A Chinese military and political reform movement of the second half of the 19th century. Initiated in the early 1860s by Feng Guifen and supported by Zeng Guofan, Zuo Zongtang, Li Hongzhang, and Prince Gong, the Self-Strengthening Movement attempted to adapt Western institutions and military innovations to Chinese needs. Prominent among the innovations introduced were the Zongli Yamen (1861), an imperial office established to manage relations with foreign countries, the Jiangnan Arsenal (1865), the Nanjing Arsenal (1867), the Beiyang fleet (1888) (China's first modern navy), and various government-sponsored modern industries. Such reforms, however, were superficial and failed to solve deep-seated institutional problems, as was made clear by China's humiliation in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95.
Subjects: World History.