midterm 1 support - First of all the way China and Japan reacted to the West\u2019s increasing pressure to open to trade was very different Both

midterm 1 support - First of all the way China and...

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First of all, the way China and Japan reacted to the West’s increasing pressure to open to trade was very different. Both countries had long maintained isolationist tendencies, with limited commerce with the West. China welcomed foreign trade, but western merchants had no privileges there and were confined to Canton, where they could only deal with the Co- hong, a group of traders (Edwardes, 1973). Japan was even stricter, allowing commerce only with the Dutch, who had access to only one port, Dejima This situation was not to be accepted by the Western nations for long, however, and by 1834 Lord Napier was sent by Britain to pressure the Chinese into allowing a more open trade. The Chinese government rejected his requests, and animosity arose between the two nations, with Chinese mobs surrounding the merchants’ quarter in Canton (Edwardes, 1973). Tensions eased temporarily, but the situation precipitated due to the British illicit trade in opium. In 1839, the new imperial commissioner Lin Tze-hsu arrived in Canton and confiscated 20,000 chests of opium from the British. Further disagreements, especially concerning the British’s refusal to hand over to Chinese authorities a sailor accused of killing a Chinese man, led to an armed naval confrontation in November 1839. This marked the beginning of the first of the Opium Wars, which would result in Chinese defeat and the establishment of a system of unequal treaties (Edwardes, 1973) (Martin, 1968) (Fairbank and Reischauer,1989). Japan, on the contrary, was much more receptive to the demands of Western envoys. In 1853 Commodore Perry was sent by the United states to give an ultimatum to Japan to open its ports, and when he returned the next year the Japanese authorities accepted to negotiate with him (Storry, 1960) (Rosenberg, 1978). This was a very different attitude to that of the

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