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HIST 218 - Chapter Ten (China, 1895-1927)

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McGill University
HIST 218
Gavin Walker

Chapter Ten – China: Endings and Beginnings, 1895-1927 Key Dates 1894-1895: Sino-Japanese war 1898: 100 days of reform 1900: Boxer Rebellion 1905: Revolutionary alliance 1908: Death of Cixi 1911: Revolution 1914: beginning of warlord era 1919: May Fourth movement 1921: founding of CCP 1927: founding of Nationalist government I. Last Years of the Last Dynasty New Reformers − following defeat by Japan, reformers agitated for more radical changes − some called for constitutional monarch; others, a republic − Yan Fu: western learning needed to release Chinese energies; rejected Chinese tradition, including Confucius − Hundred Days of Reform: − Emperor Guangxu asserted authority; issued edicts aimed at reforming examination system, remodeling bureaucracy, and promoting modernization − however, edicts initiated, not necessarily implemented − Cixi moved to place Emperor Guangxu under house arrest − Cixi sent China's most advanced thinkers into exile, but did not completely react against reform − approved moderate reforms, such as military modernization, reforms in education, and monetary and fiscal systems − problems due to weakness of central government Scramble for Concessions − China's weakness against Japan prompted Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and Japan to scramble to exploit China for concessions, economic and political − US joined in Boxer Rebellion − developed in response to harsh economic conditions − fuelled by xenophobia, which in turn stemmed from expansion of railways − originally antidynastic; changed direction when supported by high Qing officials, who wanted to use movement against foreign powers − June 13, 1990: entered Beijing − June 21: court issues war against all treaty powers − ends August 15 with international relief force − harsh indemnity and other concessions − Russia uses Boxer rebellion as excuse to occupy Manchuria Winds of Change − modern sector of Chinese economy dominated by foreign capital − ex. railways − foreigners also controlled much of Chinese mining and shipping, and some of manufacturing − modern banking also foreign controlled − foreign investments concentrated in treaty ports, which led to development of first factories − emergence of bourgeoisie in treaty ports − also beginnings of urban working class − increased influence of semi-modern urban elite, composed of merchants, bankers, military, professionals, and absentee landowners − examination system abolished in 1905; aim by government to secure loyalty of graduates of new schools − end of key institution that linked government and society Stirrings of Protest and Revolution − ban of footbinding in 1902 − however, persisted in cities and rural areas − increased flurry of public protests − dissatisfaction with government linked with resentment against foreigners Eleventh-Hour Reform − abolition of examination system was just most drastic of series of reforms by Cixi − others included drive against opium − failed to inspire change in officials − many measure taken to save the Qing ended up undermining it − education reforms allowed many students to travel outside of China, particularly to Japan − exposure to Western influence, history, and ideas; particularly Social Darwinism − students became increasingly restive and revolutionary − 1908: announced nine-year plan for constitutional reform, beginning with provincial assemblies in 1909 − became centre of opposition rather than popular support − military reforms also failed; soldiers either influenced by new subversive ideas, or were more loyal to their commanders than to the throne − government failed to emerge as plausible focus for nationalism Revolution of 1911 − modernization program also handicapped by Qing financial weakness − prelude to revolt: nationalization of railways − angered provincial elites, who had to sell shares at poor prices − angered nationalists, as government only financed nationalization by accepting foreign loans − sparked by mutiny of New Army regiment − following, province after province broke with dynasty − some turned to Yuan Shikai, military general, patronized by the late Cixi − others turned to Sun Yat-sen − Manchu child-emperor formally abdicated February 2, 1912 II. From Yuan Shikai to Chiang Kai-shek Yuan Shikai − Sun stepped aside; Yuan accepted presidency with two-chambered legislature − little restrained Yuan from becoming dictator − elections held in 1913: Guomindang became largest party − Yuan did not want to share power; assassinated author of constitution and leader of GMD Song Jiaoren − dismissed pro-Nationalist southern military governors − sought to continue late Qing program of centralization − struggled against reformist provincialism and revolutionary nationalism − 1915: Japan presents China with twenty-one demands − Yuan avoided most onerous demands, which would have reduced China to Japanese satellite − still forced to cede many political, economic, and territorial rights to japan − led to another wave
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