Republican China

The Establishment of the Republic of China

The Wuchang Uprising broke out on October 10,1911. On the night of October 10, the first shots in the revolution rang out -the Wuchang Uprising had begun. Wuchang was occupied after one night's fighting. On the 12th, the revolutionary army also occupied Hanyang and Hankou, the other two towns, which with Wuchang make up the city of Wuhan.

After the victory of the Wuchang Uprising, the revolutionary immediately began preparations to set up a government. On January 1, 1912, Sun Yat-sen took the oath of office and proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of China.

The Provisional Government at Nanjing headed by Sun Yat-sen was the product of a bourgeois democratic revolution.

The Provisional Government at Nanjing issued many laws relating to political, social and economic reform. But because the government did not touch the basis of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, it would not resolve the immediate concerns of the people, especially the peasants' demand for land, and so its mass base was very weak.

The imperialist powers both feared and hated the Chinese revolution, and after the Wuchang Uprising they went to great lengths to support the Qing and smash the revolution. With the rapid disintegration of the Qing the imperialist powers then sought a new flunkey. Their choice fell upon Yuan Shikai, a representative of landlord and comprador forces, and they put pressure on the Qing court to appoint him to an important position.

Under pressure from reactionary forces inside and outside, the revolutionists compromised and on January 15 agreed, on condition that the Qing emperor abdicated and Yuan Shikai supported the republic, to hand over political power to Yuan. On March 10, Yuan Shikai formally assumed office in Beijing and established an anti-revolutionary regime representing the big landlords and comprador class. The fruits of victory of the revolution had been usurped by Yuan Shikai, an agent of the imperialist powers, and thus began the rule of China by Beiyang warlords.

As a bourgeois democratic republic, the Republic of China made only a brief appearance in history. It only overthrew a feudal emperor, but did not overthrow the exploitation and oppression by imperialism and feudalism. China was still a semi-colonial , semi-feudal society. Imperialist and feudal forces continued to rule China, and the Chinese people's anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution was still far from being completed.