In 1793, the Qing Emperor (Qianlong, above left)received an ambassador (Lord George McCartney, right)from Great Britain, but rejects the importation of goodsfrom the British saying they were no interested in the“strange objects” offered from the West.
China rejected offers of trade from the Westbecause it was largely self-sufficient in theways:◦ Agriculture Quick-growing strain of rice since the 11th century Maize, sweet potatoes, and peanuts since 17th/18thcenturies◦ Natural Resources Salt, tin, silver, and iron◦ Manufacturing Silks, high-quality cottons, fine porcelain
Foreigners were only allowedto trade at the southern portof Guangzhou. Trade balance was in China’sfavor. European merchants decideto sell the habit-forming drugopium (a narcotic derivedfrom the opium poppy plant)in China to obtain a favorabletrade balance. By 1835, as many as12million Chinese wereaddicted
The Qing emperor was angry about the drugtrade coming from the British. In 1839 the Emperor’s advisor writes a letterto Queen Victoria demanding the drug tradestop. The Opium War breaks out between Britainand China in 1839, but is fought mainly atsea. The Chinese are no match for Britain’ssteam-powered gun boats. The Treaty of Nanjing is signed in 1842.
The British enjoyed extraterritorial rights,which meant that British citizens were notsubject to Chinese laws, but, if accused of acrime in Chinese trading ports, but wouldonly be tried by British courts. In 1844 the U.S. signed a the Treaty ofWanghia in which American citizens weregiven extraterritorial rights as well. This arrangement protected Europeans andAmericans from prosecution for drugsmuggling.
Population grew to 430 million by 1850, a 30percent increase in 60 years. Food production did not keep up with thisincrease. Discouragement increased opium addiction Chinese began to rebel against the QingDynasty
Hong Xiuquan began recruiting followers to help himbuild a “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.” Hong referred to himself as the “brother of Jesus”(fact from AP textbook). His movement was called the Taiping Rebellion. By 1850s, Hong organized a massive peasant armyand took control over large areas of southeasternChina. 1853 Hong captured Nanjing and made it his capital. Qing imperial troops and British and French forces alllaunched attacks against the Taiping government. By 1864 the rebellion was put down, but at least 20million people died in the rebellion.
Chinese government has both internal andexternal pressures.◦ Internal Taiping Rebellion Other rebellions◦ External Pressure from foreign powers was increasing Debates emerged in the Qing court◦ Some leaders wanted to reform and modernizeaccording to Western ways.◦ Some clung to traditional Chinese ways
Dowager Empress Cixiheld power in China from1862-1908. She was committed toChinese traditional values. She backed some attemptsat reform like the “Self-Strengthening Movement”which wanted to updateChina’s educationalsystem, diplomatic service,and military. The movement had mixedresults.
Foreign nations attack China andthrough treaties gain morecontrol over China’s economy. Many of Europe’s major powersand Japan gain spheres ofinfluence—areas in which theforeign nation controlled tradeand investment. The U.S., having no sphere ofinfluence, declared its OpenDoor Policy demanding freetrade for all nations in China. Britain and other Europeannations agree to this demand.
1898, Emperor Guangxuintroduced measures tomodernize China’seducational system,economy, military, andgovernment Qing officials saw theseinnovations as a threat andcalled on the DowagerEmpress to act. She has Guangxu arrestedand reverses his reforms.Emperor Guangxu (center)
Resentful of the privileges offoreigners, a secret organizationcalled the Society of Righteous andHarmonious Fists is formed. They are called the “Boxers” forshort. The carry out a campaign againstforeigners known as the BoxerRebellion. 1900—the Boxers descend onBeijing and surround the Europeansection of the city. The Dowager Empress expressedsupport for the Boxers, but did notback them militarily. The Boxers murder Europeans,missionary, and diplomats, as wellas many Chinese Christians, bothProtestant and Catholic.The Boxers, by JohannesKoekkoek, circa 1900
August 1900—amultinational force of19,000 troops marcheson Beijing and defeatsthe Boxers. Though the BoxerRebellion failed toexpel foreigninfluence, the Chinesehave a renewed senseof nationalism andrealization they mustresist foreigninfluence.A Boxer during the revolt.
This is the name given to the182 Protestant Missionaries (ofseveral denominations) and500 Chinese Protestants whowere murdered during theBoxer Rebellion. In 1901, allied nations whohelped put down the rebelliondemanded compensation forloss of life and property, butChina Inland Mission founderJames Hudson Taylor refused toaccept any such payment forthe loss of his missionaries ormission property “in order toshow the meekness of Christ tothe Chinese.”Missionaries killed in the BoxerRebellion who worked for ChinaInland Mission.James HudsonTaylor-Founder ofChina InlandMission
Both the RomanCatholic and EasternOrthodox Churchesrecognize Chinesecitizens killed in the19th and 20thcenturies, most ofwhom were killed inthe Boxer Rebellion.These martyrs areformally venerated bythose churches.
1905 Dowager Empress sends out a delegation tostudy the operation of different governments. 1906 officials recommend China’s government berestructured. A constitutional monarchy was suggested. A national assembly was convened within a year,but change was slow. In 1908 the court promised a constitutionalgovernment by 1917. China would continue to have unrest for the nextfour decades.