井底之蛙

3/6/2011

Revolt in Canton

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 5:13 am Print

Live-blogging 1911

Live-blogging is (for historians) the process of blogging about something in the past as if it was happening in the present. Since this is the 100th anniversary of the 1911 revolution, I thought it might be nice do something on that. The Wuhan revolt is still a ways off, but the Canton uprising is (although nobody knew it) right around the corner. Textbooks tend to dismiss the various revolts that Sun Yat-sen encouraged in the years before 1911 as pathetic failures, which is true enough, but by early 1911 some of them were becoming more substantial. There were a couple of disturbances in the New Army in Canton early in 1911, the first of which happened on February 12, exactly one year before the Manchu emperor formally abdicated.

Revolutionaries vaguely connected to Sun Yat-sen had been organizing in the New Army in Canton for some time. . Ni Yingdian 倪映典 was the ringleader of the revolt. He was the son of a traditional Chinese doctor from Anhui and had risen to command an New Army artillery division before being dismissed for revolutionary activity. He promptly moved to Guangdong and joined the new army there and was again dismissed for revolutionary activity, although he was not arrested. It may seem a bit odd that he was dismissed but not arrested twice, but the Qing government was less in control of things than they might have hoped and also desperate for modern-trained men. More to the point, during the New Policies period many revolutionaries were turning into reformers, and they may have hoped that the same would happen with Ni.

Unfortunately a mutiny occurred among the troops of the Second Regiment on February 10th ,, well before the planned date for the revolt. Sun Yat-sen had raised over HK 8,000 to support the revolt, and preparations were being made for supporting revolts in the countryside, but Ni decided he could not wait and encouraged his old comrades to rise up. When the commander of the Artillery Division refused to join the revolt Ni shot him, which pretty much committed them to the revolt, which was put down the next day. Ni Yingdian was one of the first rebels killed. Several others were executed later and the rebellious units disbanded.

Although the revolt itself had minimal support it was a revolt of active military units in a major city, which was an upgrade from some previous revolutionary actions. The punishment of the rebels actually won them a good deal of support.  Sun and his followers began mobilizing for a new revolt in Canton.  “Intellectuals, tradesmen, workers and peasants” began to assemble in the city. Female members of the Revolutionary Alliance posed as brides and began smuggling arms into the city.  They also took over a newspaper which had been created to oppose a planned provincial gambling monopoly and used it to spread revolutionary ideas. So that is pretty much where things stood in March of 1911

 

Most of the above is from Rhodes, China’s Republican Revolution

 

P.S. If anyone has suggestions for posts, feel free to sent them to me.



5/4/2010

May Fourth

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 8:33 am Print

Did you know that May 4th is Star Wars Day? Yet another example of how history piles up.

10/2/2009

Happy Birthday PRC

Filed under: — gina @ 10:21 pm Print

Chinabeat has put together some pretty good links that outline many of the festivities going on for the big 60th anniversary. The following link outlines 10 of the biggest and strangest festivities. Personally, I am most surprised by New York’s decision to illuminate the Empire State Building with red and yellow. I especially found this interesting considering the New York Times’ coverage of this event; typical for the New York Times, the coverage was less than exuberant. Another piece on Chinabeat argues that the festivities in Beijing are meant to showcase the military might of the current regime; the piece also goes on to talk about the future of Sino-US relations in light of China’s growing influence. Most of the pictures about the event certainly seem to imply that most of the events, parades, and even dance routines are performed by or about the military. Then again, I believe that the festivities are more than that: it seems that the 60th anniversary celebrations are meant to be an interim display of China’s ability to host and create large scale events between the Beijing Olympics and the upcoming 2010 Shanghai World’s Fair. In a recent lecture about his new book Global Shanghai: 1850-2010 , Jeff Wasserstrom tied the Beijing opening ceremonies and the Shanghai World’s Fair fervor to the energy and seemingly limitless expense the PRC currently put towards the 60th anniversary (Wasserstrom has written a lot about the Olympics and 2010 Expo connection; one that slightly also mentions the 60th anniversary can be read here). In general, what Wasserstrom argued was that the Olympics weren’t the pinnacle of China’s ability to top the rest of the world in hosting world events, it was just one example of many to come. And considering the importance of 2009 to the PRC’s legitimacy, it makes sense that this national event (as opposed to the other international events) would serve as another example of China’s growth, power, and national fervor.

Other than Chinabeat, I also found a few other articles about the 60th anniversary celebration worth looking at. The following pictoral essays from the Boston Globe seen here and from the New York Times, seen here. Both of course have fantastic pictoral representations of the event, though I find the one at the Boston Globe more creative. Similarly, the New York Times have a series of articles meant to put the 60th anniversary into perspective, such as this piece on the civil war in Changchun and this more interesting editorial compilation about China’s economic future.

Speaking of big events, Rio de Janeiro recently won the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It will be the first South American city to host the Olympics, making its significance to Brazil similar to that of China in 2008. I look forward to seeing Brazil’s approach to the Olympics (and the world’s approach to Brazil) develop over the next few years.

If anyone has any other interesting links or information about the 60th anniversary, please post them!

9/30/2009

PRC National Anthem

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 8:16 am Print

In honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on October 1st, my friend Carsey Yee has sent another video: The Two Chinese Characters do the March of the Volunteers (twice, once with English subtitles). I was a bit surprised to learn that the song predates the PRC by over ten years, that the author was arrested and the song banned for a time (Can anyone think of another case where a national anthem was banned without a regime change taking place?), and, of course, the lyrics changed during the Cultural Revolution.

I suppose it makes sense: the history of the song really is the history of China.
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9/16/2009

Happy Birthday New Policies!

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 2:42 am Print

2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the New Policies (新政) reforms of the late Qing. Well, not really. The Late Qing reforms are increasingly seen as more important even than the Revolution of 1911 in creating a new China. A modern government with modern departments was set up, there was a budget, modern schools were built, etc. The began sometime after the Boxer uprising of 1900 and lasted till 1911. The Revolutionaries found themselves taking over a much more modern Chinese state than had existed a decade before.  1909 is actually a little late as a date, but I am using it here because it seems like all the major libraries in China are celebrating. I was at the conference for the National Library in Beijing’s 100th. It was a big deal. Mei Baojiu performed and I got to see him. Then I come to Shaanxi and the Provincial library is also having its 100th. This was a bit annoying, since they were setting off fireworks outside the reading room and I wanted to stick my head out the window and yell “This is a library, darn it.” but I figured it would do no good. I assume people all over China are finding it hard to get any reading in as explosions and long-winded speeches interrupt the quiet. Both libraries of course started out as New Policies institutions. I’m not sure how it is with other cultural institutions, but Chinese universities are always very status conscious about how old they are, and people always ask when my university was founded and are quite impressed when I say 1875. That makes us older than Beida! Below are a couple of pictures of the gifts that Shaanxi library got on its birthday. I particularly  like the boat Qingdao sent.

Swag2

Swag1

6/3/2009

The twentieth anniversary

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 11:39 am Print

I have, as it turns out, very little to say that I didn’t say five years ago, but I’ll reproduce it under the fold. Reading this year’s crop of remembrances, and Philip Cunningham’s first-person history, I don’t think my views have changed all that much, except that I see the movement more in the context of the decades before — periodic reformist movements which invariably met with repression whether or not the reforms were eventually pursued — and it’s much less shocking to me now than it was then. Still tragic. And the history since has been, by comparison, oddly quiet.
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