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The Qing Opening to the OceanChinese Maritime Policies, 1684-1757$
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Gang Zhao

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836436

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836436.001.0001

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Western Merchants, Local Interests, and Christian Penetration

Western Merchants, Local Interests, and Christian Penetration

A New Interpretation of the Canton System

(p.169) Nine Western Merchants, Local Interests, and Christian Penetration
The Qing Opening to the Ocean

Gang Zhao

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter argues that it is wrong to treat the Canton system as proof that China's rulers wished to cut the country off from the outside world; the policy grew out of concerns about Christian missionaries and the competition among different provinces for limited commercial opportunities rather than from an imperial swing from liberal to coercive policies. Long after the Canton system had been formalized, Guangzhou constituted one among many channels through which the outside world penetrated into China. A host of land and sea routes, including more northerly coastal ports famous for their trade with Japan and Southeast Asia, served as conduits for international exchange. This transnational trade network brought security problems along with economic benefits, precipitating a shift in Qing trade policy. Manchu rulers did not overlook the economic and scientific significance of foreign trade, but concerns about domestic stability obliged them to adopt geographical restrictions.

Keywords:   Canton system, Christian missionaries, Guangzhou, transnational trade network, Qing trade policy, domestic stability, geographical restrictions

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