Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 September 2018
The semi-colonial character of China during the treaty-port era brings into question the dichotomy between the colonizer and the colonized. China's foreign trade had an overall negative balance, and Great Britain, Japan, and the United States of America benefited from it. However, dozens of minor powers suffered a negative balance with China, despite the favourable conditions set in the treaty ports. This article examines the presence of Spain in China during the first decades of the twentieth century, focusing on trade, population, and issues of self-representation. Through a comparative analysis of the Sino-Spanish trade with that of other smaller powers in China, this article shows both the diversity of colonial formations in China and the existence of colonial relations that, although peripheral and complementary, pose a doubt on the adequacy, not only of the colonizer/colonized dichotomy, but also of the representation of colonialism in China.
We are grateful to Carles Prado-Fonts, Xavier Ortells-Nicolau, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments and criticisms of previous drafts of this article. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation under grant MICINN HAR2012-34823 and by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation under grant RG012-U-14.
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24 The number of Filipinos on the Chinese coast, which also included Filipino Mestizos, exceeded the number of Spaniards originating from the Iberian Peninsula during the nineteenth century, in a trend that continued in the twentieth century; see Martínez-Robles, D., ‘Españoles en el Reino Celestial Taiping: el desconocimiento como pauta de interculturalidad’, in Aguilar, P. San Ginés (ed.), La investigación sobre Asia Pacífico en España, Editorial Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2006, pp. 341–58Google Scholar. For example, the diplomat Luis Valera estimated in 1900 that 200 or 300 Filipinos lived in Shanghai at that time; see Valera, L., Sombras Chinescas: Recuerdos de un viaje al Celeste Imperio, Nausícaa, Murcia, 2013Google Scholar. See also Chu, R. T., Chinese and the Chinese mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity and Culture, 1860–1930s, Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2010CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The Spanish population in the Philippines was always very limited, as a result of a short colonial administration that depended on Catholic missionaries as colonizing agents. This explains why the most part of the Philippine population, mainly in Luzon Island, adhered to the Catholic doctrine but only a minor part learned Spanish or received a remarkable Spanish cultural impact. Filipino presence in the Chinese coast echoes the demographic characteristics of the Philippine colony: although maintaining the Spanish nationality, Philippine aboriginals did not usually interact with peninsular Spaniards, and only very few Mestizos became active members of the Spanish community in China.
25 In the first decade of the twentieth century, some intellectuals and politicians in Spain promoted a philo-Sephardic movement that culminated in 1916 in a statute that protected Sephardic Jews and allowed Spanish consuls to protect them. In 1924, a law conceded Sephardic Jews the Spanish nationality. Only Jews born in countries with a minor international projection, such as Turkey and other nations in the Middle East, decided to make use of that privilege.
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32 See a comprehensive research on Antonio Ramos Espejo in J. I. Toro Escudero, Del burdel al emporio cinematográfico: El papel olvidado, principal y pionero del soldado español Antonio Ramos Espejo en el nacimiento del cine chino, unpublished doctoral thesis, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2016.
33 M. Marinelli, ‘An Italian “neighbourhood” in Tianjin: little Italy or colonial space?’, in Goodman and Goodman (eds), Twentieth Century Colonialism, pp. 92–107. From Marinelli, we have adopted the application of Benedict Anderson's concept of an ‘imagined community’ to foreign communities in China.
34 The North China Herald, 21 October 1904.
35 Revista minera, metalúrgica y de ingeniería, Vol. 63, 1912, p. 12.
36 China Importers and Exporters Directory, Bureau of Foreign Trade, Shanghai, 1937, p. 49.
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40 See, for example, the lecture given by Juan Mencarini at the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce in 1912, J. Mencarini, Conferencia dada por don Juan Mencarini en la Cámara de Comercio de Barcelona, el día 6 de Diciembre 1912, Establecimiento Tipográfico Félix Costa, Barcelona, 1912.
41 See Heraldo de Madrid, year 37:12.784, 20 January 1927.
42 Spanish past as a global empire and one of the great Iberian powers that dominated the European intercourse with Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries fed this taste for decadence. Writers and diplomatic representatives mentioned it in their reflections on the position of Spain in China. On the precedents for the decline of the Spanish community in China, see Qing, Ai, ‘Imperial nostalgia: Spanish travel writing in China (1870–1910)’, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, Vol. 18, 2014, pp. 221–33Google Scholar.
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49 For a detailed description of bilateral trade relations between Spain and China, which are summarized in the following paragraphs, see Brasó Broggi, ‘Las Aduanas Marítimas de China y el comercio sino-español, 1900–1930’.
50 See the data for bilateral trade between Spain and China in Brasó Broggi, ‘Las Aduanas Marítimas de China y el comercio sino-español, 1900–1930’. Chinese customs measured the value of trade using a single magnitude: the haiguan liang (or Haikwan tael, hereinafter the HKT), the monetary standard in silver. The HKT was not a coin but instead simply a calculation value, as taxes and trade values were assessed and paid in the many local currencies, which CMCS agents converted into HKT for their statistics. See Lyons, China Maritime Customs, p. 52.
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57 Recensement de la population sur la Concession française de Changhai, 1910–1936.
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