EHI 06 Solved Assignment 2020
E.H.I.-6 History of China and Japan: 1840-1949
EHI 06 Solved Assignment 2020 Hindi /English MEDIUM
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Q. 1. Discuss the context and significance of the Self-Strengthening Movement and Hundred Days Reforms in China.
Ans. During the mid of 19th century, the Ch’ing government was surrounded by the external challenges created by the Western powers and internal challenges generated by the Taipings and other rebellion groups. In order to overcome this crisis, the Ch’ing state and government embarked upon a programme of reforms. Tungchi was the
reign title of the Chinese Emperor in November 1861, thus, this period (1861-1874) referred as the Tungchi Restoration,
which adhered to two policy components, which were the Restoration of Ch’ing power (chung hsing) and Self Strengthening (trugiang).
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By the idea of restoration the Ch’ing power, it meant to restore the glory by implicating the Confucians rule back to the society. While the essence of the Self Strengthening laid in adopting the limited or minimal modernization policy. This policy initially stressed on only establishing the armaments industries but later on it included the areas of education and communication with the growth of other industries.
Architects of the Restoration and Self Strengthening: The principal architects of the Restoration and Self Strengthening programme were Prine Kung, Wen Tsiang (the Chairman of the Ministry of Public Works) and the Minister of Civil Works. They were joined by some outstanding bureaucrats Tseng Kuofan (Imperial Commissioner, who played a major role in the victory against Taipings), Tso Tsung-tang maneuvers (another official, who played an important role in the establishment of modern enterprises and restoring the agrarian economy) and Li Hung-chang, who was associated in maintaining the Chinese relations with the Western powers. All these got the full support of provincial leaders and officials, who believed in the Confucian ethics, and were committed for the preservation of
Restoration of the Agrarian Economy: Because of the riots, uprisings, dislocation of peasantry class as the consequences of the opium wars, the agrarian economy of China had arrived to deteriorated condition during the mid 19th century. So, Restoration of the agrarian economy was the major concern among the mind of the architects
of the Restoration. It became important to maintain the balance between the financial constraints of Ch’ing dynasty and necessary require-ments of common people. Thus, the programme started by emphasizing upon three areas i.e. extension of cultivated areas, reconstruction of public works and the reduction of land tax, briefly discussed below:
1. Extension of Cultivated Areas: Because of political disturbances, much of the rural population got migrated. Thus, efforts were made in order to repopulate the areas by encouraging the peasants to resettle the prosperous and well irrigated areas. Many offices were established for the distribution of good quality seeds and tools. But the result of the policy remained uneven. In some areas like Chiangsu, Fujian, many peasants got the plot for less than one
hectare. In many areas, the army officers and bureaucrats captured the vast holdings of the land.
2. Reconstruction of Public Works: Reserve granaries, dike, canals were repaired in order to fight famine. New granaries and some hydraulic works started for the help of gentry class. However, the attempts for controlling the waves of Yellow River remained at the planning stage only.
3. Reduction of Taxes: The major attempt in this area was the reduction of tax by around 30 per cent during the Tungchi rule, but as usual its benefit could not reach the actual peasant class because of maintaining the earlier land registers and unawareness of the peasant class about the new tariffs. Thus, the local magistrate and the gentry
continued to collect the tax from them at the old rates. Another reason was that there was no reduction in the rent and most of the peasant class was the tenant farmers, so benefit was enjoyed majorly by the big landlords. Despite of this, the rise in the price of silver also cancelled the benefits. Thus, the continuing social, economical and political exploitation of the peasants from the landowner class hardly made any improvement in their situation. In short, the policy adopted for the re-establishment and the strengthening the agrarian foundations was conservative bounded by
the minimal change. There was no policy regarding to the development of trade and commerce, which could be helpful for the revival of agrarian economy. However, some attempts were made to improve the transportation to ensure the sustained food supply, but they were not enough. The landlords and the gentry class benefitted by the reduction in taxes.
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Restoration of State and Civil Authority: Besides making attempts for the improvement of agrarian economy,
the other focused areas were the re-establishment of state authority and administration. The stress was given to
rejuvenate the process of examination in order to recruit talented and outstanding officials. Thus, the attempts were made for preserving the general morale for the civil administration by implicating the previous Confucian ideas. Besides it, in order to get support of the elite class, their economic, legal and social privileges were re-established. Again, the stress was given on the extension of Confucian teaching in schools and other academic institutions.
New Diplomacy Towards the West: After got defeated in the opium wars, many officials still believed that the barbarians must expelled from the territories of China. The major leaders of these reforms felt the necessity of the new institutions for keeping an eye on the foreign encroachments with the involvement of other foreign countries.
Thus, Tsungli Yamen was established on January 20, 1861in order to control the superin-tendents of foreign trades in different ports. It also controlled the general charge of China’s relations with the Western powers. The Chinese translation of a book ‘Elements of International Law’ proved very helpful as it showed the direction to Tsungli Yamen to insist on the existence of treaties. The leaders tried to protect the China by confining the Western powers with regards to these treaties.
Self Strengthening: The Yangwu Tung i.e. foreign matters movement was the official policy of limited modernization. The first aim of the policy was to focus on the armaments industry, which were extended to development of mines, communications and textile industry. These new objectives were set in order to acquire ‘wealth and power’ (Tsu Kiang). The policy of Tsu Kiang was supported for achieving the Imperial militia’s ability useful for the suppression of popular movements and for resisting the foreigners. Feng Kuei-fen, a scholar, emphasized on the need of Western technology for defending the traditional country. Many officials supported it and a popular axiom of the period was ‘Chinese learning as essence and Western knowledge for practical use’ used to justify the introduction of Western technology.
After the defeat in the opium wars, it became necessary to modernize the military strength. Thus, the emphasis
was given on reorganizing the Ch’ing armies and to establish loyalty among the growing regional armies. The need
of modern arms and weapons were also felt. This need led the establishment of four major arsenals. The objective of reorganizing the Ch’ing armies was not fulfilled because of the Ch’ing’s attitude to make changes in class structure and values. The establishment of the arsenals also did not lead any revolution technologically or politically. It became another department of growing deficits and corruption. Thus, the first phase of industrialization did not
contribute in the field of agrarian economy and the handicraft traditional sector. In order to borrow the Western Technology and for the management of Tsungli Yamen, foreign language interpreters was required in large numbers. Thus, the foreign language schools (Tung Wen Kuan) were established these schools also helped in understanding the Western technology required in arsenal. Very soon, other Western subjects like Physics, Economics etc. we’re introduced in the school, which impacted the Chinese views on change, reform and modernization.
EHI 06 Solved Assignment 2020
THE HUNDRED DAYS REFORMS
As the name suggests itself, the reform lasted around 100 days from June 11 to September 16 of 1898. Kang and
his associates helped in carrying out this reform. Kang was also appointed as secretary of the Tsungli Yamen.
The Scope of Reform: The Hundred Days Reforms cover a wide range of subjects giving much emphasis on administration, education and economy. The unnecessary posts and subsidies paid to Manchu were abolished. To bring the direct contact of the Emperor with the people, all officials and subjects were allowed to keep their suggestion directly to the Emperor. Old academics were transformed by including new subjects like Science and Economics.
For the supervision of agriculture, industry and trade, different Ministries were formed. For handling the financial
management of the state, new offices were established equipped with the modern legal system. These measures were not carried out to overthrow the power of the state. But the Manchu and Chinese officials were quite anxious about these changes.
The Reaction: The intention of Hundred Days Reforms programme was not to overthrow the power of the state,
but it received much reaction from various sections of the society. By getting the hidden support of Dowagar Empress
Tzu Hsi, Yuan Shi-Kai made the Kuangshu Emperor prisoner and announced for the arrest of all the reformist leaders. Kung Yu-wei and his close associates fled to abroad, while Tan Szu tung and other five reformers were executed. All the measures were cancelled except for the edict founding the University of Peking.
The reason for the failure of the reform may vary but the proposed political reforms were focused on the ruling
elites. Besides it, these initiated measures against the imperial aggression. Gradually, the people began to take interest in the new learning and thus, the demand for democracy increased. The impact of 1898 reform could not be neglected as one group of people admitted the need of political reform while the other group was convinced with the Ch’ing inability to rule.
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