Alek’s answer: Qianlong reign → decline?

Questions: “The reign of Qianlong marked the beginning of the Qing decline.” To what extend do you agree with this judgement?

Answer:  Although early reign of Emperor Qianlong was very successful, the results of his later reign were disastrous loss in national treasury, worsening of relationship with the West, allowing corrupted bureaucrats to reside on their places for long enough for the nation to suffer fealable losses which all had a strong effect on the Qing decline.


  1. Achievements (positive)
    1. Increased territories – “Under the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, the Chinese empire grew to a size unprecedented in Chinese history and included Tibet and a great deal of central Asia, including parts of what are today Russia.” (Hearn)
    2. Creation of a Multiethnic State under the Qianlong Emperor thus people accepting Qianlong’s rule and being less rebellious
    3. Qianlong preserved many literary/artistic works by creating an enormous catalogue/achieve the creating of which took about 20 years. (Elliot)
  2. Negatives
    1. The wars that were waged during the Qianlong’s era were bad for the China’s treasury – “It was also a very expensive enterprise; the funds in the Imperial Treasury were almost all put into military expeditions. This may have been the cause of the later decline of the dynasty” (Elliot)
    2. In later years, Qianlong became so full of himself and so irresponsible that he assigned corrupted official to the highest ranks and while they were leeching the wealth from the China’s treasury he himself also went into a laxurary lifestyle wasting a large amount of money thus further contributing to the future decline of the Qing dynasty
    3. Worsened the relationship with the West, and because of this China failed to go in hand with the modern technologies. Western countries surpassed China both in technology and economy. This contributed to the failures that China experienced during the Opium Wars

Research 1:

Mark C. Elliot. “Qianlong Emperor.” Çåʷѧ¿Æ. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. <;.

Maxwell K. Hearn. “The Kangxi and Qianlong Emperors.” Visual Media Center | Columbia University in the City of New York. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. <;.

“Qianlong Emperor – New World Encyclopedia.” Info:Main Page – New World Encyclopedia. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. <;.


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