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History of Modern China

*While I’ve noted most of the lectures in my written notes, a number of things discussed aren’t
on as of yet
**I’ve only got notes from Zhang He onwards as I only joined the class that day
***For the textbook, books, and journal articles mentioned below, I’ll try to source them online
****For parts that refer to the recordings, I’ll try to reference the internet and fill in the gaps

Other Texts for Further Reading (By Section)

The Elect of Zhang He
1. Title Unkown – Dreyer(?)

Fall of the Ming/Silver Supply Problems

1. Reorient: Global Economy for the Asian Age (1998) – Andre G. Franck
2. The 17th Century General Crisis in China (1973), in Asian Profile Vol. 1, Issue 2 – S. A.
M. Adshead
3. War, Politics, and Society in Early Modern China – Peter Lorge

The Qing as an Alien Dynasty

1. Books and Other Works by William T. Rowe

The Industrious Revolution under the Ming

1. Find the article in The Diplomat regarding the GDP comparison from that era

The Elect of Zhang He (1400 - 1430)

*not really written down but from recollection
 Was an Admiral for the Ming who travelled with potentially up to 300 ships whose
humungous size wouldn’t be seen by the world until Columbus and his Nina, Pinta, and
Santa Maria (and he only travelled with 3 ships)
 Travelled around the world to parts of Mexico and South America where Chinese
artifacts have been found
 Rounded Cape Horn and possibly the Cape of Good Hope
 Made visits to China’s tributary states as a way to “show the flag” and collected tributes
for the Emperor

o Presents included exotic animals
 Had at least one ship filled with just water
 Carried merchants who would trade with the locals at every stop
 Isolationist Emperor destroyed all records of his travel upon his return and burned the
boats so they couldn’t be used again
o Knowledge of building such boats was destroyed and only estimations and
recreations can guess at their dimensions
 FUN FACT: Clive Cussler, the fiction author whose books focus on Marine archeology
and uses historical events as a basis for his books has Zhang He as a character in one of
his stories (for the prologue anyway)

The Industrious Revolution of the Ming

China gradually integrates with the rest of the world economy
 Used to only be luxury goods through the Silk Road
o Was limited and not integral to the Chinese economy as the economy until then
had overwhelmingly been agricultural and it was through ownership of property
and farmland that wealth was determined
 During 1400s and 1500s trade becomes a part of the Chinese economy
o Benefits/supplies from the world economy changes
o Was conducted through trade (bartering) as well as silver which was used as
currency even though paper money had been invented/used from ~1,200 BCE
 Could exchange paper for coins (mainly bronze) using an exchange rate
 When the Ming took over, they decided people should only use paper
instead of exchanging into coins however production of a paper currency
reduced so it became rare
o Silver became more commonly used as it was light and malleable, as well as
being easily melted
 Became an unofficial currency and was gauged by weight
 Silver was rare but not too rare so people gained more silver by
exchanging products

The first economic revolution occurred under the Tang where China first opened up to outside
trade while the second economic revolution occurred under the Ming and was called The
Industrious Revolution as opposed to the Industrial Revolution occurring in the West.
This occurred due to 4 main factors:
1. Foreign Trade
2. Rural Industries

3. Rise of Private Enterprise
4. Rise of Free Labour

In 1550, in the area now occupied by Shanghai, 15,000 silk looms increased to 80,000 in 1800

Ming dynasty vases, valued for their beauty and craftsmanship all around the world, got their
colour from an extremely rare and expensive dye which was soon, due to trade, replaced with the
use of cobalt.

With such a huge influx of silver, people became rich

 The money doesn’t go to the Ming coffers as there are very low taxes and Ming still
focus on agriculture as their primary source of wealth
 The money goes to traders and merchants to reinvest, etc.

50 tons of silver goes into china for approximately the next 200 years

All this growth leads to a population boom

 1365: 85 – 100 million people (year the Ming dynasty is founded)
 1600: 270 million people
 1800: 300 million people (start of the overpopulation problem)

REMEMBER: not an industrial revolution BUT an industrious revolution

 Tons of free labour so no need for technology/machines
 Continuous increase in productivity until manual labour productivity hit the
 Mass production, large factories (that only consists of labourers toiling away)
o Production by the masses as opposed to the UK where mass production occurs
with minimal labour input
 Masses can’t afford the products they create
o Products only created for export

Some historians claim that China during the Ming had an economy that constituted ~45% of
world GDP but that seems a bit extreme. A more accepted figure is 35%.

Following the start of external trade under the Tang, under the Ming trade increased rapidly and
the economy becomes more divorced from the state
 The Ming try to develop more bureaucratic structures to oversee this trade
o They decide to lift the ban on international trade as they can’t stop it

The huge influx of silver stabilizes the economy

In 1430, a Chinese embassy is sent to Italy showing how the Chinese have started to become
interested in the outside world as opposed to their traditional reclusiveness/isolationism

*Check recording for the rest

The Fall of the Ming and Rise of the Qing

Due to China’s wealth and economy, it had the potential to affect the rest of the world
 The fall of the Ming is considered to have had a sharp effect on the rest of the world’s
economy with a recession in the world’s economy occurring at the same time
 The fall of the Spanish Empire occurred at the same time as the fall of the Ming –

Some say that there was very little violence during the fall of the Ming and rise of the Qing but
that was only inside the imperial capital

The last Ming emperor, Chong Zhen died of suicide in the arms of his eunuchs on the 25th of
April, 1644
 Contemporary stories say he called for his head bureaucrats the day before but no one
came – probably switched sides
 The Manchu invaders created the Qing dynasty officially in June

The Ming lasted from 1470 – 1629 and fell due to a variety of factors

 In the 1620s – 1630s there were years of continually poor harvests
o The earth went through a mini ice age between 1200 – 1800
 There were 2 peaks, the first when the previous dynasty fell and the
second around when the Ming dynasty fell
 During the second peak, people in the province of Shanxi resorted to
eating bark and even cannibalism
o The Chinese state was used to deal with natural disasters
 For example, during an average 20 year period, there were 113 floods and
118 draughts
 However, during the following period from 1630 – 1649 there were 124
floods and 200 droughts and the state wasn’t equipped for almost 30 years
of worsening conditions (1620s - 1649)

 Military on the borders, fighting one minority called the Miao for ~100 years, only
defeating only in 1600

Other Factors:
 Agricultural base was the only source of Ming revenue
 Low funds
 Inability to raise taxes
 Inability to force unpaid taxes from gentry
 Huge income inequality

In the 1590s Hideyoshi Toyotomi unites Japan and invades Korea with 100,000 troops, with the
aim on invading China and making Beijing his capital.
 The Ming go to Korea’s aid and send 100,000 troops as well to engage Hideyoshi for 6
 It took 350,000 kgs (or was it tons? Prolly kgs) of silver to pay for the conflict

The Ming also start to fight people called Jurgens who become the future Manchu who then
become the Qing dynasty
 The Great Wall of China that the Ming finished after hundreds of years was useless
1. The Wall was meant to conduct a defensive war which was cheaper than an
offensive war

2. However the Manchu operated further North than the location of the Wall so the
Ming needed to conduct expeditions

Less and less silver was coming into China so coffers were emptying
 Chinese silver mines were shut down for obscure reasons such as:
1. Confucians didn’t like mining (traditional explanation)
2. Corruption
3. If thousands of men working in the mines don’t get paid, they revolt

 Amount of silver mined over 24 years:

 1631 – 1635 = 426 tons
 1636 – 1640 = 573 tons
 1641 – 1645 = 295 tons
 1646 – 1655 = 185 tons

1630 was the peak year for the value of silver but then mines opened up all over the world
leading to a drop in the value of silver
 A recession in Europe (partly due to the mini ice age) leads to a further drop in demand

 1630s: 178 tons

 1640s: 89 tons
 1650: 68 tons

*Check recording for stuff about Japan

In 1641, 2 major rebel armies were controlled by Li Zichang

 1 in Hubei + Sichuan, 1 in Shanxi + Henan
 A total of 1 million men
 Created a country called Da Shin
 Also takes control of Kaifeng city
o Check out the story of the dam there being destoyed by Li or the local governor
o 10,000 soldiers killed as well as 80% of civilians (~338,000 people)
o Jewish community of 5000 that had been based there for centuries were wiped out

 Wu Sangui, a Ming general was fighting the Manchu
o Upon of hearing about the emperor’s suicide, decides to ally with the Manchu
who promised great rewards
o Opens the gate of the great wall but gets destroyed
o Li, calling himself the King of Sihu or Chu hears the Manchu were approaching
so he flees

 The Manchu set up the Qing dynasty but doesn’t fully control China
o Ming in the South fight for a long time
o First time this occurs in Chinese history as it’s usually the other way around

 Da Xi (Great West) was another country set up by Zhang Xianzhong

o ~300,000 men to resist the Ming in Sichuan
o Ruled with extreme violence
o When he found his gold or coat missing he orders the feet of thousands of women
chopped off, even his own concubine’s
o In around 10 years of rule, between 10% - 33% of the population died
o Invites scholars to come help set up a bureaucracy, kills them all
o When the Ming finally killed him, the killed anyone remotely related to him so
that no one could rise claiming descent from him

Who Are the Manchu?

 Can go back to the Jin State (1115 - 1234) during the song era
 Can also be called Great Jin/Jurchen Jin/Jurchid/Ruzhen/Juche
 Had a similar language to the Siberians
 Historically ruled by consensus
 Had a ruler called Aeuda/Aguda who calls himself the emperor of the people
 Had a similar political structure to the Tang, Song
o Became sinofied
o Adopts Chinese culture and customs
 Lost to Mongols then went up North again
 The word “shaman” originates from them
 Koreans wrote about them a lot
 Consisted of nomadic tribes
o The family/clan was very important
 United in a confederacy of sorts and had 3 main chieftains
 The title of their leader was Aisingioro
o Aisin meant gold/jin

o Gioro meant or referred to the name of a tribe/clan where the main clan comes
 The North  Yulan
o All Qing rulers had this title

The Three Main Chieftains

 1st Chieftain named Nurhaci who died in 1626
o Built a confederation
o Was treated by the Ming as a tributary state
o Worked with the Ming sometimes, especially against the Japanese
o Announces the creation of the Jin State in 1616
 Created solely as a means to invade the Ming
 Fighting from 1620 onwards
o Creates a new military system of organizing units called a Banner
 Was meant to take control of soldiers away from the tribes and loyal to
only him
 They were self-sufficient units and were composed of soldiers and their
 During peacetime they were farmers, tradesmen, fishermen, etc. but
always trained for war
 The system lasts until the end of the imperial system
 They were lifetime slaves called bondservants
 They were eventually separated by ethnic groups
 Eg. The Mongol banner, the Tibetan banner, etc.
 Banners were led by generals from their own ethnic groups
 Banners superseded clan controls, etc.

 2nd chieftain, son of Nurhaci, named Hong Taiji/Abahai who died in 1643
o Wanted to create a worldwide empire and wasn’t happy with just control of China
o Jin in 1100 failed in their aim of world conquest so wasn’t an auspicious name
 Chooses Qing instead
o Conquers a large part of Mongolia but territory still remains outside the great wall

 3rd Chieftain was named Dorcen or Dorgen and died in 1650

o Was the one who rode into the capital
o Was the regent for the baby emperor Shunzhi who became an adult emperor at 14
years of age

 There are 3 more notable, long-living emperors after Shunzhi and were the 3 most
famous emperors in Chinese history:
1. Kangxi/Xangxi – in power from 1662 – 1722
2. Yongzhen – in power from 1723 – 1735
3. Qianlong – in power from 1735 – 1795
 Conquered a large area for the Qing
 The first was the Zunghar region
 Closer to the Tibetans than the Chinese
 War lasted for decades
 Barely any civilians left alive after the war
 Created a territory called Xingjiang which is currently an
autonomous region in modern-day China
 After conquering the region, found that they also had taken
over parts of Tibet
 The Tibetans were a powerful force under the Dalai Lama
who the Qing also looked up to as they were Buddhist

The Qing chose the next emperor based on which son is best suited to rule though it led to many
baby emperors (READ MORE ON IT)

 Qing gained Southern China with the help of 3 turncoat generals called the 3 Great
o They were promised a lot of land (feudal holdings)
o One was Wu of the great wall gate fame
 He got Yunan
 Keeps his army of 60,000 soldiers
 Were slave soldiers
o When Qing asked for the land and rewards back it started decades of war amongst
them and the 3 Feudatories
 They had grown too powerful
o Wu creates the Zhou dynasty
 At one point controlled half of China
 Loses after ~40 years

The Zheng Family

 Taiwan, controlled by the Zheng family, gets invaded

 1st generation – Zheng Zhicong
 2nd generation – Chengong
o Koninga(?) was the western pronunciation of the title given to him by the Ming
o Mother was the daughter of a Japanese Daimyo and was given to his father
*All relevant info on recordings – sorry! Will transcribe later

The Qing as the Analien(?? – need to confirm)

*parts of the above may have meant to have come down here

The Qing as an Alien Dynasty

1. Adopted Chinese political, economic, and social institutions
2. The Manchu became Chinese
3. Therefore there were no more Manchu people, at least from their perspective

 In the 1930s Japan took over a part of China and named it Manchukuo
o They claimed it was the ancestral home of the Manchu people and that they were
protecting them (and maybe the remaining family of the royal line)

 Manchuria is the region the Manchu decided/created a myth that they were from (they
were still nomadic within there)
o The Qing built a border of willow palisades with a few entrances
o No ethnic Chinese were allowed in
o Manchu royals had summer homes there
o After time wasn’t well maintained so between 1890 – 1911 25 million ethnic
Chinese moved it

 Nurhaci called his people the Later Jin but his son called it the Qing dynasty
o Never wanted to become Chinese, just wanted to adopt Chinese institutions

 There were different titles for the Qing Emperors depending on the ethnic group
o Mongols – The Khan of Khans
o Chinese – The Son of Heaven
o Tibetans – The Wheel-Turning King
o Manchu – The Aisingioro

 One year after declaring the Qing dynasty and their conquest of Beijing, the Manchu
imposed Manchu hairstyles for men and Manchu clothes for men and women
o The clothes were designed for the cold North, for nomadic people, not the hot,
humid south
o Hated by the Chinese because it went against Confucian principles
 Changing your appearance or adding tattoos to the body meant going
against the ancestors and might deny your entrance to heaven or …
 Gave all the land under their control a very short time to make the change
(a week or a month?)
o Manchu did this to appear/to be considered a universal empire
o Wanted the Chinese to assimilate into them (Borg style for all you Trekkies)
o Wanted to show the Chinese who was in control (sending a message)
o Never did this to the Mongols, Tibetans, etc.
o Foot-binding, a tradition that goes back to the 5 Dynasties (907 - 960) and
popularized by the Song dynasty became even more popular
 This was due to peoples wealth increasing and continuous source of cheap
 Could afford to have daughters not work
 Only in 1949 with the Chinese communists coming to power did the
tradition finally get banned – tradition spanned a millennia

 Manchu called the invasion of China “The Great Enterprise”

The Qing Government

4 Reasons for Changes in Government when Qing Took Over:
1. Efficiency
a. For raising taxes (a reason the Ming crumbled)
i. Money for dams, canals, and other infrastructure problems
b. To control nepotism and corruption
2. To adapt governmental institutions to a society that is constantly becoming more complex
a. Complexity (as mentioned above)
i. Rising population for eg.
3. Impose Values/Ethics
4. Because of War and Rebellion
a. To become more efficient at waging war, supplying the army during this time, etc.
b. To better control the population and prevent rebellions

 Qing created 3 important/notable innovations/institutions:
 Court of Colonial Affairs
 Imperial Household Department
 Grand Council

Court of Colonial Affairs

 Was only called the Court on Colonial Affairs in Chinese or for foreigners
 Was called The Ministry for Ruling the Other Provinces in Manchu
 First time in Chinese history that a ministry was created for controlling territories outside
of China Proper
 Such as Tibetans, Mongols, etc.
 Also harkens back to Abahai’s wish to create a worldwide empire
 Only staffed by ethnic Manchu and all documents, etc. were only ever written in Manchu
 Was on the same level as the 6 ancient, traditional, highest ranked ministries

Imperial Household Department

 Separate from the previous imperial household ministries (traditional ministry that always
existed regardless of dynasty)
 Set up to manage the PRIVATE WEALTH of the imperial family
 No eunuchs were employed in this department as the Qing were always wary of them
o Only bondservants used

Grand Council
 Called the Office of Military Planning in Chinese
 Similar to the Queen’s Privy Council
 Never formalized in the sense of a formal institution like other ministries but still played
a very important role
 Became one of the most powerful institutions in the Qing dynasty
 Drawn from the emperor’s closest friends and sometimes relatives
 Was a part of the Inner Court which also consisted of the eunuchs, concubines, imperial
 Was top-heavy with only Manchu but clerical position were half Manchu, half Han
 Was responsible for communicating the emperor’s policies to the rest of the empire
 Set up a new system called “memorials” for letters/messages sent to the emperor from his

 The emperor knew people could hide things from him so he set up a process
called “Pathway of Words” (Yanlu) which was initiated from time to time and
anyone could contact him
 Occasionally experts on certain topics would be allowed to contact him
and advise him on important matters

There were 2 kinds of memorials:

1. Palace Memorials
2. Routine Memorials

Palace Memorials
 The equivalent of flash/critic level messages
 Was abused a lot because people realized their issue would be dealt with quickly and
directly by the GC
 Later became restricted for use to ~100 people across the empire

Routine Memorials
 Would be things like weather reports, criminal cases, grain reports/reserves, etc.

 Qing emperors were the first emperors to travel to see the land and people

 Every hour of the emperor’s life was documented on scroll paintings

o 12 paintings a day
o Each scroll was 10 – 30 meters long and between a meter and a meter and a half

 Had 2 types of Administration:

1. The Inner Administration based in Beijing
2. The Outer Administration which was at the provincial, prefectural, county, and
municipal level (see under Local Governance section)

 The Inner Administration contained 3 divisions:

1. Grand Council
2. Grand Secretariat

i. Consists of the Censor-in-Chief, Grand Chancellor, Commander-in-Chief
ii. Recap: Chancellor on the Right controls bureaucracy, Chancellor on the Left
cannot control bureaucracy but can correct the other Chancellor
iii. Grand Physician = Inspector of the Grand Physician
iv. Both have equal number of assistants
v. Inspectors at all levels should report all the wrongdoings AND all the good things
those they inspect do

3. The 6 Main/Traditional Boards/Ministries:

i. Civil Office
ii. Revenue
iii. Rites (actually dealt with Foreign Affairs and protocol)
iv. War
v. Public Works
vi. Justice/Punishment

 The outer administration consists of 18 provinces, 177 prefectures, ~1,528 counties

o The Qing believed in small government so the outer administration had a lot of
power over decision-making, policies, etc. which continues today
 Still had the left and right system though

 Check recording on circuit, sinecure, etc.

Local Governance
 Used the county (called Xian) and prefecture system which first came into play during
the Warring States Period (480 BC – 221 BC)
o Replaced the system of giving princes land to develop for the ruler
 Princes would swear loyalty to ruler and raise militias, etc.
 A problem because sometimes they wouldn’t obey or switch sides
 Lots of corruption
o Currently in China there are over 1,600 counties and ~750,000 villages

 Takes risks at the municipal level that the county can’t

 Lots of responsibility
 Promotes the ruler’s ideology
 Local public works
 Mediators
 Taxation

 Local militias

*The last 2 are expecially surprising as they historically came under the direct supervision of the

 Magistrates were extremely overworked and got moved every 3 years to avoid them
building a powerbase – same rules as ancient times
1. Were assisted by 6 “houses”:
1. Civil Administration
2. Protocol
3. Militia
4. Crime and Police
5. Public Works
6. Taxation and Census collection
2. Were also assisted by clerks who may or may not be locals
3. Magistrates were also detectives, judge and jury
 When detecting, they were assisted by the clerks
o There weren’t any lawyers but there were experts at the law but all were
employed by the magistrate
o For serious crimes the death penalty was given but you could buy your way out if
you were rich
 For a less serious problem you could pay half an ounce of silver instead
o There were 2 methods of delivering death:
 Beheading
 Strangulation
o Operated on a Confucian hierarchy

The Gentry (Shenshi)

 Included the magistrate who focused on:
1. Litigation
2. Military affairs
3. Fiscal matters
4. Official correspondence
5. Had a private secretary?

 Gentry lose the right to do manual labour as they became scholars

 Only scholars were allowed to become a part of the gentry
 Created a strong relationship between the state and the gentry

 The gentry were allowed to become pawnbrokers or usurers
 Moneylending depended on the borrower’s kinship with the lender, their lineage, and the
borrower’s clan (only started from when the Manchu were in power)
 In 1912 there were 23,139 lenders
 They always asked for collateral worth at least 50% of the loan
 Under the Qing the highest rate of interest that could be applied was limited to 3%
per month
 People or temples could leave money with the lenders and collect interest
 This didn’t lead to a financial sytem of the sort developed in the Western
 Unlike the West, the Chinese government NEVER borrowed
money until 1850 to build a railway

The Examination System

Side Note: A Tang emperor (or was it Empress Wu) created Hanlin Academy (now a university),
a think tank? Empress Wu created another called think tank called the Scholars of the Northern
Gate as an alternate source of ideas/information as she considered her bureaucrats to be out of
touch with reality?

 Existed since the Han (~200 BC)

 Created a political meritocracy
 Had many rules, created a system to reduce nepotism as much as possible
 Only one son per family is allowed to be sent to study to become a scholar
 Gave an opportunity for upwards social mobility
 Technically open to everyone but scholars tended to come from the gentry
because it cost a lot
 From the Song to the Qing there were ~1,000 families which ran China
 Once one becomes a scholar, the benefit is spread to the rest of the
extended family and all share in the profits/reputation with an increase in
the family’s status
 Buddhist priests, craftsmen, merchants, and people with criminal records cannot become
o Rich people can pay to sit the exam
 New recruits have a patron who will have to vouch for the recruit’s integrity
o They will be partnered together till one retires

 Multiple ranks of degrees awarded

 3 levels of examination (from easiest to hardest):

 Local (held every 1.5 years)
 Provincial (held every 3 years)
 Metropolitan (held every 3 years)
 If you passed the local exam you could work as a clerk or in education, taxes, military
affairs, public works, etc.

 Average age of test takers was 30 but was open for ages 18 – 65

 In 1150 there were 100,000 attempts per year at the exam

 In 1250 at the end of the Song dynasty there were 400,000 attempts per year

 You also had to prove that you’ve been in a school for a minimum of 300 days before
attempting the exam

 At the local level passing was limited to the top 1-3%

 During the Song, elite scholars composed 0.015% of the population
 In 1850, elite scholars composed 2.2% of the population - ~1.1 million people
o Most of the gentry were scholars

 The Metropolitan Exam was held in Beijing and was sometimes supervised by the
o If you pass, you gain the title of Jin Shi = Presented Scholar

 The exam is made as objective as possible

1. The examinee’s name is removed
2. An examiner (not in the test area) will copy the examinee’s paper and that version
will be corrected
 No bias based on recognising handwriting

 The Exam always has 3 parts:

1. Discourse on politics
2. An essay
 Study a problem based on Confucian classics + thought + doctrine
3. Poem

 They always prefer generalists over specialists
 After the exam everybody gets ranked based on score, character, family background,
ethnic group
o Wanted people from all over the empire
 Wanted to avoid having too many people from one region in case they
could create a faction and plot against the emperor
 The emperor could overrule any ranking upwards or downwards and had
the final say
 The system was only stopped in 1905 when the emperor realized that favouring
generalists versed in Confucian thought didn’t help with modernization

The Censorate
 Sometimes called the Registry
 Censors could also be called inspector, auditor, etc. depending on the era
 Had a Left Side and Right Side like all other bureaucrats to check up on each other
o Check notes from last semester
o Quote: “Order comes from above, but correction comes from the side, or even
 Refers to being checked up on/punished by your equal

The Canton System

 Also known as the Guangzhou System after the city near there
 Set up to facilitate the trade between the Chinese and the foreigners (i.e. the West)


 Qianlong Emperor gives the system its final structure

 Makes 3 decisions:
1. Originally 4 ports, declares Canton to be the only port foreigners can trade through
2. The Security Merchant System
a. Cargo is guaranteed and watched over by trading houses called Hong
i. The Hong are the only ones allowed to buy foreign goods
ii. This lead to an oligopoly amongst trading houses
iii. Trading houses were divided by country so each house would only
deal with cargo and ships from one nation

iv. The Hong would work to make sure custom fees are paid, etc.
v. The trading houses will form an association called Cohong (essentially
a lobbying group)
vi. They could souetimes buy goods from Chinese who trade with the rest
of Asia
3. Regulations
a. Women aren’t allowed in Canton
b. Foreigners can’t step outside the canton area, etc.
c. Foreigners weren’t allowed to speak to the Chinese except those from their
trading house
d. Heavy regulations were put in, especially in 1760

The Macartney Mission (1793)

*check recordings

Macartney’s/UK’s Wishlist
1. Normal diplomatic relations based on reciprocity
2. Sign a commercial treaty
a. Will open up 3 ports to trade
b. Want the chance to form inland business opportunities
3. Want to take control of 2 islands
a. One near canton (Honk Kong)
b. One near Shanghai
c. Wanted to have the principle of extraterritoriality
4. Exactions (pg. 147 – 148 of the textbook)
a. This also involved the removal of exactions

The 2 Opium Wars (1838 – 1842, 1858 - 1860)

 In the 1720s, the Portuguese start bringing opium from India
o 200 chests, 1 chest = 60 kgs, therefore 12,000 kgs. Total
 In 1796, the emperor bans the sale of opium, but not usage
o Used to be only the rich but spread to other social classes
 In 1773 the British East India Company (BEIC) starts importing opium from Calcutta
o After the ban, BEIC starts using third parties to sell
o Didn’t want to lose their monopoly
o Started selling through auctions?

o 1767 imports = 1,000 chests
o 1800 – 1820 imports = 4,500 chests
o 1820 – 1830s imports = 10,000 chests
o 1839 imports = 40,000 chests
 ~12 million users
 ~2% of bureaucrats using

 Check out “drain in species” = loss of money due to flow of money to china and not
much out
o Trade deficit with China
o Pound sterling was the benchmark currency, held to/controlled by the gold
o Loss/negative flow of gold and silver to China
 In 1830 ~26 million taels of silver went to China from all the western nations
o Taels were the Chinese unit used
o 1 tael = 1 ounce
o Due to opium, 30 million taels left China in 1830
 Reversal of flow to the tune of ~ 4 million taels
o Opium likened to the goose that laid the golden egg
o Smoking opium in China was called “chasing the dragon” (?)

 Silver was the standard in China but day-to-day transactions were in bronze
o As silver prices increased, it became rarer
o China needed to produce more bronze
o As the rarity of silver increased, it caused inflation coupled with a recession

 In 1839, Emperor Daoguang bans opium completely

o Send his bureaucrats to Canton to destroy all the opium
o In 1841 the British send 4 warships and 4,000 soldiers
 Obliterates the Qing navy easily as well as the city of Canton
 Surprised at the ease of their victory
 Notable battle: San Yuang (town)
 Local gentry set up a militia of 10,000 but eventually lose a
hard fought battle
 Brits win with only a handful of casualties
 Battle will go down as the first manifestation of Chinese
 Used by Chinese nationalists as the first popular
resistance to a foreign country/power within China
 Considered the starting point of future rebellion
 Comprised of people from all walks of life (farmers,
triads/tongs, martial arts schools, tradesmen) as

opposed to only farmers like throughout the rest of
Chinese history

 When Qing lose the First Opium War they sign the Treaty of Nanking (1841)
o Brits get great concessions, opium is never mentioned but is considered legal for
trade as it wasn’t explicitly banned
 Also looked better in the UK as selling drugs might harm their image
o Also known as the Peace and Friendship Treaty
o Led to 5 more cities being opened for trade in addition to British families being
allowed to settle anywhere in the cities
o Hong Kong becomes British territory in perpetuity
o 6 million pounds given to the British as replacement for lost opium revenue
o Led to the end of the Hong and Cohong
 Cohong had a lot of debt (~3 million pounds) from borrowing from the
 Also had to pay ~12 million for war expenditures
 Had to pay in 4 installments by 1845 (in 4 years time) with 5%
interest rate
 The money was used to develop Shanghai
 All British personnel to be released along with the Chinese who sided with
 Tariffs on imports must be 5% or less
 The Chinese jumped on this deal because the brits didn’t realise
that the Chinese historically depended on income tax from the
farmers for millennia and not like the west which depended on
tariffs and sales tax
o China still banned the British from moving inland

 The Americans also wanted a treaty called the Wanchia/Wanchian Treaty

o Wanted to build hospitals, churches, graveyards, etc.
o Got the Qing to remove the ban on foreigners learning Chinese in China
o Got the principle of extraterritoriality applied except for those convicted of smuggling

 The French signed the treaty of Whampao

 The British later edit their treaty to add Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status
o This means providing all benefits and privileges afforded to one country to be given
to other treaty signing nations (a bit of a simplification but essentially accurate)
o British gain extraterritoriality

 All the above treaties were unequal because they were imposed by force (duh!)

 Beginning of what the Chinese call the century of national humiliation

 The opium war didn’t make the Chinese realize their technological and military deficiency
o Throughout their history the Chinese lost a lot of wars, but due to the Emperor’s
virtue, they would eventually win/overcome

 They eventually went back to war because the Chinese refused to re-negotiate
o The Chinese attitude was once one treaty was signed, it was the end of the matter
o In the American treaty, there was a clause stating the treaty was open to renegotiation
after 12 years
o Due to MFN, Brits wanted to renegotiate as well
o The Chinese lose the war again because they didn’t focus on improving their armed

 The British want the Chinese to drop the tributary system and move towards a modern
system of diplomatic relations
o Also wanted to get diplomatic representation in China and have China reciprocate but
china doesn’t really care about sending an embassy to the UK
 Brits eventually get to send an embassy
o The Chinese have a system of Universal Overlordship which the rest of East and
Southeast Asia knows and respects

 Treaty of Tientsin (1858)

o Allows British to move inland and have trade along the river
o Opium is legalized, rebranded as “Western Medicine”
o All communication between the British and Chinese had to now be in English

 This was a problem as both sides referred to each other as barbarians

o In official treaties the Chinese wanted to use Yi which meant barbarian but told the
British it meant foreigner which was true in a sense
o The Chinese historically refer to anyone except for themselves as barbarians for
o They had different words for barbarians/foreigners depending on which direction they
came from
 Yi = Easterner
Man = Southerner
Rong = Northerner
Di = Westerner

o Depending on the region of the dynasty in power, people who for the previous
dynasty would be easterners, could now be southerners or even westerners
o The British came from the east so they were referred to as Yi
 The British banned the above terms from official use

 In 1870, 90% or Chinese imports came from the UK while 75% of Chinese exports went to
the UK

 In 1850, China imported about 80 products from around the world

o In 1940, China was importing around 480 products and so became dependent on
world trade

 The British would dominate trade until 1900 but would then drop to 3rd after Japan and the
o Opium also started being grown in China and so cut off demand from India
 Karl Marx also commented on it in his weekly column

The Anti-Qing Rebellion

Social Context
 China experienced a demographic explosion
o 1741 = 147 million (always used to be stable and was the same as 100 years
o 1850 = 430 – 450 million
o Due to factors like:
 the introduction of new crops like potatoes, peanuts, and corn
 These were counter-cyclical crops such that if the rice harvest fails,
they can survive on such crops
 Better hygiene, smallpox inoculation because it was a huge problem
before and foreigners didn’t want to travel inland for fear of catching it
 Increased knowledge regarding pregnancy, childcare due to the prevalence
of western experts as well as the availability of books
 An increased drop in infanticide rates (historically a problem for
 Also due to new land being open, people moved around
 Rate of population growth was 200% but rate of land availability
only increased by 30-35%
 Led to people selling their land to feed their family
Led to a 60% increase in landowners
10% of land was owned by bannermen (official

 Had ~10 men to cultivate land to feed
officers when not fighting
 30% of land was composed of forces
owning property
 The rest moved to cities or emigrated to the
rest of the world
o Silver outflow
o The gentry having employment issues
o Degradation of the imperial armies
o Political corruption
o Natural disasters like the Yellow River changing course which killed 2 million

 In China today, corruption is at ~15% GNP which is considered a good number to be at
as long as it doesn’t go any higher
o Corruption is considered an intrinsic aspect of Chinese society for centuries,
maybe even millennia
 For Example, the Sui dynasty starts the grand canal project in ~600 CE from South to
o There was a need to control the silt from the river
 Dykes, dams, etc. required constant upkeep but officials pocketed the
 The canal was essential for the flow of goods and food to Beijing
 Due to the corruption, one section becomes unusable so it ruined most of
the usefulness of the canal

 Heshan, a Manchu born in Beijing is probably one of the most despised people in Chinese
o In ~1770 the Qianglong Emperor becomes infatuated with him as he reminded the
emperor of his youth (sic)
o He was given presents and titles and had the implicit trust of the emperor

 Read up on salt merchants and their oligopoly and nepotism

o Salt was controlled by the state

 Confucianism is an example of orthoprax/orthopraxy
o Refers to respecting the prescribed practices as opposed to orthodoxy which
respects the “prescribed” ideas or “conduct”
o Very top-heavy  never question your superiors

Why do people turn to banditry?

1. To survive (during an economic downturn)
2. Social mobility
3. Redress the wrongs of society (Robin Hood Complex – they even have a forest named
Liu Lin meaning Greenwood kind of like Sherwood Forest)

 Generally a temporary solution

o Almost always a located locally, not province/statewide
o Only ever attacked communities apart from theirs (don’t want to alienate their
friends and neighbours)
 Took refuge in mountains swamps, deep forests, etc where it would be had for the local
gentry and magistrates don’t have ease of access
 Mostly local, almost never merged except during the Taiping rebellion
 Sometimes got rid of corrupt officials so got titles from the state (social mobility)
o Not considered rebels by the state

Secret Societies
 Originally started by Ming officials to fight the new Qing rulers
o Also originally anti-Confucianist
o Originally called fraternal organizations and later called secret societies
o Sometimes based on a new religion (anti-traditional religions) with an apocalyptic
 These generally take the form of a society based on rising corruption
which destabilizes society
o Professor Boulanger believes they were mainly created for mutual aid (kind of
like unions nowadays – my interpretation)
o Best known society is the Heaven and Earth and Man Society
 Triads and tong precursor?

o Emerged in the 1760s, mainly in the south
o Originally staffed by city workers, dock workers, and sailors
o Have their own blood oaths, rituals, etc.
o Eventually transformed into organised crime groups
 Protection racket for whole towns in places
o Fundamentally anti-Manchu so would join and aid rebellions

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~END OF MIDTERM MATERIAL~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Taiping Rebellion (1850 - 1864)

The Niam Rebellion (North, 1853 - 1868)
The Muslim Rebellion (Yunan Province, 1853 - 1873)
The Tunean Rebellion (Northwest, 1862 - 1878)


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