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In 1942, exactly a century after Great Britain had managed to impose the articles of the Nanking Treaty on China as a result of her victory in the first Opium War, her economic and political achievements in China lay in ruins. Indeed, 1842 and 1942 mark respectively the beginning and the end of an era, the success and the failure of the British experience in China. Between those two signposts, many a fluctuation occurred in the mutual relations of the two countries. They ranged from extreme animosity and war, to understanding, entente and even co-operation. The story of the British presence in China, however, does not start in 1842, nor does it abruptly end in 1942. It stretches far back to Lord Macartney’s China mission of 1795 and continues well into the present, albeit in an inherently different manner.
KeywordsBritish Empire Imperial Rivalry Western Colonial Political Achievement Assumed Responsibility
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