The North-China Daily News is back for everyone to read! Well, not a new edition, but a digital copy of the original newspaper. Being the first English-language newspaper in China, the North-China Herald (later renamed) was launched by a British auctioneer in 1850.

Weekly editions were printed until 14 years later when it became a daily newspaper and changed its name to the North-China Daily News. Approximately 8,000 copies were read each day and it was considered to be the most influential foreign newspaper in China. Expats in Shanghai looked to the newspaper as a source of news and reviews on diplomatic and current events. It became widely noted amongst Chinese officials and merchants as a way to understand Western attitudes. And although it had English founders and was a Western media outlet, the newspaper didn’t always hold the same views as the British government, for example, in matters such as the Opium Wars.

Nowadays, those original newspapers are too fragile for people to read and have been stored in the Shanghai Library. Finally, after four years of hard work, Shanghai Library has finished digitalizing the printed editions of China’s first English-language newspaper which spanned 100 years. Now that the newspapers have been digitally protected, historians and media researchers have already begun reading through them as the newspaper is considered to be an invaluable reference point from which to study Shanghai’s history.

Following in the same digital footsteps, the Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury, which was founded by a US expat living in Shanghai in 1929, is currently being digitized by Shanghai Library.

How important do you think media sources are for expats in their native language?