March 22, 2012

Yuan Shikai's Trail of Betrayals

China: A History of Warfare, China: A History of Warfare

Yuan Shikai assumed the presidency in February of 1912. He had the support of his own Beiyang Army – China’s strongest – in the north and a deal with the National Alliance in the south. He was to rule China, more or less, until his death in 1916. The constitutional basis for Yuan’s rule came from his selection as premier by the Qing’s recently founded National Assembly and the official abdication of the Qing. The government of the southern revolutionaries also recognized Yuan, anticipating a republican political system in which they could lay claims to power as well. The new Republic adopted a five-color flag, representing the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, and Hui (Muslim) nationalities, and it used the Western solar calendar. Time was reset. The years...

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