China and the International System, 1840-1949: Power, by David Scott

By David Scott

As China maintains its swift ascent in the foreign process, questions of the place it got here from have specific relevance. Combining background with diplomacy concept, David Scott considers China's first noticeable smooth interval of stumble upon with the West from 1840 via 1949, a interval characterised because the Century of Humiliation. in this time China fell from heart nation preeminence to a place within the foreign procedure that remained an enigmatic and tough one: too robust to be taken over as a colony, but now not powerful sufficient to form its personal future. on the center of Scott's research is stumble upon, and, with it, questions of energy, presence, and perceptions. He examines the pictures, hopes, and fears that have been evoked in the course of China's century-long subservience to exterior powers, together with opposing perspectives of China as a probability or China because the "sick guy of Asia" and the West as evil or the West as savior. China and the chinese language are explored by way of their interplay with the foreign procedure, with a specific specialize in the USA and Australia.

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Extra info for China and the International System, 1840-1949: Power, Presence, and Perceptions in a Century of Humiliation

Sample text

Australia will ere long be the scene of an analogous combination” (1852: 113). However, in Australia, local white sentiment and images were quickly forming against the Chinese. Charles Thatcher, dubbed “the colonial minstrel,” who died of cholera in Shanghai in 1878, warned in his 1857 poem “Chinese Immigrant,” “Of course you watch the progress / Of Chinese immigration— / For thousands of these pigtail chaps / In Adelaide are landing; / HUMILIATIONS ESTABLISHED 33 And why they let such numbers come / Exceeds my understanding” (Jordan and Pierce 1990: 294).

Robert Fortune’s travels across northern China left him with a view of China as “retrograding” and in “decay” (1847: 9) in the wake of the war. More specifically, the Chinese military defeat by British forces set the scene for the forceful mass entry of opium exports into China from British India. As Sir Henry Charles scathingly commented, “England, mistress of the world” (1849: 38) had “forced an evil legacy onto China . . opium, China’s curse . . the use of which entails destruction, mentally and bodily on its infatuated devotees” (2).

Such “foreign devils come to the country for no good to it. They preach and talk in loud voices and hold up their hands and pretend that they come for the people’s benefit,” but “I heard that each and every one of them is a paid agent of some foreign power, and are only here to spy upon the government” (23). The relationships among missionaries, traders, and diplomats were in reality far more ambiguous, but the perception was strong and consistent in China that Christian missionaries were the geocultural arm of Western geopolitical expansionism.

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