Check for Understanding #109 (Google Form)
Slides: The Boxer Uprising (Google Slides)
Discussion on Wasserstrom:
Feedback on unit I (Google Form)
Kang Youwei's Memorials
Consider the following list of edicts issued by the Guangxu emperor in 1898 as described by The Peking Gazette:
1. The establishment of a university at Beijing.
2. The sending of imperial clansmen to foreign countries to study the forms and conditions of European and American government.
3. The encouragement of the arts, sciences and modern agriculture.
4. The Emperor expressed himself as willing to hear the objections of the conservatives to progress and reform.
5. Abolished the literary essay as a prominent part of the governmental [civil service] examinations.
6. Censured those who attempted to delay the establishment of the Peking Imperial University.
7. Urged that the Lu-Han railway should be prosecuted with more vigor and expedition.
8. Advised the adoption of Western arms and drill for all the Tartar troops.
9. Ordered the establishment of agricultural schools in all the provinces to teach the farmers improved methods of agriculture.
10. Ordered the introduction of patent and copyright laws.
11. The Board of War and Foreign Office were ordered to report on the reform of the military examinations.
12. Special rewards were offered to inventors and authors.
13. The officials were ordered to encourage trade and assist merchants.
14. School boards were ordered established in every city in the empire.
15. Bureaus of Mines and Railroads were established.
16. Journalists were encouraged to write on all political subjects.
17. Naval academies and training-ships were ordered.
18. The ministers and provincial authorities were called upon to assist—nay were begged to make some effort to understand what he was trying to do and help him in his efforts at reform.
19. Schools were ordered in connection with all the Chinese legations in foreign
countries for the benefit of the children of Chinese in those places.
20. Commercial bureaus were ordered in Shanghai for the encouragement of trade.
21. Six useless Boards in Beijing were abolished.
22. The right to memorialize the throne in sealed memorials was granted to all who desired to do so.
23. Two presidents and four vice-presidents of the Board of Rites were dismissed for disobeying the emperor's orders that memorials [petitions, memorandums, etc.] should be allowed to come to him unopened.
24. The governorships of Hubei, Guangdong, and Yunnan were abolished as being a useless expense to the country.
25. Schools of instruction in the preparation of tea and silk were ordered established.
26. The slow courier posts were abolished in favor of the Imperial Customs Post.
27. A system of budgets as in Western countries was approved.
With a partner, address the following questions:
You have been commissioned to produce an online exhibit about the Empress Dowager’s emphasis on moderate reform in the years between 1861-1898 (that is, between the beginning of the Tongzhi emperor’s reign and the quashing of the Hundred Days’ Reforms). As a renowned team of historians of modern China, you have been given a free hand to shape the narrative and contents of your exhibit.
“The Qing empire” in Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd ed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 223.
Consider the following passage written by Feng Guifen:
Books on mathematics, mechanics, optics, light, chemistry, and others all contain the ultimate principles of understanding things. Most of this information is unavailable to people in China. . . . I have heard that with their new methods the Westerners have found that the movements of the earth conform closely to those of the heavens. This can be of assistance in fixing the calendar. . . . I have heard that the Westerners’ method of clearing sand from harbors is very effective. . . . This can be of assistance to keep the water flowing. Also, for agricultural and sericultural tools, and things required for the various crafts, they mostly use mechanical wheels, which require little energy but accomplish much. . . . There are many intelligent people in China. Surely there are some who, having learned from the barbarians, can surpass them. . . .
Questions for discussion:
Two young visitors to the Opium War Museum in Dongguan, Guangdong. Source: City Weekend.
Where can we find public history?
Locate as many examples of public history as you can find in the chapter. Pause very briefly for each to identify why it is an example of public history. For example, on page 347, the Central China Television documentary, "Road to Revival" (Fuxing zhi lu 复兴之路). It would count as public history because it presents the Opium War (and other historical episodes) to the Chinese public through the medium of television.
Select one of these episodes to zoom in on for further investigation. Feel free to do a quick search online to supplement the information available in Lovell, though do try to focus on the questions below:
Did anything in the chapter confuse or surprise you?
From Lovell’s work, we have identified a range of different ways the Chinese public has encountered the history of the Opium War. To what extent does it make sense to talk about school curriculum in the same discussion as museums—and indeed video games?
What are some of the ways that the history of the Opium War(s) in China was discussed in the years after 1989? What might be some reasons for this change?
How did the patriotic education initiative change the way the Opium War was understood, particularly by young Chinese?
Based on what you could gather from the conclusion, how is history education different from history education in the United States? Do you see them different in degree or in kind? What about similarities?
For what purpose do you believe history should be taught?
Homework: Assignment #105
East India Company's iron steamship, Nemesis, destroying Chinese war junks in January 1841. Wikimedia.
Views on opium
Opium: opium, the opium trade, and the Opium War and its aftermath
Exercise: “Who is responsible?”
Check for understanding.
“The reception of the diplomatique and his suite, at the Court of Pekin,” by James Gillray (1792). The National Portrait Gallery, London.
A few important characters
Working through context:
Examine the exchange:
Homework: Assignment #103.