The 1876 Chinese Post Office incident : an assessment of the Chinese remittance system and reasons for the incident
Cheong, Hua Zhen
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Overseas Chinese Remittance Firms, known as Qiaopiju, emerged and proliferated amongst the mid nineteenth-century context of a progressively globalized world and the introduction of new communications and transportation technologies into Asia. This allowed for the creation of a transnational network which the Qiaopiju were at the center. They successfully controlled the remittance trade and increased their profits by not only depending on traditional relational or guanxi bases, but also by utilizing new communications and transportation technologies, which enabled control over transmission time. However, the British colonial government’s attempt at interfering in the remittance business by implementing the Chinese Sub-Post Office and introducing new postal regulations in 1876 sparked off discontentment amongst the Chinese Teochew merchants monopolizing the Straits Settlements’ remittance business. Protesting and resisting the new postal arrangement, the Chinese merchants engaged Chinese Secret Societies to start disturbances and cause unrest. The Chinese Post Office Incident was thus an event with deep economic roots, arising from the clash of control over remittances between the British colonial government, who was attempting to control and regulate communications and transportation networks, and the Chinese merchants, who were expressing their dissatisfaction with the new postal arrangements that compromised their profits.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University