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Merchants of War and Peace – British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War - Hong Kong Scholarship Online
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Merchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War

Song-Chuan Chen


This book challenges conventional arguments that the major driving forces of the First Opium War were the infamous opium smuggling trade, the defence of British national honour, and cultural conflicts between ‘progressive’ Britain and ‘backward’ China. Instead, it argues that the war was triggered by a group of British merchants in the Chinese port of Canton in the 1830s, known as the ‘Warlike Party’. Living in a period when British knowledge of China was growing rapidly, the Warlike Party came to understand China’s weakness and its members returned to London to lobby for intervention until wa ... More

Keywords: Opium War, Sino-Western relations, knowledge making, the Warlike Party, Canton system, British merchants, Chinese Hong merchants, yi-barbarian, anti-war movement, British imperialism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9789888390564
Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888390564.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Song-Chuan Chen, author
Nanyang Technological University Singapore