Imperialism in China

Letter From Emperor Qian Long (1793) to King George III in response to the British request to trade with China:

". . . 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 your country's manufactures. . . Our Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance and lacks no product within its own borders. There was therefore no need to import the manufactures of outside barbarians in exchange for our own produce. But as the tea, silk and porcelain which the Celestial Empire produces, are absolute necessities to European nations and to yourselves, we have permitted, as a signal mark of favour, that foreign hongs [merchant firms] should be established at Canton, so that your wants might be supplied and your country thus participate in our beneficence."


The balance of trade shifts:

Opium Smokers

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Opium Den

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What is opium?
(collection of images and info on opium; I do NOT endorse this site as some info on it seems to be pro-use, however, it does have useful info and startling images)

Letter of Advice to Queen Victoria
(regarding importation of opium into China)


Opium War

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Opium War

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The India Gazette, a British publication, wrote about the sack of one of the cities in 1840:

"A more complete pillage could not be conceived than took place. Every house was broken open, every drawer and box ransacked, the streets strewn with fragments of furniture, pictures, tables, chairs, grain of all sorts -- the whole set off by the dead or the living bodies of those who had been unable to leave the city from the wounds received from our merciless guns. ... The plunder ceased only when there was nothing to take or destroy."


Boxer Rebellion

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Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi
For the past thirty years [the foreigners] have taken advantage of our county's benevolence and generosity as well as our wholehearted conciliation to give free rein to their unscrupulous ambitions. They have oppressed our state, encroached upon our territory, trampled upon our people, and exacted our wealth. Every concession made by the Court has caused them day-by-day to rely more upon violence until they shrink from nothing. In small matters they oppress peaceful people; in large matters they insult what is divine and holy. All the people of our community are so full of anger and grievances that every one desires to take vengeance


What are the most important statements the Empress is making?


Kaiser Wilhelm II on German Interests in China
The task which I am sending you out to do is a great one. You must see that a serious injustice is expiated...

...[Y]ou can see from this what a culture not based on Christianity comes to. Every heathen culture, no matter how beautiful or august, will come to naught at the first catastrophe!

...When you come upon the enemy, smite him. Pardon will not be given. Prisoners will not be taken. Whoever falls into your hands is forfeit... May you in this way make the name German remembered in China for a thousand years so that no Chinaman will ever again dare to even squint at a German!

Describe Kaiser Wilhelm's reaction to the Boxer Rebellion.

Mark Twain on the Boxers

China never wanted foreigners any more than foreigners wanted Chinamen, and on this question I am with the Boxers every time. The Boxer is a patriot. He loves his country better than he does the countries of other people. I wish him success. The Boxer believes in driving us out of his country. I am a Boxer too, for I believe in driving him out of our country.
-Berkeley Lyceum, New York, November 23, 1900

How would you characterize Twain's feelings on the Chinese.


Boxer Protocol




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