Prompt:In 1900, Qing Court faced many internal as well as external problems, which led to its downfall.
(a.)Politically, the Qing Court did not have capable leaders to perform its decided reforms. Generally speaking, the government was mainly consisted of conservative officials, who objected the reforms and messed in them. For example, Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao were forced to leave China in 1898 and hence the Hundred Days’ Reform failed. Without capable leaders, the Qing Court would be impossible to strengthen itself. Besides, due to the weakness of the Qing Court, many provincial powers emerged after the Taiping Rebellion in 1851 to 1864.
In that rebellion, provincial armies were formed to suppress local peasant uprising. These armies were financed by local money and trained by local officials like Zeng Guofan and Li Hongzhang. These locally based armies became the tools of provincial powers to withstand the Qing Court and led to a serious problem of decentralization of political power. On the other hand, many citizens did not support the Qing Court due to the political instability and hence revolutionary ideas spread widely. Due to the fast population growth, the problem of land shortage intensified. Although the peasant had less land to grow food and earned less money, heavy taxations were still imposed on them in order to repay indemnity. As a result, revolutionary movements grew gradually and finally overthrew the Qing Court.
Beside the political problems, the Qing Court also faced serious economic problems. Due to the weakness of the troops, many foreign countries were able to defeat China and asked for indemnity. This made the Qing Court became lack of money. In order to raise the national treasury, the Qing government imposed high tax rate on peasants, which heavily increased the burden of them. As a result, rural poverty remained serious. On the other hand, the defeats in foreign wars made the Qing Court lose its tariff autonomy. This brought the economic problems of Qing Court even more serious.
In 1644, the Manzu, a tribe outside Chinese border, successfully captured Beijing and started its rule in China. However, many Han Chinese, which made up 90% of the population, still regarded them as aliens. The Qing Court also imposed discriminatory policies against the Han Chinese, which made the hatred of Han Chinese towards the Manzus even more serious. Many anti-Qing organizations like Heaven and Earth Society, White Lotus Sect was formed. They frequently launched uprisings against the Qing Court. Besides, since the Qing Court wanted to modernize China, many western learning were introduced. The idea of democracy was one of them. After the citizens noticed the idea of democracy, they began to ask for it from a autocratic Qing government, which made the Qing Court become more difficult to rule.
The military power of China was so weak that the foreign countries could use their strong troops to invade China and ask for benefits and interests. The defeats made the citizens became more and more enthusiastic towards radical reforms and even overthrowing the regime, and this was what the Qing government did not want.
Externally, the foreign countries took advantages of China’s weakness and invaded China and attempted to divide China. Many “spheres of influence” were set up and made China divided. In the year 1895 to 1899, several spheres of influence were established by Germany, Russia, Britain, France and Japan. At that time, the Qing Court was in fact unable to rule the whole China. Besides, China was forced to agree many unequal treaties, which made it lost its tariff autonomy. Since then, many foreign countries exported many goods to China with a very low rate of tariff. This brought about serious economic problems to China.
To deal with the above problems, the Qing Court introduced a number of political measures and reforms.
b. Firstly, the conservative Qing Court did not even think that the capable leaders were capable. To the government, “capable” meant “obedient”. If the one who introduced reforms was not obedient, then he was not capable. Therefore, the Qing Court tried to find more obedient leaders to hold reforms rather than using the capable leaders. As a result, the reforms were mostly failed. In order to check the tendency of decentralization, the Ministry of Military Training, headed by a Manzu official, was established in 1903. However, it was not really effective as in 1911 the provinces declared independence. This partly related to their military powers. For the revolutionary ideas, the Qing Court could do nothing to it since there were different spheres of influence. The revolutionary societies could arrange their uprisings in those territories and so the Qing government could not stop them.
Since the Qing Court was lack of money, they decided to impose high tax rate on the peasants in order to receive more money. However, this led to a more serious problem of rural poverty and the Qing Court did not even do anything to deal with it. Therefore, the problem of rural poverty was not dealt.
For the hatred of Chinese towards the Manzus, the Qing Court decided to allow intermarriage between Manzus and Han Chinese. Although this measure helped to make the Han Chinese hate the Manzus less. However, this came too late.
The Qing Court launched a series of military reforms in its Late Qing Reform in order to modernize and strengthen its military power. They abolished the Military examination as it was no more useful in the modern wars. Military schools were set up in each of the provinces to train military elites. However, these locally based armies cared much about their local interest and so that they did not really obedient to the Qing Court. The Beiyang Army, a modernize troop, was established under the leadership of Yuan Shikai. This army was relatively more modernized, but as it was trained under Yuan Shikai. The soldiers were more loyal to him than to the Qing Court. This even threatened the Qing rule more.
As the foreign aggressions were more and more intense, the Qing Court tried to modernize their troops in order to defend itself. However, since the military reforms trained modernized soldiers, which was not loyal to the Qing Court, the problems of losing in foreign wars did not lessen. For the influx of foreign goods, the Qing Court could do nothing to deal with it as they were forced to sign some unequal treaties, which made them lose their tariff autonomy.
In conclusion, in the late Qing period, the Qing Court faced many serious internal and external problems, and they were not able to solve them all. This made the Qing rule finally ended in 1911.