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Imperialism in China
The Main Idea…
• China was forced to sign unequal treaties
and allow European nations to imperialize
their country because Europe had superior
military technology
– This created a hatred of western ways among
many people in China
British drug
• Please view the
following video clip
on the British opium
trade in China and its
multiple effects…
The Opium War
• British merchants were trading opium in
China since the late 1700s
• China tried to halt imports of the addictive
• In 1839 Britain fought w/China in the
Opium Wars to keep the trade open
Result of the Opium Wars
• Britain’s superior military strength led to a
quick victory
• In 1842, Britain forced China to pay for the
war costs, open ports to British trade and
give Britain the island of Hong Kong
– This was agreed on in the Treaty of Nanjing
Spheres of Influence
• In the years that followed, other western
powers forced China to sign unequal
• Western powers carved out spheres of
influence: areas in which an outside
power claimed exclusive trade privileges
The Boxer Rebellion
• In 1900, a group known to westerners as
the Boxers attempted to remove foreign
influences from China in a conflict known
as the Boxer Rebellion
• Armies from Japan and the West crushed
the rebellion and forced China to grant
more concessions to foreign powers
Result of the Boxer Rebellion
• After the Boxer Rebellion failed, more
Chinese people called for western-style
• In 1911, workers, students and peasants
toppled the Chinese monarchy and formed
the Chinese Republic
– President was Sun Yixian
“Compared to other peoples of the world we
have the greatest (largest) population and
our civilization is four thousand years
old…Today we are the poorest and
weakest nation in the world and occupy
the lowest position in international affairs.
Other men are the carving knife and
serving dish, we are the fish and the meat.
As a consequence…we are being
transformed everywhere into a colony of
the foreign powers.”
- Sun Yixian in response to the results of the
Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion