Emergence of 華洋雜居 (End of foreigners and Chinese living in their own designated area)

Xue Xiao Rong, professor of Nanjing politics University had mentioned in the conference commemorating 160 years since the Small Sword Revolution – the revolution that led Shanghai into a different structure of urban development.[1]  The difference was clear, the concession turned from only allowing foreigners to live there to foreigners and Chinese together lived inside the concession, in Chinese we describe as 華洋雜居 (Hua Yang Za Ju). 


The revolution had direct cause to the refugees rushed into the concession [2], search for protection since the concession was under controlled and protection from the English, French and America, in here I will generalize them into “foreigners”.  Since 1843, Shanghai was made with two very different community, one side was the Chinese and another side was the concession. Chinese was not allowed to live inside concession, therefore inside the concession, there was no Chinese and two community only communications were trading of products. [2] The reason that they separate foreigners and Chinese is to prevent argument and disagreement between the two parties, and both of the parties were very much satisfied with such arrangement [2] since the culture, system, values were too different. The English believed that if there isn’t a designated area for them, it will be hard to protect their own people. [3] 


However, due to the revolution, a huge amount of refugees rushed into concession. Of course, the foreigners were not happy about it as this would mean that the community they lived in was disrupted and the whole concession would be filled with Chinese, people that they do not even share a common language. To stop refugees from rushing into the concession, the English consulate tried to destroy the houses of Chinese to evacuate the refugees in 1854. Thousands of refugees became homeless. [4]


The foreigner not only trying to stop refugees from coming in once since the idea of not wanting the refugees from going in was still very populated at first. Sir John Rutherford Alcock who was the British representative once said that he would do whatever to protect the concession and only allowing foreigners to use the land inside concession, the safety of the foreigners were the priority. [5] However, there are other voices starting to emerge. Some people particularly the businessman inside the concession saw this opportunity as a chance for them to do business. They do not view such event as something that may disrupt their peace but more a chance to gain more money, and they are willing to let the refugees in to gain more money. [5] Soon such voices started to dominate inside the foreigners and in 1854 the Shanghai land regulations had been changed. 


The revolution provided an opportunity for the foreigners to do business and gained money in real estate, hence this also stimulates Shanghai the developed faster than nearby cities. Before the revolution, Shanghai was still developing slowly, but when the Chinese refugees rushed into the concession and start having their lives with the foreigners, Shanghai’s population increased, very soon it developed to a decent city that able to attract more outside companies to invest in Shanghai. [6] The revolution caused the refugees rushed into the concession and it played a major role in the occurring of the phenomenon of foreigners and Chinese living in the same area. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the businessman played some role too. If they didn’t want to earn money at those circumstances and chose to continue stopping refugees from coming in huayangzaju may never occur. 


[1] 李健, 廖大伟. ““纪念上海小刀会起义160周年”学术研讨会综述.” 探索与争鸣, no. 12 (2013): 116-17.

[2] 周武. “近代区域暴动与城市变迁——以小刀会起义为个案.” She Hui Ke Xue, no. 12 (2011): 142-52.

[3] 上海公共租界史稿 [electronic Resource]. Di 1 Ban.; 第1版. ed. 上海史资料丛刊. 上海: 上海人民出版社 : 新華書店上海发行所发行, 1980.

[4] 唐振常, 沈恒春, and 谯枢铭. 上海史. Di 1 Ban.; 第1版 ed. 上海: 上海人民出版社 : 新華書店上海发行所经销, 1989.

[5] Alcock, Rutherford. The Capital of the Tycoon : A Narrative of a Three Years’ Residence in Japan. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1863.

[6] 譙樞銘., and 譙樞銘. 上海史硏究. Di 1 Ban.; 第 1 版. ed. 上海: 學林出版社, 1984.


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