The History And Context Of Chinese-Western Intercultural Marriage In Modern And Contemporary China (From 1840 To The 21st Century)


Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894. Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists

Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894.
Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists

1.1 Brief Introduction
It is now becoming more and more common to see Chinese-Western intercultural couples in China and other countries. In the era of the global village, intercultural marriage between different races and nationalities is frequent. It brings happiness, but also sorrow, as there are both understandings and misunderstandings, as well as conflicts and integrations. With the reform of China and the continuous development, and improvement of China’s reputation internationally, many aspects of intercultural marriage have changed from ancient to contemporary times in China. Although marriage is a very private affair for the individuals who participate in it, it also reflects and connects with many complex factors such as economic development, culture differences, political backgrounds and transition of traditions, in both China and the Western world. As a result, an ordinary marriage between a Chinese person and a Westerner is actually an episode in a sociological grand narrative.

This paper reviews the history of Chinese-Western marriage in modern China from 1840 to 1949, and it reveals the history of the earliest Chinese marriages to Westerners at the beginning of China’s opening up. More Chinese men married Western wives at first, while later unions between Chinese wives and Western husbands outnumbered these. Four types of CWIMs in modern China were studied. Both Western and Chinese governments’ policies and attitudes towards Chinese-Western marriages in this period were also studied. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, from 1949 to 1978, for reasons of ideology, China was isolated from Western countries, but it still kept diplomatic relations with Socialist Countries, such as the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. Consequently, more Chinese citizens married citizens of ex-Soviet and Eastern European Socialist Countries. Chinese people who married foreigners were usually either overseasstudents, or embassy and consulate or foreign trade staff. Since the economic reformation in the 1980s, China broke the blockade of Western countries, and also adjusted its own policies to open the country. Since then, international marriages have been increasing. Finally, this chapter discusses the economic, political and cultural contexts of intercultural marriage between Chinese and Westerners in the contemporary era.

1.2 Chinese-Western Intermarriage in Modern China: 1840–1949
In ancient China, there are three special forms of intercultural/interracial marriages. First, people living in a country subjected to war often married members of the winning side. For instance, in the Western Han Dynasty, Su Wu was detained by Xiongnu for nineteen years, and married and had children with the Xiongnu people. In the meantime, his friend Li Ling also married the daughter of Xiongnu’s King[i]; In the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cai Wenji was captured by Xiongnu and married Zuo Xian Wang and they had two children.[ii] The second example is the He Qin (allied marriage) between royal families in need of certain political or diplomatic relationships. The (He Qin) allied marriage is very typical and representative within the Han and Tang Dynasties. The third example is the intercultural/interracial marriages between residents of border areas and those in big cities. As to the former two ways of intercultural/ interracial marriage in Chinese history, the first one happened much more in relation to the common people plundered by the victorious nation, while the second one was an outer form of political alliance. The direct reason for the political allied marriage was to eliminate foreign invasion and keep peace. In that case, when the second form went smoothly, the first form inevitably ceased, however, when the first form increased, the second form failed due to the war.

In modern China, intercultural marriages are very different from the ancient forms. The Industrial Revolution and developments in technology have accelerated people’s lifestyles and broadened their visions. The industrial age broke through the restrictions on human living standards imposed by the Agricultural age, and it has given rise to a transformation in human social life, modes of thinking, behaviour patterns and many other aspects. All these changes have had profound effects on means of human communication, association and contact. With the increase in productive powers of the community and the development of technologies, new systems and orders have been transformed and reconstructed in many aspects of the human world, such as in the fields of economy, trade, markets, politics, society, and even conventional social behaviour. New political systems were widely established in many countries in the world at the time. Theories of natural rights, the social contract and the people’s sovereignty had been developing in Capitalist countries, thus free competition and free trade were the main themes of the modern era. The He Qin (allied marriages) in both ancient China and ancient Europe lost the basis of their existence. At the same time, frequent wars, increased trade, international business and more developed transportation systems had all been involving more and more countries and people, leading to people being able to associate with others with greater convenience and freedom than ever before. In comparison to previous times in history, great changes had also taken place in relation to international marriages in the world generally as well as in modern China.

1.2.1 Four Types of Chinese-Western Intermarriage in Modern China
Established by Manchu, the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) reigned over the greatest territories of any of the Chinese Empires in history. It included numerous races, all related to Chinese civilisations from ancient times, and it made China a unitary multinational state with the largest territory for the first time[iii]. In terms of internal affairs, the Qing Dynasty regime was relatively enlightened and managed state affairs in a prudent way. Although ethnic discrimination and oppression did exist, intermarriage between different races was not restricted or interfered with. The only exception was the prohibition on marriage between Manchu and Han Chinese. For more than 300 years of the Qing Dynasty, intermarriage between different races, other than Han and Manchu, within China was very common. The royal family of the Qing dynasty maintained frequent He Qin marriages with the upper class of Mongolia, and they sent their princesses and aristocratic ladies to marry the Mongolian kings and dukes[iv]. For example, Qing Taizu had married his third daughter to Borjigin Suomuruoling and Qing Tai Zong married his eldest daughter, Gulun princess to Borjigin Bandi. In the meantime, the sons of the royal family of Qing had taken the daughters of Mongolian kings and dukes as empresses and imperial concubines[v].

Nevertheless, apart from intermarriage with people at border regions and between adjacent neighbouring countries, intermarriage between Chinese and more distant westerners was rare before 1840. The reason was that the essential characteristics of foreign policy of the Qing Dynasty were concerned with closing China away from the outside world, and maintaining things as they were. In this way it refused such progress. The Qing Government closed the country in 1716 keeping only four trading ports, and a stricter code was implemented in 1757 leaving only one trading port, Guangzhou.[vi]

This was determined by the basic conditions governing social, political, economic and cultural status of that time. In the middle period of the Qing Dynasty, a policy of trade restriction was implemented; only one port in Guangzhou was retained for external trade on the sea, and Kyakhta was kept for external trade with foreign countries on land. Foreign merchants were only permitted to contact business organisations designated by the Qing government for trade matters. The Qing government also restricted the activities of foreign merchants and the quantity of import and export goods [vii]. In addition, before the middle 19th century, Europeans were not permitted to travel in China freely. By closing China from the outside world, imposing a policy of restricting trade and foreigners from entering the country China lost opportunities for external trade, and from the perspective of transnational marriage, it broke off economic and cultural communication between China and foreign countries and increased the distance between China and the rest of the world, which resulted in the limitation of Chinese people’s foresight[viii], and provided no opportunities for marriage with Westerners.

In the late Qing Dynasty (1840-1912), the Opium War opened the doors of China. China’s defeat in the Opium War and the conclusion of the Treaty of Nanking had enormous consequences, as from then on China had lost its independence leading to significant changes within its society[ix]. The War was the birth of a Semi-Colonial and Semi-Feudal Society, and China was afterwards gradually reduced to a semicolonial and semi-feudal society. The word “Youli (Travel)” first appeared in the official documents of the Qing Dynasty after the Tianjin Treaty was signed between the Qing government and Britain in 1858. As regulated by Article 9 of this Treaty, British people were allowed to travel to and trade at various places inland with certain permits[x]. Particularly worthy of note was that, during the second Opium War, Britain, France and the USA all signed the Tianjin Treaty with the Qing government successively, but only Britain defined the concept of “Travel (You Li)” of Westerners in the Treaty with the Qing government. In this way it can be observed that the Tianjin Treaty between Britain and the Qing government started European travel within inland China[xi]. Along with more and more Westerners coming into China, the policies of the Qing government became more open. A great many foreigners poured in leading to a gradual increase in intermarriage between Chinese and foreigners.

In December of 1850 the Taiping Rebellion, led by Hong Xiuquan, happened in China lasting from 1850 t0 1864, when the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was instated.[xii] The Taiping Rebels considered themselves Christian and believed in God and Jesus, therefore they considered Western countries their “brothers” and “friends”, and even fantasised that the Western powers could help them overthrow the Qing Government in the name of God[xiii]. With this diplomatic aim, Taiping Rebels had been seeking opportunities to associate with Western powers actively from the beginning. In 1853, Yang Xiuqing, Dong King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, said in his imperial mandated breve to British Envoy, Sir George Bonham: “You British people come to China from ten thousands miles away to pay allegiance to our Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, not only the officers and soldiers of our Celestial Empire will welcome you warmly, but also God and Jesus will also praise and reward your loyalty. Notice is hereby given that you British chieftain can bring your nationals to enter and leave China freely. You are free to come and go at your pleasure, and you can suit your own convenience to do your business and trade as usual whether you assist our heavenly soldiers to exterminate the evil enemies (Qing Government) or not. We ardently anticipate that the British can help and be dutiful to our Heavenly King together with us, to build up our establishment and great deeds in order to repay the great obligations of God.[xiv]

Later, Western powers helped the Qing government to suppress the Taiping army, but the leaders of the Taiping Rebels still believed that “Westerners and we both believe in God, and our religion is the same, therefore they are not hypocritical and don’t have bad intentions. We hold the same religion, and our friendship with Westerners is as good as with family members.[xv]” Against this background, the areas of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom were opened to Westerners, and many Westerners came to China leading to greater possibilities of Chinese-Western intermarriages. In addition, one of the most remarkable transformations in Taiping Rebel areas occurred in its gender policies and marriage system. Because of the Christian belief that people are “all God’s children ”[xvi], the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom operated a series of policies to achieve equality between men and women. Firstly, women were permitted to take the same exams as men to act as officials in government, and “women officials” were established in Taiping areas[xvii]. This surely changed the traditional role of Chinese women who had hitherto no political status and represented great progress in gender relations in feudal China. Secondly, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom opposed and abolished women’s footbinding and living in widowhood[xviii]. Mercenary marriage and concubinage were also prohibited, and monogamy was advocated as normal practice[xix]. Marriages were required to be registered in civil departments, through which couples could acquire their marriage certificate. The earliest modern marriage certificate, the “He Hui” certificate appeared for its first time in modern Chinese history in Taiping areas[xx]. All of these policies and reforms that took place in Taiping areas paved the way for greater opportunities for foreigners to enter China, increased association between Chinese people and foreigners, and ultimately intercultural marriages.

The Second Opium War broke out in 1856 and lasted until 1860 when China was defeated again[xxi]. The Qing Government began to recognise its weaknesses and the strengths of Western countries, and consequently began to send Chinese students to study in the USA and Europe in 1871, during which many students married foreign wives. In the meantime, the Qing government began to establish diplomatic relations with more and more foreign countries, and some of the Chinese diplomats involved also married foreign wives in foreign countries. Since its initial opening, China has been compelled to open up further to the greater world. This has increased business and trade, foreign affairs, overseas study and even “Selling Piglets (labour output)”[xxii], leading to transnational marriages becoming more common and the corresponding legal documents required being established successively. The earliest legal documents were Regulations upon Marriages between Chinese and German People in 1888, and Relevant Notes between China and Italy in 1889[xxiii], which stated clearly that “Within the territory of China, if Chinese women are going to marry foreigners, the foreign men must report to local officials to obtain legal permission. And the Chinese women marrying foreigners should be supervised by their husbands[xxiv]. If the Chinese men are going to marry foreigners, the foreign women should also follow the example of being supervised by their husbands.”;If there was involvement in legal cases before or after marriage, and if the female suspect hoping to escape the law by marrying into foreign countries was found out, they would be transferred to be judged by Chinese local officials[xxv]. Besides male superiority to females both in China and in Western countries, these treaties were basically equal.

In 1894, the first war between Meiji Japan and Qing China in modern times was fought. The cause of this war was that both China and Japan contested the control of Korea[xxvi]. Japan and China both increased political instability in Korea by intervening militarily. As the suzerain of Korea, China came at the invitation of the Korean king with the intention of retaining its traditional suzerian-triburary relationship, while Japan came bent on war with the intention of preventing the Russian annexation of the Korean Peninsula[xxvii], and more importantly, destroying the traditional Eastern Asian Tributary System[xxviii] which removed China from the centre and replaced it with the Japan-Centric East Asia International System, in order to achieve its further plan of invading China and expanding in Asia, which accorded with the Japan Meiji Government’s consistent schema[xxix]. The war ended with the defeat of China’s Qing in April of 1895. The war intensified the semifeudal and semicolonial nature of society in China, and the humiliating defeat of China sparked an unprecedented public outcry leading to the Wu Xu Reform movement in 1895 after the Qing Government signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki. A thousand or more candidates from all eighteen provinces including Taiwan who had assembled in Beijing for the Imperial Examination, captained by Kang Youwei[xxx], signed a strongly-worded petition opposing the ceding of Taiwan. This was called the “Gong Che Shang Shu” affair within Wu Xu period of reform (1895-1898)[xxxi].

The main aim of Wu Xu was to spark constitutional reform and modernisation, strengthen China and protect its people, and it was also very much concerned with women’s and marriage issues because marriage and the family was the foundation of the Chinese feudal society which badly needed reform. The new regime firstly emancipated Chinese women to a great extent in modern China. New and anti-traditional marriage issues were widely discussed publicly in newspapers and periodicals in the Wu Xu reform period for the first time[xxxii]. Reformists introduced the “new images” of the Western woman in contrast to the “old” images of the Chinese woman, and they criticised and argued against the Chinese feudal code of ethics and customs that affected marriages in a comprehensive and profound way, such as Baoban Hunyin (arranged marriage), Cong Yi Er Zhong (be faithful to one’s husband to the very end), Nan Nv Da Fang (the chastity value) and Rigorous Preventions between Males and Females and concubinage. They also condemned the traditional gender order which caused Chinese women and young people to be physically and emotionally abused when they encountered marriage choices. Cases demonstrating the freedoms existing in marriage in Western countries and Japan were widely reported[xxxiii]. During the Wuxu Period, the member of famous reform group, Tang Caichang, published his revolutionary “Tong Zhong Shuo (Theories of Miscegenation)”, in which they advocated intermarriage between Chinese and Westerners and the implementation of intermarriage to improve the Chinese race. This book presented a rare theory for China at the end of the 18th Century, and it was the first time in China that interracial and intercultural marriages were discussed against a wider context addressing such a momentous topic as the future of the Chinese nation. This could be seen as the first time that that the Chinese systematically thought and studied interracial and intercultural marriages between Chinese and Westerners.

The Wu Xu movement produced a more acceptable condition for intercultural marriages at that time. Another contribution of Wu Xu reformists was the development of women’s education, and it was an initial and important step for women’s emancipation. Women’s education was strongly promoted in this era; many women colleges were established, and women’s legal right to have the same education as men was also gradually but effectively protected in the legislation of that time. The old feudal concepts discriminating against women, such as “Nvzi Wu Cai Bian Shi De (Innocence is the virtue for women)” and “San Cong Si De (the three obediences and the four virtues)” were gradually eroded, which paved the way for women’s education[xxxiv]. (Although Ningbo Zhuduqiao Women College, the first women college in China, was established in 1844 by Miss M.Aldersey, and after that some other women colleges were established in China, they were all missionary schools founded by Westerners. Only since the WuXu period, has the women’s college been properly established by the Chinese).[xxxv] More importantly, Chinese women also acquired the right to study abroad equal to Chinese men in the WuXu period. Chinese women’s education abroad was a key process that led to Chinese women challenging their feudal families and traditional society, and it was an epoch-making event in modern China. It had an extraordinary meaning as it implied that Chinese women began to escape from the feudal family’s dominion and to be free from the oppression of patriarchy, with their subordinate position being changed gradually. Along with Chinese male students, Chinese women students began to pursue their loves freely and some of them married foreigners.

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, the Qing Dynasty was overthrown, and the Republic of China was established. Since then, the social vogue has been more open and enlightened. The old marriage system was shaken and gradually eroded and monogamy was widely advocated and accepted. Freedom in marriage, divorce and remarriage caused strong and deep repercussions in Chinese society[xxxvi]. “Independent marital choice” and “Freedom in choosing spouses” were the main themes of this period. The new ideas around marriage incited young men and women to resist the feudal code of ethics[xxxvii], what was more, living together in a sexual relationship when not legally married became fashionable after the Xinhai Revolution.[xxxviii]

The May 4th Movement in 1919 was the next landmark in modern Chinese history, and it also signalled a new epoch in Chinese women’s emancipation.[xxxix]It could be considered as the watershed between new and old in modern China. As a major issue relating to happiness and freedom of the individual, marriage and marriage culture attracted much attention once again in China at the time.[xl] The New Culture Movement along with the May 4th Movement created an upheaval in the old feudal order of human relationships, and brought the principle of liberation of the personality, and equal rights for Chinese people. Chinese disenchantment continually rebelled against the old forms of marriage. The momentum of marriage transformation in this period exceeded that in Wuxu period, Xinhai period and early years of the Republic of China, (ROC) and it formed the pinnacle of marriage reform in modern China.[xli]With the introduction of western cultures and philosophies into China, the concept of absolute marriage freedom became more deeply rooted among its people. “Singleness, marriage, divorce, remarriage, and cohabitation should be absolutely free.”[xlii] “Making match by parents’ order and on the matchmaker’s word” was discarded, divorce and remarriage rates increased, and the emphasis on the chastity value started to fade in this period.[xliii] The ideas of Feminism came to the fore. More people had further opportunities to go abroad, and the government of ROC did not restrict its people from going abroad and indeed sent more students, workers and business to foreign countries, in turn leading to more Chinese-Western intercultural marriages. In 1946, with the outbreak of the Chinese Civil War (CCW), a surge in mobility of the population occurred again, and many Chinese refugees fleed to Western countries opening another door for CWIM.

With the transformations brought about by the two Opium wars, the Taiping Rebels, the Wuxu Reform, the Xinhai Revolution and the May 4th Movement, CCW became more frequent in modern China, and Chinese society gradually entered a new stage. The feudal and traditional values and concepts of marriage and the family have undergone unprecedented changes, and the Western marriage system and concept have been accepted by more and more Chinese. This was an important transition and omen for the transformation from traditional to modern marriage.[xliv] This transition and transformation broke through the restraints of the Chinese feudal family, and played a vital role in promoting social culture, emancipating people from rigid formalism and increasing the number of intermarriages between Chinese and Westerners, which produced far-reaching effects on Chinese society.

There were three types of intercultural marriage between Chinese and foreigners in modern China. The first type was the most important one: overseas intercultural marriage between Chinese diplomatic envoys and Chinese students studying abroad. The second type was foreigners in China married to Chinese, including those intercultural marriages that happened in Zu Jie (foreign concessions), and the third type was of Chinese labourers who were sent to Western countries on a large scale from modern China. I will describe the three types one by one.

A. The first type of intercultural marriage between Chinese and foreigners in this period was the overseas marriage of Chinese diplomatic envoys and Chinese students who were studying abroad.
Between the Late Qing dynasty and the First World War, following several defeats in wars with Western countries, the Qing government tried to seek a way to save its regime, and sending students to study abroad formed a major component of its plan. Many Chinese students that went abroad to Europe and the USA married Western women. There is a long history of Chinese students studying in western countries, which can be dated back to as early as 1871. From the mid to late 19th century, especially from 1871 to 1875, the Qing government dispatched the first large scale group of Chinese students abroad to study in Western countries.[xlv] From 1872 to 1875, with the leadership of the “Westernisation group” including Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang and Rong Hong,, the Qing Government had successively sent four groups of 120 children to study in America. Among them, more than 50 entered Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT and other renowned universities.[xlvi] In their memorials to the throne, Li Hongzhang and Zeng Guofan said that sending children to study in America is “an initiative deed in China which has never happened before”.[xlvii] As it had never happened before, the Qing government adopted a very serious attitude towards it. Its plan was to select brilliant children from different provinces, 30 a year and 120 in four years, and then to send them in different groups to study abroad. After 15 years, they would return to China. At that time, they would be about 30 so they would be in the prime of their lives and could serve the country well.[xlviii]


Picture 1.1 Chinese educational mission students Source: educational mission students sent by Qing government before they went to America in Qing dynasty.

Those students dispatched abroad were mostly male. When they reached western countries, as the first batch of Chinese to make contact with western land at that time, which entailed a totally different culture, society, set of customs and conceptualisation for male and female compared to China they experienced an unprecedented ideological shock. Chinese students abroad were attracted by the liveliness and romance of the Western female. One of the first Chinese students studying abroad to marry a Western wife was Yung Wing, who studied in the USA, and married an American woman, Miss Kellogg, of Hartford, who died in 1886.[xlix] Yung Wing probably was the first Chinese to go to study in the USA during the Qing dynasty, and he obtained a degree from Yale University. Yung Wing was born at Nanping, Xiangshan County (currently Zhuhai City) in 1828. In 1854, after Yung Wing graduated from Yale College, he came back to China with a dream that, through Western education, China might be regenerated, and become enlightened and powerful. From then on, he devoted his life to a series of reforms in China.

Picture 1.1 Chinese educational mission students Source: Chinese educational mission students sent by Qing government before they went to America in Qing dynasty.

Picture 1.2 Mary Kellogg (18511886), wife of Dr. Yung Wing, at her wedding in 1875. Source:

Another case was Kai Ho, who married a British woman. Kai Ho (1859–1914) was a Hong Kong Chinese barrister, physician and essayist in Colonial Hong Kong. He played a key role in the relationship between the Hong Kong Chinese community and the British colonial government. He is mostly remembered as one of the main supporters and teachers of student Sun Yat-sen. In 1887, he opened the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, which later became the basis from which the Hong Kong University was established in 1910. He married his British wife, Alice Walkden (1852–1884), in England in 1881 and returned to Hong Kong after his studies. Alice gave birth to a daughter, but died of typhoid fever in Hong Kong in 1884.[li] He later established Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in her memory.[lii]

Picture 1.3 Dr. Yung Wing [l] Source:

Picture 1.3 Dr. Yung Wing 

Picture 1.4 Alice Walkden: the English woman Ho Kai married in London in 1881 Source: tors.html

Picture 1.4 Alice Walkden: the English woman Ho Kai married in London in 1881



As well as Chinese-Western intercultural marriages of Chinese students who studied overseas, in the late Qing Dynasty, many diplomats of the Qing government married Western wives. With the increasing contact with Western countries, the Qing government began to establish diplomatic relations with more and more foreign countries, leading to marriages between Chinese diplomats and foreign wives in foreign countries. One case was that of Chen Jitong, who was from Houguan (today’s Fuzhou), Fujian province. He studied at Fujian Chuanzheng Xuetang Fujian, (Ship-building and Navigation Academy) in his early years. In 1873, he became envoy to Europe for the first time, and two years later, took office in the France and Germany legation. He had been councillor of legation in Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark, and deputy envoy of legation in France, living in Paris and elsewhere in Europe for nearly 20 years.[liii] He was one of the first modern Chinese people to venture into the greater world. He was also the first appointed official of the Qing government to dare to bridge the gap between Chinese and foreigners and, in marrying a Westerner thereby attracting the disapproval of his countrymen, can be rated as another pioneer for intermarriage between Chinese and Westerners in modern China.

The Qing government lost the Sino-Japanese war in 1895. Like previous wars, this war intensified the semifeudal and semicolonial nature of society in China, and the humiliating defeat of China sparked an unprecedented public outcry leading to the Wu Xu Reform movement in 1895 after which the Qing Government signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Wu Xu reform concerned women and marriage issues very much because marriage and the family was the foundation of Chinese feudal society and needed to be transformed and reformed. With this new ethos, even the leader of Wu Xu reform, Kang Youwei, married two foreign wives, one American Chinese named He Zhanli[liv], the other Japanese named Ichioka Tsuruko.[lv] In addition, women began to have the same rights as men in terms of studying in college and studying abroad. The government began to send female students to foreign countries. The first group of women students (of 20 women) was sent to Japan in 1905[lvi], and the first group of women students was sent to the USA in 1907. Since then, more Chinese women students were sent to Europe, the USA and Japan.[lvii] Independent and free marriage was the first pursuit of Chinese women students who studied abroad. Many women were pressing for the end of arranged marriages, and those who had an arranged marital engagement required their families to dissolve it, those who had not arranged engagements in China naturally began to choose their love partners freely. It was very common for Chinese women to love another man in foreign countries, and some of them married local foreign men and settled there.[lviii]

During the Wu Xu Period, the reform group Tang Caichang published “Tong Zhong Shuo (Theories of Miscegenation)”, in which he advocated intermarriage between Chinese and Westerners and the implementation of intermarriage to improve the Chinese race. In the tenth argument listed in his article, he particularly quoted the transnational marriage of Chen Jitong, mentioned above, as an example to indicate that intermarriage with foreigners was not only expected but also possible to be implemented. He said in his article, “Feng Yi and Chen Jitong both married Western women. Those Western at that time did not despise intermarriage with people from a weak country as China, how can you people give aggressive expressions and indignation to intermarriage?”[lix] From these words we can see his admiration for the non-typical phenomenon of Chinese marrying Western women. In Zeng Pu’s famous novel Nie Hai Hua, the author also gave emphasis to describing the duel for possession of Chen Jitong between his French wife and English mistress. At the time when scholar-bureaucrats in the late Qing Dynasty were mostly ignorant of the outside world, and regarded Westerners as Deviants, Chen was bold and reckless to marry a Western female; moreover, when Chinese people were subjected to every kind of discrimination by European and American countries, and Chinese men still had the “pigtail”, there were still Western women who disregarded racial prejudice and adored Chen. (Note: in the plot about Chen Jitong in Nie Hai Hua by Zeng Pu, he was named “Chen Jidong” in the book). Chen Jitong married a French lady Miss Lai Mayi who later played a major role in Chinese women’s education, Wu Xu reform, the establishment of the first public schools for girls and the Chinese women’s newspaper[lx], and also had an English female doctor Shao Shuang who “admired his talent and followed him to China”, and gave birth to one son. This was similar to The Life of Chen Jitong (Chen Jitong Zhuan) by Shen Yuqing. In this book, it was also described that “he was skillful at shooting and riding horses. Where he was several meters from the horse, with one leap he can get on the horse; and when he used a gun to shoot a flying bird, he rarely missed it.”[lxi] The following photo shows Chen’s wife while she was staying with Empress Dowager CiXi.

Picture 1.6 Lai Mayi and Empress Dowager CiXi -  The left first is Chen’s wife

Picture 1.6 Lai Mayi and Empress Dowager CiXi –
The left first is Chen’s wife

Like Chen Jitong, Yu Geng and his son, two diplomats, also took advantage of close connections. Yu Geng, whose wife was French, was generally known as a talent among the “Eight Banners”[lxii], and was an excellent tribute student during the Guangxu Period. First, he handed in a memorial to the throne against Ying Han, the governor of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. He held the position of Shaoqing in Taipusi, and then was sent on a diplomatic mission to Japan and France. He had two sons and two daughters, the elder son Xinlin, the younger son Xunlin, the elder daughter Delin, and the second one Ronglin. They all lived in Europe for many years with their parents, received a Western education, and had a good mastery of English and French. Yu Ronglin even learned Ballet in France.[lxiii] According to his youngerst child, Yu Geng had four children with his French wife Louisa Pierson:

My father, Lord Ku Keng, made a widower by the death of his first wife, married Louise Pierson of Boston, who gave him four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom I am the youngest. Princess Der Ling, my eldest sister…[lxiv]


Picture 1.7 The left third is Yu Geng’s French wife Louisa Pierson Source:

During the two opium wars, China had been sending students to study overseas. After the Sino-Japan War, China continued to send students to Western countries, and more to Japan. More Chinese students also married foreigners. At the transition between Qing and the Republic of China, especially after the loss of the Sino-Japanese War in 1984, China began to learn from Japan. Many young men went there including Yang Erhe, Wu Dingchang, Jiang Baili, Fang Zong’ao, Yin Rugeng, Guo Muoruo, Tian Han, Tao Jingsun, Su Buqing and Lu Xun whose two bothers both married Japanese women. In 1904, the Qing government constituted the “Concise Statute of Studying in Western Countries”[lxv], and from then on, the number of Chinese students sent to Western countries increased. Chinese students who studied in western countries in the late Qing Dynasty had noticed the progressive development of Western women’s rights “in western countries, women were the same as men, they started studying when they were young, they learned painting and calligraphy, mathematics and astronomy, star images and geography, maps, classics of mountains and oceans, and got the essence of knowledge, even men in China can not match those females”.[lxvi] The New Record of Travelling around the Earth(Huanyou Diqiu Xin Lu) was the first book to record what he experienced as a participator in World Exposition, The author Li Gui on his journeys through Western countries saw the development of Western women’s rights for himself and expressed regret that women still could not study in the same as men in the China of the late Qing Dynasty, “According to western custom, female and male were of the same importance, the female can go to school the same as the male, so women can propose important suggestions and participate in important affairs”[lxvii], Mr. Zhong Shuhe praised this comment as a “declaration for equal women’s rights on a grand scale for the first time” in modern China.[lxviii]

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, the Republic of China was established but the Beiyang government kept the Qing’s policy of sending Chinse students to study in Western countries. With the funds of Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program[lxix] many students obtained opportunities to go abroad. The number of self-supporting and self-funding students also increased markedly. According to records, from 1913 to 1914, 1024 students were sent to Japan and 205 students were sent to Europe. In 1916, the number of students studying abroad on government funds was 1397. In 1917, 1170 students were sent to America, among them 200 students obtained government funds, 600 students were self-funded, and 370 students relied on the funds of Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program More intercultural marriages occurred.[lxx] After the May 4th Movement in 1919, the program of Work-for-Study in France became popular. From 1916 to 1917, more than 1600 students went to France for the Work-for-Study program. Many of the most important torchbearers for the People’s Republic of China went to France in this period, such as Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Wang Ruofei, Chen Yi, Wu Yuzhang, Li Lisan, Nie Rongzhen andXiao San.[lxxi] Some of them married Western wives, for example Xiao San and Li Lisan.[lxxii] After World War I, France had lost a great number of men, so many Chinese students there could find a French wife easily, for example, He Siyuan and Zhang Daofan.[lxxiii]

In this period, the Chinese overseas knew more about Western society and gender orders. Evaluating the foreign female as the “Other” was common among Chinese males who studied abroad in the same period. For example, Lin Jinxian who toured to study in Western countries saw Western women were not as conservative as Chinese women, and he claimed that “western women were naturally with great affection”.[lxxiv] The gulf between new and old concepts first resulted in severe mental shock for the Chinese male. Mr. Qian Zhongshu, for instance, drew a subtle metaphor at the beginning of China’s opening:
“If doors and windows were widely open, it cannot say for sure that the old and weak inside the room will not catch a cold; if doors and windows were firmly closed, it was afraid that too many people inside the room may cause suffocation; if doors and windows were half open, maybe the effect will be like between refusal and consent in dating someone.” [lxxv]

Even relatively westernised Chinese like Hu Shi complimented the liveliness and openness of the western female on the one hand, but on the other said that the “female in China was in a higher status than the female in Western countries”.[lxxvi] In addition, the European female was healthy, beautiful and with white skin, and the discipline between male and female was not so strict, so the first outside temptation for students studying abroad was Western feminine charm. “As far as I saw and heard, there were a lot of students indulged in sexual desire.”[lxxvii] Some Chinese male students also married Western wives. When Jiang Liangfu was staying abroad, he was imperceptibly influenced by what he saw and heard. He wrote in his book Travel in Europe (Ou Xing San Ji), that:
“Most of our students studying abroad were people younger than 24 or 25, some of them were college graduates of China, some even did not go to college, all their cultural insights such as knowledge and view points were shallow and their moral characters were not mature. Once they moved to European and American countries with orders, laws and full of temptations, everything was too impressive to keep their mind tranquil, in such unrestrained and far-ranging places, how can they control themselves?” [lxxviii]

When they returned from abroad, students made reference to the Western countries, and initiated “Natural Feet Movement” and “Natural Breast Movement” for Chinese women.[lxxix] One famous scholar Hu Shi went to study in the USA, where he became acquainted with Miss Williams in America, and later wrote in his diary that “Since I have known my friend Miss Williams, I have greatly changed my opinion on females and social relations between males and females.”[lxxx] “The lady had such profound insight that no ordinary female could hold a candle to her. I knew many women, but only she had such a degree of thought and knowledge, courage and enthusiasm in one person.”[lxxxi] Zhang Zipin, who studied in Japan, also remarked that “I not only recognised the beauty of Japanese females at this age, but also was amazed by the development of female education and primary school education in Japan.”[lxxxii]

After the October Revolution, “learning from Russia” became popular, and Chinese students began to study in Russia. Jiang Jingguo, Li Lisan, Xiao San, Wang Bingnan and many others married Russian and German women. Some of these Western wives regarded China as their home since then, and obeyed Chinese notions of womanhood in their focus on assisting their husbands and teaching their children. At the fiftieth birthday of Jiang Fangliang, for example, her father-in-law Chiang Kai-shek gave her four Chinese characters, meaning virtuousness and piousness, to encourage her.[lxxxiii];With the further development of women’s education after the Wu Xu movement and the establishment of the Republic of China, more women went to study in Western countries in the 1920s and 1930s. For example, Qian Xiuling, who was fondly called by them “the Chinese mom of Belgium”, was one famous example. Qian Xiuling went to study in Belgium in 1929, and she obtained her PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Leuven. She had traveled to Belgium with her brother and her fiancé. She broke up the relationship with her Chinese fiancé after they had lived together for a while, and fell in love with a Belgian man and married him. The happiness of the couple is clear in Picture 4.8. Even at that time, Belgian people rarely saw intercultural lovers; so many passerbys stared at this couple:

Picture 1.8 The lovestruck Qian Xiuling and her Belgian Man, 1933 Source:

Picture 1.8 The lovestruck Qian Xiuling and her Belgian Man, 1933


Picture 1.8 The lovestruck Qian Xiuling and her Belgian Man, 1933 Source:

Picture 1.8 The lovestruck Qian Xiuling and her Belgian Man, 1933

Historical records show that many famous Chinese men including scholars and scientists who had studied and worked in Western countries married Western women and, according to these, more Chinese men married Western women than the converse. Examples include Lu Zhengxiang[lxxxiv], Li Jinfa[lxxxv], Zhang Daofan[lxxxvi], He Siyuan[lxxxvii], Yan Yangchu[lxxxviii], Huie Kin[lxxxix], Liao Shangguo[xc], Yang Xianyi[xci], Li Fengbai[xcii] and Lin Fengmian[xciii]. There are also some other famous Chinese male intellectuals who married Western wives, such as: Dr. Xu Zhongnian (1904-1981, French linguist, writer); Wang Linyi (Sculptor); Zhang Fengju (1895-1996), a great Translator and Professor in Peking University, and Chang Shuhong (1904-1994), Chinese painter; He was the director of Dunhuang Art Research Academy, and he devoted his whole life to the preservation of the artworks at Dunhuang.[xciv] There were also many Chinese male scientists who married Western wives in this period, for example, Ye Zhupei[xcv], Xu Jinghua[xcvi], Qiu Fazu[xcvii], Bobby Kno-Seng Lim[xcviii], Huang Kun[xcix], Du Chengrong[c], Tiam Hock Franking[ci] and Liu Fu-Chi[cii].

B. Foreigners in China marrying Chinese, including intercultural marriages in Zu Jie (foreign concessions)
From an examination of available historical sources, there were only a few cases pf Westerners marrying Chinese in mainland China in modern times. The earliest formal interracial marriage between a local Chinese individual and a Westerner in modern China occurred in March 1862. An American Huaer (Frederick Townsend Ward) married Yang Zhangmei, daughter of Comprador Yang in Shanghai, who was very famous in the first year of the Tongzhi Period.[ciii] The second representative case of interracial marriage was between the American F. L. Hawks Pott, principal of Saint John’s University and Huang Su’e. They married in 1888. Huang Su’e was the daughter of Huang Guangcai, a Chinese priest of the Church of England, who later became the chief principal of Shanghai St. Mary’s Hall.[civ] The most famous interracial marriage in Shanghai was between the Jewish merchant Hardoon and Luo Jialin, in the Autumn of 1886. Luo Jialin herself was mixed race and was born in Jiumudi, Shanghai (between Street Luxiangyuan and Street Dajing). Her father Louis Luo was French while her mother, Shen, was from Minxian, Fujian Province.[cv] The third representative case was that of Cheng Xiuqi. In 1903, it was reported in the newpaper, Zhong Wai Daily, that a female missionary from Norway was doing missionary work round HuoZhou, Shanxi Province. She went on to marry Cheng Xiuqi, one of her believers, based on free courtship and changed her name to Yu Ying. Afterwards they went to Britain together and she gave birth to one daughter, before long they returned to China and set up Jie Yan Ju (Opium Rehabilitation Station) in Haizibian, Jin Cheng.[cvi] Shanxi province was always a closed and conservative area in China, but at that time it was even possible for Chinese-Western marriage to happen in such an area, there were also more intercultural marriages in other areas of China.

While there were only a few cases of this type of international marriages, intercultural marriages between local Chinese and Westerners in China was more common to see in Zu Jie (foreign concessions). These intercultural marriages were very representative, not only because Zu Jie had different laws from those generally applied in Chinese territories but also because its special and mixed cultures there. China was gradually becoming a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society in the 19th century, and many districts in cities including Shanghai were classed as leased territories of the western powers. In the modern leased territories where Chinese and foreigners lived together, there were some interracial marriages, a few of which were formal but many were informal (not registered but existed as de facto-marriages). In the following section, Shanghai will be taken as an example of international marriages between local Chinese and Westerners in China as it was most famous for Zu Jie.

At present, the earliest thesis recording intermarriage between Chinese and foreigners in Shanghai settlements was Sino-American Miscegenation in Shanghai written by Herbert Day Lamson in 1936. This thesis utilised marriage registration files from 1897 to 1909 from the American consulate in Shanghai and studied intermarriage between Chinese and Americans at that time in Shanghai.[cvii] According to the population records of the consulate, during the three decades from 1879 to 1909, there were 34 cases of interracial marriages between American husbands and Asian wives, among whom were 8 Japanese women and the rest comprised 26 Chinese women. There was no case of a Western wife married to an Asian husband. Of the 26 cases in 1930, there was less than one case of intermarriage each year. The jobs of the 34 Americans marrying Asian women are listed as follows: 11 seamen, 2 policemen, 2 sailors, 3 customs officers, 1 engineer, 1 missionary and 14 with indeterminate jobs.[cviii] During the 8 years from 1910 to 1918, there were 202 marriages on the records of the US consulate in Shanghai, among which there were 18 Asian wives including 6 Japanese, 1 Philippine, and 11 Chinese. From 1920 to 1922, there were 217 cases of registered marriages, while from 1930 to 1932, there were 236 cases. In these 6 years, there were 453 cases in all, among which only one was an American white woman with an Asian man, a Philippine in that case. There were 10 cases with Chinese or Japanese women, the proportion of which went down in comparison to previous years. The reason might be that in these registered marriages the number of white women increased. During this period, the Russian population and the prevalence of Russian women increased rapidly in the French concession and the International Settlement. For these American white men, especially those with low incomes such as seamen, sailors and customs officers, Russian women were more popular than Chinese or Japanese women. Most of the Russians in Shanghai were of low economic status, which increased the possibility of marriage between Russian women and Western white men from the lower classes. These Russian women sang or danced in the night clubs, and to some extent interacted more with the white men than did Asian women, which also increased their chances of marriage with white men.[cix]

There were materials about 9 cases of interracial marriages in the Shanghai Archive relating to the English, among which 2 were between Chinese men and Western women (one couple got divorced less than a year after their marriage), and the other 7 were all between Western men, mostly English, and Chinese or Korean women (one divorced).[cx] H. A. Martin, British Irish, married Ms. Tan of Guangdong who lived in Shanghai. The date of their marriage was not clear, but she gave birth to a son, Martin, in 1909, and lived at 214, Huashan Road. AnnaM. Meyer, a German, married Li Amei on the same day. In 1911 they had a daughter and lived in 20, Lane 148, Guba Road. Limbach, a German, married Ms. Gao in Qingdao. The date of their marriage was not clear, but they had a son in 1913. In 1915 they moved to Shanghai, and Limbach later became a professor of Tongji University. Isaiah Fansler was an American who was first a seaman stationed in China. He married Tang Yushu, a Chinese woman in 1939. Yao Runde, a Chinese man, married a Swiss woman in Switzerland. They married in 1944 and later they returned to Shanghai. In 1945, they divorced. Francisco Garcia, an Englishman, had a wife named Wang Aizhen, a native of Ningbo. The date of their marriage was not clear, and they lived on Route Lafayette. In 1946 they had a son and in 1947 they divorced. Charles A lverton Lamson, an American, married Li Quanxiang, a Korean woman. In 1946, they married in Shanghai, and lived on Daming Road. In 1947 they divorced. Rolf Smion, stateless, held an alien resident certificate and was a dentist. He married Song Aili from Haiyan, Zhejiang Province in 1947, and lived on Zhaofeng Road. Tan Boying, a Chinese man, married a German woman, H. Schenke, the date of their marriage was not certain. They had a son and a daughter, and lived on Yuyuan Road.[cxi]

Judging by the evidence of transnational marriages and cohabitation in the Shanghai concessions, at the end of the 19th century the phenomenon of more Chinese men marrying Western wives was being replaced by a phenomenon of more Chinese women marrying Western husbands. Among those foreigners in Shanghai, there were many single without families, who had a lot of opportunities for contact with Chinese women. This would inevitably result in many informal marital relations between Western white men and Chinese women. Not only in the early days of Shanghai but also in the Ningbo concessions, there had already been examples of Westerners in Shanghai, who had a children with their Chinese maids. For the English, it was very common to have a Chinese concubine. In 1857, Herder, a translator in Britain’s Ningbo consulate then and later Inspector General, lived with a Ningbo woman, A Yao. They lived together for 8 years in all. In 1858 or 1859, 1862 and 1865 they had three children who were then sent to Britain by Herder. Of humble origins, A Yao was a respectable woman. Her union with Herder transpired through introduction by compradors or other others. Xun He, a colleague of Herder, bought a Chinese girl as a concubine soon after he came to China. Another colleague of Herder in Britain’s Ningbo consulate, Meadows also had a Chinese wife.[cxii]

According to Bruner, John King Fairbank, and Richard J. Smith, one of the necessary conditions of high-class life for Westerners in China was to have a Chinese woman. This kind of woman was actually a walking commodity, which could be bought or sold by any foreign merchants.[cxiii] “At that time, the price for a foreigner to have a Chinese concubine was about 40 silver dollars” according to Herder.[cxiv] Powell, an American who lived in Shanghai temporarily, described the situation of formal or informal interracial marriages in Shanghai as “Shanghai could be considered as a city of men”. Nine out of ten foreigners in Shanghai were bachelors, and therefore many friendly relationships developed and resulted in numerous international marriages, which even the American Marine Corps quartered at Shanghai took part in. “Once I asked a chaplain of the Marine Corps whether these marriages were happy or not. He answered ‘just like other marriages’. I became to wonder if his answer had a little irony in it.”[cxv] For the foreigners in modern Shanghai, especially those single Western businessmen, it was very common to have informal marital relations with Chinese women. According to Bruner, foreign businessmen could easily buy Chinese women in China, and therefore many of them were registered single on the household registration form. These churchmen did not deal with commodities and had no comprador, and as a result they quickly brought their wives to China as well.[cxvi] But why are there so few materials documenting these events? The story of Herder’s diary easily demonstrates the reason. Although the diary was published, Herder deleted all the contents about his cohabitation with A Yao in Ningbo while he reorganised his diary which was left with a large gap. Afterwards, Herder was reluctant to discuss this experience and he never admitted that he was the father of the three mixed-race children in public, despite the fact that he always looked after them financially and loved them very much.[cxvii]

In general, there were not many interracial marriages between the Chinese and the Western whites in modern Shanghai. According to Xiong, it was estimated that after being opened as a commercial port between 1843 and 1949, there were no more than 100 cases of formal marriage between the Chinese and Westerners in Shanghai over 106 years. Judging from the aspect of time, there was a tendency towards a gradual increase from far to near. Maybe this was related to the increase in foreign settlers, or the increasing communication between different races.[cxviii] For a long time, English settlers in Shanghai resolutely were opposed to marriage with the Chinese. In 1908, the English envoy in China sent out a confidential document, harshly condemning marriages with the Chinese and threatening to expel the violators of this rule from the English circle forever.[cxix] According to research by English scholar Robert Bickers, before 1927, policemen in the English police station, Shanghai Municipal Council, were prohibited from marrying the Chinese. In 1927, the general inspector of the station stated that transnational marriages did not meet the interests of the police force.[cxx] In 1937, the president of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation said that marriage between foreigners and local Chinese mixed race people was absolutely intolerable. If anyone did this they would be formally fired by John Swire & Sons Group and other big companies.[cxxi] The community of English residents in Shanghai had a harsher restriction upon English women as they believed it was treacherous for noble English women to marry humble Chinese men. One English man wrote in his letter to his sister that “if you dared to have an affair with Asian men in Shanghai, you would never stay here well.”[cxxii] In the middle of the 1930s, the Department of the Far East under the English Foreign Ministry tried its best to persuade those English women who had an intention to marry Chinese men not to do so. In the official book, it warned that marrying Chinese men may cause loss of British nationality, which meant that those British women who married Chinese men would no longer be protected by British law in China.[cxxiii] Compared with the upper-class British residents, the restrictions upon the lower classes on marriage were looser, and there were some instances of marriage between lower-class British and Chinese. In 1927, policeman Parker in Shanghai Municipal Council applied to marry a Chinese woman. After the committee’s examination, the woman’s parents were believed to have high status, and the marriage was permitted. However this policeman lost any prospect of future promotion. In 1934, relevant departments in Shanghai issued martial certificates to 6 Chinese women all of whom had British husbands.[cxxiv] Therefore, it could be noticed that before wider contact was opened up between the Chinese and Westerners, both sides sought to protect their long cultural traditions of which they were very proud. After the Opium Wars, despite the Chinese defeat on the battlefield, their deep sense of cultural superiority was not lost. Equally, Westerners from Britain, France, the USA and other countries living in Shanghai also claimed to be the superior races on a cultural level. Compared to the British, the Americans had a more tolerant attitude towards marriages with the Chinese, but they also basically opposed it.[cxxv] Therefore, in general, both sides rejected marriage with each other.[cxxvi]

In respect of transnational marriages in the modern Shanghai concessions, if it is said that there was not a high rate of Western men marrying Chinese women aside form a small number of cases, then it was quite rare to see examples of Western women marrying Chinese men. This was because if an American woman married or just was engaged to a Chinese man, the general reaction of other Americans was to question why she wanted to marry a Chinese man, and ask whether she could not find a more appropriate husband in the USA, regardless of how well-educated the Chinese man was. Other Americans would claim it would be unfair for their children.[cxxvii] However, the situation was quite the opposite to that of transnational marriages among the Chinese in America. At that time in America, nearly all of the transnational marriages relating to the Chinese were exclusively between Chinese men and Western women. In 1876, there had already been 4 or 5 cases of Chinese men marrying American wives in San Francisco. In 1885, there were 10 families of Chinese husbands and American wives there. From 1908 to 1912, there were 10 marriages of white women marrying Chinese men in New York, without a single case of marriage between an American man and a Chinese woman.[cxxviii] Mr. Wu Jingchao who researched this issue asked,
“Has there been any American man marrying a Chinese wife? In the materials I have collected, there has never been such a case. Of course, we know there were many cases of foreign men marrying Chinese women, but all of these happened in China rather than America. Only several years before, a Chinese woman, being an actress in some Hollywood movie company, fell in love with an American man who never married her. Later he said to others that I could be friends with the Chinese woman. As for marrying her, it was impossible. Even if I would, my mother would definitely disapprove and my friends may also oppose.”[cxxix]

In Shanghai, intercultural marriages were between Western men and Chinese women, while in America such marriages were between Chinese men and Western women.[cxxx] Although the trends seemed diametric opposites, they reflected the same truth that if the migrants only took a tiny proportion in comparison with the natives it was men who first broke through interracial marriage restrictions. It mirrored the situation at the end of the Qing Dynasty when it was mostly Chinese men, especially those who had experience of staying in Western countries, who married western wives.[cxxxi]

C. Chinese labour workers who were sent to Western countries on a large scale in modern China.
Besides overseas study, overseas trade dealing and working abroad also become important ways leading to Chinese marrying Westerners in their countries. “Open up the Northeast of China”, “Moving to the West”, and “Sailing to Southeast Asia” are three great migrations of population in Chinese modern history. In the past, from the cultural perspective, the Chinese nation was an agricultural one, whose primary characteristics were sticking to one’s land and living a peaceful family life.[cxxxii] Indeed, great courage was required before they decided to explore and strive in the new world. As the old saying goes, it is better to be a dog in peace than to be a man in turmoil. The Chinese nation emphasises harmony between men and nature and a peaceful life, therefore, the Chinese would generally not leave their hometown without special reasons, such as extreme life pressures or war.[cxxxiii]

At the demise of the federal dynasties in Chinese history, the common people and the fallen nobles of the previous dynasties started to drift abroad to Southeast Asia to escape the conflict. Due to its geological closeness, Southeast Asia became the migration destination and shelter of Chinese migrants. The drifting population would come to Southeast Asia despite the long distance to strive to make a living, this period was called “Sailing to Southeast Asia” in Chinese history.[cxxxiv] Besides the Southeast Asian countries that were comparatively close to china, the Chinese also moved to western countries for the sake of employment.[cxxxv] Apart from working as labourers, the Chinese also did business in Western countries.[cxxxvi]  Among them many achieved huge success in their businesses, surprising the white people in mainstream society who later looked at them with new eyes.[cxxxvii] These Chinese stayed there because of their businesses, and some of them married local people.

In the 1840s and 1850s, a large amount of Chinese migrants began to travel to the American West to seek gold, where they also assisted in building railways. Chinese migrants first appeared in 1848 when they found gold in California prompting others to join the Gold Rush. The earliest Chinese migrants came from Guangdong province, and were peasants from different villages who sailed to “Gold Mountain” after borrowing money or selling themselves to human traffickers as cheap labour. The “Gold Mountain” referred to California in America. According to historical records, in February, 1848, that is, two months after the discovery of gold mines in California, two Chinese men and a woman sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Canton to San Francisco in California in the ship, the American Eagle, becoming the earliest Chinese migrants to land and stay at “Gold Mountain”. Two years later, different groups of Chinese came successively, among whom most quickly went to the gold mine, Sutter’s Mill, to seek gold, and a few gathered in Dupont Street and Sacramento Street at that time in San Francisco. Later “China Town” gradually evolved from this. In 1865, the number of Chinese migrants amounted to 50,000, 90% of whom were young men. They then came to the “Gold Mountain” to build railways instead of seeking gold.[cxxxviii] Many Chinese men could not find Chinese wives in the USA at that time, so it prompted some of them to find local wives; many of them married African American women.[cxxxix]

A similar movement of Chinese labourers happened in Europe, albeit with some differences. In 1914, World War I had taken place, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of European labourers. Consequently, during the War, a great number of Chinese labourers were sent to Europe to supplement the work force of these countries.[cxl] In respect of France some margin studies found that many Chinese male labourers married French women at that time. Dr. Xu Guoqi showed that many French women married Chinese labourers during the First World War.[cxli] During the War, 140,000 Chinese labourers came to Europe to help the Allied war effort, 96,000 of them were allocated to the British army, and 37,000 were depatched to France. Many French men had died at war, so the French women welcomed Chinese men, and more than 3,000 Chinese labourers married French women at that time.[cxlii] Although Chinese male labourers were maltreated and beaten, and were not allowed to leave the camp, they still “managed to escape at night, for one night… Also there were problems with French women”.[cxliii] “Some Chinese male labourers formed attachments with French women and oft times children were born. At a later date they returned to China with their French wives and children. The exact number is not known, but French sources quote about 30,000,[cxliv] which appears excessive.”[cxlv]

With regard to Russia, as early as the 1860s, it had speeded up developing its territories in the far east, and built cities, roads, ports, railways and communication lines, in the process recruiting many foreign labourers, of which Chinese labours made up the greatest number.[cxlvi] From 1891 onwards, Russia recruited Chinese labourers to build the Siberian Railway.[cxlvii] Russia suffered great losses in the War, and lacked labourers as a result, so it continued its policy of recruiting Chinese labourers.[cxlviii] Between 1915 and 1916, Russia reached a high tide in recruiting Chinese labourers. In 1917, the October Revolution occurred in Russia, and Tsarist Russia was overthrown by the Bolsheviks. About 200,000 Bielorussians went into exile to China because of the threat of the Russian 1917 Revolution, and many Bielorussians settled down in China and even married Chinese.[cxlix] At that time, there were 230,000 Chinese labour workers in Russia, who participated in the revolution to “protect soviet” as Chinese labour troops. Many Chinese labour workers in Russia at the time married Russian women, and this became commonplace among Chinese labour workers.[cl]

Besides those working as labourers, the Chinese also did business in Western countries. For example, in America, in 1870, the Chinese prospered in business although Chinese vegetable venders still sold their goods on the San Francisco streets carrying a horizontal stick on their shoulders. The laundries in downtown areas were mainly occupied by Chinese laundrettes. Many Chinese began to work in industries of quantity production, mainly in the four industries of shoemaking, fur textile, tobacco, and clothes-making. Until 1870, the number of Chinese workers amounted to half of the total numbers working in the key four industries in this city. Their employers were mostly Chinese as well. Until the 1970s, there were about 5000 Chinese businessmen in San Francisco.[cli] Among them many achieved great success in their business, surprising the Westerners around them and changing their perception of them.[clii] In Australia, many Chinese men also came to settle there for business reasons (See picture 4.11). These Chinese stayed there because of their businesses, and some of them married local people.

Picture 1.10 Chinatown in America of 19th Century Source:

Picture 1.10 Chinatown in America of 19th Century

Picture 1.11 Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894 Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/16/4 [cliii]

Picture 1.11 Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894
Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists 6/16/4 [cliii]


D. Intercultural marriages and Migration caused by the Chinese Civil War
Civil wars create refugees who flee across international borders to safer havens.[cliv] The Chinese Civil War (CCW), from 1945 to 1949, was fought between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). It was one of the bloodiest and most violent wars in the modern world, and 6 million soldiers and civillians were killed.[clv] The end of the CCW produced a large wave of refugees from China to Western countries, such as the USA. Of all the Chinese migrants that moved to foreign countries, the refugees created by the CCW were the greatest in number. It was a very intense and sudden event in modern Chinese history. These departing groups were quite different from the peasant labourers who had pioneered the initial Chinese migration to the USA. These refugees included members of the intellegentsia, the upper classes, and families of wealth. There were also a number of Chinese students studying in the USA who were afraid of returning to China because of the changes in the political system. Many of them were subsequently granted immigrant status.[clvi] These sudden and numerous fleeing Chinese people became the protagonists of CWIM in this period. As stated by Fink, the most important functional factors imposed by civil wars are spreading refugees into other States, presenting ethnic, linguistic or religious confreres in the destination countries, and sharing ideologies or alliances between the participants and potential patrons.[clvii] By these means, these groups of Chinese people had opportunities to marry Americans, resulting in some CWIMs during this period.

1.2.2 Government Intervention in Both China and Western Countries
Although it emerged as a social entity during this period, marriage between Chinese and foreigners also encountered opposition from the outside world, both from Western and Chinese governments. Westerners held racial biases against the Chinese, and so they set up various obstacles inhibiting marriage between the two cultures. Where Chinese men married foreign women, western countries tended to object to and discriminate against them. This could be seen as a miniature playing out of the male-dominated world, that is, men tried to prevent women of their race from marrying outward. This section will look at governmental intervention and the role that governments played in the CWIM of both China and the West in modern times.

For Western countries, in the 19th century, the ideology and government policies of Great Britain and the USA took a repellent or, at least, inhibitory attitude towards interracial marriages in their own realms.[clviii] For example in the USA, from the middle and late period of the 19th century and the first two or three decades of the 20th century, there were about 11 states in the USA prohibiting marriages between Americans and Chinese, including Arizona, California, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia. For some of these States, especially those in the south, they were always hostile towards people of colour, whether black or yellow. For those States in the west, such as California, where there were many Chinese immigrants, there had been movements against Chinese labourers and they were hostile to the Chinese. As we can see from Figure 4.8, there were almost no Chinese women in Chinatown, San Francisco in the 19th century. The early Chinese arrivals in USA were primarily young males, but the abounding prejudice and discrimination at that time in the USA forced the majority into segregated Chinatowns where opportunities for contact with non-Chinese females were extremely limited. Californian miscegenation laws were implemented from 1850 and these prohibited marriage between Caucasians and Asians, Filipinos, Indians, and Negroes. These laws were no overturned until 1948.[clix] Even in the 1930s, Chinatowns in the USA were still seen as a ‘man’s town’ or a ‘bachelors’ society’.[clx] In 1878, the California State Council approved an amendment prohibiting the Chinese from marrying whites. In 1880, Californian Civil Law prescribed that marriage certificates were not allowed for whites with blacks, Mulattos or Mongolians. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Law prohibited marriage between Chinese and whites. This was first issued in California and later spread around the whole USA, becoming a national law. In 1922, the Cable Law restricted and prohibited marriage between Americans and Asian migrants, and it warned that they would lose their civil rights if they married Asians.[clxi] In addition, a female‘s citizenship was not linked to her husband’s, and this was mainly in order to prevent Chinese women from immigrating to the USA by marrying Chinese men who were born in America. Because of these regulations amongst other factors, most of the Chinese American men in the USA at that time did not have a wife. According to the data of Los Angeles from 1924 to 1933, only 23.7% of Chinese men there had non-Chinese wives, and at that time the male-to-female ratio among Chinese Americans was 9:2, so most Chinese men did not have a wife.

The situation was similar for other Asian people in relation to marriage. The Japanese had followed the Chinese in coming to America, and, in the early days, they had a very low intermarriage ratio. According to the data of Los Angeles from 1924 to 1933, only 3% married Japanese men had non-Japanese wives. The Japanese in America also suffered under the discriminatory laws and from the social discrimination encouraged by them. In 1923, the organisation, “Native Daughters of the Golden West” warned white women that “these days, some Japanese men with a good family background are found to peek at our young women, and they want to marry them.” The president of the California Control Society even thought that the Japanese intended to conquer the USA with intermarriages as a key component of their plan.[clxii] Because of this cultural background, the American white people in China at that time always held an objective attitude toward marriage with people of Asian colouring. Some English scholars once tried to discuss this question from a sociological respect. In 1982, some Japanese wrote to Spencer, the famous English scholar, and asked about his attitude towards interracial marriage. In his reply, Spencer talked about his opinions and mentioned that the US prohibited the entrance of Chinese. He approved of this on the basis that if the US allowed the Chinese to come and go at their will, there would only be two options for them. One was that in the US there would be two separate classes, the white and the yellow, and they would not intermarry. The other was interracial marriage which would lead to many undesirable hybrids. In his view, no matter which way it would be, the result was not favourable.[clxiii] Spencer’s attitude had great influence, and well into the 1920s and 1930s, many westerners were of this opinion.

Australia provided another example. Western colonists considered the Chinese as different from them and believed they would be unable to integrate into white society for cultural, biological, language and racial reasons. The Australian Colonial government also implemented policies to impose race boundaries between whites and Chinese.[clxiv] These policies were not only confined to the political sphere but were extended to interracial intimate relationships. As stated by McClintock, they “gave social sanction to the middle class fixation with boundary sanitation, in particular with the sanitation of sexual boundaries”.[clxv] White women’s bodies and sexuality were considered by policy makers as very threatening and destabilising to the established boundary order.[clxvi] As McClintock suggested, white women were seen as “the central transmitter of racial and hence cultural contagion”, and so they must be blockaded from men from other races.[clxvii] The intimacy between white women and non-white men brought great anxieties for the colonial government. The anxieties and indignation could be seen at the very early stages of 1850. Early debates of the 1850s on Chinese migration to Australia were particularly concerned about the possibility of the ‘destruction of the white race’ through sexual relations between Chinese men and white women, although there were only one or two cases of marriages between Chinese men and white women in Australia at that time.[clxviii]

Western countries not only constrained Chinese-Western marriages in their own realms, but they also wantonly interfered with and obstructed Chinese-Western marriages in China, and they demonstrated their powers in attitudes on intercultural marriages. In 1899, an American priestess and doctor in Guangdong married a Chinese man, Lan Ziying, which unexpectedly caused a big stir. Two American people in Guangzhou wrote to the American Embassy to suggest a doctor check whether the woman was suffering from a psychiatric disorder. This is a clear example of racial prejudice. The American consul in Guangzhou did not interfere as “there has been no obstruction for a foreign woman to get married with a Chinese.” (However, in some States of America, there were laws prohibiting marriage between whites and Chinese).[clxix] In 1911, some Western women eagerly asked the British consul in Chengdu to intervene in the marriage between a British women, Helen, and Hu Jizeng in Sichuan. They said that Hu already had a wife, and had committed bigamy within Western terms. The British consul negotiated with Wang Renwen, Sichuan Vice Governor, and asked him to punish Hu according to the law. Wang said that under Chinese law, having two wives was not a crime. Finally the British Embassy in China realised they could not prevent the marriage but warned Helen: “If you don’t have a divorce and return home, it will be regarded that you give up your British nationality”. However, using Chinese terms, she said, “I would like to be his concubine even till death”. Unexpectedly, the angry envoy replied, “Britain would never permit you to be a concubine. If you are a whore, you are not permitted to stay in China.[clxx]” , In judging the case, Ta Kung Pao commented:
“The marriage between Hu-He and Hu is a case based on their personal love which is not related to the third party. Now the British envoy says it will get involved as a matter of international affairs and force them to have a divorce. He has insisted that women from a great power are reluctant to marry men from a poor country while women in poor countries can be wife, concubine or even nothing to men from a great power. How pathetic it is![clxxi]
Later, he also commented, “the law should take people’s feelings into account, and the law is formed by nature. It is well-known that the British culture is famous for kindness around the world and wins respect from all countries. Therefore, most of the British people should be clement, and the British envoy would never like to see all of the Hu families die because of his plan. Maybe he also had to interfere in this affair”.[clxxii] Although this was to whitewash the British envoy’s deeds, it also indicated the real power behind powerful language.

For the Chinese, the Qing government had no intention of interfering with transnational marriages at first, and they let them be. The earliest legal documents of regulations on marriage between Chinese and Germans in 1888, and Chinese and Italians in 1889 basically made them equal to previous forms of marriage, and the Qing government did not intend to interfere too much. Later on, as there were more cases of this kind of marriage, some problems did arise, and the Qing government had to pay attention to them. In 1908, Li Fang, magistrate in the Da Li Yuan (Supreme Court) of the Qing government, asked for a divorce with his English wife from Shuntianfuyin Yamen (the chief executive who was in charge of Beijing’s government affairs and security in the Qing Dynasty). It was the first case of divorce between a Chinese and a foreigner. Li Fang wrote his request in his written complaint to Shuntianyinfu:
I am Li Fang, a magistrate of the Supreme Court. I asked my family servant Li Xing to apply to the higher authorities for consideration of my case on behalf of me. Humbly I am from Chang Le county of Guangdong province, and I have studied in the UK since I was young. I married my British wife Paierli in 1899, and I brought her back to China when I graduated in 1905. Now because she has failed in her obligations to the family as a wife and she is a dissolute woman, she has gone back to the UK on her own since 1908. She has not returned, and she even wrote a letter to tell me that she would not return to China. We indeed are willing to divorce. In order to provide adequate documents and grounds of justification, I attached the capital officers’ imprinted letter as well as Paerli’s letter in her own writing for your reference. Would you please check them and also request the Foreign Minister to consult with the British legation to proceed. I humbly beg you to approve it for my convenience.[clxxiii]

This was an unprecedented case in China, of a man offering the excuse that his wife did not adhere to wifehood. After the divorce, the reports in the Chinese papers were quite amusing and it was used as a warning to those wanting to marry Western women.[clxxiv] In March 1909, the Qing government enacted and issued the Nationality Law which followed a principle based upon the paternal line.[clxxv] As there was a growing tendency for transnational marriages to be especially admired and followed by the young overseas Chinese students, the fashion of marrying Westerners was gradually being formed in China.[clxxvi]

Confronting this situation, at the beginning of 1910, the Qing government held a discussion about interracial marriages between Chinese and foreigners. It considered that as the exchange between various countries became more and more frequent, theoretically speaking, interracial marriages between Chinese and foreigners should not be prohibited, but should be restricted. It prescribed that future marriages between Chinese and foreigners should first be reported to the government. If one was a diplomatic official or officer, one was not allowed to marry a foreigner without permission. In the same year, the Qing Government also acceded to a request of the Imperial Educational Ministry and declared that overseas students should not marry foreigners. There were several reasons for this. First, during their studies, overseas students should not be burdened by a family in case it affected their studies. Second, economically speaking, foreign women were considered basically extravagant, while overseas students had only a limited amount of money, and would not have a good balance between study and life if they married foreigners. Third, if overseas students married foreign women, they would be less likely to return and contribute to China’s progress despite achieving academic success, so this would not profit the Qing government.[clxxvii]

This situation happened again in the Republic of China (ROC) era. Because those who engaged in intercultural marriages were usually of the Chinese elite, especially students studying abroad, the educational officials in ROC became very worried that their money might be lost to another country because of intercultural marriage. The ROC government believed that once they became husbands or wives of foreigners, they would not serve China any more. In July 1918, towards the end of World War I, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China issued an order to restrict marriages between overseas students and foreigners. However, as they were too far away to control, its effectiveness was doubted.[clxxviii]

4.2.3 Summary and Discussion of CWIMs in Modern China
In summary, historic changes occurred through the opening-up of China at the end of the 19th century. The opening-up was the result of the advances made by Western powers in terms of guns and boats, and it brought closer contacts between the Chinese and Westerners for the first time after thousands of years. From the perspective of and the two nations, various battles between the two sides were mostly temporarily ended with compromises and concessions by the Chinese. It could be said that the Chinese endured much abuse and hardship during these years. It was against this major background that the earliest transnational marriages between Chinese and Westerners took place. I would like to summarise the characteristics, elements and the significance of Chinese-Western intermarriages in modern China.

Approaches and Social Classes:
As discussed above in terms of historical records, there were four approaches for Chinese to marry Westerners in modern history. Simply speaking, these marriages happened between Chinese-in-China and Westerners-in-China, and between Chinese-in-West and Westerners-in-West. But in fact these approaches are themselves contained within the following categories: 1) Chinese students and diplomats studying abroad marrying Westerners; 2) Foreigners marrying Chinese in foreign concessions in China; 3) Chinese labourers working in Western countries marrying local Westerners; 4) Chinese refugees fleeing to Western countries due to the Chinese Civil War. It was obvious to see that CWIM in modern China was the result of freer contacts between Chinese and Westerners, of which Chinese spouses usually met their Western spouses freely and naturally through their studying, working and daily lives. Compared with other approaches to meeting and selecting spouses including certain purposive and high-tech approaches in the contemporary world, free association with Westerners is the most obvious characteristic of CWIMs.

The features of social class were also tightly related to the approaches in CWIMs in modern times. Diplomats and students sent to foreign countries almost all had high social status. According to the Chinese Social Stratefication model,[clxxix] these people usually belonged to Cadre and Quasi-Cadre, or were Capitalists. The majority of the students were government-paid ,thus even if some students studying abroad might not come from a wealthy family, their status as ‘students’ or ‘intelligentsia’ divided them from the common people, as they were sponsored and cultivated as ‘the pillars of China’ by the Qing or ROC governments. Some other students were self-funded (especially in the ROC period) and they were from wealthy families. The reason why they had the opportunities to contact and marry Westerners largely depended on their social statuses. These Chinese were the elite in modern China, and they were the first group of people who formally associated with and studied the Western world, thus they had more chances and were more open and cosmopolitan than the majority of ordinary Chinese people in China. To some extent they were less constrained and more accepting of intercultural marriages, as they had more privileges in powers and ways of dealing with their marital affairs than ordinary Chinese people. Similarly, the fourth type of CWIM in modern China consisted of the Chinese refugees who had fled because of CCW. These people were almost all intellegentsia, upper class, and from wealthy families, because only they had the economic capability of travelling to avoid war. Their associations and marriages with Western countries and Westners also represented the social class attributes in CWIMs. In other words, Chinese spouses from the first and forth channels had the power to choose their CWIMs and migration destinations. The third group of Chinese spouses who married Westeners in foreign countries were almost all labour workers in modern China, and the majority of them were male. They belonged to the peseant working classes. They left their homes to make a living in a remote Western country. Their choices in intercultural marriages with Westeners came about through free association with Westerners. Moreover, they left China, and they needed to have a wife and family to fulfill the basic physiological needs and more importantly, the need to continue their family ties that were significantly standardised in traditional Chinese culture. To some extent, they had no alternative but to choose intercultural marriage. The foreign concession’s situation was quite special, as it was a kind of “a state within a state”, and a large amount of Westerners came into Zu Jie and associated with the Chinese freely. The culture in Zu Jie was more international than other parts of China of that time, and it created a social mode for free contacts between Chinese and Westerners. In summary, no matter which type of CWIM one belonged to in modern China, the majority of CWIMs were formed on the basis of free association and free love. This approach is very different from the arranged marriage which was the dominant marriage mode of traditional Chinese society. In this sense, CWIMs in modern China initiated the mode of free love and the freedom to select one’s own spouse. In addition, upper class Chinese obtained more choices and capabilities than lower class Chinese in marriage and choosing intercultural marriages.

Government Roles in CWIMs:
Both Chinese and Western governments, but especially Western governments, were unwilling to encourage their people to marry Westerners/Chinese. Both Chinese and Western countries revolted against intercultural intermarriage. The Chinese attitude was marked by trepidation towards Westerners, and Westerners tended towards being disdaining towards marriage between their people and the Chinese. The CWIMs were strongly influenced and even interfered with by governmental power. Indeed, even the inertia of a negative attitude from both governments could still affect the people’s choice in intercultural marriage. Regardless of capitalist and industrialised Western countries or the feudal China of modern times, the government agency still dominated and infiltrated the private spheres of the family and marriage. Western governments particularly, ascribed to themselves a superiority over the Chinese in culture and race. As discussed previously, Chinese Exclusion Acts operated in many places in Western countries for a long time. As stated by Bagnall, interracial relationships between Chinese and Westerners (especially between Chinese men and Western women) were not common, but Western governments still spent much time and energy discussing them, because “their potential dangers and possible social outcomes as well as the mere possibility of their presence were all destablishing and threatening to the established order and social hierarchies” of Western or Western colonial life.[clxxx] Therefore, according to the previous historical analysis, Western governments openly and wantonly interfered with CWIMs, especially marriages between Chinese men and Western women. This interference actually revealed the Western will in controlling its citizens’ bodies, especially in relation to women. The male-dominated government displayed its strong patriarchal intentions in controlling women’s bodies.

According to Foucault, biopower is a system of relations in which “phenomena peculiar to the life of the human species” enter “into the order of power and knowledge.”[clxxxi], and for Foucault, biopower “exerts a positive influence on life, which endeavours to administer, optimise and multiply it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations.”[clxxxii] In his work ‘The History of Sexuality’, biopower was defined as a new-style power. The initial form of biopower is manifested as a perceptive power, and in fact it is the ‘anatomo-politics of the human body’.[clxxxiii] Foucault attributed power to the body and endowed the body with political and philosophical implications grounded at an ideological level. According to his findings, people in the classical period had already discovered that the body was the object and target of power, and he pointed out that “this body is operated, shaped, and regulated. The body is submissive, cooperative, and it has becoming dexterous and strong.”[clxxxiv] Quoting Julien Offroy de La Mettrie’s point of view from her work ‘L’Homme Machine’, Foucault considered that the organismic analogy made between human body and automaton is not a simple metaphor, the human body is also the political doll and miniature manipulated by power.[clxxxv] The human body is related to the political domain directly; a power relation directly controls the body, regulates it, and forces it to complete certain tasks. The political controls on the human body are based on a complex interrelation which is closely related to the instrumentalising of the human body. The human body is endowed with power and a dominance relationship as productive forces, and in the meantime it is brought into an affiliation system.

When discussing Lee Kuan Yew’s government’s regulations on birth control, Heng and Devan used Foucault’s theory of biopower to analyse how a patriarchal state agency manipulated ‘National Crisis Exposition’ to legalise its act of controlling the female body.[clxxxvi] Ong also adopted a similar concept to discuss the Malysian state agency’s controlling on Islamic women’s reproduction.[clxxxvii] Kung used a similar theory to discuss the States’ controls on Vietnamese women of both Taiwan and Vietnam governments.[clxxxviii] In this study on CWIMs in modern China, the Chinese and Western governments’, but especially the latter’s, desire to control the human body was profoundly manistified in controlling women’s bodies. Western governments tried and legalised control of Western women’s as well as Chinese men’s bodies, by mandating usage modes of their bodies. At the same time, when threatened by intercultural marriage, Western governments strengthened the state authority and race boundaries by means of legislating discriminating laws towards Chinese men and promoting the argument that reproduction was a national obligation. Complexities of nationalism and culture were connected in CWIMs. Both Chinese and Western males hold the same horizons in state agencies, implying that the state agency was masculinised. Therefore, it could be observed that the infiltration of governmental power into private domains, and the political and social significance of race discrimination among patriarchal countries were also represented in CWIMs.

Shift in CWIM Gender Ratios:
After reviewing the history of Chinese Western intercultural marriage in modern China, we can see that there was a very peculiar phenomenon of intermarriage between Chinese and foreigners at that time; Chinese men marrying foreign women was relatively common, but few Chinese females married foreign males. More famous Chinese males married Western women than they did Chinese women, although this situation changed very quickly after a few years of the Opening, especially with the establishment of the Republic of China. However, it must be noted that during the period in which, in general, more Chinese men married Western women, more Chinese women married Westerners in Zu Jie such as Shanghai. The situation of more Chinese men marrying Western women lasted for a period of time, but it became a very uncommon phenomenon later in the history of Chinese intercultural marriage. This deserves discussions as it is the most distinctive characteristic of modern Chinese-Western intercultural marriage.

Several reasons could be suggested for the transition: 1) The early students sent to foreign countries were all Chinese men, and no women would have had such opportunities, so naturally, Chinese men had more opportunities to make contacts with Western women. At the same time, all those Chinese men who first came into contact with the West were noble personages with prominent social status which could make up for the weakness of the nation and the country.[clxxxix] 2) Although the WuXu movement helped women obtain equal rights to go to college and study abroad in the same way as men, the feudal system still affected the Chinese strongly, and the long-time absence of women’s education resulted in most women being illiterate.[cxc] This gap would take time to close, so the trend of fewer women traveling abroad continued. 3) Women were restricted by the Chinese traditional gendered culture and by its patriarchy, while men had more freedom to make choices about their lives. The restrictions of traditional culture upon Chinese women were greater than those on men. Women in China were still conservative, and the patrilineal culture required women to be more obedient and conservative, whereas Chinese men were free of this kind of restrain. 4) The greater proportion of Chinese men marrying Western ladies could also be explained as a kind of special phenomenon resulting from the special context whereby there were insufficient local Western men, as happened in the First World War. 5) The situation in Zu Jie was very different from that of greater China in that era, because more Western men came to Zu Jie as government officers and soldiers. A reason more Chinese women married Western men could be that the Westernised culture dominated in Zu Jie, and the power of traditional Chinese culture and family values were greatly weakened, leading to the gradual formation of a mixed and international culture in Zu Jie, which meant that Chinese women in Zu Jie had much fewer constraints in terms of sex and marriage choices. They could marry Westerners without considering traditional family pressures.

This kind of Zu Jie culture actually continued until now in Shanghai, and one of its most distinct examples can be observed in the fact that today’s Shanghai women are very interested in marrying Western men and foreigners, and even give priority to Western men when they are considering relationships and marriage.[cxci] In summary, at first Chinese men married Western women to a far greater extend than the converse at the beginning of China’s Opening, but the situation changed very quickly and much more Chinese women married Western men later on. It was only in special situations that many Chinese men could marry Western wives. Western countries had more severe policies concerned with restraining Western women from marrying Chinese men. Chinese men were particularly discriminated against by policies in this setting. Traditionally, research has focused on the inferior position of Chinese women, to the neglect of the difficulties imposed on Chinese men which led to the placing of them in very negative emasculated and effeminate positions. This phenomenon merits further discussion and analysis from the perspective of masculinities and sex hegemony in future studies.

Significance of Freedom of Choice:
The marriages occurring between the people of China and those from other countries at this period were the result of free choice on both sides. Compared with the prevailing marriages arranged by parents in China at that time, they could be regarded as the earliest models of free marriages. In China. The Chinese people who married foreigners at that time were those who had the chance to make contact with foreigners. Besides this factor, they usually had special experiences and statuses which dissociated them from mainstream Chinese culture, and, consequently, these transnational marriages were tolerated by public opinion of society in general. For example, Qian Xiuling’s case mentioned earlier was an example which represented the significance of free choice. Qian Xiuling broke her engagement with her Chinese fiancé and associated with a Belgian man. Qian’s case of CWIM represented that Chinese women were beginning to have the courage to decide their own marriages, which indicated the progress of Chinese society and the gradual breaking down of traditional shackles on Chinese women. Compared with the CWIMs later in today’s Contemporary China, CWIMs in earlier modern China had less clearly defined patterns and were less deliberately sought out. Chinese people who married Westerners in this period were not so utilitarian about choosing Western partners, and they usually married on the basis of affection and their experiences while staying in Western countries.

Cultural conflicts in CWIMs:
As stated by Mary Kibera, “it is clear that in life there is no perfect marriage because perfect people do not exist and consequently, neither do perfect spouses.”[cxcii] There is no perfect marriage, and even a healthy marriage will always have its share of conflict. Due to lack of adequate historical data, it is hard to carry out a precise study on the cultural conflicts in CWIM. There were many affectionate CWIMs of that time; however, marital conflicts of CWIM in modern China are exemplified by Li Fang’s case mentioned earlier. Li Fang eventually divorced his British wife and this was the first international divorce to be recorded in modern China. They both chose divorce without hesitation. The conflicts between the Chinese and Western cultures were embodied in their marriages.

4.3 Chinese-Western Intercultural Marriage in the Communist era (1949–1979
During the Communist era, there were much fewer international marriages in China because of political reasons and diplomatic policy. However some books and memoirs did sporadically record the existence of Chinese-Russian couples, as many Chinese men had entered successful love-based marriages with Russian wives (for example: Pál Nyíri[cxciii], Khoon Choy Lee[cxciv]). On May 1, 1950, People’s Republic of China (PRC) published and implemented the first Marital Law which clearly prescribed adherence to the basic principles of free marriage: monogamy, and gender equality.[cxcv] According to this, in 1954, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC formulated Preliminary Prescriptions upon Consular Work which set out six functions concerning consular work. As the first law regulating consular work of the new government, the third article prescribed that the consul could “issue passports, visas, notarization and authentication, and handle some relevant civil affairs of overseas Chinese.”[cxcvi] This article prescribed “handling some relevant civil affairs of overseas Chinese”, and therefore became a guide for the Central People’s Government of PRC to handle “consular marriage registration” in the early days.

In respect of international laws, first, China solved the problem of double nationality by entering agreements with Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and other Southeast Asian neighbouring countries.[cxcvii] Therefore, Chinese consuls could deal with marriage registration, notarisation and authentication of marital status for Chinese citizens residing abroad and for foreign citizens of Chinese origin. Second, the first series of bilateral consular treaties (altogether three) between China and foreign countries were signed, the Consular Treaty between PRC and DDR of January 27, 1959 in Beijing, the Consular Treaty between PRC and USSR of June 23, 1959 in Beijing, and the Consular Treaty between PRC and Czechoslovakia of May 7, 1960 in Prague. These three treaties prescribed that consuls had the right to notarise and certify, and, with the Consular Treaty between PRC and the USSR, the consul was entitled to handle marriage or divorce registration between citizens from sending countries.[cxcviii] These all were given a judicial basis so that Chinese consuls could handle marriage registration for native or foreign citizens, and the notarisation and authentication of marital status. Since the early 1960s, influenced by the ultra-Left trend of thought during the Cultural Revolution, the relationship between China and other countries had worsened. At the end of the 1960s, the number of Chinese consulates in other countries was reduced from 14 to 5. During this period, signing of bilateral consular treaties or agreements ceased. It was almost impossible for Chinese to marry foreigners during the Cultural Revolution.[cxcix] And there were almost no records of marriage registration for native or foreign citizens by Chinese consuls, or the notarisation or authentication of marital status.[cc]

During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, for political reasons there were few Chinese-Western intercultural marriages .At the beginning of PRC, the characteristic of its foreign policy was “Yi Bian Dao”; this expression literally meaning “lean to one side” and underlines China’s policy of focusing its diplomatic alliances on relations with Russia and the Eastern Socialist countries rather than Western Capitalist countries).[cci] After the Second World War, to the Chinese mind, the world appeared to be divided by an opposition of ideology into a capitalist and a socialist camp. The Communist Chinese government deemed that the US-led Western imperialistic countries adopted a hostile attitude towards China politically, enforced by an economic and military blockade against China, and this constituted a huge threat to Communist China. Under such circumstances, China stood firmly with the socialist camp headed up by the USSR, and successively established diplomatic relations with 17 countries (most of them socialist), in order to avoid being absolutely isolated.[ccii] This was the honeymoon period of the China-USSR relationship[cciii], so Russians and Chinese could associate with each other freely, and it also produced some Chinese-Russian marriages. Many Chinese students were sent to the Soviet Union and many Soviet engineers and cadres came to China. During this period, many Russian women married Chinese men and Chinese women married Soviet men.

Although in the 1970s, China paid attention to improve the relations between China and capitalist countries, the ideological differences between the communist and the capitalist societies had placed a great barrier to intercultural marriage between China and the West. In the Communist era, Leftist Thought was prevailing in China, and international marriage was not encouraged, furthermore, restrictions were actually imposed on international marriages. Mainland Chinese marrying foreigners or even Chinese from Taiwan and HongKong were considered to “yearn for Capitalism”, which was a stigma and imputation for Chinese people[cciv] , so most Chinese were afraid of having this relationship and were also forbidden from doing so. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, many Western countries were conducting a blockade on China; secondly, the ultra-left trend of thought was in vogue. In these conditions, “Haiwai Guanxi (Overseas Relations)” was equated with “Counterrevolutionary Relations”.[ccv] This was connected with the official Chinese ideology on class analysis of the world of the time. It was deemed that the geographical political powers in the world were divided into two camps: the enemy camp consisted of DiXiuFan (imperialist, revisionist and reactionary forces and countries); the friend camp consisted of Asian-African-Latin American (it refers chiefly to the developing countries) and China. In this setup, China believed that there were fierce class-wars operating in the world of that time. DiXiuFan was trying to seek any possibility to eliminate Communist China by means of methods as diverse as military invasion and peaceful evolution. Therefore, anything related to the West and Taiwan (for example, Western media outlets such as Voice Of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation) was assumed to contain evil intentions and conspiracies, or dangerous capitalist propaganda. Naturally, the Chinese people who had “Haiwai Guanxi” were firmly believed to have a “reactionary social basis”. Chen Boda[ccvi] even said that the areas with more returned overseas Chinese were the “U.N of spies”.[ccvii] “Haiwai Guanxi (Oversea Relations)” meant that Chinese citizens who lived in mainland China had friends and relatives outside of mainland China (especially in Europe, USA, Taiwan and Hong Kong). The people who had Haiwai Guanxi were considered to have complicated social and historical backgrounds, and were suspected of collaboration with the enemy; they would not be trusted or employed because of these assumptions.[ccviii]

Under such circumstances, intercultural couples who had married before this period were in a very difficult situation. Some Western wives also suffered a lot from their husbands. The scientist Tang Peisong’s Canadian wife, became blind because of bad nutrition and lack of medical supplies. She had to escape back to Canada from Kunming in the rear with two children during pregnancy. Later, when Mr. Tang went to visit her, she did not return to China with him as she was scared of the hardship. As Mr. Tang did not want to leave China, they separated.[ccix] Due to the upheaval during this hundred year period in China and the frequent succession of revolutions, it was inevitable that wives would suffer from various hardships, such as Li Sanli’s wife Lisa,[ccx] and the “Red Prisoner” Tang Youzhang’s wifeYiliuxinna;Selma Vos, the Dutch wife of Cao Richang, whose Chinese name was Wu Xiuming. Her husband, Cao, was the director of the Institute of Psychology, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. She was mistakenly regarded as an international spy merely because she was not Chinese. After suffering such wrongful treatment, she committed suicide by slitting her wrists.[ccxi] In the early days of the Founding of PRC, especially before China returned to the United Nations in 1971, the Soviet Union assisted in China’s construction, many Chinese students were sent to the Soviet Union and many Soviet engineers and cadres came to China. During this particular period, many Russian women married Chinese men and Chinese women also married Soviet men.

With the despotic power of the Cultural Revolution, “Six Stipulations of Taking Order with Cadres Having Overseas Relations” was constituted in Guang Dong in October of 1969 as a warning to others because Guang Dong was the province which had the earliest and most frequent connections with foreign countries. It stipulated: “all the cadres who have Haiwai Guanxi, no matter what occupation their oversea relatives are doing, if they still keep political or economic contact with their oversea relatives even after educating, will be severely dealt with. …Investigations must be undergone to find out cadres who have Haiwai Guanxi, and the necessary critical and struggling education should be carried through depending on the situations. The ones who have severe situation must be cleaned out from cadre team. …From now on, the people who have Haiwai Guanxi will not be qualified to be employed as cadres, and cadres’ marriage must be seriously and strictly censored…”[ccxii] This stipulation was quickly implemented in Guangdong Zheng Dang Gongzuo Huiyi (Guangdong Consolidating Party convention) subsequently. In the name of “Clearing up class team”, many cadres and employees who had Haiwai Guanxi were fired from their employment or sent to the countryside and outlying districts. Normal correspondence with relatives and family members in foreign countries was labeled as “Li Tong Waiguo (maintain illicit relations with a foreign country)”[ccxiii], and the money sent from family members from foreign countries was labeled as “Spy Funds”.[ccxiv]

In the shady atmosphere of arrests of “betrayers” and “spys”, many local and returned Chinese were seriously impacted and unjust, false or wrong charges occasionally were leveled against them. Although having Haiwai Guanxi had never been regulated officially and publicly as a crime, the ordinary Chinese people of the time who had been educated for many years in the concept of Class Struggle were inclined to equate having Haiwai Guanxi with contact with the enemy. It was therefore universally acknowledged by Chinese people that they should maintain sharp vigilance of those who had Haiwai Guanxi. Some posts which needed complete secrecy, such as high-tech national defence scientific research and factories, air force, etc. would not recruit a person with Haiwai Guanxi. Personnel and organisation departments did not employ people with Haiwai Guanxi either.

Because of the strict Policy restrictions, the Chinese Civil Administration Department and Marriage Registration Authority adopted the “the less trouble the better” guideline, and this prevented many Chinese people from marrying their lovers in foreign countries. Even Guangdong, the famous home town of overseas Chinese, could not escape from this policy. The “Zijin Affair” was a very typical case in Guangdong in 1973. In this year, the Department of Civil Affairs in Zijin County transacted a marriage registration for an American Chinese husband and his local Chinese wife. The American husband was disabled, so this registration was labeled as “humiliating the nation and forfeiting its sovereignty”. The Director of the Department of Civil Affairs at Zijin County was expelled from the Party and discharged from his public employment, and more than twenty other staff members were involved. With the influence of this affair, international marriage registration and even the marriage between local Chinese and illegal immigrants from other countries were prohibited in Guangdong province. It was not until 1976 that Guangdong province secretly resumed marriage registration for local Cantonese and overseas Chinese as well as compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, which allowed many international lovers to finally marry. From 1973 to 1978, Guangdong transacted 6431 international marriage cases (an average of 1072 annually) including Chinese locals with foreigners, Chinese of foreign nationalities, overseas Chinese, and compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.[ccxv] This was a very rare phenomenon of Chinese international marriage during the Cultural Revolution.

1.4 Chinese-Western Intercultural Marriage in the Reform Era and the New Century (after 1978 and onwards)
As discussed above, during the 30 years of isolation, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, international marriages in China were almost non-existent. National conditions sometimes played a decisive role in determining marital choices. Before the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, marriages with foreigners were regarded as outrageous treachery.[ccxvi] After this period, consular relations between China and other countries revived and developed greatly. After the Cultural Revolution, the reform and opening-up quickly changed China’s historical development, which not only enabled the Chinese to enjoy freedom in the economic field, but also endowed them with greater personal liberty in their emotional world. Henceforth, the history of prohibitions and restrictions upon transnational marriages in modern and contemporary China became coherent again.

In 1978, China implemented its Reform and Opening Policy[ccxvii], and on 1 January 1979 China and the United States formally established diplomatic relations.[ccxviii] China carried out a “nonalignment policy” and “No Enemy Countries’ diplomacy” and developed friendly relationships with most countries in the world.[ccxix] During this period, the Chinese consular judicial system was been continuously improved. The marriage registration, notarisation or authentication of marital status transacted by Chinese consuls for native or foreign citizens has increased annually. From the aspect of international law, the entry of China into the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations marked that the Chinese consular judicial system was in line with international standards.[ccxx] Paragraph 6 of Article 5 in this convention prescribed that consular responsibilities included “acting as a notary, civil registrar or similar jobs and transacting some administrative work, but limited by the laws and regulations of the receiving countries.” This paragraph offered a principled description about marriage registration for citizens by consuls and notarization or authentication of marital status.[ccxxi] On July 3, 1979, the Central People’s Government of CPC applied to the Secretary General of the United Nations to join Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and since August 1 of the same year, the convention has been in force upon China.

During this period, China also signed, revised or resigned various bilateral consular contracts or agreements with foreign countries. Up to now, among 42 bilateral consular contracts or agreements between China and foreign countries, there are 37 with articles concerning consuls’ authority to transact marriage registration. Based on these, Chinese consuls can transact marriage registration, and do the work of notarisation or authentication of marriage status for native or foreign citizens on a larger scale.[ccxxii] Until the end of 2003, there were 239 professional and honorary consuls established or to be established by foreign countries in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao, and there have been 69 professional consuls established or to be established by China in foreign countries. Along with acting institutions as consuls in diplomatic missions mutually established by China and 165 countries, the platform for the development of consular relations between China and other countries has been enlarged. Since then many international marriages have been transacted in China. The international marriage can be seen as the outcome of the Reform and Open Policy and China’s active foreign policy, as well as its symbol. The Reform and Open and the foreign policies were the precondition and basis of the emergence of international marriage in contemporary China. China has been obtaining a secure and reliable international environment of lasting peace and stability which has propelled the economy forward at a high speed in China and led to an increase in international marriages there.

After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the C.P.C. in 1978, China implemented its Reform and Opening-up policy, especially in particular economic zones like Guangdong and Fujian Provinces, and some coastal cities, where special policies and flexible measures were carried out. Ideas and operations in transnational marriages gradually changed the long-established notion of closing off China. From the central authorities down to the local districts, the principle of “loosening and quicker work” was adopted. As long as both men and women met the requirements of the Marriage Law, no organisation or person had the right to interfere, as it was deemed an infringement upon free marriage. Since 1978, China has achieved social stability and economic prosperity through reform, opening up to the outside world and modernising. The national strength of China has increased greatly and the number of foreigners, Chinese who are foreign nationals, overseas Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau coming to China has been increasing year after year. More and more of them are coming to China to travel, visit families, run businesses, and run factories. Meanwhile, Chinese men and women have more opportunities to associate with foreigners.

With the adoptions of flexible policies in relation to international marriage registration, the number of international marriages between Chinese and foreigners in mainland China has been increasing enormously, and its growth rate has been keeping at a rate of 10 times the previous year. From 1979 to 1989, China transacted 128613 international marriage cases, in which 3853 cases were of foreigners/Chinese, 8818 cases were of Chinese with foreign national/Chinese, 19597 cases of overseas Chinese/Chinese, 96345 cases of compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau/Chinese. From 1978 to 2008, China transacted 824510 international marriage cases, in which there are 306422 cases of foreigners and Chinese with foreign national/Chinese, 109784 cases of oversea Chinese/Chinese, 408304 cases of compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau/Chinese.[ccxxiii] It can be seen from the table below that cross-nation marriages in contemporary China have been dramatically increasing over these years.

Table 1.1 Comparison of Marriages between Chinese and Foreigners (C-F), Chinese and Oversea Chinese (C-OC), and Chinese and Compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau (C-HTM). In 1979-1989 and 1978-2008

Table 1.1 Comparison of Marriages between Chinese and Foreigners (C-F), Chinese and Oversea Chinese (C-OC), and Chinese and Compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau (C-HTM). In 1979-1989 and 1978-2008

In this period, laws related to international marriage were improved gradually. At the beginning of the Reform and Open policy implementation in 1978, a Chinese male graduate student applied to marry a French female student who was studying in China, however the local government could not establish legal grounds for the marriage and had to report the case to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.[ccxxiv] After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, the Chinese State Department and Ministry of Civil Affairs constituted a series of generous and liberal policies for international marriage registration on the basis of the Reform and Open guidelines. The civil administration departments at all levels were required to follow the primary instruction, “…on the matter of Chinese-Non-Chinese marriages, the consuetudinary conservatism of our belief system should be broken down, and leading cadres at all levels must emancipate the mind, dispel misgivings, break the bondage of “Leftist” thinking, and transform ideology in order to improve their work.[ccxxv] The continuous revision, supplementation and improvement of Chinese national laws and regulations also created a greater legal basis for Chinese consuls to transact marital registrations, and do the work of notarisation or authentication of marital status for native or foreign citizens. On September 10, 1980 and April 28, 2001 respectively, the Chinese government revised and supplemented the Marriage Law.[ccxxvi]

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs gradually established and standardised the regulations of international marriage between mainland Chinese and foreigners, Chinese with foreign nationals, overseas Chinese, and compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau from 1983 onwards. Meanwhile, the marriage registration authorities all over China also gradually resumed their handling of international marriages. This was the first special law regulating international marriage between Chinese citizens and non-Chinese individuals in contemporary China, Provisions for the registration of marriage between Chinese citizens and foreigners, was synchronously issued in the same year[ccxxvii] , and was followed by the successive promulgation of related regulations on administering marriages between mainland Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

In August of 1983, the State Department officially authorised the civil administration departments in all the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to administer and manage the registration of international marriages on behalf of the Central People’s Government, and international marriage management in China was placed on a regularised, legal track. In 1983, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued Provisions for the Registration of Marriage between Chinese Citizens and Foreigners, while in the same year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs under the State Council jointly issued Provisions for the Registration of Marriage for Overseas Chinese by Embassies and Consulate. In 1997, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs together issued Administrative Regulations on the Registration of People Going Abroad, and on August 8, 2003, the State Council issued its 387th order. Regulations on Marriage Registration, which was implemented on October 1 of the same year laying down specific descriptions about marriage registration, notarisation or authentication of marital status by Chinese consuls for native or foreign citizens. Among these articles, the latest change was that according to relevant provisions in the new Regulations on Marriage Registration, Chinese consuls would transact marriage registration based upon the signed statement provided by the marriage parties stating, “I have no spouse. Neither do I have lineal nor consanguineous relations within 3 generations with the other party.”

The same applied to the transaction of notarisation or authentication for marriage parties within the Chinese territories.[ccxxviii] One particular incident also led to the relaxation of restrictions upon transnational marriages. In 1979, the 22-year-old Li Shuang, a Chinese painter, fell in love and lived with Bai Tianxiang, a French diplomat in the Culture Division in the Beijing Embassy. As this was an unusual occurrence at the time, the girl was labelled as “selling information to foreigners” and “damaging national dignity”. Subsequently, she was punished with a 2-year regime of reeducation through labour and her French lover was banished from China. This incident so shocked French political circles and the French media that during French President Mitterrand’s visit to China he specifically asked the then Chinese leader to release Li Shuang. On Deng Xiaoping’s instructions, at the end of 1983, Li Shuang was finally reunited with her lover in Paris. After this incident, investigation by the public security organs of government was also abandoned in the cases of application for transnational marriage.[ccxxix]
Guangdong, Shanghai and Fuzhou were the three areas with the earliest, the most numerous and the most representative international marriage cases. They are thus illuminating focus points through which to examine the phenomenon.

Fuzhou is a famous hometown of overseas Chinese as well as one of the first coastal cities to open to the outside world. Fuzhou resumed international marriage registration in 1979. In September of 1983, the People’s government of Fujian province mandated that the Fuzhou Bureau of Civil Affairs was the department for international marriage registration in the Fuzhou area, and that marriages between mainland Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau could be managed by the Bureau of Civil Affairs in different cities and counties. From 1979 to 1994, Fuzhou transacted 8,260 international marriages, of which 47.21% (3889 cases) were marriages between mainland Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau, 9.2% (758 cases) were marriages between mainland Chinese and compatriots from Taiwan, 23.6% (1949 cases) were marriages between mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese, 12.1% (996 cases) were marriages between Chinese with foreign nationals, and 8.01% (668 cases) consisted of international marriages between mainland Chinese and foreigners. From 1995 to 2002, Fuzhou transacted 38505 international marriage cases (without cases of compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau), of which 50.9% (19597 cases) were marriages between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese, 49.1% (18908 cases) were intermarriages between mainland Chinese and foreigners, overseas Chinese and Chinese with foreign nationals. In short, international marriages across the broad range of different combinations developed very quickly. We can see this from the statistics. There were only 2,720 international marriage cases from 1979 to 1988 in Fuzhou, but there were more than 7000 cases in Fuzhou per year after 2000. In the year 2000, international marriages in Fuzhou numbered 7,370 cases (without cases of compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau). This was more than the total summation of the other four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing), which accounted for one sixth of international marriage cases in China in that year.[ccxxx]

In respect of Shanghai, since 1980, international marriage experienced four stages. These were characterised by, first, an increasing number, second, relative stability, third, a rapid increase and, fourth, undulation. In 1980, there were only 396 international marriage cases registered, which comprised only 0.2% of the total amount of marriage registrations in Shanghai of that year. It can be seen that the rate correlates with the degree of open contact with the outside world. From 1980 to 1985, Shanghai’s international marriage rate increased steadily, and with 826 cases in 1985, which was 1 times more than the number of cases in 1980. A short stagnation in the rate then occurred between 1986 and 1988, for each year there were around 800 cases registered. 1989-1992 was the most productive growth phase of international marriage in Shanghai, the number of cases increased from 802 in 1989 to 2,555 by 1992, with an average annual growth rate of 33.6%. After the short stability during 1993 and 1994, the number increased and exceeded 3000 cases in 1995, after which the number fluctuated around the level of 3000 cases each year. It reached its topmost level of 3,442 cases in 2001, but a sharp decline followed in 2002 with a figure of 2,690 cases, which occupied 3% of the total amount of marriage registrations in Shanghai of that year. The rate of international marriage in Shanghai was not only much higher than the average national level in China, but also was higher that the rate in Guangdong where was a high degree of open contact with the outside world.[ccxxxi]

Guangdong was the third of the three major focuses of international marriage. In 1979, the Department of Civil Affairs of Guangdong province promulgated “Some comments on acting well in the registration work for international marriages between local Chinese and oversea Chinese, compatriots from Hong Kong & Macau, and foreigners”[ccxxxii] , and insisted that no greffiers may discriminate against participants of international marriages but they should treat them equally in their administration of international marriage registration. They were also required to be conscientious to conduct registration according to the relevant State provisions and applicable codes, as well as the policies for overseas Chinese in that they must “…give appropriate preferential treatment on the basis of characteristics…”[ccxxxiii] The registration place of international marriage with overseas Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau was changed from their original hometowns to the registered permanent residence of the Chinese spouses. Since then, international marriages between mainland Chinese and foreigners, Chinese with foreign nationals, compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau have been increasing annually. Guangdong only transacted 591 cases of international marriages (including marriages between mainland Chinese and foreigners, Chinese with foreign nationals and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macau), but 12,835 cases were registered in 1986, which is 21 times more than the number in 1976. Guangdong transacted 850 cases of international marriages in 1977, and its number in 1987 rose to 15092, which is 17 times more than the earlier figure.[ccxxxiv]

According to Sociologist Deng Weizhi’s research, international marriages after Open and Reform have some special characteristics, and he summarised them as follows:
1) Fast development; since 1980, the numbers of international marriages in China have been increasing year by year. For example, China transacted 14,193 cases of international marriage in 1980, increasing to 23762 in 1990, and to 50773 in 1997;
2) Wide geographic distribution; international marriages in China have involved foreigners from 53 countries and areas. The majority of foreign spouses are from America, Canada, Japan and Australia;
3) The Chinese overseas and Chinese with foreign nationals, make up the largest proportion of foreign spouses, which proportion in Chinese international marriages is about 70%;
4) More Chinese women married outside of China: 90% of Chinese international marriages consist of Chinese wives and foreign husbands, and only less than 10% involve Chinese husbands with foreign wives. This accords with the general world trend, M. Belinda Tucker and Claudia Mitchell-Kernan found that “female outmarriage is higher than male outmarriage for every major racial ethnic group except blacks”[ccxxxv] ;
5) Low educational level: in general, the Chinese spouses involved in international marriages registered in China are of a low educational level, particularly in the marriages of Chinese to Japanese, in which both Chinese and Japanese spouses are of low educational level. By contrast, the Chinese spouses who married Westerners comparatively have a better educational level, for example holding PhDs, positions as CEOs or general managers.[ccxxxvi]

In 1999, Chinese sociologists Ru and Lu identified several problems in international marriages in China:
1) The basis of many international marriages is not love;
2) There are big age gaps between the Chinese and their foreign spouses, some gaps are similar to “a grandpa marrying a granddaughter”;
3) Many Chinese married foreigners only after a short time of getting to know each other in so called flash marriages;
4) Marital fraud is a serious problem between Chinese women and foreign men;
5) The divorce rate in Chinese international marriages is very high. The speed at which the divorce rate is growing is even higher than that of the marriage rate. From 1990 to 1995, the numbers of international marriages increased 2.4 times, but the divorce rate increased 2.8 times. The divorce rate of 1990 was 20% of the marriage rate, and the divorce rate of 1995 was 26% of the marriage rate of the same year.[ccxxxvii]

In summary, since 1978 the rate of international marriage has been recovering due to implementation of new government policies and a shifting context in terms of politics, economics and society. Now, more Chinese go abroad and more foreigners enter China. Previously more Chinese women married foreign men than vice versa and this tendency has remained until now and will likely continue into the future. The phenomenon of international marriages always kept pace with China’s macroscopic background and context, however, changes in the microcosmic context also play important roles in increasing or decreasing the levels of international marriage, for example in family cultures, personal psychology and concepts of marriage.

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[ii] G. Yuanchen, W. Shunu, The History of Chinese Marriage, Yuelu Publishing House, Hunan, 1998, p. 17.
[iii] G. Chengkang, Z. Fengzhi, W. Tianyou, C. Chongde, The History of Yuan and Qing Dynasty, Wunan Book Publishing Company, Taipei, 2002, p. 4.
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[vii] C. Guoqing The Society and Culture of Late Qing Dynasty, Social Sciences Academic Press, Beijing, 2005, p. 4.
[viii] ibid., p. 4.
[ix] Compilation Group, The Opium War, The Minerva Group, Inc., Hendersonville, TN, 2000, p. 110.
[x] ‘Treaty of Tientsin’ cited from Research Office, General Office of the Standing Committee, National People’s Congress, Collection of Unequal Treaties in Modern China, Press of Chinese Democratic Legal System, Beijing, 1996, p. 74.
[xi] C. Songxia, ‘The Inland Travelling Policy about Foreigners of Qing Government in the Latter Qing Dynasty Time’, Present Day Science of Law, vol. 5 (4), 2007, p. 52-57.
[xii] W. C. Newbern, The Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1865: a Messianic movement in China, University of California, Berkeley, 1953.
[xiii] M. Jiaqi, History of Foreign Relations of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 1984, p. 189.
[xiv] Chinese History Society, ‘Taiping Heavenly Kingdom’, vol. 6, Series of Materials for History of Modern China, Shenzhou Guoguang Publisher, Shanghai, 1952, p. 910.
[xv] ibid., vol. 2, pp. 760-762.
[xvi] S. L. McKenzie, All God’s children: a Biblical Critique of Racism, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1997.
[xvii] Z. Chuangxin, History of the Chinese Political System, Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, 2005, p. 321.
[xviii] The traditional Chinese value system requires women to live in widowhood if their husbands die.
[xix] Q. Zhongjiu, Anti-Confucianism of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Cultural Relics Press, Beijing,1974, p. 16.
[xx] W. Geya, On Ethic Evolution of Chinese Marriage, China Social Science Publishing House, Beijing,2008, p. 230.
[xxi] C. Lamour and,M. R. Lamberti, The Second Opium War, Lane, London, 1974.
[xxii]W. Lingan, W. Kunxiang, Materials of Early Oversea Chinese and Chinese Contract Bondage, vol. 4, 2002, p. 437.
[xxiii] N. Chuangping, N. Jiqing, Analysis of the Selected China-Foreign Treaties in Modern China, China Legal Publishing House, Beijing, 1998, p. 291.
[xxiv]W. Jie, L. Zhenjiang, Dictionary of Old China-Foreign Treaties, Qingdao Publishing House, Qingdao, 1992, p. 75.
[xxv] Ibid.
[xxvi] S. C. M. Paine, The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: Perceptions, Power, and Primacy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, pp. 63-66.
[xxvii] B. A. Elleman, S. C. M. Paine, Naval Blockades and Seapower: Strategies and Counter-strategies, 1805-2005, Taylor & Francis, Kentucky, 2006, p. 71.
[xxviii] Y. Guang, ‘The Evolution of Modern Japanese Concept of East Asian International System Perior to Jia-Wu War’, Journal of Jinan University, vol. 11 (1), 2001, pp. 55-59.
[xxix] K. Inoue, Origins of Japanese Imperialism, People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 1984.
[xxx] Kang Youwei was a Chinese scholar, noted calligrapher and prominent political thinker and reformer of the late Qing Dynasty. He led movements to establish a constitutional monarchy and was an ardent Chinese nationalist. His ideas inspired a reformation movement that was supported by the Guangxu Emperor but loathed by Empress Dowager Cixi. Although he continued to advocate for constitutional monarchy after the foundation of the Republic of China, Kang’s political ideology was never put into practical application. Cited from on 23rd, Sep, 2010).
[xxxi] W. Tingjia, Cross-Viewpoint on Trend of Thought in Wuxu Period, China Renmin University Press, Beijing,1988.
[xxxii] X. Yongzhi, ‘A Preliminary Exploration on the Changes of the Marriage from the Late Qing to Early Republic Period’, Academic Journal of Zhongzhou, vol. 2, 1988; X. Jiansheng, ‘Research on the Thoughts of the Evolution of Modern Chinese Marriage and Family’, Modern Chinese History Studies, vol. 3, 1991; C. Zhenjiang, ‘Changes in Marriage and Family Structure at the Turn of the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China’, Nankai Journal, vol. 4, 1997; X. Long, ‘The New Trend in Marriage from the Late Qing to Early Republic Period’, Modern Chinese History Studies, vol. 3, 1991; L. Jinghe, Evolution of Modern Chinese Vulgar Culture, Capital Normal University Press, Beijing, 1998; L. Jinghe, ‘The Concept of Marriage Culture of the Wuxu Reformers’, Jianghai Academic Journal, vol. 6, 1998; X. Yongzhi, ‘Changing Concepts of Marriage and Family in the Late Qing’, Journal of Hebei Normal University, ,Social Science Edition, vol. 2, 1999; L. Jinghe, ‘Evolution of Modern Chinese Female Vulgar Culture’, Chinese Culture Research, Vol. 20, Autumn, 1999.
[xxxiii] Y. Hong, ‘A Discussion of Transforming Marital Feudal Customs: On the Basis of Newspapers and Magazines during the Reform Movement of 1898’, Academic Forum for the Youth in Institute of Modern History at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 2006, Social Sciences Academic Press(China), pp. 159-173.
[xxxiv] B. Qin and L. Lifa, ‘Women s Education and Emancipation in the Reform Movement of 1898’, Management Observer, vol. 10, 2009, pp. 24-25.
[xxxv] L. Yang, ‘The Variation of Women Education Development during the Late Qing Dynasty and the Early Republican Period’, Journal of Ezhou University, vol. 9 (2), 2002, pp. 52-55.
[xxxvi] Q. Jijun, ‘The Revolution of 1911 and Change in Modem Chinese Marriage Ideas’, Journal of Qiqihar Junior Teachers’ College, vol. 4, 2010, p. 216.
[xxxvii] Z. Shu, ‘An Explorative Study of Five Cardinal Relationships and Their Modern Values’, Southeast University, Master Thesis, 2008.
[xxxviii] X. Anqi, Gender Studies in Social and Cultural Transition, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press, Shanghai, 2005, p. 17.
[xxxix]L. Zhao, ‘Discussion on Chinese Women and Marriage & Family after May Fourth Movement’, Journal of Mudanjiang Teachers’ College, Philosophy Social Sciences Edition, vol. 5, 2003, pp. 62-64.
[xl] D. Yun and Y. Yongmin, ‘Brief Analysis of Marriage Freedom Phenomenon during the May 4th Period’, Journal of ChiFeng College (Soc. Sci.), vol. 2,2007, pp. 8-9.
[xli] ibid.
[xlii] S. Jianshi, ‘The Children’s Public Education’, New Youth, vol. 6 (6), 1919.
[xliii] Z. Guogang, A general History of Chinese Family, Guangdong People’s Publishing House, Guangzhou, 2007, pp. 1, 357.
[xliv] Z. Xiaolin, ‘Changes of Marriage Concept and Its Influence From 1898 to 1919’, Journal of Social Science Of Hunan Medical University, vol. 10 (1), 2008, pp. 50-53
[xlv] D. Shaohui, ‘Government Awards to Students Trained Abroad, 1871-1911’, Chinese Studies in History, vol. 28, No. 3 – 4, Spring-Summer, 1995, pp. 35-46.
[xlvi] M. Shizhen and X. Fei, ‘A preliminary analysis on the historical influence on modern China made by Chinese educational mission students’, Historical Research In Anhui, vol. 1, 2005, pp. 54-57.
[xlvii] L. Tao, ‘Children Studying Abroad: American and Chinese Industry in Modern Times’, Journal of Northeast Agricultural University, Social Science Edition, vol. 5, 2010, pp. 114-117.
[xlviii] G. Xinyao, ‘The Studying-Abroad Movement and The Evolvement and Influence of its Policy in Late Qing Dynasty and the Early Years of the Republic of China’, Central South University, Masters Thesis, 2008.
[xlix] Y. Hao and J. Wang, Macau and Us-China Relations, Lexington Books, Plymouth, UK, 2010, p. 119.
[l] The Chinese Students Memorial Society, http://www.120chinesestudents. org/photos/photo06.html(Accessed on 15th, April, 2010).
[li] G. H. Choa, TheLife and Times of Sir Kai Ho Kai, The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 1981, pp. 21-23.
[lii] ibid., pp. 57-59.
[liii]N. Qian, G. S. Fong, R. J. Smith, Different Worlds of Discourse: Transformations of Gender and Genre inLlate Qing and Early Republican China, Brill Publishing House, Netherlands, 2008, p. 266.
[liv] W. Xiaoyuan, Celebrities and their Japanese Wives during Republic Period, The Writer Publishing House, Beijing, 2004, pp. 1-15.
[lv] ibid., p. 16.
[lvi] T. Meiying, ‘Causes and Effects of Women’s Studying in Japan during the late Qin Dynasty’, Journal of Shandong Teachers’ University (Humanities And Social Sciences), vol. 5, 2005, pp. 92-95.
[lvii] E. G. Kemt, The Face of China, Duffield Company, New York, 1909, pp. 269-270,
[lviii] Z. Lizhen and C. Lihua, ‘The Transformation of Status of Chinese Female Students Studying Abroad and Chinese Women in Modern China’, in Collected Essays of Modern Chinese Students Studying Abroad, Hong Kong Museum of History, 2006.
[lix] T. Changcai, ‘Theories of Miscegenation’ in Collection of Tang Changcai, 1897, p. 102, cited from The Horizon of Cultural History: A Personal Academic Anthology of Huang Xingtao, H. Xingtao, Fujian Educational Press, Fuzhou, 2000, p. 15.
[lx] Qian, Fong and Smith, 2008, op. cit., pp. 266.
[lxi] Z. Pu, Flower in the Sea of Evil, 1941, cited from The Horizon of Cultural History: A Personal Academic Anthology of Huang Xingta,o H. Xingtao, Fujian Educational Press, Fuzhou, 2000, pp. 362-365.
[lxii] The Eight Banners was the system of government established by the Nurhaci. It meant not only strong military forces, but also effective administrative and economic organization. ‘The Eight Banners are the national foundation’, became the mantra of the leader of the Ching dynasty. (Source: C. W. Tsai, ‘Civil-Military Relation of the Eight Banners System’, Fu Hsing Kang Academic Journal, vol. 92, 2008, pp. 75-102.
[lxiii] G. Hayter-Menzies, Imperial Masquerade: the Legend of Princess Der Ling, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 3-15.
[lxiv] R. Hobart Davis, Oriental Odyssey: People behind the Sun, Frederick A. Stokes company, New York,1937, p. 142.
[lxv] Z. Xiaoming, Multi-Source and Diversification: Focus on Xinyue School from the Viewpoint of the Overseas Chinese Students Groups, Central China Normal University Press, Wuhan, 2001, p. 48.
[lxvi] (Qing Dynasty) Wang Tao, punctuation collated by Wang Jiaju, ‘Impressions Abroad with Illustration’, Shandong Pictorial Press, Jinan, 2004.
[lxvii] L. Gui, ‘New Records of travelling the Earth’, cited from From Traditional to Enlightening: The Neoteric Evolution of Chinese Traditional Family Ethic, L. Haiou, China Social Sciences Press, Beijing, 2005, p. 150.
[lxviii] Z. Shuhe, Go Globewide: The History of Modern Chinese Intellectuals Investigated Western Countries On-the-Spot, Zhonghua Publishing House, Beijing, 1985, p. 171.
[lxix] The Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program was a scholarship program funded by Boxer Rebellion indemnity money paid to the United States that provided for Chinese students to study in the U.S. It has been called ‘the most important scheme for educating Chinese students in America and arguably the most consequential and successful in the entire foreign-study movement of twentieth century China.’(Source: W. Ye. Seeking Modernity in China’s Name: Chinese Students in the United States, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 2001.)
[lxx] Z. Fengzhi, C. Zhenjiang, J. Pei, History of Late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China, Wu-Nan Culture Enterprise, Taipei, 2002, p. 355.
[lxxi] H. Liqun, Concise History of Work-Study Program to France, Educational Science Publishing House, Beijing,1982, pp. 134-141.
[lxxii] D. Weizhi, My Social Concept, People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 2003, p. 394.
[lxxiii] Zhang Daofan betrayed his French wife and made her very resentful of the marriage. Because of this, his French wife went to live in New Caledonia with her mother and brother. Her story is available in Biographical Dictionary of Chinese women, L. X. Hong Lee and C. Wing-chung Ho (eds.), vol. 1, M.E. Sharpe, 2003, p. 256.
[lxxiv] Z. Shuhe, Y. Guozhen and Z. Buqing, Records of Being Firstly Sent to Western Countries, Yuelu Press,Changsha.1985, pp. 20 and 40.
[lxxv] L. Mengxi, Misunderstandingsof Tradition, Hebei Education Press, Shijiazhuang, p. 12.
[lxxvi] H. Shi, Hu Shi’s Diary During Study Abroad, Hainan Publishing House, Haikou, 1994, p. 88.
[lxxvii] J. Liangfu, Anthology of Jiang Liangfu, 1st edn., Yunnan People’s Press, Kunming.1999, p. 307.
[lxxviii] ibid.
[lxxix] C. Lizhu, H. Xiuhua and G. Lizhen, A Documental History of Guangdong Women’s Movement, vol. 4, Guangdong Women Federation, Guangzhou, 1991, p. 525.
[lxxx] H. Shi, Collected Edition of Hushi’s Diary, 1910-1915, extract from 30 October 1915, Anhui Educational Publishing House,Hefei, 2001.
[lxxxi] ibid., 20th, Oct, 1914.
[lxxxii]  Z. Ziping, Autobiography of Ziping, The Chinese Overseas Publishing House, Beijing, 1994, p. 73.
[lxxxiii] W. Meiyu, Biography of Jiang Fangliang: On the Foreign Road of Melancholy, Beautiful and Honorable, China Times Publishing Company, Taipei, 1997, pp. 27, 129 and 137.
[lxxxiv] S. Jianguo, Biography of Lu Zhengxiang, Hebei People’s Press, Shijiangzhuang, 1999.
[lxxxv] S. Yushi (ed.), Selected Creations of School of Modern Literature in China: Collection of Symbolic Poems, The People’s Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 1986; L. Jinfa, Sing for Happiness: Collection of Poems, The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1926; L. Jinfa, Light Rain: Collection of Poems, The Publishing House of the China Literary Federation, Beijing, 1997; Z. Zhen, W. Yixin, Context of Intellectuals’ Worldly Wisdom, Tuanjie Press, Beijing, 2009, pp. 46-48; C. Houcheng, Smile on Azrael’s Lip: Biography of Li Jinfa revised edn., Chapters 2 and 3, Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House, Tianjin, 2008.
[lxxxvi] F. Ningjun, ‘Three Women in Xu Beihong’s Life’, At Home and Overseas, vol. 2, 2007; W. Youqing, Zhang Daofan’s Career of Being Civil official, Chapter 2, Tuanjie Press, Beijing, 2008.
[lxxxvii] H. Siyuan, “Memory of All My Life”, cited from He Siyuan: A Scholar’s Vicissitudes in His Official Career, M. Liangkuan, W. Qiang, Tianjin People’s Publishing House, Tianjin, 1996.
[lxxxviii] ‘Yan Yangchu in 1930’ in ‘Memory’, A Full-Length Documentary of Historical Figures, CCTV, DVD 6, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Pickwick Publications, Eugene, Oregon, 2008.
[lxxxix] J. Yung,G. H. Chang,H. M. Lai, Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, 2006, p. 51.
[xc] L. Naixiong, ‘Liao Shangguo (Qing Zhu, 1893–1959): His Career and Accomplishments’, in Art of Music–Journal of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, vol. 2, 2005, pp. 35-44.
[xci] D. Lary, China’s Republic, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, p. 139.
[xcii] Ly-Lebreton Denise (Li Fengbai’s wife), Love Will Never Fade (Ai Shi Buhui Diaoxie De), Foreign Language Press, Beijing, 1989; Q. Ren, ‘China Make My Life Radiate Brilliance: Ly-Lebreton Denise’, Journal of International Exchange of Personnel, vol. 6, 1992.
[xciii] Z. Zhong, Biography of Lin Fengmian, Orient Press, Shanghai, 1999.
[xciv] S. Mu, ‘The tidal current of Chinese-Foreigners marriages since late Qing Dynasty’, Journal of The Study, vol. 9, 2002, pp. 72-76.
[xcv] L. Miaozi, People’s Scientist Ye Zhupei, Science Press, Beijing, 1998.
[xcvi] Z. Zhongmou, Autobiography of Zhang Zhongmou, vol. 1, Commonwealth Publishing Co., Taipei, 1998, pp. 201-210.
[xcvii] Shu’Er, L. Liuping, ‘The Matchless Love of Qiu Fazu and His Foreign Wife’, Zhi Yin Magazine, vol. 8, 2008.
[xcviii] Davenport, H. W., RoBert Kho-Seng Lim: A Biographical Memoir, National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C, 1980.
[xcix] Edit Group of Biographical Dictionary of Scientists, Biography of Modern Chinese Scientist, vol. 1, Science Press, Beijing, 1991, p. 909.
[c] B. Jiao, Foreigners in China, China Intercontinental Press, Beijing, 2003, pp. 7-10.
[ci] M. M. Franking, K. A. Porter, H. Franking, M. Franking, My Chinese Marriage, annotated edn., University of Texas Press, Austin, TX., 1991.
[cii] E. Cooper, W. Liu, Grace: an American woman in China, 1934-1974, Soho Press, New York, NY, 2002.
[ciii] This marriage was very short. In September of the same year, Frederick Townsend Ward was killed in the battle with Taiping troops. It was said that Frederick Townsend Ward bequeathed his wife 50,000 Chinese silver dollars, recorded in The Comprador in Nineteenth Century China: Bridge between East and West (East Asian), H. Yen’ping, Harvard University Press, trans. L. Rongchang, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press, 1988, p. 228; Also see Y. Xingmin, Shanghai, The Year of 1862, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 1991, pp. 202 and 212.
[civ] Ko-Chai Wong (1823-1886) was from Amoy of Fujian Province. He was a prominent figure in the history of the American Episcopal Church Mission in China. He was the first convert to be baptized, the first candidate for Holy Orders, and the first clergyman to be ordained. He followed Bishop William J. Boone when he started his mission work in Xiamen in 1842.
[cv] X. Yuezhi, ‘The Interracial Marriage and Half-Breed in Modern Shanghai’, Journal of Shanghai University (Social Sciences), vol. 17, no. 4, July, 2010, pp. 17-26.
[cvi] ‘Universal Gazette’, cited from S. Mu, ‘The tidal current of Chinese-Foreigners marriages since late Qing Dynasty’, Journal of The Study, vol. 9, 2002. pp. 72-76.
[cvii] H. Day Lamson, ‘Sino-American Miscegenation in Shanghai’, Social Forces, vol.14, no. 4, May, 1936, pp. 573-581.
[cix] Yuezhi, 2010, op. cit.
[cx] Copy of Martin’s application for Chinese nationality, Civilian Office of Shanghai City Archives, Dossier Number: Q119.3.98.
[cxi] ibid.
[cxii] R. Hart, R. J. Smith, J. K. Fairbank, K. F. Bruner, ‘Entering China’s service: Robert Hart’s journals, 1854-1863’, Harvard University Asia Center, 1986, p. 198.
[cxiii] ibid.
[cxiv] ibid.
[cxv] ibid.
[cxvi] ibid.
[cxvii] Yuezhi, 2010, op. cit.
[cxviii] ibid.
[cxix] P. D. Coates, The China consuls: British consular officers, 1843-1943,: Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, New York 1988, pp. 441-443; Also see R. A. Bickers, Britain in China: Community Culture and Colonialism, 1900-1949, Manchester University Press ND, 1999, p. 113.
[cxx] R. A. Bickers, ‘Shanghailanders: The Formation and Identity of the British Settler Community in Shanghai, 1843-1937’, Past and Present, vol. 159, May, 1998, pp. 161-211.
[cxxi] Z. Hesheng ‘The Aloofness and Arrogance of the So-called Shanghailander: An Overview of the English People in the early 20th Century in Shanghai’, Historical Review, vol. 6, 2004, pp. 38-44.
[cxxii] ‘Tinkler’s document’, from R. A. Bickers, Britain in China: Community Culture and Colonialism, 1900-1949, Manchester University Press ND, 1999, 24th, Dec, 1927.
[cxxiii] Bickers, May, 1998, op. cit., p. 188.
[cxxiv] Hesheng, 2004, op. cit.
[cxxv] Lamson. 1936, op. cit.
[cxxvi] S. Seeberg, G. Filseth, ‘I Yangzidragens rike : nordmenn i Shanghai gjennom 150 år,’ trans. Z. Rongfa, in Norwegians in Shanghai: 150 years, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, Shanghai, 2001, p. 31.
[cxxvii] Lamson, 1936, op. cit.
[cxxviii] W. Jingchao, ‘Study of Sino-US marriage’, Life Magazine, vol. 4, 7, 8 and 9, December, 1928 to January, 1929.
[cxxix] ibid.
[cxxx] Jingchao, 1929, op. cit.
[cxxxi] Yuezhi, 2010, op. cit.
[cxxxii] Z. Jun, ‘Viewing the Migration Culture in Modern China from the Perspective of Chuang Guandong (Adventure to Northeast China)’, China Society Periodical, vol. 9, 2008, pp. 58-61.
[cxxxiii] L. MInghui, ‘The Definition and Types of International Migrants with a Special Reference to the Chinese Migrants’, Overseas Chinese History Studies, vol. 2, 2009, pp. 1-10.
[cxxxiv] Z. Guotu, ‘Interaction between Economy and Trade and Migration: New Development of the Relation between China and Southeast Asia-Additionally a Discussion on Causes of Chinese Immigrating to Southeast Asia in Recent Two Decades’, Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies, vol. 2, 2008, pp. 83-104.
[cxxxv] ‘The 150 Years of Chinese in America: Retrospect of Chinese Starting Enterprises in USA’, Accessed on 12th, Spe, 2010, viewtopic/t_9908.html
[cxxxvi] T. Sowell, Ethnic America: A History, Chapter 6, Basic Books, 1983, pp. 133-154.
[cxxxvii] Sacramento Chinese Culture Foundation, 150 Years of the Chinese Presence in California (1848-2001): Honor the Past, Engage the Present, Build the Future, Sacramento, California, 2001.
[cxxxviii] op. cit.,
[cxxxix] K. Lee, ‘Asian and African American Co-operation and Competition in Nineteenth Century USA’, Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, vol. 4 (1), 2006, pp. 82-91.
[cxl]  L. Minghuan, History of Chinese immigrants in Europe, The Chinese Overseas Publishing House, 2002, p. 24.
[cxli] X. Guoqi, ’Chinese Men and French Women: a Strange saga of the Great War’, Research Seminar of HKU Strategic research area in China Studies, the University of Hong Kong, January 28, 2011.
[cxlii] X. Guoqi, Blend of civilizations: Chinese Laborers in France of WWI, China Intercontinental Press, 2007, pp. 65-102.
[cxliii] B. C Fawcett, ‘The Chinese Labour Corps in France 1917–1921’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, vol. 40, 2000, pp. 33-111.
[cxliv]Demeestrere, Matthieu : article in a French magazine., cited from B. C Fawcett, ‘The Chinese Labour Corps in France 1917-1921’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, vol. 40, 2000.pp. 33-111.
[cxlv] Fawcett, 2000, op. cit.
[cxlvi] W. Xiaoju, Research on Russian Oriental Migration and Development: 1861-1917, China Social Science Publishing House, 2003, pp. 128-136.
[cxlvii] L. Minghuan, History of Chinese immigrants in Europe, The Chinese Overseas Publishing House, Beijing, 2002, p. 24.
[cxlviii] Minghuan, 2002, ibid., p. 102.
[cxlix] W. Junyan, The Record of Bielorussians’ Great Exodus to China, China Literary History Press, Beijing, 2002, p. 198.
[cl] L. Yongchang, Chinese Workers in Russia and the October Revolution of 1917, Hebei Education Press, Shijiazhuang, 1988.
[cli] T. Sowell, Ethnic America: A History, Chapter 6, Basic Books, New York, 1983, pp. 133-154.
[clii] Sacramento Chinese Culture Foundation, 2001, op. cit.
[cliii]  K. Bagnall, ‘Golden shadows on a white land: An exploration of the lives of white women who partnered Chinese men and their children in Southern Australia’, 1855–1915, PhD Thesis, University of Sydney, 2006, p. 249.
[cliv] G. Fink, Stress of War, Conflict and Disaster, Academic Press, Salt Lake City, 2010, p. 253.
[clv] M. Lynch, The Chinese Civil War 1945-49, Osprey Publishing, Essex, UK, 2010, p. 7.
[clvi] G. A. Cretser and J. J. Leon, Intermarriage in the United States, vol. 5, Routledge, London, 1982, p. 36.
[clvii] Fink, 2010, op. cit., p. 253.
[clviii] Lamson. 1936, op. cit.
[clix] Cretser and Leon, 1982, op. cit.
[clx] C. Sucheng, Remapping Asian American History, Rowman Altamira, The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., Oxford, 2003, p. 36.
[clxi] J. Hong, ‘A Study of the History and Current Situation of American Immigrants’ Interracial Marriage: Start From the Race of Tiger Woods’, Journal of China University of Political Science and Law, vol. 3, 2008, pp. 55-62.
[clxii] R. Moran, Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance, University of Chicago Press Chicago, 2001, pp. 17-33.
[clxiii] Jingchao, 1929, op. cit.
clxiv]  Bagnall, 2006, op. cit., p. 4.
[clxv] A. McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, Routledge, New York and London, 1995, p. 47.
[clxvi] Bagnall, 2006, op. cit., p. 5.
[clxvii]  McClintock, 1995, op. cit., p. 47.
[clxviii] Bagnall, 2006, op. cit., p. 5.
[clxix] M. Jie, ‘The Earliest Divorce Proceedings and International Marriages in Modern China’, Hundred Year Tide, vol. 9, 1999.
[clxx] ibid., also see: Affection and Sex: Subverting The Gender Order, W. Weigang, Hebei Science and Technology Press, Shijiazhuang, 2002, p. 205-206.
[clxxi] T. Kung Pao, 1911, cited from S. Mu, ‘The tidal current of Chinese-Foreigners marriages since late Qing Dynasty’, Journal of The Study, vol. 9, 2002, pp. 72-76.
[clxxii]  Mu, 2002, op. cit.
[clxxiii] X. Ke, Classified Anecdotes of Qing Dynasty, Chapter 19, The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1917; also see note of the case in The Earliest Divorced Case of Chinese-Foreigners’ Marriage in Chin, vol. 2, X. Yuan, The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1991; W. Xianming, The Breakdown of the Qing Dynasty: The Memoir of 1911, Tianjin People’s Publishing House, Tianjin, 2006, p. 167.
[clxxiv] Shanghai World Publishing House compiled Wonder and Unofficial History of Modern China with Illustrations, World Publishing House, Shanghai, 1925.
[clxxv] ‘The Manuscript of the History of Qing Dynasty’, record no.112, vol. 137, p. 4645, also see: Q. Jianzhang, ‘The Establishment and Influence of Nationality Law in Late Qing’, Journal of Henan University (Social Science), vol. 44 (3), 2004, pp.80-83
[clxxvi] H. Yimin, Urban Development and Social Change of Modern China: 1840-1949, Science Press, Beijing, 2004, p. 583.
[clxxvii] L. Mo, ‘Transformation of Family in Late Qing Dynasty’, cited from Family Development in a Century, L. Mo, Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House, Nanjing, 2000.
[clxxviii] S. Diancheng (ed.) 100-Year History of Chinese Returned Students in Japan, Liaoning Education Press, 1997, p. 327.
[clxxix] L. Yi, The structure and Evolution of Chinese Social Stratification, University Press of America, p. 186.
[clxxx] Bagnall, 2006, op. cit., p. 5.
[clxxxi] P. Väliaho, Mapping the Moving Image: Gesture, Thought and Cinema Circa 1900, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2010, p. 65.
[clxxxii] ibid.
[clxxxiii] M. Foucault, ‘Power and Strategies’, in Power/Knowledge, C Gordon (ed.), Pantheon, New York, 1980, pp. 134-145.
[clxxxiv] M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, SDX Joint Publishing Company, Shanghai & Hongkong,1999, p. 154.
[clxxxv] ibid.
[clxxxvi] G. Heng and J. Devan, ‘State Fatherhood: The politics of Nationalism, Sexuality and Race in Singapore’, in Nationalisms and Sexualities, A. Parker and M. Russo (eds.), Routledge Press, New York .1992, pp. 343-364.
[clxxxvii] A. Ong, ‘State Versus Islam: Malay Families, Women’s Bodies, and the Body Politics in Malaysia.’ American Ethnologist, vol. 17 (2), 1990, pp. 258-276.
[clxxxviii] K. I-Chun, ‘State and Marriage Politics: The Cross-Border Marriage between Taiwan and Vietnam’, Taiwan Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 3 no. 1, 2006 (2006/04), pp. 83-104.
[clxxxix] L. Mo, Transformation of Family in Late Qing Dynasty, cited from L. Mo, Family Development in a Century, Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House, Nanjing, 2000.
[cxc] L. Yinhe, Rising Power of Women, Culture and Art Publishing House, Beijing, 2003, p. 56.
[cxci] This phenomenon can be found in many recent newspapers and websites in China. A most recent book compiled by Zhang Jiehai and others, including this writer, first disclosed the phenomenon that Shanghai women prefer foreign men, see: Z. Jiehai, Investigation on Chinese Men, Jiangsu Literature and Art Publishing House, 2009; see also Z. Lili, ‘Relationship Development of Chinese-Westerner Couples in Shanghai-A Qualitative Study’, Masters thesis, Shanghai International Studies University, 2007.
[cxcii] M. Kibera, Love and Conflict in Marriage: Handling Misunderstandings, Paulines Publications, Africa, Kenya, 2007, p. 39.
[cxciii] P. Nyíri, Mobility and Cultural Authority in Contemporary China, University of Washington Press, Washington, 2010.
[cxciv] K. C. Lee, Pioneers of Modern China: Understanding the Inscrutable Chinese, World Scientific, Singapore, 2005.
[cxcv] L. Yaping, New Outline of Frequently-Used Law Provisions in PRC, China Procuratorial Press, Beijing, 1992, p. 401.
[cxcvi] The Elementary Stipulations of Consuls’ Duties and Tasks, 1954, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC.
[cxcvii] L. Hua, Issues of Oversea Chinese Nationality and Legislation of Chinese Nationality, Guangdong People’s Publishing House, Guangzhou, 2004, pp. 176 and 185-186.
[cxcviii]  Z. Peitian and D. Xiaolong, Historical Materials of Legal System Studies in New China, vol. 10, China University of Political Science and Law Press, Beijing. 2003, p. 11179
[cxcix] Y. Tong and L. Yue, Dramatic Love History: Marriage and Romance in China (1949-1999), China Literary History Press, Beijing, 1999, p. 1.
[cc] X. Yuhong, ‘The Increase of Chinese-Foreign Marriages and Chinese Consuls are Happy to Help them to Success’, Information Review, vol. 7, 2005, pp. 78-80.
[cci] Q. Xing, A New Interpretation of Chinese Diplomacy, World Affairs Press, Beijing, 1998, pp. 2-39.
[ccii] Y. Huamin, H Zhefeng, Study of Military Ideological History in Contemporary China, Henan University Press, Kaifeng, 1999, p. 119.
[cciii] W. Qi, Revelation of Sino-Soviet Alliance, Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, 2008, p. 170.
[civ] Z. Yuhe, National Rejuvenation and CCP, TSinghua University Press, Beijing, 2004, pp. 215-216.
[ccv] L. Minghuan, ‘Immigration Policies of EU States and New Chinese Immigrants’, Journal of Xiamen University (Arts and Social Sciences), no.4, 2001, general no. 148, pp. 104-112
[ccvi] Chen Boda was a member of the Chinese Communist Party, a secretary to Mao Zedong and a prominent member of the leadership during the Cultural Revolution, chairing the Cultural Revolution Group.
[ccvii] W. Xuewen and W. Junyan, A Loyal and Heroic Family: Family of Liao, vol. 2, Chinese Communist Party History Publishing House, Beijing, 2004, p. 438.
[ccviii]  B. Cheng and C. Qijie, Grand Ensemble of Malaysian Chinese Literatures: Proses, vol. 2, Pelangi Publishing Group Bhd, Johor, Malaysia, 2001, p. 331.
[ccix] L. Yiqing, Group Portrait of Professors in National Southwestern Associated University, , Showwe Information Co., Taipei, 2009, p. 256.
[ccx] T. Chunliang, Biography of Li Lisan, Heilongjiang People’s Publishing House, Harbin, pp. 145, 220 and 229.
[ccxi] China Association for Science and Technology, Biographies on Chinese Scholars in Science and Technology, Category of Science, Biology, vol. 1, 1996, p. 480.
[ccxii] R. Guixiang and Z. Hongying, Oversea Chinese and KMT-CCP Relationship, Wuhan Publishing House, Wuhan, 1999, p. 285.
[ccxiiii] M. Zhou, Chinatown: The socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave, The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1995, p. 84.
[ccxiv] People’s Daily, Works of Overseas Chinese affairs Must be paid attention to, People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 1978, pp. 2-12.
[ccxv] C. Wanling, ‘Magpie Bridge to the World: Tracing the course of registration of Cross-Nation Marriage’, Guangdong Minzheng Magazine, vol. 9, 2008, pp. 30-34, and vol. 10, 2008, pp. 16-18.
[ccxvi]X. Yun, F. Yuan, Y. Yue, Marriage and Family in Contemporary China, The Press of Central University for Nationalities, Beijing, 1993, p. 1.
[ccxvii] D. Zweig ,China’s Reforms and International Political Economy, Taylor and Francis, 2007, Oxon & New York, p. 100.
[ccxviii] R. J. Pauly, The Ashgate Research Companion to US Foreign Policy, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Surrey, UK & Burlington, USA, 2010, p. 177.
[ccxix] K. K. Shao, Zhou Enlai and the Foundations of Chinese Foreign Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 1996, p. 233.
[ccxx] S. Caixia, A Study of Internationalization of Chinese Criminal Law, Peking University Press, Beijing, 2006, p. 4.
[ccxxi] W. Tieya, T. Ruxuan, Selected International Legal Materials, Law Press China,Beijing.1982, p. 617.
[ccxxii] Yuhong, 2005, op. cit., pp. 78-80.
[ccxxiii] R. Xin and L. Xueyi, Analyzing and Forecasting China’s Social Situation of the Year of 1999, Social Sciences Academic Press (China), 1999, p. 220.
[ccxxiv] L. Linda, Chinese Sexual Culture in 20th Century, Shanghai Joint Publishing Company, Shanghai. 2000, p. 117.
[cxxccv] Wanling, vol. 9, 2008, pp. 30-34, and vol. 10, 2008, pp. 16-18 op. cit.
[ccxxvi] Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, PRC, Marriage Law of PRC, China Legal Publishing House, Beijing, 2006.
[ccxxvii] J. Chen, Chinese Law: Context and Transformation, BRILL, The Netherlands, 2008, p. 412.
[ccxxviii] Yuhong, 2005, op. cit., pp. 78-80.
[ccxxix] Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University, Mainland China Studies, 1990, vol. 32, (7-12), Taipei, pp. 275-276.
[ccxxxi] Y. Qindi, Exploration about International Marriage in Fuzhou, Journal of the Party School of Fuzhou, 2005 (1), general no. 92.
[ccxxxii] D. Jinhong, Y. Hongyan, Z. Shaoyun, Z. Jixiang, L. Kewu, Z. Yuzhi, ‘Characteristics and Trends of Cross-Nation Marriage in Modern Shanghai’, Chinese Journal of Population Science, 2004 (3), pp. 66-70.
[ccxxxii] Compilation Committee of Local History of Guangdong History, Records of Guangdong Province: Record of Civil Administration, Guangdong People’s Publishing House, Guangzhou, 1993, p. 186.
[ccxxxiii] M. Qixiong and L. Xiaodong, Summary of China’s Policy Towards Nationals Living Abroad, The Chinese Overseas Publishing House, Beijing., 1993, p. 121.
[ccxxxiv] Wanling, 2008, op. cit.
[ccxxv] M. Belinda Tucker and C. Mitchell-Kernan, ‘New Trends in Black American Interracial Marriage: The Social Structural Context’, Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 52, no. 1, February, 1990, pp. 209-218.
[ccxxvi] D. Weizhi, My Social Concept, People’s Publishing House, Beijing, 2003, p. 394.
[ccxxxvii] Xin and Xueyi, op. cit., p. 220.
[ccxxxviii]  N. Wei, ‘The Formation mechanism of Inter-ethnic marriages Family integration: Based on a survey of Korean and Han Marriage in Dandong area’, Master Thesis, Shenyang Normal University, 2008.

About the author
Dr. Qin Bo obtained his PhD in Sociology from the University College Cork, National University of Ireland in 2012. He is a lecturer at the Party School of Sichuan Committee of the Communist Party of China in Chengdu and a Post-doctoral Fellow of Fudan University in Shanghai.

Published in: Qin Bo – Chinese-Western Intimacy and Marriage – An Invisible International Hierarchy
Asia Studies Vol.3 – EHV – Bremen – ISBN/EAN: 9783867418966 –

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9 Responses to “The History And Context Of Chinese-Western Intercultural Marriage In Modern And Contemporary China (From 1840 To The 21st Century)”

  1. Gordon Whittaker
    June 12th, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

    Dear Dr. Qin Bo,
    Your fascinating contribution contains much valuable data on early Chinese-Western intermarriage. In the article you mention the marriage of Huang Su’e, daughter of Huang Guangcai (Wong Kong-chai, in fn. civ incorrectly called Wong Ko-chai), to Francis Lister Hawks Pott in 1888. I’m a little surprised that you refer to this as the “second representative case of interracial marriage between a local Chinese individual and a Westerner in modern China.” The marriage of my own ancestor, Huang Sumei, the cousin of Huang Su’e, and a Westerner, Thomas Deighton, was registered with the British Consulate in Shanghai in 1873 but may have taken place several years earlier. I would be happy to provide you with the details. Their marriage was highly controversial at the time.
    Thank you very much for this excellent article!
    Best regards,
    Gordon Whittaker (University of Göttingen)

  2. RQ
    June 12th, 2015 @ 6:04 pm

    Dear Professor Dr. Whittaker,
    Thank you for your interesting comment. Will forward your message to Dr. Qin Bo.
    Kind regards,
    Auke van der Berg

  3. Lenka Šutá
    August 16th, 2015 @ 8:02 pm

    Hello, I’m highly interested in china-western interracial relationships and I’m also writing bachelor thesis about this topic. I find this page very useful for me and I would ask, if it is possible, to recommend me any other similar research or document. Thank you so much!

  4. Rebecca Joung
    December 10th, 2015 @ 2:33 am

    I am wondering how it is possible to find out more about Chinese-Western interracial marriages. I am a Caucasian American, married to a Chinese man. His family was quite accepting of our marriage partly because a couple of generations back, another man of the family married a white, European woman. I would love to know more about her and her marriage, but the family stories are vague and conflicting. Can you give me any advice?

  5. Grant Hayter-Menzies
    August 9th, 2016 @ 2:05 pm

    Dear Dr. Qin Bo,

    Thank you for this fascinating essay, and I am flattered that my biography of Der Ling was of use to you in writing it. I would caution describing Der Ling’s mother, Louisa Pierson, as French. She was the daughter of an American merchant from Boston, based in Shanghai, and his Chinese wife (or mistress). I found a few European and American newspaper articles describing Louisa Pierson as French, but this was, I believe, in error. She seems to have spoken French, as did her daughters. Her Bostonian lineage was attested to by the adopted daughter of her eldest child, Nellie, who married General Dan Paochao of Beijing. According to this woman, who attended university in the U.S. and later married a member of the Thai nobility, Louisa’s paternal ancestry was from New England.

    All best regards – Grant Hayter-Menzies

  6. Judy
    November 23rd, 2016 @ 5:02 am

    How to forward this to facebook????

  7. RQ
    November 23rd, 2016 @ 11:35 am
  8. Roel Vande Winkel
    December 6th, 2016 @ 11:44 am

    I have done archival research on Qian Xiuling myself, looking at her student records, application to naturalise as a Belgian etc. I also watched the documentary her grandchild made about her. I am afraid you have got several facts wrong. To the best of my knowledge, she came to Belgium with her sister (not her brother) and without her fiancé. The idea that she would have lived together with that man without having been married to him, is highly improbable (even if he had accompanied her to Belgium). It would have been unacceptable, in particular for a student at a Catholic university. The man she eventually married, Grégoire (de) Perlinghi, was not Belgian, but Greek. In the early 1950s, the couple and their five children obtained Belgian nationality.

  9. Roel Vande Winkel
    December 7th, 2016 @ 12:05 pm

    Some more about Qian Xiuling. I watched the documentary her grandchild made again and must correct myself. She came indeed to Belgium with her brother. Her ‘fiancé’ was already there. She had been promised to him at the age of three and did not like him when she met him (in Belgium, this seems to have been the first time they met, at least as adults) so the engagement was broken off. She married the Greek medicine graduate Perlinghi. I still find it very hard to believe that she would have been living together with the Chinese fiancé. I cannot imagine the university (or her brother) would have allowed that.

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