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Western International Law and China's Confucianism in the 19th Century. Collision and Integration

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image of Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international

The Confucian world view in China was based on the concept of the Celestial Empire of China and embodied in the Tributary System. The Chinese view could not fit into the equal international relationship asserted among European countries. In the mid-19th century, especially after the Opium Wars, international law embarked on a furious collision with Chinese traditional Confucianism. Threatened by forces of Western powers, the Qing government had no choice but to come to compromise with the Western powers. Consequently, the Confucian world order based on the Celestial Empire of China collapsed and Chinese officials and scholars began to learn, accept and apply international law.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Law, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

10.1163/15718050-13020002
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/content/journals/10.1163/15718050-13020002
2011-01-01
2016-12-09

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