3. Japan Expands, China Revolts

Japan got nowhere with U.S. Secretary of State John Hay in 1901 when it sought U.S. help to require Russia to give up its hold on Manchuria.1 It's questionable what Japan had hoped to accomplish. The U.S. was committed to the open door and Chinese territorial integrity and Japan, whatever its public protestations, wanted neither. Most likely Japan hoped to achieve with the U.S. what it did achieve with Britain in 1902 (renewed in 1905): a treaty with a naval power that would protect against attack on its rear while Japan was left free to deal with Russia. It was not far-fetched for Japan to expect the United States to view such a U.S.-Japan alliance with favor. So far, Japan had not tipped its hand and many Western leaders thought a move by Japan against Russia would be aimed at safeguarding China's independence and territorial integrity.2 But Japan learned a valuable lesson from the exchange with Hay: however much American leaders preached morality and China's integrity, the Japanese had nothing to fear from American power.3

Japan got a far more easygoing, cynical and reliable friend in Britain. Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century, Britain had been playing the "great game" of blocking Russian aspirations for land and warm-water ports in Asia. Britain and Russia had confronted each other in Afghanistan and Persia (Iran). To British leaders, as ignorant as others of Japan's true intentions, it appeared to be a good thing to encourage Japan to obstruct Russia's advance into China. In its treaty with Britain, Japan recognized England's "special interests" in China and Britain acknowledged Japan's similar interests in Korea. In the event Japan went to war with Russia, Britain would practice benevolent neutrality but would fight any power that aided Russia. A move, like in 1895, by France and Germany to gang up on Japan now could occur only at the risk of a major European war, an eventuality neither country would risk for the sake of Manchuria.4

By the turn of the century, Manchuria, in contrast with China proper south of the Great Wall, was thinly populated. It had large stands of timber and quantities of minerals, especially iron and coal, the foundations for an industrial economy. Japan, with few minerals and only one-sixth of its land capable of being farmed, had coveted Manchuria for years. At least as important, Japan feared that Russian troops in Manchuria could threaten the Japanese position in Korea, where Korean leaders encouraged Russian help as a counterweight.

Japan opened negotiations in St. Petersburg, ostensibly to settle both the Manchurian and Korean questions but actually to get its way. However, Russia would not back off and on February 4, 1904, Japan broke off negotiations.5

Just days later, in the early hours of February 8, 1904, the Japanese fleet approached the Russian naval base of Port Arthur, where most of Russia's Far Eastern fleet lay peacefully at anchor. The Japanese commander was Togo Heihachiro, the same officer who had opened fire without warning in 1894 on the Chinese troopship Kowshing. This time, Admiral Togo repeated his treachery. Togo sent fast torpedo boats into the harbor. They penetrated to within close range of the unsuspecting Russian ships and put two battleships and five cruisers out of action. Togo then blockaded the remaining Russian vessels in the port. Another unit of the Japanese fleet on February 9 attacked two Russian warships outside the harbor of Chemulpo (Inchon), Korea, and disabled them. Only then did Japan declare war.6

While Togo's ships sealed off the sea exit of Port Arthur, Japanese troops invaded the base by land, taking 50,000 casualties in direct frontal assaults, nearly one-half of total Japanese strength. Although Russia was much more powerful than Japan, it was hampered by disruptive revolutionary movements and could send troops and supplies only over the single-track Trans-Siberian railway, running over 4,000 miles from Moscow. After long siege, Port Arthur's troops and ships surrendered on January 2, 1905. A Japanese army of 300,000 men pushed against the main Russian army of about the same size moving down from Shenyang (Mukden), 200 miles north of Port Arthur, and forced it into slow retreat. In February and March, 1905, the Japanese army again took fearsome casualties but defeated the Russians at Mukden. Finally on May 27, 1905, the Russian Baltic fleet arrived in Japanese waters, after traveling all the way around Africa. Admiral Togo caught the Russians strung out in the Strait of Tsushima between Korea and Japan and sank thirty-three of the thirty-five Russian vessels. Although Russian land strength had scarcely been tested, Russia's financial situation was serious and revolts at home were threatening, so the battle of Tsushima effectively ended the war.7

Americans as a whole applauded the Japanese. The Journal of Commerce declared: "Japan is not only fighting the battle of progress and civilization...She is standing as the champion of commercial rights in whose maintenance no nation is so vitally interested as the United States."8

It was only after Japan had demonstrated its dramatic superiority that American leaders woke up to the fact that Japan was supplanting Russia in Manchuria and that the same opposition the U.S. had to Russian expansion in China now applied to Japan. President Theodore Roosevelt moved from ardent enthusiasm for the Japanese victories to a policy aimed at maintaining the balance of power in East Asia.9 Roosevelt was a little late in closing the barn door but he did what he could. He offered his good offices for a peace negotiations and they got under way in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in August, 1905.

Japan won a great deal: Russia withdrew from Korea, leaving this kingdom entirely at the mercy of Japan; it handed over to Japan the Liaodong peninsula and the South Manchuria railway, though Russia retained the Chinese Eastern railway connecting Siberia with Vladivostok; it surrendered the southern half of Sakhalin island. In effect, the agreement split Manchuria into a southern region dominated by Japan and a northern region still controlled by Russia.10 But Japan, though victorious, had strained its resources and wanted Russia to pay at least 600 million dollars to cover expenses and to add more military strength. The Russians refused and Roosevelt backed them. The Japanese envoys, stymied, finally accepted the peace treaty without an indemnity.

The response in Japan was astonishing: the Japanese turned like angry tigers upon Roosevelt and the United States. Rioters attacked government buildings, threatened foreigners and burned Christian churches, most of them American. Many Japanese realized the United States, in backing Russia, was building a barrier to Japan's further expansion.11 Japanese anger persisted although, in July, 1905, William Howard Taft, then U.S. secretary of war, visited Tokyo and assured the Japanese that the U.S. would not oppose Japanese control of Korea so long as Japan respected U.S. sovereignty in the Philippines.12 Taft's concession removed the last prop to Korea's independence and this ancient land with over half Japan's area (85,000 square miles) and 15 million proud people was delivered to Japan, which annexed the peninsula in 1910.13

Part of the Japanese antagonism with the United States resulted from virulent opposition in California to Japanese immigration. Although Japanese immigrants (about a thousand a month in 1906) were well-behavied and industrious, Californians objected to them on racial grounds and their willingness to work for less than their Caucasian competitors. In October, 1906, San Francisco required the ninety-three Japanese children in public schools to attend a long-established Oriental school for Chinese and Korean children. Japan protested vehemently and President Roosevelt was only able to get the San Francisco school board to rescind the order by promising to check Japanese immigration. He worked out a "gentlemen's agreement" in 1907 with the Japanese ambassador: Japan would refuse passports to laborers bound for the U.S. and would not object if the U.S. barred Japanese from coming in by way of Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

Despite the agreement, anti-Japanese riots broke out in San Francisco later in 1907 and rumors began to fly that the U.S. and Japan were on the verge of war. Roosevelt spoke softly in response to every Japanese complaint but he decided to show his big stick: in 1908 he dispatched "The Great White Fleet" of sixteen American battleships with support craft on a "good-will tour" which ended at Yokusuka naval base, south of Tokyo. Some Americans feared the Japanese would make a sneak attack on the white fleet but the visit passed off with parties and pledges of friendship and the war fever died.14

It probably was not the implied threat of the white fleet that did the trick but rather the Root-Takahira agreement concluded about the same time. In this agreement, the United States backed even farther away from the open-door policy and insistence upon China's territorial integrity. Elihu Root, Roosevelt's secretary of state, and Takahira Kogoro, Japanese ambassador, signed a compact that the U.S. and Japan agreed to respect the existing status quo, including Japan's dominant role in Manchuria, where the Japanese were discriminating against foreign merchants.15

During William Howard Taft's presidency (1909-13), the U.S. attempted "dollar diplomacy," meaning a large U.S. economic stake in China to block imperialists. This led to the unbelievably naive effort in 1909 of Taft's secretary of state, Philander C. Knox, to get U.S. and European banks to purchase and "neutralize" the Chinese Eastern and South Manchuria railways and thus squeeze Russia and Japan out of Manchuria. The Japanese and Russians didn't accept so lame an effort to wipe out their spheres of influence and the other imperial powers paid Knox's proposal little attention.16 The only long-term effect was to emphasize to Japanese leaders that the United States was the principal power they had to counter to advance their imperial goals. From this point on, the United States became the enemy.17

* * * * * * * * * *

While Japan was consolidating its new empire in Korea and Manchuria, the structure which had supported the Chinese Middle Kingdom for over two thousand years was collapsing. The dowager empress's role in the Boxer fiasco demonstrated the Qing dynasty was hopelessly incapable of dealing with the imperialist threat. After 1900, it slowly crumbled.18

With no other choices before her, the dowager reluctantly accepted most of the reform package the young emperor had decreed in 1898 and she had squelched. Her aim, however, was only the appearance of reform. The changes ordered included modern schools, a modern army, administrative changes, fiscal reform and announcement that constitutional government would be instituted over time. Unfortunately for the Qings, the reforms opened the gates through which rushed a flood of demands for far-greater changes.

The dowager decreed new schools with a mixed curriculum of Chinese classics and Western studies and sent thousands of students abroad to study, mainly in Japan. The program created a new class of radical students, their eyes opened by exposure to different ideas and modern industrial society. Many of these students wanted to reform China immediately and were thus ripe for revolutionary agitators. The 1,300-year-old classical examination system, the basis for leadership and the gentry class, could not coexist with the new schools and the dynasty abolished it in 1905. At a stroke, the intellectual underpinnings of the Chinese empire disappeared: the dynasty foolishly rejected an ancient system of leadership before it created a replacement.

In 1903, the dynasty began building a new six-division army trained and equipped on Western lines under direction of the wily and opportunistic Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), who in 1898 had gained the dowager's gratitude by helping her oust the emperor.19 Yuan was one of China's few effective military leaders and he hired German and Japanese instructors and provided modern training for bright young cadets. The new officers gained status as gentlemen, a radical departure from traditional Chinese attitudes about soldiers.20 But the officers corps was riddled with secret revolutionaries determined to overthrow the Qings.

In the cases of administrative change, fiscal reform and new constitutionalism, the dynasty attempted to build a unitary state, such as Japan had achieved after the Meiji restoration. But enormous China could not be so easily centralized as island Japan. The major improvements came, not in the sclerotic offices in Beijing, but in the provinces. These were as large as European nations, evoked strong loyalties and were the main arena for an emerging new elite. This new leadership class consisted of old landowning gentry, merchants, bankers and industrialists, especially in the treaty ports. The growing new group of modern-trained military officers also came from and identified with this class. The new elite began replacing the mandarins, now declining with the elimination of the examination system, and pressed the throne for constitutional government, while the empress dowager tried to delay it.

There were two main schools of thought regarding change. One wanted a republic, the other to keep the dynasty but append a constitution to it, as the emperor Meiji had done in Japan. The most dynamic leaders wanted to topple the dynasty because they insisted it and its high officials were incapable of reform and were motivated by selfishness, venality and determination to perpetuate their position. On the other hand, the new provincial elite, though seeking change, was essentially conservative and wanted to avoid a peasant revolution or any form of government which would jeopardize their profits, privileges, social status or control of political power.21

The most persistent revolutionary was Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925).22 Born near Canton of peasant parentage, Sun spent some years in Hawaii and in Hong Kong, where he studied medicine while also conducting revolutionary activities.23 He at first wanted to work within China's dynastic system to bring about reform but was rebuffed when he approached Beijing officialdom.24

From then on Sun acted on the advice of an old Daojia (Taoist) priest who told Sun he must seek the help of China's many secret societies for revolution to succeed. A secret-society member himself, Sun developed secret-society contacts, particularly the Triad society and local bandits in Guangdong province.25

While passing through Shanghai, Sun met a remarkable Shanghai businessman and American-trained former Methodist minister who was also a member of a branch of the secret society to which Sun belonged. This man was Charlie Soong (his real name was Han Zhaoshun) and he and his family were to have a large impact upon Sun and China. His daughters, Ai-ling, May-ling and Ching-ling, gave rise to one of the most famous sayings in China: "Once upon a time, there were three sisters: one loved money, one loved power, one loved China."26

Charlie Soong, son of a merchant sea trader from Hainan island, had run away to America as a boy of 12 and eventually was taken in by Julian S. Carr of Durham, North Carolina, a millionaire industrialist who produced Bull Durham tobacco. Smokers rolled their own cigarettes with Bull Durham and Carr made it famous by painting billboards on barns all across the United States. Carr helped Charlie Soong through Trinity College (forerunner of Duke University) in North Carolina and the school of theology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Soong served as a Methodist minister in and around Shanghai but in 1887 he married into an old Chinese Christian family and started a printing business, originally producing cheap Bibles. Soong arranged to buy printing equipment through Julian Carr and possibly got financial help from him. Thereafter Soong became manager of a flour mill and noodle producer, eventually one of the largest in Asia. Soong also joined the secret Red Society (Hung Pang) dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchus.27 Soong turned into Sun's principal fund-raiser.

Sun realized from his experience in Hawaii that the best sources of money were Chinese Christians but especially the thousands of industrious "overseas Chinese" who had emigrated and were largely congregated in "Chinatowns" around much of the Pacific rim and increasingly in world metropolises elsewhere. These Chinese, who saw at first hand the strength of Western civilization, were convinced of the need for reform.28

Sun went to Hawaii and founded the Revive China society in November, 1894. It was made up of Guangdong natives from the peasant and lower social classes and therefore was outside the mainstream of opposition to the Qing dynasty now forming in China. This opposition of landed gentry and successful new classes wanted to blunt imperialist exploitation and modernize China but few had much interest in improving the lot of the 97 per cent of the population living in poverty on tiny plots of land or working sunup to sundown in sordid factories or wearying handicraft shops.

Despite Sun's concern for the mass of China's people, the first phase of the Chinese revolution was dominated by the new elite. And they were concerned primarily with their own prosperity, security and advancement. The high rents they exacted from the peasants and the hard work they demanded from the workers insured their financial success and thus social position. If anything, they wanted to perpetuate China's age-old exploitation of its masses, not turn China's society upside down.

Although Sun soon developed the idea of a social revolution to go along with his earlier aim to overthrow China's imperial institution and accomplish a democratic revolution, Sun himself was ambivalent and adaptable on the point of social change. Around 1903 he came up with "the three people's principles" (San Min Zhuyi): nationalism, democracy and socialism (in Western terms). In Chinese, they had somewhat different meanings. Nationalism (minzu zhuyi) meant both people and race combined. Democracy (min quan) meant people's rights or power. And socialism was a classical term (min-sheng) meaning people's livelihood. As John King Fairbank says, Sun's three principles were basket terms, like Western political platforms, that could be filled in by different ideas at different times.29

Sun and his émigré followers stood outside the arena where the issues were being fought and their actual influence was largely limited to the intellectual leadership they provided.

Sun's early efforts on the mainland failed miserably and he was forced to flee to Japan in 1895 after his "revolutionary" effort in Canton cost forty-eight lives but accomplished nothing. This began a sixteen-year exile in Japan, Europe, French Indochina and the United States. Sun attempted many such "revolutions," frequently using his connections with secret societies, but all were pitiful, unsuccessful exercises and made no impact.

Ironically Sun was indebted to the Qing dynasty for thrusting him into the world limelight and making him a figure of significance. In October, 1896, while in London, Chinese officials lured Sun into the Chinese legation, seized him and prepared to ship him off to China on a chartered ship to dispose of him. Sun managed to slip a note to his former medical-school dean in Hong Kong, Dr. James Cantlie, now in London, and Cantlie aroused the British Foreign Office to demand Sun's release, which the Qing diplomats reluctantly did.

Back in Japan in August, 1905, Sun, now 37 years old, joined with Huang Xing, 31, and Song Jiaoren, 23, leaders of the China Revival Society (Hua Xing Hui) which Huang had organized in Hunan in 1903. With Sun, they formed the Chinese Revolutionary League or Alliance Society (Zhongguo Tong Meng Hui) and merged all revolutionary groups into one, with Sun as chairman. The society accepted Sun's three people's principles but most of the members focused on nationalism and democracy and ignored people's livelihood and the social revolution it implied. Sun's following was small and Huang Xing emerged as the strong man. The league's journal, People's Tribune (Min Bao), provided a forum in which gifted writers attacked the group advocating a constitutional monarchy. The articles gradually turned the thinking of students, dissatisfied literati, progressive army officers and other intellectuals toward a republic.

However, it was the empress dowager herself who unleashed the forces that destroyed the dynasty she had so tenaciously tried to save. On August 27, 1908, after years of agitation for a constitution, Ci Xi issued a constitutional "outline," which was a parody of the true representative government and divided powers which constitutionalism implies. The outline specified that all executive, legislative and judicial power resided in the emperor. He could veto any bill parliament passed. Even with such safeguards, the Old Buddha tried to delay the constitution's full implementation for nine years. By her action, she proved the revolutionists' case that the dynasty was incapable of reform and the constitutional monarchists lost their credibility.

Although the situation of the peasants, eight out of every ten persons in China, played little role in the thinking of the principal leaders, their condition was reaching crisis proportions. Qing officials imposed heavy tax burdens on the peasants, sometimes ten or twenty times the prescribed tax quota. Conditions were greatly worsened by natural calamaties that fell upon the farming people with regularity. In 1910 floods struck the whole Yangzi river valley and precipitated riots demanding food in many places.30 In Hunan the authorities refused to release grain from public stocks at a reasonable price and about ten-thousand people gathered before the governor to complain. The governor gave the impression he was listening but sent for troops who opened fire, killing and wounding many. The furious but unarmed crowd forced its way into the palace and burnt it, despite the soldiers' bullets.31

The agrarian crisis had been intensifying for over a century because China's population was increasingly pressing against its food potential. Although China was about the same size as the United States, its high mountains and deserts limited the number of arable acres to less than 230 million. By comparison, the U.S. had about 400 million acres in crops and, in need, could have plowed up many millions more in pastures and idle land. The Chinese population had doubled to 400 million people in the century between 1750 and 1850 and, despite immense losses in the late ninteenth century rebellions, had reached 430 million people by 1912.32 By comparison, the U.S. had 92 million people in 1910.

Although Chinese peasants were renowed for their "honeybee diligence" and for putting every square yard of available land in crops, by the early twentieth century most were living in the face of abject poverty and in many years on the edge of starvation. When they crossed over, sometimes millions of people died.

Generally the people of China lived in their villages and relied upon themselves.33 Families and villages were China's natural social units. There were over half a million of them, ranging from a few dozen to hundreds of families.34 The peasants grew most of their food, largely rice in the Yangzi valley and south, wheat, millet and other grains in the colder, drier north. Most Chinese got 85 per cent of their calories from grain and nearly all the rest from vegetables or from pulses, like soybeans.35 The average person seldom ate meat and then only at celebrations.36

The high population both made possible and required intensive land use, turning Chinese agriculture into a form of meticulous hand gardening and resulting in an enormous amount of hand labor with very little return. To add even tiny bits of income peasants worked in slack times at various handicrafts like embroidery, tool-making, producing raw silk and weaving hats, baskets and sandals from rice straw. The greatest cottage industry was cloth-making by hand but imports of cheap machine-produced Western fabrics drove down prices so far that peasants made little despite immense effort.

Chinese farms were unbelievably small.37 Around 1910 the average family farm was about 2.6 acres of crop area, usually broken into nonadjacent parcels, separated from their neighbors

by boundary strips which served as walkways. The "average" farm, however, concealed immense individual differences. Nearly half the family farms had less than 1.6 acres, or no more than that of many suburban American yards. From such tiny plots the Chinese family had to make its living.38

Over one-third of all farm land was rented from rich peasants or landlords. Most landlords lived in cities and got their rents collected by agencies called bursaries. Rents were exorbitant, up to 60 per cent of the crop, and bursaries frequently increased the squeeze, often forcing peasants to borrow. Bad years, the costs of marriages and funerals, family crises or simply the need to buy enough food to last to the next harvest forced many peasants into debt. The landlords were the best source and they charged interest rates that exploited the peasants' desperation. Small loans in kind often drew interest rates of 100 to 200 per cent annual interest. Most loans were less but nearly a fourth exceeded 40 per cent. In some places when a peasant did not keep up with his debt payments, the local police threw him into jail where he died unless his family brought food and water. Taxation also was unfair. Collusion of landlords and the other elite with the tax collectors was common. The wealthy paid lower taxes than their due and the burden fell disproportionately upon the poor.

Exploitation of the peasants by those better off was almost unbelievable. In times of famine, peasants often were forced to flee in hopes of finding food. Before this ultimate disaster, they sometimes had to sell their children or their land to buy food. The greater the catastrophe the more the wealthy exploited the poor. In one famine in Shaanxi province, landlords with money or grain could purchase twenty acres of cropland for three days supply of food. Wealthy classes took advantange of such opportunities to build up estates. Children of poverty-stricken peasants were often forced to work for rich peasants or landowners, who paid them virtually nothing, frequently beat them and sometimes half-starved them. A Shaanxi peasant remembered as a boy he accidentally dropped a melon. The landlord knocked him unconscious and left him with a permanent scar. On another occasion, the landlord urinated into the boy's cloth shoes and told him to fetch the landlord's noonday meal from his house two miles away before the urine dried. Because the day was hot, the urine had dried when the boy returned, whereupon the landlord beat the boy. The boy was so poor he had no trousers. The effect of this degradation and mistreatment created in many peasants a sense of fatalism but it also etched humiliating incidents on the memories of peasants and made many of them eager to destroy a system which was so cruel.39

* * * * * * * * * *

Ci Xi, the dowager empress, was 73 years old when she issued the "outline of constitution" on August 27, 1908. She confidently expected to survive the nine-year tutelage period she had set for the constitution, such as it was, to go into effect. But the Old Buddha was stricken with a serious illness less than three months later and realized it was mortal. The emperor, Guang Xu, 37 years old, ousted by Ci Xi because of his attempted reforms, secretly rejoiced at his impending return to power. But, even on her deathbed the dowager was lethal. "I cannot die before him!" she vowed. On November 14, 1908, the court announced that the emperor regrettably had succumbed, quite suddenly, of Bright's disease. There is every indication the dowager contrived to have Guang Xu poisoned. The next day Ci Xi died and with her fell the last bulwark of the Qing dynasty.40

Puyi, the dowager's grandnephew, 3 years old, succeeded to the throne as the emperor Xuan Tong, with his father, Zai Feng or Prince Chun, the late emperor's half-brother, as regent. Chun turned out to have even less comprehension of the forces bearing down on the dynasty than had the dowager and had none of her courage and tenacity. He led the monarchy straight toward dissolution.

But first, Prince Chun had a score to settle with Yuan Shikai, commander of the army. Yuan had colluded with the empress in 1898 to remove the emperor and there were rumors he'd helped the dowager poison the emperor because Yuan dreaded his return to power. Reportedly, the dying emperor had pleaded with Prince Chun to execute Yuan for his disloyalty. Chun didn't dare, for fear of mutiny from Yuan's loyal officers, but announced that, unfortunately, General Yuan was suffering from a "leg ailment" and needed to retire. It looked like the end of Yuan Shikai but it wasn't.

Prince Chun ordered delegates to be elected to new provincial assemblies convening on October 14, 1909. The electorate was extremely narrow, consisting of the wealthy, propertied, educated elite. This electorate naturally produced provincial assemblies in their own image. Three times in 1910 provincial leaders petitioned Prince Chun to convene a national parliament and each time the court ordered them to go home. The offended provincial assemblies now shifted their thinking toward revolution.

On May 8, 1911, Chun deeply insulted the Han Chinese by installing a "royal cabinet" with five imperial relatives, three other Manchus and one Mongol among thirteen ministers, leaving spaces for just four Han Chinese.

Now only a spark was needed to set off the flame.41 It came, not directly from the revolutionary cells inside China but from soldiers of the Qing reformed army in Wuhan in the Yangzi valley. While Sun Yat-sen was traveling in the United States, Huang Xing and Song Jiaoren of the Chinese United League agreed on a revolt in Wuhan at the end of October, 1911, with two secret organizations representing students and army unit members.

The accidental explosion of a bomb at revolutionary headquarters on October 9 betrayed the revolt. Police arrested some conspirators and found the names of army members won over to the revolutionaries. The army conspirators were generally of low rank and without influence. They decided it would be preferable to revolt immediately than await certain arrest. They seized the Wuhan munitions depot and attacked the office of the Qing governor-general. He fled, along with the military commander. The few other army units in Wuhan took no action with their commander gone. Since there were no genuine revolutionary leaders present, the soldiers pressed a reluctant brigade commander, Li Yuanhong, to serve as military governor of the surrounding province of Hubei. Li, sensing he'd be shot if he refused, accepted. The rebels appointed a civilian chief of the revolutionary government, who wired other provinces urging them to declare independence. Several complied.

Prince Chun, knowing that Yuan Shikai still held the loyalty of the only military force of significance in China, the new army, began negotiations to bring him back to suppress the rebellion. After eight days of bargaining, Yuan won appointment as imperial commissioner with full power over China's armed services. Soon thereafter Prince Chun lost his nerve and declared himself unfit to serve as regent. The court named Yuan as premier. He placed henchmen in control of Beijing and the palace guards.

Yuan sent emissaries to the revolutionary leaders suggesting collaboration. But Li Yuanhong and Huang Xing, now commanding revolutionary forces defending Wuhan, refused. Rebuffed, Yuan ordered his troops to drive on Wuhan and captured it on November 27.

Sun Yat-sen, when he heard news of the revolt, was in Denver, Colorado. He returned by way of London where he got the British government to stop loan talks with the dynasty and to discourage Japan from intervening.

Yuan sent an emissary to negotiate with the revolutionaries. Huang Xing cabled Yuan that, if he would support a republic and force abdication of the emperor, the presidency of the republic would be his. Meantime, the revolutionaries set up a provisional government at Nanjing and elected Sun Yat-sen provisional president when he arrived on December 25, 1911. This action cut Yuan Shikai out and he angrily broke off negotiations.

However, the revolutionists recognized that Yuan Shikai was the only man who could save China from a civil war and induce the Qing dynasty to resign. Yuan told the Nanjing government he would bring about the abdication if the presidency of the republic were offered him. Sun agreed. The dowager empress, Long Yu, capitulated and on February 12, 1912, the 268-year reign of the Qings, the last of China's twenty-five dynasties, ended.42

China had been delivered into the hands of Yuan Shikai, a man of overweening ambition and, as it soon came to be evident, interested neither in democracy nor a republic.

Chapter 4: The Betrayal of Democracy >>

1. Kennan, p. 35 cites State Department memorandum of February 1, 1901, in Alfred L.P. Dennis, Adventures in American Diplomacy, New York: 1928, p. 242.

2. Dulles, p. 125.

3. Kennen, p. 35.

4. Pratt, p. 441; Borton, pp. 230-4; Jansen, p. 79.

5. Pratt, p. 442.

6. Borton, p. 240; Hoyt, p. 35.

7. Jansen, pp. 81-85.

8. Dulles, pp. 125-6.

9. Kennen, p. 43; Pratt, p. 443.

10. Pratt, p. 449; FRUS, 1907, Part 2, p. 765.

11. Pratt, p. 444; Hoyt, pp. 36-7; Griswold, pp. 131-2.

12. Pratt, pp. 443-4; Dulles, p. 127.

13. The story of Japan's process of absorbing Korea between the Russo-Japanese War and the annexation on August 22, 1910, is given in detail in Borton, pp. 244-9, and Jansen, pp. 103-28.

14. Pratt, pp. 444-5; Hoyt, pp. 39-41.

15. FRUS, 1908, pp. 510-12; Dulles, pp. 127-8; Pratt, p. 444, pp. 446-7; Jansen, p. 85.

16. FRUS, 1910, pp. 231-69, contains the notes between governments on the "neutralization" proposal; Pratt, pp. 448-9; Dulles, pp. 129-32.

17. Jansen, pp. 94-95; Borton, pp. 151-2, 262-6.

18. Hsü, pp. 355-84, 408-17, 429, 452-75; Revolution, pp. 152-7; Britannica, vol. 4, p. 364-5; Dulles, pp. 135-7.

19. Hsü, pp. 378, 382; Clubb, p. 34.

20. There was an old popular saying: "Just as good iron is not made into nails, so good men do not become soldiers." "Haotieh bu da ding, haonan bu dang bing."

21. Sheridan, pp. 45-46.

22. Sun's Pinyin romanization is Sun I-xian. His personal (given) name was Wen, while Yat-sen was his secondary name. In China he is better known by his other personal name, Zhongshan, Chinese version of the Japanese name, Nakayama ("central mountain"), which he adopted at age 31 while a political refugee. See Hsü, p. 454.

23. Hsü, pp. 454-6; Britannica, Macropaedia vol. 17, "Sun Yat-sen," pp. 810-11. Two excellent works on Sun by Harold Z. Schiffrin are Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968, and Sun Yat-sen: Reluctant Revolutionary, Boston: 1980.

24. Hsü, p. 457; Britannica, vol. 17, p. 810.

25. Anti-Manchus sects date from shortly after the establishment of the dynasty in 1644. See Seagrave, p. 74. The major study in English of the societies is Jean Chesneaux, ed., Popular Movements and Secret Societies in China, 1840-1950, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1972.

26. Seagrave, p. 8.

27. Ibid., pp. 20-72.

28. Hsü, p. 455.

29. Revolution, p. 153; Britannica, vol. 4, p. 380-2; Sheridan, p. 145.

30. Britannica, vol. 4, p. 365.

31. Schram, p. 27.

32. Fairbank, pp. 173, 490; Cambridge, vol. 12, chapter 2, "Economic Trends, 1912-1949," by Albert Feuerwerker, professor of history, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, p. 76.

33. Fairbank, pp. 12-13, 20-27; Cambridge, vol. 12, pp. 31-32. Fairbank (above) gives an excellent survey of the traditional Chinese family pattern and culture in pp. 18-52. Another excellent picture is in White, pp. 20-32.

34. Chu Li and Tien Chieh-yun, Inside a People's Commune, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1975, p. 8, 10-11; Yang, p. 14; White, pp. 21-22.

35. Caroline Blunden and Mark Elvin, Cultural Atlas of China, New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1983, p. 212.

36. Yang, pp. 54-55.

37. The figures in this section are from Cambridge, vol. 12, pp. 77-80, 86-90.

38. Snow, pp. 130-1.

39. Selden, pp. 6-10.

40. Hsü, pp. 416-7; Clubb, pp. 36-8.

41. Hsü, pp. 466, 468-72; Clubb, 40-43; Sheridan, pp. 41-47.

42. Hsü, pp. 473-4; Clubb, pp. 42-43.