Posts Tagged: unequal treaties

The Second Opium War

The Second Opium War (1856-1860), also know as the Arrow War, evolved in a similar fashion to the First Opium War, with a small diplomatic conflict escalating into war. Beset internally by the Taiping rebels, China had few resources to spare to defend itself from an outside threat. With the French joining the British, China… Read more »

The First Opium War

In 1839, British conflict with Lin Zexu’s policies in Guangdong led to the outbreak of the First Opium War. The technologically superior British overwhelmed the more numerous Chinese. The victorious British forced the Chinese into the first of many “unequal treaties,” the Treaty of Nanjing. This treaty marked the beginning of China’s century of humiliation,… Read more »

The “Sick Man of Asia”

China’s 1895 defeat to Japan and the resulting Treaty of Shimonoseki¬†(read more about the treaty in the chapter on Empress Dowager Cixi)¬†opened the eyes of many Chinese intellectuals, Liang included, to China’s weakness. The treaty inspired Liang to coin the now famous phrase, “Sick Man of Asia,” to describe China’s precarious position. The phrase in… Read more »