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Through the Looking GlassChina's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao$
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Paul French

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099821

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099821.001.0001

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The Roaring Twenties — Substituting Action for Talk

The Roaring Twenties — Substituting Action for Talk

(p.119) 6 The Roaring Twenties — Substituting Action for Talk
Through the Looking Glass

Paul French

Hong Kong University Press

On 4 May 1919, angered at the betrayal and fired up with a justified nationalist fervour, radicalised students staged large-scale demonstrations across China. These were the first mass protests in modern Chinese history and in many ways set the hallmark for the 1920s as a decade of domestic protest and internal unrest — what became known as the May Fourth Movement. This Movement was to usher in a new and chaotic decade in China's history and also a new crop of reporters, correspondents and writers. It is noted that the old guard was depleted. Arthur Ransome coined the term “Shanghai mind” and referred to the International Settlement as a “hermetically sealed glass case”. This notion of the treaty ports seeing things slightly differently was not totally new. The revolutionaries with typewriters are described. It is explained how the China press corps was about to become even more multi-layered, complicated, and cosmopolitan in the most tumultuous decade of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   China, mass protests, Chinese history, May Fourth Movement, Arthur Ransome, Shanghai mind, China press corps

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