing the egocentric Beijing restauranteuse leaseholder did to this historic building was to drill holes into the historic stone exterior to put up huge billboards. The next thing she did was to rip out every last bit of the interior. We’ve seen her renovation approach before, in historic structures in Beijing and Shanghai – all of them disasters. This building survived Japanese occupation, civil war, and the Cultural Revolution – but not Lan!
3. Maneo/Mint 333 Tongren Lu
What a thing to do to a masterwork by one of Shanghai’s most talented architects! Laszlo Hudec designed this beauty, once known as the Wu Mansion. It was at the absolute cutting edge of design when it was completed in 1934. And now? The late-night clubbers have no idea that they are partying in one of the coolest (and most blasphemed) houses in the universe.
4. Shanghai Municipal Archives South Bund
How ironic that the interior of this historic Art Deco beauty – formerly the French shipping firm Messageries Maritimes (1871-1981) – was destroyed in the renovation that made it the Shanghai Municipal Archives. Shame, shame…
More to come – please share your nominations!
Tags: architecture · the black list · what's hot
February 3rd, 2008 · 3 Comments
A band of intrepid Britishers has revived the Shanghai branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (RAS), 150 years after its establishment.
The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded in London in 1823 “for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia.” The early focus of the RAS was the Indian Subcontinent and the Near East – the most important outposts of the British Empire at that time. In 1847, the China Branch of the organization was set up in Hong Kong; a year later, the Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society (established, let the record show, by an American, Reverend E.C. Bridgman), became an affiliate of the RAS called the North China Branch.
The club’s outdoorsy founders focused primarily on the study of the flora and fauna of the countryside around Shanghai. The RAS museum was eventually filled with stuffed birds and other creatures done in on the regular hunting forays of the society’s early members. Incredibly, many of these mounted specimens can still be viewed at the delightfully retro Shanghai Museum of Natural History on Yan’an Road (at least for another year or two – best to hurry).
The goals of the resuscitated Shanghai RAS include building a new collection of books, beginning with several dozen copies of the fabled Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (commonly known as the “China Journal”) recently purchased in Beijing by RAS vice president Michael Nethercott (apparently, the only complete set of the China Journal is housed at the Fudan University Library).
All this is by way of introduction to a walk that Peter Hibbard, president of the rejuvenated RAS – Shanghai, led on February 2 from the Astor House Hotel (which figured in the early history of the RAS) to the lovely former headquarters building of the association on Huqiu (formerly Museum) Road. The site was given to the RAS by the British government in 1868, and a building was erected there in 1871. It was replaced in 1932 by the current building, which since the 1950s has been the property of the Shanghai Library. Like the other buildings in the neighborhood, it was vacated two years ago to make way for the “Wai Tan Yuan” redevelopment project.
Suffice it to say that progress on the renovation plan is… slow. The photographs below show the state of this beautiful Chinese Art Deco building, designed by George Wilson of Palmer & Turner (the folks who brought you the iconic Cathay [Peace] Hotel and the stately Bank of China on the Bund).
The former RAS Museum
Way-cool Art Deco ironwork: “Men’s Toilet”
Even cooler stairway in RAS building
Lion mascot atop RAS building
Tags: 19th century shanghai · architecture · research · social history · the bund
This photo, recently discovered in a private collection, shows a billboard that was part of Shanghai-based ad-man Carl Crow’s extensive outdoor advertising network in eastern China in the 1930s. Writes Crow biographer and China business pundit Paul French, “Carl made good money erecting these specially designed stands and selling the space. Much better than annoying neon signs, elevator TV screens and those stupid advertising screens in taxi seat headrests. These [billboards were] things of beauty in and of themselves.” We wholeheartedly agree!
One of Carl Crow Inc.’s billboards, on Avenue Haig (today’s Huashan Road)
Tags: economic history
January 31st, 2008 · 3 Comments
Shanghai’s climate is notorious for its steamy summers, bone-chilling winters and the uncomfortable “Plum Rains” every June. One thing it is not known for is snow, of which it gets very little. When it snows in Shanghai, it is a big deal. Children irk their teachers by running to the windows to take a look. Stock market crises take page two, bumped by splashy headlines about what usually amounts to a dusting of the white stuff. And traffic – on the best of days a free-for-all – becomes all-out chaos.
The four straight days of snow we experienced from 26-29 January 2008 qualified as a once-a-century event, and deserved the headlines that it precipitated. Records of Shanghai’s weather since the mid-1800s are surprisingly complete, in part because of the good work of the scholarly Jesuit fathers at the Siccawei Observatory, whose weather reports were transmitted by telegraph to the Bund, where semaphores were hoisted at the Gutzlaff Tower to inform ships at anchor in the Whangpoo of impending conditions. And in the Shanghai Municipal Council’s annual work report, a summary of each day’s weather was published in an exceedingly clever one-page chart, like this one:
Each day was divided into four quadrants, representing the hours 6:00 am to 6:00 pm in three-hour periods. A circle represented dry weather; the letter “R” rain; “F” for frost; and “S” for snow. Thus we know that in 1920, it snowed in Shanghai on February 2 and 21, and again on March 2 – but just briefly. And if it was like most of our experiences in the last several decades, it probably didn’t “stick” for very long, if at all. So “The Great Snow of 2008” (pictured below) deserves its place in our memories – and in Shanghai history.
Tags: general · what's hot
The presentation entitled “Shanghai Ren, Shanghailanders and other Interlopers” organized by Historic Shanghai on 27 January was well-attended, with almost 200 Shanghai fans packing the Glamour Bar to hear Lynn Pan, Tess Johnston and Wm Patrick Cranley speak.
Pan’s section on Chinese contributors to the city’s development described the close relationship between “legitimate” Shanghai of businessmen, artists and men of letters and the nefarious underworld of gangsters, opium dens and red light districts. “Very Shanghai!” opined Pan, author of 12 books, including Old Shanghai: Gangsters in Paradise.
Tess Johnston was in fine form, despite having to perform a 15-minute version of her crowd-pleasing talk, “100 Years of Shanghai Expatriate History in 50 Minutes.” While rushing through a quick overview of foreign arrivals in Shanghai from different quarters, she recounted the story of how it came to be that we drive on the right side of the road in what was once a British-dominated town. The U.S. military had taken the Japanese surrender in Shanghai in September 1945, and on New Year’s Eve American soldiers changed all the street signs from the left side of the roads to the right. The next morning, drivers all over Shanghai were startled and befuddled by the switch, said Johnston, “And it’s been chaos out there ever since!”
Patrick Cranley approached Shanghai’s history from the perspective of foreign residents of old Shanghai who did not fit clearly into categories like “businessman,” “missionary,” or “customs official.” His presentation had the intriguing title, “Old Shanghai’s ‘Others’: Sailors, Whores, Half-breeds and Other Interlopers.” From Sikh policemen and Filipino bandleaders to Korean prostitutes and Eurasian schoolchildren, Cranley asserts that many of the actors who made Shanghai what it is today do not receive due credit for their contributions. Two stories of particular note were those of American mercenary Frederick Townsend Ward and of the stranded Jews who were unable to leave Shanghai until 1958.
Judging from the big turnout on the day of an “historic” snowfall in Shanghai, there is a great deal of interest in learning more about the people of old Shanghai, in addition to the buildings they left behind.
Tags: events · social history · what's hot
January 28th, 2008 · 2 Comments
Frederick Townsend Ward
[An excerpt from “Old Shanghai’s ‘Others’: Sailor, Whores, Half-breeds and Other Interlopers” by Wm Patrick Cranley]
Some foreigners fell between the cracks and lived on the edge of the terra incognita that was mid-19th century Shanghai. One such man was Frederick Townsend Ward, an American born in1831 in Salem, Massachusetts, which at the time was an important seaport. Ward first went to sea at the age of 15. He pursued adventures in Texas, Mexico, California, Central America, and Russia, working as often as not as a mercenary. Soon after he arrived in Shanghai in 1859, he convinced a group of Chinese merchants to finance a private army under his command to defeat the Taiping rebels who had taken control of the area around their homes to the west of Shanghai. Ward recruited a ragtag army of deserters and misfits that he rounded up on the docks and in the bars of Shanghai, and took the walled town of Songjiang back from the Taipings in 1860. His army was routed later that year while trying to take the larger town of Qingpu.
He was subsequently reviled in the Shanghai press as a vagabond who had encouraged foreign sailors to desert and join his own forces. Eventually, Ward was imprisoned for having violated the neutrality of the Western nations in the Chinese civil war. In his defense he said that he had renounced his American citizenship and was now a subject of the Qing Empire – and therefore was free to fight the Taipings.
Ward escaped from prison and rejoined the remnants of his army in Songjiang town. He decided at this point to build a new army, not of foreigners, but of Chinese soldiers led by a handful of foreign officers, and drilled in the foreign manner. This was thought a joke by the Western community in Shanghai, as “everyone knew” that Chinese soldiers were inherently inferior to Western ones. But, after a quick series of victories in the latter half of 1861, both the Qing government and the foreigners who had previously maligned him were convinced of the potential quality of Chinese soldiers and began singing Ward’s praises. They also asked for his help in fighting the Taipings around Shanghai.
Ward then formally took Chinese citizenship and married the daughter of his main financial backer, a Chinese merchant from the area west of Shanghai. Not long after, Ward was awarded an official rank in the Chinese government and was named a brigadier general in the Qing army. He became an intimate advisor to the local governor, Li Hongzhang, who dubbed Ward’s troops “The Ever-Victorious Army.” But Ward’s luck ran out in September of 1862, when he died in battle at the tender age of 30. He was buried in Songjiang in the traditional Chinese manner, and later, the Western community erected a monument at his grave. It became a ritual to make the journey from Shanghai to Songjiang to lay flowers at his resting place during the grave-sweeping holiday each year.
The grave of Frederick Townsend Ward c. 1940
Ward’s supporter Li Hongzhang, of course, became one of the most powerful officials in late-Qing China. Li was the prime mover among reform-minded Chinese who believed that China could be made powerful once again by adopting Western science and technical know-how. This has been, with some ups and downs, the thrust of Chinese development over the past century and a quarter – and some thus attribute the inspiration for this epochal transformation directly to Frederick Townsend Ward, who showed the world that Chinese soldiers, trained with modern methods, could be the equal of soldiers from anywhere in the world.
Ward’s grave in Songjiang, by the way, did not survive the Cultural Revolution, and so cannot be visited today.
Tags: 19th century shanghai