The Importance Of Imperialism

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Imperialism or Not? The application of the term “imperialist” to the Qing empire is quite controversial. The term, imperialism, is often related to the rapid expansion of European countries in the late nineteenth century. Imperialism, according to Lenin’s famous definition, embodied the competition among western capitalist countries to share other undeveloped areas in order to export capital and seek for more profits. Additionally, cultural productions also play a important role in imperialism. Cultural historians have turned to scrutinize the aspect of language and cultural policies of the western imperialism rather than political, economic and military aspects. They intend to find out how these advanced western countries control their colonial…show more content…
Millward does not support that Qing expansion in the Central Asia was a part of its imperialist project and he regards the role of Han merchants as an ethnic group manipulated by the Qing court to control Xinjiang. Millward also points out that, from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, Qing rulers did not try to establish Chinese political institutions or sinicize local people in Xinjiang. In his work Beyond The Pass, Millward examines the Qing empire’s economic motives and ideology within its expansion in Xinjiang. These two aspects are often defined what is imperialism. He thinks that the Qing empire did not extract either natural resources or commercial wealth in Xinjiang. On the contrary, the Qing court aimed at making the area self-sufficient. Moreover, there was no specific ideology of the Qing empire within its expansion and Manchu ruler did not interfere with local culture and religion nearly. The goal was to maintain the cultural boundaries between different areas in China. Both Perdue and Millward provide cogent narratives for their arguments. In what follows, I shall have a close examination of interior Han merchants’ mobility and trades over the overland silk road in Xinjiang mainly, and try to find out to what extent Qing intention to maintain the overland silk road was an imperialistic…show more content…
Though, the Qing court still needed to face several problems when interior Han merchants come to Xinjiang for trade. In fact, Manchu rulers had a quite ambivalent attitude to the growing mobility in periphery which resulted from the empire’s expansion. On the one hand, the Qing court encouraged Han people to trade and settle in Xinjiang for stabilizing the local society to facilitate the control of the new conquered territory. On the other hand, Manchu rulers were rather cautious to the relationship between Han merchants and local people in order to prevent potential conflicts and rebellions, which will be discussed later. At the very beginning, how to control the transit routes in the Central Asia was a problem for the Manchu rulers. Comparing to transportation over the sea, seaborne colonial empires could easily control and inspect the movement of the merchants and ships. Thus, the Qing improved communication infrastructure in order to support military transportation and also transmission of official correspondence, while facilitated merchants greatly. Various relay stations were established by the Qing along the transport routes for providing water, food, horses and accommodation to official massagers. For instance, there were about fifty-five relay stations between Urumqi and Ili. These relay stations are call taizhan, which

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