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Between Birth and DeathFemale Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China$
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Michelle T. King

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785983

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785983.001.0001

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Reframing Female Infanticide

Reframing Female Infanticide

The Emerging Nation

(p.149) Five Reframing Female Infanticide
Between Birth and Death

Michelle T. King

Stanford University Press

Chapter 5 considers the consequences of external perceptions of female infanticide back on the ground in China. On one hand, most nineteenth-century Chinese audiences staunchly opposed the claims of Catholic missionaries who vied for the right to gather and baptize unwanted Chinese children, accusing them instead of kidnapping and killing children for occult purposes. This attitude evidenced a keen desire to find Chinese, not foreign, solutions to these problems. On the other hand, some in China gradually absorbed Western ideas about science and women’s rights, adapting them to suit the expectations of Chinese audiences. These gradual adaptations found in the pages of new nineteenth-century newspapers eventually paved the way for the widespread acceptance of population as the scientific measure of the nation’s health and strength in the early twentieth century, when the life of each girl child was seen as essential for China’s survival on the international stage.

Keywords:   Tianjin Massacre, Catholic, missionaries, infanticide, China, orphanage, Darwinism

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