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Lessons of History

The Republic of China was born out of the weakness of the Ch'ing Empire, as well as invasion and repression by foreign powers. In his book, Fundamentals of National Reconstruction , Dr. Sun Yat-sen wrote,'I made up my mind to overthrow the Ch'ing Empire and establish a republic after we lost the 1885 Sino-French War. 'In his last will and testament, he urged his fellow citizens to make' abrogating the unequal treaties' their top priority.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps in its archives the originals of some 173 treaties, agreements, contracts and regulations concluded during the late Ch'ing period, which are listed in the chart.

 

Among the treaties selected for the exhibition are: the Treaty of Nanking signed between China and Great Britain in 1842, the earliest of the unequal treaties; the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Commerce signed between China and France in 1885, which inspired Dr. Sun Yat-sen to launch a revolution; the Final Protocol of 1901, which had the largest number of signatories and the biggest indemnity; and the Burlingame Treaty signed between China and the United States in 1868, which was signed in proxy by an American. On display are 25 treaties and documents, and 12 relevant boundary or site maps.

 

Most of the treaties and agreements signed by the Ch'ing Empire were unequal. The signatories included Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Peru, Denmark, Brazil, Mexico, Congo, and Korea. It demonstrates how formidable a task the Republic of China's diplomacy was right from the very beginning. Diplomatic breakthroughs could only be achieved by removing the heavy shackles of history.


Treaty of Nanking between Empire of China and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland(New window)

Treaty of Nanking between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed: 1842/8/29
Location: Nanking
33.7 × 21.7 cm

 

The first unequal treaty signed by the Ch'ing Court in the wake of the Opium War, with, among others, reparations and the cession of Hong Kong to Great Britain.

Convention of Peking between Empire of China and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland(New window)

Convention of Peking between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed: 1860/10/24
Location: Peking
32.3 × 20.4 cm

 

The treaty signed as the result of the Second Opium War, with the cession of Kowloon Peninsula to Great Britain.

Convention of Peking between Empire of China and Empire of France(New window)

Convention of Peking between China and France
Treaty signed: 1860/10/25
Location: Peking
31.8 × 21 cm

 

One of the two treaties signed as the result of the Second Opium War that leads to the establishment of Tsung-li ya-men (Office of Foreign Affairs).

Additional Articles to the Treaty between China and the United States, of the 18th of June 1858 (Burlingame Treaty)(New window)

Additional Articles to the Treaty between China and the United States, of the 18th of June 1858 (Burlingame Treaty)
Treaty signed: 1868/7/28
Location: Washington, D.C.
36.7 × 27 cm

 

The first relatively equal treaty in the late Ch'ing dynasty that was signed in proxy by the outgoing American Minister to China, Mr. Anson Burlingame, commissioned by the Ch'ing Court.

Convention of Peking between China and Russia(New window)

Convention of Peking between China and Russia
Treaty signed: 1860/11/14
Location: Peking

35.8 × 23 cm

 

The treaty resulting in the Amur Annexation, in which parts of Outer Manchuria were ceded to Russia.

Treaty of Livadia between China and Russia(New window)

Treaty of Livadia between China and Russia
Treaty signed: 1879/10/2
Location: Livadia

34.5 × 22.3 cm

 

This treaty, not ratified by the Ch'ng Court, cedes vast expanses of land west of Ili and along the Tekes River to Russia upon the return of Ili.

Map of the Second Sino-Russian Demarcation of the Northwestern Borders(New window)

Map of the Second Sino-Russian Demarcation of the Northwestern Borders
1879/10/2
115 × 80 cm

 

Map attached to the Treaty of Livadia.

Treaty of St. Petersburg between China and Russia(New window)

Treaty of St. Petersburg between China and Russia
Treaty signed: 1881/2/24
Location: St. Petersburg

33.6 × 21.5 cm

 

One of the few diplomatic successes of the Ch'ing Court in which the eastern part of the Ili Basin is retroceded.

Agreement of Chefoo between China and Great Britain(New window)

Agreement of Chefoo between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed: 1876/9/13
Location: Chefoo
32.7 × 19.7 cm

 

The agreement that concedes Great Britain privileged access to Yunnan and Tibet.

Additional Article to the Agreement Between China and Great Britain at Chefoo on the 13th September, 1876(New window)

Additional Articles to the Agreement between China and Great Britain at Chefoo on the 13th of September, 1876
Treaty signed: 1885/7/18
Location: London
38.3 × 24.2 cm

 

The originating article that exempts inland duties on imported goods into China.

Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Commerce between China and France(New window)

Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Commerce between China and France
Treaty signed: 1885/6/9
Location: Tientsin
36 × 22.7 cm

 

The treaty in which the Ch'ing Court forfeits its suzerainty over Vietnam to France, which inspires Dr. Sun Yat-sen to pursue revolutionary course against the Ch'ing Empire.

Demarcation Records regarding the Yunnan-Annam (Vietnam) Boundary between China and France(New window)

Demarcation Records of the Yunnan-Annam(Vietnam) Boundary between China and France
Treaty signed: 1896/10/25
Location: Bảo Thắng
31.7 × 22 cm

 

The demarcation records that define the boundary between Yunnan and Vietnam after the Ch'ing Court forfeits its suzerainty over Vietnam to France.

Treaty of Amity and Commerce between China and Portugal(New window)

Treaty of Amity and Commerce between China and Portugal
Treaty signed: 1887/12/1
Location: Peking
41.2 × 26 cm

 

The treaty in which the Ch'ing Court concedes to transfer, in perpetuity, Macau's administrative rights to Portugal.

Illustrated Description of Border-trespassing by the Portuguese(New window)

Map of Macau
1909
63 × 41.5 cm

 

A map that illustrates the Portuguese infringement upon the territories beyond Macau's borders into Kuangtung Province.

Map of Macao(New window)

Map of Macau
1910/1/20
79.4 × 64.1 cm

 

The reference map used by the Ch'ing Court for negotiations with Portugal on the boundary of Macau.

Illustrated Description of Macao Boundary(New window)

Illustrated Description of Macau Boundary
Late Ch'ing or early years of the Republic of China
102.4 × 57 cm

Map of Southern Tibet Boundary(New window)

Map of Southern Tibet Boundary
1887
94.5 × 188.3 cm

 

The map that depicts the British inroads entering southern Tibet during the late Ch'ing Dynasty.

Sikkim-Tibet Convention between China and Great Britain(New window)

Sikkim-Tibet Convention between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed:1890/3/17
Location: Calcutta
60.5 × 75.7 cm

 

The first unequal treaty regarding Tibet in which the Ch'ing Court forfeits its suzerainty over Sikkim to Great Britain.

Regulations of regarding Trade, Communication, and Pasturage to be appended to the Sikkim-Tibet Convention of 1890(New window)

Regulations regarding Trade, Communication, and Pasturage to be appended to the Sikkim-Tibet Convention of 1890 between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed:1893/12/5
Location: Daijeeling
60.5 × 75 .7 cm

 

The second unequal treaty regarding Tibet which grants trading rights to the British in Tibet.

Convention between Great Britain and China respecting Tibet(New window)

Convention respecting Tibet between Great Britain and China
Treaty signed:1906/4/27
Location: Peking
40.9 × 30.9 cm

 

The third unequal treaty regarding Tibet which grants the British exclusive rights on mining, trading, and land ownership in Tibet.

Convention for the retrocession by Japan of all of the southern portion of the province of Feng Tien to the sovereignty of China(New window)

Convention for Retrocession of Southern Portion of Fengtien Province (Liaotung Peninsula) between China and Japan
Treaty signed: 1895/11/8
Location: Peking
32.7 × 22 cm

 

The Ch'ing Court, in the wake of the Tripartite Intervention, pays an additional 30 million taels of silver to Japan to retrocede Liaotung Peninsula, originally ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

Li-Lobanov Treaty(New window)

Li-Lobanov Treaty
Treaty signed: 1896/5/22
Location: Moscow
32.3 × 21.9 cm

 

A secret treaty that, among others, permits the construction of Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria by Russia.

Convention respecting the Lease of Kiaochow between China and Germany(New window)

Convention respecting the Lease of Kiaochow between China and Germany
Treaty signed: 1898/3/6
Location: Peking
33.3 × 21.3 cm

 

The convention that concedes to Germany railway building and coal mining rights in Shantung Province and thus consolidates German influence in Shantung.

Map of Concession at Kiaochow(New window)

Map of Concession at Kiaochow
1914/8
117.8 × 138 cm

Treaty of the Lease of Port Arthur and Dairen between China and Russia(New window)

Treaty for the Lease of Liaotung Peninsula between China and Russia
Treaty signed: 1898/3/27
Location: Peking
44.8 × 33 cm

 

The treaty that expands Russian influence from Northern to Southern Manchuria.

Map of Concession at Liaotung Peninsula (fascimile)(New window)

Map of Concession at Liaotung Peninsula (facsimile)
1912/8
49 × 295.2 cm

Map of Liaotung Peninsula(New window)

Map of Liaotung Peninsula
1904/12
81 × 113.8 cm

Convention for an Extension of Hong Kong Territory between China and Great Britain(New window)

Convention for an Extension of Hong Kong Territory between China and Great Britain
Treaty signed: 1898/6/9
Location: Peking
32.9 × 21.3 cm

 

The treaty that leases New Territory to Great Britain for 99 years.

Map of the Extension of the British Concession at Sun-on [Hsin-an] Hsien, Kuangtung Province(New window)

Map of the Extension of the British Concession at Sun-on [Hsin-an] Hsien, Kuangtung Province
Late Ch'ing
67.5 × 96 cm

Maritime Map of Hong Kong(New window)

Maritime Map of Hong Kong
Late Ch'ing or early years of the Republic of China
34.6 × 31 cm

Convention for the Lease of Weihaiwei(New window)


Convention for the Lease of Weihaiwei between China and Great Britain

Treaty signed: 1898/7/1
Location: Peking
32.8 × 20.7 cm

 

The convention that grants Great Britain partial control over Bohai Gulfthe gateway to Northern China.

Map of Concession at Weihaiwei, Shantung(New window)

Map of Concession at Weihaiwei, Shantung
Late Ch'ing or early years of the Republic of China
48 × 56.3 cm

Map of Wei-Hai-Wei(New window)

Map of Weihaiwei
1908/1
78 × 115 cm

Convention between China and France relative to the Concession at Kuang-Chou-Wan(New window)

Convention between China and France relative to the Concession at Kuang-Chou-Wan
Treaty signed: 1899/11/17
Location: Kuang-Chou-Wan
27.5 × 22 cm

 

The convention that consolidates French influence in Southern China via the mandatory lease of Kuang-Chou-Wan.

Map of Concession at Kuang-Chou-Wan(New window)

Map of Concession at Kuang-Chou-Wan
1899/11/16
54.5 × 69.7 cm

Illustrated Description of Kuang-Chou-Wan Boundary(New window)

Map of Kuang-Chou-Wan, Kuangtung Province
Late Ch'ing or early years of the Republic of China
43.5 × 57.8 cm

Final Protocol (Boxer Protocol)(New window)

Final Protocol of 1901 (Boxer Protocol)
Treaty signed: 1901/9/7
Location: Peking
35.2 × 28 cm

 

The unequal treaty resulting from the Boxer Rebellion, with the most signatories and largest reparations in Chinese history.

Agreement relative to Manchurian between China and Russia(New window)

Agreement relative to Manchuria between China and Russia
Treaty signed: 1902/4/8
Location: Peking
34.1 × 28 cm

 

An agreement in which Russia, under international pressure, withdraws from Manchuria.

Documents on the Returning to China of the difference of the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Money paid to America(New window)

Documents on the Returning to China of the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Paid to the United States
Period: 1905-1909
26.7 × 21.2 cm

 

The origin and source of funding for Tsing Hua University.

Sino-Russian-Mongolian Agreement(New window)

Sino-Russian-Mongolian Agreement
Treaty signed: 1915/6/7
Location: Kyachta
40.1 × 29.7 cm

 

The treaty that makes Outer Mongolia a Russian sphere of influence.