Kowtow and Get Out: How I Was Almost Ejected from the Forbidden City

In 1793, the British diplomat Lord George Macartney nearly scuttled his trade mission when he famously refused to kowtow to the Qianlong Emperor. He was just one in a long line of foreign visitors to China who had to make the decision of whether to take a deep knee bend and satisfy imperial etiquette or remain standing and risk looking like a pretentious barbarian.