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|Treaty of Tientsin|
Signing of the treaty between Britain and China
The Treaty of Tientsin, now also known as the Treaty of Tianjin, is a collective name for several documents signed at Tianjin (then romanized as Tientsin) in June 1858. They ended the first phase of the Second Opium War, which had begun in 1856. The Qing, Russian, and Second French Empires, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the parties involved. These treaties, counted by the Chinese among the so-called unequal treaties, opened more Chinese ports to foreign trade, permitted foreign legations in the Chinese capital Beijing, allowed Christian missionary activity, and legalized the import of opium.
The Treaties of Tientsin uses several words that have somewhat ambiguous meanings. For example, the words "settlement" and "concession" can often be confused. The term "settlement" refers to a parcel of land leased to a foreign power and is composed of both foreign and national peoples; locally elected foreigners govern them. The term "concession" refers to a long-term lease of land to a foreign power where the foreign nation has complete control of the land; it is governed by consular representation.
Following the pattern set by the great powers of Europe, the United States took on a protectionist stance, built up its navy, and tried to create a mercantile empire. The United States was one of the leading signing "treaty powers" in China, forcing open a total of 23 foreign concessions from the Chinese government. While it is often noted that the United States did not control any settlements in China, it shared British land grants and was actually invited to take land in Shanghai but refused because the land was thought to be disadvantageous.
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