Week 6

This week’s class discussed what happened from 1860 to 1905 and how new technologies impacted China. China tried adapting western techniques and ideas to improve China, such as ships, factories, and new schools. They also tried to use constitutional structures, like other western countries. Many scholar-officials liked the American congressional and presidential system, and one famous scholar, Xu Jiyu, admired the system’s openness and compliance. They also looked at different examples of constitutional monarchy that may strengthen the country and support their own dynasty. Empress Dowager Cixi’s initial step toward constitutional change was to organize a small research committee of five princes and officials to travel to Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and Italy to study their governments.

Railways became an issue with new technologies and ideas being applied to China for western industrial development. The most elaborate railway was the Peking to Wuhan line which needed to attract more active capital from Chinese shareholders. Even if the Qing protested, the foreign power moved ahead and built railways in their areas of influence. China appeared to be an attractive target for railway investors in the expansionist climate of the railways. There was also a solid nationalist presence in China that had been growing and wanted to boycott foreigners and raise money through local bonds so that they could buy back the rights to the railroads and make it available to foreign investors to regain control of their own transportation system. The three main reasons were to produce a tremendous amount of industries that were run by china, have availability of good investment capital with Southeast Asia, and have a successful generation of western-trained engineers that can handle the most significant problems. They also wanted to create modern peasant armies with great loyalty to replace the Banner system. The Qing court, in 1901, made a deliberate effort to reform the armed forces and develop “the New Army” At any level, the Qing military restructuring effectively delivered Qing forces to Tibet that were assertively independent and overcame logistical and transportation challenges and obstacles posed by the rough terrain. Nonetheless, the army command structure remained fragmented. Early in 1909, the removal of Yuan Shikai from the government on the phony pretext of illness enraged Yuan. It alienated his faithful followers, leading him to join revolutionary anti-Qing groups loyal to the exiled Sun Yat-sen.

Picture of Sun Yat-sen.



“Chapter 11 Summary – HST271: Modern China,” October 15, 2018. https://hst271.tdh.bergbuilds.domains/summary/chapter-11-summary/.






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