China Before the Invasion of the
Eight-Power Allied Forces
The Entering of
Envoys and Legation Guards into Beijing
First Setbacks of
the Allied Forces
and the Capture of Tianjin
The Capture of
Beijing by the
Eight-Power Allied Forces
The War Before Negotiations and the Signing of the
Protocol of 1901
China Under the Protocol of 1901
Home>>China Before the Invasion of the Eight-Power Allied Forces
In the 1830s, Britain illegally exported opium to China in large quantities, bringing severe damage to China in political, economic social and other aspects. The Qing Government finally made a resolute decision and dispatched Lin Zexu, Governor-General of Hubei and Hunan, to ban opium smoking and the opium trade in Guangdong.

In 1840, Britain launched an undeclared war on China. Cities and towns along Chinese coast and the Yangtze River, such as Zhoushan, Ningbo, Wusong and Zhejiang, were successively attacked by British warships. In August 1842, the Qing Government was forced to sign the Sino-British Treaty of Nanking, the first unequal Treaty in modern Chinese history. During the following 60 years, the Qing Government opened wide its doors to the outside world. Unequal treaties followed one after another, including the Treaty of Wanghea with the United States, the Treaty of Whampoa with France, the Treaty of Aigun with Russia and the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Japan. The treaties contained the humiliating and sovereignty-forfeiting articles on the cession of territory, the payment of indemnities, stationing of foreign garrisons, free missionary activities and open opium trading. The colonialist powers took control of China's Customs administration and rights for tariff agreements. They enjoyed consular jurisdiction and the power to issue bank notes, seizing China's sovereignty by piecemeal encroachment or wholesale annexation. The Chinese people hated the unequal treaties, and when the Boxers rose in rebellion, they declared: "We resent the treaties most because they wreck the country and ruin the people. Officials in subordinate positions follow the example set by their superiors, and the people cannot have their injustice redressed."