Choosing Chinas Leaders (Routledge Studies on China in Transition)

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Journalists created professional organizations, and aspired to separate news from commentary. At the Press Congress of the World conference in Honolulu in , the Chinese delegates were among the most Westernized and self-consciously professional journalists from the developing world. By the late s, however, there was a much greater emphasis on advertising and expanding circulation, and much less interest in the sort of advocacy journalism that had inspired the revolutionaries.

Song was assassinated in March Some people believe that Yuan Shikai was responsible, and although it has never been proven, he had already arranged the assassination of several pro-revolutionist generals. Animosity towards Yuan grew.

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The loan was used to finance Yuan's Beiyang Army. On May 20 [ citation needed ] Yuan concluded a deal with Russia that granted Russia special privileges in Outer Mongolia and restricted Chinese right to station troops there. Kuomintang members of the Parliament accused Yuan of abusing his rights and called for his removal.

Yuan then decided to use military action against the Kuomintang. There were several underlying reasons for the Second Revolution besides Yuan's abuse of power. First was that most Revolutionary Armies from different provinces were disbanded after the establishment of the Republic of China, and many officers and soldiers felt that they were not compensated for toppling the Qing Dynasty.

These factors gave rise to much discontent against the new government among the military. Secondly, many revolutionaries felt that Yuan Shikai and Li Yuanhong were undeserving of the posts of presidency and vice presidency, because they acquired the posts through political maneuvering rather than participation in the revolutionary movement. Lastly, Yuan's use of violence such as Song's assassination dashed the Kuomintang's hope of achieving reforms and political goals through electoral means. However, the Second Revolution did not fare well for the Kuomintang. The leading Kuomintang military force of Jiangxi was defeated by Yuan's forces on August 1 and Nanchang was taken.

On September 1, Nanjing was taken. When the rebellion was suppressed, Sun and other instigators fled to Japan. In October an intimidated parliament formally elected Yuan Shikai President of the Republic of China , and the major powers extended recognition to his government.


Duan Qirui and other trusted Beiyang generals were given prominent positions in the cabinet. To achieve international recognition, Yuan Shikai had to agree to autonomy for Outer Mongolia and Tibet. China was still to be suzerain , but it would have to allow Russia a free hand in Outer Mongolia and Tanna Tuva and Britain continuation of its influence in Tibet. Bandit leaders with popular movements instigated revolts, with the support of Sun Yat-sen 's revolutionaries from Canton. Routledge Studies On China In Transition series

These bandits were associated with the Gelaohui. In November Yuan Shikai , legally president, ordered the Kuomintang dissolved and forcefully removed its members from parliament. Because the majority of the parliament members belonged to the Kuomintang, the parliament did not meet quorum and was subsequently unable to convene. In January Yuan formally suspended the parliament.

In February he called into session a meeting to revise the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China, which was announced in May of that year. The revision greatly expanded Yuan's powers, allowing him to declare war, sign treaties and appoint officials without seeking approval from the legislature first.

Routledge Studies on China in Transition

In December he further revised the law and lengthened the term of the President to ten years, with no term limit. Essentially, Yuan was preparing for his ascendancy as the emperor. On the other hand, since the failure of the Second Revolution, Sun Yat-sen and his allies were trying to rebuild the revolutionary movement. He felt that his failures at building a consistent revolutionary movement stemmed from the lack of cohesiveness among its members.

To that end, Sun required that party members to be totally loyal to Sun and follow a series of rather harsh rules. Some of his earlier associates, including Huang Xing, balked at the idea of such authoritarian organization and refused to join Sun. However, they agreed that the republic must not revert to imperial rule.

Besides the revolutionary groups associated with Sun, there were also several other groups aimed at toppling Yuan Shikai. One was the Progressive Party, the original constitutional-monarchist party that opposed the Kuomintang during the Second Revolution. The Progressive Party switched their position largely because of Yuan's sabotage of the national parliament. Secondly, many provincial governors who had declared their independence from the Qing Imperial Court in found the idea of supporting another Imperial Court utterly ridiculous.

Yuan also alienated his Beiyang generals by centralizing tax collection from local authorities. In addition, public opinion was overwhelmingly anti-Yuan.

In the Japanese set before the government in Beijing the so-called Twenty-One Demands , aimed at securing Japanese economic controls in railway and mining operations in Shandong, Manchuria and Fujian. The Japanese also pressed to have Yuan Shikai appoint Japanese advisors to key positions in the Chinese government. The Beijing government rejected some of these demands but yielded to the Japanese insistence on keeping the Shandong territory already in its possession.

Beijing also recognized Tokyo's authority over southern Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia. Yuan's acceptance of the demands was extremely unpopular, but he continued his monarchist agenda nevertheless. This sent shock waves throughout China, causing widespread rebellion in numerous provinces. Yunnan's declaration of independence also encouraged other southern provinces to declare theirs. Yuan's Beiyang generals, who were already wary of his imperial coronation, did not put up an aggressive campaign against the National Protection Army.

On 22 March Yuan formally repudiated monarchy and stepped down as the first and last emperor of his dynasty. He died on 6 June of that year.

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Duan Qirui as his Premier. Yuan Shikai's imperial ambitions finally ended with the return of republican government. After Yuan Shikai's death, shifting alliances of regional warlords fought for control of the Beijing government. Despite the fact that various warlords gained control of the government in Beijing during the warlord era, this did not constitute a new era of control or governance, because other warlords did not acknowledge the transitory governments in this period and were a law unto themselves.

These military-dominated governments were collectively known as the Beiyang Government. The warlord era is considered by some historians to have ended in The Provisional Constitution was reinstated and the parliament convened. Since the outbreak of the war, China had remained neutral until the United States urged all neutral countries to join the Allies , as a condemnation of Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Premier Duan Qirui was particularly interested in joining the Allies as an opportunity to secure loans from Japan to build up his Anhui clique army. The two factions in the parliament engaged in ugly debates regarding the entry of China and, in May , Li Yuanhong dismissed Duan Qirui from his government.


This led provincial military governors loyal to Duan to declare independence and to call for Li Yuanhong to step down as President. Li Yuanhong summoned Zhang Xun to mediate the situation. Zhang Xun had been a general serving the Qing Court and was by this time the military governor of Anhui province.

Routledge Studies on China in Transition

He had his mind on restoring Puyi Xuantong Emperor to the imperial throne. Zhang was supplied with funds and weapons through the German legation, which was eager to keep China neutral. On 1 July , Zhang officially proclaimed the restoration of Qing dynasty and requested that Li Yuanhong give up his presidency, which Li promptly rejected. Duan Qirui led his army and defeated Zhang Xun's restoration forces in Beijing. One of Duan's airplanes bombed the Forbidden City, in what was possibly the first aerial bombardment in East Asia.

The Manchu restoration ended almost as soon as it began. During this period of confusion, Vice President Feng Guozhang, also a Beiyang general, assumed the post of Acting President of the republic and took his oath of office in Nanjing. Duan Qirui resumed his post as the Premier. The Zhili clique of Feng Guozhang and the Anhui clique of Duan Qirui emerged as the most powerful cliques following the restoration affair. Duan Qirui's triumphant return to Beijing essentially made him the most powerful leader in China.

Duan dissolved the parliament upon his return and declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on 14 August Around , Chinese workers volunteered for labor battalions after being enticed with money, some even years before war was declared. Some 10, died, including over on ships sunk by U-boats. Six southern provinces became part of Sun's Guangzhou military government and repelled Duan's attempt to destroy the Constitutional Protection Army. The Constitutional Protection War continued through Many in Sun Yat-sen's Guangzhou government felt his position as the Generalissimo was too exclusionary and promoted a cabinet system to challenge Sun's ultimate authority.

As a result, the Guangzhou government was reorganized to elect a seven-member cabinet system, known as the Governing Committee. Sun was once again sidelined by his political opponents and military strongmen. He left for Shanghai following the reorganization.

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Duan Qirui's Beijing government did not fare much better than Sun's. Some generals in Duan's Anhui Clique and others in the Zhili clique did not want to use force to unify the southern provinces.