Old China's Secret Worlds Revealed
China has often remained inscrutable to Westerners but new research is opening up aspects of Chinese history hidden for decades and centuries. In his The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914, Robert Bickers, Professor of History at Bristol University, looks at the way China attracted the attention of British and European powers in the early nineteenth century. He discusses this with Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China, the shocking story of Pamela Warner, teenage daughter of the city’s former British consul Edward Werner murdered in 1937. Despite an intensive search, the murder was soon forgotten amid the carnage of the Japanese invasion by all but her father. 75 years later, deep in the Scotland Yard archives, French accidentally came across his lost case file. Unveiling an undercover sex cult, heroin addicts and disappearing brothels, the truth behind the crime can now be told – and is more disturbing than anyone could imagine. Both talk of a hidden China and one that has much to tell us about China today.
Robert Bickers is the author of the highly-acclaimed Empire Made Me. He has written extensively on Chinese history and is currently Professor of History at the University of Bristol. To write his latest publication, The Scramble for China, he travelled extensively, visiting many of the haunting sites scattered across China that feature in the book.
Born in London, Paul French has lived in China for more than ten years. He is the Chief China Analyst for UK market research publisher Mintel, based in Shanghai; his books include a history of North Korea, a biography of Shanghai adman and adventurer Carl Crow, and a history of foreign correspondents in China.
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