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Commemorating Race and Empire in the First World War Centenary$
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Ben Wellings and Shanti Sumartojo

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940889

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940889.001.0001

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From ‘Coolie’ to Transnational Agent

From ‘Coolie’ to Transnational Agent

The ‘Afterlives’ of World War One Chinese Workers

(p.23) From ‘Coolie’ to Transnational Agent
Commemorating Race and Empire in the First World War Centenary

Paul J. Bailey

Liverpool University Press

In April 2010 China Central Television’s international English-language channel (Channel Nine) broadcast a six-episode documentary in its series ‘New Frontiers’ hosted by Ji Xiaojun on the 130,000-plus Chinese workers recruited by the French and British governments during World War One. In portentous tones Ji Xiaojun boldly announced in the first episode that the World War One Chinese workers ‘stood shoulder to shoulder’ with British and French troops to combat German military aggression, and that in the process 20,000 of them were killed. Such a valuable contribution to the Allied victory, Ji continued, was not fully acknowledged by France and Britain until fifty years after the end of the war. Overall, the programme depicted the episode as a shining example of China’s positive and beneficial interaction with the world ...

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