Before Reading 3 Victim of the British Greed From previous studies, it is clear that China had great pride in their country. However, during the imperialistic period, their pride had fallen. Considering the pride these people had, think about how they would have felt when their title of “strongest in East Asia” was given away to Japan as the result of Sino- Japanese War. Background Information Manchus were the second and the last conquerors of China, after Genghis Khan’s tribe. The Manchus are Tungusic people originated in Manchuria. They dominated the Ming Dynasty and built their Qing Dynasty over the ruins of the fallen Ming. In 1800’s, the Qing Dynasty in China suffered in decline of the power. The on-going internal conflicts in China were a chance for other nations. Namely Great Britain won benefits in trading with the Chinese (Caswell). Taiping Rebellion The Chinese suffered to survive as their population grew to 430 million by 1850, a 30 percent gain in only 60 years (Beck et al 372). However, because there wasn’t as much increase in food production, large population suffered from hunger. Many people thought this was a sign of the decline of Qing Dynasty. Rebels rose in every parts of China. In one specific rebel, led by Hung Xiquan, known as the Taiping Rebellion, lasted for longer than twenty years (Michael). Due to this riot, almost twenty to thirty million died as a direct result. In fact, from 1850 to 1873, of the drop in sixty million people in population mostly was of the rebellion.(Taiping).Taiping Rebellion. The suffering British Takes Actionpopulation of China gathered under a newleader, Hung Xiquan. It took 14years Economical Gainbefore the Qing Dynasty completely smashthe rebel. This showed how weak the Qing Until now, British enjoy having tea breaks. However, backDynasty has become (The Rebellion). in mid-1800’s, many people were discouraged to drink tea, by the extreme cost, since the Chinese valued the trade materials the Europeans offered low. To prevent this loss, the British started importing opium from one of their colonies, India. When the poppy plants are processed, it is called opium and this is highly addictive drug (Caswell). Opium was used regularly by the doctors to paralyze the patient from pain, however some Chinese found out to roll certain amount of opium and smoke it to feel better. As the Chinese officers realized that as many as 12 million citizens were addicted to opium by 1835, in 1836, they attempted to ban opium trade in China by establishing a law to make it illegal to trade opium. However, the British traders bribed the Canton officers to keep the opium traffic flowing (Opium).
Expansion of territory The Qing emperor, upset with the growingsupply of opium, discussed a way to end the trade.In 1839, one of his advisers, Commissioner Lin ZeXu, wrote a letter, known as “Letter of Advise toQueen Victoria”, criticized the Britain’s opiumtrade with China, and demanding the termination.In his letter, he criticized the fact that opium tradein Great Britain was strictly avoided, but theseBritish merchants were trading opium in China.Obviously, as this letter might have seen as a Opium War. The conflict surrounding the opium tradechallenge to their queen and their nation, the results a war between Great Britain and China. TheBritish coldly refused and even called upon a war, Chinese outdated wood ships were not enough opposeknown as the Opium War. After a series of wars against Britain’s steel-made battleships (Sino).were fought mainly on sea, the Chinese could notoppose the advanced steal battle ships of the British with their old fashioned wood-built ships (Beck et al372). After the war was over, in 1842, the Chinese, in remorse, signed an unequal treaty known as theTreaty of Nanking (The Treaty). Solidify Your Understanding Over to the East Asia Q. What is the main cause of opium The Treaty of Nanking demanded the Chinese to do the following: war? 1. Reimburse Britain for costs incurred fighting the Chinese, Q. Why did the Treaty of Nanking 2. Open several ports to British trade, only benefited the British? 3. Provide Britain with complete control of Hong Kong, Q. Who and why was the Open Door 4. Grant extraterritoriality to British citizens living in China Policy issued? (Caswell). This treaty indirectly shows that the Britain wanted to expand their power even further, since they colonized Hong Kong and took advantages in trading with the Chinese compared to other nations. Also, after this treaty was signed, the British were open to five trading ports, whereas before, every nations were allowed into just one port, Canton.Open Door Policy Seeing the British dominating the trade with the Chinese, other strong nations were envious.During this period, the empress was hoping to close China to foreigners, but the Americans were seeking away in (Buschini). Since the Americans were the latecomers of the imperialism, they did not have sphereof
influence in China. To level the tables with the otherimperial powers, the Americans came up with a cleveridea. In 1899, U.S. Secretary of State John Hayproposed the “Open Door” policy, which all nationswould have equal trading and develop rightsthroughout China. With this policy all the imperialistpowers will have equal power in setting their foot intoChina and would limit the advantages of having one’sown spheres of influence (Open).Effects on the ChineseShort-term Spheres of Influence in China in 1910. Through this, it As more British settled in China, the Chinese is clearly shown that the U.S. had no spheres ofhad conflicts within themselves. The formation of the influence, where as other imperialist nations didSociety of Righteous and Harmonious Fists resented (Caswell).the special privileges granted to the foreigners and the Chinese Christians. The group was mainly of thepoor peasants and workers who were against the foreign powers. These people were soon known as theBoxers, therefore, their actions started being called as the Boxer Rebellion. In the spring of 1900, theBoxers surrounded the European section of Beijing, keeping it under siege for several months until inAugust, when a multinational force of 19,000 troops quickly defeated them. With the actions of the boxers,nationalism in China began to rise. In addition, the Sino-Japanese War from 1894 to 1895 broke out evenbefore the Qing Dynasty had a chance to recover. As the Chinese suffocated with the aftereffects ofrebellion, Japanese took their title and gained sphere of influence. The Sino-Japanese War will further beintroduced later in this chapter (Beck et al 375).Long-term As the island of Hong Kong was put under the control of the Great Britain, China lost its territory.The loss in the war and actions of the boxers rose the awareness of resisting the foreign intervention. Aswestern style education was brought in, the Chinese knew that monarchy will not fulfill the requirementsto develop (Beck et al 375). Economy grew as foreign investments and trades became active. Obviously,due to favoring the western culture, traditional Chinese culture is fading away. For example, the Confuciusideas still remain, but since the education is more heavily focused on practical knowledge, only few of theConfucius ideas are still being practiced. After Reading Summarize in your own words of the imperialism in China. Then, freely express and discuss how you would have felt if you were a Chinese in that period with another person.
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