In 1899, right after the First Opium War, China was under the control of European powers and Japan, Qing Dynasty was so weak that hardly could defeat these powers. Each of these powers found out that China was a country which owned variety of resource. Therefore, all of them wanted to trade with China to earn more benefit and robbed various parts of coastal places, unfold Chinese territorial and Administrative integrity and would not interfere with the free use of the treaty ports within their spheres of inference in China. John Hay, the private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, the person who proposed the Open Door Policy.
At that time, the United States was just finished the invasion of Philippine with Spanish and turned to China. They also had great interest in China and found out that China was the biggest market in the whole world. The Open Door Policy was declared base on this situation. Hay said,“Earnestly desirous to remove any cause of irritation and to ensure at the same time to the commerce of all nations in China…shall enjoy perfect equality of treatment for their commerce and navigation within such spheres.”
The purpose of writing the document was to reduce the power countries had gained from their spheres of influence. The United States had no spheres of influence in China because it had just recently taken interest in Asia. Therefore, John Hay sought to prevent other countries from having more power than the United States. Each power claimed exclusive privileges of investment, and other powers seek to monopolize the trade as well.
As the Open Door Policy took into action, each power should have to follow the rule 1. Each great power should maintain free access to a treaty port or to any other vested interest within its sphere. 2. Only the Chinese government should collect taxes on trade. 3. No great power having a sphere should be granted exemptions from paying harbor dues or railroad charges. This policy which showed above has obviously changed both China and the United States. From the United States, they found the biggest market in the whole world which is China. Before America was unable to trade with China and didn’t have time to care about China. No later than they defeated Spain in Philippine. They turned their sight to China, a huge market for trade which had been untapped and allowed America to gain a financial foothold in China.
This decision can give them earn the most benefit. United States became China’s largest partner. Therefore, although the tax they need to pay was as the same as all the other powers, they occupied the most market of China, which means they were the largest earner between China and European power. By the way, it was the first time for the United States to expend their market to Asia. It has laid a good foundation for the commercial intercourse between America and China several decades later. On the other hand, this policy has changed China a lot, even much more than America.
During that period China was nominally controlled by Qing Dynasty, but actually almost half land of China was invaded by foreign country and divided by France, German, British, Italy, Russia, Japan, and the United States, we call these eight countries as Eight-Power Alliance. Anyway, China was a country with half colonization and half feudalism. Each power was interested in the huge benefit in China. But they all had a fear with others. None of them dared to become the first. As the Open Door Policy proposed by America, the entire problem has been solved. Everyone got the same right to trade with China and had to pay the tax. It looks like everyone received what they want except China. However, just the opposite, China has occupied a huge change during this period. First, it has increased the trade of China and help to develop the economics of China.
After the First Opium War, that was the weakest period of China. Drug has poisoned this huge country suffer from paining. Open Door Policy gave China a chance to develop them. Second, this policy gave China to advocate an impartial system of taxation set up a system of equal trading rights, which also helped to prevent European Power and Japan divided China into separate colonies, also intended to lower taxes and gave America an equal chance to trade with China.
Third, the United States was the biggest partner effectively stopped countries from colonizing China; this helped to keep China a united, sovereign nation. In recent years, China has developed much faster than before. In 1978, the president Deng Xiaoping took office, China formally cooperated with America. It can be said as America helped to increase China’s economic. The development of trade gives both China and America pretty much benefit. Finally, the Open Door Policy is the most important policy during the whole that period. Without that policy, maybe China would be divided into several parts. Open Door Policy give America more benefit, but actually the biggest earner is China.
Courtney from Study Moose