Macartney Mission Case Study

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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…
East Asia, especially China, was actively involved in several world-wide trade, and even acted as a moving force of the economy aspect of the world; East Asian people developed their own technology, shared it with foreigners, and were curious about new technologies Europeans brought when they traded and did missionary work; East Asian people embraced different culture, different religion, and willing to spread their philosophical and theological thoughts like Confucianism and Buddhism. Therefore, we can tell that East Asia was not isolated during certain period before the Macartney Mission. And the reason Macartney Mission failed was that China was not thirsty for trade and China have different opinion about their political superiority. As the result, the assumption that the failure was resulted from the “Isolation” of East Asia is a false

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