This argument is compelling, but it should be firmly stated that it should not downplay race and eliminate it as a factor to be considered alongside British imperialism in Asia. To focus entirely on economics regarding the imperialist question would be paramount to focusing entirely on race. In thinking about imperialism in Asia, one cannot ignore the ideology of the imperialist oppressor, whose racist behavior was predicated by their belief in their own cultural superiority. To say that there was nothing racist about the Opium Wars is to deny the essentiality of reality.
Some say that the second Opium War, which ultimately resulted in the defeat of the Chinese military by a much smaller foreign force, sowed the seeds of discord in China to the extent that imperialism became the main force. “The defeat of its military by a much smaller Western army showed the weakness of the Qing Dynasty and began a new age of imperialism in China. Domestically, this, coupled with the flight of the emperor and the burning of the Old Summer Palace, greatly damaged the Qings prestige leading many within China to begin questioning the governments effectiveness” (China, 2010).
This shows continuing advocacy in the society in the present, and a supposed alignment on these issues between the state and society which are highlighted in Chinese propaganda to this day, which features themes of anti-imperialism and still rails against the evils of opium addiction. Politics are also impacted, as mentioned above, by imperialism in Chinese civil society. In this system, when the British colonialist power ostensibly leaves, often the very same rules are left behind to be picked up by newer nationalist movements in places like China, especially with the weakened Qing emperor.
The arrested development of the sovereign Asian nation soon becomes replaced by an imperialist-placed society in which the European colonizer seeks to mirror its home institutions in the new land, ignoring those of the defeated nation. This is then replaced by the neo-imperialist nation which seeks again to mirror the European colonizer (in this case England) in terms of ostensibly self sufficient economic policy.
“Europeans presented themselves to colonial peoples (as they did to their fellow citizens) as the bearers of science, rationality and progress, and the enemies of religion, superstition and backwardness. The image of imperialism as a progressive project was widely persuasive in its time, not only to the great majority of Europeans, but also to many subjects.
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