Friday, September 5, 2008

Shunzhi Emperor

The Shunzhi Emperor was the second of the Manchu Qing dynasty, and the first Qing emperor to rule over China proper from 1644 to 1661.

Early years

He ascended to the throne aged five in 1643 upon the death of his father, Huang Taiji, but actual power during the early part of his reign lay in the hands of the appointed regents, Princes Dorgon and Jirgalang. With the Qing pacification of the former Ming provinces almost complete, he died still a young man, although in circumstances that have lent themselves to rumour and speculation.

In the midst of much upheaval, the Manchus seized control of Beijing in June 1644, and in October of the same year the Shunzhi emperor's uncle, the chief regent Prince, proclaimed the Qing dynasty to be the legitimate successor to the Ming Dynasty. Therefore, although the Shunzhi emperor was not the founder of the Qing dynasty, he was the first Qing emperor of China.

One of Dorgon's most controversial decisions was his 1646 imperial edict which forced all Han Chinese men, on pain of death, to adopt the Manchu style of dress, including shaving the front of their heads and combing the remaining hair into a queue. To the Manchus this policy might both be a symbolic act of submission and in practical terms an aid in identification of friend from foe, however for the Han Chinese it totally went against their traditional Confucian values. Unsurprisingly it was deeply unpopular and, together with other policies unfavourable towards the Han Chinese, might account for the increasingly steep resistance met by Qing forces after 1646. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed before all of China was brought into compliance.

His mother was the who was an excellent politician during the period. The young emperor disliked his uncle, the chief regent Prince Dorgon, and after Dorgon's death in 1650 the emperor stripped both him and Dorgon's brother, , of their titles, although he was only 17 years old at the time.

Brief reign

During his short reign, the Shunzhi emperor encouraged the Han Chinese to participate in government activities. He was a scholar and employed Han Chinese to teach his children. He was also an open minded emperor and relied on the advice of Johann Adam Schall von Bell 湯若望, a Jesuit from Germany, for guidance ranging from astronomy, technologies, to tips for governing an empire. Shunzhi also elevated Schall to his personal mentor and was given free access to the palace.

The emperor married his mother's niece, but demoted the empress several years later. In 1661, Shunzhi's favourite concubine Donggo suddenly died as a result of grief over the loss of a child. Overwhelmed with grief himself, Shunzhi contracted smallpox and died shortly thereafter. Before he died, he appointed four regents to govern for his child son, - Oboi, Sonin, Suksaha, and Ebilun.

According to official sources, the Shunzhi Emperor died in 1661 of smallpox. It was also believed by some that the young emperor did not pass away but left the palace to become a monk. He was interred in the Eastern Qing Tombs , 125 kilometers/75 miles east of Beijing, in the Xiaoling mausoleum complex .

Huang Taiji had changed the name of the dynasty from Later Jin to
Qing in 1636 because of the fraternal struggles and skirmishes between brothers and half brothers for the throne. According to Taoist philosophy,
the name Jin has the meaning of metal and fire in its constituent,
thereby igniting the tempers of the brothers of the Manchu Royal household into open conflicts and wars.
Huangtaiji therefore adopted the new name of Qing 清, the Chinese character of which has the water symbol on its left hand side. The name, which means clear and transparent, with its water symbol was hoped to put out the feud among the brothers of the Manchu Royal household.

Because of power issues in the Qing's ancestors' way, Shunzi ultimately took another step to consolidate the power of the emperor. According to the old way, the 8 Banners were passed with succession much like how Nurhaci decided to give his Yellow Banners to Dorgun, but could potentially be controlled by someone like Huang Taji who switched the Banners. To solve this problem, Shunzi ordered the Upper 3 Banners- Plain Yellow, Striped Yellow, and Plain White to be under the control of the emperor. This would be maintained until Yongzheng and Qianlong's reign when they took the last step and controlled all 8 Banners.

It's also noteworthy that the empire was generally clean from corrupt officials as Shunzi despised corrupt officials.


*Father: Huang Taiji, emperor of Manchuria

*Mother: concubine Zhuang, who later became the Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang , the daughter of a Mongol prince of the Borjigit clan
*Grandfather: Nurhaci, founder of the Qing dynasty
*Grandmother: , from the Yehe Nara clan.
#The Demoted Empress Suoerna, from the Borjigit clan, niece of , demoted in 1653
# from the Borjigit clan, made empress in 1654
#Concubine from the Tunggiya clan . Her family was of Jurchen origin but lived among Chinese for generations. It had Chinese family name Tong but switched to the Manchu clan name Tunggiya. She was made in 1661 when Kangxi became emperor. She is known posthumously as .
#, Concubine from the Donggo clan , the concubine with whom Shunzhi was madly in love, posthumously raised to . She had a Han Chinese mother and was therefore not a pure blooded Manchu, but she was the one that the emperor loved the most. Her son died after a month of birth because the empress/another concubine gave him items from a prince who was sick with small pox, to prevent "tainting of the blood line". The young concubine soon died of exhaustion and extreme depression over her lost son. A short while after she died, the emperor died of small pox, although it is rumored that he became a monk.

# Yinti
# Fuquan
# 4th Son, died before he was named, but created Prince Rong posthumously
# Changning
# Jishou
# Longxi
# Yonggan

# 1st Daughter
# 2nd Daughter , created Princess Gongque .
# 3rd Daughter
# 4th Daughter
# 5th Daughter
# 6th Daughter

*Adopted Daughters
# Princess Heshun
# Princess Roujia
# Princess Duanmin

Hong Xiuquan

Hóng Xiùquán , born Hong Renkun , courtesy name Huoxiu , was a Hakka who led the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, establishing the "Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping" over varying portions of southern China, with himself as the "" and self-proclaimed brother of Jesus Christ.

Early life and education

He was born in Fuyuanshui Village , Hua County , Guangdong to Hong Jingyang and Wang-shi . His grandfather was Hong Guoyou , who was, like his ancestors, a farmer. He later moved to Guānlùbù Village .

Hong started studying at a school called Book Chamber House at age seven. He was able to recite the after five or six years. At around the age of fifteen his parents were no longer able to afford his schooling, so he became a tutor to other children in his village and continued to study privately. He took the local preliminary examinations and came first, so at the age of 22 in 1836, he took the first-degree s in Guangzhou. Unsurprisingly, he failed, as imperial examinations had a pass rate of 1%. He retook the test four times, but never succeeded.

He later attained the position of instructor at Book Chamber Building and several schools in Lianhuatang and other villages.

Visions and iconoclasm

On his visit to Guangzhou to take the civil service examinations in 1836, Hong heard a Christian missionary preaching about the religion. While there he received translations and summaries of the Bible written by the Christian missionary Liang Fa. The following year Hong failed the examinations again and apparently suffered a nervous collapse. During his recovery in 1837 he had a number of mystical visions. One involved an old man who complained to Hong about men worshiping demons rather than him. In a second one he saw Confucius being punished for his faithlessness, after which he repented. In yet another he dreamed angels carried him to heaven where he met a man in a black dragon robe with a long golden beard who gave him a sword and a magic seal, and told him to purify China of the demons. Several years later he would interpret this to mean that God the Heavenly Father, whom he identified with Shangdi from the Chinese tradition, and his older brother, Jesus Christ, wanted him to rid the world of demon worship. His friends and family said that after this episode he became authoritative and solemn.

It was not until 7 years later that Hong took the time to carefully examine the religious tracts he had received. In his house Hong burned all and statues and books, and began to preach to his community about his visions. His earliest converts were relatives of his who had also failed their examinations and belonged to the Hakka minority, Feng Yunshan and Hong Rengan. He joined with them to destroy idols in small villages to the ire of local citizens and officials. Hong and his converts' acts were not surprisingly considered and they were persecuted by Confucians who forced them to leave their positions as village tutors. Hong Xiuquan and Feng Yunshan fled the district in 1844, walking some 300 miles to the west to Guangxi, where the large Hakka population was much more willing to receive his teachings.

The God worshippers

Hong then preached to a large number of charcoal-burners on Zijin Mountain in Guiping District , who mostly belonged to the Hakka minority like Hong himself, and readily joined him. He preached a mix of communal utopianism, evangelism and his idiosyncratic quasi-Christianity. While proclaiming sexual equality, the sect segregated men from women and encouraged all its followers to pay their assets into a communal treasury. By the end of the 1840s, Hong had a sizeable following which he called the God Worshippers , but local officials were still attempting to suppress his religious movement after his move to Guangxi.

When Hong returned to Guangxi, he found that Feng had accumulated a following of around 2,000 converts. Guangxi was a dangerous area at this time with many bandit groups based in the mountains and pirates on the rivers. Perhaps due to these more pressing concerns, the authorities were largely tolerant of Hong and his followers. However, the instability of the region meant that Hong's followers were inevitably drawn into conflict with other groups, not least because of their predominately Hakka ethnicity. There are records of numerous incidents when local villages and clans, as well as groups of pirates and bandits, came into conflict with the authorities, and responded by fleeing to join Hong's movement. The rising tension between the sect and the authorities was probably the most important factor in Hong's eventual decision to rebel.

Rebellion and the Heavenly Kingdom

By 1850 Hong had between 10,000 and 30,000 followers. The authorities were alarmed at the growing size of the sect and ordered them to disperse. A local force was sent to attack them when they refused, but imperial troops were routed and a deputy magistrate killed. A full-scale attack was launched by the government forces in the first month of 1851. In what came to be known as the Jintian Uprising, after the town of Jintian where the sect was based. Hong's followers emerged victorious and the commander of the government troops.

Hong declared the foundation of the "Heavenly Kingdom of Transcendent Peace" on January 11, 1851.

Despite this evidence of forward planning, Hong and his followers faced immediate challenges. The local Green Standard Army outnumbered them ten to one, and had recruited the help of the river pirates to keep the rebellion contained to Jintian. After a month of preparation the Taipings managed to break through the blockade and fight their way to the town of Yongan , which fell to them on September 25, 1851.

Hong and his troops remained in Yongan for three months, sustained by local landowners who were hostile to the Manchu Qing Dynasty. The imperial army regrouped and launched another attack on the Taipings in Yongan. Having run out of gunpowder, Hong's followers fought their way out by sword, and made for the city of Guilin, which they laid siege. However, the fortifications of Guilin proved too secure, and Hong and his followers eventually gave up and set out northwards, towards Hunan. Here, they encountered an elite militia created by a local member of the gentry specifically to put down peasant rebellions. The two forces fought at Soyi Ford on June 10, 1852 where the Taipings were forced into retreat, and 20% of their troops were killed. But in March 1853 Taiping forces managed to take Nanjing and turned it into the capital of their movement.

Hong Xiuquan ruled by making frequent proclamations from his Heavenly Palace, demanding strict compliance with various moral and religious rules. Most trade was suppressed and property socialized. Polygamy was forbidden and men and women were separated, although Hong and other leaders maintained groups of concubines.

Yang Xiuqing was a fellow Taiping leader who had directed successful military campaigns and who often claimed to speak with the voice of God. Hong became increasingly suspicious of Yang's ambitions and his network of spies; in 1856 he had Yang and his family murdered.

Following a failed attempt by the Taiping to take Shanghai in 1860, the Qing forces, aided by Western officers, slowly gained ground.


Some sources say Hong committed suicide by taking poison on June 1, 1864 at the age of 52 after Qing authorities finally gained a decisive military advantage and all hope of maintaining his kingdom was lost. However, in other sources, he was said to have died of illness. Hong Rengan, Hong's cousin said his illness was caused by "eating manna"--a command taken from the Bible that Hong had given to his people as they starved.

He was succeeded by his teenage son, Hong Tianguifu. The Taiping Rebellion was put down by Qing forces later in 1864.


*''The Imperial Decree of Taiping''《太平詔書》
*The ''Instructions on the Original Way'' Series : included in ''The Imperial Decree of Taiping'' later. The series is proclaimed by PRC's National Affairs Department to be Protected National Significant Documents in 1988.
**''The Instructions on the Original Way to Save the World''
**''The Instructions on the Original Way to Awake the World''
**''The Instructions on the Original Way to Make the World Realize''
*''The New Essay on Economics and Politics''


The following poem, called "The Poem on Executing the Vicious and Preserving the Righteous" , written in 1837 by Hong, illustrates his religious thinking and goal that later lead to the establishment of the "Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping". Note that in the second last line, the name of the then yet-to-come kingdom is mentioned. This, and other poems of his, are considered by some scholars to be of low quality, because the lack of use of classical phrases.
:Holding the Universe in the hand,
:I slay the evil, spare the righteous, and relieve the suffering of the people.
:My eyes see through beyond the west, the north, the rivers, and the mountains,
:My sounds shake the east, the south, the Sun, and the Moon.
:The glorious sword of authority was given by Lord,
:Poems and books are evidences that praise Yahweh in front of Him.
:Taiping unifies the World of Light,
:The domineering air will be joyous for myriads of thousand years.



Views and opinions on Hong differ greatly.

The Chinese communists under Mao Zedong generally admired Hong and his movement as a legitimate peasant uprising that anticipated their own. Sun Yat-sen came from the same area as Hong Xiuquan and is said to have identified with Hong since his childhood days.

In 1959 the PRC established a small museum, Hong Xiuquan's Former Residence Memorial Museum , in his birthplace where there is a longan tree planted by him. The museum's plate is written by the famous literary figure, Guo Moruo . The residence and Book Chamber Building were renovated in 1961.

Hong Xiuquan has been compared to Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi in that he rallies a large number of people behind a religious or spiritual cause to challenge the status quo, although Li's political intentions have been of intense debate.


*Gray, Jack . ''Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s'', Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-821576-2.
* . ''God's Chinese Son:The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan'', W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-03844-0
* Anderson, Flavia . "The Rebel Emperor", Doubleday & Company

Hong Tianguifu

Hong Tianguifu , also called Hong Tiangui and in Qing historical record, Hong Futian , was the second and last of the Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping. He is popularly referred to as the Junior Lord . Officially, like his father Hong Xiuquan, he was the King of Heaven . To differentiate, he is also called the Junior King of Heaven .

Hong succeeded his father at sixteen and was not respected like his father by the princes, and he was spoken of lowly. In ''Zhong Prince Li Xiucheng Describes Himself'' , the autobiographical account of a prince of the Heavenly Kingdom written shortly before his , Hong Tianguifu was described as "inexperienced," "spoiled," and "incapable." Also, Hong Tianguifu never rode a horse, which was essential for leaders and commanders in wars.

Four months after his coronation, Nanjing, the capital of Taiping rebels were captured by Qing Dynasty. Hong Tianguifu escaped to Eastern Dam , Jiangsu in July, 1864, rendezvoused with his uncle, Hong Rengan , Gan Prince . After going to Guangde County, Anhui first, they went to the town of Huzhou, Zhejiang on August 13, 1864 to rendezvous with the local Taiping Army commander Huang Wenjin . Imperial Chinese Qing Dynasty sent Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang to attack the city, and Chen Xueming , the Taiping army commander in charge of defending the southern gate of the town surrendered on August 26, 1864. Hong Tianguifu, Hong Rengan and Huang Wenjin were forced to flee from the town next day, under the cover of darkness at night, and Huang Wenjin soon died of his wounds. The rest of the survivors attempted to escape to the border region of Jiangxi, Guangdong and Fujian to join the remanent of Taiping forces led by Li Shixian , but on October 9, 1864, they were ambushed by the Imperial Chinese army at Stone Town and Hong Rengan was captured and subsequently excuted on November 23, 1864 at Nanchang , Jiangxi. Hong Tianguifu escaped to the mountains near Stone Town after his token force was wiped out, but he got caught on October 25, 1864 by Qing soldiers searching for him and was subsequently executed on November 18, 1864 at the age of sixteen.

A glimpse of Hong Tianguifu's character can be seen by his remarks before his execution: "Guangdong isn't a nice place, I don't want to go back. I only want to study with Old Master Tang in Hunan, then become a first-degree scholar." This apparently innocent, pointless and irrelevant comment was considered by some as a desperate and futile attempt to avoid his untimely death by fooling the executioner into confusing his identity. It may have been his utter lack of understanding of what was happening to him, and to his lost kingdom.

Despite the short time he was a king, he was issued an official jade , which is an exhibit in the Hong Kong Museum of History .

Hong Tianguifu's name is unique, in that it contains a three- given name, whereas almost all have just one or two characters.

Yuan Shikai

Yuan Shikai was a military official and politician during the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China.

He is known in for having played an important role in both the Qing Imperial Dynasty and the .

He is known in for his control based on military dictatorship; a presidency with sweeping powers between 1912–1915; and his proclamation by democratic process as .

His stupendous political might and the preeminence of his personal qualities have remained a hotly debated subjects in popular culture, especially after the premiere of the controversial TV series ''Towards the Republic''.

Birthplace and early years

Yuan Shikai was born in the village of Zhangying , county , , Henan province. Chenzhou is now called Huaiyang . The village of Zhangying is located immediately north of the centre of Xiangcheng.

The Yuan family later moved to a hilly area easier to defend, 16 kilometers southeast of Xiangcheng, and there the Yuans had built a fortified village, the village of Yuanzhai . The village of Yuanzhai is now located inside Wangmingkou township , on the territory of the county-level city of Xiangcheng. The large countryside estate of the Yuan family in Yuanzhai was recently opened to tourism by the People's Republic of China, and people inside China generally assume that Yuan Shikai was born in Yuanzhai.

As a young man he had enjoyed riding, boxing, and entertainment with friends. Yuan had wanted to pursue a career in civil services, but had failed twice in Imperial Examinations. He decided that his entry into politics would have to be done through the Army. Using his father's connections Yuan set foot in Tengzhou, Shandong and sought a post in the Qing Brigade. Yuan married first in 1876, to a woman of the Yu family, who bore him a first son, Keding , in 1878. Yuan Shikai married 10 wives in his whole life.

Years in Korea

Korea in the late 1870s was in the midst of a struggle between isolationists under the king's father , and progressives, led by the queen , who had wanted to open trade with continued Chinese overlordship in Korea. Japan's new aggressive foreign policy had shown interest in the protectorate, and was an emerging power. Under the Treaty of Ganghwa, which the Koreans signed only with reluctance in 1876, Japan was allowed to send diplomatic missions to Seoul, and opened trading posts in Inchon and Wonsan. Amidst an internal power struggle, which resulted in the queen's exile, Li Hongzhang, the Viceroy of Zhili, sent the Qing Brigade, 3,000 strong, into Korea. The Korean regent was escorted to Tianjin, where he would be kept prisoner. Korea's weakness was apparent, and the Chemulpo Treaty of 1882 gave the Japanese the right to station troops in Seoul to protect their legation. China's protection alone could not shield Korea in an imperialist and fast-developing world, and it was obvious that Korea's army could not even deal with an internal crisis. The king issued a proposal to train 500 troops in the art of modern warfare, and Yuan Shikai was appointed to lead this task and was to remain in Korea. To the emperor, Li Hongzhang also recommended Yuan's promotion, and was approved shortly with Yuan's new rank as ''sub-prefect''.

In 1885, Yuan was appointed Imperial Resident of Seoul with orders from the Imperial Throne. The position had seemed on the surface to be similar to that of a Minister or ambassador. In practice, however, Yuan, being the head official from the suzerain, had become the supreme adviser on all Korean government policies. Dissatisfied with its position in Korea, Japan had wanted more influence through co-suzerainty with China. A series of forged documents aimed at angering the Chinese was sent to Yuan Shikai, attempting to make it appear as if the Korean government had changed its stance towards Chinese protection, and turned more towards Russia. Yuan was skeptical yet outraged, and asked Li Hongzhang for advice.

In a treaty signed between Japan and China, the two parties agreed only to send troops into Korea after the other is notified. Although the Korean government was stable, it was still a protectorate of China, and forces emerged advocating modernization. Another more radicalised group, the , promoting an early nationalist doctrine based partly upon and principles, rose in rebellion against the government, which Yuan longed to protect. Li Hongzhang sent troops into Korea to protect Seoul and China's interests, and Japan did the same under the pretext of protecting Japanese trading posts. Tensions boiled over between Japan and China when Japan refused to withdraw its forces and placed a blockade of sorts at the 38th Parallel. Li Hongzhang wanted at all costs to avoid a war with Japan, and attempted this by asking for international pressure for a Japanese withdrawal. Japan refused, and war began. Yuan, now in an ineffective position, was recalled to Tianjin in July 1894, at the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War .

Late Qing Dynasty

Yuan Shikai rose to fame by participating in the First Sino-Japanese War as the commander of the Chinese stationary forces in Korea. He fortunately avoided the humiliation of Chinese armies in the war when he was recalled to Beijing several days before the Chinese forces were attacked.

As an ally of Li Hongzhang, Yuan was appointed the commander of the first New army in 1895. The Qing court relied heavily on his army due to the proximity of its garrison to the capital and its effectiveness. Of the new armies that were part of the Self-Strengthening Movement, Yuan's was the best trained and most effective.

The Qing Court at the time was divided between progressives under the leadership of the Guangxu Emperor, and conservatives under the Empress Dowager Cixi, who had temporarily retreated to the Summer Palace as a place of "retirement". After Guangxu's Hundred Days' Reform 1898, however, Cixi decided that the reforms were too drastic, and wanted to restore her own regency through a coup d'état. Plans of the coup spread early, and the Emperor was very aware of the plot. He asked reform advocates Kang Youwei, Tan Sitong and others to develop a plan to save him. Yuan's involvement in the coup continues to be a large topic of historical debate. Tan Sitong reportedly had a talk with Yuan several days before the coup, asking Yuan to assist the Emperor against Cixi. Yuan refused a direct answer, but insisted he was loyal to the Emperor. Meanwhile Manchu General Ronglu was planning manoeuvres for his army to stage the coup.

According to many sources, including the diary of Liang Qichao and a ''Wen Bao'' article, Yuan Shikai arrived in Tianjin on September 20, 1898, by train. It was certain that by the evening, Yuan had talked to Ronglu, but what was revealed to him remains ambiguous. Most historians suggest that Yuan had told Ronglu of all details of the Reformers' plans, and asked him to take immediate action. The plot being exposed, Ronglu's troops entered the Forbidden City at dawn on September 21, forcing the Emperor into seclusion in a lake palace.

Making a political alliance with the Empress Dowager, and becoming a lasting enemy of the Guangxu Emperor, Yuan left the capital in 1899 for his new appointment as Governor of Shandong. During his three-year tenure, he ensured the suppression of in the province. He also left the foundation for a provincial junior college in Jinan, adopting some western ideas of education.

He was granted the position of Viceroy of Zhili and Minister of Beiyang , where the modern regions of Liaoning, Hebei, and Shandong provinces now are, on June 25, 1902. Gaining the regard of foreigners when he helped to crush the Boxer Rebellion, he successfully obtained numerous loans to expand his Beiyang Army into the in China. He created a 1,000-strong police force to keep order in Tianjin, the first of its kind in Chinese history, after the Boxer Protocol had forbidden troops to be staged within a close proximity of Tianjin. Yuan was also involved in the transfer of Railway control from Sheng Xuanhuai . Railways became a large part of his revenue. Yuan played an active role in late-Qing political reforms, including the creation of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Police . He further advocated for ethnic equality between Manchus and Han Chinese.

Retreat and return

The Empress Dowager and the Guangxu Emperor died within a day of each other in November 1908.

Democratic elections

In February 1913, democratic elections were held for the in which the or the Kuomintang scored a significant victory. Song Jiaoren, deputy in the KMT to Sun Yat-sen, zealously supported a cabinet system and was widely regarded as a candidate for Prime Minister. Yuan viewed Song as a threat to his authority and, after Song's assassination on March 20 1913 by Ying Kuicheng, there was speculation in the media that Yuan was responsible.

Becoming Emperor

Tensions between the Kuomintang and Yuan continued to intensify. Yuan's crackdown on the Kuomintang began in 1913, beginning with the suppression and bribery of the KMT members in the two legislative chambers, followed by an orchestrated collapse of the KMT from local organizations.

Second revolution

Seeing the situation worsen, Sun Yat-sen fled to Japan, and called for a Second Revolution, against Yuan. Subsequently Yuan gradually took over the government with support base from his military power. He dissolved both the national and provincial assemblies, replacing the House of Representatives and Senate with the newly formed "Council of State", with Duan Qirui, his trusted Beiyang lieutenant, as Prime Minister.

The Kuomintang's "Second Revolution" against Yuan ended in disastrous failure, as Yuan's military might on all sides zeroed in on the remnants of KMT forces. Provincial governors with KMT loyalties were bribed or submitted willingly to Yuan. After his victory, Yuan reorganized the provincial governments, its head now being a Military Governor , replacing the civil governorship, where each governor had control of his own army. It laid the first foundations for warlordism that crippled China for the next two decades.

Japan's twenty-one demands

In 1915, Japan sent a secret ultimatum known as the Twenty-One Demands to Beijing. When word leaked out that Yuan had agreed to some of the provisions, mass protests sprang up as well as a boycott of Japanese goods. Western pressure forced Japan to back down on its demands.

Revival of the monarchy

With his power secure, many of Yuan's supporters, notably monarchist Yang Du, advocated for a revival of the monarchy, asking Yuan to take on the title of Emperor. Yang reasoned that the Chinese masses had long been used to autocratic rule, and a Republic had only been effective in a transitional phase to end Manchu rule. China's situation longed for stability that only a monarchy would ensure. American political scientist Frank Johnson Goodnow, as well as the Imperial Government of Japan, suggested similar ideas. Yuan held a carefully selected political convention which unanimously endorsed monarchy on November 20, 1915. By December 12, he proclaimed his reign as Emperor of the Chinese Empire under the of Hongxian to begin on January 1, 1916. But on December 25, Yunnan's military governor, Cai E, rebelled and several provinces followed. Seeing his weakness and unpopularity, foreign powers, including Japan, withdrew their support.

Monarchy abandoned and death

Faced with universal opposition, Yuan repeatedly delayed the accession rite to appease his foes. Funding for the ceremony was cut on March 1 and he abandoned monarchism on March 22. This was not enough for his enemies as they called for his resignation as president. More provinces rebelled until Yuan died, humiliated, from uremia on June 5. His death was announced the following day. His remains were moved to his home province and placed in a mausoleum built to resemble Grant's Tomb . In 1928, the tomb was looted by Feng Yuxiang's Guominjun soldiers during the . He had three sons: Prince Yuan Keding, who was handicapped; Prince Yuan Kewen, who was said by his father to be a 'fake scholar', and Prince Yuan Keliang, whom Yuan Shikai called a "bandit".

Evaluation and legacy

With Yuan's death, China was left without any generally recognized central authority and the army quickly fragmented into forces of combating warlords. For this reason he is usually called the Father of the Warlords.

However, it is not accurate to attribute other characteristics of warlordism as his preference, since in his career as a military reformer he had attempted to create a modern army based on the Japanese model.

Throughout his lifetime, he demonstrated understanding of how staff work, military education, and regular transfers of officer personnel came together to make a modern military organisation. After his return to power in 1911, however, he seemed willing to sacrifice this ideal in his imperial ambitions, and instead ruled by a combination of violence and bribery that destroyed the idealism of the early Republican movement.

Since those who opposed Yuan could do so only from a territorial military base, Yuan's career as president and emperor contributed greatly to China's subsequent political division.

In the CCTV Production ''Towards the Republic'', Yuan is portrayed through most of his early years as an able administrator, although a very skilled manipulator of political situations. His self-proclamation of Emperor was seen as largely under the influence of external forces, such as his son, prince Yuan Keding.

Yuan's grandson, Luke Chia-Liu Yuan, was a Chinese-American physicist. Another descendant of Yuan is his great-grandson, Li-Young Lee, a Chinese-American writer and poet.