Scramble for China in the 20th Century

May 2015
1,058
The Netherlands
There was no 'Scramble for China' during the Age of Imperialism, at least not to the same extent as in Africa. Supposedly this is because the Western powers dreaded the expected cost of a repeat of the Scramble for Africa and they preferred to keep China open for international trade instead. Not even Russian and Japanese encroachment on China triggered a partition of the country. What, if anything, could have caused a proper Scramble from China during the first half of the 20th Century?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,801
SoCal
What you might need are one or more powers going way beyond the accepted norms in regards to this and outright seizing a huge part of China for themselves. Then, other powers might decide that rather than fight the offending party, they should likewise take huge parts of China for themselves--which ultimately results in China getting partitioned.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,801
SoCal
Maybe a good PoD for this could be 1884-1885 if Russia and Japan will both enter the Sino-French War on the French side. That way, you'll have three powers nibbling away at China and other powers might feel compelled to join in so that they could get their slice of the orange chicken pie before it completely runs out.
 
Jul 2019
28
hongkong
No more . aAttacking China does not require an imperial alliance . Any empire is easy to defeat the Chinese government alone. But how to rule Chinese talent is difficult.

So the UK chose unequal trade to gain benefits, is smart and Japan chose war to gain benefits. is stupid.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,801
SoCal
Maybe a good PoD for this could be 1884-1885 if Russia and Japan will both enter the Sino-French War on the French side. That way, you'll have three powers nibbling away at China and other powers might feel compelled to join in so that they could get their slice of the orange chicken pie before it completely runs out.
Or, alternatively, you could avoid WWI in 1914 and have the Xinhai Revolution and China's resulting descent into warlordism be the trigger for a Great Power partition of China. After all, the Great Powers might feel that if China no longer actually has a central government, what exactly would be the point in continuing to keep China intact?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,471
Dispargum
There was no 'Scramble for China' during the Age of Imperialism, at least not to the same extent as in Africa. Supposedly this is because the Western powers dreaded the expected cost of a repeat of the Scramble for Africa and they preferred to keep China open for international trade instead. Not even Russian and Japanese encroachment on China triggered a partition of the country. What, if anything, could have caused a proper Scramble from China during the first half of the 20th Century?
1. No WW1 so that the European powers still have a taste for adventurism
2. No Japan, or a weaker Japan so that the other powers are not disadvantaged by being so far away. Maybe a Russian victory in the Russo-Japanese War so that Russia was also well positioned re China
3. No US or a weaker US to act as China's protector and advocate. Maybe no Spanish-American War or no American conquest of the Philippines so that the US has less influence in the Western Pacific
4. Expand the Boxer Rebellion just enough so that the Europeans think, or can say, that they have to occupy and police China 'for it's own good.'
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,801
SoCal
1. No WW1 so that the European powers still have a taste for adventurism
2. No Japan, or a weaker Japan so that the other powers are not disadvantaged by being so far away. Maybe a Russian victory in the Russo-Japanese War so that Russia was also well positioned re China
3. No US or a weaker US to act as China's protector and advocate. Maybe no Spanish-American War or no American conquest of the Philippines so that the US has less influence in the Western Pacific
4. Expand the Boxer Rebellion just enough so that the Europeans think, or can say, that they have to occupy and police China 'for it's own good.'
You think that a lack of a Spanish-American War would have actually been enough for #3?
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,551
Republika Srpska
What, if anything, could have caused a proper Scramble from China during the first half of the 20th Century?
Collapse of the central authority. China was, unlike Africa, unified under a single state, the Qing Empire. It was probably better for the West to impose their will on the Qing (as they did) rather than attempting to seize China itself.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,801
SoCal
Collapse of the central authority. China was, unlike Africa, unified under a single state, the Qing Empire. It was probably better for the West to impose their will on the Qing (as they did) rather than attempting to seize China itself.
Didn't such a collapse of central authority actually occur in China during WWI, though? I seem to recall that Yuan Shikai's attempt to make himself the new Chinese Emperor caused various princes to secede from China--thus triggering warlord rule throughout China (which certainly wasn't helped by Yuan Shikai's death several months later).
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,551
Republika Srpska
Indeed, but it happened in the middle of a world war. It's not like the West was going to make any big moves towards China at that time. And after the war, they really had more pressing concerns than embarking on an ambitious expedition half a world away.

BTW, speaking of the potential Scramble for China and the whole century of humiliation, I think we should re-examine the effects of the First Opium War. Namely, whether or not this war was so devastating to China.
 
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