The Vision of Wade


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The British Minister to China Thomas Francis Wade crafted the first Romanization system for Mandarin Chinese (modern standard Chinese). This system is now more generally known as the “Wade-Giles System.

Thomas Francis Wade, who served as a diplomat, experienced the 1858 negotiations with the Chinese and the destruction of Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace). When he was stationed in Beijing, he suggested the
Qing government to make reforms and also helped to bring about the emperor’s decision to grant audience to the ministers of foreign countries for the first time. After the murder of A.R. Margary in 1875, he used all possible ways to put pressure on the Qing government to send an imperial envoy to have an audience with Queen Victoria. This “Margary Affair” prompted China to enter the international diplomatic community.