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    By: Frances Wood

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    At the time of the First World War, the Chinese republic was in its infancy. It had joined a number of international organizations and ratified the Hague Conventions, but found its diplomatic efforts hampered by its young, inexperienced leadership, its factional and regional divisions and the foreign-held treaty ports and concessions held over from the imperial period. The foreign powers treaded a fine diplomatic tightrope, caught between carrying out their patriotic duty to support war efforts and making sure their 'hosts', the Chinese, did not take advantage of the turbulence to gain the upper hand against the imperialists. For the Americans, British, French, German and Japanese, the legation quarters became a microcosm of the intrigues and conflicts back home.

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