Anglo Chinese Relations

WHS connected with significant events impacting the past and current relationships between China and England/GB/UK

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Mogao Caves In 1907 the British Archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein purchased from a local monk a large number of manuscripts discovered in the Mogao Caves - These are now in the British Museum/Library. This, and a growing number of expeditions from other countries, led China to ban further archaeological work. There have been some unofficial indications from China that it may mount a campaign for return of at least some of the objects
Mountain Resort, Chengde Visited in 1793 by Lord Macartney, the first British Envoy to China, in an attempt to meet the Emperor Qianlong and conclude a trade agreement. Famously Macartney refused to kowtow in front of the emperor (unlike his Dutch equivalent Isaac Titsingh in 1795!). No agreement was reached and in a polite letter to George III the Emperor stated that "we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country's manufactures."
Potala Palace Tibet was invaded by a British expedition under Colonel Younghusband in 1905 (primarily to counter Russian activity in the area since there were rumours that the Chinese govenrnment, which nominally ruled Tibet, intended giving it to Russia) and the Dalai Lama was forced to sign the Anglo-Tibetan Agreement in his apartments in the Potala Palace. Although China per se had not been involved it considered the invasion of one if its "client states" as humiliating. This led in 1906 to the signing of an an Anglo-Chinese Convention by which the British agreed "not to annex Tibetan territory or to interfere in the administration of Tibet", while China engaged "not to permit any other foreign state to interfere with the territory or internal administration of Tibet"
Summer Palace The Old Summer Palace was destroyed by Anglo French troops during the Second Opium War in 1860. The New Summer Palace was destroyed on the same occasion and then again in 1900 during the Eight Nation alliance (UK, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and US) to rescue foreigners besieged in the Legation quarter of Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion


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