Chinese reunification (1928)
Chinese reunification, better known in Chinese history as the Northeast Flag Replacement, refers to Zhang Xueliang's announcement on 29 December 1928 upon replacing all banners of the Beiyang government in Manchuria with the flag of the Nationalist government, thus nominally uniting China under one government. In April 1928 Chiang Kai-shek was reinstated as commander of the National Revolutionary Army, the position he resigned to take responsibility for splitting the KMT during the First Northern Expedition, he was approaching Beijing near the end of May. The Beiyang government in Beijing was forced to dissolve as a result. Manchuria remained held by the Fengtian clique, still hanging the banner of the Beiyang government; the ultimate objective of the Northern Expedition was not accomplished. After the death of Zhang Zuolin, Zhang Xueliang returned to Shenyang to succeed his father's position. On July 1 he announced an armistice with the National Revolutionary Army and proclaimed that he would not interfere with the re-unification.
The Japanese were dissatisfied with the move and demanded Zhang carry out the independence of Manchuria. He proceeded with unification matters. On July 3 Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Beijing and met the representative from the Fengtian clique to discuss a peaceful settlement; this negotiation reflected the scramble between the US and Japan on her sphere of influence in China, because the US supported Chiang Kai-shek unifying Manchuria. Under pressure from the US and Britain, Japan was diplomatically isolated on this issue. On December 29 Zhang Xueliang announced the replacement of all flags in Manchuria and accepted the jurisdiction of the Nationalist government. Two days the Nationalist government appointed Zhang as commander of the Northeast Army. China was symbolically reunified at this point
The Qing dynasty the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, it was succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted for three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China, it was the fifth largest empire in world history. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci a Ming Jianzhou Guard vassal, began organizing "Banners", military-social units that included Manchu and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Manchu clans into a unified entity. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of the Liaodong Peninsula and declared a new dynasty, the Qing. In an unrelated development, peasant rebels led by Li Zicheng conquered the Ming capital, Beijing, in 1644. Rather than serve them, Ming general Wu Sangui made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Banner Armies led by the regent Prince Dorgon.
He seized the capital. Resistance from the Southern Ming and the Revolt of the Three Feudatories led by Wu Sangui delayed the Qing conquest of China proper by nearly four decades; the conquest was only completed in 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor reign. The Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong Emperor from the 1750s to the 1790s extended Qing control into Inner Asia; the early Qing rulers maintained their Manchu customs, while their title was Emperor, they used "Bogd khaan" when dealing with the Mongols and they were patrons of Tibetan Buddhism. They governed using Confucian styles and institutions of bureaucratic government and retained the imperial examinations to recruit Han Chinese to work under or in parallel with Manchus, they adapted the ideals of the tributary system in dealing with neighboring territories. During the Qianlong Emperor reign the dynasty reached its apogee, but began its initial decline in prosperity and imperial control; the population rose to some 400 millions, but taxes and government revenues were fixed at a low rate guaranteeing eventual fiscal crisis.
Corruption set in, rebels tested government legitimacy, ruling elites failed to change their mindsets in the face of changes in the world system. Following the Opium Wars, European powers imposed "unequal treaties", free trade, extraterritoriality and treaty ports under foreign control; the Taiping Rebellion and the Dungan Revolt in Central Asia led to the deaths of some 20 million people, most of them due to famines caused by war. In spite of these disasters, in the Tongzhi Restoration of the 1860s, Han Chinese elites rallied to the defense of the Confucian order and the Qing rulers; the initial gains in the Self-Strengthening Movement were destroyed in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, in which the Qing lost its influence over Korea and the possession of Taiwan. New Armies were organized, but the ambitious Hundred Days' Reform of 1898 was turned back in a coup by the conservative Empress Dowager Cixi; when the Scramble for Concessions by foreign powers triggered the violently anti-foreign "Boxers", the foreign powers invaded China, Cixi declared war on them, leading to defeat and the flight of the Imperial Court to Xi'an.
After agreeing to sign the Boxer Protocol, the government initiated unprecedented fiscal and administrative reforms, including elections, a new legal code, abolition of the examination system. Sun Yat-sen and other revolutionaries competed with constitutional monarchists such as Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao to transform the Qing Empire into a modern nation. After the deaths of Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908, the hardline Manchu court alienated reformers and local elites alike by obstructing social reform; the Wuchang Uprising on 11 October 1911, led to the Xinhai Revolution. General Yuan Shikai negotiated the abdication of Puyi, the last emperor, on 12 February 1912. Nurhaci declared himself the "Bright Khan" of the Later Jin state in honor both of the 12th–13th century Jurchen Jin dynasty and of his Aisin Gioro clan, his son Hong Taiji renamed the dynasty Great Qing in 1636. There are competing explanations on the meaning of Qīng; the name may have been selected in reaction to the name of the Ming dynasty, which consists of the Chinese characters for "sun" and "moon", both associated with the fire element of the Chinese zodiacal system.
The character Qīng is associated with the water element. This association would justify the Qing conquest as defeat of fire by water; the water imagery of the new name may have had Buddhist overtones of perspicacity and enlightenment and connections with the Bodhisattva Manjusri. The Manchu name daicing, which sounds like a phonetic rendering of Dà Qīng or Dai Ching, may in fact have been derived from a Mongolian word "ᠳᠠᠢᠢᠴᠢᠨ, дайчин" that means "warrior". Daicing gurun may therefore have meant "warrior state", a pun, only intelligible to Manchu and Mongol people. In the part of the dynasty, however the Manchus themselves had forgotten this possible meaning. After conquering "China proper", the Manchus identified their state as "China", referred to it as Dulimbai Gurun in Manchu; the emperors equated the lands of the Qing state as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi-ethnic state, rejecting the idea that "China" only meant Han areas. The Qing emperors proclaimed that bo
A quick-firing gun is an artillery piece a gun or howitzer, which has several characteristics which taken together mean the weapon can fire at a fast rate. Quick-firing was introduced worldwide in the 1880s and 1890s and had a marked impact on war both on land and at sea; the Royal Navy advertised for a quick firing gun in 1881, that could fire a minimum of 12 shots per minute. This rate of fire became important with the development of the first practical torpedoes and torpedo boats, which posed an extreme threat to the Royal Navy's maritime predominance; the first quick-firing light gun was the 1-inch Nordenfelt gun, built in Britain from 1880. The gun was expressly designed to defend larger warships against the new small fast-moving torpedo boats in the late 1870s to the early 1880s and was an enlarged version of the successful rifle-calibre Nordenfelt hand-cranked "machine gun" designed by Helge Palmcrantz; the gun fired a solid steel bullet with hardened brass jacket. The gun was used in one and four-barrel versions.
The ammunition was fed by gravity from a hopper above the breech subdivided into separate columns for each barrel. The gunner loaded and fired the multiple barrels by moving a lever on the right side of the gun forward and backwards. Pulling the lever backwards extracted the fired cartridges, pushing it forward loaded fresh cartridges into all the barrels, the final part of the forward motion fired all the barrels, one at a time in quick succession. Hence the gun functioned as a type of volley gun, firing bullets in bursts, compared to the contemporary Gatling gun and the true machine guns which succeeded it such as the Maxim gun, which fired at a steady continuous rate, it was superseded for anti-torpedo boat defence in the mid-1880s by the new generation of Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt "QF" guns of 47-mm and 57-mm calibre firing exploding "common pointed" shells weighing 3–6 pounds. The French firm Hotchkiss produced the QF 3 pounder as a light 47-mm naval gun from 1886; the gun was ideal for defending against small fast vessels such as torpedo boats and was adopted by the RN as the "Ordnance QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss".
It was built under licence by Elswick Ordnance Company. The Royal Navy introduced the QF 4.7-inch in HMS Sharpshooter in 1889, the QF 6-inch MK 1 in HMS Royal Sovereign, launched 1891. Other navies followed suit. Quick-firing guns were a key characteristic of the pre-dreadnought battleship, the dominant design of the 1890s; the quick-firing guns, while unable to penetrate thick armour, were intended to destroy the superstructure of an opposing battleship, start fires, kill or distract the enemy's gun crews. The development of heavy guns and their increasing rate of fire meant that the quick-firer lost its status as the decisive weapon of naval combat in the early 1900s, though quick-firing guns were vital to defend battleships from attack by torpedo boats and destroyers, formed the main armament of smaller vessels. An early quick-firing field gun was created by Vladimir Baranovsky in 1872-5, adopted by the Russian military in 1882. On land, quick-firing field guns were first adopted by the French Army, starting in 1897 with the Canon de 75 modèle 1897 which proved to be successful.
Other nations were quick to copy the quick-firing technology. The QF 4.7-inch Gun Mk I–IV was manufactured for naval use and as coast artillery. British forces in the Second Boer War were outgunned by the long range Boer artillery. Captain Percy Scott of HMS Terrible first improvised timber static siege mountings for two 4.7-inch guns from the Cape Town coastal defences, to counter the Boers' "Long Tom" gun during the Siege of Ladysmith in 1899–1900. Scott improvised a travelling carriage for 4.7 inch guns removed from their usual static coastal or ship mountings to provide the army with a heavy field gun. These improvised carriages lacked recoil buffers and hence in action drag shoes and attachment of the carriage by cable to a strong point in front of the gun were necessary to control the recoil, they were required up to 32 oxen to move. The first war in which quick-firing artillery was widespread was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5; the quick-firing howitzer offered the potential for practical indirect fire.
Traditional howitzers had been employed to engage targets outside their line of fire, but were slow to aim and reload. Quick-firing weapons were capable of a heavy indirect bombardment, this was the main mode of their employment during the 20th century; the characteristics of a quick-firing artillery piece are: Buffers to limit recoil, so the barrel can return to position after being fired. A breech mechanism which allows rapid reloading Single-piece ammunition, e.g. a cartridge containing both shell and propellant called fixed ammunition.. The use of'smokeless powder' - nitrocellulose, nitroglycerine or cordite - which created far less smoke than gunpowder, meaning that gun crews could still see their target; these innovations, taken together, meant that the quick-firer could fire aimed shells much more than an older weapon. For instance, an Elswick Ordnance Company 4.7-in gun fired 10 rounds in 47.5 seconds in 1887 eight times faster than the equivalent 5-inch breech loading gun. List of British ordnance terms Impact of the French 75mm Quick-Firer 1905 lecture on the U.
S. Army employment of quick-firing artillery
Tianjin romanized as Tientsin, is a coastal metropolis in northern China and one of the nine national central cities of the People's Republic of China, with a total population of 15,621,200 as of 2016 estimation. Its built-up area, made up of 12 central districts, was home to 12,491,300 inhabitants in 2016 and is the world's 29th-largest agglomeration and 11th-most populous city proper, it is governed as one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of central government of the PRC and is thus under direct administration of the central government. Tianjin borders Hebei Province and Beijing Municipality, bounded to the east by the Bohai Gulf portion of the Yellow Sea. Part of the Bohai Economic Rim, it is the largest coastal city in northern China. In terms of urban population, Tianjin is the fourth largest in China, after Shanghai and Guangzhou. In terms of administrative area population, Tianjin ranks fifth in Mainland China; the walled city of Tianjin was built in 1404. As a treaty port since 1860, Tianjin has been a major gateway to Beijing.
During the Boxer Rebellion the city was the seat of the Tianjin Provisional Government. Under the Qing dynasty and the Republic of China, Tianjin became one of the largest cities in the region. At that time, numerous European-style buildings and mansions were constructed in concessions, many of which are well-preserved today. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Tianjin suffered a depression due to the policy of the central government and Tangshan earthquake, but recovered from 1990s. Nowadays Tianjin is a dual-core city, with its main urban area located along the Hai River, which connects to the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers via the Grand Canal; as of the end of 2010, around 285 Fortune 500 companies have set up base in Binhai. Since 2010, Tianjin's Yujiapu Financial District has become known as China's Manhattan. Tianjin is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese characters 天津, which mean "Heavenly Ford" or "Ford of Heaven"; the origin of the name is obscure. One folk etymology is that it was an homage to the patriotic Chu poet Qu Yuan, whose "Li Sao" includes the verse "...departing from the Ford of Heaven at dawn...".
Another is that it honors a former name of the Girl, a Chinese constellation recorded under the name Tianjin in the Astronomical Record section of the Book of Sui. A third is; the most common are that it was bestowed by the Yongle Emperor of the Ming, who crossed Tianjin's Gu River on his way south to overthrow his nephew the Jianwen Emperor. The land where Tianjin is located today was created in ancient times by sedimentation of various rivers entering the sea at Bohai Gulf, including the Yellow River, which entered the open sea in this area at one point; the opening of the Grand Canal during the Sui dynasty prompted the development of Tianjin into a trading center. During the Qing dynasty Tianjin was promoted to a prefecture or Zhou in 1725 with Tianjin County established under the prefecture in 1731, it was upgraded to an urban prefecture or Fu before becoming a relay station under the command of the Viceroy of Zhili. In 1856, Chinese soldiers boarded The Arrow, a Chinese-owned ship registered in Hong Kong flying the British flag and suspected of piracy, of being engaged in the opium trade.
They imprisoned them. In response, the British and French sent gunboats under the command of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour to capture the Taku forts near Tianjin in May 1858. At the end of the first part of the Second Opium War in June of the same year, the British and French prevailed, the Treaty of Tientsin were signed, which opened Tianjin to foreign trade; the treaties were ratified by the Xianfeng Emperor in 1860, Tianjin was formally opened to Great Britain and France, thus to the outside world. Between 1895 and 1900, Britain and France were joined by Japan and Russia, by countries without Chinese concessions such as Austria-Hungary and Belgium, in establishing self-contained concessions in Tianjin, each with its own prisons, schools and hospitals; these nations left many architectural reminders of their rule, notably churches and thousands of villas. The presence of foreign influence in Tianjin was not always peaceful. In June 1870, the orphanage held by the Wanghailou Church, in Tianjin, built by French Roman Catholic missionaries, was accused of the kidnapping and brainwashing of Chinese children.
On June 21, the magistrate of Tianjin County initiated a showdown at the church that developed into violent clashes between the church's Christian supporters and non-Christian Tianjin residents. The furious protestors burned down Wanghailou Church and the nearby French consulate and killed eighteen foreigners including ten French nuns, the French consul, merchants. France and six other Western nations complained to the Qing government, forced to pay compensation for the incident. In 1885 Li Hongzhang founded the Tianjin Military Academy for Chinese army officers, with German advisers, as part of his military reforms; the move was supported by Anhui Army commander Zhou Shengchuan. The academy was to serve Anhui Green Standard Army officers. Various practical military and science subjects were taught at the academy; the instructors were Germa
Traditional Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, in the Kangxi Dictionary; the modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, have been more or less stable since the 5th century. The retronym "traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters, a standardized character set introduced by the government of the People's Republic of China on Mainland China in the 1950s. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau. In contrast, Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China and Malaysia in official publications. However, several countries – such as Australia, the US and Canada – are increasing their number of printed materials in Simplified Chinese, to better accommodate citizens from mainland China.
The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. A large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets. Although simplified characters are taught and endorsed by the government of China, there is no prohibition against the use of traditional characters. Traditional characters are used informally in regions in China in handwriting and used for inscriptions and religious text, they are retained in logos or graphics to evoke yesteryear. Nonetheless, the vast majority of media and communications in China is dominated by simplified characters. In Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese has been the legal written form since colonial times. In recent years, simplified Chinese characters in Hong Kong and Macau has appeared to accommodate Mainland Chinese tourists and immigrants; this has led to concerns by many residents to protect their local heritage. Taiwan has never adopted simplified characters.
The use of simplified characters in official documents is prohibited by the government of Taiwan. Simplified characters are understood to a certain extent by any educated Taiwanese, learning to read them takes little effort; some stroke simplifications that have been incorporated into Simplified Chinese are in common use in handwriting. For example, while the name of Taiwan is written as 臺灣, the semi-simplified name 台灣 is acceptable to write in official documents. In Southeast Asia, the Chinese Filipino community continues to be one of the most conservative regarding simplification. While major public universities are teaching simplified characters, many well-established Chinese schools still use traditional characters. Publications like the Chinese Commercial News, World News, United Daily News still use traditional characters. On the other hand, the Philippine Chinese Daily uses simplified. Aside from local newspapers, magazines from Hong Kong, such as the Yazhou Zhoukan, are found in some bookstores.
In case of film or television subtitles on DVD, the Chinese dub, used in Philippines is the same as the one used in Taiwan. This is because the DVDs belongs to DVD Region Code 3. Hence, most of the subtitles are in Traditional Characters. Overseas Chinese in the United States have long used traditional characters. A major influx of Chinese immigrants to the United States occurred during the latter half of the 19th century, before the standardization of simplified characters. Therefore, United States public notices and signage in Chinese are in Traditional Chinese. Traditional Chinese characters are called several different names within the Chinese-speaking world; the government of Taiwan calls traditional Chinese characters standard characters or orthodox characters. However, the same term is used outside Taiwan to distinguish standard and traditional characters from variant and idiomatic characters. In contrast, users of traditional characters outside Taiwan, such as those in Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities, users of simplified Chinese characters, call them complex characters.
An informal name sometimes used by users of simplified characters is "old characters". Users of traditional characters sometimes refer them as "Full Chinese characters" to distinguish them from simplified Chinese characters; some traditional character users argue that traditional characters are the original form of the Chinese characters and cannot be called "complex". Simplified characters cannot be "standard" because they are not used in all Chinese-speaking regions. Conversely, supporters of simplified Chinese characters object to the description of traditional characters as "standard," since they view the new simplified characters as the contemporary standard used by the vast majority of Chinese speakers, they point out that traditional characters are not traditional as many Chinese characters have been made more elaborate over time. Some people refer to traditional characters as "proper characters" and modernized characters as "simplified-stroke characters" (sim
The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China when control of the country was divided among former military cliques of the Beiyang Army and other regional factions, which were spread across the mainland regions of Sichuan, Qinghai, Guangdong, Gansu and Xinjiang. In historiography, the era began when Yuan Shikai died in 1916, lasted until 1928 when the Nationalist Kuomintang unified China through the Northern Expedition, marking the beginning of the Nanjing decade. Several of the warlords continued to maintain their influence through the 1930s and the 1940s, problematic for the Nationalist government during the Second Sino-Japanese War; this era was characterized by constant military conflicts between different factions, the largest conflict was the Central Plains War which involved more than one million soldiers. Early in the 20th century the term was adopted in China as "Jun Fa" to describe the aftermath of the 1911 Wuchang uprising and Xinhai Revolution, when regional commanders led their private militias to battle the state and competing commanders for control over territory, launching the period that would come to be known in China as the modern Warlord Era.
The term "Jun Fa" is now applied retroactively to describe the leaders of regional private armies who, throughout China's history, threatened or used violence to expand their political rule over additional territories, including those who rose to lead and unify kingdoms. The origins of the armies and leaders which dominated politics after 1912 lay in the military reforms of the late Qing dynasty. During the Taiping Rebellion, the Qing dynasty was forced to allow provincial governors to raise their own armies, the Yong Ying, to fight against the Taiping rebels. Strong bonding, family ties and respectful treatment of troops were emphasized; the officers were never rotated, the soldiers were handpicked by their commanders, commanders by their generals, so personal bonds of loyalty formed between local officers and the troops, unlike Green Standard and Banner forces. These late Qing reforms did not establish a national army but instead they mobilized regional armies and militias that had neither standardization nor consistency.
Officers were loyal to their superiors and formed cliques based upon their place of origins and background. Units were composed of men from the same province; this policy was meant to reduce dialectal miscommunication, but had the side effect of encouraging regionalistic tendencies. The Confucian disdain for the military was swept aside by the rising necessity of military professionalism, with scholars becoming militarized, many officers from non-scholarly backgrounds rising to high command and high office in civil bureaucracy. At this time, the military upstaged the civil service. Influenced by German and Japanese ideas of military predominance over the nation, coupled with the absence of national unity amongst the various cliques in the officer class, led to the fragmentation of power in the warlord era; the most powerful regional army was the northern-based Beiyang Army under Yuan Shikai, which received the best in training and modern weaponry. The Xinhai Revolution in 1911 brought widespread mutiny across southern China.
The revolution began in October 1911 with the mutiny of troops based in Wuhan. Soldiers once loyal to the Qing government began to defect to the opposition; these revolutionary forces established a provisional government in Nanjing the following year under Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who had returned from his long exile to lead the revolution, it became clear that the revolutionaries were not strong enough to defeat the Beiyang army and continued fighting would certainly lead to defeat. Instead, Sun negotiated with Beiyang commander Yuan Shikai to bring an end to the Qing and reunify China. In return, Sun would hand over his presidency and recommend Yuan to be the president of the new republic. Yuan refused to move to Nanjing and insisted on maintaining the capital in Beijing, where his power base was secure. Reacting to Yuan's growing authoritarianism, the southern provinces rebelled in 1913 but were crushed by Beiyang forces. Civil governors were replaced by military ones. In December 1915 Yuan found a new dynasty.
The southern provinces rebelled again in the National Protection War. Yuan renounced his plans for restoring the monarchy to woo back his lieutenants, but by the time he died in June 1916 China was fractured politically; the North-South split would persist throughout the entire Warlord Era. Yuan Shikai cut back on many government institutions in the beginning of 1914 by suspending parliament, followed by the provincial assemblies, his cabinet soon resigned making Yuan dictator of China. After Yuan Shikai curtailed many basic freedoms, the country spiraled into chaos and entered a period of warlordism. "Warlordism did not substitute military force for the other elements of government. This shift in balance came from the disintegration of the sanctions and values of China's traditional civil government." In other words, during the warlord era, there was a characteristic shift from a state-dominated civil bureaucracy held by a central authority to a military-dominated culture held by many groups, with power shifting from warlord to warlord.
A notable theme of warlordism is identified by C. Marti
Yuan Shikai was a Chinese military and government official who rose to power during the late Qing dynasty, tried to save the dynasty with a number of modernization projects including bureaucratic, judicial and other reforms. He established the first modern army and a more efficient provincial government in North China in the last years of the Qing dynasty before the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor, the last monarch of the Qing dynasty, in 1912. Through negotiation, he became the first official president of the Republic of China in 1912; this army and bureaucratic control were the foundation of his autocratic rule as the first formal President of the Republic of China. He was frustrated in a short-lived attempt to restore monarchy in China, with himself as the Hongxian Emperor. On September 16, 1859, Yuan was born as Yuan Shikai in the village of Zhangying, Xiangcheng County, Chenzhou Prefecture, China; the Yuan clan moved 16 kilometers southeast of Xiangcheng to a hilly area, easier to defend.
There the Yuans had built Yuanzhaicun. Yuan's family was affluent enough to provide Yuan with a traditional Confucian education; as a young man he enjoyed riding and entertainment with friends. Though hoping to pursue a career in the civil service, he failed the Imperial examinations twice, leading him to decide on an entry into politics through the Huai Army, where many of his relatives served, his career began with the purchase of a minor official title in 1880, a common method of official promotion in the late Qing. Using his father's connections, Yuan travelled to Tengzhou and sought a post in the Qing Brigade. Yuan's first marriage was in 1876 to a woman of the Yu family who bore him a first son, Keding, in 1878. Yuan Shikai married nine more concubines throughout the course of his life. Joseon Dynasty Korea, in the early 1870s, was in the midst of a struggle between isolationists under King Gojong's father Heungseon Daewongun, progressives, led by Empress Myeongseong, who wanted to open trade.
After the Meiji Restoration, Japan had adopted an aggressive foreign policy, contesting Chinese domination of the peninsula. Under the Treaty of Ganghwa, which the Koreans signed with reluctance in 1876, Japan was allowed to send diplomatic missions to Hanseong, opened trading posts in Incheon and Wonsan. Amidst an internal power struggle which resulted in the queen's exile, the Viceroy of Zhili, Li Hongzhang, sent the 3,000 strong Qing Brigade into Korea; the Korean king proposed training 500 troops in the art of modern warfare, Yuan Shikai was appointed to lead this task in Korea. Li Hongzhang recommended Yuan's promotion, with Yuan given the rank of sub-prefect. In 1885, Yuan was appointed Imperial Resident of Seoul. On the surface the position equalled that of ambassador but in practice, as head official from the suzerain, Yuan had become the supreme adviser on all Korean government policies. Perceiving China's increasing influence on the Korean government, Japan sought more influence through co-suzerainty with China.
A series of documents were released to Yuan Shikai, claiming the Korean government had changed its stance towards Chinese protection and would rather turn to Russia for protection. Yuan was outraged yet skeptical, asked Li Hongzhang for advice. In a treaty signed between Japan and Qing, the two parties agreed only to send troops into Korea after notifying the other. Although the Korean government was stable, it was still a protectorate of Qing. Koreans emerged advocating modernization. Another more radicalised group, the Donghak Society, promoting an early nationalist doctrine based upon Confucian principles, rose in rebellion against the government. Yuan and Li Hongzhang sent troops into Korea to protect Seoul and Qing's interests, Japan did the same under the pretext of protecting Japanese trading posts. Tensions boiled over between Japan and China when Japan refused to withdraw its forces and placed a blockade at the 38th Parallel. Li Hongzhang wanted at all costs to avoid a war with Japan, attempted this by asking for international pressure for a Japanese withdrawal.
Japan refused, war broke out. Yuan, having been put in an ineffective position, was recalled to Tianjin in July 1894, before the official outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War. Yuan Shikai had three Korean concubines, one of whom was Korean Princess Li's relative, concubine Kim. 15 of Yuan's children came from these three Korean women. Yuan's rise to fame began with his nominal participation in the First Sino-Japanese War as commander of the Chinese garrison forces in Korea. Unlike other officers, however, he avoided the humiliation of Chinese defeat by having been recalled to Beijing several days before the outbreak of conflict; as an ally of Li Hongzhang, Yuan was appointed the commander of the first New Army in 1895. As the officer most directly responsible for training China's first modernized army, Yuan gained significant political influence and the loyalty of a nucleus of young officers: by 1901, five of China's seven divisional commanders and most other senior military officers in China were his protégés.
The Qing court relied on his army due to the proximity of its garrison to the capital and their effectiveness. Of the new armies that formed part of the Self-Strengthening Movement, Yuan's was the best trained and most effective; the Qing Court at the time was divided between progressives under the leadership of the Guangxu Emperor, conservatives under the Empress Dowager Cixi, who had temporarily retreated to the Summer Palace as a place of "retirement"