Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Opium, the West, and the Downfall of the Qing

The clash of civilizations between European imperial powers and China’s Qing Dynasty exploded into violence and devastation in 1841 after a series of disputes between Guangzhou’s governor-general, British diplomats, and opium traders.  Although the opium trade and Commission Lin Zexu’s seizure of and destruction of British Opium are often described as the catalysts of the conflict between China and Great Britain, a long period of British diplomatic maneuvering in China to gain trade and diplomatic concessions lay at the heart of the dispute.  Opium was merely the cassus belli seized upon by Great Britain and other European nations as an excuse to force their economic and political agendas on China.  The concessions Great Britain won for itself and other European powers exposed the Chinese Imperial System’s weaknesses and devastated its economy for decades to come, but was not itself the sole reason for the collapse of the Qing Dynasty.  Imperial China collapsed under the continuing economic and military assault by European powers great and small, Japan’s newly found assertiveness, the corrosive influence of Western intellectual systems, and the Qing’s inability to adapt to the new multi-state world it found itself thrust into.

Opium in China

Despite opium’s long history of medicinal use in China, the Qing banned its use in 1729, and imposed harsh penalties for violators of the ban due to its addictive nature.  However, the ban was not effective in preventing either use or importation of the drug.  The effect of opium on China and on individuals is still a matter of significant debate.  R.K. Newman challenges the historical description of opium users as emaciated, feeble, and dysfunctional drains on China.[i]  Newman argues that the decrepit health of some individual opium smokers was due more to the disease opium was used to treat than any harmful effect of the drug itself, particularly in the case of terminal illness. The observers in these cases mistook the physical effects of the user’s disease for that of the opium they smoked.[ii]  Examining the amounts of opium imported as late as 1879 when importation reached its peak, Newman finds that only 3.5% of China’s adult population could be classified as addicts.[iii]  All other opium use was recreational or medicinal in nature.  He argues that the infamous “opium villages” of dramatic turn of the century accounts, were in reality locales suffering the effects of famine, not the influence of the drug on a society in its deadly grip.[iv]

However, Hunt Janin argues against Nelson’s revisionism regarding the actual influence of Opium on Chinese users.  Janin places the total addict population in China at only 1% of the population, or around 4 million persons.  However, Qing officials were overrepresented in the addict population when compared to the proportion of addicts from other parts of Chinese society.[v]  The overrepresentation of officials in the addict population increased its overall effect on imperial administration and interfered with enforcement of the ban on opium, which ultimately reduced Qing authority in the provinces.  Janin also claims that both British and Chinese officials fully understood the dangers of opium addiction, the symptoms of withdrawal, and difficulty opium smokers faced in quitting the drug.  A memorial to the emperor on the subject of opium addiction clearly indicates this understanding by discussing how the symptoms of withdrawal were almost immediately alleviated by a dose of the drug:

Their limbs become debilitated, a discharge of rheum takes place from the eyes and nose, and they are altogether unequal to any exertion; but, with a few whiffs, their spirits and strength are immediately restored in a surprising manner.  Thus opium becomes, to opium smokers, their very life; and, when they are seized and brought before magistrates, they will sooner suffer a severe chastisement than inform against those who sell it.[vi]
The domestic cultivation and distribution of opium in late-Qing China further complicates the role of opium in the collapse of Imperial China.  While Commissioner Lin Zexu (1785-1850) successfully halted opium smuggling into China through the area surrounding Guangzhou and Macao in 1839,[vii] opium continued to circulate through the interior of China.[viii]  The Yi, Dao, and Miao ethnic minorities in southwest China engaged in the cultivation, while the Muslim traders distributed it through western China.[ix]  The administrative structures on China’s periphery, really a thin overlay over existing tribal governments, were unable to exert the same uniformity of prohibition enforcement the Qing brought to bear in Han-dominated locales.  Despite efforts to eradicate opium use and production in the southwest beginning in 1832, by 1839 Yunnan peasants earned ten times more income from opium than from rice production.  Even increased anti-opium campaigns beginning in 1839 did not significantly affect areas under tribal control.[x]  That efforts to control opium production and distribution in areas far from Qing conflict with British opium trading ships indicates that the Manchu were fundamentally unable to exert Imperial rule within the boundaries of China against their own subjects.  Qing power was in the southwest was further limited by local army garrisons and Qing officials that protected the opium trade with physical security.[xi]

Even after opium importation became legal in 1858 as a result of the Second Opium War, the high import duties in the Treaty Ports resulted in large amounts of opium smuggling.  Joyce Mandancy argues that the opium culture in Fujian consumed enough opium to support both smuggling operations and generate a handsome revenue for government coffers.  For their part, British opium merchants were unsatisfied with the 30% annual profits they received by trading through the Treaty Ports, turning to smuggling to further bolster their profit potential.[xii]  The result was even more difficulty for government suppression efforts, and a further weakening of Qing authority during the second half of the nineteenth century.[xiii] 

Opium legalization further contributed to the downfall of the Qing by calling its moral authority into question.  While Qing officials argued that legalization allowed them to monitor the flow of the drug in its eradication efforts, Mandancy asserts that that, “cynics suspected Qing morality had actually been overcome by financial exigencies,” [xiv]despite their move toward eradication after 1906.  This view is supported by negative popular opinion in Fujian, which Mandancy finds documented in Chinese-language sources that refute Newman’s claims that opium use had no negative impact on China, which Mandancy claims is due to his complete reliance on English-language sources.[xv]  Mandancy argues that the Chinese heckling of missionaries they assumed were connected to the opium trade and Fujian folks songs describing the horrors of opium use as validation of her interpretation of the common loathing of opium despite its widespread use and cultivation.  She further argues that,

Available sources indicate that popular outrage toward the flouting of Chinese laws and social conventions by opium importers and smokers, as well as grassroots revulsion at the physical, moral, and socioeconomic consequences of opium abuse, existed side by side with considerable resistance to state suppression efforts[xvi]

Fujians also represented Chinese popular condemnation of both the Qing Dynasty and Western imperialism.  In this context, opium was the key indicator of Chinese weakness in the face of Western power.  It became the metaphor for declining quality of life due to Western abuses of China, and the inability of the Qing to defend the Chinese from foreign predation.  As the pernicious influence of opium spread, and its negative aspects became more pronounced, the Qing became as much a target for popular anger as the West.  Mandancy contends that in the period between 1830 and 1906, hostility toward the opium trade neared revolutionary proportions, and created a “reservoir of ill will toward a Qing state to weak to enforce its will on foreign purveyors.”[xvii]  This atmosphere of conflict hardened Qing attitudes against the opium trade on political and moral grounds.  The continuing outflow of hard currency to the West in exchange for opium simply exacerbated the growing problem, and forced the Qing to act.

Conflict with the West

Trade lies at the root of the conflict between China and European powers.  Before Great Britain’s development of the opium trade from India to Guangzhou, it suffered from a trade imbalance due to the large amount of tea, silk, and porcelain imported to Great Britain in exchange for woolens and manufactured cotton cloth.[xviii]  To alter the balance of trade in England’s favor, in 1781 the East India Company began producing opium in India for sale in China.  As Chinese imports of opium increased, they overtook the value of silk, tea, and spices exported to Great Britain, resulting in growing amounts of silver leaving the Chinese economy.[xix]  The export of silver from China to Great Britain was critical due to the massive Qing expenditures on China’s frontier in military campaigns against rebels in the southwest during the 1820’s and 1830’s.  The Imperial treasury decreased its silver holdings from 70 million taels in 1790 to 10 million taels in 1820.

China’s domestic problems forced the Qing to move against the foreign opium trade at exactly the time that imports increased due to Great Britain’s 1833 dissolution of the East India Company’s monopoly over Indian opium.  The end of the monopoly dramatically increased the amount of opium shipped to Guangzhou, and led Great Britain to appoint Lord William Napier (1786-1834) as the Chief Superintendent of Trade.[xx]  Napier’s mission was to coordinate British trade with China, open additional ports to British ships, and establish permanent diplomatic relations with the Imperial court in Beijing.  Hunt Janin contends that Napier’s mission to establish equal relations with China are the primary cause of British intransigence.  He quotes then United States Senator John Quincy Adams, who in 1841 argued that the opium destroyed by Commissioner Lin in 1839 was incidental to the true causes of the dispute between Great Britain and China:

It is a general but I believe altogether mistaken opinion that [the Opium War] is merely for certain chests of opium imported by British merchants in China, and seized by the Chinese government for having been imported contrary to law.  This is a mere incident to the dispute; no more the cause of the war than the throwing overboard of the tea in Boston Harbor was the cause of the North American revolution. 
The cause of the war is the kow-tow! [i.e. the obligatory way of showing respect to the emperor by kneeling before him and knocking one’s forehead against the ground] – the arrogant and insupportable pretensions of China, that she will hold commercial intercourse with mankind not upon terms of equal reciprocity, but upon insulting and degrading forums of relation between lord and vassal.[xxi]
Napier precipitated the crisis that became the Opium Wars by his handling of relations with Guangzhou’s governor-general, Lu K’un in order to further this mission of gaining equality in relations with China.  Rather than following established protocol for European traders and staying in Macao until he received permission to take residence in Guangzhou, Napier went straight there to establish his residence.  As an accredited official of Her Majesty’s government, Napier also refused to forward requests and reports to Lu K’un through the hong merchants.[xxii]  Because Napier had already transgressed six separate regulations regarding foreign travel in China and communication with Chinese officials, Lu K’un ordered him to return to Macao, and ceased British trading operations until he complied.[xxiii].  As a representative of a government that did not recognize the Qing emperor as its superior, Napier could not relay his messages through the Hong merchants as the representatives of the East Indian Company did.  Hsin-pao Chang writes that “The ‘Napier fizzle,’ as it was locally called, was a wedge that cut deeply into Anglo-Chinese relations.  It made the character of the ‘barbarian’ more unfathomable to the Chinese and doubled the British disdain and distrust of the Chinese.” [xxiv]  In effect, the episode damaged Anglo-Sino relations, because each party was working at cross-purposes.

Pin-chia Kuo largely supports this interpretation, but extends it to include the issue of national sovereignty, the Chinese conception of the Middle Kingdom, and Western interpretation of international law.  While Great Britain and other Western states insisted on the norms of international intercourse, including the ability to send envoys to foreign governments and for ships to trade in foreign ports, the Chinese viewed their civilization as superior to all others due to its long history of civilization and domination of the surrounding “barbarian” peoples.[xxv]  Kuo further argues that while Great Britain recognized the East India Company’s absolute monopoly to trade with China until 1834, it either did not recognize the right of the Qing to designate the Hong merchants’ monopoly on trade with the West.[xxvi]  The British insistence on breaking the Hong trade monopoly to their own advantage represented a direct assault on Qing sovereignty over China, and adds additional complexity to the issue.  The planned British assault on Chinese sovereignty extended beyond even the Qing’s ability to regulate trade in their own country to an insistence on the principles of extraterritoriality for all British subjects.  Kuo contends that the British believed that Qing jurisprudence was fundamentally unjust, particularly the assumption of guilt and designation of religious evangelism as treasonous sedition.[xxvii] 

Charles Elliot (1801-1875) succeeded Napier as superintendent in 1836 with instructions to push the issue of diplomatic equality and these assaults on Qing sovereignty.  Shortly after Elliot’s arrival in Macao, Emperor Daoguan issued a new edict banning the import of opium which British, American, and French traders ignored.  Previous bans on opium resulted in little more than an additional bribe paid to corrupt Qing officials.  In 1836, however, Daoguan was serious and appointed Lin Zexu as High Commissioner with the mission of stopping the opium trade.[xxviii]  This set the stage for a direct confrontation between Elliot and Lin over both trade relations and Qing sovereignty as the intermediaries of their respective nations.

Embedded in the debate over the opium trade were two additional issues: the relationship between the Qing and foreign governments and Commissioner Lin’s confiscation and destruction of over 20,000 chests of British opium without compensating the traders for their loss.  These two issues provided Great Britain with its justification for war.  Elliot exacerbated tensions with Guangzhou’s new governor-general Teng T’ing-che when he pushed for status as an equal in communications.[xxix]  In the tense environment surrounding the wrangling over Elliot’s status as a foreign official, Commissioner Lin followed his efforts at halting the opium trade by seizing more than 20,000 chests of opium.  Lin accomplished the seizure by holding British traders hostage in their factories near waterfront of Guangzhou.  Elliot told them that the British government would make their losses good.[xxx] Hunt Janin believes that Qing officials, including Commissioner Lin did not understand the thread to China posed by militarily and economically advanced Western nations.  The emphasis on Chinese classics and Confucian education combined with the belief that the emperor ruled due to the Mandate of Heaven to prevent Lin and other Qing officials from perceiving even a potential threat to China.[xxxi]  This, in turn, led Lin to take a hard line when dealing with Elliot that he might not have if he worried about a violent negative reaction from Great Britain over the destruction of the Opium.  Lin’s fundamental inability to understand the likely reaction of a powerful foreign power set the stage for a catastrophic conflict with Great Britain that led to the ultimate fall of both the Qing dynasty and the Chinese Empire.

The first shots of the Opium War were fired on September 4, 1839, when Elliot took a fleet to Kowloon to demand provisions from the Chinese.  British merchants were unable to purchase provisions due to of Elliot’s refusal to turn over the seamen accused of murdering a local villager named Lin Wei-hsi’s for trial.  Elliot based his refusal in Great Britain’s refusal to allow any British subject to suffer under Chinese jurisprudence.[xxxii]  In order to uphold the principle of extraterritoriality and placate the Chinese government, Elliot tried six crewmen for the murder.  Chang argues that this second incident involving British sailors between 1837 and 1839 played the major role in causing actual hostilities to erupt.  Commissioner Lin insisted on China’s right to try any person violating the law in China, regardless of their nationality – a right maintained by all sovereign states, and stopped all deliveries of food to foreign residents in order to gain compliance[xxxiii].  Fighting began when Great Britain provided Elliot with the forces to defend Europeans, and to seize supplies.

Great Britain’s victory in the conflict forced the Qing government into a series of unequal treaties, each of which attacked China’s sovereignty, and the eyes of Chinese reduced its legitimacy.  The treaties required China to allow foreign trade at the ports of Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai.  The treaties also required China to pay Great Britain reparations of 21 million dollars, which covered the cost of the war and the 20,000 chests of opium Li Zexu destroyed.  China also ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain, abolished the Co-hong system, and required that both parties agree to all tariffs.[xxxiv]  The 1842 Treaty of Nanjing also pardoned all Chinese that worked for, or cooperated with Great Britain during the war.  In effect, the treaties stripped China of large portions of its national sovereignty.  The Qing could not regulate trade, were bankrupted by reparation payments, and could not even act against treasonous subjects.  According to Hu Sheng, the 1843 Treaty of the Bogue further undermined Qing sovereignty because it stated that:

When ever the Chinese government thought it fit to grant new ‘privileges’ to a foreign power, Great Britain would automatically enjoy it.  Because of this agreement, Great Britain became a so-called ‘most-favoured nation’ unilaterally, since she did not extend the same consideration to China.  In other words, if one country had succeeded in extorting from China certain concessions, all other countries would ‘legally’ enjoy the same.[xxxv] 

This meant that in 1844, the United States and France pressed their interests in China, securing treaty rights similar to those granted the British.  The American Treaty of Wang-hea extended the notion of extraterritoriality won by the British to also include civil law suits, and included the most favored nation clause.  Other European powers quickly adopted this treaty as a model for their relations with China, negatively influencing the Manchu ability to govern China.[xxxvi]

The events of the decade of the 1850s demonstrate the Qing’s weakness.  Unscrupulous slavers kidnapped Chinese who they sent to the United States to work as indentured servants in California’s gold mines or Caribbean sugar plantations.[xxxvii] The issue of indentured servitude combined with the loss of Qing prestige at the hands of the West, famine, and a perversion of Protestant theology led to the Taiping Rebellion in 1851.[xxxviii]  The Taiping setup a new kingdom, with a capital and Nanking, slaughtering thousands in the process of taking the city.  When the fighting was over in 1864, between 20 and 30 million Chinese had perished, and the Qing had lost significant prestige with the Chinese people.[xxxix]

While still the Qing still faced the Taiping, Great Britain and France used China’s seizure of the British flagged lorcha Arrow and its Chinese crew on the belief that some of the crewmembers were pirates.  Despite China’s return of ship and crew, Great Britain and France used its seizure as a cassus belli to launch a war to force even more trade and diplomatic concessions.[xl]  Although China fought well in the final stages of the Second Opium War, Great Britain, France, Russia, and Germany forced more concessions from the Qing, including five million dollars in war reparations, eleven additional treaty ports, freedom of movement throughout China, and permanent embassies in Beijing.[xli]  Great Britain also seized the opportunity to have opium legalized, with a fixed import tariff, and insisted that China allow missionaries to work freely through the mainland. 


The conclusion of the two Opium Wars forced China to confront the reality of a multi-state world in which it was a weak power.  Chinese intellectuals both inside and outside the Qing government pondered how to strengthen China in the face of competition from the West and from a powerful and aggressive Japan.  China’s loss in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 further fueled this debate and weakened Qing moral authority and political legitimacy.  During this search, for answers and renewed legitimacy in government, increased exposure to Western intellectual traditions through the Treaty Ports caused intellectual ferment among Chinese intellectuals.  As important as the loss of Qing prestige after losing three consecutive wars and the accompanying loss of national sovereignty were to the fall of both the Qing dynasty and the Chinese empire was, the influx of Western ideas had the most significant role in their eventual collapse.[xlii]  The resulting political and economic tumult of the last years of the nineteenth century led to the Hundred Days’ Reforms, the collapse of the Qing, and the May 4th Movement. 

The shock of China’s defeat by a former tributary state in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895 allowed the first real reform discussions to take place in the Qing dynasty.  Charlotte Furth contends that while the initial emphasis of the reforms started in 1898 was to reform China’s existing institutions, they morphed into an eventual assault on the moral and social organization of the entire nation. [xliii]  She argues that the late-Qing and early Republic reform efforts must be understood as a response to the entire civilization of the West, not just a response to military and technological superiority.  However, the intellectual base for the reform movement was not solely Western in origin, also drawing on Chinese traditions previously suppressed by Imperial orthodoxy.

The socio-political struggle for reform was not articulated in isolation, but within a framework of a new evolutionary cosmology.  This was a systematic conception of the universe, in which natural, spiritual, and social phenomena were perceived as manifestations of a single cosmic reality. 

The external source of this new cosmology lay in the Chinese discovery of a world history encompassing a plurality of high civilizations in dynamic interaction with on another as with a ‘barbarian’ perimeter; on the other, there was the exploration of the implications of Western scientific law –particularly the laws of evolution based on Darwinian biology, but also those of Newtonian physics as well.  Internally, the cosmology relied upon the Confucian-Taoist tradition which taught that socio-political phenomena and natural cosmic patterns are linked in a process of causation.[xliv]
This change in intellectual orientation forced reformist intellectuals to accept the idea for the first time that China was not the source of all civilization, but merely a member of the community of nations.  This allowed the reformers of the last years of the nineteenth century to argue not only for the adoption of Western technology and military methods, but also for adoption of Western political and economic reforms.

Chinese reformers, particularly Liang Qichao (1873-1929) argued that science and technology imported from the West could alleviate China’s many problems.  Liang argued that limitless technological improvement and exploitation of China’s natural resources would lead to a transformation in the nature of the Chinese people so that they could enjoy the same benefits of progress Western peoples enjoyed.[xlv]  Only the benefits of modernization were acknowledged, with the disparity in wealth found in the West attributed to a moral failure of European governments.  The reformers assumed that technological and economic progress would lead to democratization, basing their theories on Spenser’s interpretation of Darwinian evolution.[xlvi]

With this intellectual background, the initial reform effort was to attempt to modernize China’s military by adopting Western practices, and to emphasize study in the applied sciences.  A plan to sell bonds to strengthen the Dynasty’s finances followed in 1898.[xlvii]  These attempts were the prelude to Emperor Guangxu’s Hundred Days Reform of 1898.  Guangxu (1871-1908) reformed education to focus on practical matters, lessened the importance of calligraphy, and eliminated poetry from government examinations.  Another reform created an Imperial College and mandated that province schools focus on the new doctrines.  The reforms also addressed economic issues, began developing a modern navy, and began modernizing the army.[xlviii]  Finally, the reforms abolished useless government jobs and simplified administration.  Kung-chuan Hsiao argues that Kang Yuwei’s (1858-1927) reforms represented a conscious move toward a constitutional monarchy by the emperor based on Meiji Japan, which had defeated the Qing in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895.  When conservative opponents of the plan complained that a parliament would strip the emperor of his power, Guangxu replied that, “We wish only to save China.  If the people are thereby [also] saved, it matters not that We have no authority.” [xlix]  The reform effort failed because Guangxu faced stiff opposition with the Qing Dynasty, and a palace coup by conservative nobles led by the Dowager Empress CiXi (1835-1908) halted their implementation.[l]

The death of the Hundred Days Reform radicalized many Chinese reform intellectuals.  Kang Yuwei continued to advocate for gradual reform, arguing in 1900 that China was not yet ready for popular sovereignty, and that an immediate revolution would do more harm than good.[li]  When Kang argued in 1905 that the lack of a constitutional system and parliament were the primary causes of China’s inferiority to Western powers, the Qing acted to repress constitutionalist reformers.[lii]  Liang Qichao expanded on Kang’s argument, arguing that the emperor needed to recognize Chinese as “nationals” rather than “subjects”, thus giving them a stake in China’s success.  The lack of national pride among the people, in Liang’s estimation, was a key source of China’s weakness in comparison to Western states.[liii]  In an effort to promote Kang’s gradual reform agenda over the more radical revolutionary agenda, Liang argued that the by maintaining Chinese traditions, the Manchu were also Chinese nationals.  In this way, he hoped to preserve China, and use nationalism to build a new and stronger Chinese state.  The Qing suppression of dissent following provided Sun Yat-Sen and other activists additional determination to overthrow the dynasty and establish a republic.  The effects of the Boxer Uprising (1899-1901) and the Sino-Japanese War (1895) on China provided revolutionaries with additional arguments against the Qing, which they believed had lost the Mandate of Heaven.[liv]  The revolutionaries also developed an intellectual base of their own based on Herbert Spenser’s philosophy of Social Darwinism.  Rejecting Liang Qichao’s assertion that the Manchu should count as “Chinese” rather than a foreign oppressor, Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary allies argued that for a definition of nation based on ethnic identity.  In this way, the Han Chinese majority formed one nation, while the Manchu were members of another.  The Qing failure to defend China from the predations of the imperialism of the West thus brought renewed identification of the dynasty as “other”.  Revolutionaries used this designation of the Qing as foreign conquerors as a key argument in their campaign to throw out the Qing and form a Chinese Republic.[lv]

The appropriation of these Western philosophies as the basis for both reform and revolution challenged not only Qing rule over China, but also the Confucian foundations of Chinese society.  Charlotte Furth contends that Liang Qichao believed that Western parliamentary systems would allow the realization of truly Confucian “public mindedness”, and that the true value in political assemblies at all levels was in their function of building consensus on public issues, and, that they were:

Thus they were conceived as corrective to the moral evils of officialism: estrangement papered over by commandism on high; submission of a formal equality of status between rulers and ruled than to create a community of understanding and purpose among them.[lvi]
In arguing that only through consultative and parliamentary assemblies could Confucian ideals of proper government be reached, Liang Qichao assaulted the foundations of the Qing constitutional monarchy that he and Kang Yuwei proposed as an alternative to outright revolution.  This provided Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) and his revolutionary followers an additional moral and intellectual basis for their assault on Qing legitimacy.

Despite moderate reform efforts by Dowager Empress CiXi, China’s intellectuals formed radical secret societies and founded underground newspapers, and Sun Yat-sen spent his exile organizing the Chinese Diaspora to support revolution.  Even the consultative assemblies formed by the Imperial government did not satisfy China’s early 20th century reformers, since local gentry dominated them.[lvii]  When the Dowager Empress nationalized railroad right of ways and accepted a huge forced loan from the United States in 1911, the townspeople and peasants of Chengdu rose in protest.[lviii]

On October 10, 1911, the Wuchang garrison issued a call to overthrow the Qing government.  The naval units sent to quell the rising refused to fire on the protesters.  By mid-November, the Qing had lost control of China south of the Yangtze, as well as several northern cities.  On February 1, 1912, Sun Yat-Sen became the provisional President of the Republic of China, signaling the end of Imperial China.[lix]

The establishment of the Republic of China ended the Qing Dynasty, but not the influence of Western powers.  Despite China’s participation in World War I in alliance with the United States and Great Britain, at Versailles Peace Conference the victors offered Germany’s Chinese concessions to Japan as repayment for its assistance in the conflict.  The only benefit China received from the victorious West was a relaxation of economic pressure on China, allowing it to close its trade deficit to $22 million by 1919 from a high of $134 million in 1914.[lx]

Thus, World War I (1914-1918) provided Chinese with additional grievances against both the West and Japan.  When the Versailles Peace Conference awarded Japan with Germany’s possessions in China due to their efforts attacking German interests in support of the Allies, it created a firestorm of protest emanating from Beijing University. The influence of Chinese participation in the Russian Revolution in 1918 combined with the continued development of Chinese radicalism during the war forced the Beijing government to insist on an end to China’s domination by foreign powers at the Paris Peace Conference.  The May 4th Movement, aimed at throwing off the shackles of imperialism, used uniquely Chinese interpretations of Western political ideologies including Marxism, parliamentary democracy, and Herbert Spenser’s Social Darwinism to build on the wave of popular over yet another Western imperial abuse of China’s sovereignty.[lxi]  The May 4th Movement utilized Western political theories Chinese intellectuals adopted as a direct result of Western attacks on China’s sovereignty during and following the Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century to attempt to reorganize China for the twentieth century.

[i][i] R.K. Newman. “Opium Smoking in Late Imperial China,” Modern Asian Studies 29, no. 4 (1995): 766.
[ii] Newman, 776.
[iii] Newman, 787.
[iv] Newman, 779.
[v] Hunt Janin. The India-China Opium Trade in the Nineteenth Century (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1999), 51.
[vi] Janin, 34.
[vii] Hsin-pao Chang. Commissioner Lin and the Opium War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), 215.
[viii] David Bello. “The Venomous Course of Southwestern Opium: Qing Prohibition in Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou in the early Nineteenth Century,” The Journal of Asian Studies 62, no. 4 (2003): 1110.
[ix] Bello, 1110.
[x] Bello, 1128.
[xi] Bello, 1135.
[xii] Janin, 23.
[xiii] Joyce Mandancy. “Unearthing Popular Attitudes toward the Opium Trade and Suppression in Late Qing and Early Republican Fujian,” Modern China 27, no. 4 (2001): 439.
[xiv] Mandancy, 439.
[xv] Mandancy, 445.
[xvi] Mandancy 446.
[xvii] Mandancy, 448.
[xviii] W. Travis Hanes and Frank Sanello. Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc, 2002), 20.
[xix] Hanes and Sanello, 22.
[xx] Hanes and Sanello, 26.
[xxi] Janin, 29.
[xxii] Chang, 53.
[xxiii] Hanes and Sanello, 29.
[xxiv] Chang, 62.
[xxv] Pni-chia kuo. A Critical Study of the First Anglo-Chinese War, with Documents. (Shanghai, China: The Commercial Press, 1935), 2.
[xxvi] Kuo, 6.
[xxvii] Kuo, 11.
[xxviii] Hanes and Sanello, 35.
[xxix] Chang, 71.
[xxx] Chang, 160.
[xxxi] Janin, 43.
[xxxii] Chang, 197.
[xxxiii] Chang, 199.
[xxxiv] Hu Sheng, From the Opium War to the May Fourth Movement (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1991), 81.
[xxxv] Sheng, 83.
[xxxvi] Sheng, 85.
[xxxvii] Jack Beeching, The Chinese Opium Wars (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975), 177.
[xxxviii] Jonathan D. Spence. The Search for Modern China, 2nd edition (New York:  W.W. Norton and Company, 1999), 174).
[xxxix] Hanes and Sanello, 173.
[xl] Janin, 108.
[xli] Hanes and Sanello, 223.
[xlii] Janin, 189.
[xliii] Charlotte Furth, “Intellectual Change: From the Reform Movement to the May Fourth Movement,” An Intellectual History of Modern China, ed. Merle Goldman and Leo Ou-Fan Lee (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002), 13.
[xliv] Furth, 16.
[xlv] Furth, 33.
[xlvi] Furth, 36.
[xlvii] Luke S. K. Kwong. A Mosaic of the Hundred Days: Personalities, Politics, and Ideas of 1898 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 158.
[xlviii] Kwong, 170.
[xlix] Kung-Chuan Hsiao, A Modern China and a New World: K’and Yu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858-1927 (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1975), 209.
[l] Israel Epstein, From Opium War to Liberation (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing, 1980), 72.
[li] Hsiao, 220.
[lii] Hsiao, 244.
[liii] Hong-yuan Chu and Peter Zarrow, “Modern Chinese Nationalism: The Formative Stage,” Exploring Nationalisms of China: Themes and Conflicts, ed. C.X. George Wei and Xiaoyuan Liu (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002), 5.
[liv] Epstein, 101.
[lv] Chu and Zarrow, 11.
[lvi] Furth, 35.
[lvii] Epstein, 106.
[lviii] Epstein, 106.
[lix] Epstein, 110.
[lx] Epstein, 129.
[lxi] Epstein, 132.

No comments:

Post a Comment