Richard Lowry: Europe ... From Colonial Powers to Supplicants
Richard Lowry is the editor of National Review, a conservative American news magazine, and a syndicated columnist.
One hundred and fifty years ago, no one could mistake the relative power of Europe and China.
When the British defeated the Chinese in the First Opium War, they imposed an indemnity, took Hong Kong and forced open more Chinese ports to British merchants. They demanded extraterritoriality for British citizens, exempting them from Chinese law.
Other Western powers extracted similar privileges.
When this wasn’t enough, the British launched the Second Opium War after the Chinese seized a ship flying the British flag and refused to apologize. The French joined in, and the two together captured Beijing, and burned the emperor’s summer palaces for good measure.
This nasty episode is worth recalling against the backdrop of the Europeans begging the Chinese to help bail them out from their debt crisis…
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