This site is dedicated to sharing knowledge about the famous Belgian Mandarin, Paul Splingaerd, and his descendants around the world.
Paul was a poor farm boy from the Belgian countryside who went to China in 1865.  He became an official in the Qing government and devoted his time there to improving relations between his native and his adoptive countries. Paul and his Chinese wife, Catherine Tchao Li, have over 300 descendants in almost every continent of this planet.

Paul’s great granddaughter, Anne Splingaerd Megowan, published a biography of her illustrious ancestor, The Belgian Mandarin, in 2008.  In the course of her thirteen years of research leading to the publication of the book, she learned about fellow descendants, and is sharing her knowledge through this site. Read more...


View our history, photos and family tree from Paul till now

It started with an orphan boy in Belgium in 1865, who became a Chinese mandarin.
Modern Day Family
Descendants of Paul Splingaerd can be found on almost every continent today
Family Tree
Are you a descendant of Paul Splingaerd? Do you know where you fit in the family tree?
Our Family Album
Visit our gallery and take a look at family photos datimng back to the 19th century


Browse the latest family news, findings and events

Honorary Citizenship Certificate

Eight descendants of Paul Splingaerd were invited to participate in the ceremonies on August 26th in the city of Lanzhou, China, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First Steel Bridge Across the Yellow River, now known as Zhongshan Qiao. And, they are are given......

Highlights of GrandPa Splingaerd’s Life

We sadly report the death of Anne’s father Joeseph Splingaerd, in a tragic fire that consumed his home in Huntington Beach, California. Services were held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm. Eulogy by Daughter Anne Eulogy......

Leopold II of Belgium Knights Paul

Paul was knighted by King Leopold II of Belgium and awarded the “Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Couronne”, Order of the Crown, medal in 1897....

Blondel Diary Discovery: Excerpt

In 1879 a 25-year old Belgian named Alfred Blondel traveled around the world to complement his education in science and engineering. His travels took him through Northern China and Mongolia, and when his great granddaughter, Martine Bouquelle of Brussels came across his diary, she contacted......

When I work with the Chinese mandarins, they cannot hold rank over me because I am also a mandarin. I also try to keep on good terms with… great or small, and also with the people. This way everything runs smoothly.

— Paul Splingaerd

Vladimir Nabokov and the Flemish Mandarin

I just ran across this video ” Vladimir Nabokov and the Flemish Mandarin”. It attempts to show on some level why Russian-American novelist, Vladmir Nabokov (1899 – 1977) may have been intrigued with the life of Paul Splingaerd. Characters in several famous novels and even......

2008 Ottenburg Reunion Report

Splingaerd 2008 Ottenburg Reunion: Description and Report to Family Members by Dominic Bowen As promised, I am writing to you to share some photos, documents and a brief diary style report on the tremendously successful Splingaerd reunion in Ottenburg, Belgium which took place a little......

Family highlights of 2009

Lanzhou Bridge Centennial and Honorary Citizen Awards. The biggest event of the year was my August trip to Lanzhou, China. It was a memorable one. Along with seven other descendants of Paul Splingaerd, the subject of my book, The Belgian Mandarin, I was invited to......


The Belgian Mandarin
The Life of Paul Splingaerd
(Brussels,1842 – Xian,1906)
by Anne Splingaerd-Megowan

Read the amazing story of Paul Splingaerd. A Brussels orphan, Paul migrated to China from his native Belgium — and became an honored Chinese Mandarin and a political ambassador and bridge between his country of birth and his adoptive one. It’s an incredible read.

Order your copy of the eBook today!