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66 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997© 1997 by University ofHawai'i Press new techniques and ideas. But the varying aims and goals oflearning and teaching mathematics at the Chinese court and in the local scholarly communities did not permit the creation of a total and unified vision ofits uses. Focusing on "mathematics" and its relation to "Western studies" (xixue), the author shows that the Jesuits taught Chinese scholars very few of those branches oflearning considered essential to the progress of European science, suggesting that this was due to the fact that their primary aim was to convert Chinese people to Christianity . On the other hand, the Kangxi emperor used the new Western sciences mainly to enhance the position ofthe traditional calendar and the Chinese emperor, with little regard for the broader scientific and spiritual teachings ofthe Jesuits. This volume belongs in the libraries ofthose with a special interest in the East Asian sciences, and is also for those with an interest in comparative studies in the history of science, and in the ways science is part of the society, politics, and intellectual life of the past. Lowell Skar University ofPennsylvania Lowell Skar is agraduate student specializing in the science and religion ofSongand Yuan society. Martyn Atkins. Informal Empire in Crisis: British Diplomacy and the Chinese Customs Succession, 1927-1929. Ithaca, New York: East Asia Program, Cornell University, 1995. x, 127 pp. Hardcover, price not given, isbn 0939657 -79-1. Paperback, price not given, isbn 0-939657-74-0. The main thrust ofthis slim volume is to examine "the bitterness and intrigue" surrounding the struggle of Frederick Maze and A.H.F. Edwards to take over the position of Inspector-General of Customs in China as the Kuomintang attempted to unify the country between 1927 and 1929. The author has successfully recounted the bitterness and the rancor which passed between the two, but his book has made little contribution to our understanding of the working of either the Maritime Customs Service or Anglo-Chinese relations. The tide of this work and its underlying assumption that China in the 1920s was part ofan "informal empire" ofBritain are, to say the least, not well chosen. The author has uncritically, and in the assessment ofthis reviewer inappropriately , borrowed Robinson and Gallagher's idea ofthe imperialism offree trade Reviews 67 (developed for Africa in the Victorian era) and simply assumed that China was part ofan "informal empire" of Britain. Even as Atkins writes about the lack of either the power or the will on the part of Britain to impose its choice for an Inspector -General of Customs, he does not question his basic assumption. What kind ofinformal empire did Britain maintain in China if it could not and did not attempt to influence in a decisive way the choice between two British subjects for the headship ofwhat Atkins has deemed the cornerstone of this British "informal empire"? It is also difficult to see why a book that is supposed to deal with British imperialism in China should completely ignore Hong Kong, the bastion of British imperial power in the Far East, and provide no justification for such an exclusion. This work also fails to set the struggle for the top position in the Chinese Maritime Customs in the wider context ofthe evolving political scene in China, and the changing relations between the various Chinese authorities with the foreign powers. For reasons not apparent to this reviewer, the author consistently refers to the Nanking government as representing the Kuomintang and the south throughout the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition, as if China were neatly divided between it and Chang Tso-lin's government in Peking. No due regard is paid, for example, to the division between Wuhan and Nanking, which halted the Expedition and was not resolved until Nanking's Army overwhelmed that of Wuhan. Even the "Kwangsi clique" that the author refers to appears odd—Atkins does not include Li Tsung-jen or Pai Chung-hsi in it. Observations like these make one wonder how familiar Atkins is with modern Chinese history. Equally, the steady shift ofthe focus ofChinese nationalism from British to Japanese imperialism after 1927 is ignored. There are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 66-68
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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