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The Viewpoint assignment - Essay Example

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The treaties were regarded by China as unequal because they were not conferred by countries treating each other equally, rather inflicted on China following a war, and…
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The Viewpoint assignment Historical significance of politics and culture of Manchu/Qing China The period of Unequal treaties
Unequal treaties refer to treaties imposed by nations in the West on the Qing dynasty during the 19th century. The treaties were regarded by China as unequal because they were not conferred by countries treating each other equally, rather inflicted on China following a war, and since they influenced the sovereign rights of this country, reducing it to a semi colonial status. Severally, China was obliged to pay masses of compensations, open up ports for trade purposes with the West, lease, or code territories, and compromise other valuables to the foreign super powers after military defeats.
The relationship between the United States and Japan had been a complicated mix of completion, cooperation, and conflict. This began in 1853, immediately Commodore Mathew Perry came to Edo Bay and insisted on a termination to over a couple of years of Japanese isolation. Only ten years prior to this, Britain had imposed Nanjing unequal treaty on China following the First Opium War (Doyle & Xiaoming 78). The disposal of Perry’s naval power convinced leaders in Japan to sign the Kanagawa treaty of 1854 that provided for the opening of two ports to ships from the U.S. The first U.S minister to China, Townsend Harris, negotiated extra agreements to extent the rights of the United States to Japan. Thus, the U.S had showed to Japan how economic weak points had left it helpless. The Chinese were further disgraced by having to surrender legal authorities over the foreigners that resided in their nation and the port cities. The Chinese citizens were even forced by the treaties to give way to Christian missionaries from the West to proselytize in the interior parts of China. Hostility to such foreign dictations forced a rebellion that re-established the Meiji emperor and commenced rapid industrialization and modernization in which leaders in Japan borrowed and learned from foreign countries, especially the U.S.
The ability of the Westerners to inflict their economic demands on China forcibly was too harsh to the Chinese perception of themselves as an extremely developed civilization. In addition, the Western concept of a structure of international relations carried out among supreme nation-states challenged the identity of the Chinese as universalistic, advanced civilization. It was also hard for the courts in China to adapt to a system that had developed in the West by the 1800 where supreme nation-states interrelated as equals (Doyle & Xiaoming 90)
The intellectual history of the Qing dynasty in the late 18th century shows how China responded to such pressures from the unequal treaties. They fall under the categories of anti-traditionalism. It is disregarded as the traditional arguments of cultural superiority. It rejected Chinese culture as useless, sick, and corrupt, and promoted total westernization; the notion of adopting Western technology so that the essence of Chinese civilization could be preserved; and pro-traditionalism, which aimed at completely rejecting any imported Western culture and to reinforce the country by use of cultural revival and reform-within-tradition. It was through these reforms that china emphasized on the perfectibility of man, ethical role of government, and the belief that ethical qualities, rather than technical expertise led to several rewards and finally benefited the society. Consequently, this brought about unwillingness to motivate a class of western technical experts in government or industries.
Work Cited
Doyle, Wright and Xiaoming, Peter. China: Ancient Culture, Modern Society. New York: Strategic Book Publishing, 2009. Print. Read More
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