After Opium War, China experienced a severe border crisis. In summary, these border crises can be divided into land and maritime crises. The maritime crisis mainly originated in Western industrialized countries such as Britain and France, while land crisis originated in Russia.
During Second Opium War, Russia used fire to threaten Qing dynasty with "Treaty of Aigun" and "Treaty of Beijing", ceding 1 million square kilometers of land in northeast China. After that, aggressive forces of Russia penetrated deep into northwest, and tsar ordered Russian army "to occupy, as far as practically possible, all lines that meet our intentions." In 1864, Russia forced Qing Dynasty to sign Records of Survey and Division of North-Western Frontier. During negotiations, they shouted: "If they do not follow this, they must send troops to capture her." As a result, Russia took 440,000 square kilometers of land in northwest.
After Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement ended, internal crisis of Qing Dynasty temporarily stopped, but border crisis was very serious. At sea, Britain, world hegemon, is hoping to gain more advantage along southeast coast, France is trying to use Vietnam as a springboard to attack southwest region, and Japan continues to create incidents in Ryukyu and Taiwan. But Russian aggression did not stop. With support of Russia, in 1868, Agub from Kokand kingdom in Central Asia attacked Xinjiang and founded "Kingdom of Zhedeshaer", which means "the country of seven cities." In 1870 Urumqi was again occupied. Russia's desire to invade Xinjiang is clear. In 1871, Russia sent troops to occupy Ili.
In such conditions, serious disagreements arose within Qing government. The Coastal Defense Faction, represented by Li Hongzhang, believed that situation in southeast was tense and that Japan's plan for Taiwan was inevitable. However, Qing Dynasty had been fighting for a long time, and its military power was depleted. He advocated giving up Xinjiang. In his memorial to Empress Dowager Cixi, he said: “ Xinjiang is a land outside of China, a vast desert, thousands of miles of red earth, barren and sparsely populated. During reign of Qianlong, Xinjiang was appeased and whole country was devoted to him. Thousands of miles of open land were in vain. The increase in tens of millions of expenses is really not worth candle. In my opinion, Xinjiang is gone, and life force of Yi's limbs is not damaged. It is better not to return Or. He also advocated that all military spending in Xinjiang be used for redeployment to coastal zone.
Li Hongzhang's calculation is very clear, meaning he hopes to use this money to build his own Beiyang fleet and increase his political capital. When Zuo Zongtang found out about this, he became furious and said: “The northern and southern roads of Tien Shan Mountains are rich in grain, melons and fruits, cattle and sheep and herds of horses are everywhere. coal, iron, gold, silver and jade. The so-called Thousand miles of desert is really a pot of treasures... I ruled Dingding Yandu, and Mongolian ministry protected north, and there were no more lighthouses for more than a hundred years... That's why those those who value Xinjiang defend Mongolia, and those who defend Mongolia defend capital.”
Zuo Zongtang's opinions are very harsh, and he deserves to become a generation of heroes. He is one of commanders of Hunan army, and although he failed exam, his talent was recognized by many people. Lin Zexu, a famous official of late Qing Dynasty, greatly admired Zuo Zongtang, they all believed that Russia would be China's worst enemy. Lin Zexu believed that Zuo Zongtang should pacify Xinjiang in future, and handed over to Zuo Zongtang all materials he had collected on Xinjiang. At age of 23, when he had just married, he wrote a couplet: “I don't have half an acre, but I'm worried about world; I have read thousands of volumes, and I have made friends with ancients.". In 1851, after Taiping rebellion in Kingdom of Heaven, Zuo Zongtang's ability gradually emerged and he became one of ministers of ZTE. After that, he founded a number of modern enterprises. < /p>
Fortunately, although Empress Dowager Cixi was foolish, she still did not accept Li Hongzhang's proposal. In 1871, Empress Dowager Cixi appointed Zuo Zongtang as imperial envoy to oversee military affairs in Xinjiang. He is 64 this year. In his second year, he officially sent troops to Xinjiang and took back Xinjiang in 1878. In 1880, she crushed a Russian attempt to invade Xinjiang. Xinjiang was made a province in 1884. This time, Russia faced a tough Zuo Zongtang and did not take advantage of him, the border crisis in Northwest China also temporarily eased.
However, crisis at sea is getting worse. In 1859, France began to attack Vietnam and by 1867 had occupied Vietnam. Vietnam turned to China for help, and Black Banner Army in Guangxi began to enter Vietnam and defeated invading French army. In 1882, France returned. During this time, Qing dynasty was divided into two factions: Zuo Zongtang, Zhang Zhidong, and Liu Kunyi believed that "Vietnam is a foreign possession of China and should be protected." However, Li Hongzhang, leader of "Haitun faction", advocated abandoning Vietnam. Later, Empress Dowager Cixi sent Feng Zicai to Vietnam and defeated French army. However, Li Hongzhang favored acceptance as soon as it was good and signed "Vietnam Treaty" with France, giving Vietnam to France, while China remained undefeated. Zuo Zongtang scolded, "For Qing Dynasty, ten French generals are not as good as one Li Hongzhang" and "Li Hongzhang mistakenly ruined common people and will forever remain infamous ".
The reason Li Hongzhang gave up on Vietnam was because he hoped to spend his honeysuckle on Beiyang fleet to increase his capital. After Sino-Japanese War broke out, in order to protect fleet, he ordered fleet to take no initiative in attacking and blindly avoid combat, which resulted in destruction of entire Beiyang fleet. It can be said that Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang, hero and bear, were fully reflected in two border crises of 1980s.