How did the Opium Wars affect China?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The Opium Wars were the climax events caused by friction between the British Empire and the Qing Dynasty. After British forces from Indian ravaged the Chinese coast and forced Qing rulers to come to terms during the Treaty of Tientsin, a number of different things happened. First, The Chinese were forced to cede certain territories to the British. Hong Kong was ceded and only recently returned to China. The opium trade was restarted and expanded throughout China, which benefitted the British immensely. Chinese tariffs were fixed at a reduced rate which helped with the British trade imbalance. They also forced China to agree to a “most favored nation” clause in the treaty giving British citizens extraterritorial rights that were not extended to other countries.

This treaty was eventually extended to the U.S. and France, creating what the Chinese called a, “century of humiliation” Imperialism would reign in China for years and years.