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The Foreign Relations
of China:

A History and a Survey


Mingchien Joshua Bau, M.A., Ph.D.

Graduate Tsing Huh College, Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins

Universities. Sometime Holder Carnegie Endowment

International Law Fellowship, etc.

■. York ( Bl

Fleming H. Revell Company


Copyright. 1921, by

Printed in the United States of America

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago : 17 North Wabash Ave.
London : 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh : 75 Princes Street






The purpose of this work is to study the foreign re-
lations of China, and to work out for her a foreign
policy. To achieve this object, the author was com-
pelled to study the foreign relations of China as a whole,
rather than to confine himself to any particular phase of
the subject. Conscious of the danger of its extending over
too wide a field, he has limited the scope of his work
to the salient features only, omitting the minor and un-
important ones. Aware also of the possible risk of sac-
rificing quality to quantity in undertaking a task of these
dimensions, he has, so far as time and sources of in-
formation permitted, brought each chapter to the requi-
site standard.

In undertaking this work the author was confronted
at every turn by the difficulty due to the absence of
any regular official publication of the Chinese Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. While there are a few separate
pamphlets that have been issued, there is no series of
publications comparable with the Foreign Relations of
the United States or the State Papers of Great Britain.
Hence the author was obliged to resort to the archives
of the Foreign Offices of other nations to find the neces-
sary material. As far as feasible, he has endeavored to
use first-hand sources, Buch as treaties, diplomatic docu-
ments, substantiated facts of history, etc., and has used


dary sources, only in so far as they helped him
h the originals and understand the same.

Conscious of the danger of expressing ill-considered
opinions or of reaching injudicious conclusions relating
to so grave a subject as the foreign relations of China,
the author has entered into the work with an open mind,
and has aimed only to reach the truth. Particularly
with respect to Japan, with which country China has
lately had such serious differences, he has attempted to
Stud) its policy and problems from the point of view of
Japan, striving to arrive at the real difficulties and causes
behind the actions of that Empire. It is his conviction
that, as the interests and destinies of the two countries
are so interwoven, China cannot solve her own problems
without at the same time solving those of Japan ; nor
can Japan solve hers without at the same time solving
those of China. To this end, he has striven to obtain a
dilution for both countries at the same time.

The author has undertaken his work with a sense of
duty to his country and to humanity. Probably there is
no question in the history of China which deserves the
attention of her citizens more than her foreign relations
and the formulation of a proper and fitting foreign
policy to meet the situation. Ever since the opening of
the country, the history of China has been dominated by
foreign contacts. Hence a proper understanding of the
foreign relations of China and a formulation of an ap-
propriate foreign policy are indispensable to her pres-
ervation and well-being. Going a step further, China's
ny and welfare are intimately associated with the
destiny and welfare, not only of the neighboring states


of the Far East, but also of the entire world. Carryin
her citizens feel, the mission of promoting world peace,
China's foreign relations and policy will probably be the
keynote, or at least an essential factor, in world peace.
In doing this work, therefore, the author feels that he
is discharging a duty to his nation, and an obligation
to mankind.

The book is divided into six parts, and thirty-two
chapters. As an understanding of the diplomatic history
of China is necessary to the study of the whole subject,
Part I covers the diplomatic history of China, divided
into four periods, the opening of China (1689-1860), the
loss of dependencies (1860-1895), the international
struggle for concessions (1895-1911), and international

cooperation and control (1911 ), each constituting

a chapter. Part II treats of the policies of the Great
Powers in China, — Russia, France, Germany, Great
Britain and the United States. As Japan occupies such
an important and dominant position in the foreign re-
lations of China, Part III is devoted exclusively to the
policy of Japan in China. It being necessary to observe
the impairments of China's sovereignty, so as to lead to
suggestions as to the policy of recovery, Part IV relates
to the various forms of impairment, such as extraterri-
toriality and consular jurisdiction, concessions and settle-
ments, leased territories, spheres of influence or interest,
the most favored nation clause as applied in China, and
tariff autonomy. I'ari V deals with questions arising
since the war, — the New International Banking Con-
sortium, the League of Nations and China, and the
Shantung Question. — pointing out the significance in. and


the effect upon, the international relations of China,
and, in the case of the Shantung Question, offering a
solution for the problem. Part VI formulates a foreign
policy for China, including the policy of preservation,
the policy of recovery, the policy of the Golden Rule
and the policy of world welfare, ending with a special
policy toward Japan.

I he author wishes to acknowledge his deep indebted-
ness to all the authors whose works he has consulted,
many of which appear in the references or footnotes, to
the Department of State for valuable assistance in ob-
taining some necessary documents, to J. P. Morgan &
Company, Hew York, for the information regarding the
New International Banking Consortium, to his revered
teacher, Professor W. W. Willoughby, Johns Hopkins
University, under whose supervision and guidance this
work was done, and to Professor Harlan P. Beach, Yale
University, for kindly criticisms and suggestions.

Mingchien Joshua Bau.

Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore, Maryland.


A Sketch of the Diplomatic History of China

I. The Opening of China (1689-1860) .
II. The Loss of Dependencies (1860-1895)

III. The International Struggle for Con-

cessions (1895-1911) .

IV. International Cooperation and Con-

trol (1911 ) .


Policies of the Great Powers in China

V. The Policy of Russia .

VI. The Policy of France .

VII. The Policy of Germany

VIII. The Policy of Great Britain .

IX. The Policy of the United States


The Policy of Japan in China

X. The Development of Japan's Policy

in China

XI. Policy of Economic Exploitation

XII. Policy of Territorial Expansion

XIII. Policy of Paramount Influence

XIV. Policy of Political Control
XV. The "Asiatic" Monroe Doctrine

XVI. The "Twenty-one Demands" as

Exponent of Japan's Policies in

XVII. THE Wisdom OF Japan's POLICY in-












Impairments of China's Sovereignty


XVIII. Extraterritoriality and Consular

Jurisdiction 285

XIX. Concessions and Settlements . . 309
XX. Leased Territories .... 324
XXI. Spheres of Influence or Interest . 337
XXII. The Most Favored Nation Treat-
ment 351

XXIII. Tariff Autonomy 371

New Problems Arising Since the War

XXIV. The New International Banking

Consortium 389

XXV. The New International Banking

Consortium (Continued) . . . 405

XXVI. The League of Nations and China 416

XXVII. The Shantung Question . . . 427


A Foreign Policy for China

XXVIII. Policy of Preservation . . . 475
XXIX. Policy of Recovery .... 485
XXX. Policy of the Golden Rule . . 493
XXXI. Policy of World Welfare . . .500
XXXII. A Policy Toward Japan in Par-
ticular 505




I. The Opening of China

II. The Loss of Dependencies

III. The International Struggle for Concessions

IV. International Cooperation and Control


The diplomatic history of China can be divided into
four periods. The first period covers the years from
1689, when China made the first treaty with a Western
Power, to 1860 when she first consented to enter into
formal diplomatic relations with the Powers at Peking.
This period is characterized by the gradual opening of
China to the trade and intercourse of the Western world,
and so it may rightly be called the period of the opening
of China.

Prior to the opening, China was more or less an iso-
lated nation. She had had little to do with Western
countries. Although there were some travelers like
Marco Polo who had come to China long before she was
opened, she had had little intercourse with the Occident.
This isolation was not a result of the deliberate choice of
the Chinese. It was rather an inevitable consequence of
the geographical setting. On the North she is bounded
by the Mongolian deserts. As if these natural barriers
were not enough, she built the Great Wall extending over
the entire length of her Northern boundary, thus effec-
tively shutting out the aliens from the North. On the
West she was buttressed by the Himalaya Mountains,
which offered such an effective obstruction that few peo-
ple were likely to cross them. On the South and East
she was limited by seas and oceans which separated her
effectively from the rest of the world.

As a result of this geographical isolation she devel
a type of civilization that was unique and quite differ-
ent from the main branches of European civilization.
She also became the mother of ( Iriental civilization and ex-



tended her influence as far as the geographical setting
would allow her. Toward the North she extended her
civilization to the Mongols and the Manchus. Toward the
West she carried her civilization to Chinese Turk<
Sinkiang and Tibet. Toward the South she sowed the
seeds of culture in Burma, Annani and Siani. On the
East she extended her civilization to Korea and Japan.

This superiority, however, achieved in geographical
isolation, soon resulted in self-complacency and pride.
Supreme in the Far East, she had no rivals. As a re-
sult, she became self-satisfied and unprogressive. She
remained so until Western contact woke her from her
lethargy. Thus we can clearly understand why, when
the West came knocking at the door, she was proud and
regarded all Westerners as barbarians and subjects of
vassal states. We can also understand why she refused
to have her tranquillity and isolation disturbed by the
intrusions of the West.

The Portuguese were the first to arrive. They landed
in 1517 at St. John's Island in South China, and later
in 1557, they occupied the present city of Macao, which
became the chief trading port of South China — before
the rise of Hongkong. Next to the Portuguese came their
rivals, the Spaniards, who crossed over from Manila in
1575. Then came the Dutch in 1622 who occupied the
Island of Formosa until 1661, when they were driven
out by the conquering Koxinga. In 1655 they sent an em-
bassy to Peking, asking for privileges of trade. They
performed all the rites required of them — kneeling and
prostration (kowtow) — and also offered tribute as from
a vassal state. In spite of their efforts, however, they
only obtained the privilege of coming to trade once in
eight years and each time not exceeding a hundred men.
About the same time, in 1653, Russia also came over by
land and asked for commercial privileges, but as the
embassy refused to kowtow, the mission was not granted
an audience.


The first treaty of China was commonly called the
Treaty of Nerchinsk, August 27, 1689. It was made in
consequence of the Russian construction of some forts at
Albazin and Karmarskai-Astrog which the Chinese
thought was an invasion of their territory and for which
reason they attacked the forts and demolished the one
at Albazin. Thereupon, a border war ensued, with alter-
nating triumphs for both sides. This treaty signed at
Nerchinsk ended the war. The rivers Rerbetchi and
Ergone were made boundaries. The fortress built at
Albazin was to be demolished. Extradition and extra-
territoriality of a primitive character were provided. The
right to travel with passports and to trade was recipro-
cally given.

Subsequently, further treaties were made with Rus-
sia. On October 21, 1727, the treaty of Kiakhta was
concluded. The boundary at and near Kiakhta was de-
fined. Frontier trade was regulated and jurisdictional
differences were settled. A Russian embassy was per-
mitted to reside in Peking, and four youths and two
adults were permitted to study the Chinese language and
four priests to practice their cult. This treaty of Kiakhta
was amended in 1768, regulating more specifically fron-
tier extradition and criminal jurisdiction. In 1792 a
further convention was signed by the Governor of Ir-
kutsk and the Chinese frontier officers, regulating com-
merce at the border.

These treaties with Russia did not open China up in
any way. either for foreign trade or diplomatic inter-
course. What the Russians obtained through these trea-
. as trade privileges at the frontier and the right of
nee for tin- Russian Embassy at Peking. Hence,
; [is arrived at Canton iv

trade, the Imperial order decreed that Russia, having the
privilege of trading at the land frontier, was nut allowed
to trade by sea, and, therefore, excluded from a
trade of China. Later, Admiral Count Initiation was


commissioned as Russian Envoy and came to Peiho and
asked for the privilege of maritime trade and upon being
refused there, he went down to Hongkong in 1857 and
joined the Allied diplomats of England and France and
sought for maritime trade privileges under the aegis of
\llied forces, then in operation against China dur-
ing the second war between Great Britain and China.

So far none of the European States was able to effect
the opening of China. The task finally fell on the
shoulders of Great Britain. Not without initial rebuffs
and adverses, however, did Great Britain perform the
task. In 1793 Lord Macartney came to Taku, and thence
he was convoyed to Peking in boats and carts bearing
the inscription "Ambassador bearing tribute from the
country of England." * His mission resulted in failure.
Again in 1816 Lord Amherst went to Peking, but as he
refused to kowtow, and to be hurried to an Imperial
audience early in the morning immediately upon his
arrival, he had to depart in disappointment.

Rebuffed but not discouraged, Great Britain persisted
in her task. In 1834, she abolished the monopoly en-
joyed by the East India Company and instituted free
trade in Canton ; and, to supervise British trade, three
superintendents were appointed, of which Lord Napier
was chief. The latter came to China with the su-
preme resolve to open up China and to assert national
equality. He came to Canton from Macao without per-
mit from the Chinese local authorities, which was re-
quired at that time ; and besides, he intended to deliver
a letter and not a petition to the Viceroy. His action
so incensed the Viceroy that he was refused a conference
until he had retired to Macao and come up in accordance
with the established ruie, which Lord Napier refused
to do. A deadlock between the Viceroy and Lord Napier
ensued, resulting in the stoppage of British trade. Mean-
while, malarial fever overtook Lord Napier, which com-


pelled him to retire to Macao, where he died on October
11, 1834.

After the death of Lord Napier, the superintendents
who succeeded him adopted a quiescent policy, com] liv-
ing generally with the regulations of the Canton authori-
ties. But in 1836 Captain Eliot was appointed chief
superintendent, and with his advent, events took a sharp
turn, leading to the first war between China and Great
Britain (1840-1842).

In 1838 Lin Tse-Hsi was appointed Imperial High
Commissioner at Canton. He came with the Imperial
Commission to exterminate the opium traffic which for-
eign traders, mainly the British, had been illegally carry-
ing on with the connivance of corrupt Chinese officials.
His policy was first to destroy all the opium in the pos-
session of foreign traders, and then to safeguard the
future by requiring them to deposit bonds as a pledge
that they would not deal in opium thereafter. lie
therefore demanded the surrender of all the opium in
possession of the foreign communities.- Upon refusal
of the foreign communities to deliver up the opium, he
declared martial law and put the British factory and
community under military quarantine. He made the
blockade so effective that, in a few days, deprived of
food and other supplies, the foreign community was
on the verge of starvation. Consequently, Eliot yielded
on March 27, 1839, and surrendered the stock of opium
amounting to 20,291 chests, 3 whereupon the blockade
was lifted.

Immediately thereafter, Captain Eliot ordered his coun-
trymen to prepare to leave in a body; and also an-
nounced that he would ask the Queen to exacl due
indemnity for the opium so arbitrarily seized. On May
24, 1839, the whole British community moved from Can-
ton to Macao, where Captain Eliot waited for instruc-
tions from home.


Meanwhile, another event transpired which made
war inevitable. A party of British sailors, while on the
Kowloon side of the Hongkong anchorage, murdered a
Chinese named Lin Wei-li during the course of a riotous
search for intoxicating liquor. Commissioner Lin de-
manded an immediate redress by the surrender of the
British murderer. Having obtained no satisfaction, to
enforce his demands, he moved his forces to Heungshan,
and issued two orders on August 15, 1839, one cutting
off the supplies of the British in Macao and the other
ordering all Chinese servants to leave their British mas-
ters, whereupon the British moved from Macao to Hong-
kong. On October 25 he issued a peremptory order for
the surrender of the murderer, and three days later
threatened to blockade Hongkong and to effect the arrest
of the murderer himself. On November 3, 1839, the
first naval battle was fought in Chuenpi, which marked
the beginning of the first war between China and Great

The issues of the war were quite clear. On the part
of the Chinese, opium was the great issue. To extermi-
nate the opium evil was the supreme aim of the war.
The jurisdiction over criminals of the homicide class
was a subsidiary issue. On the part of the British, how-
ever, reparation for the loss of opium, the granting of
better trade privileges and the recognition of national
equality were the primary causes, while opium was a
mere incident.

The British won the war. As a result, the treaty of
Nanking'* was signed on August 2 1 ', 1842. Five treaty
ports were opened, — Canton. Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo
and Shanghai. Hongkong was ceded in per;

Britain. An indemnity of twenty-one million dol-
lars was paid. Equal status in diplomatic correspondence
was I rved. Tariff was to be uniform and fair.

A supplementary treaty of October 8, 1843, was subse-
quently signed, providing for a conventional tariff of


five per cent ad valorem and extra-territoriality. 5 Follow-
ing the British, the Americans signed the Treaty of
Commerce on July 3, 1844, and the French, on October
24, 1844. Belgium secured trade privileges by an Im-
perial rescript of July 25, 1845 ; Sweden and Norway
signed, on March 20, 1847, a Treaty of Commerce, vir-
tually the same as the American Treaty of 1844.

The first war with Great Britain accomplished only a
part of what the British had set out to do. It opened up
five ports of South China to the trade of the world. It
provided for a semblance of national equality in diplo-
matic dealings. But still it failed to open up the whole
of China, especially the Yangtze Valley, which was the
goal of British merchants. It further failed to provide
for diplomatic dealings direct with the Peking court.
All these were left to be accomplished by the second
war between Great Britain and China (1858-1860).

As the first war was not decisive, the Chinese were
not convinced that they were inferior to the Westerners,
nor were they willing to welcome Western intercourse
thus imposed on them. They still cherished hopes of
keeping Occidentals at a distance and indulged in thoughts
of Oriental superiority. Thus when the opening of Can-
ton was due, the Cantonese resisted, and, as a result,
a violent riot took place. The entry into Canton was there-
fore postponed, but it was not waived. In the next
year it was definitely postponed to 1849. ' But when
the time came for opening, the Cantonese still obsti-
nately refused to comply with the agreement.

During this interval, the became more and
more hostile. They felt they wen wronged by

tin- British who forced the opium traffic on them. They
■ •'1 deeply the intrusion and compulsory intercourse
of the unwelcome Western barbarian. Tiny entertained
the hope that, as si nm as a chance should offer itself,

would expel all Western disturbers •>!' their |


The prevailing sentiment of that time can be well dis-
cerned in the following extract of a placard, the like of
which was quite common during these years of irrita-
tion and excitement. 8

"If the barbarians make a single move, then sound
the tocsin, in every place, and, united in mind and
strength, at one beat of the drum we will take them,
and absolutely kill every one of the barbarian rebels, and
not leave a blade of grass an inch high, nor allow the
creepers to spread."

On the other hand, the British, on account of their
victory, became quite arrogant and insolent. They cast
aside their former respect for the wonders of Chinese
civilization and openly asserted that they would, and
could, thereafter dictate their demands to the Chinese.
In a letter to his plenipotentiary instructing the latter
to protest against the growing hostile feeling of the Can-
tonese, Lord Palmerston used the following language : 9 10

"Now they appear to be encouraging and exciting
among the people of Canton hostile feelings towards
British subjects; but let them not deceive themselves.
The forbearance which the British Government has
hitherto displayed arises, not from a sense of weakness,
but from the consciousness of superior strength. The
British Government well knows that, if occasion required
it, a British military force would be able to destroy the
town of Canton, not leaving one single house standing,
and could thus inflict the most signal chastisement upon
the people of that city."

Chafing under the dissatisfaction of the existing ar-
rangements, a movement was put on foot to effect a re-
vision of treaties. In accordance with the American and
French Treaties, the revision was to take place at the
end of twelve years, 11 that is, in 1856. While the Treaty
with Britain did not provide for revision, the operation of


the most favored nation clause 12 would nevertheless give
the British the same right. They first attempted to
induce Commissioner Yeh of Canton to enter into a
treaty revision, but the latter declined. They then went
North, first to Nanking and from thence to Peiho, but
at each turn they were told that no material or radical
modifications could be made and that the only channel of
diplomatic intercourse and hence of treaty revision was
Commissioner Yeh of Canton.

Baffled by this opposition, they became convinced that
the only way to bring about a treaty revision was to use
force, or, in other words, to make another war. Events
soon developed that excuses were found. On February
29, 1856, Auguste Chapdelaine was executed by the local
Chinese authority of Kwangsi after a judicial trial. He
was convicted of the crime of coming out of the five
treaty ports where the foreigners were supposed to be
confined, and also of stirring up rebellions in Kwangsi
against the government. The French envoy protested.

Online LibraryMingchien Joshua BauThe foreign relations of China: a history and a survey → online text (page 1 of 39)