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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2023
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Book description

The South China enclave of Macau was the first and last European colonial settlement in East Asia and a territory at the crossroads of different empires. In this highly original study, Helena F. S. Lopes analyses the layers of collaboration that developed from neutrality in Macau during the Second World War. Exploring the intersections of local, regional and global dynamics, she unpacks the connections between a plurality of actors with competing and collaborative interests, including Chinese Nationalists, Communists and collaborators with Japan, Portuguese colonial authorities and British and Japanese representatives. Lopes argues that neutrality eased the movement of refugees of different nationalities who sought shelter in Macau during the war and that it helped to guarantee the maintenance of two remnants of European colonialism – Macau and Hong Kong. Drawing on extensive research from multilingual archival material from Asia, Europe, Australasia and America, this book brings to light the multiple global connections framing the experiences of neutrality and collaboration in the Portuguese-administered enclave of Macau.


‘In this deeply researched account, Lopes illuminates how Macau became a refugee city, a cosmopolitan society, and a global wartime nexus. At once diplomatic and social history, this book challenges our understandings of neutrality and collaboration. This book puts Macau on the map of histories of empire, China, and the world.’

Denise Ho - Yale University

‘This is a well researched and thoughtful exploration of the ways in which the liminal territory of Macau during World War II complicates our conventional understandings of such concepts of neutrality, Empire, and collaboration. A brilliant book that will be a welcome addition to the growing literature on the war in East and Southeast Asia.’

Julia C. Strauss - School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

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