chapter  6
The frustrating authority of Mr. Wells
Islam and the politics of orientalism in Republican China
ByAaron Nathan Glasserman
Pages 18

The July 1937 issue of Yu Gong, China’s leading journal of historical geography, featured an article with the following indictment of Western scholarship on Arabs and Islam:

Westerners received the gifts of Arab culture and created a great age, but there has never been a fair account of this in their written works. They hold a religiously and racially self-interested view, and whenever they mention Islam or Arab civilization, they all have a knack for erasure and slander, believing that, were they to acknowledge that a barbarian nation of the desert has been their scholarly and cultural guide – then what greater humiliation for Europeans could there be? This inherited narrowmindedness… unfortunately does generally represent the authoritative scholars of the day, and the generations of Voltaire, Renan, and Wells have all inevitably been confined to parochial self-interest and thoughtless blabber. 2