The Chinese are not a military people-they are a mercantile people born and bred. With them trading instincts are absolutely ingrained, and every transaction which passes through their hands must leave its trace of personal profit lying on their hands.
They never stop to ask themselves whether somebody else's code of morals approves or disapproves of this particular trait in their character. They simply say to themselves, "Oh, well, if there is no profit in this little game, we will not play at this little game."
-from "To the Business Man at Home"
As China in the beginning of the 21st century is starting to assert its global economic dominance, this 1914 survey of the slowly industrializing nation moving in the 20th century is newly fascinating.
Written by a British military interpreter of the Chinese language and a Chinese inspector for the Transvaal government, this historically important discussion of a people rushing to modernize examines the potential for China's burgeoning coal-mining and railroad industries and explores the foreign influences-German, English, French, American, and others-that were then seeking to stake their claims in this new business frontier.
Though burdened with the prejudices of its time, this intriguing volume supplies an essential background for anyone who wishes to understand China's past... and its future.