From Transport to Mobility in Modern China: A Survey of the Field

in Volume 5 (2014): Issue 1 (Jan 2014)

In 1870, a report by a local commissioner in Zhenjiang, a city by the Yangzi River in Jiangsu Province, noted that “the Chinese are learning to appreciate traveling by foreign steamers. Not a few of the passengers who arrive and depart hence are officials, who have so far overcome their bigotry to acknowledge that steamer traveling is eminently satisfactory.” As foreign powers had used steamers in their economic expansion in China during the First Opium War (1839–42), the Chinese had at first associated this mode of transport with imperialism and Western dominance before they became an integral part of passenger and commercial conveyance.

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