This article examines the historical circumstances and analyzes the thinking that led to the formation in 1834 of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China. Founded by prominent missionaries and merchants residing in Guangzhou (Canton), the SDUKC sought to convey a more positive impression of Europe and America to Chinese readers by transmitting Western scientific, technological, and cul­tural information in books and periodicals published in the Chinese language. Among the most representative and historically significant of these publications was the first comprehensive account of the United States of America published in Chinese: the Meilige heshengguo zhilue.