Semi-Colonial and Semi-Feudal Society; the Old Democratic Revolution

The Opium War

The Opium War (1840-42) marks a significant turning point in China ‘s history and ushered in the era of semi-colonial and semi-feudal society in China . Before the war, China had been an independent feudal country with the Qing court exercising full sovereign rights without outside interference. After the Qing rulers submitted to the British on August 29, 1842 by signing the unequal Treaty of Nanking, China turned step by step into a semicolonial and semifeudal country dominated with the help of the Qing regime–by foreign power.

The era of semicolonial and semifeudal society in China’s history includes two periods: the old democratic revolution from 1840 to the May 4th Movement in 1919 during which the Republic of China was founded after the fall of the Qing Dynasty; and the new-democratic revolution after the May 4th Movement led by the Chinese Communist Party.

To protect her lucrative opium trade, England had been preparing for war against China for some time before 1840. The Qing regime had become concerned about the social problems created by the importing of large quantities of opium and the rapid drain of silver from China . In 1838 Emperor Dao Guang appointed a strong advocate of opium prohibition, Lin Zexu, Governor-General of Hunan and Hubei provinces, as imperial commissioner in charge of banning the drug. Lin Zexu took firm action the next year when, on his arrival in Guangzhou in March, he arrested the opium dealers, punished officials who accepted bribes and ordered foreign merchants to hand over their opium. Foreign traders were also required to sign a bond guaranteeing they would never again bring opium into China . Charles Elliot, British Superintendant of Trade in China, did what he could to undermine the ban, including trying to prevent the British merchants from surren-dering opium and signing the bond, and ordered foreign vessels anchored off the estuary of the Zhujiang River (Pearl River) to flee. He then prepared for battle. Countering Elliot, Liu Zexu ordered a halt to Sino-British trade and sent troops to keep under surveillance the foreign community where British merchants stayed. These actions compelled Elliot to order British merchants to surrender more than 20,000 chests of opium. Under the direction of Lin Zexu, from June 3 to 25 this lot of opium was burned in public announced the restoration of normal on the Humen beach. Then Lin trade–with the provision that opium be strictly forbidden between China and Britain . Meanwhile, Elliot continued to try to undermine Lin Zexu’s policy while urging the British government to launch a war in retaliation. In April 1840 the British Parliament formally passed a resolution to start a war against China and in June, a British fleet carrying 4,000 soldiers reached the seacoast of Guangdong .

Lin Zexu repaired and strengthened the fortifications at Humen and added more cannon. He also directed officers and men in training, recruited others among the boat dwellers and fishermen to form a marine force of “water braves” and generally intensified defence preparations. Having blockaded the Zhujiang River , the main British forces sailed north. They captured Dinghai of Zhejiang Province. In August the British fleet reached the port of Tianjin and threatened Beijing . At this point, Chief Grand Councillor Muchanga, who had opposed the opium ban in the first place, took the opportunity to attack Lin Zexu and advocate compromise with the British. Qishan, Governor-General of Zhili (present Hebei ) Province, told the British invaders that if they withdrew to Guangdong , all outstanding issues would be settled to their satisfaction. The British agreed to negotiate at Guangdong . Emperor Dao Guang then appointed Qishan imperial envoy and sent him to Guangzhou to conduct negotiations. Lin Zexu was ordered dismissed and put under investigation.

On arrival at Guangzhou, Qishan dismantled the coastal defences and disbanded those armed men Lin Zexu had organized to resist the British. In January 1841, while negotiations were going on, British forces suddenly attacked and captured the fortress outside Humen. Qishan then agreed to the draft convention of Chuanbi which required China to cede Hong Kong to the British and pay indemnities for the destroyed opium. Then British forces outrageously occupied Hong Kong , a part of China ‘s territory.

However, Emperor Dao Guang considered those terms both excessive and damaging to the ruling position of the Qing court. He dismissed Qishan and declared war on Britain , sending Yishan, a member of the royal house who represented the most corrupt forces of feudal rule, to Guangzhou to direct military operations. But before his arrival, the British attacked the Humen fortress defended by Admiral Guang Tianpei and 400 greatly outnumbered men.

Qishan refused to send reinforcements, and after a brave fight, all officers and men in the fortress were killed by the British. Arriving at Guangzhou , Yishan failed to prepare for defence, but instead slandered the Guangdong people as “traitors”. In May, when the British threatened Guangzhou , Yishan sued for peace and concluded the Convention of Guangzhou with the enemy, agreeing to pay an indemnity of six million silver dollars.

The Chinese people, meanwhile, were outraged by the actions of the British troops and the capitulation of the Qing officials. On May 29, they struck back on their own when the people in Sanyuanli outside the city of Guangzhou killed several British soldiers who had come there to plunder. Then the villagers organized, joining with people from neighbouring villages in a common fight against the British. Taking a three-star flag as their standard, they pledged “to advance as it advanced and retreat as it retreated, with no fear of death”. On May30, a force of 1,000 British soldiers invading Sanyuanli were greeted by peasants from 103 villages armed with the raised three-star flag, swords, spears, hoes and spades. The villagers surrounded the British in circles and in hand-to-hand combat killed and wounded many of the enemy. This was the earliest known spontaneous struggle by the Chinese people against foreign aggression in modern history.

In April 1841, the British government received a report on the draft convention of Chuanbi and, not satisfied with its provisions, decided to expand its invasion of China . In August British forces captured Xiamen ( Amoy ) of Fujian Province and in October Dinghai, Zhenhai and Ningbo of Zhejiang. Everywhere they went, Chinese soldiers and civilians resisted. The peasants of eastern Zhejiang Province voluntarily organized themselves for struggle against the enemy. They used small boats in an effective campaign to attack and harass the British at night. About the same time, the British attacked Taiwan of Fujian Province twice. Chinese soldiers and civilians there sank enemy ships and captured 183 invaders.

With the loss of three cities in Zhejiang Province , Emperor Dao Guang decided again to take military action. This time he sent Yijing of the royal house to Zhejiang to direct the war. Like Yishan, Yijing also represented that most corrupt forces of fedual rule. In March 1842, he foolishly started attacks by dividing his forces into three routes in an attempt to recover Dinghai, Zhenhai and Ningbo at one strike. His serious defeats discouraged him from fighting again.

In June, Admiral Chen Huacheng and the garrison troops resisted gallantly as the British attacked Wusong on the estuary of the Changjiang River . They managed to shell and damage some enemy ships but finally the whole garrison died heroically.

After occupying Shanghai the British advanced to Zhenjiang of Jiangsu Province, where 2,400 Chinese officers and men fought street battles with the enemy, killing and wounding some 180. In August British warships arrived at the Changjiang River off Nanjing (Nanking). The Opium War then came to an end when the Qing rulers submitted to the invaders.

Despite the courageous resistance of the people and the patriotic officers and men, the war ended with defeat for China because of the Qing court’s domestic policy of hostility to the people and its foreign policy of compromise with and capitulation to the invaders.

On August 29, 1842 the representatives of the Qing court signed the humiliating Treaty of Nanking with England on a British warship off Nanjing . The treaty provided for the cession of Hong Kong, opening of five trading ports Guangzhou (Canton), Xiamen (Amoy), Fuzhou (Foochow), Ningbo (Ningpo) and Shanghai where British consulates could be set up; indemnity of twenty-one million silver dollars; and tariff on export and import customs and other dues on British goods to be fixed by mutual agreement. In the following year, Britain forced the Qing government to sign the General Regulations under which British trade is to be conducted at the five ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai and the Supplementary Treaty of Hoomun Chai (The Bogue) as supplements to the Treaty of Nanking, giving Britain the privileges of consular jurisdiction and a unilateral most-favoured-nation treatment in China.

The first unequal treaty in modem Chinese history, the Treaty of Nanking was followed up by other treaties like it with other capitalist nations. The United States , a helping partner to Britain during the Opium War, had sent supporting naval units to China ‘s coastal waters, and in 1844 the United States , backed by arms, forced the Qing court to conclude the Treaty of Wanghea. In the same year the Qing court signed the Treaty of Whampoa with France . The United States and France both gained all the privileges of the Treaty of Nanking and its supplementary regulations, except the acquisition of territory and indemnities.

With these unequal treaties which infringed on her sovereignty and territorial integrity, China began to lose her political independence. Besides representing the interests of the landlord class, the Qing court now gradually also became the instrument of the foreign bourgeoisie in ruling over the Chinese people. Economically, China had been a feudal country with self-sufficient small farming combined with do-mestic handicrafts. After the Opium War, this economy gradually disintegrated with the penetration of foreign capital as the country was swept into the capitalist world market.

Class struggle changed with these fundamental political and economic changes in society. Besides the contradiction between feudalism and the masses of people, now there was the contradiction between foreign capitalism and the Chinese nation, and this became the most important of all contradictions. From the time of the Opium War on, the Chinese people shouldered the double task of opposing domestic feudalism and foreign capitalism.

The Taiping Peasant War

With the loss of three cities in Zhejiang Province, Emperor Dao Guang decided again to take military action. This time he sent Yijing of the royal house to Zhejiang to direct the war. Like Yishan, Yijing also represented that most corrupt forces of fedual rule. In March 1842, he foolishly started attacks by dividing his forces into three routes in an attempt to recover Dinghai, Zhenhai and Ningbo at one strike. His serious defeats discouraged him from fighting again.

In June, Admiral Chen Huacheng and the garrison troops resisted gallantly as the British attacked Wusong on the estuary of the Changjiang River. They managed to shell and damage some enemy ships but finally the whole garrison died heroically.

After occupying Shanghai the British advanced to Zhenjiang of Jiangsu Province, where 2,400 Chinese officers and men fought street battles with the enemy, killing and wounding some 180. In August British warships arrived at the Changjiang River off Nanjing (Nanking). The Opium War then came to an end when the Qing rulers submitted to the invaders.

Despite the courageous resistance of the people and the patriotic officers and men, the war ended with defeat for China because of the Qing court’s domestic policy of hostility to the people and its foreign policy of compromise with and capitulation to the invaders.

On August 29, 1842 the representatives of the Qing court signed the humiliating Treaty of Nanking with England on a British warship off Nanjing . The treaty provided for the cession of Hong Kong, opening of five trading ports Guangzhou (Canton), Xiamen (Amoy), Fuzhou (Foochow), Ningbo (Ningpo) and Shanghai where British consulates could be set up; indemnity of twenty-one million silver dollars; and tariff on export and import customs and other dues on British goods to be fixed by mutual agreement. In the following year, Britain forced the Qing government to sign the General Regulations under which British trade is to be conducted at the five ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai and the Supplementary Treaty of Hoomun Chai (The Bogue) as supplements to the Treaty of Nanking, giving Britain the privileges of consular jurisdiction and a unilateral most-favoured-nation treatment in China.

The first unequal treaty in modem Chinese history, the Treaty of Nanking was followed up by other treaties like it with other capitalist nations. The United States, a helping partner to Britain during the Opium War, had sent supporting naval units to China’s coastal waters, and in 1844 the United States, backed by arms, forced the Qing court to conclude the Treaty of Wanghea. In the same year the Qing court signed the Treaty of Whampoa with France . The United States and France both gained all the privileges of the Treaty of Nanking and its supplementary regulations, except the acquisition of territory and indemnities.

With these unequal treaties which infringed on her sovereignty and territorial integrity, China began to lose her political independence. Besides representing the interests of the landlord class, the Qing court now gradually also became the instrument of the foreign bourgeoisie in ruling over the Chinese people. Economically, China had been a feudal country with self-sufficient small farming combined with do-mestic handicrafts. After the Opium War, this economy gradually disintegrated with the penetration of foreign capital as the country was swept into the capitalist world market.

Class struggle changed with these fundamental political and economic changes in society. Besides the contradiction between feudalism and the masses of people, now there was the contradiction between foreign capitalism and the Chinese nation, and this became the most important of all contradictions. From the time of the Opium War on, the Chinese people shouldered the double task of opposing domestic feudalism and foreign capitalism.

In the aftermath of the Opium War treaties favouring the foreign powers, Chinese handicraft production dwindled in the coastal trade ports and nearby areas with the influx of cotton textiles and other industrial goods from Britain and other Western capitalist countries. At the same time, opium addiction became even more widespread50, 000 chests by 1850 under the rampant British opium smuggling which also aggravated the silver drain from China as reflected in the saying, “silver is dear, and copper cash cheap”.

These burdens were made even heavier by the Qing govern-ment’s increasing taxes on the peasants to pay for war expenses and indemnities. The landlords, too, took their toll on the people by inten-sifying land annexation so that in Jintian Village , Guiping County , Guangxi Province , landlords owned 88.3 per cent of the land, peasants only 11.7 per cent. On top of this, working people faced starvation under a famine that continued several years during this period. The people rebelled. In the decade after the Opium War over one hundred uprisings were staged by various ethnic groups: Han, Miao, Hui, Yao , Zhuang, Yi and Tibetan. By 1851 the people’s rebellion had grown into a full revolutionary movement known as the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom led by Hong Xiuquan.

Hong Xiuquan (1814-64) was a rural intellectual, a school teacher born into a peasant family in Huaxian County , Guangdong Province, who sympathized early on with the plight of the people. Having several times failed the official examination given in Guangzhou for xiucai (a low degree in the imperial examination sys-tem), he increasingly became aroused by the misery of the people and the country’s defeat in the Opium War. He began to join in the upsurge of popular struggle for challenging the authority of the local feudal forces by smashing the ancestral tablets of Confucius set up for wor-ship in schools. Hong Xiuquan had been particularly inspired by a book he had come across in 1843, Good Words for Exhorting the Age, which propagated Christianity but to which Hong Xiuquan gave his own interpretation. Through his reading of the book, Hong Xiuquan claimed to have received a “mandate of Heaven” from God to come to earth to save mankind. Advising people to worship only God, not the”demons”, he began to organize followers behind the Bai Shang Di Hui (Society for the Worship of God), the earliest of whom were his schoolmate, Feng Yunshan, and his cousin, Hong Rengan.

In 1844, Hong Xiuquan and Feng Yunshan left their home village to conduct propaganda and organize in Guangxi. Later, Hong returned to Huaxian County where he wrote Doctrines on Salvation, Doctrines on Awakening the World, Doctrines on Arousing the World and other articles to demand equality and oppose oppression. He said: “All men under Heaven are brothers and all women are sisters.” Hong Xiuquan urged people to fight against the feudal emperor, officials, landlords and all such “demons” and to fight for making “the world one family to enjoy peace in common”. About the same time, Feng Yunshan set up the Bai Shang Di Hui in Zijingshan District, Guiping County , Guangxi Province, taking in more than 2,000 members including poor peasants and handicraftsmen of the Han, Zhuang, and Yao ethnic groups. In 1847 Hong Xiuquan returned to Zijingshan to join Feng Yunshan and develop the Bai Shang Di Hui’s struggle against local feudal forces. The movement’s core centred on Hong Xiuquan as leader and Feng Yunshan, Yang Xiuqing, Xiao Chaogui,-Wei Changhui and Shi Dakai as members.

In 1850, the year Empreor Xian Feng succeeded Dao Guang, the struggle of the Bai Shang Di Hui against the landlord forces became more intense. In the midst of a great famine, Guangxi Province was shaken by peasant rebellions and the time was ripe for the Bai Shang Di Hui to stage an uprising. On January 11, 1851 Hong Xiuquan led the Bai Shang Di Hui in an insurrection in Jintian Village . He organ-ized the Taiping Army, called his organization the Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping and named himself Heavenly King. In September the Taiping Army captured Yong’anzhou (present Mengshan County , Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region). Hong then further established military and political systems and gave titles to several leaders: Yang Xiuqing, Eastern Prince; Xiao Chaogui, Western Prince; Feng Yun-shan, Southern Prince; Wei Changhui, Northern Prince; and Shi Dakai, Prince Wing. The Eastern Prince was placed in charge of all the other princes.

The Qing government reacted by sending large forces to encircle the city of Yong’an . In April 1852, the Taiping Army broke through and advanced northward. Feng Yunshan, the Southern Prince, and Xiao Chaogui, the Western Prince, died heroically in the course of march and battles across Guangxi , Hunan and Hubei . Along the way, the Taiping Army killed or drove away Qing officials, local gentry and landlords, burned title deeds and loan papers and distributed grain, money and goods to the impoverished peasants who enthusiastically received the army, many joining its forces.

In January 1853 the Taiping Army captured Wuchang, capital of Hubei Province , evacuated it the following month and advanced east’ ward along the Changjiang River . The Qing forces collapsed without putting up a fight. A month later the Taiping Army captured Nanjing , renamed it Tianjing (the Heavenly Capital), made it the capital of a formally established revolutionary force of peasants in opposition to the feudal power of the Qing Dynasty.

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom proclaimed the Heavenly Land System, which stated: “All the land under Heaven should be cultivated by all the people under Heaven.” The system called for land to be divided into nine grades depending on yields to be distributed evenly regardless of sex. A share was given to those above the age of sixteen and half a share to those up to fifteen. Twenty-five households were to compose a basic unit, and a system of village officials was to be set up for primary state power. The income from farm and side-occupations of each family, besides the part for consumption, was to be turned over to the “state treasury” to pay extra expenses of the family such as weddings or funerals according to a grade system. By practising this system, the Heavenly Kingdom hoped to establish an ideal society in which “land, food, clothing and money should all be shared equally, and all under Heaven should be well fed and clad”.

The Heavenly Land System was significant in that it greatly ex-panded the idea of equalizing rich and poor and land-owning which the peasant wars had put forward in the past. It also reflected the peas-ants’ urgent demand to abolish feudal landownership. However, the measures were not practical. To abolish private ownership and create equality on the basis of small production was only an illusion. The Heavenly Land System, as an ideal, could not be realized and was not realized. But conditions within the territory controlled by the Taipings did improve as the peasants who had worked for landlords who had fled or were killed no longer paid rent. And the few landlords still left lost their influence, so that many tenant peasants either refused to pay rent or paid less.

Another important aspect of the Heavenly Kingdom was its policy of respecting women. The Heavenly Land System provided that women be given land the same as men and that “under Heaven marriage should have nothing to do with property”. Orders were issued to prohibit prostitution and the buying and selling of slave girls. A women’s army was formed and women officials were appointed, and women took part in social productive labour and enjoyed the right to take official examinations.

In foreign relations, the Heavenly Kingdom opposed unequal treaties and foreign aggression and strictly prohibited the importing of opium. Between April 1853 and June 1854, ministers sent by Britain , France and the United States to Tianjing failed in their efforts to get the Taipings to recognize the unequal treaties.

In May 1853, the Heavenly Kingdom sent an army commanded by Lin Fengxiang and Li Kaifang on a northem expedition. Given support by peasants along the way, it swept across Jiangsu , Anhui , Henan and Shanxi provinces and into Zhili, and by October threatened Tianjin . But troops sent by Emperor Xian Feng succeeded in blocking the Taipings’ advance, and since they lacked grain and winter clothing, they had to withdraw to Shandong . After another year of courageous fighting, lack of grain and reinforcements caused the northern expedition to fail in 1855.

At the same time the northern expedition began in 1853, a western expedition was started to safeguard the capital Tianjing. The troops marched along the Changjiang River up to Hankou and Hanyang of Hubei Province . When they came to Hunan Province , they were strongly opposed by the ” Hunan army” organized by the Qing official Zeng Guofan with the Hunan landlords as the core.

After suffering setbacks the Taipings withdrew from Hunan and Hubei . In early 1855, with reinforcements under Shi Dakai, Prince Wing, the western expeditionary army scored a great victory over the than forty of its gunboats. After three of struggles the Taipings won another important victory in early 1856, putting eastern Hubei and most parts of Jiangxi and Anhui under their control.

Soon after the Taipings established their capital at Tianjin the Qing forces set up the Great Southern Camp outside the city gates of the Heavenly Capital and the Great Northern Camp in the vicinity of Yangzhou . In early 1856 the Taipings removed the threat to the capital by crushing these two camps. At this point the Heavenly Kingdom reached the height of its military power.

AntiQing revolts by many ethnic groups spread in the wake of the Taipings’ revolutionary victory. The principal ones were: the Tian Di Hui (Heaven and Earth Society) and its branches south of the Changjiang basin and along the southeastern seacoast; the Nians in North China and the ethnic minorities in the Southwest; the Xiao Dao Hui (Small Sword Society) of Shanghai; and those under the Tian Di Hui organization led by Chen Kai and Li Wenmao of Foshan, Guangdong Province. In September 1853 the Small Sword Society led by Liu Lichuan occupied the Shanghai county seat and nearby counties. But in February 1855 this group was defeated under the joint attack by the Qing and the invading BritishFrench forces. The rebels under Chen Kai and others who rose at Foshan in 1854 laid seige to Guangzhou and in the following year went into Guangxi where, in Xunzhou (present Guiping County, Guangxi), they set up the Da Cheng Kingdom. In 1861 they also failed.

The Nians, composed mainly of bankrupt peasants and drifters, were active in Anhui , Henan , southwestern Shandong and northern Jiangsu . First a few dozens then hundreds formed the Nian forces which started an insurrection after people were left destitute following a Huanghe River flood in the area in 1851. The movement grew under the impact of the Taipings’ northern expedition in 1853. In 1855 Nians from different routes met at Zhiheji, Mengcheng (present Woyang County ), Anhui Province , and elected Zhang Luoxing to head the allied forces under the regime of “Da Hart” (Great Han). This became the main force in the antiQing struggle in North China . After the failure of the Heavenly Kingdom , the Nians and the remaining Taipings continued together to fight Qing rule in eitht provinces until1868.

In the Southwest, the Miao people led by the farmhand Zhang Xiumei staged an uprising in Guizhou Province in 1855. People of various ethnic groups Han, Bouyei, Dong and Shui joined the re- volt. In 1856 the Yi people of the Ailao Mountains , Yunnan Province , led by the Yi farm-hand Li Wenxue and the Han labourer Wang Taijie, rebelled and established political power. Joining the ranks were people of the Han, Hui, Miao, Lisu, Dai, Bai, Hani and other ethnic groups. In the same year the Hui people in Yunnan led by Du Wenxiu revolted, capturing Dali and establishing a government. People of several ethnic groups Han, Bai, Yi, Dai and Jingpo–joined this army. All of these various troops, fighting either singly or jointly, repeatedly defeated the Qing forces. Some persisted in fighting until 1876.

Though not a united movement, these anti-Qing rebellions encouraged and supported one another. With the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom as the centre, they did form a great revolutionary upsurge.

The Second Opium War; Russia’s Occupation of Chinese Territory

At the height of the Taiping revolutionary movement, Britain and France, with the support of Russia and the United States , launched a new war of aggression against China. Taking advantage of China ‘s civil war, they tried to force the Qing government to agree to complete revision of the treaties to extend the privileges obtained from the Opium War of 1840. This new war was, therefore, a continuation of the first Opium War, and so was called the Second Opium War.

On October 8,1856 the Chiense navy captured some pirates from a Chiense vessel, the lorcha Arrow, off Guangzhou . To start provoca-tions, the British claimed the ship as one of theirs, saying that Chinese soldiers had insulted the British flag flown on the vessel. On the 23rd British warships attacked Guangzhou and on the 29th British troops entered the city, followed by wild looting. The local people and sol-diers rose to resist the invaders who withdrew because of inadequate strength.

After the Arrow incident, Britain decided to enlarge its war of aggression and asked France , the United States and Russia also to send troops. Using the killing of a French Catholic priest in Guangxi as an excuse, France joined Britain . Russia and the United States gave active support. Thus a united front of Britain , France , the United States and Russia was formed in a war of aggression against China .

In December 1857 some 5,000 Anglo-French forces attacked Guangzhou . Since the Qing government was then fully engaged in suppressing the Taiping Revolution, it offered practically no resistance and Guangzhou quickly fell.

In this grave situation, the people of Guangdong began a vigorous struggle. Once again the residents of Sanyuanli and other villagers took up arms against the invaders. In Hong Kong over 20,000 workers staged strikes, bringing the business there to a standstill.

After the capture of Guangzhou , the Anglo-French forces, leaving a small force to guard the city, sailed north. In April 1858 they reached the sea off Dagu. The ministers of Russia and the United States also arrived, ostensibly to act as “mediators” but actually as advisors to the British and French. In May the Anglo-French forces took Dagu fort, approached Tianjin , and threatened they would advan-ce to Beijing . The corrupt Qing court sent negotiators to Tianjin to sue for peace. On June 26 and 27 the treaties of Tientsin were concluded with Britain and France . In November Britain and France forced the Qing government to sign the agreement containing rules of trade. These unequal treaties established residence for foreign ministers in Bei-jing and opened additional trade ports: Niuzhuang (later Yingkou), Dengzhou (later Yantai), Taiwan ( Tainan ), Danshui, Chaozhou (later Shantou ), Qiongzhou, Hankou, Jiujiang, Nanjing and Zhenjiang . They also allowed foreign warships and vessels to freely navigate to the ports on the Changjiang River and foreigners to travel, trade and carry on missionary activities in China ‘s inland. They provided for legaliza-tion of the opium trade; China ‘s Customs tariff to be fixed with the assistance of foreigners; import and export duties set at 5 per cent ad valorem and the transit tax of foreign goods to the inland at 2.5 per cent. Four million taels of silver were to be paid to Britain and two million to France as indemnity.

Before the conclusion of the Sino-British and Sino-French treaties at Tianjin , Russia and the United States had persuaded the Qing government to sign SinoRussian and Sino-American treaties at Tianjin by which they obtained many privileges. The treafy with Russia specially provided that the two countries appoint men to study the “uncharted” border. In doing this Russia hoped to occupy more Chinese territory.

Russia had always aspired after China ‘s territory, and since the Opium War she had stepped up her armed aggression against China ‘s Heilongjiang basin. At the end of May, 1858, two weeks before the conclusion of the SinoRussian Treaty of Tientsin, N. Muraviev-Amursky, Russian Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, taking advantage of the Anglo-French attack on Tianjin, forced Yishan, Chinese general in Heilongjiang, to sign the unequal Treaty of Aigun, through which Russia carved off over 600,000 square kilometres of China’s territory south of the Outer Hinggan Range and north of the Heilongjiang River, and which designated about 400,000 square kilometres of China’s territory from the eastern side of the Wusuli River to the sea as being under “Sino-Russian joint control”. According to Engels, Russia deprived ” China of a country as large as France and Germany put together, and of a river as large as the Danube “.

The treaties of Tientsin still did not satisfy the Anglo-French aggressors. In June 1859, under the pretext of exchanging ratifications of the treaties, the British and French ministers came to Dagu on warships. The Qing government notified them to land at Beitang on their way to Beijing . The notice was ignored. Their warships with the warships of the United States giving support bombarded the Dagu fortress. The Chinese garrison returned the fire, sinking and damaging many enemy ships and inflicting some 500 casualties. The Anglo-French invaders fled.

Threatening a large-scale retaliation, Britain and France sent a joint force of 16,000 men to Dagu in July 1860. The Russian minister followed and supplied the British and French with the intelligence that Beitang could be attacked as it was not on the alert. In August the invading forces landed at Beitang and occupied Dagu and Tianjin . In the following month they continued their advance to threaten Beijing . Emperor Xian Feng fled to Rehe (present Chengde , Hebei ) with a group of officials, leaving his brother Yixin (Prince Gong) in Beijing to negotiate peace. On the eve of the Anglo-French attack on Beijing , the Russian minister contributed a map of Beijing which the Russian legation had drawn from secret surveillance, showing the weak points in the city’s defence. With this information the Anglo-French forces in October entered the Andingmen gate and controlled the city. Along their way the invaders looted, burned and killed. After a wanton looting of the Yuan Ming Yuan Summer Palace, a magnificent palace combining Western and Chinese architectural art rarely seen in the world, housing many valuable artistic and cultural .objects, they set this palace on fire and reduced it to ruins, inflicting inestimable loss on China ‘s cultural achievement. Charles George Gordon who led the expedition admitted his troops had committed the outrage by “destroying in a vandallike manner most valuable property”.

Submitting in late October, the Qing government exchanged rati-fications of the treaties of Tientsin and signed the unequal treaty, Convention of Peking . Through these treaties, Tianjin became a trade port and Chinese labourers were “allowed to go abroad”, which in fact legalized trafficking in Chinese labourers; a portion of Kowloon was ceded to Britain ; French missionaries were permitted “to buy or rent land and to construct as they wish”, and the war indemnity to be paid to Britain and France prescribed in the treaties of Tientsin was in-creased to eight million taels of silver each.

In November 1860 Russia , again taking advantage of the Anglo-French attack and occupation of Beijing , by claiming that it had been a successful “mediator” and warning that war might again come, forced the Qing government to sign the Sino-Russian Additional Treaty of Peking. Besides reaffu-ming the Treaty of Aigun, the new treaty gave Russia about 400,000 square kilometres of China ‘s territo-ry east of the Wusuli River and many other privileges.

Through the Sino-Russian Additional Treaty of Peking and the later Sino-Russian Protocol of Chuguchak (which Russia forced the Qing government to sign in October 1864), Russia also seized 440,000 square kilometres of China’s territory east and south of Lake Balk-hash.

The amount of Chinese territory seized by foreign aggressors through the Second Opium War was unprecedented. They grabbed more and more rights and interests and stepped up political and economic control over China . Through their envoys stationed in Beijing, the capitalist countries were able to pressure the Qing govern-ment and dominate its internal and external affairs. The opening of more trade ports extending from the southeast coast to seven coastal provinces and the middle reaches of the Changjiang River furthered capitalist economic penetration. Foreign administration of Chinese Customs also tightened foreign control of the Qing court.

After the Second Opium War, domestic and foreign reactionary forces began to work in collusion as the pace of China ‘s being turned into a colony quickened. In January 1861 the Qing government set up the Zongli Yamen under Prince Gong to deal with foreign affairs. It became an agency through which the Qing government betrayed the country by allowing foreign aggressors to carry out many-sided con-trol over the Qing court. No sooner had the Zongli Yamen been estab-lished than a British citizen was appointed Inspector-General of Cus-toms with full power of customs administration, including appoint-ment of its personnel. As March went by, Britain , France and Russia set up their missions in Beijing . From then on their diplomats fostered Prince Gong and other Qing officials as their agents.

In August 1861 Emperor Xian Feng died of illness in Rehe and was succeeded by his son, Zai Chun, who was still under age and whose mother, Nala, was honoured with the name Empress Dowager Ci Xi. But power fell into the hands of Zai Yuan, Prince Yi; Duan Hua, Prince Zheng; and Su Shun, Minister of the Board of Revenue. Em- press Dowager Ci Xi then collaborated with Prince Gong, who had the support of the foreign aggressors, to plan a coup d’etat. In November she returned to Beijing from Rehe and took charge of state affairs”behind the screen”. She had Zai Yuan, Duan Hua and Su Shun exe-cuted, made Prince Gong the Prince Regent and put him in charge of the Privy Council, and changed the name of the reign “Qi Xiang” which had been proposed by Zai Yuan and others into “Tong Zhi”(joint reign), meaning that the Dowager and the Emperor ruled to-gether. The foreign envoys were pleased with the rise to power of Ci Xi and Prince Gong. E W. A. Bruce, British minister to China, report-ed to his government, stating that in the previous 12 months a faction which favoured and believed in the possibility of having friendly in-tercourse with foreign countries had been formed. It was an extraordi-nary success to have effectively helped these people to come to power. He went on to say that in Beijing , satisfactory relations had been es-tablished and to a certain extent he had become a Qing government advisor.

In other words, Qing rule and the foreign powers became col-laborators. And one area in which the Qing rulers found their foreign advisors more than willing to help was in supplying arms and troops to suppress the Taiping Revolution, a movement which blocked the British, French, Russians and Americans from enjoying their full privileges under the treaties of Tientsin and the Convention of Peking.

The Later Period of the Taiping Peasant War

After the establishment of the capital at Tianjing, Weaknesses began to surface in the revolutionary ranks. In the first place, a com-plicated feudal system of rank and grade from the Heavenly King on down to the ordinary soldier began to corrode the Taipings’ original simple idea of equality. Ceremonial rules became strict and insur-mountable. Some leaders began to indulge in luxury and extravagance. Factionalism developed within the leading cliques. And some land-lords and merchants a few secret agents but mostly opportunists–managed to infiltrate the revolutionary ranks, trying to create contradic-tions and waiting for an opportunity to sabotage the revolution with the ideas and practices of the exploiting class.

In September 1856, at the height of its military success, the leading core of the Taipings openly split.

Yang Xiuqing, the Eastern Prince, had been of great service in the establishment of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom . But as the revo-lution progressed, he became arrogant. In August 1856 he demanded that Hong Xiuquan give him the title of “Wan Sui” (His Majesty). Hong Xiuquan put him off and secretly ordered Wei Changhui, the Northern Prince, to return to the capital with troops to deal with Yang Xiuqing. Wei responded by not only killing Yang Xiuqing but also his whole family and all of his followers, over 20,000 people in all. Wei’s arbitrary exercise of power created a reign of terror in Tianjing. Shi Dakai, Prince Wing, returned to the capital to denounce Wei for his massacre, which only led to Wei’s wanting to kill Shi. Shi escaped to Anqing , Anhui Province, to prepare to lead troops against Wei. But, meanwhile, officers and soldiers in Tianjing took matters into their own hands and killed Wei. Hong Xiuquan then called Shi Dakai back to the capital to administer state affairs but also appointed two of his own brothers to share the same post to watch him. In June 1857, Shi Dakai, sensing that Hong did not trust him, left Tianjing with his crack troops to fight alone. In 1863 he was surrounded by the Qing troops at the Dadu River in Sichuan , and he and his entire army were destroyed.

Wei Changhui’s violence and Shi Dakai’s departure gravely weakened the strength of the Taipings and became the turning point from the rise to the decline of the revolution. As a serious crisis appeared in the Heavenly Kingdom, the Qing forces launched counterattacks, occupying many places on the middle and lower reaches of the Changjiang River, rebuilding the Great Northern Camp and the Great Southern Camp which had been destroyed by the Taipings before and laying siege to Tianjin. In his efforts to avert the crisis, Hong Xiuquan promoted young commanders such as Chen Yucheng and Li Xiucheng to responsible positions in military affairs. In September1858, Chen Yucheng and Li Xiucheng, joined by the Taiping forces from different routes, crushed the Qing’s Great Northern Camp. In November they annihilated 6,000 crack troops of the Hunan army at Sanhe Town, Shucheng, Anhui Province, and forced the Qing troops, who were besieging Anqing, to flee. These victories stabilized the war situation on the Changjiang River upstream from Tianjing.

In April 1859 Hong Rengan, Hong Xiuquan’s cousin, came to Tianjing. He had lived in Hong Kong many years, where he had some contact with the conditions of Western capitalist countries. Given the title of Prince Gan, he was placed in charge of the kingdom’s state affairs. A little latr Hong Xiuquan gave the titles of Prince Ying to Chen Yucheng and Prince Zhong to Li Xiucheng. Hong Rengan wrote New Guide to Government, advocating political reform by following the example of the Western countries in building railways and establishing post offices, factories, mines, banks, etc. Hong Xiuquan approved these proposals, but as the conditions for their realization did not exist, they could not be carried out.

In March 1860, Li Xiucheng was sent to Hangzhou to spring a surprise attack to distract the attention of the enemy’s forces at the Great Southern Camp. Then his troops returned from Hangzhou and joined Chen Yucheng to attack the Great Southern Camp, crushing it in May and raising the siege of Tianjing. Following this victory, the Taipings advanced eastward and by the end of 1861 occupied virtually the whole of Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu .

While the Taipings marched to the southeast, Zeng Guofan’s Hunan army besieged Anqing. To lift the siege, Tianjing decided to send Chen Yucheng and Li Xiucheng by two routes to attack Wuchang in order to prevent the Hunan army from sending reinforcements. Chen Yucheng, leading the northern route troops from Anhui, approached Wuchang in March 1861. Li Xiucheng, leading the southern route troops, wasted so much time recruiting soldiers along the way that he failed to meet up with Cheng Yucheng in time, upsetting the whole plan. Since Anqing was in danger Cheng Yucheng first returned to rescue it, but failed when Anqing fell in September and Tianjing lost its protective screen. Withdrawing to Luzhou (present Hefei, Anhui) to prepare a counterattack, Chen Yucheng was captured by the Qing troops. He died in 1862, a still defiant hero at the age of 26.

The Qing court and foreign aggressors had collaborated from 1860 on to suppress the Taiping Revolution. The American adventurer Frederick T. Ward, conspiring with the Qing officials and their agents in Shanghai, recruited foreign mercenaries and organized them into a “Foreign Rifle Detachment” . Britain and France also sent troops to join the Qing campaign, while Russia supplied the Qing government with 10,000 rifles and fifty cannon along with troops to intercept the Taipings in their attack against Shanghai . The Taipings fought the foreign aggressor troops with great courage. In May-June 1862, in battles around Shanghai , they repeatedly defeated the British, French and the Foreign Rifles. They killed the French naval commander, A. L. Protet, wounded the British naval commander, James Hope, and cap-tured the American deputy leader of the Foreign Rifles, Edward For-rester. They recovered Jiading and Qingpu and were approaching the city wall of Shanghai County . The domestic and foreign counter-revolutionary forces there gained a reprieve as the Taiping army had to back off and return to defend Tianjing which the Qing troops had again besieged.

From the spring of 1862 on, Zeng Guofan, a large landowner in Hunan who as early as 1853 organized a militia under an edict from the emperor to fight the Taipings, began offensives against the Taipings along three routes: Zeng Guoquan leading the Hunan army’s main force from Anqing against Tianjing; Zuo Zongtang leading the Hunan army from Jiangxi against Zhejiang; and Li Hongzhang leading the Anhui army–organized similarly to the Hunan army under the Anhui landlords from Shanghai against Suzhou and Changzhou. In June, Zeng Guoquan’s branch of the Hunan army laid siege to Tianjing, threatening Yuhuatai in its outskirts. The Taipings fought the Hunan army for over forty days but could not break the siege. In the meantime, the other foreign and Qing reactionary troops intensified their attacks on Jiangsu and Zhejiang. In Zhejiang , the British and French troops helped the Qing forces capture Ningbo . At Cixi the Taipings engaged the British and French troops and Ward’s Foreign Rifles in pitched battles, killing Ward. Then Zuo Zongtang’s branch of the Hunan army, joined by the British and French at Shaoxing, attacked Hangzhou and nearby cities. Hangzhou fell in March 1864, and the Taiping forces in Zhejiang disintegrated. In May, Suzhou and Changzhou also fell under the joint attack of Li Hongzhang’s Anhui army and the Foreign Rifles, now led by the British officer Charles Gordon. The Taipings’ southern Jiangsu front also collapsed.

The situation at the capital became increasingly critical and in the last stages of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom ‘s struggle, its outstand-ing leader, Hong Xiuquan died on June 1,1864 . In July the Hunan army dynamited the city wall, and Tianjing fell after fierce street fighting. The Hunan army committed all kinds of atrocities as it plun-dered and burned the whole city.

Li Xiucheng managed to break through the encirclement but was taken prisoner outside Tianjing. He wrote a confession but Zeng ex-ecuted him.

Hong Rengan was captured in Jiangxi . He refused to surrender and was killed. The Taipings’ remaining forces continued armed struggle north and south of the Changjiang until 1868.

The failure of the Heavenly Kingdom gave the Qing government a free hand to suppress the revolts of the Nians and the various ethnic groups in the Southwest. In the Shaanxi-Gansu area the Huis rose in1862 and kept fighting for eleven years until they were defeated in 1873.

The glorious Taiping Revolution in semi-colonial and semi-feudal China failed for the lack of proletarian leadership. But having failed in its fight against feudalism and foreign aggression, it never-theless was the largest peasant revolution in China ‘s history. It estab-lished a revolutionary political power, put forward a clearcut anti-feudal programme, engaged the greater part of the country in struggle for fourteen years and dealt heavy blows against Qing feudal rule and foreign capitalist forces of aggression. Its magnificent struggles and historic achievements will always be remembered for propelling the forward advance of history and stimulating the revolutionary will of the Chinese people.

Culture and Learning After the Opium War

Academic and cultural circles after the Opium War also witnessed a period of change and struggle. Some of the enlightened offi-cials and educated people of the landlord class like Lin Zexu (1785-1850) and Wei Yuan (1794-1857) developed the Ming-Qing tradition of stressing the practical application of learning. They turned their attention to real problems such as critically examining China ‘s relations with foreign countries and exploring the use of new technologies and theories to develop production.

Lin Zexu, who so strongly opposed the British importation of opium, was farsighted on the question of China ‘s relations with other countries. He sought out information about conditions in foreign countries as well as theft views on China . While in Guangzhou , he organized people for translation of foreign newspapers and books, and sponsored the publication of the books, Four Continents and China ‘s Affairs in the Words of Foreigners. At the height of British aggression, he took note of the question of defence of the northern border by saying, ” Russia is the country that will give trouble to China !” Lin Zexu was also concerned with water conservation. In his later years, he helped agricultural development in Xinjiang by building canals and ditches and cultivating 37,000 qing (755,000 acres) of farmland there. His writings were compiled into the Works ofLin Zexu.

Wei Yuan helped Lin Zexu draft proposals on water transport of grain to the capital, irrigation and salt revenue administration. Before the Opium War, he edited Imperial Collection of Essays on Govern ment. At the outbreak of the war, he participated in planning the resistance against the British on the Zhejiang front. Later he wrote Records of Warrior Sages, a history of the military operations of the Qing emperors, as a contrast to the military incompetency of the time. He also wrote Illustrated Records of the Maritime Nations in one hundred juan on the history and geography of foreign countreis and the policies China should adopt towards them.

Like Gong Zizhen who advocated political reform, Wei Yuan believed that “any change, whatever the extent may be, brings good order, and the more thoroughly the old ways are changed the greater the benefit to the people”. He advanced the idea of “learning from the foreigner to restrain the foreigner” and criticized those in power for refusing to adopt superior Western technology and looking down at machinery as a “strange trick”. In other words, he advocated China ‘s learning the advanced technology of the Western capitalist countries and their methods of organizing and training armed forces for defence against foreign aggression.

Wei Yuan’s idea of political reform was based on the view of historical evolution. He said: “There is no law which does not change over hundreds of years, and there is no law which is limitless and unchangeable.” Believing that “knowing” comes from “doing”, he opposed the idealistic theory of knowledge of “knowing before doing”. He believed knowledge originates from direct experience and denied there was any innate, supra-experience knowledge. His principal works also included Collected Works of the Guweitang Study.

The raising of border region questions helped bring about study in the area of history and geography. Zhang Mu (1805-49) of Pingdingzhou (present Pingding County), Shanxi Province, investigated the geography of Mongolia and the activities there by previous regimes. His famous work Shepherding in Mongolia was, after his death, supplemented, proofread and printed by He Qiutao. It consisted of sixteen juan.

He Qiutao (1824-62) of Guangze County, Fujian Province, saw that there had been no special books written on the question of the Sino-Russian border and so he, having studied the history and geography of China’s Mongolia, Xinjiang and the Northeast and Sino- Russian relations, wrote Collected Articles on the Northern Frontier Question in eighty juan.

Lin Zexu, Wei Yuan, Zhang Mu and He Qiutao sponsored new academic research, widening the area of scholarly investigation and reflecting changes in the cultural field. They all were greatly influential.

In literature, many patriotic works after the Opium War praised the anti-aggression struggle of the Chinese people and condemned British invasion and the Qing rulers’ capitulation to foreigners. Famous poems included World Seas by Wei Yuan, which denounced the Qing officials’ shameful surrender to invaders, and Sanyuanli by Zhang Weiping, which portrayed the patriotic anti-British struggle of Sanyuanli villagers and described the plight of the terrified intruders under the blows of the Chinese people, and expressed the popular indignation against the decadent Qing rule. Posters and folk songs, in simple popular language, by denouncing foreign invaders and Qing rulers, also aroused the militancy and resistance of the masses.

In science and technology, Wu Qixun, Zou Boqi and Zheng Fuguang made contributions. Wu Qixun (1789–1847) compiled an-cient essays on plants into the twenty-two-juan Compendium of Illus-trated Investigation of the Names and Natures of Plants, which con-tains 838 varieties of plants. Reporting on his own observations and investigations, he compiled the thirty-eight-juan Illustrated Investiga-tion of the Names and Natures of Plants, which-contains 1,714 varie-ties. These two are among the important works on plants published in modern China . Zou Boqi (1819-69) was a scholar in astronomy, cal- endar-making, mathematics, geography and surveying. Based on a synthesis of the country’s knowledge about geometric optics he fur- ther explained the basic principles of the reflecting mirror, transparent mirror, spectacles, telescope, magnifier and other optical instruments.

Zheng Fuguang (% 1846) wrote Summary of Knowledge of Optics, systematizing the basic principles of Chinese and Western knowledge of optics and of the structure and application of the telescope, magni-fier and other glasses. He wrote articles on the principles of the struc-ture of the steamship with illustrations. This was the beginning of the study of the modern steamship by the Chinese.

The reactionary landlord class did not forget to try to dominate the academic and cultural field. This class was represented by Zeng Guofan (1811-72) who, while ruthlessly suppressing the Taiping Revolution, propagated feudal ethics, claiming that relations between the emperor and minister, father and son, and superior and subordinate were like hats and shoes which could not change places. He thought foreign aggression was “Heaven’s doing” and maintained there was no way to defend against foreigners and the only way to deal with them was through courtesy and retreat. Foreign cultural activities in China included Britain , the United States and other countries begin- ning to establish churches, run newspapers, and open hospitals and museums. In 1858, the British Royal Asiatic Society set up a branch in Shanghai . These activities were actually cultural aggression carried on under the protection of guns. Sharp struggles went on in the academic and cultural field after the Opium War, as in the political field.

Foreign Economic Aggression and the Official “Westernization” Drive

Relying on privileges extorted from China after the two Opium Wars, foreign capitalists continued to make inroads into China’s economy, turning China into a dumping-ground for their goods and a base for their industrial raw materials. They shipped and sold to China cotton textiles, kerosene, dyes and sewing needles, with the quantity of cotton goods increasing the most quickly. During the twenty years from 1873 to 1893, cotton yarn shipped and sold to China increased from 4.1 million kilogrammes to 59.3 million kilogrammes. Foreign capitalists also controlled China’s traditional exports of tea and silk and shipped from China enormous quantities of cotton, soybean and other farm produce and raw materials. The transformation of China into a market for world capitalism under imperialist control, which was an indication of the semi-colonial nature of her economy, brought about a depression in agriculture and handicrafts and the impoverish-ment of Chinese peasants and other producers.

Apart from dumping industrial goods and seizing China’s raw materials, foreign capitalists continued to open banks and factories in China . By the time of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, more than a dozen foreign banks had illegally opened in China . Prominent among them were the British Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (1865), the German Deutsche-Asiatische Bank (1889) and the Japanese Yokohama Shokin Bank (1893): they accepted money deposits, issued paper currencies, handled inland and overseas re-mittances and extended loans to the Qing government, and were important instruments for foreign encroachments upon China’s economy.

In total disregard of China’s sovereignty, foreign aggressors began to set up factories in many Chinese cities soon after the Opi-um Wars, and factories with foreign investment grew steadily in number from the 1860s on. The majority were either ship-repairing dockyards, serving the rapid development of inland navigation, or processing factories for making brick tea, reeling silk, ginning cotton and refining sugar with local light industries such as match raw materials. There were also other factories, paper mills and soap facto-ries, which exploited cheap Chinese labour and the easily accessible local market. By 1894, there were more than a hundred foreign-owned factories on Chinese territory, with a total investment amounting to twenty-eight million Chinese yuan, embodying a force that suppressed and hindered the growth of China’s national industry. Foreign export of capital and the establishment of banks and facto-ries in China were further indications of the semicolonial nature of the Chinese economy.

Confronted with intensified foreign aggression, some of the Qing officials advocated “making the country strong and rich” by the establishment of “Westernstyle factories”. They realized the importance of learning military and industrial technology from Western capitalism so as to buttress their rule in the face of the Taiping Revolution and in contacts with foreign aggressors in the 1860s. Unlike Lin Zexu, Wei Yuan and others who wished to learn about foreign countries to resist aggression, the “Westernization group” studied Western technology in order to build up their military and civilian industries and a modem navy and army, relying on despotic rule and foreign assistance. Represented by Yixin (Prince Gong), Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang, Zuo Zongtang, Zhang Zhidong and others, the Westernization group can be distinguished from members of landlord class who had little contact with foreign capitalism and were blindly antiforeign.

The Westernization group devoted the greatest effort to estab-lishing war industries. In the course of suppressing the Taiping uprising, Zeng Guofan had an arsenal set up in Anqing, Anhui, in 1861. Li Hongzhang patronized the founding of the Kiangnan Machine Building Works in Shanghai in 1865 for making rifles, guns and ammunition. Zuo Zongtang had the Fukien Dockyard built in Fuzhou, the biggest of its kind at the time, in 1866; and Chonghou sponsored the establishment of a machinery factory, which was in effect an arsenal, in Tianjin in 1867. It later came under Li Hongzhang’s charge and was further expanded. More and more weapon and ammunition factories were set up in the 1870s in many cities. These factories were financed by the Qing government, managed by officials appointed by the court, and manned in part by soldiers. The products were directly issued to the armies. Not capitalist but government-owned enterprises, they depended completely on foreign personnel from establishment to management and were under their sole control.

To provide the necessary raw materials, fuels and means of transport for the war industries, and envying the large and profitable sale of foreign goods in China, the Westernization group began to open up factories, mines and transport and communication facilities of a capitalist nature in the 1870s. The earliest and largest among these was the China Merchants Steamship Navigation Company organized by Li Hongzhang in Shanghai in 1872. In 1876, he developed a mine in Kaiping, Zhili and prepared to open up a machine-weaving textile mill in Shanghai . Then in 1877 Zuo Zongtang projected to set up a ma-chine-weaving worsted mill in Lanzhou, Gansu . And in 1890, Zuo Zongtang promoted the setting up of an ironworks in Hanyang. By1894, more than twenty enterprises of this kind had been built up. In the form of “government-supervised and merchant-managed” enter-prises or “comanagement by government and merchants”, they absorbed capital from landlords, merchants and officials and were controlled mainly by the latter. An embryonic form of bureaucrat- capitalism, these officially-authorized enterprises monopolized production, and fettered the activities and development of national capital. Civilian industries similarly relied on foreign capital and were branded with a feudal birthmark.

In the 1870s, the Westernization group planned to build up two navies, the Beiyang ( North China coast) and the Nanyang (South China coast) fleets. In the 80s, Li Hongzhang founded a military academy in Yianjin, had a dockyard built in Ltishun and a navy port in Weihaiwei, and bought warships and cannon from abroad for the Beiyang Fleet.

The Proletariat and the National Bourgeoisie in the Early Days; the Spread of Modern Western Science

With the appearance of modern industry in China, the first generation of modern industrial workers, the early Chinese proletariat, emerged. National capitalism engendered a national bourgeoisie. With modern industry came modern Western science.

From the 1870s onward, groups of officials, landlords and merchants invested in modern industries of a capitalist nature, mainly filatures, textile mills, flour mills, match factories and coal mines. Among those established were Fachang Machinery Plant, Shanghai, 1869; Jichanglong Filature of Nanhai, Guangdong, 1873; Chizhou Coal Mine, Guichi, Anhui, 1877; Yilaimou Flour Mill, Tianjin, 1878; Gongheyong Silk Factory, Shanghai, 1881; Liguoyi Coal and Iron Mines, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, 1882; Tongjiuyuan Cotton-Ginning Plant, Ningbo, Zhejiang, 1887; and Yuyuan Cotton Mill, Shanghai, 1894. Between 1869 and 1894, more than a hundred enterprises of this kind came into operation, their total investment amounting to six million yuan, with about thirty thousand employees on their payroll. Most of these enterprises were rather small with a slender capital of less than100,000 yuan, or even only a few thousand yuan. Though they were weak compared with the foreign-owned and the officially-managed enterprises, their very existence indicated the presence of national capitalism and consequently a national bourgeoisie in China .

However, national capitalism could barely survive in a semicolonial and semifeudal society. Competition was intense. Whereas foreign countries and their factories and mines in China could sell products and get hold of raw materials due to their special privileges, the native industries, in addition to difficulties in obtaining raw materials and securing markets, were constantly faced with the danger of annexation by foreign capital. Instead of helping native industries, the Qing government levied heavy taxes on them and fettered their growth in every way. Chinese national industries relied on foreign countries for machinery, technology and even “protection” and had to turn to the feudal government for support as well, though the latter was more nominal than real. Many of the industrialists themselves were originally officials, landlords or merchants, and some still possessed land and collected land rent from peasants. They, therefore, were on the one hand in constant and inevitable conflict with foreign capitalism and domestic feudalism, and on the other were bound closely to them. From its very first days, the Chinese bourgeoisie had a dual character; it opposed foreign capitalism and domestic feudalism, while at the same time it tried to compromise with them.

With the emergence of national capitalism, the initial demand voiced by reformists within the landlord class for political reform and learning from the West for selfdefence developed into a trend towards bourgeois reformism in society at large in the 1870s. Early represen-tatives of this trend were Wang Tao (1828-97) of Suzhou, Jiangsu; Xue Fucheng (1838-94) of Wuxi, Jiangsu, Ma Jianzhong (1844-1900) of Dantu, Jiangsu, and Zheng Guanying (1842-1921) of Xiangshan (present Zhongshan), Guangdong.

The gist of their ideas was as follows:

1. Opposition to foreign aggression, a serious and constant danger to the country. They pointed out that the unilateral most-favoured-nation treatment, consular jurisdiction, tariff rates on Chinese imports and exports and other such provisions in the unequal treaties were sources of endless damage to China and demanded their revision.

2. Development of national capitalism and opposition to the Qing policy of restricting national industry and commerce. They criticized the Westernization-group sponsored enterprises where the officials had sole control while the merchants had no say. They demanded that effective government support be given to national industry and commerce and a protective customs tariff adopted, so that Chinese capitalism would have the ability to compete with foreign rivals. Zheng Guanying criticized the feudal policy of “promoting agriculture, restricting commerce” and called for “a trade war”. He said: “To check Western forces and strengthen the country, no measures are more effective than the stimulation and promotion of commerce.” The development of capitalism, he believed, was the only way out for China if she wanted to become independent and prosperous. His demand of waging a trade war had antiimperialist and patriotic significance.

3. Institution of a constitutional monarchy. Wang Tao, Zheng Guanying and others recommended various Western political systems and the substitution of feudal autocratic monarchism with parliamen-tarianism, as practised in certain foreign countries. Arguing that “it is not strong warships and powerful cannon alone that end chaos and bring prosperity, but the establishment of a parliament”, they consid ered that the institution of a political organ like parliament could unite the whole country for resistance to foreign aggression. This shows that the early reformists differed not only from the Westernization group but was also more advanced than the landlordclass reformists who called on people to learn the foreigners’ skills just for the purpose of resisting them.

The early reformists, however, neither established any systematic theories nor brought about any political movement, showing that the Chinese national bourgeoisie was still very weak. Separated only recently from the Westernization group, they could not free themselves from the latter’s influence either politically or ideologically.

China ‘s early proletariat arose in the 1840s when dockyards and factories were opened up by British, U.S. and French merchants in coastal port cities. Most of the workers were originally destitute peasants and handicraftsmen. The number of industrial workers increased in the 60s and 70s when military and civilian industries were set up by the Westernization group and the Chinese national bourgeoisie. By the70s, apart from dockers whose number fluctuated, the Chiense industrial workforce amounted to 10,000 strong. The number rose to more than 40,000 by the beginning of 80s and to 100,000 by 1894.

The proletariat in semi-colonial and semi-feudal China was subjected to the threefold oppression and exploitation by foreign capitalism, national capitalism and feudalism, with a harshness and ruthlessness seldom known elsewhere. Their meagre pay was often deferred. With their wages forfeited and deducted under various false pretences, they could hardly eke out a living. They were beaten and abused by supervisors and overseers. Working conditions were deplorable, and injuries and accidents were daily occurrences. Without any freedom or rights, the Chinese workers led a miserable life.

Suffering economic and political oppression, the Chinese proletariat had to fight for its survival. The earliest strikes against foreign exploitation were staged by workers of Farnham & Co. in Shanghai in 1868 and again in 1879 against the embezzlement of workers’ pay by overseers. In 1879, workers of Boyd & Co. demonstrated against the beating of a Chinese worker by a foreign overseer. In 1883 and 1890, workers of the Kiangnan Machine Building Works laid down their tools in protest against extensions of their working hours. In 1891, Kaiping miners protested against a foreign engineer’s abuse of Chinese workers, forcing the engineer to leave the mine temporarily. Workers’ struggles of this period, however, were mainly economic, as the Chinese proletariat was still very young.

The propagation of Western science by the Jesuits at the end of the Ming and the beginning of the Qing dynasties had very little impact on Chinese society as a whole. The real job was done by Chinese scholars like Li Shanlan (1810-82), who spread Western science by their systematic studies in the 1860s and 70s. Modern science had progressed rapidly in the West after the discovery of the solar system by Copernicus. The subsequent initiation of analytical geometry by Descartes, of logarithms by Napier and of calculus by Leibniz and Newton supplied the most important mathematical methods for scientific development. Basing his theory of rigid body mechanics on Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, Newton summarized the law governing the motion of matter in general and advanced the law of universal gravitation. China lagged far behind foreign countries in the study of natural sciences in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Li Shanlan’s translations and articles were of great significance in the history of development of modern science in China . A mathematician of considerable stature, he arrived independently at the fundamental concept of calculus in his works. His stress on the importance of an objective study of nature in contradistinction to wishful thinking shows his scientific, materialist approach.

Li’s contemporaries included Hua Hengfang (1833-1902), who wrote a 23-juan work on mathematics and translated more than 60 juan of works on algebra, trigonometry, calculus, the theory of probability and so on, and Xu Shou (1818-84) who was well versed in physics, chemistry and mechanics. Together with Hua Hengfang, Xu Shou compiled and translated many scientific works. The two also built a 50-foot-long timber steamboat, the Yellow Crane, which could cover more than 20 kilometres an hour. This was the first steamboat ever built by the Chinese. Around 1875, Xu Shou founded flqe Acgdemy of Natural Sciences in Shanghai and gave demonstrations of chemical activity in laboratory experiments. He was a pioneer in propagating modem chemistry in Chinal A firm materialist, Xu was opposed to superstitious beliefs and adhered to the principle of “enlightening students by experiments and demonstration of facts”.

Though a few outstanding scientists appeared in China in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, they exerted little influence since Semicolonial and semifeudal China had no developed modem industries to sustain their efforts. Moreover, they were hampered ideologically by China ‘s feudal culture.

Foreign Aggression and China’s Border Crises

The last few decades of the nineteenth century saw a transition to imperialism in major capitalist countries. These countries were locked in an increasingly acute struggle over markets, sources of raw materials and areas for capital investment in colonies and the territories of other countries. The Far East was a bone of contention. The United States Japan Britain Russia France and Germany extended their aggression to China ‘ s vast border regions, creating a critical situation.

The United States had long coveted Taiwan . On the pretext that the crew of the Rover, a wrecked ship, had been killed in Taiwan, it sent warships to invade the island and landed its troops in Langqiao (present Hengchun) on the southwest tip of the island in 1867. The native Gaoshan people drove the invaders away.

In 1874, encouraged by the United States Japan invaded Taiwan with 3,000 troops. The local people, both Gaoshans and Hans, resisted the aggressors from strategic positions. The Japanese invaders suffered casualties and were unable to advance further. Through the “mediation” of the U.S. and Britain, however, the con’upt Qing government agreed to pay the Japanese 500,000 taels of silver as indemnity as a condition for them to withdraw.

From the 60s to the 70s, Britain constantly sent men to Tibet for espionage in the guise of travellers or explorers. When Emperor Guang Xu succeeded Empror Tong Zhi in 1875, the British interpreter Augustus Raymoond Margary, at the head of 200 armed men, crossed China ‘s southwest border and intruded into Yunnan Province from Burma . When the local Jingpo people tried to stop them, Margary opened fire, and the Chinese killed Margary and drove out the invaders. Seizing this excuse, Britain forced on the Qing court the 1876 Agreement of Chefoo which stipulated that Britain could send men to Yunnan to “investigate” trade, or to India from China ‘s hinterland via Tibet or back from India by the same route. This opened the way for Britain to enter Yunnan and Tibet .

After the signing of the Agreement of Chefoo, Britain sent people to Tibet for aggression. The Tibetans and some local officials refused them entry. In 1888, Britain launched an aggressive war against Tibet but met with stubborn resistance from the Tibetan army and civilians. More than a hundred of the aggressor troops were killed or wounded. The corrupt Qing government, however, forbade the Tibetan people to resist the invaders who continued with their aggression. In1890, the Qing government negotiated with Britain on the border issue and signed the Sikkim-Tibet Convention. In 1893. the Qing government agreed to Britain ‘s request to open a trading city in Tibet and British influence infiltrated Tibet as a result.

While the United States and Japan landed their troops in Taiwan and Britain made inroads on China ‘s southwestern frontier, Russia extended its aggression to Xinjiang. In 1865, Yakub Beg, an army officer from Khohand in Central Asia , took advantage of internal strife in Xinjiang to occupy Kaxgar. By 1870, Yakub Beg had occupied most of the areas north and south of the Tianshan Mountains . Since Britain and Russia both had plans for extending their influence to Xinjiang, they were in fierce competition over collaboration with Beg. In 1871, Russia sent troops to occupy the Ili region and imposed colonial rule on the people of different ethnic groups there.

Aggression perpetrated by Russia and Beg stiffened the Xinjiang people’s resistance, who organized themselves for struggle in anticipation of Qing government action to restore the lost territories. In1876 the Qing government ordered Zuo Zongtang to lead an army into Xinjiang. With the people of the different ethnic minorities arming themselves and fighting in coordination with the Qing army, the Beg bandits were eventually vanquished, and the lost territories were recovered in early 1878. However, the Russians remained in occupation of the Ili area.

The Qing government repeatedly made representations to the Russian government, demanding the return of Ili . Russia refused and instead advanced a series of unreasonable requests. In February 1881, it forced the Qing government to sign the unequal Treaty of St. Petersburg. Though China recovered Ili as a result, it lost large tracts of territory west of the Khorgos River . Through this and other boundary treaties concluded later, Russia exacted more than 70,000 square kilometres of territory and enormous political and economic prerogatives from China .

After concluding the Treaty of St. Petersburg, Russia further intensified its encroachment upon China ‘s Pamir area. In 1892, violating the 1884 “protocol on the SinoRussian boundary in the Kaxgar region”, a treaty on the Sino-Russian boundary in the Pamir area, Russia occupied more than 20,000 square kilometres of Chinese territory west of the Sarykol Range. The Qing government declared explicitly that it would not yield its sovereignty over territories in the Pamirs which were situated beyond the positions occupied at the time by the Chinese troops. However, in 1895 Russia and Britain concluded an agreement and partitioned between themselves China ‘s Pamir territories west of the Sarykol Range .

In the midnineteenth century, France followed its occupation of the southern part of Viet Nam with invasion of the north. Using Viet Nam as a foothold, it made inroads into China . The Black Flag Army, a former peasant rebel force led by Liu Yongfu, active on the Sino-Vietnamese border and the middle section of the Honghe River , fought in cooperation with the Vietnamese army and civilians against the French invaders, and repeatedly repulsed their advance. However; China ‘s military and diplomatic power was then in the hands of Li Hongzhang who only knew how to appease the aggressors and who had time and again yielded to them. His appeasement only encouraged the French colonialists and the flames of war spread to China .

In August 1884, France used warships to attack Jilong Fort, Taiwan, and landed its troops on the island. The Taiwan garrison troops counter-attacked, killing and wounding more than a hundred of the invading troops and driving away the rest. The routed French invaders turned to attack Fuzhou , Fujian . The administrative officials in Fujian, abiding by Li Hongzhang’s policy, made no preparations against attack and went so far as to forbid the Fujian Squadron under penalty of death to fire at the enemy. When the French warships bombarded the Chinese squadron, it acted in a hurry; some of its warships were hit and sunk even before weighing anchor. The Chinese officers and crew faced up to the enemy under very unfavourable conditions. The flag ship Yangwu, though badly damaged by enemy cannonade, hit the enemy flag ship with its stern gun and killed many of the enemy. The Zhenwei came under crossfire and was pierced through by enemy cannon balls, its bow and stern all aflame. Still the ship’s company fought to the end and just before submerging fired a last cannon at a French ship, seriously wounding its captain and some of its crew. The Fuxing engaged the enemy ships in their midst and repeatedly gunned the enemy flag ship with unerring aim. Its company fought courageously and died heroically when the armoury was hit and exploded.

In the sea battle, nine of the eleven ships of the Fujian Squadron were sunk and more than 700 officers and crew members died or were wounded. This revealed the worthlessness of the “regeneration” policy of the Westernization group.

The Chinese people were incensed by the French aggression. In the coastal areas, struggles against French aggression culminated in the destruction of churches and expulsion of missionaries. Overseas Chinese pledged their support by contributions of money to the popular movements at home, while Chinese workers in Hong Kong went on strike in protest.

In October of the same year, French warships once again invaded Taiwan . Meeting with resistance from the Taiwan army and civilians, they suffered a serious defeat at Danshui, northwestern Taiwan ; dozens of the invaders died or were wounded and the rest beat a hasty retreat to the sea. In March 1885, French warships again harassed Zhenhai , Zhejiang , but were repulsed by Chinese garrison troops there.

While invading Zhejiang , the French aggressors also attacked Zhennanguan Pass (present Youyiguan Pass ), Guangxi, on the Sino-Vietnamese border. General Feng Zicai, who was then nearly 70, led his men to the front, deployed his forces and saw to the building of the defence works there, in preparation for the coming battle. Near the end of March, French troops charged at the long defence wall on the Chinese side of the battlefield, and some leaped over it. Feng Zicai, a spear in hand, appeared from behind the wall to fight the invaders. His men, inspired by their commander’s courage, plunged into the enemy ranks and engaged them in hand-to-hand fight. Faced with local people of the Zhuang, Yao , Bai, Yi and Han ethnic groups and more than 1,000 Vietnamese people joining in the battle, the French troops were defeated and fled. General Feng followed this victory with a hot pursuit and the French invaders self-admittedly suffered “a disastrous defeat”.

When news of the defeat reached Paris , the French cabinet resigned, and France found itself in political and military chaos. The situation was favourable for Chinese resistance to French aggression. Nonetheless, the Qing government negotiated ceasefire terms with the aggressors despite its own winning position. In April 1885, James Duncan Campbell, a British customs commissioner, signed on behalf of the Qing government a ceasefire agreement with the French government in Paris . In June, Li Hongzhang and a French delegate signed the Treaty of Tientsin which stipulated that France could open trading cities, in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces bordering on View Nam and that China was obliged to consult France if it wished to build railways there. The gate to China ‘s Southwest was thus further opened to aggression.

The Sino-Japanese War and Imperialist Partition of China

The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 was launched by Japan to annex Korea and extend Japanese influence into China .

Japan had invaded Korea on several occasions since the 1870s, and exacted from it privileges in regard to trading and stationing troops there, turning Korea gradually into its semicolony.

The United States helped Japan to invade Korea and Britain also abetted Japanese aggression; since Japanese and Russian interests in East Asia were often in collision, Britain supported Japan in order to counter Russia .

A large-scale peasant uprising occurred in Korea in the spring of1894. Panic-stricken, the Korean feudal rulers appealed to the Qing government to send troops and help it suppress the revolt. Taking advantage of the strife in Korea , Japan deployed nearly all its naval force and more than 10,000 infantry at Seoul and around Inchun. When1,500 Chinese troops reached Asan in June, the uprising had already subsided. The Qing government proposed to Japan that both countries withdraw their troops from Korea . Japan refused, however, saying that it was helping Korea in its internal reform.

Towards the end of July, the Japanese fleet near Pong Island off Asan suddenly attacked Chinese warships, sinking a transport ship leased from Britain and causing the deaths of more than 700 Chinese soldiers on board. Then the Japanese army attacked the Chinese army at Asan, forcing it to retreat to Pyongyang . On September 15, the Japanese mustered a strong force and stormed Pyongyang , but the Chi-nese troops supported by the Korean people fought back. Commander Zuo Baogui of Field headquarters mounted the city wall to give orders and was killed at his post. General Ye Zhichao on the other hand car-fled out Li Hongzhang’s non-resistance policy, fleeing from Pyong-yang and crossing the Yalu River in the latter half of September.

Two days after the battle of Pyongyang , the Beiyang Fleet under the command of Admiral Ding Ruchang fought a fierce battle with the Japanese fleet on the Yellow Sea . Inexperienced at sea battle, the Bei-yang Fleet was surrounded by Japanese warships, but it fought courageously. Captain Deng Shichang of the Zhiyuan intended to dash his badly damaged ship at the enemy Yoshino, but the Zhiyuan was sunk by an enemy torpedo, and Deng and two hundred of the ship’s company lost their lives. When Captain Lin Yongsheng of the Jingyuan died in the battle, the other officers and crew fought on until the ship sub-merged. The battle lasted five hours. Five ships were lost on the Chinese side, and the Japanese flag ship Matsushima was also badly damaged. After the battle, Li Hongzhang instructed the Beiyang Fleet to anchor in Weihaiwei Harbour and not to engage the enemy under any circum-stances. As a result, the fleet could only wait in harbour for its doom.

At the end of October, the Japanese army began a doublepronged invasion of China : one force was to cross the Yalu River and capture Jiulian and Andong (present Dandong , Liaoning ); the other was to land troops at Liaodong Peninsula , occupy Jinzhou , and eventually take Dalian and L u shun .

The People of Shenjing (present Liaoning Province ) rose up in arms against Japanese invasion. When the Japanese attacked Xiuyan, local coalminers joined with peasants from dozens of villages to offer resistance against aggression. They killed and wounded many of the enemy. Peasants from around Liaoyang repulsed four successive advances by the enemy within a month, and the people of Lfishun similarly refused to submit to the enemy’s slaughter.

In mid-January 1895, the Japanese landed on the Shandong Peninsula, assaulting the Weihaiwei Harbour from behind and blockading its entrance. Attacked from both front and back, the Beiyang Fleet was paralyzed, and in February was completely destroyed. The enemy troops that entered from Korea occupied Niuzhuang, Yingkou and other places. Panic-stricken, the Qing government sued for peace.

This defeat proved that the new policy of Westernization could not make China independent and prosperous.

n March 1895, Li Hongzhang, accompanied by his American advisor John Watson Foster, negotiated peace with Japan at Shimono-seki. Browbeaten by Japan and the United States, he signed the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, which stipulated that China was to cede to Japan the Liaodong Peninsula, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands; 1 pay an indemnity of 200 million taels of silver; open Shashi, Chongqing, Suzhou and Hangzhou to foreign trade; and give Japan the right to open factories in all trading cities. The occupation of the Liaodong Peninsula by Japan on the conclusion of the treaty prevented Russia from extending its influence in the Northeast. It therefore aligned with France and Germany to request that China “redeem” the Liaodong Peninsula from Japan with 30 million taels of silver.

The Treaty of Shimonoseki marked a new stage of foreign ag-gression in China . The provisions that allowed foreign powers to in-vest in factories in China satisfied their urgent need to export capital. China ‘s status as a semi-colony was further confirmed.

However, the Chinese people were indignant over the treaty. They condemned the crimes of the aggressors, denounced the Qing government for its treasonable conduct, opposed the cession of Tai- wan and payment of indemnity and demanded resistance to aggression. When the news of the annexation of Taiwan reached the island prov- ince, the Taibei people beat gongs and stopped business in protest. They posted denunciations pledging to execute traitors like Li Hongzhang and others. The local gentry sent telegrams to the Qing court opposing the cession of territories.

In May, the Japanese army landed in Jilong, on the north end of Taiwan . The governor, Tang Jingsong, fled back to the mainland and Taibei was lost without so much as a shot. The local Han and Gaoshan people organized themselves into a volunteer army headed by Xu Xiang and others. Together with the Black Flag Army led by Liu Yongfu who now commanded the Taiwan garrison, they put up a de-fence at Xinzhu, Taizhong and Zhanghua. The defence of Zhanghua was the largest engagement with the main enemy force, which suf-fered heavy casualties, but the Chinese volunteers and the Black Flag Army also sustained heavy losses. During the fighting near Tainan in October, Japanese marines landed near Tainan and entered the battle in support of the Japanese infantry, while the Chinese garrison troops had to fight single-handed. With their supplies exhausted and no rein-forcements, they eventually lost the city. In their defence of the island the army and civilians inflicted 30,000 casualties on the enemy in less than five months, and during the half century of Japanese occupation, the various ethnic groups in Taiwan continued their unremitting resis-tance. After the conclusion of the Sino-Japanese War, Britain , Russia , the United States , Japan , France and Germany competed for bigger shares in the partition of China . The imperialist partition of China occurred at the time when the chief capitalist countries reached the stage of imperialism.

In addition to dumping merchandise and seizing raw materials, the powers were also in competition in investing capital in China . They also lent money to the Qing government and opened more banks, including the French Banque de l’ Indo-Chine, the Russo-Chinese Bank and later the U.S. International Banking Corporation. They opened up factories, built railways and operated mines, monopolizing and controlling Chinese finance and economy.

The imperialist powers also grabbed “leased land” and divided China into spheres of influence. In November 1897, Germany sup-ported by Russia sent troops to occupy Jiaozhou Bay in Shandong . In1898, there was a series of moves by imperialist powers to capture seaports and claim spheres of influence in China . Germany leased Jiaozhou Bay and obtained the right to build two railways in Shan-dong as well as to open up mines within 15 kilometres along them, making Shandong it~ sphere of influence. Russia had in 1896 forced the Qing government to sign the Contract for the Construction and Work of the Chinese Eastern Railway, gaining the right to build the Chinese Eastern Railway in Heilongjiang and Jilin . Now it leased Ltishun and Dalian , thereby obtaining at the same time the right to construct and manage a branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway to Dalian . The Northeast, therefore, became its sphere of influence. France took Guangzhou Bay (present Zhanjiang area, Guangdong ) on lease, claimed the right of building a railway from Viet Nam to Yun-nan, and demanded that Yunnan , Guangdong and Guangxi not be ced-ed to any third country, so that the three provinces constituted a French sphere of influence. Britain had for sometime taken the Changjiang valley as its sphere of influence. Now it leased the Kow-loon Peninsula and the Weihaiwei Harbour to offset French and Russi-an influence as well as to maintain a dominant position in the Chang-jiang valley. In addition to appropriating Taiwan , Japan carved out Fujian as its sphere of influence.

While the other imperialist powers were staking out their spheres of influence in China , the United States was engaged in preparations for war against Spain over the Philippines and missed its opportunity. It therefore advanced in 1899 the “open-door” policy, which recog-nized the spheres of influence of the different powers and their privileges in China , and requested the powers to open their leased land and spheres of influence to the United States , which would thus share equal benefits and opportunities. Britain was the first to agree; the other powers followed suit. The United States then expanded its ag-gression in China .

The violent contention between the powers brought China closer to dismemberment, and posed an unprecedentedly grave crisis for the whole nation.

The Modernization Movement of the Bourgeois Reformists

Defeat in the war against Japan and the serious crisis of partition by imperialists awakened the Chinese people. In 1898, bourgeois re-formists initiated a modernization movement for reform and national revival.

A wave of factory establishment swept the whole country after the Sino-Japanese War, with the result that national capitalism began to thrive in China . Between 1895 and 1898, more than 50 enterprises, including textile mills, filatures, flour mills and other light industries, were established by Chinese merchants, their capital of about 12 million yuan exceeding the total Chinese investments in the twenty years prior to the Sino-Japanese War. The influence of the national bourgeoisie grew. The most powerful element in this class was its upper stratum which was composed mainly of former officials, former landlords and rich merchants who had close ties with the imperialists and feudal forces. They wanted to develop capitalism as a means of averting the national crisis and chose the reformist road of institutional change and modernization.

The reformism of the 1870s and 80s, which aimed at changing China ‘s status quo, grew into a popular political movement after the Sino-Japanese war. At the head of this movement were the bourgeois reformists Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao, Yan Fu and Tan Sitong, who advocated an institutional reform and modernization in China , and were hence known as the modernization group.

Kang Youwei (1858-1927), from Nanhai , Guangdong petitioned Empror Guang Xu in 1888 for reform. When the Treaty of Shimono- seki was signed in 1895, he led 1,300 scholars who had passed the provincial examination and were now in Beijing for the metropolitan examination to submit a memorial to the emperor, opposing the treaty and requesting immediate political reform. Kang Youwei maintained that the basis for reform and modernization was the substitution of bourgeois constitutional monarchy for feudal autocracy. His works A Study of the Forged Classics and An Inquir, into Confucius’ Reform supplied a theoretical basis for reformism. He blended Western evolu-tionism with the Confucian idea of the “Triple World”, alleging that a society invariably developed along a sequence of chaos, peace and eventually “great harmony”. Current Chinese society, governed by an autocratic monarchy, he contended, was in the stage of chaos. To at-tain great harmony, the social system of a bourgeois democratic re-public, it was imperative to reform first the chaotic world and set up the peaceful world of a constitutional monarchy. His idea of historical evolution was progressive in combating feudal conservatism at the time.

Though Kang’s memorial was intercepted and failed to reach the emperor, his activities produced a great impact on society at large. He himself as a result became a well-known leader of the reformist group. Hereafter he sent in memorial after memorial, reiterating his proposal for reform. He urged the Qing government, in order to avert the na-tional crisis, to replace feudal autocracy with constitutional monarchy, encourage civilians to establish modern industries, develop national capitalism, abrogate the civil service examination system of selecting officials through the stereotyped “eight-legged essay” writing and encourage the study of Western bourgeois culture. Both the diehard clique in the court headed by Empress Dowager Ci Xi and the Wester-nization group resolutely upheld the feudal order in opposition to any political reform. Kang Youwei’ s petitions were intercepted by them and failed to reach the emperor. Nevertheless, the petitions appeared in printed pamphlets and were widely read by the public.

n August 1895, Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao published in Beijing the Zhong Wai Ji Wen (World Bulletin), a paper published every other day reporting on current affairs and calling for reform. In September they formed the Qiang Xue Hui (Learn-to-Be-Strong Society), which gave regular lectures and published and distributed books and periodicals recommending Western learning, also known an new learning to China. (Western learning here refers to European bourgeois democratic culture, including socioideology, sciences and technology, recommended to China in the midnineteenth century by progressive Chinese intellectuals.) In this way, the Qiang Xue Hui, moulded public opinion and accumulated strength for reform. A branch society was organized in Shanghai , which put out the Qiang Xue Bao, a paper published every five days. In the court, the conflict between Emperor Guang Xu’s faction and that of Empress Dowager Ci Xi intensified. Weng Tonghe, Grand Minister of the Privy Council and Minister of the Board of Revenue, and others who rallied round Emperor Guang Xu supported the Qiang Xue Hui, while the feudal diehards and the Westernization group attaching themselves to Empress Dowager Ci Xi attacked the other faction in force. Subsequently, the Qiang Xue Hui and its Shanghai branch were forced to disband and the Zhong Wai Ji Wen and Qiang Xue Bao were banned at the beginning of 1896.

However, discussion of current affairs had become widespread: the tide of reform was surging forward irreversibly. From 1896 to 1898, more than 300 study societies, modern schools and newspapers mushroomed in Beijing , Shanghai , Zhili , Hunan , Guangdong and Guangxi. Among the most influential were the Shi Wu Bao (Contemporary Affairs) in Shanghai under the editorship of Liang Qichao, the Nan Xue Hui (Southern Society) and the Shi Wu Tang (School for Contemporary Learning) founded by Tan Sitong in Hunan, and the Guo Wen Bao (National News) in Tianjin edited by Yan Fu. Liang Qichao (1873-1929), from Xinhui , Guangdong , was Kang Youwei’s student and close collaborator. His “Exposition on Institutional Reform” published in Shi Wu Bao advocated institutional reform and the doctrine of popular rights. This article exerted great influence at the time. Yan Fu (1854-1921) from Houguan , Fujian , had studied in England and had a relatively comprehensive understanding of the socio-political doctrines of the Western bourgeoisie. After the Sino-Japanese War, he translated the first two articles of Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, adding to the translated version some of his own interpretations. He laid great emphasis on such biological evolutionist ideas as “organic evolution and natural selection” and “the victory of the strong over the weak”. He believed in social development!”the ways of the world improve invariably and posterity will be better than its predecessor”. These ideas became powerful weapons against the ossified ideas of the feudal diehards and stimulated people’s demand for institutional reform and national revival. Yan Fu also wrote A Refutation of Han Yu and other articles, in which he criticized feudal monarchy on the basis of Western concepts of popular rights. He pointed out that according to the principle of the social division of labour, the king should be elected by the whole populace and be recalled by them if necessary. He denounced all the Chinese emperors from the Qin Dynasty down as “arch usurpers of state power”. Tan Sitong (1865-98), from Liuyang, Hunan, wrote On Benevolence, in which he called for the breaking off of all feudal trammels, censured feudal ethics, denounced all emperors as “despots and traitors to the people” and characterized autocratic monarchy as rule by bandits. Nonetheless, like Yan Fu, he did not call for the abrogation of monarchism, believing in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

To propagate the need for institutional reform, Liang Qichao ad-vocated changes in literary style. In his own essays, which were clear, fluent, colloquial and easy to understand, he broke away from the classical style, and created what was known as “the new style”. Liang Qichao, Tan Sitong and others also launched a “revolution in poetry circles”, demanding that poetry mirror current political and social reality without violating the traditional poetic style. On this score, Huang Zunxian (1848-1905), from Jiaying (present Meixian), Guang-dong, broke fresh ground. He was opposed to treading in the ancients’ footsteps, holding that poetry should express one’s own ideas and feelings. His poems described foreign lands and people and gave ex-pression to new ideology and culture, opening a new and wide range of subject matter in poetry. More importantly, he wrote many poems in ordinary language and with great feeling during the wars against aggression, especially the Sino-Japanese War. The most widely recited was the “Ballad of Taiwan” which opposed the cession of Taiwan , with lines such as the following:

All pledge to die resisting the foe, The people united are indomitable.

The grave situation brought about by Germany ‘s annexation of Jiaozhou Bay aroused popular anger at the corruption of the Qing court. Kang Youwei once again petitioned the emperor, pointing out that only institutional reform could avert the danger of partition and restrain the popular rebellious activities that threatened Qing rule. To avert national crisis, free himself from Empress Dowager Ci Xi’s clutches and seize real power, Emperor Guang Xu instructed Kang Youwei to plan the reform. In January 1898 Kang presented his”Memorial on Policy Concerning the General Situation”, asking the emperor to use his imperial authority to carry out institutional reform, bring the reformists into the government, and reform the political system by establishing a constitutional monarchy which would in effect be based on the alliance of the bourgeoisie and the landlord class. In April Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao and others organized the Bao Guo Hui (Protect-the-Country Society) in Beijing and sponsored the establishment of branches at provincial, prefectural and county levels. They gave lectures to the society, adopting the slogan “protect the state, the race and the teaching (Confucianism)”. The call for in-stitutional reform reached a new high.

On June 11, 1898 , Emperor Guang Xu declared an institutional reform, appointed Kang Youwei reform counsellor and Tan Sitong, Liu Guangdi, Yang Rui and Lin Xu to help in the Privy Council on matters relating to institutional reform. In the 103 days from June 11 to September 21, the reformists, on the authority of the emperor, issued a series of decrees to effect institutional reform. This is known in history as the Hundred Day Reform. The main features of the reform edicts were: to set up a bureau of agriculture, industry and commerce to protect and encourage industry and commerce; to es-tablish a bureau of mines and railways to construct railways and extract ores; to reform the administrative organs and dismiss unne-cessary staffs; to reform the civil service examination system and abolish the stereotyped “eight-legged essay”; to establish a modern school system for the study of Western learning; to permit the publi-cation of newspapers and founding of study societies; to encourage the expression of opinions through memorials to the throne; and to encourage new inventions.

There was no mention whatsoever in these measures of instituting a parliament or adopting a constitution, or of any other act that might lead to substantial political changes. They were only a few changes in the original system, favourable to the further development of national capitalism. Nonetheless, the diehards and the Westernization group frustrated the reformists in their attempt to effect the new policies. Among the provincial officials, only the governor of Hunan supported the reform. The struggle between the reformists and their opposition was very acute. Three days after the reform edict was issued, Empress Dowager Ci Xi compelled the emperor to dismiss Weng Tonghe, the Grand Minister of the Privy Council, from all his other posts, and appointed her trusted follower Ronglu as Viceroy of Zhili and Supreme Commander of the Beiyang Army. In this way she took control over both Beijing and Tianjin , and awaited the opportunity to destroy the reform movement. In early September, the two cities were full of rumours that Ci Xi and Ronglu were conspiring to coerce the emperor to abdicate during a military review in Tianjin . Sensing the gravity of the situation, Emperor Guang Xu secretly in-structed Kang Youwei and his group to devise plans against the conspiracy. As the reformists did not rely on the masses, they had no real strength. And at this critical juncture, they thought they could rely on Yuan Shikai’s army, kill Ronglu during the military review, and avert the crisis. Yuan Shikai had organized and trained a modern army in Xiaozhan (near Tianjin ), which was the embryo of the later Beiyang warlord army, and was Ronglu’s trusted subordinate. But as a skilled political opportunist he was also a member of the Learning-to-Be-Strong Society. When Tan Sitong paid him a secret visit he was very eloquent in his support but after the visit, he immediately informed Ronglu about the secrets of the reformists. On September 21, Empress Dowager Ci Xi staged a coup d’etat, imprisoned Emperor Guang Xu and arrested the reformist leaders. The reform movement ended in defeat.

During the movement, the reformists harboured the illusion that the imperialist powers would help them. At that time, Britain , the United States , and Japan were in frequent conflict with Russia , and since the latter supported the Empress Dowager, the former tried to befriend the emperor and the reformists in order to counter their common adversary. The reformists were also in favour of contacting Britain and Japan to enlist their support. After the coup d’etat, Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao escaped abroad with the help of Britain and Japan . Tan Sitong was unwilling to escape, saying: “No country in the world as yet has had a successful reform without blood being shed. In China no one has ever heard of someone shedding blood for the sake of reform. If this will happen now, let it begin with me.” At the end of September, Tan Sitong, Liu Guangdi, Yang Rui, Lin Xu, Yang Shenxiu and Kang Guangren (Kang Youwei’s brother) were executed, and the officials who had supported the reform were dismissed. All of the new policies were abolished, except the establishment of a Metro- politan College .

With their hopes of changing existing conditions in China to ward off a national crisis and enable China to develop capitalism through a political reform, the bourgeois reformists were progressive in the given historic conditions of their time. Their promotion of the new learning proved to be a heavy blow to the rule of feudal ideol-ogy. However, the reformists were completely alienated from the masses and even attempted to counter the popular revolutionary movement through reform. They were opposed to a revolution to bring radical changes to China , believing that reform from the top down through the authority of a feudal emperor would make China a strong capitalist country. Moreover, they were under the illusion that if China would only learn from the West the imperialist powers would give up their aggressive schemes. All this determined their inevitable defeat.

The Anti-Imperialist Patriotic Movement of the Yi He Tuan

The year following the defeat of the reform movement saw the outbreak of the Yi He Tuan movement (known to the West as the Box-ers), which was mainly composed of peasants and which had interna-tional repercussions. It was the product of intensified foreign aggression and an unprecedentedly grave national disaster, and was a devel-opment of the struggle against the imperialist partition of China following the Sino-Japanese War. It was also the culmination of decades of popular upheavals all over the country against aggression perpetrated by the missionaries and churches.

The movement originated in Shandong . In 1899, the section of the Yi He Tuan led by Zhu Hongdeng rose in armed revolt in the northwestern part of Shandong . The insurgents destroyed churches and drove away the missionaries and defeated the Qing army which was sent to suppress them. Other contingents of the Yi He Tuan rose in response, and the movement gained enormous momentum.

The rapid development of the Yi He Tuan anti-imperialist and patriotic movement frightened the aggressors. The United States and the British plenipotentiaries in Beijing pressed the Qing government to crush it. They even compelled the Qing government to replace the governor of Shandong with Yuan Shikai. Yuan Shikai led 7,000 men of his New Army from Zhili to Shandong and, in collaboration with the local armed forces, ruthlessly suppressed the insurgents. In early1900, part of the Yi He Tuan insurgent army moved from Shandong to Zhili and merged with the local Yi He Tuan to form a stronger force. In May, one of its detachments occupied Zhuozhou (about 50 kilometres to the southwest of Beijing ), threatening the capital; another detach-ment manoeuvred near Tianjin , trying to gain entrance to the city.

The Yi He Tuan’s struggle against aggression won support from the whole country and people joined up with great enthusiasm. Its flag was hoisted in many of the townships and villages of Zhili. However, with people from the landlord class joining in the movement at its high tide, including even conservative members of the gentry and small or medium landlords who had old grievances against the churches, the composition of the insurgent army grew more and more complicated. These people whipped up retrogressive tendencies such as general xenophobia and rejection of modern industry, science and technology, which were inherent in a peasant army.

The momentum of the Yi He Tuan movement shocked the Qing court, which then sought to use it to its own advantage. At that time, the Qing government was at loggerheads with the foreign aggressors. Empress Dowager Ci Xi bore a grudge to Britain and Japan for al- lowing Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao to continue their activities abroad and opposing her plan of dethroning Emperor Guang Xu. After formulating secret plans, the Qing court decided to recognize the legal status of the Yi He Tuan and covertly agreed to its entry into the capi-tal. The combination of the local Beijing movement and the newcom- ers greatly magnified the influence of the Yi He Tuan movement. Thousands of the urban populace, including even Manchu and Han soldiers in the Qing army, flocked to join the Yi He Tuan within a matter of a few days. They set fire to churches in Beijing , attacked the foreign aggressors and held continuous demonstrations in the streets. At the same time, the Yi He Tuan detachment that was active around Tianjin entered the city, exercised administrative functions in some areas of the city and struggled against the foreign aggressors there.

The expansion of the Yi He Tuan movement in Beijing and Tian-jin encouraged the people of the whole country. Soon the movement spread from Shandong and Zhili to other northern provinces — Shanxi , Shaanxi , Henan and Inner Mongolia , and even to the northeastern provinces. Before long, mass action against the aggression of the churches flared up in the southern provinces as well, echoing the movement in the north. Anti-imperialist upheavals swept the country.

To crush the Yi He Tuan, the imperialist powers joined forces and launched a war of aggression against China . In June 1900, Britain, Russia, Japan, the United States, Germany, France, Italy and Austria organized an army of 2,000 men, which landed at Dagu, a harbour on Bohai Bay some 60 kilometres to the southeast of Tianjin, and advanced towards Beijing under the pretext of “rescuing the envoys”. The insurgents and the Qing army engaged the aggressors in a battle at Luofa and Langfang, about 50 kilometres to the southeast of Beijing, causing heavy casualties to the enemy troops. The allied army retreat-ed hastily to the foreign settlement in Tianjin .

At this time, the foreign warships off Dagu Harbour attacked and occupied Dagu Fort under the command of a Russian naval officer. More invading troops landed at Dagu and advanced towards Tianjin . As soon as the 2,000 Russian troops arrived at the Tianjin railway station, they fired cannon at the Yi He Tuan positions. The joint forces of the Yi He Tuan insurgents and the Qing army led by Cao Futian killed and wounded more than 500 Russians, winning a splendid vic-tory. Another contingent of joint forces led by Zhang Decheng beleaguered the foreign settlement in Tianjin . The Red Lantern De-tachment, composed mainly of young women, also took part in the battle.

In Beijing, the foreign officials and troops in the Legation Quar-ter provoked the Yi He Tuan insurgents and shot Chinese inhabitants at sight. This roused the indignation of the Chinese civilians and the Qing troops. On June 20, the Chinese joint forces laid siege to the foreign legations to strike at the aggressors. They broke through the enemy defence lines, killing and wounding enormous numbers of enemy troops.

Bowing to the pressure of circumstances, the Qing court declared war on the imperialist powers on June 21, but this was no more than a devious trick. While rewarding the Yi He Tuan with silver and grain and praising its members as “righteous subjects”, the Qing court ap-pointed officials as their commanding officers to lead them so as the better to cheat and control them, and at the same time surreptitiously engaged in capitulationist manoeuvres. getting ready to come to terms with the imperialists. Four days after the declaration of war, Empress Dowager Ci Xi decreed the lifting of the siege of the legations and preparations for truce talks.

In late June, several thousand of additional foreign troops ad-vanced towards Tianjin . The joint forces of the Yi He Tuan and part of the Qing army resisted the enemy, annihilating about 1,000 of them. However, some of the Qing army commanders, can’ying out secret orders from the Qing court, attacked the Yi He Tuan from behind. Fighting on two fronts against foreign and domestic counter-revolutionaries, the Yi He Tuan insurgents suffered terrible casualties. Its strength seriously sapped, it lost Tianjin on July 14.

Even more eager to capitulate to the enemy now that Tianjin had fallen, the Qing court sent envoys to the Legation Quarter to inquire after the well-being of the foreign diplomatic staff, saying that it was willing to apologize, pay an indemnity and punish the culprits. The imperialists ignored these as they planned to extort greater gains from their aggression. On August 4, the 20,000-strong eight-power allied forces set out from Tianjin towards Beijing . As the Yi He Tuan insur-gent army and part of the Qing army repulsed the enemy, the Qing court sent Li Hongzhang as plenipotentiary to sue for peace. On August 14, the allied army occupied Beijing . Empress Dowager Ci Xi fled to Xi’an, taking Emperor Guang Xu with her. On her way there, she instructed Li Hongzhang to beg the aggressors for a hasty peace, and decreed that local officials should extirpate the Yi He Tuan. The allied forces on their way from Tianjin to Beijing committed arson, murder, robbery and rape, razing entire villages. After they occupied Beijing, the troops were allowed to loot for three days in the capital. They plundered and destroyed the literary and artistic treasures of past dynasties and people’s property, and insulted and slaughtered the in-habitants.

While joining in the allied army, Russian independently occupied China ‘s Northeast. In July 1900 when the Yi He Tuan movement spread to the Northeast, Russia mustered 150,000 troops and invaded Heilongjiang, Jilin and Shengjing (present Liaoning ) by several routes under the pretext of protecting the Chinese Eastern Railway. By Octo- ber, the whole of the Northeast was under Russian control. Every- where the Russian aggressors went, they set fire to people’s houses and plundered and murdered the inhabitants. More than 7,000 people of Hailanpao and the sixty-four villages east of the Heilongjiang River were murdered, burned to death or drowned in the river. The ancient and historical city of Aihui (Aigun) was reduced to a heap of rubble. Lenin at the time denounced the Russian aggressors for “burning down whole villages, shooting, bayoneting, and drowning in the Amur River ( Heilongjiang ) unarmed inhabitants, their wives, and their chil- dren¡± In face of the savage Russian aggression, the Yi He Tuan and people of various local ethnic minorities in the Northeast launched an armed resistance against the invading enemy. The popular armed forces soon grew into a contingent 200,000 strong. With the motto” Resist the Russian bandits! Restore our lost territory! ” they assaulted the enemy repeatedly, so that it could not relax its guard for a moment.

The imperialist powers each strove against the other to seize the maximum gains from their aggression in China after the occupation of Beijing . The conflict between them became so acute that they were on the verge of an armed clash. Under such circumstances, they accepted the second “open-door” policy put forward by the United States : to continue to maintain Qing rule under Empress Dowager Ci Xi and outwardly guarantee China ‘s “territorial and administrative integrity”, while in reality setting up a condominium over China . On this basis, they opened peace negotiations with Li Hongzhang, forcing the Inter-national Protocol of 1901 on the Qing court in the ninth lunar month of 1901. By the terms of the unequal treaty, the Qing court would apologize to the powers and punish the officials who had “offended” them; pay an indemnity of 450 million taels of silver by 39-year in-stalments which amounted to about a billion taels of silver with inter-est; allow the imperialist powers to control China’s maritime customs and salt gabelle so as to provide for the payment of the indemnity; establish in Beijing a “legation quarter” where foreign troops were to be stationed and Chinese barred from residence; dismantle the fort at Dagu and allow foreign troops to be stationed in strategic areas along the railway line from Beijing to Tianjin and to Shanhaiguan; and ban forever any popular anti-imperialist activities under penalty of death. The protocol was a heavy manacle forced on the Chinese people, which further strengthened imperialist rule over China . Empress Dowager Ci Xi, however, was very satisfied with it, since it ensured the continuation of her dominance. She declared herself willing “to win the good graces of the powers, to the full extent of China ‘s resources”, and was fully determined to rule China as a faithful servant of imperialist powers.

The momentous Yi He Tuan anti-imperialist and patriotic movement failed under the concerted suppression of the imperialist powers and their flunkey, the Qing court. Nevertheless, the tenacious struggle frustrated the foreign powers in their attempt to dismember China and demonstrated the potential strength of the Chinese People.

The Rise of the Bourgeois Revolutionary Movement

After the signing of the unequal International Protocol in 1901, the imperialist countries intensified their plunder and domination of China . In addition to continuing to establish factories in China , they further seized for themselves the fight to open mines and gained control of China ‘s railways by means of direct investment and high-interest loans. The continued forfeiture of railways and mining rights became an extremely grave problem for China in the early twentieth century.

The imperialist powers were engaged in fierce struggles in their contention for rights and interests in China , and the Northeast was the focus for their contention. After Russia invaded and occupied the Northeast, it nourished vain hopes of establishing a “yellow Russia ” there and refused to withdraw its troops. Japan had long harboured ambitions in regard to this area and secured the support of the United States and Britain . In 1904, an imperialist war finally broke out be-tween Russia and Japan on Chinese territory over their contention for China ‘s Northeast. In 1905, with the United States as mediator, they concluded a treaty for a division of the spoils, which provided that Russia should wholly “cede” to Japan its leased territories of Ltishun and Dalian, the Changchun-Dalian (Southern Manchurian) railway and other related rights. When the conflict broke out, the Qing court proclaimed its “neutrality” and delineated the area east of the Liaohe River as the battlefield; after the war it recognized the spoils-sharing provisions of the treaty. Thus Russian influence withdrew to the northern part of the Northeast and Japanese influence penetrated the south.

Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, Britain and Russia had been engaged in fierce contention over Tibet . At the end of 1903, taking advantage of Russian preoccupation in the Northeast, Britain launched an invasion of Tibet . The local Tibetan army and people resisted British aggression, putting up a particularly heroic defence at the battle of Gyangze (Gyantse) in southern Tibet . The British army occupied and looted Lhasa in August 1905, and in 1906 Britain forced the Qing court to sign an unequal treaty (Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting Tibet, 1906), opening Gyantse and Gartok as trading towns.

The Qing court’s betrayal of the Yi He Tuan and its capitulation to the imperialist powers confronted its rule with serious difficulties. In 1901, the court promulgated some “institutional reforms” and for some years carried out a “new administration”. Some of the measures of the “new administration”, such as promoting national industry, abolishing the imperial examination system, establishing schools and sending students abroad, were for the purpose of mitigating the con- tradictions between the rulers and the national bourgeoisie. A major part of the “new administration” was training troops and raising funds for their support. In 1903, a military training office was established in Beijing , and a reform of the military administration was undertaken. In 1905, an ambitious plan was drawn up for a national New Army of thirty-six zhen (garrisons or divisions). In the same year, a police department was set up and police were trained. All these measures aimed at strengthening its rule over the people. All items in the court’s “new administration” were financed by increasing old taxes and levies or adding new ones. Apart from this, the intention of the “new admini- stration” was also to win further favour from the imperialist powers. In 1901, in accordance with the demands of the imperialist powers, the corn1 changed the Zongli Yamen to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, also answering to their needs, express provisions were made for in building railways and opening the protection of foreign investment mines in China .

The aggression of the imperialist powers and the treachery and oppression of the Qing court brought increased hardship to the life of the labouring people. People in every part of the country staged an uuremitting resistance. In 1902, peasant uprisings in the Zhili Province raised anew the banner of “overthrow the Qing, destroy the foreigner”. On a larger scale were the armed uprisings of the Han, Zhuang, Miao, Yao and other ethnic groups in Guangxi, where the flames of battle raged throughout the whole province for altogether three years. The movement to restore rights and oppose imperialist control of railways and mines developed gradually after 1903. In 1905, in opposition to Amerihan imperialism’s maltreatment of Chinese migrant workers, a movement to boycott American goods swept the country. This movement, initiated by the national bourgeoisie, was also supported by workers, peasants, students and other urban residents. Spontaneous popular resistance increased rapidly after 1905. The records show that in 1909 there were more than 130 outbreaks of popular resistance in different regions, and the figure rose to over 290 in 1910. Struggles to resist taxes and levies and to seize rice were widespread throughout each province; two large-scale movements were the “rice raids” in Changsha , Hunan , and the anti-tax struggles in Laiyang , Shandong . In 1910, there were floods and droughts in the Changjiang River basin , and the famine refugees of Hunan lived on bark and grass. The gentry, landlords and Chinese and foreign merchants took this opportunity to hoard grain for profiteering. Starving people from Changsha and surrounding districts demanded that local authorities reduce the price at which grain was sold, but their protest was crushed and dozens were killed or wounded. The starving people rose in force against the Qing army, and in the end tens of thousands were drawn into the movement. They raided grain shops and banks, burned down yamen and tax bureau, and smashed up consular resi-dences, foreign firms and churches, pointing the spearhead of their struggle at the feudal rulers and imperialist aggressors. Finally the court was forced to agree to official control of the sale of rice. In the same year, the peasants of Laiyang demanded that the rice stored in preparation against disaster, which had been misappropriated by officials and the gentry, be released to tide people over the famine and to pay taxes. Their demands were refused by the officials and their repre- sentatives arrested. Tens of thousands surrounded the county town of Laiyang and many fierce battles took place. The spontaneous resis-tance of the masses dealt a heavy blow against Qing feudal rule and at the same time promoted the development of the bourgeois democratic revolution.

The anti-imperialist, anti-feudal Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution, in a strict sense, was started by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925, also known as Sun Wen or Sun Zhongshan) was born into a peasant family in the village of Cuiheng in Xiangshan (present-day Zhongshan City), Guangdong Province (near Macao). As a teen-ager he went to Honolulu where he received a Western education. After he returned to China in 1885, he studied medicine in Guangzhou and Hong Kong , and began to practise in Macao and Guangzhou . During this period he got to know some patriotic young men and se-cret society members who met regularly to assail the oppressive rule of the Qing court. He had a strong admiration for the Taiping Revolu-tion, and called himself “Hong Xiuquan the Second”. He was als0 influenced by reformist thinking. In 1894, he wrote a letter to Li Hongzhang, hoping to see some capitalist reforms, but was met with rejection. Not long after this, the Sino-Japanese War broke out. Sun Yat-sen felt that the crisis confronting the country was very grave, and considered that under Qing rule it would be impossible to make the country rich and powerful. The only way for national salvation was to take the path of revolution and over-throw Qing feudal rule.

After the signing of the unequal International Protocol in 1901, the imperialist countries intensified their plunder and domination of China . In addition to continuing to establish factories in China , they further seized for themselves the fight to open mines and gained control of China ‘s railways by means of direct investment and high-interest loans. The continued forfeiture of railways and mining rights became an extremely grave problem for China in the early twentieth century.

The imperialist powers were engaged in fierce struggles in their contention for rights and interests in China , and the Northeast was the focus for their contention. After Russia invaded and occupied the Northeast, it nourished vain hopes of establishing a “yellow Russia ” there and refused to withdraw its troops. Japan had long harboured ambitions in regard to this area and secured the support of the United States and Britain . In 1904, an imperialist war finally broke out be-tween Russia and Japan on Chinese territory over their contention for China ‘s Northeast. In 1905, with the United States as mediator, they concluded a treaty for a division of the spoils, which provided that Russia should wholly “cede” to Japan its leased territories of Ltishun and Dalian, the Changchun-Dalian (Southern Manchurian) railway and other related rights. When the conflict broke out, the Qing court proclaimed its “neutrality” and delineated the area east of the Liaohe River as the battlefield; after the war it recognized the spoils-sharing provisions of the treaty. Thus Russian influence withdrew to the northern part of the Northeast and Japanese influence penetrated the south.

Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, Britain and Russia had been engaged in fierce contention over Tibet . At the end of 1903, taking advantage of Russian preoccupation in the Northeast, Britain launched an invasion of Tibet . The local Tibetan army and people resisted British aggression, putting up a particularly heroic defence at the battle of Gyangze (Gyantse) in southern Tibet . The British army occupied and looted Lhasa in August 1905, and in 1906 Britain forced the Qing court to sign an unequal treaty (Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting Tibet, 1906), opening Gyantse and Gartok as trading towns.

The Qing court’s betrayal of the Yi He Tuan and its capitulation to the imperialist powers confronted its rule with serious difficulties. In 1901, the court promulgated some “institutional reforms” and for some years carried out a “new administration”. Some of the measures of the “new administration”, such as promoting national industry, abolishing the imperial examination system, establishing schools and sending students abroad, were for the purpose of mitigating the con- tradictions between the rulers and the national bourgeoisie. A major part of the “new administration” was training troops and raising funds for their support. In 1903, a military training office was established in Beijing , and a reform of the military administration was undertaken. In 1905, an ambitious plan was drawn up for a national New Army of thirty-six zhen (garrisons or divisions). In the same year, a police department was set up and police were trained. All these measures aimed at strengthening its rule over the people. All items in the court’s “new administration” were financed by increasing old taxes and levies or adding new ones. Apart from this, the intention of the “new admini- stration” was also to win further favour from the imperialist powers. In 1901, in accordance with the demands of the imperialist powers, the corn1 changed the Zongli Yamen to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, also answering to their needs, express provisions were made for in building railways and opening the protection of foreign investment mines in China .

The Founding of the Tong Meng Hui

The rapid development of the revolutionary situation required a national, unified political party to lead the revolutionary movement. At this point, Sun Yat-sen and Huang Xing amalgamated part of the membership of the Xing Zhong Hui, Hua Xing Hui, Guang Fu Hui, Kexue Buxi Suo and other revolutionary bodies to form the Zhongguo Tong Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary League) in Tokyo in August1905. It elected Sun Yat-sen as president, set up an executive group and adopted the programme proposed by Sun Yat-sen to “drive out the Manchus, restore China , establish a republic and equalize landowner- ship”. This programme was spelled out in the manifesto written by Sun Yat-sen for the first issue of the Tong Meng Hui’s journal, the Min Bao (People’s Journal) as the Three People’s Principles–the Princi-ple of Nationalism, the Principle of Democracy, and the Principle of People’s Livelihood. The Principle of Nationalism was to overthrow the government of the Manchu aristocracy. The Principle of Democra-cy was to overthrow the monarchical autocratic system and establish a republican government. The Principle of People’s Livelihood was to appraise and fix land prices, and to apportion to the state the increase in land prices that would result from the development of the social economy after the revolution, and gradually let the state purchase land from landowners. The Three People’s Principles was a political pro-gramme which embodied the hopes of the Chinese bourgeoisie for the establishment of a republic and the development of capitalism, and was a great rallying cry for the revolution at that time.

The founding of the Tong Meng Hui and the formation of its pro-gramme indicated that the Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution-ary movement had entered a new stage. However, this programme did not raise in clear and definite terms the solgan of anti-imperialist, anti-feudal struggle, and did not include a thoroughgoing land programme. Hence it was a non-thoroughgoing national democratic revolutionary programme reflecting the weak and compromising character of the Chinese national bourgeoisie.

The activities of the Tong Meng Hui had two main aspects, the debates with the reformists on political ideology and the development of a series of armed uprisings.

The reformists, headed by Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao and with the journal Xin Min Congbao (New People’s Journal) published in Japan as their fortress, praised constitutional monarchy and vilified, revolution. They said that it was not necessary to overthrow the Qing to make China rich and powerful, that it would be enough to persuade it to reform and demand that it practice a form of constitutional mon-archy. They attacked armed revolution, claiming that it would lead to an internecine war and the partitioning of the country by foreign pow-ers, and that it was not an expression of patriotism but an invitation to disaster for the country. With Min Bao as their stronghold, the revolu-tionists pointed out, to the contrary, that the court had not the slightest intention of renouncing its position, and would not function as a con- stitutional monarchy at all. They also pointed out that the court had already become a flunkey of the imperialists and unless this traitorous government was overthrown, China would be totally forfeited, so that the only way out for China was to “promote popular rights and estab-lish democracy”. They considered that the “patriotism” paraded by the reformists was in fact love for a traitorous government which acted as the foreigners’ slave, and that the reformists’ support for a monarchy and opposition to a republic was really “a criminal act against China “. This great debate fully exposed the reformists’ pro-Qing stance and opposition to revolution. By their defeat of the reformists on the theo-retical front, the revolutionists took over the ideological leadership, winning over people to their side and heightening the revolutionary atmosphere of the time.

The first armed uprisings led by the Tong Meng Hui were those staged in 1906 by peasants and miners in the areas around Pingxiang in Jiangxi and Liuyang and Liling in Hunan . Members of the Tong Meng Hui were active in the uprisings, spreading revolutionary mes-sages on the political programme of the society to rally the masses to their forces. The troops of the uprising quickly grew to about thirty thousand men and rapidly gained control over four or five counties, defeating the Qing army time after time. Only after the court had rein-forced its army with troops from several provinces was it able to crush them. From 1907 to 1908 the Tong Meng Hui lauched six uprisings in succession in Guangdong , Guangxi and Yunnan . Sun Yat-sen person-ally took part in the fighting in Zhennanguan in Guangxi. Xu Xilin, a member of the Guang Fu Hui, and the revolutionary Qiu Jin (1877-1907), from Shanyin (modern Shaoxing), also launched uprisings in Anhui and Zhejiang in 1907.

On April 27, 1911 , after six months of preparation, Sun Yat-sen and Huang Xing launched the Guangzhou Uprising which sent a tremor through the whole country. The revolutionists attacked from dif- ferent directions. After more than a hundred men led by Huang Xing attacked the yamen of the governor-general of Guangdong and Guangxi, fighting broke out in the streets between them and a large Qing army which had come to suppress them. Since the isolated force was numerically weak, it was defeated after a night of fierce battle, and Huang Xing and the other survivors escaped with their wounds. More than eighty died in battle or were executed after their capture. Disregarding the danger to themselves, the people of Guangzhou col- lected the remains of seventy-two of the martyrs which they found and buried them at Huanghuagang on the city outskirts.

Because of the weakness in their mass base and the purely mili-tary adventuristic tactic of surprise attack they usually adopted, the repeated Tong Meng Hui uprisings ended in defeat. However, each delivered a blow to Qing rule. The selfless heroism of the revolution-ists aroused a nation-wide spirit of resistance and inspired more peo-ple to join the anti-Qing campaign.

Confronted with the growing trend towards revolution, the Qing court looked for support from the upper strata of the bourgeoisie to prevent revolution and announced to secure “eternal imperial stabil-ity”–a policy of “preparing for constitutional government” in 1906. Its first step was to reform the official system, that is, to concentrate political power in the hands of the Manchu aristocracy and reduce the power of the local governors. It recalled to court Zhang Zhidong, the Governor-General of Hubei and Hunan, and Yuan Shikai, the Gover- nor-General of Zhili, the most powerful of the local governors, and gave them titles of Grand Ministers of the Privy Council while de-priving them of actual power.

After the Qing court announced its constitutional preparations, reformists in places like Jiangsu , Zhejiang , Hubei , Hunan and Guang-dong organized bodies to prepare for setting up a constitution. Their plan was to demand by kowtowing and petitioning tactics that the court practise a constitutional monarchy, thus checking the develop-ment of revolution and also giving themselves an opportunity to join the government. Known as “constitutionalits”, their chief representa-tives were Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao abroad, and Zhang Jian, Tang Hualong, Tang Shouqian and Tan Yankai at home.

In August 1908, the court issued an “Imperial Constitution” stipulating a nine-year preparatory period for setting up constitutional government, which revealed their lack of sincerity. The Empress Dowager, Ci Xi, died soon after in November, one day after the death of Emperor Guang Xu. Puyi then succeeded to the throne with the reign title Xuan Tong, but because he was still a child, the political and military power devolved upon the regent, his father Zai Feng. Soon after coming to power, Zai Feng forced Yuan Shikai to retire.

Between 1909 and 1911, provincial consultative councils were established one after the other and a National Consultative Assembly was convened in Beijing in 1910, with constitutionalists playing a dominant role. The constitutionalists continuously presented petitions for a constitution, but the court only issued strict prohibitions against them. The court set up a new cabinet in May 1911, but nine of the thirteen ministers were Manchu nobles and five were members of the imperial clan, so that the political and military power was further con-centrated in the hands of the imperial clan. This revealed the fraudu-lence of “constitutional preparation”, arousing universal dissatisfac-tion among the warlords, high officials and constitutionalists who represented the upper strata of the bourgeoisie, and isolating the court.

For the sake of loans from the imperialist powers, the court is-sued a policy of the “natlonahzatmn ”of trunk railway lines in May 1911, seizing the Guangzhou-Hankou and Sichuan-Hankou railways to be built by local private investment and selling the rights to build the two railways to the foreign powers. Upon this a mass movmeent to protect railway rights promptly broke out in the four provinces imme-diately concerned, Sichuan , Hunan , Hubei and Guangdong . The movement was particularly vigorous in Sichuan . In June, associations for the protection of railway rights were set up everywhere in Sichuan with hundreds of thousands taking part, and in Chengdu, tens of thou-sands attended a meeting for railway rights protection in August, calling for strikes among workers and students and refusal to pay taxes. The constitutionalists sought to control the movement but found themselves incapable. In September, Zhao Erfeng, Governor-General of Sichuan, ordered the massacre of several dozen petitioners in Chengdu . This only promoted further popular outrage. Wu Yongshan (also known as Wu Yuzhang) and other members of the Tong Meng Hui established revolutionary political power in Rongxian after an uprising. The railway rights protection movement developed into an armed uprising, which furiously assailed Qing rule in Sichuan . The overthrow of the Qing Dynasty was drawing near.

The Wuchang Uprising; The Founding of the Republic of China and the Fall of the Qing Dynasty

The Wuchang Uprising broke out on October 10, 1911 . The driving force behind it included two Tong Meng Hui associates, the Wen Xue She (Literary Association) and the Gong Jin Hui (March Together League), which had been carrying out revolutionary propa-ganda and organizational work in the Hubei New Army and the secret societies for some time, drawing into their orgnaizations more than five thousand officers and soldiers or approximately one-third of the provincial army. Encouraged by the armed uprising which developed out of the railway rights protection movement in Sichuan , they decid-ed to stage an armed uprising on October 11. But due to the accidental explosion of a bomb on October 9 which alerted the authorities, the plans for the uprising were discovered and the uprising headquarters was raided. A large number of the revolutionary leaders were arrested and executed by Ruicheng, Governor-General of Hubei and Hunan . The revolutionaries in the New Army, seeing that the situation was critical, decided to go ahead with the uprising earlier than planned. On the night of October 10, the first shots in the revolution rang out: the Wuchang Uprising had begun. The revolutionary army attacked the governor-general’s yamen, sending Ruicheng and his officials fleeing in confusion. Wuchang was occupied after one night’s fighting. On the 12th, the revolutionary army also occupied Hanyang and Hankou, the other two towns which with Wuchang make up the city of Wuhan .

The victory of the Wuchang Uprising quickly aroused a high tide of revolutionary enthusiasm throughout the whole country. Revolu-tionaries launched New Army and secret society uprisings in every province, and spontaneous struggles by peasants, workers, artisans and the urban poor took place. By early November, thirteen provinces had declared independence from the Qing court, and the disintegration of Qing rule was under way.

On the day after the Wuchang Uprising, the revolutionaries im-mediately began preparations to set up a government. On the recom-mendation of the constitutionalists, Li Yuanhong, former brigade commander of the New Army, was chose as military governor, and a Hubei Military Government was set up. On the 12th, Tang Hualong, a well-known constitutional monarchist, was chosen as minister of civil affairs in the government. Then, the abrogation of the Xuan Tong reign was announced and the name of the country changed to the Republic of China (Zhonghua Minguo). The revolutionaries forgot that Li Yuanhong was an extremely hostile opponent of the revolution and, even worse, failed to realize that they should keep political power in their own hands. Instead they considered that it was necessary for people who had some social standing to come forward to form a gov-ernment so that it would have mass appeal, and therefore handed over lightly the political power they had won in battle to the feudal officials. Following the victories of the provincial uprisings, the representatives of the constitutionalists and the old bureaucrat politicians, taking ad-vantage of the compromising and conciliatory nature of the bourgeois revolutionaries, infiltrated the revolutionary regime and usurped the leadership. The Jiangsu Governor, Cheng Dequan, merely hung a signboard over the yamen saying “Military Government” and changed his title to military governor, while keeping everything else exactly as it had been. Ten days after Hunan had declared its independence from the Qing court, the constitutionalist party headed by the leader of the Advisory Bureau, Tan Yankai, executed the revolutionary military governor, Jiao Dafeng, and usurped political power in Hunan .

In November, the Hubei Military Government invited delegates from the other independent provinces to Wuhan to discuss the formation of a central government. On December 2, the Jiangsu-Zhejiang revolutionary army attacked and took Nanjing . The convention of provincial delegates then decided to make Nanjing the seat of the provisional government of the republic, where the provincial delegates soon assembled. Sun yat-sen returned to China on December 25 and the convention of.provincial delegates elected himProvisional Presi-dent of the republic four days later. On January 1, 1912 , Sun Yat-sen took the oath of office and proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of China ; with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, 1912 was declared as the first year of the republic. Next, Li Yuanhong was elected Vice-President, and a Provisional Senate was set up in Nanjing to act as a legislature. A bourgeois republican regime came into being.

The Provisional Government at Nanjing headed by Sun Yat-sen was the product of a bourgeois democratic revolution. Owing to the weakness and compromise of the bourgeois revolutionaries, it was actually a coalition government of revolutionaries, constitutionalists and former officials. Although the revolutionaries predominated in the government, the constitutionalists and former officials headed the ministries of internal affairs, industry, and communications, possessing considerable power. Most of the provincial military governors, were also manipulated by the constitutionalists and former officials, but the Provisional Government in fact could not exercise central government authority over them.

The Provisional Government at Nanjing issued many laws relating to political, social and economic reform. The major ones, like the abolition of torture, prohibition against traffic in Chinese labourers abroad, abolition of slavery, prohibition against the cultivation and smoking of opium, and encouragement of the initiation of industrial and commercial enterprises and overseas Chinese investment in their homeland, were for the benefit of democratic politics and the development of capitalism. But because the government did not touch the basis of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, it could not resolve the immediate concerns of the people, especially the peasants’ demand for land, and so its mass base was very weak.

The imperialist powers both feared and hated the Chinese revolution, and after the Wuchang Uprising they went to great lengths to support the Qing court and smash the revolution. In mid-October 1911, over a dozen British, American, Japanese, German and French war-ships assembled opposite Wuhan awaiting orders, threatening the revolutionary army. Because of the speedy development of the revolution, the imperialist powers were forced to declare “neutrality”, but in fact they actively intervened. They continued to send customs duties to Beijing , and the Four-Power Consortium of British, French, German and American banks granted loans to the Qing court amounting to more than three million taels of silver. They hoped by these means to maintain Qing rule. Russia also tried to destroy the Chinese revolution, hoping to take this opportunity to divide China . It instigated a few princes of the Mongols to declare the “independence” of Outer Mongolia , and sent troops to occupy Hulun Circuit (modern Hailar), Manzhouli and other areas in Heilongjiang Province .

With the rapid disintegration of the Qing, the imperialist powers then sought a new flunkey. Their choice fell upon Yuan Shikai, a representative of landlord and comprador forces, and they put pressure on the Qing court to appoint him to an important position. The court first hastily appointed him Governor-General of Hubei and Hunan on October 14, and then as Imperial Commissioner in charge of all China ‘s armies on October 22, with orders to suppress the revolution. Yuan Shikai delayed his acceptance to gain further powers. In November, the court was forced to appoint him Premier of the cabinet at Beijing , and the old cabinet of the imperial clan resigned. After he had gathered the military and political power in his hands, Yuan Shikai dispatched troops to attack the revolutionary army at Wuhan , capturing Hanyang. The imperialist powers further supported Yuan Shikai, helping to engineer negotiations between the north and the revolutionaries in the south. When peace talks began in Shanghai on December18, the British, American, Russian, Japanese, French and German consuls presented a note to both sides asking them “to establish a peaceful resolution at all speed”, to force the revolutionists to hand over political power. The constitutionalists who had infiltrated the revolutionary ranks also gave support to Yuan Shikai and actively exerted pressure from within the revolution, creating an atmosphere of compromise and destroying the revolution.

Under pressure from reactionary forces inside and outside, the revolutionists compromised and on January 15 agreed, on condition that the Qing emperor abdicate and Yuan Shikai support the republic, to hand over political power to Yuan. On February 12, 1912 , Emperor Puyi abdicated, bringing to an end two thousand years of feudal monarchy in China . Next day, Sun Yat-sen resigned as Provisional President, and on February 15 the Provisional Senate elected Yuan Shikai Provisional President of the republic. A few days later, Li Yuanhong was elected Vice-President. On March 10, Yuan Shikai formally assumed office in Beijing and established an antirevolutionary regime representing the big landlords and comprador class. The fruits of victory of the revolution had been usurped by Yuan Shikai, an agent of the imperialist powers, and thus began the rule of China by Beiyang warlords.

The day after Yuan Shikai assumed office, Sun Yat-sen proclaimed a Provisional Constitution which had been hastily drawn up by the Provisional Senate in Nanjing . The Provisional Constitution stipulated that sovereign rights belonged to the whole people in the Republic of China, and that the people uniformly enjoyed freedom of speech, publication, assembly and association, and the right to petition, elect and be elected. It had the character of a bourgeois republican constitution with a revolutionary and democratic character.

As a bourgeois democratic republic, the Republic of China made only a brief appearance in history. The bourgeois democratic revolution of 1911 had been strangled by Chinese and foreign reactionary forces. It only overthrew a feudal emperor, but did not overthrow the exploitation and oppression by imperialism and feudalism. China was still a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society. Imperialist and feudal forces continued to rule China , and the Chinese people’s antiimperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution was still far from being completed.

The Period of Beiyang Warlord Rule

After usurping the position of Provisional President, Yuan Shikai gradually established autocratic rule by suppressing the democratic forces. A group of Tong Meng Hui members headed by Song Jiaoren hoped to wage a parliamentary struggle against Yuan Shikai on the basis of the Provisional Constitution to bring into effect a bourgeois democratic government. In order to win the national parliamentary elections and to have the parliament organized along party lines, that is, on the basis of political parties rather than individuals or provincial associations, Song Jiaoren and others formed the Kuomintang (Na-tionalist Party) in August 1912 from a central core of Tong Meng Hui members together with some small political parties. Its platform called for political unity, development of local autonomy and attention to people’s livelihood. This was a considerable retreat from the old Tong Meng Hui platform.

The Kuomintang won the majority of seats in the national par-liamentary elections, which were held between the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913. In the position of a majority party, Song Jiaoren and other Kuomintang leaders hoped to form a cabinet, so as to restrict the power held by Yuan Shikai. But on March 20, 1913, Song Jiaoren was assassinated at the Shanghai railway station by Yuan Shikai’ s agents.

The assassination provoked different reactions from the revolu-tionists. Sun Yat-sen called for the immediate overthrow of Yuan Shi-kai, but Huang Xing, supported by the majority of Kuomintang par-liamentarians, opposed the use of military force on the grounds that it stood little chance of success; instead, they argued for a peaceful so-lution by legal means in parliament. However, Yuan Shikai issued orders to exterminate Kuomintang power in several of the southern provinces by military force. Yuan Shikai received substantial support from the imperialist powers: he was granted loans amounting to 25 million pounds sterling from the Five-Power Consortium formed by Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Russia, and gained U.S. recogni-tion for his regime. In June 1913 he ordered the dismissal of the Kuo-mintang military governors of Jiangxi, Anhui and Guangdong . Faced with this new challenge, the Kuomintang finally took up arms in the uprising known as the “Second Revolution”. In July 1913, Li Liejun, military governor of Jiangxi, and Huang Xing declared war on Yuan from their bases in Hukou and Nanjing respectively. Anhui, Hun Guangdong, Fujian and Sichuan also declared their independen Because of internal laxness within the Kuomintang, the anti-Yuan forces were weak and the Second Revolution was completely defeated in less than two months. The provinces in the south thus came under the control of Yuan Shikai, and Sun Yat-sen and Huang Xing were forced once again to flee to Japan .

After having crushed his opposition in the Second Revolution, Yuan Shikai turned his attention to gaining the formal presidency. On October 6, the day set for the election of President, he sent self proclaimed “citizens’ groups”, consisting of several thousand plain-clothes military police and hooligans, to surround the parliament, not allowing the members of parliament to leave until Yuan had been elected. The following day Li Yuanhong was elected Vice-Presidet. Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany and other imperialist powers simultaneously declared recognition of Yuan Shikai’s regime.

On becoming President, Yuan Shikai declared the Kuomintang illegal in November and then in January 1914 ordered the dissolution of parliament. In April he annulled the Provisional Constitution and proclaimed his reactionary Constitution of the Republic of China, substituting presidential for cabinet rule and expanding presidential power to the maximum to carry out a dictatorship.

All that was left of the republic was an empty name, but Yuan Shikai even wanted to discard that name and start his own imperial dynasty. The imperialist countries continued to support his ambitions, thinking that thereby they could extend their own influence in China . In August 1914 World War I broke out in Europe . Taking advantage of the diversion of European interest to the war at home, the Japanese made plans to invade China, sending troops to occupy Qingdao ( Tsingtao ) and the Jiaozhou-Jinan railway. As a condition of their support for Yuan Shikai’s imperial ambitions, they put forward in January 1915 the “Twenty-One Demands”. The main items were that China transfer German rights in Shandong to Japan and also open other parts of the peninsula to Japan; recognize the special interests of Japan in Liaoning, Jilin and eastern Inner Mongolia; extend the lease on Ltishun and Dalian and on the related railway; operate jointly with Japan the Hanyeping Iron and Steel Works; not lease or cede to other powers China’s coastal ports, harbours or off-shore islands; engage Japanese advisors on political, financial and military affairs; and oper- ate jointly with Japan China’s police departments and arsenals. Apart from a few individual items reserved for further negotiation, Yuan Shikai in strict secrecy accepted these demands on May 25, 1915 . With the support of Japan, the United States and other powers, Yuan Shikai declared himself “Emperor of the Chinese Empire” in December 1915.

Yuan Shikai’s reactionary rule caused a great deal of hardship among the Chinese people, and spontaneous mass movements broke out all over the country in protest. The largest was the Bailang Upris-ing, which broke out in Henan in 1912 spread to other parts of Henan , Anhui , Hubei , Shaanxi and Guangxi, and continued against Yuan Shi-kai’s forces for more than two years. After the news came out that Yuan had accepted the Twenty-One Demands, a movement for the boycott of Japanese goods immediately broke out in Shanghai , Beijing , Shenyang , Changsha , Hankou and elsewhere. Students went on strike, making speeches and distributing leaflets. Workers were also on strike in opposition to Japanese aggression and Yuan’s treachery, and patri-otic businessmen organized alliances for exclusion of Japanese goods.

In July 1914 Sun Yat-sen organized the Zhong Hua Ge Ming Dang (Chinese Revolutionary Party) in Japan , whose aims were to “wipe out autocratic politics and establish a full republic” and to carry out the struggle against Yuan Shikai. After Yuan announced the re-storation of the empire, Sun Yat-sen issued a proclamation calling for the people to rise against him.

When the anti-Yuan movement was at its height, Cai E, former military governor of Yunnan , formed the Hu Guo Jun (Republic Pro-tection Army) and announced the independence of Yunnan on De-cember 25, 1915. Other provinces responded with similar moves. On New Year’ s Day, 1916, Yuan Shikai announced 1916 as the first year of his dynasty with the reign title Hong Xian (Great Constitution), and dispatched over one hundred thousand troops to Yunnan to extermi-nate the Hu Guo Jun. But Yuan’s army was low in morale and suf-fered one defeat after the other. Yuan’s trusted associates, such as Feng Guozhang and Duan Qirui, were alarmed at the disintegration of central control, and sent a joint telegram urging Yuan to abandon his attempt at imperials rule. Noting Yuan Shikai’s isolation, Japan , the United States and other powers also withdrew their support for him. Beset with difficulties internally and externally, Yuan was forced to abrogate his dynasty on March 22, 1916 . He still hoped to retain his position as President, but hostility towards him continued to mount, and he was unable to remain in power. He died on June 6 in despair.

After Yuan’s death, the situation deteriorated rapidly as the war-lords, each backed by an imperialist power, ought for control of the country. China then saw separatist warlord regimes and tangled war-fare among warlords. In the south, the main warlord forces were the Yunnan clique headed by Tang Jiyao, and the Guangxi clique headed by Lu Rongting; both were formed in the anti-Yuan war waged by the Hu Guo Jun and had close ties to the British and Americans. The Yunnan clique occupied Yunnan and Guizhou , and the Guangxi clique occupied Guangdong and Guangxi. The Beiyang warlords split into two groups, the Anhui clique headed by Duan Qirui, and the Zhili clique headed by Feng Guozhang. The Anhui clique had Japanese backing and controlled the Beijing government as well as Anhui , Shaanxi , Shandong , Zhejiang , Fujian and other provinces. The Zhili clique had the support of Britain and the United States and was based in Jiangsu , Jiangxi and Hubei . In the Northeast, Zhang Zuolin with Japanese support expanded his territory to form the Fengtian clique in Liaoning , which held the balance of power between the Anhui and Zhili cliques. Minor warlords also staked out their own territory.

In June 1916, Li Yuanhong succeeded as President and resurrect-ed the Provisional Constitution; parliament was reconvened in August1916. Duan Qirui was appointed Premier with the real power of the government in his hand. He attempted to crush Li Yuanhong and the anti-Anhui opposition, while Li Yuanhong and the Zhili clique headed by Feng Guozhang for their part strove to resist the Anhui clique. The struggle between them broke out on the question of whether China should take part in World War I. The Zhili clique with the backing of the United States opposed a declaration of war against Germany , but Duan Qirui’s Anhui clique with the backing of Japan forced the par- liament and Li Yuanhong to agree. In May 1917, with the backing of forces close to Britain and the United States , Li Yuanhong dismissed Duan Qirui as Premier. Deciding to retain his political power by mili-tary force, Duan incited warlords in Zhili, Fengtian (Liaoning), Shan- dong, Henan and other provinces to declare independence, organized a”General Headquarters for the Independent Provinces” in Tianjin and announced that he was dispatching troops to Beijing. With no military force of his own, Li Yuanhong was completely helpless, and invited the military governor of Anhui , Zhang Xun, to act as mediator.

Zhang Xun had hitherto been a supporter of Qing restoration. With the secret backing of Duan Qirui, he first forced Li Yuanhong to dissolve the parliament, then led his army into Beijing , coercing Li Yuanhong into resignation. On July 1, he restored Puyi to the throne. The whole country was immediately up in arms. Most of the newspa- pers in Beijing closed down as a gesture of resistance. A rally of more than ten thousand people was held in Changsha , calling for troops to be dispatched against him. In Shanghai , Sun Yat-sen called a joint meeting of revolutionists and military and political figures, and issued a statement condemning the restorationist forces. Seeing that the aim of driving out Li Yuanhong and dissolving parliament had been achieved, Duan Qirui immediately about-faced and denounced the restoration, sending troops into Beijing to drive out Zhang Xun. Puyi abdicated for the second time and the twelve-day restoration thus ca-me to an end. Duan Qirui consequently resumed his post as Premier.

In conformity with the ambitions of Japanese imperialism, Duan Qirui declared war on Germany in August. At home, he did not revive the Provisional Constitution and parliament, but tried to unify the country by force. In order to expand his real power, he raised a Ja-panese loan of 380,000,000 yen, mortgaging railways, the telecom-munications system, mines, forests and so on, selling national sover-eignty with a free hand.

Sun Yat-sen strongly condemned Duan Qirui for “assuming the face of a republican while actually running an autocracy”, and advo- cated upholding the Provisional Constitution and restoring parliament. In September he called an extraordinary session of the parliament in Guangzhou , and set up a military government to uphold the constitu- tion. Sun Yat-sen was elected Generalissimo and Lu Rongting and Tang Jiyao were its marshals. The slogan “protect the constitution” had by that time lost its appeal and lacked a mass basis, and Sun Yat-sen was relying on local warlords. The warlords in the southwest appeared to support the constitution but in reality they were anxious to maintain their own territory. In order to get rid of Sun Yat-sen, they collaborated with some officials and politicians to manipulate the ex- traordinary parliament, and in May 1918 reorganized the military government. Sun was forced to resign and left Guangzhou . The failure of the movement to protect the constitution made Sun Yat-sen realize that warlords north and south were “jackals of the same lair”, and that he could not carry out the revolution by relying on them.

Ideology and Culture During the Period of Bourgeois Revolution

The main ideological trend in the learning and culture of the early twentieth century was the ideology of the bourgeois democratic revolution. Compared with the reformists, the revolutionists led by Sun Yat-sen were even more conscientious in seeking truth from the West. They introduced a broad range of political theories, history philosophy and so on from the Western bourgeois revolutionary period, with Rousseau’s Social Contract as their gospel and the French Revolution and the American War of Independence as their models. Thus equipped they criticized feudalism and reformism, raised the banner of the “democratic republic” and took the road to “bloody revolution”. The doctrine of the Three People’s Principles advocated by Sun Yat-sen became the political programme of the old democratic revolution led by the bourgeoisie.

Sun Yat-sen believed in the Western theory of evolution, but was opposed to the anti-revolutionary, vulgar theory of evolution held by the reformists. He held that the process whereby the old gave way to the new was an incontrovertible law of nature. Hence, the progress of civilization in human society and changes in political systems were unavoidable and necessary historical trends, which is also to say that democratic revolution was a historical necessity. Sun Yat-sen opposed the theories of the reformists that one must “proceed in an orderly way and in proper sequence” and not “skip the necessary steps” hence, that reform, not revolution, was what was needed. He believed that the evolution of civilization was a consistent development from a lower stage to a higher stage. Opposing the tendency to crawl behind in oth-er people’s footsteps by imitating every move, he foresaw, from a positive and progressive evolutionary view, the historical prospect in which “the newcomers surpass their elders”. In 1905, he predicted that a great leap forward would appear in the development of Chinese history, in which China would overtake and surpass Japan and the Western capitalist countries in a few decades. His outlookwas bour-geois and there were inevitably idealist and metaphysical mistakes in his evolutionary views. Nevertheless, from beginning to end he al- ways stood at the forefront of the trend of the age, and realized that the struggle for national independence and liberation was an irresisti-ble worldwide trend in the twentieth century.

In regard to epistemology, Sun Yat-sen held that “knowledge follows practice” and “facts precede theories”, and expressed in sim-ple terms a materialist theory of knowledge which was directly op-posed to the idealistic apriorism of “knowledge precedes practice”. He emphasized the function of “practice” and upheld the doctrine that “knowledge is hard, practice is easy”, stating that revolutionists should “be fearless and enjoy practising”. However, he was basically an empiricist, content to enumerate perceptual facts in a simple syn-thesis; he ignored scientific summarization and could not advance to the stage of seeking the intrinsic nature of phenomena. “Practice”, as he spoke of it, was an independent individual act that went beyond class, not considered as social practice. He separated knowledge from practice, and sometimes stressed the function of rational knowledge in isolation. Also, he divided people into categories according to their relative degree of “innate ability”, such as “the foresighted” and “the ignorant”. He thus abandoned the viewpoint of “practice” and fell into the trap of the theory of genius. This contradiction in his theory of knowledge, which reflected his class bias as a bourgeois revolutionist, made him unable to perceive correctly the historical function of the popular masses.

The bourgeois revolutionist and propagandist, Zhang Taiyan, was also an influential thinker. In works such as Book of Grievances, he expressed a materialist and atheistic thinking. He opposed religion and theology, and denied the existence of gods and ghosts. He pointed out that there were no gods, and that after death people did not turn into ghosts but became “dry bones”, their flesh being transformed into inorganic matter or another form of organic matter. He also explained the origin of mankind according to Darwin ‘s theory of biological evolution, holding that man was not created by gods but evolved from the ape who had in turn evolved from marine life. After the failure of the 1911 Revolution, however, he did not further develop his materi-alistic views but on the contrary turned to Buddhist philosophy and dreamed of establishing a new religion in a compromise with ideal- ism.

In the early twentieth century, the histories of foreign countries were introduced into China through translations and commentaries to propagate bourgeois democratic revolutionary thinking. Chief among them were the histories of the English and French revolutions and the independence movements in America , Italy , Greece and other countries.

In this period, Liang Qichao, along with others, made critiques of traditional Chinese historiography from the evolutionary viewpoint, pointing out that the old histories were only collections of biographies of emperors, kings, generals and ministers, and could not explain trends in historical evolution and causal relations in historical events. He advocated a bourgeois “new history”, demanding that historians”describe the phenomenon of the evolution of the masses and seek its general rules”. Zhang Taiyan put forward similar views. Also along the same lines was Xia Zengyou’s A Textbook History of China, pub-lished in 1904. In his own words, Xia hoped to explain in this book”the main principle of the evolution of the masses from ancient times to the present”. Proceeding from an idealist point of view, Xia was unable to expound the laws of historical development and made unsci- entific judgements on important historical problems.

Education was also taken very seriously by the bourgeois revolu-tionists. Zou Rong stated that widespread “revolutionary education” should be conducted in order to let people know of the revolutionary cause and struggle for the overthrow of Qing rule, and of opposition to the system of monarchical rule “to restore our natural human rights”. Chen Tianhua advocated “the establishment of schools and spread of education”. In his view, in order to withstand imperialist aggression,”we must first study the strong points of foreigners”, and “if we want to study them, we must have more schools and also send students abroad”. In order to raise new recruits for the revolution, and also to provide a base for revolutionary activity, the bourgeois revolutionists founded several new schools. The most well-known was the Patriotic School founded in Shanghai in 1902 by Cai Yuanpei, which propagat-ed the idea of popular rights and anti-Qing revolution among the stu-dents and carried out military training. In Shaoxing, Xu Xilin estab-lished in succession the Recheng Primary School , the Yuequn Public School and the Datong School . The Datong School concentrated on military training for the students. Qiu Jin (1875-1907), also known as Jianxiong or Woman Warrior of Jianhu Lake and from Shaoxing , Zhejiang , was the administrative inspector of the school. She made it the centre of preparations for an uprising. Qiu Jin had also been one of the founders of the Chinese Public Institute in Shanghai in 1906, which provided education for Chinese students who had returned from Japan .

In the first years of the twentieth century, the Qing court under Empress Dowager Ci Xi, with deceptive intent, converted the old style academies in the provincial capitals into colleges and established a universal system of middle and primary schools. A Committee on Education was appointed to run the Metropolitan College and to ad- minister national school affairs; a Ministry of Education was estab-lished in 1905. The Qing court’s educational reforms were changes in form only and the substance of education was still based on “self-cultivation and classical studies” with the primary stress given to rote learning the Confucian classics and observing feudal morality. In 1906, the Qing court decreed that the aim of education was to be the diffu-sion of “loyalty to the ruler” and “respect for Confucianism”; this clearly revealed the purpose of its educational reforms.

Many schools as well as churches were founded by Western mis-sionaries to serve the cultural aggression on China . By the end of the nineteenth century, there were more than five hundred middle and primary schools run by the Catholic Church in Zhili , Shandong , Shanxi and Henan alone. By 1898, there were more than 1,100 American missionary schools in China . The missionaries also estab-lished colleges and universities in China, such as the Huiwen Univer-sity in Beijing, the Wenhua University in Wuchang, the Qilu University in Jinna and St. John’s University in Shanghai, by the early twen-tieth century.

The large-scale translation of Western literary works was an important feature of this period. The most productive translator was Lin Shu (1852-1924, also known as Lin Qinnan), from Minghou, Fujian; his first and most popular translation, La Dame aux cam¨Ślias b y Dumas ills, was published in Fuzhou in 1899. The quantity of translations grew rapidly in the early years of the twentieth century. By 1911, several hundred novels had been translated, and the range of translated material also grew wider with translations, mostly the work of Lin Shu, from Shakespeare, Dickens, Balzac, Hugo, Pushkin, Tolstoy and others. At the peak of the movement in protest against American mis-treatment of Chinese migrant labour in 1905, Lin Shu translated Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, arousing Chinese patriotism with this story of American mistreatment of black slaves. Lu Xun (1881-I936), the famous writer, also translated fiction from foreign countries in the early twentieth century.

The reformists advocated reform in Chinese fiction, stressing the role of fiction in reforming politics and society in defiance of the low esteem in which fiction was held by the orthodox feudal literati. Among the large number of novels reflecting reformist political demands and denouncing the sordid reality around them, the most famous were Li Baojia’s Exposure of the Official World, Wu Woyao’s Strange Events Seen in the Past Twenty Years and Zeng Pu’s The Flower in the Sea of Sin . The novels were written in a popular and easily understandable vernacular, making extensive use of satire and exaggeration to expose the criminal activities of the feudal ruling class and foreign aggressors. However, at their best these novels are still far below earlier works such as A Dream of the Red Mansions and The Scholars.

The revolutionary intellectuals consciously disseminated revolutionary thinking through poetry and other popular literary forms. Qiu Jin, a poet as well as revolutionary, wrote many poems expressing her resolute revolutionary will and fervent patriotism. The lines:

We will shed if we must the blood of a hundred thousand heads For the sake of bringing about radical changes on our land,

show her readiness to dedicate her life to the revolution. An association of poets who were mainly Tong Meng Hui members founded the Southern Club in 1909 to publish poetry advocating revolution in its journal, Southern Club.

The dominant form of theatre in China from the second half of the nineteenth century until well into the twentieth was Peking opera. An amalgamation of several different kinds of local opera, it was deeply rooted in popular culture. In singing, acting, recitation and stage fighting, it gradually surpassed the other forms of opera or drama then prevalent, and attracted a very wide audience from all sections of society. Seeking temporary diversion after the suppression of the Taiping Revolution, the Qing court turned Beijing into a centre for operatic performers from all over the country, giving Peking opera further opportunity to profit from a diversity or regional opera styles. In the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, the repertoire of Peking opera was greatly enlarged, with a wide variety of subjects. Many famous actors took the stage, creating excellent and lively artistic forms, and Peking opera began to exert a great influence through-out the country. The actors who made the greatest contribution to the formation and development of Peking opera were Cheng Changgeng and Tan Xinpei. Cheng Changgeng (18911-80), from Qianshan , Anhui , had a unique artistic accomplishment. His most famous roles include Lu Su in Meeting of the Heroes and Wu Zixu in Wenzhao Pass. Tan Xinpei (1847-1917) was from Jiangxia (modem Wuchang County ), Hubei . He did not confine himself to one model of acting but blended together characteristics of different styles to form his own school. The development of the bourgeois revolutionary movement in the early twentieth century had an effect on Peking opera. After the siege of Beijing by the Eight-Power Allied Forces, the famous actor Wang Xiaonong (1858-1918) wrote Weeping at the Ancestral Temple, based on the story of Liu Chen, king of Northem Shu (in modem Sichuan) at the end of the Three Kingdoms period who was opposed to surren-dering to the enemy and wept as he made a sacrifice at his ancestral temple, to stir up patriotism and attack the corruption of the Qing court. Some actors tried to stage operas in contemporary costumes to satirize the government. Some Peking opera actors in Shanghai took part in the attack on the Jiangnan Machine Building Works after the outbreak of the 1911 Revolution. However, the imperial patrons of Peking opera, such as the Empress Dowager, exerted considerable influence on the development of Peking opera by using it as an instrument to protect their reactionary rule and for their own diversion, so that the repertoire came to include many inferior works which preached feudal morality, superstition and sexual license.

Western-style modem drama made its appearance in the early twentieth century, closely associated from its inception with the revo-lution. A group of Chinese students in Tokyo founded the Spring Willow Society in 1907. As part of the protest against American mis-treatment of Chinese migrant labour, they put on a five-act of play of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Plays like Qiu Jin and Xu Xilin were staged in ai. Two professional companies, the Progress Troupe and the New Drama Association, were founded in 1910 and 1912 respectively. Their performances such as Long Live the Republic! Huanghuagang (about the seventy-two martyrs) and About Face! Played an important role in the bourgeois revolutionary movement.

Early twentieth-century China was very backward in science and technology. Nevertheless, there were still some notable achievements. In 1905, a locally-run railway from Beijing to Zhangjiakou was con-structed under the supervision of Zhan Tianyou as chief engineer. The two-hundred kilometre railway was not very long, but as it passed through the Yanshan mountain range the terrain was complex and there were many difficulties in construction. Some imperialist ele-ments sneered at this undertaking, claiming that a Chinese engineer capable of constructing such a railway “had yet to be bom” and that China must be dreaming if it wants to build a railway on its own without foreign assistance; even if it could it would be at least fifty years before it got to that stage.” Zhan Tianyou (1861-1919), from Wuyuan in Anhui (today in Jiangxi ), assumed the responsibility for building this railway to bring credit to his country. He and his workers conquered repeated difficulties, reducing the length of track to half that in the original European and American blueprints, and using two engines to pull and push on winding tracks to solve the problems of a steep ascent. The railway went into full operation in October 1909, ahead of schedule and with a surplus of funds.

At the same time, Feng Ru also achieved outstanding results in the design and manufacture of aeroplanes. Feng Ru, a Chinese resi-dent in the United States , built his first plane in 1908, one of the earli-est in the world, with the assistance of other local Chinese. After many experiments, he finally built a plane in 1910 which could reach a speed of 104 kilometres per hour and an altitude of more than 230 metres. This plane won first prize in an international aviation com-petition in October the same year. He returned to China in February 1911, bringing his monoplane and biplane with him and three assis-tants. After the Wuchang Uprising he organized together with some other revolutionaries the Northern Airforce Reconnaissance Squad. Unfortunately, he was killed in plane crash in Guangzhou while testing a plane in 1912.

The achievements of Zhan Tianyou and Feng Ru won under difficult circumstances are highly commendable, once again demon-strating the creative and inventive genius of the Chinese people. However, the repression and devastation by the imperialist powers and the reactionary regime at home retarded for decades the development of science and technology in China ‘s semi-colonial, semifeudal society.

The Dawn of the Chinese Revolution

The 1911 Revolution was followed by an upsurge in industrial growth. The period of World War I provided an opportunity for the development of Chinese capitalism. The import of British goods in 1918 was nearly reduced by half compared with 1913, French imports were reduced by one-third, and German imports almost came to a complete halt. The mass anti-imperialist struggle, especially the movement to boycott Japanese goods, also gave a strong impetus to the development of national capitalism. In the period 1912-19, national capital financed the construction of more than 470 new factories and mines, plus the expansion of existing enterprises, bringing the total amount of new capital to at least 130 million yuan, which exceeded the total capital investment of the previous fifty years.

The development of national industry found expression mainly in the textile and flour mills in the light industrial sector. In 1913 there were only 16 cotton mills, with a total of about 500,000 spindles; by1918 this had increased to 35 mills and, about 650,000 spindles. The growth in flour milling was even greater, with 40 mills in 1911 in-creasing to more than 123 in 1921, among them 105 managed by national capital, and an increase in capital investment from more than 6 million yuan to about 42.1 million yuan. Other branches of light in-dustry which also developed greatly in this period included match factories, woollen and paper mills, tanneries and the manufacture of cigarettes and soap. Although there was some degree of increase in heavy industry, it was chiefly under the control of the imperialist pow-ers.

World War I also provided Japan and the United States with the opportunity to step up their aggression against China . In 1917 and1918, the United States imports in China were worth about 60 million taels of silver, about 60 per cent of the total value of British imports in1913. Japanese investment in Chinese enterprises increased from more than 380 million yen in 1913 to more than 880 million yen in 1919. Almost the entire production of pig iron and iron ore was controlled by Japanese capital, and one-third of coal production. Over one quar-ter of the equipment in operation in the cotton spinning industry was in Japanese enterprises. The economic expansion of Japan in China was a new source of pressure on Chinese capitalism forming an obsta-cle to its development.

The gradual development of Chinese capitalism did not change the semi-colonial, semi-feudal nature of Chinese society. National industry still could not break imperialist control over heavy industry or its dominance of light industry. The development of national capitalism was also unable to affect the outstandingly superior position of the feudal economy in the national economy as a whole. High feudal land rents, usury and commercial profit all restricted the formation and expansion of industrial capital. Chinese capitalism was in conflict with Chinese feudalism and at the same time dependent on it.

Nevertheless capitalism developed to some extent and the ranks of the Chinese proletariat were correspondingly strengthened. Before the 1911 Revolution, industrial workers in China numbered about500, 000 to 6000,000, but by 1919 this number had increased to more than 2,000,000. China’s industrial workers were mostly concentrated in mines, railways, and textile, match, cigarette and steamship enter- prises, in a dozen or more large cities such as Shanghai, Wuhan, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Dalian and Harbin; 300,000 to 400,000 industrial workers were concentrated in Shanghai alone. This high degree of concentration was a proletariat, which enabled them special characteristic of the Chinese to form alliances and unite at acomparatively early stage and become a powerful fighting force. The 1911 Revolution failed to bring changes to the political and economic position of the Chinese proletariat. The life of the workers became even more difficult under warlord rule, and workers had no democratic rights whatsoever, being deprived of the freedom of assembly and discussion and the right to strike. Yuan Shikai’s Regulations Rgarding Public Security and Police of 1912 and Public Security and Police Law of 1914 defined strikes as a criminal act obstructing “social order and peace” and openly proclaimed the need “to adopt police powers to prevent workers’ associations and activities”. The triple yoke of impe-rialist, feudal and capitalist exploitation and oppression of the Chinese proletariat became heavier. This led to a rising wave of resistance and an increasing number of strikes. From 1912 to May 1919, there were more than 130 strikes, more than double the total of the previous seven years. These years saw notable advances in the scale of strikes and the level of the struggle.

The role played by the Chinese proletariat in the political struggle to oppose imperialism and warlord treachery also became increasingly evident. When opposition arose to the Russian policy of “independ-ence” for Outer Mongolia in 1912, the Chinese workers at the Rus-sian-owned brick tea factories in Hankou held a spontaneous strike. In the 1915 patriotic movement to oppose the signing of the Twenty-One Demands between Japan and Yuan Shikai, Shanghai dock workers were the first to strike, and Chinese workers in Japanese-owned enter-prises in Shanghai , Changsha and elsewhere also took part in the struggle. In 1916, the workers in French-owned enterprises in Tianjin went on strike in opposition to the forcible occupation by France of Laoxikai to enlarge its concession in Tianjin . Under the impetus of the workers’ strike, the Tianjin students also went on strike and merchants closed shop. Workers in Beijing and elsewhere held strikes in support, and the struggle against imperialism reached new heights. Workers from each branch of industry in Tianjin got organized to lead the strike and hold demonstrations. The struggle lasted five or six months, and the aggressive act of French imperialism was finally defeated. These struggles showed that the Chinese proletariat had become a powerful force.

Phenomena such as supportive strikes and joint strikes show that by this stage in the Chinese labour movement, the scattered and spon-taneous economic struggles for better living conditions were giving way to unified and organized anti-imperialist, anti-feudal political struggles. From January 1912 to April 1919, there were six or seven large-scale joint strikes by industrial workers. Modern trade unions to replace the old trade associations were founded in the course of the strike movement. The strike at the Shanghai Commercial Press in 1917 demanding non-interference in union activities was led by a trade union. The development of the Chinese labour movement at this time shows the Chinese proletariat in the process of change from a class-in-itself to a class-for-itself, a precondition for the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.

The new cultural movement to modernize Chinese culture dates from the foundation of Youth Magazine in Shanghai in 1915. The magazine’s first editor was Chen Duxiu who played a leading role in the new movement. In 1916, the magazine, now called New Youth, moved to Beijing , where it soon became the centre of the gradually unfolding movement. New Youth brought together a number of pro-gressive intellectuals: among the earliest and most prominent editors and contributors were Li Dazhao and Lu Xun.

The chief concern of the new cultural movement was the promo-tion of democracy and science. By democracy was meant a French-style bourgeois democratic government. The proponents of democracy at this time believed that the 1911 Revolution had not established true democracy in China . It was their hope to bring about, by promoting bourgeois democratic ideas and opposing autocratic rule, a bourgeois republic in fact as well as in name. Li Dazhao pointed out that “the people” and “the ruler” and “freedom” and “autocracy” were irrecon-cilable concepts, and that “monarchy is death to a republic, autocracy is the destruction of liberty”. He urged resolute struggle against “the restorationists who are traitors to their country and enemies of the republic”, saying that no leniency should be shown towards them, but they should be “permanently uprooted so they cannot grow and spread”. Although such proposals could not be realized, they exposed and attacked the reactionary rule of the feudal landlords.

The proponents of democracy promoted the study of science in order to combat superstition and blind obedience to authority, using modem knowledge of natural sciences to undermine belief in gods and ghosts. They also criticized theories of the divine sanction of rulers and predestination, upheld atheistic views and introduced bourgeois materialist philosophy from the West.

As the new cultural movement developed, the proponents of democracy directed the spearhead of their attack against the doctrines of Confucius, which had been developed by Confucianists throughout the centuries as a bulwark for feudal autocracy. Li Dazhao pointed out that autocratic monarchs made Confucius an idol, and Confucius in turn became “an idol for the protection of monarchical rule” and “a screen to provide shelter for imperial autocracy”. Hence the destruction of the idol was at the same time criticism of the spirit of monar-chical autocracy. Lu Xun’s attacks on the “cannibalism” in feudal ethics were particularly acute, and he expressed the hope that young people would unloosen the bonds of the feudal system and thinking. Such deep-going and powerful attacks as Lu Xun’s were unprece-dented and played a great role in mobilizing people for the struggle.

New Youth also called for the promotion of literature in the mod-em vernacular language and opposition to writings in classical lan-guage, the promotion of new literature and opposition to old literature. This was the start of a revolution in literature. Its commander-general was Lu Xun, whose “A Madman’s Diary”, published in New Youth in May 1918, was the first short story in the new literary movement, followed by stories such as “Kong Yiji” and “Medicine”. Lu Xun was also famous for his short satirical essays on all aspects of society. His stories and essays, with their combination of revolutionary content and modem artistic form, established outstanding models for the new lit-erature.

The new cultural movement from 1915 to 1919 had serious shortcomings due to the bourgeois outlook of its leaders. It did not reach into the masses, was not closely united with the political move-ments of its time and treated cultural problems formalistically. How-ever, in its attacks on feudalism the new cultural movement went far beyond any previous movement. It played a major role in helping young intellectuals to cast off the bonds of the old thinking, encour-aged people to intensify their search for a means by which the country and its people could be saved from foreign aggression, was the pioneer in thinking for the May 4 Movement and paved the way for the spread of Marxism-Leninism in China.

“The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism.” 1 The success of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia was welcomed enthusiastically by progressive people in China , who took up the study of Marxism-Leninism and reevaluated China ‘s problems in its light. The process of propagation of Marxism- Leninism produced the first group of Chinese intellectuals with an elementary knowledge of communist ideology. In “A Comparison Between the French and Russian Revolutions”, published in July 1918, Li Dazhao pointed out the socialist nature of the October Revolution and called on the Chinese people to greet the new tide of revolution. In “The Victory of Bolshevism”, published in November, he pro-claimed that “we can see that the future of the universe is a world of the red flag”.

From the beginning of the spread of Marxism-Leninism in China , Mao Zedong represented the correct direction in the combination of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution.

As the new cultural movement quickly developed into a move-ment for the study and dissemination of Marxism-Leninism, the Chi-nese revolution also changed into a new-democratic revolution. On May 4, 1919, an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal demonstration was held by students in Beijing, which grew into a large-scale nation-wide movement of students, workers and others known as the May 4 Movement. The May 4 Movement marked the end of the old democ-ratic revolution led by the bourgeoisie and the beginning of the new-democratic revolution led by the proletariat.