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Uangdong as a Maritime Frontier

Essay by   •  November 13, 2018  •  Course Note  •  2,456 Words (10 Pages)  •  166 Views

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Area 1:   Guangdong as a maritime frontier (from the Tang Dynasty to Qing Dynasty) (reminder: 5 secondary sources and 2 primary sources)

Guangdong is the most populous administrative division of Mainland China since 2005. The internal migration to Guangdong made Guangdong a multicultural place. In other words, there were lots of people moved to Guangdong for job opportunities. As is known that Guangdong is the province has the most nominal GDP within Mainland China, so many people from other provinces will come to Guangdong to work for higher salaries. The reason why more and more people moving to Guangdong for a better life is that Guangdong is a pretty mature and developed maritime frontier where the economic miracle happened. According to Clement, area of violence and heavy fighting is also another reason why a huge amount of people migrate to Guang Dong. From my perspective, Guang Dong is like an example of Asia Four Tigers within Mainland China due to its high financial index within those provinces. After Professor Clement’s lecture, I understand that Guang Dong has been an important maritime frontier of China since the ancient time.

     There are two cities that inside the Guang Dong Province are two key cities within China: Guang Zhou (Canton) and ShenZhen. Both of the cities are the first-tier cities in China because of its powerful economic foundation. As a person who used to live in Guang Dong, I could feel the economic power in GuangDong as I saw many skyscrapers and central business districts within Guang Dong especially in Canton and Shen Zhen. They are all fancy and looks really luxury. Recently, the development on IT in ShenZhen and the highly developed manufacturing industry in Canton made Guang Dong is developed province in China. Especially Shen Zhen, the rapid development in IT has made Shen Zhen the Silicon Valley of China. In addition, Shen Zhen is city next to Hong Kong, so the city has many chances to corporate with the Hong Kong Government in politics, education, and economy etc. Therefore, the interaction between socialism and capitalism somehow benefited Shen Zhen since the city attracted many investments from Hong Kong in a few years ago. Canton also had many cooperation with Hong Kong as well. Both Canton and Hong Kong people speak Cantonese and since Canton is next to Shen Zhen, so Canton---Shen Zhen---Hong Kong can be seen as a development chain with the Pearl River Delta. Zhu Hai is a city next to Macau, so its economic power is also pretty strong within Guang Dong. It demonstrates that the cities next to Hong Kong and Macau are powerful in economics due to their advantage in location. As an assigned national central city, Canton has been a significant port since the Qing Dynasty. Many trades between Chinese and foreigners especially British happened in Canton. The capital city of Guang Dong has been the economic leading power within the province for a long period of time for its location advantage. Furthermore, unlike Shen Zhen, which is an immigrate city since 1980s, Canton has above 60% local people who can fluently speak Cantonese while the rest of 30% immigrated from other countries and provinces.

Regarding the development of Guang Dong as a maritime frontier, the term 'The Canton System' should be mentioned here. The Canton System is a historical name for Cantonese people since it allowed Canton to work as a trading center in China and have business and communication with western countries. In the article "Global trade in the nineteenth century: the house of Houqua and the Canton system" by Wong, John D, they mentioned that "In this study, I underscore the global dimension of the Canton trade and emphasize the active efforts by the key participants to rewire the circuitries of business flows to their own advantage as local conditions and worldwide geopolitical developments disrupted the business networks and presented new opportunities for shrewd entrepreneurs."[1] (Wong John 2006)This statement shows that The Canton System is a very important to the development in Canton and even Guang Dong. Hong Kong also got benefits from the Canton System, since Hong Kong became the British Colony in 1842, many merchandises from Britain were shipped to Hong Kong as it was one of the most popular financial centers in the world under British management. Therefore, there were many businesses and trades happened in Hong Kong, and it helped Hong Kong to develop its economic dramatically. They also suggest that “ (Wasserstrom 2007)[2] In other words, Canton as the first city of maritime frontier within Guang Dong, has demonstrated the positive effect on economics for having international trading with foreigners, it not also helped Canton significantly developed economics, but also developed the civilization within Guang Dong in somehow during the Canton system period.

    Some books discuss the development of the Guang Dong maritime frontier as well, in “Po TangYing and the Development of the Guang Dong Maritime Customs by Huang Chao and Paul A. Van Dyke, there is one fact that should catch people’s eyes where it says “The imperial court was rethinking and reshaping the way in which trade in Canton was to be administered. Macao was under the jurisdiction of the Canton authorities and in the 1740s and 1750s that city also saw many changes in the way the Qing government…”[3] (Huang Chao, Paul A. & Van Dyke 2017) It can be analyzed from this fact that the development of Guang Dong during the Qing Dynasty maybe similar to the development in Macao since the ‘corporation’ between these two states, it illustrates that the relationship between Canton and Macao is close. Therefore, Guang Dong had many corporations with Portuguese Macao in merchandises and trades. This is the reason why Guang Dong, Hong Kong and Macao have a strong economic power in China thanks to their strong trading system as maritime frontier.  As is mentioned before, Hong Merchants, which is a system that ensured the trade between American and Chinese Government in the Qing Dynasty, has played a significant role in providing power to the Chinese for businesses. In a book review of “Global Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The House of Houqua and the Canton System” By John D. Wong, Weiwei Luo argued that the Hong Merchants is one of the most successful business systems in Chinese history. The article states that “Indeed, it was his outstanding business acumen and foresight that created a lasting legacy of what can be called a Chinese model of global business, the impact of which lives on to this day.” Weiwei argues that Houqua is a great person which he established/promoted the trade between the U.S. and China with a massive success. Hence, both the Canton System and the Hong Merchants System boosted the statue of Canton since the Song Dynasty as the Canton port demonstrated its functions and advantages in trading with foreigners. As a result, it made Guang Dong one of the provinces that became a developed state in the early year within China. This is why Chinese people always claim that Guang Dong is a rich province. The fact that Canton is the top city within Guang Dong and it made Guang Dong powerful economically. In the article “Together They Might Make Trouble": Cross-Cultural Interactions in Tang Dynasty Guangzhou, 618-907 C.E.” by Adam C. Fong, he states that “The theory reacts the interactions between groups on the frontier […] no longer simply the tale of the conquerors”[4] (Fong 2017). This shows that Canton is a special city and port in Tang Dynasty which made it a strong maritime frontier for China. Canton is a connection between Guang Dong and other maritime frontier and countries according to this article.

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