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- The Fight For The Republic In China - 1/86 -


THE FIGHT FOR THE REPUBLIC IN CHINA

BY B. L. PUTNAM WEALE

PREFACE

This volume tells everything that the student or the casual reader needs to know about the Chinese Question. It is sufficiently exhaustive to show very clearly the new forces at work, and to bring some realisation of the great gulf which separates the thinking classes of to-day from the men of a few years ago; whilst, at the same time, it is sufficiently condensed not to overwhelm the reader with too great a multitude of facts.

Particular attention may be devoted to an unique feature--namely, the Chinese and Japanese documentation which affords a sharp contrast between varying types of Eastern brains. Thus, in the Memorandum of the Black Dragon Society (Chapter VII) we have a very clear and illuminating revelation of the Japanese political mind which has been trained to consider problems in the modern Western way, but which remains saturated with theocratic ideals in the sharpest conflict with the Twentieth Century. In the pamphlet of Yang Tu (Chapter VIII) which launched the ill-fated Monarchy Scheme and contributed so largely to the dramatic death of Yuan Shih-kai, we have an essentially Chinese mentality of the reactionary or corrupt type which expresses itself both on home and foreign issues in a naively dishonest way, helpful to future diplomacy. In the Letter of Protest (Chapter X) against the revival of Imperialism written by Liang Ch'i-chao--the most brilliant scholar living--we have a Chinese of the New or Liberal China, who in spite of a complete ignorance of foreign languages shows a marvellous grasp of political absolutes, and is a harbinger of the great days which must come again to Cathay. In other chapters dealing with the monarchist plot we see the official mind at work, the telegraphic despatches exchanged between Peking and the provinces being of the highest diplomatic interest. These documents prove conclusively that although the Japanese is more practical than the Chinese--and more concise-- there can be no question as to which brain is the more fruitful.

Coupled with this discussion there is much matter giving an insight into the extraordinary and calamitous foreign ignorance about present-day China, an ignorance which is just as marked among those resident in the country as among those who have never visited it. The whole of the material grouped in this novel fashion should not fail to bring conviction that the Far East, with its 500 millions of people, is destined to play an important role in post-bellum history because of the new type of modern spirit which is being there evolved. The influence of the Chinese Republic, in the opinion of the writer, cannot fail to be ultimately world-wide in view of the practically unlimited resources in man-power which it disposes of.

In the Appendices will be found every document of importance for the period of under examination,--1911 to 1917. The writer desires to record his indebtedness to the columns of The Peking Gazette, a newspaper which under the brilliant editorship of Eugene Ch'en--a pure Chinese born and educated under the British flag--has fought consistently and victoriously for Liberalism and Justice and has made the Republic a reality to countless thousands who otherwise would have refused to believe in it.

PUTNAM WEALE. PEKING, June, 1917.

CONTENTS

I. GENERAL INTRODUCTION

II. THE ENIGMA OF YUAN SHIH-KA

III. THE DREAM REPUBLIC (From the Manchu Abdication to the dissolution of Parliament)

IV. THE DICTATOR AT WORK (From the Coup d'etat of the 4th. Nov. 1913 to the outbreak of the World-war, 1. August, 1914)

V. THE FACTOR OF JAPAN

VI. THE TWENTY-ONE DEMANDS

VII. THE ORIGIN OF THE TWENTY-ONE DEMANDS

VIII. THE MONARCHIST PLOT 1 DEGREE The Pamphlet of Yang Tu

IX. THE MONARCHY PLOT 2 DEGREES Dr. Goodnow's Memorandum

X. THE MONARCHY MOVEMENT Is OPPOSED The Appeal of the Scholar Liang Chi-chao

XI. THE DREAM EMPIRE ("The People's Voice" and the action of the Powers)

XII. "THE THIRD REVOLUTION" The Revolt of Yunnan

XIII. "THE THIRD REVOLUTION'" (CONTINUED) Downfall and Death of Yuan Shih-kai

XIV. THE NEW REGIME--FROM 1916 TO 1917

XV. THE REPUBLIC IN COLLISION WITH REALITY: Two TYPICAL INSTANCES OF "FOREIGN AGGRESSION"

XVI. CHINA AND THE WAR

XVII. THE FINAL PROBLEM:--REMODELLING THE POLITICO-ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHINA AND THE WORLD

APPENDICES--DOCUMENTS AND MEMORANDA

THE FIGHT FOR THE REPUBLIC IN CHINA

CHAPTER I

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

The revolution which broke out in China on the 10th October, 1911, and which was completed with the abdication of the Manchu Dynasty on the 12th February, 1912, though acclaimed as highly successful, was in its practical aspects something very different. With the proclamation of the Republic, the fiction of autocratic rule had truly enough vanished; yet the tradition survived and with it sufficient of the essential machinery of Imperialism to defeat the nominal victors until the death of Yuan Shih-kai.

The movement to expel the Manchus, who had seized the Dragon Throne in 1644 from the expiring Ming Dynasty, was an old one. Historians are silent on the subject of the various secret plots which were always being hatched to achieve that end, their silence being due to a lack of proper records and to the difficulty of establishing the simple truth in a country where rumour reigns supreme. But there is little doubt that the famous Ko-lao-hui, a Secret Society with its headquarters in the remote province of Szechuan, owed its origin to the last of the Ming adherents, who after waging a desperate guerilla warfare from the date of their expulsion from Peking, finally fell to the low level of inciting assassinations and general unrest in the vain hope that they might some day regain their heritage. At least, we know one thing definitely: that the attempt on the life of the Emperor Chia Ching in the Peking streets at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century was a Secret Society plot, and brought to an abrupt end the pleasant habit of travelling among their subjects which the great Manchu Emperors K'anghsi and Ch'ien Lung had inaugurated and always pursued and which had so largely encouraged the growth of personal loyalty to a foreign House.

From that day onwards for over a century no Emperor ventured out from behind the frowning Walls of the Forbidden City save for brief annual ceremonies such as the Worship of Heaven on the occasion of the Winter Solstice, and during the two "flights"-- first, in 1860 when Peking was occupied by an Anglo-French expedition and the Court incontinently sought sanctuary in the mountain Palaces of Jehol; and, again, in 1900, when with the pricking of the Boxer bubble and the arrival of the International relief armies, the Imperial Household was forced along the stony road to faroff Hsianfu.

The effect of this immurement was soon visible; the Manchu rule, which was emphatically a rule of the sword, was rapidly so weakened that the emperors became no more than rois faineants at the mercy of their ministers.

[Footnote: As there is a good deal of misunderstanding on the subject of the Manchus an explanatory note is useful.

The Manchu people, who belong to the Mongol or Turanian Group, number at the maximum five million souls. Their distribution at the time of the revolution of 1911 was roughly as follows: In and around Peking say two millions, in posts through China say one- half million,--or possibly three-quarters of a million; in Manchuria Proper--the home of the race--say two or two and a half millions. The fighting force was composed in this fashion: When Peking fell into their hands in 1644 as a result of a stratagem combined with dissensions among the Chinese themselves, the entire armed strength was re-organized in Eight Banners or Army Corps, each corps being composed of three racial divisions, (1) pure Manchus, (2) Mongols who had assisted in the conquest and (3) Nothern Chinese who had gone over to the conquerors. These Eight Banners, each commanded by an "iron-capped" Prince, represented the authority of the Throne and had their headquarters in Peking with small garrisons throughout the provinces at various strategic centres. These garrisons had entirely ceased to have any value


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