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This paper examines the experience of Chinese accountants transforming themselves into a profession during the early 20th century. It delineates how the experience was shaped by an intersection of economic development, the political culture and the nationalist movement in semi-colonial Shanghai. Chinese accountants responded to the daily manifestations of these larger historical forces by combining their professional self-interests with a nationalist agenda and by adapting to the changing political environment. The history and legacy of this experience provides a point of reference for observing the re-emergence of the accounting profession in China since the end of the Maoist era.



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