The Failure of the Qing Dynasty Essay

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The Failure of the Qing Dynasty

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 …show more content…

More friction could be seen between the West and China with Amherst’s reluctance in conforming the kowtow ritual. Emperor Jaiqing viewed such act as an insult to the Middle Kingdom due to British pride and arrogance, and added that no more attempts need be made to send mission to Beijing. The Chinese emperor was further humiliated by Napier’s breaking of five important regulations: did not apply for permission to go to Guangzhou, had no customs permit to reside in the Guangzhou factory, sent his communication to the viceroy not as humble “petition” from an inferior to a superior but as a “letter” to an equal, the letter was in Chinese not in English, and he tried to get the letter delivered directly and not through the Cohong merchants.

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

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