Simla, McMahon, and the Origins of Sino-Indian Border Disputes

McMahon Line

|By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia|

From May 2020 to February 2021, Chinese and Indian border troops engaged in melee, face-offs, and skirmishes along the Sino-Indian border near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. This series of disputes has resulted in numerous casualties, attracting worldwide attention in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such border disputes are nothing new. Three years prior to this in June 2017, the troops of the two countries had a border standoff in Doklam, a strategic location near a trijunction border area involving China, India, and Bhutan. Actually, China and India even went to war between October–November 1962 over their disputed Himalayan border.

Many of these border disputes and clashes can be attributed to the controversial McMahon Line. What is this line? And how did it come about? We can find some illuminating historical records on this in China and the Modern World: Diplomacy and Political Secrets, 1868-1950, a collection of rare historical materials selected from the India Office Records now held at the British Library.

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Rediscovering China and the World in the Nineteenth Century

Anson Burlingame and relevant handwritten letters

│By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia│

US–China relations have been somewhat strained in recent years – a situation that may not be easily resolved by Joe Biden’s administration. This difficult period in the history of American and Chinese relations started when the US raised tariffs on Chinese imports, triggering China to impose retaliatory tariffs on US products. This trade conflict later escalated into a confrontation on many fronts, including technology. Many people have been racking their brains about how to ease the tensions. We can draw inspiration from the past by examining interesting historical records which show positive diplomatic relations between the two nations. Many such records are included in Gale’s digital archive collection China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815-1881.

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An American Missionary with Two Motherlands: Joseph Beech and West China Union University

│By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia│

Reverend Dr Joseph Beech played an instrumental role in founding and running West China Union University, first as its founding president and later its chancellor, due to his vision, foresight, and resourcefulness. Today, March 11, 2020, marks the 110th anniversary of the founding of the university, one of the thirteen Christian universities established in China before 1949. Based on a perusal and research of articles published in English periodicals such as West China Missionary News, The Chinese Recorder and Educational Review, all available in Gale’s China and the Modern World archive, as well as his correspondence with the American Methodist Episcopal Church, available in Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Asia and the West, this essay attempts to reconstruct the story of this great missionary-educator who dedicated forty years of his life to the advancement of education in China, especially West China.

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