In the 1920's China was seized by a fervent nationalism, directed mainly against the presence of foreign powers, especially Britain, on her soil. Christian missionaries were one group of targets, many of whom had little understanding or sympathy with Chinese nationalism, and were happy to accept British military protection.
One who did not was Clifford Stubbs, a Quaker missionary and Professor of Chemistry at the West China Union University in Chengdu, whose pacifist principles led him to refuse all special treatment and protection beyond that afforded to his Chinese colleagues. He also spoke out vigorously for China and this won him love and admiration of his students. One of them even said he was 'nearly a Chinese', the greatest compliment he could pay.
Yet it was Clifford Stubbs who, on 30th May 1930, was found murdered on one of the campus footpaths. His students expressed their grief and shame in one of the biggest funerals ever seen in the city. The name of Clifford Stubbs is still remembered and publicly honoured on the campus where he taught and died, but the story of this remarkable man has not been told untl now. Drawing on family papers and Quaker archives, Charles Tyzack has produced a long-overdue and fascinating biography that does its subject full justice.