Seminar paper from the year 2012 in the subject History - Asia, grade: 1,0, The University of Hong Kong, language: English, abstract: Before 1839, China was closed for Western trader. The only Chinese port, where highly controlled trade between Western merchants and the governmental ap-pointed merchants 'Gong Hang' was allowed, was Canton (Guangzhou). Western merchants had to life in separated districts of Canton, could not stay there more than a few months and were prohibited to bring their families or to have contact with Chinese except in trade. Furthermore, Western traders could not contact Chi-nese officials directly and there were no formal diplomatic relations between Chi-na and Western countries. Why did China seal off itself from Western trade so extremely?