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The Industrialization and China until 1949

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Sung, Min Kyung
Term Paper, AP European History Class, November 2008

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Background to the Industrialization of China
II.1 The International Situation
II.2 The Domestic Situation
II.3 Opium Wars
II.4 China's Open Door Policy
III. Progress of Industrialization
III.1 Economic
III.2 Social
III.3 Regional
III.4 Sino-Japanese War
IV. Influence of Industrialization
IV.1 Economic
IV.1.1 Combined Length of Railroads
IV.1.2 Coal Production
IV.1.3 Output of Pig-Iron
IV.1.4 Cotton Spindles
IV.1.5 Interpretation
IV.2 Social
IV.3 Regional
IV.4 Outside l
V Conclusion

I. Introduction
            Industrialization is the major technological, socioeconomic and cultural change in the late 18th century that began in Britain and spread throughout the world. (1) Though it first began in British, China had much coal and went through a smaller "industrialization revolution" 700 years before Great Britain started theirs. (2) However, China was fallen behind in industrializing process due its policy of isolation.

II. Background to the Industrialization of China

II.1 The International Situation
            Beginning in about 1400 world commerce grew and changed so greatly. It let to the expansion of trade and gold and silver from the New World (3) allowed Europe to accumulate much capital. This condition set for the upcoming industrial revolution initiating in Britain, which allowed her to rise up to its full power and became the dominant nation of the world.
            Following the industrial revolution occurred in Britain during 18th century, other countries of Western Europe and North America also began the industrializing process. Such countries could facilitate the accumulation of capital through possessing "exploitation colonies."
            Japan, a first non-European power to became industrialized, went through the technological and industrial development under Meiji government during the 1870s

II.2 The Domestic Situation
            China was left in much isolation for many centuries. Westerners were confined to Canton trading privileges at Canton and right to resident at Macao. Also due to its little effort to communicate with Europe and its unexplored geography, the industrial developments of Europe went unnoticed in China. (4)

II.3 Opium Wars
            For by the eighteenth century, the British came to believe in the free trade and open intercourse with very much enthusiasm. On the other hand, the Chinese government clung to its right to limit entry of foreigners. Since China was self-sufficient, Chinese were not much interested in overseas trade and merely perceived the foreign traders as "barbarians" who want to overtake China's bountry.
            However, during the Ch'ien-lung reign, China made concession: Canton system.
            The foreigners were allowed to reside and permitted to trade with some merchants, but rather in a much confined ways. Those restrictions soon became bothersome to western merchants, especially British.
            Then, not only the foreign relations but also the opium consumption surged up as a serious problem between British and China. British merchants began importing Indian opium into China to offset the trade imbalance due to enormous demand for tea and silk. Yet, by the mid-182's, the previous flow of silver into China now flowed out of country to pay for the ever-increasing demands for opium. (5)
            Therefore in late 1839, the emperor started suppressing the opium trade and vigorous campaign were conducted against dealers and Western suppliers. The fighting between British and China seemed to be settled by Ch'uan-pi convention but due to rejection by both sides, hostilities were renewed. However, as the Ch'ing court realized the futility of the continuing of the war, it signed the Treaty of Nanking (1842).
            The Treaty of Nanking ended the old Canton system and established the basic pattern for China¡¯s foreign relations.
            The Second Opium War (1856-1860) was started by the incident which some Chinese officials boarded the ship Arrow and lowered the British flag (6). The British allied with French and quickly forced the Chinese to sign the treaties of Tianjin (1858). The refusal of Chineses to sign the treaties led to attack on Peking and the burning of the Summer Palace. (7)) In 1860, the Chinese signed the Peking Convention, in which they agreed to observe the treaties of Tianjin.
            It is reasonable to claim that the Opium war and the Treaty of Nanking lead to the Western imperialism over China. The Westerners now had won many concessions.

II.4 China's Open Door Policy
            China's Open Door Policy originated with British commercial practice, as was reflected in treaties concluded with Qing Dynasty China after the First Opium War (1839-1842). (8) It was formally brought up after the Boxer Rebellion, when China was destroyed much by a joint international expedition. The colonial powers declared an Open Door Policy, providing equal access to the Chinese market to all international merchants. (9)

III. The Progress of Industrialization

III.1 Economic
            Chinese began to learn about the West through observing the places that began to industrialize. Yet the Chinese ignored the significance of much of their observation.
            One obstacle for major economic breakthrough was unorganized projects without adequate funding and enough number of staffs. The other one the fact that the merchants' prestige remained as low as it had been before. Also most of merchants put their money into land and a classical education for children.
            Such expansion of Chinese economy during 1870s and 1890 was generally upon the notion that Westerns skills could be borrowed upon the firm base of Chinese traditional value, and many Chinese industries followed so, such as China Merchant Steamship Navigation Company.

III.2 Social
            As the industrializing process pervade through China, the military equipment was first developed during this period. Guns and ammunitions were manufactured as well as Western style gunboats. (10)
            The Ch¡¯ing made use of Western skills in non military ways as well. Some Chinese studied the Western concepts of international law to apply them to their own people. The Chinese also founded a new ministry to handle foreign affairs, the Tsungli Yamen, aimed to develop the language and diplomatic skills to deal with Westerners. It was established during the Tongzhi Restoration (1860-1874) and was designed to replace the Lifanyuan, which was part of the tribute system that was based on the assumption of Chinese superiority. (11)
            Chinese radicalism, a tendency to question the premises on which Ch'ing government was based, was represented by no single man or dominant school of thought. (12) Since Chinese had some hardships adapting Western techniques, the educated began to search for the solution through delving into the Western economic and political theories and the structures of constitutional monarchies and republican governments. The number of students studying abroad also increased.
            However, due the defeat of Qing in the First Opium war, along with other internal problems such as economic problems and natural disasters, Qing citizens regarded Manchus, the rulers of the Qing, as corrupted and ineffective. Majority Han developed strong anti-Manchu sentiment especially in the south, and labor classes there joined Hong Xiuqian to start out later to be called the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864).

III.3 Regional
            Canton and Shanghai played significant roles during the period of China's industrialization.
            Since Canton was the only Chinese port during the Ming Dynasty that allowed foreign merchants to enter, it was rather not of much surprise when the Opium War was invoked by events that took place in Canton during 1839. (13) Canton preserved its sole status as major port until 1842. It was due to its economic significance which attracted many foreign powers. (14)
            Shanghai a soon developed into a major metropolis, with Western architecture, harbor facilities and real estate booms. (15) The Imperial Maritime Customs service was also first developed in Shanghai which was responsible for collecting all customs dues on incoming foreign imports at the standard rates set by the Tianjin treaties and to pay the money over to the Ch'ing. (16) The service also handled the opium trades and organized offices for opened ports.

III.4 The Sino-Japanese War
            China, while undergoing inner conflicts and chaos, also had to face defeat in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. Treaty of Shimonoseki that was ratified in 1895 enforced China to yield the Liaotung peninsula in southern Manchuria, the entire island of Taiwan, to pay an enormous indemnity and to develop industrial enterprises in China's treaty ports.

IV Influence of industrialization

IV.1 Economic
            I will derive some significant advancement made in economic area of China through interpreting the statistics of length of railroad, coal production, output of pig iron, cotton.

IV.1.1 Combined Length of Railroads

Table 1 : total railroad length in China (17)
1894 435 km
1909 7,563 km
1911 9,854 km
1918 10,918 km
1930 13,441 km

            The first railroad in China was the Woosung Road which began its service in 1876. However since it was built without approval from Qing government by Jardine & Matheson, it was soon demolished in 1877. Then the second railway was built in 1881 connecting Tangshan to Xugezhuang, to transport coal from the coal mine in Tangshan. (18) The further extension was made toward both west and east: west, to Tianjin in 1888, and east to Shanhaiguan and Suizhong in 1894. Then, under the Taiwan governor Liu Mingchuan, 107 km of railway tracks were laid from Keelung to Taipei to Hsinchu during 1887 to 1893.
            It was the defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War that led to the development of railway system. As the emperor acknowledged the significance of railway transportation during the war and as the "great powers" forced weakened China to grant permissions to construct railway, 9000 km of rails were built by 1911.
            The first railway designed and constructed by Chinese was Jingzhang railway (19), which was finished in 1909.
            Other several railways were completed during this period: Jiaoji in 1904, Zhengtai in 1907, Shanghai to Nanjing in 1908, Shanghai to Hangzou in 1909, Sino-Vietnamese in 1910, and Kowloon-Canton in 1911.
            The construction of first railways in China went through rapid development, lots of foreign countries also intervening, further facilitating the railway transportation system. Enhanced transporting system actually allowed other industrialized product to develop rapidly, making it possible for such products to reach many sides of country.

IV.1.2 Coal Production

Table 2 Coal Production. (20)
1903 1000 metric tons
1912 9,070,000 metric tons
1919 20,000 metric tons
1936 39,900 metric tons

            Table 2 shows the coal production that has increased from 20 times as much in 1919 than in 1903. As I have mentioned, this increase could be referred to as a consequence of developed railways system especially during this period of time.
            "Also, by 1912, surface mining could develop with steam shovels specifically designed for coal mining " (21)
            From then, coal production maintained continual growth.

IV.1.3 Pig Iron Output

Table 3 Pig Iron Production. (22)
1912 3000 metric tons
1919 237,000 metric tons
1936 670,000 metric tons

            Table 3 also shows the much increase in output of pig iron in 1919 from 1912. It seems that this result is also largely due to the construction of railroad system.
            Pig iron output could also suggest that there was radical development in metal industries of China. However, the information and sources about first metal industries of China is rather unreliable and not sufficient enough to deduct such conclusion.

IV.1.4 Cotton Spindles

Table 4 Cotton Spindles. (23)
1890 44,000
1914 1,024,000
1922 2,248,000
1925 3,350,000
1936 5,010,000

            "From 1890 to 1896, the Qing government actively promoted mechanized mills. Shanghai Cotton Cloth Mill reopened in 1890, marking the first successful establishment of a mechanized cotton mill in China.
            The Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ended the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5), led to emergence of a few British, American, and German mills in 1897. During this same period, some Qing officials, such as Li Hongzhang, Shen Baozhen, and Zhang Zhidong, actively encouraged investment in cotton manufacturing. Zhang Jian, a native of Nantong who established the Dasheng cotton mill there in 1899, strongly emphasized the importance of cotton textiles to the nation's industrialization and overall economic development.
            The number of spindles operating in China increased from 44 thousand in 1890 to more than one million in 1914, yet China¡¯s cotton textiles industry did not really begin to flourish until the First World War. By 1922, China had more than 2.2 million spindles. Production and investment fell off somewhat during the depression of the early 1920s, but by 1925 the industry had recovered. After that, China became a net exporter, and by the early 1930s, was largely meeting demand for cotton thread with domestic production. After a stagnant period during the global depression, capacity continued to increase, and by 1936 China¡¯s textiles industry boasted more than 5 million spindles."

IV.1.5 Interpretation
            The most significant economic changes of China during industrializing period became possibly mainly through the first railway system. Due to this first effective, modernized development of transportation system, products such as coal, iron and cotton could be delivered to many areas across China. It is no doubt that such enhanced transportation granted closer interaction between modernizing products and people, further promoting industrialization.
            Also, the interference of foreign countries played critical role in China¡¯s industrializing process. Though they were for their ¡®own good¡¯, their building cotton mills and railways ensued the Chinese economy to grow overall. Sino-Japanese War was the most significant foreign-related incident since it led other countries to interfere and China to acknowledge the importance of industrialization.

IV.2 Social
            Even though the foreign powers were much in self-interest, some aspects of foreign participation brought strength to the Ch¡¯ing regime and helped settling the battles and rebels within China.
            However, on the other side, a continuing problem of opium trade, the outflow of silver, missionary activities and emerging unemployment (25) all destabilized the Chinese state (26). Also the Taiping Rebellion (27) from 1850 to 1864 not only sharpened such destabilizing status but also threatened the Chinese Empire itself.
            As each province gained more power, regional armies began to appear. The structure and organizing principles of the regional armies removed power from the central government. This phenomenon gained much significance when the provincial assemblies declared their independence from the Ch'ing government (28). The dynasty lost its power and China became the republic (29). In 1911, Sun Yat Sen proclaimed the Republic of China in Canton and the last emperor was deposed by Yuan Shi Kai in 1912. The Chinese Empire began to disintegrate, Mongolia (1911) and Tibet (1912) declaring independence, and many other areas were also separated that were ruled by so-called warlords. (30)

IV.3 Regional
            Shanghai, Qingdao and Tianjin became important ports.
            Shanghai natives showed more of tolerance toward foreigners while Chinese in many other regions referred foreigners as "foreign devils" or "devil slaves". (31) Shanghai had the neutral term "foreigner" for foreigner and the International settlement was also called "ten li of foreign settlement" rather than "barbarian quarter." (32) Though nationalists believed that westerners had no such "moral principle" over their brutal political powers, they also believed that they could learn much from western cultures.

. IV.4 Outside Influences
            The Sino-Japanese War (1854-1855) profoundly affected the Chinese government and its people. It provoked the Reform Movement and the Boxer Rebellion (1898).
            "As the result of both the hundred days¡¯ reform and the Boxer Rebellion, the Ch¡¯ing was finally compelled to make certain reforms. Reforms promulgated in 1905 abolished the traditional examination system altogether, projected a new chain of government schools, and dispatched an eminent commission overseas to study Western forms of government" (33)
            The foreign powers rather remained quiet during 1911, the revolutionary period of China. They generally attached to the Open Door Policy that the United States had confirmed in 1899. The foreigners further expanded their trade during the time China going through its inner turmoil.

V. Conclusion
            Industrialization in China was held in terms of both technological progress and social and cultural change. After British forced to open the gate, China was followed by radical growth in production, along with internal conflicts, including Boxer Rebellion (1898), Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) and even the destruction of Empire itself (1911).
            Moreover, all of these transformation and reorganization of society granted a solid basis for yet another crucial incident of China's history - the May Fourth movement (1919). (34) This movement even left a drastic change in society that fueled the birth of the Communist Party of China. (35) Yet, above all, what to not forget is that they were all made possible through industrializing process of China. China broke out of isolation and started to perceive the world around her through advanced production and social transformations.

Notes (1)      Article : Industrialization ,Wikipedia
(2)      ibid.
(3)      one of the names used for the non-Eurasian/non-African parts of the Earth, specifically the Americas and Australia When the term originated in the late 15th century, the Americas were new to the Europeans, who previously thought of the world as consisting only of Europe, Asia, and Africa (collectively, the Old World), Article: New World, Wikipedia
(4)      ibid.
(5)      ibid.
(6)      Article: Opium War, Britannica
(7)      ibid.
(8)      Article: Open Door Policy, Wikipedia
(9)      Ganse 2001
(10)      ibid.
(11)      Dillon 1998
(12)      Hall 1988 .
(13)      Ganse 2004
(14)      Portuguese settled at Macau, the Dutch on Taiwan, the British on Hong Kong. Ganse,
(15)      Ganse 2004
(16)      Hall 1988
(17)      table created by the author of this paper; based on data from HIS: p.684
(18)      Article: History of rail transport in China, Wikepedia
(19)      constructed between 1905 and 1909, connecting Beijing with Zhangjiakou, Article: Jingbao railway
(20)      table created by the author of this paper; based on data from HIS: p.354
(21)      Article: Coal Mining, Wikipedia
(22)      table created by the author of this paper; based on data from HIS: p.418
(23)      table created by the author of this paper; based on data from HIS: p.439
(24)      Cliver, 2004
(25)      coolies carried goods on their backs across mountain ranges from the Yangtze to Canton lost their business to steamers, Ganse 2004
(26)      Ganse 2004
(27)      a peasant movement lead by Hung Xiu-Quan, a person who believed to be Jesus' son, Ganse 2004
(28)      Hall 1988
(29)      ibid
(30)      Ganse 2001
(31)      Smith 2002
(32)      ibid
(33)      Hall 1988
(34)      an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement in early modern China, Article: May Fourth Movement, Wikipedia
(35)      ibid

Note : websites quoted below were visited in November 2008.

Scholarly Sources
Blackburn 2006      Robin Blackburn, Enslavement and industrialization, BBC History 2006
Cliver 2004      Robert Cliver, 350 Years of Chinese Textiles, Harvard University, Boston, 2004
Dillon 1998      Michael Dillon, China: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary, Routledge 1998
Gogins 2005      D.Gogins, Industrialization in China vs. England, 2005,
IHS      Mitchell, B.R., International Historical Statistics : Europe 1750-1988
Kreis 2001      Steven Kreis, The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England, 2001
Leung 1992      Edwin Pak-wah Leung, Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary China 1839-1976, Greenwood, 1992
Ringmar      Erik Ringmar, Liberal Barbarism and the Oriental Sublime: The European Destruction of the Emperor's Summer Palace , National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Smith 2002      Steve Smith, Like cattle and horses, 2002, Duke University Press
Tamagna 1942      Frank Tamagna, Postwar industrialization of China, Pacific Affairs, 1942
Wien 2001      Wen Tieju, China's century long quest for industrialization, 2001,

Encyclopedic Sources
Comptons : Industrialization      Article : Industrialization, Compton's Encyclopedia, 2002
DWH : Industrialization      Article: Industrialization, Dictionary of World History, Oxford University Press 2000,
Britannica : Industrialization      Article: Industrialization, Britannica, Encylopedia Britannica, 1998
EWH 1998      Article : Industrial revolution, Encyclopedia of World History, Oxford University press 1998
Ganse 2001      Ganse, Alexander, "China", World History at KMLA, 2001
Ganse 2002      Ganse, Alexander, Short narratives: industrial revolution, written on October 19th 2002; last revised on October 20th 2002, WHKMLA
Ganse 2004      Ganse, Alexander, Historical Dictionaries : East Asia, WHKMLA First posted on June 25th 2004,
Ganse 2005      Ganse,Alexander,Handbook European History : Historical Dictionaries, ToC, first posted on September 4th 2005, last revised on March 11th 2006 WHKMLA
Hall 1988      John Whitney Hall, History of the World, 1988. World Publications Group.
Wikipedia : Coal Mining      Article: Coal mining, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : History of Rail Transport in China      Article: History of Rail Transport in China, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : Industrialization      Article : Industrialization, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : Industrial Revolution      Article : Industrial revolution, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : May Fourth Movement      Article : May Fourth Movement, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : Opium War      Article : Opium War, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : Treaty of Nanking      Article : Treaty of Nanking, from Wikipedia,
Wikipedia : Treaties of Tianjin      Article: Treaties of Tianjin, from Wikipedia,
Xinhua 2002      Article: China: 20 Years to Industrialization, Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2002,
Xinhua 2007      Article: China in midway of industrialization, from Xinhua news

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