By Matthew W. Mosca

Among the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, Qing rulers, officers, and students fused varied, fragmented perceptions of international territory into one built-in worldview. within the similar interval, a unmarried “foreign” coverage emerged as a substitute to the numerous localized “frontier” regulations hitherto pursued at the coast, in Xinjiang, and in Tibet. via unraveling chinese language, Manchu, and British resources to bare the knowledge networks utilized by the Qing empire to assemble intelligence approximately its rising rival, British India, this booklet explores China's altered knowing of its position in an international context. faraway from being hobbled by way of a Sinocentric worldview, Qing China's officers and students paid shut consciousness to international affairs. to fulfill the becoming British possibility, they tailored institutional practices and geopolitical assumptions to coordinate a reaction throughout their maritime and inland borderlands. In time, the hot and extra energetic reaction to Western imperialism equipped in this starting place reshaped not just China's international relations but additionally the inner courting among Beijing and its frontiers.

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Extra info for From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy: The Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing China

Sample text

Independent states within its bounds were generally understood to be components of a larger India. Moreover, because this study concentrates on Qing understandings of the process by which the British empire conquered India piece by piece over the course of decades, it is first necessary to study how the areas that would come under British rule were understood in the period before their conquest. For this reason, the “India” that is the target of this study more or less conforms to the territory under direct or indirect British rule on the subcontinent by 1860 (excluding Burma).

Breaking with earlier practice—although he massaged his historical accounts to disguise this fact—Wei argued that the Qing needed to build coalitions against its one major enemy, the British empire. The centerpiece of his plan was to induce Nepal, Burma, and Russia to descend upon India as Qing allies, and together with Indians themselves push the British back into the sea. Bereft of introduction 21 opium revenues and sepoys, England could pose no threat to China. ” To adapt to foreign imperialism, Qing foreign relations became more centralized in the decades after the Opium War, and the drawbacks of fractured policy-making among various territorial officials became obvious.

34 Nonetheless, Wei Yuan’s more radical idea of a tightly integrated empire operating in close alliances with foreign powers was not adopted. One factor was certainly the inherent caution of Qing bureaucrats, who did not wish to risk their careers and possibly their lives to advocate costly measures that could end in disaster. Another was the limitations of the state’s military and financial resources and the known unreliability of potential allies. The imperial government recognized Qing weakness more keenly than Wei.

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