Hundred Days Reform Analysis

2201 Words 9 Pages
Describe The Hundred Days’ Reform and analyse in detail to what extent it succeeded and what its consequences were.
“The greatest dangers lie in the allowing of ignorant persons to meddle and talk and argue amongst themselves upon subjects they know not of.” This statement, published in Emperor Guangxu’s second edict during the Hundred Days’ Reform period, ironically summarises one of the major failings of the reform period. Had the Emperor not been swept along by the pace of the reform, but rather realised the crippling incompetence and naivety of the reformers, perhaps the reform would not have been given a name to immortalise both is short-sightedness and short lifespan. The reform can be defined in two key ways; a) as an expression of
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Hsü identifies the major tensions in the court as being those between the Emperor and the Dowager, the moderate reformers and the radical reformers, and the racial antipathy between Chinese and Manchus. Cameron writes of the Emperor and the Dowager, “According to K’ang’s account, the relations between the Empress-Dowager and the Emperor have never been anything but strained.” One of the most glaring examples of this was Cixi’s response to the appointment of Yang Jiu, Liu Guangdi, Lin Xu, Tan Sitong to fourth rank secretaries of the grand council. Cixi immediately responded by forcing Guangxu to pass three reforms that would help bolster her seat of power. Firstly, it was decreed that all officials of second rank had to request the opportunity to thank Cixi in person upon appointment. In this way, Cixi could also retain the power to arrange official appointments ready for when she took over regency again. Kwong believes this reform emphasized Cixi as being a central authority, even if this was symbolic. Secondly, the viceroy of Zhili was recalled and replaced with a prominent member of Cixi’s faction, Ronglu. Ronglu would thereby control three corps of the Northern army and have enough military power to affect politics in the capital. Finally, the author of “The Reform Movement of 1898” argues Cixi forced Guangxu’s advisor Weng Tonghe into retirement to isolate Guangxu. …show more content…
In his naivety, Kang gave the conservatives reason to be very wary of his activities. Firstly, he was shortsighted and inexperienced. Cameron describes him as having ardor and passion but no experience in practical politics. Kang encouraged very rapid reform because he recognised the critical situation and impending existential crisis of China. He once said, “Slow reform is not as good as rapid reform, little change is not as good as whole sale change.” However, the pace of reforms was not sustainable, and alarmed other

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