Qian Long: Keeping China Chinese

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Keeping Secrets Secret Over an extensive sixty year reign, Qian Long ruled China for much of the 18th century; the last era in which China was strong enough to disregard foreign influence. During this period, Qian Long received many pleas from external powers attempting to penetrate his powerful and mysterious kingdom. In a letter to King George III of Britain, the Emperor refused European wishes to infiltrate Chinese boarders. In addressing the King he exclaims, “As to your entreaty to send one of your nationals to be accredited to my Celestial Court and to be in control of your country's trade with China, this request is contrary to all usage of my dynasty and cannot possibly be entertained.” Despite the King’s urges to imbed an envoy in China to control European/Chinese trade, Qian Long gives many reasons why such things cannot, and will not, happen. Through examining the letter sent to King George III, it appears as though Qian Long is attempting to minimize his subjects’ exposure to foreign influences. Qian Long refutes King George’s attempt to enter China as he acknowledges the concern of British/Chinese trade. The rationale behind the attempt of King George III to plant European nationals in China was to exercise control over his country's trade. But Britain had been trading in Canton for many years, and was received well by Chinese traders. The Emperor rebuts King George’s approach with simple logic, saying “Peking is nearly two thousand miles from Canton, and at such a distance what possible control could any British representative exercise?” By slaying British attempts to justify penetration into China, Qian Long embodies power and prejudice while secluding his peoples and culture. Qian Long confirms that despite there being Europeans living in China, King George’s wishes cannot be entertained. The request proposed by the King shows a desire
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