Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Xinhai Revolution 辛亥革命

Souvenir sheets
Prestige Stamp Booklet jointly issued by Macao Post, China Post and Hong Kong Post 

The Xinhai Revolution (named for the Chinese year of Xinhai (1911), was the overthrow of China's ruling Qing Dynasty, sometimes known as the Manchu Dynasty, and the establishment of the Republic of China.
The revolution began with the armed Wuchang Uprising and the spread of republican insurrection through the southern provinces, and culminated in the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor after lengthy negotiations between rival Imperial and Republican regimes based in Beijing and Nanjing respectively, in 1900, the ruling Qing Dynasty decided to create a modernized army, called the "New Army". At the time, the city of Wuchang, on the Yangtze River in the province of Hubel, had the most modernized military industry, so it became the site where weapons and other military equipment for the New Army were manufactured. The revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen extensively influenced officers and soldiers of the New Army in Wuchang, and many participated in revolutionary organizations.
The uprising itself broke out largely by accident. Revolutionaries intent on overthrowing the Qing dynasty had built bombs and one accidentally exploded. This led police to investigate, and they discovered lists of revolutionaries within the New Army. At this point elements of the New Army revolted rather than face arrest. The provincial government panicked and fled. Initially, the revolt was considered to be merely the latest in a series of mutinies that had occurred in southern China, and was widely expected to be quickly put down. The fact that it had much larger implications was due to the fact that the Qing dynasty delayed acting against the rebellion, allowing provincial assemblies in many southern provinces to declare independence from the Qing and allegiance to the rebellion.
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. He found out about the uprising by reading a newspaper report.
A sense of the Qing Dynasty having lost the mandate of heaven may have contributed to the revolt. Evidence of the loss of the mandate of heaven, in China, often constitutes of natural disasters, such as fires and floods. The Yangtze overflowed its banks in 1911, and the revolting troops were, of course, situated near that river. Such a flood would have had a profound psychological impact on any government officials, rebels, peas-ants, and other Chinese in the vicinity, and the flood was a notable disaster, with 100,000 fatalities.
The Qing government failed to respond for a crucial few weeks. This gave the revolutionaries time to declare a provisional government. Other provincial assemblies then joined the revolutionaries. Within a month, representatives of the seceding provinces had met to declare a Republic of China. A compromise between the conservative gentry and the revolutionaries saw Sun Yat-sen chosen as provisional president.
Leaving the brilliant impression on China modern history, the Xinhai Revolution is a great piece of political affair shocked around the world, which is the first time to flag Democracy republic on China. It overthrew the Qing dynasty and founded the Republic of China. This emancipated the people from the rule of the feudal system.

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