After pirates abducted seventeen school children and dozens of other men and women on the island of Coloane to the south of the Portuguese enclave of Macao in the summer of 1910, the Portuguese government sent a military expedition to rescue the hostages and exterminate the pirates. Although a minor footnote to the larger events of the republican revolutions that were unfolding in both Portugal and China at this time, this incident on Coloane nevertheless attracted local, national, and worldwide attention and has been the subject of debate ever since. While the Portuguese viewed their success over the pirates as a great victory of Western civilization over barbarism, the Chinese viewed the event as another expression of Western imperialism that resulted in the massacre of countless innocent Chinese. Based on historical and literary sources as well as ethnographic fieldwork, this article takes the events on Coloane in 1910 as a point of departure to explore larger issues of Portuguese and Chinese representations and perceptions of piracy in Asian waters and of one another over the last four hundred years.


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pp. 249-276
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