|Title of host publication||The Encyclopedia of Empire|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Jan 2016|
Foreign imperialist powers extended their economic, political, and cultural influence in China through a series of “unequal treaties” (1842–1917), so called because they granted privileges to foreign nationals and foreign-owned businesses while conceding China's sovereignty. The foreign powers used gunboat diplomacy to impose the treaty system, resulting in a series of conflicts on Chinese soil between 1839 and 1901. Foreign-administered enclaves emerged in the towns opened to foreign trade and residence, which were known as “treaty ports,” thus compromising China's territorial rights. These treaty ports fostered a vibrant commercial and political culture. In the face of rising Chinese nationalism in the 1920s and 1930s, combined with the growing threat from Japan, Western powers gradually retreated from China, a process that culminated with the Chinese Communist Party's rise to power in 1949.