Have Your Say: Missionary's work ignored
IT is with interest that I have listened to and read the BBC book of the week: The Empress Dowager Cixi, the woman who modernised China. No mention was made of Timothy Richard , a heroic Welsh missionary who fought hard and long and actually advised Cixi's and her family. His advice was ignored for more than 20 years before she, at the behest of her son, finally changed her mind to try and stem the revolt that was bubbling amongst the population. His story is contained in the book Tim China, he was a man from a humble Welsh farming family who became one of the most influential shapers of 19th Century China during its emergence from over 250 years of Manchu [Qing] rule.
His achievements were many — from the founding of the first western style university at Shansi — still in existence today — to the establishment of the first international famine relief organisation.
His motivation brought mobile medical facilities that dispensed modern medicines and techniques to a disbelieving population thus countering regular epidemics. His vision of providing wealth to the nation by industrialisation, road building, railways brought him to the attention of the ruling classes. His final role was advisor to the Emperor as the revolution unfolded.
He died in obscurity after returning to London.