View Full Version : TWO REPUBLICS in CHINA (3)

October 3rd, 2015, 01:16 PM
III. Warring and chaotic period

1) Restoration of the abdicated emperor
Li and Duan had also clash in opinion and political attitude. As Li had no supporters in the government, Duan had no esteem for him. Duan also had the command of part of the new army. So Li wanted to seek for help outside the capital.
In May of 1917, during the first world war, there was a dispute about whether China would join in the war or not. Duan, supported by Japan, maintained the idea to join in the war, while Li tended to the most congressmen not to join in the war. On the 23rd day of May, Li issued an order to remove Duan from the office of the premier. Duan went to Tainjin City and instigated all the governors to declare independence. So Li summoned General Zhang Xun (1854—1923) to the capital to mediate.
Zhang Xun was always loyal to the Qing Dynasty and the soldiers in his army still kept pigtails. So his army was called pigtail army. He thought that it was a great opportunity and took five thousand soldiers with him. On the 14th day of June, he entered Peking. On the night of the 30th day in June, he sent his soldiers to occupy some important places like the railway station and telegram office. He went to see Li and wanted to persuade him to return the political power to the abdicated emperor Henry, but got a flat refusal.
On the 1st day of July, 1917, Zhang Xun let the abdicated emperor to sit on the throne again and issued orders, such as to change the national flag from the five colored flag (the symbol of Republic of China) to dragon flag (the symbol of the Qing Dynasty.)
On the 2nd day of July, Li went to the Japanese embassy for protection while issuing two orders: appointing Feng Guozhang as the deputy president and restored Duan to the office of the premier. So on the 3rd day of July, Duan gathered his army, and on the 14th day, he defeated the pigtail army of Zhang Xun, who escaped to the embassy of Holland, then went to live in Tianjin City. The emperor Henry abdicated once more. And Duan went to the Japanese embassy to welcome Li back to his presidency. On the 28th day of August, Li went to Tianjin City after resignation.
In the early history of the Republic of China, there were two restorations. One was Yuan Shikai who wanted to be the emperor himself and founded the China Empire. The other was Zhang Xun who put the abdicated emperor on the throne again. But both ended in failure. The chariot of history always runs forward and no one can pull it back. People won't go back to the old style of life once they start to enjoy a new one, especially that of freedom and democracy.
As Li Yuanhong resigned from the presidency, the deputy president Feng Guozhang accordingly became the president. Feng was the governor of Jiangsu province and lived in Nanking. Now he was the president and must go to Peking for the office. And the position of the governor of Jiangsu province was vacant. Duan wanted to appoint Duan Zhigui as the governor there, but Feng wanted to appoint Li Chun, the present governor of Jiangxi province as the governor of Jiangsu province and promoted Chen Guangyuan, who was the commander of the twelfth division, to be the governor of Jiangxi province. Both were supporters of Feng. Before he left for Peking, he divided his army to two divisions. The sixteenth division would stay in Jiangsu province. He brought his fifteenth division to Peking as his bodyguards so that he wouldn't be controlled by Duan.
Duan dismissed the old congress because most congressmen had opposed him for joining in the first world war. As there was no more congress, Duan government declared war against Germany and Austria.

2) May-Fourth student movement
The background of the May-Fourth movement was that On the 23rd day of August, 1914, Japan declared war against Germany and and took over Jiaozhou Bay in Shandong province, formerly occupied by Germany, after fight for 70 days, and plus the fact that in January, 1915, Japan put up the 21 articles to Yuan, who accepted most of them. These were considered the national insult, which caused great dissatisfaction to the government among the Chinese intellectuals, including university students.
As China declared war against Germany on the 14th day of August, 1917, at the end of the first world war, China was one of the victorious countries. But on the Paris Peace Conference, in the Versailles Treaty, Japan was allowed to continue the occupation of the Jiaozhou Bay, while it should be returned to China since it was in the territory of China and formerly occupied by Germany.
The public called upon the Chinese representative at the conference to refuse to sign on the treaty, but the government secretly instructed the representative to sigh the treaty. When the news came openly known, the students in the Peking university held an emergent meeting on the 1st day of May. On the night of the 3rd day, students from other universities joined in the action. They decided to have a demonstration on TainAnMen square on the 4th day of May, which was Sunday.
At one o'clock in the afternoon, on that day, the students marched towards the region with all the embassies there and distributed their memorandum, which was refused by the embassies except the American embassy that took it. Then they went to the residence of Cao Rulin, minister of transportation (about railway problem with Japan), where they saw Zhang Zongxiang, Chinese envoy to Japan. The students gave both a good beating and set fire to the residence. For that, 32 students were arrested.
To rescue the students, the professors called on the public to have students, teachers, workers, and shop-owners, all on strike. The government forbade it and arrested more people. The chaos lasted into June and people answered the call of the professors and the movement spread to many cities. Even railway workers started on strike. On the 11th day of June, Professor Chen Duxiu (1879—1942) and others distributed pamphlets in public and Chen was under arrest. The chaos turned to be worse. Under such circumstances and pressure, the government had to give in and dismissed Cao and Zhang from office and released those in jail. On the 28th day of June, the representative attending the Paris Peace Conference did not sign the treaty.
The influence of this movement was not only in politics, but also in culture. Professor Hu Shih proposed that the oral language should be used in writing instead of the classical language. Hence, language style in use changed even in newspapers. So the May-Fourth movement is also called the new cultural movement.

3) Battles in the southwestern provinces
Chinese historians define those commanding armies independently as warlords. It generally denoted governors of provinces, and even the premier like Duan, who had his own army. The local warlords often disobeyed the central government. If the central government wanted any governor to obey its orders, it must send army to conquer him. And the governors always fought one another for benefits. Therefore, there were a lot of battles waged.
Although Yuan Shikai died, many of his supporters controlled most provinces. Only five provinces in the southwestern China were under the influence of the National Party. They were Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.
In Sichuan province there were three armies. One came from Yunnan province. One came from Guizhou province. And the third one was formed by local soldiers. Each of them wanted to get control of Sichuan province and fought one another from time to time. Premier Duan of the central government wanted to control this province, too. So he sent a detachment of his army to Sichuan province. Then, the three local armies united to fight against the Duan's army, which had to retreat.
After the failure of the second revolution, Sun Yat-sen endeavored to make another attempt. He got the support of the first fleet in the navy. In 1917, the governor of Guangdong province proposed to Sun that he could use this province as his headquarters against the warlord government in Peking. On the 10th day of July, Sun took two warships to Shantou Town, and sent Zhang Binglin to Guangdong province as his representative. The situation in that province was complicated, though. On the 17th day when Sun arrived in Canton on board a warship he was welcomed. On the 22nd day, the commander of the first fleet brought his fleet to Guangdong province, too. They announced that since the dismissal of the congress, any orders from Peking government were unlawful.
When Duan learned the news, he promoted the commander of the second fleet to be the commander of the navy and appointed another admiral as the commander of the first fleet, which was not under his control any more. On the 25th day Duan ordered to remove the governor of Guangdong province from office, but the governor rejected to take the order.
Sun Yat-sen invited the congressmen to come south. In the mid-August, more than 130 congressmen arrived in Canton. On the 18th day, at a welcome party, all attenders made a decision to organize a new government called Military Government, which was founded on the 10th day of September. When Duan got the news, he issued a wanted circular for Sun Yah-sen, and the military government also issued a wanted circular for Duan. The five provinces in the southeastern China supported the military government against Duan, who sent his army into HuNan province in hopes to beat the army of the military government.
On the 6th day of October, two armies began the battle near Xiangtan Town. Contrary to the hope of Duan, his army was forced to withdraw. It looked bad for him, and many provinces announced their support to the military government. Duan had to resign from his office of premier.
The president Feng called upon both sides to stop fighting. As Duan had always been a threat to the independent governors in southeastern region, and as now the Damocles sword seemed no longer over their heads, they agreed to the truce. But on the 2nd day of December, 1917, Duan instigated ten northern governors for action against the southeastern provinces. On the 6th day, they pressed the president Feng to issue orders to continue the war. Meanwhile, Zhang Zuolin, the warlord in the northeastern China, led his army into Peking. Under such pressure, Feng had to ask Duan to resume the office of premier.
Duan re-organized his army to attack the army of the military government, who now lost the support of other governors and had to fight alone, and was soon defeated. But, Wu Peifu (04/22/1874—12/04/1939), the commander of Duan army ceased assault and had a truce with the military government, ignoring the command of Duan. As Feng and Duan always had conflicts of opinions, or in reality, of personal interests, both agreed to resign at the same time. That was on the 4th day of September, 1918.
The goal of Sun Yat-sen was to let his National Party unite the whole China under the rule of his party. But it was really against the benefits of the warlords. So he lost most supporters and only a few left. On the 21st day of May, 1918, he left Canton for Shanghai, where he met Chiang Kai-shek (1887—1975). The military government was controlled by the armies of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces.
As Sun resigned and left Canton, his army under the command of Chen Jiongming went to Fujian province, and together with the army under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, defeated Duan's army there. That happened in June of 1918.
Although Duan was not in the cabinet, he still had his army. So Zhang Zuoling (03/19/1875—06/04/1928) and Wu Peifu allied to fight him. On the 14th day of July, 1920, Duan's army was subdued. Then Xu Shichang, who had nothing under his control, was selected, not elected as there was no more congress, by warlords, to be a puppet president.
In August, 1920, the army, stationed in Fujian province, marched back to Guangdong province to assail the army of Guangxi province there. On the 28th day of October, the military government was back to be under the control of Sun's army. So on the 28th day of November, Sun returned to Canton.
On the 12th day of January, 1921, a special congress was organized and on the 2nd day of April, the congress held a session to rescind the military government and resume the name of the Republic of China. On the 7th day, Sun was elected the president and took oath ceremony on the 5th day of May.

4) Sun Yat-sen wanted to go north to overthrow the Peking government
Sun always persisted in marching north to overthrow the Peking government. He thought that it was a warlord government, not a revolutionary government. He wanted to found a revolutionary government for the people. Anyway, governors of all provinces and even Chen Jiongming (1878—1933), the commander of his army, actually another warlord, did not think alike as he did. Those men only wanted to have a federal government of warlords.
On the 26th day of March, 1922, Sun held a meeting deciding to go north to down the Peking government. On the 9th day of April, when the revolutionary army reached Meng River, it was blockaded by the army of Chen Jiongming who camped there. Sun gave the order that if Chen's army did not make way for him, he would launch an attack. When Sun reached Wuzhou Town, he summoned Chen to meet him at Wuzhou Town, but Chen refused to go there. Sun removed him from the position of commander. Chen wanted his army to prepare for a war against Sun, but the army in Canton refused to carry out his order. He could do nothing but go back to his old home in Huizhou Town. However, he still had part of his army loyal to him.
In early April, 1922, Wu Peifu sent someone to contact Chen and asked him to prevent Sun by force from going north. Meantime, Duan and Zhang Zuolin wanted to ally with Sun to vanquish Wu. The situation got complicated. Everyone held his own interests first and the relationship of friends and enemies often changed.
On the 23rd day of April, Sun gathered his generals for a meeting in his presidential residence to make a decision what to do next. There were two opinions. One was to first annihilate Chen's army so that he could not give the revolutionary army a stab from behind. Chinag Kai-shek held this opinion. The other was to immediately march north, while doing the best to avoid any conflict with Chen's army. Sun tended to the second opinion as he thought that Chen did not really betray him, at least not yet. He had no reason to attack Chen. Chiang Kai-shek thought that Chen would at long last betray Sun. As Sun did not believe him, he left Guangdong province, while writing a letter to Chen advising him not to betray Sun.
When Sun came back to Canton, he still let Chen be the commander of the first army. But Chen refused to take the appointment. On the 28th day of April, Zhang Zuolin, Duan Qirui and Sun Yat-sen formed the alliance to fight Wu Peifu. Sun thought that it was a chance to him to go north.
On the 4th of May, the army of Zhang was beaten by that of Wu, and Zhang had to retreat to where he had come, the northeastern China. Wu got control in Peking. Wu had a secret agreement with Chen Jiongming that he would drive away the present president Xu Shichang and Chen would drive away Sun Yat-sen. Then the first step was to let Li Yuanhong back to the presidency and make him wipe out all the warlords everywhere, of course except the two of them. If Li failed to do so, he would be the scapegoat. If he succeeded, Wu and Chen would use the congress to elect themselves as the president and the vice president.
So they announced that the current president Xu was illegal. Xu resigned on the 2nd of June. Once back to the presidency, Li denounced that wanted edict for Sun Yat-sen and invited him to Peking to discuss national affairs. He also appointed many warlords in the south, but none of them accepted his appointments. Afterwards, as Wu and Chen saw that Li could do nothing for their benefits, they forced Li to quit the presidency again. Li went back to Tianjin City.
On the 9th day of May, Sun issued order for overall attack, and on the 13th day of June, the revolutionary army put Wu's army to rout in Jiangxi province. Wu sent his man to Chen and asked him to take action as soon as possible.

5) The betrayal of Chen Jiongming in Canton
When Chen went back to his hometown, he took with him a lot of guns and ammunitions, enough to arm 40 battalions. On the 20th day of May, Chen's subordinate, Ye Ju, led his troops into Canton and started the treason. On the 1st day of June, the situation got worse. Liao Zhongkai, a faithful follower of Sun, telegrammed to Sun, asking him to come back to Canton. When Sun was back in Canton, he summoned Chen to Canton, but Chen rejected to come. On the 12th day of June, Sun ordered Ye Ju out of Canton. Next day, Chen and Ye secretly met at Shilong. They knew that, to prevent Sun from going north fighting Wu, they must cut his financial source. Liao was the person to provide Sun with everything, so they decided to kidnap Liao. On the 14th day, Chen telegrammed Liao to ask him to his hometown for some important business. On the fifth day, Liao went there and was detained in confinement. Then Ye Ju maneuvered his troops and planned to cannonade the residence of Sun. On the 16th day, Sun got the information and went to a warship.
On the 19th day, Sun telegrammed the revolutionary army in the frontier to come back to Guangdong province. On the 2nd day of July, the revolutionary army started to assail Chen's army in Guangdong province, and beat the betraying army. Chen telegrammed Wu for assistance. Wu sent some troops into Guangdong province. On the 26th day of July, the revolutionary army was chasing the retreating army of Chen, but met with the reenforcement sent by Wu on the 28th day. Therefore, the revolutionary army had to withdraw. When Sun learned the disadvantageous situation of his army, he had to leave Guangdong province and went to Shanghai. Liao was released and left Canton. When Chen wanted to assassinate him afterwards, he was already gone.
On the 16th day of August, 1922, Sun made a statement to accuse Chen of betrayal. To annihilate the betraying army, Sun determined to ally with Duan. In October, he appointed Xu Chongzhi as the commander-in-chief and Chiang Kai-shek as the chief of staff. On one side, the revolutionary army together with Duan's army vanquished Wu's army. On the other, the armies of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, who supported Sun, defeated Chen's army. On the 14th day of January, 1923, troops in Guangdong province turned over to Sun and attacked Chen, who escaped to his hometown, Huizhou.
On the 15th day of February, Sun returned to Canton. In April, Chen Hongying, a warlord in Guangxi province, accepted the appointment of the Peking government to be the governor of Guangdong province, and came to attack Canton, but was soon subdued. He escaped to Hongkong.
In January of 1925, Sun went to Peking for a discussion of national affairs, but on arrival, he suffered from a fatal disease and died in Peking on the 12th day of March. His famous words in his will were “The revolution is not successful yet; comrades must still make efforts.” In February of 1925, the revolutionary army now under the full command of Chiang Kai-shek marched east to wipe out warlords there. In June of 1925, Chen Jiongming betrayed again, but was soon wiped out by Chiang Kai-shek.