God, Mammon and Flag

Paul French

in Through the Looking Glass

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9789622099821
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207622 | DOI:
God, Mammon and Flag

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The birth of foreign newspapers and a foreign press corps in China really begins in the small enclave of Canton, the city now known as Guangzhou, in what were called the Factories, the somewhat fortified and mostly self-sufficient warehouses where a select group of foreigners was begrudgingly permitted to trade by the Qing dynasty. God, Mammon, and flag are the primary interests in the very earliest newspapers and journals. The roots of the foreign press are revealed in opium. The nineteenth century British-dominated “mud trade”, based on opium as a narcotic smoked for pleasure or relaxation rather than medicinal purposes, was already over fifty years old by the time the first English-language newspapers appeared in China, coincidentally sponsored by the largest suppliers. The circumspect voice of the missionaries is described. The chapter also addresses the Napier fizzle and the First Opium War. It is shown that Hong Kong is a colony in need of a press.

Keywords: God; Mammon; flag; First Opium War; Napier fizzle; Hong Kong; mud trade; foreign press; missionaries

Chapter.  10970 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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