Powerpoint: Background on Qing Dynasty
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Middle Kingdom: From China's perspective they were geographically, spiritually, culturally, technologically, and economically were at the center of the world, i.e. superior.
Note the reasons why merchants threatened gentry. Merchants also threatened religious values (ancestor worship, filial piety). Suspicious of their trustworthiness as well (another key Confucian value).
Note this slide as causes of the Opium War with Great Britain.
Reasons for rejecting European merchants: 1) sense of cultural superiority vs foreign merchants; 2) Europe only sold "inferior" goods; 3) China was suspicious of foreign motivations.