The outbreak of the Opium Wars and their results. shook China both internally and culturally. China had come in contact with foreign powers radically and culturally very different from them.
Inculcating foreign cultures into their own posed challenges that China could not deal with. Colonialism entered China after the first Opium War and strengthened its foothold in Chinese territory after the second Opium War.
The Qing dynasty had to sign several humiliating treaties committing to pay large amounts as compensation along with granting sovereign control over its major ports.
Colonialism had both a positive and negative impact on China. If you consider the positive effect of colonialism, it has helped in the development of China bringing it out of isolation.
The treaty ports improved Chinese life with Western goods, ideas and people flowing in.
On the contrary some believe that imperialism brought about social, economic and political disruptions, causing instability and destruction that will hinder progress and come in the way of modernization.
The 20th century saw the economy of China witness a positive growth despite colonial intervention. Though the rate of growth was slow, all sectors from agricultural to industrial saw considerable advancement.
China has experienced rapid growth from 1970s to the beginning to the 21st century with the highest level of GDP in the world. Incorporating with foreign powers has given China a prominent position in World economy. Integration has opened up markets for China’s exports, and also given it access to various sources of capital, resources, expertise and technology so necessary for its development.
With the help of sustained and rapid economic growth and targeted programs China has remarkably improved its standard of living and reduced poverty at the same time.