Imperialism in China and Japan

Topics: China, First Opium War, Opium Pages: 2 (587 words) Published: May 10, 2013
Global 2
Imperialism in China and Japan
In the 19th century European countries were asserting their power by adopting a new form of imperialism, and colonizing many areas. Asia, in particular, China and Japan, became very enticing areas to colonize. While China and Japan were both isolated, feudal states, they reacted differently such as Japan accepting imperialism and becoming a world power and China rejecting Western ways and being used by Europe.

A few Chinese welcomed Western ideas but most remained hostile towards them. China had been isolated from Europe for centuries until Britain began trading opium for silver. Eventually the Chinese became addicted to opium and fearing for the health of his people the emperor banned the import of opium and all trade with Europe. Britain rejected the demand and when the Chinese attempted to destroy stores of Opium, the Opium War was started. China was quickly defeated and gave Britain Hong Kong and several ports open to trade. In 1856 the Chinese revolted again but were crushed, this led to the occupation of Beijing and an increase in Christian missionary activity. In 1864 Hong Xiuquan, who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus, started the Taiping Rebellion. Again this revolt was crushed but 20 million people were killed. With the Chinese government severely weakened, several European countries claimed regions inside China creating “spheres of influence”. The attitude in China is summed up by a letter from a government official to the Emperor “Throughout history no country has ever become strong by relying on achievements in technology”. Similarly to China, Japan was isolated from the rest of the world especially Europe, since the 1600s. But in 1853 The United States sent Matthew Perry and several steam ships to force Japan to trade with them, similarly to China being forced open during the Opium Wars. Japan opened only a few at first but then opened several more to more countries. It looked as if Japan...
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