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- The Fight For The Republic In China - 60/86 -


these publicists demanded that no Power take any action in the Far East, or give any advice, without first consulting Japan. That a stern correction will have to be offered to this presumption as soon as the development of the war permits it is certain. But not only Japanese military officers and journalists were endlessly busy: so-called Japanese advisers to the Chinese Government had done their utmost to assist the confusion. Thus Dr. Ariga, the Constitutional expert, when called in at the last moment for advice by President Li Yuan-hung had flatly contradicted Dr. Morrison, who with an Englishman's love of justice and constitutionalism had insisted that there was only one thing for the President to do--to be bound by legality to the last no matter what it might cost him. Dr. Ariga had falsely stated that the issue was a question of expediency, thus deliberately assisting the forces of disruption. This is perhaps only what was to be expected of a man who had advised Yuan Shih-kai to make himself Emperor--knowing full well that he could never succeed and that indeed the whole enterprise from the point of view of Japan was an elaborate trap.

The provincial response to the action taken on the 13th June became what every one had expected: the Southwestern group of provinces, with their military headquarters at Canton, began openly concerting measures to resist not the authority of the President, who was recognized as a just man surrounded by evil- minded persons who never hesitated to betray him, but to destroy the usurping generals and the corrupt camarilla behind them; whilst the Yangtsze provinces, with their headquarters at Nanking, which had hitherto been pledged to "neutrality," began secretly exchanging views with the genuinely Republican South. The group of Tientsin generals and "politicals," confused by these developments, remained inactive; and this was no doubt responsible for the mad coup attempted by the semi-illiterate General Chang Hsun. In the small hours of July 1st General Chang Hsun, relying on the disorganization in the capital which we have dealt with in our preceding account, entered the Imperial City with his troops by prearrangement with the Imperial Family and at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 1st July the Manchu boy-emperor Hsuan Tung, who lost the Throne on the 12th February, 1912, was enthroned before a small assembly of Manchu nobles, courtiers and sycophantic Chinese. The capital woke up to find military patrols everywhere and to hear incredulously that the old order had returned. The police, obeying instructions, promptly visited all shops and dwelling-houses and ordered every one to fly the Dragon Flag. In the afternoon of the same day the following Restoration Edict was issued, its statements being a tissue of falsehoods, the alleged memorial from President Li Yuan Hung, which follows the principal document, being a bare-faced forgery, whilst no single name inserted in the text save that of Chang Hsun had any right to be there. There is also every reason to believe that the Manchu court party was itself coerced, terror being felt from the beginning regarding the consequences of this mad act which was largely possible because Peking is a Manchu city.

IMPERIAL EDICT

Issued the 13th day of the 5th Moon of the 9th year of Hsuan Tung.

While yet in our boyhood the inheritance of the great domain was unfortunately placed in our possession; and since we were then all alone, we were unable to weather the numerous difficulties. Upon the outbreak of the uprising in the year of Hsin Hai, (1911) Our Empress, Hsiao Ting Chin, owing to her Most High Virtue and Most Deep Benevolence was unwilling to allow the people to suffer, and courageously placed in the hands of the late Imperial Councillor, Yuan Shih-kai, the great dominion which our forefathers had built up, and with it the lives of the millions of Our People, with orders to establish a provisional government.

The power of State was thus voluntarily given to the whole country with the hope that disputes might disappear, disturbances might stop and the people enabled to live in peace. But ever since the form of State was changed into a Republic, continuous strife has prevailed and several wars have taken place. Forcible seizure, excessive taxation and bribery have been of everyday occurrence. Although the annual revenue has increased to 400 millions this amount is still insufficient to meet the needs. The total amount of foreign obligations has reached a figure of more than ten thousand millions yet more loans are being contracted. The people within the seas are shocked by this state of affairs and interest in life has forsaken them. The step reluctantly taken by Our Empress Hsiao Ting Chin for the purpose of giving respite to the people has resulted untowardly in increasing the burdens of Our People. This indeed Our Empress Hsiao Ting Chin was unable to foresee, and the result must have made her Spirit in Heaven to weep sorely. And it is owing to this that we have been praying to Heaven day and night in the close confines of the palace, meditating and weeping in silent suffering.

Recently party strife has resulted in war and the country has remained too long in an unsettled condition. The Republic has fallen to pieces and means of remedy have been exhausted.

Chang Hsun, Feng Kuo-chang and Lu Yung-ting have jointly memorialized the Throne stating that the minds of people are disturbed and they are longing to see the old regime restored, and asking that the throne be reoccupied in order to comfort the people.

Chu Hung-chi and others have also memorialized us stating that the country is in imminent danger and that the people have lost their faith in the Republic, and asking that we ascend the Throne in obedience to the mandate of Heaven and man.

Li Yuan Hung has also memorialized the throne, returning the great power of State to us in order to benefit the country and save the people.

A persual of the said memorials, which are worded in earnest terms, has filled our heart with regret and fear. On the one hand We, being yet in Our boyhood, are afraid to assume the great responsibilities for the existence of the country but on the other hand We are unwilling to turn our head away from the welfare of the millions simply because the step might affect Our own safety.

After weighing the two sides and considering the mandates of Heaven and man, we have decided reluctantly to comply with the prayers, and have again occupied the Court to attend to the affairs of State after resuming possession of the great power on the 13th day of the 5th moon of the 9th year of Hsuan Tung.

A new beginning will be made with our people. Hereafter the principles of morality and the sacred religion shall be our constitution in spirit, and order, righteousness, honesty and conscience will be practised to rebind the minds of the people who are now without bonds. People high and low will be uniformly treated with sincerity, and will not depend on obedience of law alone as the means of co-operation. Administration and orders will be based on conscientious realization and no one will be allowed to treat the form of State as material for experiment. At this time of exhaustion when its vitality is being wasted to the last drop and the existence of the country is hanging in the balance, we, as if treading on thin ice over deep waters, dare not in the slightest degree indulge in license on the principle that the Sovereign is entitled to enjoyment. It is our wish therefore that all officials, be they high or low, should purify their hearts and cleanse themselves of all forms of old corruption, constantly keeping in mind the real interests of the people. Every bit of vitality of the people they shall be able to preserve shall go to strengthen the life of the country for whatever it is worth. Only by doing so can the danger be averted and Heaven moved by our sincerity.

THE NINE ARTICLES

Herewith we promulgate the following principal things, which we must either introduce as reforms or abolish as undesirable in restoration.

1. We shall obey the edict of Emperor Teh Tsung Chin (Kuang Hsu), namely, that the sovereign power shall be controlled by the Court (state) but the detailed administration shall be subject to public opinion. The country shall be called The Empire of Ta Ching; and the methods of other constitutional monarchies shall be carefully copied.

2. The allowance for the Imperial House shall be the same as before, namely, $4,000,000 per year. The sum shall be paid annually and not a single cent is to be added.

3. We shall strictly obey the instructions of our forefathers to the extent that no member of the imperial family shall be allowed to interfere with administrative affairs.

4. The line of demarcation between Man (Manchu) and Han (Chinese) shall be positively obliterated. All Manchurian and Mongolian posts which have already been abolished shall not be restored. As to intermarrige and change of customs the officials concerned are hereby commanded to submit their views on the points concerning them respectively.

5. All treaties and loan agreements, money for which has already been paid, formally concluded and signed with any eastern and western countries before this 13th day of the 5th Moon of the 9th year of Hsuan Tung, shall continue to be valid.

6. The stamp duty which was introduced by the Republic is hereby abolished so that the people may be relieved of their burdens. As to other petty taxes and contributions the Viceroys and Governors of the provinces are hereby commanded to make investigations and report on the same for their abolition.

7. The criminal code of the Republic is unsuited to this country. It is hereby abolished. For the time being the provisional criminal code as adopted in the first year of Hsuan Tung shall be observed.

8. The evil custom of political parties is hereby forbidden. Old political offenders are all pardoned. We shall, however, not be able to pardon those who deliberately hold themselves aloof and disturb peace and order.

9. All of our people and officials shall be left to decide for themselves the custom of wearing or cutting their queues as commanded in the 9th moon of the 3rd year of Hsuan Tung.

We swear that we and our people shall abide by these articles. The Great Heaven and Earth bear witness to our words. Let this be made known to all.


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