Treaty of Tientsin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Treaty of Tianjin)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Treaty of Tientsin
Signing the Treaty of Tientsin.jpg
Signing of the treaty between Britain and China
Traditional Chinese天津條約
Simplified Chinese天津条约

The Treaty of Tientsin, now also known as the Treaty of Tianjin, is a collective name for several documents signed at Tianjin (then romanized as Tientsin) in June 1858. They ended the first phase of the Second Opium War, which had begun in 1856. The Qing, Russian, and Second French Empires, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the parties involved. These treaties, counted by the Chinese among the so-called unequal treaties, opened more Chinese ports to foreign trade, permitted foreign legations in the Chinese capital Beijing, allowed Christian missionary activity, and legalized the import of opium.

They were ratified by the Emperor of China in the Convention of Peking in 1860, after the end of the war.


The Xianfeng Emperor authorized negotiations for the treaty on May 29, 1858. The treaty with the British was signed less than a month later on June 25.[1]


Major points[edit]

  1. Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States would have the right to station legations in Beijing (Peking, a closed city at the time).
  2. Eleven more Chinese ports would be opened for foreign trade, including Newchwang, Tengchow (Chefoo), Tamsui, Tainan, Teochew (Swatow), Qiongzhou, Hankow, Nanking, Kiukiang and Chinkiang.
  3. The right of foreign vessels including warships to navigate freely on the Yangtze River.
  4. The right of foreigners to travel in the internal regions of China for the purpose of travel, trade or missionary activities.
  5. Religious liberty to all Christians in China.
  6. China was to pay an indemnity of 6 million taels of silver: 2 for France, 2 for Britain military expenses and 2 for compensating British merchants.
  7. Official letters and other documents exchanged between China and Britain are to be banned from referring to British Officials and Subjects of the Crown by the character "" (), meaning "barbarian".


The Treaties of Tientsin uses several words that have somewhat ambiguous meanings. For example, the words "settlement" and "concession" can often be confused. The term "settlement" refers to a parcel of land leased to a foreign power and is composed of both foreign and national peoples; locally elected foreigners govern them. The term "concession" refers to a long-term lease of land to a foreign power where the foreign nation has complete control of the land; it is governed by consular representation.[2]

American involvement[edit]

Following the pattern set by the great powers of Europe, the United States took on a protectionist stance, built up its navy, and tried to create a mercantile empire. The United States was one of the leading signing "treaty powers" in China, forcing open a total of 23 foreign concessions from the Chinese government. While it is often noted that the United States did not control any settlements in China, it shared British land grants and was actually invited to take land in Shanghai but refused because the land was thought to be disadvantageous.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wang, Dong. China's Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History. Lexington Books, 2005, p. 16.
  2. ^ Johnstone (1937), p. 942.
  3. ^ Johnstone (1937), p. 945.


Additional sources[edit]

  • Johnstone, William C. (October 1937). "International Relations: The Status of Foreign Concessions and Settlements in the Treaty Ports of China". The American Political Science Review. 31 (5): 942–8. doi:10.2307/1947920. JSTOR 1947920. OCLC 5545237072.
  • Bloch, Kurt (May 1939). "The Basic Conflict over Foreign Concessions in China". Far Eastern Survey. 8 (10): 111–116. doi:10.1525/as.1939.8.10.01p0703s. JSTOR 3023092. OCLC 5548991122.
  • "Treaties of Tianjin, 1858 and 1860". 600 Years of Urban Planning in and around Tianjin. Wason Collection on East Asia and Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University. 2004. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21.

External links[edit]