China 1 Essay, Research Paper
Part 2: China
Confucianism is a “code of conduct” to live this life, and it has had a tremendous impact on how the Chinese live their lives. It has a great influence in Chinese government, education, and attitudes toward correct personal behavior and the individual duties to society. Confucius wanted to be a politician, even a Prime Minister, but he failed, and then he dedicated to preach good moral conduct. After his death he became the Chinese most influential in the history of China, and had all the honors he never had in life. The Government ordered the “worship of Confucius”, and named him the “Co-Assessor with the deities of Heaven and Earth”. His precepts and principles were incorporated into the Chinese Law in 210 BC. His way to please God or the gods was through a good conduct with your family, neighbors, and society. If you are a good person, God is going to like you. Some say that Confucianism is no religion in reality, because Confucius was a philosopher, moralist, statesman and educationist, but no religionist. They say that the thoughts and teachings of Confucius are ethical philosophy, political and educational principle, but not religious philosophy.
The essence of all his teachings may be summed up under this one word Jen . The nearest equivalent to this difficult word is social virtue. All those virtues which help to maintain social harmony and peace like benevolence, charity, magnanimity, sincerity, respectfulness, altruism, diligence, loving kindness, goodness are included in Jen. His Golden Rule is: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others”. “The injuries done to you by an enemy should be returned with a combination of love and justice”. The universal virtues are wisdom, benevolence, and fortitude. Benevolence is to love all men and knowledge is to know all men. The perfect virtue is gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. Confucius said a virtuous man has three awes: heaven s decree, great men, saints words: When worshipping God, one must feel as if He were visibly present.
Confucius laid great stress on the cultivation of character, purity of heart and conduct. He exhorted the people to develop a good character first, which is a priceless jewel and which is the best of all virtues. The nature of man, according to Confucius, is fundamentally good inclined towards goodness. Perfection of goodness can be found in sages and saints. Every man should attempt to reach the ideal by leading a virtuous life, by possessing a very noble character, and by doing his duty unselfishly with sincerity and truthfulness. He who is endowed with a good character and divine virtue is a princely type of man. The princely man sticks to virtue, and the inferior man clings to material comfort. The princely man is just while the inferior man expects rewards and favours. The princely man is dignified, noble, magnanimous, and humble while the inferior man is mean, proud, crooked, and arrogant. In the “Great Learning” Confucius revealed the process, by which self-development is attained and by which it flows over into the common life to serve the state and bless mankind. The development, which Confucius set forth is as follows: investigation of phenomena, learning, sincerity, rectitude of purpose, self-development, family-discipline, local self-government, and universal self-government. His teaching was largely concerned with the problems of good government. He said, “The Ruler himself should be virtuous, just, honest and dutiful. A virtuous ruler is like the Pole-star which, by keeping its place, makes all other stars to evolve round it. As is the Ruler, so will be the subjects.” Confucius held that Society was made up of five relationships: Those of husband and wife, of parent and child, of elder and younger brother, or generally of elders and youngsters, of Ruler and Minister or subject, and of friend and friend. A country would be well governed when all the parties performed their parts aright in these relationships.
In China, between 1792 to 1911, domestic and foreign problems confronted the Chinese society, Chinese leaders, and the Chinese government. The long period of peace and prosperity had some adverse effects on Chinese society. There was a shortage of land, resulting from an increase in the population from 100 million to 300 million at the end of the 18th century. Decadence and corruption spread in the imperial court. There was a decline of the Manchu military spirit, and the Ch’ing military organization deteriorated. The long and illustrious reign of the emperor Ch’ien-lung was marred by the first of many serious rebellions in the Ch’ing era, the White Lotus Rebellion from 1796 to 1804. It was not put down for ten years, and China entered the 19th century rocked by revolt.
More devastating were the incursions of Western powers, which shook the foundation of the empire. The first of many Sino-Western conflicts in the 19th century was the first Opium War, fought from 1839 to 1842. It was more than a dispute over the opium trade in China. It was a contest between China as the representative of ancient Eastern civilization and Britain as the forerunner of the modern West. Free trade advocates in the West had protested against the restrictive trading system in force at Canton. They demanded free trade in China, the opening of more ports to Westerners, and the establishment of treaty relations. The Treaty of Nanjing, which ended the first Opium War, opened five ports to the British–the first of the “treaty ports” where Western nations were granted various privileges. A second Opium War, also known as the Arrow War, fought from 1856 to 1860, pitted China against Great Britain and France. The Opium Wars disrupted the old life and economy of southern China. A number of peasant revolts occurred in the 1840s, coming to a head in the Taiping Rebellion, the biggest rebellion in Chinese history. The leader of the Taipings was Hung Hsiu-ch’uan, from a village near Canton. Believing that God had chosen him to save the world, he adopted a confused version of Christianity as his guiding doctrine and set out to overthrow the Manchus and change society. The combination of religious fervor and anti-Manchu sentiment attracted a following that rose to over 30,000 within a short time. In 1852 the T’ai-p’ing T’ienkuo was proclaimed. In 1853 the rebels took the city of Nanjing and made it their capital. Other revolts erupted at about the same time. The Nien Rebellion in the northeast and Muslim rebellions in the southwest and the northwest. Fearing a linkup among the rebels that would engulf all of China, the Ch’ing government created regional armies manned entirely by Chinese and commanded by Chinese of the scholar-gentry class. The commanders of the new forces, all loyal supporters of the dynasty–Tseng Kuo-fan, Tso Tsung-t’ang, and Li Hung-chang–suppressed the rebels with the help of Western weapons and leadership. They annihilated the Taipings in 1864, the Niens by 1868, and the Muslims by 1873.
The internal rebellions were suppressed, but external threats continued. After a brief period of cooperation in the 1860s, foreign powers renewed their assault on China, reacting to widespread antiforeign violence. Again, China became embroiled in a series of conflicts; The Tianjin Massacre with France in 1870, the Ili crisis with Russia in 1879, the Sino-French War from 1884 to 1885, and the Sino-Japanese War from 1894 to 1895. Each brought further humiliation and greater impairment of sovereignty. In the last two incidents territory was lost, and an indemnity had to be paid to the victor in the Sino-Japanese War. China in the 19th century was beset by internal turmoil. It was easy prey to more powerful nations that wanted to exploit every advantage to profit from trade. Chief among these advantages was the opium trade. Official Chinese resistance to opium resulted in two trade wars in which Great Britain, France, the United States, and Russia gained significant commercial privileges. These conflicts were the first Opium War from 1839 to 1842 between China and Britain and the second Opium War fought by China against Britain and France.
Opium had been introduced into China in the 7th century. By the early 18th century opium addiction had become such a severe problem that the government tried to prohibit trade in it. The prohibition was a failure. When the British discovered the value of the opium trade in 1773, they determined to benefit. The Chinese paid the British for the opium, and the British in turn used the money as part payment for goods bought from the Chinese. In 1839 the Chinese government made a concerted effort to suppress the opium trade. All the opium warehouses in Canton were confiscated. This serious effort, followed by a minor military incident, led to hostilities. In February 1840 the British sent an expedition against Canton. The conflict, in which the more powerful British were victorious, ended by the Treaty of Nanjing, which was signed on Aug. 29th, 1842, and also a supplemental treaty of Oct. 8th, 1843. These treaties provided for payment of an indemnity of 21 million dollars by the Chinese, cession of five ports for British trade and residence, and the right of British citizens in China to be tried in British courts. It was at this time that Britain gained control of Hong Kong. In October 1856 the Canton police boarded a British-registered ship, and charged its crew with smuggling. This incident led to the second war. In this war, the British were joined by the French, and an Anglo-French force occupied Canton late in 1857. The Treaty of Tianjin in 1858 temporarily halted the fighting, opened new trading ports, allowed residence in Peking for foreign emissaries, gave freedom of movement to Christian missionaries, and permitted travel in the interior.