The signing of the Nanking treaty proved to be an important catalyst in the eventual shift of ideas and principles concerning colonialism. Such document proved to be the instigator for the change in political ideals that affected countries in East Asia in their view of Western powers. In the end, the image of these legal codes served as an instrument in creating and paving for colonialism in East Asia. It can be argued that there has been an evolution of ideas when the Nanking Treaty was signed. This was evident not only among Western ideals but also among countries in East Asia as well (Japan). One thing that can be argued here is the creation of these legal documents to promote the exploitation of natural resources which is brought about by one factor – colonialism. Here we see the creation of colonial knowledge’s that served as an instigator to promote colonialism, particularly in East Asia. Wagoner (2003) says that colonial knowledge is “forms and bodies of knowledge that enabled European colonizers to achieve domination over their colonized subjects around the globe.” One such example is legal codes inscribed in every treaty that gives privileges to states to practice such concept. The Nanking Treaty serves as one component in legitimizing the practice of colonialism in China. There are several provisions in the treaty that exhibits such idea and creates the grounds for exploitation. Treaty of Nanking (1842) provides that “it being obviously necessary and desirable that British subjects should have some port whereat they may [maintain] and refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose.” Such idea raises the question of equality of application in the mentioned treaty. Looking at it, there seems to be an evident discrepancy in the area of equality as far as the treaty is concerned. The mentioned treaty provides more benefits to the winning side (Great Britain) and penalties for the losing faction (China). Treaty of Nanking (1842) says that “His Majesty the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., the Island of Hong-Kong, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty,” This created a different perspective in the political environment especially in China. Prior to the Opium wars and signing of the Nanking Treaty, Chinese status in the realm of World Politics was regarded to be of high regard. After the defeat from the British, Chinese grasp slowly diminished as it lost control over certain privileges enjoyed by the state. It is through this, that other Western states also used such weakness for their personal gains. Bond (2007) mentions that “Sensing blood France, Russia and the United States all piled in with similar treaties granting similar access.” Such legal codes proved to be an instrument for inequalities and semi-colonial relationships. Realizing its extent, it can be argued that such event created a shift in the societal level as people and other traits begin to exhibit traits comparable to their colonizers. Wagoner (2003) says that “indigenous intellectuals in reality contributed actively to the process, and that colonial knowledge was thus produced through a complex form of collaboration between colonizers and colonized, and an attendant process of epistemic confrontation and adjustment between European and indigenous knowledge systems.” Though such treaty may promote ‘equality before the law’, realistically it showcases a different treatment among Chinese counterparts. Treaty of Nanking (1842) stipulates “Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., will appoint Superintendents, or Consular officers, to reside at each of the above-named cities or towns, to be the medium of communication between the Chinese authorities and the said merchants, and to see that the just duties and other dues of the Chinese Government,” Lastly, such issue created a justification for other rising powers to exhibit the same ideology promoted by Western States as far as colonialism is concerned. Japan, for one, evolved from its isolationist ways and started to practice and exhibit the colonialist ideals. To conclude, the Nanking Treaty proved to be a catalyst for political and economic changes in East Asia. These legal codes provided the justification for colonialism and exploitation as it greatly affected the way other states both in East Asia and the West perceive China. Work Cited Bond, David. Silk Road or Silver Road. 2007. accessed March 14, 2008 Wagoner, Philip B. Precolonial Intellectuals and the Production of Colonial Knowledge in ‘Comparative Studies in Society and History 2003 45 (UK; Cambridge University Press) pp.783-814 ‘Treaty of Nanking’ 1842 accessed March 14, 2008 from <>