The 1911 revolution

现在我的中文课开始学习中国历史 = Now my Chinese class has started to study Chinese history.

One of the key events that we learnt about was the revolution that took place in the year 1911. I decided to summarise what had instigated the revolution in order to help me retain the details (using information from our Chinese history textbook for reference). Some parts are not written in great detail but it’s all coherent so do take a look.

The ‘Double Tenth’ (10th October 1911) in Wuhan was the date when troops refused to supress a group of dissidents. It was not unusual for local difficulties to occur; however this brought about a chain of similar mutinies taking place in neighbouring provinces. Local revolutionaries joined in with the military defiance of Beijing (the people were generally against Beijing because that’s where the orders came). The survival of the Manchu dynasty depended on a swift response to the uprising. This was difficult to achieve because loyal commanders were scarce in the provinces and they were needed to carry out the task. The government called upon Yuan Shi Kai to lead Beijing against the rebels. He agreed to this, but his ulterior motive was to come to terms with the revolutionaries so that he could overthrow his masters (significant authority figures) who had previously humiliated him. Shikai’s personal ambition was to resurrect the empire and make himself the new Emperor. Meanwhile (in November) rebel delegates gathered in Nanjing to declare the establishment of a Chinese Republic, and had appointed Sun Yatsen to be the Republic’s first president. Shikai realised that Yatsen and the Nationalists would not be able to create a genuine Republic without military backing, so he offered Yatsen a quid pro quo (balanced exchange). Yuan made a proposition for Yatsen to relinquish his newfound presidency to Yuan so that he could use his military strength and political influence in Beijing to overthrow the Manchu dynasty. In early February, Sun Yatsen willingly handed over his presidency to Yuan. Yuan presented an ultimatum to the Manchu dynasty, which was to either abdicate or be overthrown by force. The Dowager Empress (mother of Emperor Pu Yi who was too young to make decisions at the time) did not want further bloodshed of the people, and so a formal abdication decree was issued on behalf of the five year old Emperor Pu Yi.

Many more events unfolded from then which laid the foundations for the China we know of today.

If you decide to learn more about the Chinese revolution, good luck 世界.

从欣妍 – From Xinyan.


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