Saturday, August 31, 2019

Emperor Guangxu Zaitian



The Guangxu Emperor (14 August 1871 – 14 November 1908), personal name Zaitian, was the 11th Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, without Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898. He initiated the Hundred Days' Reform, but was abruptly stopped when the empress dowager launched a coup in 1898, after which he was put under house arrest until his death. His regnal name, "Guangxu", means "glorious succession".

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Empress Dowager Cixi



Empress Dowager Cixi (Chinese: 慈禧太后; pinyin: Cíxǐ Tàihòu; [tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâi.xôu]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese empress dowager and regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908.

Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor's death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she became the Empress Dowager. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency, which she shared with Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of the Tongzhi Emperor in 1875, contrary to the traditional rules of succession of the Qing dynasty that had ruled China since 1644.

Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement. She supported the principles of the Hundred Days' Reforms of 1898, but feared that sudden implementation, without bureaucratic support, would be disruptive and that the Japanese and other foreign powers would take advantage of any weakness. She placed the Guangxu Emperor, who she thought had tried to assassinate her, under virtual house arrest for supporting radical reformers, publicly executing the main reformers. After the Boxer Uprising led to invasion by Allied armies, Cixi initially backed the Boxer groups and declared war on the invaders. The ensuing defeat was a stunning humiliation. When Cixi returned to Beijing from Xi'an, where she had taken the emperor, she became friendly to foreigners in the capital and began to implement fiscal and institutional reforms aimed to turn China into a constitutional monarchy. The death of both Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908 left the court in hands of Manchu conservatives, a child, Puyi, on the throne, and a restless, deeply divided society.

Historians both in China and abroad have debated her legacy. Conventionally denounced as a ruthless despot whose reactionary policies - although successfully self-serving in prolonging the ailing Qing dynasty - led to its humiliation and utter downfall in the Wuchang uprising, revisionists suggested that Nationalist and Communist revolutionaries scapegoated her for deep-rooted problems beyond salvage, and lauded her maintenance of political order as well as numerous effective, if belated reforms - including the abolition of slavery, ancient torturous punishments and the ancient examination system in her ailing years, the latter supplanted by institutions including the new Beijing University.

Adapted from Wikepedia.


General Chen Jiongming





Chen Jiongming was born in 1878 at Haifeng, Guangdong, China.

He was by training a lawyer and became a Qing legislator, a republican revolutionary, a military leader, a civil administrator and a federalist who sought to reconstruct China as a democratic republic. He joined the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in 1909 and obtained the post of commander-in-chief of the Guangdong Army. He became military governor of Guangdong three times (1911–12, 1913, 1920–23) and civil governor of Guangdong from 1920–22 and military governor of Guangxi from 1921-22.

Chen was instrumental in backing Sun Yat-sen's Constitutional Protection Movement. He also restored Sun to power after the Guangdong-Guangxi War. Chen disagreed with Sun about the direction that reform should take—Sun wanted to unite the country by force and institute change through a centralized government based on a one-party system, while Chen advocated multiparty federalism with Guangdong becoming the model province and the peaceful unification of China. Sun became suspicious that the federalist movement was being exploited by the warlords to justify their military fiefdoms.

Relations deteriorated further when Sun became "extraordinary president", a move not condoned by the Provisional Constitution. It was Chen who first invited the Chinese Communist Party to Guangdong against Sun's objection that the Communists might dilute the movement. After the First Zhili-Fengtian War in 1922 there was a strong movement to reunite the northern and southern governments by having both Sun and Xu Shichang resign their rival presidencies in favor of restoring Li Yuanhong as president of a united republic. Chen was enthusiastic but Sun felt the new government would be a powerless puppet of the Zhili clique.

Sun Yat-sen and Chen Jiongming soon split over the continuation of the Northern Expedition. Sun conceived it to have begun with the occupation of Guangxi. From there he wished Chen to push into Hunan. After Wu Peifu of the Zhili clique in Beijing recognized his power in the south, Chen abandoned Sun. Unexpectedly revolting against the Kuomintang militarily in 1922, Chen led his forces to attack Sun's residence as well as office. Sun was forced to escape on HMS Moorhen and delay his Northern Expedition.

With the help of Tang Jiyao, the KMT retook Guangzhou in 1923. Chen fled to Huizhou in eastern Guangdong after Sun's army defeated him. From 1923-25 the Guangdong government organized two eastern campaigns against him and he fled to Hong Kong, as his remaining forces were completely wiped out in 1925. He became an ally of Tang Jiyao, after Tang was expelled from the KMT following the Yunnan-Guangxi War. He was elected premier of the China Public Interest Party with Tang as his deputy. From Hong Kong he criticized the Nationalists' single-party system and continued to advocate multiparty federalism. After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, he attacked Chiang Kai-shek's regime for its refusal to confront Japan and he organized boycotts of Japanese products. He died of typhus on September 22, 1933.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Sir Frank Swettenham



Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham GCMG CH (28 March 1850 – 11 June 1946) was a British colonial administrator who became the first Resident general of the Federated Malay States, which brought the Malay states of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang together under the administration of a Resident-General based in Kuala Lumpur. He served from 1 July 1896 to 4 November 1901. He was also an amateur painter, photographer and antique collector.

He was born in Belper, Derbyshire, the son of attorney James Oldham Swettenham, and Charlotte Elizabeth Carr and was educated at the Dollar Academy in Scotland and St Peter's School, York.  He was a descendant of Mathew Swetenham, Henry IV's bow bearer, and the younger brother of the colonial administrator Sir James Alexander Swettenham.

He was one of close to forty former British Empire officials to oppose the Malayan Union.

Swettenham co-authored a A Dictionary of the Malay Language with Hugh Clifford. The dictionary, which was published in stages between 1894 and 1902, was abandoned after the letter 'G' as by then it had been made redundant by the publication of R.J. Wilkinson's A Malay English Dictionary.

He also published four books: Malay Sketches, Unaddressed Letters, Also & Perhaps and Arabella in Africa, the last being illustrated by the famous mural painter and illustrator, Rex Whistler. The book was Whistler's first official commission.


Sir Earnest Woodford Birch




Sir Ernest Woodford Birch, KCMG (29 April 1857 – 17 December 1929) was a British colonial administrator who served as the eighth British resident of Perak (1904 - 1911).

King George V


George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Born during the reign of his grandmother Queen Victoria, George was third in the line of succession behind his father, Prince Albert Edward, and his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George's father ascended the throne as Edward VII, and George was created Prince of Wales. He became king-emperor on his father's death in 1910.

George V's reign saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape. The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War (1914–1918), the empires of his first cousins Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany fell, while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent. In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations. He had smoking-related health problems throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.

King George VI




George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He became known as a symbol of British determination to win the Second World War against Germany.

Known as "Bertie" among his family and close friends, George VI was born in the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria, and was named after his great-grandfather Albert, Prince Consort. As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne, and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He attended naval college as a teenager, and served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during the First World War. In 1920, he was made Duke of York. He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. In the mid-1920s, he had speech therapy for a stammer, which he never fully overcame.

George's elder brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII upon the death of their father in 1936. However, Edward was forced to choose between the crown and marriage to divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. Edward abdicated to marry Simpson, and George ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.

From 1939, the British Empire and Commonwealth – except Ireland – declared war on Nazi Germany. War with Italy and Japan followed in 1940 and 1941, respectively. The king and his family remained in London during the Blitz and his popularity soared as he shared the hardships of the common people. Britain and its allies were victorious in 1945, but the British Empire declined. Ireland had largely broken away, followed by independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. George relinquished the title of Emperor of India in June 1948 and instead adopted the new title of Head of the Commonwealth. He was beset by smoking-related health problems in the later years of his reign. On his death, he was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II. 

Adapted from Wikipedia.


Emperor Puyi



Puyi or Pu Yi (/ˈpuː ˈjiː/); simplified Chinese: 溥仪; traditional Chinese: 溥儀; pinyin: Pǔyí; 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967), of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the 12th and last Emperor of the Qing dynasty. When he was a child, he reigned as the Xuantong Emperor (pronounced [ɕwántʰʊ̀ŋ]; Chinese: 宣統帝; Manchu: ᡤᡝᡥᡠᠩᡤᡝ
ᠶᠣᠰᠣ
ᡥᡡᠸᠠᠩᡩᡳ; Möllendorff: gehungge yoso hūwangdi) in China and Khevt Yos Khaan in Mongolia from 1908 until his forced abdication on 12 February 1912, after the Xinhai Revolution. He was briefly restored to the throne as emperor by the warlord Zhang Xun from 1 July to 12 July 1917.

In 1932, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established by Japan, and he was chosen to become "Emperor" of the new state using the era-name of Datong (Ta-tung). In 1934, he was declared the Kangde Emperor (or Kang-te Emperor) of Manchukuo and ruled until the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945. After the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, Puyi was imprisoned as a war criminal for 10 years, wrote his memoirs and became a titular member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Chinese Republic Army

Image result for hubei military government

Chinese Republic Army flag 1911 -1928

The Wuchang Uprising was an armed rebellion against the ruling Qing dynasty that took place in Wuchang (now Wuchang District of Wuhan), Hubei, China on October 10, 1911, which was the beginning of the Xinhai Revolutionthat successfully overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. It was led by elements of the New Army, influenced by revolutionary ideas from Tongmenghui. The uprising and the eventual revolution directly led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty with five millennia of imperial rule, and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC), which commemorates the anniversary of the uprising's starting date of 10th October as the National Day of the Republic of China.

The uprising originated from popular unrest about a railway crisis, and the planning process took advantage of the situation. On 10 October 1911, the New Army stationed in Wuchang launched an assault on the residence of the Viceroy of Huguang. The viceroy Ruicheng quickly fled from the residence, and the revolutionaries soon took control of the entire city.

The New Army became known as the Chinese Republic Army.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Qing Dynasty


Qing Dynasty flag 1889 - 1912

Historically, the Chinese dragon was associated with the Emperor of China and used a symbol to represent imperial power. The founder of Han dynasty Liu Bang claimed that he was conceived after his mother dreamt of a dragon. During the Tang dynasty, Emperors wore robes with dragon motif as an imperial symbol, and high officials might also be presented with dragon robes. In the Yuan dynasty, the two-horned five-clawed dragon was designated for use by the Son of Heaven or Emperor only, while the four-clawed dragon was used by the princes and nobles. Similarly during the Ming and Qing dynasty, the five-clawed dragon was strictly reserved for use by the Emperor only. The dragon in the Qing dynasty appeared on the first Chinese national flag.

Adapted from Wikipedia.


Republic of China

Flag of China

ROC flag 1912- 1928

Flag of the Republic of China.svg

ROC flag 1928 - 1949

The Republic of China (ROC) was a sovereign country that existed between 1912 and 1949 in Mainland China, which is now the People's Republic of China. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, the leader of the Beiyang Army. Sun's party, the Kuomintang (KMT), then led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. However, Song was assassinated on Yuan's orders shortly after; and the Beiyang Army, led by Yuan, maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai was the self-proclaimed Emperor of China before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan's death in 1916, the authority of the Beiyang government was further weakened by a brief restoration of the Qing dynasty. Cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed individual autonomy and clashed with each other during the ensuing Warlord Era.

In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang established a rival government in Canton, supported by the fledgling Communist Party of China (CPC). The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became the KMT leader after Sun's death, started the Northern Expedition in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, which was accomplished in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a nationalist government in Nanjing, and massacred Communists in Shanghai. The latter event forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.

China experienced industrialization and modernization but suffered conflicts between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remaining warlords, and the Empire of Japan. Nation-building efforts yielded to having to fight the Second Sino-Japanese War, when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. In 1946, after the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War between the KMT and CPC resumed, leading to the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replacing the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic's fundamental law. In 1949, near the end of the Civil War, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the nationalist government on the Chinese mainland, with the nationalists moving their capital from Nanking to Taipei and controlling only the Taiwan area after 1949.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

National Revolutionary Army

A red rectangle with a smaller blue rectangle inside it. Inside the blue rectangle centered squarely is a white circle with small white triangles emanating from it.

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang (KMT, or the Chinese Nationalist Party) from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also became the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military.

Originally organized with Soviet aid as a means for the KMT to unify China during the Warlord Era, the National Revolutionary Army fought major engagements in the Northern Expedition against the Chinese Beiyang Armywarlords, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) against the Imperial Japanese Army and in the Chinese Civil War against the People's Liberation Army.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the armed forces of the Communist Party of China were nominally incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army (while retaining separate commands), but broke away to form the People's Liberation Army shortly after the end of the war. With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces, with the bulk of its forces forming the Republic of China Army, which retreated to the island of Taiwan in 1949.

Adapted from Wikipedia.