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CHINA:Explain the failure of the Qing dynasty to respond effectively to western demands of diplomatic relations and free trade between 1793 and 1839

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Introduction

History Essay Denise Chan 13HK 05-10-2005 Explain the failure of the Qing dynasty to respond effectively to western demands of diplomatic relations and free trade between 1793 and 1839 Although some short term successes were achieved for China when dealing with western demands of diplomatic relations and free trade, in the sense that it retained their pride in their tributary systems, such responses were in flawed in the long term. Focusing on the time period 1793-1839, this essay will investigate what were the western attempts and demands in diplomatic relations and free trade. It will also investigate what was the reason to the failure of the Qing dynasty to respond effectively to western demands of diplomatic relations and free trade. The two aspects will be explored respectively. It will be argued that the Qing government's failures in responding effectively had led to long term grievances towards China's existing system by the West, as well as exacerbated silver outflow of Chinese economy. ...read more.

Middle

It was a failure for the Qing in the long term for it aroused Western grievances in the Chinese system. Such view was supported by the historian Vohra, for he argued that incidents like the Emily incident although showed Westerners were willing to cope with such inferior treatment, they felt deeply humiliated, which gave rise to waging wars at a latter period (i.e. the Opium War). The failure for the Chinese government to respond effectively was because of its construct that China was superior over all other powers. The Chinese ruler, "the Son of Heaven", was considered the ruler of all humankind, all other "barbarian" rulers were mere local chieftains owing allegiance to Beijing. There could be no Western-style diplomatic relations. Countries wanting to have a good diplomatic relation with China had to send "tribute" mission that legitimized Chinese suzerainty. Western demands for free trade was rejected by China's refusal in having real negotiations and talks with the West. This was a failure for it led to inflation and the rapid outflow of silver, and its failure to respond effectively was due to China's world view that it was superior. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the main reason to the failure of the Qing government to respond effectively to Western demand for trade. In conclusion, the reasons to the failure of the Qing government to respond effectively to Western demand for diplomatic relations and free trade between 1793-1839 was mainly due to China's construct that it was superior over any other countries. If the Chinese had not been so self-absorbed and so intent on keeping their country as closed off as possible, they might have at least realized that the Guangzhou system of trade was collapsing and that if it did collapse, the tribute system would go down with it. China established the relationship between tribute and trade as an instrument for controlling the "barbarian". The failure in responding effectively to Western demands due to Chinese construct was a failure, for not only it had exacerbated grievances of foreigners towards the Chinese system, it had also aggravated the devastating silver outflow and inflation problem in China. As a result, by 1839, the stage for the Opium War was already well set. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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