The Impact Of Overpopulation In China

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China suffered from mounting overpopulation, which ignited peasant rebellions across the country during the nineteenth-century. Population growth was static during the first half of the 17th century due to civil wars and epidemics that occurred during the time period. Author of Alphahistory states, “In the 1800s, the high living standards of the previous century had contributed to the sharp increase in China’s population: it exceeded 300 million in 1750 but just a century later it rose to 400 million.” (QUOTE) Additionally, as the Europeans introduced foreign crops to China, the Chinese openly accepted them because of the benefit it had on the Chinese food supply. Due to foreign trade of a large number of crops, all available farmland was used up, forcing peasants to cram up in small spaces of land and more intensely worked plots. Emperor Qianlong made the statement, “The population continues to grow, but the land does not.” The only cultivatable land in the empire during the time was in Manchuria; however, because provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang had been walled off, where only the Manchu, Mongols and Chinese banner men were allowed, the Han Chinese civilians were prohibited from entering. Consequently, famine became a serious issue after land and crops started to become deficient and scarce. Schrecker states that, “To some extent caused by the population rise, famine was, more immediately, a product of the fact that those responsible for the welfare of society were

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