Prior to the formation of the Republic of China and People’s Republic of China there were only Dynasty’s and an Imperial Hierarchy that was quite outdated by the 20th century. Internal and external pressure could spell the end of any country, but what about China? Throughout the ages this country has managed to tear itself apart and rebuild itself even stronger than before. With the downfall of the Qing, the Republic of China was founded in its place, it is this essays focus to explore the collapse of the Qing and expand on how the Republic of China rose and fell giving rise to the People’s Republic of China.
Fall of the Qing The Qing Dynasty was prosperous going into the 20th century despite the numerous problems the administration faced. Civil disorders continued to grow in unmanageable ways and the Dynasty’s administration was truly put to the test. Empress Dowager Cixi put forward a call for proposals from the generals and governors. While the proposals turned reforms proved to ultimately be a widespread success, the deaths of Empress Cixi and Emperor Guangxu in 1908 left the Qing Dynasty’s Central authority powerless and weak. As the Qing Dynasty was a monarchy, its base response to the deaths of the Empress and Emperor would be to replace the hole left behind by them. Prince Chun would order his oldest son at the age of 2 to take the throne. Zaifeng for obvious reasons would be the young Emperor’s regent and as his regent sought to develop a cabinet in 1911 where 5 of the 13 members were part of the Imperial Family. Countless negative opinions would rise from other officials and locals that rebellious uprisings against the government raged and grew in scope and power. The culmination of their leader’s deaths and the lack of a suitable replacement spelled doom for the government ending in October of 1911 with “The Wuchang Uprising.”
People’s Republic of China The Republic of China was created when the Qing Dynasty fell in the year AD 1912. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the opposition that ultimately removed and dismantled the Qing Dynasty, was elected as the first Provisional President of China. While a strong leader, Sun Yat-sen would be unable to attain provincial support nor the support of Yuan Shukai, the commander of the Qing’s military. Yuan Shikai was a corrupt, but strong and effective leader, who abused his power most notably for removing parliament from the Chinese government making himself the strongest man in the country. Striving to become the new emperor of China, Yuan Shikai would face obstacles in the form of provincial rebellions and dissent within his own staff of generals. After being coroneted as emperor the rebellions grew too powerful and Yuan Shikai stepped down from power on March 22, 1916. After Yuan Shikai stepped down and later died, several warlords fought one another to control the government despite Li Yuanhong being elected as the new president. As World War 1 rolled around however, the country would continue to be split as various leaders did not agree with China joining into the fray of the war. Enter Duan Qirui, the Chinese premier wanted to join with the Allies to gain funds to support his growing army; Li Yuanhong did not want to support the war and when the two armies met Duan Qirui stood tall as the most powerful man in China. Seeing the governmental parliament as a means of stopping his path, Duan dissolved the parliament and joined the Allies in their fight against Germany. Workers, materials, and support from the Republic’s government would be sent to the Allies in hopes that the German colony of Shandong would be given back to China. This would not be the case however and Shandong would instead be given to Japan starting a chain of uprisings in China, a divide in the country itself, and an invasion by the Japanese wanting more and more land. Students condemned Japan’s imperialism and the weak Chinese Republic in the May Fourth