Imperialism in India and China

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British imperialism in China and India brought very different responses, in part because of the nature of imperialism in each place. While both regions were greatly influenced by the British, in India the country was placed under the direct rule of the Queen. In China on the other hand, the "spheres of influence" were economic, and did not entail direct British rule. During the British imperial age the culture of China continued on much the same as it had before, while in India the British tried to replace the Indian culture with their own.

British influence in China began with the introduction of the opium drug. In England this drug was already widely in use, even among Christians. "William Wilberforce, the slave-trade abolitionist, took opium before making a long address. "To that," he said, "I owe my success as a public speaker." Clive of India, having established the security of the East India Company, took the drug for chronic malaria and gallstones, and whenever he was depressed."1 By 1838 many Chinese were also addicted and as a result the Manchu Emperor issued an edict forbidding the sale and use of opium. When a British shipment of opium was confiscated the Opium Wars (1839-1842, 1856-1860) broke out. British troops overwhelmed the Chinese with their military might and forced them to sign a series of "unequal treaties" which expanded British trading rights in China.

Between the two wars Britain declared Hong Kong its own crown possession and in 1844 in forced the Manchu Dynasty to allow Christian missionaries into China. The acquisition of Hong Kong, although wrong, was used and is still being used by God as a gateway for freedoms, especially Christianity into China. Once the word got out that China was crumbling the European powers rushed to divide China into spheres of influence. These were not actual colonies (the Manchu government was still intact) but they were areas in which Europeans traded, invested and set up businesses.

India on the other...
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