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Thread: China relics buyer refuses to pay

  1. #51
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by George VI View Post
    In this case, it was the British who were bound by the treaty to return Hong Kong to [Qing] China, or it's successors. The PRC didn't have to didn't have to honour anything, they were just simply given Hong Kong.
    This is patently false. Hong Kong has its own special administrative government that operates separately from the PRC. Even now, you need a special visa to go there, even if you already have a visa to travel within mainland China. China was obligated to honour the treaty, and when it came up for review after 99 years (as stipulated in the treaty), Britain decided to give it back.

    EDIT: I retract this in light of what Ludahai said.
    Last edited by Orion; 03-09-09 at 06:06 AM.

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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Your point does NOT stand. Britain did not have to return Hong KOng proper because that was given to BRitain in perpetuity in the 1840s. The 99-year lease referred to the New Territories and Lantau Island, NOT Hong Kong proper that Britain was obligated to return in 1997. There was NO obligation regarding Hong Kong Island because that was not part of the lease. Please get your history straight.
    You are right on this point, but the rudeness is not necessary.

    Also, for the record, it was in 1860, not 1840.

  3. #53
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    You are right on this point, but the rudeness is not necessary.

    Also, for the record, it was in 1860, not 1840.
    Hong Kong proper was part of the original Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. Kowloon and other islands were added as per the Convention of Peking in 1860. Both of those cessions were in perpetuity.
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  4. #54
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    You are confusing international law with regional law. The Western treaty system and mercantilist values were not present in Asia when the imperial powers arrived with their demands. They were foreign concepts to China. China always used the tributary system to establish relations with its Asian neighbours and that was the basis of their economic friendships. They didn't use treaties.
    China had a different notion of international law in relations with its neighbors. Unlike a system of equals, which is fundamental in Western international law, China was the "father" or the center in a system in which it was the hegemon in the system and the others looked to China. However, even as early as the 17th century, China signed treaties with European states which was an implicit acceptance of Western norms of law in dealing with EUropean states.

    You mean the West? Don't be silly... there were no international regulations at that time that even came close to applying to Asia. It was the Western powers and their own mercantilist rivalry that caused them to enter China in the first place. They were all competing for trade in silk, tea, spices, coffee, and fine China. Britain became the hegemon in this department later on.
    Again, the Qing HAD conducted treaty relations with Russia in the 17th century using standards already recognized under Western notions of international law. As for the Treaty of Nanjing, the Chinese signed it. They were bound to follow it. You think the Chinese had a right to violate a treaty it had signed?

    The missionary was executed for breaking Chinese law, which the West didn't acknowledge. Missionaries did not have unlimited access under the Treaty of Nanjing. That came later in the following treaty in the Second Opium War. He was legally executed for prosyletizing Catholicism in China without permission from the governor. His execution was legal. The Western powers just wanted any excuse to further their control.
    What part of Chinese law did not allow for the peaceful activities of missionaries? There had been missionaries in China for hunreds of years. Are you defending China of that era as being akin to Saudi Arabia today? China simply does not have a history of being intolerant toward belief systems - though the height of tolerance was during the Yuan Dynasty imposed by the invading Mongols.

    Yes, it could be argued, but it would not be consistent with historical facts. The Taiping Rebellion gained the strength that it did because the Qing military had weakened resources as well as competent leadership, due to the First Opium War and the Treaty of Nanjing. Prior to the arrival of the Western forces, the Qing could have easily contained such fanaticism. Not to mention, Hong Xiuquan, the leader of the rebellion, started his cause due to Christianity and his own conversion. Where would he have learned such a religion? Gee I wonder.
    The 19th century, you know as well as I do that the Qing was relatively backward. China was no longer innovating where the West was moving forward at full steam. It is a truth that the Taiping Rebellion (something PRAISED by Communist authorities today) did significantly weaken Qing abilities to resist the Anglo-French alliance. Then again, had the Chinese respected the Nanjing Treaty and not executed a peaceful missionary, that wouldn't have given the Anglo-French alliance the excuse to invade.

    Next thing you are going to tell me is the Eight-Power Expedition was also unwarrented and unprovoked?

    Under European law, perhaps. You cannot make international claims in an era where no such international system existed, so cease the pretense already.
    There was already clear evidence that the Qing were beginning to accept these norms in dealing with European states. They had signed a treaty at the end of the 17th century (and largely abided by it) as well as signed the Nanjing Treaty. Furthermore, there were already the beginnings of the study of international law in China, something that would be picked up in earnest by the Zongli Yamen following the Archer War.

    China was incapable of honouring its agreements. The treaties were practically signed at gunpoint, and the imperial powers knew it.
    Does not change the fact that China was bound to adhere to it. Not adhering to it provided legal grievences for the Western powers. As for the agreements being signed at gunpoint, most treaties prior to WWI were imposed by a victor.

    Read the first line. It says "unequal treaty". This is what all historians refer to it as. You claim that you have studied the past, but your dishonesty shows.
    Of course it was an "unequal treaty?" Your point? Nearly ALL treaties prior to World War I were unequal treaties. THat is what happens when one country defeated another on the battlefield.

    Yes I know about the Archer War. Again, you are trying to argue that China deserved to be looted, but your historical knowledge does not hold up to scrutiny. You have first cited international law, which did not pertain to China at all and only among European powers and its conquered territories; then you try to cite the Qing's "violations" of Treaties, even though the Qing lacked the ability to even enforce them; now you are citing entire wars as a justification for looting. It is just laughable.
    I did not make a moral justification, only a legal one. International law pertained to China inasmuch as they had signed numerous treaties with western powers and as such were bound to abide by them. By not abiding by them, the Western powers had cause to take action against China. Lacking the ability to enforce the treaties is not an excuse for not abiding by them.

    Putting more claims aside and legal claims, why not just admit that the looting was done upon the free will of the military, and they didn't give a damn whether or not it was legal? Stop trying to blame China for everything, as you always do.
    I am not blaming China for it. I have not MORALLY defended the looting - I am only pointing out that it was legal according to standards practiced at the time.

    Based on what you have already said, I doubt any historian would take you seriously. Maybe the fringe Sinophobic activists in the West would buy it.
    Do you even know who Harry Turtledove is?

    Not using ifs? Yes you are. "If" they had stayed in China, the Cultural Revolution would have destroyed them. That is an unprovable supposition. Your intellectual dishonesty is displeasing.
    I did not say "would have" destroyed them. Please read more carefully.

    If the Qing had enforcability at all, the relics would not have been stolen in the first place, as it would have been illegal to do so. So yes, China did have a legal claim to the relics... but once they left the mainland, they didn't. But that doesn't account for why they shouldn't be returned in modern times.
    China does not have a legal claim to the relics today. China was involved in a war and as such, domestic legal concerns are NOT the concern of the opposing army. Looting of objets d'art was common in warfare of that era.

    I love this paragraph. "I'm not blaming it on a single factor, but... I blame the Chinese." It could also be said that if the West had respected they were in a foreign land that operated different than their own, and they weren't so greedy with their quest for empire, the problem could have been averted? The argument works both ways. At least I can acknowlege that.
    The Chinese do have a lot of blame for the problems they were having. The Japanese woke up in time and reformed and became strong. The Chinese hid their heads in the sand, came up with the conclusion that their massive size would protect them, and when the Guangxu emperor realized that there was a problem, the evil witch known as Cixi prevented any meaningful reform from occuring. Tell me how this state of affairs is NOT the fault of the CHiese. LEt us also not forget the arrogrance that led to the outright rejection of the McArthy mission because the Qing emperor would not meet with anyone who would not perform the kowtow - this is the arrogance of the Manchu rulers of China that brought the calamity upon them.

    I challenge you to show how ANY of this is NOT true!

    The Manchus were later accepted as the rulers of China and they did all they could to respect Chinese beliefs. It was why their transfer to power was so seamless after the invasions were complete.
    Yeah, after only DECADES of resistance, then several rebellions and then denunciation in the late 19th century by Chinese intellectuals of foreign rule of China. RIght. What does "Restore the MIng" mean to you?

    A realistic look at Chinese history does not involve placing blame on anyone. It is the revisionists and people with an agenda who decide that one side was the greater evil. In this debate I have been defending the Chinese because your side is wholy against them. You claim to have a balanced view but it's not balanced at all. You continually blame the Qing and the Chinese way of life for why they were invaded without even considering Western involvement.
    THere was wrong on MANY sides. UNDERSTANDING history required the connection of cause and effect. And is the cause relates to the actions (or inactions) of actors, that can be perceived of as blame. I am not Politically Correct - so I am not going to constrain myself to the Political COrrectness of SOME historians today. There are pleny of historians who are not afraid of pointing out blame when it is appropriate. I have NOT defended the British of starting wars to force China to import opium. They deserve blame for that. However, the Chinese also deserve their share of blame for the state of affairs of the 19th century and the constant complaints of the victimization brought about by the "Century of Humiliation" is rather weary to someone who actually understands what brought it about.

    If you trace the transferrence of property back to the original owners, it doesn't matter anyway. The French government stole them, plain and simple. That's why I find it incredibly ironic that the French government can be absolved of responsibility now... "Oh, they're in private hands now, we don't have anything to do with it!" So much for accountability.
    The French government legally acquired the artworks as has their current private owners. If China wants them back, they can but them legally or negotiate for their return. THey have no legal claim to insist on their return without compensation.

    I never denied it. You, however, are denying that a large part did survive, and I myself have seen this with my own eyes. Revisionists like you make it seem like the Cultural Revolution destroyed all of China. Fact is, it didn't. A lot of its heritage lives.
    I have also seen a lot that was destroyed. Interestingly, much of what survives today was also NOT KNOWN in the 1960s and has since been unearthed. I have never said that they would DEFINATELY been destroyed - I said "more likely" or some similar language. You really should read more closely.

    Yes, we covered this. Right now I am mostly debating against your Sinophobia, a mistake that I will not enter upon again.
    Honest assessment of history is now Sinophobia?

    I know, but that's not what I was replying to. Re-read your statement that I was replying to, and try again.
    Mind re-quoting it?
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  5. #55
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    Re: China relics buyer refuses to pay

    If the French Government were the original looters, then they could declare the original resale illegal and confiscate them, returning them to the authority that demands them. If private looters went overseas then there is not much that can be done about it. (i.e. Egyptian grave robbers.)
    Except there was nothing illegal about what happened. The Government has no authority to do this. Only a court applying relevant law has this authority. And since no relevant laws were broken, there is no basis for such a declaration.

    I don't believe this for one minute.
    THat's YOUR problem. Frankly, it doesn't concern me.
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