Li Gui 1842-1903

A native of Jiangning in Jiangsu province. With the experience gained from drafting documents as a captive under the Taiping rebels, he was able to secure employment as a customs officer with the Ningbo customs service for ten years. It was through this job that he was invited to join China's delegation to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, his impressions of which were recorded in New Records of Travels Around the World. After the exhibition Li travelled on to Washington, New York and San Francisco, as well as to Hartford, Connecticut, for an important visit to Yung Wings's group of Chinese students, whom he had met at the exhibition. He then journeyed to Europe, visiting London and Paris. In 1883, on the recommendation of Xue Fucheng, he was made a member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, responsible for planning against French encroachment in Indo-China. When war broke out with France in 1883, he was involved with the defence of China's east coast. In 1894 the government asked him to lobby the British for assistance in the war against Japan. His only official appointment was a magistracy in Haining, Zhejiang province. He held this post from 1893 until his retirement in 1898.