I recently spent three weeks researching in the Shanghai Municipal Archives, following a three-year gap since I was last there, and there are some important recent changes in regulation for researchers. I read Steven Pieragastini’s review of the archive from earlier this year, but his visit was also evidently before the new regulations came into force:
1. All foreigners are now required to provide a letter of introduction from a Chinese danwei. The fact that I had a card for the archives from previous visits did not exempt me from this requirement. They were willing to allow me access for one day without a letter of introduction, but it was only the good luck of seeing a Chinese professor I knew who promised to bring in such a letter for me that allowed me to use the archives for the following couple of weeks.
2. As of 1 August 2013, it is no longer possible to have photocopies taken of original documents, which means that all notes have to be made by hand. Digitised and microfilm records can, however, now be printed free of charge up to a maximum of 100 pages.
Helen Bruce Lecturer in Modern East Asian History
Department of History
University of Aberdeen
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