Unequal treaty

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Unequal treaty
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 不平等条约
Traditional Chinese 不平等條約
Korean name
Hangul 불평등 조약
Hanja 不平等條約
Japanese name
Kanji 不平等条約
Kana ふびょうどうじょうやく
China – the cake of Kings and Emperors cartoon showing Britain, Germany, Russia, France and Japan dividing China

Unequal treaty refers to any of a series of treaties signed with Western powers during the 19th and early 20th centuries by Qing dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan after suffering military defeat by the foreign powers or when there was a threat of military action by those powers. The term is also applied to treaties imposed during the same time period on late Joseon Korea by the post-Meiji Restoration Empire of Japan.

Starting with the rise of nationalism and anti-imperialism in the 1920s, the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party used these concepts to characterize the Chinese experience in losses of sovereignty between roughly 1839–1949. The term "unequal treaty" became associated with the concept of China's "Century of Humiliation", especially the loss of the Treaty ports, extraterritoriality, and tariff autonomy.

China[edit]

The historian Wang Dong concludes that "although the phrase has long been widely used, (unequal treaty) nevertheless lacks a clear and unambiguous meaning" and that there is "no agreement about the actual number of treaties signed between China and foreign countries that should be counted as 'unequal'."[1] The term "unequal treaty" did not come into use until early in the 20th century. These treaties were considered unequal in China "because they were not negotiated by nations treating each other as equals but were imposed on China after a war, and because they encroached upon China's sovereign rights ... which reduced her to semicolonial status". In many cases China was effectively forced to pay large amounts of reparations, open up ports for trade, cede or lease territories (such as Hong Kong to Great Britain and Macau to Portugal), and make various other concessions of sovereignty to foreign "spheres of influence", following military defeats.[2]

The earliest treaty later referred to as "unequal" was the 1841 Convention of Chuenpee negotiations during the First Opium War. China and Great Britain signed the first unequal treaties under the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. Following Qing China's defeat, treaties with Britain opened up five ports to foreign trade, while also allowing foreign missionaries, at least in theory, to reside within China. In addition, foreign residents in the port cities were afforded trials by their own consular authorities rather than the Chinese legal system, a concept termed extraterritoriality.[3] Under the treaties, the UK and the US established the British Supreme Court for China and Japan and United States Court for China in Shanghai.

Japan and Korea[edit]

When the American Commodore Matthew Perry reached Japan in 1854, it signed the Convention of Kanagawa. Its importance was limited. Much more important was the Harris treaty of 1858 negotiated by U.S. envoy Townsend Harris.[4]

Korea's first unequal treaty was not with the West but with Japan. Taking a page from Western tactics, in 1875 Japan sent Captain Inoue Yoshika and the warship Un'yō to display military might over Korea in the Ganghwa Island incident. This forced Korea to open its doors to Japan by signing the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876.[5]

The unequal treaties ended at various times for the countries involved. Japan's victories in the 1894–95 First Sino-Japanese War convinced many in the West that unequal treaties could no longer be enforced on Japan. Korea's unequal treaties with European states became largely null and void in 1910, when it was annexed by Japan.[6]

Chinese resentment[edit]

After World War I, patriotic consciousness in China focused on the treaties, which now became widely known as "unequal treaties". The Nationalist Party and the Communist Party competed to convince the public that their approach would be more effective.[7] Germany was forced to terminate its rights, the Soviet Union ostentatiously surrendered them, and the United States organized the Washington Conference to negotiate them. After Chiang Kai-shek declared a new national government in 1927, the western powers quickly offered diplomatic recognition, arousing anxiety in Japan.[8] The new government declared to the Great Powers that China had been exploited for decades under unequal treaties, and that the time for such treaties was over, demanding they renegotiate all of them on equal terms.[9] In the face of Japanese expansion in China, however, ending the system was postponed.[citation needed]

Most of China's unequal treaties were abrogated during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which started in 1937 and merged into the larger context of World War II. The United States Congress ended American extraterritoriality in December, 1943. Significant examples of unequal treaties on China did outlast World War II: unequal treaties regarding Hong Kong remained in place until Hong Kong's 1997 handover, and in 1969, to improve Sino-Russian relations, China reconfirmed the 1859 Treaty of Aigun.[citation needed]

Select list of unequal treaties[edit]

Imposed on China
Treaty Year Imposer
  English name    Chinese name 
Treaty of Nanjing 南京條約 1842  British Empire
Treaty of the Bogue 虎門條約 1843  British Empire
Treaty of Wanghia 中美望廈條約 1844  United States
Treaty of Whampoa 黃埔條約 1844 France French colonial empire
Treaty of Canton 中瑞廣州條約 1847 United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway
Treaty of Kulja 中俄伊犁塔爾巴哈台通商章程 1851  Russian Empire
Treaty of Aigun 璦琿條約 1858  Russian Empire
Treaty of Tientsin 天津條約 1858 France French colonial empire,  British Empire,  Russian Empire,  United States
Convention of Peking 北京條約 1860  British Empire, France French colonial empire,  Russian Empire
Treaty of Tientsin 中德通商條約 1861 Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia,  German Confederation
Chefoo Convention 煙台條約 1876  British Empire
Treaty of Saint Petersburg 伊犁條約 1881  Russian Empire
Treaty of Tientsin (1885) 中法新約 1885 France French colonial empire
Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking 中葡北京條約 1887 Kingdom of Portugal Kingdom of Portugal
Treaty of Shimonoseki (Treaty of Maguan) 馬關條約 1895  Empire of Japan
Li-Lobanov Treaty 中俄密约 1896  Russian Empire
Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory 展拓香港界址專條 1898  British Empire
Guangzhouwan Leased Terrority 廣州灣租界條約 1899 France French colonial empire
Boxer Protocol 辛丑條約 1901  British Empire,  United States,  Empire of Japan,  Russian Empire, France French colonial empire,  German Empire,  Kingdom of Italy, Austria-Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire,  Kingdom of Belgium,  Kingdom of Spain,  Kingdom of the Netherlands
Simla Accord 西姆拉條約 1914  British Empire
Twenty-One Demands 二十一條 1915  Empire of Japan
Tanggu Truce 塘沽協定 1933  Empire of Japan
Imposed on Japan
Treaty Year Imposer
English name Japanese name
Convention of Kanagawa 日米和親条約 1854[10]  United States
Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty 日英和親条約 1854[11]  British Empire
Ansei Treaties 安政条約 1858[12]  United States,  British Empire,  Russian Empire,  Kingdom of the Netherlands, France French colonial empire
Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Harris Treaty) 日米修好通商条約 1858[13]  United States
Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce 日英修好通商条約 1858[14]  British Empire
Prussian-Japanese Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation 1861[15] Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia
Imposed on Korea
Treaty Year Imposer
English name Korean name
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876
(Treaty of Ganghwa)
강화도 조약(江華島條約) 1876[16]  Empire of Japan
United States-Korea Treaty of 1882 조미수호통상조약(朝美修好通商條約) 1882[17]  United States
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1882
(Treaty of Chemulpo)
제물포 조약(濟物浦條約) 1882  Empire of Japan
China–Korea Treaty of 1882
(Joseon-Qing Communication and Commerce Rules)
조청상민수륙무역장정(朝淸商民水陸貿易章程) 1882[18]  Qing Empire
Germany-Korea Treaty of 1883 조독수호통상조약(朝獨修好通商條約) 1883[19]  German Empire
United Kingdom-Korea Treaty of 1883     조영수호통상조약(朝英修好通商條約) 1883[20]  British Empire
Russia-Korea Treaty of 1884 조로수호통상조약(朝露修好通商條約) 1884[21]  Russian Empire
Italy-Korea Treaty of 1884 조이수호통상조약(朝伊修好通商條約) 1884[22]  Kingdom of Italy
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1885
(Treaty of Hanseong)
한성조약(漢城條約) 1885[23]  Empire of Japan
France-Korea Treaty of 1886 조불수호통상조약(朝佛修好通商條約) 1886[24] France French colonial empire
Austria-Korea Treaty of 1892 조오수호통상조약(朝奧修好通商條約) 1892[25] Austria-Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire
Belgium-Korea Treaty of 1901 조벨수호통상조약(朝白修好通商條約) 1901[26]  Kingdom of Belgium
Denmark-Korea Treaty of 1902 조덴수호통상조약(朝丁修好通商條約) 1902[27]  Kingdom of Denmark
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1904 한일의정서(韓日議定書) 1904[28]  Empire of Japan[29]
Japan-Korea Protocol of August 1904 제1차 한일협약 (第一次韓日協約) 1904[30]  Empire of Japan[31]
Japan-Korea Protocol of April 1905 1905[32]  Empire of Japan[33]
Japan-Korea Protocol of August 1905 1905[34]  Empire of Japan[35]
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905
제2차 한일협약 (第二次韓日協約)
(을사조약(乙巳條約))
1905[36]  Empire of Japan[37]
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1907 제3차 한일협약 (第三次韓日協約)
(정미조약(丁未條約))
1907[38]  Empire of Japan
Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910 한일병합조약(韓日倂合條約) 1910[39]  Empire of Japan

Other uses[edit]

The term "unequal treaty" was used in 2006 by the RESPECT MP George Galloway and the then Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell to refer to the 2003 UK–US extradition treaty.[40][41]

The 1903 Cuban–American Treaty, which granted the United States a perpetual lease of Guantanamo Bay, is seen as an "unequal treaty" by Professor Alfred de Zayas.[42]

The American annexation of Hawaii in 1898 was an example of an "unequal treaty doctrine" and its consequences.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Dong Wang, China's Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005), p. 2 .
  2. ^ Hsü, Immanuel C. Y. (1970). The Rise of Modern China. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 239. ISBN 0195012402. 
  3. ^ Dong Wang, China's Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005), .
  4. ^ Michael R. Auslin (2006). Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy. Harvard University Press. pp. 17, 44. 
  5. ^ Preston, Peter Wallace. [1998] (1998). Blackwell Publishing. Pacific Asia in the Global System: An Introduction. ISBN 0-631-20238-2
  6. ^ I. H. Nish, "Japan Reverses the Unequal Treaties: The Anglo-Japanese Commercial Treaty of 1894," Journal of Oriental Studies (1975) 13#2 pp 137-146.
  7. ^ Dong Wang, China's Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005).
  8. ^ Akira Iriye, After Imperialism: The Search for a New Order in the Far East, 1921–1931 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965; Reprinted: Chicago: Imprint Publications, 1990), passim.
  9. ^ "CHINA: Nationalist Notes". TIME. June 25, 1928. Retrieved April 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ Auslin, Michael R. (2004) Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy, p. 17., p. 17, at Google Books
  11. ^ Auslin, p. 30., p. 30, at Google Books
  12. ^ Auslin, pp. 1, 7., p. 1, at Google Books
  13. ^ Auslin, p. 214., p. 214, at Google Books
  14. ^ Auslin, pp. 47–48., p. 47, at Google Books
  15. ^ Auslin, p. 71., p. 71, at Google Books
  16. ^ Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921–1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament, p. 33., p. 33, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty Between Japan and Korea, dated February 26, 1876."
  17. ^ Korean Mission, p. 29., p. 29, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and Korea. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation dated May 22, 1882."
  18. ^ Moon, Myungki. "Korea-China Treaty System in the 1880s and the Opening of Seoul: Review of the Joseon-Qing Communication and Commerce Rules," Journal of Northeast Asian History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Dec 2008), pp. 85–120.
  19. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Germany and Korea. Treaty of Amity and Commerce dated November 23, 1883."
  20. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Great Britain and Korea ... dated November 26, 1883."
  21. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and Russia. Treaty of Amity and Commerce dated June 25, 1884."
  22. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and Italy. Treaty of Friendship and Commerce dated June 26, 1884."
  23. ^ Yi, Kwang-gyu and Joseph P. Linskey. (2003). Korean Traditional Culture, p. 63., p. 63, at Google Books; excerpt, "The so-called Hanseong Treaty was concluded between Korea and Japan. Korea paid compensation for Japanese losses. Japan and China worked out the Tien-Tsin Treaty, which ensured that both Japanese and Chinese troops withraw from Korea."
  24. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and France. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation dated June 4, 1886."
  25. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and Austria. Treaty of Amity and Commerce dated July 23, 1892."
  26. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and Belgium. Treaty of Amity and Commerce dated March 23, 1901."
  27. ^ Korean Mission, p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between Korea and Denmark. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation dated July 15, 1902."
  28. ^ Korean Mission, p. 34., p. 34, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty of Alliance Between Japan and Korea, dated February 23, 1904."
  29. ^ Note that the Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament in Washington, D.C., 1921–1922 identified this as "Treaty of Alliance Between Japan and Korea, dated February 23, 1904"
  30. ^ Korean Mission, p. 35., p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated August 22, 1904."
  31. ^ Note that the Korean diplomats in 1921–1922 identified this as "Alleged Treaty, dated August 22, 1904"
  32. ^ Korean Mission, p. 35., p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated April 1, 1905."
  33. ^ Note that the Korean diplomats in 1921–1922 identified this as "Alleged Treaty, dated April 1, 1905"
  34. ^ Korean Mission, p. 35., p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated August 13, 1905."
  35. ^ Note that the Korean diplomats in 1921–1922 identified this as "Alleged Treaty, dated August 13, 1905"
  36. ^ Korean Mission, p. 35., p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated November 17, 1905."
  37. ^ Note that the Korean diplomats in 1921–1922 identified this as "Alleged Treaty, dated November 17, 1905"
  38. ^ Korean Mission, p. 35., p. 35, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated July 24, 1907."
  39. ^ Korean Mission, p. 36., p. 36, at Google Books; excerpt, "Alleged Treaty, dated August 20, 1910."
  40. ^ UK–US Extradition Treaty, House of Commons Hansard column 1437, July 12, 2006
  41. ^ Trapped by an unequal treaty The Independent, July 6, 2006
  42. ^ A. de Zayas The status of Guantanamo Bay and the status of the detainees, 2003
  43. ^ Morse, Bradford Wilmot. (1990). "American Annexation of Hawaii: An Example of the Unequal Treaty Doctrine" (with Kazi A. Hamid). Connecticut Journal of International Law, Vol. 5, pp. 407–456.

Bibliography[edit]

Primary sources[edit]