The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, and established the Republic of China. The revolution was named Xinhai because it occurred in 1911, the year of the Xinhai stem-branch in the sexagenary cycle of the Chinese calendar.
The revolution consisted of many revolts and uprisings. The turning point is the Wuchang Uprising on October 10, 1911, that was a result of the mishandling of the Railway Protection Movement. The revolution ended with the abdication of the "Last Emperor" Puyi on February 12, 1912, that marked the end of over 2,000 years of Imperial rule and the beginning of China's Republican era.
The revolution arose mainly in response to the decline of the Qing state, which had proven ineffective in its efforts to modernize China and confront new challenges presented by foreign powers, and was exacerbated by ethnic resentment against the ruling Manchu minority. Many underground anti-Qing groups, with the support of Chinese revolutionaries in exile, tried to overthrow the Qing. The brief civil war that ensued was ended through a political compromise between Yuan Shikai, the late Qing military strongman, and Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Tongmenghui (United League). After the Qing court transferred power to the newly founded republic, a provisional coalition government was created along with the National Assembly. However, political power of the new national government in Beijing was soon thereafter monopolized by Yuan and led to decades of political division and warlordism, including several attempts at imperial restoration.
Today both the Republic of China in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China on the mainland consider themselves to be successors to the Xinhai Revolution and continue to pay homage to the ideals of the revolution including nationalism, republicanism, modernization of China and national unity. October 10 is commemorated in Taiwan as Double Ten Day, the National Day of the Republic of China. In mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, the same day is usually celebrated as the Anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution. Many overseas Chinese also celebrate the anniversary in Chinatowns across the world.
After suffering its first defeat to the West in the First Opium War in 1842, the Qing court struggled to contain foreign intrusions into China. Efforts to adjust and reform the traditional methods of governance were constrained by a deeply conservative court culture where ethnic Manchu rulers did not want to give too much authority to the Han Chinese majority.
In the wars against the Taiping (1851 64), Nian (1851 1868), Muslims of Yunnan (1856 1868) and the Northwest (1862 1877), the traditional Manchu armies proved themselves incompetent and the court came to rely on local Han armies.
Following defeat in the Second Opium War the Qing tried to modernize by adopting certain Western technologies through the Self-Strengthening Movement from 1861. In 1895 China suffered a serious defeat during the First Sino-Japanese War. This demonstrated that traditional Chinese feudal society also needed to be modernized if the technological and commercial advancements were to succeed. In 1898 Emperor Guangxu was guided by reformers like Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao for a drastic reform in education, military and economy under the Hundred Days Reforms. The reform was a failure, as it was ended prematurely by a conservative coup led by Empress Dowager Cixi. Emperor Guangxu, who had always been a puppet emperor dependent on Cixi, was put under house arrest in June 1898. Reformers Kang and Liang would be exiled. While in Canada in June 1899 they tried to form the Emperor Protection Society in an attempt to restore the emperor. Empress Cixi mainly controlled the Qing dynasty from this point on. The Boxer Rebellion prompted another foreign invasion of Beijing in 1900 and the imposition of unequal treaty terms, which carved away territories, created extraterritorial concessions and gave away trade privileges. Under internal and external pressure the Qing court began to adopt some of the reforms. The Qing managed to maintain its monopoly on political power by suppressing, often with great brutality, all domestic rebellions. Dissidents could operate only in secret societies and underground organizations, in foreign concessions or in exile overseas.
Organization for revolution
From left to right: Tse Tsan-tai, Yeung Kui-wan (President), Sun Yat-sen, three of the earliest revolutionaries
There were many revolutionaries and groups that wanted to overthrow the Qing government to re-establish a Han Chinese government. The earliest revolutionary organizations were founded outside of China, such as Yeung Kui-wan's Furen Literary Society, created in Hong Kong in 1890. There were 15 members including Tse Tsan-tai, who did political satire like "The Situation in the Far East", one of the first ever Chinese manhua, and who later became one of the core founders of the South China Morning Post.
Sun Yat-sen's Xingzhonghui (Revive China Society) was established in Honolulu in 1894 with the main purpose of raising funds for revolutions. The two organizations were merged in 1894.
The Huaxinghui (China Revival Society) was founded in 1904 with notables like Huang Xing, Zhang Shizhao, Chen Tianhua and Song Jiaoren, along with 100 others. Their motto was "Take one province by force, and inspire the other provinces to rise up".
The Guangfuhui (Restoration Society) was also founded in 1904 in Shanghai with Cai Yuanpei. Other notable members include Zhang Binglin and Tao Chengzhang. Despite professing the anti-Qing cause, the Guangfuhui is highly critical of Sun Yat-sen. One of the most famous female revolutionaries was Qiu Jin, who fought for women's rights and was also from Guangfuhui.
There were also many other minor revolutionary organizations, such as Lizhi Xuehui ( ) in Jiangsu, Gongchanghui ( ) in Sichuan, Yiwenhui ( ) and Hanzhudulihui ( ) in Fujian, Yizhihui ( ) in Jiangxi, Yuewanghui ( ) in Anhui and Qunzhihui ( / ) in Guangzhou.
There were also criminal organizations that were anti-Manchu, including the Green Gang and Hongmen Zhigongtang ( ). Sun Yat-sen himself came in contact with the Hongmen, also known as Tiandihui (Heaven and Earth society).
Gelaohui (Elder Brother society) was also another group with Zhu De, Wu Yuzhang, Liu Zhidan ( ) and Helong. This is the revolutionary group that would eventually develop a strong link with the later Communist party.
Sun Yat-sen with his Tongmenghui
Sun Yat-sen successfully united the Revive China Society, Huaxingwui and Guangfuhui in the summer of 1905, thereby establishing the unified Tongmenghui (United League) in August 1905 in Tokyo. While it started in Tokyo, it had loose organizations distributed across and outside the country. Sun Yat-sen was the leader of this unified group. Other revolutionaries who worked with the Tongmenghui include Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin. When the Tongmenhui was established, more than 90% of the Tongmenhui members were between 17 and 26 years of age. Some of the work in the era include manhua publications like the Journal of Current Pictorial.
In February 1906 Rizhihui ( ) also had many revolutionaries including Sun Wu ( ), Zhang Nanxian ( ), He Jiwei and Feng Mumin. A nucleus of attendees of this conference evolved into the Tongmenhui's establishment in Hubei.
In July 1907 several members of Tongmenhui in Tokyo advocated a revolution in the area of the Yangtze River. Liu Quiyi ( ), Jiao Dafeng ( ), Zhang Boxiang ( ) and Sun Wu ( ) established Gongjinhui (Progressive Association) ( ). In January 1911 the revolutionary group Zhengwu Xueshe ( ) was renamed as Wenxueshe (Literary society) ( ). Jiang Yiwu ( ) was chosen as the leader. These two organizations would play a big role in the Wuchang Uprising.
Many revolutionaries promoted anti-Qing / anti-Manchu sentiments and revived memories of conflict between the ethnic minority Manchu and the ethnic majority Han Chinese from the late Ming Dynasty. Leading intellectuals were influenced by books that had survived from the last years of Ming dynasty (1368 1644), the last dynasty of Han Chinese. In 1904 Sun Yat-sen announced that his organizations goal was "to expel the Tatar barbarians, to revive Zhonghua, to establish a Republic, and to distribute land equally among the people." ( , , , ). Many of the underground groups promoted the ideas of "Resist Qing and restore Ming" ( ) that has been around since the days of the Taiping Rebellion. Others like Zhang Binglin supported straight-up lines like "slay the manchus" and concepts like Anti-Manchuism ( / ).
Strata and groups
The Xinhai Revolution was supported by many groups, including students and intellectuals who returned from abroad, as well as participants of the revolutionary organizations, overseas Chinese, soldiers of the new army, local gentry, farmers and others.
Sun Yat-sen arrived in Singapore for the last time on December 16, 1911, residing in the Golden Bell Mansion
Assistance from overseas Chinese was important in the Xinhai Revolution. In 1894, the first year of the Revive China Society, the first meeting ever held by the group was held in the home of Ho Fon, an overseas Chinese who was also the leader of the first Chinese Church of Christ. Overseas Chinese supported and actively participated in the funding of revolutionary activities, especially the Southeast Asia Chinese of Malaya (Singapore and Malaysia). Many of these groups were reorganized by Sun, who was referred to as the "mother of the Chinese revolution".
Newly emerged intellectuals
In 1906, after the abolition of the imperial examinations, the Qing government established many new schools and encouraged students to study abroad. Many young people attended the new schools or went abroad to study in places like Japan. A new class of intellectuals emerged from those students, who contributed immensely to the Xinhai Revolution. Besides Sun Yat-sen, key figures in the revolution such as Huang Xing, Song Jiaoren, Hu Hanmin, Liao Zhongkai, Zhu Zhixin and Wang Jingwei were all Chinese students in Japan. Some were young students like Zou Rong, known for writing the book "Revolutionary Army" in which he talked about the extermination of the Manchus for the 260 years of oppression and sorrow, cruelty and tyranny and turn the sons and grandsons of Yellow Emperor into George Washingtons.
Before 1908 revolutionaries focused on coordinating these organizations in preparation for uprisings that these organizations would launch; hence, these groups would provide most of the manpower needed for the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. After the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat-sen recalled the days of recruiting support for the revolution and said, "The literati were deeply into the search for honors and profits, so they were regarded as having only secondary importance. By contrast, organizations like Sanhehui were able to sow widely the ideas of resisting the Qing and restoring the Ming."
Gentry and businessmen
The strength of the gentry in local politics had become apparent. From December 1908, the Qing government created some apparatus to allow the gentry and businessmen to participate in politics. These middle-class people were originally supporters of constitutionalism. However, they became disenchanted when the Qing government created a cabinet with Prince Qing as prime minister. By early 1911 an experimental cabinet had 13 members, 9 of which were Manchus selected from the imperial family.
Besides Chinese and overseas Chinese, some of the supporters and participants of Xinhai Revolution were foreigners; among them, the Japanese were the most active group. Some Japanese even became members of Tongmenghui. Miyazaki Touten was the closest Japanese supporter; others included Heiyama Shu or Ry hei Uchida. British soldier Rowland J. Mulkern also took part in the revolution. Some foreigners, such as English explorer Arthur de Carle Sowerby, led expeditions to rescue foreign missionaries between 1911 and 1912.
Soldiers of the new armies
The New Army was formed in 1901 after the defeat of the Qings in the First Sino-Japanese war. They were launched by a decree from eight provinces. New Army troops were by far the best trained and equipped. The recruits were of a higher quality than the old army and received regular promotions. Beginning in 1908 the revolutionaries began to shift their call to the new armies. Sun Yat-sen and the revolutionaries infiltrated the New Army.
Uprisings and incidents
The general focus of the uprisings are those that surround the Tongmenghui and Sun Yat-sen including the smaller groups within. Some uprisings below involve groups that never merged with the Tongmenghui. Sun Yat-sen may have participated in 8 10 uprisings; all uprisings prior to the Wuchang Uprising had failed. Flag of the First Guangzhou Uprising
First Guangzhou Uprising
In the spring of 1895 the Revive China Society, which was based in Hong Kong, planned the first "Guangzhou uprising" ( ). Lu Haodong was tasked with designing the revolutionaries' Blue Sky with a White Sun flag. On October 26, 1895, Yeung Kui-wan and Sun Yat-sen led Zhen Shiliang and Lu Haodong to Guangzhou, preparing to capture Guangzhou in one strike. However, the details of their plans were leaked to the Qing government. The government began to arrest revolutionaries, including Lu Haodong, who was later executed. The first Guangzhou uprising was a failure. Under pressure from the Qing government, the government of Hong Kong forbade these two men to enter the territory for five years. Sun Yat-sen went into exile, promoting the Chinese revolution and raising funds in Japan, the United States, Canada and Britain. In 1901 Yeung Kui-wan was assassinated by Qing agents in Hong Kong. After his death his family protected his identity by not putting his name on his tomb, just a number: 6348.
Independence Army Uprising
In 1900, after the Boxer Rebellion started, Tang Caichang ( ) and Tan Sitong of the previous Foot Emancipation Society organised the Independence Army. The "Independence Army Uprising" ( ) was planned to occur on August 23, 1900. Their goal was to overthrow Empress Dowager Cixi to establish a constitutional monarchy under Emperor Guangxu. Their plot was discovered by the governor general of Hunan and Hubei. About 20 conspirators were arrested and executed.
On October 8, 1900, Sun Yat-sen ordered the launch of the "Huizhou Uprising" ( ). The revolutionary army was led by Zheng Shiliang and initially included 20,000 men, who fought for half a month. However, after the Japanese Prime Minister prohibited Sun Yat-sen from carrying out revolutionary activities on Taiwan, Zheng Shiliang had no choice but to order the army to disperse. This uprising therefore also failed. British soldier Rowland J. Mulkern participated in this uprising.
Great Ming Uprising
A very short uprising occurred from January 25 to 28 in 1903 to establish a "Great Ming Heavenly kingdom" ( ). This involved Tse Tsan-tai, Li Jitong ( ), Liang Muguang ( ) and Hong Chunfu ( ) who formerly took part in the Jintian Uprising during the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom era.
Ma Fuyi ( ) and Huaxinghui was involved in an uprising in three areas of Pingxiang, Liuyang and Liling called "Ping-liu-li Uprising" ( ) in 1905. The uprising recruited miners as early as 1903 to rise against the Qing ruling class. After the uprising failed, Ma Fuyi was executed.
Beijing Zhengyangmen East Railway assassination attempt
Wu Yue ( ) of Guangfuhui carried out an assassination attempt at the Beijing Zhengyangmen East Railway station ( ) in an attack on five Qing officials on September 24, 1905.
The "Huanggang Uprising" ( ) was launched on May 22, 1907, in Chaozhou. The Revolutionary party, along with Xu Xueqiu ( ), Chen Yongpo ( ) and Yu Tongshi ( ), launched the uprising and captured Huanggang city. Other Japanese that followed include ( ) and ( ). After the uprising began the Qing government quickly and forcefully suppressed it. Around 200 revolutionaries were killed.
Huizhou seven women lake Uprising
In the same year, Sun Yat-sen sent more revolutionaries to Huizhou to launch the "Huizhou seven women lake Uprising" ( ). On June 2 Deng Zhiyu ( ) and Chen Chuan ( ) gathered some followers and together they seized Qing arms in the lake, 20 km from Huizhou. They killed several Qing soldiers and attacked Taiwei ( ) on the 5th. The Qing army fled in disorder and the revolutionaries exploited the opportunity, capturing several towns. They defeated the Qing army once again in Bazhiyie. Many organizations voiced their support after the uprising, and the number of revolutionary forces increased to 200 men at its height. The uprising, however, ultimately failed.
A statue to honor female revolutionary Qiu Jin
On July 6, 1907, Xu Xilin of Guangfuhui led an uprising in Anqing, Anhui, which became known as the "Anqing Uprising" ( ). Xu Xilin at the time was the police commissioner as well as the supervisor of the police academy. He led an uprising that was to also assassinate the provincial governor of Anhui, En Ming ( ). They were defeated after four hours of fighting. Xu was captured and En Ming's bodyguards cut out his heart and liver and ate them. His cousin Qiu Jin was also executed a few days later.
From August to September 1907 occurred the "Qinzhou Uprising" ( )., to protest against heavy taxation from the government. Sun Yat-sen sent Wang Heshun ( ) there to assist the revolutionary army and captured the county on September. After that they attempted to besiege and capture Qinzhou, but they were unsuccessful. They eventually retreated to the area of Shiwandashan while Wang Heshun returned to Vietnam.
On December 1, 1907, the "Zhennanguan Uprising" ( ) took place at Zhennanguan, a pass on the Chinese-Vietnamese border. Sun Yat-sen sent Huang Mintang ( ) to monitor the pass, which was guarded by a fort. With the assistance of supporters among the fort's defenders, the revolutionaries captured the cannon tower in Zhennanguan. Sun Yat-sen, Huang Xing and Hu Hanmin personally went to the tower to command the battle. The Qing government sent troops to counterattack, and the revolutionaries were forced to retreat into mountainous areas. After the failure of this uprising, Sun was forced to move to Singapore due to anti-Sun sentiments within the revolutionary groups. He would not return to the mainland until after the Wuchang Uprising.
On March 27, 1908, Huang Xing launched a raid, later known as the "Qin-lian Uprising" ( ), from a base in Vietnam and attacked the cities of Qinzhou and Lianzhou in Guangdong. The struggle continued for 14 days, but was forced to terminate after the revolutionaries ran out of supplies.
In April 1908 another uprising was launched in Yunnan, Hekou, called the "Hekou Uprising" ( ). Huang Mingtang ( ) led 200 men from Vietnam and attacked Hekou on April 30. Other revolutionaries who participated include Wang Heshun ( ) and Guan Renfu ( ). They were outnumbered and defeated by government troops, however, and the uprising failed.
On November 19, 1908, the "Mapaiying Uprising" ( ) was launched by revolutionary group Yuewanghui ( ) member Xiong Chenggei ( ) at Anhui. Yuewanghui at this time is a subset of Tongmenghui. This uprising also failed.
Gengxu New Army Uprising
In February 1910 the "Gengxu New Army Uprising" ( ), also known as "Guangzhou New Army Uprising" ( ), took place. This involved a conflict between the citizens and local police against the New Army. After revolutionary leader Ni Yingdian was killed by Qing forces, the remaining revolutionaries were quickly defeated, causing the uprising to fail.
The memorial for the 72 martyrs.
Second Guangzhou Uprising
On April 27, 1911, an uprising occurred in Guangzhou, known as the "Second Guangzhou Uprising" ( ) or "Yellow Flower Mound revolt" ( ). It ended in disaster, as only 72 bodies were ever found. The 72 revolutionaries were remembered as martyrs. Revolutionary Lin Jue-min ( ) was one of the 72. On the eve of battle he wrote the legendary "A Letter to My Wife" ( ), later to be considered as a masterpiece in Chinese literature.
The Iron blood 18-star flag Paths of the uprising The Literary Society ( ) and the Progressive Association ( ) were revolutionary organizations involved in the uprising that mainly began with a Railway Protection Movement protest. In the late summer some Hubei New Army units were ordered to neighboring Sichuan to quell the Railway Protection Movement, a mass protest against the Qing government's seizure and handover of local railway development ventures to foreign powers. Banner officers like Duanfang, the railroad superintendent, and Zhao Erfeng led the New Army against the Railway Protection Movement.
The New Army units of Hubei had originally been the "Hubei Army," which had been trained by Qing official Zhang Zhidong. On September 24, the Literary Society and Progressive Association convened a conference in Wuchang, along with 60 representatives from local New Army units. During the conference they established a headquarters for the uprising. The leaders of the two organizations, Jiang Yiwu ( ) and Sun Wu ( ), were elected as commander and chief of staff. Initially the date of the uprising was to be October 6, 1911. It was postponed to a later date due to insufficient preparations.
Revolutionaries intent on overthrowing the Qing dynasty had built bombs, and on October 9 one accidentally exploded. Sun Yat-sen himself had no direct part in the uprising and was traveling in the United States at the time in an effort to recruit more support from among overseas Chinese. The Qing Viceroy of Huguang, Rui Cheng ( ), tried to track down and arrest the revolutionaries. Squad leader Xiong Bingkun ( ) and others decided not to delay the uprising any longer and launched the revolt at October 10, 1911, at 7 pm. The revolt was a success; the entire city of Wuchang was captured by the revolutionaries on the morning of October 11. That evening they established a tactical headquarters and announced the establishment of the "Military Government of Hubei of Republic of China." The conference chose Li Yuanhong as the governor of the temporary government. Qing officers like the bannermen Duanfang and Zhao Erfeng were killed by the revolutionary forces.
After Wuchang, echoes from other provinces
After the success of the Wuchang uprising, many other uprisings occurred in other cities and towns in other provinces. Many of the uprisings were followed up with restorations ( ). Some uprisings were more of a revolt for independence, and some were protests or rebellions against local officials, but the outcome was that basically all provinces in the country renounced the Qing dynasty and joined the Republic of China.
Uprising map during the Xinhai revolution
On October 22, 1911, the Hunan Tongmenghui were led by Jiao Dafeng ( ) and Chen Zuoxin ( ). They headed an armed group, consisting partly of revolutionaries from Hongjiang and partly of defecting New Army units, in a campaign to extend the uprising into Changsha. They captured the city and killed the local Imperial general. Then they announced the establishment of "Hunan Military Government of the Republic of China", and announced their opposition to the Qing Empire.
On the same day Shaanxi's Tongmenghui, led by Jing Dingcheng ( ), Qian ding ( ) as well as Jing Wumu ( ) and others including Gelaohui, launched an uprising and captured Xi'an after two days of struggle. The Muslim general Ma Anliang led more than 20 battalions of Hui Muslim troops to defend the Qings and attacked Shaanxi, held by revolutionary Zhang Fenghui ( ). The attack was successful, but when news arrived that the Qing emperor Puyi was about to abdicate, Ma agreed to join the new Republic. The revolutionaries established the "Qinlong Fuhan Military Government" and elected Zhang Fenghui, a member of the Yuanrizhi Society ( ), as new governor. Xi'an Manchu city ( ) finally fell on Oct. 24 after a massacre of its Manchu residents. Many of its Manchu defenders committed suicide, including Qing general Wenrui ( ) who threw himself down a well.
On October 23 Lin Sen, Jiang Qun ( ), Cai Hui ( ) and other members of the Tongmenghui in the province of Jiangxi plotted a revolt of New Army units. After they achieved victory, they announced their independence. The "Jiujiang Military Government" was then established.
Shanxi Taiyuan Uprising
On October 29 Yan Xishan of the New Army led an uprising in Taiyuan, the capital city of the province of Shanxi, along with Yao Yijie ( ), Huang Guoliang ( ), Wen Shouquan ( ), Li Chenglin ( ), Zhang Shuzhi ( ) and Qiao Xi ( ). They managed to kill the Qing Governor of Shanxi, Lu Zhongqi ( ). They then announced the establishment of "Shanxi Military Government" with Yan Xishan as the military governor. Yan Xishan would later become one of the warlords that plagued China during what was known as "the warlord era".
Kunming Double Ninth Uprising
On October 30, Li Genyuan ( ) of the Tongmenghui in Yunnan province joined with Cai E, Luo Peijin ( ), Tang Jiyao, and other officers of the New Army to launch the "Double Ninth Uprising" ( ). They captured Kunming the next day and established the "Yunnan Military Government", electing Cai E as the military governor.
On October 31 the Nanchang branch of the Tongmenghui led New Army units in a successful uprising. They established the Jiangxi Military Government. Li Liejun was elected as the military governor. Li declared Jiangxi as independent and launched an expedition against Qing official Yuan Shikai.
Shanghai armed Uprising
On November 3 Shanghai's Tongmenghui, guangfuhui and merchants led by Chen Qimei, Li Pingsu ( ), Zhang Chengyou ( ), Li Yingshi ( ), Li Xiehe ( ) and Song Jiaoren organized an armed rebellion in Shanghai. They received the support of local police officers. The rebels captured the Jiangnan Workshop on the 4th, and captured Shanghai soon after. On November 8 they established the "Shanghai Military Government", and elected Chen Qimei as the military governor. He would eventually become one of the founders of the ROC four big families, along with some of the most well known families of the era.
On November 4 Zhang Bailin ( ) of the revolutionary party in Guizhou led an uprising along with New Army units and students from the military academy. They immediately captured Guiyang and established the "Great Han Guizhou Military Government", electing Yang Jincheng ( ) and Zhao Dequan ( ) as the chief and vice governor.
Also on November 4, revolutionaries in Zhejiang urged the New Army units in Hangzhou to launch an uprising. Zhu Rui ( ), Wu Siyu ( ), Lu Gongwang ( ) and others of the New Army captured the military supplies workshop. Other units led by Chiang Kai-shek and Yin Zhirei ( ) captured most of the government offices. Eventually Hangzhou was under the control of the revolutionaries, and the constitutionist Tang Shouqian ( ) was elected as the military governor.
On November 5, Jiangsu constitutionists and gentry urged Qing governor Cheng Dequan ( ) to announce independence, and established the "Jiangsu Revolutionary Military Government" with Cheng himself as the governor. Unlike some of the other cities, anti-Manchu violence began after the restoration on November 7 in Zhenjiang. Qing general Zaimu ( ) agreed to surrender, but because of a misunderstanding the revolutionaries were unware that their safety was guaranteed. The Manchu quarters were ransacked and an unknown number of Manchus were killed. Zaimu, feeling betrayed, committed suicide. This is regarded as the "Zhenjiang Uprising" ( ).
Members of Anhui's Tongmenghui also launched an uprising on that day, and laid siege to the provincial capital. The constitutionists persuaded Zhu Jiabao ( ), the Qing Governor of Anhui, to announce independence.
On November 7, the Guangxi politics department decided to secede from the Qing government, announcing Guangxi's independence. Qing Governor Shen Bingkun ( ) was allowed to remain governor, but Lu Rongting would soon become the new governor. Lu Rongting would later rise to prominence during the "warlord era" as one of the warlods, and his bandits controlled Guangxi for more than a decade.
In November members of Fujian's branch of the Tongmenghui along with Sun Daoren ( ) of the New Army launched an uprising against the Qing army. The Qing viceroy, Song Shou ( ), committed suicide. On November 11 the entire Fujian province declared independence. The "Fujian Military Government" was established, and Sun Daoren was elected as the military governor.
Near the end of October Chen Jiongming, Deng Keng ( ), Peng Reihai ( ) and other members of Guangdong's Tongmenghui organized local militias to launch the uprising in Huazhou, Nanhai, Sunde and Sanshui in Guangdong province. On November 8, after being persuaded by Hu Hanmin, General Li Zhun ( ) and Long Jiguang ( ) of the Guangdong Navy agreed to support the revolution. The Qing viceroy of Liangguang, Zhang Mingqi ( ), was forced to discuss with the local representatives a proposal for Guangdong's independence. They decided to announce it the next day. Chen Jiongming then captured Huizhou. On November 9 Guangdong announced its independence, and established a Military Government. They elected Hu Hanmin and Chen Jiongming as the chief and vice governor. Qiu Fengjia is known to have helped make the independence declaration more peaceful.
On November 13, persuaded by revolutionary Din Weifen ( ) and several other officers of the New Army, the Qing Governor of Shandong, Sun Baoqi, agreed to secede from the Qing government and announced Shandong's independence.
On November 17, Ningxia the Tongmenghui launched the "Ningxia Uprising" ( ). The revolutionaries sent Yu Youren to Zhangjiachuan to meet Dungan Sufi master Ma Yuanzhang to persuade him not to support the Qing. However, Ma didn't want to endanger his relationship with the Qings. He sent the eastern Gansu Muslim militia under the command of one of his sons to help Ma Qi crush the Ningxia Gelaohui. The "Ningxia Revolutionary Military Government" would be established on November 23. Some of the revolutionaries involved included Huang Yue ( ) and Xiang Shen ( ), who gathered New Army forces at Qinzhou ( ).
On November 21, Guang'an organized the "Great Han shu northern Military Government".
On November 22, Chengdu and Sichuan began to declare independence. By the 27th, the "Great Han Sichuan Military Government" was established, headed by revolutionary Pu Dianzun ( ). Qing official Duan Fang ( ) would also be killed.
On November 8, supported by the Tongmenghui, Xu Shaozhen ( ) of the New Army announced an uprising in Molin Pass ( ), 30km away from Nanking City. Xu Shaozhen, Chen Qimei and other generals decided to form a united army under Xu to strike Nanking together. On November 11 the united army headquarter was established in Zhenjiang. Between November 24 and December 1, under the command of Xu Shaozhen, the united army captured Wulongshan ( ), Mufushan ( ), Yuhuatai ( ), Tianbao City ( ) and many other strongholds of the Qing army. On December 2, Nanking City was captured by the revolutionaries after the "Battle of Nanking". On December 3 revolutionary Su Liangbi led troops in a massacre of a large number of Manchus (the exact number is not known). He was shortly afterward arrested and his troops disbanded.
In 1905 the Qing sent Zhao Erfeng to Tibet to put down disturbances. By 1908 Zhao was appointed imperial resident in Lhasa. When revolutionaries arrived in Tibet, Zhao would be beheaded (December 1911). The area that was historically known as Kham was now the Xikang Administrative District, created by the revolutionaries. By the end of 1912 the last Manchu troops were escorted out of Tibet. Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, returned to Tibet in January 1913 from Sikkim, where he had been residing. When the new ROC government apologised for the actions of the Qing and offered to restore the Dalai Lama to his former position, he replied that he was not interested in Chinese ranks and was assuming the spiritual and political leadership of Tibet. Because of this, many have read this reply as a formal declaration of independence. The Chinese side ignored the response, and Tibet had 30 years free of interference from China.
At the end of 1911 the Mongols took action with an armed revolt against the Manchu authorities, but was unsuccessful in the attempt. An independence movement took place that was not limited to just North (outer) Mongolia but was a pan-Mongolian phenomenon. On December 29, 1911 Bogd Khan became the leader of the Mongol empire. Inner Mongolia became a contested terrain between Khan and the Republic. In general Russia supported the Independence of Outer Mongolia (including Tannu Uriankhai) during the time of the Xinhai revolution. Tibet and Mongolia then recognized each other in a treaty.
Dihua and Yili Uprising
In Xinjiang on December 28 Liu Xianzun ( ) and the revolutionaries started the "Dihua Uprising" ( ). This was led by more than 100 members of Geilaohui. This uprising would fail. On January 7, 1912 the "Yili Uprising" ( ) with Feng Temin ( ) would begin. Qing governor Yuan Dahua ( ) fled and handed over his resignation to Yang Zengxin because he could not handle fighting the revolutionaries.
In the morning of January 8, a new Yili government would be established for the revolutionaries. But the revolutionaries would be defeated at Jinghe in January and February. Eventually because of the abdication to come, Yuan Shikai recognized Yang Zengxin's rule and appointed him Governor of Xinjiang and had the province join the Republic. But 11 more former Qing officials would be assassinated in Zhenxi, Karashahr, Aqsu, Kucha, Luntai and Kashgar in April and May 1912.
In 1911 as part of the Xinhai revolution, Tongmenghui sent Luo Fu-xing ( ) to Taiwan island to free it from being occupied by the Japanese. The goal was to bring Taiwan island back to the Chinese republic by having a "Taiwan Uprising" ( ). Luo was caught and killed on March 3, 1914. What was left was known as the "Miaoli incident" ( ) where more than 1,000 Taiwanese were executed by the Japanese police. Luo's sacrifice is commemorated in Miaoli.
Change of government
Seal for the provisional government president of Republic of China
North: Qing court last transformation attempt
On November 1, 1911 the Qing Government appointed Yuan Shikai as the prime minister of the imperial cabinet replacing Prince Qing. On November 3, the Qing court passed the Nineteen Articles ( ), which turned the Qing from an autocratic system with the emperor having unlimited power to a constitutional monarchy. On November 9, Huang Xing even cabled Yuan Shikai and invited him to join the Republic. The court changes were too late, and the emperor was about to have to step down.
South: Government in Nanking
On November 28, 1911 Wuchang and Hanyang had fallen back to the Qing army. So for safety the revolutionaries convened their first conference at the British concession in Hankou on November 30. By December 2 the revolutionary forces were able to capture Nanking in the uprising, the revolutionaries decided to make it the site of the new provisional government. At the time Beijing was still the Qing capital.
Tang Shaoyi, left. Edward Selby Little, middle. Wu Tingfang, right
On December 18 the "North-South Conference" ( ) was held in Shanghai to discuss the north and south issues. Yuan Shikai selected Tang Shaoyi as his representative. Tang left Beijing for Wuhan to negotiate with the revolutionaries. The revolutionaries chose Wu Tingfang. With the intervention of six foreign powers, UK, US, Germany, Russia, Japan, France Tang Shaoyi and Wu Tingfang began to negotiate a settlement at the British concession. Foreign businessman Edward Selby Little ( ) acted as the negotiator and facilitated the peace agreement. They agreed that Yuan Shikai would force the Qing Emperor to abdicate in exchange for the southern provinces' support of Yuan as the president of the Republic. After considering the possibility that the new republic might be defeated in a civil war or by foreign invasion, Sun Yat-sen agreed to Yuan's proposal to unify China under Yuan Shikai's Beijing government. Further decisions were made to let the emperor rule over his little court in the New Summer Palace. He would be treated as a ruler of a separate country and have expenses of several million taels in silver.
Establishment of the Republic
Sun Yat-sen in 1912 at one of the historic crossroad with the Five Races Under One Union flag and the Blue Sky with a White Sun flag
Republic of China declared and national flag issue
On December 29, 1911 Sun Yat-sen was elected as the first provisional president. January 1, 1912 was set as the first day of the First Year of the Republic of China. On January 3, the representatives recommended Li Yuanhong as the Provisional vice president.
During and after the Xinhai revolution, many groups that participated wanted their own pennant as the national flag. During the Wuchang uprising the military units of Wuchang wanted the 9-star flag with Taijitu. Others in competition include Lu Hao-tung's Blue Sky and White Sun flag. Huang Xing favored a flag bearing the mythical "well-field" system of village agriculture. In the end, the assembly compromised: the national flag would be the banner of Five Races Under One Union. The Five Races Under One Union flag with horizontal stripes represented the five major nationalities of the republic. The red represented Han, the yellow represented Manchus, the blue for Mongols, the white for Tibetans, and black for Muslim. Despite the general target of the uprisings to be the Manchus, Sun Yat-sen, Song Jiaoren and Huang Xing unanimously advocated racial integration to be carried out on the frontiers.
On January 16, while returning to his residence, Yuan Shikai was ambushed in a bomb attack organized by the Tongmenghui in Donghuamen ( ), Tientsin, Beijing. A total of 18 revolutionaries were involved. About 10 of the guards died but Yuan himself was not seriously injured. He sent a message to the revolutionaries the next day pledging his loyalty and asking them to not organize any more assassination attempts against him.
Imperial edict for abdication
Abdication of the emperor
On January 20 Wu Tingfang of the Nanking Provisional Government officially delivered the imperial edict of abdication to Yuan Shikai the terms for the abdication of Qing Emperor Xuantong Puyi. It was drafted by Zhang Jian, and was approved by the Provisional senate. On January 22, Sun Yat-sen announced that if Yuan Shikai supported the emperor's abdication, he (Sun Yat-sen) would resign the presidency in favor of Yuan Shikai. After Yuan received this promise, he sped up the process. He threatened Empress Longyu that if the revolutionaries came to Beijing, the lives of the royal family would not be spared, but if they agree to abdicate, the terms for their abdication would be honored.
On February 3, Empress Longyu gave Yuan Shikai full permission to negotiate the terms for the abdication of the Qing Emperor. Yuan then drew up his own version and forwarded it back to the revolutionaries on February 3. His version consist of three sections instead of two. On February 12, 1912, after being persuaded and pressured by Yuan Shikai and other ministers, Puyi (age 6) and Empress Longyu accepted the terms for the Imperial family's abdication.
Change of capital
Dong'anmen gate incident
The revolutionaries were trying to lure Yuan Shikai to the south. By making Yuan the president of the southern Nanking-based provisional government, he would have to give up his military power base in the north. In February 1912, troops were looting shops and stealing from rich commercial areas. They then burned down the Dong'anmen gate ( ) on the wall surrounding the Imperial City. Thousands of people were killed. This mutiny was actually ordered by Yuan and Cao Kun. Yuan intimidated the revolutionaries and made it clear that the new government would have to go to him in Beijing, he was not going to the south. This was an excuse to move the capital of the new republic from Nanking back to Beijing.
Yuan Shikai sworn as the Provisional president in Beijing
Government in Beijing
On March 10, 1912, Yuan Shikai was sworn as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China in Beijing. The government based in Beijing, called the Beiyang Government, was internationally recognized as the legitimate government of the Republic of China until 1928, so the period from 1912 until 1928 was known simply as the "Beiyang Period". The first National assembly election would take place according to the Provisional constitution. While in Beijing the Kuomintang (KMT) would be formed on August 25, 1912. The KMT would win the majority seats after the election. Song Jiaoren would be elected as premier. However, Song was assassinated in Shanghai on March 20, 1913 under the secret order of Yuan Shikai.
After the revolution there was a huge outpouring of anti-Manchu literature. Some include Wang Xiuchu's graphical account of the 10 day Chinese massacre in Yangzhou. Another is "A Short History of Slaves" ( ) and "The Biographies of Avaricious Officials and Corrupt Personnel" ( ) by Laoli ( ). Many other literature wrote about the era. During the abdication of the last emperor, Empress Longyu, Yuan Shikai, Sun Yat-sen all tried to adopt the concept of "Manchu and Han as one family" ( ). But people starting exploring and debating with themselves on the root cause of their national weakness. This new search of identity was the New Culture Movement. Manchu culture and language on the contrary has become virtually extinct by 2007.
Unlike revolutions in the West, the Xinhai Revolution did not restructure society. The participants of Xinhai Revolution were mostly military personnel, old type bureaucrats, and local gentries. These people still held regional power after the Xinhai Revolution. Some became warlords. There were no major improvements in the standard of living. Writer Lu Xun commented in 1921 during the publishing of The True Story of Ah Q, ten years after Xinhai revolution, that basically nothing changed except "the Manchus have left the kitchen". The economic problems were not addressed until Chiang Ching-kuo on Taiwan and Deng Xiaoping on the mainland.
The Xinhai Revolution mainly got rid of feudalism (fengjian) from Late Imperial China era. In the usual view of historians there are two restorations of feudal power after the revolution: first was Yuan Shikai, second was Zhang Xun. Both were unsuccessful. But the "feudal remnants" returned to China with the Cultural Revolution in a concept called guanxi where people relied not on feudal relationships, but personal relationships for survival. While guanxi is helpful in Taiwan, on the mainland guanxi is necessary to get anything done.
The Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing government and 2,000 years of monarchy. Throughout Chinese history, old dynasties had always been replaced by new dynasties. The Xinhai Revolution, however, was the first to overthrow a monarchy completely and attempt to establish a Republic to spread democratic ideas throughout China. Though in 1911 at the provisional government welcome ceremony Sun Yat-sen said "The revolution is not yet successful, the comrades still need to strive for the future" ( ).
After the 1920s, the two dominant parties the KMT and CPC see the Xinhai Revolution quite differently. Both sides recognize Sun Yat-sen as the Father of the Nation. But in Taiwan, they mean "Father of the Republic of China". The father of New China is seen as Mao Zedong. On the mainland, Sun Yat-sen was seen as the man who just help bring down the Qing, a pre-condition for the Communist state founded in 1949. The PRC views Sun's work as the first step towards the real revolution in 1949, when the communists set up a truly independent state that expelled foreigners and built a military and industrial power. In 1954 Liu Shaoqi was quoted as saying that the "Xinhai Revolution inserted the concept of a republic into common people". Zhou Enlai pointed out that "Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing rule, ended 2000 years of monarchy, and liberated the mind of people to a great extent, and opened up the path for the development of future revolution. This is a great victory". Much of the differences between the two sides can be seen in the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of China.
A change in the belief that the revolution had been a generally positive change began in late 1980s and 1990s. But Zhang Shizhao was quoted as arguing that "When talking about the Xinhai Revolution, the theorist these days tends to overemphasize. The word success was way overused".
The success of the democracy gained from the revolution can vary depending on view. Even after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, for 60 years the KMT controlled all five branches of the government; none was independent. Yan Jiaqi founder of the Federation for a Democratic China has said that Sun Yat-sen is to be credited as founding China's first republic in 1912, and the second republic is the people of Taiwan and the political parties there now democratizing the region. In 2011 president Ma Ying-jeou praised the Western political model for the successful democratization of Taiwan.
Meanwhile the ideals of democracy is far from realised on the mainland. For example Chinese premier Wen Jiabao once said in a speech that without real democracy there is no guarantee of economic and political rights. But he led a 2011 crackdown against the peaceful Chinese jasmine protests. Liu Xiaobo, a pro-democracy activist who received the global 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is in prison. Others such as Qin Yongmin ( ) of the Democracy Party of China was only released from prison after 12 years doesn't praise the Xinhai Revolution. He said the revolution only replaced one dictator with another, that Mao Zedong was not an emperor, but he is worse than the emperor.
- Wu Xinghan (), Three Day Journal of Wuchang Uprising ()
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