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Global Asia Studies
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Liang Chen

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Journal 8: The Opium War, Emperor Kangxi
Key Terms
Opium War: After the inauguration of the Canton System in 1756, which restricted trade to one
por t and did not allow foreign entrance into China, the Br itish East India Company faced a trade
imbalance in favour of China and invested heavily in opium production to redress the balance.
Br itish and American merchants brought opium from Bengal to the coast of China, where they
sold it to Chinese smugglers who distributed the dr ug in defiance of Chinese laws. In 1838, the
Emperor sent Lin Zexu to Guangzhou where he quickly arrested Chinese dealers and summarily
demanded that foreign firms tur n over the ir stocks. When they refused, Lin stopped trade
altogether and placed the foreign residents under virtual siege, eventually forcing the merchants
to surrender their opium to be destroyed. In response, the Br itish government sent expeditionary
forces from India which ravaged the Chinese coast and dictated the terms of settlement. The
Treaty of Nanking not only opened the way for fur ther opium trade, but ceded ter r itor y including
Hong Kong, unilaterally fixed Chinese tariffs at a low rate, g ranted extrater r itor ial rights to
foreigners in China which were not offered to Chinese abroad, a most favoured nation clause, as
well as diplomatic representation.
Emperor Kan gxi: He ascended the throne when 8 years old. 8 European Christian missionaries
as astronomers were guests in the Manchu court, which was eventually critical for Kangxi to
ascend the Dragon Throne. Before Kangxi ascended the throne Manchu China was stricken by
small pox (he lost his father to small pox, his grandma consulted the Europeans and they
suggested choosing Kangxi). Having sur vived, Kangxi had developed an immune system to small
pox. He began his studying at 3 am, where he mastered four languages: Manchu, Mongolian,
Chinese, and Tibetan. Emperor suppressed a major rebellion in 1720 in Tibet, halting civil war
where he established Chinese authority. His armies impressively chased t he expanding Russians
out of the Amur Valley and southward. Kangxi also supervised the Reconquest of Taiwan, and
also restored Chinese control of Mongolia. Emperor Kangxi enforced tha t 90% of Manchu
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