How pathetic it is! It is well-known that the British culture is famous for kindness around the world and wins respect from all countries. Therefore, most of the British people should be clement, and the British envoy would never like to see all of the Hu families die because of his plan.
For the Chinese, the Qing government had no intention of interfering with transnational marriages at first, and they let them be. The earliest legal documents of regulations on marriage between Chinese and Germans in , and Chinese and Italians in basically made them equal to previous forms of marriage, and the Qing government did not intend to interfere too much. Later on, as there were more cases of this kind of marriage, some problems did arise, and the Qing government had to pay attention to them.
It was the first case of divorce between a Chinese and a foreigner. I asked my family servant Li Xing to apply to the higher authorities for consideration of my case on behalf of me. Now because she has failed in her obligations to the family as a wife and she is a dissolute woman, she has gone back to the UK on her own since She has not returned, and she even wrote a letter to tell me that she would not return to China. We indeed are willing to divorce.
Would you please check them and also request the Foreign Minister to consult with the British legation to proceed.
I humbly beg you to approve it for my convenience. This was an unprecedented case in China, of a man offering the excuse that his wife did not adhere to wifehood.
After the divorce, the reports in the Chinese papers were quite amusing and it was used as a warning to those wanting to marry Western women. Confronting this situation, at the beginning of , the Qing government held a discussion about interracial marriages between Chinese and foreigners. It considered that as the exchange between various countries became more and more frequent, theoretically speaking, interracial marriages between Chinese and foreigners should not be prohibited, but should be restricted.
This was an unprecedented case in China, of a man offering the excuse that his wife did not adhere to wifehood. In the meantime, the sons of the royal family of Qing had taken the daughters of Mongolian kings and dukes as empresses and imperial concubines [v]. Chinatown is a small area of Manchester's city centre. Maybe this was related to the increase in foreign settlers, or the increasing communication between different races. In , they divorced.
It prescribed that future marriages between Chinese and foreigners should first be reported to the government. If one was a diplomatic official or officer, one was not allowed to marry a foreigner without permission. In the same year, the Qing Government also acceded to a request of the Imperial Educational Ministry and declared that overseas students should not marry foreigners. There were several reasons for this.
First, during their studies, overseas students should not be burdened by a family in case it affected their studies. Second, economically speaking, foreign women were considered basically extravagant, while overseas students had only a limited amount of money, and would not have a good balance between study and life if they married foreigners. Because those who engaged in intercultural marriages were usually of the Chinese elite, especially students studying abroad, the educational officials in ROC became very worried that their money might be lost to another country because of intercultural marriage.
The ROC government believed that once they became husbands or wives of foreigners, they would not serve China any more. In July , towards the end of World War I, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China issued an order to restrict marriages between overseas students and foreigners. However, as they were too far away to control, its effectiveness was doubted. The opening-up was the result of the advances made by Western powers in terms of guns and boats, and it brought closer contacts between the Chinese and Westerners for the first time after thousands of years.
From the perspective of and the two nations, various battles between the two sides were mostly temporarily ended with compromises and concessions by the Chinese. It could be said that the Chinese endured much abuse and hardship during these years. It was against this major background that the earliest transnational marriages between Chinese and Westerners took place.
I would like to summarise the characteristics, elements and the significance of Chinese-Western intermarriages in modern China. Approaches and Social Classes: As discussed above in terms of historical records, there were four approaches for Chinese to marry Westerners in modern history. But in fact these approaches are themselves contained within the following categories: 1 Chinese students and diplomats studying abroad marrying Westerners; 2 Foreigners marrying Chinese in foreign concessions in China; 3 Chinese labourers working in Western countries marrying local Westerners; 4 Chinese refugees fleeing to Western countries due to the Chinese Civil War.
It was obvious to see that CWIM in modern China was the result of freer contacts between Chinese and Westerners, of which Chinese spouses usually met their Western spouses freely and naturally through their studying, working and daily lives. Compared with other approaches to meeting and selecting spouses including certain purposive and high-tech approaches in the contemporary world, free association with Westerners is the most obvious characteristic of CWIMs.
The features of social class were also tightly related to the approaches in CWIMs in modern times. Diplomats and students sent to foreign countries almost all had high social status. According to the Chinese Social Stratefication model, [clxxix] these people usually belonged to Cadre and Quasi-Cadre, or were Capitalists. Some other students were self-funded especially in the ROC period and they were from wealthy families. The reason why they had the opportunities to contact and marry Westerners largely depended on their social statuses. These Chinese were the elite in modern China, and they were the first group of people who formally associated with and studied the Western world, thus they had more chances and were more open and cosmopolitan than the majority of ordinary Chinese people in China.
To some extent they were less constrained and more accepting of intercultural marriages, as they had more privileges in powers and ways of dealing with their marital affairs than ordinary Chinese people. These people were almost all intellegentsia, upper class, and from wealthy families, because only they had the economic capability of travelling to avoid war.
Their associations and marriages with Western countries and Westners also represented the social class attributes in CWIMs. In other words, Chinese spouses from the first and forth channels had the power to choose their CWIMs and migration destinations. The third group of Chinese spouses who married Westeners in foreign countries were almost all labour workers in modern China, and the majority of them were male.
They belonged to the peseant working classes.
They left their homes to make a living in a remote Western country. Their choices in intercultural marriages with Westeners came about through free association with Westerners. Moreover, they left China, and they needed to have a wife and family to fulfill the basic physiological needs and more importantly, the need to continue their family ties that were significantly standardised in traditional Chinese culture. To some extent, they had no alternative but to choose intercultural marriage.
The culture in Zu Jie was more international than other parts of China of that time, and it created a social mode for free contacts between Chinese and Westerners. This approach is very different from the arranged marriage which was the dominant marriage mode of traditional Chinese society. In addition, upper class Chinese obtained more choices and capabilities than lower class Chinese in marriage and choosing intercultural marriages.
Both Chinese and Western countries revolted against intercultural intermarriage. The Chinese attitude was marked by trepidation towards Westerners, and Westerners tended towards being disdaining towards marriage between their people and the Chinese. The CWIMs were strongly influenced and even interfered with by governmental power. Regardless of capitalist and industrialised Western countries or the feudal China of modern times, the government agency still dominated and infiltrated the private spheres of the family and marriage.
Western governments particularly, ascribed to themselves a superiority over the Chinese in culture and race. As discussed previously, Chinese Exclusion Acts operated in many places in Western countries for a long time. The body is submissive, cooperative, and it has becoming dexterous and strong. The political controls on the human body are based on a complex interrelation which is closely related to the instrumentalising of the human body.
The human body is endowed with power and a dominance relationship as productive forces, and in the meantime it is brought into an affiliation system. At the same time, when threatened by intercultural marriage, Western governments strengthened the state authority and race boundaries by means of legislating discriminating laws towards Chinese men and promoting the argument that reproduction was a national obligation. Complexities of nationalism and culture were connected in CWIMs.
Both Chinese and Western males hold the same horizons in state agencies, implying that the state agency was masculinised. Therefore, it could be observed that the infiltration of governmental power into private domains, and the political and social significance of race discrimination among patriarchal countries were also represented in CWIMs.
Shift in CWIM Gender Ratios: After reviewing the history of Chinese Western intercultural marriage in modern China, we can see that there was a very peculiar phenomenon of intermarriage between Chinese and foreigners at that time; Chinese men marrying foreign women was relatively common, but few Chinese females married foreign males. More famous Chinese males married Western women than they did Chinese women, although this situation changed very quickly after a few years of the Opening, especially with the establishment of the Republic of China.
However, it must be noted that during the period in which, in general, more Chinese men married Western women, more Chinese women married Westerners in Zu Jie such as Shanghai. The situation of more Chinese men marrying Western women lasted for a period of time, but it became a very uncommon phenomenon later in the history of Chinese intercultural marriage. This deserves discussions as it is the most distinctive characteristic of modern Chinese-Western intercultural marriage.
Several reasons could be suggested for the transition: 1 The early students sent to foreign countries were all Chinese men, and no women would have had such opportunities, so naturally, Chinese men had more opportunities to make contacts with Western women. At the same time, all those Chinese men who first came into contact with the West were noble personages with prominent social status which could make up for the weakness of the nation and the country. The restrictions of traditional culture upon Chinese women were greater than those on men.
Women in China were still conservative, and the patrilineal culture required women to be more obedient and conservative, whereas Chinese men were free of this kind of restrain. A reason more Chinese women married Western men could be that the Westernised culture dominated in Zu Jie, and the power of traditional Chinese culture and family values were greatly weakened, leading to the gradual formation of a mixed and international culture in Zu Jie, which meant that Chinese women in Zu Jie had much fewer constraints in terms of sex and marriage choices. They could marry Westerners without considering traditional family pressures.
It was only in special situations that many Chinese men could marry Western wives.