The Qing Opening to the Ocean: Chinese Maritime Policies, 1684-1757
280pp. February 2013
The Qing Opening to the Ocean: Chinese Maritime Policies, 1684-1757
Author: Zhao, Gang;
Did China drive or resist the early wave of globalization? Some scholars insist that China contributed nothing to the rise of the global economy that began around 1500. Others have placed China at the center of global integration. Neither side, though, has paid attention to the complex story of China’s maritime policies. Drawing on sources from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the West, this important new work systematically explores the evolution of imperial Qing maritime policy from 1684 to 1757 and sets its findings in the context of early globalization.

Gang Zhao argues that rather than constrain private maritime trade, globalization drove it forward, linking the Song and Yuan dynasties to a dynamic world system. As bold Chinese merchants began to dominate East Asian trade, officials and emperors came to see private trade as the solution to the daunting economic and social challenges of the day. The ascent of maritime business convinced the Kangzi emperor to open the coast to international trade, putting an end to the tribute trade system. Zhao’s study details China’s unique contribution to early globalization, the pattern of which differs significantly from the European experience. It offers impressive insights into the rise of the Asian trade network, the emergence of Shanghai as Asia’s commercial hub, and the spread of a regional Chinese diaspora.

To understand the place of China in the early modern world, how modernity came to China, and early globalization and the rise of the Asian trade network, The Qing Opening to the Ocean is essential reading.

Perspectives on the Global Past Series
Perspectives on the Global Past
“This is an important work based on impressive erudition that offers a convincing reinterpretation of Chinese attitudes toward maritime trade.” —John E. Wills, Jr., University of Southern California
Author: Zhao, Gang;
Gang Zhao is associate professor of history at the University of Akron.
Read the Introduction (PDF).

1. Chinese Private Maritime Trade and Global Integration  
2. Reconsidering Overseas Trade: The Chinese Intellectual Response to the Emerging Global Economy 
3. The Northeast Asian Trade Network, the Manchu Procommerce Tradition, and the 1684 Open-Door Trade Policy 
4. Enriching the State by Cherishing Private Trade: The Kangxi Emperor and the 1684 Open Trade Policy 
5. Separating Trade from Tribute: Kangxi Ends the Tribute Trade System 
6. The Establishment of the Qing Maritime Customs System and the Growth of Private Trade 
7. Economic Interests, Security Concerns, and the Tribute System: Kangxi’s Response to Tokugawa Japan’s Licensing System 
8. The Kangxi Emperor Bans Trade with Southeast Asia 
9. Western Merchants, Local Interests, and Christian Penetration: A New Interpretation of the Canton System