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A Bridge between China and the Rest of the World


Sunday, May 22: PRINCE GONG'S WORLDVIEW, an RASBJ event

Prince Gong’s Worldview, an RASBJ event Sunday May 22 2016

WHAT: Dr Ines von Racknitz talks on Prince Gong’s worldview as we tour his palace

WHEN: Sunday May 22, 2016, 2:30-4:30 PM

WHERE: Prince Gong’s Mansion, Gongwangfu 恭王府 西城区前海西街17号tel: 83288149 (details below)

 COST: Members RMB 50, non-Members RMB 100 (includes entrance fee). Group size will be limited; RASBJ members have priority until May 15th.

RSVP: email events@rasbj.org before May 20, write “Prince Gong”, and please provide a mobile number


In 1860 Britain and France invaded China. The Xianfeng Emperor fled Beijing, leaving his half-brother Prince Gong, 26, to deal with the “barbarians”. Against the wishes of a xenophobic Manchuelite, Prince Gong negotiated a treaty with the Westerners that initiated diplomatic relations with the West – and changed China’s relations with the outside world forever.  

      What did Prince Gong know about the outside world, and who taught him? How did he, exceptionally, come to support China’s modernization and “opening-up”? Why did he die in disgrace?  How do China’s current views of itself and the world relate to his negotiations 150 years ago?

Dr Ines von Racknitz will explore these questions as we walk through Prince Gong’s palace. Our guide and cultural interpreter currently teaches Chinese history at Nanjing University, focusing on late Qing, as well as global history. She is author of “The Looting of the Yuanmingyuan: ‘Imperial’ Prize-taking, Loot and Booty during the British-French China Expedition of 1860,” and is preparing a book on Chinese cartography.

MEETING TIME AND PLACE: Meet 2:30 PM Sunday May 22 at the ticket office of Prince Gong’s Mansion, 10 mins walk north of Beihai subway stop. Tell taxis “GongWang Fu” 恭王府 西城区前海西街17号 or phone 8328 8149

PAYMENT DETAILS: On Yoopay at https://yoopay.cn/event/67984052  before May 20, or in cash at Prince Gong’s Mansion. If you’re over 60, please bring a passport or ID card so RASBJ can benefit from the lower ticket price.


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