Missionaries' view of constitutionalism in the late Qing Dynasty: members naively think that in the United States
On November 14 and 15, 1908, the emperor and Empress Dowager died one after another. This makes the revolution even more urgent. Emperor Guangxu was just a puppet without freedom and a tool to decorate the front of the Qing Empire, but Empress Dowager Cixi was a powerful ruler with iron will and extraordinary skill. In 1900, seeing the capital occupied, she realized that China's long-standing policy of seclusion had come to an end. So some reforms were carried out with her permission, which surprised her people. In 1898, the young progressive Emperor was punished for encouraging these reforms. The extent to which Empress Dowager Cixi wants to carry out the reform has always been a hot issue among the public. However, she realized that she could not deal with the Reformers by means of repression, so she took advantage of the situation to lead the reform. Therefore, her death brought great unrest to the future of the Qing Dynasty. Which faction, progressive or conservative, will dominate the government?
Guangxu died so skillfully
Many people suspect that the emperor's death was not due to natural causes. Empress Dowager Ci Xi has a lot of loyal people around her, but the helpless emperor doesn't like them. If the Empress Dowager is dead and the emperor is still alive, he will revenge on the officials who insulted him. The life of these officials will not be easy or even lose their lives. However, Emperor Guangxu's body has always been weak, and it is normal for him to die at the age of 37. However, he died just one day before Cixi's death, which has to make many people have various associations. But the doubters can't give any evidence, because the secrets of the palace are the top secret in China, and they are kept strictly; anyway, a small number of people insist that such a coincidental death is rare.
The heir to the throne is Cixi's last gamble. This child is the son of Prince Chun, Guangxu's younger brother; Prince Chun himself is the Regent, and zaifeng is in a high position for a while. After all, he is the emperor's biological father, so he has a lot of concerns. Compared with the previous royal family, zaifeng has a better opportunity to see the outside world. He went to Germany as a royal representative in 1901 to apologize for the murder of the German minister in Beijing in June 1900. The Regent proved to be energetic and interested in developing democracy. But he still doesn't have the qualities of an outstanding leader that China needs in the transition period.
The new widowed empress became the new empress dowager. She interfered with the leadership of zaifeng. Instead of helping her uncle, she played a negative role. The narrow-minded woman has a deep hatred for the enemies of her tribe. What zaifeng did was not to appease the growing discontent of the Han people, but to intensify the discontent. The Han people who should have more say in the national affairs still did not have much chance to speak. Zaifeng is busy concentrating his power in the hands of Manchu people. He openly appoints relatives and friends to the top positions in land, navy and domestic affairs. Some of these relatives and friends lack control ability, are greedy and corrupt.
The first fire of the new official's taking office is to depose the chief military secretary. During this period of controversy, Yuan Shikai, the most suitable politician to advise the government, was dismissed. His successor was a well-informed leader who led a Chinese delegation to visit the United States in 1906. Duanfang is a man with enlightened ideas, which means that his official career will be more stable, and many people hope for his leadership. However, duanfang resigned in October 1909, which made all sincere friends to worry about the future of the Qing Dynasty. On the surface, duanfang resigned because he allowed his subordinates to film the whole process of Cixi's funeral and set up wires on the trees near Cixi's mausoleum. In fact, the main pressure of his resignation is from the enemies in the palace. What hope is there for such a government where the emperor's family members collude with each other to insult state officials?
Another great loss of the Qing Dynasty at this time was the death of the old military aircraft minister on October 4, 1909. The day of his death was a bleak one for China.
Many changes have taken place in the life and spirit of the imperial people affected by the new ideological trend. Young people who have accepted Western knowledge but only a little knowledge are easily encouraged and disobedient. As a result, the central government has become weaker, and the best time for revolution has come.
Naive congressman thinks he's in America
The constitutional movement then surged. October 14, 1909 is a memorable day in Chinese history. China's first provincial parliament with 21 members was established. Many domestic newspapers have devoted a lot of space to the report, and two newspapers are also celebrating the event with big red characters on the front page. Many provincial capitals have built majestic buildings to serve as offices for the future parliament, while some have been built on the ruins of the old examination shed.
However, the quality of these members varies greatly. We should not have expected that democracy under the monarchy would show any characteristics due to unity and wisdom. Because the actions of some members are of no value at all. However, some members said they would take the job seriously, and some even showed their ability and courage. They made bold suggestions on state affairs and provided advice to the central government freely and initiatively. Although the central government welcomed such proposals, it did not pay attention to them. The leaders of local governments are angry because their opinions are not valued by the central government, and the relationship between the central government and local governments is deepening.
Congress is much less free than provincial councils. Not all members of Congress are elected. 100 of their 200 members are actually nominated by the provincial assembly. In the United States, the ruling class controls the election of senators in order to make the "safe" people elected as the "boss". Similarly, the remaining 100 people in this Congress are elected by the imperial government, including the Manchu royal family, aristocrats, rich businessmen and officials, which are all worthy of the "trust" of the court.
The first meeting of Congress on October 3, 1910, proved once again that it could not embody the new ideas of the country. However, it is still surprising that many members of Congress broke the restrictions at that time and launched a protest for the independence and power of Congress. Although these words and deeds are quite superficial, these naive members think they enjoy the treatment of members of Congress. Considering the environmental factors, the Congress held under the eyes of the autocratic government is relatively successful. After all, it shows a kind of independence, because the gathering of officials originally under the secret control of the Qing Royal family is almost impossible. The original plan of the Qing government was to convene parliament in 1915. The constitutionalists hoped to advance the time, and the opposition expressed fierce opposition and demanded "postponement of time". Finally, due to the resolute attitude of the Congress and provincial assembly, the government was finally forced to compromise and issued a decree to advance the constitutional reform to 1913.
No matter how flawed Congress is, its spiritual influence is enormous. The existence of representative government is based on the recognition of a certain range of people, while the former Chinese people recognized the autocratic emperors and local governors. In the past, because of the tradition of local autonomy, the gentry could only express their opinions affecting the government in their respective living areas. Now they can express their opinions on the state and provincial affairs, although the government does not necessarily respect their opinions. Once the principle of representative government is established, it can never be banned, no matter how long it will suffer in practice.
More and more detonators have been found, and the government's panic is becoming more and more obvious. On May 8, 1911, the Qing government issued a decree to abolish the military machinery department composed of five military machinery ministers, and set up a constitutional cabinet composed of Yizhe and ten heads of administrative departments. This summer, Yi Chu issued a policy that became a laughingstock for being late. This famous policy document includes the following:
The official system is undergoing reform. The purpose of organizing the cabinet is to establish a responsible government and guide the preparation process of constitutionalism. The Empress Dowager and the emperor know that the country is at a critical moment, so they order to introduce constitutionalism and take the implementation of constitutionalism as the only way to make the country strong. His majesty paid great attention to this. He paid close attention to people's voices, so he shortened the time for the establishment of a constitutional government. This change requires great efforts from the government.
Isolation from the world will eventually be replaced by comprehensive exchanges, and our conservative policies should also be replaced by progressive policies. China's finance, internal affairs, education, industry, transportation, justice, national defense, subordinate affairs, international affairs and other affairs must be reformed, and all areas should not be left behind.
Policy "too late"
This policy is indeed "too late", because no one believes the policy implemented by the decadent Manchu meritorious minority. The corrupt, reactionary and inefficient ruling class can no longer meet the needs of China's new spirit. The group has admitted that everything is forced to do except for the individual. If it is not for fear, they do not want to move at all.
The time of revolution is ripe. A series of uprisings make the revolution inevitable. Terrible signs followed, and the distraught Regent issued a proclamation, pitifully promising that he would grant all the conditions that would quell the public's anger.
But it eventually erupted on October 10. In late October 1911, Dai Feng, who was in a panic, established a five-year-old emperor to the throne, and did not face to face to issue an imperial edict of guilt, saying that the current difficulties facing the Empire were "all his own fault".
This kind of face complex is really ridiculous. The guilt of zaifeng calls for the combination of pain and funny.
Congress reconvened in Beijing and immediately took a positive attitude. 100 Manchu chiungui were too intimidated by another 100 members to open their mouths. Even the moderates among them chose to shut up because they were ridiculed. Thus, in a meeting, Congress established 19 basic principles of the constitution, a big step forward from the constitutional plan announced in 1907. These basic principles only leave the monarch with meaningless power and make the people become the real masters of the country, although they are under the strict management of a limited constitutional government. On November 3, zaifeng issued an imperial edict to accept the 19 basic principles and said that he would "go to Taimiao for one day to announce to the ancestors of the Qing Dynasty, and post the constitution to the whole country.".
At the same time, the fighting is speeding up. On November 3, Shanghai was restored. The revolutionaries had access to the sea and controlled this strategic base with rich customs revenue. The generals of the Qing Dynasty who stayed in Nanjing, the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties, had to fight against it. On December 3, when the city was broken, the generals of the Qing Dynasty organized several troops who had not been able to escape and waited for the government to pay to make sporadic resistance