The Opening of China

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The Opening of China

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Here’s Scottish scholar James Legge’s classic account – edited and condensed with modern readers in mind - of the events that led to the opening of China to the West. The Opium Wars were fought not over drugs, but free trade and the West’s diplomatic equality with (some would say superiority over) China. These events led to the humiliation of the Chinese by the West, and they still reverberate today. China’s government remains deeply suspicious of Western governments and interests.

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