Tientsin, Treaties of

Tientsin, Treaties of
   A set of agreements that opened China to further foreign penetration. It was one of the unequal treaties signed between China and the Imperial powers. The First Opium War had started the process of active foreign aggression against China. The treaty of Nanjin, concluded between Britain and China in August 1842, had forced China to open its doors for foreign commerce. The Second Opium War, or Arrow War, was the result of tension between China and foreign powers after 1842. The immediate causes were the murder of a Catholic missionary and the seizure of a British registered ship, the Lorcha Arrow . Anglo-French troops took Guangzhou and Tientsin, forcing the Chinese to accept a treaty. It was signed at Tientsin, the largest commercial city in Chih-li, the metropolitan province of China and hence the name of the treaty. The first phase of the Arrow War was over. France, Britain, Russia, and the United States were party to the treaties, and the preamble of each treaty affirmed the “lasting and sincere friendship” between sovereign of the Chinese Empire and the respective governments.
   China provided 10 new ports, including Niuzhuang, Danshui, Hankou, and Nanjing for foreign trade and commerce. Britain, France, Russia, and the United States were also permitted legations in the closed city of Beijing. The Yangtze River became free for foreign ships, and even the warships could anchor at 15 Chinese ports. Where the treaty of Nanjin had opened up 5 ports, 10 more were now added. Toleration for Christianity and missionary activity was guaranteed. Foreigners with passports could travel to interior regions of China for trade. The humiliation was complete when China agreed to pay a huge war indemnity to Britain and France. The opium trade was legalized and millions of Chinese became addicted. It took two years to ratify the treaty. Meanwhile, hostilities broke again in 1859. The imperial summer palace was burned and Beijing besieged. By the Beijing Convention in October 1860, the terms of the treaties of Tientsin were confirmed and the weakness of China fully exposed.
   See also <>.
    Beeching, Jack. The Chinese Opium Wars. London: Hutchinson, 1975;
    Epstein, Israel. From Opium War to Liberation. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Co, 1980;
    Polachek, James M. The Inner Opium War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992;
    Waley, Arthur. The Opium War through Chinese Eyes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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