Between History, Heritage, and Foreign Relations: Extant Westerners’ cemeteries in Guangzhou and Shanghai

Müller, Gotelind

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It is widely believed that historical Westerners’ cemeteries have not survived in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, at a closer look, there are some cemeteries of foreigners extant (if “reworked”) and they are at times even integrated today into Chinese heritage preservation schemes. This provokes the question, why these cemeteries are kept, how and by whom, and to which avail. Clearly, there is the political factor of foreign relations involved: in the destruction as well as in the preservation or rebuilding. This study, based on the sites themselves and on what could be gathered on them to piece together some information on their background, attempt to take stock of the cases in Guangzhou (Canton), the place where Chinese foreign relations were attached to for a significant amount of time prior to the Opium Wars of the mid-19th century, and Shanghai as a major treaty port opened in the wake of the First Opium War, which hosts the probably best-known of the otherwise largely ignored extant Westerners’ cemeteries in China. Whereas Guangzhou was mainly connected to trade during the so-called Canton system period (mid-18th to mid-19th century), but also to Christian mission, Shanghai was connected to both after its becoming a treaty port in 1842. Thus, issues of trade and religion play into these places. And both cities are characterised by a multi-cultural history which present-day Chinese heritage politics needs to deal with, while paying heed to the fact that foreign relations to a number of countries are potentially involved.

Document type: Book
Publisher: CrossAsia-Repository
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date: 2018
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018
ISBN: 978-3-946742-55-5
Number of Pages: 56
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: General history of Asia Far East
Controlled Keywords: China, Schanghai, Friedhof, Tod, Bestattung, Christentum
Uncontrolled Keywords: China, Guangzhou/Canton, Schanghai, Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika, Großbritannien, Dänemark, Russland, Israel, Friedhöfe, Gräber, Tod, Bestattung, Christentum, Katholizismus, Protestantismus, Mission, Kulturelles Erbe, Soong/Song Familie / China, Guangzhou/Canton, Shanghai, U.S., Great Britain, Denmark, Russia, Israel, West, cemeteries, tombs, death, burial, Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, mission, Cultural Revolution, cultural heritage, history, foreign relations, Soong/Song family
Subject (classification): History and Archaeology
Chinese Studies
Countries/Regions: China