By Wang Gungwu
Wang Gungwu's learn of the connection among China and the chinese language with imperial Britain examines the probabilities, in addition to the boundaries in their encounters. past the clichГ©s of opium, battling, and the diplomatic talents had to fend off opponents and enemies, Gungwu probes parts of extra intimate encounters, no longer least of that's the start of a broader English-speaking destiny among the 2 international locations.
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Extra info for Anglo-Chinese Encounters since 1800: War, Trade, Science and Governance
I only wish to highlight, where fighting was concerned, the complex Chinese responses to the Anglo-Chinese experience. Britain was the first modern enemy, but the Qing court was willing to learn from the British how to strengthen its armed forces, including the navy. But that failed, and China was forced to endure desperate measures barely to survive for at least the next sixty years. Having failed to find a new attitude towards naval strength from the years when Britain was at the height of its powers, the Chinese then saw the growing irrelevance of Britain to their fighting ability.
Their interest diminished further when the last of the warlords who had shown promise, Wu Peifu, failed to lead the forces of stability which the British supported. And, sadly, the hopes for the one area where the British could once have given China the most valuable help, how to build a strong navy, were literally sunk with the Chinese fleet in 1895. After that, it was the one military area where the Chinese had the least opportunity to develop. For example, China’s only well-known admiral, Sa Zhenbing (1859–1951), was one of the few commanders who survived the 1895 debacle.
I mentioned that Chinese mandarins were impressed that British merchants could produce so much wealth through overseas enterprises. Insofar as these mandarins saw that trade as the work of a dominant monopolistic company like the East India Company, this conformed to their view that all foreign trade was best conducted by the rulers in a similar monopoly through their controllable merchants. For the Chinese merchants, the fact that the English company had naval support was proof that official endorsements made all the difference.