Tianjin and the port of Dagu are important for access, from the sea, to the area around the Chinese capital of Beijing. Foreigners from Western countries began to live in Tianjin from 1860, and after 1901 Tianjin had eight foreign concessions. None of them were Danish, but Danes, and some of the Danish families, were significant in the development of the foreign community and its relations with the local population. Danes were particularly active in telegraphy and other public utilities such as gas, water and electricity, and in river conservancy. Some were employed directly by the Chinese government in the customs and the navy, and some were active in trade and other services.
Like most foreigners, the Danes enjoyed extraterritoriality under consular jurisdiction. Most of the time the Russian consul was acting for Denmark, and some of the Danes challenged both to the consular services, a well as extraterritoriality in general, as illustrated by a few cases.
Leif Littrup was born in 1944 and earned his PhD from the Australian National University in 1978. He then taught Chinese and history at the University of Copenhagen and is now retired. He has published on Chinese history since around 1500, mostly on subbureaucratic government at the village level, on the study of world history in China in modern times and on Chinese relations to the outside world.