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The Invention of the “Political Offender”: The Sino-Japanese War and the Abortive Sino-American Extradition Treaty, 1893-1895

Jenny Day, Skidmore College

October 26, 2022 · 4:00 pm6:00 pm · 202 Jones Hall

East Asian Studies Program

The “decade of regicide” (1892-1901) shook major world powers and resulted in a new legal definition of “political offenders,” paving the way for the extradition of anarchists and terrorists in the name of “transnational security.” As with European powers and the United States, the Qing government also grew more desperate to recover its political enemies from colonies and foreign territories, especially after the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95. In the summer of 1894, soon after the conclusion of the Gresham-Yang Treaty, China and the United States were on the verge of signing an extradition treaty, but the sudden outbreak of war, the Qing’s military setbacks, and a major scandal involving Japanese prisoners led to a collapse of the Qing’s image and international standing, ending the prospect of the treaty. In this talk, Professor Day examines these divergent strands of history, some previously unknown, to shed new light on the emergence of the revolutionary party in the Qing.

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