How did ancient China end?

8. The fall of the Chinese Empire

During the time of foreign rule in China, the centuries-old Confucian political structure of China collapsed: the imperial family as the embodiment of the universal state was replaced by a counter-elite, which, however, was not able to solve the country's problems directly. The former governor of Shantung, Yuan Shikai, was elected Prime Minister by the Provisional National Assembly in November 1911 and confirmed in office by the court; Sun Yatsen shortly afterwards from the new provincial parliaments to Provisional President of the Republic of China. The end of the empire had taken place gradually: the Manchurian Qing dynasty succeeded in creating a great Middle Kingdom and ushering in a period of cultural wealth in the course of the late 17th and 18th centuries through enormous territorial expansions and the addition of tributary border states , since the 1840s, the imperial family found itself less and less able to fend off the demands of the imperialist states or to open the country to radical reforms. When the court had to flee Peking during the "Boxer" war, its weakness became evident and its reputation plummeted. The reforms initiated by the court and the government in the years that followed were not sufficient to strengthen the imperial family as an institution, as had been the case in Japan. When the last emperor of China, Pu Yi, had to abdicate in 1912, the "son of heaven" and central ruler of the world had become a citizen. The time of foreign rule and radical cuts, as well as the humiliation it brought about, triggered a trauma in Chinese society that for many Chinese only seems to have been overcome with the economic rise of recent years and the return of Hong Kong in 1997. The experiences from this time also partly determine China's politics today.
From the perspective of strangers, this has not been perceived for a long time. The achievement of the Germans in developing a modern, exemplary city and colony in China was often emphasized one-sidedly. Wilhelm II described Tsingtau as a model town of German cultural work, which reflected the typical German variant of the lease area policy: The transfer of the most modern infrastructure, technology as well as cultural and supply facilities gave the model colony the nimbus of a successful state mission. Those who acted a hundred years ago presupposed modernization as a universally valid, positively understood norm, so that the resulting political behavior towards other peoples was considered morally legitimate. From today's perspective, it was one-sided and unjust.

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