10:Events leading to 1911 Revolution.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Nhung Tuyet Tran

Events leading to the Revolution of 1911/12 1. Qing Reforms The prime motive behind the program was not a genuine desire for reform but the desire to avert revolution. Less reform was actually carried out than promised and meanwhile, under the guise of reform, some policies were being developed which had nothing to do with “reform” but were an attempt to regain and increase power by the central Government: a) A programme of trying to ‘regain’ power for the centre in the face of the rising power of the provinces b) A pro-Manchu and anti-Chinese policy, indicating the growing mistrust between the two. In 1905, to the astonishment of much of the world, Japan defeated Russia in war. Some in China attributed this in part to the fact that Japan had a written Constitution whereas Russia did not. Hence the growing call for a “Constitutional monarchy” in China. A key activist in this movement was Liang Qichao, ex-colleague of Kang Yuwei in the 1898 Reforms. Liang Qichao However, the Empress Dowager had no genuine desire to introduce a Constitution. In 1908 she issued an “Outline of a Constitution” which promised actual implementation nine years later! (The way in which Japan had prepared for a Constitution could be used as a pretext for this delay.) 2.Dynastic Change Cixi died in the same year, being preceded by Emperor Guagxu by one day. Cixi chose as the new Emperor a small child – Pu Yi – whilst his father Prince Chun became Regent. This all represented a weakening of the Dynasty. Pu Yi – the ‘Last Emperor’ Moreover, Prince Chun’s Government allowed the formation of Provincial Assemblies in 1909, which were only likely to help further generate hostility to the Manchus. On the other hand, Chun followed an aggressively pro-Manchu policy. 3.Revolutionaries Part of the background to the final decade of the Qing Dynasty is the growing revolutionary movement. The name inescapably associated with this is Dr. Sun Yatsen. Sun had been a fugitive from China ever since th
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