.. the world was looking at America wondering what it would do next. As communication helped the word spread about this “land of opportunity” more and more people wanted to immigrate, or at least come to America to see what all the talk was about. Many Chinese and Japanese came to the United States and saw it first hand from the 1860’s on (Iriye, 39). For the Chinese the personal meeting did not make as grand of an impression as it did for the Japanese.
For example, the Japanese were almost desperately interested in learning more about the military strength and power that the West held. However, the Chinese government was perfectly happy with maintaining their status quo. Although it is difficult to talk about an evolution of Chinese policy toward the United States, the reason is well understood; No clear formulation of policy towards the United States was felt necessary. The fact is that China, in the beginning, never considered America as a direct threat (Iriye, 44). Because of Japan’s grand interest in the Western strength, particularly America’s strength, between two and three hundred Japanese students were studying in America by the year 1873 (Iriye, 45). The product of science and technology impressed all; railroads, arsenals, the gaslight, flush toilet, and many other material progresses were studied and brought back to Japan. To put it lightly, Japan loved America and the modernisms she brought.
Japan loved the moderninity so much that she sold her soul for the new flashy lights of the West. When Japan met America, she did not think of the political and economic changes it would bring and the fact that Japan wanted it separate from social and ideological changes. They did want Western methods, yet technology, but they did not discuss the implications that brought with it. It was known that the Western countries were powerful and aggressive, yet Japan opened her doors freely to America and the Chinese chose to keep them closed for the most part. The first meeting of Asia to America was with mixed, unknown emotions (meeting defined as economic, political, or cultural interaction.) These mixed emotions lead toward tension.
Tension with Japan and tension with China. Tension The beginning description of tension the newfound communication brought to the world can be exemplified with the Open Door notes of 1899. Although this document is a commitment by the United States Government to a positive policy in China, and an agreement from the rest of the world to not divide China into colonies, tension was the reason for the establishment of this treaty. International interest was aroused in East Asia, economically, militarily, and religiously. America wanted the policy actually to assert America’s rights more vigorously in East Asia (Iriye, 80).
The United States was eager to cooperate with Great Britain and no other country. Hence, the result was a series of notes sent to various governments asking to adhere to three principles: non-interference within the existing spheres of influence in China, the uniform application of Chinese treaty tariffs at all ports within these spheres, and non-discrimination regarding railroad charges and harbor dues in these spheres. The Open Door policy gave a negative response to public demand for a positive and vigorous assertion of American rights and interests in China. Physically, the United States was expanding into Asia, and the separation was narrowing at the close of the nineteenth century. Japan was entering the expansionist stage of modernization and China looked to be taking steps toward modernization.
But, America had penetrated Chinese and Japanese consciousness and culture, and they were little aware of the implications for the future emergence of the United States as an imperialist. Many who look at the reform tend to see an East-West confrontation (Iriye, 82). Indeed, a confrontation was what it was, even though it was not as though each country stood in each other’s face. In fact, America’s central factor in the Open Door plan was to safeguard her interests and practice a policy of passive economics, only protecting American business interests. America would practice anything to protect interests in Asia, and the Open Door notes of 1899 were extended to protect American rights abroad, not Chinese rights at home.
It was an American policy, intended to safeguard American interests, and there was no reason why the Chinese should feel interested in it (Irye, 82). Between 1900 and 1905, for the first time in history, China recognized to an extent that relations with the rest of the world were not an issue of the Chinese versus a barbarian culture in the West. They looked through a worldview to explain their own problems. With the newfound worldview perspective, China’s recent past was seen as a page in human history when communication brought all the lands and peoples together. Western imperialism had resulted from the lust in the overseas markets, which was necessitated by the technological advances.
A struggle between independence and imperialism welcomed the beginning of the twentieth century with the Boxer rebellion and the Open Door notes. The Chinese people realized they must unite with officials to resist foreign encroachment, and together modernize the country and emerge as a strong nation. There were, of course, various views of this hotbed of a situation, and some of the revolutionaries disagreed with the reformers of the time. All of these differences in time led to a crisis, and by 1912, the dynasty had been overthrown. Such developments would have not occurred if the nature of imperialism and the necessity of “saving” China did not take on such drastic measures (Iriye, 86). The United States was regarded just as the other imperialist powers were.
In fact, America was seen as even more so because of her power. Beginning in 1912 with the crumbling of the dynasty and tradition, China began a new period of relations with the outside world. What little Chinese foreign policy existed revealed the same characteristics of disorientation and chaos that were manifested previously internally and externally (Mancall, 128). For example, on June 21, 1870 the Tianjin Massacre occurred. The French fired on China because of an antiforeign demonstration.
The demonstrators killed the local magistrate, and twenty more foreigners (mostly French), including ten nuns. This incident exposed as a sham the policy of cooperation that was intended to protect the Empire’s interests only so long as the empire did not assert them (Mancall, 129). This confusion in the country and the constant “parents eye” by outside countries over Chinese practices brought about uprisings and chaos on who actually was running the country. Again, on October 10, 1911 there was a revolutionary outbreak in the Empire. By the middle of December 1911 the provinces in China declared their independence. Amid the confusion, individuals of many different political persuasions agreed that national unity was necessary to prevent foreign intervention.
Foreign relations therefore became a primary focus of their internal politics (Mancall, 199). The threat of foreigners and invasions, now because of the ease of travel, communication, and transportation of commodities was significant to the point that China was ready to go back in her turtle shell and hide. Benefits One man in China spoke aloud about benefits that reform and boundless thinking could bring. Tan Sitong (1865-1898) was an intelligent and original thinker who was prepared to speak out. He talked about breaking the mold of tradition and the only way for the Empire to save itself would be through complete westernization (Mancall, 198).
He said in writing to a friend: Your letter says that during the last several decades Chinese scholars and officials have been trying to talk about “foreign matters,” but they have achieved absolutely nothing, and on the contrary, they have been driving the men of ability in the empire into foolishness, greed, and cheating. Sitong thinks that not only do you not know what is meant by “foreign matters,” but also that you are ignorant of the meaning of discussion. In China, during the last several decades, where have we had genuine understanding of foreign culture? When have we had scholars or officials who could discuss them? If they had been able to discuss foreign matters, there would have been no such incident as we have today (the defeat of China by Japan.) What you mean by foreign matters are things that you have seen, such as steamships, telegraph lines, trains, guns, cannon, torpedoes, and machines for weaving and for metallurgy; that’s all. You have never dreamed of nor seen the beauty or perfection of western legal systems and political institutions. .
. all that you speak of are the branches and foliage of foreign matters, not the root. (Mancall, 198) Sitong’s voice was loud yet solitary. He was executed shortly after a coup in China. The failure of the self-strengthening movement and the dimming of the lights to bright new innovations occurring in the rest of the world did not mean that no attempt was made to understand how foreign nations conducted their international relations. The rise of new leaders in 1860 in the capital and provinces changed the political climate a little bit.
Although there was warning by the Prince of dramatic changes, a new approach to foreign affairs set the tone for a new era. The new leaders gave hope to progressive officials for future changes. In 1865 and 1866 Robert Hart and Thomas Wade presented a constructive memorandum for the dynasty’s regeneration, the court felt confident and open-minded enough to circulate it among top officials for discussion. The possibility of restoring order and sound government did not hide the awareness of the problems brought about by the Western presence. In 1867, not only was the protection of Chinese sovereignty and interests under unfavorable terms of unequal treaties and physical danger of further imperialist infiltration a central point of worry, but also the unprecedented situation of wanting modernization without an imperial take over (Pong, 257).
In other words, the Chinese were aware of the wonderful opportunities available in the world, the problem was how to receive and achieve them with out the loss of culture. To an extent the mere realization of China about the world community is a great step forward in the evolution of relationships between countries. Now, the work is to figure out a balance between closer contact and maintaining personal culture. Conclusion The history of communication and the relationships that were formed in the early part of worldwide communication still reflect the relationships held between nations today. Those effects are the most significant because they defined the way that economic and political systems interact today. Since communication made possible the mixture of cultures at a great distance, the knowledge of international relations before and after the onset of communication will teach how each culture influenced the next.
In what way did communication influence the evolution of the world’s people and their interactions? The answer is our national and cultural identity was forever changed; yet the amount it changed depended on the thousands of years of isolated identity each culture created for themselves. Asian culture was, and still is a culture that has a strong hold on its roots in the past. Those strong feelings are the basic definition of today’s good (or bad) interactions between two countries. With the ever-closing rift of communication through technological advances, communication is the greatest vital world sense for every nation to improve upon. The turn of the 19th century is a great historical example to reflect on because then was the maiden voyage of international communication.
Today we are embarking on a new era just as our grandparents were only a century ago. The speed and quality of communication, and the rapid mergence of peoples from different nations will not be stopped, but how will these people actually get along with each other? This is the colossal question for the next millennium and the answer comes from the past. The racial and cultural diversity of the world caused tension, and struggles for dominance, and prejudice. With the perpetual growth of technology, international relations will be forced to exist on friendly terms and the closeness of each nation should learn to accept each other as well as grasp on to native traditions. Culture involves the way people live, work, their thoughts and perceptions of the world.
Intercultural communication is a symbolic, interpretive, and contextual process in which the degree of difference between people is large and important enough to create dissimilar interpretations and expectations about what are regarded as competent behaviors that should be used to create shared meanings. A good American and East Asian relationship is important to people on both sides of the ocean because of the grand potential for trade. The degree of difference between people is important to study in that here is where the confrontations begin, here is where international disagreements begin, here is where wars begin, and here is where the loss of soldiers in war begins. Trade disagreements, and cultural disagreements and any other kind of perceptional difference could potentially cause something so devastating that words cannot describe what the fate of the world could be. With the onset of communication in the 19th century the tension was immense, tomorrow’s technology could be the world’s greatest gift, yet if the world is not mature enough to utilize it, it could also be the world’s greatest devastation. Bibliography Works Cited Edelstein, Alex S., and Youichi Ito, and Hans Kepplinger.
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