The reason why the burning of the Old Summer Palace misrepresented the Eight-Power Allied Forces
The Old Summer Palace is located in the western suburbs of Beijing. After hundreds of years of operation, it has concentrated a large number of capable people and skilled craftsmen, and poured the blood and sweat of millions of working people. However, the Old Summer Palace, known as the “Garden of Ten Thousand Gardens,” was burned by Western powers and robbed of its cultural treasures.
The Second Opium War and the Gengzi national disaster, there was a gap of forty years, and the history textbooks also explained the burning of the Old Summer Palace many times. However, it was obviously the British and French coalition forces that burned the Old Summer Palace, but why do many people think it is the Eight-Nation Coalition Forces? What is going on?
After the Opium War, the Western powers launched a series of wars against China, but the only ones that entered Beijing were the Second Opium War and the Eight-Power Allied Forces’ War of Invasion of China, and these two wars have done great harm to China. So I would unconsciously confuse these two invasions of Beijing.
Twelve years after the signing of the Nanjing Treaty, the British proposed to amend the treaty, and then France and the United States also made the same request, but the Qing government rejected it. So Britain and France found an excuse to launch the second Opium War.
The Second Opium War was fought intermittently for five years. After occupying Guangzhou, the Anglo-French coalition forces went all the way northward and fought under the city of Tianjin. The Qing government was afraid and signed the “Treaty of Tianjin.” Unexpectedly, both parties to this treaty were dissatisfied. For the Qing government, the more headaches were the terms of foreign ministers’ presence in Beijing, mainland travel, and Neijiang commerce. However, Gui Liang, who was in charge of the negotiations, had already been scared and had to sign.
Xianfeng was very dissatisfied with this, and after the British and French coalition forces went south, he ordered Gui Liang to negotiate with the foreigners. But Britain and France insisted on revising the treaty in Beijing.
The two sides broke apart, and the British and French forces once again attacked Dagukou. As a result, it suffered a big loss this time. This was also the only victory of the Qing army since the Opium War. But the Qing government didn’t take long for it. The British and French forces began to expand the war and captured Tianjin. But Xianfeng’s peace talks at this time could no longer satisfy the appetite of the Western powers.
Just after the negotiations broke down, the Qing government took the foreign representatives who were in charge of the negotiations abducted, many of whom were tortured to death. As the so-called war between the two countries did not stop, this behavior of the Qing government happened to hit the gun.
So the British and French forces decided to teach the Qing government a lesson, occupy Beijing, looting and burning the Old Summer Palace. The French writer Hugo strongly condemned the robbery of the British and French forces.
It can be seen that the burning of the Old Summer Palace by the British and French forces is an unchangeable fact. Although the Qing government also urged the restoration of the Old Summer Palace, it had limited financial resources and was powerless.
As for the invasion of Beijing by the Eight-Power Allied Forces, this is already decades later. Moreover, after the Eight-Power Allied Forces entered Beijing, they further damaged the Old Summer Palace.
But objectively speaking, the Old Summer Palace became what it was like afterwards. In addition to the British and French coalition burning the Old Summer Palace and the eight-nation coalition looting, it was also the result of many Chinese taking advantage of the fire and not paying attention to protection.
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