In 1871, aborigines in southern Taiwan killed fifty-four shipwrecked Ryukyuan fisherman. By 1874 this incident had grown into a major international crisis for the Ch'ing Court in Peking, because the Japanese had insisted on punishing the aborigines (through a military occupation of their territory) after the Chinese hesitated to do so. As a result of the negotiations with Japanese diplomats concerning this matter, the Court was made sharply aware of the need to intensify and extend the Chinese administration of Taiwan; to fail to do so would obviously tempt the Japanese and other foreigners to occupy and perhaps annex areas that were not governed or settled by the Chinese.

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