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9 The First Casualty: Truth, Lies and Commercial Opportunism in Chinese Newspapers during the First Sino-Japanese War

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Chapter Summary

The First Sino-Japanese War which took place during 1894 and 1895 was a dramatic moment in world events. The Chinese public was extremely eager to read any news that could be gathered about the war, and newspaper proprietors grasped this opportunity to promote their businesses, competing to provide the latest information using wartime reporting practices already established in Britain and the United States. This chapter explores the competition between two commercial Chinese language newspapers, Shenbao and Xinwenbao, in order to elucidate the relationships between patriotism, profit and readership during the First Sino-Japanese War. The conflict lasted for more than two years, and for many people in Britain, it was seen as a symbolic test of the spirit of British forces and a physical projection of British imperial ambitions; but it also functioned as a very real test of Britain's true military strength on the battlefield.

Keywords: Britain; Chinese language newspapers; First Sino-Japanese War; Shenbao; United States; Xinwenbao



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