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This book introduces Joseph Van Oost's three-volume missionary chronicle, covering the years 1915-1921 when stationed in Inner Mongolia. The author has provided a thematic reading of the chronicle, divided into seven separate chapters. Relevant passages referring to each of these seven themes are selected and annotated as to render the reader familiar with the general background and immediate context.
This book does not offer a critical study checking the recorded facts as to their historical accuracy. Rather, it gives a voice to a vivid past, which enables the reader to envisage a picture of everyday life in Inner Mongolia, as experienced by the European missionary and the Chinese peasant communities in the early years of the Chinese Republic.
Selected themes are as follows: 1. Climate, 2. Chinese customs, 3. Scheut community, 4. Chinese banditry as a socio-political phenomenon, 5. Political developments, 6. Bureaucratic reforms, illustrated by the opium policy, and 7. Relations (WWI) and China's modernization.
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