The competing intellectual and historical traditions affect the nature and pace of reforms in late imperial China. The factors that influenced the pace of reform and transformed its nature are not only external but also internal. In terms of external influence, in late imperial China, people were starting to receive Western culture, and this changed people's traditional way of thinking, which resulted in the conflict between the new political reforms and Chinese traditional culture. Consequently, the pace of reform was temporarily slowed down in late imperial China. Internally, the Han race wanted to escape from the rule of Manchu, and planned to overthrow the emperor of Qing Dynasty. Han people’s effort therefore accelerated the pace of reformation. The external and internal forces created the unique tension that characterized the reformation of late imperial China.
External Factors “In mid-1898 the reformist scholar Kang Youwei delivered the advisory memorandum to the Guangxu Emperor, which helped precipitate the Hundred Days Reforms.” Hundred Days Reforms is a movement for national salvation, but it resulted in the conflict between the new political establishments and Chinese traditional cultural institutions. With Confucian traditions and culture deeply rooted in their consciousness, people were reluctant to accept new things and therefore unwilling to carry on with the reforms. The pace of reform as a result slowed down in late imperial China.
Although Hundred Days Reforms failed, it propagated bourgeois ideology, which threw intellectuals into contemplation about the ideological and cultural changes that had taken place in the world. The more people understood and accepted the ideas of bourgeois reformers, the more people started to think about the redemption of their nation. The failed Hundred Days Reforms were still in line with the trend of social development and therefore played a significant role in Chinese modern history. Reformers proposed to save the nation from peril by developing capitalism. They also proposed to learn from the West not only science and technology, but also advanced political system. They successfully abolished the imperial examination system and reformed the education system, which implicitly influenced the feudal monarchy.
Hundred Days Reforms required the development of a capitalist economy and the expansion of the bourgeois political power. It is a progressive political reform movement because of this latent opposition against the feudal system. It successfully spread bourgeois culture and new ideas, to some extent dispelling feudalist old culture and obscure ideas from late imperial China. Hundred Days Reforms also played the same role as the Enlightenment in Europe; it was the first modern ideological emancipation in late imperial China. The significance of Hundred Days Reforms therefore lay not in its practical results, but in its preparation of the Chinese for further capitalist reforms. It demonstrated the preliminary attempts of transforming the economic and political system of China, signaling the coming of a more comprehensive social mobilization.
Manchu Qing Dynasty was a joint regime with the Han nobility, but Manchu was ruling ethnicity, while Han was subordinate. Manchu and Han's status in the bureaucratic system were not equal. In general, the higher the rank, the greater the proportion of Manchu nobility was. In the military, “eight banners” were the main military force, relied on by the Qing Dynasty, and “eight banners” were all Manchu people. Because of Qing government’s corruption and inaction, people felt disappointed at the