The Macartney Mission

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In 1794, Macartney proposed the famous “Macartney Mission”, and was rejected by Qianlong Emperor. It is because that China had totally different understanding of its diplomatic status from what the Macartney thought, and China was self-sufficient and thus not willing to expand import. However, some claimed that it was China’s “isolation” that resulted in the rejection. From my perspective, the idea that China was “isolated” was not totally correct. Instead, the East Asian was actively involved in trading, embraced scientific ideas, and accepted different culture. First of all, East Asia was drastically involved in the trading system, and was even the center of trading during the time before the Macartney Mission. The scale of trading, or say …show more content…
However, the biggest triumph it made was to enhance trading. Goods were sent to Chinese Emperor as tributes, and the emperor paid even more as return. Merchants were also allowed to trade on their trip, and thus all members were benefited from it. Therefore, lots of the kingdoms were willing to join the tribute system with China to set up trade. The desire was so intense that, for example, Japanese was kept out of the Chinese tribute system because of the pirate issue, but they still tried to trade with China by various ways. Around later 17th century and early 18th century, “Dutch and Portuguese representatives came to the capital to present themselves at court under ‘tribute system’ arrangements” (Elliott 133), and asked for things similar to what Macartney did later. Although their requests were rejected, we can tell that during that period, China was not isolated at all in …show more content…
Some of the portraits of the emperor, for example, were drawn by foreigners. The “Qianlong in his study”, an ink and colors on silk, was portrayed by Giuseppe Castiglione and Jin Tingbiao, and the painting technique was largely affected by the Europe style (Elliott 108). In addition to the paintings, conquering the Muslim Uigurs and the Tibetans and incorporating them into Qing Dynasty (Marks 70) was another point that showed china was not “isolated”. Because the size of China was doubled, and there was an increasing cultural diversity. Moreover, In Qianlong’s early age, he learned Chinese traditional books as well as Manchu language and Mongolian. When he grew older, he was famous for his curiosity about religion, art, and the mystery of nature. Emperor Qianlong’s interest in foreign culture resulted in his incredibly understanding of European countries. He even had a huge world map in his Old Summer Palace, he even knew the revolution in France, and he even knew the conspiracy in Russian courts. However, when Macartney met Qianlong Emperor in Old Summer Palace, the questions Qianlong asked, such as “How far is it between Russia and British? Is Italy and Portuguese far from British? Do they pay tribute to British?” showed his little understanding about Europe. The only plausible reason for him to ask those questions was to show Macartney that as

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