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Merchants of War and PeaceBritish Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War$
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Song-Chuan Chen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390564

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390564.001.0001

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Intellectual Artillery

Intellectual Artillery

(p.61) 4 Intellectual Artillery
Merchants of War and Peace

Song-Chuan Chen

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter observes that the Warlike party launched an informational war to penetrate the soft borders that constrained information flow and interaction. Their efforts concentrated on the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China, with the objective of spreading knowledge about the European world to the Chinese. They prepared, as they termed it, ‘intellectual artillery’ in the form of Chinese-language publications, especially material related to world geography, to distribute among the Chinese to inform them of the truth about the British in the hope that it would lead China to ‘open up’ from the inside. In establishing the society, the Warlike party conceived the metaphor of a war of information, which contributed to the developing conceptualisation of a literal war against China in the years before actual military action.

Keywords:   Informational war, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China, war metaphor, Missionaries and Opium War

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