Reasons For The Downfall Of The Manchu Government In 1911

672 words - 3 pages

The Manchu government’s refusal to open up China to trade with the western powers led to armed invasions by the foreign powers. China did not want any goods from the west as China considered itself as self-sufficient. China regarded trade as a favour China granted to the less fortunate nations. However Britain was very much interested in purchasing Chinese silks, porcelain goods and Chinese tea. Therefore, Britain found a new commodity and this was the sale of opium to China. The illegal trade of opium developed very quickly. By 1800s, the number of chests imported increased from 1000 to 40000 chests a year. By the 1830s, there were about 1 million opium addicts in China. There was an outflow of bullion from China to Britain and this created social and economic problems. The Chinese government tried to stop the illegal trade of opium which ended in two wars. The first opium war (1839 – 1842) and the second opium war (1856 – 1860). These wars and the Sino-Jap war (1844-1895) led to humiliating defeats for China. China was forced to sign unequal treaties which demanded the opening and control of Chinese ports to foreign trades and residence. The foreigners could live in China without interference from the Chinese government as no Laws were imposed on them. This caused a loss of sovereignty for China. The loss of trade, taxes and exclusive trading rights made it difficult to pay the high war debts. Hence the Chinese government was seen as weak and unable to protect the country from the foreign threats. This formed a group of revolutionaries aiming to overthrow the Manchu government in February 1911.

Secondly, the failures of the Manchu government and its failure to bring reforms caused the people of China to resent the Manchu Rule. The Manchu government centralized all its power in the Manchu court and the people had no say in the running of the government. There was a lack of reforms. Local officials known as Mandarins collected taxes and made lots of money by cheating the...

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