The book (bilingual in English and Chinese) celebrates the 55th anniversary of the early legendary UK mission that broke the world trade embargo on the People’s Republic of China in 1953. In 1950 the United Kingdom became one of the first countries to recognise the People’s Republic of China. In 1953 Lord Boyd-Orr – head of the newly formed British Council for the Promotion of International Trade (BCPIT) – took 16 representatives of British companies to China to discuss trade. This ‘Icebreaker Mission’ paved the way for the now fabled 1954 trade mission by British companies, which later became known generically as The 48 Group and whose trail-blazing initiatives have become a vital part of British-Chinese commercial, cultural, diplomatic and academic history. It is still highly regarded by Chinese leaders from President Hu Jintao down.
The hardback book was published in 2008 and launched in Beijing.