10-4.2: CHINA and the WEST – SYNOPSIS

1)Before the 1800s, China limited trade with foreigners. China enjoyed a trade surplus, exporting more than it imported. The Chinese generally considered outside civilizations as being inferior or “barbarian”.
2)This balance of power would change. Chinese imperial power was increasingly
ineffective and in decline. Western modernization would lead to increased influence and domination.
3)Lacking anything the Chinese desired, the British traded Indian opium with the
Chinese. Silver flowed out of China to pay for this highly addictive drug,
disrupting the Chinese economy and society.
4)The Chinese government outlawed opium and executed Chinese drug dealers.
The Chinese government called on Britain to stop the trade.
5)In 1839, Chinese warships clashed with British merchants. In retaliation, the British
navy, armed with modern weaponry, bombarded Chinese ports and easily defeated
the Chinese navy. British land forces, supported by Indian Sepoy soldiers. Defeated
Chinese army forces.
6)After Chinese military defeat, the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing gave the British the port
city of Hong Kong and opened five other ports to western nations. British citizens in
China were given the right to live under their own laws and customs. This unequal
treaty was the first to force China to make concessions to western powers.
7)Floods, food shortages and famines and corrupt government led to the
“Taiping Rebellion” from 1850 to 1864. Over 20 to 30 million Chinese died during
the conflict.
8)Chinese and Western interaction occurred in both directions. Many Chinese emigrated
to the U,S,, many helping to build American railroads. Christian missionaries were
allowed to preach in China
9)The Chinese were divided over the need to adapt to western ways.
10)Most Chinese saw no reason for new economic innovations because China’s wealth
had come from the land. Why change centuries-old Chinese culture for that of
“barbarian” outsiders?
11)Western ideas challenged traditional Chinese/“Confucian” values.
Culturally, Confucian (group) harmony and conformity to “order” challenged
western individuality and freedom of “non-conformity”.and “opportunity”
12)Socially, Confucian “hierarchy” (a “pyramid” of superiors/inferiors) challenged
western social egalitarianism.(equality)
13)Politically, Educated officials schooled in Confucianism ran Chinese government in
the name of the emperor
Elected representatives ran western government in the name of “the people”.
14)Chinese government sought harmony and order. The “Mandate of Heaven” was the
idea that as long as emperor brought “good” rule that benefited all of society, the
people were to serve the emperor with obedience. It sought to avoid anarchy or chaos.
15)Western democracy was often “messy” and chaotic. Dividing power to prevent
tyranny, “Good” government was meant to serve “the people”. (popular sovereignty)
16)Reverence for “manners” (group harmony) characterized Chinese society.
Western ideal of individual “rights” were often seen as being rude and obnoxious.
17)In the 1860s, reformers launched a “self-strengthening” movement. They
imported western technologies, adopting machines and weapons making.
18)The Chinese developed ship building, railroads and light industry.
They translated western literature on science, government and the economy.
19)These reforms were limited because the government did not rally behind them.
20)Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese decided on “full-scale” modernization after
1868. (the Meiji Reform) They would became a dominant power in Asia.
21)European powers moved quickly to carve out “spheres of influence”,
sections of China in which they would have “exclusive” rights of trade.
22)The U.S. feared that the European “spheres” would shut out American trade.
The U.S. called for open trade (an “Open Door”) for all nations everywhere in
China, on an equal basis.
23)Nobody consulted the Chinese regarding the spheres or open door policy.
24)The Chinese were conflicted over how to deal with foreign involvement.
“Conservatives” sought to maintain traditional Confucian values.
25)Reformers sought to modernize China, as Japan had. They accused
conservatives of dwelling on China’s past.
26)Foreign soldiers were stationed in China. Some Chinese reacted against this with
“xenophobia” (fear of the outsider) In 1899, a group which called itself
“Righteous Harmony Fists” sought to drive out the “foreign devils.”
27)In 1900, the “Boxers” attacked and killed foreigners across China. An International
military force (including U.S. Marines) was assembled to rescue foreigners and
crush the Boxer Rebellion. China once again had to make concessions to foreigners.
28)Boxer defeat forced conservatives to support reform and modernization.
29)Educational reforms allowed Chinese women to attend schools.
Math and science was emphasized, instead of Confucianism.
30)A reformer named Sun Yat-sen sought to modernize China. His parents were poor
farmers. He lived with his brother in Hawaii in his teen years. He attended
American and British schools. He later earned a medical degree.
31)Sun was exiled after revolutionary actitivies against the imperial Chinese government,
32)Sun returned from exile, seeking to modernize China with a “three step/” program.
First, Sun called for Chinese nationalism, freeing China from foreign domination.
Second, he called for democracy or “representative” government/ Third, he sought
“livelihood” – economic prosperity for all Chinese. Most Chinese were poor,
peasant farmers.
33)In 1908, a two-year old inherited the Chinese imperial Qing Dynasty throne.
China slipped into chaos without effective imperial government rule.
34)Peasants, students, regional “warlords” and local politicians helped overthrow the imperial Qing Dynasty.
35)Sun Yat-sen became president of a new Chinese republic in December, 1911.
Unfortunately, Chinese democracy would devolve into chaos.
36)China would be at war with itself or foreign invaders (e.g. Japan) for the
next forty years.