China trade from early 17th century to mid 19th century.
Around 17th and 18th century, Western countries were extremely eager to reach the profitable Chinese market due to its privileged geological location. Although China had traded their riches with Europe along the Silk Road for centuries, Chinese government were afraid that the sea trade to the south would potentially corrupt their “imperial kingdom” and further try to conquer the country. From 1700 onwards, the government established a set of rigid restrictions imposing the practice of Co-hong to confine foreign trades and merchants in Canton. However, by late 18 century, the trading system seemed to change. The British commenced the opium trade, which created a steady demand among Chinese addicts and further solved the chronic imbalanced trade. As the Opium War broke out with Britain, China was no longer on the top of the world. The Celestial Empire not only was forced to be subservient to British trading regulations, but also somewhat became a semi-colonial country. The East India Company founded in 1600 that held a monopoly in east India by the British government was rapidly enlarging its global trading influence in China. By sending a company trader to address their concern regarding to the unreasonable restrictions on trade in Canton, the representative James Flint was arrested and imprisoned for being breaking the “Canton trading law”. This incident showed China’s superior attitude toward Westerners and how they manipulated the trade irrationally in their best interest disregarding the concerns of foreign traders. The growing number of foreign traders in the late eighteenth century strongly threatened the Qing. They feared that the trade with foreign merchants would give the opportunity for Westerners to corrupt China; therefore, a set of laws that was so called “Canton system” was established. The system restricted all European trades to only one port Canton and foreign merchants were forbidden...
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