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How and Why did the Late Qing Reforms fail?

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Presentation on theme: "How and Why did the Late Qing Reforms fail?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How and Why did the Late Qing Reforms fail?
L/O – To identify and evaluate the reasons why the Late Qing Reforms failed

2 Introduction The Late Qing Reforms were a series of reforms instigated by Cixi and the Imperial Court between They were another attempt to revive the Qing dynasty but ultimately failed, leading to the 1911 Revolution. The emphasise of the reforms was on turning China into a constitutional monarchy in the hope that the Qing dynasty would continue. However the reforms were mostly insincere, accelerating the growth of Chinese nationalism and the revolutionary movement.

3 Impact of the Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion was a blow to conservatism within the Court. Whilst on the run to Xi’an, Cixi in August issued a decree blaming herself for China’s misfortune! She finally realised that reforms were essential if the Qing dynasty was to survive. She even proclaimed a desire to institute reforms of her own. In January 1901, she issued a statement calling for advice on reforms to offered.

4 Cixi’s Reforms Many reform-minded officials like Zhang Zhidong and Li Hongzhang submitted reform proposals to the Court. Zhang Zhidong wrote 3 memorials calling for educational reforms, government reforms and more ‘Western Methods’. Cixi completely agreed to these wholesale reforms, similar to the one’s she stopped in 1898! Zhang Zhidong “Unless we cultivate talents, we cannot expect to exist. Unless we promote education we cannot cultivate talents. Unless we reform civil and military examinations, we cannot promote education. Unless we study abroad, we cannot make up deficiencies of education [at home].” Zhang Zhidong, 1901

5 Abolition of Old Offices Creation of New Offices
Dismissals of useless clerks and attendants in government offices (May 1901) Termination of the sale of office (August 1901) Abolition of the governorships of Yunnan and Hupeh (December 1904) Creation of New Offices The Superintendency of Political Affairs (April 1901) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs to replace the Zongli Yamen (July 1901) The Ministry of Commerce (August 1903) The Ministry of Education (December 1905) Military Reforms Termination of military examination (August 1901) Creation of provincial academies (August 1901) Establishment of the Bureau of Military Training (December 1903) Training of new armies in Beijing by Yuan Shikai Educational Reforms Abolition of the government examinations (August 1905) Orders to provincial authorities to select students to study abroad (Sep 1901) Transformation of provincial academies into colleges, prefectual schools into middle schools, district schools into elementary school & new curriculum Social Reforms Permission of marriages between the Manchus and the Chinese (Feb 1902) Liberation of women from foot-binding (Feb 1902) Prohibition of opium (Sep 1906) Other Reforms Promotion of railway construction (June 1901) Provincial taxes on tobacco and liquor (Dec 1903) Reduction of expenses in the palaces (June 1904)

6 Cixi’s Reforms “I have heard that the inner circle [Cixi] does not like to speak of Western ways. Your telegram also advises us not to imitate the superficialities of Western methods so as to avoid criticism. I cannot but respond with a long sigh of resignation. If the situation is really so, then the two words ‘institutional reform’ have not yet hit the proper target. It is still useless, and ultimately, China will perish.” Zhang Zhidong, March 1901 Between , the reforms were carried out but they had little success. There was still resistance from officials in some provinces and the reforms were seen as insincere due to Manchu and anti-Chinese appointments amongst the new ministries. In secret Cixi was still against reforms, prompting Zhang Zhidong to comment:

7 The Constitutional Movement: 1905-11
In 1905 the Qing reforms received a boost from the growing movement for Constitutional Reform. The defeat of the autocratic Western monarchy of Russia in 1905 by the Oriental Constitutional Monarchy of Japan was like a bolt from the blue. The victory of Japan seemed to prove once and for all that constitutional change was necessary in China if it was to survive. The idea of constitutionalism caught on like wildfire.

8 The Constitutional Movement: 1905-11
Calls for a Constitution grew louder, supported by many reformers in exile like Liang Qichao in Japan who advocated nationalism and a constitutional monarchy through his magazine: ‘The New People’s Miscellany’ ( ) He also set-up the Political Information Society which secretly set- up Constitution Protection Clubs across China. These pressurised the Court into constitutional reform. Liang Qichao

9 The Constitutional Movement: 1905-11
From Dec 1905-Jul 1906, the Court sent a mission of Manchu princes and nobles abroad to investigate foreign political systems in UK, USA, Japan & Europe. They returned advocating a Japanese- style Constitution within 5 years. Cixi actually approved this recommendation in September 1906. However! It was only in August 1908 that the Court issued an ‘Outline of Constitution’ and then a further 9 years before it would be enforced! The Court was dragging its feet…

10 The Centralisation of Manchu Power
Many reformers became disappointed. Cixi was clearly delaying the Constitution and the Constitution only served to concentrate powers amongst the ruling Manchu class. All Executive, Judicial and Legislative Power would remain in the hands of the Emperor. The new Parliament would only ‘consider’ laws. Between , the Court also began curbing the powers of provincial Chinese officials, replacing them with directly appointed Manchu officials.

11 The Death of Cixi The delays to reforms suddenly stopped on the 15th November with the death of Cixi. Emperor Guangxu had mysteriously died the day before! Her grandnephew, Puyi, became Emperor with his father, Prince Chun as regent. Prince Chun immediately forced Yuan Shikai out of government, blaming him for the betraying his brother in 1898, Emperor Guangxu. Prince Chun & Puyi

12 Reforms under Prince Chun
Prince Chun’s reign began with promise, ordering the establishment of Provincial Assemblies in February 1909. However he continued to protect Manchu power and slowed reforms. 3 times in 1910, representatives of 16 provinces went to Beijing to petition for the creation of a national parliament. Each time he and the Court sent them away, leading to the belief that Qing dynasty had no real desire to reform. Prince Chun

13 Reforms under Prince Chun
This belief was confirmed in May Prince Chun organised the creation of a ‘Royal Cabinet’. 5 out of its 13 members were relatives, 8 Manchus, 1 Mongolian and only 4 Chinese officials! The Provincial Assemblies complained to no avail. It seemed that Constitutionalism and reform was impossible under Manchu leadership. Revolution, which broke out in October 1911, appeared to be the only way. Prince Chun

14 Why did the Reforms Fail?
Economic Conditions – From , government spending doubled but income remained the same. The Boxer Indemnity was also draining funds, therefore reform projects ran out of cash. Insincerity of Reforms – Cixi, the Court, Prince Chun and Conservative officials all used the reforms and constitution to further centralise Manchu power, rather than genuinely reform the government.

15 Why did the Reforms Fail?
Provincial Interests – The creation of Provincial Assemblies in 1909 before a National Assembly had been created only fuelled growing independence in the regions. The creation of regional armies only accelerated this. Revolutionary Sentiment – Educational reforms had created a new class of nationalistic Chinese students and intellectuals who were aware of the insincerity of Qing Reforms and had no voice in government. Revolutionary and anti-Qing politics appealed to them more. Sun Yat-sen

16 Did we meet our learning objective?
Plenary What were the causes of the Late Qing Reforms? What were Cixi’s motives in initiating reform? What were the main reforms between ? Which event launched interest in Constitutionalism? Why did Constitutionalism appeal to Cixi and the Court? Why did Constitutionalism appeal to Chinese people? Why did the Reforms fail? Could the reforms have stopped the 1911 Revolution? Did we meet our learning objective? L/O – To identify and evaluate the reasons why the Late Qing Reforms failed

17 Paper 3 - Exam Question 1 (2003)
“The reforms introduced by China’s Qing dynasty between and 1911 hastened its end instead of saving it.” How far do you agree with this statement? (20 marks) Award up to [7 marks] for a narrative account or list of reforms between 1901 and For [8 to 10 marks] expect some awareness of the events which changed the views of the Empress Dowager Cixi (Tz’u-h’si) and other senior Manchus – the foreign occupation of Beijing (Peking) during the Boxer Rebellion and Japan’s defeat of Russia – which resulted in the introduction of constitutional reform in These reforms were cautious. For [11 to 13 marks] expect some analysis as to why this was so and for [14 to 16 marks] expect also analysis of their effects. By creating provincial assemblies before a national legislature, the reforms provided loci of opposition and the revolution of 1911 with a cloak of legitimacy. For [17+ marks] expect a well-balanced analysis backed by sound historical knowledge of the shortcomings of the reforms themselves and their failure to dampen down the revolutionary movement or to win support for the dynasty.

18 1-2 No understanding of question, Little or no structure, Unsupported generalisations 3-4 Little understanding of question, knowledge present but insufficient detail, Poorly substantiated assertions. 5-6 Some understanding of question, knowledge is limited in quality & quantity, question partially addressed. 7-8 Question generally understood, relevant knowledge present but unevenly applied, knowledge is narrative or descriptive in nature, may be limited argument/analysis, attempt at structure 9-11 Question is understood but not all implication considered, knowledge largely accurate, critical commentary/analysis may be present, events in context, clear structure 12-14 Clearly focused on question, relevant in-depth knowledge applied as evidence, in-depth analysis/critical commentary used but not consistent, historiography may be used to substantiate, synthesis present but not consistent 15-17 Clearly structured and focused, full awareness of question, may challenge question, accurate and detailed knowledge used convincingly to support analysis/critical commentary, historiography used effectively, synthesis is well-developed & supported by knowledge and analysis 18-20 As above but… with high degree of awareness of question, may challenge successfully, knowledge is extensive and accurately applied, evaluation is integrated into answer, synthesis & use of historiography highly developed

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