The Evolution of Chinese People’s Perception of Railway Value in the Late Qing Dynasty

Yusi Liu


The railway and its related knowledge had been gradually introduced into China since the 1840s, and became a topic ardently discussed by the Qing officials in the 1860s. Initially, people held a negative attitude towards the railway, arguing that building railways in China would suffer from many drawbacks. This rejection stemmed from both the fear of new things and the concern about issues of sovereignty behind the railway. However, with the increase of national defense pressure and the development of commodity economy, more and more Chinese people gradually realized the direct or indirect value of the railway in national defense, politics, economy and people’s livelihood, and finally promoted the railway construction in full swing in the late Qing Dynasty of Chinese history.


The late Qing Dynasty; Railway value; Evolution of perception

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