The Downfall Of China Essay Research Paper

The Downfall Of China Essay, Research Paper China is the perfect example of what happens when one leader is given to much power. The leaders of China were each very afraid of social reform, and the

The Downfall Of China Essay, Research Paper

China is the perfect example of what happens when one leader is given to much

power. The leaders of China were each very afraid of social reform, and the

consequences that outside influence may have on their customs. As a means of initiating

reform, they shut the entire Western world out almost completely. At the time it was a

move that served China well but in the long run it was the downfall of China. While

blindfolded, the Chinese were unable to see the great advancements of the Western

world. With an egocentric government, the Chinese citizens were neglected outside of the

palace walls and the country fell to shambles. Instead of stimulating economic growth the

government suppressed it as the rest of the world advanced. While focused on fear of

internal rebellion the Chinese leaders overlooked the status of their army and were not

prepared for the rest of the world as they fell so far behind in almost every advancement.

Had China remained in contact with the Western world it would have been possible for

them to be as advanced a civilization as the Western world.

As the Chinese government had their head buried in the sand with worry over

losing control of their empire, they neglected to maintain the basic essentials of a

functional country. All of China’s canals eventually decayed as they were left unrepaired

for years, the ironworks that China once prided itself one became obsolete with out a

second look, and the army itself was no match for any Western army. The merchants

were of no avail to the poor Chinese civilians as their profits on land and education.

Upon shutting out the rest of the world China had forbidden the use of a printing press.

The expression of social criticism and news of the outside world was banned. The people

of China had no idea what was happening. When the doors had been shut from the

outside world Europe was not as highly advanced as China. Europeans lived in crowded

cities with rodents and foul odors. The Chinese for a period of time lived with the fresh

scent of flowers and tea. As China internally decayed the citizens had nothing to compare

it to for they had always been ahead of Europe in almost everything for so many


After the thirteenth century Western civilization flourished. In Western Europe the

governments encouraged industrial growth and individual commerce as a means of

keeping ahead of the competition. With each distinct country competing with each other a

variety of individual trades were created eventually sparking the Industrial Revolution.

As a result of heavily trading around the world, each country became very wealthy, and

as such their internal economies grew. In Great Britain without government suppression

on individual companies they were able to build the most powerful navy in the world, and

colonize in many different countries. As China was suffering from economic rot, they

paid no attention to the world around them. They did not realize that the rest of the world

was waiting to conquer China and divide the winnings. When Chinese officials refused to

continue trading with the British they initiated the Opium Wars. The final result of the

Opium War was almost devastating. They were forced to sign an unfair treaty with

Britain. Under the treaty, the opium trade was legalized and the Guangzhou monopoly

was ended as Xiamen, Ningbo, Fuzhou, and Shanghai was also opened to trade. The

island of Hong Kong became a British base and Britain established the right to supervise

and inspect a published tariff structure on China’s trade. Finally, China, already reeling

from trade imbalance, was compelled to pay a war indemnity of $21 million.

China was very focused on keeping the Japanese and Portuguese pirates away

from their shores. While they were distracted every other European country continued to

build their armies at a rapid speed. With new technology, the Western world left China

behind and continued to invent more lethal weapons. As China was busy fighting off

predators they had no extra time to keep up. As all of their iron factories were obsolete

they had no cost, efficient method. Because of their military weakness they lost all of the

Opium Wars which resulting in crippling economic losses. Thinking that things couldn’t

get worse internal upset led to the Taiping Rebellion, which resulted in the deaths of

twenty million people. The loss was yet another drastically unfavorable blow to the

Chinese economy. Shortly following the Taiping Rebellion the Sino-Japanese War of

1894-1895 further damaged China. The rest of the world was just waiting to take a piece

of China at this point. The Boxer Rebellion only made their situation worse. The Chinese

needed reform and fast. It wasn’t until January first, 1912 that Dr. Sun Yat-sen was to be

sworn in as the first president of the provisional government of China’s new Republic.

Crippling defeat during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95

It was ignorant on China’s part to assume that Europe wouldn’t try to colonize

their country. Had China not shut out the Western world they would have been able to

keep advancing their army’s equipment. As a result they might have been able to fight off

the British and the French during the Opium Wars. The Russian’s would have been

happy to assist in return for a trading agreement. Fortunately China ended up with a new

Republic and managed to maintain order and participate in the last years of the

Industrial Revolution. In closing, had China not shut out the Western world as a means of

defense they might have been one of the leading countries in the world today.