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History of Sino-British Relations:
The Republic, 1910-1949

China's political structure could not stand the internal and external pressures. In 1910-11, Imperial rule came to an end. There was no easy transition to a new order and China descended into political chaos. The foreign powers continued to enjoy their privileges, although there were now voices in China demanding their end. In the British case, the great days were over even before the First World War, though many found it hard to believe. American and Japanese companies began to replace the British in the China trade. As China settled down after 1926, the pressure for a revision of the old treaties grew stronger. Concessions were made in the 1920s and 1930s, but only in 1943 did Britain (and the United States) formally surrender the privileges and immunities gained after 1842. With much of China occupied by Japan, this was a symbolic gesture of support for a wartime ally. When the British returned to China after 1945, China was soon in the throes of a civil war that would change everything.

- History of Sino-British relations, 1949-1966


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