Two Republics in China

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Thread: Two Republics in China

  1. #1

    Two Republics in China

    PartOne: The First Republic—The Republic of China

    Chapter 1. 1911: How the Last Dynasty Crumbled and Warlords Took Over

    Rebellion in Wuchang City

    A long line of imperialdynasties had held sway over all (or parts) of China from 2100 BCE to1911. China was a world unto itself for much of these 4,000 years,but history went off its tracks when the British came in. Smokingopium had been a serious crime in China, but for the British opiumwas big business. And they made it far bigger by slaughtering andpillaging, overwhelming the Chinese by 1842 and forcing them to openup their nation to foreign trade. Soon, British merchants flooded themarket with opium grown in India, and millions, perhaps more than 10million, Chinese were hopelessly addicted. China was reeling and theQing Dynasty was on the ropes.
    The Qing Dynasty(1644–1911)had been established by the Manchus, people that had originated innortheastern China (Manchuria). Although some of their ancestors hadperiodically been in power in ancient times, it was the Han peoplethat were (and are now) the largest ethnic group in China. The Hancould not bear the oppression of these Manchus, whose officials, theMandarins, were increasingly corrupt. As the Qing Dynasty sank intomisery, the Han rose up in a series of rebellions hoping to overthrowthe rulers and regain the imperial throne. In an era when some of theambitious young elite were already studying abroad and learningmodern ways, the imperial leaders still maintained a traditional armyusing ancient weaponry including lances and spears. So the overthrowwas easy enough—but what next? Read on, and we’ll see.

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    Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925)was a revolutionary vanguard and he organized the National Party forthe purpose of revitalizing the nation. After a few uprisings werebrutally put down, the last successful rebellion broke out in WuchangCity of Sichuan Province, westward along the Yangtze River, upstreamfrom Shanghai. In May of 1911, the Qing government had nationalizedor appropriated two railways that were private Chinese companies,without giving the owners any compensation, and then sold them toforeigners. Needless to say, the local people wanted to defend theirrights. The most violent reactions took place in Sichuan Province.The Qing government did have a New Army too (trained in the use ofguns and cannons), and they sent them in. But in this division, manysoldiers and even officers were actually members of therevolutionaries. So some leaders of the National Party planned arebellion in the army.
    A regiment was camped atthe north gate of Wuchang City. Around 6 o’clock, on the 10thof October, many rebellious soldiers marched toward the armory in thecity with the intention of seizing it. At that time, in the camp aplatoon leader was making his rounds to check on the soldiers and hefound that many were absent. He also saw the squad leader was lyingon his bed, so he yelled at him, “What are you doing? You want torebel?” (That’s a Chinese way of putting down one’ssubordinates.) The squad leader never had thought much of his platoonleader, so he replied insolently, “You said I’d rebel. Now I’mrebelling.” A soldier standing nearby simply shot the platoonleader dead.
    Now the battalion leadercame in and he was shot dead, too. Seizing this opportunity, theNational Party’s point man in the new army, who was the leader ofanother squad, declared a rebellion and called for his men to take uptheir arms right then and there.
    Soldiers from manydifferent camps came to their aid, the number reaching more than3,000. They controlled a cannon field and attacked the governor’sresidence under the command of Wu Zhaoling, an officer in the eighthbattalion. They called themselves the Revolutionary Army. Thegovernor escaped to a warship on the river. The Revolutionary Armyoccupied the city.
    Revolutionaries in Hanyangand Hankou cities also raised the banner of rebellion. On the 11thof October, the Revolutionary Army took over Hanyang City and on the12th day, theyoccupied Hankou City. Three cities in a row.

  3. #3
    as always no filler but just clear insight on historical events...
    The only one who can heal you is you.

  4. #4
    TheEstablishment of the Republic of China.

    Then the RevolutionaryArmy founded the military government and asked Li Yuanhong(1864–192 to be the governor, and they declared the new state tobe the Republic of China. At the beginning of November, at theproposal of Song Jiaoren (1882–1913) and some others, aconstitution was drafted and called “The Temporary Constitution ofRepublic of China.” It had seven chapters and sixty articles. Thegovernment consisted of the governor, the congress and the court.People were granted democratic rights, the right to own privateproperty, and the right to do business. The government decided thatthe 10th ofOctober should be the national day for the Republic of China.
    From the 18thof October to the 27thof November, the Revolutionary Army put up strong resistance againstthe army of the Qing government, which was massive. During those 41days, most of the provinces declared their independence; only fourprovinces close to Peking, the capital (now called Beijing), stillsupported the Qing Dynasty. The governors of the independentprovinces controlled the local army and became warlords.
    All the independentprovinces formed their own military governments. On the 1stof November, the Qing government appointed Yuan Shikai (1859–1916)premier. On the 1stof December, the Revolutionary Army and Yuan signed a truce. On the2nd of December,the united army of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces occupied Nanking.On the 12th ofDecember, representatives from all 14 independent provinces gatheredin Nanking for a meeting. On the 17thof December, the representatives elected Li Yuanhong as the GeneralMarshal and Huang Xing (1874–1916) as the Vice General Marshal.
    On the 1stof January, 1912, the temporary government of the Republic of Chinaestablished Nanking as its capital, breaking away from the Qing powerbase in Peking, and elected Sun Yat-sen as the temporary president.

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    On the 12thof February, 1912, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty, Fu Yi(1906–1967, his English name: Henry) abdicated and the last dynastyended, and with it ended the entire imperial system which had begunlong ago and had lasted in much the same form for 2,000 years. Butthe imperial family still lived in the Forbidden City inside Peking.
    The new republic had itsnational flag with five colors signifying the unity of five majortribes in China. They were the Han tribe, the Mandarin tribe, theMongolian tribe, the Muslin tribe, and the Tibetan tribe, representedby horizontal bars of red, yellow, blue, white and black.
    But the designs of thenational flag for the Republic of China changed a few times, untilthe design was chosen which eventually became the national flag, nowstill used in Taiwan: red background with a blue rectangle in theupper left corner, inside of which there is a 12-cornered white star.
    With the establishment ofthe Republic of China, men cut off their queues, or braided pigtails,and wore short hair, more Western style. This style of shaving thefront of the head and wearing the hair in a braid was originallyimposed as a sign of submission demanded by the first Manchu Emperor.When they invaded the southern territories and occupied the lands ofthe Han tribe, they forced them to comply, too. If anyone refused toshave his front hair, he would be beheaded. The famous slogan was“Your hair or your head.” For that reason, there had been aslaughter in Yangzhou city at that time, lasting for 10 days. Sincethe Revolution was victorious, now the pigtail had to go.

  6. #6
    I am enjoying this

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    At the same time, womenwere freed of the custom of binding their feet; in fact, a majorcampaign was waged to discourage it. That custom had originated morethan 1,000 years ago and affected all but the lowest workers, whocould hardly afford to cripple themselves. (The Manchu Emperor hadtried to ban it in 1664 but few paid any heed, as beauty, after all,comes at a price.) Now the revolution redefined some of the ideals offemininity and definitively freed women from the agony of crushingtheir feet.
    The Qing Dynasty hadpersisted for almost 300 years. Why didn’t it last longer? It wascertainly not the fault of the last emperor, who was only three yearsold when he was put on the throne. The Qing Dynasty had degeneratedover time, as most of them do, and corruption had grown worse andworse in the reign of Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–190, hisflamboyant grandmother, the subject of my earlier book EmpressDowager Cixi (Algora, 2002).
    In the long history ofChina, two different women had managed to rule the country for tensof years. The first one was Empress Wu the Great, during the TangDynasty (AD 618–907). She read a great deal and trained herself asa politician and ruler. She ruled the country well (EmpressWu the Great, Algora, 200. But EmpressDowager Cixi was no diplomat, no politician, and no wise ruler. Sheadopted wrong-headed policies. She came into power because of herstatus as the empress dowager. In her hands, the mansion of the greatempire crumbled just like a house whose wooden beams and pillars areeaten through by white ants. The last emperor would not have beenable to support it any more, no matter what.

  8. #8
    TheAmbition of Yuan Shikai

    How Yuan became president of the Republic of China

    When the Republic of Chinaset its capital in Nanking on the 1stof January, 1912, Sun Yat-sen was elected temporary president and LiYuanhong was elected vice president. At that time, the Emperor hadnot abdicated yet. The battle between the Revolutionary Army and theQing army was still going on. The new army of the Qing government wasorganized and trained by Yuan Shikai (1859–1916), its commander.Yuan had a scheme of his own and began seeking a truce with theRevolutionary Army. Then he set his sights on the position of thePresident of the republic and forced the Emperor to abdicate.
    Sun Yat-sen had no armythat he himself had organized to support him. He had been electedtemporary president owing to his reputation as a firm revolutionaryagainst the Qing Dynasty. The Revolutionary Army was controlled bythe governors (warlords) of the separate provinces; they signed anagreement with Yuan and refused to fight Yuan for Sun Yat-sen.Therefore, Sun Yat-sen had to give in. He resigned, and he nominatedYuan for president on the 15thof February. Accordingly, Yuan was named temporary president of therepublic. As a rule, the president ought to live in the capital,which was Nanking, not Peking where Yuan lived. Yuan refused to comesouth because he could not bring his army south and would instead becontrolled by the Revolutionary Army. After negotiations, theRevolutionary Army had to give in and let Yuan take office in Peking.But the congress was still in Nanking, controlled by the nationalParty.

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    In February 1913, thecongress elected Song Jiaoren to be the Premier of the cabinet. Atthat time, Yuan had Zhao Binjun as his premier. However, on the 20thof March, Song was assassinated at the railway station in Shanghai.When the assassin was caught, evidence on his person linked him toZhao—actual letters between Zhao and the assassin, no less. So thenational Party drew the conclusion that Yuan was behind it. Zhaoresigned under pressure from the press. Duan Qirui (1865–1936) wasappointed to take over the office of the premier.
    After the assassination,Sun Yat-sen, who was at the time on a visit in Japan, came back toShanghai and summoned a meeting of the national Party. He suggestedavenging Yuan with armed force, though some other leaders like HuangXing tended to appeal to less violent conduct.
    On the 26thof April, Yuan asked for a syndicate loan of 25 million Britishpounds from the lending consortium in China consisting of England,France, Germany, Russia and Japan. The national Party thought thatthe loan request was illegal, as it would require approval by thecongress first. In May, Li Liejun, the governor of Jiangxi province,Hu Hanming, the governor of Guangdong province, and Bo Wenwei, thegovernor of Anhui province, declared their opposition to the loan.The three governors were all members of the national Party. In June,Yuan gave orders to remove the three from their positions asgovernors. On the 3rdof July, Yuan sent the sixth division of his new army to Jiangxiprovince.

  10. #10
    Under instructions fromSun Yat-sen, Li Liejun declared the independence of Jiangxi provinceon the 12th of thesame month, and formed a separate headquarters from which to opposeYuan. On the 15th,Huang Xing reached Nanking and declared the independence of Jiangsuprovince. Quite a few provinces followed suit.
    On the 22ndof July, the national Army from Jiangsu province fought a battle withYuan’s army at Xuzhou of Shandong province and was defeated. Thenational Army was conquered in some other places, too. Then all theindependent provinces had to rescind their declarations ofindependence. Yuan issued orders to arrest Sun Yat-sen and HuangXing, who had already escaped to Japan. This event was called theSecond Revolution, but it ended in failure.
    On the 6thof October, the congress held a session in Peking and the congressmenwere forced to elect Yuan Shikai as president and Li Yuanhong as vicepresident of the republic. Yuan took the official oath on the 10thof October.

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