Taiwan gained and lost

Japan (ahem) Focus has a great excerpt from MIT’s Emma J. Teng’s Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing, 1683–1895 up this week. To be fair, there is a Japan connection towards the end

In 1895, only a short time after Taiwan had become an official province of China, the Qing were forced by their defeat in the Sino-Japanese war to cede the island to Japan. The reaction of Chinese elites to the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki demonstrates how far Chinese ideas about Taiwan had come since annexation. Officials and students in China vigorously protested the Treaty, signing declarations condemning what they called the “selling of national territory,” and the “severing of the nation.” Whereas Chinese officials two centuries earlier had protested the annexation of Taiwan as a waste of money, these protesters now declared that Taiwan should not be sold for any price. Pessimists predicted that once this piece of China was lost, the rest would soon fall like dominoes to imperial aggressors.

I’m going to be teaching the Qing portion of the China sequence next semester, so this is currently of great interest to me. I heard a great talk on Korean Buddhist travel literature at ASPAC, too: it’s a theme!

1 Comment

  1. I find this topic to be of immense to myself. As I have resided both in the P.R.C and Taiwan.
    However I find like much of Chinese History and culture the P.R.C Chinese tend to speak of
    Taiwan of absolutist religous rote learnt dogma. I am sure you would be well aware “Taiwan has
    been an inalieable part of China since ancient times” and so forth. I honestly find the way the terms
    “reunification” equally interesting because it implies that it is in fact the norm for
    Taiwan in history to be under direct Chinese rule.

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