Chapter

Views from the Outside: Science, Railroads, and Laissez-Faire Economics

Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley

in Tears from Iron

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253025
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934221 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520253025.003.0006
Views from the Outside: Science, Railroads, and Laissez-Faire Economics

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Western observers also witnessed the devastation in North China firsthand. Vivid descriptions of the famine written by Anglo-American missionary relief workers stationed in Shanxi and other stricken provinces were published in the Shanghai-based North China Herald as well as in missionary journals in England and the United States. Unlike earlier famines in China, the Incredible Famine was thus transformed from a wholly Chinese concern to an internationally recognized disaster that motivated people from Europe, North America, and several countries in Asia to send aid. The Herald's take on the Incredible Famine both reflected nineteenth-century British assumptions about famine and influenced how English-speaking residents of China—whether missionaries, merchants, or statesmen—came to view the disaster in the North.

Keywords: Western observers; China; Anglo-American missionary; North China Herald; Incredible Famine

Chapter.  7092 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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