Kuo Sung-tao(1818-1891), Chinese diplomat and liberal statesman
Sitter in 5 portraits
The first Chinese Minister to be posted to a western country. He was a prominent member of China's Self-Strengthening Movement which brought about a number of institutional reforms that were initiated in the 1860s and 1870s. Having initially served in various bureaucratic roles, he became known for his moderate and peaceful advocacy to foreign policy. In 1877, he became the first Qing minister to serve as Minister to Britain and France. With changing attitudes in China, Sung-tao was ordered to return in late 1878. His pro-foreign views and the proposed publication of his diaries, recording his journey from Shanghai to London, caused an outcry, the publication was subsequently halted. Concerned for his safety, he returned to his home province citing 'ill health' as the reason for his sudden retirement from public duty. He devoted the rest of his life to writing and teaching.