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CHP-127-The Birth of US-China Relations

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 by in Podcasts | 5 comments

The Treaty of Wangxia signed July 3, 1844 by Caleb Cushing and Qiying.

The Treaty of Wangxia signed July 3, 1844 by Caleb Cushing and Qiying.

In this episode we take a look at the circumstances and times when the brand spanking new nation of the USA came a calling to China for the very first time.  The so-called “Most Important Relationship in the World” had very humble origins indeed.  When representatives of the United States first arrived in Canton in August 1783 they really had a lot of explaining to do about who they were and where they came from.  Repeatedly they had to explain to the Chinese who interacted with them that they weren’t British.


Qianlong 乾隆  The Qing emperor who reigned 1735-1796

Guangzhou 广州  Canton

Wujing 五经  The Five Classics

Sishu  四书 The Four Books

Zhong-Mei guanxi 中美关系  China – US Relations

Lao Mei 老美 a term for America or Americans…not particularly a polite way to say it

Lao Zhong 老中 I never heard this used before…but the counterpart of Lao Mei

Jin Sha 金沙 Cumshaw. A bribe given in the form of a gift (means gold sand or gold dust)

Wuyi Cha 武夷茶  Bohea Tea  A popular type of tea export back in the day

Xichun Cha 熙春茶  Hyson Tea Another popular type of tea export back in the day.

Bupingdeng tiaoyue  不平等条约 Unequal Treaty

Qiying  耆英 Known as “Keying”, a Manchu noble who signed many Unequal Treaties

Wangxia Tiaoyue  望夏条约  The Treaty of Wangxia July 3, 1844

Guanyin Tang  观音堂  The Temple in Macao where the Treaty of Wangxia was signed

Puji Chanyuan  普及禅院  The former name of this temple

Da-Qing  大清  The name of the Qing Empire…means Great Qing

Jean Baptiste Du Halde, writer of the The General History of China





  1. I am reading The forgotten ally, by Rana Mitter. She does a good job paralleling the leaderships of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao and WJW during IIWW. It’s really good for understanding the agenda and motivations of “chairman” Wang, specially after he’s been all trashed out by KMT and Communists alike. As you said, when it was his time, “he didn’t rise to the occasion”.
    The book is well documented, with first hand testimonies of the Rape of Nanjing and the “Chinese Dunkirk” retreat to Chongqing… a bit revisionist anyhow, specially in the portrait of Chiang and his gang.
    Ps: “rana” means “frog” in Spanish, crazy name, uh?
    Pss: next time you come to China I’ll still 20 minutes of your time.

    • Luis

      I just ordered that book recently and plan to use it as a resource for my Chiang Kai-shek podcast series. It comes highly recommended and I was hoping to offer a more balanced look at Chiang’s controversial life. I’ve been in HK and Beijing for the past two weeks. Heading back to the US this afternoon. My next episode will hopefully be ready before the New Year. I was having too much fun out here and didn’t get to work on it as much as I planned to. Take care. I’ll always announce when I’m visiting China (or anywhere in the world)….Where are you based? Feliz Navidad mi amigo!!

      • Laszlo,

        How are you? My name is Wex Lee, growing up in China earning my master’s degree there and my Ph.D. degree here in the U.S. I live in the Chicago area (45 minute drive to Chicago). Even though I can and did learn Chinese history in Chinese language, I still enjoy your podcasts immensely. Why do I still follow your podcasts? 1. The delivery is superb. It is a pure joy. 2. The content is accurate, and I dare say, quite up to date. 3. I love history. 4. I also work full time like you–less travel like you, and I must say this: developing this caliber of rich content takes so many hours to read, to write manuscripts, to record, to maintain the web sites, to keep up with listener communications —these DEMAND involuntary respects. Please accept my sincere appreciation! More comments on another day. Cannot say enough today.

        P.S. perhaps an email /WeChat discussion on Guangzhou 广州 Canton?

  2. It’s seem I missed you -just like I missed Rihanna at Venetian Macau! I am based at Hangzhou, I am pursuing a degree, so I’ll be here for a couple of years. Happy reading and good luck with the Chiang podcast series. Feliz navidad!!!!!!

    • 杭州见! I’ll be there Feb-March 2014….

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