The Sino-French Connection and World War One – Paul Bailey
Abstract: This article examines the recruitment by Britain and France of almost 140,000 Chinese labourers to work in France during World War One and considers its implications. This topic has received much less attention than the recruitment of smaller numbers from other nonEuropean, mostly colonial, sources. The article explores the reasons for this and the image of France among Chinese intellectuals at the time, taking the example of the Francophile Li Shizeng. The claims of French intellectuals that a close cultural affinity existed between China and France are also examined in the context of this influx of Chinese labourers.