England's Attempt At Imperializing China, How It Had Less Of An Impact Than Expected

449 words - 2 pages

The English were not as successful at imperializing China as they were India and Africa. The Chinese were a very ethnocentric society, so they would not allow Europeans to influence them as heavily as the Europeans would have liked to. In both of these documents we see this idea of Chinese ethnocentrism demonstrated.In the Chinese emperor's response to Lord McCartney's request to have European trade in China, we see how the Chinese believed that they were the only nation that mattered. They truly believed that theirs was the ideal society, and all other people should strive to be like them. The emperor made it seem as though he was doing them a huge favor to just be able to go to his land. He calls the Europeans "barbarians", implying that the Chinese were above them. He believed that through some divine right, he and all of his people were higher than everyone else in the world.In Commissioner Lin's letter to Queen Victoria we see another side of the Chinese. They never back down and totally give in to the Europeans, as that was beneath them and they still had their pride. This letter is the closest to begging that the Chinese would ever come. It is basically a plea to the Queen for her people to stop selling opium to the Chinese. The irony in the letter is that the English had so much opium from India, and they would not sell it to their own people because they knew its horrible effects on them. So, they figured they might as well make a profit of it and sell the drug to the Chinese. Opium is an extremely addictive drug and once they started using it, the Chinese continued to buy it. Even in a situation like this, where many countries or people would have given up the self-righteous state of mind, China keeps her divine right persona, and coolly asks for the Queen of England to take opium out of China.China was extremely ethnocentric. The fact that they even asked anything of the Europeans was a sign of the urgency of their plea for the opium be taken out of their "Celestial Empire." That was a huge sign that the English had weakened the Chinese. We also see here a decline in their own sense of power.


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