Xinhai Revolution

Xinhai Revolution
(Chinese Revolution of 1911)
Part of Anti-Qing Movements
Xinhai Revolution in Shanghai.jpg
Double Ten Revolution in Shanghai-Nanjing Road (Nanking Road) after the Shanghai Uprising, hung with the Five Races Under One Union flags then used by the revolutionaries in Shanghai and Northern China.
Date1911-10-10) – 12 February 1912 (1912-02-12)
(4 months and 2 days)
Location
Result

Chinese Revolutionary Alliance victory

Belligerents

 Qing dynasty

China Provisional Government of the Republic of China
Hubei Military Government
Tongmenghui
Gelaohui
Tiandihui
Various other revolutionary groups and forces
Regional officials and warlords
Commanders and leaders
Dowager Longyu
Zaifeng, Prince Chun
Yuan Shikai
Feng Guozhang
Ma Anliang
Duan Qirui
Zhang Zuolin
Yang Zengxin
Zhao Erfeng
Ma Qi
Various other nobles of the Qing dynasty
Sun Yat-sen
China Li Yuanhong
General Huang Xing
Song Jiaoren
Chen Qimei
Cai Genyin
Hu Hanmin
United States Homer Lea (military adviser)
Strength
200,000100,000
Casualties and losses
~170,000~50,000
Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution (Chinese characters).svg
"Xinhai Revolution" in Chinese characters
Chinese辛亥革命
Literal meaning"Xinhai (stem-branch) revolution"

The Xinhai Revolution (Chinese: 辛亥革命; pinyin: Xīnhài Gémìng), also known as the Chinese Revolution or the Revolution of 1911, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty (the Qing dynasty) and established the Republic of China (ROC). The revolution was named Xinhai (Hsin-hai) because it occurred in 1911, the year of the Xinhai (辛亥; 'metal pig') stem-branch in the sexagenary cycle of the Chinese calendar.[2]

The revolution consisted of many revolts and uprisings. The turning point was the Wuchang uprising on 10 October 1911, which was the result of the mishandling of the Railway Protection Movement. The revolution ended with the abdication of the six-year-old Last Emperor, Puyi, on 12 February 1912, that marked the end of 2,000 years of imperial rule and the beginning of China's early republican era.[3]

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 foreign aggression. 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.

The Republic of China in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China on the mainland both consider themselves the legitimate successors to the Xinhai Revolution and honor the ideals of the revolution including nationalism, republicanism, modernization of China and national unity. 10 October is commemorated in Taiwan as Double Ten Day, the National Day of the ROC. In mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, the day is celebrated as the Anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution.

Background

Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908), who personified the conservative Qing court and controlled court politics for 47 years, halted the attempt of her nephew, the Guangxu Emperor (1871–1908), the penultimate Qing emperor, to institute reforms in 1898.
After the failure of the Hundred Days' Reform in 1898, Guangxu's advisors Kang Youwei (left, 1858–1927) and Liang Qichao (1873–1929) fled into exile, while Tan Sitong (right, 1865–1898) was executed. In Canada, Kang and Liang formed the Emperor Protection Society to promote a constitutional monarchy for China. In 1900, they supported an unsuccessful uprising in central China to rescue Guangxu. After the Xinhai Revolution, Liang became a Minister of Justice of the Republic of China. Kang remained a royalist and supported restoring the last Qing emperor Puyi in 1917.

After suffering its first defeat to the West in the First Opium War in 1842, the Qing imperial 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 that did not want to give away too much authority to reform. Following defeat in the Second Opium War in 1860, the Qing tried to modernize by adopting certain Western technologies through the Self-Strengthening Movement from 1861.[4] In the wars against the Taiping (1851–64), Nian (1851–68), Yunnan (1856–68) and the Northwest (1862–77), the traditional imperial troops proved themselves incompetent and the court came to rely on local armies.[5] In 1895, China suffered another defeat during the First Sino-Japanese War.[6] This demonstrated that traditional Chinese feudal society also needed to be modernized if the technological and commercial advancements were to succeed.

In 1898 the Guangxu Emperor was guided by reformers like Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao for a drastic reform in education, military and economy under the Hundred Days' Reform.[6] The reform was abruptly cancelled by a conservative coup led by Empress Dowager Cixi.[7] The Guangxu Emperor, who had always been a puppet dependent on Cixi, was put under house arrest in June 1898.[5] 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.[5] Empress Dowager 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.