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The Opium War in 1839 marked the end of Chinas status as an independent civilization The Opium War introduced the power of western armies and technology that the Chinese lacked The war resulted in foreign intervention and control of Chinese provinces and cities but it was not until the Taiping rebellion 1850-1864 the most disastrous civil war in human history that the Ching government and its people realized that reform was necessary The self-strengthening movement one wave of reform aimed to achieve stronger military power while preserving the traditional way of life and Wang Tao was among the most famous scholars advocating such reform By the late nineteenth century conservative reactions swept the country and scholars such as Chang Chih-tung believed western techniques should only be used to defend the Chinese way This resistance to reform was held by three principles 1 ancestral institutions should never be changed 2 successful government depended on the men not the laws 3 teachings from China are superior to those of the West On the surface it appears that Wang Tao and Chang Chih-tung dramatically differed in their thoughts of how and if China should adopt western ideals A thorough analysis of their work however reveals the many similarities between the two individuals Though the two had different plans for achieving their objectives their ultimate goals was for China to excel and become great once again As a scholar Wang Tao had visited many foreign countries including Japan and Europe and by the time he became a journalist he had already established many contacts with the outside world Having such a background Wang Tao naturally believed that although China should still follow the Way of sages she must adopt the Western methods of defense and administration and renovate much of Chinese society In his published article On Reform his views are expressed Wang Tao believes that when China adopts the western methods it will surpass the West a
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