The idea of nationalism in China was the direct outcome of the territo­rial losses suffered by China at the hands of the foreign powers and the restraints imposed on her sovereignty by these powers. As noted in one of the earlier chapters, for long time China continued to shun the foreigners and did not permit them to settle down in the country.

However, as a result of the Nanking Treaty of 1842 concluded by China after her defeat in the Opium War, she was obliged to cede Hong Kong to the British and throw open the country to western powers. China was also compelled to abandon her tariff autonomy.

In the subsequent years, the foreign de­mands on China continued to grow and gave rise to an anti-foreign feeling in China. A number of outrages against the foreigners in different parts of country took place but the foreign powers succeeded in suppressing the same.

They also pressurized China to make further concessions. As a result, China lost control over Indo-China, Burma, Tibet, Mongolia, Formosa, Korea etc. which were either independent of China or formed an integral part of the Chinese empire.


In addition to these territorial losses China also suffered decline in her sovereignty and was obliged to make numerous concession to the foreigners in the matter of trade, resi­dence in China and navigation facilities as well as extra-territorial rights.

As China conceded all these concessions under the threat of force, it could be very well expected that China would like to withdraw these concessions and assert her sovereignty at the earliest possible opportunity. The Chinese were particularly bitter about the loss of sovereign rights over some of the strategic ports and rich provinces, because they constituted a stigma on their pride.

Another factor which promoted anti-foreigner feeling among the Chinese was the presence of certain settlements in their country. These settlements were initially created by the Chinese Government with a view to limit the area of foreign penetration and to provide adequate quarters to foreign traders who did not want to live in the oriental slums.

However, in course of time they came under the exclusive administrative control of the foreign powers, who were responsible for taxes, public works, roads, sanitation, schools, hospitals, policing etc.


The Chinese were treated in these settlements as strangers or guests. This was quite annoying to the Chinese because they were being treated as strangers in their own home­land.

After the Boxer Uprising further restrictions were imposed on the sovereignty of China, and she was forced to agree that “the quarter occu­pied by the legations shall be considered as one specially reserved for their use and placed under their exclusive control, in which Chinese shall not have the right to reside.”

The foreign powers were also permitted to station troops at certain strategic points for the protection of their nation­als. Sometimes, the Chinese authorities were also forced to accept limita­tions on their sphere of activities due to presence of the system of extra­territoriality.

Thus the Chinese authorities could not try the foreigners guilty of violating contracts, evading taxes forgery of other criminal offences and were obliged to refer all such cases to the concerned consul or before a court of the nationals in China.


Yet another restriction on the Chinese authority existed in the nature of conditions in the treaties concluded with the foreign powers which obliged China to allow free passage to the foreign troops over her trans­portation system and the right of the foreign troops in China to hold rifle practice and field exercises.

This loss of Chinese territory and curtailment of Chinese sovereignty was naturally resented by the people and gave a fillip to the nationalist movement in China.