China Map 3 : The Qing Empire
The Qing Empire, ruled by the Tungusic Manchus, was a vast area stretching from the Pacific coast of Siberia to the oases of Central Asia. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it suffered increasing encroachment from first of all the Russians who expanded the Central Asia and Siberian domains of the Tsar, and later by the British, French, Germans and Japanese, each demanding a share of the territory of the world's largest market. Yunnan was attacked by French and British forces; territorial and trading rights were forcibly extracted after the two Opium Wars; Japan annexed Taiwan in 1895 and Korea in 1910, a process culminating in the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45).
A British attempt in 1904 to establish control over Tibet (in part to pre-empt Russian overtures to the Tibetans) was only partially successful, but served to underline the quasi-independent status Tibet enjoyed in the periods of weak central government.
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© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2001 by David Wright, reprinted from China Now 135, Page 17
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