Modern Chinese Diplomatic History (PS419T)

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Fall 1996

Pol. Science 419T: Modern Chinese Diplomatic History

Lecturer: Neil Burton

Time: Tues. & Fri., 3:15 - 4:45

Readings: There is no single, fixed textbook but sections of both The Chinese World Order [John K. Fairbank, ed.; Harvard, 1968], and China’s Response to the West [Teng Ssu-yü and Fairbank, eds.; Harvard, 1954, 1979] are required readings, as noted below. Texts of treaties and other documents will be provided, as indicated. “Additional Readings” are suggested for those interested in going more deeply into a particular topic [the works cited may not all be available in the Ichigaya Campus library].

Assignments: Students are asked to keep up with the readings and be prepared to discuss their content in class. Each student will be asked to lead the discussion of at least one of the treaties or other agreements studied. There will be one research paper (due Jan. 10), a mid-term test (Nov. 19), and a final exam.


A. Introduction (Oct. 1, 4, 8)
- contemporary China’s international relations in historical perspective
- defining “China”
- the nature of “traditional” Chinese society [Ming-Qing]

B. The “tribute system” (Oct. 11, 15)
- the Chinese “world order” under the Qing Dynasty
- the nature of “traditional” Chinese society and the Chinese state
- relations with the peripheral states

Readings: Fairbank, ed. The Chinese World Order, Chs. 1, 4, 5
[pp. 1-14; 63-89 & 90-111]

Additional Readings: Gallagher, Louis J., S.J., tr. China in the 16th Century: The Journals of Matteo Ricci, 1583-1610. [New York, 1942]

C. The beginnings of European contact [ca. 16th C - 1840] (Oct. 18, 22, 25)
- the arrival of Europeans on China’s southern coast and their integration into the “tribute system”
- Portugal
- Spain
- Holland
- Britain
- France
- United States
- Russian expansion and the Sino-Siberian frontier
- China’s first inter-state “treaty” [1689]

Readings: - Bell, John. Travels from St. Petersburg to Pekin [rep. version, Edinburgh, 1965. pp. 118-44; to be provided]
- Robbins, Helen H. Our First Ambassador to China [London, 1908. pp. 249-307; to be provided]
- Various official Chinese documents from Cranmer-Byng, J.L. “Lord Macartney’s Embassy to Peking in 1793” [Journal of Oriental Studies (U. of Hong Kong). Vol. 4, No. 1-2: pp. 117-187]
- The Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689 [provided]
- The Treaty of Kiakhta, 1727 [provided]
- The “Eight Regulations” governing Sino-Western trade [provided]

Additional Readings: Quested, R.K.I. Sino-Russian Relations: A Short History. [London, Boston, 1984]
Pimentel, Francisco. “Brief Account of the Journey Made to the Court of Peking by Lord Manoel de Saldanha, Ambassador Extraordinary of the King of Portugal to the Emperor of China and Tartary (1667-1670)” [appendix a in Wills, John E., Jr. Embassies and Illusions. Harvard UP, 1984]
Fu, Lo-shu. A Documentary Chronicle of Sino-Western Relations, 1644-1820. [U of Arizona, 1966]

D. The “unequal treaty” (Oct. 29; Nov. 5, 8, 12, 15)
- initial attempts to build relationships along Western lines
- the demands for, then imposition of, unwanted treaties and ambassadors
- gradual introduction of new concepts and institutions
- internal Chinese elite arguments over revision of longstanding inter-state practices
- establishment of the Zongli Yamen
- sending of study missions abroad
- Westerners in Chinese service
- first Chinese resident embassies abroad
- the assumption of control and/or colonization by foreign powers of China’s traditional tributary states (“Indochina,” the Ryukyus, Burma, Nepal, Korea)
- impact of foreign economic penetration

Readings: - Treaty of Nanjing [Britain, 1842; provided]
- “A Letter of Lin Tse-hsü [Lin Zexu] Recognizing Western Military Superiority, 1842” [Doc. 2, Teng & Fairbank]
- “Ch'i-ying’s [Qi Ying] Method for Handling the Barbarians, 1844” [Doc. 5, Ibid.]
- Treaty of Tianjin, 1858 [Britain; provided]
- Convention of Beijing, 1860 [Britain, provided]
- “The New Foreign Policy of January 1861” [Doc. 7, Teng & Fairbank]
- “A Letter of Kuo Sung-tao [Guo Songdao] from London, 1877” [Doc. 27, Teng & Fairbank]
- Franco-Annamese Treaty, 1884 [provided]
- Li-Ito Convention, 1885 [Japan; provided]
- Franco-Chinese Treaty of Tianjin, 1885 [provided]
- Convention relating to Burma and Tibet, 1886 [Britain; provided]
- Treaty of Shimonoseki, 1895 [Japan; provided]
- Open Door Notes, 1898-9 [USA; provided]

Additional Readings: Lay and Hart: Power, Patronage, Pay [Ch. 4 in To Change China, by Jonathan Spence; Little, Brown, 1969]
Swisher, Earl. China’s Management of the American Barbarians. [Yale UP, 1953]

E. Rapid and wholesale adoption of Western diplomatic practices [1900-1919] (Nov. 22, 25, 29; Dec. 6, 10, 13)
- aftermath of the Boxer rebellion
- establishment of a Foreign Ministry
- demise of the imperial system
- loss of Tibet; “Outer” Mongolia)
- the “warlord”-foreign power relationship

Readings: - Boxer Protocol, 1901 [multilateral; provided]
- Convention between Russia and China with regard to Manchuria, 1902 [provided]
- Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905 [Russia and Japan; provided]
- the “Twenty-One Demands,” 1915 [Japan; provided]
- Treaty Respecting Shandong Province, 1915 [Japan; provided]
- Lansing-Ishii Notes, 1917 [USA-Japan; provided]
- Treaty of Versailles, 1919 [multilateral; China-related portions provided]

Additional Readings: too numerous to list; speak to teacher about topics of interest

F. Modification of unequal relationships [1920-45] (Dec. 17, 20; Jan. 7, 10)
- effects of W.W. I war settlement and the Washington Conference
- Soviet involvement in the Kuomintang reunification project
- “Nationalist” China
- the restoration of tariff autonomy
- Japan’s continuing encroachment and its impact on Sino-foreign relations
- China’s role in W.W. II
- the end to extraterritoriality and other privileges
- the changing Sino-American relationship

Readings: - Karakhan Declarations, 1919, 1920 [“Soviet” Russia; provided]
- “Nine-Power Treaty,” 1922 [multilateral; provided]
- Sino-Soviet Treaty, 1924 [provided]
- selected correspondence between London, Washington and Chongqing [Chungking] concerning the granting of tariff autonomy [provided]
- Sino-American Treaty on Relinquishment of Extraterritorial Rights, 1943 [provided]
- selected correspondence from American diplomatic personnel in the field concerning relative merits of the Kuomintang and Communist regimes [provided]

Additional Readings: too numerous to list; speak to teacher about topics of interest

G. Modifications in Sino-foreign relations during China’s civil war (Jan. 14, 17)
- the American decision to stick with the Kuomintang
- the role of international agencies

Readings: - Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, 1946 [USA; provided]
- Relief Assistance Agreement, 1947 [USA; provided]
- Agreement on the Transfer of Naval Vessels and Equipment, 1947 [USA; provided]

Additional Readings: too numerous to list; speak to teacher about topics of interest


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