John & Donna McAdams
60155 Agate Road
Bend, OR 97702
She’s not allowed to talk about the Lord at work, even with co-workers. (This rule doesn’t apply for any faith but Christianity.)
Greetings from beautiful, sunny Central Oregon, where we are enjoying many outdoor activities.
Donna’s jaw surgery was “successful.” Before the surgery, she used to have severe pain in her skull, but now she has almost no pain. Praise the Lord! On the left side, the surgeon couldn’t use her own disc because it was too damaged, so he inserted a temporary artificial disc. This means that she has to ration her talking, which, of course, takes a toll on her relationships and her ministry. A second surgery is scheduled for August 5 to remove the artificial disc. The theory is that, because the artificial disc separated the bones, her body is building up scar tissue to substitute as a disc. Please pray that her final new normal will be that she will be able to talk with ease.
But in spite of her jaw, she’s back to leading two Bible studies—she just has to rest her jaw a lot before and after. Brooke, who participates in one of the studies, is an administrator at a local college. She’s not allowed to talk about the Lord at work, even with co-workers. (This rule doesn’t apply for any faith but Christianity.) One evening just before the Bible study, when the women were sharing how they’re growing in the Lord, Donna told the group about something that’s been transforming her own walk with the Lord—when a verse jumps out at her during her devotions, she writes it down on a card and meditates on it through the day. After that study, Brooke started doing this, too. A few weeks later she told the group, “Now, because of these verses, I can’t stop thinking about the Lord. And because I can’t stop thinking about the Lord, I can’t stop talking about Him, even at work! Also, I have a lot of non-Christian friends. Now I’m talking with them about the Lord, too. And you know how I get the subject started? I tell them about all the ‘aha moments’ I have in our Bible study!”
The members of the local church that is working with the Great Country (GC) pilots discovered Dragon Ride. After reading it, they kept buying copies for each other, until somewhere between 60 and 75 copies had been distributed in the church. Then one of them called Donna to ask her to speak to them about how to share the gospel with the pilots because they felt like they weren’t very successful. Donna spoke for two hours because they prodded her not to stop. Then they asked her if she would give exactly the same talk again on another night! The second evening many more showed up, including the pastors, the missions committee, and even the Christians who work at the aviation company which trains the pilots! Now a lot more pilots are attending the weekly meetings that the church puts on for the pilots, and the church people feel like they are better equipped to talk with the pilots about the Lord.
Of the two of us, only John is teaching the pilots English once a week. He intersperses Bible stories with other lessons. And what is so amazing is that more of these pilots are attending the Chinese-language Bible study John leads. A Chinese woman, who loves the Lord with all her heart, opens her home and cooks a Chinese dinner for whoever will show up for the study. Then during the Bible study, she and her mother are able to bring home the gospel to the pilots. Please be praying for this study.
John is also being asked to preach more at our church. The church people love his sermons and can’t stop talking about them afterwards.
Seth graduated from Multnomah University in April with a degree in Business and Bible. This summer he’s working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week fighting wildfires to earn money to study for his Masters in Global Development, which starts in the fall. Please pray for his safety as he and his crew fight the fires. He is currently in Alaska fighting the 19,000 acre Shovel Creek Fire, which is near Fairbanks.
Praise God that Pastor Wu, whom we told you about in our last letter, has been released from prison. But many other GC brothers and sisters are still suffering in prison. Please keep them in your prayers.
2019.5.31 Fri: My 2nd time to Atria @ Roslyn. Lynda invited me to her one hour writing group, then the book club. They’re very nicely dressed. Herb (?) is the one who has his son to print the copies of my draft and he wants more history while most women want story. Took home two cookies.
Lynda: Irene didn’t think to publish … anyone has any positive comment?
me: any moment, negative or positive…
Lynda: … you knew Irene isn’t a professional writer.
Lynda also asks me to post her ad on Chinese sites …
We went on Monday, May 20 but it closed. So we went after ccc’s on Wednesday 2019.5.22. Gordon likes the story, and is surprised how many missionaries had died in Asia: China 3, Korea and Vietnam 10 each.
“When the government and people of the United States are ready to return to a dignified and decent policy in the treatment of the Chinese, we shall easily secure a renewal of their confidence in us.”
With the rising tide of American interest in China, the unsatisfactory condition of our relations with that great and ancient nation, with the general unrest there, which is the inevitable consequence of movements toward a new and modern life, and the local and sporadic outbreaks of violence incident to such unrest, one hears again the old and familiar cry that the missionaries are responsible for at least the larger portion of the varied forms of hostility exhibited toward foreigners. Their persistent and impertinent attempts to force an alien and undesired religion upon the Chinese are, so it is confidently asserted, peculiarly offensive to officials and people alike, a hindrance to trade, and a menace to peaceful relations. The Boxer movement, it is pointed out, was an attempt, vain in result, to throw off the hateful missionary incubus, to rid the Chinese of a body of unwelcome interlopers who defamed their ancient and cherished forms of belief, which are as good as ours, some will add, – and who sought to supplant them with another, wholly unsuited to their mental and spiritual conformation. The loss of life in that Boxer movement, confined almost wholly to missionaries and native converts, together with several more recent exhibitions of violence in which missionaries alone have suffered, are cited as full evidence of the correctness of this conclusion.
It might be pointed out that the Boxer uprising was an abortive attempt to drive all foreigners of every class from China, and thus to save the Empire from partition and distribution among the great cormorant Powers of Europe, – which was believed to be the distinct purpose and inevitable result of the continued presence of foreigners there; that, in fact, missionaries formed the only class of alien residents who had no part in the development of such a fear and frenzy; that they suffered most because they alone of all alien classes had established themselves at remote parts of the interior, in close touch with the people, and out of reach of battleship, cruiser, or any other means of defense or place of refuge. In a general raid against all foreigners, the missionary was first attacked because he was first at hand, and, to put it frankly and truthfully, he suffered because he was in or part of bad company; not because he was a missionary, but for the crime, in Chinese eyes, of being a foreigner.
So too, in response to the charge of attempting to force an alien and inappropriate form of belief upon a people well suited to and with their own, it might be said that, in the entire history of missionary effort in China, or in other parts of the Far East, nothing even remotely approaching the exercise of force has been attempted. To talk to persons who choose to listen, to throw wide the doors of chapels where natives who desire may hear the Christian faith explained and urged upon their attention, to sell at half cost or to give the Bible and Christian literature freely to those who may care to read them, to heal the sick, without cost, who come for medical treatment, to instruct children whose parents are desirous that they should receive education, – surely none or all of these constitute methods or practices to which the word force may be applied under any allowable use of the English language. And this, thus briefly summarized, constitutes the entire body of missionary effort in China. To put it in another form, there is no difference between the work of pioneer preachers in the far West, that of laborers or “settlement workers” in the slums of great cities, or of eloquent pastors of wealthy and fashionable churches in the Back Bay district of Boston or Fifth Avenue in New York, and that done by missionaries in China. If the last-named force the acceptance of Christianity upon their hearers, then so do all the others. The work is absolutely identical in character and method, differentiated from the others only by simple forms of presentation in order to reach the more effectively minds wholly unfamiliar with the truths presented. Those who assert that Christianity is wholly unsuited to the Chinese character, that the Chinese will not and cannot become sincere and loyal Christians, are most respectfully referred to the long list of native martyrs, of both sexes and all ages, who readily and gladly gave up their lives in the Boxer movement, rather than abjure the Christian faith.
It might further be added that unselfish men and devoted women, enthusiastic in what appears, to them at least, to be a great cause, who are ready to expatriate themselves and to abandon all their ambitions and their lives to its promotion in foreign lands, have as good a right to carry out their self-sacrificing wishes, to enter China and do their chosen work there by all proper methods, as have their fellow citizens who seek the same Empire in order to win a fortune by dealing in cotton goods, kerosene, silk, tea, or possibly in opium. They have precisely the same right, no greater and no less, to the protection and sympathetic assistance of their own government as any other class of citizens. To more than this, American missionaries have never made claim.
Beyond these brief and general statements, intended to correct certain widely prevalent misconceptions of fact, and to clear the ground for what is to follow, it is not the purpose of this article to denounce or defend evangelistic work in China or the presence of missionaries there. With the quality of the work done, the doctrines taught, or the agencies employed, this paper has nothing to do. After all, it is a matter of comparatively trifling importance what fellow foreigners may think of missionaries or missionary work on the other side of the world. Their approval or condemnation counts for little. What the Chinese themselves think, what is their attitude and that of their government toward the enterprise, are questions of vastly greater moment. To answer these questions from a purely secular standpoint, to deal with the missionary enterprise as a factor in the modernization of China, to explain the exact attitude and policy of the Imperial government toward it and the causes of friction, constantly growing more rare, between its promoters and Chinese officials and people, these together constitute the motive of this article. Neither conjecture nor hearsay will form the basis of conclusions reached, but facts gained through a long and necessarily close study of the missionary question in China, innumerable discussions, and much practical experience in the adjustment of so-called “missionary cases.”
In any effort to gain a correct understanding of this or other questions which affect our relations with the Chinese, certain characteristics of the race should be kept carefully in mind. They are an intellectual people, and possessed of fully the average amount of shrewd common sense, intermingled with some ancient and crude superstitions, which serve as a variant. With the single exception of the Emperor, their officials of all grades, from the highest to the lowest, are of and chosen from the people themselves, and local self-government exists there to an extent not seen elsewhere. In China the people are, in fact, masters of the situation, and a spirit of sturdy democracy is everywhere evident. They judge men or nations, much as we do, by what they do rather than what they say. Hence in any given conditions or circumstances, if we infer Chinese feelings or conduct from what our own would be in the same situation, we shall not go far wrong, always, however, bearing the fact in mind that they are more patient than we.
Then it is necessary to keep certain facts of Chinese history in plain sight. The first knowledge which the Chinese had of the Western world, by which is meant Western Europe and America, came through buccaneering expeditions, or piratical attacks, as they would now be called, upon the Chinese coasts by the Dutch, Portuguese, French, and Spaniards. In more modern times, barely seventy years ago in fact, the entering wedge to break open the barred doors of Chinese seclusion was driven home by the military power of Great Britain mainly in order to force a market for Indian opium, of which that Christian government held a monopoly. From that day to this every form of foreign enterprise in China, irrespective of character or nationality, has been tainted with opium and hindered by the hatred, suspicion, and contempt engendered by the eventual success of this monstrous scheme to despoil China in brain, body, and pocket, for the sake of gain to the exchequer of Great Britain. To this must be added more than sixty years of unjust and inexcusable diplomacy, the exploitation of China to suit the rival ambitions and satisfy the ever growing greed of the great European Powers, robberies of its territory upon every border, and a consistent disregard of every claim which the Chinese might put forward to the ownership of their own territory and the management of their own affairs. Most clearly it must be understood that, not the missionary in the cabin, but the opium and gunpowder in the hold, has fixed the hatred and established a permanent opposition among the Chinese toward all things foreign. Once for all, it must be most emphatically declared that, not Christian propagandism, but most unchristian policies and practices of aggression, dominance, and spoliation upon the part of certain governments of Europe brought about the horrors of the Boxer uprising.
The earlier general treaties between China and foreign governments make no special concessions to any particular class of alien residents within the Empire. They are not recognized as merchants, missionaries, students, or travelers, but provided for en masse, as citizens or subjects of the government with which the treaty is negotiated. Our own government is particularly careful upon this point, asking special favors for none, and exerting its efforts, when occasion arises, for its people as American citizens only. It is not permitted even to state the calling or avocation of the bearer of a passport, and though the request has often been made by Chinese officials that this be done in the case of missionaries in order that special protection and assistance be afforded them, it has been necessary to refuse the request as contrary to statute or regulation. The missionary possesses only such privileges, exemptions, and immunities under treaty, as are granted to his fellow alien of every other class and occupation. The right to reside, acquire property, and to pursue his calling at certain specified centres of population, mostly upon the sea-coast, and to travel freely under passport, throughout the interior, covers all to which he is entitled under the official pledge and seal of the Imperial government of China.
Yet, from the inception of what may be termed modern missionary enterprise in China, the missionaries have gone beyond this narrow limit of favor, gone beyond the treaty ports, until now they can be found in every province and in nearly every large city. Even in many mud-walled villages and rural hamlets missionary families are now to be found quietly and permanently established in homes, in close touch and intimate association with the native residents. This special favor, unobtainable by any other alien class in the Empire, has assuredly not been won either through any exercise of governmental force or diplomatic pressure. It has been slowly gained by the exercise of patience, tact, and discretion upon the part of the missionaries themselves, under the open eyes and with the tacit, though unspoken, consent of the Imperial authorities. In rare cases, missionaries have been driven out of interior points by local hostility; but in no instance has the Peking government demanded their withdrawal, or our own government urged their right of residence there. This successful missionary expansion, as it may be called, speaks volumes for the wisdom and patient zeal of those who have accomplished it. It does more than this. It shows clearly a line of policy and procedure, which has now been consistently followed by the Imperial authorities for more than forty years, and which may here be stated. The Emperor will neither force nor forbid the residence and labors of missionaries at any points beyond the treaty ports. But recognizing and appreciating the self-denying and philanthropic character of missionary effort, he will gladly permit those engaged in it to establish themselves throughout the interior, wherever they may be able to do so with the consent and good will of the people of the locality. It is not known that this well-established line of policy has been formulated and officially communicated to any foreign power. But it has been verbally declared to the writer by members of the Cabinet and other high authorities of the Empire, upon many occasions.
It would not have been surprising if the Chinese authorities, while conceding so great an advantage to missionaries, should have coupled with it a disclaimer of all responsibility for any mishaps, including mob violence, to which they might be subjected in seeking residence where they had no treaty right to be. But it has done nothing of the sort. It has never, within the knowledge of the writer, attempted to shirk full responsibility for the lives and property of American citizens in any part of the Empire, or to claim that missionaries, in establishing themselves in the interior, ran their own risks, took their lives into their own keeping, and must themselves bear any financial losses which local opposition to their presence might entail upon them. The utmost in the nature of criticism or complaint that can justly be made upon Imperial action in such eases, is that the Peking government would perhaps be more dilatory in making reparation in such a case than in one similar which might occur within the limits of a treaty port; that it appeared to regard the trouble somewhat in the light of a local quarrel between missionaries and populace which should be adjusted by the local authorities. And advice, rather than orders, for punishment of offenders and indemnity for losses, often appeared to be the limit to which the officials at the capital were willing to go. At the same time it must in justice be admitted that if the authorities of the Legation saw fit themselves to take the affair before the local officials, they never failed to secure ample reparation. Can as much be said regarding anti-Chinese mobs in the United States?
Aside from this most practical evidence of the appreciation and favor with which the government of China regards the missionary enterprise, there is a great mass of testimony from individuals high in rank and authority throughout the Empire, all serving to show that this unselfish effort for the good of Chinese humanity has gained for itself an honored place in influential minds once suspicious of or openly hostile to it. Large donations to mission hospitals and schools from official or wealthy Chinese, a great and rapidly increasing demand for Christian literature and educational works, special and unsolicited courtesy and assistance shown to missionaries, all these indicate that the day of Chinese opposition to missionary work among them has passed, and that, whatever may be the opinion of foreigners either resident in China or in their native lands, China itself, as represented by the leaders of thought and public opinion in it, has recognized and accepted the missionary enterprise as one of the most important and useful factors in the creation and development of new life in that ancient and antique Empire.
Not to mention other evidence to this fact, take one incident of recent occurrence in the good city of Boston. The Chinese Imperial government has recently dispatched two commissions, composed of officials of high rank and a numerous staff, to visit and study various important subjects in America and Europe. When arrangements were being made for the visit of the first of these commissions to Boston, and a long list of points in or near the city which they might wish to see was submitted to them, among the first selected were the offices of the American Board, the parent of all foreign missionary organizations in the United States, and having large interests in that work in China. The selection of this active centre of foreign evangelistic effort was unguided and entirely spontaneous. In their addresses and informal remarks during the visit to those offices, the commissioners expressed in unqualified terms their appreciation and strong approval of the missionary enterprise in China, and their gratitude for what had been and was being done there. “We know who are our friends,” said they again and again. Yet neither of the Chinese commissioners was a convert to Christianity, they were under no obligation to visit one of the headquarters of American missionary effort in China, or, being there, to go beyond polite and noncommittal remarks. Hence, and all the more, their declarations must in all fairness be taken as strong official endorsement and approval.
With much time same feelings they expressed their delight at what they saw at Wellesley College, and recognized in it the grander development of what American women were attempting to do for the women of China. Speaking by the way, the treatment of the female sex is the darkest blot upon the civilization of China. A revolt against the earlier practices in this direction has already begun there, and probably nothing in the entire journey of this commission into foreign parts will work such immediate and lasting change for the better, as the visit to Wellesley. To cite one other proof of Chinese official approval of the missionary enterprise: in the later commercial treaties, rendered necessary by the Boxer uprising, foreign missionary organizations are permitted to acquire real estate in all parts of the Empire, and “to erect such suitable buildings as may be required for carrying on their good work.” No similar concession has been made to any other class of alien residents. Thus the voluntary and unwritten policy long followed by the Emperor has been formulated and shaped into a solemn engagement and pledge.
To speak quite frankly and to the fact, for many years more unfriendly criticism and complaint of the presence of missionaries and their work in China has been heard from foreigners, either like them alien residents in the Far East, or at home, than from Chinese officials or people. It has even been customary and the fashion with a certain class, which need not he more particularly described, in speaking of the missionary to prefix an offensive and condemnatory adjective to the word. Regarding the opinions and judgments of such with all possible charity, they have been far more fearful of the evil results of all attempts to do good in far Cathay than have the Chinese themselves. Upon the other hand, in many years of intimate official and friendly intercourse with all classes of Chinese in every part of the Empire, the writer has never heard even one complaint of or objection to the presence of American missionaries in China, or the character of their work. He has heard himself, and all other foreigners of every nationality and calling, cursed in most violent terms for having fastened the opium horror upon the Chinese race, and the suggestion made, in a paroxysm of anger and hate by some human wreck wrought by the drug, that foreigners “would do well to take away that awful curse before they had the impudence to talk to the Chinese about their Jesus.” But, aside from crazed and mistaken denunciation, no Chinaman within his hearing has had anything but pleasant words to speak regarding the missionary enterprise, as conducted by Americans, in his land.
In the discussion of particular “missionary cases,” as they are called, and by which is meant cases of complaints made by missionaries of interference with them in their work,-interference which sometimes took the form of mob violence, – Chinese officials have complained, in most courteous language, of the indiscreet methods or conduct of particular missionaries. Yet this complaint has never been so strong as the writer would himself have used, and has been invariably coupled with a hearty approval and high appreciation of the work of the missionary body as a whole.
It would be idle to deny or ignore the fact that cases of serious friction between the natives and foreign missionaries have arisen in the past and are still of less frequent occurrence. By far the largest percentage of such most unfortunate conflicts has been caused by the unwise and improper interference of missionaries between their native converts and the Chinese authorities, or by the assumption of civil rank and authority by missionaries. Since, in the sixty years of modem missionary enterprise in China, no single charge or complaint of that nature has been made against an American missionary, such causes of trouble need not be discussed here. The conduct of European governments toward China, their greed, aggression, and general attitude of domination, long prejudiced both officials and people against missionaries, who were popularly believed to make use of their professedly philanthropic work only as a cloak, and to be, in fact, spies of their own governments whose aim was the seizure of the Empire and subjugation of its people. But, with greater mutual intelligence and less frequent occasions of misunderstanding, these causes of friction and conflict have, in great measure, disappeared. The true character and great value of the missionary enterprise as a factor in the modernization of China, and in bringing it into line with the great nations of the world, is almost universally recognized and appreciated, at least by those who are being most radically affected by it. And it should be realized and freely admitted that, in a nation where popular opinion and sentiment to an almost unprecedented extent guide and limit governmental policy, -for all the nominally autocratic authority of the Emperor,- the presence of such a force at work quietly among the people, is of the utmost value in the establishment and maintenance of good relations and the development to their full limit of all mutual interests. The missionary has won his way, found his work in China, which, while primarily religious in character, is greatly helpful in all worthy secular affairs. No other foreigner comes in such close and intimate touch with the native as he. And he is the unrecognized and uncommissioned representative of what is best in every phase and department of American life.
In these days of intense commercialism, when trade appears, at least, to have relegated all other concerns and interests to the background, when not only men but governments are bending every energy to the enlargement of existing fields of commerce and the development of new lines and centres of trade, one most important result, one valuable byproduct, as it may be called, of missionary enterprise in China deserves to receive more serious consideration than has hitherto been accorded to it. In it is to be found an agency, unequaled by any other, for the development of our commerce with that vast population. Every missionary is, whether willingly or unwillingly, an agent for the display and recommendation of American fabrics and wares of every conceivable sort. Each missionary home, whether established in great Chinese cities or rural hamlets, serves as an object lesson, an exposition of the practical comfort, convenience, and value of the thousand and one items in the long catalogue of articles which complete the equipment of an American home. Idle curiosity upon the part of the natives grows into personal interest which in turn develops the desire to possess. Did space permit, an overwhelming array of facts and figures could be set forth to prove the inestimable, though unrecognized, value of the missionary as an agent for the development of American commerce in every part of the globe. The manufacturing and commercial interests in the United States, even though indifferent or actively hostile to the direct purpose of the missionary enterprise, could well afford to bear the entire cost of all American missionary effort in China for the sake of the large increase in trade which results from such effort.
When the government and people of the United States are ready, and determined, to return to a dignified and decent, policy in the treatment of the Chinese who are within our borders or may seek to come here; when we realize that now is always the time to apologize for an insult or to right a wrong; when, in short, we resume our earlier attitude and practice of fair play and genuine, helpful friendliness toward the Chinese race and nation, we shall easily secure a renewal of their confidence in us and win back all and more than all that now, thanks to our own folly, appears to have been lost. And the American missionary enterprise in China will play a part in our relations with that great Empire of even greater value in years to come than it has in the past.
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23 Aug, 2014 | When China and France went to war: 130 years since forgotten conflict by Stuart Heaver
A soft-power approach has seen a strong bond develop between Hong Kong and the French, unlike 130 years ago, when France went to war with China. Stuart Heaver looks back at a forgotten conflict.
A print depicts the French navy, led by Admiral Amedee Courbet, battering the Chinese fleet on the Min River, off Fuzhou, on August 23, 1884. Photos: AFP; Stuart HeaverA print depicts the French navy, led by Admiral Amedee Courbet, battering the Chinese fleet on the Min River, off Fuzhou, on August 23, 1884. Photos: AFP; Stuart Heaver
“Every man has two countries; his own and France.” The epithet -> president Thomas Jefferson.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between France and Communist China.
French and Chinese would be cooperating to build nuclear power plants in Britain
August 23, 1884, France and China went to war with each other
it stopped China’s self-strengthening movement in its tracks
French business advantages and access to China were also what caused the Sino-French war.
Bearding the Dragon
Black Flag Army
when Chinese troops failed to honour the peace accord and massacred an advancing French column
The infamous Bac Le ambush, in June 1884
“Late at night when the young midshipman delivered the message to British Admiral [William] Dowell anchored nearby, Dowell poured the exhausted young French officer a whisky and wished him ‘ bon chance’,” says Wilmshurst.
It is estimated that the Battle of the Pagoda Anchorage lasted less than 10 minutes and the commissioner of customs in Fuzhou reported that, “It cannot be called a battle, it was a butchery.”
The wily and adept Admiral Amedee Courbet was tasked with bringing the recalcitrant Chinese into line and his naval squadron amassed in the busy treaty port of Fuzhou.
At 2pm on August 23, 1884, Courbet opened fire on the Chinese southern fleet anchored in the Min River
Penghu Islands (now a county of Taiwan, also known as the Pescadores Islands) … He died of dysentery in the Penghus the same year and a memorial to the admiral can still be seen at the side of a busy road junction in Magong, the islands’ only city.
THE NAVAL OFFENSIVE, then, has been replaced with the charm offensive,
Few expatriate communities make so vibrant and welcome a cultural contribution to Hong Kong as the French. So it’ll probably come as no surprise to learn that, this weekend, hardly anyone will be marking the 130th anniversary of a little-known war between France and China that created such antipathy towards the European nation that there was a boycott and riots on the streets of Hong Kong.
“Every man has two countries; his own and France.” The epithet is attributed to American founding father and third president Thomas Jefferson and it applies particularly to Hong Kong, where the number of French expatriates has been expanding rapidly and their culture and influence seems ubiquitous.
Over recent months, the city that Time magazine calls the “Gallic capital of Asia” has witnessed Le French May arts festival; the visit of French warship Prairial; the “Palaces on the Seas” exhibition at the Maritime Museum, celebrating the golden age of French passenger liners; and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying being guest of honour at the French national day reception. French football giants Paris Saint-Germain were cheered on as they thrashed Hong Kong’s Kitchee and locals quip that it’s now easier to find a fresh baguette in Sheung Wan than it is a bowl of noodles.
Live the history of Hong Kong, how it grew from colonial opium trading outpost to global finance mecca
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between France and Communist China. Urged on by President Charles de Gaulle, in 1964, the French became the first Western nation to recognise the new government in Beijing, much to the disgust of the Americans. A long established diplomatic bond of trust exists between the two nations, albeit a bond that has been stretched on one or two occasions. Who would have thought, even 20 years ago, that the French and Chinese would be cooperating to build nuclear power plants in Britain?
La Galissonniere, the flagship of French Admiral Sebastien Lespes. Photo: Archives Marius Bar / Hong Kong, French Connections
One hundred and thirty years ago, the relationship was far more frosty. On August 23, 1884, France and China went to war with each other. Few seem to have heard of the nine-month conflict that made the French personae non gratae on the streets of Hong Kong.
It was by no means an obscure or minor historical event, either. It has been estimated that the war on land and at sea caused more than 15,000 casualties on the French, Chinese and Vietnamese sides; it stopped China’s self-strengthening movement in its tracks; it brought down the expansionist French government of Jules Ferry; it defined future French colonial policy in Asia; and it almost brought France and Britain into conflict with one another. Strangely, war was never formally declared by either side and there is no consensus as to who actually won it.
“I have to admit I have never heard of it,” says Agathe Heidelberg, the Parisian director of Marc & Chantal, a creative agency in Sheung Wan.
“Over the last 10 years, what is happening in the French community is just crazy,” says Heidelberg, who arrived with her husband, Jean, a decade ago and now lives with their three young children in Stanley.
Hong Kong’s French population has trebled since 1998; the French consulate estimates that more than 17,000 now live in the city.
“Asia is the attraction as a business venue – especially China – but Hong Kong is much easier than the mainland and more exciting, too,” says Heidelberg, explaining the appeal. “This is just a great place for those who want to start their own business.
A Chinese fort on the Penghu Islands that was captured by the French in March 1885.
“Every week I have a [French] friend e-mailing me saying they would like to visit to look at the market and maybe live here,” she says.
And Heidelberg believes the French might have an edge over their European rivals.
“Maybe with luxury or high-end clients, we have an advantage in that our customers perceive that the French have an intrinsic understanding of luxury, that there is a French touch, that we have savoir vivre,” she says.
Funnily enough, French business advantages and access to China were also what caused the Sino-French war.
“Influential French businessmen hoped to establish an extremely profitable overland route with China, bypassing the treaty ports of the Chinese coastal provinces,” says David Wilmshurst, author of a new book on the war, titled Bearding the Dragon.
Wilmshurst says the conflict was a result of France’s colonial ambitions in Tonkin (northern Vietnam), which the French government thought could provide a direct trading route via the Red River to the southwestern provinces of China.
A memorial to Courbet in Magong, Penghu Islands.
“The French regarded the British as highly ambitious and felt they needed to secure Tonkin before the Brits grabbed it,” says Wilmshurst.
Unfortunately for the French, China considered Vietnam a tribute state and military conflict had been raging on and off in Tonkin between the French and a pack of fearsome bandits sponsored by the Chinese known as the Black Flag Army since the previous year. It was actually the conclusion of these hostilities that triggered war, when Chinese troops failed to honour the peace accord and massacred an advancing French column.
The infamous Bac Le ambush, in June 1884, caused outrage in Paris and a public appetite for revenge.
The wily and adept Admiral Amedee Courbet was tasked with bringing the recalcitrant Chinese into line and his naval squadron amassed in the busy treaty port of Fuzhou.
As the Chinese reinforced their defences and diplomatic efforts stumbled, every step of the tense confrontation was avidly read in the Hong Kong press.
At 2pm on August 23, 1884, Courbet opened fire on the Chinese southern fleet anchored in the Min River, a few miles downstream from the city of Fuzhou. On the eve of the battle, Courbet made a point of warning every neutral ship in the port of the carnage that was about to ensue.
Reports in the China Mail dated October 4, 1884.
“Late at night when the young midshipman delivered the message to British Admiral [William] Dowell anchored nearby, Dowell poured the exhausted young French officer a whisky and wished him ‘ bon chance’,” says Wilmshurst.
It is estimated that the Battle of the Pagoda Anchorage lasted less than 10 minutes and the commissioner of customs in Fuzhou reported that, “It cannot be called a battle, it was a butchery.”
The crews of naval and merchant ships of many other nations anchored in the roadstead were spectators as Courbet systematically destroyed the Chinese ships and the modern naval shipyard and arsenal on the Min River, which had been constructed under the supervision of the French navy only a few years earlier.
“As victorious Admiral Courbet sailed through the ranks of the anchored ships, there was spontaneous applause and cheering from the neutral vessels,” says Wilmshurst.
Support was far from universal, though, and as Courbet carefully exited the Min River, destroying the Chinese defences en route, and proceeded with the occupation and blockade of northern Taiwan, sympathy for the French started to evaporate rapidly as commercial shipping was disrupted and neutral ships were turned back from the Taiwanese coast by French warships.
The irritation in European business circles, though, was nothing compared to the animosity felt on the streets of Hong Kong. When La Galissonniere, the flagship of Courbet’s second in command, Admiral Sebastien Lespes, and small torpedo boat No 46 entered Victoria Harbour in early September 1884 for much-needed repairs following the battle off Fuzhou, local dockworkers, stirred up by the authorities in Canton (Guangzhou), refused to help.
“The Chinese boating people in the colony seem determined to earn the title of patriots during the present position of affairs between France and China and decline to earn an honest penny if the job offered be in any way connected with the French,” reported the China Mail, on September 23, 1884.
The Galissonniere eventually found less-principled Hong Kong workers, but there were genuine fears for the safety of the ship’s company.
“The British had to allocate Admiral Lespes a special guard of armed Sikh policemen,” says Wilmshurst.
When the anti-French strikers were prosecuted by the indignant colonial authorities, who were intolerant of any interruption to usual business practice, it provoked violent riots in the streets. Again, the authorities in Canton helped fan the flames.
A portrait of Courbet.
Under the headline “Serious Riots in Hong Kong”, the China Mail on October 3 reported that “the riot of this morning was the most serious one that has ever occurred in Hong Kong”.
As the East Kent regiment was deployed with bayonets fixed to quell the riots and, for the first time, members of the Chinese merchant elite were engaged to try and pacify the mob, the British, too, turned against their bellicose European neighbours. Disruption to shipping was costing them money, the rapid growth of the French Far East squadron was making the Royal Navy uneasy and the French were able to use Hong Kong freely as a neutral port because they refused to formally declare war on China. Rumours of French cruisers boarding British merchant ships were widely considered a step too far.
“There is a report in circulation that Admiral Dowell has been in telegraphic communication with the authorities at home in regard to the searching of British vessels by French cruisers,” reported the China Mail, on October 6, as the riots continued.
On October 10, just after the worst of the rioting, a young French naval hydrographer, Rollet de l’Isle, revisited Hong Kong and recorded in his journal the distinctly chilly welcome he received.
“A sullen hostility still reigns as evidenced by the fact that we were not met by the crowds of sampans that usually surround our ships when we put into harbour,” he wrote.
The war raged on until April 1885 and a peace accord was signed on June 9. The accord ceded Tonkin to France (eventually to become part of French Indo-China) while the Europeans agreed to withdraw from Keelung, in northern Taiwan, and from the Penghu Islands (now a county of Taiwan, also known as the Pescadores Islands), which Courbet had successfully captured on March 31, 1885.
Courbet wanted to retain the Penghus and see the islands be developed into the French version of Hong Kong but, following a humiliating defeat in the land war in Tonkin during the Lang Son Campaign, Ferry’s government had fallen. No one in Parisian political circles had any appetite for further conflict and Courbet never made it back to France. He died of dysentery in the Penghus the same year and a memorial to the admiral can still be seen at the side of a busy road junction in Magong, the islands’ only city.
If this easily forgotten war that made France so unpopular was driven by commercial motivations and the desire for a trading gateway to China, might the wonderful French culture that we enjoy around this city today be a coordinated assault to support modern-day commercial interests?
“I would not choose the term ‘assault’,” says France’s consul general to Hong Kong, Arnaud Barthelemy, a suave and erudite man who describes himself as a career diplomat with a business background. (“I am not here as a Chinese expert, I am here as a business expert”.)
Author David Wilmshurst
Barthelemy, speaking in his office on the 26th floor of Admiralty Centre, estimates that one-third of his time is spent on economic and business matters and confirms that an increasing number of his countrymen are coming to Hong Kong because of the opportunities that exist here for French business, big and small.
“Clearly there is a strong political willingness on both sides to develop our relations with China and Hong Kong in all fields because this is absolutely key. The relationship is multi-faceted,” he admits. “We have a tradition to encourage as much cultural dialogue as possible and this is part of our diplomacy.
“[Cultural dialogue] is good for business, too, because it helps to establish brand France,” says Barthelemy.
French Consul General Arnaud Barthelemy
What would Courbet, who preferred a naval broadside, have made of cultural exchange and brand development?
Barthelemy seems a little reluctant to chat about the war of 1884 or discuss how well-known he thinks the conflict might be in Hong Kong’s French circles.
“Honestly, not much. Clearly the focus is on the future. And our past in Hong Kong was not just about business,” he says, pointing to an impressive book titled Hong Kong, French Connections, which was produced by the consulate and partially designed by Heidelberg’s company. Here, among the anecdotes relating to worthy and notable French contributions to Hong Kong, you can find a brief account of the French boycott and a picture of the Galissonniere.
“It was about religious people, scientists, explorers, of course, some merchants, but these are not the majority,” Barthelemy says.
The statistics indicate that, in economic terms, the entente cordiale fostered by the current charm offensive is working even more effectively than Courbet’s naval strategy did 130 years ago. According to consulate figures, more than 750 French companies are operating in Hong Kong, 66 of them with regional headquarters here. They employ about 33,000 people and generate a turnover of HK$110 billion. French exports to Hong Kong have more than doubled over the last five years and in business as well as cultural terms, the French seem to be everywhere.
“Few people know that all HSBC transactions are secured with French technology and that Hong Kong ID cards use a French operating system,” says Barthelemy.
THE NAVAL OFFENSIVE, then, has been replaced with the charm offensive, and it is making more friends for brand France than gunboat diplomacy ever did – and is proving better for business. But the bloody Sino-French war had an indirect benefit for China that few recognised at the time.
Many scholars now identify the patriotism and civil disobedience that were witnessed on the streets of Hong Kong and inspired by the French aggression in Fuzhou as the first rumblings of Chinese nationalism in the colony. The development of this public sentiment would help create the modern Chinese republic in 1912.
So, even in those distant days of war and discord, France was managing to make an important contribution (albeit unwittingly) to the development of Hong Kong and China.
wiki.. Timothy Richard helped the Qing government to deal with the aftermath of the Taiyuan massacre during the Boxer Rebellion. He thought the main cause of the Boxer Rebellion was due to lack of education of the population, so he proposed to Qing court official Li Hongzhang to establish a modern university in Taiyuan with Boxer Indemnity to the Great Britain, and his proposal was approved later. In 1902, Timothy Richard represented the British government to establish Shanxi University, one of the three earliest modern universities in China. Timothy Richard was in charge of the fund to build Shanxi University until ten years later in 1912. During that period, he also served as the head of the College of Western Studies in Shanxi University.
This memoir is for my Nainai. But I think the later two chapters were less about her. The only reason I wrote about Culture Revolution is – it was the only reason that I was separated from her. … Then it sounds like Wild Swans (https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Swans-Three-Daughters-China/dp/0743246985) – maybe I should write more about my dad than my mom??
This new series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.
The fifth installment in this series is wih agent Verna Dreisbach (Dreisbach Literary) and her author Linda Joy Myers, for her nonfiction book, The Power of Memoir.
Dear Ms. Dreisbach,
It was so wonderful to meet you at the East of Eden Writers Conference a couple of weeks ago. I felt that you understood my work and not only saw what I had accomplished but could see my vision of the kinds of books I want to write in the future, and how it all connects to my larger platform for the National Association of Memoir Writers. As I mentioned to you, my work as a therapist, healer, and writer all intersect to provide books, workshops, online coaching, and tools for memoir writers all over the world through my two websites and my social networking connections on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
My nonfiction, self-help guide Becoming Whole, Writing Your Healing Story is a pioneering how-to book on healing one’s emotional life through the practice of memoir writing. As a therapist and memoirist, I have developed ground-breaking techniques that have helped thousands of people realize the wisdom and power of their personal stories. Becoming Whole offers specific guidelines and exercises to help both experienced and novice writers unravel the complicated, sometimes daunting, and always exhilarating task of penning a memoir. This important and accessible book provides essential tools and techniques to help writers open to layers of inner listening, explore their deepest thoughts and feelings, and express the unexpressed.
Becoming Whole: Writing Your Healing Story is part of a new generation of books about writing and healing, an area of focus that is growing every year in both psychotherapy and medicine. The subject of writing and healing came into the public view nearly fifteen years ago with the work of Dr. James Pennebaker and Dr. Joshua Smyth, and has been followed by several other generations of study and research. The research is documented in various journals, one of the most famous articles was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, which documented that writing helped to heal diseases such as arthritis and asthma.
I have a Ph.D. in psychology and have had a therapy practice in Berkeley, California for thirty years. I’m currently the president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, which connects memoir writers from all over the world, with several international members and guest speakers. I teach memoir-as-healing workshops in the Bay Area and nationally, and offer online coaching and workshops. A frequent traveler to writing conferences as a consultant and workshop presenter, I enjoy presenting the “good news” about memoir writing and the power of writing to heal to therapists and writers, and to those who don’t see themselves as writers who want to capture their family stories.
Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D.
Commentary from Verna
I’ve had several inquiries as to the difference between a fiction
and a nonfiction query letter. I figured I could be helpful by providing a nonfiction query as an example. A nonfiction query letter will tend to be slightly longer than the average fiction query, partially because the agent will need to know a little about the market, audience and expertise of the author. Still, it should be concise – otherwise it will start to read like a proposal and agents tend to have rather short attention spans reading query letters. If an agent is intrigued by the query, then they will ask for a proposal.
First and foremost, the query is in the form of a business letter with a formal introduction and closing, and she has spelled my name correctly. You would be amazed at how frequent a mistake this is in query letters. Already, the author has my attention.
Professionalism is what gains my attention. I believe professionalism is just as important as good writing.
Linda immediately addresses the fact that we have met and reflects upon the personal nature of our conversation. These reminders are helpful, especially since agents meet with a large number of writers at conferences. We may need reminding. What I like about Linda, and what I look for in nonfiction authors, is an understanding that the book is not the ultimate goal. The book is only a natural byproduct of a larger platform. She has a passion as a therapist and as a writer and wants to share that passion with others, naturally leading to founding a national organization to serve her goal. Impressive.
She then provides a brief synopsis of her book in a way that should entice the agent to want to read more. As a writer, you are offering a product. We need to see a need for your product and you only have one paragraph to hook us.
Her next paragraph addresses the market, clarifying the need for her book not only in field of writing, but in the field of psychotherapy as well. She notes a few experts in the field and documented research that’s been conducted, although, I would have preferred a more recent article to be cited in the query.
Linda then lists her relevant expertise and introduces her platform. Let me repeat this part—relevant experience. I do not need to know life stories or childhood dreams. I liked that Linda has traveled to writers’ conferences, taught workshops, has been intervie wed on the radio, etc. This shows to me that she’s motivated and proactive – imperative qualities to have as a published author.
Acting proactively, Linda secured prominent and relevant endorsements for her book, showing that professionals in the industry also support her work. She then touches upon the writing awards she’s won, leading me to believe that when I actually read her sample chapters, she’ll have something to say and be able to say it well.
I was looking forward to reading Becoming Whole. I did offer representation to Linda and have enjoyed working with her.Becoming Whole later sold to editor Alan Rinzler at Jossey-Bass.Becoming Whole was expanded and the result is her soon to be released book, The Power of Memoir – How to Write Your Healing Story.
2018.5.15, Lehcarjtpage 33; #813; the corrections
Seventeen-year-old Dalzell Rossi is a BaxlHeric – one more immigrant group living in the neighborhoods of 1902 Manhattan. Two years ago, Dalzell broke the secret protocols of her people and let herself be drawn into the life and heart of Irish-boy Bram Neyland. But when a Baxl gets too attached to someone outside of their own ethnicity, they risk cursing that person with mind control powers. Powers that cause the non-Baxl to descend into insanity while destroying everything and everyone around them. It took mere months for Bram to end up cursed.
Dalzell should have then delivered him to her people for a mercy killing, but instead she tried to save him. She told him every secret of the curse, taught him to hide what he was, and convinced him to keep a healthy distance from all Baxls, especially her, in the hopes of stalling his insanity.
Now in an effort to study, dissect, and eradicate the curse, a group of Baxl scientists are on the hunt for cursed specimens hidden in the general populace. Dalzell can’t let them catch and torture Bram, so she works against her own people to undermine the effort and find Bram herself. When she does, he has a secret of his own, proof that his being cursed wasn’t accidental and that they’d been set up. He wants Dalzell to help him uncover what is really going on in the Baxl world, starting with investigating the death of a non-cursed boy.
Even if Dalzell agrees to help him, there’s no reversing the curse or stopping the witch-hunt. Conspiracy or not, rekindled romance or none, Bram will have to die.
Within Him Deadly is a 95K YA historical fantasy and is intended as the start of a series. My professional background is in accounting with a large dose of (totally unrelated to writing) public speaking thrown in for good measure. Thank you for your time and your consideration.
I’m hoping that my novel WHITE NIGHT (approx 110,000 words) is a project you’d like to represent. WHITE NIGHT is based on the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide in Guyana in which 900 people died, told from an original perspective and with a new twist.
Zena Vandermeer, a feisty Guyanese travel journalist, retreats to the rainforest to finally close the door on personal tragedy. Uncanny noises in the night – gunshots, screams, sirens, and a disembodied voice over a loudspeaker – from the nearby People’s Temple settlement lead her to suspect trouble behind the guarded gates, and she investigates. What starts out as an exposé turns into a daring plan of rescue: Zena infiltrates the cult and is drawn into a lethal web of deceit with a madman – and his tyrannical partner in crime – at its centre. Risking her life in a doomed attempt to stop the carnage, Zena finds closure and the ability to love again.
I am myself Guyanese born and bred. I have actually lived on a pineapple farm just a few miles from the Jonestown site, so I know the area and the circumstances well. WHITE NIGHT recalls that event in all its horror, but with enough fictional characters and plot twists – and a dramatic new outcome – to make it both fresh and unexpected. It explores the deeper issues of cult mentality that led to the tragedy, and takes the reader into an unfamiliar and exotic world. As a suspense story with a female protagonist and female victims it should appeal particularly to women, yet is universal enough to draw a large and diverse readership. With its serious themes and an exciting story it bridges the gap between commercial and literary fiction.
I’m a three-time novelist with HarperCollins, London. My novels sold respectably in Britain and extremely well in France, the first two climbing into the Top Ten there. The North American rights for these three novels – multi-ethnic family sagas, set mostly in India – are still available, and several foreign publishers are eager for more work from me.
I currently live in England, but I believe the US market is more appropriate for the WHITE NIGHT story, and I’m looking for dynamic new representation there. I’d be delighted to send you the manuscript.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your reply