Thursday, January 30, 2020

China Trade from Early 17th Century to Mid 19th Century Essay Example for Free

China Trade from Early 17th Century to Mid 19th Century Essay Around 17th and 18th century, Western countries were extremely eager to reach the profitable Chinese market due to its privileged geological location. Although China had traded their riches with Europe along the Silk Road for centuries, Chinese government were afraid that the sea trade to the south would potentially corrupt their â€Å"imperial kingdom† and further try to conquer the country. From 1700 onwards, the government established a set of rigid restrictions imposing the practice of Co-hong to confine foreign trades and merchants in Canton. However, by late 18 century, the trading system seemed to change. The British commenced the opium trade, which created a steady demand among Chinese addicts and further solved the chronic imbalanced trade. As the Opium War broke out with Britain, China was no longer on the top of the world. The Celestial Empire not only was forced to be subservient to British trading regulations, but also somewhat became a semi-colonial country. The East India Company founded in 1600 that held a monopoly in east India by the British government was rapidly enlarging its global trading influence in China. By sending a company trader to address their concern regarding to the unreasonable restrictions on trade in Canton, the representative James Flint was arrested and imprisoned for being breaking the â€Å"Canton trading law†. This incident showed China’s superior attitude toward Westerners and how they manipulated the trade irrationally in their best interest disregarding the concerns of foreign traders. The growing number of foreign traders in the late eighteenth century strongly threatened the Qing. They feared that the trade with foreign merchants would give the opportunity for Westerners to corrupt China; therefore, a set of laws that was so called â€Å"Canton system† was established. The system restricted all European trades to only one port Canton and foreign merchants were forbidden to abode in the city except trading season. Moreover, the Europeans had to obey the licensed Co-Hong merchants, of who were responsible for controlling the trading behavior in Canton. As a result, these complex and irksome rules created a tension between foreigners and Chinese merchants, British traders especially. In 1792, a British ambassador Lord George Macartney set sail to China hoping to seek the approval of the Qing Emperor to loosen some of the trading restrictions to the British traders. Yet, the letters to the Emperor was unreservedly rejected; the response was fairly disappointing. Emperor Qianlong’s edicts to George III in response to McCartney’s demands on English traders showed his arrogant and condescending attitude toward the British. â€Å"As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for you country’s manufacturers. (105 Cheng and Letz with Spence) Furthermore, in his second edict, he stated, â€Å" But your Ambassador has now put forward new requests which completely fail to recognize the Throne’s principle to â€Å"treat strangers from afar with indulgence† and to exercise a pacifying control over barbarian tribes, the world over. † (106 Cheng and Letz with Spence) He describes foreigners as â€Å"barbarians, which showed how he disrespected all Westerners and measured China as the most superior in the world; other countries would have obey Chinese â€Å"law†. British viewed Qing’s legal code as unreasonable and perceived the Chinese officials as obstinate governance, which further exasperated the existed tension between the two nations. Meanwhile, a network of opium was widely distributed throughout China. In order to pay for the tremendous demand of Chinese tea, silk and porcelain pottery in Europe, Britain and other European nations determined to import the one product which became the factor that corrupted the Imperial Empire: opium. Opium addiction level arose in a short period of time, which affected not only the imperial troop but also the governmental officials. Thus, Emperor Daoguang appointed Commissioner Lin to confiscate opium from English ships and refused to pay indemnity to the British traders. The efforts of the Qing dynasty to coerce the opium restraints resulted in the trading conflict, which had already existed for decades between Britain and China triggered the Opium War in 1840. Lord Palmerston’s dispatch to the Emperor of China was a message to inform the Qing that Great Britain would no longer be submissive. The British government therefore has determined at once to send out a Naval and Military Force to the Coast of China to act in support of these demands, and in order to convince the Imperial Government that the British Government attaches the upmost importance to his matter, and that the affair is one which will not admit of delay. † (125 Cheng and Letz with Spence) The dispatc h simply showed the Britain’s intentions to use force to protect its subjects in China, Canton in particular. After the damaging defeats in the war, the first unequal treaty, Treaty of Nanjing was signed after the War, which awakened China from its fantasy of superiority. In the Treaty, China opened several ports and exposed its markets to Western merchants, which turned the central kingdom into a semi-colonial country. Consequently, the role in the national economy had reversed. China was now forced to obey all the demands in the Treaty of Nanjing signed with the British. China was no longer the â€Å"Celestial Empire†; inversely, it was slowly sliding down from the top of the world.

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