East Asia, The Modern Transformation notes

for The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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Page 3
Notes from

East Asia, The Modern Transformation
by John K. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer, and Albert M. Craig

Over time extraterritoriality grew into "a device to protect foreign firms and corporations in the treaty ports from Chinese taxation." As the treaty port cities like Shanghai, Canton, and Tientsin grew, "vested interests dependent on extraterritoriality grew correspondingly." "The most-favored-nation clause continued to work as a one-way ratchet, giving every treaty power all the privileges that any one of them acquired." [342] Maritime Customs Service discussion begins here.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 halved the ship transit time between China and Europe. "In 1870-1871 cables were laid connecting Vladivostok, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, whence telegraphic communication went on around the world via London to San Francisco." In 1857 the Shanghai silver tael was adopted as a unit of currency, but in the second half of the century the value of silver fell due to increased output and the adoption of gold (with demonetization of silver) in much of the rest of the world. The unequal treaties prevented the government from imposing a protective tariff, and foreign goods were also exempted from taxes that applied to domestically produced goods. Yet China did not become nearly as large of a market for foreign goods as hoped because of "poverty, self-sufficiency, and conservatism. " [344-345]

The opium trade peaked in 1879, then declined as domestic production came more in line with demand. Tea exports peaked in the 1880's, then declined as India production took over. Even silk exports declined as the Japanese product increased in both quantity and quality. [345]

There were cases of Chinese and foreign capitalists investing together in development. Edward Cunningham of Russell and Company organized a steamship line on the Yangtze financed by Americans and Chinese. [348]

Modern industries began to be developed by Chinese after 1870, notably the development of mines by Li Hung-chang and the Kaiping Mining Company. When the company was bankrupted by graft in the late 1890s it was taken over by a British company in 1900 who hired Herbert C. Hoover to run it. [356]

Chinese children were sent to the U.S. systematically for education starting in 1872, but the effort was later halted because of the cost and the U.S. decision in 1880 to bar Chinese immigrants and visitors. [361]

The Japanese influence in Korea increased markedly in the 1870s. Korea was the last East Asian state to be opened to Western contact. Shipwrecked westerners were expelled to China, and trade and diplomacy were refused, violently if necessary. In 1871 the U.S. minister to China, F. F. Low, led a five-warship attack on Korea. After two Americans were wounded the ships destroyed five forts by bombardment, killing perhaps 250 Koreans. But Korean officials refused to negotiate, so in the end Low withdrew. Emulating Commodore Perry, the Japanese, who had limited trading rights, in 1876 sent an invasion force. The Koreans followed Chinese advice and opened three ports to Japanese trade while declaring independence from China. [375-376]

The U.S. negotiated a treaty in 1882 which also recognized Korean independence. In the Chinese-Japanese rivalry in Korea, generally modernizers favored Japan and conservatives favored China. Korea sent a mission to the U.S. in 1883. [377]

American attempts to establish commercial relations in Indochina began early. Edmund Roberts failed in Vietnam, but made a commercial treaty with Siam (Thailand) in 1833, when Andrew Jackson was President. Missions in 1850 failed. Proposals to establish U.S. naval bases in Taiwan, the Bonin Islands, or the Ryukyu islands never went into action. Finally Townsend Harris, following up on the British, secured a treaty with Thailand in 1856. The French did not conquer Vietnam, even in part until 1862. [451-452]

Korea set up a legation in Washington, D.C. in 1888, and American missionaries entered the country. [466]

Continued on East Asia Transformation Page 4

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