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100 years of historic Shanghai English-language newspaper available at libraries

THE English-language North China Daily News, which published for more than a century, has been digitalized and can be viewed on computers inside Shanghai Library and The Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei.

“This paper reported China from the perspective of Western media. It is highly valuable as a reference to study Shanghai history,” said Lu Jian, the director at the library’s information center.

Also known as Tzu Lin His Pao, the paper was one of the earliest modern newspapers in China, founded by British auctioneer Henry Shearman in 1850, and published for more than a century before it was closed in 1951.

Featuring shipping and commercial news, “North China Daily News” gradually became famous for its reporting and opinion pieces on current affairs, with famous contributors like Frederic H. Balfour (1871-1908), a preeminent Sinologist who translated and wrote about Taoist texts.

It was the major information source for expatriates in Shanghai, while Chinese officials and merchants also paid close attention to understand foreign attitudes. At its peak, daily circulation reached 7,817. Its former 10-story building, No. 17 on the Bund, was designed as the tallest office building in Shanghai in 1921.

Shanghai Library has digitalized all issues of the paper from 1850 to 1951, totaling more than half a million pages. Visitors can access the pages, available on the computers inside the local reference room of Shanghai Library and The Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei, with a library card for reference reading.

Passports are required for expats to apply for a library card, free of charge. For the library card allowing reference lending, a deposit of 1,000 yuan (US$164) is needed.


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