Twenty-one Demands


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Twenty-one Demands

(1915), instrument by which Japan secured temporary hegemony over China. Japan used its declaration of war against Germany (Aug., 1914) as grounds for invading Kiaochow, the German leasehold in Shandong prov., China. Disregarding the Chinese request to withdraw, Japan secretly presented (1915) President Yüan Shih-kaiYüan Shih-kai
, 1859–1916, president of China (1912–16). From 1885 to 1894 he was the Chinese resident in Korea, then under Chinese suzerainty. He supported the dowager empress, Tz'u Hsi, against the reform movement (1898) of Emperor Kuang Hsü, and she
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 with an ultimatum comprising 21 demands divided into five sections. These provided that Japan assume Germany's position in Kiaochow; that Manchuria and Mongolia be reserved to Japan for exploitation and colonization; that Japan control the main coal deposits of China; that the other powers be excluded from further territorial concessions; and that Japan guide China's military, commercial, and financial affairs. The demands for control of Chinese policy were dropped, partly at the insistence of the United States. The remainder of the demands were accepted by President Yüan after the Japanese threatened to extend their invasion. Treaties were signed (May 25) extending Japan's lease of the Liaotung peninsula (see LiaoningLiaoning
, province (2010 pop. 43,746,323), c.58,400 sq mi (151,295 sq km), NE China, on the Bohai and Korea Bay. The capital is Shenyang (Mukden). A part of Manchuria, it encompasses the Liaodong peninsula and the plain of the Liao River.
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) and of the Manchurian railroads and granting Kiaochow to Japan. The demands, setting a pattern for Japanese domination, were forced on China, but the treaties were not ratified by the Chinese legislature. The Japanese reinforced their claims in 1917 and forced a second agreement from the Chinese in 1918. At the Versailles Conference, Japan, by reason of secret treaties signed in 1917, was awarded the German possessions in Shandong over strong Chinese protest. China refused to sign the Versailles treaty, and this event led directly to the May Fourth MovementMay Fourth Movement
(1919), first mass movement in modern Chinese history. On May 4, about 5,000 university students in Beijing protested the Versailles Conference (Apr. 28, 1919) awarding Japan the former German leasehold of Kiaochow (Jiaozhou), Shandong prov.
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 of 1919. At the Washington Conference (1921–22), Japan agreed to withdraw its troops from Shandong and restore full sovereignty to China.
References in periodicals archive ?
During the Republican period," writes the scholar William Callahan, "the holiday commemorated May 9th, the day when the Chinese government succumbed to Japan's twenty-one demands in 1915, which seriously compromised China's national sovereignty.
The first three contributions explore Sino-Japanese relations between the establishment of relations in 1871 and the Manchurian Incident of 1931 by dividing this era into three periods: the latter half of the nineteenth century, that extending from the first Sino-Japanese War to the Twenty-One Demands, and to the Manchurian Incident.
Moreover, the Wilson administration had other clashes outside the Atlantic that threatened its neutral stance, such as the Twenty-One Demands crisis of May 1915: How did these play into Wilson's approach to neutrality?