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Domestic Conditions in China

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Domestic conditions in China were more important in handling of the foreign “barbarians” due to its reliance on traditional tactics to remedy the potential loss of its world state identity.

Chinese officials understandably subjected the British to its tributary system. For instance, China attempted to coerce the kowtow on Macartney (Kissinger 39). This was in large due to its domestic conditions: China viewed itself as the strongest country and hence had nothing to benefit from a mutual agreement with the West.

More importantly, every instance to rid the invaders from China since the Treaty of Nanjing saw Chinese diplomats resorting to traditional tactics. Diplomats including Qishan practiced centuries old tactics such as procrastinating the British army until China rearmed but ultimately failed as an era of complete Chinese dominance had implemented in the Celestial Court a false confidence (Kissinger 49-50). Further, the Chinese view of itself as the world state signified that despite obvious need of immediate reform, as outlined by individuals such as Li, the traditionalist factions within the Chinese government prevented the timely execution of the modernization of China. Future domestic conditions such as the palace coup resumed the traditionalist Empress Dowager Cixi and ensured the complete halt of internal reform and the eventual downfall of the Chinese empire (Kissinger 74-77).

Perhaps the only significant instance of an indisputable foreign influence in handling foreign invaders came from the implementation of the Communist party in China (Kissinger 90). However, as by then China had tried traditional tactics for decades, the significance is negligible. Thus domestic conditions were more important to Chinese decision-makers in handling of the foreign “barbarians”.

On the other hand, foreign influences in Japan were more important in dealing with the foreigners as Japan understood the importance of modernization.



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