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Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
Island Tour (Fuzhou/Foochow)
Adapted from "Fujian
Adventure", Magic Fujian, etc.
Fuzhou Links History
Nantai Island (Foreign Devils & Chinese Ghosts)
in a Fujian Church!
Island¡Foreign Devils and Ghosts.
The first Opium War forced Fuzhou
open as a Treaty Port¡ªat least on paper. But battleships and lawyers didn¡¯t
win the people¡¯s hearts, and the Laowai still had to fight tooth and nail
to get land for commerce and housing. I had a taste of their poor reception
when I played Admiral Elliott in a TV series. (Like the modern binoculars?
At least I persuaded them to ditch the telephone and typewrite on my London
opening the Canton consulate in July 1843, George Tradescant Lay arrived
in Fuzhou in July 1844. But Fuzhou
folk didn¡¯t welcome him with wide-open arms! He was forced off his ship
at Pagoda Island and made to go up river
in a small boat. Fuzhou authorities allocated
him a house in a poor class neighborhood.. The house was built of boards,
over the river, which flooded twice a day. He was later moved to another
house which he complained, ¡®kept out neither sun nor rain.¡¯
Foreigners had opened Fuzhou¡¯s doors at gunpoint, and now they insisted
on living inside the city walls¡ªas if familiarity would breed camaraderie
rather than contempt. The Chinese, however, were ingenious in finding
reasons to keep the Laowai outside the gates. ¡°Tall buildings destroy
the fengshui,¡± was a favorite ploy.
Eventually the Chinese found a solution: put the foreign devils with the
ghosts! The foreigners were allowed to build their settlement, with its
fine colonial mansions, consulates, and churches, upon an old burial ground
on Nantai Island, to the south. This made it tough to keep servants, who
were afraid of ghosts, but at least it helped keep the rent down. ...
Over ensuing decades, there existed an uneasy peace between Laonei and
Laowai, but both prospered during the heyday of the opium and tea trades.
This prosperity was due in large part to the integrity of the Chinese.
A resident of Fuzhou, Brand, wrote about Chinese businessmen:
¡°There is one thing I would here like to lay special stress upon ¨C that
is the wonderful integrity and charming manners of all Chinese merchants
in the olden days. They were keen bargainers, but having agreed to a price
one did not even ask them to ¡®chop¡¯ (equivalent to signing) a contract.
Their word was their bond.¡±
Romantic tea clippers gave way to steamships, but Foochow (Fuzhou)
tea became prized in America and Europe. Even the King and Queen of England
pronounced that Foochow tea had a more delicate
flavor than Indian or Ceylon varieties.
Nantai Tour In spite of spooks, Nantai
turned out to be a nice place to live¡ªespecially up on the cool heights
of the shady hill. Money
poured in as consulates went up for Britain, Spain, France, America, Italy,
Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Russia, Portugal, Germany,
Austria, deng deng. Chinese also benefited from the foreign enclave. Many
Chinese children received a foreign education and went abroad to become
doctors and engineers, or to go into the legal [sic] profession.
The landowning Laowai are largely gone, but even today a tour of Nantai
Island evokes images of the wealth and splendor of 19th century Foochow.
The Huanan School for Women was used as a cheap hotel until the 90s, but
now the stately building is Fujian Normal University¡¯s Institute of Geography.
Trinity College was modeled after
the original in Dublin. Sadly, it was torn down and replaced by stock
concrete and tile structures, and in 1993 became the Fuzhou Foreign Language
School. But the Irish Consulate bell tower still stands
in the courtyard, and a bronze plaque on the front wall of the former
Russian Consulate commemorates those who contributed to its renovation
Behind the former Russian consulate is
an old church now used as a paint factory, and full of machinery, Styrofoam
panels, and paint. Click Here for miraculous story
about a Chinese church and paint!
British Consulate The
magnificent British consulate was torn down to build a home for retired
Army generals, and well guarded by an old fellow who was upset because
I looked through the gate.
Former Rotary Club To the
right of the British consulate that isn¡¯t there anymore is the old Rotary
Club, a fine building in its day but now in a state of depressing dilapidation.
American Consulate The library of the nursing
school across from the former Rotary Club used to be the American consulate,
and is worth a visit if you can get past the gatekeeper, and giggly nursing
students, who told me that Britain is desperate to hire Made in China
Fuzhou Seminary is further up the
hill, just past where the British consulate isn¡¯t. Originally a church,
it was turned into a camera factory, but the photo business never developed,
so now it¡¯s a seminary.
The Old Stone Church could have
been conjured straight out of Celtic
legend. I could imagine Arthur himself worshipping in it. The church bell
was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The church became a protected
historical relic in 1992, but is in a sad state of disrepair. It is now
serving as the Chinese People¡¯s Liberation Army 37503 Division Printing
Division. I¡¯m not sure what they print, but it¡¯s probably not Bibles or
Anglo-Chinese School Many Chinese
politicians, intellectuals, academicians, and scientists, graduated from
the century old Anglo-Chinese School. The beautifully restored church
is now a gymnasium but I guess that¡¯s just the way
the ball bounces.
Further up the road are the old estates of wealthy foreigners, and the
French consulate, which is now the headquarters of the Chinese Navy. That
move was probably revenge for the French-Chinese
naval battle in the 1880s. The French probably thought they¡¯d really
done something for the history books, but in the long run you can¡¯t beat
a people who¡¯ve stuck around for 5,020 years.
History (birthplace of Chinese Maritime Industry)
Island (famous "China
Pagoda," Sino-French Battle, etc.)
Haunted Nantai Island Tour (Includes old Consulates, Rotary
Club, haunted churches...)
of Fuzhou: 3 Wards & 7 Streets, Li Family House, Banyan City,
Yushan Hill and White Pagoda, Clay People, etc.
Valley of Yongtai (Fujian's Best Kept Secret)
Cuisine (Buddha Jumps the Wall Soup, Pounded Pork, Fish Balls)
was also spelled Foochow, Fuh-chau, Fuhchau, etc.
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
by Scott Ballantyne
Last Updated: May 2007
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Paint Miracle at a Fujian Country Church
The congregation in a small rural Fujian country church
decided to repaint the church, but only had enough money for about ten
gallons of paint. They did it anyway, in faith, praying that the
paint would not run out, even as the oil did not run out in the Old Testament
story of Elijah and the widow. When the paint ran low, they
added paint thinner, but managed to complete the entire wooden church
with just ten gallons of paint!
But no sooner had they finished, a very untimely (for that season) thunderstorm
broke upon the church, washing off much of the paint that had been thinned.
And a voice from heaven said, "Repaint, and thin no more!"
Click Here for "Amoy Mission -- 1840s-1950s"
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