search : contact us : about us : site guide : home

  University of British Columbia Press
 Search Our Catalogue
  search by subject

 UBC Press
About UBC Press
Conferences & Events
Contact Us
Media Centre
Publishing With UBC Press
Publishers Represented
Staff Directory

Forthcoming Titles
How To Order
Recent Reviews
Review Copies

 Join Our Mailing List
Sign Up
Privacy Statement
Frequent Questions
Privacy Statement
Site Guide
Website Feedback

 Featured Title
Smokeless Sugar
The Death of a Provincial Bureaucrat and the Construction of China's National Economy
Emily M. Hill  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 10/20/2010
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1653-3    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 11/1/2011
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1654-0    

336 Pages

Contemporary Chinese Studies series


About the Book

Part political biography, part economic history, and part murder mystery, Smokeless Sugar sheds new light on regional and national politics and state-led industrialization in Republican China by investigating the mysterious execution of a Cantonese official in 1936.

Feng Rui, a Western-educated agricultural expert, introduced modern sugar milling in Guangdong in the 1930s as a key component in a program of light industrialization sponsored by the province’s ruler, Chen Jitang. Following Chen’s removal, however, Feng was accused of colluding with smugglers for passing off foreign sugar as a domestic product and was found guilty of corruption. Examining the truth behind the allegations against Feng Rui, Emily Hill makes the case that Feng was, in fact, a scapegoat in a multi-sided power struggle in which political leaders vied with commercial players for access to China's markets and tax revenues.

This compelling study of a Chinese official examines his role as a broker between regions and economic sectors and private trade and public policy. Emily Hill uncovers Feng Rui’s role in the conceptual and material construction of China’s modern economy and argues that his work helped to lay the foundations for China’s state-led industrialization program after 1949.

About the Author(s)

Emily M. Hill is an associate professor of history at Queen’s University.

Table of Contents


Figures and Tables
Abbreviations and Measurements
Note on Transliteration and Translations


1 The Formation of Agricultural Expertise: Feng Rui’s Education and Early Career
2 Public Service in Guangdong, 1931-36: Economic Nationalism and Provincial Planning
3 Rice and Revenue: Guangdong's "Benefit Agriculture" Import Taxes
4 White Sugar: Global Business and Provincial Enterprises
5 Bitter Experiences with Sugarcane
6 Brokers, Smugglers, and the Official Sugar Monopoly, 1934-36
7 National Reunification and the Punishment of Feng Rui
8 Provincial Sugar Industry Programs, 1945-58

Conclusion: Shaping China’s Economic Nation on the Eve of War



"Smokeless Sugar is a significant contribution to Chinese business history of 1920s and 1930s, and provides a close study of an early example of state-sponsored industrialization that has since become the norm in China."
-- Sucheta Mazumdar, The China Quarterly, 210, June 2012

"This is a very impressive work ... It uses the career and execution of Feng Rui as a way of analyzing several key themes in modern Chinese history -- regional and national politics in the 1930s, the role of the state in fostering industrialization, international trading issues and development, and the problems associated with transforming agriculture in China. Hill’s scholarship is excellent; she has thoroughly combed the Chinese sources."
-- Parks M. Coble, author of Chinese Capitalists in Japan's New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi, 1937-1945

"The intricate detective work of Smokeless Sugar provides a well-reasoned and documented exoneration of the unjustly executed agricultural reformer Feng Rui. Hill’s book is the first detailed English-language account of a remarkable program of state economic planning in Guangdong during the 1930s, which laid the foundations for the Communist government’s economic restructuring of the region in the 1950s. One of her most important findings is the vital role of the state in economic development during the Republican period."
-- Robert Y. Eng, author of Economic Imperialism in China: Silk Production and Exports, 1861-1932

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Asian Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Smokeless Sugar from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

© 2001 UBC Press
2029 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z2
t. 604.822.5959 | f. 604.822.6083 | e.