Neto and Giadán: The Last Two Spanish in the Qing Dynasty


  • Raúl Ramírez Ruiz King Juan Carlos University, España



China History, Self-Strengthening Movement, Xinhai Revolution, Paul Splingaerd, Republic of China, Diplomatic Relations Between Spain and China, Rio Tinto Company, Hexi Corridor, Silk Road, Gansu, Wai Chiao Pu, Bessemer process.


The present article examines the claim that

Manuel Giadán Ruiz and Jose Antonio Neto

González, Copper foundry workers, former

employees of Rio Tinto Company Limited in

Huelva, against the Government of the Republic

of China in 1912 for breach of contract of the

Imperial Copper Works. This enterprise was

owned by the Gansu Provincial Government.

Through this claim we can observe the causes of

the failure of the modernization attempts

carried out by the “Westernization Movement”

in late Qing times; and also we can see the

causes of frustration of Xinhai Revolution and

the beginnings of the Republic of China. In

particular, the “Neto and Giadan Claim” shows

how the nascent Republic of China is unable to

shake off the exploitation to which China was

subject by the colonial powers. In fact, through

this case, we see how the Republic of China was

forced to yield to the economic claims of any

European country, even to Spain, which at that

time lacked the coercive or military capacity to

impose its wishes on China. For the writing of this

article, we have used original documentation

from The Archive of Administration, The

Archive of National History; The Archive of

Historical Miner of Red River Fundation; The

Archive of Huelva Province; Archivo of Huelva

Diocesan, and The Archive Nerva Municipal. We

have supplemented this documentation with

the Belgian Foreign Ministry Archive and the

personal archives of Belgian “technicians” led

by "Belgian Mandarin" Paul Splingaerd and his

son Alphonse. They were the managers of the

industrialization process of Gansu Province

launched by the Taotai of Lanzhou Peng Yingjia.


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Author Biography

Raúl Ramírez Ruiz, King Juan Carlos University, España

Faculty of Legal and Social Science

28032 Madrid (Spain)



How to Cite

Ramírez Ruiz, R. (2017). Neto and Giadán: The Last Two Spanish in the Qing Dynasty. Sinología hispánica. China Studies Review, 4(1), 1–46.