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In the middle of the 19th century, a complex interplay of domestic and foreign influences propelled China into taking the first halting steps toward a reassessment of her rabidly isolationist policies. Masataka Banno’s intensive study concentrates on the climactic three-year period that saw the establishment of a prototype foreign office, the Tsungli Yamen—a concrete expression of China’s formal and irrevocable entry into world affairs. This authoritative analysis of a pivotal event in Chinese history offers a penetrating insight into the origins of many of the attitudes that are still evident in China’s policies today.