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Treaty of Tianjin (Tien-tsin), 1858

Treaty between the United States of America and the Empire of China.
December 13, 1901

THE UNITED STATES of America and the [Chinese] Empire, desiring to maintain firm, lasting and sincere friendship, have resolved to renew, in a manner clear and positive, by means of a treaty or general convention of peace, amity and commerce, the rules which shall in future be mutually observed in the intercourse of their respective countries; for which most desirable object the President of the United States and the August Sovereign of the [Chinese]Empire have named for their Plenipotentiaries [etc., etc.] . . . .
And the said Ministers, in virtue of the respective full powers they have received from their Governments, have agreed upon the following articles:

There shall be, as there have always been, peace and friendship between the United States of America and the [Chinese] Empire, and between their people, respectively. They shall not insult or oppress each other for any trifling cause, so as to produce an estrangement between them; and if any other nation should act unjustly or oppressively, the United States will exert their good offices, on being informed of the case, to bring about an amicable arrangement of the question, thus showing their friendly feelings.

In order to perpetuate friendship, on the exchange of ratifications by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and by His Majesty the Emperor of China, this treaty shall be kept and sacredly guarded in this way, viz: The original treaty, as ratified by the President of the United States, shall be deposited at Pekin, the capital of His Majesty the Emperor of China, in charge of the Privy council; and, as ratified by His Majesty the Emperor of China, shall be deposited at Washington, the capital of the United States, in charge of the Secretary of State.

In order that the people of the two countries may know and obey the provisions of this treaty, the United States of America agree, immediately on the exchange of ratifications, to proclaim the same, and to publish it by proclamation in the gazettes where the laws of the United States of America are published by authority; and His Majesty the Emperor of China, on the exchange of ratifications, agrees immediately to direct the publication of the same at the capital and by the governors of all the provinces.


In order further to perpetuate friendship, the Minister or Commissioner or the highest diplomatic representative of the United States of America in China, shall at all times have the right to correspond on terms of perfect equality and confidence with the officers of the Privy Council at the capital [i.e., Peking], or with the Governors-General of the Two Kwangs [China’s southernmost provinces: Kwantung and Kwangsi], the provinces of Fuhkien and Chehkiang [along China’s east coast] or of the Two Kiangs [i.e., Kiangsi, north of Kwangtung; Kiangsu, the northern coastal province containing Nanking and Shanghai]; and whenever he desires to have such correspondence with the Privy Council at the capital he shall have the right to send it through either of the said Governors- General or by the general post; and all such communications shall be sent under seal, which shall be most carefully respected. The Privy Council and Governors General, as the case may be, shall in all cases consider and acknowledge such communications promptly and respectfully.


The Minister of the United States of America in China, whenever he has business, shall have the right to visit and sojourn at the capital of His Majesty the Emperor of China, and there confer with a member of the Privy Council, or any other high officer of equal rank deputed for that purpose, on matters of common interest and advantage. His visits shall not exceed one in each year, and he shall complete his business without unnecessary delay. He shall be allowed to go by land or come to the mouth of the Peiho, into which he shall not bring ships of war, and he shall inform the authorities at that place in order that boats may be provided for him to go on his journey. He is not to take advantage of this stipulation to request visits to the capital on trivial occasions. Whenever be means to proceed to the capital, he shall communicate, in writing, his intention to the Board of Rites at the capital, and thereupon the said Board shall give the necessary directions to facilitate his journey and give him necessary protection and respect on his way. On his arrival at the capital he shall be furnished with a suitable residence prepared for him, and be shall defray his own expenses; and his entire suite shall not exceed twenty persons, exclusive of his Chinese attendants, none of whom shall be engaged in trade.


If at any time His Majesty the Emperor of China shall, by treaty voluntarily made, or for any other reason, permit the representative of any friendly nation to reside at his capital for a long or short time, then, without any further consultation or express permission, the representative of the United States in China shall have the same privilege.


The superior authorities of the United States and of China, in corresponding together, shall do so on terms of equality and in form of mutual communication. The Consuls and the local officers, civil and military, in corresponding together, shall likewise employ the style and form of mutual communications. When inferior officers of the one Government address superior officers of the other, they shall do so in the style and form of memorial . Private individuals, in addressing superior officers, shall employ the style of petition. In no case shall any terms or style be used or suffered which shall be offensive or disrespectful to either party. And it is agreed that no presents, under any pretext or form whatever, shall ever be demanded of the United States by China, or of China by the United States.


In all future personal intercourse between the representative of the United States of America and the Governors-General or Governors, the interviews shall be had at the official residence of the said officers, or at their temporary residence, or at the residence of the representative of the United States of America, whichever may be agreed upon between them; nor shall they make any pretext for declining these interviews. Current matters shall be discussed by correspondence, so as not to give the trouble of a personal meeting.

Whenever national vessels of the United States of America, in cruising along the coast and among the ports opened for trade for the protection of the commerce of their country or for the advancement of science, shall arrive at or near any of the ports of China, commanders of said ships and the superior local authorities of Government, shall, if it be necessary, hold intercourse on terms of equality and courtesy, in token of the friendly relations of their respective nations; and the said vessel shall enjoy all suitable facilities on the part of the Chinese Government in procuring provisions or other supplies and making necessary repairs. And the United States of America agree that in case of the shipwreck of any American vessel, and its being pillaged by pirates, or in case any American vessel shall be pillaged or captured by pirates on the seas adjacent to the coast, without being shipwrecked, the national vessels of the United States shall pursue the said pirates, and if captured deliver them over for trial and punishment.


The United States of America shall have the right to appoint Consuls and other Commercial Agents for the protection of trade, to reside at such places in the dominions of China as shall be agreed to be opened; who shall hold official intercourse and correspondence with the local officers of the Chinese Government . . . either personally or in writing, as occasions may require, on terms of equality and reciprocal respect. And the Consuls and local officers shall employ the style of mutual communication. If the officers of either nation are disrespectfully treated or aggrieved in any way by the other authorities, they have the right to make representation of the same to the superior officers of the respective Governments, who shall see that inquiry and strict justice shall be had in the premises. And the said Consuls and Agents shall carefully avoid all acts of offence to the officers and people of China. On the arrival of a Consul duly accredited at any port in China, it shall be the duty of the Minister of the United States to notify the same to the Governor-General of the province where such port is, who shall forthwith recognize the said Consul and grant him authority to act.

All citizens of the United States of America in China, peaceably attending to their affairs, being placed on a common footing of amity and good will with the subjects of China, shall receive and enjoy for themselves and everything appertaining to them, the protection of the local authorities of Government, who shall defend them from all insult or injury of any sort. If their dwellings or property be threatened or attacked by mobs, incendiaries, or other violent or lawless persons, the local officers, on requisition of the Consul, shall immediately despatch a military force to disperse the rioters, apprehend the guilty individuals, and punish them with the utmost rigor of the law. Subjects of China guilty of any criminal act toward citizens of the United States shall be punished by the Chinese authorities according to the laws of China; and citizens of the United States, either on shore or in any merchant vessel, who may insult, trouble or wound the persons or injure the property of Chinese, or commit any other improper act in China, shall be punished only by the Consul or other public functionary thereto authorized, according to the laws of the United States. Arrests in order to trial may be made by either the Chinese or the United States authorities.


Citizens of the United States, residing or sojourning at any of the ports open to foreign commerce, shall be permitted to rent houses and places of business, or hire sites on which they can themselves build houses or hospitals, churches and cemeteries. The parties interested can fix the rent by mutual and equitable agreement; the proprietors shall not demand an exorbitant price, nor shall the local authorities interfere, unless there be some objections offered on the part of the inhabitants respecting the place. The legal fees to the officers for applying their seal shall be paid. The citizens of the United States shall not unreasonably insist on particular spots, but each party shall conduct with justice and moderation. Any desecration of the cemeteries by natives of China shall be severely punished according to law. At the places where the ships of the United States anchor, or their citizens reside, the merchants, seamen or others, can freely pass and repass in the immediate neighborhood; but, in order to the preservation of the public peace, they shall not go into the country to the villages and marts to sell their goods unlawfully, in fraud of the revenue.

If any vessel of the United States be wrecked or stranded on the coast of China, and be subjected to plunder or other damage, the proper officers of Government on receiving information of the fact, shall immediately adopt measures for its relief and security; the persons on board shall receive friendly treatment, and be enabled to repair at once to the nearest port, and shall enjoy all facilities for obtaining supplies of provisions and water. If the merchant vessels of the United States, while within the waters over which the Chinese Government exercises jurisdiction, be plundered by robbers or pirates, then the Chinese local authorities, civil and military, on receiving information thereof, shall arrest the said robbers or pirates, and punish them according to law, and shall cause all the property which can be recovered to be restored to the owners or placed in the hands of the consul. If, by reason of the extent of territory and numerous population of China, it shall in any case happen that the robbers cannot be apprehended, and the property only in part recovered, the Chinese Government shall not make indemnity for the goods lost; but if it shall be proved that the local authorities have been in collusion with the robbers, the same shall be communicated to the superior authorities for memorializing the throne, and these officers shall be severely punished, and their property be confiscated to repay the losses.


The citizens of the United States are permitted to frequent the ports and cities of Canton and Chau-chau . . . Amoy, Fuh-chau, and Tai-wan . . . . Ningpo . . . and Shanghai . . . and any other port or place hereafter by treaty with other powers or with the United States opened to commerce, and to reside with their families and trade there, and to proceed at pleasure with their vessels and merchandise from any of these ports to any other of them. But said vessels shall not carry on a clandestine and fraudulent trade at other ports of China not declared to be legal, or along the coasts thereof; and any vessel under the American flag violating this provision, shall, with her cargo, be subject to confiscation to the Chinese Government; and any citizen of the United States who shall trade in any contraband article of merchandise shall be subject to be dealt with by the Chinese Government, without being entitled to any countenance or protection from that of the United States; and the United States will take measures to prevent their flag from being abused by the subjects of other nations as a cover for the violation of the laws of the empire.


At each of the ports open to commerce citizens of the United States shall be permitted to import from abroad, and sell, purchase and export all merchandise of which the importation or exportation is not prohibited by the laws of the empire. The tariff of duties to be paid by citizens of the United States, on the export and import of goods from and into China, shall be the same as was agreed upon at the treaty of Wanghia, except so far as it may be modified by treaties with other nations; it being expressly agreed that citizens of the United States shall never pay higher duties than those paid by the most favored nation.

Tonnage duties shall be paid on every merchant vessel belonging to the United States entering either of the open ports . . . according to the tonnage specified in the register, which, with her other papers, shall, on her arrival, be lodged with the Consul, who shall report the same to the commissioner of customs. And if any vessel, having paid tonnage duty at one port, shall go to any other port to complete the disposal of her cargo, or, being in ballast, to purchase an entire or fill up an incomplete cargo, the Consul shall report the same to the commissioner of customs, who shall note on the port clearance that the tonnage duties have been paid, and report the circumstances to the collectors at the other custom-houses; in which case, the said vessel shall only pay duty on her cargo, and not be charged with tonnage duty a second time. The collectors of customs at the open ports shall consult with the Consuls about the erection of beacons or lighthouses, and where buoys and light-ships should be placed.


Citizens of the United States shall be allowed to engage pilots to take their vessels into port, and, when the lawful duties have all been paid, take them out of port. It shall be lawful for them to hire at pleasure servants, compradores [a native business liaison], linguists, writers, laborers, seamen and persons for whatever necessary service, with passage or cargo boats, for a reasonable compensation, to be agreed upon by the parties or determined by the consul.


Whenever merchant vessels of the United States shall enter a port, the collector of customs shall, if he see fit, appoint custom-house officers to guard said vessels, who may live on board the ship or their own boats, at their convenience. The local authorities of the Chinese Government shall cause to be apprehended all mutineers or deserters from on board the vessels of the United States in China on being informed by the Consul, and will deliver them up to the Consuls or other officer for punishment. And if criminals, subjects of China, take refuge in the houses or on board the vessels of citizens of the United States, they shall not be harbored or concealed, but shall be delivered up to justice on due requisition by the Chinese local officers, addressed to those of the United States. The merchants, seamen and other citizens of the United States shall be under the superintendence of the appropriate officers of their Government. If individuals of either nation commit acts of violence or disorder, use arms to the injury of others, or create disturbances endangering life, the officers of the two Governments will exert themselves to enforce order and to maintain the public peace, by doing impartial justice in the premises.


Whenever a merchant vessel belonging to the United States shall cast anchor in either of the said ports, the supercargo [person on board ship in charge of commercial transactions], master, or consignee, shall, within forty-eight hours, deposit the ship's papers in the hands of the Consul or person charged with his functions, who shall cause to be communicated to the superintendent of customs a true report of the name and tonnage of such vessel, the number of her crew, and the nature of her cargo; which being done, he shall give a permit for her discharge. And the master, supercargo or consignee, if he proceed to discharge the cargo without such permit, shall incur a fine of five hundred dollars and the goods so discharged without permit shall be subject to forfeiture to the Chinese Government. But if a master of any vessel in port desire to discharge a part only of the cargo, it shall be lawful for him to do so, paying duty on such part only, and to proceed with the remainder to any other ports. Or, if the master so desire, he may, within forty-eight hours after the arrival of the vessel, but not later, decide to depart without breaking bulk; in which case he shall not be subject to pay tonnage or other duties or charges until on his arrival at another port, he shall proceed to discharge cargo, when he shall pay the duties on vessel and cargo, according to law. And the tonnage duties shall be held due after the expiration of the said forty-eight hours. In case of the absence of the Consul or person charged with his functions, the captain or supercargo of the vessel may have recourse to the Consul of a friendly power, or, if he please, directly to the Superintendent of Customs, who shall do all that is required to conduct the ship's business. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Where there are debts due by subjects of China to citizens of the United States, the latter may seek redress in law; and, on suitable representations being made to the local authorities, through the Consul, they will cause due examination in the premises, and take proper steps to compel satisfaction. And if citizens of the United States be indebted to subjects of China, the latter may seek redress by representation through the Consul, or by suit in the consular court; but neither Government will hold itself responsible for such debts.

It shall be lawful for the officers or citizens of the United States to employ scholars and people of any part of China, without distinction of persons, to teach any of the languages of the empire, and to assist in literary labors; and the persons so employed shall not for that cause be subject to any injury on the part either of the Government or of individuals; and it shall in like manner be lawful for citizens of the United States to purchase all manner of books in China.
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If citizens of the United States have special occasion to address any communication to the Chinese local officers of Government, they shall submit the same to their Consul or other officer, to determine if the language be proper and respectful, and the matter just and right, in which event he shall transmit the same to the appropriate authorities for their consideration and action in the premises. If subjects of China have occasion to address the Consul of the United States, they may address him directly at the same time they inform their own officers, representing the case for his consideration and action in the premises; and if controversies arise between citizens of the United States and subjects of China, which cannot be amicably settled otherwise, the same shall be examined and decided conformably to justice and equity by the public officers of the two nations, acting in conjunction. The extortion of illegal fees is expressly prohibited. Any peaceable persons are allowed to enter the court in order to interpret, lest injustice be done.


The principles of the Christian religion, as professed by the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, are recognized as teaching men to do good, and to do to others as they would have others do to them. Hereafter those who quietly profess and teach these doctrines shall not be harassed or persecuted on account of their faith. Any person, whether citizen of the United States or Chinese convert, who, according to these tenets, peaceably teach and practice the principles of Christianity, shall in no case be interfered with or molested.


The contracting parties hereby agree that should at any time the [Chinese] Empire grant to any nation, or the merchants or citizens of any nation, any right, privilege or favor, connected either with navigation, commerce, political or other intercourse, which is not conferred by this treaty, such right, privilege and favor shall at once freely inure to the benefit of the United States, its public officers, merchants and citizens.

The present treaty of peace, amity and commerce shall be ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, within one year, or sooner, if possible, and by the August Sovereign of the [Chinese] Empire forthwith; and the ratifications shall be exchanged within one year from the date of the signatures thereof.
In faith whereof, we, the respective Plenipotentiaries of the United the August Sovereign of the [Chinese] Empire forthwith; and the signed and sealed these presents.

Done at Tien-tsin this eighteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight, and the independence of the United States of America the eigbty- second, and in the eighth year of Hienfung, fifth month, and eighth day.