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Self strengthening movement

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Self-strengthening Movement
The self-strengthening movement was a push during the nineteenth century that was
meant to modernize China especially industrial and military wise. There were several failures
that China experienced that triggered the creation of self-strengthening movement. They
included foreign imperialism in China, its defeat in the second opium war which happened in
1860 and the Taiping rebellion.(Gardella et al, 67-97) There was also another humiliating
treaty of Tientsin that triggered the formation of the movement. The Chinese hoped to their
country by preserving some of their traditional rules while at the same time embracing
western military and industrial practices. They were forced to acquire knowledge from the
westerners and this entailed them studying their language, and examine their technologies
and their trading activities.
Despite all these efforts, the movement was still not successful. First of all, there was
a conservative opposition. Farmers greatly opposed the movements the reason being most of
them had a fear that the movement will have a negative impact in their lives as farmers. They
were afraid that the reforms that were to come with the movement like constructions of roads
and railways. Also, there was some opposition from scholars and officials. Most of them
viewed that western education, especially the western languages, had no value in the country
and that it would not contribute much to the strengthening of the country(Gardella et al, 67).
They thought that the new reforms and new methods would make them lose some of the
important positions that they had in the government. Cixi who had effectively controlled the
Chinese government for 47 good years also opposed the move. She was anti-foreign and
conservative. She opposed almost al the reforms the reason being that she might lose her
authority. Instead of her supporting the movement she was against it and she spent a larger
percentage of the country's naval expense to build her Palace. All these oppositions made this
movement to be termed as a failure return.
Another reason that made the self-strengthening movement of the 19
th
century failed
return is that there was no careful planning and coordination. The reform program was
characterized by unsystematic partial measures taken over a long period. Many of the
projects were not well organized for instance the building of the dockyards in the harbour and
building of the railways to transport goods from the port to the mainland. They did not do one
project at a time and this made the projects go slow. Time is always a factor in many things
and thus anytime projects go slow, it affects many things at large. There was a lack of unity
among the people and this paved a way for the failure of the movement. There was no unity
between the leaders of the movement and the leader of the country (Gardella et al, 67). For
instance, Empress Dowager Cixi was against most of the decisions concerning the projects.
She had appointed leaders in various provinces who were in charge of the projects going on
in their areas of jurisdiction. These heads of the different places were not united with one
another and they could not speak the same language and this greatly contributed to the failure
of the movement.
Another reason why the reform failed is that the Chinese did not copy well from the
westerners. This inadequate conception of the West led to the failure of the movement.
Chiese only adopted part of what was happening n Western countries and not the whole
thing. They mostly adopted practical skills that are science and technology without realizing
that these are not the only things that made the Westerners strong (Harris, Karen &Steve, 34-
36). The Westerners had become strong due to various reasons and foundations. They had
become strong because of their firm political, social and economic foundations. The
reformers neglected the changes in their social and political systems. For instance, they still
had their traditional values in place and this dragged the whole process behind. There was no
good political structure since the leader Empressor Cixi was planning to stay in power for the
rest of her life and this limited her from doing some developments and supporting the agenda.

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Also, those who were under her did the same because if they could have gone against her
decisions it could have led to them either being sacked or demoted.
Lack of capital also contributed to the failure of the program. By the time China was
implementing the movement, it was very weak economically and also very poor. What made
the things even worse is the repeatedly heavy indemnities and other financial burdens that the
country was experiencing at that time. All the projects that were to be carried out under the
movement were very expensive. Somethings like building the railways and the dockyards
cost a very huge amount of money. It involved buying a lot of heavy machinery and hiring
more superior technology and expertise from the West (Thomas, 890. Hiring and buying such
machinery was super expensive and it hindered the movement form achieving its goals.
Spending on these things would mean that the company had to suffer in some other aspects
for instance affected the provision of basic facilities into the people of China and this made
the people suffer.
Corruption greatly affected the ability of the movement to achieve its goals. There
was a lot of official corruption in the Qing Court. The official could embezzle and
misappropriate funds for their gains and they were not afraid to embezzle the funds because
they knew they could just briber the judges and get away with it. Leaders like Cixi even used
the funds to build her summer palace which cost millions of money (Schmitt et al, 78). If the
money would have been spent on the projects then the objectives of the movement would
have been easily achieved. Cixi was the head of the court and she could not set a good
example for the junior officials under him. They were also engaged in corruption activities
very comfortable because they knew that their leader was also a corrupt person. Where there
is a corrupt leadership there cannot be anything good and that is why the wholemovement
was a failed return.
Lastly, there was a shortage of competent officials and also foreign threats. Most of
the officials who managed the programs studied Confucianism. They had not acquired the
western knowledge of Engineering, Marine science, natural science, and commerce. They
relied on foreign labour form the experts in the West (Ch'en, 90). Due to this, there was some
sort of cultural confrontation between foreign expertise and traditional officials. The foreign
threats that China faced were mostly from Japan, Britain, Russia and France. All these threats
made Chinas undergo a lot of stress and indemnities which made it difficult for them to
soberly implement their plans concerning the movement.
In conclusion, self-strengthening movement in the 19
th
is a failed return because of
several reasons such as opposition, both external and internal opposition, poor planning and
coordination between the officials and the various regional heads of the different provinces,
inadequate conception of the political, social and economic policies of the West, lack of
capital, corruption and embezzlement of funds, lack of competent officials, and lastly foreign
threats from different countries like France, Britain and Japan. Were it not for all these things
the movement would not have failed but rather it would have been successful.
References
Then, Jerome. China and the West: society and culture, 1815-1937. Routledge, 2018.
Schmitt, Sara A., et al. "Strengthening school readiness for Head Start children: Evaluation of
a self-regulation intervention." Early Childhood Research Quarterly 30 (2015): 20-
31.

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Self-strengthening Movement The self-strengthening movement was a push during the nineteenth century that was meant to modernize China especially industrial and military wise. There were several failures that China experienced that triggered the creation of self-strengthening movement. They included foreign imperialism in China, its defeat in the second opium war which happened in 1860 and the Taiping rebellion.(Gardella et al, 67-97) There was also another humiliating treaty of Tientsin that triggered the formation of the movement. The Chinese hoped to their country by preserving some of their traditional rules while at the same time embracing western military and industrial practices. They were forced to acquire knowledge from the westerners and this entailed them studying their language, and examine their technologies and their trading activities. Despite all these efforts, the moveme ...
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