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How did imperialism affect China?

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Susana Scanlon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Imperialism had a profound and lasting impact on China. Its results are still evident in 2020.

China was ruled by the Manchus and their Qing dynasty from 1644 to 1912. China's contact with foreign nations was very limited until the nineteenth century. Also, the Qing dynasty began to decline at that time. Therefore, as foreign pressure on China increased, the country's ability to defend itself diminished.

Trade with Britain included the import of opium into China. Opium had a destructive impact on the Chinese people, so the Manchus tried to stop its importation. Britain insisted on exporting the drug to China, so the Opium War (1839–42) resulted. China was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing, which gave Hong Kong to Britain.

The Treaty of Nanjing was the first of the "unequal treaties." They were forced to sign other humiliating agreements with France, the United States, and Russia. They forced China into unfair trade arrangements and extraterritoriality, or a form of...

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