People all over the world for peace and democracy、united! Go all out for a democratic China! Democracy、Freedom、Fairness、Rule by Law、Human Right、Better Life!
Homepage - > EventsandActions
Wang, Jun: From rights movements to democratic China
Date: 12/2/2011 12:47:05 PM Sender: Wang, Jun
Wang, Jun: From rights movements to democratic China

Review from 21st century, 20th century was a continuous disaster and nightmare for China. It started from the Boxer Uprising in 1900 and smoke of the Eight-Power Allied Forces and confusion and slaughter was lasted until 1989; state of flux didn’t stop until now. China in 20th century could be called as the pronoun of “misery” and it was listed into “top of the world” with the huge sacrifice of revolution and war. In term of the meanings of systematic civilization and spirit civilization, this was an indigent and infertile century, but the destruction caused by it needed at least one or two centuries to bridge it. Only in term of meaning of “psychological civilization”, the tragedy of 20th century provided certain “constructive” for China, in other words, it created certain “new, barbaric national traits”; as for the new national trait was good or bad, different people had different views and it was hard to lump together.


In the beginning of 20th century, China almost became political colony due to the battle achievement of “Eight-Power Allied Forces”. Only several decades thousands expeditionary forces became decisive strength and Manchu’s “Great Qing Dynasty” existed in name only; only in order to eradicate this disgraceful name, it took revolutionists eleven years. However, 1905, between 1900 and 1911 and obtaining vital role, was a particular year, having close relationship to what we would talk below, so I had to ask for attention ahead of time.

In December of that year, Qing Dynasty dispatched “five ministers” such as Duan, Fang, Dai, Hongci to investigate constitutionalism in other countries, posturing the pose of attending reform. Foreign presses considered China had been “awaken” and “both people in city or village and scholars or businessmen were so happy and told each other about it”. “Scholars made poems and military preformed military music and businessmen prepared firecrackers”, which prepared to warmly send off five ministers going abroad to investigate politics. From then on, constitutionalism in China had been constructed for a hundred years (except Taiwan), but effect of Chinese constitution was not very valid.

In the beginning of 20th century, Manchu had to admit Chinese weakness was on account of system through devastation and wipeout of Eight-Power Allied Forces and Tan, Sitong’s “No political reform to self-improvement” had become common acknowledge in the court. Treaty of Shimonoseki and Boxer Protocol came in succession, which wakened muddleheaded Chinese people so that Tz’uhsi region behind the curtain also recalled a painful experience and made a crime having been imperial with the name of emperor.

On Jan 29, 1901, Manchu’s “Order Reform” was the beginning of the third new deal in late Qing Dynasty, with the name of “New Deal of Late Qing”. The leading force of New Deal in Late Qing was still Weaternization Groups and they had become constitutionalists with the changing times. People such as Zhang, Zhidong, Sheng, Xuanhuai and so on put up with request of reforms, and even the representative of moderates Li, Hungchang also admitted “as for basic plan was relied on reform”. In 1904 abroad minister in France Sun, Baoqi submitted to royal court to “call for the royal court to imitate the system in England, Germany and Japan of constitution”, which could be called as minister of Qing Dynasty’s first propose of Chinese constitutional reform. So the event of “five ministers going abroad to investigate” happened in 1905. In Chinese modern history, 1905, 100 years ago, was an important time in fact. Three political forces of Manchu, constitutionalists and revolutionaries fought with each other complexly in Chinese political stage.

At first, 1905 was very important for Manchu. Tz’uhsi promulgated the order of agreeing with “reform” on the way of western in 1901, only changing the name of “Tsungli Yamen” into “department of foreign affairs”, cooking cold rice of “foreign affairs” and “reform” to drag out an ignorable existence, but after several years, “New Deal” didn’t have effect. But until 1905, Qing Dynasty was forced to go ahead at last under the pressure of constitutionalists. Its significant action was “abolishing imperial examination”. Modern new education had appeared in China for decades of years, and system of imperial examination constrained new education and scientific development, but nobody came up with abolishing imperial examination formally. In September, 1905, Zhang, Zhidong and so on submitted together, saying “If don’t abolish imperial examination, it will be difficult to go after reform.” Qing Dynasty several hundreds years ago was the same as current CCP, and it paid more attention to social reform than political reform, so it commanded to abolish system of imperial examination existing for 1200 years in that month of 1906. And people considered its importance was the same as “abolishing feudalism in ancient time”.

Second, 1905 was very important for constitutionalists. Since the failure of reform in 1898 and Kang and Liang’s escaping to abroad, movement of reform to establish constitution went into hard times. After several years’ conduction, it had no improvement. But situation changed suddenly in 1905, because the stimulation of Russo-Japanese War caused the upsurge of constitutional movement and became national political movement. On Feb 6, 1904, Japan attacked Russian fleet, who occupied Chinese Lvshunkou, and then Russo-Japan War erupted in fact. Manchu declared on 12th that it was friend of Russia; therefore it stayed “neutral”.

At that time, weak constitutionalists realized this war would lead people’s ideas move towards political reform, considering Japan with constitutional monarchy would overcome Russia with absolute monarchy. In the third day of Russia-Japan War, “China and foreign daily” of constitutionalists published editorial, considering whites could defeat yellows for a long time and whites made colonial domination; However, this war would make people realize “division between strong and weak was relied on system instead of race”. So it put forward definitely that the strength of a country was relied on system, and there was article predicting Japan would defeat Russia and then people’s ideas in our country would be quite different from that at present. And even someone considered this war would lead people “acknowledging the trend of politics of the world, attending inside information of country to touch the nightmare of general society, so Russia-Japan War could not be called the luck of China”. Because “covering autocracy and constitution were Chinese big matter; if Russia defeated Japan, it was our luck and we could regard the reason of Chinese weakness was due to invalidity of autocracy instead of not establishment of constitution”. Based on this, Chinese constitutional reform would be more difficult.

On the contrary of constitutionalists’ hoping Japan failed, Manchu wished Russia would win and formulated foreign policy of pro-Russia. They considered Japan was an island country and not the opponent of Russia, Japan carried out “giving power to people” of constitutional monarchy and soldiers just paid attention to their lives, so it was difficult to win the war; however, Russian monarchy possessed the right of military, so Qing Dynasty predicted Russia would win. Constitutionalists thought that strength or weakness of a country was relied on its mental status instead of territory. Although Japan was small, it was fueling; “Russia was big, but its corruption was equal to us”.

In January, 1905, Russian military, settling in Lvshunkou surrendered. Between February and March, two parties of Japan and Russia expanded Shenyang Battle with 0.6 million military and Russia bite the ground; Russia dispatched fleets from Europe to the east urgently, but they were wiped out at Tsushima Strait in May. Russia-Japan War, lasting more than one year, the result was Japanese won at last. Constitutionalists pointed out the result that “it was competition of politics instead of military. With the result of Japanese winning in the war, autocracy or constitution, which one is effective, that is obvious.” “This was the battle between autocracy between constitution instead of battle between Japan and Russia.” “Using small to fight big and using Asia to constrain Europe were obviously against the examples of history, and it could not be explained by constitution or not, but it was the result without any reason.”

For modern China falling into peril, attraction of “constitution” was not the limitation of monarchy’s power, but “saving” or not. Russia-Japan War caused people believe constitution could make country wealthy, save the country and change of public opinion and ideas, so constitution was like flood that could not control”. Even certain conservative personages opposing constitution originally changed to support constitution. This was what we should value an important point when we reviewed and summarized the events in 1905.

“Constitution” was like protecting rights, which was reform in the system instead of revolution, so constitution constitutionalists paid attention to instigating the ministers of Qing Dynasty to request constitution together. Under their instigations, many bigwigs acknowledged the importance of constitution and submitted in succession. These memorials didn’t move Qing Dynasty but aroused huge social influence, causing more and more ministers’ agreeing on constitution. Until the failure of reform of constitution movement inner the system, basic content of Chinese modern history was on the side of extremity of “continuous reform” and launched “new long march” over and over. Its wide domain, deep degree, fierce means and serious result composed not only Chinese “unprecedented dramatic change” and there was no precedent in the history. Various Chinese volunteers died disastrously in order to pursue national outlet. All of these horrifying deaths were supported, accepted and even welcomed by “branches of Darwinism”. Because no matter “reformers”, “revolutionaries”, “constitutionalists”, “extremists” and even “CCP”, these ideological and political factions opposing to each other called on with the name of “save the nation from extinction”. This was after it.

Peculiarly, Tz’uhsi agreed to open constitutional conference in 1905, which was only seven years later than Hundred Days’ Reform, but it was very difficult to retrieve public supports in the end. Due to time and situation waiting for nobody, development of the society was usually relied on the progress of social psychology and a miss was as good as a mile. Later constitution of Qing Dynasty’s delay made most of outstanding persons and social forces disappointed and mistrustful of it and then these people walked towards the road of reform in succession; some of them stayed neutrality at least and didn’t support one party autocrat oligarchic group any longer. State of Qing Dynasty was collapsed due to this social mentality. Therefore, when we predict the successful possibility of any course, we should observe its precondition at first, which means whether it can attract the most viable people to participate or not? If yes, it will succeed; if no, it will fail. Let’s see what movements that the most viable and talented people participate in, and the future of the society is clear as a glance. If most “talented persons” are out of course of reform, only valuing money and enjoy eating or drinking, this country will not have a promising future.

In my opinion, “rights movement” arising recently is an important link of constitutional construction in China, and it will play a role in the history in the future. Just because of it, I always pay close attention to it and participate in it, because I believe rights movement is the road towards democratic China as the newest stage of hundred-year constitutional construction in China. Furthermore, rights movement can not only promote constitution, also only constitution can guarantee the depth of rights movement. Just due to this, in order to promote rights movement better, it needs to review and summarize the success and failure of hundred years (1905-2005) to go ahead.







    其次对立宪运动来说,1905年非常重要。自1898年维新运动失败、康梁逃往海外,维新立宪运动进入低潮。经过几年经营,并无起色。但1905年情况突变,日俄战争的刺激使得立宪运动高涨,发展成全国性的政治运动。1904年 2月6日,日本对占领中国旅顺口的俄国舰队发动突然袭击,日俄战争实际爆发。满清则在12日宣布自己与日俄声称“彼此均系友邦”,因此“局外中立”。








中国民主党           主席:王军    China Democracy Party    Chairman: Wang, Jun
Address:               41-25   Kissena   Blvd.   FLR 1 #110,   Flushing,   NY   11355   USA
  E-mail: email Password Stolen Dont Use)