Academic Trends
Peng Nansheng: Chinese Businessmen in the Foreign Settlements,the Beijing Government and the Western Powers after the May Fourth Movement:A study of Chinese Refusing to Affix Revenue Stamps in the Shanghai International Settlement in the Early 1920s

Abstract:In order to levy stamp taxes on Chinese inhabitants in the foreign settlements,the Beijing Government went through a long process of negotiations with the Western powers.After resistance and compromises,they finally agreed on the Measures of Chinese in the Foreign Settlements Affixing Revenue Stamps at the end of 1919 and planned to implement it from January 1st,1920.However,it was hard to implement the decree because Chinese businessmen in the foreign settlements strongly resisted it.Under the organization of Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce and Association of Shanghai Street Business Circles,together with the support of Shanghai Municipal Council(SMC),Chinese businessmen succeeded in boycotting the stamp taxes by claiming that they were overburdened and that Chinese and foreigners shoulid not be treated in the same way.In this tripartite game between the Beijing Government,the Western powers and Chinese businessmen in the foreign settlements,the Western powers were the real winner,while the other two sides were at a disadvantage.Only with the help of the Western powers were the Chinese failed to implement its Measures and found its authority challenged again.In the meantime,the Shanghai Municipal Council successfully maintained its jurisdiction over the foreign settlements.

Keywords:stamp tax;foreign settlements;business association

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