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More than a Shared Colonial Link

From 14th to 17th century, powerful nations such as Britain, France, Portugal, and others, hungered for new lands to explore and annexed. Opportunities for trade opened up as new foreign lands were discovered, particularly in Asia. As the leading nations then, these countries grabbed the opportunities and imposed themselves to the conquered places relatively inhabited by humans. Thus, colonialism engulfed the planet. New boundaries were set and new-found nations were established, conquered and abused in the name of trade and ambitious endeavors.

Colonialism is deemed as a self-profiting policy which aims to rule over other nations. It results to taking advantage of the power to develop or promote trade. In simpler terms, colonialism is overtaking a foreign land for the purposes of economic pursuit. Its adjective counterpart is called colonial. Colonial is akin to possessing a land – a foreign one- for domination and often, exploitation of its resources. These resources include the natural and human resources. To colonize is to establish a colony in another country and live there. Whereas, the process of putting up a colony in a new place is dubbed as colonization.

Hence, when one country is described as colonized, it could mean two things: it either established a territory or colony in one place or the country is under the authority of a much powerful nation. Most countries in Asia were colonized by the European or Western countries. History tells that much of the continent were explored and at the same time, exploited. Asia’s exotic herbs, spices and other notable goods were sought by the colonizers. Once they discovered a new land, they own it, harvest its resources, and force the natives to become as slave workers.

They lorded over the land and bypassed the indigenous sovereignty of the inhabitants. Two prominent countries which were held by the clutches of colonialism are India and China. The British Empire controlled India and later, waged war against the Qing Dynasty in China and colonized its main trading port. Shared Colonial Experiences and Similarities Martin Jacques, a visiting professor at the International Centre for Chinese Studies at Aichi University in Japan, has two observations on India and China being colonized by Britain. First, he wrote that “freedom from colonial rule transformed the countries’ potential”.

Second, he added that “without it, their interests would still be subordinated to those of their colonial rulers. ” Apparently, India and China’s relation have been in existence even before the British came. As early as the first millennium, the famous Silk Road provided an exchange of ideas and products between the two countries. Traders from India brought Buddhism to China. Chinese merchants exported silk, porcelain and bamboo products to India. Moreover, China Daily reported in 2006 that India and China have many similarities aside from being former English colonies.

India and China both has high population level. In fact, these are the two most populous nations in the world, not only in Asia. Both have a very long and rich history. India’s past is highlighted by the birth of Hinduism which defines the nation today. China, on the other hand has very impressive records of ancient stories and relicts. The different and changing dynasties shaped China and enriched its glorious past. Both countries have more than 5,000 years of civilization. China Daily also reported these two nations gained their independence in the late 1940s, a few years after the Second World War.

India declared its independence in 1947 with Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister. China proclaimed its independence in 1949. India and China are also committed to peaceful co-existence. Further, there are also similarities in moral values. A Peek into England’s Colonization of India and China To understand more the shared experiences and similarities of these two countries, it is important to see a glimpse of their colonization history. In 1600, England established the East India Company in the Hindu sub-continent out of commercial interests. For about 200 years, the British ruled over India.

The British rule is marred by diverse cases of human abuse, exploitation and human rights violation. During that time, India refocused its trading system toward the Middle East as influenced by the Mughal Empire. This severed the trading ties between the two countries. The British rule aggravated more the tension. China was then under the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty. Since the 17th century, the Qing Dynasty tried to shut the country out of foreign influence. It tried to limit and control foreign trading. The only designated and open port for trading is Canton (Guangzhou)

The British started trading with the Chinese by using Indian opium to penetrate the market. However, the British tried to manipulate the trading system with China by selling more opium in the Chinese market. These generated huge profits side but disrupted China’s economy. China wanted to stop the opium trade with Britain. Britain, with its superior military technology declared war on China, known as the Opium War. China lost and was forced to make special trading privileges to western nations. This caused further exploitation of the Chinese economy.

Likewise, Britain forced China to sign the Treaty of Nanjing and other treaties which opened Chinese ports to foreign trading. In comparison, India was colonized by Britain in the very sense of the word. Britain became the country’s de facto government during its colonization years while China was easily colonized because of trading. The British did not control the governance structures but economically dictated China. Finally, in 1947 and 1949, India and China regained their sovereignty and right for self-realization. Connected as Brothers and Sisters

India and China both suffered as colonies under the British regime. Both shared not only same colonial experiences but also a wealth of historical and cultural heritage. It can be said that not only the colonialism link these two countries. The past affirms that both countries have been connected. As what M. D. Nalapat, director of the School of Geopolitics at India’s Manipal Academy of Higher Education commented “I have always believed that the peoples of China and India should work together as brothers and sisters. A divided China-Indian equation makes the whole of Asia weak.

A united India-China equation makes the entire continent strong. ” The tie that binds these two countries is not only the colonial link, but the friendship that intertwines and survives through the ages.

Works Cited

Jacques, Martin. “It is National Sovereignty that has given China and India their Edge. ” 17 September 2005. The Guardian. 13 March 2008 <http://www. guardian. com. uk/world/2005/sep/17/china. india? gusrc=rss&feed=fromtheguardian> Li, Xing. “Chinese Indians Share Similarities. ” 20 November 2006. China Daily. 13 March 2008 http://www. chinadaily. com/cn/china/2006-11/20/content_737996. htm

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