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Books in brief: Out of China by Robert Bickers

"A sequel to The Scramble for China, Robert Bickers’s new book offers a history of westerners in 20th-century China"

By Julia Lovell   May 2017

Out of China by Robert Bickers (Allen Lane, £30)

In April 2016, the Chinese state marked its first National Security Education Day with a public education campaign. Cartoons pasted over the underground depicted a Chinese woman called “Ms Li” being courted by a handsome, red-haired Caucasian. In the final picture, public security officers expose her suitor as a spy, and a weeping Ms Li is charged with handing over “state secrets” to this scheming westerner.

The campaign broadcast the state’s ongoing suspicion of the western presence in China—a suspicion that extends back some…

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